What, today, is our understanding of Humanity? Demobbed from the daily need to seek an income provides time to reflect. Thinking back to life post-WWII when I was born into a society working together attempting to recover from the aftermath of a futile war and comparing to today where humanity is blindly staggering into a maze of conflicts, both political and ideological, my observation is that we learn nothing, merely degrade humanity.
Religion & Science
In ancient times religions were created to explain the awe and wonder of the World in which we live, invariably pointing to a higher power or creator or God as a focus for answers beyond our knowledge or conception.
Around the 15th century science started to contradict or provide answers to the teachings of religious teachings. This created a war between the church and science, the most prominent being between the Catholic church and Galileo which I understand is still considered the most expensive court case in history! In the past the church was able to exert it’s influence by stealth, and even by brutal force. But science prevailed. So is science the new God!
Medicine, electronic communications, space travel, genetic manipulation …. these are the miracles about which we tell our children. These are the miracles about which we now teach to our children. These are the miracles we herald as proof that science will bring us all the answers. The ancient stories of the creation of the World, immaculate conception, burning bushes, and parting seas are no longer relevant. God, as such, has become obsolete, science is the new God.
But let us examine the effect of this new God to see if it has benefited mankind or cost it dearly in terms of basic humanity. Science may have alleviated the miseries of disease and drudgery and provided an array of gadgetry for our entertainment and convenience, but it has left us in a World without wonder. Our sunsets have been reduced to wavelengths and frequencies. The complexities of the universe have been shredded into mathematical equations. Even our self-worth as human beings has been destroyed. Science proclaims the Planet Earth and its inhabitants as a mere speck in a grander scheme.
Even the technology that promises to unite us, divides us. Each one of us is electronically connected globally, and yet more people than ever feel utterly alone. We are bombarded with violence, division, fracture, exclusion, and betrayal. Scepticism has become a virtue. Cynicism and demand for proof has become enlightened thought. Is it any wonder that most humans now feel more depressed and defeated than they have at any point in history? Does science hold anything sacred? Science looks for answers – now in probing the unborn foetus and re-arranging our own DNA. It shatters the World into smaller and smaller pieces in the quest of knowledge and meaning … and invariably all it finds is more questions.
The ancient war between science and religion could be considered as over, as science has claimed to provide the answers to most great mysteries. But has it provided answers or merely radically reorienting our society that the truths we once saw as signposts, now seem inapplicable? Religions cannot keep up. Scientific growth is exponential. It feeds on itself like a virus. Every new breakthrough opens doors for more new breakthroughs driven by the commercial pressure on scientists to publish or suffocate. Mankind took thousands of years to progress from the wheel to the car. Yet only decades from the car into space. The Astra-Zeneca vaccine took 26 days where normal vaccine expectations can be 10 years. Now we measure scientific progress in weeks. Are we spinning out of control? The rifts between religion and science grow deeper and deeper, and as religion is left behind, people find themselves in a spiritual void. People cry out for meaning. We see UFO’s, engage in channelling, spirit contact, out-of-body experiences, drug induced experiences, mind-quests – all these eccentric ideas have a scientific veneer, but are they rational, or a desperate cry of the modern soul, lonely and tormented, crippled by its own enlightenment and its inability to accept meaning in anything removed from technology?
Has the unrelenting pace of scientific progress saved us, or provided more problems than solutions for humanity? Technology has provided social media, the plague of breeding malicious information which promotes insecurity, inadequacy, and fear into people. It further encourages the likes of Snowflakes and Wokes who spread their divisive ideologies which further divide society.
Since the days of Galileo, the church has tried to slow this relentless march of science, sometimes with misguided fervour, but always claimed as benevolent intent. But the temptations are too great for man to resist.
Look around yourselves – have the promises of science materialised? Promises of efficiency and simplicity have bred pollution, more confusion and chaos. We are a fractured and frantic species …. moving ever towards dislocation, displacement, disenfranchisement, exclusion – the effects of which now creates a society of fear and terror. Progress is important, but not at any cost.
What is this god called science which offers people power, but no moral framework to tell them how to use such power? What kind of god provides powerful technologies but does not provide the moral fortitude not to use such power for destructive purposes? What is this god that uses profit as a value judgement on whether the majority of poor, and oppressed live or die? The language of science comes with no signposts about good or bad. Have you ever read a scientific textbook that not only explains how to create a nuclear reaction, but also expressly defines the destructive dangers of such nuclear reactions and the moral implications?
So where is the voice of balance as science ploughs blindly on in the quest for smaller chips and greater profits? The people should expect this new god to govern themselves, but how can they? Their world moves so fast that if anyone stops even for an instant to consider the moral implications of their actions someone will whip past them in a blur. So on it moves proliferating weapons of ever increasing destructive powers to counter its own impact on humanity. People are encouraged to interact on phones, video screens, and computers, but who reminds them of the special benefits of communicating face to face? This god sees no profit in encouraging the most natural and beneficial communication between people, so is not encouraged.
The people who oppose such a new god are considered ignorant, living in the past. But who is more ignorant – the man who cannot define lightning, or the man who does not respect its awesome powers? The natural events such as recent tsunamis show us that there are far more powerful natural forces that we can ever defeat. We strive, at all costs, to be more powerful than such natural forces, which not only is a fool’s errand, but leaves in its wake a humanity ever more removed from any form of moral or spiritual conscience and thus become so spiritually bankrupt that we would rather believe in mathematical impossibility than in a power greater than us. At this juncture we must ask “Who are we?”
Whether or not we believe in a religious God we were given the intellect to know that when we, as a species, abandon our trust in a power greater than us, we abandon our sense of accountability. Faith … all faiths …. are admonitions that there is something we cannot understand, something to which we are accountable … With faith we are accountable to each other, to ourselves, and to a higher truth. All religions are flawed, control – order systems because mankind is flawed. However, looking beyond the ritual of these churches, they are mostly a brotherhood of imperfect souls spreading the word of compassion in a world spinning out of control. Does the world really need a voice for the poor, the weak, the oppressed, the displaced? Recent events such as Live Aid, Live8 etc have shown that there is a growing voice outside of the traditional religions – spanning all religions – imploring every one of us to read the signposts of morality and not let the pursuit of science and profit be to the detriment of our humanitarian responsibilities.
Today we are perched on a precipice. We now know the result of our urge for more profit and power at all costs. None of us can afford to be apathetic. None can say it is someone else’s problem. We, as a species, should have learnt by now that the basic instincts of compassion, morality, and accountability to each other are the real values that set us apart. We must all now re-ignite these values and strive to re-establish them as the cornerstone of humanity. We need to convince the followers of the science god that science is only valuable when it respects humanity and the values that make it great. We must also convince the purveyors of destruction that reside on the fringes of humanity, whoever and wherever they are, despot power zealots, or fundamental idealists, that their cause is lost, and they should rejoin humanity.
People & Nationality
The World today is a very small place. It is possible to get anywhere in the World in no more than one day. One hundred years ago this would be inconceivable. In some countries your nearest neighbour could be a day’s walk away. However, they were generally neighbourly, and a sense of community prevailed over many problems. Today neighbours as near as an adjoining house, or next-door apartment, are likely to be total strangers.
Technology has moved us closer together physically, but further apart spiritually.
We live in countries enclosed by boundaries both physical, and arbitrary. What are these boundaries that separate people? Who created them, and for what purpose? Why have they been continually redefined throughout history? Indeed, there are still such boundaries imposed by the outside world that are not understood by the indigenous people within those boundaries. There are still tribal structures that do not recognise, or even know about arbitrary boundaries imposed upon them. Even in the Middle East, much of which was carved up after the Second World War, some say arbitrarily, with a wide-tipped pencil – the thickness of the lines represent many miles of land! This has both created boundary issues such as Iraq and Kuwait, and even today means nothing to the roaming Bedouin tribes.
Within these boundaries we have the concept of nationality. What is nationality – probably a derivative of tribal structures. However, over the centuries people mobility has been far more fluid than boundaries. Such mobility could be voluntary, need for food, or imposed. Today, DNA can easily demonstrate that man has continually moved and interwoven throughout history, thus very few people in the World would be revealed as thoroughbred and indigenous to where they are today. So what makes us classify humanity into artificial structures of nationality when we will probably find that our forefathers migrated from faraway places? Used as a tool to create fellowship in healthy competition follows the tribal traditions of mankind but in peaceful harmony, not war.
Impact of the Covid Pandemic
I now reflect on what the behavioural phycologists advising the so-called medical “experts” (I consider the word “expert” the most degraded word in the English language this century) and Governments regarding the impacts of lockdown and work from home have learnt about their gross impact on society and humanity. I am reminded of two proverbs.
“Idle minds are the devil’s workshop”
“The devil makes work for idle hands?”
Covid lockdowns and work from home created many idle minds and hands some of whom chose to occupy themselves to use anarchy as a right to protest about statues, slavery, gender, etc wanting to rewrite history, and redefine society.
We should heed the thoughts of Voltaire – ‘those who can convince you of absurdities can convince you to commit atrocities’.
The peoples of the world have either created division or had it imposed upon them by self-serving, morally corrupt autocrats degrading any reasonable concept of basic humanity in the name of progress and power. We have become numbed by science and divisive ideologies losing our moral compass. Discuss.