Pluto, like the other Olympian gods, is parasitic by nature. He has no vitality of his own, gets none whatsoever from Yahweh, so must take all he can from us. He does this by paying us to be indifferent to our fellow human beings. He gains whatever vitality we suck from our neighbors through that indifference. He’s feeling particularly robust these days.
Pluto not only rules in America now. He also ruled in England in the 1800s. Charles Dickens was intensely aware of Pluto’s cold rule and hotly contested it. One way he did this was by writing novels that unmasked Pluto’s cruelty. Dickens did this especially well in 1843 when he wrote the timeless tale, A Christmas Carol, and created that exemplary minion of Pluto, Ebenezer Scrooge.
Dickens colorfully yet accurately describes the Olympian personality of each one of us, in our devotion to Pluto, with his first description of Scrooge. Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster…He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas (A Christmas Carol, Stave 1: “Marley’s Ghost,” here and following).
A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Pluto, along with the other false gods our Olympian personalities adore, bribes and bullies us into using other people as nothing more than means to our own ends. We use them to gain vitality for Pluto and ourselves until we use them up. Then we simply discard them. If a fellow human being is useless to us, we simply ignore them.
Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire. The stronger our Olympian personality grows, the harder it becomes. The harder it becomes, the more indifferent we grow to the well-being of others. The more indifferent, the less willing we become to share anything we have with them, let alone to be generous toward them, unless boasting about our generosity boosts profits.
Secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. Yahweh, the only true god, values truth, freedom, love, and vitality. These four values are tightly interrelated. We can’t have one without the others. To strengthen our Christian personality, we must develop them all.
Secret. Part of love involves embracing our own vulnerability and accepting the risk of sharing the truth about ourselves with another person. Sharing the truth strengthens Christian personalities and relationships. Secrecy means avoiding our own vulnerability and perhaps even making others more vulnerable to our manipulation. Secrecy strengthens Olympian personalities and relationships at the expense of our Christian ones. Money has reduced Scrooge’s vulnerability to others. His devotion to Pluto, however, has tragically reduced the vitality of his Christian personality and relationships.
Solitary. Love means freely participating in interdependent mutually-beneficial relationships. These are what our Christian personality seeks. This is not what Pluto wants Scrooge to do. Scrooge, amply bribed by Pluto, doesn’t. Rather than pursuing the Christian possibilities of mutually beneficial interdependence, Scrooge has chosen the Olympian illusion of autonomy: of being a law unto himself and to Hell with everyone else.
He carried his own low temperature always about with him. Jesus Christ invites our Christian personality to live as radiant witnesses to him: sharing the light of his truth, the warmth of his love, and the strength of his vitality with others.
Pluto is different. There’s no sharing with him. Pluto, and our Olympian personality which serves him, is all about self-centered taking. Like Pluto himself, our Olympian personality is parasitic. In fact, we might rightly describe more robust Olympian personalities as spiritual vampires because they suck the vitality right out of other people and even whole groups—including churches.
Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, “My dear Scrooge, how are you? when will you come to see me?” No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o’clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blindmen’s dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, “no eye at all is better that an evil eye, dark master!”
But what did Scrooge care? It was the very thing he liked.