The human lifespan increased dramatically over the past hundred years, and it continues to increase. Those of us lucky enough to live in the advanced countries are living longer, on average, than people ever have, anywhere.
Obviously we are healthier than ever (or we wouldn’t be living so long), and obviously it is thanks to modern medicine and science.
Therefore, when people complain about the “evil” drug companies, or the giant agricultural companies that poison all our food, or the environment that is full of toxic unnatural substances — well, obviously they are completely out of touch with reality.
The reality is that none of that really matters, since health is improving and will continue to improve. Soon it will be possible to live to 150, 200, even indefinitely.
OR MAYBE NOT.
Just 200 years ago, slavery was legal and widespread in the US. Even more recently, women were considered inferior and were not allowed to vote. Unfair discrimination based on gender, ethnicity or race, was acceptable and normal
On top of all that, violent crime has been decreasing in recent decades, and there has not been a world war in 70 years.
Obviously humanity has been improving morally. Obvious to some, that is, but is it really true? And if it is true, what is the real cause?
Steven Pinker is a cognitive psychologist who believes humanity is improving, and he believes it is because of modern scientific education and secular humanism. Among other things, but mostly he credits advanced, rational, “enlightened” thinking.
If Pinker is correct, then we would expect people who are less educated and sophisticated and “enlightened” to be more prone to acts of cruelty and violence. We would expect other animals, who are not educated of course, to be less moral and compassionate than humans.
Pinker’s views are shared by many other atheist secular humanists.
If you think carefully about those ideas, which may seem obviously true, can you find any logical holes in the reasoning?
Almost everyone agrees that compassion is good. Most religions say we should be compassionate. Compassionate behavior has been shown to increase your mental and physical health.
So we are all compassionate of course, right? Yes we are, because compassion is a natural instinct, found in all the higher animal species. Maybe in some of the lower species also, who knows.
Compassion is all good, for everyone everywhere. So there should be no problems in the world, right? Everyone knows they should be compassionate, so everyone tries to be. And since it’s a natural instinct we don’t even have a choice — we are compassionate like or not. Except maybe some depraved sociopaths.
As long as everyone behaves with compassion, things should go well for our society. Oh, but darn, there are all those greedy selfish people who tend to be in charge. They ruin it for all the rest of us, right? The 99 percent are good, it’s that greedy 1 percent that ruins things.
Tell me if you think I’m wrong. Isn’t that a summary of how compassion is seen in our society? So why do I care enough to write about it, since we all agree and there is nothing else to be said.
I am writing about it because I think it is total BS. I think it is all wrong, and it can’t be right, because if it were right then nothing would make sense.
The extreme pro-compassion view is more likely to be associated with progressive, or leftist, politics. However it isn’t limited to that. It is everywhere in modern society, in all ideologies and philosophies and religions.
One problem I see with the compassion craze is that ironically it promotes hatred. People who value compassion are likely to despise the greedy villains who ruin everything for the rest of us because of their lack of compassion.
But the main problem I see is that the whole theory is wrong, because it is rooted in modern reductionism. And what do I mean by reductionism oh this post will be a hundred pages if I try to explain, so I will skip ahead and say I am promoting a holistic, systemic, view of things. The holistic perspective is mostly ignored in our society, which I think is really too bad. Yes we have holistic medicine, but we also need a completely holistic way of thinking about everything.
The trouble with the ideal of compassion is that all concepts are completely empty unless they are seen in context, in relation to other concepts. The word “love,” for example, is thrown around all the time with no attempt to say what the concept means. And the word “compassion” has the same problem.
I want to give a simple example that I hope will easily explain what I mean. Let’s say there is a big male gorilla who is the boss of a bunch of females and their babies. The females are responsible for protecting their babies (and they know this because nature has given them the compassionate maternal instinct), and the big alpha male is responsible for protecting the whole bunch. He also knows this because of his natural instinct for compassion, for loving his “neighbors,” his social group.
So let’s say a lion wanders in to the gorilla’s territory, hoping to eat some gorilla babies (I don’t know if lions really eat gorilla babies, this is just an illustration of a concept). The big alpha gorilla has NO compassion for the lion. He fights it off or scares it off, or whatever. Because the gorilla has compassion for his females and their babies, he MUST NOT have compassion for the lion. He would be glad to kill it if possible.
Ok, that example wasn’t very good? Here is another one. Our bodies are constantly at war with things that try to make us sick. There are immune system cells that try to destroy any cell that does not belong in the body. These immune system cells are acting out of compassion (well, something like it anyway), but they have NO compassion for the invading cells they try to destroy.
Ok, here is one more example and then I promise I won’t give any more examples, I will just hope you get my point. A mother wolf is protecting and feeding her babies, because she is naturally compassionate and she loves them and wants them to live. And her babies are so cute, after all.
The mother wolf goes out and finds some baby rabbits and kills them and brings them to her babies. The baby rabbits are cute too, but she doesn’t care. She has NO compassion for the baby rabbits.
I hope I have explained what I have tried to explain. I suspect people will either say that’s ridiculous, or else they will say well duh that’s so obvious.
We have all known for a long time that our species is endangering the earth. Well maybe not everyone agrees, but it seems pretty obvious. We throw megatons of garbage into the oceans, burn gasoline constantly, etc. How much of that could any planet stand?
We also have known for decades that any time a war breaks out, someone might get serious and use the real weapons. The ones you aren’t supposed to use, because that would probably mean the end of our world.
Most of us don’t think about all that too much, because we have more important things to think about, like where to buy our next smart phone, or maybe even splurge on Google Glass.
I admit I’m like everyone else, preferring to enjoy the moment than consider the horrible danger we are in. We can’t do much about it anyway.
But recently I learned about some horrors I didn’t know about before. It is kind of neat that now we can find out what ‘s going on in ways we never could before. Yes, the crazed conspiracy theorists are out there. But there is also sane and important information about things your government hopes you won’t notice.
I was searching for something else in google when I got sidetracked by information about GMOs (genetically modified organisms). If you like being horrified, you will enjoy reading about that. I have lots of opinions on it, but will save it for another post.
Then I got sidetracked from my sidetrack, on to HAARP and chemtrails. I encourage you all to start observing the sky. I don’t know how I never noticed before the things I am noticing now. Wasn’t I ever looking up? I only started to notice after I became aware of geoengineering.
Well there is an awful lot to say about that, but I am trying to keep this short. At this point, I just want to see if any of you have noticed anything.
HAARP (forget what it exactly stands for, but just google if you want to know) evolved out of the old Star Wars research. Conspiracy theorists run wild with it, but that doesn’t negate the fact that HAARP is real.
Essentially, they are f-cking with the ionosphere. One reason is to develop weapons and defense systems — and weapons could come of this research that makes nuclear bombs look like toys.
There are other reasons also, such as weather control, slowing down global warming, protecting communications systems from solar flares, whatever.
Sadly and horrifyingly, these mainstream materialist reductionist scientists are not aware that nature is infinitely smarter than they are. You can’t just f-ck with these crazily complex systems and not get burned eventually.
Please start noticing they sky. Maybe it depends on where you are. I am not too far from NYC. The clouds are very often lined up in neat parallel rows. Very often it is very obvious they are not normal natural clouds.
There is HAARP, and there are also chemtrails. The chemtrails are an extremely sinister, but possibly well-meaning, attempt to “improve” on nature by spraying aerosols of aluminum oxide, barium and strontium. Um, that sounds good, doesn’t it. Spraying it on us. Hey radiation might be good for you, don’t worry!
Putting fine particles up there in the sky for various sinister (but probably well-meaning) reasons. It works together with HAARP somehow.
Maybe the born again Christians are right, maybe this time the world really is about to end.
Please look up and let me know what you see.
Just recently my nephew Tavor was found by one of his close friends, with his head blown off by a gun. There was no police investigation, since it seemed like an obvious suicide.
Tavor was a straight A student in college, not far from graduating. None of his friends thought he had any special problems.
Tavor was good-looking, popular, talented, athletic and fun to be around. The only thing that seemed a little strange was his secretiveness, the fact that he never talked about his feelings or problems.
His mother Narcy, is my sister. I believe she would have given her own life, if it could have saved his. I believe she loved Tavor as much as any mother could love her son.
Of course I don’t believe this was in any way Narcy’s fault although she is (as her name suggests) a “narcissist.” I really don’t know what a narcissist is, but I guess I know when if I see one.
Narcy brags, a lot, about herself and about her two (now only one) kids. If Narcy ever has a problem with anyone — and that is often — it’s always the other person’s fault, entirely. The other person is mentally ill, and/or evil. Narcy is perfecly sane — those of us who know her are sure of that, because she has told us countless times.
When this happened, needless to say, Narcy was devastated, and could not face life without Tavor. She wondered if she could have helped him somehow, or if she should have known something was wrong.
A year before he died, Tavor had suddenly become extremely angry at his mother, seemingly for no reason. He cut her, and all relatives, out of his life almost completely.
His death was even more tragic because he left in anger, so he and his mother would never be reconciled on this earth.
Everyone told Narcy she was the best possible mother, and that she should not for one minute take any blame. After giving it a little thought, Narcy agreed. This was not in any way her fault. Her son must have had an undiagnosed mental illness, which he had inherited. Nothing at all could have prevented his suicide — he was genetically programmed for it.
Tavor’s biological father, who died long ago, actually did have a mental illness, which caused him to kill himself slowly with drugs.
Narcy is in no way to blame. That doesn’t make it easy, because Tavor is still gone forever. Narcy was a perfect mother to him, and all the anger he felt towards her was just the raving of a mentally ill young man.
I love Narcy very much, she is my only sister. I am glad she has found a way to place all the blame on the DNA of her poor dead ex.
But on the other hand, I don’t like explanations that are over-simplified. I feel like it has to be more complicated than that.
Not that it matters now, it’s too late for Tavor. But I still can’t help thinking about it and searching for explanations that make sense.
Of all the songs I ever heard, the one I hate the most is Imagine by John Lennon. I think the music is pretty, but the words express exactly the opposite of everything I believe.
I don’t feel like analyzing the whole song right now. But I will just point out a little of the irony.
The lyrics recommend that everyone should give away all their possessions and live in peace. John Lennon thought the whole world could get along — billions of people — and yet the four Beatles weren’t able to get along.
And I very much doubt that any of the Beatles gave all their money away. Even if they gave some to charity, I’m sure they kept enough to make sure they would always have a comfortable life.
I could say a lot more about why I hate that song. It’s stupid, and it’s wrong in every way, and it’s a naive expression of communism, a political/economic system which has failed, sometimes horribly, every time it was tried.
Well John Lennon was never expected to be a political/financial genius. But I know a lot of people who are crazy about that song and see nothing wrong with it.
We were trying to figure out the size of God, but the comments were closed. So I want to continue here.
My estimate, based on the scriptures, is that God is at least 12 hundred feet tall.
I also want to say something about the comments about having children. It is true that the instinct for taking care of children can be even stronger than the instinct to survive. But that is NOT because of Christianity. The survival of most mammal and bird species depends on the selfless devotion of parents.
The ideal of parental love has become a central image of Christianity — the virgin mother and her infant Jesus.
It’s kind of funny to me, since Jesus never even mentions his mother in the gospels, except to tell her to leave him alone. He really had no family values at all.
But the ideal of selfless motherly love is important in Christianity, since it is a religion of selflessness and devotion. So that is why I guess the other commenters kept bringing it up.
Did God put us on earth mainly so we can learn to experience the kind of selfless love that parents, especially mothers, usually feel? I think that could be one reason, but there are many other things we can learn in this life.
Isn’t it possible that we are also here to learn and create and express ourselves artistically? I value love of course but I value other things also.
I can understand why mothers would say there is nothing more important than motherly love, and it’s our whole reason for existence. But they are forgetting that different people care about different things. Men love their children, of course, but they usually also care about other things.
It wasn’t an unpopular teenage loser living in his mother’s basement. It was a straight A medical student. It wasn’t an assault weapon, or even a gun. It was a bomb made of kitchen appliances and stuff you can buy at a hardware store.
After the school shooting, my Facebook page was covered with liberals ranting about gun control and psychological profiling. The idea was that preventing angry young men from buying guns, and making sure they are drugged into apathy, would keep school children safe.
People like to feel they can do something to prevent these horrors. That is understandable. But I don’t believe you can. They don’t happen often, but they will happen. This world is never going to be safe.
All modern Americans are taught not to believe in magic. Our magicians are entertainers who do fake magic. We are told that believing in real magic is primitive superstition, and we are mucher smarter than that now.
But actually, magic is religion and religion is magic. It is that way now, and it always was.
What magic mostly involves, as far as I know, is trying to influence the world with words — magic spells and incantations. And liquids — magic potions. And animal sacrifices, usually involving blood.
Ok, well just look at our most popular American religion — Christianity. Praying is trying to influence the world by using words, just like magic spells. Jesus was the ultimate blood sacrifice, for Christians. The ancient Israelites performed blood sacrifices (animals, not human, but human sacrifice has been very popular in other ancient religions).
And the Catholics have Holy Water, their magic potion.
Am I trying to say that modern religions are bogus because they are really just magic? No, I am trying to say that magic is real.
I don’t want to make this a long post. But I want to say that, in alternative science, the idea of words and liguids having power is not ridiculous at all.
As just one example (there are many, and alternative science has a long history): One of the scientists who discovered the HIV virus, Montagnier, now does research on the memory of water: http://iopscience.iop.org/1742-6596/306/1/012007.
Montagnier is a “real” scientist, not one of the fringey alternative scientists.
I have a lot more to say about this.
Modern science and modern religion have both renounced magic. But magic is real, and real scientists are beginning to figure that out.
We do not know why it happened — I mean the school shooting the other day. There were some articles describing Lanza as being kind of strange — he was a very smart nerd who belonged to the technology club. He lived in his mother’s basement and played violent computer games. He wore different clothes than the other kids, and always carried a black briefcase.
And all this was said in a way that seemed to imply “Well no surprise he murdered 27 people — he looked and acted strange!”
I was shocked by the murders, of course, but I was also shocked by this reaction. Unpopular nerd playing violent computer games — well OF COURSE he went on a killing spree.
Can you see that there is absolutely no logic whatsoever in that line of thinking? And it’s outrageous, and insulting to every person who wasn’t the most popular kid in school.
And it’s dangerous, because people could lose their rights and freedoms, all because someone decided they were a little “odd” and therefore potentially a threat to society.
I saw posts on facebook saying that this type of kid should be diagnosed and showered with love and hugs, and that will prevent him from going beserk.
Well, for one thing, not every misfit wants to be showered with love and hugs. Being a little different is not a disease.
And there is no evidence whatsoever that I ever heard of that, if a person actually were a potential mass murderer, love and hugs would cure them.
We DO NOT KNOW why these things happen, and we don’t know how to prevent them.
I am concerned that now parents and teachers will be start rounding up all kids who are too different, or too smart, or too strange, and send them for psychiatric “treatment.” And psychiatric treatment now days means brain-numbing drugs.