Sayer of the Law: [about Moreau] His is the hand that makes. His is the hand that hurts. His is the hand that heals. His is the House of Pain. His is the House of Pain. His is the House of Pain. He who breaks the law shall be punished back to the House of Pain.
This is a piece about madness. It is also a case study on what it means to be human. The link above and the tragic story it relates prompted me to write it. I am not the first to notice that madness, for humans, is our primary defense against truly going insane. Sigmund Freud, Otto Rank and Ernest Becker after them wrote of mankind’s necessity to “create” a universe that they “could” safely inhabit. It is why we have religion and probably always will. It is about the nonsense we must swallow to make sense of a universe that is uncaring and senseless with regard to human suffering. It is about the price of the ticket out of the House of Pain our minds must pay if we are to rejoin the world of men and go on living when death would be easier. It is an example of the culturally sanctioned madness that saves us today at the expense of tomorrow.
We are not supposed to notice this phenomena. We are meant to read tragic stories like the one above and say something like, “Isn’t that wonderful”… “How uplifting” or “I’m so happy for them”… but, I can’t. My mind, for better or worse, simply doesn’t work like that. I live in a cause and effect universe that has no place for supernaturalism. Love, compassion and empathy YES, but the religious supernaturalism that gives man license to claim to communicate with, or, know, what some mythological father in the sky thinks, wants or dictates…. NO!
Is it cold for me to mock these people and all those who would dissociate themselves from a painful reality through the culturally sanctioned madness we know as religion? I suppose it is. Is it wrong for me to notice that this little madness, soothing as it surely is for the individual, is the primary tool of the unscrupulous monsters who use it to accumulate wealth, power and the ability to dictate to us all who God is displeased with and who the world would be better off without? I don’t think so. I rather think that morphine is helpful when we experience acute pain, but, ruinous as a steady diet. As a consequence I must despise those who peddle it to children for profit in the hope of addicting them for life. I must condemn all those, regardless of their own addictions, who would teach children that they were created imperfect, but, demanded to BE perfect by a God who DEMANDS, on pain of eternal suffering, that they both love AND fear Him. That is, after all, the very definition of sadomasochism.
I will never, ever, forget the morning I heard Jerry Falwell say, on national television, that the reason God permitted the carnage of September 11, 2001 was America’s “toleration” of gays, lesbians, the ACLU and atheists. I will never forget or forgive any politician who claims “God is on our side” as our nation is, again, taken to war. I read last night that more veterans of the Vietnam War have committed suicide than died in the war. But surely, as I was told at the time, God was on our side.
Who am I do doubt the revealed truth, graciously delivered to us all by the Religious Right and pious men like Rick Santorum, that abortion is murder and the Bible clearly says… Thou shall NOT kill? What right do I have to notice that fully half of Christian America’s annual budget goes to the military for doing, or, preparing to do just that?
In totalitarian dictatorships questioning the powers that be is a crime and citizens are watched constantly. Actions that are not permitted are a crime. Thoughts that are not “pure” are a crime. Citizens who do not think, act and speak in ways that are sanctioned by the authority are punished, sometimes for the rest of their lives. Isn’t it strange to realize that compared to Christians, Muslims, Mormons and the rest….. They have it easy. Their torture ends when they stop breathing.
So that’s my story. Think of me what you will, it’s of no consequence to me. We all have choices to make and make them we must if we are not to abdicate our sentience. That is not to say, or imply, that abdication of reason is not entirely human. It is, and more is the pity for that. As it stands in America today we are all free to sing “Amazing Grace”. How long some of us will remain free to sing “Imagine” is another question entirely.