The posts that follow will mark a moment of change. We will at last deal with semiotic cultural analyses that confront the problem that created the intellectual demand for the writing of this blog – the proffered belief in the Western monotheistic god of our inheritance.
Now I must reveal the origins of this blog and where it has always been intended to go, and where it is hopefully going. If this offends possible readers, so be it. As I noted at the outset, the main function of this blog has been to clarify my own thinking, for myself.
The title “No Sign Of It” is a reference to the empty signification of any claim that there is a god who created the universe and that might claim our worship and obedience. I see no sign of it, beyond the self-reinforcing language of ideology. The very notion of it may have humanized culture once; now it is an abysmal burden threatening to drag human intellect back into the cave of Plato’s parable.
Whatever the future holds for us, it cannot be as servants of the monster of pre-modern imagination beckoning us into subservience and irrational idiocy. We are either rational animals, or we are just animals; fundamentalist Christians, Jews, and Muslims seem bent on making the latter choice. It is my ethical duty as a secular Buddhist to argue for the former.
There is no ‘spirit’ here we could possibly be. I see no sign of it. If it exists, it is in-significant – it makes no sign, beyond our own desire, that it make us ‘feel good.’
If denial of this doesn’t make you happy, remember: The universe did not bring you into existence to make you happy. Indeed it had no purpose intended for you at all. We are here; we make our own purpose. If we can’t do that, we waste our time here.
We could either be or not be. Human existence really is mere accident.
I’m OK with that. That in itself tells you why the notion of god is irrelevant. The universe may be as completely determined as strict determinists claim. Or it may be total, random chaos. Either way, I see no need to defer to some wholly unimaginable spirit-thing to grant me validity or explain my presence here. And without that, religion has nothing.
I don’t want to ‘feel good’ thanks to some unseen, unknowable ‘spiritual’ agent granting me permission to be. I want the truth. If there is a spiritual agent and ‘he’ doesn’t like that, so much for the worse for him.
“You have made us, man of evil – but we are free.” – from Doctor Who, “Castrovalva,” episode 4 (Christopher H. Bidmead, BBC, 1982).
The ‘mysterious’ is purely a matter of neurotransmitters in the brain. No wonder many of the impoverished and uneducated turn to drugs! and no wonder many of these turn to religion as resolution! We all want happiness, and, being animals, will seek it anyway we can.
But that doesn’t mean we need be trapped in any cycle of despair and chemical re-adjustment. We are humans – rational animals. We can think our ways out of this. We can choose to be something than how we are born. We can define happiness differently than what we are given at birth. We can even choose – not to believe; but to define our own purpose and its happiness, in the contingencies of the chaotic and historically unfamiliar world (every day is new!) in which we live.
We would all be happier if we could accept this and move on. The proper place of ‘the sacred’ – is in the ashcan. History will not stop to wait for it to catch up with us. We have learned from it, and now we go.