The word Pantheon, almost invariably conjures up images of the Greek or Roman Gods. And more often than not, we think of an era filled with fear and ignorance.
We are taken back to the times when the primordial forces of nature ruled over the lives of primitive men and women. Their lives were simple, and their perspectives elementary.
When they wanted to feed themselves, they would appeal to the God of the Hunt, or the Harvest. When fighting, they called upon the God of War. When stressed, it was the God of Wine who came to the rescue; at times of draught, the God of Rain; and during the cold of winter, the Sun-God.
We look upon them almost condescendingly, thinking that we have risen far above them. When lightening strikes, we do not consider it to be Thor's anger flying off of his hammer hitting the anvil in the skies. We know that it is nothing more than the release of the built-up static electrical energy in clouds.
We have turned Thor's anvil into electrical generators and brought it to our service. Yet in our mentality, we are not too different from the people of those ancient times.
Yes, our technology has harnessed or at least explained much of the primordial powers of nature. Yet what lies hidden within our psyche, what determines our lives in the form of unspoken and unwritten spiritual beliefs is the worship of archetypal powers of human nature.
We have created a new pantheon. We have destroyed the idols of natural power and replaced them with idols of psychological needs.
In our modern times, when we fight, we no longer appeal to the God of War, but we focus our attention on the God of Military Might, or the trickster God of Cunning and Surprise. When there is a draught, we go to the God of technology and create irrigation. When disease spreads, the God of Science comes into play.
When we are stressed, we appeal to the God of Financial Wealth to bring us comfort and distraction, and when we seek love, we call upon the God of Fame or Recognition.
Yet when we ask whom do these Gods serve? Our initial response may be, "These Gods serve us, not vice versa".
But we fool ourselves, if we buy into that simplistic notion.
The Zeus of modern times, the God of all our Gods, is none other than the God of Power. We seek Military Might because we are afraid, and by overpowering the enemy, we create relative safety. We seek Wealth because we have no control over our lives and by becoming rich, we can create a semblance of relative control. We seek fame and recognition, because we want to know that we are loved. And since we don't love ourselves, we seek the approval of the others to give us the validation that we need for self-love.
Likewise, the God of Knowledge and Science and Technology, the lesser Gods of Pleasure and Excitement and Experience, they too are all subservient to the God of Power.
The lesser God's serve us, because we are enslaved to the Greater God. The modern Pantheon is our creation to give us a sense of having Power over our own lives, when we know deep down that we do not.
This is a dangerous God, because Power begets Power. The insatiable thirst of this God for more Power throws us in the midst of an endless loop. This is a God with an ultimate goal in mind: To have Absolute Power at its disposal. And since there is no limit to this power, there is no end to our quest. The God of Power is never satisfied, and keeps us eternally enslaved.
What if we could break these modern idols, these end-Gods, and replace them with means-Gods? What if the goal-Gods were replaced by process-Gods?
What if instead of seeking more and more power and control, we could worship Gods that were their own end?
What if we could worship the God of Goodness, because of Goodness? What if we would pay homage to the Goddess of Love because of Love alone? What if we could be compassionate, not because of what it would achieve, but because of what it is and who we are?
Goodness for Goodness' sake, Love for Love's sake, Compassion for Compassion's sake, Beauty for Beauty's sake and the list goes on.
Yes, we need to bring down our modern Pantheon if humanity wants to have a chance of "being" human.
© Shahriar Shahriari
Los Angeles, CA
October 17, 2001
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