Archive for the ‘ Religion ’ Category

The Discovery of the World Outside Us

This was also the discovery of the world inside us. The world that made us, and everything else.

Previously, we thought in religious terms – which was only natural, since we are religious beings. The discovery of something else, not religious at all – and much larger (and smaller) than us, that operated by its own laws – was quite a discovery!

This was usually attributed to Newton, and his laws of gravity. That were a sensation at the time. And spurred a search for other universal laws. The realization that there were such laws had a huge effect on the economy of Northern, Protestant Europe. It made them rich!

Living, as I do, in Latin America – I can see this difference every day. They do not have the analytic skills necessary for them plan their world. They cannot conceive of unlimited (but well-organized) time and space – that the North takes for granted.

I will get more specific. In the developed world, every building can be specified with two coordinates – street name and building number. But in Latin America, the address for any building is a long description of how to get there, starting from a reference location, everyone is supposed to know about. This description can occupy several lines of text.

The Post Office in Costa Rica tried to simplify this – but Ticos will have none of it – they want the old way, because it feels better to them! If this is not efficient, to hell with efficiency!

Society and Religion

We social, and we are religious. And the two interact vigorously – we cannot consider one, without considering the other.

We can also think, and we thought, at one time – we could use this ability to create better societies for ourselves. But these better societies have not been much better, despite some strenuous efforts to make them that way.

Why?

To answer this question we have to go back to our ancient history of tribal units, of no more than 100 individuals each. These societies worked, because making them work was easy. Everyone knew everyone else, and conflicts could easily be worked out.

But they also worked for another reason – they saw themselves as being ruled by divine beings – an amazing variety of gods. Who these gods were, did not seem to matter much – as long as the people believed in them – and believed they were in control.

Any attempt to put themselves in control was sternly rejected – by the gods themselves! And this divine order persisted as we became civilized – a huge change that changed nearly everything else.


How does this apply to the 21st Century? That is largely a secular society.

This is a question so easy to answer, it hardly needs answering. Our gods still exist, and are as strong as ever – but they have become the gods of Business – that has become our new religion. And the same prohibition still applies – any challenge to the gods is forbidden!

Our Economy depends on belief (in itself, as a god) and if this belief disappears – the Economy disappears also!


I hope this stimulates your thinking. Your comments are welcome.

Our Most Disruptive Innovation

I just downloaded the Clayton M. Christensen Reader – that is all about business, a subject I abhor – but he adors. His religious bias is clear – Business is creating the Second Coming. And disruptive innovations are clearing the way for this to happen.

Business men and women are eager to agree – even if they don’t understand him very well. They all claim to be disruptive innovators – hoping  this will drive up the price of their stock.

In my opinion, this is bullshit.

In the last two hundred years, there has been plenty of innovation – too much of it, in fact. And, as a response – people have quietly disappeared. This is the ultimate innovation – the disappearance of people, to make way for all this radical change to happen.

The image that comes to my mind, is Palm Sunday – where Jesus enters Jerusalem in triumph – only to be crucified. The imagery is perfect – Jesus dies a painful death, but is resurrected in Heaven!

In the 19th and 20th Centuries, this theology was updated (to use a computer term) to make it more practical – there was to be a Heaven on Earth – managed by the latest networked technologies – TV and the Computer!

Life everywhere is painful – but that is to be expected – and even welcomed! This is proof that everything will eventually be worked out.

In the ultimate miracle!

Take Control of the Economy?

Why not?

This would be a big job, but now we have the Computer – that can easily handle huge amounts of information (Big Data) and understand the relationships involved in that information (Artificial Intelligence) I’m sure it could be done.

But the very idea makes people nervous – they believe something else must be in control – and not us. If we take control – we will be stricken down.

Note the use of biblical language in that last sentence – we will be stricken down. From this it is clear, that God will be displeased with us – if we take control away from Him. The Economy is God – who is everything.

Better not mess with it. And make sure the Computer does not mess with it either.


The problem with this reasoning is obvious – that God is the Economy. But this is overwhelmed by an assumption built into Capitalism itself that is even stronger – that the Economy must be in control. A secular belief, not a religious one.

This is strongly reinforced by those who benefit from this belief – the rich and powerful. They do not want their control threatened. And since they control the Media, their control is absolute.

As seen by the rise of dictators everywhere.

The Chosen People

I got this idea from reading The Open Society and Its Enemies on page 8.

The theory of the Chosen People assumes that God has chosen one people to function as the selected instrument of His will, and that this people will inherit the earth.

The little church that my family belonged to, the RLDS church – believed they were these Chosen People. I used to hear the Elders of the church say, with complete confidence “Zion is coming!’ And they meant coming soon – in their children’s lifetime, at the latest.

This is what the early Christians believed – they were all going to join Christ, in heaven! In the RLDS case – it was heaven on earth.

But didn’t happen. And the church membership since then, has developed a number of approaches to help them cope with this.

Too Much Information

Too much of anything is bad for people – it drives them crazy.

We had too many Machines, and too much Energy in the Industrial World. Now, in the Computer World, we have too much Information, and too much Intelligence. In computer terms – Big Data and Artificial Intelligence.

I hope my statement, that we have too much Intelligence startles you. I meant, of course, too much Computer Intelligence. Which is intelligence, but a perverse kind of intelligence, applied to machines (computers).

People are afraid of this – and they should be. But they do not understand why they should be afraid.

They should have been afraid in the 19th Century. when Industrialization was changing their lives. But they weren’t – they went through a series of wars – the American Civil War, WWI, the Depression, WWII, and the Holocaust – instead.

We no longer have these Industrial Wars, thank heavens – but we have little wars going on all over the place. And poverty is bad as ever. Democracy is being replaced by Dictatorships. And people are saying “Nothing bad is going on!” While their world is being destroyed.

Once again, they are in the grips of a destructive force they do not understand – but they adore!

A fitting parallel would the Roman Empire at the time of Christ. The Christian solution for those desperate times was a new God – part human, and part devine. Who suffered, was crucified! This introduced numerous theological complications – but the symbolism was irresistible. And lasted for over a thousand years.

Fast forward to the present, the 21st Century. People still want to be destroyed, and they expect the Computer to do this for them. Which it is doing – but it also opens up new possibilities. It is both good and evil.

The People are spectators in this new struggle. Spectators that notice nothing – but wait for other forces to push them around.

The Stoic Bridge to Christianity

I am listening to The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition – and this is an excellent lesson in this recorded classroom – about Stoicism, the prevailing philosophy in Greece and Rome at the time of Christ.

Once again, I am struck by the difference between two kinds of people in our world – those that want to learn, and those that do not. The Great Courses are for those who want to learn – and they are excellent.

I use the little SanDisk ClipZip player – to listen to my Audible files. But you can use almost any smartphone, or your computer – to listen to them also.