P. Edronkin

The Person Or The Temple

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Within any set of beliefs there is an underlying dichotomy that applied ideas confront; in our present world, the temple is in fact more important than the individual but a new, ecoreligious perspective could point us in a new direction in which the individual would take the lead.

In the centuries that passed after the fall of Rome and the appearance of Christianity, the vision that people shared among Europeans and in Western civilisation was heavily leaning towards God. Then the paradigm changed with the advent of the Renaissance; but with the surge of national states a few centuries later, things changed again, only that instead of God people began adoring the state.

Today it is thought as a laudable thing to die for one's country: I say that dying in such a way is never commendable simply because the damage to you is not reversible. The idea of self-immolation for the motherland is as nonsensical as burning witches or converting people to another religion by force.

We are simply paying too much attention to the notion of a state that runs a nation, to the temple, only that the temple in this case is a congress or parliament building instead of a religious house. The state has proved to be an efficient way to gather and organise people for thousands of years but now it seems that it is becoming an end in itself. State institutions have proved to be in existence because of the monopoly of force and large amounts of money; there is nothing especially admirable in that.

In fact, in a broader perspective we can see that this same form of organising nations is associated with the rape of the planet's natural resources, only that in the past the side effects of this practice have not been as noticeable as today. But we have to change or perish, as simple as that, for this way of doing things has led us - mankind - to the atomic bomb and contamination. States wage war, not people, and if we take out the factors that give power to states - not necessarily by anarchy - wars would eventually cease to exist or become less fashionable. You don't usually kill your neighbours other than for ideologies, and these are created and instilled by political institutions.

States proved to be relatively good so far, but the most significant side effect to their existence is the reaping of natural resources, and we are peaking in this department. So states will eventually have to go and be substituted by some sort of different social organisation. To do this we have to dispose of the two single most important factors that give forcer to the state: the ability to use force and the ability to collect taxes. The tax office bureaucrat is not only a sorrowful and depicable individual, but an accomplice in alost and obsolete cause.

But this would never be achieved by the use of force, and not even by politics; the only way to change this is by thinking in a new way. There is no point in seeing the world as a turf for competition: ultimately, competition means destroying your neighbour, but there is no good to you as a person in doing so, because every time you destruct something you are also damaging the planet - your home -, and this is inescapable.

Face it: You pay taxes because you are coerced to do so, not because of your love for society. It has always been a coercitive measure to gather funds for greedy leaders of all sorts - kings, presidents, senators, emperors, autocrats, and so on -, and nothing more; to say that taxes go back to society is an euphemism at best. Don't look at the theory but at facts and your own intuitive perception when pondering this: If you pay 30 or 40% of your household income as taxes, do you get a 30-40% improvement in your quality of life as a result of that? Really? If it were so, if yoru life would improve by an average of 35% every year thanks to what your government does with your tax money, then you would be as enlightened as the Dalai Lama by now... no wars, no unemployment, no crime, no famine around the world.

The truth is that societies based on traidtional sets of religious beliefs and government authorities have been around for quite a while and no matter what kind of leaders run them - democratic presidents, kings, emperors, autocrats and so on - the all share the commonality of force and taxes. These don't exist to make people's lives better, but to make the state that uses force for whatever ends viable. If you, as a person, receive some benefit - if a t all - it is just to keep you contended and contained; no leader has any good use for a mob that riots against him.

It is about time that we humans begin to gather in ways a little more refined than those already used long ago by the Sumerians; after all, we are intelligent enought to produce new ideas.

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