258. From Small Beginnings …

Habits are effi­cient (.. decide daily which side to part your hair on?). Habits are restrict­ing (.. do you really need to check Face Book every ten min­utes?). Har­vest­ing the ten­sion between effi­ciency and restric­tion gives life pur­pose and direc­tion (.. doesn’t any indus­try do just that?). An imbal­ance of habit, out of pro­por­tion to real need, becomes a fetish (.. do you really need to carry a lucky charm to that job inter­view? Will mem­bers of X reli­gion really go to Hell if they eat A or drink B? .. do you really need to fan­ta­size about Y to get off on sex?). Shared fetishes may become a cult (.. so do you gather to dance around a tree on moon­lit nights? .. are you com­pelled to gather in a TAB bet­ting shop on Sat­ur­day after­noons? ). At a crit­i­cal mass of mem­bers, a cult becomes a reli­gion (.. one believer is a men­tal case; a mil­lion believ­ers are sure they are right). A reli­gion is a social tool which com­forts the timid and sanc­ti­fies the ambi­tious. A per­son both sanc­ti­fied and ambi­tious feels no restraint. God or the Party is always on their side of the war. Any atroc­ity is pos­si­ble.

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