Monday, December 5, 2016

Wendigo


There has always been a certain illness of the soul in the western world that Native Americans have called Wendigo. Those of us, most of us, overtaken by this psycho-spiritual malaise seem insatiably intent on "consuming" everything we desire without feeling any need for giving back something of value or making balance with the world we take from. Whether for private purpose or profit this inner process is mirrored in our consumer society, a culture which fans the flames of never-ending desires, conditioning us to always want for more. As individuals and collectively we act as if we are starving, in a constant feeding frenzy, struggling to ever fill a bottomless void. Our obsessive-compulsive need to consume seems symptomatic of a deep sense of spiritual starvation endemic to the industrial world.

This psychosis may be the greatest affliction of modern humans. It is like a cultural virus that has invaded the mind leaving us with a wrong orientation towards life and that which is truly important. This moral insanity that the human species is acting out all over the world is at the root of humanity's own inhumanity to itself. It is like a self-devouring operating system that destroys everything in its domain, including itself.

The Bible refers to one aspect of this Wendigo as Mammon, the love of money, and it makes the point that we can never serve two masters. Those who serve Mammon are driven by power, control, greed and money. Uncontrollably, many of us seem unable to help ourselves in the compulsive acting out of this money-lust and endless consumption. The incredible destruction that results, be it of the environment, communities, or the lives of others, is considered to be nothing more than collateral damage, the price of doing business. We are all minimized to being nothing more than commodities as consumers.

Native peoples have suffered long over the insatiable drive for western expansion and endless consumption. The stand by native peoples today at Standing Rock in North Dakota to hold their ground and rights against the petrol-chemical corporate behemoth that procures on our collective behalf is no less than a battle between good and evil. In their sacred activism, these Native American protestors consider themselves to be the guardians and protectors of the water, of the land, of the earth as a whole system. This is a job that we shouldn’t be out-sourcing to indigenous people. We are all the custodians of this earth—protectors of life itself—which bears with it a great responsibility. We are all in this together. Those stuck in a rut of consumption need to find their indigenous soul within and make a stand against the Wendigo that afflicts our world.

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