Another evening of existential reckoning (oh joy)

Was actually perusing a Sam Harris clip like I so very rarely ever care to do. Never been much of a fan of the guy. But found a segment where I agreed with him how people are factioning off into political tribes. Guess this is what Religions dying can morph into. Gotta put that energy toward something, somewhere. And now politics is the name of the game. The new beacon on which to direct our religious devotion.

Human beings are religious by our very natures. Have always been inclined toward religiosity and still are. Evolved this way. So even though we like to think we’re dropping all that and turning our attention toward the formation of a secular society, that inclination still resides within us, whether we’re conscious of it or not. Expresses itself in various ways. Political tribalism to whatever degrees. New herds to lose ourselves within.

Lots of things to lose oneself in nowadays. So much freedom we barely know what to do with it.

Freedom to make all sorts of (good or bad) choices too. That’s one of those natural rights granted to us by Nature. Some call it Free Will, though it can’t help but come with limitations.

Still. Pretty darn free in the U.S. currently.

Free to buy an assortment of delicacies and enticements. Free to partake in a number of legal drugs, including alcohol (and marijuana in some states). Free to think whatever we want. Free to vote for whomever we want, assuming our nation’s voting apparatus is even trustworthy any longer, and assuming you’re not barred from doing so due to certain felony charges.

Free to read books. Tons of libraries around for folks who lack funds. Inexpensive entertainment as well as educational if we push ourselves to seek and explore. But that’s a choice. Comes back to exercising all this Freedom we’ve been blessed with.

Choices. Attention paid to where? Habits. Options. Alternatives. Decisions. Backed by actions.

Come to find out, it’s very easy to get lost in this 21st Century. lol  True story.

Values. What matters most?

What were the seven deadly sins again?

SLOTH

ENVY

LUST

GLUTTONY

GREED

PRIDE

WRATH

Good to keep in mind. As I sit here tonight as a sloth, once again, pondering while wandering around the internet. Satiating my legal vices. Ever look at that list and wind up having to check every box? Whether past or present, all the same we are afflicted by excesses that can prove destructive, and not only to our own selves. Obviously.

So then what? Wait for motivation to come and sweep us along on our way? Doesn’t work like that.

Some good books I’ve been contemplating on over the last several months are:

Thinking of canceling my Audible subscription for a spell so I can just refocus on these and other titles. Those books there are really informative and thought-provoking. Not needing to continue on in my studies until I get re-oriented with the aid of those books. They do help. But of course it ultimately comes down to one’s individual efforts. Application of lessons learned.

“The 7 Levels Of Crunchy Hippie Hell” (my thoughts)

Just finished watching this and am immediately wondering where the heck he’s finding so many “liberals” like this? Because I wish more held some of the attitudes mentioned there.  ha

Most of those I meet make tons of excuses for Government (especially Obama’s administration), don’t seem to care enough about the NSA spying program, place entirely too much faith in most of what’s deemed scientific without more careful scrutiny on their own parts, place tons of faith in authority (at least when it comes to academe as a whole), and wouldn’t qualify as being true anarchists. Nihilists, maybe (though I can see where some folks, whatever their political affiliations, do cloak their life-negating nihilism in anarachist lip service at times).

Kept waiting throughout this video for some sort of punchline, clearing up that this in fact isn’t how most so-called liberals behave yet perhaps actually should be. But no, instead he brought up Ted Kaczynski, a.k.a. “the unabomber.”

Hmmm…well, I guess that’s one take on the situation. Certainly pretty far from my own, though it heartens me a little to think more self-described liberals are coming to critique and reevaluate the trajectory of modern times and the rise of civilizations and technologies. Only a little, though, since I personally see some of those folks as nihilists-in-anarchist’s/progressive’s-clothing who apparently are hell-bent on destruction rather than affirming life through adopting strategies that enable us to live how we believe may be more beneficial for ourselves as human communities, accepting that no one-size-fits-all solution will suffice. Their thinking is too warped to wrap around the idea of us all not wanting to go together in the same direction as one unified mega-society. Just blows their mind to even bring it up.

The problem I’ve long-since had with self-described anarchists relates with that very issue: their verbalized desire to tear down and destroy without anything else envisioned or created to take its place. We have no Plan B to fall back on, so that strikes me as the primary concern of the moment, figuring out how and what to construct so as to reclaim power into our own hands. Which does include experimenting with gardening techniques so as to generate what’s necessary to sustain our lives. Because without that, we have no footing to stand on in demanding changes or to be let free from what appears to be psychologically fucking people up (namely, being sucked so deeply into the money game to where people are forced to live like hamsters in a wheel, chasing money in order to buy what’s required to survive).

Gotta break that chain if people want to go another way, and I can’t blame anyone for wishing to get outside of this setup and get back down closer to basics where involvement in genuine productivity was once the norm. What’s wrong with taking the view that humanity has strayed in a direction that’s proving unhealthy and unsatisfying for many?

See, I do get where modern life has brought many benefits, and I personally am not anti-modernity 100% of the way. There are many good points, and there are seriously harmful points as well, then shades of gray in between. It’s a question of what is worth salvaging and what might not be, and also what even can be within a truly sustainable system. The change from how we live today would be radical, so much so that I doubt most of those claiming to be on board with such drastic measures today would remain engaged for the long haul and eventually probably would present resistance heading the opposite way in an effort to protect creature comforts and in clashes over what can or should be maintained. There is where true anarchy enters the equation, leading to groups fractioning off to go their own ways in order to escape becoming gridlocked with others. At least that’s where my imagination leads me these days.

I don’t see how this many people with such different conceptions of “the good life” can ever reach a consensus so as to maintain this large and complex of a society. That’s my wager heading forward. And I doubt even Karl Marx would disagree if he could be beamed into the present.

That is something that’s always confused me about so-called “socialists” and “Marxists” of today. Karl Marx and the communists he aligned with lived in very different times that could not foresee what lay in store. I personally feel, after reading over time some of his writings as well as textbook descriptions about him and his advocacy, Marx was essentially describing a Luddite setup that would only work in a pre-Industrial society. Yet people have dragged his vision forward and dramatically altered it and seem to think it can be applied in massive, highly specialized,(post-)Industriualized societies, and this is where I get into serious quibbling and head-shaking. Too many genies are out of the bottle for it to be possible to go forward into such a centralized power scheme without at least certain classes of people being thoroughly exploited in order to maintain it (as has been the case throughout all of civilized history up to now).

Sound Kaczynski-ish? Well, I’m not done.

The problem with Kaczynski’s strategy is it went offensive, whereas I think most of us understand the defensive stance but morally take issue with striking out where not directly and squarely provoked. IMO, after reading some of Kaczynski’s manifesto in the past, his views went too far and were indeed the aspirations of a man gone rabid. BUT, that doesn’t mean everything he said was bullshit. I agree with parts where he took issue with how technology has overrun our lives and how our government and institutions have grown intensely corrupt. Would have to pull it up to recall more specifics, but the foundation he was operating from wasn’t insane, even if he took it to destructive and unjustifiable extremes. He forfeited the higher road by choosing to become a terrorist, which then poisoned the worthwhile aspects of the perspective he publicly shared as well.

Admittedly, I have mixed feelings over his motives and actions. Cannot endorse them anymore than I can the actions taken by some members of ELF (Earth Liberation Front) who place spikes in trees to kill and injure loggers. Strikes me as misplaced and excessive aggression doled out on the workers, turning virtually everyone who otherwise might have been at least sympathetic to his frustrations with modern life into people wanting to distance themselves from anything and everything he ever spoke of. Damned himself and his ideals in that move.

That aside, I can’t offer much defense for the guy, but questions about the direction of modern societies and our energy demands and lifestyles remain very relevant. Because some people take their messages to fanatical extremes doesn’t detract from the bigger truth that people aren’t adjusting to modern life as hoped. People want out of this controlling of a grid, just as any animal detests being caged. Does this not lead to economic slavery? Because I don’t see how it inevitably won’t. For plenty, that day has already arrived.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting this position out of the video creator going by the handle Tooltime9901. Kinda surprised by how far apart we seem to see these matters, especially considering how many other videos I appreciated from him. Even our views on the Zeitgeist films are bass ackward — I consider the first film the best, yet the filmmaker lost me in the last where he promoted centralized living schemes. Consider me a mule, but dang it — formal, prescriptive approaches to solving humanity’s dilemmas won’t prove to be one-size-fits-all, and I’d just like to explore more possibilities, even those deemed primitive. Maybe we don’t all want or need to live under the same sort of setup, and what’s really wrong with that? Let some descend into the Dark Ages if that is their will. It’s either that or feud with them forever. I say let them go to see what they can make of their existence.

It’s this notion that we all must be tied in to some increasingly centrally-controlled and invasive system that I find most offensive from the “liberals” Tooltime9901 stands in agreement with. Why? Because the system will fail without our contributions? Because our financial sphere has been turned into a giant pyramid scheme that would collapse on itself if it lost anymore funding from wage slaves stuck running on their hamster wheels? Because an imperial nation cannot afford to lose any power if it’s to maintain its dominance both here and abroad? Because we as citizens owe so much to something we were simply born into without possessing much say over?

There are times when it’s necessary to return to the drawing board, and now is clearly one of them. The current ways are infuriating people, as is understandable IMO. There is no past to return to, but it does help to learn about how humans have existed in the past so as to come to terms with what our options are going forward if the goal is to create sustainable ways of life guided by realistic paradigms that take into account our natures as human beings, not merely treating us as cogs within a wheel intended to feed some abstract Machine a few great thinkers originally conjured up. The exploitation is running too high, the divides are too deep, and the moral concerns over what we’re doing to one another so as to live as we do is a major burden on people’s psyches. It’s hurting us to continue this way, so something’s gotta give. That much I do know.

And I personally happen to really appreciate the book Brave New World and would recommend it to anyone as sci-fi food for thought.

Continuing the inquiry into what is religion

Continuing on in this inquiry into what is religion, others jumped in to share their views.

Anekantavad offered up this response:

The issue I take with Anekantava’s approach there is he’s locked into looking at very modern times and here doesn’t acknowledge people’s inherent religiosity. Instead he’s coming at religion as some sort of strategy those in power impose on the people, rather than religion organically rising among and within us down here on the ground, dating all the way back in human history.

Then Matt (0ThouArtThat0) had this to share:

In this line-up, I personally got a lot out of Matt’s video and his way of explaining the origins of religion as one of the earliest products of humans, it being one of the major features that distinguishes humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. Here religion is discussed as existing on a continuum spanning throughout human history that is indicative of our unfolding consciousness leading up to modern scientific exploration. He explains it well enough that I won’t attempt to summarize it any further than that.

And Prof. Corey Anton’s reply to Matt’s video:

Those of us who refer to worshiping science probably should more accurately use the term scientism, which isn’t about worshiping the scientific method but rather “bad science” in a dogmatic fashion (as prof. Anton explains there).

I find the new popular debate between atheists and creationists to be a foolish waste of time since creationists hold extreme views that most religious persons do not embrace, yet that caricature is being applied blanketly to all religious devotees. Beyond this being offensive, it’s a straw-man of religiosity, making that focus very unproductive. It discourages people from engaging in meaningful dialogue when one side paints the other in such a wacky way. The religious impulse (or whatever we want to call it) has been with humans since the dawn of our species and it’s a part of our core psychological makeup, whether we acknowledge this or not. Seems nowadays it’s more of a question of what we place faith in rather than people entirely losing faith altogether. The focus shifts while the impulse remains, and because of the shift in focus to secular concerns and scientific analysis, the truth of our religiosity is being obscured. But it has not left us. It’s a question of what we do with it and where we allow it to take us. Humans have been down dark rabbit holes in chasing religion many times over, and I don’t believe we’ve come to the end of doing so just because the game looks today like nothing that’s ever come before. I argue that the game really hasn’t changed as much as we might like to think, because we humans haven’t changed as much as we may like to think.

Thousands and thousands and thousands of years of being sculpted by primitive tribal conditions can’t be done away with in a mere 4,000 years, no matter what technologies we create or how sophisticated our reckoning has become. This is one of those fundamental truths that many humans seem to be running from, but I’m not convinced we’ll be able to run fast enough. Truth has a way of circling back around and showing itself, whether we like it or not.

And the natural world is about striving for the power to overcome, not about seeking truth. So this truth-seeking ambition we humans are embracing is running up against the drive for power among us, and I get the impression power will win out, even if ultimately humanity’s detriment. Not that Truth necessarily could save us anyhow, seeing as how so much can’t help but boil down to subjective perspectives, particularly in our social realms. While some seek Truths, others seek power over the rest. Ideological narratives do prove helpful toward the power-seeking end.

That’s enough to say about this for now.