Translation, and adaptation by me, images chosen by me.
My pastor, with all the toppings; vegan if possible, if not, as if there was a way(1)
You’ve probably seen studies that, when comparing socioeconomic indicators with the statistics of the major world religions, show evidence to uphold that, even though there are more religious people in the world now, religion persists in the poorest countries, where catholic theists are on the rise and the christian and protestant churches are being proliferated. Whereas, in countries with higher development indexes and economic prosperity there’s an erosion of religious values, beliefs, and practices.
Or maybe you’ve read the results of some other study in which a great percentage of those who affirm they profess the principal abrahamic religion in Mexico, recognize they don’t practice the liturgy or sacraments of their church, or even pay much attention to the twelve(2) commandments.
In our country, of catholic majority, we can believe anything, almost all the time; specially when faced by tragedy, or witness death up close. We believe in good and bad luck, we atheists and agnostics sign our sandwiches when we drop them to the ground because there, the devil licks them; we believe in witchcraft and long distance acupuncture, in ghosts and astrology; but above all we believe in football and the instant gratification that a few tacos can offer, specially those sunken in that providencial nomenclature that indicates their divine and eucharistic origin: Tacos de pastor.
We believe in resurrection whenever we defeat a bad hangover. We sign ourselves in front of the Virgin Mary to stop drinking and we fall for that damn vice again, knowing in advance that she’d forgive us. We believe in fault and sin, we believe in our drugs. We prefer vengeance, torture, and punishment in the majority of times over justice.
In Mexico, there are Guadalupan(3) atheists and jews; christians who have traveled by UFO and that, dressed in white, pass over equinoxes to accessorise pyramids. We also have one of most enthusiastic bastion (in the rough neighborhood of Tepito) of cult to Saint The Death, aka the pretty girl, aka the white mother, aka my precious flaca(4) in our country. In Mexican territory there are also those who are Muslims, Orthodox Jews, Buddhists, Sufis, Taoists, Wiccas, Toltec warriors, Jains, Santeras and Santeros, hyper religious scientists, superstitious agnostics, extreme metalheads, voodooists, and satanic intellectuals.
But all of us differing believers live, in an unsuspecting, unexpected way, under a more fantastical promise than that of Ganesh, the deity with an elephant’s head and a human’s body, or more neurotic than Yahweh’s promise, the too human god; narcissistic and codependent as the Book of Job describes; we all live under the promise of the modern liberal democracy.
Can you spare a minute to talk about the modern liberal democracy?
The promise and aspiration of this democracy is to establish universal values, to create a single world. Every day, when waking up in this secularized civilization that feels like an eternal groundhog day, we live under the promise that human life has an incomprehensible value, yet every day, economic calculations to determine its value in a precise moment are made to create public policy decisions that will produce, in calculated moments, the death of thousands of people. In this civility we also kill for pleasure, lunacy, vengeance, hate, with or without treachery, with or without advantage, by our own hand or intellectually and outsourced, with and without the calculation of cost and benefit.
In recent years our creed, ever more expanded, of the advent and existence of human rights has made us erect new temples that we now call institutions, to recognize sacred scriptures and even go on crusades to defend those rights which seem factually espectral and pale in comparison to the hard truth and marketing of those other, more concrete, realities and their daily death tallies: The reality of the predatory, productive, efficient and devastating ambition of markets, the reality of industrial machinery for war in all of its manifestations: geopolitical, organized crime, drug dealing, modern slavery; or the reality of the public’s mental health disease and its racial, gender, and other hate and emotionally cloaked microaggressions that proliferate and multiply with the help of information technology, in this ever so innovative, repetitive, and self referential civilization.
Who is more believable nowadays, Hobbes or Rousseau?
Job, Lucifer, or Yahweh?
In Leviathan’s bureaucracy or in the evolution of consciousness?
In liberals or communitarian multiculturalists?
In facebook or google?
Some days, it seems like there are more elements to sustain the thesis that Agent Smith condensed in a single sentence: “The human species behaves like a virus”(5); days in which it’s easier to believe that we’re a devastating pathogen whose extinction would be celebrated by the rest of the planet’s species. The human era seems to prove eloquently that one of the most virtuous characteristics of humanity is its infectious character, it is its own trojan horse, a cancer of its own vanity and exterminator of everything that lives on earth.
If the promise of a modern liberal democracy could listen to itself and have a voice, I imagine it would have the same tone as Krishna’s voice when it convinced Arjuna of going to war with its own family. That day, in the battle of Kurukshetra as described in the Bhagavad Gita. If I had to explain how I understand the promise of a modern liberal democracy, in the time that the young man takes to sauce my tacos, I’d say something like this to avoid speaking about the separation between church and state and public and private space:
No matter what bearded person you pray to, or whatever your mantra is, in a modern liberal democracy we all have the right to seek happiness, our nirvana, the mahasamadhi or rigpa, or however it is that we imagine our realistation so long as our spiritual rituals do not violate the sacred scriptures, and the god-given rights in the carta magna.
The promise of the modern liberal democracy is a promise obsessed with its supposed neutrality: a narcissistic promise that commits itself to treat all of real life’s discourses, all religions and metaphysical thought with the same objectivity of hard science (said discourse, at times so petulant and self secure, that recognizes something as real and true until it can prove, using the scientific method, that it is not anymore).
Why do we believe in democracy, in liberty, in our equal standing in law?
Why do we believe in the promise of political representation, in elections, in political parties, in politicians and candidates?
Why do we believe in the three branches, that holy trinity that tries, and fails, to get on a seesaw, in a world where there’s always those who favor the density and mass of their circumstances.
In our next article, we will try to manipulate that natural contradiction to liberal democracy without turning into tail eating snakes, or at least, without biting our tongues.
(1): “Ni modo” is a slang phrase with many meanings, in this case, a form of resignation in which the speaker accepts the Al pastor taco cannot be vegan, but will eat it anyways.
(2): Possibly a spelling mistake or a low-key recognition of how ignorant of their own religion many people are.
(3): Guadalupanos are those who practice an annual pilgrimage to the Basilica de Guadalupe in Mexico City. Its one of the most visited houses of worship in the world
(4): La Flaca is a name to invoke The Death, who is referred to as a skinny woman due to its portrayal as a skeleton.
(5): In the Spanish language version of The Matrix, Agent Smith’s famous quote “Human beings are a disease” is adapted.
- Written by Alfredo Nava Cortinas for animal politico
Nava is a former political scientists, former psicocorporal therapist, and former publicist. He’s fascinated by political philosophy and non-dualist metaphysics. He created an organization 15 years ago to help the political class through distance acupuncture.