Humanity Been Coasting Since We Invented Writing

Before writing: invented clothes, tool use, language, myth story

After writing: organized religion, nation state, environmental despoilation, some nice poems and books.

Why?  I think writing locks us up, blocks us, by giving us the idea that there is SO MUCH PAST and thus this present moment is a tiny sliver of time in which we are unable to make any momentous change.

But the pre-literate man or woman who invented music had no such worry.  In the relatively short time horizon of the remembered past (or maybe the past remembered by the oldest living member of the tribe) — he had no reason to think he could not pick up a bone flute and invent something TOTALLY NEW.

But the weight of the past is an illusion born of writing!  Every moment flows into our soul bearing gifts of infinite possibility.

Let the new be born in our souls this Christmas Day!@


Questions for Men and Women of Faith and for Skeptics

Often when people talk about religion the discussion gets really boring because religious and anti-religious people have been arguing at each other in the West for four hundred years and everybody knows the moves and the counter-moves.  I think it’s better (more interesting, more likely to lead to a fruitful, mutually respectful discussion) to ask religious people what they do about people who are too religious (or religious in the wrong sort of way), and skeptical people what they do about people who are too skeptical (or skeptical about the wrong sort of thing).

If somebody is a Breslover Hasid and says the modern world has too little faith and the like faith, ask “What do you say to a follower of Pure Land Buddhism?”

If somebody is a religious skeptic like Bertrand Russell ask “Is there any position that if someone you loved decided to deny its truth would cause you pain, even though you can’t prove that it’s true?  If you love peace, how would you talk to your child if he said “Dad, I love and live for the thrill of war?”

Both the religious and the anti-religious have a sort of Maginot line in place pointed at the other side.  It’s interesting to creep around the flank and see how the left-side guards against its left side and the right side against its right.

At the end of the day I think this investigation will show us that “religion” (and thus anti-religion) is a poorly defined concept and we will have to seek out sharper ways of delineating what sort of propositions people are willing to take big bets on — sometimes life-sized ones.


What Would Jesus Have Been Like if He Had Gotten Older?

Would his thinking have evolved or changed?

Would his tension with his disciples — Peter, Judas — have led to them breaking away and starting their own movements?

Would he have tried to achieve political power?

If he had taken the “Last Temptation of Christ” and gone off with Mary Magdalene and raised a family, how would he regard his younger self?

With wistfulness?