Friday, September 27, 2013

Planet of the Apes.

My friend Labrys is ruminating on Pascal's Wager:
"Blaise Pascal made it famous…that bet on God; but he could never have conceived of the takers of that bet trashing everything in the here and now. His idea was that belief could not hurt….but acting as if an entire planet and anyone not agreeing with your belief is disposable? Even Pascal would have skipped THAT gamble! I walked away from dogmas that dismiss the world and ALL its people. But yes, I do believe it is the duty of love to fight FOR that world….and as pagans in daily life and action, both mundane and magical. And I would suggest that it is the invisible, the unseen attitudes and fear, that must change before the visible can be altered."
While I agree that eighty-sixing the notion that there's a magical Sky Daddy that has the power to take the worst of your crimes and "forgive" them
(and I should note that almost ALL religions add a little kicker about "go forth and sin no more" which is almost always ignored - the religious Get Out Of Jail Free card always seems to be used to allow the sinner to continue to, if not actually recommit the sin, to bloviate about his or her speshul snowflakery with regard to how the beam in their eye doesn't require them to be shutting the piehole about the mote in yours, especially if you are poor, or an uppity woman, or a negro wearing your pants down around the bottom of your ass, or a "taker", or...)
would be a good idea I'm not sure I agree that it would do much to mitigate the fairly amazing rate at which we're fucking up the only planet that will take us or the lives of our fellow humans.

Thing is, I'm afraid that the problem is as much to do with what we are as what we "believe".

And, basically, that's a sort of jumped up nasty little hairless monkey.

Us hairless monkeys still act like we're pretty much hardwired for monkey-thought: Grab the food, as much as I can, as quick as I can, ALL of it if I can. If there's a hole (or a pole) jump on it. Other-monkeys-are-scary. When in doubt, scream, jump around and fling poop.

That worked fine when were were just another omnivore trying to get by on the Serengti.

Hey, it's hard out there for a chimp.

But give us planet-cracking technology and the ability to change everything from weather to our own bodies?

We'll tend to use it, and not like gods or heroes, but like the gibbering little monkeys we still are above the neck.

I think the genius of the GOP (and the bible-humpers) has been to take this sort of monkey business - that (at least since the Enlightenment and/or the scientific revolution that accompanied it) we are supposed to be ashamed of and trying to suppress - and pull it out into the daylight, celebrate it, and make it acceptable.

Selfish? Greedy? It's OK - Ayn Rand says so! Hate the poors, uppity wimmens, gays, liberal poofies nagging you about being narrowminded, greedy, spiteful shitheads? Wonderful! Awesome! God says you SHOULD! Convinced that Big Gummint will take your FREEDOM but that Big Corporatism is FREEDOM? You're exactly right, my friend because...FREEDOM!

Not surprisingly, this appeal to the worst sorts of monkey-fuckery in human nature has won them the approval of...wait for it...narrowminded, greedy, spiteful shitheaded monkeyfucks.

Which still comprise a surprisingly large portion of humanity (if you're surprised that humans are like the meanest fucking chimp in the woods and not more like cheerful bonobos actually-fucking their cares away).

So while I agree that ditching religion and the nasty habits it reinforces wouldn't hurt, I'd still be surprised if that did much to make humanity better at long-term, humanist, sensible thinking.

The Inner Chimp will always tend make us reach for the poop first and think later.


Syrbal/Labrys said...

And yet, there ARE people who do not reach for the poop first. I do believe humanity CAN mature....but for the first time in my life, I admit, I begin to wonder if we have enough time last do DO it.

I am a big one for insisting on personal responsibility...blaming neither gods nor convenient devils. WE choose....well or ill, but it is our choices that make our lives either heaven or hell on earth; unfortunately not only OUR lives, but the lives of others. So yeah....there are hosts of Rethuglican asshats out there devolving into greedy baboons and telling the rest of us it is "right" because their god said so.

I WISH I had some addresses....

FDChief said...

I think you're an optimist. I'm a pessimist, and am thoroughly convinced that MOST people don't really want to mature if it means forcing themselves to act like reasonable thinking people. Most of us ARE greedy baboons; that's what governments are for, and the better sorts of governments are designed to force the baboons to be less greedy. We have deliberately turned away from that - "greed is good!", remember that? - and we're seeing the result.

But I think that is a feature, not a bug, of human nature. Human history seems to be a parade of the worst and stupidest of our traits on display punctuated with occasional displays of sense and logic. But the latter are very precarious and need a hell of a lot of work and nurturing, and right now we're in full-on monkey-mode.

Syrbal/Labrys said...

I don't know if I am an optimist, I get TOLD I am a pessimist. I do agree, most people do NOT want to be mature or reasonable.

That doesn't mean that we are not capable of it, it means nothing in our culture is telling us there is a BETTER pay off to that than to being grabby assholes.

Something about our normal grabbiness has gotten pathological....even apes usually grab what they NEED for them and theirs; they don't try to grab it ALL. Humans of late...witness the 1%, want it ALL.