"Begin at the beginning,and go on till you come to the end: then stop." (Lewis Carroll, 1832-1896)

Alice came to a fork in the road. "Which road do I take?" she asked."Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat."I don't know," Alice answered."Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

"So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation. "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

"All right," said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone. "Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!"

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I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. Like Arthur Dent from "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy", if you do not have a Babel Fish in your ear this blog will be completely unintelligible to you and will read something like this: "boggle, google, snoggle, slurp, slurp, dingleberry to the power of 10". Fortunately, those who have had the Babel Fish inserted in their ear, will understood this blog perfectly. If you are familiar with this technology, you will know that the Babel Fish lives on brainwave radiation. It excretes energy in the form of exactly the correct brainwaves needed by its host to understand what was just said; or in this case, what was read. The Babel Fish, thanks to scientific research, reverses the problem defined by its namesake in the Tower of Babel, where a deity was supposedly inspired to confuse the human race by making them unable to understand each other.


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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Marilyn Manson And The cULT oF hERo wOrShIp

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Is Marilyn Manson in danger of being the cult figure of his songs?
Is Marilyn Manson YOUR "Personal Jesus"?
Watch as Marilyn Manson sings about the cult of hero worship.

Hero worship has existed when humans have a need to worship someone or something "greater than" or with more perceived authority than themselves. Whether people choose to worship a god-like supernatural figure (like Jesus), a political figure like Hitler, a musician like Marilyn Manson, a hero figure from a movie, or the movie stars themselves; the concept is the same. People want to look up to someone else who displays through actions or words, an ideal, a noble path or traits worth emulating.

I think this behaviour is basic and perhaps a genetic predisposition in herd animals. Herd or pack animals display complex hierarchies where individuals learn the pecking order. They learn the pecking order, change the pecking order, become social outcasts, or die.

Challenges to the hierarchies continually occur concerning the things which are of the most importance or status to the group. Consequently challenges to win the "hearts and minds" of those who exist within a group are crucial for individuals who wish to increase their status within the group.

Increasing your status means you have more access to the things which the group places value on, such as sex, power and money. Increasing your status may also lead to increasing your chances of survival and hence the survival of your genes.

If the meaning of biological life is the continuation of an individual's genes, then it behoves one to choose their cult/hero figures wisely. For example: Those who worship martyrdom lose in the genetic race for survival if they die before passing on their genetic code.

It seems plausible and realistic that we "worship", (or attempt to emulate our religious/cultural heros), because our heroes provide models of behaviour which may be beneficial for the good of the community or the society in which we live.

In hominid societies, it is the alpha male who seeks power over his fellow males and it is the characteristics of the alpha male which are the most valued. The authority of the alpha male (leading male) can always be questioned by an individual who seeks to usurp the dominant male in order to wield the power for themselves and their progeny. This competition for resources and power is potentially the most destabilising force on our planet.

A way to combat the constant bickering and quests for power and domination within a group, is to create an authority which is external to the group, whose authority can NEVER be questioned.

(An invisible alpha male, if you will, who embodies all the characteristics and laws of culture which the society trusts, values and aspires to.) This invisible alpha male becomes the ultimate and absolute authority and the ultimate in hero or cult worship. The creation of the invisible alpha male is an attempt to create "societal or cultural glue."

Internal disputes can be settled by appeals to the "wisdom" of this external invisible hero of worship. Appeals to the wisdom of this external invisible hero are usually made through human intermediaries.
Those who claim "special powers" or "special knowledge" concerning the wants or needs of these invisible entities are priests, pastors, shamans, saints etc etc. These intermediary positions are also positions of considerable power and have been claimed by kings, queens, popes, and political leaders for centuries.
Problems arise when cultures who have a similar interest in power and resources, have a different, but oh SO SIMILAR paradigm for conflict resolution. That is, they also have an invisible alpha male who embodies all that they see as wonderful about THEIR culture.
"Happy is the country which requires no heroes," Bertolt Brecht.

"Personal Jesus"

Reach out and touch faith
Your own personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who cares
Your own personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who's there
Feeling unknown
And you're all alone
Flesh and bone
By the telephone
Lift up the receiver
I'll make you a believer
Take second best
Put me to the test
Things on your chest
You need to confess
I will deliver
You know I'm a forgiver
Reach out and touch faith
Reach out and touch faith
Your own personal Jesus...
Feeling unknown
And you're all alone
Flesh and bone
By the telephone
Lift up the receiver
I'll make you a believer
I will deliver
You know I'm a forgiver
Reach out and touch faith
Your own personal Jesus
Reach out and touch faith




Blogger Mind Booster Noori said...

Just two cents on this issue:

Whilst the 'Personal Jesus' momentum makes all sense in Marilyn Manson's world, you have to take in consideration that this song wasn't originally written by him - as a matter of fact the lyrics were written by Dava Gahan. The song took an important role in what Marilyn Manson is today, tho, lest we forget that it was the song that made Marilyn Manson still being in the artistic scene.

Then, the question «Is Marilyn Manson YOUR "Personal Jesus"?» doesn't make much sense either. If you take the lyrics in a first-person prespective you'll see that it is sung in the prespective of "I'm a christ, a Personal Jesus for those around me"... The question would more likely be something like:

"And you? Are you a Personal Jesus?"

8/8/06 8:12 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE mind:

Certainly Manson suggests that we be all that we can be ~ "I never said to be like me, I say to be like you and make a difference." Marilyn Manson. But I think this is a separate issue from his interpretation of "Personal Jesus."

I looked again at the original by Depeche Mode and I prefer Marilyn's artistic interpretation. It is grittier version and its social-cultural comments are more profound.

The images of Hitler, Stalin, Reagan, Kennedy and George Bush Jnr flash occasionally against a background of Luftwaffe. They symbolise the political cult hero who "will save us if we believe in them."

The images of ghandi, nuns, stigmata and marilyn spreading his arms in mock crucifixion, symbolise the religious cult hero who will also bring redemption if we but believe.

Marilyn isn't asking anyone to be a follower. He is making a social comment about the cult of hero worship. But in the creation of the powerful personna of marilyn manson, he has also created the archetypal cult anti-hero.

8/8/06 11:36 pm  
Blogger SAW said...

Reach out and touch something...

Interesting stuff here. Thanks.

have skunk.

9/8/06 4:36 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marilyn Manson is a goof. A commercialized nobody trying to shock the 'rule of law' masses. Well I'm shocked. Now what?

9/8/06 7:40 am  
Blogger Dikkii said...

mind booster noori wrote: a matter of fact the lyrics were written by Dava (sic) Gahan.

Actually, they were written by Martin Gore, who writes the vast majority of Depeche Mode's work.

Dave Gahan is merely the vocalist.

9/8/06 10:00 am  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE the troll:

Manson is just an artist, that is all. A controversial artist, to be sure, but no need to burn him at the stake or to ban his artistic expressions.

9/8/06 11:08 am  
Blogger Snave said...

Likewise, thanks for visiting over at my place!

I like the Johnny Cash version of "Personal Jesus" best of all of them, but Marilyn's version comes in a close second!

9/8/06 1:09 pm  
Blogger beepbeepitsme said...

RE snave

Thanks, I didn't know that Johnny Cash did a version as well. I added that version to the list.

10/8/06 1:19 am  

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