A NEW RELIGION
In a new western society, most people do not live their lives through the fear of God. God has become a figurehead, a polymorphic image onto which we all apply our own morality. No longer is God an objective gauge on our successes and failures but instead has become the lynchpin in system of community and identification; a link shared with another even when you are alone. This progression from direct obedience to moral subjectivity is a great leap for humanity as a whole - it allows us to remove the constraints of past prejudices and reinforce omnipresent harmonic values.
For thousands of years, the measure of a man’s worth came when he died. He labored through life with the promise of recognition in the afterlife, fulfilling a purpose and substantiating his existence through obedience to a higher power. He accepted that he was a man and the king was the king, and that was God’s will, but that seems almost disappeared from contemporary mainstream society.
Nevertheless, despite our shift to independent morality, our base desires remain the same. As a race, humanity has always had an insatiable need to be recognised for our actions, and to be given merit for what we have achieved. Something had to replace the objectivity of God and in a capitalist society the summation of your hard work will leave you with two possible rewards: money and happiness.
Countless persons will tell you that your life’s worth is based on your own happiness and sense of wellbeing but happiness is free. No man has the authority to decide that his happiness is better than yours, no matter how hard he worked for it and so we are left wanting proof that our efforts have not gone unnoticed. Evidence, perhaps, that we are on the right track. Money on the other hand, portrays a physical embodiment of a life’s work; the linguistics of which are simple, consistent and universal.
To the masses, money exists in a constant state of purgatory. They unknowingly devote their lives to the religion of wealth, and, in doing so, it provides them with the answers to all life’s problems whilst simultaneously
making them unattainable. Just like any form of classical theism, there exists a hierarchy; those who devote their lives to it above all else, are sat at the top. These are the ones who dictate the direction of the religion and decide the fate of those below them.
Conversely though, in order to have a system of worship based around a deity, there is a prerequisite for some form of guidance on morality: it must have a sense of righteousness and achievable enlightenment to accompany the promised reward. Money makes no such imposition. It is devoid of any ethical fortitude and has no intrinsic laws. This lack of integrity means that as people dedicate more and more of their time to the pursuit of money, the possibility of staying within our own definition of right becomes impossibly small. It becomes harder and harder to tell where the line exists between good and bad - especially when companies market themselves as people; people we can trust, people who can help us when we need it.
For better or worse, money has been our new religion for some time now, a prophetic tale told through the expansion of big business where we trade our success for the promise of instant reward. It is a fickle faith born out of necessity rather than reason and it’s beginning to collapse. Eager to prove themselves people will search tirelessly again for something new to act as testimony to their own existence, in the hope that one day they will feel satisfied they have done all they can do.
There seems no real solution to this issue but then perhaps we must happily accept there is no “solution”. This is just the way our lives are and that it is conceivable for such a system to always exist; filling the necessity for validation of our efforts. Even though reality provides close to no real proof we are doing anything right, we gladly continue on through life in the vain hope that actually what we are doing does matter, if only a little bit.