left biblioblography: Sugarcandy Mountain - The Pavlovian Promise Of The Hereafter

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Sugarcandy Mountain - The Pavlovian Promise Of The Hereafter

Cross posted @ God Is 4 Suckers!

Heaven, n.: A place where the wicked cease from troubling you with talk of their personal affairs, and the good listen with attention while you expound your own.

The Devil's Dictionary

As per my promise, let us talk, you and I, about that most ephemeral of places, Heaven.

Almost every society since the beginning of recorded history has promised this haven from the blood, sweat, and tears this mortal life visits upon us. A promise of rest, of a surcease of worry, a womb of security and safety when the final breath ceases. From Nirvana to Asgard, from Jannah to Tamoanchan, humanity has ever yearned for peace and quiet, a commodity in any time or place in history.

It is a simple reason why this fantasy evolved so many permutations. After all, life is hard, sometimes excruciatingly so. And our evolutionary heritage, that snake that runs up our back, the reptilian hindbrain that avoids pain and seeks pleasure, that is the root of it. Subsequently, the environment around different tribes shaped various visions of an unglimpsed, unproven utopia.

It perhaps drove our primitive forbears forward – for there have been bleak epics in human history, and the only light at the end of the tunnel was the promise of a hereafter, because life in realtime seemed so bleak. But that was then, and this is the 21st century. Now it is an anachronistic holdover from backward times, but it hangs on like a terrier unto a rat. Why so? Because again, it is a promise of relief from the aggravations of modern life.

But it is a mad belief. It is antagonistic to modern life. For one, this belief channels living energy into a dark void, because the believers of such, instead of investing in reality and humanity, seek to engineer a path towards the unknown, the unproven. And the blood that is spilled , the lives that are spent, the horrors that have been hatched to ensure the building of a stairway to on high, is staggering. It also sends the mentally ill into a destructive downwards spiral, and oftentimes drives others to extremes in an effort to ‘save souls’.

It has been said that atheists don’t talk much about heaven. But this is untrue: I myself rail against the mindset that feels obligated to impinge on our freedoms to ensure that we are ‘saved’ – and not allow any of us any say in the matter. And the dangling of a carrot on the stick is an insult to many who are intelligent.

And, to top this post off, I feel obliged to point out that the Heaven/Hell option is actually a fallacy – specifically the false dichotomy.

I say the illusion of the soul is detrimental to our species. It diverts resources, both mental and physical, funneling them into nowhere. It is a form of Pavlovian terrorism, an argument from force. And last but not least, it leads those that believe to force their metaphysical constructs onto those of us who do not.

Till the next post, then.

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