While gathering all the wonderful expressions of religion, I couldn’t help but wonder what it all means. Especially do I wonder why I like these expressions so much. It is a hard question to answer. It is probably a mixture of several factors.
The first factor in the equation is religion itself. I cannot help but be struck by religious sentiment more than sentiment of other types. From a religious perspective that is quite easy to explain, for is it not the hand of God at work? I guess everything is possible but in the meantime I wonder what else it could be. Perhaps it’s not so much the hand of God as it is the hand of man under the impression that he is serving God. Whether or not God is real, this state of consciousness indeed seems to be real and also seems to be able to produce fruits that are astonishing.
Then there is commerce. Commerce and religion, quite like sex and religion, seem to have always been an odd mix. The aim of commerce is to make sales fly. It has its ways for this, like trying to present a picture of happiness. Apparently happiness is something that attracts people and if happiness can be seen, then the sales numbers go up. Things become interesting when this idea becomes a business article of faith and is being applied uncritically. Like with medicine for example. I cannot help but laugh when I see people improbably happy on the front of a brochure that tells you how to deal with breast cancer, incontinence, erectile dysfunction or other fun things like that. I also always laugh when I see pictures of happy couples sitting in the park enjoying great moments together accompanying the terms of agreement that I get with a new phone. In the land of commerce though, people could not be happier than those that read the disclaimer of a chlamydia cream.
Finally there is commerce’s brother, mass production. Things become fun when they are being mass produced. This is even harder to explain than why I think religious imagery is funny. I can only say that it is true. When you are in the IKEA and everybody wants the exact same bed, claiming that “this is the one for us” there is just something funny about that. The more authentic and exclusive sometihing is made to look, the more funny it is probably too when it is mass produced.
What then, when religion, something that people experience as most meaningful and personal, commerce, with the aim to do anything to sell as much of something as possible, and mass production, reducing everything to assembly line products thereby eliminating all exclusivity, meet? I would say it is a holy trinity. Commerce wants to make the believers believe that their mass produced products are exclusive and uniquely suited for their specific needs. It is probably this drama that is the core of my amusement.
There is maybe one last factor in all of this: me. I have tried to find Hare Krishna art that I thought was funny. I found plenty of Krishna art, but none that really made me laugh. That is because I can’t really understand those images. On two criteria I just mentioned: I am not very familiar with the religious vocabulary and I have no idea of how those products can commercially be best presented to ensure high sales rates. I’m sure that in their own way in the Far East, commerce is trying to sell popular religious artifacts in the same way as this is being tried here, but I am just not familiar enough with that communications system to understand it let alone think it’s funny, even though I’m sure it is. It is also probably why Jesus is without a doubt the chorus of this blog.