The Cult of the Dead-Undead Cat and American Politics: Is It Beyond Redemption?

Some context for you: I'm currently reading Beyond Redemption by Michael R. Fletcher. This is an excellent novel that I've almost finished, and I will review it for you later. For the purpose of this post, it's enough to know that in Beyond Redemption, faith and belief have the power to define the world. If enough people believe the same thing, delusions become reality.

Remember that last bit: delusions become reality.

The novel is grimdark, and I mean very, very dark, so if you normally avoid this kind of novel, then I wouldn't recommend it to you. However if you're like me, and you enjoy looking under psychological rocks in order to see what breeds there, come along ...

There is a scene in Beyond Redemption where the god-child, Morgen, brings a severely injured dead cat back to life, but he doesn't heal it. The dead-undead cat crawls away, and that is--the reader thinks--the last we'll see of the dead-undead cat.

Haha, fooled you.

The dead-undead cat shows up again about two chapters later when another character, Asena, comes upon "the dead cat, spine and skull crushed, still twitching and dragging itself through a narrow alley. A trail of beggars followed the cat, proclaiming its divinity and protecting it from all who attempted to approach." [Emphasis mine]

And my brain went hmmm as it sometimes does, and I started thinking about how "delusions become reality" and couldn't stop, and then how one person's delusions can easily become another person's divinity. Then, this morning, while half-awake and semi-delusional myself, I'm surfing through the "news" and come across this little gem where one of the American presidential candidates, Ben Carson, holds forth with his theory on the pyramids:

"My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain," Carson said.
"Now all the archeologists [sic] think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it. And I don't think it'd just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain."
Carson added: "And when you look at the way that the pyramids are made, with many chambers that are hermetically sealed, they'd have to be that way for various reasons. And various of scientists have said, 'Well, you know there were alien beings that came down and they have special knowledge and that's how, you know, it doesn't require an alien being when God is with you."

Because, aliens ... I guess.

I have no idea what Carson is even talking about here. It's like he lives in another world--not even a parallel world ... just this strange alternate plane of existence where whatever the hell pours out of his mouth is reality. Frankly, this wouldn't be a problem except that he (and to be fair, other presidential candidates, as well) expects everyone else to buy into these delusions.

Now this particular theory probably wouldn't have bothered me as much had it been posited by someone with an elementary school education. Nor would it have bothered me if someone who got their entire worldview from Fox News said these things, or even if it had been someone who had never left the county in which s/he had been born, meaning someone too ignorant to know better, but Ben Carson is a neurosurgeon. This indicates to me that he did, at one time, attend an institution of higher learning. Of course, his delusions prove a long-standing theory of my own: that acquiring a college education does not make one smarter, it simply teaches one how to better utilize the intelligence already within one's grasp.

So what does all of this have to do with a dead-undead cat and delusions that become reality?

The problem with Ben Carson, and the other presidential candidates for that matter, is that they can pass themselves off as credible. Nowadays, no matter what kind of half-dead, mewling ideology a person espouses, when that individual speaks authoritatively to an issue, others simply accept the premise as true.

[And yes, I will pause our little discussion in order to point out that I do, in fact, see the irony in that I am presenting my own crackpot theory here, but hey ... I've always wanted my own cult. My cult is intentional--that is my delusion.]

The Dead-Undead Cat is my new metaphor for these crackpot theories, or delusions. The cult arises when other people start to follow the Dead-Undead Cat, proclaim its divinity, and attempt to protect the premise from all who challenge it. The adherents of the Cult repeat their theories ad nauseam, breed even stranger theories, which are, in turn, followed by more beggars, because everyone seems to think that repetition breeds reality.

Don't get me wrong, faith and belief are wonderful things and give many people much comfort; however, if we want strong leaders and good government, we need people who are not afraid of facts. We should accept nothing less than leaders who are strong enough to critically examine problems, who understand compromise, and can motivate others to arrive at workable solutions.

It would also help if these leaders understood that the Egyptians didn't store grain with dead bodies in pyramids, because, aliens.

While faith and belief are important aspects of character, we should never, never, allow faith and belief to be the sole basis for our realities, or our delusions, or our presidential candidates. Otherwise, our political system and the freedoms that system gives us will truly be beyond redemption, and we may not be able to resurrect it.

Comments are off ... I'm on a deadline. Go read a book.

Occupy Wall Street

Sorry for the long silence, but I've been off writing. I've also been watching Occupy Wall Street gather momentum.

I've seen a lot of posturing and postulations, statistics, pie charts, colorful graphs, and rhetoric that has been tossed back and forth with much vigor on both sides. It's always been my feeling that the truth lies somewhere between the extremes.

We can all pound our chests and jump up and down about who is right and who is wrong, but there is one thing I've observed during the course of all my readings, and it is simply this: When this many people are this angry, there is a cause, even if the people cannot clearly articulate the reasoning behind their movement.

And governments that ignore the people do so at their own peril.

Keep these events before your eyes at all times:

The United States of America was born of a revolution against what our leaders saw as unfair taxation and governmental oppression.

Frustration over England's disregard for our plight led to protests. I'm sure if the Internet had existed in those days, there would have been posturing and postulations, statistics, pie charts, colorful graphs, and rhetoric. But when push came to shove, the people of this country rebelled against England's 1%.

The royalty of the Great French Revolution never thought their people would rise up against them, yet they did. The French citizens rebelled against the 1%.

Several politicians have bemoaned Occupy Wall Street's lack of a central leader. Remember, Hitler and Stalin clearly articulated the frustrations of the people to ride their way to power. Look at what horrors they birthed into the world.

People are demanding to heard. They want their governmental leaders to pay attention to the people, not the corporate lobbyists. The feeling of disconnect between the people and their government has been brewing for many years. It's not about Democrat or Republican--it's about THE PEOPLE.

Remember us?

It is vital that the United States Government listen to the people and address these issues in a proactive manner. Forget re-election, ladies and gentlemen. This is about stepping up to the plate and governing.

We are at a turning point in American history. Our future is in our past. It is here before our eyes.

It is time to wake and respond.