Chapter 10: RELIGION, Addressing DMS - Let's Prehend
Let's Prehend
A Manual of Human Ecology and Culture Design

Chapter 10: RELIGION, Addressing DMS

"We are all god's children."
—fanatical folk saying

Religion, Objective and Subjective

LET'S PREHEND..., is a religious book in the sense that it concerns the universe as a total system and attends to entire human condition. Consider two aspects of religion, the objective and the subjective, objectively, of course.

Let's broaden the term "religion" to refer to any deep concern with the human condition, especially the dynamic conflict of ego with reality. The `human condition': ego fights with the greater self, with its own social, cultural and ecological support systems. Call it the Compulsion to the Abstract Life, CAL, from Chapter 3.

Objectivist religion, like science, relies on its long history and continuing studies. As objectivists, let's not prefer or judge, rather let's Evaluate and Diagnose. Objectivists study and integrate - but do not deny or reject - religious processes and institutions. The analytical scheme, the Evaluation charts and the Diagnosis charts, might be applied to religion, just as to any other system.

Subjective religion concerns human conscious experience, especially the expansion of experience beyond the contractive impulses of ego, CAL. The objective `it' god becomes the personal `He' God, as discussed in Jack Miles' "GOD, a Biography", and Ursula Goodenough's "SACRED DEPTHS OF NATURE" among thousands in a rich repertoire. More recently, "Why God Doesn't Go Away" studies the brain phenomenon of religious experience.

Objectively the known universe is one gigantic process, Total Process, TP. (It covers everything!) Scientific models of the universe continually expand and elaborate, studying the increasing profusion of electromagnetic radiation and pieces of matter impinging upon us and our instruments from the beginning of the universe.

The objective position strives to expand and correct our model of reality. Our ideas can never match reality, they can only be more complete and more accurate, or at least less reductionist and less erroneous. `Truth' is an obsolete term - of interest historically and psychologically. The experience of certainty may be personally and psychologically important, but subjective certainty is irrelevant to objective validity, as discussed in Chapter 1.

Contemporary cosmology confirms and develops the elegant cosmological metaphors that all religions have. Whether reality was created in seven days or in 13.4 billion years, attention to these metaphors expands the mind, open the heart and deepen the soul, whatever that is. No doubt the present scientific view of the world, in the distant future, will seem quaint, just as our ancient religious metaphors of the creation of the cosmos and mankind. Even the famous assertion in Hawking's A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME, "It's turtles all the way down!" has a charm to it, perhaps even a validity depending on the meaning of "turtle" and "down". Joseph Campbell summed it up in recounting his discussion with a rationalist: "It's a lie!", "It's a metaphor!", "It's a lie!", "It's a metaphor!". This RIDy contrast is discussed in Chapter 1. But for the present, let's use the image of the process model as a unifying metaphor. "Alas, all is metaphor." Objectively, we all live in a yellow submarine sailing in the universal electron soup. Experience it as you please.

We may not always capitalize "god" because that is not its name. TP is capitalized, not because it is a name for god, but because we capitalize acronyms and abbreviations. This computer software avoids sacrilege by not enabling the use of the real name of god, thus alleviating our FF, TT, and the Tyranny Of Words, TOW. Also, since god is everywhere, there is no distinction between god and not-god in this electron soup. In that sense, the term `god' has no meaning, though we are obliged to explain why humans think they are separate from god, or even that there is no god. The essential task of religion is to deal with the dilemma of consciousness machinery that separates ego from its own support systems, DMS.

The disparaging cliche that "God is created in the image of man" needs further analysis and much more respect. What else can we do - we are developing the model in our mind, an epistemological necessity. On the line from objectively describing TP to the subjective ecstasy of total oneness lies "THE VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE". To begin with, TP is personalized, SOBed, Subjectified OBjectivism. God as He, or She, must then have a gender, inviting conflict from the increasingly adversarial gender relationships driven by CAL. As a sop to man's dependance on and vulnerability to woman, evolving culture has granted patriarchy and allowed God the name `Father'. Jesus, for one, made a failed if heroic attempt to mediate between TP and ego. His efforts were deflected by the authoritarian and flamboyant Roman empire, as described in AMERICA, The Future of Democracy. Imagine that since the mind tends to contract the verbal images `Father and the Son', the `Holy Ghost' was added in a vain attempt to expand the image TP with this more vague term.

Traditions

The ancients did their best to explain the origin of the universe, the beginnings of life, the advent of consciousness, and the dynamisms of the human condition. Let's consider some of the ancient religious images as brilliant intuitions. Just as they are not `true', so they are not `false'. They are profound insights into reality and humanity, to be respected and subjectively enjoyed by objectivists.

In Genesis, God created the universe in seven days - another elegant metaphor. The seven-day period now seems to be about thirteen billion years, but haven't we all had days which drag on like that? Do not doubt that god created the universe, but let's join the endless quest to discover exactly how. The statement "God created the universe" is a tautology, like saying "rain rains" or "a rose is a rose" or "process processes", redundant but poetically true. Whether the singularity "creation" describes a mechanism of reality or is a psychological demand of mind is not yet clear, though current studies suggest that creation was a single event.

People need images to project upon, but reality is not made of words. "WORLD AS A TOTAL SYSTEM." Prophet Mohammed expressed this most elegantly, asserting "There is only one god and his name is TP." (retranslated from the Arabic.)

Theologian Huston Smith characterizes humankind's ideological religious evolution from archaic tribes to current religions in four historic periods:

  1. Archaic tribal period, up to 500 BC, when people attended to myth and archetypes - time consciousness, the question of `why?', man as belonging or estranged, meaning of life, self acceptance, time line still. Lack of attention to ethics, an OOPs period of OSL.
  2. Traditional period around 500 BC. the rise of urban life, attended to revelation. Aristotle was traditional, primitively scientific, he respectfully used philosophy as an explication of myths and traditions. He stressed ethics because tribal Organic Social Life, OSL (Chapter 4) was breaking down as technology, mobility, and trade supported the CAL of mind and culture.
  3. Modern period, 17th century science, transition from tradition, both written and oral to "Scientism". The notion of truth ... .
  4. Post modern period. There is no big picture, no meta-narrative spectrum: a. There is none b. Never have one. c. Don't want one!

Robert Belloch in GOOD SOCIETY: "We have no maps and we don't know how to make them." Gertrude Stein defines 20th century as a time when nothing connects to anything else. But Steven J. Gould writes, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." The RIDy mind succumbs to CAL, withdrawing from the big picture.

Fall from Grace

As explained in Chapters 1 & 2: In any complex system, one subsystem is the most complex. Called the "Minor System, MS", it organizes and controls the others, as explained in. The inherent dynamic of all systems is to continue, grow, and evolve, expand and include. The minor system, being on top of the organization, tends to dissociate itself, jeopardizing even its own survival for the sake of its intensity. This universal dynamic is called the Dissociation of the Minor System, DMS. (It was originally called the Problem of the Minor System, but because of the memorable but unfortunate acronym, DMS is preferred.)

Objectively each human integrates with all others and the entire electron soup of the universe. Call it Objective Love, OV. OV also implies infinite response-ability. But the ego must deny OV to protect its own integrity, The Demand for the Integrity of the Model, DIM, an epistomological manifestation of DMS. As humans with Egos, we are compelled to deny our OV for each and every human, lest we loose ourselves in worship and devotion. However, by clinging to the objective mode, we can coolly describe OL, undistracted by religious experience. Fortunately or not, DIM protects us from a subjective explosion of ecstasy so that we might continue our mundane lives to their conclusion.

In this great universe, the total TP, the most Ei complex of all the subsystems, is homonotsosapiens. In that sense, imagine the human as a microcosm of the universe TP, built in the Ei image of god, therefore, a "child of god". Our human subsystem is a minor systems, asserting a Life Of its Own, LOO, eternally in conflict with god, nature, society and the greater self, GS. This conflict can be called "original sin", the human manifestation of the Dissociation of the Minor System, DMS. `Original' not because humans did something wrong, but because DMS `sin' comes with the "original" package. Original sin is not what we did, it's what we are.

When humans developed to the point of verbal consciousness, a new higher level of DMS arose. Presumably Eve wanted Adam to be conscious so that she might have him as a companion, becoming aware that the cucumber and the snake were no longer sufficient. She taught him consciousness by focusing his attention on food, a universal feminine ploy, with apple in this case, not marzipan. [See DEFENDING THE CAVE WOMAN in which Harold Klawans argues that "women should be credited with inventing languages." ]Unfortunately, her original desire for a companion has never been completely satisfied. Of course, the miss-communication between genders is more serious than here implied, as Deborah Tannen explains in her books SHE SAID, HE SAID, and YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND - Women and Men in Conversation. Nevertheless, some low level of verbal consciousness caught on and has spread throughout this branch of the primate world. [See THE THIRD CHIMPANZEE by Diamond, Marian, UCB and U C Med, UCLA. Humans diverged from primates about seven million years ago. Patterns from hunter-gatherer... Dr Rolin Baker, U Manchester: Women reject or accept ejaculate; most effective moments before and after orgasm which opens cervix. Sperm survives up to five days, coagulates. Fisher, Helen, PhD, ANATOMY OF LOVE, The Complexities of Mating and Marriage and Why We Stay Together. Penguin Books. Anthropologist with the American Museum of Natural History. Human's "concealed estrus" serves women... Women risk their coupling with a genetically attractive stranger by selectively conceiving. Births are 10% by extra-pair conceptions. Dr. Fisher suggests the 7 year itch is really a 4 year itch. When her child has grown large enough to be cared for by the extended family, the ambitious mother looks around for another mate, maybe better this time.] Consciousness is catching, as it is with the chimpanzees nowadays as they teach each other sign language. Cain and Abel, then Seth and so forth, selected mates from the multitude of humanoids in the vicinity. Soon all the women tried to teach their men to talk and the evolution of human culture was launched. See also letsprehend's OBJECTIVE LOVE, and VALENTINE.]

The locale of this fall from grace might have been the great Mediterranean and Black Sea basins. Soviet scientists discovered, when they began the Aswan Dam project, that this region was once far below sea level. At the time, Noah, a boatman and trader up and down the rivers and lakes of the Mediterranean valley, noticed that the natural dam at Gibraltar was ready to break. He prepared for the long forty day gush. Religion can help release the imagination.

Knowledge and Belief

The DIM human mind tends to oversimplify and fixate the way things work. DIM is not an error or disease, it is inherent in the way the mind works as an information processing system, distorting reality by False Focus, FF, and There-and-Then, TT.

This drive toward simplicity is especially compelling in our verbal system, more or less of a problem in different linguistic cultures. This obsession with words is called "idealism", because it leads to the assumption that reality is made of words, not processes, words rather than quantitative process images. Thus, the total universe and all evolutionary processes become narrowed to a single idea, and it is given the name "God" as the abstracted causal and controlling agent. This assertion of verbal truth may console the contracted mind, but let's admit that such "`Belief' is a verbal assertion of what you know ain't so." Reality is not made of words. You better believe it.

Belief can be very comforting to the contracted mind, and stressed ego structure. Unfortunately, because of the Fragility Of Contraction, FOC, this Comfort Of Belief, COB, is a denial and withdrawal from reality. The more one demands certitude and its illusion of comforting control, the more vulnerable one becomes to the storms of outrageous fortune as well as the stresses of everyday life. This insecurity, inherent in belief, is easily denied and repressed. But it often rears its ugly head as a demand for verbal conformity. The Apostle's creed, the Pledge of Allegiance, etc. all declare a quasi-tribal loyalty and often bring solace and security.

As belief becomes institutionalized in its tribal function. This Fragility of Contraction, FOC, insecurity inherent in belief can lead to a power play. Anyone who doesn't `go along' is in real trouble with the flock, sacrilegious though they both may be. The stressed tribe, like the stressed ego, suffers FOC, FOCed up. To make matters worse, this idealistic belief system occasionally allows the rationalization and justification of diabolical and malicious actions, personal and tribal.

Faith has many meanings, but let's broaden the term, faith, as the acceptance of reality's process that is far beyond our ego and our control. The DIM ego would prefer to understand (discount) and control or predict what happens. This DIM demand leaves us "OUT ON A LIMB", victim to outrageous fortune, and vulnerable to other minds as competent as our own. It drives us to argue about "WHY BAD THINGS HAPPEN". Faith gets us off the hook. Call it acceptance of fate, reliance on God, or whatever form it takes, faith seems an essential mechanism to alleviate our FOCs.

No wonder that some believers abandon God, instead of abandoning belief, and become atheists. Atheists are still stuck in idealism and might be called non-believing believers. Another contribution to anti-theism is modern culture's, MAC's triumph of the will, TW. Anti-theists can afford a higher i ego, supported by their wealth and protected by their psychologists - especially the PIPs (Problem of Intelligent People, who have more power to sustain the contraction). Unlike atheists, objectivists may expand to god but don't believe in belief. The verbal assertion of God is inherently a trivialization and fixation; therefore, belief is sacrilegious.

Some persons seem fortunate enough to have a Personal God, PG, more or less. Imagine PG on a scale from an internalization of a perfect parent to an image model derived from Total Process. Faith in a Personal Good helps get the ego off the hook, helps one accept and handle outrageous fortune. Imagine that everyone has faith in something, just to avoid thinking of everything at once. More common is faith in the System As Marketplace, SAM, and the Magic Of the Market, MOM. MOM may offer some comfort comparable to the Father, but more likely it's a cover for ego selfish greed and contracted empathy, as explained in Chapter 7 and HOG. But MOM, personally operative and projected onto others, a mean mode, GOLDEN MEAN. Faith most simply asserts that everything will come out OK. But in the end, we are all dead, whatever that means.

After receiving this great gift of consciousness, mankind has never, or hardly ever, been able to return to the original graceful organic relationship with reality, the Garden of Eden. This fall from grace is the price we pay for the gift of consciousness. Some Asian religions refer to this "fall from grace" as "caramel", presumably because it is sweet and sticky. [Or is it "karma"?]

Religious Process

The management of this conflict between mind and reality is the core concern of religion. Resolution of the conflict is the ultimate goal; but, by the nature of the machinery of mind and reality, final resolution cannot happen in this life. Call it heaven, Nirvana, or whatever, ultimate harmony is all around us but unattainable. Nevertheless, all religions offer large and small alleviations of the conflict, from religious ecstasy to the mini-satori of being born again.

The essence of this struggle in any religion is psycho- and socio-expansive processes, Ei and Ai: Love instead of hate, forgiveness instead of vengeance, service instead of sloth, benevolence instead of malice, generosity instead of greed, and life's endless oscillations of the contraction-expansion dynamic, CED.

In D chart analysis of primary, secondary and tertiary emotions, the highest A primary emotions involve the experience and cultivation of the unity of all things: agape love, worship, thankfulness... . The secondary emotions experience the inherent separateness of ego from other, self from ecosystem, soul from god: grief, acceptance, acknowledgment, submission. The tertiary emotions, with the highest D, are ego operations to increase the isolation of ego for the sake of higher i TW, Triumph of the Will: anger, guilt, denial, rejection, disparagement, disdain, and the Seven Deadly Sins: Pride, Greed, Gluttony, Sloth, Wrath, Lust, Envy.

Because of this original human orneriness, every stitch in the fabric of life has some tension called "sin". Historically there was one exception: Mary, mother of Jesus, was just so nice that her life went on without a glitch, whether in hotel or manger. Some speculate she had a learning disability, like Dostoyevsky's IDIOT. Three kings on camels tried to con a contract with gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but the agents for baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, just said thanks. Instead they taught him carpentry, to keep him in touch with work, because WORK is a mode of loving the earth and one's fellow beings, in contrast with ELBY. Even as a child, the little smart-ass Jewish kid made the basic points of i integration among the cognoscenti of the local temple. [Jesus was twelve years old when he went to the temple and snowed the oldsters with his sharptitude. Luke 2:41] In general, he disclosed that if you get-off-it, you can participate in and perhaps experience living in the real world, instead of being trapped in the contracted self. The yellow submarine, YS, can be more or less limiting.

Another analyst suggests that since Jesus was conceived when Mary was not married, he's a bastard and bore the ostracism of his culture. In response, he spent time with the bums and even associated with fishermen, tax collectors and whores. That's one reason the religion caught on.

The practice of religion is struggle against sin by means of love and forgiveness, the contraction-expansion dynamic in attitude and behavior, CED. Common meditative exercises such as prayer may help relieve the inherent burden of guilt, calm the yama-yama of consciousness, and enhance the resolve to transcend the triumph of the will, TW, and the compulsion to the abstract life, CAL.

Rituals

Starting life with the little ritual of returning to the water, from which we were born and from which we evolved, is a nice way to begin. Baptism is a recapitulation of both ontogeny and phylogeny. There's more to it: it asserts the significance of a new complex being, produced and owned by not just the parent, but by the quasi-tribe, humankind, the ecosystem and the universe. A good way to start.

Periodically reasserting that your ego is more than just you, it's part of the universe, is a ceremony worth cultivating and sharing. If this assertion is experienced, it may be called being "born again". Acknowledgement is nice, but experience is better. Such i Integrations, iIs, are not easy to manage, even with the help of friends in the quasi-tribal church. The good life needs all the help it can get.

Resistance to life's compulsive ego trips is a lifelong challenge. The temptation to do bad things, called sins, deeds that separate you from yourself, your loved ones, mankind, and the natural world, can barely be resisted. Such is the triumph of the will, TW, and the tyranny of the self, TS. But if one can quiet the ego-chatter in the head for a moment, the bondage of ego and samsara is alleviated. Pray a little, forgive what people and nature do to you, gather regularly with a group to reinforce the process, and perhaps tell some generous volunteer what's going on. By all these and many other mechanisms, the ego might be cajoled into giving up its high and mighty confrontation with god. HAPPINESS

Such submission is not so easy. The contracted ego may experience it a loss of integrity rather than a gain of integration, especially in a schizophrenic imperialist Modern Abstract Culture, MAC. Most people avoid the whole scene and simply live out their lives as enemies to themselves, other people, and the ecosystem. Living shallow, fragmented, desperate lives is especially easy if one is wealthy.

In modern abstract culture, this CULTURE OF THE GHOSTS, COGs, wherein culture, family structure, and even interpersonal communication has decayed, religion can offer not only essentially healthy quasi-tribal process and artificial extended family support, but personal comfort as well. In "RELIGION, AGE AND HEALTH", Harold Koenig, MD Psychiatrist, summarizes studies in recent five years, including those of Jeff Lewin, finding that religious people have better health and longer lives. This holds true for numerous studies involving modes of assessing health and longevity in a variety of religions. Religion offers a broader world view, patience in pain, hope in disease, comfort in death. He cited one woman's comment that He is the only person who listens, He is a friend on hand 24 hours a day, appropriate to the COGs.

Eventually this train of consciousness we call life comes to an end. Death, as the concomitant of sex and birth, is the only way god could figure to sustain the evolution of the spirit and the DNA. Whether time really happens the way we experience it has yet to be figured out, but at the moment of death, the tapes of memory may spin through in the last instant of consciousness. If that mass of memory has been i integrated and most of the sins cleaned up, it's heaven. But if the agony continues through the end, then you're stuck with it at the end of the experience of time.

Society and Sex

That human consciousness rests upon this most complex of ecosystems is often celebrated with symbolic holy food. We take nourishment from the real world to support our conscious life. We upgrade the fusion energy of the sun in support of the complexity of our being. The body and blood of Jesus, BBJ, is chosen as an appropriate name for the restaurant of the Residence Community in honor of this holy ceremony. Every meal, every snack is a holy communion. In Christianity, the holy communion is not about cannibalism or oral eroticism, it is about the universe supporting our human life, particularly symbolized by the body and blood of a son of god. [Variations by Orthodox Unitarians sometimes substituting white wine instead of red, symbolizing the plasma of Jesus and protect the carpet.]

Surely, if god could have figured out a better way to evolve the human soul she would have, rather then burdening us with the eternal embarrassment of sex. Sex, rife with conflict in itself, is occasionally as important to religion as it is to politics. The sexual system is essential for the evolution of human life these past two billion years. Added to its gene-shuffling biological role is its social role as bonding mechanism, crucial for holding the family together in support of the ever-lengthening maturation process, now dragged out for extra decades. Sex also adds energy to tribal and political life, such as the selection of automobiles and presidents.

However, in the recent few million years, since the fall from grace, ego has reared its ugly head. The upstart ego must deal with this ancient and crucial sex process, must integrate or subdue it. This is especially difficult because increasing consciousness makes life and sex seem more complex, as explained in OBJECTIVE SEX.

D chart analysis is helpful in describing the struggle of the ego to control sex. When the two are in harmony, we are all in love, the couple is hot, the family warm, the tribe secure and celebrating. But love and sex are inherently enemies to the contracted self and to modern abstract culture, MAC. Religions' attempts to control sex expresses the triumph of the will, TW. Ego may yield to the integrative force occasionally, but it hates to admit defeat and will mess up if it can. The self lurks beneath love, and in the countless modes explained in art and science, ego strives to undermine organic relationships. Fortunately, it never totally succeeds or we wouldn't be here.

In BigMAC, women who can afford the abstract life, forgo the burdens of love and family for the sake of career - another example of the victory of ego over organic life. Career doesn't mean expansion into an organic society, it means running from an arid suburb to the cultural oasis of a job. Love is a threat to the self. Religions are caught up in this struggle, and provide a tilted battle field.

The burden of excess population and the resulting decline of the birth rate helps save the ecosystem, but it is not, in itself, the enemy of organic social life, OSL. For example, in China OSL is extravagantly decaying. But the application of culture design could easily, economically and ecologically turn it around. Proper urban and rural design and architecture could allow more adults to enjoy the fewer children, share their care, and enhance their lives. Another condition for the Reconstruction of Organic Social life, ROSL, is the elimination or radical alleviation of age segregation, as explained in Chapter 9, EDUCATION. What will they do?

Admit it or not, everyone knows that sex in itself is a religious process, a participation in phylogeny, and ontogeny if you score. Only a few religions indulge this importance. A more pervasive religious position about sex is the effort to protect the bonding mechanism, crucial to holding the family and tribe together. Religions, in their tribal role, condemn sex when its genetic role supersedes its tribal role.

For practice, compare these various religious positions on the E and D charts. Sex is the battle ground that most discloses the usurpation of organic personal life by abstract religious institutions.

Religion as Therapy

One function of religion is the management of mental health, dealing with the inevitable ego trips - the triumph of the will, TW, tyranny of the self, TS, and principle of something else, PSE. For practice, analyze these trips and sins, expansions and blessings, as ego contractions and expansions (CED) on the D chart.

An example of ego expansion is the meditative state, an integrative process related to, and sometimes displacing sleep. Mantra meditation, for example, seems to tie up the ego system's internal conversation with a meaningless word or mantra, allowing the subconscious mind to get things together. There are many other quasi-meditative states: music, commuting, arts, TV, sports, sex, and chocolate ice cream. All religions have such processes: chanting, hymns, rosary beads, prayer wheels, etc. Notice that many people, especially modern liberal types from the Protestant heritage, are apt to disparage these processes as a threat to the contracted self, TS, which they are indeed. Dr. Herbert Benson and others have done excellent research from a scientific point of view to verify and elaborate the universal "Relaxation Response". Such expansive processes have been successfully commercialized.

On the value and the health charts, consider the positive direction, from center 5,5 up right to 6,6, as enlightenment: an increase in awareness, i, as well as an increase in both inclusion, E, and accord, A. A variety of processes fit this description, not all of them thought of as enlightenment. Ordinary everyday life contains a flow of expansive and contractive modes of consciousness, CED. How to promote expansion, or allow it to happen, is each person's task. Each sage and guru has more or less helpful suggestions, each stable culture weaves them into life. But in the decaying abstract MAC cultures, expansive modes have been replaced with a repertoire of contractive modes including jingoism, competition, and capitalism. Cultures not intent on reconstruction depend on such methods to destroy the organic foundation of culture. Instead of practicing religious process, people will turn to the many abusive modes at the ready, leading one guru to write, "Opium is the religion of the masses."

Spirituality

Let's consider spirituality on the A scale, according to the degree of dissociation of the ego from the rest of reality. This applies the basic theory of letsprehend.com in Chapter 2. On the left high Dissociation side, the ego asserts its detachment from reality, whereas on the right high A side, the integration side, the ego affirms itself as part of reality, and celebrating the greater harmony. In this Power-Harmony, PH parameter, the ego dissociates with i effort to be adversarial to and gain power over reality. We might also scale it as the contraction-expansion dynamic, CED, since in the power mode the ego contracts from its greater reality and in the expansive mode it expands to include more of reality.

Common expansive, high A, low iD, expressions of spirituality include "being part of nature", "being one with god", "loving one's fellow creatures", "love of mankind", "part of the human family". These resemble primary emotions in the cartography of emotions. On the secondary level are expansive alleviations of contraction such as forgiveness and thankfulness. The third level might be remedial behavior including some rituals, the golden rule, etc..

In contrast, common contractive, low A, high iD, expressions of spirituality include: being free of one's body, hearing the voice of god, transcending worldly things, triumphing over evil or nature. On the next level we have such cultivations of pathology as: concern with past lives - presumably a way of denying this one; giving up control to the stars - a way of dissociating from response-ability; acquiescing to fate - a way of denying participation; out of body experiences - helpful with a tooth-ache but schizoid in themselves; being one with God, instead of being one with god.

Spirituality needs a D chart analysis. On the right high ACCORD side, is the acknowledgement and cultivation of one's unity with fellow human's, the supporting ecosystem, and the total process. But the ego, in expanding itself, can run away with itself dissociating from sensory, social and scientific verification. [See Carl Sagan's book DEMON HAUNTED WORLD.] This pathological spirituality expresses itself as power-trip memory tricks such as precognition and past lives, and an array of other New Age ego trips.

All cultures use drugs in their religion as essential ways to expand and contract consciousness. More contractive religions use more contractive drugs like tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol, like drinking beer at a football game. [Just as T. S. Eliot in his NOTES TOWARD THE DEFINITION OF CULTURE describes horse racing as a British religion, so Sports and patriotism are American religions.] More expansive religions use marihuana, mescaline, psilocybin, and LSD. The terror and hate of the DRUGS War roughly measures the fragility of contraction of our increasingly abstract culture.

Obviously, in the context of the human condition, the battle between the ego and reality is not easy to measure. Nevertheless, this approach helps to diagnose spirituality on the A scale, from pathological to healthy.

Ethics

Ethics might well be in the category of religion because the conflict of self and society is a crucial aspect of managing the conflict between ego and being. Objectivist ethics are derived from the E charts which measure value, and the D charts which measure health, from Chapter 2.

Objectivist Ethics, OE, is not a simple set of guidelines, any more than science can be reduced to a few cliches. Reality is not made of words, neither is human behavior. OE is certainly not idealist, subjectivist, relativist, pragmatist or any of a number of terms used in the field of ethics.

The idealist-rationalists, RIDs, would like a few simple rules, or at least a logically coherent set of guidelines to make everything perfectly clear, to add the comfort of security, and the pleasures of condemnation, to their contracted minds. Not only is this idealist approach to ethics a trivialization of the human condition but it becomes a way of denying the entire subject.

The Denial Of Ethics, DOE, involves the absurdity of following simplistic rules. Such simplification may drive people into DOE in several ways:

  1. The conflict is so painful they simply drop it as a matter of concern or discussion.
  2. They give it lip service as a Sunday ethic, an ideal which must be separated from everyday life. HAND OF GOD, HOG
  3. They use ethics as a device to gain advantage over others, a support for the principle of punishment, POP. DOE is the dissociation of ethics from culture.

In an adversarial society, ethics makes people aware of the pain of a dying culture. The burgeoning of crime, the expansion of the criminal system, the construction of prisons, the `three strikes your out' panic, all measure the death throws of the COGs.

In an organic culture, ethics maintains the complex behaviors which are the foundation of organic social life. The breakdown of ethics, and its degradation into law, is a mechanism of the compulsion to the abstract life, CAL. Living and being with other people becomes too dangerous and painful, so people isolate themselves as much as possible, statistically. In contrast, the reconstruction of organic cultural life, ROCL, goes along with the reconstruction of ethics, as common agreements are added to the unconscious substructure of the growing organic culture.

On the E chart, movement up and to the right is the value, positive growth. Since systems grow by themselves, OG, (a redundant statement necessitated by FF and TT), the individual needs basic support: food, clothing, and shelter, as well as protection from fear and want. Since we all live in the electron soup and all relationships are family relationships, anyone's lack of these basic supports is everyone's responsibility.

This is called the Principle of Infinite Responsibility, PIR. Recall that guilt, beyond a moment's recognition, is an irresponsible emotion, since it is more apt to inhibit response than enhance responsibility. Notice how the Mormons, even though living in modern abstract culture, nourish their community by institutionalizing PIR. They systematically serve and care for each other and the rest of humanity, in their fashion.

On the E chart of social process, value means the nurturing of the quasi-extended family and tribal groups, like going to church on Sunday and taking communion with fellow family members. The E chart would also include all mankind, regardless of distance, wealth, or car color. "We are the world". Obviously, the super-tribal relationships are relatively less organic, nevertheless, an awareness of the human family and the actual relationships, such as international economics and global ecology, is an important and enriching aspect of life, if you can afford it.

The D chart of individual behavior helps measure the dissociations of everyday life. The ego is in constant struggle with its supporting reality, and this original sin needs constant intervention. From a vast repertoire of venial and mortal sins, consider the mortal sin of tobacco smoking. To use tobacco oneself is not just a suicidal indulgence, it is omnicidal, simply because your body does not belong only to you, it belongs to your loved ones, and to all mankind. To support the US government, which promotes the sale of cigarettes in Taiwan and worldwide, is a serious if simple sin.

The virtue of being nice to people is not so simple. Some people may need immediate intervention, but kindness does not mean just politeness, it often means a kick in the ass. Next time you see some stranger on the street smoking a cigarette, take it from her mouth and extinguish it on the palm of your hand. That is an example of ethical behavior.

Objectivist ethics may not be simple, but they are obvious.

Institutions

Religion has always been a principal vehicle not only for individual life concerns but also for tribal process. Modern churches provide a large portion of what little quasi-tribal process modern abstract culture provides. But the same compulsions to the abstract life which contract the individual and disintegrate the family, also degrade the church. The church can barely function as a nexus of community life if there is no community. CAL breaks down the church in countless ways, which can be analyzed on the D chart, down to the level of Sunday football and golf.

Religious institution is to the political organism as consciousness is to the human organism - a minor system. The gift of the church, like the gift of consciousness, is a mixed blessing.The E chart measures the degree of development of the institutions: the number, E, the integration, i, including such matters as the degree of contribution of the church to organic cultural life. In some countries, such as Guatemala and Poland, the church is dominant in the culture; whereas in the United States, it seems more separate from the culture, having been displaced by quasi-religions of TV sports and game shows.

The D chart measures the dissociation between institutions and people, such as the degree of conflict between the clergy and the parishioners, or the degree of relevance of church communications with the operant issues of the culture.

As with any system, religious institutions oscillate up and down their iso-value and iso-health lines. The E scale importance of the church ebbs and flows. Dissociations ebb and flow on the contraction-expansion dynamic, CED, in the institutions, in all their components, and in their cultural function.

The institutions of religion are appropriate organisms for the dynamic process of ego and being, government and governed, rich and poor. Any organization that accepts such concerns, even the Communist Party, is thereby called a religion.

Since religion is the most exalted human endeavor, it figures that the warriors would usurp religion for their own nefarious ends. This cultivation of universal love and loyalty often becomes the handmaiden of the barbarians.

It may look like religion causes the wars: Protestant vs. Catholic in Ireland, Sikh vs. Hindu in India, Christian vs. Muslim in Lebanon, Romans vs. Communist in Poland, Hutu vs Tutsi in Africa, Sunni vs. Shia in Iraq, and on and on. But these are economic power driven conflicts, usurping tribal ethnic loyalties, and using religion as their tribal ethnic designation. It is unlikely that these men would fight if they were not paid or forcefully induced to kill each other. Yet popular cliche ignores and denies the eco-power organization behind wars. The common notion that humans are inherently warlike is a pathological denial of why powerful rich men make poor men kill each other. Not to deny the joys of testosterone, but there are better options.

The clergy are more often the peacemakers of the tribe, though each clergyman has more than his share of normative conflict, a hard DIPL to carry. (Dissociation of Ideas from Personal Life, Chapter 1) How much of his religious heritage must he sell out to maintain his position? Notice that most low intensity warfare is enabled, organized, and paid for by outside nations: The US supported mujahadeen in Afghanistan, Jonas Savimbi's slaughter in Africa begin a long list, as explained in ENHANCEMENT OF INVESTMENT.

Religion is not the "cause" of these pervasive wars, barely even the excuse. The mind's temptation to make a simple `false cause' degrades the understanding of organic process. The organic causes include inter-tribal rivalry and greed, a curse of the human race since long before we were homo-not-so-sapiens OOPS.

Every religious leader addresses this issue, exhorting in many ways that tribal loyalties should be expanded to include all god's children. Religion is the vehicle for such concerns and is inherently expansive, but when usurped by the tribalists, nationalists, and patriots, it's apt to degrade, like any other complex system compelled toward iD abstraction.

Nevertheless, religious institutions are a most appropriate forum for this issue, the present Roman Catholic `liberation theology' being a beautiful example. The condemnation of Salman Rushdie and the brutal destruction of Iraq in our continuing crusade illustrate the range of dissociation of religious institutions from religious values.

It's easy for the victors to accuse the vanquished of religious fanaticism. When the First World puts the squeeze on the Third World, "in a fit of absence of mind as it were", the vanquished assert their quasi-tribal integrity, often in the name of their religion, whether Islam as in Iran or Catholicism as in Poland. [Quotation from the classic Moon's IMPERIALISM.]

On the most overt level, most warriors call upon their gods for victory in battle. Some military organizations even have quasi-religious `chapl ins' in their ranks, presumably to help maintain the pretense of virtue amid pervading vice. We might thank god for small favors: in modern times it seems less common for the warriors to claim religion as their prime motivation, greed being the operating principle, and triumph of the will being the juice. Tribal loyalty, called "patriotism", is the battle cry. As patriotism ebbs, "Support our troops." is the spin doctors appeal to support those young men who would be the most likely candidates for imprisonment if they were back home.

On a slightly more devious level is the use of religion as an important factor in the occupation and enslavement after the victory has been won. For example, the Europeans have imposed an aberration of Christianity on most of the world's people as they have expanded their domination and control over most of humankind in recent centuries. Missionaries often precede gunboats. In the current scene it seem unlikely that the wrath of the West would have meted out such total destruction on the Iraqis fighting against comprador monarchs, had they been real people instead of rag-head Muslims.

The struggle between love and hate, between expansion and contraction, is intense within the churches themselves. That minority which takes religious teachings seriously often forms the vanguard of peace. Unfortunately, the stress within the churches is often so great that such worldly issues fade from concern, and religions are put to the service of cultural contraction. In whatever manner this compulsion manifests itself, the churches can barely maintain themselves as religions, and often sink to the abstraction of television tithing.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is the analysis of religion as human ecology, and the reform of religious life and institutions through culture design.

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