Aug 14, 2009

An Abbreviated (and edited) History of Humankind. Faulty Design and Conservatives With Closed Minds.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Once upon a time there was a land where everything was beautiful, peaceful, prosperous, with plentiful natural resources so no one went hungry, homeless or gotten sick. It was how the Supreme Designer had made that world. There were no arguments or strife because everybody had to obey the absolute rules the Designer had demanded of his subjects. There wasn't much contemplating either because all the thinking the people had to do was for their daily routines and how to demonstrate their love & devotion to their master. What was it to ponder about? As a matter of fact, abstract thinking was down right dangerous for it could lead to questioning, or even relativism!

Most people believed this was the best blissful existence that could be had, so they scorned "free will" and any discussion on "controversial" topics. Discussing the weather was appropriate but only in general terms and in appreciation of the Designer's skill to create sunsets and rainbows. They didn't want to jeopardize their fortune so they avoided all extraneous knowledge; everything they needed was inscribed in the Holy Book.

One day the Designer decided to make things interesting for himself and created an evil force to tempt his subjects into sin. That would be fun, he thought, even though he knew how it'd turn out, it could be entertaining nevertheless! It's like watching a good movie again.... You know the plot, the characters, and the ending, but it's OK; You sit there and spend a couple hours watching it; same with tv reruns. Everybody has done it at some point.

Unfortunately, the Designer had not given his subjects much experience in rational thought and skeptical inquiry. It was no surprise that they were easily manipulated and tricked by the evil force. Sadly, this led to their fall from grace. Soon after their poor choice and exit from utopia, they had to deal with all sorts of ills: disease, pestilence, murder, starvation, death, ugliness, strife, unwanted hair, and soap operas.

Prostitution, politics, and mind/mood altering substances entered the mix of human condition with varying effects & social impact. Sometimes it was good, sometimes is was bad; they brought pleasure or pain, often both at the same time. For a long time, people kept appealing to the Designer; they asked for favors, they bargained for forgiveness and other stuff, and above all they hoped that one day--even after they were dead--conditions would improve.

Thousands of years went by. More and more people began to use the rational mind employing reason and inquiry. Skeptics soon dared to challenge the "old divine wisdom." They began to argue--those audacious creatures--that life is what we make of it. That the universe wasn't designed to support human society as it was prescribed in the Holy Book--which, somehow, had been left behind in Utopia but re-dictated by the Creator to only one special person in the middle of nowhere.

Such rational thinkers were spurned by society at-large, especially by those in power who wanted to maintain the status quo. They preferred simple stuff, like black or white, good or evil, patriot or traitor, moral or immoral, chosen or untouchables, with us or against us, god or devil, bad/no healt hcare or communism. Easy choices. Not much brain power required for the answers. Gut feelings and thruthiness trumped all contrarian evidence. Those people kept consuming myths that had no factual basis but these myths were the guiding principles for decision-making on important matters. Their leaders played upon their fears, illusions and delusions with much success. It got to a point that Republicans in the US became like obstinate little brats refusing to grow up.

Fortunately over time, many more people accepted a reality-based world and demanded change; all sorts of change. They challenged the ways traditional society was formed and those ruled over it by fiat. They demanded that meaningful freedom was good because it fostered thining persons and helped create favorable conditi
ons for people to pursue their own bliss. The also realized that their society should be organized for the benefit of most members not just the few. Social justice became desirable. That their government should represent the people's interests and that such a vested authority had an important role to play. That the people's government did not cede the responsibility of a social contract to private corporations.

Such an enlightened polity believed that not everything had to be evaluated by being submitted to the "monied principle of profit." Interestingly enough those who preferred the marketplace as the best arbitror of ecomic acitivity and human behavior were aga
inst prostitution and recreational drug use!


[to be continued]

PS. August 14th is celebrated for Hans Christian Orsted who in 1820 noticed that an electric current generated a magnetic field. This observation was put to practical use; it the principle behind electric motors and for parts of the machine you're using to read this today. Orsted founded a society devoted to spreading scientific knowledge among the public. Despite the advances of modern science and all sorts of verifiable knowledge, many people continue to live in the Dark Ages preferring superstition and ignorance to enlightenment.


Platypus said...

Nice summer read...

Are you being sarcastic?

George said...

what do you think?..