Tuesday, 8 January 2008

...just thinking

Thinking about it, we begin life as the most helpless of creatures, so of course we look to some outside source for protection and guidance. We do what we are told not because it is right or just, but because we fear punishment or withdrawal of affection. As we grow most of us go along with whatever spiritual/religious beliefs we are reared with or rebel against them totally, then as teenagers we pull away looking for our own path. We then have society telling us what the rules are that we must follow and the consequences of noncompliance. I don’t think the majority of people stray too far from the beliefs of their origins, or if they do, they return to what’s comfortable. There are those of course who do embark on a spiritual journey that last from the moment you begin until the end of life because it is not possible to know the answer. Is it?

What came before? That is the ultimate question of cosmologist. What happened before the Big Bang? If there is a singular god, a supreme being controlling creation, where was She before? And if She is all knowing, all-powerful, and all goodness, what possible reason could there be to create an inferior form of life and then watch it suffer? Why create it on one planet like an experiment in a petri dish? Buddhists handle this question with dependant origination – there is no beginning, and there is no god – we are responsible for our own fate, and we have to keep doing it until we get it right.

How could a human understand the divine? Won’t that understanding always be filtered through the human brain, through our instinct for survival? Even when holy texts are revealed through divine revelation, that text is filtered through a human mind, then through translation and the current political prism. The interpretation of that text, as we have seen, depends on the man and his agenda.

If we concur with modern thought, then evolution moves from simple to complex. A human thought process is infinitely more complex than a star. We are all made from stars you know. The atoms that were dispersed throughout the universe after the Big Bang are contained within us. There is a line of thought that what we call god or dependant origination is the Universe becoming aware. The swirling mass of atoms becomes aware. But that still leaves us lonely doesn’t it? No great father figure, no justification for a patriarchal society and control. No hell, so we are responsible for our own morals and ethics. If there are levels of humans (evil, not-so-evil, good, better-than-good, exceptional) does that not by definition imply that there are levels of gods? If there is a learning curve for humanity would that not apply in a divine sense? Doesn’t that make more sense than an all powerful, all knowing being with nothing better to do than create one race of inferior beings and let them run?

I read in various text and publications that the majority doesn’t care if it’s real, their faith gives them comfort and a sense of protection from the callous arbitrary events of life on Earth. I can understand that. That’s what faith is, not asking for proof. But what if you are not one of the majority where do you find comfort then? What is your explanation for the presence of evil? How do you explain the presence of evil if God is goodness yet evil exist? What is the reason for your existence? Why live a moral or ethical life? To what end?

But can it be possible that the genius or compassion or sacrifice that we see in the lives of humans is only in existence for sixty or ninety years? Does that make sense? That the music of Mozart was here and then blinked out of existence forever? The genius of Hawkings? The compassion of King? Or is that just human hubris to think that anything we are capable of as individuals is worthy of survival in the universe?

I’m making no judgment, I’m just thinking…


Rob Clack said...

A most interesting post, Lady M, which I hope to return to tomorrow to read again. In the meanwhile, I've tagged you. Please visit my blog to get the details.

The rules state that I should tag 7 random people, which is odd. Instead, I'm following a chain of links from one person's blogroll to the next. So far, we go Trousers->Prada Pixie->WakeUpAndSmellTheCoffee->you.

@themill said...

Not sure where I stand on faith at the moment, my beliefs seem to be hazier by the week.
Thought provoking blog.
Happy New Year, have been blog awol for ages, but hopefully will be visitng a little more often .
PS - Like the neew decor..

Winchester whisperer said...

You've got immortality through your blog, Lady M. "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity" etc. May be worth re-reading Ecclesiastes?

Rob Clack said...

Just back for a re-read, and thought I'd add my two-pence-worth.

Personally I think there is no supreme being. I don't know what caused the big bang, but that doesn't bother me. All I see in the Bible is a creation myth, equivalent to many others.

Once life had come into existence, I'm comfortable that evolution in a broadly Darwinian sense brought us to where we are now.

Watching Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman's Long Way Round, it struck me that most people from most cultures have a very similar set of fundamental rules for how you get along with those around you. This suggests to me that those rules (basic morality if you like) probably predate religion and represent values we determined a very long time ago - probably before H. sapiens came into existence.

Yes, I know, lots of speculation there and very few facts!

Ian Lidster said...

You must have been sending off a vibe of thought about this, because I was going through virtually indentical ruminations a couple of days ago. Interesting.

Omega Mum said...

The alternative is to be a giant panda. They lead an almost completely solitary existence, bound by no rules, amble through their bean-shoot rich countryside, meet each other rarely and then only to mate but then, and get this, often loathe each other on sight and never get it together. And we wonder why they're endangered. Anyway, my plan is to come back as one, as long as it has keyboard skills.

darth sardonic said...

i love it when you post like this. wish we could hash it over tea. or drinks. or humus. whatever. of course, i think everything is right. i think we all go where we are hoping to go. the universe is huge, couldn't everything you just asked all be right, or at least all be able to coexist within the scope of infinity? i think the real crux of the matter is our own inability to fathom infinity, and so we end up thinking only certain things can be right. but that is just me. i am an idiot.

lady macleod said...

What an interesting tag. I'm in - I can do it on Friday I think. I like your follow the chain idea.
Yes the rules of morality are necessary for society - but it appears we humans have always needed the comfort and threats of a religious dogma to enforce it.
Thank you for your comments, and thank you for coming by.

@the mill,
Good to hear from you! Happy New Year to you and I'm pleased you like the blue!
Thank you for coming by.

winchester whisperer,
Immortality (sigh) but in what form? A consciousness or a floating ball of flotsam? Vanity/hubris? I think you are right.
Thank you for coming by.

Ah yes, what is that "they" say about great minds?
Thank you for coming by.

Omega Mum
LOL LOL I was giggling for hours over this! A panda! You are brilliant!
Thank you for coming by.

Just for you baby. we have to plan an afternoon in Paris or Istanbul at a cafe for coffee, wine, and talk.
Thank you for your insightful comments, and thank you for coming by.

Sparx said...

Wow, where has everyone gone? A post like this normally gets you hundreds of responses! I have a copy of this wonderful book from the 1930s called 'The Origin of the Belief in God' which posits that a belief in God cam about originally from a form of ancestor worship. The place where ancestors were buried becomes a place people go for answers to questions and for protection etc however through the ages it becomes forgotten that it was once a burial ground and people belief that something 'else' lives there and provides answers to prayers... a God, perhaps... anyway, it's a nice theory, anyway.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Fabulous post, Lady M - still thinking about it all...