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Traditions and Beliefs -- In Face of the World's Condition: A Satire

Val is a life-long student of unexplored human potential and many challenges that self-honesty throws at us on that path.


A Curious Mind Asking (In-)Appropriate Questions

Right at the start, let me assure you that I have no arguments against any tradition, whether religious, cultural, ethnic, whatever -- let everyone honor what they consider sacred.

It's only that I have this very curious, inquisitive mind, with this passion to jump out of the paradigm box like a man possessed and question everything -- not even sparing the very existence of this material world of ours.

But, while I am not about to take you for that maddening trip down the rabbit hole of quantum realm -- at least not in this post -- maybe everything about my curiosity is still an understatement.

Like, think of someone who at age of fourteen or so had heard all those stories about "ghosts walking at midnight at city cemetery" -- and going there at midnight to check it out, well, just for the hell of it.

Now, no confessions necessary --I did sweat bullets while sitting on a bench in front of someone's grave, but then it all passed in a matter of some minutes, before I happily realized that people telling about cemetery ghosts were full of chicken shit.

And before I could fully recognize it as my innate personal characteristic, I was questioning everything, removing every stone to see what false crap was hiding there, if any.

All into this age of 77, and to this moment as I am sitting here by my laptop and just wondering how weird it would be if I wrote a story about traditions and beliefs -- of course, the way I am perceiving them, how else.

I got so used to seeing people raise brows at my telling such stories, that I am not expecting any reader to cheer over this piece either, which some might even characterize as "blasphemous" -- beside wondering why would anyone of a sane mind think like that, let alone write about it.

Like it or not, just like people having their imaginary friends, so I am having an imaginary reader who will really enjoy my story -- and for them I write it.


Refusing to Feel Identified By Labels

Being a spontaneous individualist, I have from ever been extremely reluctant to identify myself by any of those attributes pinned on me by society, starting from my very name.

But, O.K., that was of a pragmatic nature, so that I could be officially recognizable in the herd as this, and not as any other individual. Except that those labels somehow kept snowballing, making me wonder who the hell would I end up being.

Just for an example, I was not "born" a Christian -- they baptized me as a baby, not bothering to wait until I would be old enough to decide for myself which deity, which savior, which holy book I would choose, including a corresponding holy building that I would be frequenting between two probable visits to a bar.

Indeed, there was something about those labels that I always had a hard time to understand. Like, while in the army in the communist Yugoslavia, I was forced into taking an oath "to defend communism". But then, fast-forward a few years, while at Canadian citizenship ceremony, I was again taking an oath, but this time I was "pledging allegiance to Queen Elizabeth the Second", which had absolutely nothing in common with that earlier oath.

Quite confusing, isn't it?

So, back there at my baptizing, my family were doing it all for themselves, so that they could tell the neighbors how their new offspring officially became a follower of Christianity.

Shortly after, everybody else joined them with new labels -- as if in a rush to de-personalize me, so that I was supposed to become everything else but myself.

Well, I didn't, with this obvious curiosity to question all taboos and fetishes, and refusing to be indoctrinated into any of the popular beliefs, not allowing others to do my thinking for me.

While I will forever stay a sucker for genuinely loving the mankind, that won't prevent me to recognize their incredible capacity for stupidity, with the state of the world never impressing me enough to blindly accept any of their highly manipulative and questionable ideas.


The Puzzle of the "F-Word"

As people age, they usually become just more-of-the-same, only with some added complexity to it. So, here I am at this age of 77 still scratching my head and wondering about some stuff that people have been taking for a "given" seemingly for ages.

For example, have any of you ever wondered how in the world did the "F-word" become an obscenity? One day, when you younger folks reach my age and get retired, you may choose to ask yourself some other strange questions, but this one is mine, okay?

It would seem like back there some ordinary dude, like you or me, got out of his bed one morning, and having an epiphany along with an inspiration to contribute to the mankind with something valuable -- proclaimed that "from now on, the word 'fuck' should be a bad, bad word, never to be spoken publicly, god-forbid in churches".

With some exceptions allowed, like should you get a flat tire on the road, or after you just calculated how much money you've got to pay for your taxes. And that word was only to be valid among the English speaking people, whereas all others should make up their own obscenities according to their own culture and traditions.

Now, what makes it such a pearl of evidence about human capacity to be brainwashed, is the fact that it just had to be only one person that came up with that idea -- not that people collectively decided upon it.

You see where I am going with this? How the hell did that word "officially"become a no-no word after only one person came up with it?

How did people adopt it? Was it because the word "intercourse" was too long to say when they accidentally hit their thumb with a hummer, or heard that mother-in-law was coming for dinner? I know, all this may sound like a humorous matter, but I am quite serious here.

For, go ahead, you try to proclaim a word of your choice to be another bad word, and see how no one will barge. Maybe because our culture already has enough of them, or -- which is much more probable -- we are known to stick to our original traditions.

Just look at our religious ones.


Bad Teachers -- or Bad Students?

How all this works for people -- I just don't get it.

I would understand how an important discovery, say discovery of the wheel, got passed from generation to generation; but how something like a "belief" , which is nothing but a deliberate construct of the mind, makes it through some centuries and millennia.

O.K., knowing enough about people's suggestibility I have no problem figuring why people might temporarily fall for, say, an advertised product, until they realize it's not any better than that cheaper one.

So that's where they are exercising their logical reasoning.

But why in the world did we need a belief which we were not intending to follow???

Indeed, folks -- does the whole shaming history of wars, brutal greed, with a garden varieties of crimes, look anything like our following a holy word spoken by the Burning Bush?

And not only that we created belief that we were not going to follow, but we even bothered ourselves to erect some head-spinning architectural marvels like cathedrals, mosques, temples, and synagogues -- as if to convince ourselves about the validity of our beliefs. Those that we had no intention to follow, just to talk a lot about, enforced with a bunch of rituals.

Indeed, why did we choose to keep going a system of ideas if that was going to be a little more than a social pastime, something to celebrate to break up the boring monotony of life in the heard.

Was it to be just entertainment Halloween style, and if not, why doesn't this world look better after those millennia of preaching and studying it over and over?

Truth be told, if any educational material had to be read so many times over the span of millennia, with students obviously not "getting it", what could be said about their mental abilities?

Now, every now and then I get to see people frowning as I am asking all these questions. Some even say that I am against their religion.

Well, I am not.

I simply don't understand why bother having a religion at all -- other than those few rules of decent conduct for which we wouldn't even need a deity -- if we can't process in our heads anything like unconditional love, compassion, peace, and harmony in coexistence.

Whether those holy Teachers -- for whom I have an enormous respect -- expected too much from man's nature which refuses to spiritually evolve, by teaching them stuff that's beyond their capacity -- or the "students" just keep pretending that they understand -- who knows...


Dates Designated for Loving

Let me surprise you, before I am done with all this unholy sermon -- I do celebrate Christmas.

While I don't go robotically ritualistic about advertising it, I nurture a deep spiritual sentiment about Jesus as an outstanding man worth heeding. Then, Christmas is to me symbolizing that good in me and in the rest of the people in this world.

Not as Jesus' birthday, not with a deity included in the equation of festivity, but a date when all is forgiven in an open heart, with a wish that we could go on in life making individually and collectively better decisions.

Spiritual experience is an individual thing, but Christmas makes it a little more communicable. At least on that date people are showing a goodwill towards one another -- something that they should be showing all the year long.

And I also rejoice in listening to the Christmas carols, with a huge Tree and the entire home being decorated in style.

Would I shock you by saying that Jesus was not a religionist but a spiritual being telling everyone to open their heart, to explore that divine within themselves?

As if guessing my thoughts, Elvis is still to be heard around that time singing "Why Can't Every Day Be Like Christmas".

So, here I come to the end of my story, hoping that, at least one or two of you who have read it to its end, didn't find it entirely weird.

All the best to all, including critics.

© 2021 Val Karas

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