I woke up in the middle of the night, over each of the last two nights, and shuddered that I had written a blog entry that ranted about Mulan’s spelling requirements and then, misspelled Arachnid myself. This is why I should not be writing a blog. But yet, I still am! So nah, nah, nah, nah, nah.
School. Yes. Schools. How to teach. How to learn. Yesterday I had moved into the “Acceptance” stage of my relationship with Mulan’s school. It’s our local public school. It’s public. It gets crazy high scores on it’s tests. There’s so much to love. But then, as I help Mulan with homework (we tried a new system where we sat at school and worked for an hour right in the school yard) I was just flooded again with how much I hated school. And how school just inoculated me against learning for so long. And all the mindless repetition and the purposeless convoluted questions. If I had my druthers, Mulan would be in gymnastics school for hours each day and then for one hour a day she would learn math and reading and science and that would be it. This kid really just wants to turn cartwheels and do somersaults and flip herself around bars.
Today is Mulan’s seventh birthday and I start my show – Letting Go of God - with a description of my seventh birthday. Wow. We are in the realm of her own memory of childhood now. Last night Mulan said, “Now I’ve reached the Age Of Reason and I’m capable of committing all sins against God and man.’ She was paraphrasing the line in my show that my own dad says to me on my own seventh birthday. And then she said, “And I don’t even know what that means!” And I laughed and said, “Nobody really knows what that means.”
And speaking of inoculating people against the very thing they are trying to connect to – a few days ago I read on Salon.com (my personal homepage) an interview with Camille Paglia where she says that, although she is an atheist, she has respect for religion because it’s the way most people connect with the Universe. And at first I thought I might agree with her. But then, as I’ve turned that over in my head the last few days, I think what religion actually does is the opposite. It prevents people from connecting or experiencing themselves in or with the universe. It placates their natural wonder with easy answers that are not only dead wrong but infantilizes them. And, I think, even prevents them from experiencing the world in the most human way, with the knowledge that we have won – won at hard cost, which shows us more accurately who we are and how teeny and vulnerable and fantastically lucky we are. My cat, Val, cannot possibly know that she is a mammal and all the amazing ways that mammals have come up with, or rather – evolved into – on this planet. There is great joy in understanding even that little thing. She cannot. And I can. And anyone, any human, can too - who is willing to look into it. And yet we, as a society, have chosen to lie to our children – in my mind, keep them animals of a different sort – keep them blind and looking only a few feet away instead of seeing even a little bit bigger picture.
I loved that one of my blog readers reminded me of that Seneca quote:
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. __-Lucius Annaeus Seneca,_(4BC – AD65)
I guess the thing for me is, I WANT to be one of the common people. (I shudder with a creepy feeling of elite-y-ness even using that word, but I am taking this from Seneca…) I don’t like that I am set apart or even seen as elitist (or... wise?) for having my views about religion. I think that’s possibly what many of my family and friends – especially from Spokane – think. And I am such a good “common person.” I don’t want to be different, I really don’t. And yet, it seems that I had to choose between, on one hand, my mind and on the other hand, my desire to not stand out and blend in and enjoy the culture that I was raised in. How frustrating. Truthfully, I really do want to move back to Spokane and send Mulan to St. Augustine’s. And I just may still.
Even though I know I am just in love with a memory of how it was, how it appears to me now. I am sure that this ideolized version of Spokane that I have in my head, is in reality filled with its own plusses and minuses. My yearning for Spokane is probably just a simple yearning for a lost childhood or nostalgia dressed up as a real choice, when in fact it isn’t.
O Seneca, you are so right. Religion is so useful for rulers, isn’t it? Gawd, how can those people on the religious right, who think that their leaders – the ones they helped elect – care a wit about them? They do not. It’s so transparent. And in the meantime, this same group of rulers – while pandering to their little causes (without really doing much about them) sends their children off to war to die. And still, they accept it! It’s like we are living in a pre-enlightenment world – the kings and the royalty aligning themselves The Church, and thereby with the peasants – then sending the peasants off to die, all so that the same system can be maintained. If Voltaire were alive today he would never stop throwing up. (To paraphrase Max Von Sydow in “Hannah and Her Sisters” talking about Jesus. Actually I’m not paraphrasing it, I’m mangling it -- )
I wish more than anything that the conservative religious electorate just knew that they are joining so many just like them in history -- that their alignments are just the same as it's been for eons -- religion, royalty, rulers, and those with the least opportunity for any advancement -- dancing this creepy dance. It's like the snotty head cheerleader hooking up with the ugliest girl at school because it makes her look so good and plus, she can boss her around, and yet the sad pathetic one feels so... lucky! Cause she thinks she's almost like... the head cheerleader!
I think it’s time for me to retire and become a grumbling lady barking at people outside the grocery store.
Well, I think, I THINK the new webpage is going up today and the 500 list are getting his or her notices, which – will unfortunately be only a day before anyone else. OH, I so didn’t want it to happen this way. We are hung up on only one small thing – and that is – I am offering (that’s so funny to say “offering” – it reminds me of an over-eager salesperson at the same time that it reminds me of the bread and wine at Mass – the “offering” - wait, it might be the money collected that's called the offering -- oh jeez, that is really creepy...) that if you buy five Cds you get one free. And that makes the shipping calculations wonky and we have to fix it. Oh dear, time to make some calls.