After some debating of evolution vs creationism, and after reading some of Jack Herer's book, it just hit me like a ton of bricks, and I thought I'd share this thought with all of you (if you care, that is )
Knowledge is Power. Yes, most of us have heard that a million times on School House Rock on Saturday mornings, but it means so much more than they could have ever imagined.
Knowledge is the ultimate weapon and the ultimate defence. Since the dawn of civilization, the powerful have restricted the Knowledge available to us common folk, and that is precisely how they maintain their power.
One of the best examples of this (and because it's currently very fashionable (and fun!) to bash them) is the Catholic Church. Make no mistake, I'm Italian and the Church has always been very important in my family. However, since the very beginning, that is since around 100 A.D., it has consistently withheld Knowledge from its followers. But HOW did it gain so many followers so quickly? By claiming a monopoly on Knowledge right from the outset, by being extremely exclusive, moreso than any other religious cult in recorded history. Think about it: during a time of great crisis (as the 3rd century certainly was for the Roman Empire), a time when barbarians are invading the empire from all angles, a time when the Roman elite seemed incapable of defending their own population, out comes this religion which claims that it and ONLY it has the ability to save people for eternity. It has the ultimate Knowledge, Eternal Life. Seriously, who wouldn't be seduced?
For ever since then, as Christianity claimed the majority of the population, it became easier and easier to ostracize and destroy those would go against it. Think about the Crusades, the Inquisition, the thousands of people burned at the stake because they claimed to have some Knowledge or other.
Think about evolution versus creationism. Creation is in the Bible, the holy book of Christianity, therefore the Church cannot possibly admit that it is just a story with a moral lining. For better or worse, the Church claimed a monopoly on Knowledge and it will not let it go without a fight.
Think about the story of Creation. Adam and Eve get kicked out because they ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Strangely, eating from the Tree of Life was just fine and dandy. Good little Christians (and Jews too, for that matter) are told from the time they are very young that God kicked Adam and Eve out because they knew too much. It's ok to live forever, but you can't have Knowledge. Even God doesn't want man to have Knowledge!
Think about Copernicus and Galileo. They were the first to say that the Earth goes around the Sun, and look where it got them. Excommunication, threats of being burned at the stake for their heretical views. But as Knowledge spread, as it inevitably does, the Church came to realize "OK, OK, we'll give 'em that one." Will the same happen with evolution? You bet. (By the way, you know when the Church officially apologized to Galileo? 1969, at the council Vatican II. Galileo died in 1642, alone and isolated under house arrest.)
I guess I really went off against the Catholic Church, but it is not the only corporation guilty of this crime against humanity. ALL governments do it, whether it's Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Bush or Clinton. All those who have power keep Knowledge from the people they dominate so that they can retain power for as long as possible. Goddamn it, even Microsoft does it. Apple is the superior product, yet I bet 90% of us (myself included!) use Windows and IE.
Just consider the ban on Marijuana. It's not deadly, it doesn't cause criminal behavior, it's even a very helpful plant, yet it's illegal. Tobacco kills millions, causes cancer in smokers and non-smokers alike and alcohol leads some people to very violent behavior, yet these two substances are perfectly legal, simply because it is convenient to them (government). But who knows these things? Only us, in these forums. The vast majority are ignorant about these things.
Fuck government, fuck religion, fuck anyone who will keep Knowledge from you. Go out there and get informed, learn, read, and most importantly keep an open mind and engage in healthy (and respectful, always) debate.
The conclusion is this: armed with Knowledge, we can defend the freedoms of man, and we can attack the establishment when it flagrantly hides it from us. Knowledge will set you free.
Toke on people.
P.S.: I know this is long, but it's late at night and I'm a little stoned and the creative juices were flowing!