Trading, for what?

We’re always trading. Trading time, friends, experience, and so on. But for what?

How often are our trades making us richer? Not often.

North American culture of consumerism, individualism, and atheism is what is being sold. Sold to us in trade for what? In trade for minimalism, essentialism, and wealth? Individualism at the exchange of family and community. Arrogant atheism without critical thinking, in trade for heritage, ritual, and culture that was maturing over thousands of years. To be clear, this is not a debate about whether God exists or not. It is that the belief in God and religion is not being replaced by a Sagan-style understanding of the environment and the cosmos we live in. Or a Hitchens-style of critical thinking. But in trade for an even more dangerous style of arrogant, pompous, and dogmatic belief system. One without the art, culture, or history of the great religions.

Many of us have traded 5,000-year-old languages for English. And with that trade, we’re losing thoughts and ideas, etiquette and politeness, depths and mythology – for what? A language of exceptions over rules, sourced from French, Latin, Greek, Arabic, and more.

This is not a condemnation of all culture North American, and definitely not one of white people. For one, North American culture is very much inclusive of different colours and creeds. Weak nonetheless, trying to pronounce phờ, while listening to Jingle Bell Rock. What do the fat man, pine trees and consumerism have to do with Mother Mary, Jesus, and Bethlehem? I would take the teachings of Christ all day over Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Every day can be Sunday, Bible verses to start the day. Much better than the bullshit social feed of egoism and desperation. Bring it on.

I remember my grade 5 and 6 principal reading a Bible verse after the Canadian anthem. How sweet the teachings. It didn’t offend my Muslim ears, nor my parents’. Virtue is virtue. Teachings are better than none.

So we trade.
Where is the progressive teacher reading a verse from Nitsche, Sagan, Hitchens? Where are the lessons on critical thinking, rationality, philosophy? We traded something for nothing.

And in the emptiness and void, there were forces moving in to fill our day, mind and heart. Consumerism. Santa fucking Clause.

St Valentine’s is about chocolates.
Easter is about bunnies.
St Patrick’s is about drinking.
The pagan Hallows’ Eve is about candy.

At every instance, we’re reminded to buy more and think less.

We’re trading so much for so little. History for experimentation. Culture for nasty habits.

Trading. For what?

– Vietnam

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