There are four basic ways of looking at life. First, you can become a mental whore, prostitute your brain to the first god-peddler who comes along, usually the same one who polluted your parents’ brains. From that point on you believe precisely what you’re told to believe. This means you can switch your brain off, you don’t really need it. There’s no need to think or reason, just go about life robot-fashion… do this, don’t do that, think this, don’t think that. It’s what most of the world’s population does.
It’s why we have so many wars. God is always on the side of those going to war against people who believe that God is on their side. When Bush and Co. were itching to wage war against Iraq, they dropped to their knees and asked God for guidance. God assured them that war was the right course of action, as he always does. Whatever atrocity the religious person wants to commit, God will always grant permission. Whether it be christians against Muslims, or Muslims against christians, God approves. He is a very accommodating little deity.
“When we dropped bombs on the villages I knew that many innocent women and children would die a terrible death; they would be burned alive by napalm, maimed, or buried alive. I come from a very religious family and I often thought of my own wife and children back in Massachusetts. I wondered how I would manage to live with the guilt for the rest of my life. The knowledge that God was with me and that our padre had done everything for my soul’s salvation was a constant comfort in these terrible times. Even today I could not survive without the certainty my faith gives me.”
Flight Lieutenant McCallum
The second way of looking at life allows you to question your state religion. Study the various belief systems of humankind and notice that most people adopt the state religion. Depending on where a person is born, and when, the state religion represents The Truth. Very few, if any Iranians worship Jesus because he’s not the state deity. Some christians do however convert to Islam because they have the freedom to rummage through a smorgasbord of second-hand belief systems and choose the one which affirms their outlook on life. And as their outlook changes they are free to dismiss the new One True Faith for an alternative One True Faith. Religion for them becomes a fashion statement.
The third way of looking at life requires you to seize control of your brain and notice that all religions – no exception – are based on nonsense. One person comes up with an idea, scribbles it on parchment, and before long it becomes “ancient wisdom.” The more people who believe in the nonsense the more “holy” it becomes. Hey, before long it’s “Divine Wisdom!” And so you ask yourself, “What really is truth?” Suddenly you find yourself face to face with reality. Frightening at first, unnerving, you’re on your own. There is no deity watching over you, caring for you, looking after your interests. It dawns on you how naive you’ve been to assume there was such a thing. For if there was such a thing as a caring deity, how come it ignores the pleas of millions of people suffering from disease, drowning at sea, burning in buildings, starving to death?
“God is great!” screams an Iranian woman surveying the wreckage of her home under which lie the bodies of her entire family. The “god” she praises is the very same deity that Americans trust. The same deity who watched over New York on September 11th 2001. “In God we Trust!” and “God is Great!” shriek the believers, while “god” keeps an exceedingly low profile. He lurks in heaven somewhere picking his nose.
So if there is no god, and no after-life, what is the point of life on earth? Why are we here? What is the point of billions of microbes – because that’s all we are – spending sixty or seventy years on this speck of cosmic dust, working, playing, planning, worrying, dying? The obvious answer is that there is no point to anything. Humankind is an accident of chemistry, the inevitable result of various chemicals at a given temperature reacting to certain conditions. We’re born, we die, end of story. If our planet exploded this afternoon no one would notice, let alone care.
This is the truth but it’s an unpleasant truth.
There is a fourth way of looking at life. While the above is true, people who have rescued their brains from the robot factory can design their lives anyway they choose. Having reached the fourth level of awareness they can ensure that the years remaining to them are as pleasant and enjoyable as possible. They can behave as though things do matter. It’s a bit of a game but it’s a fun game. And as you have a choice between being miserable or happy, choose happy. So you deliberately and intelligently design the world as you’d like it to be. You have the power to do this because your mind is roaming free.
If someone says to you, “That’s wrong because my scriptures say it’s wrong,” you can check their scriptures and point out that their deity is a perverted, psychopathic monster and therefore whatever he says is to be disregarded at all costs. Or if someone upbraids you for being politically incorrect you can listen to their argument and accept or reject it according to whether it’s gold or garbage. Or if someone points out that something is wrong because it’s illegal, you can check why it’s illegal and decide for yourself whether the law makes sense or whether it’s absurd. I’m not sure whether this constitutes anarchy or not, but it’s safe so long as you have an ethical base to work from. Mine is very simple, I ask myself, “Is this the kind thing to do?”
And always have the humility to admit that you could be wrong. There might be some purpose that neither you nor the religionists have figured out. Perhaps, a million years from now, our senses might be sufficiently advanced to detect things that are presently hidden from us. A blind mollusk thinks it knows all there is to know because its senses aren’t sufficiently evolved to detect the greater world. And who’s to say that our senses have reached their apex? For all we know we might be only one per cent as evolved as we could one day become.
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
So the fourth level of awareness encourages you to design a good and decent world that does matter. Then the planet earth becomes important. Children and animals are entitled to a rich and happy life. With your well thought-out, meticulously crafted planet in place, it becomes imperative to rescue humankind from the precipice of destruction it is walking, zombie like, towards.
You realize that unless you can awaken people from their religious slumber, from their belief that Armageddon is inevitable but it’s OK because they’re going to be “raptured” up to heaven and the martyrs will be provided with 72 virgins, then the beautiful planet and every living thing upon it is doomed. So you do what you can to arouse them. Even if it is politically incorrect and unkind to robots.
So here I am, a tiny weeny, insignificant little microbe, scribbling away trying to awaken the dead men walking.
By Darwin Copernicus