Peddling Fear

They peddle fear here.
They peddle fear of terrorists and sudden death.
They peddle fear of rapists and of angry drivers.
They peddle fear of government and paying tax,
Of deer ticks, butter, sugar, fat, untested drugs;
Of unknown visitors and men in turbans;
Of invasion war and sudden death;
Of gunmen holding up cashiers;
Of bombs in culverts, school kids murdering with guns.
They peddle inquietude, nervousness, distrust;
And to the terrified, apprehensive, cowed,
They preach damnation, hellfire in the after-life.
The more they frighten us the more it gains the vote,
And the opinion-makers drivel on in biased turpitude,
Yapping in support of party, church and power.
Command, empire, sway, rule, dominion, supremacy
All depend on mongering fear and bald mendacity.

But then there is Epicurus,
His character assassinated by the church,
Maligned, misrepresented, damned by rote!
He only sought a tranquil mind, a life of peace,
Fearing nothing. For fear, he said, brings pain.
And politics? Striving, ambition, restlessness.
There are no active gods, said he, no afterlife,
No spirit out there, evil or benign,
Rewarding, punishing, damning you to hell.
No trumpets, choirs or seats of the almighty.
Just atoms, molecules, and in them, everlasting life.
No devils, angels, harps or golden cities;
No god resembling, oh! coincidence!, a man.
No omniscient god who reads your thoughts,
Or manages the minutiae of your life.

Your life, indeed! Your life it is, subject to fortune,
Tribulations, ups and downs, but in the end, just yours.
Try not to chafe and fret, but seek a mental peace.
Pursue the arts, activities you love
. Don’t worry over things you can't affect.
Seek simple pleasures, food and friends.
Forsake consumerism, shops and malls,
Buying only what you really need.
Do no harm. Mend fences where required.
Cultivate your garden and your friends.
Or get a dog.
All to be done in moderation and with joie de vivre,
For simple pleasures trump all wild excess.

Be fun, be smiling, for life is to be lived - -
What follows after lasts a long, long time!
Should some abuse you as an atheist,
Remember! It's a propaganda word - - and just a word,
Spoken by people with their own agenda.
Who cares what that agenda is, provided you are tranquil,
For no one is proprietor of the truth.
Read Epicurus! Till your garden, walk that dog.
Enjoy Nature while we have it still.
Reject all superstition, think for yourself.
Believe not the religious memes of modern life.
Be gentle, thoughtful and ask yourself - -
Why do they peddle fear here?

January 2007