One of my guilty pleasures is watching Meet the Press. Today they opened with the shooting in Buffalo, NY. They went through the usual list of locals, mayors, experts, etc. and it was all the same, that something must be done. Chuck Todd at least had the guts to say that’s what we’ve been saying for 30 years, and nothing does get done. We know who the current stand ins are for who are to blame, but when they die, there will be replacements. I see this as a failure of the Enlightenment project.
It begins with not recognizing that it did fail. Napoleon did a lot to crush it, and I don’t blame people for dealing with that instead of sitting around parlors and talking about ethics. And, I know the deep dive into how to fix it, by teaching evolution and an awe for nature and a wonder for what humankind can do if we just stop fighting for a minute and listen to each other. Chuck asked several people what the next thing to do is.
I think it’s developing humanism in a way that it doesn’t look like another religion. The name doesn’t even fit since you can’t have it with plants and animals. I thought about starting a list, but that’s exactly what we shouldn’t do. When I watch people struggle with science vs religion, I see them stop thinking when they get to the point where a scientific theory was abandoned, or even just slightly altered, or don’t even start thinking because science doesn’t know how biology started, that is, how life began. And, if we figure it out, they’ll still not bother giving up on gods since we don’t know how the universe started.
The continuing project of whittling down the god of the gaps is a failure. Most frustrating for me is when I am told I am not in awe of god’s creation. The questions that people take to church are the same questions that we all have. The thing that causes an 18-year-old to go shoot people that don’t look like him is the answers that are given in neat packages. I know there’s a quote for this somewhere, something like, prejudice and exclusion won’t be over when the people who are servants become the ones being served, it will be over when there aren’t barriers and counters and gates, we’ll all be looking for how to serve each other.
As you know, I’d suggest starting with a more down to Earth biological appreciation of ourselves as the ongoing product of an evolutionary lineage.
Part of that includes coming to terms with your consciousness quite literally being the inside reflection of your own bodies in action.
Also the fact of existing within your own mindscape, yet appreciating your individual mindscape
is connected to a great societal communal mindscape. Our thoughts, verses, our testosterone driven self-serving bodies. (as they say, hilarity ensues).
The huge mind blowing key there, is realizing our Gods are and always were born from within ourselves, products of humanity. Earth created life, life created creatures and evolution and increasing complexity, begat us humans, we humans begat our Gods.
Seems to me one of the greatest tragedies of the past decades is how the children of the “Enlightenment project” have been so impotent in the face to this “my faith is sacred” nonsense that the religious have turned into such a fortress and bludgeon.
Why are we so poor at reminding them that God is something that comes from within them, and how one’s God manifests itself is totally dependent on said individual, and it doesn’t speak to any universal almighty anything, beyond the power of the human ego.
As you know, This is one of the things I find problematic. All “othering” has begun to look the same to me. It’s not all the same I know, but it’s a variation on a theme. Any discussion I observe or participate in gets to a point of “what do we you do about them” and falls back on whatever the theme or liturgy of the day is.
If “them” are Nazis, well, a whole lot of people united in defeating them. If it’s violent criminals, we have a justice system. But, once we started realizing that these things develop because of chemistry and we can’t control every aspect of nurturing, it has become increasingly difficult to define what a Nazi or a criminal is. This has been exploited by the very people who should be contained.
It’s easy to get a prisoner to go to therapy and learn to be empathetic. They don’t have much choice. Not so easy to get those same concepts in the curriculum of every day living.