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609. Opium of the Masses

War is a way of life in the history of nations. Bitter wars have been incessantly fought over possession of territory. That was the major cause of war. Territory is the physical mother of all that exists on earth. Man is a conscious living extension of the solid inanimate earth that gave birth to him. It is this truth that lies behind the tenacious struggle MAN wages for the mud of which he is the offspring. Crusades and religious wars were there, but they too were waged over a sacred piece of territory. Great wars have been fought to restore a lost woman - Helen, in the Trojan war, Sita in the Ramayana - as women are as sacred to men as mother earth. After the end of the Cold War, we see ferocious animosities focussed at precise undefined points in the shape of terrorist explosions. Presently the world is finding it difficult to come by a satisfying answer to this phenomenon. Marx's description of religion as the opium of the masses deserves consideration here.

Opium intoxicates in usual doses, destroys in overdoses. What is a usual dose of a drug to a cultivated mind is an overdose to a superstitious mind. Idealism for a great mind is fanaticism for a small mind. Culture is the best ingredient of Mind that makes it level-headed or great. It is education that prepares the mind to receive culture. Man thinks of education when his stomach is full. Hunger prevents one from seeking education. Physical threat and insecurity can drive man so hard, that he even overlooks the claims of a half-filled stomach. Superstition forms and takes hold of people at all levels of insufficiency. There is a ‘proper' superstition to each level of maturity or immaturity.

Superstition makes men fanatics. After the end of the World War, as well as the Cold War, there appears no valid reason for fighting. Still, isolated intense fights, or rather attacks, are there all the time. In the absence of prosperity and education, religion does havoc to the mind through the instrumentation of superstition. Therefore, we see the power of Marx's observation.  It is a historical fact that wherever life opens prosperity, religion goes to the background. Equally, the rising enlightenment of the mind prevents religion from having an intoxicating hold on it which leads to rabid fanatical behaviour. We also see in those hotbeds of internecine conflicts - Palestine, Kashmir, Ireland - there is mass migration seeking better economic life disregarding religious persuasions. Religion is the opium of the masses not when they are educated or prosperous. Hence the remedy for terrorism lies in opening up the avenues of economic betterment.



story | by Dr. Radut