Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Deconstructing Sacredness

I find it striking how a joyful behavior can derive from the most unthinking, shallow and twisted origins. For eons, humans have developed ideals, behavioral norms alongside enticing stories to consecrate questionable sapient experiences in the real world. Indeed, it's surprising how much cognitive dissonance permits the amount of back-flipping through smoke-disguised mirrors that happens.

Take for instance the storybook vignette of someone in love doubting their lover's romantic interest in them. The person in question plucks a many-petaled flower from the environment and aware at the periphery of the mind of its beauty gives their attention to a most heinous act. One by one the lover in want plucks petals in binary delusion. Destroying a pretty object--a living thing now dying all the more quickly because it has been plucked-- in systematic fashion as if invoking an archaic magic spell. With subtle ferocity each petal's removal cycles the mind through a fantasy of attaining victory, then defeat in love. No matter the outcome, the lovesick mind may indeed be healed in the moment by this psychological alchemy. But at what cost: a moment of solace in exchange for the willful immolation of something delicate, defenseless and which might have been observed with awe from a distance.

Such is the conjuring of sacredness in the human mind. When we create value from delusional aspirations and wishful thinking, we potentially ignore the harm done to the greater world so long as some small ecstasy is reinforced within us. Taking this to extreme might dictate that all things sacred are actually evil at their root. The more subtle conclusion is that human behavior is complex and should be taken in context with its surroundings. Although it can be mesmerizing to consider human love, human rights and human desire as things of utmost sacred value, perhaps we need to ratchet their worth down a bit while ratcheting up the value of our natural surroundings with the intentional, compassionate pursuit of long term balance.

True goodness implements a wiser feedback loop.

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