Wednesday, 21 January 2015

KNOWLEDGE

I am still waiting for one or more of you out there to explain to me, in words that I can understand, what am I, what am I doing here, and, above all, WHY?  I can remember asking a question when I was just short of four years of age.  I am still asking but remain ignorant.  Why is the path I have so far travelled inadequate?  How different and informative has your path been?  My brain is like these new cell phones: capable of doing far more than I can imagine or manage.
My loving parents brought me up a Catholic yet tolerated my questioning.  I was an altar boy, really quite good and dedicated. I enjoyed learning Latin that lacked many of the flaws of English.  Judea-Christian history provided a good foundation.  We lived in 5 different cities and town in Ontario, with my teen years in a small town where I had an Irish parish priest whose Sunday sermons were repetitive and boring but with whom I had many conversations on world affairs in his den after week-day Masses and before rushing off to high school.  He seemed to agree with many of my complaints that included: lack of complete equality for women, the downplay of souls for non-humans, the advice “Marry your own” when the most attractive girls belonged to the town’s other religions, and the Index, a list of books forbidden to Catholics, so I read two of them, by Huxley and Darwin, surprised he did not chastise me for doing so.  I understood why the Church discouraged its members from reading the bible on their own when I started to read it myself but quit when it became mired in blood, vengeance, ethnic cleansing, and myths.  I discovered the common origin for the faiths of Jews, Christians and Muslims was worse than the current violent groups posing as Islamic States.  When imported from the Ur area of Iraq, Yahweh suppressed long-standing female Gods, and offered the migrating Semitic Jews the “Promise Land” but only if they first cleansed it by killing all  living things there much to the annoyance of the early Palestinians.  The subsequent history of all three religions reeks with blood and oppression yet with islands of empathy, some most praiseworthy.
     Growing up among numerous veterans of the Boer War and WWI, including two wounded uncles, I  became very anti-war and wrote school articles on the subject.  Later I learned my wife had 9 family members in WWI: 2 killed, 1 POW, and 5 wounded. yet . . . 
My ingrained faith in God, and the human species, continued until I found myself in Bomber Command.  We did have enemies worthy of our ire but we were ordered to lay waste the cities and populations of German and occupied French cities, often in the dead of winter,  in the belief we had to torture and kill the innocent to get at the guilty.  This cost us 59% casualties with only 17% of those shot down surviving while we killed 600,000 civilians.    It was a bitter pill to realize I was a member of a species with such a long history of cruel behaviour.  Yet I clung to Christianity, mainly to avoid offending family and friends, until months after being confined to a POW camp where the Luftwaffe treated us with respect.  We had time to think, discuss, and ponder with, in my compound, 2,000 educated men from 23 different countries.  I found growing affinity with those whose faith was slipping into Agnosticism whose motto is “I do not know and you do not know either, so let us discuss peacefully to see if we can find any answers.”   We had been part of so much destruction and the cruel deaths of so many excellent humans that many voiced “God is dead.”  
We humans all start out with the same ingredients that grow in a wide range of environments. Some end up with great empathy and ability to help humans and other life forms.  Others believe their paradise lies in torturing, maiming, and killing all who dent their narrow view of life.  Actually, does not the main interests of all of us lie in maintaining our poorly-understood Consciousness on a bed of poorly-understood Contentment? 
      Even though lacking understanding I do enjoy delving into the vast immensity of quarks, particles, waves, strings and vibrations we think form the basis of things as well as the expanse of a universe expanding into Nothing which must be Something to provide the space.  Faith and Philosophies, in numerous forms, do offer solace, but lack proofs, so tend to be a crutch, a money maker for directors, and an excuse for destructive actions.  But they, from Animism to Zoroastrianism, are worth studying to probe the human mind and to find treasures therein.
Today, a few of us are tinkering with those forces that dictate evolution.  What took Nature about 3.5 billion years to accomplish we can, at a faster pace, transform ourselves into creatures that, one day, may be gods.  Too late for you and me, our progeny could design more efficient and less troublesome bodies that approach immortality.  They could also improve the mind, but who will guide them and to what purpose?  It will all be pointless unless we program in the gang led by Empathy and exclude those led by Greed.
     But then, in the scheme of things, we are a young galaxy so have older galaxies gone this route and evolved gods?  Where are they and in what form?  We must not tolerate more God vs Devil creations.  What say you?

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