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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Why are religions losing their relevance?

 “We live in a changing universe, and few things are changing faster than our conception of it”-Timothy Ferris

“There is no tomorrow. There is only a planet turning on its axis, and a creature given to optimistic fancies”-Robert Brault

Evolution has taken us from Kuru disease generators to cyber Guru Venerators.

Socially certain societies, why most human societies, are groomed as a group with more incentives and encouragement to follow than explore; exercise hypocrisy rather than skeptical questioning and this is precisely the technique adopted by all religious institutions either with or without organized set up.

However, change in every aspect of life is an inevitable truth that cannot be avoided or wished away.

The status quo may get disturbed but it is a necessary adventure for emancipation of human spirit.

As Winston Churchill said, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” I may add taboos and tradition may tuck it in or turn away but truth is ‘inconvenience’.

G.K. Chesterton’s definition is the best ‘An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered’ 

When human intellect resorts to defend or justify, more than define or explore or accept facts for what they are worth, normally it becomes sharper with additional vindications from many allied areas because the defense is further enforced with adrenal reactions which are all normal.

Guy Murchie declares, “Evolution itself is an open ended and indeterminate process”… “Given the remarkable progress in our understanding of biochemistry, molecular biology, and evolution as a whole … we have failed to develop concepts, ideas, even a language that could capture the dance of this life” 

I would like to add it is mostly due to our intellectual reluctance and religious impediments.

But the whole malady started when certain societies, already well connected, intellectually more advanced ones and therefore got so well conditioned by their traditions and religiously prescribed ways of life based on such sound base, obviously ended up, out of lack of humility and refused to or blocked to accept alongside biological evolution the evolutionary trends in  psychology and sociology as well.

Certainly humans didn't evolve to their present state in one instant, in one fell swoop, because we know that our ancestors, the species like Homo erectus and Homo habilis already had a pretty big brain for a primate of that size. They were already using tools. They were almost certainly cooperating with one another. So it's not as if our species was the first to do it; it was building on some earlier stepping stones.
And it's unlikely that it happened all at once. You have to remember that not every creature that was evolving left behind its skull or its tools for our convenience tens of thousands of years later. Most bones or most tools rot or get buried and are never found again. So the earliest date at which we find some fossil or artifact is not the point at which the species first appeared; it was probably doing its thing for many tens of thousands of years before we were lucky enough to find something that it left behind that lasted to the present day.”

Steven Pinker “describes the self-described field of evolutionary psychology as a stepping stone toward this end. He calls for more integration with evolutionary genetics and more generally the fully rounded approach associated with Nobel Laureate Niko Tinbergen, who stressed that all evolved traits should be studied from functional, mechanistic, developmental and phylogenetic perspectives. He also shares his own best idea that has not yet received the attention that it deserves.”

Human psychology is  more comfortable and conversant dealing with  premises, frames of references and observations rather than through indoctrinations, conditioned prejudices which will collapse at some point of time when the poor people will be left to suffer in a  vacuous inanity without a proud socio cultural and psychological identity and will also be very vulnerable to adopt anything and everything irrespective of its long term benefits or inherent value  so let us impart more importantly  humaneness and humanitarian values.

Problems crop up only when we as a species try to feel that we must authenticate every aspect of life through social approval further validated through sanctification by either religion, or substantiation by accepted scientific practices, commercial success or stamp of socio cultural sanctions.

Any topic I normally throw into the cauldron of life in context as it is happening now along with all that has happened and churn it with a churn staff or kirn swee of contextually relevant observations and also observe the external impacts that play their part in the evolution of anything/everything.

Too much of criticism and analysis [especially using a cocktail of Meta terminologies, remotely relevant or totally irrelevant factors with a mix of strong spirited information infusion] creates critical paralysis.

Loads of suggestive or justificatory information do not necessarily contribute to or help a better understanding and projecting them as if distilled wisdom of some unique religious or spiritual knowledge when most of the writers are aware of only distilled spirits.

Nothing eternal can be known eternally by anyone because everyone of us is basically a mortal as a conscious living being leading a life inside a human body and mind.

So, when we do not know what is eternal, how can we make claims or counter claims or worst of all try to exercise control over or exclusive marketing rights for it?

This is where religion pitched in as it primarily evolved if one were to analyze intellectually perhaps as Scott Atran, a respected  Anthropologist called as “belief in hope beyond reason”.

Erich Fromm, “humans have a need for a stable frame of reference. Religion apparently fills this need. In effect, humans crave answers to questions that no other source of knowledge has an answer to, which only religion may seem to answer. However, a sense of free will must be given in order for religion to appear healthy. An authoritarian notion of religion appears detrimental.”

Individual opinions, ideas that inundate the social media space must be followed, observed and encouraged because after all they manifest reactions and participation of individuals.

They can at best produce islands of 'micro beliefs leading to macro behavior' or confirmation bias enhancing group coherence but not homogenizing madness insisting on ignoring variety and marrying up with specific identity which was what the mass opinion molding and belief manufacturing and/or marketing domains mentioned above do namely- religion, politics, media and any other biased ideological or cultural identity based outfits or communities.

In evolutionary biology we find that all creations have shed the unnecessary parts or shrunk them for better survival; in evolutionary sociology too human race has shed too many models of social groups and narrowed down on a few that would be easier for global interaction; in languages too, from a few thousands languages that existed humanity has reduced the number to just a few hundred languages.

Why it is not being done in religion, i.e. shedding the contextually irrelevant parts – aspects of socio-cultural life that have outlived their expiry date.

As the great scholar and my favorite author Bertrand Russell writes in POLITICAL IDEALS (1917) CHAPTER IVINDIVIDUAL LIBERTY AND PUBLIC CONTROL

“The creative impulses, unlike those that are possessive, are directed to ends in which one man’s gain are not another man’s loss. The man who makes a scientific discovery or writes a poem is enriching others at the same time as himself. Any increase in knowledge or good-will is a gain to all who are affected by it, not only to the actual possessor. Those who feel the joy of life are a [source of ] happiness to others as well as to themselves. Force cannot create such things, though it can destroy them; no principle of distributive justice applies to them, since the gain of each is the gain of all. For these reasons, the creative part of a man’s activity ought to be as free as possible from all public control, in order that it may remain spontaneous and full of vigor. The only function of the state in regard to this part of the individual life should be to do everything possible toward providing outlets and opportunities”.

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