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Olduvai III: Catacylsm
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The Hidden Messages of the Power Elite’s Cultural Apparatus

To be crucified is to suffer and die slowly and agonizingly. It was a common form of execution in the ancient world. It is generally associated with Rome’s killing of Jesus and carries profound symbolic spiritual meaning for Christians.

In its figurative sense, it refers to many types of suffering and death inflicted on the weak by the strong, such as the ongoing genocidal slaughter of Palestinians by the Israel government.

Twenty or so years ago when the wearing of crosses by all types of people was the cultural rage, a woman I know said she was thinking of getting one.

When I asked her why, since she was Jewish, she said it was because she thought they were beautiful.  She seemed oblivious to the fact that to Christians they were gruesome but revelatory spiritual symbols, the equivalent of the electric chair or a noose, but linked to the Easter Resurrection and the non-violent triumph over death that is at the core of Christianity.

Her focus on beauty forcibly struck me that secular culture had triumphed in its establishment of an anti-creed creed wherein the pursuit of a sense of well-being and aesthetic tranquility had trumped traditional belief, while it used all faiths in its pursuit of a self-centered nihilism through a faux-spirituality linked to a precious aesthetic of beauty.

Philip Rieff noticed this in the mid-1960s when he wrote in The Triumph of the Therapeutic:

To raise the question of nihilism, as sociologists since Auguste Comte have done, demonstrates a major change in tone: the note of apprehension has gone out of the asking. We believe that we know something our predecessors did not: that we can live freely at last, enjoying all our senses – except the sense of the past – as unremembering, honest, and friendly barbarians all, in a technological Eden….

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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