April 11 2023

This blog is called Manmade, but unless you subscribe through RSS, you wouldn’t know. Its partially from an oft-repeated Hitchens quip: ‘Religion is manmade’. However, I first recall hearing the compound in a longer context — Religion is manmade; in fact it is male-made. I’m paraphrasing for now since I can’t find the debate or talk where Hitchens said this. I’ve since heard versions of this said by many others, including Steve Jobs:

Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.

I’m thinking about this today, but in a different context than what Hitchens or Jobs ever intended (probably). All the bigotries and unjust hierarchies that surround us are manmade. The ‘traditions’ that we impose on others, even those we love are manmade. Culture is manmade — just because something is part of ‘our culture’ doesn’t make it moral. I wish it was easy for everyone to accept this truism. Until then, I’m resigned to suffering on account of the cultural obstinacy of loved ones, although I console myself with the thought (or promise to myself) that I would never impose the traditions and customs that comfort me on my children. The cycle ends with me.

Unrelated to all this, I feel…weird quoting Hitchens so often when I write here. One day I’ll write about my heroes, Hitchens (one of them), and how my thoughts and feelings with regards to him have evolved over the years.