It's odd. I'm still struggling with the question of whether or not I'm a pretentious asshole. I'm still not sure. I was drawn to Native American spirituality from the time I was a wee little infant. One of my first memories is of being pre-verbal and wanting to make me a nice li'l totem pole. I kid you not. I don't think I was a pretentious asshole when I was a baby. As such, you'd think, okay, I came by all this naturally, for whatever reason. I don't know the reason, quite honestly, given that I don't think I have any Native American ancestry whatsoever. None, dude, none. But, in any event, even though I was a non-pretentious baby when I developed this interest, I still have serious concerns that I might be a pretentious fuck. I dunno what to think of that.
See, I see postings on various social media by Native American people who are pissed off at white people appropriating their culture and traditions. And I cain't blame 'em for being pissed off. I mean, the descendents of the very same people that decimated their population and kept them all oppressed (and continue to do so) for a very long time are all now being all fake-Native American and think it's cool. It's so fucking obnoxious that it makes me want to barf.
I don't wanna be one of those pretentious culture-appropriating poopheads. There was a picture of a bunch of white people dressed as Indians on Facebook and it looked really dumb. Shit, dude? Am I one of those pretentious ones? Am I? Am I????????
Anyway - back to the topic I began with. In the course of my explorations in Native American spirituatlity, I came across lots of people who are all into New Age spirituality. And I'm all, huh? Why are Native American wannabes into New Age stuff?
But then, I realized those people are that way cuz they think of Black Elk's vision as coming true and all that. Even though, from what I've read (and I need to read some more to know the real deal), he seemed very disappointed at the end of his life that his vision did not come true. It's odd that all these New Age folks would be deriving such an optimistic view of the future from a man who was very disappointed that this view did not come true.
But anyway.... So I'm all, okay, now I know why new age stuff is all conflated with Native American stuff.
That said, I don't really believe in it. I tried to for a while. I tried to think that this world is about to get better, because if it doesn't, me and a whole bunch of other people are totally fucked. But I just cain't buy into it, dude. I see no evidence, whatsoever, of some stupid Great Awakening or whatever you want to call it. I just fucking don't dude.
Existential Therapists talk about this one defense mechanism people have, where they think some wonderful cosmic force is gonna rescue them. It's a way of defending against the despair and horrible loneliness we tend to face, when we realize just how meaningless and empty life actually is. If we have this fantasy of a Great Rescuer, then we can be okay with our horrible, meaningless existences and go on all optimistic and all that.
That's what I think this New Age stuff is. It's just a big, giant defense mechanism that gives people hope in the face of a horribly fucked up world.
And whattabout Black Elk and his vision, you might ask? Am I knocking it? No, not really, or not really in my view. In my view, I see it as follows. When Black Elk had his vision, all that stuff really WAS gonna come true. It really was! But you know how the time-space continuum is. Things that're gonna happen sometimes don't because some event comes along that alters the timeline. Right?
See, when he had his vision, if you looked at things probabilistically, the highest probability was that good thing's'd happen. There'd be a blossoming tree and all that good stuff. That was the direction humanity was headed in. But then some stupid thing happened that made it not happen. It might've been a person steppping on a lizard. Or a butterfly flapping its wings too enthusiastically or something. It was gonna come true, but then it didn't. The timeline-train jumped its tracks over onto other set of tracks. And these tracks were headed toward a horrible future, rather than a shining, happy one.
And, when that happened, all the dreams of New Age people came to a crashing halt. The only thing is, they didn't realize it. They still think it's gonna happen. It's not.