Designer extraordinaire, I suppose.
Posted by open_sketchbook on Nov 20th, 2010
This is primarily a response to the rant feillyne has posted on his profile page. If you are going to read this, read that first. Warning, though, crazy strong language on his post.
Your post, feillyne, sums up all the reasons I disagree with you and all the reasons I can never agree with you. I have exactly the same problem with you I have with all conspiricy theorists; you think that you don't have biases just because your biases are different from the mainstream. People think, you think, that you are questioning authority and establishment with your beliefs. I got news for you, buddy.
You aren't questioning anything.
Your worldview is very familiar to me, because I held one similar to it not long ago. Not only was I religious, but I also believed that the reason the world was the way it was, all the horrible elements, was just because people did bad things and maybe, just maybe, we could teach them to not do bad things. I simplified every problem as "we're not trying hard enough" and "people are scum". It was a stupid, ignorant line of thinking, and it's a perfect illustration of the difference between wisdom and cynicism. It's exactly not the way to fix things, and when your convinced life would be all fluffy and nice if only it wasn't for malice then every problem becomes an ancient conspiricy designed to destroy lives for the sake of it.
No wonder you believe in gods and devils, then.
You ready for the real reason that everything sucks?
Things suck because life is a struggle.
The universe is not a device that has "life" or "people" as an end output. Life is
something that just sort of happened during the progression of the long,
complex mathematical dance that is the universe from the Big Bang
onward. It's a few protein chains that arranged in self-replicating
patterns and gained complexity through random chance, kept it through
selection pressure, and manifested as increasingly complex life.
Throughout the history of life, it has been defined by struggle;
creatures pitted against on another for limited resources from the days of single cells to the time when pre-humans were building their mental abilities by plotting to stab one another in the back. It's how things have always been, and it's how things are today. It doesn't have to be our future, but not for the reasons you think.
The universe is hostile to life. It's plain and evident. We age, decompose, die off, get horrifying sicknesses and parasites and so forth. Even when living comfortably our bodies are fighting off a constant attack by microbs and environmental hazards. Life is fighting a constant battle against the universe that it's fated to lose in both the short and long term.
When early humans were confronted with the sheer horror of the universe, watching other people like them die and knowing that death was coming for them, too, and there was nothing they could do about it, they created religion to save themselves from it. They invented a mental crutch to help them bear the wieght of oncoming oblivion; "no, it's alright! I'll be reborn as a spirit/go to heaven/reincarnate/whatever!" Satan and God are just anthropomorphizations of a hostile world and the good things in it, respectively. It didn't take too long for people to start believing their story strongly enough that it became more of a concern that day-to-day life; after all, which is more important, the short, brutish experience on Earth or the eternity that comes after?
That is one of my main problems with religion; it takes our collective eye off the ball. Every second we worry about what comes after is one second we're not spending thinking about how to fix the here and now. Because we can do that, you know. As intelligent, thinking, compassionate beings, we are always moving forward, always fixing problems, always advancing. We make mistakes, as a collective, mistakes so large that calling them mistakes seems amiss; war, genocide, environmental destruction. But for every mistake we make, we do a lot right, too. Even in the poorest and most messed up places on the planet, the standard of living rises, problems are fixed. As fast as they could? Well, no, but the idea that everything is always getting worse, that we are in decline, is patently insane.
So that is why I can never agree with you. Because we don't need gods or daemons or out of body experiences. We don't need to cast down our systems or have revolutions or destroy what we have made. All we need is the drive to improve, to escape the shadows of our past, to move up and on.
And that is something humans have in abundance.