Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Innocent Perversity

I have claimed that religion finds its natural origin within the experience of death and because of the strength/dependence that human individuals find in their social relationships. I argued specifically that love relations, such as those found between parents and offspring, or among siblings, play an important role. They are too strong for the individual to face the absence of the beloved one. Hence the imaginary creation of an afterlife, a different dimension where the love ‘allegedly’ lurks.

I now think that this move not only comes with the ‘innocence’ prize, but also with a ‘perversity’ one. To believe that there is an afterlife, when there is no evidence whatsoever supporting it, is not only innocent (or stupid) but also perverse. The sheer idea that there is some such thing is meant to justify the mortal events. The general pattern of explanation (e.g., ‘they died because you had to live’, or ‘they died because DOG said so’) is intended to give us reasons to calmly accept that the beloved ones are no longer alive.

Now, the problem is this: in so doing we are ipso facto accepting that whatever accounts for the tragic events is SUFFICIENT for the tragic events to happen. In other words, to accept this account is to accept that, say, the afterlife, the spirits, or DOG’s will, is good enough for, say, your entire family to die in a car accident. That is human perversity in its wildest form. I cannot imagine anything justifying many tragic events. I cannot imagine any afterlife (no matter how beautiful and nice) outscoring the pain and suffering of an innocent kid that dies after the radiation caused by the Hiroshima bomb.

The very idea that any future (or past) event in my life will be (or was) good enough to explain why my family had to die in a car accident, seems to me to be even more fundamentally wrong than the thought that claiming the end of the war is good enough to explain why the US Army had to kill a thousands in Hiroshima. I say ‘fundamentally wrong’ because it is not only perverse but also profoundly stupid. Why would anyone in her five senses admit of anything as worthy as the life of her entire family?

I see only two explanations of such a way of think. Either one is comfortably sitting in someone else’s story, without questioning, without thinking, without feeling. Or one’s family was not really a family but a perverse group of non-loving criminals. Since my family was perhaps the best I could think of, and I still cannot find anesthetics for such a grief, I simply don’t buy that way of thinking. I’d rather accept the crude, meaningless, reality of death, than be stupid, innocent, and (worst of all) perverse enough to think that the dead deserved to die.

There is no justification for death. People die because they are (physically, chemically, and biologically) pathetically fragile. And that is all there is to it.