When Warriors Become Saints

Edward Curtin

As I sit on the small balcony on the top floor of an old house in the working-class neighborhood of Alfama in Lisbon, Portugal, it is early evening, the time for wine and voices wafting on the fragrant breeze through the twisting cobble-stoned streets.

The National Pantheon (Panteao Nacional) stares me in the face. I stare back, and then look up to the heavens and to the cross that is silhouetted against the blue sky. It crowns the Pantheon’s massive dome. On its façade stand three statues, only one of which I can see clearly.

She is Santa Engracia, a Christian martyr from before the period when the Roman Emperor Constantine legalized and legitimatized Christianity, transforming the cross into a sword. It was her church before the state found it acceptable to convert it into a space to glorify its secular saints and its military and political prowess.

Rome never dies, although it falls in different guises but is resurrected by the human urge to dominate others. The savage complicity between church and state perdures through the ages.

Wherever you go, the monuments and statues glorifying humanity’s violent history are always presented as a form of liberation. Tourist attractions. Generals, princes, and kings atop horses, brandishing swords and guns, “grace” squares and monuments as a reminder to the common folk of who is looking down on them and to whom they should look up, or look out.

Yet even when they do show obeisance to their “masters” who rule them from the heights, the commoners are left out of the spoils of empire, and if they object, they are taken out without hesitation.

On a clothesline outside the windows of the house across the street where a woman peeks out, the pants and underwear humbly sway to a different tune, a sad Fado moan that seems to ask: What has happened? Has it always been like this?

I am tempted to tell the underwear it has but realize its job is to cover-up, not expose the truth.

Rilke, a German language poet of most delicate sensibilities, asked from one of his castle abodes provided by one of his many rich lady friends:

Who, if I cried out, would hear me
Among the angels’ hierarchies?
And even if one of them
Pressed me against his heart
I would be consumed in that
overwhelming existence.

But down below, the omnipresent graffiti on the walls is a bit less circumspect. It shouts: Fuck the elites! (Translation provided)
The old poor murmur their prayers and the angry young spray their rage on every canvas they can find. Both seek hope outside the museums and mausoleums erected by the wealthy to glorify themselves.

And fate answers: It’s the same old story, a fight for love and glory. Those seeking glory, the rich elites, the powerful with the guns in all the countries across the planet, with a few exceptions, smash the lovers and the humble people as they struggle to keep faith and hope alive. Who will liberate them?

Who among the elites will hold the arm of the old Portuguese woman on the one crutch as she teeters on her struggle up the steep hill to the little grocery store? “Orbrigada – Deus te abinҫoe” is her response to a stranger, whose heart aches.

Here in Lisbon there is a famous tourist attraction, Castelo De S. Jorge, a massive hilltop castle and fortress overlooking the city. Built by the Moors in the eleventh century, it was conquered by Dom Afonso Henriques, who became the first king of Portugal, and began what is so nobly described as “its golden age as a home for the royalty.” Royals are always noble, and castles and mythic saint/soldiers like St. George intimate friends. It is a marriage made in hell.

The Spaniard, Ignatius of Loyola, was a soldier seriously wounded in war at the age of thirty. He subsequently underwent a religious conversion. He founded the Jesuit order eighteen years later and was sainted in 1556, sixty-six years after his death. Having been educated by the Jesuits, I vividly recall the motto of my Jesuit high school that adorns the school seal, Deo et Patriae, a not so subtle reminder of how my priorities should be linked.

I have failed that test, just as I failed a freshman mathematics exam, probably because I couldn’t figure out what two plus two equaled, since I was reading Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground at the time and might have thought it was five because I believed I was free and not what Ignatius urged Jesuits to be – “as if a dead body” in obedience to the Pope.

The so-called rational ones have brought the earth to the point of extinction with their instrumental rationality and their diseased souls. We are living in the Crystal Palace that Dostoevsky so mocked long before the crystal turned digital. One plus zero may equal one in such a glass house, but such counting will not protect us from the whirlwind we have conjured from the smart man’s equation of E=mc2

Only a spiritual equivalent will save us, as James Douglass has so eloquently argued in his slim but powerful book, Lightning East to West: Jesus, Gandhi, and the Nuclear Age, where, taking up Gandhi’s suggestion, he argues that there is a spiritual equivalent to Einstein’s law of physical change that we must discover that will allow for a radical transformation of society and the world. Douglass’s country is the world.

I, however, am reminded of a very different Jesuit-trained American (one among many), who has passed the American indoctrination exam “admirably” and who has worked assiduously for God and country and followed that American motto of “In God We Trust” when he recently led the CIA in its holy wars under President Barack Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize winner – John Brennan.

Was his excuse he was just following orders, “as if a dead body”?

I think the dead children in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and so many other places he helped to destroy would not buy that excuse. Yet Fordham University thought to honor him. Is this what the Jesuit motto means: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam inque hominum salutem (for the greater glory of God and the salvation of humanity)?

Has Fordham ever heard of the Nuremberg Trials?

In the men’s room of St. George’s Castle, there is a wall dispenser selling M&Ms. Imperialism and colonialism take many forms.

It is hard to say what’s new since humanity’s savage history just rolls along. The technology changes, but people do not. Spray paint is about 75 years old, about the same age as nuclear weapons, both products of WW II. One leads to “Fuck the elites,” while the other says, “We are the elites and see what we can do to the Japanese.”

War spurs technological development like nothing else, and as the brilliant French social thinker Paul Virilio has shown with his war model, “history progresses at the speed of its weapons systems.”

Modern societies, with increased technological speed, the administration of fear (terror), and digital gadgetry, are engaged in a battle for people’s minds through technological perception management.

Virilio makes it clear, following on the work of his fellow countryman Jacques Ellul, that built into the technology is the “integral accident,” by which he means that every new technology creates its own potential “accident.”

While most people welcome new technology because they have been conditioned to think only in scientific and positivistic terms, they fail to see the price to be paid. The nuclear bomb, nicknamed “The Gadget” by its one-dimensional, sick scientific inventors, is an accident waiting to happen, unless human madness first leads to its intended use once again.

Or unless we can first discover the spiritual power to eliminate what we have created.

Now we have what Virilio calls the “information bomb,” the glut of information that overloads people’s ability to think clearly or to concentrate, but a boom to the elites who think they are in full control of people’s minds and the technology they promote.

On the ramparts of Castelo De S. Jorge, the tourists snap photo after photo with their cell phones, failing to realize that these memories they are “shooting” from the heights where canons once shot the infidels, have imprisoned them in a dungeon as deep and dark as the one in the castle below their feet.

Visiting castles, like so many trips into the past, can awaken one to the truth of human history or put one to sleep. It is usually the latter.

The Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gassett, who lived here in Lisbon for a year after fleeing Franco’s Spain, said it best: “The only genuine ideas are the ideas of the shipwrecked. All the rest is rhetoric, farce.”

We are all shipwrecked now, not just the Portuguese sailors long lost at sea never to return to home despite the lament of the Fado singers.
If we are to make this earth our home again, we had better learn to sing a different tune. If not, we will be eliminated by accident or intent, and no one will be singing for our return. It is a harsh truth, but quite simple.

In the Foz district of Porto, Portugal on the Atlantic, in the park and on the beaches, children play and laugh and the music of their voices rises into the air to remind me that they are our hope on this dark and tempestuous sea on which we are shipwrecked, hoping to find our way home.

Dostoevsky said it well: “The soul is healed by being with children.”

Can we hear their voices, singing?


If you enjoy OffG's content, please help us make our monthly fund-raising goal and keep the site alive.

For other ways to donate, including direct-transfer bank details click HERE.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Jul 30, 2019 11:22 AM

One of your best Edward, yet achingly bittersweet and poignant at the same time. Imprisoned in a (digital) dungeon indeed. Everywhere I go in the city, almost everyone, staring at their phones, oblivious to their surroundings; no one making eye contact. On buses, on trains, even in art galleries(!?) the same. Lost souls trapped in the images in their hand.
Orwell got it right, as did Huxley. The digital devices are our Soma.
To those who are awake, we see the trajectory Neoliberalism is taking us, along with the attendant dogma of identity politics that divides and fragments. Corporate fascism has lobotomised much of the West, in fact most go along with the propaganda doled out every day by the Presstitutes who serve power and the Empire, and who incessantly cheer squad for the vaccuos banality of Neoliberal ‘lifestyle’ incl the cringeworthy gunk of ‘celebrity culture’. All to keep people distracted and blind to the reality of the World. When I was growing up, can’t ever recall people using the term ‘lifestyle’ – however the term ‘working class’ was openly used. Now you never hear anyone use it.
Are we all middle class? Even the homeless and unemployed?

Jul 29, 2019 11:27 PM

“Can we hear their voices, singing?”

Of course. That’s what we have ears for and, in general, they work quite well. Better now for many than in most of history, thanks to modern technology.

But perhaps you mean “listen”?

Stands the Church clock at ten to three?
And is there honey still for tea?

Sorry to be the one to tell you, but tea’s off, dear.
It’s KABOOM time.

Edward Curtin
Edward Curtin
Jul 30, 2019 12:53 AM
Reply to  Robbobbobin

No, dear Prufrock, I mean hear. Perhaps if you could read closely and understand, you would have no need for sarcasm. Check your sea shells, as Ray Bradbury would advice. Or perhaps you have turned your hearing aides off. The mermaids will not be singing to you in any case.

Jul 29, 2019 10:38 PM

There is talk of the Jesuits in the alternative media. They have an oath which makes the “by way of deception thou shall do war” which is attributed to Mossad look like a nursery rhyme. The Jesuit power network is vast and global. It goes back centuries. A very interesting line of research indeed. Word is that the Jesuits are the ones at the very top of the pyramid. My guess is that the Vatican and Jewish power networks work together, but this is in the theory stages, not a fact that can be verified.

The Jesuit Oath (parts of it)
“You have been taught to insidiously plant the seeds of jealousy and hatred between communities, provinces, states that were at peace, and incite them to deeds of blood, involving them in war with each other, and to create revolutions and civil wars in countries that were independent and prosperous, cultivating the arts and the sciences and enjoying the blessings of peace. To take sides with the combatants and to act secretly with your brother Jesuit, who might be engaged on the other side, but openly opposed to that with which you might be connected, only that the Church might be the gainer in the end, in the conditions fixed in the treaties for peace and that the end justifies the means.

You have been taught your duty as a spy, to gather all statistics, facts and information in your power from every source; to ingratiate yourself into the confidence of the family circle of Protestants and heretics of every class and character, as well as that of the merchant, the banker, the lawyer, among the schools and universities, in parliaments and legislatures, and the judiciaries and councils of state, and to be all things to all men, for the Pope’s sake, whose servants we are unto death.”

“I do further promise and declare, that I will have no opinion or will of my own, or any mental reservation whatever, even as a corpse or cadaver (perinde ac cadaver), but will unhesitatingly obey each and every command that I may receive from my superiors in the Militia of the Pope and of Jesus Christ.

That I may go to any part of the world withersoever I may be sent, to the frozen regions of the North, the burning sands of the desert of Africa, or the jungles of India, to the centers of civilization of Europe, or to the wild haunts of the barbarous savages of America, without murmuring or repining, and will be submissive in all things whatsoever communicated to me.

I furthermore promise and declare that I will, when opportunity present, make and wage relentless war, secretly or openly, against all heretics, Protestants and Liberals, as I am directed to do, to extirpate and exterminate them from the face of the whole earth; and that I will spare neither age, sex or condition; and that I will hang, waste, boil, flay, strangle and bury alive these infamous heretics, rip up the stomachs and wombs of their women and crush their infants’ heads against the walls, in order to annihilate forever their execrable race. That when the same cannot be done openly, I will secretly use the poisoned cup, the strangulating cord, the steel of the poniard or the leaden bullet, regardless of the honor, rank, dignity, or authority of the person or persons, whatever may be their condition in life, either public or private, as I at any time may be directed so to do by any agent of the Pope or Superior of the Brotherhood of the Holy Faith, of the Society of Jesus.”

Really charming stuff. Glad to know they have so much power.

Interesting documantary about power networks, how it all works. This is a goody!
The Holy Grail of Who Runs and Controls All; Part 1 of 2

Jul 31, 2019 3:44 AM
Reply to  Mucho

Ignatius, the guy who set up the Jesuits, died in India. There’s a cathedral there where they keep his body in a glass coffin. Every ten years or so they dust him off and put him on display.

Jul 29, 2019 9:23 AM

The problem is property rights, privileges and laws.. if there were nothing to own, and no way to own that which is, greed would be frustrated.. and the progress of one would be the gain of all..

Jul 29, 2019 2:10 PM
Reply to  remander

The ‘problem’ is deeper than that. The ‘problem’ is that we believe that there is something to be owned, that we could be effectively called ‘owners’ of something: this is an illusion.
Property rights are but a man-made concept, invention that we came to accept as real: this is an illusion.
A person lives 70 years on average. We cine naked and leave naked. We bring nothing and leave the same. In all regards we are mere passerby but still we believe otherwise and then go to treat our ‘properties’ (house, land, neighborhood, city, country…) as if we were the only ones affected by the actions carried on our non-existent confined space.

Even though live tell us over and over again the futility of all our efforts, the fragility of all including ourselves, we still insist on being something or someone: this is called delusion, ignorance and pride.

Only if we accept our nothingness will we be able to change our relation to this fleeting world, this momentary existance and then..we’ll be gentle and loving to each other and everything that there is.
There is nothing here to call ours.
“Dust in the wind. All we are, is dust in the wind”

Jul 29, 2019 4:49 PM
Reply to  Ramdan

“If we accept our nothingness”?

The entire edifice and architecture of globalised Western ‘conceptual culture’ is built on the non-acceptance of our Nothingness. The entire ‘philosopho-political’ hegemony of culture is driven by the fear-first response to Nothingness, the Void, Oblivion, and ultimately Thanatos himself …the fear of Death. (Freud had more going for him than is commonly admittable in polite company.)

It’s probably a bit late for the like of you and I to point out that these existential faculties – such as ‘death’ and ‘nothingness’ – are just reified concepts …axioms of a grand complex of narrative constructivism. But apparently, as I was reading the other day, more and more people are being drawn to the Buddhist way of thinking …looking for answers. (Where ironically, there are none.)

This is not cryptic. No one stopped to think that the culturally conditioned way of thinking might be faulty. Or that cultural sociolinguistics orient perception in a certain way. Think about it: what does ‘accept nothingness’ mean to the 21st century postmodern society? The Stoic acceptance and resoluteness to accept being a tramp or mendicant? Or a chattel or slave?

‘Nothingness’ and its associative complex of nuanced sense-making meanings is a ‘frame’. If you want to understand how frames work – as linguist George Lakoff says – “don’t think of an elephant”. See?

The cultural connotations and associated sub-narrative conceptions of ‘nothingness’ are wholly negative. And they are framed in the Cognitive Collective Unconscious. We are culturally conditioned from birth to reject something designated ‘nothingness’. We are acculturated toward ‘somethingness’ (having; being filled – not emptied; being something or somebody – not being nothing or nobody; etc) …which is a valorisable form of conceptual Being. One that is a culturally conditioned constructivism.

This short intro to linguistics is to show that words trigger certain responses and behaviours …even emotions. We have a huge databank of words (>60,ooo), phrases, associations and frames forming the sub-elements of the process of sociolinguistic narrative constructivism. Needless to say, this is only part private. Meaning construction is mostly public. All of this is borne out by cognitive neuroscience, neurolinguistics and psycholinguistics. Though no one will quite admit: the culture is in our head. How shared and common the experience is is hidden: because we are individuals. I know this because the culture told me so …the culture of individualism.

We do not have a clue what ‘accept nothingness’ means unless we abandon the culture we were born into completely. Which means reframing the Cognitive Unconscious. Which is impossible – because it is mostly Collective and public – not private.

How do you communicate your re-acculturation in a socio-cultural setting? If ‘nothingness’ means something positive to you (‘positive nothingness’ ruptures socially agreed meaning) how do you convey that sense when it is predominantly framed otherwise?

It is a serious question. One humanity lies divided by 7,000 sociolinguistic cultural orientations …completely dominated by the cultural misconceptions of one language …Anglo-American ‘English’ (…or perhaps more broadly the European branch of the Indo-European primary language family).

We’ve been colonised and programmed to respond in a culturally conditioned way by our own language. How do we say that in a meaningful way in language? Or change the corrupted universe of discourse? I dare say we will be dust in the wind before we realise that we are only up against own sociolinguistic programming?

Jul 29, 2019 6:07 PM
Reply to  BigB

BigB, you are a very knowledgeable person. I dont know that much, I know nothing…but one thing I know (and I know because it comes out from my depths with no words….but I have no other way to say it: “our” nothingness is the best thing we have.
I could put a 1000 words together but words are treacherous….
I can only say the same thing: nothingness is good, nothingness is liberating.

Gezzah Potts
Gezzah Potts
Jul 31, 2019 5:14 AM
Reply to  BigB

I second Ramdan also. Thanks for your very knowledgeable and often deeply profound comments. Everything has been constructed to keep us trapped in the matrix. And yeah, I’m one of those people drawn towards Buddhist and Taoist ways of being also. Searching for answers??

Jul 28, 2019 10:12 PM

The Chinese empire (pretty old) was based on the celestial empire. When they travelled far enough they found ‘other civilisations.

Instead of reassessing the false celestial empire model they withdrew.

The Europeans got to use their knowledge (anybody mention marco polo nowdays?) to send out their ships and lay claim to the planet – and attack the Chinese as well.

The treaty of Westphellia, the Vatican as the arbiter, did the rest.

The Chinese have given up the Celestial Empire crap. Raised a billion our of poverty, while still creating billionaires. But apparently they are commies!

The Chinese have associated with the other targets of the Westphalians – the Russians and now with India and south east asians have a coperation across two thirds of Eurasia covering HALF of the worlds population.

Along with actual investment in Africa and South Africa the game is over for the anglo imperial project of 500 years.

Which side are you on?

Jul 29, 2019 4:15 AM
Reply to  DunGroanin

In 1800 China and India accounted for 50% of the world economy.
This is just a return to the old status quo.
China traded with Europe for thousands of years, even before the Romans.
But Europe produced nothing they wanted, so they took payment in silver.
There was 10,000 tons of silver in the Roman Empire.
There was only 4,000 in medieval Europe.
All the silver had gone to China.
Hence the Opium Wars.

Jul 29, 2019 2:35 PM
Reply to  mark

Don’t get me started on the Opium franchise and which family it was handed to…

Eric Blair
Eric Blair
Jul 29, 2019 5:51 AM
Reply to  DunGroanin

China and Russia cannot – and have no desire to – save the west from itself. That is a job for westerners like you (and me). Waiting for Putin or Xi to magically transform a society that is mired in terminal passivity and reduced to hanging out on the internet and following (geo)politics like spectators cheering on their favourite sports teams, while waiting for somebody else to come and save them, is pathetic and embarrassing.

I am also frustrated by the lack of interest, and even hostility, shown by many of my peers and compatriots when the topic of social or societal change is broached. But I also know that the only way change will happen is when people who might well disagree on a lot of things about how to run a society nonetheless find core concepts and truths to unite around and figure out a way to articulate these and put the fear into the ruling elites by demanding their demands be met or else…

The internet and the overabundance of information it provides has, as Curtain mentions in his piece, paralyzed the common folk and made them a captive audience to manipulative elites pushing fake social movements (e.g. politically correct SJWism and blaming immigrants/migrants for escaping war and poverty caused by a western dominated international system) that increase polarization and animosity between people and threaten to unleash a full on censorship regimen and a police state to “protect the just and preserve law and order”.

It’s a bleak state of affairs and I have an uncomfortable feeling it won’t get better before it gets a lot worse but I will keep trying to engage people I know and meet in conversation and try to find areas of agreement that can be built on. So far it hasn’t been particularly hopeful but maybe my experience isn’t definitive here, I don’t know. It may not be much but I do what I can and I am open to suggestions. I do know, however, that passively waiting for a mythicical saviour to come to the rescue and save us from our own apathy and inability to articulate a viable future for our society is a fool’s errand.

Jul 29, 2019 2:34 PM
Reply to  Eric Blair

EB, I largely concur. I don’t think the SCO is trying to save the western imperialsts and its serfs (us) from itself – i think they are finally throwing back that empire.

I do think we here (locally) are responsible for what lie we choose to believe – Thatcher sold us the ‘no such thing as society’ and the ‘public purse is the same as a household budget’.

I think the current freedom of the internet (being daily fenced) is a thorn in the side of the msm narrative control.

Change is possible now, because our election system is largely transparent and paramilitary coups are harder here. But that is changing too.

Jul 28, 2019 8:46 PM

Since we seem to be getting all “spiritual”, I thought it might be a bit of light relief to link to the inimitable and much missed Dave McGowan on the subject of a certain ancient pop star:


Jul 28, 2019 6:23 PM

Militarizing development, research and science and maintaining a permanent arms economy for geopolitical, corporate and private gain has clearly become an unacceptable and economically unsustainable concept. It is very likely that the much needed conversion or the demilitarization of science cultures and institutions will stimulate different directions and content in our knowledge systems. Re-channeling the obsession with violence and misguided militarism, deconstructing the cult of war as an institution in society by teaching and deepening awareness of the collective immaturity, the psychopathology and inhumanity involved through open, transparent and constructive dialogue that can advance instead an education for a sustainable future concerned with ecological integrity and the future of humanity is the better way.

Jul 28, 2019 2:52 PM

The brutality of the past was in some ways less objectionable and less contemptible than that of the present.
At least in those days, if you wanted to be the king, you put your own life on the line, standing in front of your men, spear or sword in hand.
Three men wanted to be King of England in 1066. Two of them were hacked into little pieces the size of oxo cubes. The one who got the job was literally the last man standing, and he was nearly killed himself a couple of times.
Frederick the Great led his men from the front. In one battle, he was hit by three musket balls, one through his coat, one that hit his snuff box, and one in the chest that knocked him off his horse.
Today’s crop of men who would be king are all fully paid up members of the Bill Clinton Light Infantry. The Bushes, the Trumps, the Boltons, the Blairs, the Gavin Williamsons, who strut around like little sawdust Caesars, mouthing off about how they’re going to show Johnny Russian or Johnny Iranian what’s what, sending kids off from some crappy council estate to come back with their legs blown off.
Though they are now more likely to become king by grovelling and toadying to Adelson and his ilk and kissing their rings.
What we should do is arrange a one on one and let them fight it out with swords and spears. Trump against Kim or Xi. Macron against Maduro. Bojo against Assad. At least it would be entertaining. They could sell the TV rights and make a fortune.

Jul 28, 2019 3:02 PM
Reply to  mark

Oh, if only . . .

Jul 29, 2019 12:44 AM
Reply to  mark

Well said, Mark. The last British monarch to lead his troops into battle was surprisingly recent – George II.


The following quote from that article is interesting from today’s perspective:

“Though George II’s actions in the battle were admired, the war became unpopular with the British public, who felt that the king wasn’t putting British interests first.”

Not only do today’s *leaders* not lead into battle, they do not appear to be putting the interests of the people of their countries first.

Jul 28, 2019 2:41 PM

Between the pagan extremes of Schopenhauer’s pessimism and Nietzsche’s optimism which are reflected in the practical lives of so many people today, there is the time-honored answer of theism, at its best and fullest as expounded in Catholic theology.

Both Schopenhauer and Nietzsche were of the earth; they never raised their eyes above the earth, never could. “Cease to look beyond the stars for your hopes and rewards,” says Nietzsche. With their eyes fixed upon the earth, they sought to solve an eternal problem. Hence the dismal failure of both pessimist and optimist. The solution is not the earth. It is precisely “beyond the stars” that we must look if we are even to understand the problem.

Jul 28, 2019 3:44 PM
Reply to  Milton

Catholic theology is one thing. As food for thought and impetus for historical research it is undoubtedly a valuable pursuit.
But what it has become in practical terms is the problem today.
To paraphrase, “Sin as much as you want without fear; a career priest will give you divine forgiveness for a small forfeit.”
An utterly materialistic system, where today’s Catholic politicians (and they are many) can happily put their hand on a Bible and tell lies under oath which may cost millions of human lives.
They have emptied their souls and made room for the devil.
That’s what Catholic theology has been reduced to today.

Nor is it very different from the similarly materialistic babblings currently coming from the land of the “chosen people” – some of whom, in their fanatical Zionist manifestation, cannot fathom that if they ever did have a personal encounter with their God, and the subject of being “chosen” came up, the words they would most likely hear from the Almighty could be something like:
“No, I didn’t mean you. Selling your soul means automatic disqualification…”

In any case I honestly think organized religion has become obsolete, and to me it is the ultimate paradox that Jesus Christ, who appealed to people to build, through Him, a personal relationship with the Spirit, was subjected to the same formalization of His Words into buildings, material wealth and ruthless dogmatism that any Roman tyrant or modern capitalist might be proud of.
The result of that is, essentially, that Christ is ignored, even by people who think that going to church means you are “Christian”.

Gandhi summed it up pretty well when asked a long time ago on a visit to the West what he thought of religion over here:
“I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians.
Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

How to find our way back to “Spirit” is our crucial task if we hope to survive, and we should be fully aware that there are all kinds of people, groups and vast organizations ready to use everything money can buy in order to stop us.

So, what IS “Spirit”?
Well, finding out is our homework for the day.

Jul 28, 2019 7:14 PM
Reply to  wardropper

The Church is good at pointing to Christ by doing exactly everything that IS NOT Christ.

All the answers can be found by taking the only journey worth taking…

“The only journey is the journey within.” Rainer Maria Rilke.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao-Tzu

“I look inside myself and see.” Lao-Tzu

Jul 28, 2019 9:48 PM
Reply to  Ramdan

All true.
Still, finding “Spirit” is not a popular occupation for modern people.
There are some great teachers out there, but it’s hard to recommend any one of them without appearing to support some sort of cult…

I think we are agreed that it’s basically our own responsibility to take that first step, although I am personally grateful for a lot of the guidance I received in such matters when I was young.
I hope that many others will be as fortunate.

Jul 28, 2019 10:39 PM
Reply to  wardropper

Actually, it has never been popular..more so for “modern” people (last 300 years) and that’s probably why we have lost our way and turned into the glorification of the material, fleeting world as an (the) end in and of itsef…and to that ‘end’ all means (lies, stilling, assault,killing,war, enslavement, mass manipulation, etc.) are acceptable as long as you get to the top (or bottom??) of this pitiful theater.

We sacrificed everything, including life itself.

Jul 29, 2019 2:35 AM
Reply to  Ramdan

Hopefully those of us who don’t feel so lost can salvage something worthwhile from the wreckage of our current state, and help others to find themselves.
Some here are clearly on the right path, but it’s sometimes like being in a parallel universe, where what you know to be right is simply not recognized by the society around you.
But I don’t think common decency is completely extinct.
Like I said, my feeling is that individual development is all that is left to us in many cases, so we just have to do the best we can with that, until wider opportunties arise.

Jul 29, 2019 9:35 PM
Reply to  wardropper

As always, I do agree with you Wardropper, however WE are only the tip of the iceberg. There are far more insidious agendas at play.
We are being distracted by events that we can comment on, but in our wildest dreams cannot ever hope to affect the outcome of, while the real victims are being lined up for slaughter under our noses..
It is our children that are the real long term targets, who are being defiled and degraded daily, and the majority of us haven’t even noticed?

Until we address this and put an end to it, we are a lost cause.

Jul 29, 2019 9:59 PM
Reply to  Maggie

Agreed, Maggie.
It is all-too easy to forget that real evil also lurks under the surface of the political incompetence and corruption we are all accustomed to by now.

Jul 28, 2019 8:23 PM
Reply to  Milton

“It is precisely “beyond the stars” that we must look if we are even to understand the problem.”

Well, I’m all for a good piss up!

Laugh or cry?
Laugh or cry?
Jul 28, 2019 2:37 PM

The US, the biggest promoter of democracy (and peace?), has just approved military sales to both India and Pakistan.

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
Jul 28, 2019 10:58 AM
Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig
Jul 28, 2019 9:35 PM
Reply to  Fair dinkum

Bageant was a personal fave. He is missed …

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
Jul 28, 2019 11:25 PM
Reply to  Seamus Padraig

Joe was one of the most eloquent, empathic writers I have ever read.
His understanding of the American working class stood out like a beacon amongst all the middle class analysis on that subject.

Seamus Padraig
Seamus Padraig
Jul 29, 2019 12:04 AM
Reply to  Fair dinkum

Yup. If Joe had run the Democratic Party all his adult life, we’d have a completely different country by now, I imagine.