Wednesday, October 14, 2009

No sleep makes me giggly and cynical

The Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

The Lead Rule: He who has the guns makes the rules.

Impressive in its simplicity.

No matter the time, no matter the place, the ability to deliver death as effectively as possible has been bending others to the will of few since the beginning of time.

The fear of death is so innately ingrained into our species that it is the natural choice for imposing will.

Maybe that's the real reason we believe killing to be part of human nature.

When people stop fearing death the threat will no longer be effective at deterring or encouraging action. At that point the elimination of enemies is more of a practical problem. A true world of violence. Where everyone lives for nothing and dies for nothing.

Removing the fear of death would necessarily remove the will to live. How can you be unafraid of death if you have reasons to live? Ideally, you'd have to promise people some kind of life after death to make them both happy to live and willing to die. Tack on a bonus prize if you do what you say, and people can live happily, under your direction, and be willing to die.

So that's what religion is for. A means of war.

When you look at it that way, what an effective way to recruit! You don't have to pay your soldiers, you need only promise them their wildest dreams. Recruitment is simple since everyone is afraid of death, and you can convince them not to be afraid. Expansion is as simple as procreation! Of course, it would help if you promoted reproduction activities by disallowing pregnancy prevention, and/or encouraging multiple wives. With a physiological bonus you can take advantage of the fact that sex is fun, and people want to have fun.

So now you've got productive, ever-expanding army of followers who do not fear death, and will follow your word. But how do you train them? Time for a holy war! Convince them they are under attack and tell them the only way to continue their way of life (people don't like change) is to destroy or convert them!

So the problem isn't religion, the problem is fear of death.

How do we get people to live and love life but not fear death?

If we could do that it would be the end all but the most wholesale violent coercion.

One of the traits of humans is their ability to survive, and this most definitely stems from the fear of the absence of survival (death). So this hypothetical people who live and love life but are not afraid of death would be rather easy to kill.

Maybe we just need to fear death half as much as we do now.

Seems odd doesn't it? That there is no way around this. Make people who don't fear death, they are unproductive and have no reason to live. Make people who fear death, and they let that fear control them. That control is inescapable. Almost like we were made as tools of will. But does that mean the one controlling is not a tool?

Get enough people to protect you because their fear, respect, or follow you, and you have less possibility of death to fear, but that doesn't mean you don't fear it. But if the person in power still has a small bit of fear, he can be described as a tool as well. But a tool of whom? A tool of his own fear? A fear that drives him to become as powerful as possible to protect himself from the fear? Seems circular.

If it were possible to make it impossible to harm another, would that be any different? I suppose it's the fear of an untimely death, not just death.

If you remove death completely, give everyone eternal life, then there is no zeal in life. The knowledge that we will someday be dead makes life sweeter. Would eternal life drive us to kill ourselves due to dissatisfaction with life? It still be the same life, it's just our perspective.

Once again, this is all in our head. We think about our demise, we build the fear of the unknown, we live life to the fullest knowing it will someday be gone, but we also allow that fear to make us do things we might not normally do, and we die anyways.

We are simple creatures. We have our wants, our needs, and our fears. Those three things are basically all that drive us through life. Complex social architecture is developed around these three things, but it's still so simple. If you eliminate fear, are our wants enough to drive us to continue living full lives? If you eliminate needs by providing everyone with basic living items (food, water, shelter), will their drive for wants be greater? Would their fear become greater too? Eliminate wants, and we're no better than creatures doing nothing more than surviving. We'd work to find food water and shelter, and we'd flee danger to stay alive.

Maybe the next big thing is the discovery of a fourth thing.

Maybe the fourth thing is perspective. The knowledge that we are particles of dust on a gnat's ass in relation to the vastness of space and time. We live on a tiny planet in a tiny galaxy in a universe in space just like trillions and trillions of others. Even in relation to the planet we live on, we may live a mere 100 years.

We are infinitely insignificant.

Hmm... I guess that didn't really help did it?

But who knows? Maybe just knowing the truth of your position in the universe can help your disposition.

Go smell a flower.

Go eat a steak.

Stare at the stars.

Sleep in.

All we have are the little things.


Davidwhitewolf said...

Excellent analysis! Children, in particular, lack that critical perspective. That's why they're the world's greatest killing machines, when properly motivated (see Mao).

Mike said...

You're right on the perspective in my opinion. I've been an atheist my entire adult life and have been in situations where I knew there was a good chance that "this is it". I didn't feel fear, because of the exact perspective you talked about.

Cloud watching reminds me of what a tiny thing I truly am, but I know that if I use my life properly I can make a bigger difference than my size would suggest.

I'm not about to martyr myself for any causes, but I'll be damned if a high risk of death would stop me from joining a hopeless fight on the right side.