About a decade ago I started intuitively thinking of cultural conflicts by this model of Zoroastrian/Christian dualism. I realized that in a society of hundreds of millions of strangers, those known to all are best thought of as gods who are not people but divine representations of concepts and ideals.
Humans can only process around 150 personal relationships, the Dunbar number. The demands of mass society are so astronomically beyond those limits, we need to repurpose our mental constructs to process our environment.
The memetic spaces that used to be occupied by polytheistic deities and animistic spirits are now used to comprehend entities whose every word is heard by millions. This was how I came to understand people’s reverent attitudes to celebrities, athletes, or royal families who will never personally know or care about them.
Sadly, this seems to be true even for people who should know better:
Upon this morning's announcement that the Trump administration would rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the US' Catholic leadership has responded with an exceptional degree of fury, its pointedness matched only by the rare united front of church entities which have pushed for months to support the survival of the Obama-era effort protecting some 800,000 undocumented young people from deportation and authorizing them to study and work.
US Catholic leadershp, should have, if they were worth anything, have had some exceptional degree of fury for what was done to people like me, people it had some sort of formal relationship with and could in some sense be considered responsible for. But it didn't give much of a damn about me or any of its children. Now it wants other children, another flock. It is just as bureaucratic as the secular leadership, and in lieu of taking real risks to keep a community together, it will use the churn of peoples to maintain pretenses.
But, I digress... They also prove Giovanni's point by painting Trump as this horrible demon.
Which, of course, they shouldn't, since they should have some more clarity and whatever memetic space is needed for spiritual matters should continue to be reserved for those spiritual matters.