Saturday, January 12, 2008

hx of religion riff

One thing the mechanical mind cannot deal with at all is that there are (to make an amusing joke with a sharp point) 25000 explanations for any event. And this is really obvious if you can step back at bit. And the best, the very best, the ordinary mind can respond with to this direct fact is, "well that cannot be the case since the mind cannot comprehend that complexity." This quote is from some philosophy of history text published sometime before 1970, the details are not at hand. But most times of course the mechanical mentation of the academics just avoids the issue and pretends that such mind defying complexity is not descriptive. I trust the absurdity of the sentiment in the quote above is apparent. As an illustration of the mechanical nature of human mentation the following is a sketch typical of academe in many respects, and intended merely to point to the complexity of reality versus the mechanicalness of the ordinary human mind. The point here is that there are uncountable explanations for anything ordinary mentation can label.

With that preface I am sketching a historical glance at the development of religion---as true as many such histories, but not of course, the WHOLE truth. (Whatever that melon may mean.)

Looking at the major religions chronologically, you could play around with certain generalizations, like that the polytheists viewed man as a small if significant part of a larger marginally reasonable world. Then Judaism introduced individual responsibility and Christianity added that every person was significant. (God as the father, and he cares for you in your individuality. His eye is on the sparrow, stuff, though that phrase may not be in the bible.). So people go from being (in what is arguably still a good description) cogs in a larger machine to each person having some significance. In fact you could argue that with the advent of monotheism man has lost a critical sense of his realistic place in the cosmos. (Funny that, many gods, one mankind, One god, many mankinds... oh well never mind.) Okay it seems like you could make a case for extreme variants of what some (though not me) would call modern Islam as taking this articulation of humanity to the extreme of making each person god. Get the picture here of the sweep of religions -- man is a small part of the cosmos, man is a really important part of the cosmos, to man has godlike power OVER the cosmos. Let me elaborate on this last point: the suicide bomber has surely moments of clarity before he blows himself up. A kind of alertness which we all strive for and which possibly happens to many people in their last moments, characterizes him. But for the bomber whose actions will be a bummer for anyone around him he controls a cosmos. The entire world for himself and some others==the entire world, in an experiential way, is under his control. Interestingly enough, there is only one thing he can DO with this control, and that is --- destroy. Still a case could be made for some chap in a bulky overcoat being a god.

Cannot resist this aside---Whatever the phrase modern Islam may mean, I trust the Prophet would agree with me that it is not his teachings. Modern Christianity is already dead, you could date this with the execution of Bonhoeffer. (Trust me I could,a dn may elsewhere make this more convincing, that's the way ordinary mentation works---you can literally prove anything.) It is quite possible that Modern Islam (to distinguish it from anything resembling that intended by its founder, and to suggest a parallel with all intellectual movements in this divergence between founder and faithful, between prophet and the pious) is in its last throes, a rather flamboyant dying song.
Soon this inconvenience will be finished with. What we are seeing is the last flares of a major religion. Kind of makes you miss polytheism.

Hey it's just a riff-- we are just playing with ordinary mentation.

No comments: