No doorways, no windows, no walls
No shelter here on the ground
No standing and no safe place to fall
Just the promise of this distant sound
Bells are ringing all over the world

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bells Will Be Ringing

While here in the US we tend to have a strain of subsurface religiosity that runs through most of public life and it's one of those things that when religious leaders say we need more Christianity in the Public Square I counter with we have more than enough already, thanks. If you listen or watch the news with any regularity you'll probably have noticed it. although, being subsurface, it can hide pretty well. The rulers of China, on the other hand, from Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi to the modern day, retain power through the Mandate of Heaven.

The ancestors, Gods and multiverse bestow their blessings on the rulers, until they don't. Blessings can be a tricky thing to divine, removal of blessings, though, are usually decisive and with real consequences. Say, a powerful earthquake for instance can signal the Heavens withdrawal of the Mandate.

China, under communist rule (reformed though they are) is officially atheistic. Being atheistic, however, is not 100% proof against being superstitious. The earthquake in Sichuan could be said to be Heaven serving an eviction notice to the current leadership. This is why you will see these leaders hands on in the disaster area helping victims. If they don't, this earthquake would lead to their downfall, and it may yet.

In other news, having shown their complete disregard for those the rule by holding a constitutional referendum which legitimizes the military rule less than a week from being hit by a major cyclone killing thousands and displacing millions, Myanmar is facing a second battering storm. Some people need to be reminded a second time.

The bad things about all of this is that it's not the leaders that have or are suffering. And here we have some parallels to life here in the US. Our leaders rarely suffer (thinking about that, I wonder how Trent Lott's rebuilt home is coming) as Heaven signals their displeasure with the government. It's always the same poor people who bear the brunt of the wrath. Kind of makes me wonder about the supposed beneficence of the Powers that Be. So either the Gods are just rat bastards, or they have really poor aim.

We also have our homegrown crazy uncles (like Crazy Uncle Pat) that like to use natural disasters to show how God dislikes or favors certain things. They're all wacky in my book.

Raja dharma is a concept that has gone out of favor. I really wish the Heavens would get that and see that offering opportunities for the rulers of the world to remember that by increasing the suffering of the ruled doesn't work. It's much better to send avatars to the rulers to school them in the ways of responsibility and respect for the ruled as much of Hindi legend tells. Other than that and I fear a redawn of "an Age of Reason, like they had in France," as Ulysses Everett McGill says in "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou" (a time otherwise known as "Reign of Terror")

I should also say that all my friends that live in that area of the world, I'm really concerned about. Myanmar isn't exactly a big country, and that was a huge storm that went over it. I'm surprised we haven't heard about other countries affected by it.

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