Someone wrote a little piece of humorous fiction. It had no special significance to anyone. Except it did. To me.
Buddha, Tibet, probably 19th century and probably stolen from a temple
It included a tepee which is an important symbol for me. Note my blog’s address is https://teepee12.com/. The title of the one book I wrote — “The 12-Foot Teepee” probably infers a kind of meaning — for me and probably for a few other people. From this evidence, you could take a crazy guess that “tepee (tipi or teepee) means something to me and probably a few others.
But no one cared. A tepee didn’t mean anything to them. If it doesn’t mean anything to them, then they don’t care.
I’m not going to get into all the other symbols and how much potential discomfort using these symbols would cause others. How about a Cathedral or a medieval convent as a source of humor? Maybe a Mosque or a Mormon Temple or …
I’m sure you get the drift. I hope by now you are twitching a little bit.
My mother didn’t believe in anything — religiously speaking — the idea of anyone burning a book made her soul unravel. It didn’t matter what the book was about. The “book-ness” was holy for her without any other value attached to it. Humor can be shockingly unfunny when it uses symbols that other people — not your people — take seriously.
Why do they take them seriously?
Does it matter?
The general attitude which I’ve come to accept as the way “modern” people think, is “Who cares? It’s not MY church. It’s not what I believe. I don’t care how you feel about it because you don’t matter. Only me and mine have value.”
I don’t think it was intended to insult anyone. I’m sure the author didn’t see there was a difference between a camping tent bought at a sporting goods store or a hand-made teepee which has been blessed in a ceremony. After all, it’s just canvas, paint, wooden sticks, and rope. And some hooks to keep it fixed to the earth. No big deal.
Meanwhile, I cringe when they knock down temples to make room for malls. I cringe when they knock down abandoned churches and I don’t care whose church it was originally. It’s a horror when they do it in India, Israel, Morocco, or Malaysia. I believe that other peoples’ beliefs and feelings are important, even if I don’t share them. I don’t dismiss them because they aren’t central to my world.
But that’s our “new” world. It’s just stuff. Just words.
If beliefs don’t matter, what matters? Is it only your beliefs that count? Does your core of beliefs make a difference while mine don’t?
“I don’t care” has become the core of what nations believe. You and how you feel is a matter of complete indifference to them.
They don’t care, just like YOU don’t care.
We are not awed by the majesty of a Cathedral if it isn’t our cathedral or the ancient ruins of a temple that was the center of another culture’s universe. We don’t care nor do we want to be reminded of it. Their feelings matter. Ours don’t.
In a nutshell, that’s what is wrong with our world.
If only we all cared.
I am awed, touched, chilled, excited by “otherness.” I believe in a universal entity which is part of every living creature, the sacred part of our DNA.
There is a god in every one of us. It has nothing to do with dogma or a formalized set of beliefs. It is what give us our magic and the power to be great. I weep at the loss of this tiny bit of the divine. Without it, we’re just an upright animal who kills for sport and cares for nothing.
If you don’t care and only “your own” matters, the odds are good that no one cares about you, either. And that’s why we have “government” that doesn’t care if you get a paycheck, healthcare, or have a home in which to live. That’s how they can look in the mirror after a day of lying to us about all the things we care about.
They don’t care. We don’t matter.