If a picture is worth a thousand words, actually being present somewhere is worth trillions. There is a substantial difference between pictures and real life because in the case of a picture we are only seeing a thin layer of atoms where as actually viewing something in real life is the results of viewing billions if not trillions of atom compiled into a single view. Being some where also contributes to other senses such as taste, smell, and hearing.
Our ability to view things from afar is improving rapidly but even with all our advances in technology we cannot yet emulate the experience an astronaut has when looking at earth from afar. Certainly there is no amount of pictures that could truly replicate an experience like being in space. What pictures do help with is to create a deep longing within us to immerse ourselves in the universe. It can be difficult for us to express our experiences with others in a way that they can truly understand. Perception integration is a critical part of our future because without it we can not stop the misunderstandings which is the cause of so many human problems.
As a small side project I have created http://www.createdivinity.org. It is simply a selection of pictures put against music. A personal interest of mine is to discover ways of inducing different perceptions and introspection without drugs. I have discovered that for me personally the best perception shifting occurs at sunrise, sunset, or night. Looking at a city at night makes us aware of human capability. When there should be darkness we have created light, where there should be nothing we have created civilization. Night time also gives us a glimpse of the universe and our potential for exploration.
The history of our lives is defined through a series of reactions we like to call choices. The way we react is a direct result of exposure to previous circumstances that helped us establish a log of contextual discriminations that we will then use to make future choices in our life. It is highly probable that if we were exposed to a different set of circumstances (like being born some where different) and encountered a similar situation, the choice we would have made would be different than the one we made in our current lives. Thought it is highly difficult to know this for sure.
Belief in the deterministic view of life has a significant amount of challenges. Would a criminal still have committed a murder if they had better parents? This challenges the very core of morality because humans, generally speaking, are obsessed with blame. The biggest motivational and religious speakers will use blame to get their various messages across. Whether it is blaming sin, lack of vision, or passion; blame seems to be a primary motivational tool. Many religions will go so far to condemn people to an eternal after life of suffering based on the reactions they have in this life. We want to believe we have an extraordinarily large amount of control over our lives and to confirm this illusion we must blame others for their improper reactions. It takes exceptional types of human to publicly say that a rapist or murderer should still be treated like a human being because they are merely victims of circumstance.
There are some that believe that a deterministic view of life would undermine human society. That even if determinism is true, if it is public knowledge, people will use it as an excuse to commit crimes. However, people use far lesser excuses to commit crimes. It is a vicious circle because even the people who commit crimes want to believe they have free will and in doing so will also blame themselves before taking a more objective stance or view of their life. Determinism would require a psychological shift in humanity but would resolve a lot of existential as well as moral issues.
If we are a product of circumstance that means every blessing we have received is like winning the lottery. Any time we experience any joy at all it means a large amount of circumstances, that are beyond our control, lined up in order to make the event that brings us pleasure occur. In this situation envy ceases to exist and all pleasure derived from life becomes miraculous under the context of determinism.
There is a deep rooted desire in nearly everyone to change the world. It would be nice to think that this desire was rooted in some deep rooted need to evolve but the reality is it is not. The people that usually have this desire the strongest, on average, are really only wanting to change their personal world and by this they wish to change the world so that they can improve their own lives or maintain the life they have always lived.
When we talk about real change what we are talking about is disruption. It’s ideas so great that it can scare people, ideas that take significant risk to proclaim. Looking at religious figures such as Jesus or even Muhammad of Islam they achieved change not by pleasing everyone but instead challenging everything. They burned bridges with those that did not fit in with their world view regardless of how popular or unpopular it would make them. Many times people follow something that they believe is fundamentally different or world changing but are actually adhering to beliefs or ethics to satisfy some form of socioeconomic gain.
The view of changing the world is used often by politicians to manipulate the masses. They will say things like, “what I do doesn’t make me popular” when in actuality what they are doing is preferred by the majority and not the minority. Their majority will then feel emboldened believing they are doing something exceptional by siding with a “rogue” leader when in actuality they are merely playing into the hands of the politician. If a politician truly did a true change it would be equally hated by everyone and if their change managed to get success they would then gain fanatical believers.
If politicians don’t orchestrate manipulative events to try and get votes they are merely popularity puppets entertaining a some what average populous who is trying to find every minor defect outside of issues to try and validate a single human’s ability to be a leader. The political state of the world is something that needs to be fundamentally changed. Why radical ideas can be cancerous, complete lack of radical ideas will get us no where. Popular ideas are concerned with superfluous things that do not transcend a person’s life such as paying the bills. America is so obsessed with paying bills that they can not see that the entire foundation of their country is rotting because nearly 15% of their population cannot even read this blog post. It doesn’t matter what social policies you have or tax rates you have on the rich when your entire population is getting dumber. This is not progress.
We must become obsessed with things beyond ourselves in order to get real and true change. There will always be hardships and bills to pay until we truly scare ourselves with new thinking.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson has an interesting quote which goes as follows:
It’s odd that word ‘atheist’ even exists. I don’t play golf, is there a word for non-golf players? Do they gather and strategize? I can’t do that. I can’t gather around around and talk about how much everybody in the room doesn’t believe in God.
If you’re new to my blog, essentially, my belief system revolves around accepting the power of certain concepts (such as God) and their ability to motivate and change as opposed to believing in actual physical entities which may or may not exist. This puts me in a particular limbo area where I can objectively understand and sympathize with both atheists and theists but I don’t exclusively believe either are right. However, the more I encounter adherents from both sides I have discovered that both atheists and theists believe and do the following:
- Believe that they have the ‘real’ truth
- Believe in some form of morality
- Gather in groups and talk about opinions
- Have books they revere
- On average mate with people with similar opinions
- Cannot with 100% certainty validate the existence of God with facts
- Believe in tradition; atheists with Scientific method and Theists with religion
- Have Charities
- Take donations
- Influence Government policy making
The reason atheism exists is because it represents a new social organization. It is not simply an opinion, but a religious like group. The fact that this grouping is occurring ultimately leads to the grim conclusion that just like religion different forms of atheism could emerge and these groups could ultimately engage in some form of war. Just like early Christianity these groups are fractured. Most atheists will contend that the only reason wars happen is because of religion, but this is a gross error, wars happen because humans are imperfect and if you analyze most wars they are done over real-estate and resources; religion is used as a powerful catalyst to get humans to go to war but the underlying selfish desires that lead to war remain the same regardless of the name of a particular God or in the future, lack of God name.
Atheists will also contend that their belief is based on logic and rationality but there is a massive irony to this. In a conversation with Ayn Rand (a well known atheist) she herself proclaims that, “you are never called upon to prove a negative.” If a theist confronts an atheist with the statement, “prove God doesn’t exist” the atheist, if they know their retorts, will come back with the line “you cannot prove a negative.” They may then go on to say something like prove that a unicorn doesn’t exist. The massive irony is that atheism as an organization is spending all of its time trying to prove a negative which is a logical impossibility. They have whole books, such as Dawkin’s God delusion, which offer up absurd philosophical arguments trying to validate the non-existence of God. This allows them as an organisation to spend an unlimited amount of time trying to come up with arguments why God doesn’t exist and gives strength to their social group through their superfluous conversation which is all built on top of trying to do the logically impossible. It is time we stop fighting over the philosophical and look towards what we want to accomplish a human race and not the religious opinions we should hold.
Alan Lightman, a physcist, has this to say on religion, war, science, and death:
Certainly, human beings, in the name of religion, have sometimes caused great suffering and death to other human beings. But so has science, in the many weapons of destruction created by physicists, biologists and chemists, especially in the 20th century. Both science and religion can be employed for good and for ill. It is how they are used by human beings, by us, that matters. Human begins have sometimes been driven by religious passion to build schools and hospitals, to create poetry and music and sweeping temples, just as human beings have employed science to cure disease, to improve agriculture, to increase material comfort and the speed of communication.
So while even if atheism is the future, it will ultimately lead to more of the same. I once had an atheist say to me, “If everyone was atheist there would be world peace.” to the atheists confusion I started laughing and I replied, “I have heard a similar quote before and it was from a Jehovah’s witness at my front door.” If everyone could share a similar opinion, regardless of what it was, there would be world peace.
When engaged in conversations with people I will often hear justifying statements that work through polarization. One of the most popular ones comes from religious Christians with the line, “If part of the bible is wrong then whole thing is wrong.” People will often make the simple observation that things have opposites and therefore they jump to the conclusion that the whole world works that way. It is a very simple way of thinking and in the majority of cases it does not apply.
When defining the world we have a whole range of adjectives that reflect the gradient nature of life like good, amazing, best, horrible, average, awful, and worst are all examples of words we use to define things. The simple act of telling someone how a movie was usually involves some form of non-binary grade. Yet still people persist to point out opposites like they occur often but when you put things into perspective, opposites happen the least. So why the persistence? Binary thinking is a great way to make rapid choices. When survival depends on an instant, you have to choose left or right. As our society has evolved binary thinking is not only becoming less useful, it is also becoming dangerous.
Let’s take for instance the Big Bang. When we look out into our universe we see that everything is moving away from a singular point and so it only makes sense that the entire universe came from that point, correct? However there is one major problem with this theory and that is that it is based on a limited observation. Hundreds of years ago we looked around ourselves and said, “Everything is flat and therefore the planet must be flat.” We’re now doing the exact same thing with space. This comes back to binary thinking; making assumptions and assertions based on our immediate simple observations.
The world doesn’t function in binary even though we would like it to. Let’s face it if everything was either 1 or 0 the world would make more sense. The reality is though that the options aren’t only good or evil, black or white, day or night, and everything or nothing.
As we look at what it is to be a post human and strive towards Elolight, a big question is what should we eat. When it comes to eating meat there is two very separate issues that need to be considered the first is if eating other animals is a correct action, the second is how do we go about obtaining the meat that we do eat.
On the first issue of whether eating other animals is morally correct, the question is not if it is correct but how does it benefit us. While it might be self serving, in the grand scheme of all evolution a chicken’s value is now how valuable it is to us. If we some how try to say that chickens are some how are equals and deserve some kind of human rights we would be spitting in the face of the billions of creatures that died and went extinct to allow us to be at the level we are currently at. Animals eating other animals is not something special to humans, even chickens themselves are omnivores. Also some of the happiest chickens that are alive today exist in human custody on free range farms free (for the most part) from the dangers of being mauled to death by foxes or other predators. For better or worse we also support the survival of chickens, there is about 23 billion chickens in the world. Morally saying that when we kill a chicken we are committing “murder” starts to get in to some very strange areas of what is right and wrong. Should we hold a lion accountable for its actions if it kills a gazelle? Murder as a term should be restricted to an entity killing another entity out of hate or wanton self gain, not personal survival.
The second issue is how we go about obtaining this meat. Industrial production of chicken harvesting is horrible, but it is not the most horrible thing in the world. To put this into context, right now there are human children starving to death or living in situations that are horrendous. These issues, in my opinion, should be confronted first before we start on tangents about how we going
about obtaining meat from lesser creatures such as chickens. That said, Elolight is ultimately about becoming an idealistic perfect view of ourselves, and in that situation we would not be killing animals but we are not perfect yet. Eating in itself is generally a burden, it takes a lot of time and resources. In a perfect scenario humans would be able to survive from eating less or on the rare occasion simply for the pleasure of it and not because it is absolutely necessary to survive. So there are some greater issues that need to be addressed first before confronting other possible moral issues of production and that is as a race we need a lot of food. This could possibly be fixed with technology in the future that can create fake meat.
I some what think of vegans as valiant, unless of course they believe they are some how better then other humans for abstaining from eating meat. Human survival and pleasure is far more important right now then the well being of other creatures, that is not to say that we should be abusive to animals or not try to improve their situations if we can, but we should not sacrifice humans or belittle humans in order to do it.