Cain and Abel: insight into the first propaganda class

Myth and fable as the first mind industry

Class analysis would simply condemn the priest class and all their clever propaganda—the propaganda that eventually became the myth, then the theology, and then metaphysics of that tribe. The Cain and Abel story, like many of the Great Classics, is propaganda with zero historical reference. Its original purpose was to affect listener behavior. It is a socializing allegory, a story that clearly tells you who is the good guy, who the bad guy, who to emulate, and that we should so emulate. Once the core function has been served, a million pages of subtle Talmudic and Kabbalistic commentary can follow with no harm to the original intent. Except that bona fide philosophy may develop, in which case the myth risks being replaced with the goals of all true philosophy, which are (1) internal consistency and (2) presuppositionlessness (external consistency).

The result may be 1000 Wikipedia articles on the various schools and sub-schools of how to read Cain and Abel. But you and I know that the story was invented because the priests wanted more meat and less vegetables for dinner—in order of preference: bull, sheep, goat, deer, and dove. Secondary gifts to the parasites include: grain, meal, wine, and incense. The secondariness of these items is the point of the Cain and Abel fable (or: the Cain and Fable). That is in fact the motive of the story. “Religious” sacrifices are taxes paid by the poor to the parasitic priest class. Sacrificial laws are originally tax laws.

The priest class is structurally parasitic on the believer class. This is just a functionalist observation, not a condemnation. It’s just a fact of flow direction that value flows from believer to priest. But does this mean the priest class is “bad”? There can be no moral judgment prior to some lived context, which leads to relativism and skepticism. The solution comes from Nietzsche. Nietzsche points out that we can answer questions or right and wrong by asking the biological question that is prior to the issue of values even coming up:

Is the parasitic priest class good for the species?

All lived contexts vary in their particulars, but they do have something in common—life. Is the priest class good for the tribe? This can be answered empirically. Yes, because the priests were “the literate class.” There can be no progress, no change in the material production of a tribe, no “cultural progress,” without material surplus. If everyone is working, no one has time to do anything else. Once a class of people who never work arises, the tribe can put the human neocortex to work on puzzles besides Find more food.

Priests were important parasites, the brains of the social body. They were the information processors. They were the inventors of religious myths, and of the identity of the people. They were the first identity politicians. They concocted the stories of Our People and provided the doxic unity that makes people good soldiers, hunters, and team players generally. And they provided the fear of Angry Sky Father that ensured that believers did the most important thing of all—obeyed (and paid taxes). Studies have shown that prepending God says … before a command enhances compliance. And it’s no accident that priests doubles as pirates and soldiers.

The exploiters are also the culture makers.