Thursday, December 31, 2009
* "As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master": Ideations without Borders
A friend asks me to write on "How civilization needs to outgrow religion".
As I would not be a slave of religion, so I would not be a master.
Since I believe religion is a form of primitive psychiatry emerging from the collective unconscious, I think civilization needs desperately to keep religion not abandon it.
Without the Ten Commandments (The Ten Ideations) for instance in the Judeo-Christian world, our world would be in a thousand times greater chaos than it is presently. (see Nov. 26 post:"Bring Hell Back--- On Steroids")
At least, the criminals who engineer war (and I include white Yale graduates in this group) will always wonder (and worry?) in a tiny corner of their tiny minds if they are going to be punished for their slaughters, thanks to that old time religion.
Lincoln worried outloud, and came to this religious rationalization: "For every drop of blood from the lash, a drop of blood from the sword."
In other words, Providence (Lincoln was reluctant to use the word "God") is punishing us with war in exact and equal proportion to the torture and death we created with slavery.
I don't think civilization needs to "outgrow" religion, but perhaps it needs to cut it back to its roots and "regrow" it
Or better still, maybe civilization needs to reinterpret religion. And perhaps that's what's beginning to happen with what we call secularism today where the Ten Commandments are being reinvented or reimagined as what I call the Ten Ideations or The Ten Mirrors (see December 15 post: "Tiger Woulds: The Ten Mirrors.")
This secular seepage would have the advantage of not being confined only to followers of the Big Oldies: Judaism and Christianity. In fact it would be a kind of secular religion: Not Doctors without Borders; Not Clerics without Borders; but, Ideations without Borders.
Divinity doesn't needs cathedrals and trinities and pantheons to manifest itself.
As Emerson believed (and Dylan Thomas said), it manifests itself a billion times a day: "the force that through the green fuse drives the flower, drives my soul"; or as Thornton Wilder believed, "Every baby born into the world is Nature's attempt to make a perfect human being."
But I'm not sure Albert Schweitzer's "reverence for life" (a religious philosophy which subsumes Emerson, Wilder and Thomas) is a sturdy enough structure for "civilization." It hasn't shown itself to be, anyway.
So to avoid incremental anarchy (AKA disorganized crime), I'm all for religion: let it be the emperor's old clothes, as long as we get a new emperor who's not too proud to notice his own nakedness: who wants us to be neither slave nor master.
Posted by Paul D. Keane, The Anti-Yale at 5:13 PM