also Belief, God, Heaven, Reality, Religion

You say “the devil made you do it”. “Watch out for that black cat.”  “Got my rabbit’s foot … I am safe.”    You want to believe in extraordinary forces. From the fairies you fancied as a child, Santa Claus for example, to the numerous superstitious you cling to today, you have always had a predilection to conjuring entities who display supernatural intelligence and power. You want them to protect you, to help you, to approve you.

You have inherited a legacy of effective imaginings. Your ancestors dealt with what they feared by anthropomorphizing and empowering what was familiar. Examples abound: worshiping cats in ancient Egypt, stone sculptures in Rome and elsewhere, cattle in India even today. There is not much in nature that hasn’t been imbued with magical powers at one time or another:  the stars, the moon, planets, trees, rivers, even the wind and rocks. Animals and fellow humans have also been very popular … often deified … embodied with absolute power. Pharaohs, Japanese emperors, Cortez and invading Spaniards … these were all considered ‘gods’.

Recent generations though have abandoned age-old beliefs and superstitions. Knowledge of the ‘true nature’ of things and control over most threats has made this possible. But people will always harbor fears. They will seek aid and comfort … purpose … direction. They will continue to rely on leaders, intermediaries ‘between heaven and earth’, to provide this. Shamans and priests will thrive. But they do have competition.

Today we attribute more subtle, yet superior powers to celebrities, medicines, machines and technological wonders. Movies depict characters that are impervious to pain and death. We get caught up in these fantasies and revere the actors. Prescribed drugs have become panaceas for everything that ails you. Physicians and ‘health products’ stave off aging, disease and death. An automobile provides freedom and power over your environment. You can also create a dynamic ‘image’ by driving one. Television alleviates tedium and transports you to a more vibrant world. The microchip aids you in solving heretofore insurmountable problems.

Nothing wrong with availing yourself of wholesome diversions and modern conveniences and technologies. But when you become too dependent on them, you abdicate your personal responsibility. You undermine your own powers:  your intellect, your imagination, even your self-determination. Great care should be exercised in how much you rely on these ‘new’ panaceas, these expedient providers of solutions and controls. For it is so easy to elevate them to an almost godlike status.

Submissive acolytes serving pharmaceuticals, television and computers abound. And you, my friend, can easily become worshipers at these altars for dispensing wondrous substances and contrived realities. “That body odor is ruining your life; better try this deodorant.”   You can accept their offerings as gospel. You can depend on them … their ‘promises’, their urgings. They will help you realize your hopes … relieve your fears. You can enthusiastically participate in the world’s latest superstitions:  myths evolving from a trust in powerful ‘entities’ that rule the media. They tell you this pill or lotion will overcome your present plight and you believe!!  Values and behavior are dramatized coercing you to alter yours. Never before have there been so many assaults on human consciousness. And never before has there been such an insidious challenge to your individuality, to your uniqueness. ‘Messages’ pepper you daily:  “Buy this.”  “Do that.”  “It will solve your problem.”

Do you really want to live a life dictated by strangers, by their ‘conjuring’? Don’t think so. Just remember:  relying on panaceas is a mistake. Temporary ‘fixes’ and rewards will leave you wanting more. A ‘pill’, a new car … these will never relieve your longing for ‘inner’ growth and fulfillment. Your only dependable resource is your Power within. Never forget this!!



©2007-2008 Edwin O'Shea and All or part of only one topic, including all definitions and essay, may be used without written permission. Please see full copyright notice on home page.