Friday, April 3, 2009

On Choosing Friends and Mythologies

This old article has been revised and extended, also republished under Metaphysical Relativism: Choosing Friends and Mythologies. If you want to comment, please post under the new entry.

Life turns on a new leaf and broader perspectives become available to everyone of us every once in a while. When it's time to evolve and you've grown mature to move on, there's little point in clinging to old and outdated modes of thinking just to uphold facades or maintain outer tranquility. The journey onward continues — but if you subscribed to a system of beliefs, there may be an aftermath to deal with!

The greater part of what's ahead illustrates the fascinating realities of many true/pure believers, the more fundamentalist segment of religious adherents. I personally favor increased recognition of an inherent sense of subjectivity and relativity in all of human thought and activity. It would certainly help in healing many religious wounds and schisms, and we might avert a war or two as well if people were just a little bit less hell-bent on enforcing their absolute views on others and defending in kind.

There's a unifying pattern somewhere in the whirlpool. Finders keepers.

Narrow Horizons and Lost Potentials

One of the darker sides of religion is seen in many adherents' tendency to accept and reject friends and relationships on the basis of their chosen mythos, or the overlay of beliefs and ethical codes. Particularly smaller or tighter religious/spiritual denominations and groups tend to encourage or even enforce a segregation of believers from non-believers, protecting the believers from the perceived dangers of evil and heretical thoughts and mundane company. This leads to mental and/or social isolation from the surrounding world.

Clinging exclusively to people who subscribe to similar metaphysical beliefs is unfortunately a poor means of connecting to the rich and diverse potentials of the human world. When your available range of contacts and possibilities becomes confined within a single frame of reference, you'll be a monoglot in an increasingly globalizing world, and if you happen to subscribe to a smaller group of fringe believers, you're further stuck with an obscure tribal language. Expand your horizons!

The narrower you draw the spectrum of your human connections, the smaller shrinks your window of being nourished by interaction and exchange. On the other hand, should you choose to expand the range of your connections beyond the identifications and defenses of any particular system of belief — the specifics of which are hardly essential in the grand scheme of existence! — you would maximize your interactive potential and evolutionary prospects in life.

Some patterns remain constant across the history of religious fundamentalism.

The Religious Repercussion  What Went Wrong?

Beliefs and mythologies rarely follow a straight-forward logical formula you could easily understand; because it doesn't really have to make sense or be true, as long as you believe in it and receive an extended sense of comfort or convenience. People can get highly emotional and irrational in promoting and defending their cherished beliefs — especially when their existential framework is under perceived threat by contradicting views.

As we've seen the world around, it's not that hard to even accidentally make someone feel that their faith is being blasphemed or persecuted, leading to indignation, uproar, and unpleasant repercussions. If I wrote an article called "My Overly Holy And Medium Moot Existential Dilemma", and then someone got on my case for forgetting the PBUH because the initials added up to someone's revered name (PBUH) — would that make any sense whatsoever? I think not, yet such are the times we live in — everyone is connected, and increased exposure leads to increased opportunities for conflict.

Were religions truly meant to bring so much anger, hatred, and narrow-mindedness into the world? Someone must have lost track of the actual point somewhere down the history lane — unless the bugs were stamped as features and thrown in at last minute by the busy sky systems designer, who just needed to meet his markets soon. If god really exists, one really hopes it was the humans who screwed up their part of the deal, because clearly something isn't quite right with the picture we see.

Crossing through a number of religious communities over the years, I have witnessed on countless occasions how temporary, frail and superficial relationships based on religious sentiment and communality can ultimately be, when perspectives evolve and situations change. Shared religious beliefs can create an awfully narrow and fragile platform for leading an actually fulfilled life, depriving you from access to the greater part of your real inner potentials, along with the potentials of the larger human world and an abundance of lessons to learn.

What color of  glasses do you wear when praying or evaluating others in the eyes of god?

Subjective Faith — Subjective God

On a necessary note of clarification over my sometimes pointed critique on the darker sides of religion and belief — I do not mean to criticize any one system of belief over the others. I am simply against endorsing any given view as the final and ultimate word in metaphysics, including my personal views that are explicitly tentative and subject to improvement and evolution. This reservation naturally reflects on my outlook on the greater part of religious beliefs and associated organizations and congregations, who all too often would have us believe in them as the sole emissaries of the greatest and tallest truth.

Every belief is formed and conceived of in the subjective and limited individual human mind, and religious experience itself is a highly subjective sensation. If a belief works in favor of your subjective world, then may you be happy and prosper with it — but please don't try to force-paint the same sign across everyone's sky. You wouldn't like to see vandals doodling their graffiti on your garage door, so please remember to keep your He-Man and the Masters of the Universe graffiti off others' mental environments too. That is, unless you know you're welcome to decorate and are clearly received in kind. In either case, be sure to keep yourself and your message in a broader context!

God created us all into his own image, and we all seem to look and think a wee bit different. Let's aim for a bit of extra space and dimension up there in the sky as well. Your god sounds an awful lot like you, so he's probably not the same god who created me in his image. Will the real god please stand up and announce himself? It's been a long time coming, and at least a a basic corrigenda and updating for the popular range of holy books would be in order.

The Real God™ — a truly ultimate entity in every respect, excelling in total immanence and transcendence, experienced as absolute in fullness, nothingness and beginningless flux, the supreme blueprint and mastermind of chaos and logos, pervasive as undivided cognitive existential joy — frankly doesn't give a rat's ass about people raving on about any one of the countless conflicting beliefs of theirs. That is, if such an entity exists to begin with — which is something best left up to each individual to sort out for themselves.

A pet future utopia of mine is a world where the humanity at large has evolved to a point where metaphysical relativism is so widely taken as a self-evident axiom that the mere concept of religious friction is an unintelligible oxymoron. Utopia pending, humanity still has a great many cognitive bridges to cross in learning to relate to each other a bit more constructively. We all dig peace on earth, goodwill among men, and all the rest of the good stuff that religious advocates promise in their leaflets. We don't really need that hell and brimstones stuff in capital letters on the flip side of your leaflet, thank you very much!

» Continued: On Ideological Fundamentalism

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yea wow your such a radical!

LOL

Mr. Ananda said...

Familiar with Paul Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement? Where would you say your comments fit, overall?

Vegman said...

Like most of the stuff you have written since leaving the cult confines, none of it really makes any sense.
It's just psycho-babble of a mind with no focus, no base or concept that there are higher beings than himself.
You did a good job of masquerading as an intelligent guy for a while, but since leaving the Gaudiya sect you have definitely shown yourself to be a mental midget with an extremely exaggerated estimation of yourself.
Somehow, when I read your blog I feel like a voyeur living in a high rise condo watching some pervert on the other side of the street through a telescope masturbating in front of the window knowing that others are watching.

I guess as long as the curtain is open I will continue to watch, but the show is far from amusing.
It's just pathetic.

Maybe you better check the birth records of yourself.
You might have been born with Downs Syndrome.

Mr. Ananda said...

Vegman: Like most of the stuff you have written since leaving the cult confines, none of it really makes any sense.

It does make sense that most of the stuff I've written outside the cult confines don't make much sense to someone inside the cult confines. Really. It does.


It's just psycho-babble of a mind with no focus, no base or concept that there are higher beings than himself.

And I suppose you see and chat with these higher beings on a frequent basis? From where I look at things, something like that may well be going on in your head.


Somehow, when I read your blog I feel like a voyeur living in a high rise condo watching some pervert on the other side of the street through a telescope masturbating in front of the window knowing that others are watching.

Now let me get this long sentence straight.

1. You feel like a voyeur living in a high rise condo.
2. You are watching some pervert on the other side of the street through a telescope.
3. You are masturbating in front of the window knowing that others are watching.

Hey, I'm all for tolerance with your high rise condo voyeurism. Whatever gets you going. I don't quite know yet what to think of someone reading my writings and masturbating, but I guess that's better than wanking to my likeness. Anywhoo, you may want to read up on homokaasu, just in case.

Vegman said...

See, this proves you can't even follow a simple sentence or paragraph but will read all sorts of unintended meanings into something.

No wonder you didn't make in the Gaudiya society. You can't even read a simple sentence and understand what the writer is trying to say.

Seriously, check the birth records.
Your Dad might have been a Muslim with Downs Syndrome.

Mr. Ananda said...

Vegman: See, this proves you can't even follow a simple sentence or paragraph but will read all sorts of unintended meanings into something.

I think your paragraphs may be so challenging because you are para-graphically challenged. Challenged way off the graph.


Seriously, check the birth records. Your Dad might have been a Muslim with Downs Syndrome.

I don't think my Dad was down with Muslim syndrome, he was equally irreverent of people from all faiths.

Oh I see. So this is what's bugging you. You're envious because I was raised by human parents, while you had to share your formative years with swamp alligators. That would explain the challenging nature of our exchanges.

Vegman said...

See, your psychic powers are totally retarded.
I grew up in Indiana where even a little yard lizard does not live.
I moved to Florida about 14 years ago after living in California for about 12 years.
I know you are jealous because you have to live in some Hellish corner of Europe where the Sun doesn't shine.

If you ever want to come and see some real Alligators, then come to Florida and I will show you around.

I don't hate you.
I am always looking to help the mentally handicapped and spiritually disabled.

Mr. Ananda said...

Well good for you, Mother Theresa of the spiritually derelict. Your compassion really shines through in every comment you posted. Thanks for stopping by.

Vegman said...

Yep, Mr. Mom. You are about 3 years older than my son.
But, fortunately, he is a normal person whose mind hasn't been bent by some bizarre cult.
I did not have him indoctrinated into the Hare Krishna cult.
He went to public school and is now going to the community college to get his degree and certifications.
You would probably like him, but he is good kid.

He is a normal guy.
I certainly never wanted some mentally deranged cult fanatic like you for a son.

He is not a Hare Krishna.
He probably thinks it is crazy.
He might be right.
You are living proof how the cult can butcher the mind of a young person.

Mr. Ananda said...

Speaking of people who enjoy exposing themselves before the public, I'd say you rank pretty high yourself in the extraordinary league of exhibitionists.


Vegman: I certainly never wanted some mentally deranged cult fanatic like you for a son.

So you didn't want to have me as a son. What went wrong? Forgot to use a condom?

Had your (other) son turned into a deranged cult fanatic, I'm sure you would have been glad, had he dropped it. Yet you seem to be very incensed by my dropping the cult. Is it that your personal failures in the cult led you to try to vicariously experience success in the cult through me?

When I was at the peak of my cult career, I recall you were a frequent fanboy and hangaround, who expected me to become the next messiah or something. It was flattering in a bizarre sort of way.

Now I seem to be some sort of a prodigal son to you. How touching. Was the "Muslim dad with down syndrome" actually something of a personal revelation from your side? Papa! I accept you the way you are!


Like most of the stuff you have written since leaving the cult confines, none of it really makes any sense.

Pardon me if I lost your trail of thoughts again. Let me backtrack.

1. I am mentally deranged (and my dad is suspect for being down with Muslim syndrome).
2. This is because my mind was butchered in a bizarre cult.
3. My writings in the post-cult period haven't made any sense to you.

It follows that stuff I wrote in the bizarre cult, when my mind was being butchered, made sense to you. Now, what does that tell about your own elevated levels of sanity?

Hesitant Iconoclast said...

Or, one might do well to question the basis and the need for "metaphysical relativism".

Mr. Ananda said...

The need is the more obvious of the two, with its contribution to alleviating friction arising from fundamentalism, alongside other benefits.

And what about the basis? I suppose that's food for another write-up.

voyage2infinity said...

You are a prime example of why balance is so important. Vegman was very correct about your lack of focus and surplus of psycho babble.

You also do read all sorts of unintended meanings into statements, for what purpose? I don't know, because it's not getting you anywhere partner.

You speak so broadly about the hare krishna cult, and I can sense some angst for sure.

Get your mind straight and open your eyes to the world around you.

Let me get this straight before I start making assumptions, are you trying to be some sort of crusader? (and don't give me some empty answer that beats around the bush)

Mr. Ananda ∴ μ α ω λ said...

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