We may be well aware that we have our own fundamentalisms, but I think it can be hard to see that they can be just as extreme. But if you look at some of the American Christians with their “God hates gays” placards, it’s clear that fundamentalism is alive and kicking just as strongly in the west as it is amongst the Muslims.
For some light relief, here's a "Hot Muslim Chick"
We’re just finishing 12 years of Pluto in Sagittarius, with Jupiter having welcomed him in in 1995, and now ushering him out. During this time fundamentalism has proliferated in many forms: philosophically, there has been the very popular materialistic atheism of Richard Dawkins, who ridicules anyone who believes in God or anything like it;
environmentally, we have had the crisis reduced to one issue – CO2 – with the likes of Al Gore denouncing anyone who questions its role in global warming; politically, there has been a belief in democracy so absolute that it justified a war in Iraq, and its imposition on a country completely unsuited (at present) to democracy; and religiously, Christian fundamentalists in the US have risen to political power and waged war on Islam; they have also managed to get creationism on the school syllabus, and have even opened a spurious museum of creationism;
at the same time Islamic fundamentalists have used the Koran to justify attacks on the west, as well as brutal treatment of their own peoples if they don't follow their interpretation of the Koran.
Jupiter left Sag last Tuesday, and Pluto will leave Sag towards the end of January. Fundamentalism has reached its extremes, we have had our eyes opened to it as a potential within modern, technologically advanced humanity, but I reckon the tide is just starting to turn. So long fundamentalism, at least to some extent.
In the US, the political tide has turned against George Bush and the neo-cons; Tony Blair is no longer PM in the UK – he has been replaced by Gordon Brown, who does not share his taste for wars of ‘right’ against ‘wrong’; a bishop in the UK has just been warning against fundamentalist atheism; there is today an article on the BBC News Website entitled "Bible bashing dying out in Kansas", which the author claims is suggestive of a 'revolution in American Christendom'; and the war in Iraq, fuelled so much by Al Qaeda, has eased off considerably in the last few months. Perversely, the recent American refusal (yet again) to commit to CO2 reductions for all the wrong reasons may change the environmental debate, it may become more open, who knows.
Incidentally, Arnold Schwarzenegger, political opportunist that he is, is my current environmental hero for insisting on big emissions cuts in California, and taking the Federal Government to court for not ratifying the emissions laws that he has pushed through. Top Gun meets Terminator.
I’ve always thought with the environmental/energy issue that though America is the worst offender, they will be the ones who come up with the technological solutions, once the economic argument is there. America has a history of amazing resourcefulness. I was reading the other day, for example, about the cutting edge solar cell research that is going on in the US, that promises a step change in making solar energy more economically viable. Let’s hope the price of oil keeps rising.
So goodbye Fundamentalism, hello Big Brother. This is one of the meanings of Pluto in Capricorn: control of the individual by government and by the big corporations.
Positively, we are likely to see much less in the way of economic bubbles and government spin. Negatively, we may be entering a less adventurous, more insecure era. More ominously it will be one in which the government and the big corporations have all sorts of data on us, along with intrusive CCTV. One of the lessons here is that they can’t own our souls, however much information about us is out there. You are not your spending habits, your emails, your Google searches, your criminal record, your CV, your medical records, your earnings or your National Insurance Number. In the last analysis, you are what you know to be of worth within you, which the government can never reduce to data nor take away. I think there’s a lot of freedom in this sort of realisation.
As an aside, Tony Blair formally converted to Catholicism 2 days ago. I think, like his heroine Margaret Thatcher, he is likely to become increasingly rigid and irrelevant as time goes on.
Pluto's time in Sag has been life changing for him, but I don't think I want to go there. 3 days after Jupiter entered Cap, he converted to a traditional (Capricorn) religion (Jupiter), one with a not very pleasant history, and whose medieval crusades against Islam he has re-enacted.