Wednesday, April 28, 2004


One of the paradoxes of modern life is that those who are most in the clutches of evolution are those who don’t believe in evolution. Religion is rooted in a fundamentalist's and conservative's animal nature, in the pecking order of chickens and the battles between them for territory, sex and food. Religions express the vertical order of our evolutionary animal world. How often have I heard my conservative friends, when dismissing the needs of the poor, say, “It’s a dog eat dog world.”? The god concept is the dog eat dog instinct translated into consciousness and language. It’s the religionists’ instinctive recognition of a Top Dog. Not only that, their need for an afterlife is a conscious expression of the survival instinct. Fundamentalists reek of the authoritarian structure of evolution.


In the April 28, 2004 Newsweek, p. 64, George Will, a noted columnist and apologist for right wing beliefs, asks the question, “Does human nature lend itself to freedom? [If not] our effort to increase individual freedom is an evolutionary oddity, a weak and probably vain effort to equip people with an opportunity some do not want and many will readily sacrifice.” Will will have more hope if he looks into the actions of atheists who have cast off all authority and who are truly free men and women who live within the law because of a respect for the law and whose self worth tells them that they should obey the law so as to treat themselves well and to not become self destructive. Religionists, on the other hand, always seem ready to kowtow to someone or other either because they don’t have the self worth to resist or because all resistance has long ago been driven out of them by the authoritarian nature of church authorities.


My daughter, I’m proud to say, many years ago, tried to exercise her personal freedom at Shadle Park High School but was thwarted by the school principal who forced her to say the “flag prayer” or “Pledge of Allegiance” as it could be called before Christians added the “under god” reference to it in 1955 and turned it into a prayer to monotheism. That principal made a liar out of all those “flag prayer’ supporters who claim that no one is required to recite the “flag prayer”, and I’m ashamed I did not do more to support my daughter in her complaint. I should have filed suit against the principal for forcing my daughter to recite the “flag prayer”. We would have won.


Speaking of a type of authoritarians, like the principal, who want us to walk lockstep in their version of the truth—too many of them are like those pecking order people in the opening section of today’s blog entry or, like Will’s people, only too ready to surrender freedom for a comfortably conformist political order. They are authoritarian types and, thus, control freaks. Many of them display the estimable trait of wanting to help others and so become police officers, military men, nurses, teachers and ministers. Unfortunately, the flip side of wanting to help people can become the practice of controlling them. Helpers are often controllers. "Everything in moderation," a Buddhist might say, "even moderation."


Speaking of control freaks—many control freaks are also afraid of getting high because getting high leads to loss of control, but, strange as it may seem, many control freaks also turn to drugs, alcohol or other addictions because they’re wound so tightly they get hooked on things that make them “feel good” or help them unwind. Never trust anyone who lectures too much on drugs; they may be using them now or will be using them in the future, or they may already be hooked on religion, food or sex. Almost every one has some addiction or other. Some are even hooked on their own self-righteousness. They get off on it.


Speaking of the control freaks who listen to or head up talk radio shows—how often do you hear these guys speak as if they can read the minds of their fellow Americans? They seem to be experts on motives of the president or some congressman they don’t like. What those guys are usually too ignorant to know is that when they try to guess at someone else’s motive, they are letting us in on themselves and what they are capable of. If you can recognize a trait in someone else, then it’s usually in you too. When I listen to talk radio, I usually end up knowing more about the participants than I learn about the world they’re claiming to know so much about.


Let me be brutally honest and say, yes—I am the pot calling the kettle black when it comes to that last failing.

"Some things have to be believed to be seen." —Ralph Hodgson (This was a statement about ESP, but I claim it for the whole world of religious superstition, including the reported resurrection of that dead prophet—if he even existed.)

No comments: