Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Spiritual Signal to Noise Ratio of Life

Let's represent life on a metric of amplitude over frequency regarding the existentially emotional experience of it and the identity to it thereby.

"Noise" is the part of the signal that exceeds the bounds of "acceptable" ranges of amplitude for "functional" signal transmission and reception for a given recipient.

So a mild noise issue would look something like:
Where the green is within threshold bounds and the red is out of bounds.

An "ideal" signal would look like:

Where all is within the acceptable range, and transmission is accomplished at the lowest possible amplitude needed to require the transmission; essentially, super efficient.
(We'll call this Buddha-like; or any such figure which has attained some kind of tranquility in a culture's mythology.)

Signal out of bounds is itself not entirely a problem; however with a high rate of frequency of going out of bounds - then it is a problem.

Where signal is out of bounds, the recipient is incapable of translating that portion of the signal into its relevant channel (the "green" area).
This acceptable range is variable depending on the transmitter and receiver's capacities; different transmitters and receivers are capable of different thresholds.

When a signal goes out of bounds, there is an after-the-fact (meaning after reception by the recipient) system in place for attempting to regulate the issue: referred to as an Automatic Gain Controller (AGC).
Essentially, when too loud, turn down input (Amplitude). When too soft, turn up input (Amplitude).

An AGC is artificial in the sense that it is not an adjustment of the signal itself, but the reception of it.
As an example of such, In Neuro-psychology, a variety of medications exist which boost or inhibit neuro-transmissions or chemical responses (the most famous self-medicated variation of this is marijuana, which acts as an inhibitor to synaptic relays by piling up fatty tissue around the synapses).

In an ideal world, the signal broadcast itself would be adjusted so that it met within range of the recipient's channel capacity, but it can be rather difficult to accomplish a societal shift to effectively adjust such existential signal regulation for a mass on a mean; considering subjectivity (though monastic societies are an example of controlling the signal itself).

This leaves either an AGC approach, or a redefinition of the recipient's channel capacity.
In the former, periodic adjustment modules are needed (for instance, meditation, church services, retreats, etc...) [essentially, respite, buffers, capture effect {creating a second equally amplified transmission while reducing attention to the first}, or noise cancellation {creating a second equally amplified transmission with an inverse phase of the first}], while in the latter (increasing capacity) an overhaul of the existential identity of the individual and their identity of reality is needed (dogma, theology, "world-view", or other existential identifications of "how life is"...essentially) to change the perception of the incoming signal which was previously carrying existentially emotional amplitudes beyond their capacity for "channeling" into translatable and tangibly relatable information (essentially, changing perspective so to widen their tolerance or acceptance).

Ergo, my take on religion is essentially: "noise" control.

The above specifies to emotion; which is a very large sensory system in human beings and runs in rates of amplitude and frequency.
Adrenaline during perceived danger, for example, is a massive emotional response that raps heavily upon the system.
The "stress" upon the system for someone living daily with the possibility of death is racketing.

On the flip-side, if you are from a society of general accommodation and relative luxury, then your religion may focus on provoking exhilaration, rather than inhibiting it.

Other systems that have been used encourage exhilaration in means of rivaling dystopian impressions of ones society; "providing joy", as some call it, rather than inhibiting a given set of emotional sensations, or boosting others in their absence.

In America, secular (meaning, regardless of theological roots) adoption of a variety of meditation systems into religious practices is growing as more people continue to take part in these practices outside of their religious settings and find them effective in providing a moment of calm or respite in a society that is currently on overdrive for activity of any given individual within any given day.

Japan cites the same, and is now strongly investigating employing secular (same meaning as previous use) meditation facilities on mass more than is currently present as their own university research has shown to them that their people respond by lowering suicide rates (a pretty substantial issue currently) in districts where such are established and individuals quickly draw to these locations regularly after the work day before heading home to "reset", as it were.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Goldilocks Principle of Religion

"Feel The Force"

It is often overlooked in passing thought, but the normal human being recognizes a person or thing by its emotional attachment and provocation as well as by the more obvious senses and facilities. This case is made quite a bit more observable in a neurological condition called Capgras syndrome, which findings now suggest a missing connection between the fusiform gyrus and the amygdala; effectively severing the link between the identity of a familiar person's face and the associated emotional consequence (significance signals) that the person expects to feel when seeing that person's face. As a result, the individual afflicted with this syndrome can be absolutely convinced that even their most close family members are body doubles, and will rationalize various means that this could have been accomplished – usually involving ranges of paranoia, understandably. In subjective Capgras syndrome (as it is sometimes referred to) the individual is affected in such a manner where this emotional facial recognition disconnection is of their own face. As a result, they tend to declare some form of explanation as to how they are present, but not actually alive or living in “this world”.

"I've Got A Bad Feeling About This..."

The point of the above examples is that emotional attachment is principle in our hold on reality. Once it slips from our brain, we immediately cease to believe quite as readily in what we observe as what we recall it to have been previously, for it lacks the emotional connection we normally function with.
So it stands observable that we do not define our acceptance of reality based solely on explicitly rational propositions to ourselves. We do not make a “pre-flight checklist” to each day of our life. Instead, we intuitively feel an emotional response that we recognize implicitly and accept this as reality based on the dormancy of our emotional response.
That is to say, it is the normal noise we expect to hear. It is much akin to the simple process of how alien the world would be if we woke up one day and there were no people anywhere and no sounds that people cause by their massive existence. As long as we hear this racket of people and societal noise (or whichever environment a person regularly resides in), we accept normality.
The individual generally feels a sense of discord or accord within their own emotional standing prior to what will eventually alter or affirm their spiritual or religious standing.
This metaphor is much the way our emotional connection to reality functions. As long as the emotional racket continues as usual, we accept the world as it is; continually, and reliably as real.
However, when something feels not quite right with reality around us, we attempt to place our conceptual finger upon it in similar sensation to a forgotten item on a grocery list. A vague impression standing just out of reach of our conscious grasp, thereby generating a sensation of unidentified absence of an implicitly expected filler.
In part, this is what the average person will employ when feeling that another person close to them is different in some manner due to the implicit impression of the person feeling different. It may be a lie the individual is holding, an embarrassment, a root of depression, that the person is newly in love, knows of a secret surprise that will entertain, or other similar subtleties (or in neurological cases, a neurological change in ourselves, but our neurology doesn't tend to readily postulate this possibility to our own thought). Regardless of the specific cause, it is the emotional sensation due to several, and typically subtle, physical cues which implies a change in the relationship of reality; something is different in the way a part of reality feels emotionally.
With regards to spirituality of humanity, which can present into a religious format, the constitution taking place is quite likely much the same. It follows that if it is the case neurologically with us in one respect of in-processing reality in regards to identity, that such is quite possibly the case in regards to other formats of in-processing reality in regards to identity.
The difference with respect to spirituality or religion is that the identity of what we are discussing has shifted to an identity of existence itself and the relationship with it that we have ontologically.
For some people, there is no such emotional relationship with reality in this manner and to this day we are not truly certain what the variances at play are that consequently permit one human body and brain to require this emotional connection with reality ontologically or not. Here, I will focus on those who connect emotionally to reality ontologically, as this appears to be the larger extent of the current and long standing population of the human race (though it would be prudent to take a hard look at those that do not, as comparing the anomaly to the average tends to teach us far more about how the human brain and body works than does examining the average individuals by themselves).

"Picking" The Relationship of Reality

I previously mentioned the production above in, “Feeling Existence”, but here I want to address how exactly selection may be taking place. By selection, I am referring to how an individual, so invested with earnest spiritual or religious adherence, chooses their spiritual or religious choice of adherence.
Here, adherence is being loosely used to refer to a sensation which does not create emotional conflict within the individual, and therefore permitted by the individual to continue being agreeable.
Essentially, how do people pick their spirituality or their religion?
Firstly, it goes back to what I expressed in, “Feeling Existence”, in recognizing that spirituality and religion, at their base, are identifications layered over the top of existence so to relate with existence ontologically.
It appears possible, then, to be akin to how we pick our identity of any part of reality.
How a Capgras sufferer, “picks”, that the person in front of them is not who they claim to be.
As such, this spiritual or religious picking will often, by this hypothesis' propositions, be influenced by a strong familial connection to similarly shared identities of reality.
This is propositioned because a family will teach, implicitly and explicitly, the emotional relationships of living to the individual; how to feel about life, and the general ideologies attached to relating to how to feel about life.
Humans pick their spirituality by a sensation of lacking discord emotionally when participating in the concepts or rituals of the given spirituality or religion
As such, the individual will move forward in their growth with an understanding of normality to their emotional constitution of reality based on what has been experienced and what has been shown to them by those closest to them in their trust; commonly those of the most trust will be a family.
This does not appear to be a solid state, obviously, as many eventually choose to no longer be spiritual or religious in manners of their familial raising; however, the manners in which this was achieved are the same which fall in line with the hypothesis.
Generally speaking, most people arrive at their rational reasons for why they hold to their spiritual or religious standing a posteriori and not a priori. Meaning, it is by reflection that most have their reasons which they can explain in words for their spiritual or religious standings.
The explicit conclusions were not the primary means of determining that they did or did not adhere to a given spiritual or religious standing.
Instead, the individual generally feels a sense of discord or accord within their own emotional standing prior to what will eventually alter or affirm their spiritual or religious standing.
There is no singular specific standing in most peoples accounts as to what started the sensation; it simply began.
Meanwhile, the standard of almost every religious or spiritual standing in existence today for why the given spiritual or religious perspective is valid or true (which is just a means of stating worthy of investment – that one's investment is not futile) is based largely on sensations of calmness: in some respect or another.
Essentially, what this can be said to be a claim of is that the individual is stating that because their spiritual or religious concept does not feel conflicted within their emotional sense of existence ontologically, it is therefore a valid manner of interacting with and relating to reality on an ontological level of understanding.
This is as much real to the individual as it is for the individual to claim that being nice to another person is a good moral choice, or perhaps they are the opposite type of individual claiming that beating others to the prize is the good moral choice; in either case, the individual is making such a claim primarily based on emotional evidence of accord and discord being balanced within their understanding of human relationships.

Blind Faith?

These concepts may seem a stretch, but when we think of how we humans relate inductively and implicitly for most of our interpersonal relationships, and that if spirituality and religion are dominantly a motive from the interest of our biology to have identifiable relationships with states of existences, then stating a further mark that the adoption of a spiritual or religious adherence is more of finding the hole that our particular shape of peg fits into rather than a malformed peg that is jammed intrusively into the one and only existing hole appears as more the possibility than not.
In observation, it appears far more that humans pick their spirituality by a sensation of lacking discord emotionally when participating in the concepts or rituals of the given spirituality or religion, than it is that anyone of us sets out on the average to be explicitly governed by one type of spirituality or religion.
This does not mean, however, that a person without strong spiritual or religious impulses is somehow broken. It means that their brain most likely has a radically different methodology of relating to and addressing existence and reality as an ontological relationship. And as such, as I mentioned previously, such individuals should be of interest in comparing the neurological differences between them and the average individual who largely feels some form of, at least vague, sense of spiritual or religious relationship to their existences.
Yet the concept stands relatively reasonable in postulation; that given other observations in how we work, it is rather sensible to expect for spirituality and religion to be biological capacities of the human body and brain to create identities for relationships, and are of the largest caliber of relationship identities possible: existence itself.
As such, it can be understood that spiritual and religious adherence's are not necessarily acceptances of, "blind faith", but instead adherence's of, "emotional identity".
"Reason", in the strict sense of the term, would have little aid in the core and basic foundations of what is or is not keeping a person party to a given spiritual or religious adherence any further than it would have to offer a person's basic and core foundations of "who" (what kind of person) they identify a given person as.
Reason can help in a long and slow process, but it will never be as compelling to the individual's sensory and brain as their emotional accord or discord ringing significance alarms or satisfactions in their brain through the simple process of emotion.
With such in mind, If a spiritual or religious proposition attempts to declare itself as being right, then it is immediately errant.
For spirituality and religion isn't fundamentally about being right. It is fundamentally about feeling right.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Religious Syndrome

The Common Diagnosis

A common perspective of religion on a gross level by Atheism is something which typically states an error of psychological profile of an adherent to a given religion; in some degree and fashion.
This view, for instance, is pushed to its zenith of radical representation in the likes of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.
The conflict in this perspective is that for a person to accept that religion is a psychological error of deficiency in any regard and of any degree would mean that they would have to accept that every current believer in a religion was at least slightly psychologically deficient by comparison to the non-religious. That may produce a good comedy, however, the statistics are rather unlikely. It would mean that around 80% of the world's population is psychologically deficient. While that could be argued as possible by some, that is not where this tangent ends. It continues on to consider all of the human race over all of the human race's existence, and it includes considering and reflecting on this proposition's applications to the rules of evolution.

Epidemic of Normality

The current estimates hold that from the information available today, around 106 Billion humans have lived so far in accountable history of the human race.
If we assume 80% has at least been the average percentage of religious adherents on Earth throughout human history (and that is probably a conservative number to use), then that would mean that 84 Billion humans have been psychologically deficient in their perception of reality and functional understanding of it; cardinally.
This isn't a misunderstanding of which planet or star orbits which, or how the Earth is shaped or not. This would be a misunderstanding of whether or not causal empathy exists at all in the human species. For instance, if it is a psychological deficiency that produces the belief in religious concepts, then an individual believing in a religion with metaphysical figures, afterlives, and transitive spirits or souls would also have a neurological formation that would prevent the ability of the individual from grasping even basic Newtonian physics of causality.
The neurological possibilities that consequently facilitate religion show a landscape of inquiry that tends to respect human evolution more than belittle it, as stating a psychological deficiency does.
If religion were a psychological deficiency, and the matter at hand is as cardinal as the condition of existence of objects and states, and how they can interact with each other, then the neurology of the individual would be so radically different that it would be incapable of applying the inductive logic of comprehending the physical world they exist in.
In a manner of thinking, they would be causally autistic.
If a plate fell, then such an individual could be incapable of trying to catch it for it simply may not occur to them that it was about to break.
The problem of this is a simple violation of the rules of evolution.
It doesn't really seem plausible for our natural biology to retain a deficiency that would be so ill suited to help us, and instead would hinder our functional comprehension of reality, and expectations of it therein, in such massive over-scaled populations for over an estimated two hundred thousand years or more. Such logic requires a leap of faith almost equal to that of any given theistic religious theology, because it requires a belief that a fundamental rule of evolutionary trait retention is being clearly violated; survival and adaptation.
It is a simplistic way to dismiss religion for conversations regarding moving beyond religion, but it offers no counter supporting argument for why religion exists with account for evolutionary behavior in a surviving and then thriving species from a neurological standpoint.
In other words, saying someone is delusional doesn't answer the question about why religion exists.
It is akin to someone asking why someone with hallucinogenic psychosis is so delusional and the answer provided being that the individual is crazy. It doesn't neurologically answer the question of capacity.
What function do religions provide that are evolutionarily productive?
What neurological function still exists in humanity that permits for the complete sensation of reality actually being as any given religious belief holds?
Stating that religion is a security blanket does not answer the neurological capacity question, because not every religion has a preservation system built into it. Many have no comment on the after-life at all.
Why do these versions exist as well?
It is simple enough too, to understand why environmental religious concepts have existed, such as deities that govern weather patterns in various manners.
This is where most people go to in their mind when thinking of why religion exists, and it is easy to answer that this is due to a psychological deficiency, or immaturity. However, these sorts of propositions are absent the discussion of what a human being is described as being in any one given religion; the ontological existence of humanity.

The Intangible Newtonian Karma

If you read through any given religious narrative, then you can determine some concepts merely by reading the assumptions taken by the religion even when they are not directly addressed by the religion itself in its narrative. This is similar to the effect where an author writes a set of instructions without a title; the assumption about the author would be that the author assumed the reader knew the purpose of the instructions.
For example, why are we thought to exist forever in some religions?
Why are we thought to have energy within our selves that can be harmonized in other religions?
Why are we thought to have morphological capacity of our physical bodies in other religions?
Why did we ever think we had a soul, or spirit, or that our breath is this transient thing which contains our conscious animation?
Keep in mind, these are meant to be questioned in regards to neurological capacity; not rhetorical philosophy. What neurological function participates in positive neurological behaviors gainful to human evolutionary survival that are representative of these psychological behaviors?
That is to say, what is sensationally observed by the human neurology that provokes the sympathy to these ideas as being intuitively accurate summations of the observed sensations?
It is a game of Wheel of Fortune whereby our consciousness is trying to guess the words to the emotional phrasing that our precognitive subconsciousness feels
The neurological possibilities that consequently facilitate religion show a landscape of inquiry that tends to respect human evolution more than belittle it, as stating a psychological deficiency does.
An application of this perspective has us consider the evolutionary consequence of varying aspects of our consciousness and subconsciousness intertwining.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is the third fundamental basis of classic Newtonian physics. It is so cardinally basic and inductively witnessed naturally for humans that it even permeates through to moral constructs of conduct in human societies throughout history. In other words, it has been seen so often that humans adopted this prevalent physical observation's concept into non-physical applications such as human interpersonal relationships, socioeconomic infrastructures (such as social class systems), and moral calculations of sometimes metaphysical consequences (rewards and punishments by divine orchestrations). It is also the principle assumption of the standard human neurology in attempting to identify phenomena. On the extreme end, this consequently provides us with the weather gods of some cultures, but more on tangent, it determines how we evolved to define our awareness of existing and then being aware of it.
One of the most illusive observational existences in most of human history has been simply human breath. It lacks a tangible volume, shape, or body, and even lacks permanent residence at any one time; yet, it is exactly what was witnessed as leaving last when someone dies. This has been so well considered and meditated upon by so many of humanity that the word for breath is even the root for words relating to the spirit, soul, or other forms of life force powers in several ancient variations of languages.
This is not only due to our investigatory reasoning, but also due to our imaginative empathy.
For something to be close and personally important to us, we must emotionally attach to it as some kind of identity. This is due to our neurologically required form of acumen, or assessment. Empathetic relationship to something increases the imprinted assimilation of the concepts of that thing into the fabric of our psyche; our means of growth and living. It increases the value, and therefore the attention, to that thing unto our consciousness and subconsciousness. The reverence in which humanity has paid towards its breath of life over history by evidence of its spiritually influenced etymology, and more overtly with its theological interpretations of what a human is, is a relationship between our neurology naturally giving vitally related importance to our life.

Buying a Vowel

Even further beyond this, however, if we question why this behavior even occurs in human biology, then we can find that the human intuition is a neurological facilitation which efficiently and rapidly relays massive amounts of information into the brain using a precognitive processing that acts as a prescreening function which can react more quickly than consciousness. It acts faster than consciousness because it is what aids, in part, in determining if anything really needs to be brought to attention of the consciousness. As such, many assessments of information regarding existence from the senses are relayed without a linguistic lexicon, and instead rely more on an emotional lexicon. It is this that allows a race car driver the ability to stop suddenly to avoid serious injury or death without ever seeing consciously a reason to stop the car. When our consciousness assesses ourselves using our ability for self-awareness, it notices this gap in translation between the sensed, or intuited, and the consciously identified. It then focuses upon this gap by creating an identity for it in assessment in any manner with which it can satisfy the emotional sensation of what these types of intuitive senses feel like in consciously tangible lexicons that create a relationship between ourselves and this part of ourselves, which is a presence without a direct existence.
In essence, it is a game of Wheel of Fortune whereby our consciousness is trying to guess the words to the emotional phrasing that our precognitive subconsciousness feels about this part of ourselves, or relationship between something and ourselves.
So it is in manners like this, religion can be explained without belittling humanity to the idea of malformed psychological capacities that would challenge the laws of evolution. Instead, it transtheistically remains silent on whether or not any given theological and dogmatic proposition is correct or not, for even if any are correct, the human body requires a functioning capacity biologically as simply as electricity requires a conductive environment. And of relevance to this article's tangent the most, it allows for humanity to pursue its sustainability employing basic religious psychologies without spreading a neurological epidemic among the overwhelming mass of humanity.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Angry Atheism (Fault or Fault Line?)

The Stage
It would seem to many today that, "angry atheism", is rising rapidly; that the institution of religion is under attack, and that new and strange religions are popping up nearly at the rate of a fast food franchise.
What's going on? The world is on its head and it seems like it happened in a rush!
The world is rapidly increasing its running away from the tradition of religion in western society, and at the same time, there seems to be an aggressive aversion coinciding with this flee.
Accompanying this upset, it appears that vurbose and active preservationists of traditional religions are popping up at an equally alarming rate.
The anger and animosity surrounding religion on all sides seems to be at an incredible zenith hanging the hammer directly above the warhead, inches from detonation.
Is it a detriment of society finally taking hold and toppling the order of civilization?
Is the last stand of theism and atheism at hand?

The Rarely Used Door

The short answer? No. The world is not disowning religion in groves, nor are the preservationists of religion suddenly a threat in any inherent manner. But yes, "strange", religions and spiritual practices are popping up in greater numbers.
So why is this then? It has to do with time. Religions are, by their nature of practice, hesitant to innovation in their core tenants of spiritual address. Every now and then, if we look back at history, we can see a pattern where an uproar excites in a given society in regards to religion until eventually a revolution of some degree takes hold and a new approach to spiritual expression is achieved by a newly satisfied population while not so often approved of by the traditional adherences.
The largest traditional religion in western society, Christianity, itself was a revolution of such regard; regardless if we hold it divinely ordained or not.
We are in yet another age of spiritual revolution in western society.
a religion that discusses only external measures of metaphysical success and achievements as well as isolates a large portion of the global human population is not as attractive to the psyche of the current western citizens as it once was.
The reason for the anger and frustration is actually rather simple; it takes a massive amount of energy to create a radical change in something that is resident so deeply within the core of a peoples sense of existence.
It is similar to asking why there is so much activity and motion on the cellular level of a snake shedding its skin. There is because that's what it takes to shed the skin and emerge anew yet again.
So why now? What is provoking this sudden motivation to change from only slight alterations to traditional religions, to more radical progressive responses to traditional religions?
Markedly it has to do with a sense of stress, anxiety, and ennui. Generally speaking, people are more compressed in proximity, function at a higher rate of energy, work more positions that lack direct results of their labor tangibly, live in environments compelled by rapid acquisition of consumer products that are alarmingly more and more difficult themselves to keep up with for all kinds of people, constantly surrounded by an amazing array of audible and visual noise that requires tuning out general layers of perception to adhere to one's own requirements of daily life, and filled with daily assertions of entertainment that the world is a dangerous and decrepit place that is just nearly falling apart at the seems.
One would think this would increase traditional voucher's towards religions; a return to stability known; but if we consider that the methodologies of western society religions focus on improving the self in pursuit of external relationship acquisition (meaning, that a person of most western religions are pursuing righting their self with an external criteria that is ideal for gaining a better metaphysical life and not necessarily a better temporal life), then it begins to make a bit more sense.
With all of the above, more and more people want a very simple thing: peace.
More and more people just simply want to find their self. They have lost track of it, if they feel they ever had it at all. On top of this, they want the noise and over activity of everything around them to just stop - just for a moment, if for no other reason than to catch their breath.
No expectations, no have-to's of the metaphysical world to couple on top of their already overflowing "have-to" list of the temporal world, and no lacking of persistence of the peace reserved periodically by standard religious practices of the west (most western religions do not adhere more than a day to three days within the week, and only then for a short time and thereby the adherent is left mostly without facilitated spiritual sanctuary from the cataclysm of the daily society).

The Common Tangent

People are not as sated as they once were with the traditional methodology of their religions. As such, a population of movement away from the tradition is creaking open, and the henge's of that very rarely moved door are really squealing loudly. Those loud squeals are the sounds of the, "angry atheist's", or anti-theists.
Why should such a reaction occur? Because our society (not to isolate our society by any means as such is not the case, but it is the one of interest at the moment) lacks the faciliation of openly encouraging spiritual expression freely without stigma against doing so. In a word, tradition.
When the expression of change is not readily encouraged, the result is that a portion of the changing population will radically denounce all religious affiliation in exchange for a liberation.
In a manner of speaking, "If you cannot satisfy my spirit, then what good are you at all?!"
In this view, what comes about is a perspective that suddenly can only see the negatives of what has been left behind. It is the youthful yell of rebellion, "Down with the establishment, and up with liberation, for the establishment gives us nothing but takes it all!"
Even monasteries are teaching people ideologies which are radically new to the regular person
This perspective's claim doesn't have to be the case in actuality; it only has to feel as if it is the case for it to be the case to the extreme end of the departing population.

The more in-between range of the population is actually larger than the outraged fringe and instead pursues a new search for the next, "it".
Yes, I am asserting that western society is looking for the next big hit like Christianity was. People are trying all sorts of new religions, and even creating their own. And in nearly every case of newly created religions and spiritual practices, the common tangent can be seen of self-help. "You are the importance."; "Your peace with yourself is the importance."
This is the basic underlining offering of Scientology, countless new age spiritual practices, and the rising of Eastern spiritual practices and religions in the west is growing rapidly for the same attractive reasons.
And it should be little surprise that Eastern practices and religions are striking to the western spirit currently. The Eastern concepts of spirituality are typically formed around concerns that are incredibly beneficial to the type of overly stimulated citizen of a close-proximity modern society.
Coupled on the back of this is a new attribute which has not taken place in recorded history, which is the event of a globalising community. With the advancement of technology rapidly increasing at exponential rates, the concept of the world is decreasing in the sense of distance at baffling speeds. The response is increasing among many demographics for a desire of united interest in global cultural acceptance and religious toleration.
What this means is that a religion that discusses only external measures of metaphysical success and achievements as well as isolates a large portion of the global human population is not as attractive to the psyche of the current western citizens as it once was. Imperial prestige is not the pride that it was once long ago. Instead, today, cohabitation and mutual encouragement are the gaining admiral qualities.
At the same time, yes, the traditional preservationists will become louder as this demographic holds the ideal, as all such groups do, that a return to the tradition in more reticent adherence will recover what is seen as a loss of the foundation of the given society. In a manner of speaking, they are correct, but they rarely achieve their goal as the spirit of the unrested adherents deeply searching for spiritual rest find little solace in the preservationist's practice - which does tend to include aggressive tones, even if only occasionally. And the unrested of discussion, keep in mind, are wanting to be removed from tension; not pushed into it.

The Great Earthquake

So is anti-theism correct? Is religion ready to be tossed outright? Is religion the total compilation of all that has been wrong in society throughout all ages of man?
Hardly. Man does that, with or without religion. We could as easily suggest the same in regards to politics and government as we can with regards to religion. But can we understand where this frustration is coming from, where these new pursuits are coming from? Absolutely. They are coming from a centeral dissatisfaction with current spiritual offerings to the human spirit.
The human spirit of the west is simply starting to roll in unrest and dissatisfaction of what it has in its standard toolbox of spiritual calm for the restless. As such, expect the culture we are in to swing wildly for some time now until the next major plate of the spiritual tectonic floor is able to burst into growth, making room for itself where it wishes to lay.
And in the observation, I encourage people to be happy as well, as new religious expressions will arise that will delight and enlighten our spirit along the way - even without conversion of any kind.
People in western society are openly re-examining what exactly spirituality is, and what that means as a human. Even monasteries are teaching people ideologies which are radically new to the regular person (such as the practice of periodic monastic silence within the modern standard life).
Religion is changing rather radically, even if it seems stale and old. Truly, the continuation of this will be an amazing phenomena to witness.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Transtheism (Arguing over the wrong shit)

Enter Pandemonium

Imagine yourself being under the age of eight, standing in a room of your peers while a great novice debate of existence takes place.
There in the middle of the room sits the most amazing toy which does the most wondrous accomplishments of bedazzlement. Everyone is in marvelous uproar and excitement; talking to themselves readily. Many are arguing over where that toy came from. Some say that there is a big hero coming to visit and they sent it ahead before they come in later to talk to all of us and sign everything we want. Oh, the excitement is great!
Others, however, are less compelled by this and rather think the teacher just bought another toy for the classroom; granted, a nice addition indeed, but part of the classroom never-the-less.
Because the toy continues its marvelous performance of satisfaction and bewilderment, yet no one else shows up quickly in chase, the two extreme opinions - and all of their relations between them - have time to argue a volley of, "Ya-Huh's!", "Nuh-uh's!", and "Shhhhh's!"

The Great Toy

Now imagine you are there, and all you really care about is how this toy works!
Imagine that the toy itself is just pure amazement; nothing is more engrossing, nothing is more enrapturing, nothing is more.
The toy simply has you confined like a cobra's gaze in the fairy tails. The marvelous trance, except this trance is like those trances the princes have on princesses. You must know everything there is about how this toy works; everything there is to know about this toy.
You want to know how this toy was able to move into this room like it did, even.
And more importantly, imagine that your sole purpose of studying for the entire time is to discern how the toy is able to make you feel the way you do.
And that you quickly turn to studying how it is able to make everyone feel how they feel around you at the moment because of it.

It would strike us as odd, indeed, to think of a world whereby all musicians and composers spent a large amount of their practice proving how music developed to begin with.

Imagine that you try to explain this to the other children in the room that are in heated debate over whether the hero sent the toy in the room, or whether the toy is part of the classroom paraphernalia.
Imagine that you try to explain how you have observed how the toy is able to make you and others feel certain things, yet every time you describe something every other child thinks you are describing a premise for one of their arguments for the hero or for the inheritance of the classroom.
Imagine that you really don't care about either case; that what you really care about is how it all works. That this is what is magical to you as a child. Imagine that how the toy accomplishes making you and others feel what you feel offers no indication of whether the hero preceded himself with this toy, or whether this is a standard piece of the classroom's additions; that regardless of either, the emotional relationship's capacity remains the same.
Now imagine the toy is life, the hero is theism, the inheritance of the classroom is atheism, those children who are unsure of either case are agnosticism, and the child that doesn't care at all about any of these matters, but rather is more interested in the relationship to the toy itself is transtheism.
That is my best description of how it is to be transtheistic.
It is largely the most misunderstood, and little considered perspective in the arena of theological and ontological matters. To a point that stating that itself is a misrepresentation as being concerned with the ontological matters is to not be concerned (at least not inherently) with the theological matters themselves, but only how they reflect what ontology is taking place.
In most cases, when someone mentions transtheism, the concept that is understood is something akin to atheism. Meaning, most consider it to be within the ballpark of not thinking there is a divine metaphysical construct involved.
This doesn't neccesarily stand as true on a gross scale at all. In fact, transtheism can bring about some observations that can be just as radically spiritual and devoted as any theology within theism itself.
It is simply focusing on a different part of existence.
In fact, it is focusing on existing.
Stop there and get more coffee, tea, or smoke if you do. Reflect on that last line.
Focusing on existing; consider what volume of range that incredibly small count of characters entails, and just how far affecting it is in regards to being human.

Who Invented Music?

There is no means of reasonable language to which I could properly convey the full meaning of the term, "focusing on existing", in one article alone.
What I can do, however, is elaborate on the basic foundations of what is explored in focusing on existing.
To do this, I must start with a prelude.
As mentioned previously, many people tend to think that a dismissal takes place when transtheistic discourse begins. That the theistic standing is tossed out and no divinities of any format are accepted.
This is, I assure you, inaccurate. Should someone you meet claim to hold transtheistic views and assert overtly that divinities are errant concepts and beliefs, then they have misrepresented their atheistic standing.
To better explain why transtheism poses absolutely no threat to theism, take for example the following case.
...we can focus on how spirituality exists in the same manner that we focus on how music exists
There is a question that exists within the anthropological framework which will likely remain endlessly unanswered: "Who invented music?"
We will never know the answer to this question. We won't know if it was one single individual, group, or no one really at all. We can only suppose the answer to this question, but we don't get to know who organized sound into intentionality repeatable melodic syntaxes conceptually understood as music.
What we do have is the ability to enjoy and inspect music as we understand it today in all of its various forms. But more similar, we can study and reflect how we react to music; how music affects us, and how we interact with music biologically. As well, we can create music in various manners of approaches: intuitively, accidentally, or contrivedly.
It would strike us as odd, indeed, to think of a world whereby all musicians and composers spent a large amount of their practice proving how music developed to begin with.
Instead, we readily take it as a given that music simply exists and instead enjoy, study, and play in the aforementioned brief description of such.
If such a thing existed as musism and amusim, those believing in a first developer(s) of music and those believing that there was no such thing as the first developer(s) of music, then our current way of thinking of music would be transmusim.
This is because we simply do not care about where music came from in our study and enjoyment of music itself. We simply love studying and enjoying music as it exists.

Focusing on Existing

With the above example in mind, reconsider the idea of, "focusing on existing". Do so in the same manner we consider focusing on music. As just mentioned, we focus on music as it exists and not where it came from. Similarly if music is life, just as the toy at the beginning represented, then the focus is on how life exists as it does.
Except, "how", is not a question that requires a chain of events such as evolution or creation. Instead, "how", is more a question as one thinks of the question, "How does a light bulb work?"
In the transtheist view, what is important about spirituality of any format is how the spirituality works, why it works, and what we can learn from how and why that spirituality works.
Does that mean we jump to negating or including divinities; no. It means we only work with what we have and go from there.
What we have is the observational affect of what spirituality does in human beings, and we can study the manners in which spirituality has been displayed and practiced in private and group religious formats over an amazing array of time.
The interest isn't to understand how spirituality may exist without divinities, but instead to understand how spirituality must exist due to our human nature.
This is akin to stating that a current of electricity exists in the manner of how it does due to the electric nature. Meaning, if you study a battery, you are going to be studying how a battery facilitates a charge. You are learning the nature of the batteries design by observing how it reacts and facilitates an electrical charge.
Spirituality can be thought of, in metaphor, as this electrical charge and we can be thought of as the battery.
Thereby, the transtheist view is to be interested in how exactly the spirituality of humanity works by studying the facilitation of spirituality within the human.
As I put it: If a god or gods made man, then that god or gods obviously made man in a manner which facilitated spirituality in a reactive fashion we observe today. If evolution eventually lead to man, then the evolutionary path lead to man in a manner which facilitated spirituality in a reactive fashion we observe today.
Either way, we can focus on how spirituality exists in the same manner that we focus on how music exists and in return, we can better perform and enjoy our spiritual existences; regardless of which genre and style they come from, and regardless of how existence became existence.