(… but the cake is a lie.)
I had originally thought I would be a lot busier blogging this week, what with all of the free time I’ve accumulated by not having to work until the 3rd. The problem, of course, is that Christmas happened. Then Skyrim. I’m already hopelessly addicted to Morrowind, so these two games alone will guarantee that I won’t see the light of day for another year.
I’ll grab a shower around February, whether I need it or not. If I go back inside it means six more weeks of winter.
Anyway, quite a few things have happened since I made my last post. First, the North Korean dictatorissimo and poofy-haired lunatic Kim Jong Il died on the 17th of December. I admit I posted after that date but didn’t get around to assembling any real thoughts about it until afterward. One of the first things I noticed after he died was the droves of people collectively losing their shit over his passing. The article I linked to raises the same question I had: is any of this real, or is this just a way to make sure you’re seen by the powers-that-remain as properly grieving?
I agree with the BBC in that it’s not likely we’ll ever really know. My personal opinion is that it’s a combination of both things. First, people obviously don’t want to be seen taking the (deep breath) Supreme Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea all in stride, or the next thing they know they’ll be spending the rest of their short-assed lives in a Soviet-style gulag re-education camp before dying of tuberculosis. Second, these people have been so thoroughly indoctrinated – by repetition, fear, and complete isolation from the rest of the world – that their ruler is a god, at least of sorts. In fact …
… since the death of the Dear Leader on 17 December, the media have focused their attention on a series of strange, natural phenomena being reported across the country – a giant lake of ice cracking in half, a red glow covering the mountain where their leader was born and, most recently, magpies gathering by the dozens in a single tree, in grief, according to one party official.
“We can’t dismiss it as just a natural phenomenon,” he told state television. “It shows that not only the people of the world, but the animals too, cannot forget our Dear Leader.”
Boy that sounds familiar. Except that one I heard was from 2,000 years ago and involved an empty tomb, two women, and either a young man, an angel, two angels, or a bunch of Roman guards tailgating before the softball game. I’m not too sure. The point is that these stories of the supernatural are being told in a day and age where we can all look at them and think to ourselves how silly they sound. Yet this is exactly the kind of story we are expected to believe – and accept on pain of eternal punishment – by many of the world’s major religions not because of any evidence, but because enough powerful people bought into it so long ago that we just don’t think about it anymore. I think the formula would look something like this:
made up shit * time * [people who buy into it + people who profit from it ^ money]
There might be an integral in there somewhere. I’ll have to think about it.
One last point is that North Korea is also officially an atheist state … making it a constant talking point for some religious folks, who use it along with Soviet Russia, China, and Cuba to show the horrible, oppressive results of the “atheist belief system” on society. Of course, atheism is not the source of the problem in these cases as it is one of the results. People like Stalin, Mao, etc., realized immediately that if they were to establish a system of government in which the state is the final authority, the worship of a supreme creator and a belief in an afterlife would really have to go. Leave it to the Koreans to take it one step further and try to turn their rulers into actual gods. That’s chutzpah.