I’m a connector. I take things in. I understand to the best of my ability. And then. I start to connect. What does this book have to do with this concert? What does this accident have to do with this current issue? What does my mind have to do with the Universe? What does the Universe have to do with my mind? Connections. They are so precious to me, it feels like I’m feeding my heart pure gold when a connection comes and leaves me with an ‘aha’ feeling.
This past weekend I was bumming around the internet, and I was bumming around the connecting part of my brain. I came to wonder about religion versus culture. This thought manifested into a deep contemplation about the Hebrew language as a religious, purposeful language created with the intention of communicating Spiritual ideas in opposition to our English language, which was created as a divisive, manipulative tool to communicate with others thoughts and ideas to which we feel entitled.
This thought came about as I was giving the sweet raspberry I was about to digest into my consciousness a blessing (in Hebrew) on Friday evening while in bed listening to some good ole Phish. I was getting really excited for my mini-Summer tour coming up on June 14th starting in Alpharetta, GA and culminating with the return to Portsmouth, VA for what should be a bumpin’ Father’s Day experience. As I dunked my raspberries into creamy Vanilla Yogurt, I searched the web for those epic videos of Phish performing in Alpharetta the year before over the Fourth of July. I stumbled upon their heart-racing, exhilarating, classic Phish-styling of the creative and wondrous song Harpua. This version featured their debut of Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name Of… which shattered the song Harpua into parts and sections heavy with Musical cosmic energy:
As I was watching this video over and over again in such awe of the pure creation and new sound coming from the stage (I listen to Phish quite a bit so it’s nice when you stumble upon a show with a debut of a cover or new song, revitalizing in oneself the love that they had for Phish when hearing their first ‘Lizards’ or perhaps even their first ‘Chalkdust Torture’), I started to ponder about the meaning of the lyrics. The first verse over and over again repeats, “Some of those that work forces, are the same that burn crosses” as well as “those who died are justified.” These haunting lyrics provide huge insight into the RAGE mentality and hostility toward American ideals and government.
However, past the social and political message there is actually, a religious one. The connotation here is that in our country those who preach American ideals may very well also be the ones sending innocent young men off to be killed in foreign countries as well as innocent civilians that may lead a religious lifestyle (albeit different from the religion and culture you or I probably grew up with). Yes, the song remains that of a political judgment in nature but if one looks even closer at the lyrics another truth is exposed; perhaps they are suggesting that people of this Universe are getting away from what religion really is. The fact that they (the antagonists of the song lyrics) desire their crosses burned as much as their forces in uniform begs the question, why does one desire to wear or burn a cross (religion) at all? Bill Hicks, a genius comedian, used to commentate, “You think Jesus would be happy if he saw everyone wearing a bunch of crosses around? He’s probably looking down in heaven going, ‘Oh no way Dad, they’re still wearing crosses down there! There’s no way I am going back, they’re not ready they haven’t learned anything!'”
If we as humans are able to translate certain aspects of religious texts as justifications for their toxic and unhealthy actions, isn’t the very idea of religion forever a corrupt one within our collective pysche, rendering religion completely incapable of remaining pure practice for human consciousness? Yes, the answer of course is yes.
This does not mean, however, that religion’s original intention or purpose was to have an agenda or to be used as a political, manipulative device to receive permission for “evildoing”. Being a contributor to the Hebrew Root System, I began to question my own religion and the code it uses to pass on messages of the religion; the Hebrew language. I had just given my raspberry a bracha, a sweet blessing, acknowledging this berry’s importance and richness. Hebrew, what an interesting way to communicate my gratitude. The Hebrew language is rich in meaning, metaphor and communication but from a level that is almost inaccessible to the English-trained mind. Ancient Hebrew, the language Jews meditate in, was developed out of a systematic way of living, a nomadic culture if you will. Therefore, concepts that are presented in the bible which appear to be abstract (i.e. judgment, righteousness, wickedness, to break a law or code) are actually products of the Torah’s Greek translations; a language drenched in abstract thought and ideas. The Hebrew alphabet, however, was actually constructed from a pictographic language that portrayed very concrete ideas about the ways of life and the great Spirit or YHWH, the most frequently used word in the Bible for God. To hear a little more about this subject, and how over time the Bible’s translations actually do more to hinder its message rather than help project and further it, check out the Ancient Hebrew Research Center, or this video:
Anyway, what I’m really getting at here is that the religion we have made familiar within our culture, moreover Christian society, has been translated from language to language and in this translation much meaning has been lost. Originality of religion itself is rendered to that of the Holy Bible, rather than to that of the ways of living among the people who first sought after incorporating the Central Intelligence of the Universe into their everyday lives, the Hebrews. Of course, Jesus himself was one and so to understand his own religious awakening, or his teachings in general, one would really have to understand the way in which he understood his own relationship with the Universe and what that looked like when he walked the Earth.
I don’t mean to get all ‘religious freak’ on you, at all, it was just very harmonious how these two instances connected for me in a big way; I give my berry a blessing, I put on some Phish, and suddenly, it is as if this moment has been manifested through an already existing connection. The next day I joined some friends in the park for a beautiful day full of sunshine and hilarious moments. My friend’s new boyfriend had some RAGE on his car, which I thought was funny given my experiences the night before. I started talking to him about Killing in the name of… and he reminded me of the time RAGE played the Letterman show and did not edit their words for public television, culminating in the infamous line of the song “F*ck you I won’t do what you tell me” … which was the song/lyric’s point entirely…
Things unfold in really harmonious ways if you just surrender to the bright, wondrous nature of curiosity. Food for thought 🙂