Marcia is quite right and makes the most important point here. In fact, some drank it willingly; some tried to escape; a very few did. But there really are, also, people who do not require objects of worship--let alone AN object--to imagine the most profound values. Really--there are. There are other sources. It is possible to love peace and imagination and generosity of spirit and mutuality without iconic gods, let alone god(s). And as Marcia reminds us, it is possible to worship with devastating effect.
And, since this is, or was, a list about Eliot, it may be worth recalling what we all know, that he wrote much of his most important poetry before being Christian and considered being Buddhist at the time of TWL.
I am rereading a whole series of Eliot critics from very early, and it is fascinating that so much of what now appears to some to be contemporary reaction against Eliot or a general failure to read him in what is imagined to be a true or correct way was always there in critical debate. Very few readers read him as proposing a religious idea when his first work came out. Many were distressed at the turn in the late 20s and 30s. They were mainstream critics.
>>> Marcia Karp <[log in to unmask]> 05/12/07 9:42 AM >>>
But they knew it was Jim Jones who made it. And by the time they drank
it, many knew who Jim Jones was.
Diana Manister wrote:
> Dear CR: I think Mallarmé's warning was an important one. If God is
> removed as an object of worship, something will take the place God
> occupied. We are behoven to consider what we adore: it could be the
> self, or, as Jung warned, a charismatic leader that we follow to hell.
> A good dictator knows how to use all the rituals and iconic images of
> religion to inspire irrational faith. Very dangerous. Don't drink the
> Kool-Aid unless you know who made it! Diana