Constructing Your Own Religious or Spiritual Thoughts.
Do You See the Role of Religion, as Mostly Destructive,
or Constructive, in this Process ? Expand on This, with Reasons.
Very interesting question Torch.
I can see the clear historical necessity of religions.
I can also see that in the current world, any system that tries to discourage questioning, and hold people into old patterns is extremely dangerous.
When the rate of change was relatively slow, religions delivered a great service to society.
As the rate of change has been exponentially increasing for a long time, we are now in the situation where religions are creating a lot of “spiritual drag” – which tend to slow or limit the growth of a great many individuals.
So I encourage everyone to question everything, particularly about religions, without losing the hard won wisdom encapsulated in many of the religious practices.
So on the large time scale, looking at the development of humanity over the last 15 thousand years up until 500 years ago, I see the role of religion mostly beneficial. Between 500 and 100 years ago, it was mostly about neutral, and in the last 100 years, it has been mostly negative, with the degree of negativity increasing exponentially over time.
People need to be able to embrace the modern insights available into what it is to be a human being, without being limited by religious notions. And in saying that I acknowledge that some religious traditions have some very advanced theologies, with some very interesting properties, but these tend to be only available to a select group at the top of the hierarchy, and not generally available.
We need to create ways to make our most advanced notions available to anyone who is interested, and then to generate interest in the vast majority of people.
Not sure that I entirely align with your view of nature.
Nature is quite unrelenting and unforgiving in its following of natural laws. Stepping off a 300ft cliff without a parachute has a very small probability of survival – not the sort of thing one wants to learn about by trial and error.
Unfortunately, there are many similar sorts of consequences to meta laws of nature in terms of the sorts of strategies required to stabilise cooperative strategies against exploitation by cheats. Love alone is not enough. There must be some “stick” as well as some “carrot”. That is mathematically inescapable.
Our emotional responses are good examples of it – like the old saying “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” – in the mathematical sense, that is a stabilising strategy, that removes the benefit from cheating (plus a bit), and acts to discourage cheating (on average over time).
Such things are far from subtle.
Starvation resulting from over exploitation of systems is far from subtle.
Nature has a really ugly side to it – far worse than any “thou shalt not”s that anyone may spout!
I agree that there are certainly many subtle effects in nature, as there are in many other systems (like political, legal and economic systems).
Trees certainly communicate on the chemical level, and it seems highly improbable that they have any sort of awareness as we know it.
The interactions of ecosystems can be very subtle and amazing in some circumstances, and the short answer to why is evolution, and the long answer can have amazing levels of subtlety and feedback.
Some animals are far more aggressive than humans. As social primates, humans actually have quite low levels of aggression as measured across the sprectrum of aggression demonstrated in nature. Mustelids (ferrets, stoats, weasles, and wolverines) are right up there at the top of the aggression stakes. Seals are up there, well above humans.
Again, ecosystem efficiency is down to evolution, what works survives and prospers, often in very subtle and unexpected ways.
Certainly many different groups have learned a lot from observing nature.
What we are learning from using the tools of science to explore nature is orders of magnitude beyond anything previously discovered.
So yeah – really interesting stuff.
I’m watching a good example of nature in action at present.
Dozens of sparrows dying.
We had a very wet summer, with lots of grass growth, lots of seeds, and the sparrow population managed to get three clutches raised, and the population boomed.
Now as winter rapidly approaches sparrows are dying all over the place – dozens of them dead on the ground around my house.
This is what nature does – life proliferates when food is available, and dies by one mechanism or another when it isn’t.
As Torch says, we have the ability to to grow an abundance of food, but the economic system does not value abundance (abundance has zero economic value). Thus we have scarcity, and billions of people are hungry. The reason – our elevation of money to an end unto itself, rather than our keeping it as a tool to meet human needs.
It is complex, and subtle in many aspects, and at its root it is the inevitable outcome of the systemic incentives present in money.