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Excerpt from Dreams

Original Instructions (p. 445)

From chapter "Fate"

I think also about what so many indigenous peoples have said to me, that humans are to be guided by “original instructions” on how to live, including how to live in concert with one’s nonhuman neighbors, who presumably receive their own original instructions, too, all given them by their Creator. It is a person’s responsibility to live according to these original instructions. Many who do not live right lives do so not because humans are evil, selfish, and destructive, nor because of a Christian original sin, but rather because they have for- gotten or actively ignored their original instructions, and they continue to forget about and actively ignore those who continue to give them their instructions.

In fact, this notion of original instructions could not be further in its spiritual, behavioral, and social implications from the implications of original sin, or original sin’s intellectual derivative, selfish genes. Original instructions presume we come into this world carrying with us advice on how to live properly, how to fit in, how to do what is right; and even more crucially, we come into this world having been given a personal and social framework for looking for that advice, for finding it in our daily lives, in dreams, in our relationships with others, and in these others’ actions. These instructions are available to individuals through direct unmediated experience, and although one is often encouraged to ask assistance from one’s elders and one’s community in understanding these instructions and in comprehending messages one may get from dreamgivers, muses, others on other sides, and others on this side, one is also not only encouraged but expected to take increasing responsibility—from the root meaning “to give in return”— for one’s own understanding and interpretations, and how this understanding translates into action and behavior toward one’s com- munity, which includes nonhumans and other sides. This is called “wisdom.” The default in this cosmology is sufficiency; and becoming a selfish, destructive, narcissistic asshole takes effort. On the other hand, original sin presumes that we enter this world damned, insufficient, and only through the intercession of the one and only Jesus Christ (as always, with this culture, there can only be one way, one door; whether it is Jesus Christ, capitalism, science, or anything else about this culture, it’s this culture or death), and normally with the assistance of experts of the cloth, or at least through the mediated Word of God that is the Bible, are we able to finally exit this world and go somewhere in a galaxy far, far away where there is no death, which means where the fundamental responsibility of life, which is death (my death is one of the offerings I must make to have this beautiful experience of having been alive), is denied (which I guess means the machines have won, because there will be no life). The default in this cosmology is insufficiency, is “sin.” The cosmology of the selfish gene is, as I said before, even worse: Christianity without the redemption. It presumes that all of life is based on behavior that under almost any definition would be deemed sociopathological, and that sufficiency, indeed knowledge itself, is based on domination and control. The default in this cosmology is sociopathy. Becoming a (by definition) selfish, destructive, narcissistic asshole takes no effort at all, as we see. In fact it’s in our very genes.