Modern Olympus

The world is right back in ancient Greece (or pre-Christian Rome, if you prefer). The pantheon of gods (lower case g) are back in vogue, and this time they’re living people. Gods of sex and beauty flaunt the commons and invite liking and coveting and mimicry. Gods of power and domination contrive new ways to conquer and overcome. Aspiring, pretender gods of satire and revolution bang at the gates, claiming their status as Titans and demanding re-entry to Olympus (perhaps we’re in the midst of another Titanomachy). Either way, individual god-hood is the goal, with the trailing groupies’ semi-ascension a tactical carrot to motivate the troops serving each would-be or defender god. What’s different today? There are far more notions of what god-hood (goodness) might look like. Thanks F. Nietzsche.

FN thought he was the anti-christ, breaking up religion’s terrrrible good vs. evil morality and also its celebration of weakness. What FN didn’t realize (at least not in his writings) is that he was just making up a new path for him to become a god. The philosopher that undid religion, surely that would be a path to the mountain-top, with the benefit that the trail he blazed would not be followable by any followers trying to ride his coattails. Too obscure the path to being the super-valuator (aka, the one god). So Nietzsche was actually a monotheist with no need for an anthropomorphic god representation – he had a mirror. The outcome from the now pervasive line of reasoning that there is no mutual conception of a god or collective set of values to follow to be righteous and god-like is that there are now many, many paths to godishness. There are still the monotheistic religions, polytheistic ones, and the pathways that are un-god paths but in the opposite of the FN sense (traditions and theologies and philosophies that celebrate the lowering of everything or combining of everything into oneness, rather than the celebration of the One(s) that are high and mimicking their highness(es)).

So everyone has always wanted to be god-ish (or nature-ish or oneness-ish or un-god-ish – the point is these are all the essentially same). So today, as in all the days before and hence, the best we can do is be aware of godishness as a goal that many people have, and that we ourselves will not escape having a relationship with. What we must do is recognize that we, finite creatures, will not achieve infinite outcomes. So we will not become gods, in the infinite sense. But we also won’t avoid trying to become gods, in the elated/heavenly/forever-living, low/hellfired/devilish, non-self/compassionate/humble, or oneness/natural/way sense. None will be achieved, all will be pursued. So, since I know you’re reading this and wondering what I’ll advise as you think about what to do next on your path to god-hood, Jeff Bezos, just remember that you may pursue Olympus (and I’m not saying stop or even slow down), but you’ll never get there.