Shoot Me Up
Legendary Karl Marx once wrote that region is “the opium of the people”; religion is like a drug in that it distorts reality, changing individual’s perception of the world. When I first learned this, negative connotations of the word “opium” flooded my brain. I pictured Injecting religion into my skin, clouding my mental capacity, and withering away as if I were following the footsteps of Jimmy Page’s trail. I, myself, have never been a religious person, but I have an ample amount of friends with a variety of beliefs. I started to wonder, is religion really clouding their perception of reality? And is that such a bad thing?
I thought about my roommate who actively practices Hinduism, and started comparing the way she views the world to the way I, a non-religious person, do. Countless examples began racing through my head. When I sit down to do my homework, I plop my backpack on the floor and begin to get situated. Across the table, my roommate begins praying (it catches my attention because of the involvement of her arms during prayer): my foot was rested on my backpack. So what? Well, to Hindus, books represent wisdom, and wisdom is sacred. Resting my heel on my backpack is similar to me spitting on the importance of intellectual wisdom. When I get out my school work, I don’t think where my feet rest; I don’t think about how important and even sacred my books, this school, and my education is to me. If anything, I normally think something close to, “I want to burn my homework”. My roommate, on the other hand, seems to cherish every page of even the most monotonous textbooks. She believes that it is a blessing to have the opportunity to learn. And it is.
If I agree, though, why don’t I unzip my backpack with delight? Is it because I lack the “opium” that change the way I perceive things? It is true that this is simply one example, but the difference in work ethic and determination between her and me is easily noticed. And after pondering over Marx’s view of religion as opium for the masses, I couldn’t help but make the connection of our habits to our religious views. Say Marx was on to something and that religion truly does alter our view of reality. Is this delusion really a bad thing? If the end result is the difference between an A and a C, maybe experimenting with “opium” isn’t such a bad idea…