The Family of Man

The Family of Man … The Family of “God”

The only true community … what defines us … is the family of man.  All others are derivatives.  It comes with our bodies.   The family of man is what material energy has evolved out of its own substance, therefore it is “God’s” community.  Every other derives its meaning from there.  Humankind’s justice requirements take precedence over every other social reality created by the mind and choices of men — union, church, party, nation, race, even biological kinship and clan. 

 Any human institution, entity or agency, and most pointedly the Church, is of value only to the degree that it plays an ancillary, subordinate role in promoting and protecting the family of man.  It does this by displaying the human community’s essential characteristics in microcosm.  In traditional terms, the Church strives to become the “sacrament” of humanity, recapitula­ting in itself the social structures and interpersonal dynamics that serve to bring out human­kind’s potential.   “Serve” is the appropriate term.  The church (and any other community) exists to serve humanity, not the other way around.  It  betrays us and fatally corrupts itself, losing any justification for its existence, when it tries to usurp the place of humankind and declare itself “God’s” only true community … or allows itself to be defined by the individualist commercial ideology promoted by our current version of the capitalist economic system.

 Capitalist Individualism 

Capitalism as it currently functions, stands in direct contradiction to our communitarian human reality.  It is based on the false and impossible premise that human beings are not related — that they are unconnected isolates.   In this system solitary individuals subsist, survive, and achieve happiness on their own by “distinguishing” them­selves through their accomplish­ments from every other individual.   The sign of this accom­plish­ment is remunerated recognition; the measure of “dis­tinc­tion” is given in mone­tary terms — the power to earn and to buy.  For the deluded and ignorant, it is a Disneyland fantasy to which they cling even when it evaporates before their eyes; for the willful purveyors of the consumerism that drives this system, it is a calculated deliberate venal lie.  Human survival and well-being including the accu­m­u­la­tion of wealth is a community achievement.   Individuals can do nothing.  Even the human “self” — name, personality, language, religion, charac­ter, values, social role — is itself an inherited and carefully cultured social artifact, the product of a community: family, clan and class. 

 Those who love their families and work to sustain them know perfectly well that individu­al­ism is an empty lie or the family disintegrates.  They don’t need me to tell them.  But the fiction is sustained by the constant drumbeat of corporate advertising which is constitutively invested in main­tain­ing  a labor pool of unorga­nized solitary individ­uals pro­grammed to consume what the corporations sell.  The power of advertising  over the human mind is proven by the fact that results in sales and votes correla­te directly  to the amount of money spent.  Advertising works all the time.  This is not speech.  It is brain­washing.   The claim that it is protected by the constitution shows how malleable are words in the hands of the ruling elites.

 There is only one important event in this system: the commercial trans­ac­tion; and there is only one significant relation­ship, the power relationship:  buyer and seller, patron and client, boss and employee, master and slave.  People are defined as disconnected, unrelated economic units, characterized only by their relative power to control the outcome of a an exchange of goods and services, which includes their labor.

 Genesis

The original Jewish account of “beginnings” was an allegory of life on this earth.  The authors never had any intention of saying , nor were their readers ever tempted to think, that there was another world before this one from which our ancestors were expelled.  The sermon the Genesis authors were preaching with their allegory was that this world, this world, IS a paradise, and it is we who we ruin it for ourselves when we think we can deny our dependent origins and become “gods” — solitary unrelated divine individ­uals  — self-made, self-subsistent, independent , self-involved, owning “knowledge” and living forever.  Eating the fruit of the “tree of life” was an allegory for the denial of death.  But it is death that saves us from our delusions of grandeur;  for it cements, with its undeniability, the dependent connectedness created by our extrusion from the sacred matter of which all things are made.  This matter is the same every­where, and in it everything “lives and moves and has its being.”  It is what we are.   Our very bodies proclaim our eternal and universal related­ness.  We are family; that is our true definition.   That reality is there now as it has always been there, waiting to be activa­ted any time we want.  Is this something that needs to be proven?  I don’t think so.  Everybody knows it … everybody.  Living as family would make this world a paradise.

 Tony Equale

 

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2 comments on “The Family of Man

  1. Christina Hebert says:

    Tony,

    It is funny; I had just read your article, “The Poverty of the Rich and the Poverty of the Poor” for the first time right before you posted this. They are good companions. I think (and you know) that you are (and were) ahead of your time.

    In your family of man/god I see these things:
    That each human’s direct relationship with others is of prime importance. All of our creations outside of this relationship ‘derive their meanings’ from this basis. As you know, I whole-heartedly agree. When I fail in my responsibilities to my fellow creatures, I am away from god. (I mentioned this before.) So, using your terminology that could be the same as turning away from the ‘family of man’ … our responsibilities are first to one another, and second (if at all) to the entities, which we create.

    If we would do this, the ‘poverty of the rich’ could become a reality. Isn’t that where Jesus was telling us to look? He used the term neighbor, but he meant your fellow man. The Samaritan saw a fellow human in need and acted without first consulting some ‘community’ or entity. He upheld his true responsibility to god and creation.

    I wonder as I wander … is society itself (or civilization) the ‘devil in disguise’ … All those savages and pagans we tamed (civilized) …. war and greed and power existed before ‘Judaism’ but after organized monotheism, war and greed and power became … HOLY. If you think you are god’s chosen people, you exclude yourself from the rest of humanity, you think you are better and more deserving, you think you should (as God’s chosen) rule over the rest of humanity. It is the ultimate segregation; people are only people if they belong to your group. This is the heart of monotheistic religion, which is the heart of our current ‘secular’ society.

    ‘Capitalist Individualism’ is the continuation and furthering of ‘this ultimate segregation’ … we started with dividing humanity into groups but now we have morphed into ‘this ultimate separation’ of individuals into “unconnected isolates” … what a mess :/

    It has taken me a while to see that capitalism (and all ‘economic systems, maybe) was meant to keep ‘the masses’ in their place. I was in denial, how could ‘opportunity’ be a bad thing, right?

    The power relationship and ‘commercial transaction’ …
    Why don’t we stop charging others for our ‘skills’? Why not just charge for the materials needed while ‘apprenticing’ others. For example, I would love to learn how to tile a kitchen or shower/tub area. i could assist the ‘expert’ who donates his time; I buy the materials needed and LEARN BY DOING (or assisting). But for this to happen I have two hurdles. First, the mind, people look at me as if I grew an extra head when I suggest something like this. Second, the system, our actions are controlled by regulations and certifications and etc. … our human interactions have become commercial transactions.

    Genesis … I also think that the original ‘jewish’ writings tell us that heaven was/is here, on earth, not on some other plane or dimension. The ‘idea’ of an afterlife shifts our focus away from Life. This reminds me of Death and the importance you give it.

    * “Eating the fruit of the “tree of life” was an allegory for the denial of death. But it is death that saves us from our delusions of grandeur; for it cements, with its undeniability, the dependent connectedness created by our extrusion from the sacred matter of which all things are made.” *

    I am thinking that, for you, the meaning of life/existence is found through the acceptance of death.
    I don’t agree or disagree with this …. again, I am having trouble with your allegory! Not to worry, I will get it, eventually. I am grateful for all of your insights; they are good fruits, from a good tree, of course.

    Last, but not least, I was reading some of the gnostic gospels today. Coincidence?

    You wrote, “This matter is the same every­where, and in it everything “lives and moves and has its being.” It is what we are.” ( a similar concept in Religion and a Material Universe)

    Well, The Gospel of Mary says this:

    “Shall matter be destroyed or not?” The saviour replied, “Each nature and shaped thing and every creature lives in and with each other, and will dissolve into distinctive roots, and the nature of matter will dissolve into the root of nature. Whoever has ears to hear should hear.”

    Looking forward to your new book,
    Christina

    • tonyequale says:

      Cristina.

      Thanks for your comment.
      I have been sidelined with computer troubles and had to buy a new one. It doesn’t take long to get swamped with unanswered items. I’m just now getting caught up.

      Death is a metaphor — a virtual reality. So the denial of death is a battle between virtual Titans. Those familiar with computer games will understand the safe distance from which this epic combat is joined, and the ultimate irrelevance of victory or defeat.

      Dying is different from death. It is concrete, not virtual, and therefore not really different from the sequences of daily living. In a real sense we all begin dying the moment we’re born. It is the painless and unfrightened process whereby material energy succumbs to the inevitable inertia of entropy’s gravity, drawing all things toward a material center that is lost in a cloud of darkness.

      It’s when these realms clash that religion becomes relevant by reconciling our virtual world with the real one. If it doesn’t, whether from malice, madness or myopia, we cannot embrace dying, and so we cannot embrace our material selves with its resident entropy.

      The process of reconciliation, like the issues it reconciles, cannot be accomplished from one side only. That’s a trap that will disintegrate us. It’s not like a virtual Titanic battle “against death.” It is rather like a courtship, a commitment and … eventually … a falling in love. “Dying” and “death” must wed and make us one again.

      Tony

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