The Lord never intended the world to be a peaceful place
Non-Violence, bronze sculpture in front of the UN Building, the logo originally created by Swedish artist, Carl Frederik Reutersward as a memorial tribute to John Lennon (Photo courtesy:Wikimedia)
I remember laughing over a Newsweek cartoon that came out after Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1992. It had a dejected George HW after defeat, his jaw slack and drooping onto the floor in cartoonish exaggeration and Saddam Hussein sneering and thumbing his nose at him, with the following cocky blurb,” I still have my job. Do you?”
Then there was this one that The Economist brought out, sometime around December 2001. It showed a hulking Satan, sitting on his haunches, his tail swishing this way and that, glowering angrily down at a tiny cowering Osama Bin Laden and saying,” We gotta talk, kid. You’re makin’ even me look good.”
I love political cartoons but this is not about laughing at cartoons. I don’t even know why I wrote the above two paragraphs. They have nothing to do with this piece. Let me know if you would like me to delete them. Of course I will not like you afterward and may even have to call my German pals, Heckler and Koch. Just kidding. I wouldn’t harm a hair on your head. You are a dear.
Maybe there is a connection after all. Both above gentlemen, Saddam and Osama, made violence their religion. Okay, maybe they are dead because of it, but the religion that they preached finds new card-carrying faithful by the hour. History tells us that the strong and the willfully violent have lived longer and enjoyed greater pleasures.
It has been that way ever since humans were hunter-gatherers and it existed even prior to them. The world never was, nor was it ever meant to be, for the bleeding hearts. The idea that, if we are good, we shall go to paradise after death, is still at a conceptual stage, like some futuristic car that is paraded in auto expos. In reality there is no evidence of that happening at all, not even the existence of a joint called paradise, for that matter.
Religions promise us that if we have been good, we can have all the skimpily clad big-busted cherubs that we can handle up there in heaven. Oh yeah, on earth, shtupping more than one would be considered a sin but up there, if for example, you have been a sweet nerdy Muslim, you could have 72 cherubs in one go, all of them virgins. This is assuming you have a quick ‘turn-around’ time (like I do) and don’t stretch it over a month. Virgins get taken fast. Even in paradise. (Anyway, 72 virgins is a lot of…. what is that word that starts with ‘p’ and means a cute cat? I can’t even remember it, so straight-laced as I am).
But just remember, you get sevennie-too virgins only if you are Muslim. We Hindus will be lucky if we can share a room with Chunibala Devi up there.
The Lord never intended the world to be a peaceful place. That is the reason why He left us humans in two distinct, mutually contradictory states to live simultaneously in, making us constantly jump from one to the other like agitated electrons around a thorium nucleus– the first, what we actually are and were meant to always be – violent, selfish and deceitful and the second, what we would like to be – loving and sacrificing. The conflicting-persona idea came to Him one rainy day 70 million years back when He was watching a T-Rex tear a brontosaurus to shreds.
“Ahm bored,” the Lord boomed. What? The Lord happens ta have a booming voice, oh yeah. Ask Cecil DeMille or Ramanand Sagar if you like.
Anyway, the rest is history. First He created herbivores and then in a while, the apes and here we are, bloodied through attrition, severely PTSDed, but firmly in charge. If we had been sacrificing, it would have been the dodos who would be taking their kids to the museums ta see us (and maybe catch a show after). We humans would have receded into oblivion, our fossils discovered millions of years later and maybe named Shmuckoprickus or Dickheadodon or something.
But in recent history, well into the third millennium BC, the concept of non-violence as a worthwhile state of being, began torturously to try to gain ground. Saints and messiahs began popping up, albeit into a few communities that were bunched up in localized spots in the middle-east. They were like outside sales guys, sent out to launch a new product with a limited test audience, while the rest of the world remained largely dark, oppressed and ignorant. The Lord, for some reason, chose not to enlighten all of us everywhere, at the same time.
Those saints exhorted us all to turn the other cheek and do unto others as we would like to have them do unto us. There have been many saints and many messiahs since and yet the violence around us has gone on escalating. We have formed non-violent groups and charities, brought in laws, built the United Nations and banned aggression, all to no avail. More humans have died from violence in any one century than its previous one.
Violence has produced technological breakthroughs and today we play with electronic devices that wouldn’t have existed, had there never been violence, as in conflicts. We, as a race, have begun to find violence profitable. Eschewing violence is like giving up the very things that we all strive to have inside a material world.
Those messiahs that we read about have all chickened out at crucial stages in history. Jesus chose not to be a little more diplomatic with Pontius Pilate, the then governor of Judea, who did everything except get on his knees and beg him to at least temporarily make a statement of reconciliation, stating that they did not mind having the Romans around as long as they were left alone to do their own thing. After all, the Romans did bring in discipline and stability in a chaotic region, with commerce and planned irrigation methods that saw the overall economy of the parched province of Judea actually improve. What was wrong with knowing when to back off a bit?
And slaves? Heck, everyone had slaves those days. Even the Jews themselves had slaves. Haven’t you seen Ben Hur? Pilate never wanted to execute Jesus. He desperately wanted a compromise so he would not have to have Jesus crucified. Instead, Jesus was so wrapped up in a false sense of glory and that I’m-the-son-of-God ego trip that he never realized that he would be more useful to the cause of human rights alive, than dead.
History is strewn with similar instances of flame-outs. Moses, instead of consolidating his people, left and wandered around in the wilderness, mumbling under his breath, leaving his Jews in the hands of folks who were less able.
The prophet Mohammad dictated a holy book that left more things unsaid than said, leaving Islam looking like a do-it-yourself LEGO set that you can build any interpretation with, even diametrically opposing ones. To compound it all, he left no clear successor among his flock, a fierce, war-like people who were known to love being at each other’s throats at the slightest pretext. So now you have the Shias and the Sunnis, killing more of their own than anyone else.
Even today, on the question of the struggle for justice and emancipation, there are many Muslims as well as non-Muslims, who are busy doing their doctorates in theology, trying to determine if at all Islam is compatible with the practice and philosophy of non-violence, since most interpreters of Islam, those scary mullahs and sheikhs, believe that non-violence is a form of surrender in which the faithful are supposed to submit and wait to be overwhelmed by the ‘heathens’ and the ‘infidels’.
But while Mohammad left behind a puzzle, Gandhi, at the most crucial stage after India’s independence, stepped back and gave the reigns of India to others who set about screwing it up and jerking us Indians off, from day one. His most trusted friend, the Pathan, Khan Abdul Ghafar Khan, revered by Indians as the ‘Frontier Gandhi’ and a hero I myself think the world of, declined when invited to be India’s first President. Together, they would have turned India into a beacon of goodness and hope. It was not to be.
Were messiahs deliberately programmed to desert, by the Almighty? Most likely. No boss lets his assistants hog all the limelight.
I have been thinking. How about I be the next messiah? I swear I would be just and true and tell you all how to behave so you guys can go get your own cherubs right here on earth instead of waiting to kick it. In heaven you can’t feel anything (unless you are Patrick Swayze). I would show you where to get the coldest beer and I would perform all sorts of miracles. Like giving you magical staying powers. Premature ejaculation would cease to be an issue. You could have a blast.
Think about it. The flyer is in the mail.