I find often find myself a spectator in this world. One who prefers to watch, study, review, and evaluate our culture. What was the origin of a tradition, and what makes people behave the way they do? I don’t have a PhD, or in no way am an expert of anything except what I observe. I like to challenge conventional thinking or not thinking which is often the case, and find myself at a crossroads many times between what is expected and what actually makes sense. A great many many things that are done in rote and largely unchallenged by the masses is a curious thing to me. We blindly absorb, practice, and pass down what has been told to us whether religious beliefs, what to wear, who wears what, what kind of toys are acceptable or not acceptable, what is the best food (I’m not going to eat octopus or tiger penis soup no matter what you say), what games and sports we like, literally every aspect of life as we know it has been imprinted on us somewhere along the way.
Imagine the world as the blank slate it was once. Sea life, birds, animals, neanderthals, humans all in infancy of development. Free to do whatever, wherever, and whenever. From day 1 culture, conventions, habits, and traditions started to form. They could have gone in any direction whatsoever, but they have all evolved into how we all live our lives today. What we value, don’t value, believe, don’t believe, like, do not like, everything to infinity. All aspects of our lives has an origin from the past. Some excellent, some delicious, some mind bending, some mundane, some dangerous, some evil, some, some, some…
Through the years I have observed from afar through books, documentaries, reality tv, newspapers, news interviews, et al, extreme and strict religions, religious cults, religious sects, and communal groups from Charles Manson to Jim Jones, to David Koresh, to Hasidic Jews, to Sunni Muslims, to fundamental polygamous Mormons like FLDS, to _________ (insert group of choice here). All the self-contained religions are, if not evil at its base as is often my thinking, at least misguided and consumed by righteousness (the Earth’s most dangerous of reactive self-absorbed behavioral thinking). Many of these groups hide behind freedom of religion and are mostly about control and oppression of females.
As there are laws of the land that are a higher order in this country than some religious mandates like plural marriage, rape by a spouse, underage sex, sacrificing a virgin at the altar, or whatever else nonsense people do in the name of the Prince of Peace, there should also be enforceable laws about having closed religious communities. Sure, you should be allowed to live in a neighborhood of like-minded people, but locking out everyone and everything else and keeping your people in a oppressive bubble of conformity should not be allowed. No religion should be able to send an American citizen off into prisionous captivity FOR ANY REASON. The kids should have to go to school until they’re 16 like everyone else, not 8th grade. We attemp to ‘not leave a child behind’ of course unless they are in a religious community. Reading, writing, arithmetic, science, social studies, history should all be mandatory and every person in this country despite age or religion should be given the FREEDOM of continuing their education beyond 8th grade if they want. There are millions of women and children in this country who have absolutely NO FREEDOM in the United States of America, The City Upon the Hill we imagine ourselves to be fails those who are seemingly the untouchable remaining in the valley. I cannot believe ‘we the people’ put up with ANY of it. If religious freedom means no freedom at all, then what’s going on here with our complacency. Freedom from oppression should be our mantra. Not just to those who work tirelessly to keep people out of any world except that which they have created within themselves. If you have to ‘escape’ your group, and fear reprisal or even death, then your group is not something of which you should be involved. Being told what to do and what to think, then being advised if you question it, there will be consequences is evil.
Freedom is not only not free, but it is not available to a great many of our own citizens. Shame on us… Sandy