The Sacrificial Lamb, er, Goat

by | Jan 17, 2023 | It's Family | 0 comments

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Scapegoating and Sacrifice

sacrifice the scapegoatScapegoating and sacrificing the scapegoat is part of human history. But, wow, how shitty are we? Pretty shitty that we must dump our insecurities onto an animal (historically) and then send that animal off into the wild, with our sins, to be devoured.

We really don’t care about other life as long as we can use that life to rid ourselves of the conflict that exists within. How lovely.

Historical context for the scapegoat: “A high priest would place his hands on the goat’s head and confess his people’s sins— thus transferring them to the animal—before casting it out into the wilderness to rid Israel of its transgressions. As for the other goat, it would be sacrificed to the Lord.”

New Sacrifices

The scapegoat goes off with all the sins and guilt, yet that feeling still exists in all those people. Then it was a goat we selected to bear our burdens. Now we burn sixty-one-foot effigies like  Burning Man in Black Rock Desert, NV, or the fifty-foot Zozobra in Santa Fe, NM.

Burning Man has morphed into much more than sticking it to the man. Or I have read, I haven’t been to Burning Man, so I don’t know.

Zozobra, I have attended. And I will tell you that when you a fifty-foot-tall marionette moving around, moaning and groaning, you want that fucker to go down. It’s easy to see a cartoonish creature take the burdens from my mind. And then be lit on fire, so those burdens are gone forever.  

No matter the format or what we are burning or exiling, we still can’t figure out how to rectify the conflict within without destroying something else.

sacrificial phoenixEven my general obsession with the phoenix is about rebirth from death. New life is coming from the ruins of the old. Maybe it’s the desire to want to think that’s possible.

Ancestral Survival

I think it’s because humans rely on conflict. In times of relative peace, one country invades another. And for what purpose? To create conflict, to fight, because that is still at the core of who we are. It’s baked into our DNA. And when you think about it, it makes sense.

It wasn’t that long ago that we were prey, hightailing it across the savannah in Africa (yes, we are descended from ancient humans from the African continent; get over it). So maybe that is when it all started.

To escape the saber tooth tiger or whatever was hunting our slower bipedal ancestors, we would sacrifice a child for the saber tooth tiger to eat, thus slowing it down, so that we could escape.

Survival Shift

At some point in our history, it stopped being survival of the fittest and became survival of the shittiest. Who throws a baby at a saber tooth tiger to save their own skin? Donald Trump’s ancestral people, that’s who. I can totally see that.

And maybe my ancestral people too. I mean, look at what my mother did to me to protect herself. Oh, she can throw herself upon the sword of martyrdom all she wants, but underneath, she was trying to survive. And trying to cover up many shitty things that she knew about and never did anything about.

I don’t think, for one second, that her survival instinct of sacrificing the scapegoat to save herself didn’t just happen overnight.

Being the scapegoat is a horrible existence. And it occurs in other relationships, too, not just parent-child relationships. Please seek therapy if you think you have been or are the scapegoat. No one should go through that alone.

I recommend Online-Therapy.* Encouraging therapy is their first step in healing.

Check out some of my other writings about alcoholism and sobriety. “The Slow Descent to Sobriety” starts my December series about addiction and my journey with sobriety.  You can also check out my recent poetry,  What Happened to All of My Words??

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