Two Years

One year ago I posted this. Much still applies. I have grown a little since.

(What follows now is very succinct and much is left unsaid and is seemingly nebulous. As I usually counsel, though, if you’re curious, do your own homework.)

I purchased and read “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari. I have his subsequent book, as well and am looking at getting his book on Jewish magic sometime in the future. While I am still digesting what I’ve read, so far most of it strikes a chord in me.

As mankind transitioned from hunter-gatherer and allowed grain to domesticate the species (yeah, that’s what Mr. Harari proposes, in a sense, and I agree with his reasoning), the ability to imagine came to play a much more important role. Modern mankind has yet to dispel and discard many of the myths that grew from mankind’s imagination so many eons ago.

One such is religion.

This myth has been honed and refined to a fine polish. I wish nothing more with which to do with this myth. I wish my family members could see through the deception but they, except for a very few, are true believers. They are raising the next generation of true believers. The myth perpetuates. In my own case, it’s Joseph’s Myth, aka Mormonism, aka The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (founded by Joseph Smith – now you see the pun).

It is so easy to see through the myth! Yet, cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias, and other cognitive conditions are very effective in keeping family blind. I watched the movie “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” with a believing family member and they shook their head at how blind members of Scientology are, even commenting how unbelievable it was that these Scientologists just couldn’t see through this cult.

And yet, this same family member is unable to see through the cult to which they belong.

The mind is an amazing device.

Maybe, given enough time…

2018 – Thoughts to begin the Year

And what’s better than a few quotes from a renowned physicist to inspire some thought?

Lawrence M. Krauss. Brilliant.

“I cannot stress often enough that what science is all about is not proving things to be true but proving them to be false.”

“Keeping religion immune from criticism is both unwarranted and dangerous.”

“What we can do is provide the tools, through our educational system, for people to be able to tell sense from nonsense. These tools include the scientific method, skeptical questioning, empirical evidence, verifying sources, etc.”

“A universe without purpose should neither depress us nor suggest that our lives are purposeless. Through an awe-inspiring cosmic history, we find ourselves on this remote planet in a remote corner of the universe, endowed with intelligence and self-awareness. We should not despair, but should humbly rejoice in making the most of these gifts, and celebrate our brief moment in the sun.”

“…every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. and, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. it really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: you are all stardust.”

“Forget Jesus, the stars died so you could be born.”

“I should point out, nevertheless, that even though incomplete data can lead to a false picture, this is far different from the (false) picture obtained by those who choose to ignore empirical data to invent a picture of reality (young earthers, for example), or those who instead require the existence of something for which there is no observable evidence whatsoever (like divine intelligence) to reconcile their view of creation with their a priori prejudices, or worse still, those who cling to fairy tales about nature that presume the answers before questions can even be asked.”

“A truly open mind means forcing our imaginations to conform to the evidence of reality, and not vice versa, whether or not we like the implications.”

Kind of reminds me of someone else I admire and respect.

RIP Carl.

Mythical Proportions

What makes Homo Sapiens sapiens different? How many animals create things envisioned in imagination? I suppose until we can look into the minds of animals, we will not know for sure. Maybe reliance on evidence will have to suffice for now.

Animals do transform materials to build communities and homes but nothing to compare with man’s cities. At least from the perspective of this representative of HSS! And how many animals have left this planet or have sent mechanical devices to investigate other bodies nearby and further into space? Only us.

Imagination has driven much of this. We have observed other animals demonstrate the ability to see the consequences of various actions and choose a course that resolves a problem but none, so far, have demonstrated the gigantic imagination of Homo Sapiens sapiens.

We have created governments, currency, races, corporations, software, and millions of other imaginary constructs! Some of these are very long-lived. Maybe some stem from before agriculture domesticated mankind.

Like religion.

Why have we hung on to this myth so firmly and for so long, and in the face of scientific advances? Spiritual experiences are finding their roots in the human brain. In brain chemistry. In brain development. In brain injury. In the memories of teachings. In bias. In many other things.

But in spite of new learning, we cling to myth.

We cannot prove god exists. We also certainly can’t prove there is no god. We marvel at the immensity of the universe and its (sometimes savage) beauty and declare god made it. But who assigned god the deed? Mankind. No god has irrefutably and universally revealed itself, ever, and claimed to be the author of creation. But we assign the inexplicable to a god. We do this. Us. We have created the myth.

I continue wondering how long, in the face of scientific advancement and the atrocities committed in the name of some god against mankind, it will be until we discard the myth? How long before we discard the imaginary differences between us and we find what we share in common?

I wish we could discard all the stories of mythical godly proportions.
Anyway, just my first of the year musings.

Happy New Year and imagine, with me, a year with fewer myths and more humanity.