Saturday, February 14, 2015

Fundamentals, A Thriller


Dut dut duh da dut dut do da. Ok, that was my text impression to the intro of the theme song to Mission Impossible.

Here's the scenario. You're fifteen years old. It's summer time. It's hot. It's 1977 and air conditioning only exists in office buildings. It's hot. Water. Clear, cold water is all you crave because the only thing that is out wetting the humidity is the sweat that is bubbling off your skin like some witches cauldron bubbling, boiling. You drink water constantly. It's hot. And you're bored.

You're a teenager and you're bored. What do you do? How bored? Well, the year before back when you were in primer school there was summer school. For a few hours during the summer day you had what is referred to back then as summer school. Think of summer school for grade-schoolers in Lafayette Indiana as summer camp, playing games like Chutes and Ladders. Yeah, it sucks to be in the same school building you attend all winter long but at least you are doing something, Chutes and Ladders with kids half your age. You also rehearse for an annual play in Columbian Park, the biggest park in town.  That was in primer school. Now you don't even have that bit of solace. You got nothing. It's hot.

You're a teenager and you're bored. Like a typical teenager  you decide to get wild. Really wild. Crazy wild. You start by reading the book, "Ripley's Believe It or Not". Not just snippets. Oh no. You read it cover-to-cover. That crazy excitement wears off and you want more. Much more. Then you discover the latest craziest, hottest book that just came out, The Book of Lists.

In that "Book of Lists" there is an entry that draws your attention. A challenge really. The challenge? The challenge is if you are stranded on deserted island and only allowed one book, what would it be? The number one answer? The Bible.

The Bible? Really? You've just got done reading a most riveting book, "Ripley's Believe It Or Not!" What could top that? You start thinking. You've been going to Sunday school most Sundays for as long as you can remember in your fifteen years. It was Mom's free baby sitter. Sunday school and church may have been a lot of things but not interesting . Enforced boredom was more like it. About the only pique of interest you ever get from church is that there are actual real kids that go to Sunday school who are even stranger than you.

Now the hot sticky summer has an air of suspense. Woot! mmm. Intrigue!  How does  the "Book of Lists" claim that The Bible is an interesting book stack up to Ripley's? 

Game on. Let's read The Bible.

Jaw drops, mic drops, walk off the stage. The Bible sucks. What a let down.

Not only is The Bible boring, it is the worst writing ever. By orders of magnitude. The only reason you finish the book, cover-to-cover, is some macabre fascination with being tortured with bad writing. The closest you ever want to get to a sadistic experience in your life is forcing yourself to read The Bible. Never again. After reading that book you promise yourself never again will you force yourself to read bad writing.

Then something happens. Something that happens to all teenagers and children as they grow up; the world gets bigger. Your world enlarges. You realize that the world is bigger than your family, bigger than your school mates and bigger than  your weirdness within that realm. You now usher into to your mind the entire Earth's population and all its history. You realize you're f***d. ha! Not only are you an outcast in your community, but now the entire world and all of history! Ouch!

There is a myth about us atheists and us anti-theists. There is a myth that we are not religious solely based upon arguments of evolution and cosmology. Or perhaps we are angry at "God". No. Millions of us are atheists and anti-theists because The Bible is self-refuting and really bad literature. We became non-religious and even anti-religious at a very, very young age. Christopher Hitchens claimed six-years. I'm jealous. It took me until the ripe old age of fifteen. 

But, this post is not about wrestling with religion. This post is about organics and fundamentals.

Why? Why do people such as myself read The Bible in our youth and immediately reject our culture where most do not? What's the answer?

Organics. Genetics. Most people accept the religion of their childhood, or some close approximation thereof. There exists a small percentage of us though that do not. Organics.

To better get your mind around this let us turn to modern anthropology. Religion is synonymous with culture and identity. Culture and religion encompass our social groups, our social standing, our birth, our marriage and our deaths. Culture and religion extend from the very center to the outer edges of social life. Who can refute that? Why would anyone? Why would I?

The notion of religion itself is organic. Religion is in our genes. Every culture has religion across time and space. Anthropologists have discovered this. So, if religion is organic so then likewise the rejection of it.  My rejection of religion at age fifteen is in part organic. I admit it.

Religion is not an argument then. Religion is an identity. Culture is identity.  The only people who are willing to engage in shifting their religion, shifting their culture, are those who are willing to shift their very identity. So the organic property, the genes or lack thereof that enable us to reset our identity are the same genes that demand conformity.

Religion is not just a conversation then about intelligence and education, but also identity. Identity is a function of cultural imprinting that goes to the very core of who we are from birth.

Changing culture is changing religion and both are a tall order to overcome our  genetics that most of people will never conceive to undertake. Why? People are organically wired to be tribal, except a few of us. Very few of us.

I have understood as long as I have been able to contemplate these things that religion is identity. This was even before studying modern anthropology. Identity is the least mutable thing for any person.

So as strident as I am in my anti-theists positions I have never undertaken any campaign of anti-theism. You can't argue with genetics.

So why now? Why am I proposing to replace religion? Because our environment has changed and obsoleted our genetics. Our tribes and families are breaking down at breakneck speeds. The populations of the non-religious are rising rapidly with correlation to the breakdown of tribes and families. Some 20 percent of the US population today is non-religious from technological influences on our environment: the internet, the automobile, the cell phone, the microwave and countless other modern inventions. The time has come. The thrilling! time has come!

This fundamental thriller then is not to subvert religion at all.  The thrill is to engage the new 20% who are non-religious in what comes next:  world scale. And it is not just about the irrelevance of religion but all social groups that pre-date the Internet.

Back up. This blog post is about fundamentals. Let us discuss the fundamentals. Why does The Bible fail at the fundamentals? 

Here are just  two fundamental  that I remember considering from 1977:

  1. Thou shall not steal. Thou shall not murder.
    These are restatements of the original golden rule: he who has the gold makes the rules. The Bible's restatement is he who does not have the gold must follow the rules and then gain not kill the rule maker. Evil. Pure evil. How much tyranny and oppression has come as a result of this?
  2. Do unto others as you have them do unto you.
    This is the second golden rule. This is particularly evil because it gives license to persecute those different from you. Gay people and heretics such as myself have been persecuted unto death for as long as religion has followed this rule. Evil, pure evil.
Here are the thrilling fundamental upgrades for the information age:
  1. Thou shall not tell people to follow the rules without first defining the rules. The definition of ownership was never defined in The Bible, just the proclamation to follow the ownership rule. Just bad on all accounts. 
  2. Treat people as they are, not as you are. 
Let's call these the first and second Rules of Information. Gold is no longer the life standard. The new life standard is Information. We live in an Information Age and therefore these are information rules.

How do we put these rules into practice? One example is that parents have long lamented that newborns do not come with an owner's manual. Why not? We actually know far more about human nature than ever before in history. Why not start testing babies on an ongoing basis and giving parents manuals of human nature? This  notion represents the spirit of the second rule of information: treat people as they are, not as you are.

It should be obvious by now that the information rules can only be applied in the information age. The golden rules were from a gold age and were our first worst attempt in grappling with human nature. We know so much more now. We must use our new knowledge and abandon the golden rule. We are now incumbent to build a system of ethics and morals dependent on technology to classify us all.  We need technology to manage technology.  We need need the Data Center on The Moon containing the entire human expanse of all knowledge in the Universal Schema, curated by the Terran Sea Otter Academy, and delivered via the Device of Life distributed at birth. Everyone having access to all human knowledge from cradle-to-grave then enables the possibility of the information age and its two new fundamental rules of ethics.

How thrilling! A fundamental thriller! We are not looking back at religion, capitalism, socialism or communism. We are looking forward with excitement and celebration to a world scale of humanity. We are thrilling to being connected and dependent on an entire planet so as to maximize opportunity and life for all.

Fundamentals, A Thriller!


The future is coming!

Well come! and well met!

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