I am a firm believer in the notion of culture existing as the practical realization of religion. Religion, in this context, may extend to other practical realizations of societal order such as the tribe-like settlements of the early day, empires, and modern political systems. Culture plays a vital role in religious indoctrination of its clan, and without it some pragmatic religions would become obsolete. Inbreeding and collectivism therefore emerged out of tribe-like settlements of early humans that went on to safeguard and transcend cultural doctrines and operatives through the generations. Some cultures moved past those conventions while others didn’t – this post will be dedicated to understanding the evolution of present-day cultures adapting to the ever-changing needs of man and the need for such culture.
There are several lines of thought in philosophy – the most popular being the separation of the soul and body. The Venn diagram of the what these domains are supposedly believed to contain are exclusive. Something like that would have made sense in 16th century France, where theological ideas primly shaped the everyday functioning of society, where a spiritual domain was required. Ancient philosophy was essential to establish the foundations of ethics and morale – approaching a time where advanced political systems were emerging in Europe such as the democracy. Once a philosophy of people was established, what was left was conquering and rationalizing perception and reason and knowledge – in that order. Today, modern science tells us more on sensory perception than any philosophy, and the rules of reason have come to be known under a wider subject of logic. Knowledge has moved past being a substance of the mind acquired through sensory experience and thought to scientific consensus – where senses are used arbitrarily to reach personal satisfaction of any conclusion. At any time, we can employ logic and mathematics to go back or forth from present knowledge to understand it’s coming into existence or predict what could be or coming.
In the present day of the 20th century, science has far progressed past this phase of individual reasoning. We have build a framework into which we fit things and if they don’t, we conclude them false. A framework consisting of mathematics and science, ruled by logic or pure reason. However, as the society of today moves past the moderating theology that helped maintain humane order of the ancient land, into secular and liberal institutions – we must develop a new and contemporary philosophy to help sort through the ethical and moral conundrums of the present-day. Especially now with artificial intelligence around the corner, we must work on this fast.
[Also included in this section is a lengthy introduction that will be foundational to upcoming sections. I might seem to use culture and society interchangeably, but society should refer to a people’s culture, accounting for their demography while culture is an ideologically constituent part of a demography. Cultural ideology on a whole encompasses the theological and philosophical realms.]
An innate desire to creatively and artistically express oneself is among the fundamental of human wills. I’ve often emphasized my theory of cognition and religion and culture being as one closely woven net, almost like an inseparable fabric. As a result of my insistence of the mentioned, I’ve managed to offend many people. Culture encompasses the various demographic intricacies operating in one’s immediacy – these include popular theological and philosophical ideas, geography and race and complex environmental feedback mechanisms. Religion refers to the majority religion among a demography that influences their theological ideology as mentioned above. Cognition, in this context, is defined as an individual’s ability to perform tasks of reading and writing, comprehending and reproducing information effectively and efficiently with respect to some statistical benchmark. Like gravity, IQ and other metrics of cognitive ability are all relative – and it wouldn’t do justice to compare the IQ of a chimpanzee with a gorilla. Just like the animals, I believe every civilization, over time, with the aforementioned factors of complexity, developed a standard cognition among their people that we call today as average – like the international average IQ of 100. Inductively reasoning from present-day IQs of many civilizations might be key to understanding their culture and religions.
Metrics such as the popular IQ measure an individual’s ability to perform specialized tasks by narrowing down with the specifics at hand. It is iterative and systematic. You could train your brain with IQ tests for a couple weeks leading up to your counsellor’s appointment and pull off a few 10 or more points on your existing IQ. Such cognitive metrics measure how well your brain has specialized – from the time of birth, that is. I believe as one gets older and leaves childhood, IQ is no longer a complete and holistic measure of one’s cognition. Therefore, a fair measure of brain function would be accomplished through divergent reasoning. Divergent tests measure the collocially-called creativity metric – also a statistical measure of how well an individual’s brain is divisive. As one progresses in age with experience, this divergent and rather chaotic type of cognition manifests into convergent cognition. Everything from the simple essay prompts to analytical problem solving can be employed in the task of measuring this lesser-known type of cognition.
This likely will be my last time discussing religion. Unlike the last two times where I directly spoke out against certain religions and how they manage to work in contemporary times, today’s installment will be more on understanding why they work – a question that will require a philosophical analysis of this concept. Our discussion will be focused on exploring why religion might have been necessary and maybe still is. Later, we will get to understanding some shared ideologies among religions.
Where do we start? A new World Order? Sure, let’s start here – despite your forced consent that would’ve otherwise made no difference if you’d answered. The fundamentalists of religion saw the state of political chaos – the anarchy – invading our civilization as the people grew. With more people came more demands to meet their individual and collective needs. People would then give in to their animalistic instincts – their innate desires and ambition – and that would soon overcome any order of the people. Imagine a world without law and order, a world where ethics and moral were foreign ideas – this is exactly the kind of place religious fundamentalists realized and saw. In fear, they envisioned a word of order. A world where man’s innate desires were suppressed for the greater benefit of his fellows – and indirectly himself. The fundamentalist knew order cannot result from the reign of another man – because man’s ambition of a control of his territory would destroy his obedience – and conflict would soon prevail. The solution was to device something of an outside entity – a supreme and perfect being in all regards of man. An entity that lives and grows in apparent truth with the belief of man and other men.
Resources come at a premium – and anyone from a third-world can perfectly relate to this. Nothing is free. In a world survived by man’s innate desires, it would have been hard to ensure fair distribution of vital resources such as food. Also, as anyone who watches the National Geographic can describe – these desires are often lawless in modern hindsight. Animals aggressively secure their territory, their food and their potential mate at any costs. They fight among themselves and among others and form clans – where they venture together into unknown territories to conquer or mark as their own. The fundamentalist knew man was no different from his ancestor and such instincts would soon creep in as they outgrew in numbers eventually leading them to their own destruction. A need for a system of order was in dire necessity. A system to channel man’s own emotions – that he has been naturally predisposed with – against his unknowing will for the benefit of other men and himself. A concept of religion was therefore required.
I must confess at this time to losing count of posts I’ve written on Islam. The religion of peace just keeps giving me never-ending subject matter to talk about. Over the past days, I’ve unapologetically destroyed Islam (verbally). I discussed how Islam spreads and conquers foreign lands, keeping out external and internal political opposition in the process. This time, we will look at its fundamental ideology and try to make sense of what makes this epidemic movement keep sustaining itself and growing in their own demographic and among others – without bringing up dogma or scholarly beliefs but instead by realizing what it has morphed to in reality. Comparing dogmatic beliefs between Islam and other religions side-by-side have been a staple among conservative and atheistic debates and I don’t see a need to go through it again. The Quran allows unconsentual sex and the Bible calls for women to be sold to their rapists – but not everyone gets to do that (in Western countries). The dogma of Islam, or any religion for that matter, would come in irrelevant when discussing present-day cultural ideology.
if you want to go fast, go alone. if you want to go far, go together. -African Proverb
Let’s start off talking about Islam in foreign lands as I realize that’s a hard topic now – with many sides to it. There is this saying (quoted above) from an untraceable author on the power of unity. When people come together with a common cause, they constructively add up to become an indestructible political and cultural force that will stand the test of time. The kind of unity you see among Muslim communities where everybody has strongly shared beliefs is different from the local communities where people of Christian and other faiths or no faiths at all coexist with individualistic attitudes. In individualistic societies, people unite under the common cause of progressing their society as one, setting aside their personal indifferences because their paradigm calls for all individuals of society to be freely entitled to their own beliefs and opinions under the room of law – secularily practicing whatever they wish to practice. In collectivistic societies however, everybody is everybody else. An individual of such society is made to stay in agreement with what others of their society see fit toward the greater interests of their society – in simpler terms, they don’t have a fucking mind of their own. They exhibit similar patterns of thought, moral conscience that manifest in their ensuing actions. This leads to a clash of cultures when collectivistic cultures try to be part of individualistic countries. But it doesn’t end there, as with Islam, you are dealing with a bigger clash of civilizations.
This is part II to my previous post on subjectivism in science. The last part for those of you wanting to catch up, explored the mechanisms by which subjectivism creeps into scientific literature and also ways to alleviate it. Part II will explore subjectivity in observation or more generally, observation bias – from a practical and metaphysical standpoint.
you interact to perceive
mutual exclusion is nothing but an illusion
Scientific instruments are limited to their resolution, accuracy and precision. An instrument can only resolve within finite numerical intervals, only being able to gauge some metric with some degree of statistical consistency. The fixed numerical gaps between which an instrument can register is called its resolution. All instruments have a resolution that is predetermined from design – and probably something you can expect to find on the back label. Accuracy and precision are parented in statistics. The ability of the instrument to consistently register close to some numerical value is called precision, while its ability to register closer to the actual numerical value is called accuracy. The keywords are highlighted.
Quick and short one. I was just wondering how people so often get away with exploiting us. The human psychology is one gullible piece of cake, people including you and me often fall prey to the dings on our phone, the tunes of some low-key DJ we’ve never before heard, or horror movies. That’s because we like to do the things that make us happy, and the people who market them to us in turn like the money. It’s mutual benefit, and that’s why we trade in the market. But this is going to be no lesson on trade. Continue reading “Exploiting Human Nature: Business”
Really, why? And trust me, I’ve been thinking about that for a while now without reaching any satisfying explanation. For those of you who haven’t been to the Late Show when it was hosted by David Letterman or lately as of 2015, Stephen Colbert – it’s freezing in there, like nipples through your The North Face jacket cold. But I somehow didn’t feel bothered by it. Some people have called it the ‘refrigerator’, but that’s exactly what Letterman wanted, apparently.
When I first got tickets to the Late Show, which also happened to be my first time at the Late Show under Colbert’s tenure, I noticed something on the ticket about temperature. It said it was on the cooler end and we had to dress appropriately. The dress code then stated Broadway casual. I was more fixated on what ‘Broadway casuals’ meant, leaving little thought to the theatre’s environment. It was early into March and I had my trusty jacket on, so never bothered with carrying or putting on anything extra. Continue reading “It’s 55 °F at the Ed Sullivan theatre. Why?”
Happy new year everybody! I hope you had a wonderful start into twenty seventeen 🙂 I personally had a blast – in Chicago! I was at this fairly new event in the city center called Chi-town Rising, hosted this year by Corona Extra. They basically have a huge steel star with lights mounted onto it to draw attention, guided on 2 I-beams running through the face of the Hyatt building by Wacker drive.
I’m back again with more posts to post but in the meantime, I thought I could write this short post just giving myself in to my human side. On my other posts, I use big words and phrases and try to be logically consistent and grammatically sound but today I’m just going to write about things on the very top of my head hoping this would help build better blogger-reader relationships and moreover, to help make blogging on Chronic Overthoughts therapeutic to me, you know the relaxation and all writing brings. I will also not be proof-reading this post or even try to optimize it – like I said earlier, this is purely what’s firing in my head instantaneously as I hit keys.
This New Year’s was a particularly good realization for me. I’ve realized that being me while doing things the way others do to impress humans at the fundamental level often pays off. This is best reflected in college applications – when I first applied to my dream schools, I made the mistake of completely being honest and ‘me’ but as it turns out, you have to play by the game a little bit where it’s required to make some of the trivial stuff up to mark and invest your mental resources into where ‘being yourself’ is appreciated. Lately, I’ve been making an action plan to see what needs to be done to get me a step closer to my goal which lead me to a couple things – playing by the game to a certain extent cut down on much of the stress and burden such activities bring with it. It also ultimately made me feel satisfied when I felt that I wasn’t standing too far out, making my every move predominantly noticeable while simultaneously making sure to not be too blended with everybody else so as to lose your unique identity.
Also, I’ve come to realize that sometimes there’s only a certain extent to which you can control or take authority over things – how, when and the way they take place. There are well-established constraints on everyone – nationality, blah blah blah which can only take you to a certain point beyond which you must just surrender and stop wasting your resources telling yourself that you’d come this far and there’s room to go further – especially if others had already done it.
My advice to my younger self would be to not look at your path to your goal as one that is linear – even if you think you are taking radical paths that have never before been traversed upon you are in-fact, naturally following a linear path. Your hard work or distinct behavior should not account for evidence to confirm your bias. They are merely obstacles placed on the vertical which you just have to navigate or work through no matter what. The obstacle which I’ve encountered is one placed along the horizontal. One might ask what difference does it make – the obstacles placed on the vertical will NOT forbid you from moving ahead towards the goal. These are merely there to slow you down. Maybe you got a low score on a standardized test and wanted to retake it – you’re just being slowed down while still staying on that straight path. Keep in mind that not all have the same obstacles – everyone has a different goal and hence, an action plan which they set for themselves or mutually agreed upon with a third-party. The horizontal obstacle is a roadblock to keep you from progressing further on that path to your goal. While a horizontal obstacle might seem like something that forbids you completely from reaching your goal, it really isn’t.
To deal with an horizontal obstacle, you have to realize that this obstacle was designed to be overcome in the long term. If I was telling myself this a couple months if not, days ago, I would have welcomed it with nothing but skepticism. This should seem like complete gibberish because we are told our short-term actions determine our results in the long-term. While this notion is agreeable in most cases, a horizontal obstacle requires you to think out-of-the-box! You not just explore radical options, but also develop REALISTIC action plans to make them reality, with much emphasis on the word realistic. Someone like me, who suffers from schizophrenia is lead to believe an idealistic and logical plan will certainly work. When it doesn’t – we rebel, loathe our existence and get more aggressive with our pursuits. But that does NOT help because your resources are now invested in something that isn’t helping navigate around this obstacle.
Don’t seek (never!) validation from anyone, even your parents, siblings and close friends. You are your best person to judge. Sometimes, I’ve found myself doing things merely to get validated by others. While this yields fantastic results in the short-term, it doesn’t help challenging obstacles as the one discussed above, obstacle which most people give up to. These obstacles make an average person feel like they’ve hit a dead end, only an intellectual who’s self-invested his/her resources will realize the bigger picture and work on a realistic solution that is statistically bound to work.
Over the course of time, humans have developed a multitude of faith systems. It helps introduce a sense of divinity – which I’d rather like to call a sense well-being or peacefulness into the devotee. In this post, I approach the subject with the scientific method – questioning, observing and inferring with what falls under my domain of perception. Now if you are someone who knows me in real-life (or perhaps social media), you’ll notice I don’t take on such subjects for discussion but let this be an exception 😉
Peacefulness: Okay, before you go on telling me meditation has calming effects, let me reinstate we are strictly constricting our discussion to acts of the spiritual nature such as praying. From my observation, I find that praying or as the devotee would say surrendering oneself to a superior entity has a calming effect on the mind. How? Here is my theory. I say that praying or surrendering one’s problems to God allows the mind to satisfy the self that its problems are no longer “its” but rather now shared among with a superior entity who possibly (as the mind would say) has in its powers the ability to sort them out. Also, this might reduce anxiety as the burden is “virtually” shared.
Happiness: Any psychiatrist or scientist for that matter would quite arguably say happiness and peacefulness are all pretty much linked. You raise the levels of GABA, dopamine and serotonin in the brain and you can expect to see these psychological states triggered in the individual and these effects are observed in people who have just committed spiritual acts probably because of the reduced anxiety. I believe the notion that spiritual people (as claimed by them) lead happier lives is partly true basing on this scientific fact.
Tendency of wrong-doing: If you look up personal records of criminals, I’m sure you’ll find mental illness or some sort of mental agony that likely has coerced them into committing the crime. Again like I’d discussed previously, happiness stems from the brain’s chemistry and this chemistry is in-turn dictated by what the brain does to itself. Does the brain pop in an SSRI or two to make itself happy or perhaps drink coffee? In case of people who claim (and believe) to have spiritual connections in their lives are in my opinion, less likely to do wrong primarily because of the aforementioned reasoning. But again there are factors like fear that could come into the equation (as in certain faith systems) and prevent criminal activity of a person.
Confidence: I’m sure those who preach religion also claim they gain confidence to do something when they are involved or will participate in an event that can mathematically be said to have an unforeseen and probabilistic outcome, or as the preachers call it “luck”. Now how do we explain this apparent gain in confidence with science? We could say that the act of praying induces a sense of well-being in the individual as we previously justified scientifically and this brings about a change in brain chemistry that explains the gain in confidence.
A big question: Who is likely to live longer, happier lives?
As silly as it sounds, I think this is worthy of a debate before I conclude my post, crawl into my sheets and doze off to sleep. Do scientific people like me who stand by our understanding of our physical surrounding to explain our lives (what has happened, is happening and will happen) live happier and longer lives or do the God preachers do it better? The religious are a little likely to live happier lives with lower levels of anxiety as a result of their faith while the scientific people might really know what it takes to keep them happy and well and do it accordingly, hence equally living lives as fullest to their religious counterparts. It’s hard for me to put forth an answer to this question just like that without solid research and therefore will leave this post here, leaving you to ponder. Maybe you will question your whole belief system after this (if you do have one)!