News & Articles
Browse all content by date.
A revelation (or more commonly and more usefully an insight) isn’t something that can be planned for in advance (there’s a clue). I’ll linguistically wager you have a list of times you were sure of a particular conclusion only to discover “Nope, wrong.” Depending on what was at stake the turn-about can be embarrassing, amusing, or enticing. But why, since the advanced and undeniable scientific view holds we’re nothing but material-chemical with electrical pulses doing unchangeable math, don’t we all react the same way? The assumed values and truths of material science have more belief (aka faith) behind them than we like to admit.
Take the common and easily agreed with statement that we built the pyramids. We as it’s used means all of humanity. But that’s obviously not helpful because we are still grappling with how they did it. If it was we who accomplished the pyramids then why are there no similar pyramids on the tundra, built by nomads, or evident in the culture that mastered travel between distant Pacific islands? No matter how appealing it sounds to a particular belief set, WE did not build the pyramids; THEY did. Pyramids arose from a specific and very long lasting culture called Egyptian. Rather than multicultural and diverse, Egyptian society was tightly focused around reaching certain ends. Over thousands of years the Egyptians mastered tool making, quarrying, transport, design, and construction that are astonishing even next to today’s achievements.
Please don’t fear a descent into Egyptological speculation or a detailed analysis; not in less than a thousand words. But I do think most of us can look at some of the basics and using our own experience as a guide form a reasonable enough view of historical humanity. Truly, ancient Egyptian (and they were not alone) society accomplished major things over its thousands of years run. So why aren’t we following in that model? Why are the somewhat “lesser” traditions coming from Greece and Rome the ones we’re part of today? (I’d put a hellish lot of weight on the power of alphabetic versus hieroglyphic communication, but that’s just me siding with language as basic thought patterning. I think English masterful for dealing with objects and actions but less successful about relationships between objects and actions.)
I’d explain the fading away of the Egyptian system (when’s the last time you worried over your KA) and the continuation of the Greco Roman Western tradition in this way. The Egyptian focus was rather strong on the afterlife. The Greco Roman way was more about life in the here and now. This distinction might become clear in a sports comparison. The Greeks and Romans were about playing the game. The Egyptian way favored the post-game summary or review. These materially (that’s important) similar societies have left and led to rather different outcomes. Seems clear to me neither the Egyptian nor the Greco Roman ways knew where or how they were going to end up. The basis, over which societies and individuals have little active control, we’re under carries us along so that (for example) we behave as if guided by free will or we’re directed by karma.
Differing systems, whether we’re conscious of them or not, have different operational and survival benefits. The Western rational, materialistic, science-set system we know has some huge advantages, but in other ways is helpless as a garden slug on hot sand. It’s a materialist view, after all, that has us think life is chemical, physical, and mathematical interaction. Science says that’s what life is, but when we sit down to a fine meal with good companions we do something more than assess the differences between solids and gasses while mentally computing in our heads. Personal experience is clear that in love humans don’t recite DNA code or in anger turn to the periodic table for guidance. The material and science view is functionally quite limited when faced with human issues and interactions. I think it’s better, more interesting, more dynamic, and appealing when we give mystery, belief, and inspiration, etc., a place of value equal to but separate from scientific materialism. Frankly, if find scientific reasoning dull stuff compared to the inexplicable twists and turns of insight. Science wants things settled as gravity whereas non-science welcomes inspiration and inquiry freed of material limits.
I hope not but suspect I’ve lost readers by this point. For those still here I’d like to wrap up with an example of how scientific materialism forces limits on us that can very much get in the way of making decisions of what to do about current life concerns. It is, I hope you’ll see, an offshoot of material science to think there’s a formula for humanity found in equal distribution. Really? If we were able to accomplish that would each of us having the same amount of stuff solve or create problems? Do we need / want the same things? Doesn’t look like, but when the materialist science view gets applied to us our humanity gets turned into little more than X number of this needed to be matched with Y number of those. Material science excels at measuring but proves not as worthy explaining. If I go back to the beginning, our science can measure the dickens out of the pyramids, but it has yet to explain a human dynamic lasting thousands of years that was able to build what we’ve yet to satisfactorily understand. I’m not denouncing, as might be said to damper discussion, science in favor of creation. Rather that science has limits and is not an absolute infallible faith.
A sad side of materialist faith is its reduction of humanity to resource consumers only needing the right amount of stuff for a better fit. That’s like viewing personality in calories. The approach is too cynical even for me. Distributing resources doesn’t explain inspiration, mystery, or human creativity. Providing our species with Wi-Fi, beds, and healthy diet sets us up as dependents who may be able to quantify pyramids but incapable of understanding the nature of the humanity that built them.