Thursday, January 26, 2006

Fundamentalism: Dung for the Tree of History

First off, a message for Oprah: I feel your pain. I can assure you, I've got two books that are real, true, and thoroughly non-sensational. And they're selling worse than a bowl of Hamas in Jerusalem (sorry about that, really I am). If you can just give me a passing endorsement, Oprah, I know I can make Idol, now that those twins have been removed: folks say I can belt out ancient Chinese poetry with the best of 'em.

We live in a world where fools are adored, and arrogance rewarded. We live in a time when real work is paid with scorn, as if it were a disgrace, and when the sham of busyness is given credit, and often stock options. Ours has become a nation so obsessed with image that the once living substance inside has rotted into a stinking lump of darkness.

Every morning, on the subway, I see people reading God, in black or tawny red books with gilt lettering on their dark covers. I wonder, "is god there—in those books?" Surely it is there, somewhere, though not in the language. I look for god in the same places where the great scientists have, though without even a shadow of their insight and ability. I look between the lines, in the atoms comprising those pages, in the quantum space that patiently carries the images. But god can't control whether those images are the pictures of a delusion. Only you can.

Is God in His heaven, talking over a golden phone to a squint-eyed, vapid white man in Washington or Crawford who can't string two sentences of decent English together at a time? Is He magically engorging the cranial vasculature of an old white minister of state in Israel, as punishment for having divided a desert filled with bullets and fables? Is He silently plotting the murder of a socialist leader in South America, for the greater glory of Himself and His appointed television spokesmen? Is He intelligently designing a world where cruise missiles decapitate children, and white phosphorous melts the skin of widows?

The real god that you breathe in and exhale in every moment, that dances through your bloodstream and even your bowels—this god is in your flesh—you are it and it is you. This god is the subatomic ocean that sparkles in the lips of lovers or the eyes of children. It is always at rest, and never stops moving; and will never be trapped in the slimey snares of fundamentalism. So let the dead rot—fundamentalism is shit for the compost heap.

Have you ever wondered why tyrants are never assassinated? How can you kill what is already dead? Every tyrant kills the god within himself, until only a shell, an empty image, remains. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and all their ilk, are hollow husks whose rot will feed the tree of history, and thereby nourish the next generation, and fertilize the coming transformation.

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