When Nietzsche wrote “God is dead”, he didn’t mean that if you polled people they wouldn’t avow belief in god, or that they don’t consciously think they believe in god when it occurs to them at all.
He meant that in people’s regular lives, their day-to-day actions, their day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute thoughts, god and religion play no role. God is no longer a significant part of the lives of people in general, as a guide to action or as a feature of our inner lives. Modern Westerners live as atheists, they think as atheists, so they actually are atheists. The fact that upon request they’ll consciously “believe in god”, like a dog salivating when it hears a bell, doesn’t change that fact.
We have the same decadent* phenomenon with food. Where does food comes from? Does it come from healthy soil and a stable farming culture, organic within a healthy ecology and socioeconomic environment? Or does it come from the supermarket? Most people, if specifically asked, would consciously agree that food comes from farms. But that’s not what people really think and do. In people’s regular lives, their day-to-day actions, their day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute thoughts, farms play no role. The possible existence (or extinction) of farms is no longer a significant part of the lives of people in general, as a guide to action or as a feature of their inner lives. People think and act as if food comes from the supermarket. The imminent lifting of New York’s fracking moratorium is a perfect example. Forget the committed fascists like Cuomo and Bloomberg – for people in general to have any doubt about fracking’s evil is to demonstrate their disbelief in farms and their compensatory faith in supermarkets.
We should see supermarkets as cult shrines. At the moment they do indeed seem to produce food (at least for those who can afford it and can physically get there). But to believe, in direct defiance of all the evidence of physical energy and the environment, that these totem plots will continue to bring forth food once the farms hidden behind them perish, is a nadir of pseudo-religious compensation for people’s lost connection with the Earth.
Cults have often called upon their believers to relinquish all their earthly possessions and gather passively awaiting the end. In this case, we’re to relinquish all human responsibility for our very food, its production and distribution, our human right to the land, our very presence on the land, and gather passively awaiting our next feeding.
But while the promised end never came for other cults, the promised bounty of the supermarket cult will indeed come to a brutal end. The common thread is the failure of the cult promise. This is because food does not in fact come from the supermarket, or from the car, or from wars for oil, or from government, or from the corporate form, or from “property”, or from any of the other things people try to psychologically and spiritually substitute for the farm. I fear that many will have to learn this the hard way, since for Western humanity at large, Food is Dead.
That’s why the Food Sovereignty movement must be, in all ways, a completely new beginning.
[*This blog’s not about religious matters, so for now I won’t elaborate on what I mean by religious decadence. I’ll just say that part of the human condition is a spiritual and cultural life, which has to be an organic part of a human community. The mass functional atheism characteristic of modernity is inhuman. We see how desperately people strive to fill the void, with everything from consumerism to pseudo-religious ideology.]