April 25. Hypocrisy and Santiago Mataindios.

Up 10am. Check out. Breakfast: real espresso I showed the girl from the hostel how to make it and a sandwich with a fried egg. Read bilingual Gideon bible I found in the hostel to improve my Spanish and have a glance at Jesus’ words once again. After all, they are the weightiest words in our history. So I read the mountain sermon where Jesus takes on the commandments of the Old, and improving them. Love your enemies, turn your other cheek towards them, mind the beam in your own eye – it’s all very neat. Yes, he has been doing a great job there. Yet at one point, I’d like to help good ol’ Jesus a bit since I think he overlooked something. In Matthew 6 he talks about hypocrisy. You should pray and fast in silence, so that your neighbours don’t know what you’re doing. Otherwise, it is as if you are boasting about what you’re doing. If you pray and fast in silence, only God will see and hear you, and he will reward you in public. So after all it is the public reward we’re after. After all, the distinction between private and public does matter. So the old hyocrisy Jesus warns us for, that we are being pious just to show off, is replaced by a new hypocrisy I warn us for. Why? By saying we have to pray and fast in silence to be rewarded in public, Jesus justifies the distinction between private and public, and hence the structure of the old hypocrites. There is no structural change of thinking. And that means that the element of showing off can’t be eliminated by keeping prayer private. We are still boasting. In other words, the structure of silent pious activity is no other than the hypocrites’ public prayers. By keeping our prayer silent, we keep it between the holy God and ourselves and our devotion is pure. But this very devotion, isn’t it the same devotion the old hypocrites brag about? It cannot be something totally new, only its intention is allegedly purified. Again, the old distinction private-public remains intact, together with the elementary function of boasting which is an essential element of this distinction. Without the possibility of boasting, the distinction is meaningless. Without water touching the coast, we can’t distinguish between sea and land. Justifying the distinction private-public therefore, is accepting boasting. So when we pray and fast in silence, we must be boasting. We have squashed the old structure into the realm of our private relationship with God, that’s all we’ve done. We are proudly showing God our piety. Nothing wrong with that? Indeed, I’d say so. But if you call the scribes hypocrites as Jesus does, you should call yourself a hypocrite as well. A smart hypocrite, that managed to deluge himself about the essence of his own piety. Remember me dressing up the bump in Santa Cruz? I really didn’t care if I was doing it in private or in public. I didn’t want to be part of the moral calculus and that is trying to change the structure. Alas, such a change might be impossible and I will be doomed to bear the reputation of a madman. Still, I might have delivered some clarity about the inevitable structures of the mind, and for what it’s worth, prevented us from being hypocrites as you call it. These things aren’t easy, and I think we should keep thinking about them. It’s so important my friend to be aware of the inevitable structures (or the “grammar”) of our actions, including worshipping God. Let’s be very thoughtful and careful from now on okay? Jesus, my friend, that one goes on the house.

Today, I tour around Cusco from 2pm to 6pm, and feel happy when the kind tourguide Vladimir explains the immense Cathedral of Cusco, the Qoricancha, Saqsayuaman, Q’enqo, and Tambomachay. The Cathedral of Cusco is enormous. They built it here to show the superiority of Christian religion over the pagan Inca believes. They have converted the saint Santiago Matamoros (killer of the moors) into Santiago Mataindios (killer of the indians) and paintings of this pious butcher are omnipresent under the vault of this Church. One of the side churches is called Iglesia de Trionfo, that is the Catholicism’s victory over the Incas of course. Vladimir the guide told us a lot more, but I can’t remember it all. What I want to communicate to you is the abundancy of the Cathedral. The largest retable on the south American continent, decorated with gold and silver from nearby mines, a large collection of valuable oil paintings of the saints, a beautifully decorated cedarwood choir with a rotatable centerpiece to hold the score, an organ that contains over 1000 kg of silver, and much more. In a large painting, Judas was depicted as a darkskinned indigenous man, looking at the spectator, whereas the other eleven apostles were white and looked piously up to Jesus. This was the way to scare and convert the indigenous.
We walk a few blocks and arrive at the Qoricancha. Qoricancha means retreat of gold in Quechua. It used to be a very important religious site. Part of the structure is originally from the Incas. The other part is from the inca-paz (inca-pable), Vladimir jokes. The techniques applied to lay the bricks of this and other fortifications is impressive.
A small bus takes us uphill to Qench’o, literally labyrinth in Quechua. It’s a place where Inca mummifications took place on a rock. After a short stay we continue to Sacsayuaman (not “sexy woman”, Vladimir jokes), a huge fortification in the form of a head. A head? Well, from the air, Cusco looks like a puma and Sacsayuaman forms the tail. Unfortunately, many stones have been torn out by the conquistadores and reused to build the Cathedral. We go further up to about 3700 meters, to the sacred springs of Tambomachay. I am content with the tour as the bus takes us down to Cusco again, stopping on the way for a short instruction about how to tell real Alpaca wool from syntetic or mixed fabric. We get to feel different sweaters and the baby Alpaca feels the best because it doesn’t prickle.

We take the 20:30 bus to Lima, everything goes according to the plan. The “buscama” seats can be folded 150 degrees, but it was not enough for me to sleep on it. There are a couple of movies, “Mr. Deeds” and “Pirates of the Caribbean – the curse of the black pearl” that should entertain the passengers while the bus rolls through the moon landscape of central Peru, somewhere here are the famous Nasca-lines. They amaze because the Incas who made them couldn’t see the result. The tourist now can from a comfortable airplane. The lines form a hummingbird or a parrot, for example, and are likely drawn to please the raingods. The German Maria Reiche has devoted her life to those lines. There is a museum named after her. Anyway, I didn’t see the lines with my own eyes. These busrides are not really interesting, and I should stop writing about them. I will be very tired and have a sore neck tomorrow.

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Kamiel Choi

Dutch philosopher and poet, sometimes sharing thoughts on the internet.

One thought on “April 25. Hypocrisy and Santiago Mataindios.”

  1. Santiago Matamoros (killer of the moors) became Santiago Mataindios (killer of the indians)and then, in a real tit-for-tat, he became Sant’Iago Mataespañois (killer of Spaniards!!) In Peru, during an indigenous uprising in 19th-century they adopted Santiago as its champion, using the “Matamoros” iconography of “Santiago Mataespañois” that in Peru had come to be associated with a pre-Columbian deity who drove out evil forces.There is a mid-19thC silver statue of Santiago Mataespañois in the Museum of Pilgrimages in Santiago de Compostela.http://www.aug.edu/augusta/iconography/spain2005/mataespanoisSantiago.html

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