Monday, April 11

Much to do about nothing

Ever since I can remember, occasionally I have this weird imaginatitive concept of nothingness – the equivalent of nothing at all. This was not the negation of the idea of being as such but that which is apart from it.

Those thoughts remind me of our ancestral past journey when we first began to to think about ourselves separate to self. Modern man evolved this potential possibly up to 100,000 years ago although scholars hotly debate varying time lines. It is highly plausible during this crossover period as our cognitive abilities expanded physically (with the expansion of the frontal brain lobes) many of our beliefs began to took take shape. In Elkhonon Goldberg's ‘ The Executive Brain’ he states "A rich sensory memory of a deceased tribesperson would be interpreted as the tribesman's "ghost" or as evidence of the tribesman "life" after death". According to the scenario, some of the more literal religions and magical beliefs, which persisted for millennia are vestiges of early human’s inability to distinguish between one’s own memories of other people (internal representations, parts of "self") and those actual people themselves ("nonselves".Others). According to Jaynes, this self-oneself confusion was not confined to prehistoric times. It extended well into the early history populated by individuals we assume to be neurobiological "modern'.

Looking backwards in time it is difficult to imagine those first awakenings in our journey of discovery since they are hidden in oral history, dance, chants and the evocative dreamland scenes on rock walls painted up to 60,000 years ago. Even today screenings include a warning about interviews with people who have since deceased in deference to indigenous group’s beliefs. An insatiable curiosity combined with unquenchable thirst for knowledge leads to our complex ever changing belief systems which adapt subtly along with hotly contested changes as new discoveries contradict many of the rigidly held previous religious ‘beliefs’. Many today prefer the idea of concepts rather than to be wedded to a ‘belief system’.

Buddhism has been rediscovered in the west and gains popularity as an alternative to secular materialism in philosophy or fundamentalism in religion. The idea of nothingness as sacred might seem unattractive to western rationalism unaccustomed to discussing such subjects as emptiness, karma, release from suffering through Nirvana – by ceasing to will, illusions of the mind and the idea of death simply taking on a different form of rebirth. Buddhist popularity may also be due to the fact it seems to be less authoritarian and, while its rationality may be debated it does suggest a rational pathway.

However, when one examines the mystical bent of all religions and their roots encapsulated into ritual, art and so called canonized scripture it remains a matter of choice dependent in turn on a leap in faith.

In the end people adopt a religion or a belief or a particular religious or even secular philosophy because there is nothing else you can do to make sense of life - philosophically for that person.

From the mystical perspective nothingness or something -whichever is of appeal, always entails something in reality which is ineffable.

The only thing we can say for sure is it is futile and idiotic to attack anyone purely on the basis of what a person or group of people think or happens to believe (as distinct from what someone does) since it is all about something or nothing which in reality is ineffable. Much to do about nothing- but we see continued oppression and persecution of many ( including christian) based upon a fear of what such people might do.