Religion – like many of the contradictorily incendiary topics of our degenerated generation, is something which often induces us to either defend or attack. Shamelessly, as if the rousing displeasure that stems from those well thought-out words we spit out actually splits our veins open and pumps fresh blood into them. Colleagues and classmates avoid the topic, as if doing so could pacify the anguish mounted by eons of ruling and twisting, shaming and molding our very minds. Because religion has often been akin to  a contradicting mother nursing demons inside her head and children outside. Something that claims to have effectively safeguarded and organized human lives and communities has, absurdly, housed ruinous and gruesome chapters; and dank filth that has often had terrifying consequences. Religion, has, unfortunately, had nothing to do with its awe-inspiring claims of a wondrous and devoted God. Most religions seem like the creation of people instead- people with conflicting worlds bursting inside their heads—People eager to avenge, to rule, to organize, to kill.

History tells us that religion has often had very little to do with the philosophical attempts to understand the divine- in fact, organized religion, on the contrary,  has had very human aims.  Men created religion in order to build social and economic stability. Men also created religion to effectively shield their extremely human aims under the sheath of glorious godly missions- which, understandably, still happens today. Horrendously insane insecurities are built around the fact that if people crack their minds open and question aims blanketed under unquestionable,  exceedingly insulated doctrine, fire would literally shower down from the heavens. Societies built on the centuries-old foundations of cracked self-assurance and megalomaniac designs of a few old horses in power would be swept away before the batting of an eyelid. Because- as hard as it may be to believe- illusory barriers meant to restrict human expressions and prowess rupture themselves before human resoluteness and tenacity, before human will and human determination. For human beings are a contradicting species- much like the Scriptures they invented- full of bursting sunshine and terrorizing gales.

It would be difficult to pinpoint exactly from whence religion originated.  It would be far easier probably, to comprehend its history if we looked at religion as something that efficaciously contained human values. As if humanity was something essentially effusive, almost explosive that it had to be cramped, boxed, silenced and ordered. Religion seemed to have been invented for the same reasons in fact, as governments were formed. A few people in power don’t feel the need to control the rest because the masses are imbecile, but because humanity at its height is something essentially fearful. There is nothing more dangerous for power hogs than to have aware souls surrounding them; because enlightenment is precisely this- to be conscious of ourselves. It is no surprise therefore that history has always feared not those who were inhumane, but those who were fully human- and feared them so much, in fact, that the entirety of our endeavours to exist has involved aligning, arranging, rearranging human lives.

We still see traces of that almost brutal organization of our lives. Durkheim once spoke of ‘over-socialisation’ as one of the reasons for suicide, but he also spoke of lack of effective socialization as one of the other reasons for suicide. The reason why most people dread existentialism, anarchism, atheism- or rather the death of any kind of organization is because our minds have been rendered so hopeless without it. We’ve been made to fear our own selves. We’ve been taught, even as children, that humanity without order would descend into chaos, and we’ve also been taught to equate chaos with something horrendous and criminal. We fear humanity at its most natural. During our most private moments, we slip off our masks and indulge in our most violent fantasies- sometimes only in our heads. We consider the study of ideas as something dangerous, because we consider the study of our own minds as something particularly dangerous. It is no wonder then, that descending deep into your own head eventually drives you to what is called ‘madness’- and detaching yourself from your own head takes you closer to what is termed ‘sanity’.

And yet, a true, personal revolution is an unfinished business; underdeveloped and deficient in fact, without the awareness of that which also exists outside our own head- or rather, that which isn’t always perceivable in our private, seemingly untouched worlds. This is what adeptly brings us closer to what is termed in our insignificant world as ‘political and cultural awareness’- something which challenges the dominant, ruling ideologies of our day. Certainly ideology isn’t just what we munch on and contemplate in our dreary drawing-rooms; ideology is everything we do, wear, walk, worship, behave and believe. Ideology is, in better words, a performance. It is a performance that we’ve forgotten is something that isn’t akin to our most spontaneous reactions. Ideology is us acting out what we haven’t allowed ourselves to choose.

It would be a petrifying task to fight for the right to choose- precisely because we’ve never been taught what to choose and how. We’re still discovering for ourselves the reeling expanse of that which we’d like to term as ‘choice’. Choices are, unfortunately, often dictated by our limited perception and responses to what we’ve been allowed to see and comprehend. And the boundaries of that expanse can only unveil and expand themselves further if we shred all that has been veiled from us all along, not only from the time we tumbled out into the world- addled and bewildered- but all that has been veiled and distorted for centuries of restricted human lives.

Because human history has always been a history of the disfigurement of that which has been the closest to us, of that which is the truth. Human history has always been the history of terrorization, of the appalling internalization of order, of disfigurement and blight in the orderly cloak of civilization. And the only way we can get close to evading all of this-- this centuries-old burden of internalized shit-load – is if we go the opposite way of blind dominance.

As Salman Rushdie famously said- “What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”