January 17, 2016

Religion is All Good and Well….


….but sometimes they take it to extremes.
What’s real? Human communities, the interactions among flesh and blood people, our individual and group networks among the earthly ecology. This is what Martin Buber called the “I and Thou.”
But then people start reifying abstractions. Not just using terms as necessary conceptual placeholders, but believing in the reality of the terms they’re using. These include government, law, money as a unit of account, nation, sect, race, reason, science. In reality none of these are anything but superficial terminology for ecological interactions. But people religiously believe in their existence as if they were physical objects or ecological relations within physical reality. We can call these the first abstraction.
So far we’ve mentioned the reifications almost everyone engages in, the ones which are part of human nature and may be necessary for human life to flourish. But things get malign when we reach a second abstraction. This is when we take the items of the first abstraction and use those to reify the next exponential level of reification. This is when we use government and law to “create” things like corporations, patents and copyrights, fiat money, and then convince ourselves that these are real. This second religious abstraction is abstraction squared, meta-abstraction.
It gets worse. The third abstraction is where we so devoutly believe in the corporation that we allow it to create money, and allow it to own patents, and allow it to write the law in both a de facto (through lobbying) and de jure way, and allow it to dictate to the government through the kinds of regulatory agencies which see their duty as to obey and assist the corporate “client”. Those who originally created corporations were aware of the religious radicality of what they’d done in squaring the abstraction, and they were so leery of cubing it that they didn’t allow corporations to own patents or stock (another religious abstraction) in other companies. Those safeguards were eroded and abolished over time, as the religion became more fanatical. By now the religion is becoming extraordinarily self-referential, hermetic, alienated from reality because it’s so wrapped up in its own fictive reality. It’s become a cult.
The fourth abstraction is where we reach such a fanatical extreme of wretched abasement in our self-loathing worship that we want effectively to abolish all the first abstractions as being still too close to human reality. To whatever extent we still maintain them it’s only as hollow shells to be filled out by the aggrandizement of the second abstractions, the corporation and its dogmatic weapons.
At this fourth abstraction the corporation is the de jure author of the law, and even more powerfully it controls government by direct decree. This decree power is autocratic in the most unaccountably and capriciously divine sense.
People clearly believe in these fictive things on a religious level, they have religious faith in their actual existence. This is exactly the same as believing in a god. Money is “real” because enough people believe it’s real and act as if it were, in the same way as with belief in a god and action on behalf of that belief. Belief in the existence (and beneficence) of corporations and intellectual property and corporate “science” is the same kind of religious belief, albeit vastly more destructive and self-destructive than any other religion.
In abolishing the first abstractions such as nation, (any other) religion, government, law, science, reason, the real target of this evil god is real humanity and the real Earth. The extremist religious cult of the corporation is veritably a murder and suicide cult in the most physically literal sense. We the people need to discredit the idea of corporations and intellectual property, subvert belief in them, and wipe out this noxious cult.
But to fight such an entrenched religious idea, no matter how wavering the faith in it may be among many of its adherents, requires a more potent spiritual and ecological idea. We must conjure the new idea out of the ecology. It must come from the Earth.


  1. ALL religions are about power and control. Always have been, always will be, regardless of which “god” is “in charge”.

    Comment by Peter Everts — January 17, 2016 @ 4:15 pm

    • They’re just like political ideologies. In their formative and ascendant stages there’s often lots of true idealism, and they serve lots of real human needs. (Talking about both religion and ideology/philosophy.) Once they calcify into a hierarchy, and certainly once they attain temporal power, they become about control and increasing power (and wealth).

      But corporate capitalism never had such a progressive stage. The “private” corporate form was always meant to legally separate and shield gamblers from risk and criminals from crime, while also bestowing special “rights” and privileges upon them which are unavailable to citizens. So the cult of corporations is the one purely malign religion with no redeeming qualities at all.

      Comment by Russ — January 17, 2016 @ 4:37 pm

  2. […] and its genetics being the basically stupid, meaningless “hardware”. This is typical of the delusion that on the one hand things like computer software, patents, corporations, money, are real things, […]

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