Over-stimulated into a constant state of smoldering, there are no longer any fibers of my being to become appalled at the immoral and egregious atrocities inflicted upon humanity by self-appointed gods on earth. I'm burned out. Consumed. Not quite spontaneous combustion, and certainly not self-immolation. But who cares when the effect is the same? When people set themselves on fire, or purposely starve to death, they are crying desperately for help, for someone to take notice, for someone to care.
Many years ago I read Jonathan Kozol's Amazing Grace: The lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation. I've misplaced my copy—I've moved twice since reading it—but one thing I came away with was a glimpse into how wealthy people live with themselves and watch as their riches engender more wealth while a lack of opportunity, education and means engender greater poverty all around them. At their feet. Kozol's focus was on New York City, but the scenario is replicated not just throughout the nation, but globally. They learn not to see us, to make sure we are off their radar. This is why the 'master'minds and perpetrators of the slave trade industry chose to dehumanize and reduce to the status of soul-less animals the human beings they enslaved.
When I peered down from atop the then Sears Tower in Chicago, people didn't look like people. They looked like tiny insects. Ants. With great imagination and for the purpose of, let's say creating a short story, I could pretend like they were just ants moving about their daily lives. Others with different agendas could pretend for different reasons. The farther you 'rise' above others the less they resemble human beings from your vantage point. What you can't see, why should you care? What you don't acknowledge, why should you want to? One could claim these 'vanished' beings have no souls, that they have nothing in common with oneself, that their needs, no matter how real, will pass some day, that they don't deserve anymore than they have or they wouldn't be under the sole of your shoe. Which is why it would be better for them to be put out of their misery, sooner rather than later. —Lets have some fun! Let's play Russian Roulette by placing a fertilizer plant in the middle of a town or allow a town to grow up around the fertilizer plant like they used to do around churches or bodies of water, at the same time creating a natural source of labor that translates into money. Let them work in unsafe factory buildings for pennies lining clothing while we line our pockets—because there are too many of them anyway—and be put out of their misery when the structure collapses killing hundreds of them, mostly women this time. Oops!
We no longer have aspiring demigods. We have all out deity wannabes aching to increase their chokehold on humanity. It used to be a territory, a nation, a continent to be conquered and ruled by ruthless, power-hungry self-appointed leaders and their bands of marauders. Now it is the planet itself, and damned be any living, breathing spoils! The days of emperors and pharaohs who would make claim to god-like status live on. They hold our lives and our futures in their hands. And they won't stop until they transcend the status of demigods to that of deities.
Mythologies created systems of belief at the center of which was either one God Almighty followed by his rank and file or a family of Gods getting along as dysfunctionally as families on earth typically do. And among modern mythologies is one that would declare itself ancient, at the helm of which is a single all powerful god, worshipped and torn asunder by three rivaling sets of descendants of the same parent faith. One branch begot the religious culture in which I was raised. When I speak of 'God', I'm speaking of the one I was taught about and told to bow down to and worship, him and only him, because he is a jealous god. A vengeful god. Enigmatic and tyrannical. So I ask, why, if one would be God, why choose those qualities that seem most in line with destroying the vast majority of mankind? Oh, correct. You can't plunder ruthlessly with honesty, moral purpose, and a love of humanity as sidekicks.
Earth. A new iteration of the beehive, the anthill, the plantation. Hell in the hive, hell in the hill, hell in the fields. Hell on earth. You might not identify with this view of the world. The concept might not resonate with you. However, because we are living in a hell doesn't mean we are 'unhappy', that our goals in life are stripped from us, that we are left without hope even if, in the majority of cases, without means. Happiness is relative. Ignorance is bliss. What you don't know can't hurt you. We are drone ants, workers bees. Slaves. We are expendable. We are ninety-nine percent of the human population.
We have modern iterations of ancient gods. We have individuals with household names (e.g., the Koch brothers who, by the way, own the fertilizer industry pretty near lock, stock and barrel); we have corporations (like Walmart that has connections to the Dhaka, Bangladesh tragedy), and political entities (the über conservative right wing - the list is far too long) for example. We have those who hoard the planet's wealth while destroying it at the same time, melting its resources—like Vulcan in his forge--into gold with which to line their pockets. The new Poseidon—the monolith that refuses to admit to global warming because to do so would mean pulling its hand from that cookie jar—is destroying the environment by conjuring up earthquake after earthquake, violent extremes in weather, floods, tornados and hurricanes where they were once either non-existent or infrequent. We talk about acts of nature, meaning, generally, destructive phenomena due to no one's fault. But when the heightened devastation of destructive acts of nature are directly linked to the willful hands of mankind with an ax to grind, then we must speak of destructive acts of human nature. The banks and financial institutions where the new gods hide their fortunes are the newest treasures of Mount Olympus, the crown jewels of the new oligarchy.
The trickle down effect of greed and abuse affects our everyday lives in ways our limited ability and resources do not allow us to entertain, to make the connections. We can see that greed led to the collapse of the eight-story factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, or the explosion of the fertilizer plant in West, Texas, or the crashing of jet planes for lack of proper maintenance. The stock and housing market crashes, the spilling of thousands of tons of crude oil into our oceans, seas and gulfs. We can make those connections.
But how many of us realize that the seeming 'choices' we are given as consumers have been decided on by others as no more and no less of what they want us to consume? Perhaps this too sounds obvious. But think about it. There is no freedom of choice. We are manipulated and controlled from inception to production to consumption.
When the rubble is piled so high that the earth becomes a wasteland, the gods will get in their spaceships that only they can afford and sail high above the planet into new territories, leaving the rest of us to rot in a hell created by them. I know, the scenario is far from original. It's just that it seems to get closer and closer to the truth.
Zeus overthrew his father, Cronus, to claim the throne for himself as sole ruler of the kingdom of heaven. Are we really willing to allow it to come down to this? I'm just sayin'...