This is an entry for the blogathong, which I heard about from Scary Scary Quite Contrary. I don't know many details about it other than people are expected to write a blog a day, Monday to Friday, for the next 6 days. I like that idea. I've been too lazy lately.
Send all complaint letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
At any given time, you can be sure that there is at least one hairless ape walking around this earth who thinks they’re a deity’s child.
The world has never suffered from a shortage of messiahs.
For the most part, these people are cranks who want nothing more than to invent some reason why the world should be more like how they envision their bizarre utopias, but the more charismatic among them can even convince people to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do, like marry multiple women, or move to Utah.
When a messianic figure attracts a following, strange, but explicable, things start to happen where everything good is attributed to the messiah, while all negative aspects are ascribed to the wickedness, or resourcefulness of the leader’s nemesis. Eventually, the whole thing conglomerates in a gigantic feedback loop that reinforces whatever ridiculous claims the messiah has made about themselves.
That the people who follow messiahs believe the rhetoric is without question; there are Christian churches all the over the world, even in places you wouldn’t expect, like what’s left of the Brazilian rainforests and New York City; the real question is whether or not the messiahs believe their own hype.
If you’ve never been in a situation where someone reinforcing what you already believe about yourself makes your belief stronger, then you’ve never been in a romantic relationship.
Sure, there are plenty of biological imperatives to restrict our access to strangers’ genitals by cohabitating with other humans, but they give rise to pretty powerful psychic urges to find someone to make you feel slightly less ugly and worthless than you most likely are.
Of course, ugliness and worthlessness are subjective qualities; there are very few women who don’t look good with a dick in their mouths and a man’s attractiveness is proportional to his ability to maintain a twelve-inch erection for more than seven hours at a time. Plus, as long as the hair around our sphincters continues to grow, there’s no such thing as a worthless human being. I’ve tried my best, but I have the damndest time trying to use a cigarette lighter to burn off my anal hair follicles without at least a little help.
Even the worst of us still feels pretty good when we’ve got a non-abusive partner to which we can come home. All our troubles and incurable cold sores don’t matter a bit when someone opens their loving arms to us.
Neither our self-possessed negative opinions, or our lovers’ glowing encomiums, give us any real insight into ourselves as human beings, but they do demonstrate our brain’s ability to trick us into thinking just about anything we want.
You see this all the time when a overweight, balding gentleman, spits in his hair to slick it down, sits next to you at a bar, and asks you if you’ve ever seen the inside of a Mustang. To him, he’s the smoothest motherfucker that ever walked the earth, and, if you’ve got a low enough opinion about yourself, then he is absolutely right. It’s only when he accidentally picks someone with a few spare shreds of dignity that things get ugly, but hey… broken beer bottle cuts to the face eventually heal and that’s always a good story for next time.
If a guy like that can believe his own hype, then imagine what happens to people with a whole mess of followers reinforcing imaginary beliefs about your divinity.
On the one hand, you’d have to be pretty slick, and self aware, to sell that kind of snake oil; but, on the other hand, if you don’t buy it yourself, how can you be expected to sell it to people who have a lot less to gain from the elevating you to god-like status proposition.
Then again, believing in someone you perceive as greater than yourself is a great way to boost your self-esteem without having to put any actual work into the mess that is you, that’s why so many incarcerated criminals find religion.
I’m inclined to believe that, with the exception of genetically inherited physical attributes, we’re all the same lumps of clay when we’re born, but, if it’s possible to have lumbering giant written into your DNA, then there’s got to be some folks out there who are born smarter than the rest of us and some of them must use that intelligence to amass a faithful, devoted following.
Most of the time, it’s pretty easy to fool suckers into believing the small things, like giving you their credit card numbers because you’re their banks credit card inspector and there’s been a string of recent robberies where thieves break into homes and put counterfeit cards into people’s wallets; however, to convince folks that one of your parents is a deity takes a certain kind of panache that doesn’t come around too often.
It makes me wonder if, assuming, despite the lack of archeological and textual evidence, Jesus was a real person, his last thoughts while dying were something like, “Any minute now, my magic powers are going to save me” or more along the lines of, “I just wanted to get laid and make a little cash and this is what I get.”
Either way, you don’t have to find a messiah to discover that one person who can fix most of the things that are wrong with your life, but it is curious that, what with the sheer amount of reflective glass in our modernized world, most people haven’t found them yet or go looking for one in a book.
Also, check with your parents to see if one of them was, or had an affair with, a god.
Sex Mahoney for President
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New American Language
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