Monday, April 18, 2011

Hierarchy...Up and Down

There are very few very smart people on this planet. The standard bell curve should suffice, as an example, although I would paint the peak at an an enormously great altitude, as the vast majority of humans fall squarely dead center. So, it is really no small wonder that the single most attractive human trait for most people is greed. In smaller environments, this would not present much of a problem, but this planet is not comprised of micropopulations; we have historically tended to macrogroups i.e. countries, armies, monopolies etc...

Now, we can examine this from top to bottom, or bottom to top. It really makes no difference. The motivation of greed works equally well at either end of the spectrum; which is why most of the wealth in this country (world, too) is concentrated in a very small minority. It is also why we have an inordinate number of landscapers (apologies to any master gardeners). Whether we garner wealth by subjugating, or simply taking advantage of, the unclean masses, or by mowing lawns for a living, makes no fundamental difference. The simple fact remains, in the vast majority of cases, that either an ultra-greedy minority is using loopholes and deception to acquire and retain wealth, or an ultra-stupid minority is overcharging us to maintain our most ridiculous desires (read: green lawns). So the real question that arises is 'Why are most of us so easily duped?'. The answer is no less simple. People do not really like to belong to large groups. So whether we look at the migration to cities after the industrial revolution, or the lemming-like flow into the virtual reality of the internet, it can be clearly shown that we are moving in directions contrary to our nature. In the same vein, it can also be shown that religion is the mortal enemy of the human population. In short, as a species we are always striving toward a unity...a commonality...and therefore, we join groups, be it churches or countries, to find community. However, these megagroups also come with creeds and rules that only serve to further isolate us. I listened to a sermon the other day, the thrust of which was that belief is the mortal enemy of religion. I would take that a bit farther. Belief is the mortal enemy of our very existence . Please understand that I believe this holds true for the religious majors and all those transcendentals too. There are no differences in the rigidity of beliefs, no matter what they may be. By their very nature, all belief is conjecture and guesswork; no foundation in reality. And their sole result and purpose is to divide.

So anyway, the sermon continued to say that religion should be founded on finding our way to a loving life in the absence of belief. And this made sense to me, except for the details. Seems the guy who wrote it thinks that we need to discover what love is in this life, which of course is completely wrong. Love is the one gift life gives us at birth. It is the creeds and belief systems that narrow its embrace. We are born into love (at least in most instances...this of course does not contradict my BELIEF that most people shouldn't have children). Love is there from the moment of conception, waiting to surround each child as he/she emerges into the turmoil of life. Fact is, parents teach children not to love. They teach their children what they believe love should look like. Surprise, people...the infant already knows.

Which takes me back to large social structures. Nations fight to keep what's theirs. No other reason. There is beyond any doubt a thing called national greed. All nations, based on their economics, are cursed by it. And nothing removes the hope of paradise more than 'loving' life based on economic gain. The United States foments wars in the name of preserving their national ideals (read:money). The notion that we are a generous nation is refuted constantly by our willingness to kill people to preserve our wealth. Sure, we call it democracy, but its really murder for hire.

Churches do the same thing. The Catholic church is responsible for ruining or ending more lives than all nations combined. Certainly, in their 'come back' commercials, they try to stress the good things they've done. But their good comes wrapped in spreading their restrictive creed. Pick any other religion and you'll find similar results, except for the Buddhists who seem to think they can transcend their realities; transcend suffering by relinquishing desire. There is nothing wrong with desire. We have simply misdirected it, all in the name of belief. Perhaps each of us should spend a little time today realizing we know absolutely nothing, and that our beliefs are based on an inherent lack of knowledge. It seems ludicrous to base our beliefs on what we don't know. If that is most people's view of faith, then I want no part of it. I have my own kind of faith. While it is true that each of us may possess some narrow knowledge, like the mating habits of Brazilian tree frogs, the restricted nature of what we know should feed our humility, not our egos. The truth of the matter is that no matter how much we seek, the fundamental rule of the universe is that there are lots of things we are destined not to know.

When I was a much younger man, I had thoughts of seceding from the union. I still think it's a good idea, and I am considering forming a group of people to populate my new entity. But I'm simply having a hard time finding enough people to offer citizenship. Some are too stupid, some are too cruel, some are simply clueless, and most are simply willing to let life live them. So go on believing if you want, until you find that your life is empty, and your whole life has been a lie; a lie you've told yourself. The only belief that I choose to hold onto is that I don't know anything...and I'm happier for it.