Friday, March 23, 2012

The Mind of God Part 1: Morality

The Mind of God Part 1: Morality - The Theory of Natural Concordance and Discordance

This is the first part of a sort of exploration into the nature of the God I believe in, The Mind of God, which is in essence the mind of humankind. Could it be possible that the existence of God isn't dependent upon specific Religious beliefs but rather the acknowledgment that we are all connected on a base, energetic level? And perhaps that energetic level is, in a multitude of ways, what God is. If my submission is that God is Love, then the base energy that connects us all is the energy of Love. I will say that these posts are longer than normal, and they may not be for everyone, but if there is something near and dear to my heart it is my spirituality; not my religion, my spirituality. I ask you to read on not because I want to convert you, but because I want to share with you my own beliefs, a great part of my heart, and give people a sense of the theories and ideas that come about inside this crazy brain of mine. Let's begin.

Subjective terms ruin a lot of things. Richard Dawkins, amongst others, makes one of the greatest arguments in support for the non-existence of "God"; that he is not needed to establish Morality.

Agreed.

Now that that's out of the way, let me clarify:

Stop pasting pictures onto the face of "God". Even the word "God" is subjective. Religion, of course, is pure subjection. Because of Religions in their many shapes and sizes, names, doctrines, and books you have become so beaten down by their rhetoric and their dogma that when you hear the word "God" you more than likely associate it with a Religion, usually Christianity or Judaism. If I said "Allah" your brain would be inclined to shift to Islam and the many Muslims we've even further subjected to stereotype.

That's the issue. Religion is subjection because it's subject to incredible stereotypes. Therefore God has received the same stereotypes. When people say "Jesus loves you" a lot of folks might think of the Westboro Baptist Church or fanatical zealots and there's no way that the Jesus of the WBC loves you the way they seem to try and have you believe. In fact, it doesn't seem like love at all.

When people preach from the Old Testament it's always a God of fear, that good things will happen to you if you follow a strict rulebook of what seems like absurd, angry, vengeful nonsense and that you must fear God! If God is equated by most all Religions as a parent, and you want to think of him as a Mother or Father or both, should you be afraid of your parents? No. You should Love your parents and vice versa. Fear creates vindictiveness, a following of the rules only because your wicked demise and incredibly cruel punishment are being dangled over you. Love means mistakes are forgiven, that life can be lived without always looking over your shoulder.

So right away, "fear" is a bad word. It's even four letters. So let's drop it. Get rid of it. God does not operate based on fear. If that's the God that drives you to act then I suggest you reaccess your relationship.

Even the word "God" doesn't mean anything but it does give us something to call whatever it is. We also like to think of him as a person, and even there I've subconsciously referred to God as "him", which isn't necessarily unfair, it's just not correct. God isn't a man or a woman and isn't in any way shape or form close to anything that resembles a human being. I've described before, in as broadly specific terms as I could, what I thought our souls were made of. Let me extend that to try and use as an example of what God is, more at least than the personification of a man or woman.

Have you ever seen a sunbeam shine so brilliantly that it seems tangible? That if you wanted to you could reach out and touch it, breath it in, bathe in it? A dusty mist of warmth and power and glory. That's what God is.

It sounds strange and vague, but the idea of this swirling golden energy is more representative of God I feel than is an old white guy with a long beard and a staff who wears a robe. That's a stereotype given to us by painters who didn't have the feintest clue as to how to represent such a force. Creating your own way of imagining God isn't bad, it's necessary, but forcing others to see God the way you see it is not productive and usually hurts your cause.

A very good friend of mine and I have had hours worth of conversation coming to the same understanding  of many things pertaining to morality and human nature despite coming from opposite sides. When I say "God", "Jesus", and "Holy Spirit" his mind thinks "bigotted Christians" and I don't blame him, though it is disheartening to know that so many people have such a reaction. I've had a lot of conversations with people who consider themselves Christian and it seems that they couldn't be further from it. If God is one word then God is Love; a force for good, and not a power that can be contained or used by men. My assertion isn't that there is a God who can be nailed down to the specifics of the Bible, the Torrah, the Qu'ran, or any other Holy doctrine, it's that there exists in the Universe, somewhere out there, a through line of energy from which all things are based. It is made of Love, goodness, balance, and because of balance it has a natural morality, and all that, and then some, is God.

Looking at the broadest "moral" and Political issues I hear in the day to day, I can assure you of a few things. God does not hate fags. God does not hate. Period. God does not vote, he is not red or blue. God is not fate, he is free will. If God seems to be negative, that the instances of the Universe are weighing down upon you as if he desires to torment you, that is also incorrect. If God is Love then that Love is not conditional but UNconditional. And true undoncitional love doesn't mean it works under the conditions of the bible or any holy book or the personal conditions of how you think it should work, it means it transcends any book that could be written and any assumption you could make. It also means that there is potentially no hell. Consequences to your earthly actions aside, if God loves unconditionally that means you can't really know what happens to an "evil" person after they die. It's not up to you, so stop worrying about it. Is there a hell? I don't know for certain, no one can, but it's safe to say that in life we should be as good as we can. Which leads us to morality.

When I say I agree with Dawkins that God is not needed to establish morality, I agree that the "God" he is referring to is non-existent. But that "God" is a subjective one, accurate only in connection with various Religions and linked to other subjective Religious terms. I don't believe in the God Dawkins and so many others disbelieve in. My God is very different. Isn't it strange that despite believing or disbelieving in God, morality exists regardless and we find ways to make scientific explanations for its arise? We want to believe that good is a Universal truth, as is bad. We want to say that not killing is one of the good universal truths, but the argument made for those brought up believing killing is good is an easy one made, and saying God exists simply because we have morals is simply not a strong enough argument, but it's vaguely close. Remember, "God" does not exist because we have morals, the subjective, subconscious image you have of "God", does not exist because we have morals. But something, this different view of God I'm proposing, does exist because we have morals, and here's why.

Why do morals still exist? Why have they ever existed? Though we want to believe that good and bad are real, they are still subjective terms. Technically all words are subjective terms created because we need them to represent the unrepresentable; emotions or feelings. And "God" is the same. A big white guy with a beard and a staff. How else can we represent the unrepresentable? If they asked Michelangelo to paint God and Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and he painted a big ball of smoke with sparkles, as if stars, raining down onto Adam people would think it was weird. It makes sense to depict God as an old man because what he really is, is something incomprehensible that will injure the brain if thought on for too long.

However, I claim that, subjective terms aside, morals do still exist and good and bad are still existing forms of energy that people pursue and both ideas show interesting evidence suggesting the continuing use of the words "good" and "bad" if only for the sake of easing conversation and not speaking in non-specific, broad, ethereal terms of sunbeams and magic. (Or painting pictures of balls of smoke and sparkles.)

The example needs to start from the ground up, literally. It's strange how many things have literal examples found in other organic or inorganic life aside from just humans. We begin with the natural actions of animals, their nature, and the nature on other biological life like plants. Because the bird drops the seed to the ground during flight the seed falls into soil, after the rain the seedling begins to grow roots and eventually sprouts. Because the sun shines and at times the clouds rain, the seed grows over time into a great big beautiful tree. Because of the natural existence of "care", the seedling is allowed to become a tree. All the elements are just right and in place for the tree to grow, and it does. Now if an animal ripped the seedling from the ground when it was just a twig, would it still be allowed to become a tree? No. And what is the ripple effect for losing the tree?

Without the interruption of animals, the natural care of the earth will grow the tree. Life is naturally promoted. If the conditions are just right, life flows and continues. If the conditions are wrong life ceases, the tree stops receiving water, the soil goes bad, the desert is uninhabitable, etc. The basic understanding of how biological life on Earth works, and how it worked before humans existed, helps us understand that there is a natural order and a natural balance. That natural order or balance, as basic as it can be described, is life. And even more basically, existence or nonexistence.

Many animals fight. They can be territorial, what have you, there are many reasons that animals fight and kill because it is in their nature. And still life goes on. Humans are, at least based on my observations, the only animal in existence capable of going against our nature because we choose to. If it's in our nature to kill, we are capable of resisting. If it's in our nature to run around impregnating random females, we are capable (thank God) of resisting. Not everyone does, but it is possible.

I think looking at things from a very removed point of view helps; there is, by nature, the existence of natural balance, natural concordance (agreeable harmony) and discordance (contentious dissention) in the Universe. If weather destroys the tree from a bolt of lightning, it is destroyed, that life is destroyed. This is natural discordance, that things can be destroyed simply because of the nature of the world and the Universe. And on the flip side, when the conditions are right, life on Earth and in the Universe is promoted, natural concordance.

When something is removed there is a lack of what it could have contributed to the natural order of things. Nature moves on, the earth does not fall simply because one tree is struck by lightning, but things are affected. If there was no bird the seed would not have fallen, if there was no rain or sunshine there would have been no sprout, if there was no seed there would have been no tree, and of course, if there was not another tree there would have been no seed. So if a tree exists purely to contribute to the earth in a way of concordance by providing food for animals and insects, shade, oxygen, many other benefits, or positives, then we must be capable of the same and its opposite.

People die and are lost due to nature and also due to the actions of other humans, but if we are in tune with what we are capable of providing not just to the earth, but to one another, the destruction of another human being is conjoined with the idea of natural discordance, the removal of positive potential. If we lose another human, their potential is lost, what they could have done for the earth is gone, and again we move on and the entire earth does not collapse but things are affected, other humans, the nature around them, etc. are affected. (The seed is not planted ergo the tree does not grow, but on a much grander scale.) Things are incredibly connected and the loss of something means a spike in natural discordance. Similar to ideas of the Butterfly Effect and Chaos Theory, like ripples in a pond. The pond may be smaller or bigger depending on the person, but someone or something, somewhere, is going to be affected by it.

If, on the other hand, we promote positivity, or like I mentioned earlier the idea of natural "care" (now better defined at natural concordance), we are promoting the growth of others as well as other living things like plants and animals. If we Love and strive to be positive or, to label it as we have been, to be good then we are promoting that natural concordance, the natural harmonious agreement or positivity of the Earth and the Universe. It is similar to the saying "do unto others as you would want them to do unto you". Someone like a dictator who no doubt values their own life but not the lives of their own people is obviously not following the golden rule and if they believe they are then it is an incorrect and warped version. They are willingly creating discordance in an attempt to gain more pleasure in their existence. But they are hated by the masses and people wish them dead, there are uprisings and slayings and mayhem because of those who kill others. From understanding that the essence behind the golden rule is how to promote peace on earth then we accept on a base level its truth, that it is generally right, and if we're positivie toward one another things tend to work out better than if we were negative. If we are willing to work in harmonious agreement then there is progress.

When you live with the knowledge that not killing or not taking the life of other living things can create a more natural harmony then I think we are acknowledging the natural existence of concordance and discordance. Or in simpler terms, the basic existence of good and bad.

And so our morals, our general sense of good and bad are defined by our desire or lack of desire to create harmony in the world. Concordance seems always the better option because when we evaluate our own lives the majority tends to reflect the golden rule and the desire to live, we are good to others because we want others to be good to us. We naturally believe, if only on a small scale, in the idea of karma. Even if it's just subconsciously, that perhaps what goes around comes around whether it be good or bad, we have an innate sense of wanting to receive goodness and not badness. And because there exists in nature before the arrival of any animal life form both concorance and discordance, our morals are derived from this natural through line. The natural balance of the Universe that exists outside of human involvement suggests balance exists regardless, and that balance is made up of an incredible amount of variables which, with the arrival of humans and subjective terminology, become our "shades of grey" when dealing with morality. The extremes of black and white are impossible in morality because of human nature, so too is saying concordance and discordance are the only two sides of the natural balance, it's simply the best terminology that can be used to suggest the natural existence of morality which is a byproduct of the natural order of the Universe and the natural order of existence.

All this considered however, we're only human, everyone has moments of nastiness or rudeness or anything, we make mistakes. But out of everyone on the planet how many of us are killers? If you want to really get down to the nitty gritty, we all are. We kill spiders and chop down trees and build houses over nature. Everything else in nature stands separate from the importance of human life. The life of a bush and the life of a human are incomparable. If someone said they loved their rose bushes more than, or even equal to, their child we would think they were crazy. And I think that's right to embrace. Humans are kind of special. However we should be a little more mindful in our daily lives of the importance of the things around us, what affects what. And to a higher degree, be this mindful of the people around you, more mindful of the natural harmony and balance that exists and discordance that can occur by removing components to the equation that seem like they're merely in the way, but somehow are and must be important, you just may not have the proper scope to appreciate their relevance. Perhaps the tree will never grow. Maybe you've heard the old proverb:

For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a nail.

That of course is connected to ideas like the Butterfly Effect and Chaos Theory, but those are thoughts for another day.

I think because our morals have been derived out of a historical necessity to create balance and seek ways to prolong human life and live that life in as much ease and pleasure as possible, and maybe we did so without realizing it, we actually mimicked the already existant natural "morality" of the Earth. That specific morality being the earlier idea of natural concordance and discordance. Therefore, morality exists without subjective terms or titles but rather as emotions and feelings that we acknowledge as being something everyone deserves, inalienable rights to put it simply. A desire for harmonious agreement over argument and conflict.

An essence technically cannot be labeled, but it must be because it needs a way to be comprehended. But my case is that morality, good and bad, exist naturally in the Universe as an energy, like protons and neutrons both being present in the nucleus helping to create atoms. This energy, this natural balance of the Universe that we represent in so many ways, yin and yang, night and day, concordance and discordance, etc. is real and I think important to acknowledge as being something that came from something. Don't insert subjective terms here, again, I'm not talking religion, I'm talking spirituality. God exists here, in this space of the never understandable.

Science is absolutely essential, but I've heard the argument too many times that we're only interested in studying and believing in what exists in our observable scope. To me this means we're turning a blind eye to the unobservable, and even further, to the admission that there will always exist the never-observable. If there is an answer to the question, the question why still exists, what came before always exists, so much so that when we just give up and say we're focusing only on what exists in our observeable scope we're quitting on potential hypotheses. It doesn't have to be everyone's focus, but to say God, in all its potential forms (not just subjective religious ones) does not exist based on what we know in our observable scope is to say you will only believe in something once it is enveloped in that scope, that when the time comes and science spreads its wings further, then it will be okay to believe in it. But for now, since science has not yet reached those new boundaries the best solution is to believe that is does not and could not possibly exist.

In Dawkins' book "The God Delusion" his greatest argument for why Morals can exist without God is because we have a beautiful thing called natural selection which has developed them over time. That's wonderful, I believe in evolution and also natural selection but the greater question still exists, why natural selection? Why us and not others? And if there are others why do we seem to be the greatest or most advanced? And what purpose do morals even serve? Surely if we understand what morals do it's that they slow us down and prohibit us from blindly acting based purely on our animalistic nature. And yet we have them, and we obey them because we generally accept that if there is to be harmony in the World, in the Universe, it requires being a good person. Concordance is desirable, discordance is not. My claim is that, because these two things exist naturally, outside of the human race, existed billions of years ago amongst only plants and single celled organisms, exist out of our atmosphere and in space, then can't we agree to disagree that maybe, just maybe, there's something going on out there that we can't ever prove with science, but can use science to reach a better understanding of what it might be?

That's the most difficult part in denying the existence, or possibility of existence, of something else out there, past the big bang, past metaphysics, inertia, and zero point energy. Since we can never prove with science 100% of all the mysteries of the Universe as being either God or not God, then the possibility exists regardless.

To end, I want to bring up a major theoretical question that I will be exploring bit by bit in further parts, but it is essential in introducing this "energetic" God I believe in and seeks to back up claims for the notion that God is Love and that it is Love that created the Universe. If concordance suggests the promotion of life, and discordance suggests the impediment or recession of it, does that give a potentially emotional explanation for ideas like the big bang theory? Can that give emotional purpose to the creation of Universe? An explosion of the existence that created all things, that was the first act of our known Universe, was an act of concordance, not discordance. It is expansion of life, an expansion of existence that pushes all things outward, always growing, like our ever expanding Universe. It is not a recession of existence. This energy gave way to all of that existence and to all of that life, and if concordance is agreeable harmony, which is synonymous with Love (Love defined as peace derived from agreeable harmony), could that mean that what instigated all things was, as simply as it could be put, the powerful, explosive energy of Love?

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