Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Musings (Transcendent Representation and the Prideful Primate)

Humans need transcendence and identity to manage the world. Nation. Tribe. Gender. Ethnicity. Religion... and other identities give the individual a sense of greater significance than the limited mortal decaying being that they happen to be in a world and universe much larger and indifferent to their state of being. These identities are not necessarily problematic in themselves but they can be conduits of fanaticism that leads to the will to dominate others and the illusion of superiority to those who fail to fall in their identity category. Humans are fragile psychological reeds that can either bend or break with ease when faced with a world beyond their understanding and at times merciless to their well being. ***
The Chief, The King, The Priest, Royalty, Presidents, Senators and all other positions of status rest on "representation." To symbolically represent the State, the Church, the Kingdom, the Tribe, the Company. In truth these persons that represent the whole are merely decaying and defecating mortal flesh but in their representation the illusion is propagated and this transcendence of representation is given real weight in the minds of other mortals. It takes cognitive work to break this magical spell of representative transcendence and few would give it up because they too want to sit on the throne of transcendent representation or at the very least find significance in another primates position and status. Humans need something to hold on to conceptually for stability and significance. Imagine human beings in a great ocean(existence) floating around and all are headed to a gigantic waterfall(death), to keep afloat and distracted from the coming waterfall and the massive ocean one needs to grab on to something. There are lots of isms and symbols to grab hold of in the ocean to keep your head above water as you move toward the waterfall *** One can be arrogant and smart but it is harder for one to be arrogant and wise. Wisdom requires greater understanding and perspective and that greater context broadens the horizon of humility. Remember my mortal brothers and sisters that our confidence lies in a very narrow slice of human existence and experience and so much past history and future time lays beyond our reach. So much horror and wonder have been and will be beyond our reach. The best we can do is engage with as much current experience,knowledge, and personal imagination as possible to reach out to many realities and truths. Let this perspective temper the pride of the mammalian primate species homo sapiens***
A fanatic unlike water that adapts to new realities is like a stone that knocks against other substances different than itself and demands space. Fanatics have been very influential in human history (certainty is useful for political movements) because they demand space but often that demand eventually breaks them into pieces and creates unintended hybrid realities and space that they never intended ***Hitler's fanaticism unintentionally helped create a Soviet empire and a Jewish state. The apocalyptic Jewish prophet from Palestine unintentionally helped inspire a Roman Jew who spread a universal religion across the Roman empire. Imagine the shock of Jesus and Pilate if they could see the eventual changes that would come to the Jewish religion and Roman imperial religion hundreds of years later. History is full of unintended consequences and hybrid ideologies.

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