Monday, December 21, 2009

adult theater

We are highly impressionable animals. Our own mortality is a constant source of anxiety where through subconscious responses we look for comfort in the inevitability of our lives to end. Because there is no way around this, we have invented ways to relieve some of this anxiety through religious beliefs, reassurance through formulating meaning to personal existence and even the idea of cryonics, the freezing of the immediately deceased thinking that the ability for reanimation and a cure for what ever was the original cause of death will be discovered in the future.

Being a social animal from early on (It just occurred to me that warm blooded animals could be more likely to be social animals because of the benefits of the exchange of body heat in close quarters and in cold locations.) we have developed a response to our surroundings that creates an innate navigation of one which seeks to exist within the parameters of our native or adopted group as a means of survival or comfort. If any given group is living in accordance with a belief set that may lean towards an oppressive circumstance for a certain group or individual within the group, the strength in numbers meme overrides the desire to address or consider the stream of actions in place. Our impressionable nature, coupled with a constant need for the reconciliation of our fear of death and protection the the fear that our lives may not have a meaningful purpose is how religion has taken hold. The fear is so great that we are willing to kill to preserve the comfort and familiarity of these beliefs in our lives. The ruling class has infused these sets of beliefs with the idea that conversion of others who do not fit the same religious bill by any means necessary is the will of whatever god is in play. This appears just to be a ploy to gain more power by ruling over a greater number of people.

The life long impressions put on people has shaped their minds in such a way that they believe that they have religious experiences. Visions of religious figures, attributing fluke accidents as divine interventions, etc. by means of willing them to be as such they reaffirm an idea which is unable to be proven and thus these unexplainable phenomena seem to be attributable to proof and affirmations of the truth of religiosity. If we were to agree that truth is what we believe, then there are no universal truths. We may be able to overcome the strife and conflict in the clash of beliefs by recognizing that any belief is a personalized truth built on past experiences and that is it. Claims of universal truths are inherently false, including science. Our cognitive capacity is limited, we supplement this human handicap with a willing belief that there is a puppeteer putting on this play in the cosmos.


  1. It's well known, but important to restate that religion is a man made establishment. The texts are man made and the power structure is governed by man to any capacity that humans can comprehend. The 'higher power' may be there, but it's the human power structure that dictates how most religious people lead their lives.

    And for the rest of us, I do believe there is some slightly innate inclination towards morality, and I'm satisfied with that.

    With religion in place by humans and adhered to because of fear of the unknown, death, mainly, structured religion is run and operates like any business or political agenda.

    I would argue, however, that humans do come hardwired, so to speak, with the desire to believe in something that can't be explained through 'truths'. The blessing and curse of the ridiculously large human brain is that sense of deep time that you spoke of previously. We see things begin and end, we realize we also begin and end, and yet we CAN'T see why either of those two incredibly vital processes happen at all. It was originally either fall prey to a cycle that we didn't understand and couldn't control, or create an outside reason for these processes and hope that with certain rules and guidelines, we could influence how we fit into those processes.

    Humans in all areas of the world developed belief systems that at the very least included some birth and death rites (every culture examined, even with the most minimal religious inclusion, acknowledges birth and death with some ceremony), making belief systems central to dealing with the two most terrifying aspects of being alive.

    So while religion has clearly moved forward (whether it has made progress is certainly a different topic), as most things "human" have, the distant spiritual origins of it I do think are rooted somewhat innately in our breed.

    And I would be interested in hearing more about why universal truths do not exist, including science. Unless you're saying that truth is defined by what one person truly believes verses another's true belief (creationist vs. evolutionist). But then I suppose that is what opinions are all about.

  2. I think that you were getting at what I meant by there not being any universal truths. A "fact" after all, at least by my own truth of what a fact is, is a belief consensus by any group of people. Before a convincing counter argument is positioned people will believe anything that they want to or more likely anything that their personal cultural experiences have conditioned them to believe. It may have been an act of heresy to announce that the Sun was the center of the Solar System prior to adequate Astronomical evidence.

    I think that the moral inclination that you mentioned, is an interesting one and I am curious to the way in which evolutionary development has infused a sense of morality into our species. From what little I am aware of, it seems plausible that since we are a cooperative species, we benefit from a certain amount of harmony in order to coordinate to reap the benefits of cooperation. Any actions which may disrupt that harmony could be seen as immoral. Not even homicide could be considered a universal unethical truth, as there are some cultures were mercy killings are practiced and capital punishment is simply a state giving itself the right to commit homicide for some ethically charged man-made law enforcement. Death is the greatest of deterrent.

    I recently heard, I forget from where, that religion scripts inherent moral inclinations and reiterates tendencies that we can already find within ourselves. I do appreciate an idealistic view of religion as a vehicle to encourage ethics and a compassionate outlook on the world but unfortunately feel that they overstep those boundaries whenever possible. Playing on people's fear is a religio-political trump card that most people do not feel like they have the strength or courage to second guess, after all if they do their lives or souls are on the line, the only things that we really possess.

    The sense of deep time is important too, as you mentioned. That we can anticipate events happening beyond the present moment, most potently our own death shapes cultures, behaviors and ethics, commonly rolled all into one. The large human brain and curiosity is a main element of our predicament. As we are curious to why things happen and those things that we will never be able to explain with as close to universal truths as we are able are substituted with creative and elaborate stories that act as a comforting idea as far fetched as they might seem.

  3. Being a social creature also makes hunting a bit easier, besides the fact that it's easier to cooperate than to fight. But... time, like religion, is just a human convention. Time is contrived from the observation of movement. We fear death only because we fail to understand that life happens only now. Unfortunately, too many humans spend their lives in ruminations of the past and anticipation of the future... both of which are contrived thoughts.