Often thoughts are going through my mind which I’d like to write down as soon as I have an opportunity but unfortunately by the time the opportunity comes they’re often forgotten. Today I went to Waterstones and looked through the politic and history sections. While I did this I thought to myself how I go in circles with the things I read and think about. I felt I needed to write this down and thankfully had my laptop with me and sat down with a coffee at the Waterstones café.
I have a deep interest in many things like religion, ancient history, politics, classics, short stories, modern writings and many other things. There are long periods when I read all I can about the ancients trying to find some connection to our life – some answers to our origins – what our purpose is and where we’re going.
There are times when I’m more interested in politics – currently I’m reading Naom Chomsky, Pullinger and books on the Taliban. Other times I read about religions, spirtitualism and atheism, looking at arguments for each site. Then I go through periods I’m deeply interested in science – recently read up on the Higgs particle.
I do wonder what the links are between all those interests. for a start I love to know things, most of all what it is that makes us tick, but I also have an insatiable desire for truth. I don’t just want to know things but I want to understand who I am, why I’m here and where I’m going and why everything is the way it is.
If there is one thing I can’t stand it is half baked answers to the most profound questions in life. There is a mentality amongst many people that there’s no point to look for answers because there’s no way to ever find out the truth. We just have to live our life as best as we can and try to find meaning in the small things in life.
Many seek refuge in religion to give them answers to the big questions in life. It’s much easier to follow somebody who claims to have the answers than to find out for oneself what is true. In religion we’re absolved of all responsibility to seek the truth and are expected to simply adhere to a creed and perform certain rituals.
Religion is the lazy man’s way to deal with reality and allows their leaders to exploit them. The most dangerous combination is an uneducated people who superstitiously follow religion and unscrupulous leaders who have their own agenda. It is very easy to exploit the masses of religious followers by pretending to act in their interest. Wars are fought in the name of religion, people murdered, tortured and women and children abused and raped.
Of course people claim it’s not really religion but evil men who manipulate and trick people. Yet if people instead of following blindly would start to think and develop a critical mind they could prevent a lot of evil. Somebody once said that the sin of omission is at least as bad as a sin of commission, if not worse. If people would stop leaving the thinking to others and start to critical evaluate what they believe and question there might be hope for mankind.
Ancient history helps to uncover the origins of mankind. By comparing the myths of different cultures with each other a picture emerges that is common amongst many cultures worldwide. The idea of a single God is a relative late invention with most native cultures believing in a pantheon of gods. Even in the bible we find a pantheon of Gods in the first chapter called the Elohim who speak “Let us make … “.
We find many references in biblical scriptures about conflicts where each tribe claimed their god to be greater than the other. Whoever won the war proved that their god was mightier. There was a period when Israel won a lot of battles which reaffirmed to the Israelites that their god was greater than all the others. Strangely enough, when it came to loosing it didn’t lead to a reassessment of whose god was greater but an introspection of why YHWH had forsaken them. Instead of saying, right, we lost, the god of our enemies must be stronger, it came down to self-accusation, we must have done something really bad for YHWH to have forsaken us.
Religion really is an interesting subject because it gives one so much insight into the human psyche. Humans basically are very lazy and very easily led and manipulated. They follow anybody who can display leadership strength and satisfies their basic human needs.
The world is complex and there are many conflicting ideas circling around that make it very difficult to find out anything for definite. During election times we have to decide whom to vote for but often we’re not sure which party best represents our interests and instead of investigating more deeply into important matters we allow ourselves to be distracted through entertainment which today’s media is mostly about.
Who wants to watch a political debate on TV and even for those of us who do, how do we know they aren’t rigged? And who wants to spend much time to really investigate topics like health care to find out if it’s really a good idea to privatise or not, to add more taxes or cut them.
Life is complex and we’re overloaded with information. When in the past people looked up to leaders because of a lack of information we’re doing it now because there is so much available these days that it has become nearly impossible to sift the wheat from the chaff.
It is hard to know who and what to follow. It takes too much effort and we therefore want to abdicate the responsibility for making decisions to some greater power, be it a hero, a strong leader or god himself. We want to enjoy the world and not worry about the cost and its consequences.
In the west we live indulgent lives where most of us have comfortable flats and houses, jobs that pay relatively well and allow us to enjoy a good standard of living. Goods are cheap and we don’t want to know how that is achieved.
A pack of rice can be bought for under a pound or dollar and why should we care how it is grown, that there are people working eighteen hours a day in mosquito infested areas making pennies that is just enough to pay for food and the rent for a tin-roof shack. We like things cheap and don’t want our mood to be spoilt by serious talk about such cost and consequences.
I think it’s easy to see now how one thought can lead to another, from politics to religion to ancient history and again to politics, …
I like to end by putting the above thoughts into one single phrase:
Man’s laziness not to enquire further than what is comfortable makes him choose political and religious leaders who exploit his gullibility to believe in things that aren’t true to make him feel charitable when in fact he’s allowing himself to become part of a machine that exploits the weakest in society.