Complete optimism is naivity and every fraudster requires that his victims be optimistic. In my country today, there is religious ecstacy and people are so optimisic that they deny the existence of many problems. Still, denial is not resolution. Nature doesn’t care who believes what. Some even say problems should be seen as opportunities. Right! So if the IRS or the army is dysfunctional does that mean people can start their own armies or tax agencies? And if we all try to solve problems for profit, wouldn’t the common good be in limbo? Maturity always comprise some element of realism which is often mistaken for pessimism. Truth is, optimism indeed can lead to the biggest opportunities or blunders. So lets not only emphasize the former as faith mongers always do. Half truths are lies and lying is immoral.
Has religion contributed anything useful to civilization, asks Bertrand Russell? His own summative conclusion was that religion is a disease born out of fear and which has caused untold misery to the human race. The scars of religion still remain today in the human soul in such forms as the demonization of diseases such as epilepsy, leprosy, high fever and even the demonization of the harmless expression of sexual desire which is innate to all of us. In my late teenage years, I read the entire bible twice. Ofcourse I didn’t understand everything. I was also in the church for more than 15 years then I saw the brighter light, I realised organised religion advocates slave morality which ultimately enriches the master.
However, religion continuous to appeal to the masses because it is effective in neutralising pain. Christianity is the most effective pain killer and by so doing it slows the individual’s spiritual growth. The most unaccomplished people in the world are found among the most religious communities. It is however not clear whether their state of life is caused by religion or they are religious because of their state of life.
Here in Ghana, there are so many religious cults calling themselves Christians. The vast majority have not read the bible themselves. They wait eagerly each sunday to hear “divinely inspired words” from their esteemed interpreters. I’m yet to meet a zealot Christian in my own country who has a higher aspiration other than meeting his or her daily need of food and wine. In the typical christian, there is always something of the want of desire for higher aspirations. This religion extols mediocrity, condemns the application of the intellect to solving problems and recommends the most aimless and mentally soft to leadership positions in our society. They call it ‘servant leadership’ forgetting that there are two main prerequisites of leadership: self defence and self sustenance. In addition, by promoting a dualism of character (lion and lamb) it succeeds in making the zealous believer a most heartless double-crosser and a hypocrite. These are, I think, the attributes that stand out in the modern christians that I have met.
Finally, christianity is like theological marxism in the sense that it aims at or at least predicts a glorious future through the usurpation of the master by the servant thereby creating a blissful classless society where sorrow will be no more. This was the same hubristic delusion they preached in the middle ages. Sorrow (and joy) has always been part of human life. While some change in human society is possible, it is however highly improbable. One must understand that in human societies throughout history, social structures exist that are never compromised except through revolutions. The strong and influential will continue to dominate the weak.
I must however add a caveat to this rather lengthy critique of religion. It is far from my aim to dissuade people from worshipping whatever god they want to. I don’t gain anything from criticising religious beliefs. But I also aim at provoking thought. I believe everyone is free to follow his or her convictions as long as they allow others to follow their own. There are different types of “faith” and though I believe I’m a very conscientious person, very much spiritually in tune with my being I don’t think god is a mechanic. Because I often hear the typical christian pray: “O god help me!” whenever their car breaks down on the road.
Nature is supreme. Nature is no respecter of persons. Nature is true and same everwhere. Nature is god.
Considering that human nature is very fickle and unpredictable, I’m convinced after much deliberation that good is not the opposite of evil as many people believe. Good and evil are parallel to eachother and one can never predict how another person might act when provoked (which is even worse among the so called born again). When a supposedly evil person suddenly turns kind we should not be quick to say that he or she has changed but rather he or she has simply switched lanes. At any point in time evil can set in again. Everyone has the capacity for both kindness and evil and it is the social environment that brings out the best or the worst in us. Treat children with kindness and they will grow to be kind. Be mean to them and they will be mean when they grow up. I have realised that, for most people, whatever they experienced or are taught while growing up is what they accept to be true for the rest of their lives. Whether as creatures of god we are innately good or descendants of apemen we are innately evil is a difficult question because of the parallel nature of good and evil.
No psychical activity is as dangerous and self harming as the philosophization of the emotions. To philosophize the emotions is to obstruct it’s path, to preserve its wounds and prevent the individual from training the emotions to successfully deal with life’s daily pains. Philosophy only protects. It does not heal emotional wounds. So herein lies the difference between philosophy and spirituality.
To spiritualize the emotions, in contrast, does not obstruct the flow of the emotions but rather it diffuses it so that its painful effect is no longer felt. This creates a feeling of healing. In other words a kind thought is often the most effective antidote to an evil thought or a negative emotion. Moreover, the misery in this world is what necessitates faith. Our formal educational systems have failed us because they train only the logical mind of a child. They do not train children in emotional intelligence.
Metaphysical poets and prophets often advocate the spiritualization of the emotions over the philosophization of the emotions. Bottom line is this: one must not escape or shield oneself from emotional pain but rather toughen up and overcome it. This is victory for the soul. Any social situation that makes one extremely fearful is necessary for the evolution of one’s soul. However, one could also combine the two ways of dealing with emotional pain – to spiritualize first, and then philosophize – which is probably the best.
Confusion arises whenever something exists but the source cannot be traced or is completely unknown. The mind, without which we cannot be conscious and for that matter we will not exist can be likened to a luminant object. It guides the body, communicates with the body and maintains the body in this physical world. In fact the body is simply a peripheral of the mind just as keyboards and monitors are simply peripherals of the system unit of a computer. The mind is the main proof of our existence and it is the organism within the larger organism.
It is important that whatever ideas, thoughts or emotions are produced in the mind be consistent with the organisms basic biological constitution and function. In other words a deer who behaves like a dog will experience problems since it has a ruminating stomach whereas a dog does not have one. But in actuality, such cases of mismatch of mind and matter are extremely rare. The matter in the organism almost always matches the function of its mind as a unit of the whole, right from the moment of cell division.
The mind is also a tool for negotiation and survival. We probably negotiate a hundred times a day on the average with friends, family, spouses, co-workers etc. Here I am not speaking of negotiating a contract but rather negotiating emotional needs. You have to give up something in order to gain something usually of a pressing importance – that’s negotiation. Through memes and sometimes personal experiences, one may be a better negotiator than another. But the mind is capable of learning just about anything.
Followers of Scientology, many of whom believe they are aliens trapped inside a human body through a process called ‘assumption’ are simply experiencing mind – body incongruousness. In other words, they believe their body does not fit or is not compatible with their thoughts and desires and since the mind is the true self they therefore reject their physical body, so to speak. Similarly, someone who desires to be a model or a basketball player but who is markedly short/unattractive may also end up rejecting his or her body.
Bottomline is this: one ought to accept oneself before one can accept others and ultimately the world. Whoever does not love him or herself will always fail at loving others. It begins with you.
Hume’s answer, that, by coping with a smaller evil humanity could avert greater evil did not answer the question of the problem of evil. The question was not about how to avert a greater evil but rather “from where comes evil?”
What we call “God” and what we call “the Devil” refers to the same entity. That’s obviously a mad logic of our existence. But He says right here:
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” — Isaiah 45:7
So next time we go through some pain and suffering, let us look to the Lord. Perhaps he creates evil and causes suffering to fortify our souls. So yes! God can be benevolent or malevolent depending on who he is dealing with.
I pray brethren.
Do not be conformed to this fallen world.
But be ye transformed by the renewal of your minds.
Wherefore many years ago there was a great spark.
Which brought forth life from the non-living.
This spark, the burning flame, we call life –
It belongs to an owner.
Tortoises and snails from stones, and serpents from reeds.
And from leaves, came flying creatures.
Unless one sees oneself as an integral part of the whole
One can never find meaning.
Despair in something is better than belief in nothing.
For with the former, there is always a destination and
Something from which the conscious self can seek repose.
Be ye, therefore, submissive brethren, to your inner selves –
To your owner – one who is and knows all but cannot be known.
What is in oneself, indeed, is greater than what is in this world.
(Originally written in 2014.)
As we can see, of the two regions of the mind, the unconscious is the largest and a true representation of the person – except in the case of the rationalist. The conscious (ego) is simply a “rewiring” of the unconscious and through which one perceives the physical world. We can think of the unconscious as soil and the conscious as a tree that grows on the soil. The tree, the fact that it emerges in adulthood, owes its growth and strength to the soil and although it is prominent, it ultimately, is serving the interest of the soil (unconscious).
Freud and Jung often presented the conscious (ego) as a separate entity but to me, it appears to be an extension of one entity – whereas one region has to do with the inner world and the other the outer. Rationalists concern themselves with only reason and therefore the conscious, and they reject the supernatural and therefore the existence of unconscious. But the unconscious is very powerful, we owe all our mental energy to it. In fact even the ego, no matter how large it is, owes its energy to the unconscious and is easily crashed when it loses the backing of the unconscious. At one time, Freud retorted: “More people believe in the existence of the virgin Mary than in the existence of the unconscious mind.”
A collapse of the unconscious spells the end of one’s life. Of course, most people now believe in the existence of the unconscious but the delusion here is that, because the unconscious is difficult to understand the fact that it communicates in symbolic language, they believe the conscious mind is actually in charge. Yes it is, but only superficially. This scenario reminds me of a local watchmen who, whenever his boss is not around, posses as the boss and often succeeds in deceiving and taking advantage of young female visitors….but it’s only a matter of time that the true boss will be known.