Tradition – Floating On An Ocean Of Dung
(Editorial Comment from host RJ Evans on his American Heathen® radio show – Air Date 07/14/12)
He holds the rattlesnake in his hands, assured of his control over the venomous creature, unwavering in his faith that he will be protected by the spirit of the lord. Although he’s been bitten before, and knows the power of the serpents poison, he’s not afraid. And, even if the creature does strike, it will be the lord’s will. He is at peace. His faith is strong. He sets the serpent on the ground next to him, and within seconds the only thing that stands between his life and his death is the tradition that he was born into. Within a matter of hours, he’s dead. Like his father before him, he followed the tradition, and like his father before him, tradition consumed him.
There are many different varieties of tradition. Some prove to be fatal. Others not. But, what all traditions have in common is self-induced ignorance. Tradition slowly eats away at the human capacity for change and advancement. It is easily identified by the characteristics of laziness, complacency, and beguiled euphoria in the glaciated hands of time.
Arguably the greatest tradition of all is religion, the tradition of worshiping gods, goddesses, plants, animals, practically anything a human being can delude themselves into deifying. Religious tradition gives birth to romantic, utopian ideas, carefully crafted from arcadian notions, precariously supported by a few gingerly hand picked pieces of history that are white washed sparkling clean of historical fact. Tradition removes the context of dirt,filth, and the utter ignorance of our ancestral past, leaving nothing but the squeaky clean perfection of illusion.
Ah yes… “The good ole days!” How many of us have heard those words, or uttered them in a moment of reflection? We have all done it. We have all traveled back in time through our minds eye, remembering small fragments of pleasurable moments in our lives. But, what we fail to remember is the context surrounding those moments. What we fail to acknowledge is how poorly our brains record reality. Whether intentional or not, we sift the wheat from the chaff, and through the process of time and the limitations of our brains, we create a much more palatable history. But, it is about tradition after all, accuracy and reality don’t apply. We’d much rather live in our white washed past as opposed to learn from the reality of the dirt and filth that surrounded it.
Think of Tradition as a ship that floats on an ocean of dung, an abyss of myth, legend, and fantastic tales. It’s tethered to the bottom by the chain of time attached to the anchor of ignorance. Tradition only moves when it is forced to by the winds of change. But, even then, it simply pivots on its chain, never straying from its moor.
How far would our voyage have taken us if not for Tradition, trapped for time eternal on its leaky, miserable, heaving rot of wood? That’s a good question. I have no idea how far we could have traveled across the ocean of dung on the winds of change. The clear waters of progress can be seen on the horizon on a good day. But, we can’t seem to break free from the chain and anchor. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that we ever will. But, one thing is certain… those who claim to command the vessel of Tradition are shortening the anchor chain, and are adamant in their efforts to stop anyone who attempts to abandon ship.
Each and every day, our sensibilities are assaulted, our reason dismissed, our inquiry rejected, our ambition muted by the monotony of floating endlessly on Tradition. We were shanghai’d , forced to produce only that which benefits the ignorant self-appointed commander’s dogma. We are a crew of slaves. There is no bounty to be discovered and shared. Science, our bastion ship of human endeavor, a ship that once sailed the seas of progress, has been mothballed, towed deep into a hidden cove, left to wither on a sandbar out of sight, out of mind. The commanders of Tradition have rendered our ambition and exploration sterile. Our only task now is to row through the sea of dung, in endless circles, resisting the winds of change, and to obey under the threat of our master’s lash. Row, row, row to the cadence of stupidity. Row row row through the ocean of dung, going nowhere, by design. Row row row in circles, never ending, torturous, defeating.
Mutiny my friends. Mutiny. Or we will die here. Rowing forever in circles, in an ocean of dung, around the anchor of ignorance. Row, row, row to the death of human progress. Row row row until the serpent from the ocean of dung comes to consume us.