The Reign of Thought
Thought is fraught. Reason is merely the creation of self-satisfaction by stringing together beads of logic. Belief is consolation via a facile sense of surety.
Theory and worry emanate from the same source: the imagination. Their only distinction is practicability.
Eschewing skepticism, Earthers indulged their thoughts: finding in them inspiration, grief, and comfort. Beliefs lubricated social interactions, creating tribes via shared visions and values. “Ideas shape the course of history,” remarked 2nd-century-BF economist John Maynard Keynes.
The glue of belief was also their undoing. Refusal to reconsider traditional ideologies terminated the species. The mob rule of democracy doomed humanity.
The reign of thought began long before written language chronicled men’s musings. Ceremonial burials took place a million years before settlements.
There are several evolutionary strategies for sustenance. The self-reliant make their own food from basic chemical substrates. The earliest life necessarily did so. Some bacteria still do, by sipping hydrogen or mining their food from minerals.
Plants are Earth’s most sophisticated autotroph. Leaves feed via photosynthesis. Meanwhile, roots secure mineral supplements.
All other life on Earth survives off the autotrophs. For heterotrophs, the skills of foraging, scavenging, and hunting are essential to staying alive.
There is a more vicious variant of heterotrophy. Roughly half of Earth’s life forms adopt a ruthless, cunning strategy: they steal their food supply. These are parasites.
Parasitism is tricky. A host must be found and its defenses overcome.
The incursion is best done by not killing the prize, at least right away. The savviest parasites afford their host a natural lifespan.
Viruses were first to commit to parasitism. While keeping their wits about them, viruses disposed of the physical baggage needed for reproduction. This economy was critical in the viral playbook: stay tiny so as to slip into cells with the littlest fuss possible.
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Evolution is adaptation, aimed at survival. Adaptation emanates from the ecology of living. Innumerable instances of biological design evidence this.
Land on Earth is habitable by animals because of plants. Underlying the power of plants is photosynthesis, which transmutes molecules into food, using sunlight as a power source. Its incredible efficiency comes from astutely tapping into quantum mechanics at key junctures. Knowledge of all facets of existence is expressed in evolution.
Nature does not select. It proposes.
There are many flamboyant examples of creative adaptation. The saltation of turtles, with their ribs suddenly sprouting whole-body armor, is exemplary. The gears that juvenile planthoppers had on their legs, which helped them make accurate leaps, is another astonishment. Grasses’ extraordinary loss tolerance (to herbivory) is a florid floral example.
Evolution is holistic, intertwining physicality and psychology into biomechanics. What organisms experience and learn shape their evolution.
From an evolutionary perspective, all organisms face strategic survival trade-offs. These complementary compromises conceptually comprise life-history variables. These variables range across the traits of an organism and correlate to each other. For instance, the size of a body matters for its metabolism, growth, survival risks, and advantages within its habitat. Smaller plants and animals may adapt quicker because they have faster rates of molecular evolution.
Life-history variables coincide with the habitat in which an organism lives. Ecology drives adaptation.
The key survival aid of hominids was their minds. Their destiny hinged on how they employed this instrument.
The conflation of attributing ‘native intelligence’ obscures the facets of memory, analysis, and problem-solving which comprise the intellect. This blanket label may nonetheless be insightful in comparisons.
The natural savvy of a life form is a life-history variable. The manipularity-intelligence theory relates innate shrewdness with manipularity: the ease by which an organism can manipulate its environment. Life with lesser ability to alter its habitat needs to be smarter to survive.
Possessing the least physicality, viruses are a most intelligent life form. Viruses possess the remarkable ability to self-evolve. They do so by selecting specific stratagems. These schemes to infect and replicate are physically expressed as molecular structures.
The only facility viruses have to change their habitat is to alter the functioning of those they infect. To ease their invasions, viruses unified life under the molecular regime of DNA. Though a plague, viruses have also been essential to the evolution of other organisms.
In manipulating host genetics, viruses passed many of their creative innovations to their hosts. 8% of human DNA derived from viruses, including key mechanics for development.
Like viruses, microbes individually have little ability to alter their environment. They too must rely upon their wiles. Viruses and microbes both treat molecules as information bundles, as well as appreciating whatever their physicality may offer.
Microbes use sophisticated quorum sensing to assess their social situation. Pluricellularity has a power to craft a fate which individual cells may only dream of.
Sessile plants survive by their wits. The head start of autotrophy – not needing to find food – belies the difficulties of living in a largely uncontrolled environment.
For plants, a universe of decisions must constantly be made for apt resource allocations. There are trade-offs between growth and defense. Uncertainty defines both weather and the probability of attack by savage herbivores.
The unsurpassed intelligence of plants is amply illustrated by how they conduct their sociality with other life. Though generous with their fruits, plants also have a sense of fairness with those they contract services from. Among the many bacteria and fungi that plants employ, freeloading is not tolerated.
Intelligence originates with perspicacity, which gives rise to comprehension. At the base of intelligence is awareness, along with the mental ability to manipulate symbols. Living is a constant challenge of awareness and concept management.
Problem-solving is only possible through counterfactual thought: imagining what might be. This essential skill of symbolic manipulation is innate to all life, albeit varying in its attributes and capacity. Holistic intellectual capacity in animals is indicated by how frequently they resort to trial and error to solve problems.
Limited to beaks for hands, birds commonly act only after they have mentally figured the steps for solving a complex task. Changing tack only happens when new information is revealed during implementation.
Like birds, dolphins could not easily manipulate their environment. Their restitution for limited manipularity was a generous aptitude for problem solving, abetted by a convivial sociality which engendered cooperative effort.
By contrast, hominids had unrivaled ability to control their environment. They constantly resorted to trial and error to solve problems. Human memory, and ability to mentally map out solutions, were feeble compared to rodents, which had much less facility for physical manipulation.
With their precision grip and adroit motility, humans simply did not need to be very smart. What they got in compensation for their limited savvy was a fertile imagination.
Sociality supplies the context for language evolution. Language is universal. Even viruses exchange information.
Language is necessarily symbolic. A honeybee dances directions to her hive mates of a discovered food supply, with movement and timing signifying. Cleaner fish symbolically advertise their services to foreign fish, which reply with their own postures.
Many animals craft complex sounds. Avian vocalizations are an epitome of sonic beauty.
All apes expressed themselves by facial expressions, bodily poses and gestures, and vocalizations. With more flexible bodies, dexterous hands, and versatile vocal cords, hominids evolved the means to more expansively express themselves.
Human language developed alongside adaptive refinements in symbolic manipulation and its articulation, culminating in music and writing. Yet these pale comparatively.
Based upon the qualities of manipulated molecules, the languages of plants and microbes exceeded those of humans in sophistication. Though they documented biochemistry and genetics, Earthers failed to appreciate the intelligence behind the production of these molecular artifacts. In their ignorance, men believed in their own superiority.
Olfaction works by recognizing the signature of odorants: vibrational attributes, not molecular structure.
Microbes and plants rely heavily on specific molecules to sustain themselves. While plants manufacture much of their food, certain minerals must be obtained by root mining or trade with fungi and bacteria. The language plants use to communicate their wants pivots on expressing subtle olfactory qualities about specific chemical elements: an elaborate nomenclature indeed.
Excepting some outlier hunter-gatherer groups, people generally struggled to name specific scents. This did not owe to a poor sense of smell. Earthers were able to sift through billions of distinct odors. They used scent to detect fear, stress, and sickness, and to assist them in selecting mates. What they lacked was language to express their olfaction. The reason: scents were intangible, and therefore abstract.
Human language evolved as a cultural reinforcement, cementing socially accepted belief systems. Language was also a window into how the human mind worked, and its limitations.
People’s minds portrayed a world of objects. All human languages were object-oriented. Nouns outnumbered verbs in all vocabularies. Infants learned new nouns more rapidly and more easily than new verbs. Earther sentences were of things acting or being acted upon.
Human memory favored objects over processes. Memories subject to conscious recall were declarative (aka explicit, in being readily explainable). The declarative memory categories are episodic, semantic, and topological. Episodic (flashbulb) memories are of events. Semantic memories are of facts and concepts. Topographic memories are mental maps.
The contrast was procedural (implicit) memory: memories of skills. Procedural memories are of processes.
Procedural memories are essential to living. Yet humans struggled to explain them. This difficulty owed to obfuscation by their mind.
All is process. What appear as objects are localized gyres, with their ecologies running in perceptual slow motion. Yet the human mind deceitfully insisted on the naïve idea of inert solidity: objects.
There was a verb for volitional conceptualization: think. The broader verb mentate would be both natural and proper. But that word was never coined. Instead, mental activity was ubiquitously referred to by a noun: the mind, a nonexistent entity. For explanatory convenience only, this chronicle adheres to the ‘mind’ misnomer in describing mentation.
Faculty in math is innate in all organisms. Even microbes must be able to tell when food supplies are plentiful or running short. They do so based upon estimated quantity.
Many fish live in schools, which probabilistically gives them better odds of escaping predation. Fish can tell at a glance a small difference of group sizes: a speedy comparative power beyond human ken.
Language aptitude is related to intelligence in the broadest sense. Hence, math and literacy were the 2 facets of tests moderns used to measure intelligence. Mathematics is its own language.
Arithmetic was the first and most basic branch of math to emerge in the earliest societies. The more primitive the society, the closer representation of its number system tended to sets of straight lines. The earliest writings of the Mesopotamians and Egyptians, from 5500 BF, showed vertical straight lines to signify quantities.
In the 25th century BF, Hindus in India made an advance in numeral designation. A straight line represented the number 1, but distinct symbols were used for greater quantities.
Meanwhile, the Etruscan civilization in Italy was still using tally sticks. These evolved into Roman numerals, with a notch for 5 (V) and a crosscut for 10 (X).
Roman mathematics were focused on commerce. They did not evolve beyond this basic purpose.
Roman numerals were similar to the Babylonian system, which first appeared 4200 BF. The Babylonians had the 1st known positional numeral system, in which the value of a particular digit depended upon the digit itself and its position within a larger number.
The Babylonians understood the notion of nothingness, but it was seen as a lack of a number, not a number unto itself. The Babylonians used a space to mark the nonexistence of a digit at a certain place.
In calculating Jupiter’s orbit, Babylonian astronomers came close to discovering calculus. Their mathematical techniques in 2450 BF were long thought by historians to have developed only in the 8th century BF. “The Babylonians developed abstract mathematical, geometrical ideas about the connection between motion, position, and time that are so common to any modern physicist or mathematician,” wrote 2nd-century-BF archeologist Mathieu Ossendrijver.
Arabs learned of the Hindu numbering system a millennium after its invention, in the 14th century BF. The Arabic system first appeared in European arithmetic in 1124 BF, using the 9 digits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
Though a tremendous step forward, the lack of a digit for zero precluded critical arithmetic operations. Subtraction was problematic if not impossible.
Zero was slow to be incorporated into mathematics, partly from the primal fear of the void it represented. Most ancient peoples believed only nothingness and chaos were extant before the universe came to be. Mathematically echoing this belief, ancient Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans had a revulsion to zero. Like mastering fire in the physical world, accepting zero propelled human mathematics to a new level.
Another number of immense significance is √–1. The number repeatedly cropped up, and was shunted aside, for a millennium.
The ancient Egyptians knew how to roughly calculate the volume (frustum) of a pyramid: quite an accomplishment for a people who had no knowledge of integral calculus. In figuring a frustum, the ancient Egyptians encountered √–1. They ignored the result and its implications. So did other ancient civilizations.
Negative attitudes about negative numbers were long-standing. The ominous sense was that there was something seriously wrong about a tally that not only could not exist but is also an inherent deficit.
Negative numbers were long thought an inexplicable pit of quantity. As the history of zero showed, ancients had a phobia about voids. Negative numbers were commensurately creepy.
The pox was not just on negative numbers. Positive square roots that did not neatly resolve were insufferable to mathematicians in medieval times.
Cubic equations were known to the ancient Babylonians, Greeks, Chinese, Indians, and Egyptians. Cubics arise in considering periodic occurrences, such as the orbits of planets.
Cubic equations when graphed render a sine curve. Figuring the solutions to cubic equations (e.g., x3 + a1x2 + a2x + a3 = 0) were long a source of consternation to mathematicians. Even depressed cubics, which lack the x2 term, caused conniptions.
The struggle with cubics reached polymath Gerolamo Cardano in the mid-6th century BF. Cardano managed the feat. In doing so he encountered √–1. He grasped it. Though there were hiccups, others followed, and furthered the sense that √–1 was a workable concept.
The square roots of negative numbers were initially termed sophisticated or subtle. Then along came 5th-century BF philosopher René Descartes, whose frustrated failure to make geometric sense had him derisively call these numbers imaginary in 463 BF. Descartes was influential. The name stuck.
Cardano was first to combine imaginary and real numbers, creating complex numbers. He expressed them in the form a + bi, where a & b are real, and i is the imaginary unit (√–1).
Geometrically, complex numbers form a plane. On one axis run real numbers, while the other axis is imaginary.
The man who tamed complex numbers was not a mathematician, but a surveyor: Caspar Wessel, a Norwegian. His brilliant paper on the subject was published in Danish in 301 BF. It made no impact in the mathematical world until rediscovered nearly a century later, in 205 BF. By that time, others had trod the same path.
Wessel’s insight was to imagine complex number points within a 2-dimensional coordinate system, with real and imaginary number axes, as shown.
Next, consider a point (a + bi) as being at some length (l) from the origin (0,0), and at some angle (φ) from the real number axis. This puts a complex number point in polar form.
Using the polar coordinate system, each point can be considered as a distance (l) from a fixed point (typically (0,0)) at an angle (φ from a fixed direction (e.g., the horizontal (real) axis)). Hence, the point a + bi can be stated as (l, φ).
Using this scheme, mathematical operations on complex numbers are greatly simplified. Multiplying by √–1 is, geometrically, simply a 90° rotation counterclockwise.
Once made workable, complex numbers became essential for science and engineering. Complex numbers were necessary to model Nature: the realm of ultimate intricacy. Modern physics was only possible using complex numbers. Real numbers alone cannot describe cosmic or quantum mechanics.
Zero and √–1 illustrate that mathematics is discovery, not invention. This corresponds with the broader observation that perception is of a natural order.
Nature commonly exhibits self-organization and hidden order within apparent disorder. You can see this in ripples of water on a river. Chaotically tumultuous fluids spontaneously create stripes of coherent flow alternating with turbulent regions. Liquids self-organize into crystalline structures. Photons in laser light exhibit fractal patterns. Viewed as particles in a system (instead of linearly), prime numbers are an ordered structure.
The studies of cosmology, physics, chemistry, and biology all aver a natural order. Math highlights this. Comprehending Nature through mathematics cannot be invention.
Further, the patterns which the mind perceives convey an inner order. This natural order is not of Nature per se, but how the mind organizes perceptions to make them sensible.
Mathematics reigned over many disciplines of modern Earther life. Physics and economics were readily reduced to mathematical inquiries.
Hypotheses become theories by empirical buttressing which took mathematical form in models. “Mathematics is not just a tool by means of which phenomena can be calculated. It is the main source of concepts and principles by which new theories can be created,” wrote 2nd-century-BF theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson. Conversely, existing theories were crushed by the weight of numerics.
Oddly, despite having proven otherwise, most Earther physicists made the mistake of thinking their formulas represented a ‘real’ physical world. The quantum physics models taken as reflective of Nature were simple sketches of deception. Naïve gullibility led physicists astray.
Economics was an empire of numbers, built on a foundation of exploitation. At the theoretical level, capitalism’s copious failures owed to not numerically encapsulating factors critical to the well-being of societies. If the actual math of capitalism had been known, it would have been discarded centuries before the fall as untenable.
Why Earthers went extinct is revealed by comprehending their mental mechanics. To begin, their predisposition toward materialism may be understood by looking at their developmental psychology.
In pure awareness, a human newborn was one with what it experienced. This sense of unity quickly evaporated as the mind came to life.
As with all altricial animals, what stuck in the mind of an infant was an inborn bond with mother. A neonate regarded its mother as unique. An infant sought out her mother’s smell and face over those of other women. For those well cared for by their mothers, that bond remained strong throughout life.
By 2 months, babies began to think that they were confined within their own bodies amidst an external world.
At 8 months, infants began to grasp the concept of loss.
By 12 months, they started to form attachments to comfort-objects like blankets, which provided a temporary substitute for their mother. Around the same time, children started to speak their first words.
By 21 months, a word surfaced that became part of life’s regular playlist: mine. “Children include ownership as an attribute of their object representations,” noted 1st-century-BF psychologists Peter Blake & Paul Harris.
2-year-olds discovered frustration: that circumstances may thwart their wishes. Contemporaneously, the already well-developed propensity toward possessions sharpened.
Frustration underlined that possession cannot be taken for granted. 2-year-olds fought harder for toys they felt they owned. “Disputes over property are among the earliest, most frequent, and most intense conflicts in childhood,” wrote 1st-century-BF psychologists Charles Kalish & Craig Anderson.
From 3 years on, ownership became a compelling personal and social force. A 3-year-old would protest if someone tried to take away someone else’s toy.
“Materialism is a value-based response to insecurity in one’s life,” observed 1st-century-BF business academic Aric Rindfleisch. The degree of insecurity was a cultural trait. 60% of Western children were inseparable from their favorite object.
Strong object attachment in Western babies stemmed from their being separated from their mother while sleeping. Blankets and stuffed animals substituted for the intimacy they needed. Clinging to possessions among Japanese infants was rare, as infants slept with their mothers into middle childhood.
People valued their own possessions over similar items. Simply selecting an object endowed it with more worth that an identical one that went unpicked. People with a $1 lottery ticket they selected would only sell it back for $8, on average, compared to the $2 demanded for returning a ticket handed to them. This bias, felt from infancy, is the endowment effect. Other simians also felt the sentimental pull of ownership.
Materialism also served to state personal identity. “Our possessions are a major contributor to and reflection of our identities,” wrote 1st-century-BF Canadian scholar Russell Belk, who echoed a common conception.
Objects as symbols of identity were the basis for brand-name products. Corporations lucratively relied upon such symbolic attachment.
The Japanese and Chinese especially esteemed branded luxury goods as identity statements. Flaunting such items was considered an acceptable way to stand out in a culture which espoused communalism as an ideal.
2nd-century-BF American philosopher John Searle termed cherished ownership a status function. Status functions establish an identity and provide a reason to act in a certain way. A status function is a mental attachment to an object by ascribing meaning, purpose, or function.
A subjectively perceived status function is a personal fact. When a status function is shared, it becomes a social fact. Money as a means for obtaining ownership is a status function that only works because it is a social fact.
Not all shared status functions were grounded as social facts. People intuited some statuses as natural, beyond any need for consensus.
From early childhood, people perceived morals as objective. Integral to this mindset was belief in a moral universe: a cosmic order imbued with immanent justice. Immanent justice is the idea that Nature enforces morality: that bad people will eventually experience misfortune and good people will receive good fortune.
Moralizing religions exploited people’s naïve sense of a moral universe. The Hindu and Buddhist conceptions of karma – that people eventually got what they deserved – relied on this inborn belief in immanent justice.
Judaism also preached karma. “Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruits of their deeds. Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for what his hands have done shall be done to him.” So said the evangelical prophet Isaiah in the Hebrew Bible.
Christianity further enfolded immanent justice in teaching that God judges individuals when they die: letting souls ascend to Heaven or be damned to Hell depending upon their acts and beliefs while alive. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord,” wrote the apostle Paul in a letter which appears in the Romans chapter of the Christian Bible.
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Reverence for the possession of objects was the emotive basis for capitalism, which was founded upon private property as a fundamental right. “The idea that we make things a part of self by creating or altering them appears to be a universal human belief. The maker of an object, the user of land, and the cultivator of a plant are regarded as being entitled to the product of their labor,” commented Russell Belk.
Belk was expressing what economists called the labor theory of value. “Commodities possessing utility derive their exchangeable value from 2 sources: from their scarcity, and from the quantity of labour required to obtain them,” claimed 3rd-century-BF English economist David Ricardo.
Ricardo was echoed a half-century later by Prussian economist Karl Marx, who used the labor theory of value to argue for socialism: a political economy which served society, not individuals. “The values of commodities are directly the labour employed in their production,” Marx wrote.
If labor was the source of economic value, workers should reap the full rewards for their efforts, not go to those who bet on investments, Marx figured. Marx used labor value theory to make his moral argument for equity.
To consider apportioning material objects or resources as fair or unfair is the moral refraction of materialism. Inequality as inequity was the moral ground from which opponents to capitalism fought. “Capital realizes value while labor creates value,” Marx opined.
There are 3 possible paradigms of reality. Knowing the correct one makes a profound difference in how life is lived. The Collective hewing to the wrong paradigms was instrumental in Earthers’ self-destruction.
The human mind presented actuality as a duality. Their minds insisted that they were a mind-body amid an external world. The duality was of inner (mental) and outer (physical) worlds.
To natural philosophers since antiquity, dualism presented an unsolvable paradox: what is the interface between the mind and the body? How to reconcile physicality with mentality? No answer was ever found because there isn’t one. The intractability of the ‘mind-body problem’ naturally led to a paradigmatic choice of a monism.
A monism posits that existence emanates from a single source: either the mind is made by matter (matterism) or matter is made by the mind (energyism). Matterism and energyism are diametric. Only one can be correct.
Nature is the perceived exhibition of existence. Its study is natural philosophy. As medieval times were drawing to a close, thoughtful men sought to shed the wooliness woven into natural philosophy since antiquity. They conceived science as an empirical quest for truth.
The Scientific Revolution began in Europe in the 6th century BF. The marked start was the 557 BF publication of On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres by German astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. The book was a geometric speculation on the orbits of the planets around the Sun. The Revolution’s marked terminus was the 413 BF physics book Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy by English natural philosopher Isaac Newton.
The supposition behind both treatises was that Nature could be codified mathematically. Behind this assumption lurked the unexamined belief that there are laws of Nature. Science’s unstated purpose was discovering these mechanistic laws, which were expressed as formulas where possible.
A key axiom of Earther science was that Nature is objective: existing regardless of perception. This falsity of this assumption should have been obvious, but apparently not to scientists.
In the early 4th century BF, British philosopher George Berkeley argued that perception is the only vehicle by which Nature may be apprehended. “Existence is perception. All those bodies which compose the frame of the world have not any subsistence without a mind,” Berkeley wrote. Berkeley argued that existence is purely a subjective experience.
Berkeley’s insistence that objectivity is nothing more than consensus was derided by contemporaries. Critics concurred that existence was objective. This objectivity occurred simply because they all agreed that it was so: a circular irony which made Berkeley’s point.
Modern physics proved Berkeley right. Theories of both quantum and cosmic mechanics depend upon a subjective “reference frame” to explain phenomena. Still, the consensus remained that the physical world was mystically ‘real’ and thereby objective.
The apprehension of Nature is always perceptual, always a subjective construal. All one ever knows firsthand is what one directly experiences. All else is rumor. Though universally ignored, this simple tenet – solipsism – is undeniable.
As derision for Berkeley showed, the concept of objectivity is just concurrence on hearsay: that people agree to believe what others report. Gullibility goes down easiest, of course, when it corresponds with one’s own conception.
All scientific arguments were disagreements over versions of objectivity. If instead one accepts solipsism, such arguments vanish, as all tales of Nature are treated as personal facts, with social facts coincidental.
The methodological glue that held science together was the scientific method. The scientific method was a slight twist on the hoary method of inquiry advocated by 27th-century BF Athenian philosopher Socrates. Both methods aimed to eliminate false hypotheses. The conceptual implements to do so were inference and logic. Inference is making guesses based on observations. Logic is reasoning about relations and causes.
Look at the root of reason to see it for the ruse that it is. Reasoning is a train of thought which is found self-satisfying. “Though appearing to be intelligent, thought is unable to comprehend anything really,” sagely wrote Indian guru Vasistha in the 42nd century BF.
The slight distinction in the scientific method from Socrates’ technique was emphasizing evidence as a nullifier or promoter to elevate a hypothesis to a theory. A hypothesis is a guess. A theory is a guess seemingly amply supported by observations. Evidence is a construal turned into a social fact.
The social essentiality to science was fluidity. Science was mere dogma if disproven theories were not discarded. Such was the stagnation of modern Earther science, as supposition on the universe illustrates.
Late-century cosmology was ruined by a single assumption: that the first detectable light signaled the beginning of the universe, 13.8 BBF. Many observations belied this premise: most prominently, mature galaxies just after the cosmos supposedly started. Yet astrophysicists insisted upon this marker, as it was the only evidence of origination.
That the cosmos commenced with an indelible statement was silly: quite unscientific. Yet cosmologists clung to it. This refusal to toss an obviously bad assumption owed to institutionalized groupthink. Earther astrophysics in the last century was a joke of collective delusion. A dominant dynamic of Earther civilization in its last stage was institutionalization, which acted as inertia to progress in both science and society.
With regard to the social facts, cliques of power radiated what principles were acceptable. After their dismissal, dissenting views were shut out. Thus it was in teaching sciences at modern universities, from which the public learned what should be considered valid. “Truth is the cry of all, but the game of the few,” observed George Berkeley. The ruling confederacy of Earther scientists tacitly agreed that their Collective construals directly reflected reality. The public naïvely went along.
Earther scientists prized evidence above all else. Consensus about artifacts was construed as constituting an objective reality. As such, science theories were invariably cast in terms of matterism.
Earther scientific gospel was that matter made the mind. The irony was that discoveries blatantly exposed the falsity of matterism. Scientists simply ignored the abundant disproof of matterism, refusing to consider the obvious implications of incontrovertible evidence on every front. The most generous assessment of matterist scientists was that they were sophisticated simpletons who conflated correlation with causality. They confused the appearance of things with their essential nature: the root of naïve realism.
Grounded in matterism, Earther ‘science’ did not earn its claim. It was instead a shifty religion. Its popular credence owed to studied iğnorance. The theoretical dissonance in evolutionary biology is illustrative.
In the mid-4th century BF, English naturalist David Hume remarked on evolution: “A purpose, an intention, a design, strikes everywhere even the careless, the most stupid thinker.” Alas, that damning characterization was beyond most scientists.
In the early 3rd century BF, French evolutionary biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck pinned evolution as adaptive, based an organism’s experiences. “Behavior may drive evolution. Everything that Nature has caused individuals to acquire or lose by the influence of circumstances, it preserves by heredity and passes on to the new individuals descended from it,” Lamarck wrote. Spot on.
Lamarck was ignored in favor of English naturalist Charles Darwin, who clumsily fumbled about a half-century later with an assortment of guesses to explain evolution.
Darwin was a keen observer but a pathetic theoretician. His 1st take on evolution was that it is saltational, involving creative leaps in forging new species. Darwin later rejected saltation for a more stolid story.
Inspired by Charles Lyell‘s hypothesis of a gradually changing geophysical Earth, and Thomas Malthus’ surmise of food supply limiting population growth, Darwin derived a notorious guess about biological evolution: gradual change in species based upon existential competition. Darwin’s “natural selection” was concocted from the notion of there being a struggle for survival at the species level. He never explained how that happened.
Lacking any sense of biomechanics, Darwin speculated that species somehow sorted out hierarchically, based on competitive edge. Darwin espoused that “natural selection almost inevitably causes much extinction of the less improved forms of life.” Channeling Lyell, Darwin imagined that natural selection was a slow progression.
In his later years, Darwin dabbled with pangenesis, which was a complex mishmash of heredity enveloping sexual reproduction, life experience, and homeostatic phenomena, such as cellular regeneration. Darwin’s musings on pangenesis harkened back to Lamarck. Darwin never did come up with a decent explanation of evolution.
What Darwin did have were influential promoters. The nebulous slogan “natural selection” became the buzzword for how evolution happened.
The discovery of DNA in the mid-2nd century BF opened an opportunity to explain evolutionary mechanics. Rather than figure in adaptation, geneticists promoted the silly idea that evolution transpired via random mutations.
In the last century, savvy evolutionary biologists came back to the idea that evolution was adaptive. Yet Earthers never did express a cogent theory on the mechanics of adaptation. They pointed to DNA and its chemical companions as causal, ignoring the simple scientific principle that artifacts can’t do anything. To the very end, what Earthers believed as science was instead myths of magic.
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How adaptation happens is revealed in the next section. It is only half of the story of how existence is fabricated. The other half is filled in by physics, as described next. As to why existence is (as it is) can be gleaned from psychology. The ‘why’ story completes the context of the machinations behind Nature. That ground is covered before this chapter concludes.
A universal, unified field of cöherence localizes to create the perceived fabric of existence. Some local fields animate life forms, providing the minds which apprehend information from other localized cöherence fields – whence the show called Nature.
Local cöherence fields evolve life as adaptive proposals aimed at succoring survival. Adaptations may not work out because habitats change. The challenge of living is ongoing.
Advances in physics in the early 2nd century BF provided the potential to create a holistic theory of reality. The founder of quantum physics, Max Planck, set the stage. He was soon joined by maverick Albert Einstein. After that, theoretical physicists faltered and failed.
In 200 BF, German physicist Max Planck theorized that Nature was quantized: its appearance invariably broken into bits. Experiments verified this.
Beyond the fracturing of matter, Planck comprehended the essentiality of consciousness, writing: “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. Everything that we regard as existing postulates consciousness.”
Planck on cöherence: “All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.”
Albert Einstein was inspired by Planck’s quantization discovery and emphasis on consciousness. Extending from it, Einstein concocted his theories of relativity.
Einstein’s relativity pivoted on Berkeley’s insistence that perception was key to existence manifesting. The experience of Nature depends upon a witnessing consciousness. It was an obvious observation which most physicists ignored, both before and after Einstein. “Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world,” wrote Einstein.
Isaac Newton had been adamant that space and time were “absolute.” But space and time are mental fabrications, and therefore relative to individual perception. The great revelation of modern physics was that the supposed absolutes of classical physics were instead precepts of perception.
The criticality of consciousness was apparent in quantum physics. The appearance of quanta owed entirely to their perception. “There is no quantum world. There is only an abstract description,” noted 2nd-century-BF atomic physicist Niels Bohr.
In 195 BF, Einstein theorized that matter was made of energy (the famous equation: E = mc2). 4 decades later, that point was explosively proven by atomic bombs.
Earther physicists did not appreciate the implications of matter/energy equivalence. If they had, energyism would have been adopted as the dominant reality paradigm. It never was.
That matter is energy was indisputable to modern physicists. But the key insight of the tautology did not sink in.
The idea of energy was exactly that: an idea. “Energy is an abstract concept introduced by physicists to better understand how Nature operates. Since it is an abstract idea, we cannot form a concrete picture of it in our minds,” wrote 1st-century-BF physicist Carlos Calle.
“Nothing happens until something moves,” remarked Einstein. The animation of matter – energy – is the wellspring of existence. Just as perpetual motion machines are impossible, matter cannot move itself.
Beyond its animation, matter itself is made of energy. Energy is only an idea. That necessarily means that matter is a mirage made by the mind. As matter is of energy, matter must be an artifact created by the mind from data provided by cöherence.
The mind’s contrived artifacts are an artifice. To think of substance as real is to be deluded. The mind convincing its occupant consciousness that matter is authentic is the primordial deception.
Conventional Earther conception was that perception captures a material world in the mind: a turning of matter into symbols. The opposite is true. Perception converts symbols into the appearance of matter.
Nature is an intricate realm of symbolic representations. The world emanates from a unified data plane instantaneously collated via localized fields of cöherence. Energy is data by which Nature emerges moment-by-moment in the conscious minds of its perceivers.
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The vision systems of all of Earth’s organisms have been attuned to the narrow solar bandwidth richest in information content: light. That adaptation was no random accident. Other spectral bands, such as microwaves or X-rays, are comparatively paltry in their proffered data.
Earther physicists were long fascinated with light: the mystical illumination that made the creations of cöherence visible.
In 2140 BF, Hero of Alexandria noted that light takes the shortest path to its destination. Light refracts to do this.
Light travels slower in water than air. To ease its way, a beam of light refracts when it hits water, thereby optimizing its travels. Similarly, light from the Sun repeatedly refracts when traversing Earth’s atmosphere, which is denser than the relative void of outer space.
In the millennia that followed Hero, refraction was recognized as common to all energetic rays. Radiative transmission optimality was generalized and incorporated into all physics models.
Oddly, the direct implication of this went unremarked. Optimal propagation (as exhibited by refraction) is only possible when all information about existence is instantaneously known. This implies a unified, coherent intelligence from the quantum level on up, and indicates teleology: a guided presentation of Nature.
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In 136 BF, English physicist Peter Higgs theorized that the character of quanta derived from a universal field which localized. The Higgs mechanism became universally accepted among physicists, as it was consistent with all observations, and provided the conceptual means for consistency in the supposed laws of Nature.
In a simultaneous process of localization and collation, a universal field of cöherence mystically provides comprehensible perception. “The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible,” marveled Einstein.
Like cöherence, a universal field of Cönsciousness localizes to populate every life form with consciousnesses. Vedic texts written in the 35th century BF taught this principle. In that tradition, 2nd-century-BF guru Nisargadatta Maharaj summarized: “It is not really the individual that has consciousness. It is instead that Cönsciousness assumes innumerable forms.”
The ö in Cönsciousness and cöherence signifies localized diversity (the 2 dots) from unity (the circle).
Though acknowledging the wiliness of viruses and cells in science journals, and despite pointers from Planck and Einstein, Cönsciousness localizing was not accepted by Earther scientists. Instead, intelligence was attributed to animal brains and nerve cells: the matterist delusion. Flummoxed Earther biologists could not explain how brainless life, such as plants, could be aware of their environment and act intelligently.
That matter is made of energy and energy is data are the fundamental truths that Earther scientists discovered but did not comprehend. The very idea of matterism was nonsensical. Such was the state of Earther ‘science’ as men extinguished their species.
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For every living entity, from viruses to humans, the mind fabricates the show called Nature. This production is made to consciousness.
Consciousness is the faculty for awareness. Consciousness witnesses what the mind presents. “Consciousness is not something we see. It’s something through which we see,” explained 1st-century-BF biologist George Mashour.
Human consciousness had states and levels. States were periods of awareness, such as awake or asleep. Levels were planes of clarity (in awareness). Consciousness levels afforded distinctive perceptivity.
Cönsciousness is the fundamental force (unified field) of awareness which provides the ability to witness the creations of cöherence.
Cöherence is the universal field which manufactures minds and the contents they consume. Cöherence is the creative force behind existence.
Cönsciousness and cöherence are spoken of as if they are separate. That distinction is just a device to facilitate understanding. Cönsciousness and cöherence are unified: the monism from which duality proliferates.
The evidentiary basis and theoretical underpinnings to understand that matter was merely a product of perception was incontrovertible. Yet, despite millennia of instruction from revered sages, the principles of energyism eluded ordinary Earthers. Instead, the Collective stolidly accepted dualism and matterism without distinguishing between the two.
The term Collective refers to the 99.9+% of humanity who stewed in iğnorance: the lowest level of consciousness. Those in iğnorance suffered mental illness: floating fears, worry, anxiety, depression. This inner dysfunctionality occurred because people gullibly believed their mind’s imaginative productions.
In iğnorance, awareness is dimmed by an incessant inner din. This noise is generated by a seemingly independent mental agent: nattermind. Iğnorance was slavery to nattermind. The breve symbol ˘ (over ğ) signifies nattermind lording over the mind of those in iğnorance.
That the Collective failed to appreciate that level of awareness was critical to quality of life spoke volumes about their existence, and their inexorable demise.
“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness,” emphasized 26th-century BF Athenian natural philosopher Aristotle. Deluded by their minds, those in the Collective ignored this crucial truth. Instead, when feeling stressed, they found solace in stupor: self-medicating with chemical agents that furthered lowered awareness.
The upshot of iğnorance was ignorance: accepting falsities as truths, and from fantasies building belief systems which served as obstacles to healthy living. A 31st-century-BF Vedic text, Katha Upanishad, summarized the Collective effect: “Fools dwelling in iğnorance, yet imagining themselves wise and learned, go round and round in crooked ways, like the blind led by the blind.”
The will to live is a prerequisite for complex life to evolve. Earth’s eukaryotes, upon which all multicellular life was based, owed to symbiosis: the joining of cells by way of trust.
The root of that trust was will to live. If cells readily surrendered their lives when stressed, they would not be reliable partners. Resilience is integral to reliability.
Biology is built on survival. Will to live is the universal thrust of vitalism: the vital life force. Striving for survival is the impetus behind adaptation.
Psychologically abetting the drive to survive is optimism. This was notably true in humans: a creature which believed it could craft its own fate. This can-do confidence was collectively reinforced by the technological leaps men made in their last few centuries.
This was ironic. Technology precipitated self-extinction. Yet Earthers believed themselves a superior species, and practically invincible, because of their technologies.
As a natural extension of will to live, the urge to biologically reproduce compels all organisms. For women, a want of intimate nurturing was sufficient. Men envisioned fatherhood as a form of immortality.
What compels the will to live is simple: enjoyment. Every life desires another moment of the sheer pleasure of feeling alive. When that will is lost, death inexorably follows.
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Nature is a show created by cöherence, serving as an entertainment venue for Cönsciousness in its innumerable incarnations. That platform is designed to reward living life to its fullest. This design parameter explains why living is a challenging puzzle.
The richness of Nature naturally inspires wonder and awe. This easy amusement is exceeded by gratification.
The deepest pleasure is the satisfaction of accomplishment: of overcoming obstacles to produce one’s own works. Earther culture was at its epitome celebrating creativity, whether functional or aesthetic.
The lynchpin to accomplishment is struggle. The outcome of effortless action may be pleasing, but it is not a triumph.
Gratification emanates from focus: awareness and comprehending a conceptual system from which productive effort emerges. Physical activity may be instrumental, but it is incidental to the glow of fulfillment. Fun is in the mind.
The mind also generates dissatisfaction. Nattermind soured disillusionment into mental illness.
Therein lie an incentive. Grating discomfort was the spur to transcend the mind’s predations.
The reason for iğnorance was to maximize entertainment potential. To this end, the human mind had a built-in disability component (nattermind) which could be overcome, but only through resolute effort. Elevating consciousness was the most exquisite accomplishment possible.
Techniques for purifying awareness had been taught since prehistory. Yet few exercised the will to realization: whence the lazy-minded Collective and the dynamics which ushered humanity’s fate.
Through its incessant and insistent commentary, nattermind was the agent which created iğnorance. The invariable reckoning to nattermind’s beckoning was mental disability.
Most in the Collective ignorantly thought mental illness normal: simply something that was part of living. Collective envisionings of enlightenment were cartoons of the pure awareness that transpires in unity consciousness. The paradigm shift from iğnorance to self-realization was beyond what those in the Collective could even imagine.
Moderns maintained institutions succoring iğnorance. The mainstream press sensationally touted mental illness as a disability with benefits, such as a source of creativity. This celebration of inner sickness goes a long way in explaining Earther’s terminal predicament.
The only cure to nattermind’s pollution was inner silence. Subduing nattermind afforded full awareness to the present moment, which is all that ever exists. All else is the mind presenting a mix of memory and imagination.
Abiding inner quietude characterizes the enlightenment level of awareness. Continuing elevation of consciousness reaches an apex with unity consciousness, also known as realization.
In unity consciousness, a person viscerally experienced that one’s own consciousness is of the universal field. In realization, consciousness witnesses the mind’s fabrications.
Insights into reality abound in realization. That is why gurus embodied wisdom. A guru was a spiritual teacher in realization.
The term realization came from archaic Sanskrit. That word could be found in the earliest Vedic texts of Hinduism, dating to the 37th century BF. Arising in India, Hinduism was the oldest historical religious creed. Most gurus in Earther history were steeped in the Hindu tradition.
The ascension from iğnorance to realization was Earthers most difficult challenge, and thereby afforded the greatest gratification. “The supreme calling of every human being is to aspire to self-realization,” advised Indian guru Anandamayi Maa in the 2nd century BF. Though the power of this beckoning was taught by gurus from antiquity, moderns in the Collective were oblivious to it. They depreciated their own lives in iğnorance.
From cöherence-fed symbolic data the mind presents a tangible world of objects, and then transforms it back into abstraction. This is deceptive double-take processing.
Nature is an endless river of constantly changing novelty. Every moment and all perceived are unique. Yet uniqueness is an obstacle to comprehension.
Abstraction is necessary and necessarily false. Categories are both essential and nonexistent.
As everything is unique, perception is an economizing process. The inner vignettes of memory transpire through autonomic categorization. The mind is a sketch artist.
Mentation is patterning: symbolic representation leading to conceptualization. The process of learning is an expansion of concepts upon which experiences may be slotted and new skills built. Intertwined with this expansion is simplification.
Recognition is facilitated by remembering only rough portrayals. People with photographic memories have trouble recognizing faces because features are distinct depending upon lighting and viewed angle.
Recall is a mixture of memory and imagination. Imagination fills in details from the sketches of remembered events.
More creatively, imagination manufactures perceptions of events which did not happen or scenarios of what may be. Imagination is an extension of conceptualization: a paracosmic projection of symbols into fabricated patterns.
Imagination is essential to problem-solving: envisioning what is not to achieve what may be. Viruses and microbes solve problems. The distinction in hominids was the degree to which the imagination was set loose, and the esteem with which it was held. Cultures, religions, and ideologies were imagined castles built on the sands of abstractions. Figments were forged into convictions among the Collective via vivid narratives.
Animals hew to actuality because their lives depend upon it. Hominins evolved to be an exception. The mental power that Earthers drew upon was the summoning of fantasy. It was a facility fraught with peril.
Many animals have used and crafted tools, built homes, communicated via languages, played, and practiced culture. Humans took all these things to flamboyant extremes, creating mental reference frames abstracted away from Nature.
People increasingly became taken with their paracosms, which ironically evolved into the stabilizers of societies. These fruitions came late in Earther evolutionary descent.
Hominids expressed representational art for more than a million years. Such imagery became more elaborated, and appeared in new materials, with technological advance.
Hominin craftwork expressing abstractions only began to proliferate 20,000 years before the fall, during the period known as the Mesolithic. This was the final era of foraging, before agriculture began its dominance. Religions appeared much later.
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Belief was a potent force in Earther affairs. Practicality was a pittance compared to belief, even in modern cultures. Understanding the nature of belief unravels the spell it casts.
A belief is confidence in an abstraction as truth. Belief is an ossification of imagination.
At the core of every belief is a value construct: a concept of cherished meaning. The invariable reason for belief is for mental comfort. Beliefs succor a sense of surety about what otherwise might be disturbing.
“A belief is not merely an idea that the mind possesses; it is an idea that possesses the mind,” wrote English scholar Robert Bolton in the 4th century BF. “Once you have a belief, it influences how you perceive all other relevant information,” furthered American political scientist Robert Jervis 3 centuries later.
Paracosms as cherished belief systems were an Earther trademark. The Collective were in thrall to their beliefs.
The earliest societies sprouted in India and China. Their social cohesion came through the teachings of gurus.
Further, gurus originated all major Earther religions. Their lessons were invariably distorted by lesser men, who institutionalized religions into political control mechanisms.
From their initiation in the 37th century BF, the Vedas were the earliest catalog of writings by the gurus in India. Though inspirational to spiritual seekers, these texts were esoteric: often relying upon parable and seldom straightforward.
A central conceptualization of Hinduism was brahman: an infinite, eternal, transcendent force signifying absolute reality. Brahman was a reference to the unified field (monism) of Cönsciousness/cöherence: Ĉocö. The concept of Ĉocö was disfigured into a supreme being when Hinduism morphed into a moralizing monotheism.
Lao Tzu was a legendary Chinese guru who lived in the 27th century BF. The name itself is an honorific title meaning venerable master. Next to nothing is known about Lao Tzu as a person. Some think he lived before Confucius (2651–2579 BF). Some think he lived later. Some think he was Confucius.
Confucius was a social philosopher whose teachings wove the philosophical fabric of China’s civilization throughout its history. Confucianism emphasized rectitude, fairness, and beneficence in all relations.
Confucius’ socialist suggestions coincided with those of Lao Tzu. But Lao Tzu’s writings dove deeper. The spiritual legacy of Lao Tzu was Taoism, which infused Chinese tradition with an emphasis on naturalness, simplicity, and harmony.
Lao Tzu wrote of the Tao as a unified yet diversified field: Ĉocö. “The great Tao extends everywhere: so formless, so intangible. When the Tao is expressed, it seems without substance. The Tao is empty and yet useful. It resembles the source of all things.
“The Tao acts as natural law. All things depend upon the Tao for growth, and it does not deny them.”
Lao Tzu wrote of realization and how to reach it. “Those who master others have force. Those who master themselves have strength. Cultivate the inner self and its power becomes real. Clarity and stillness bring order to the world.
“One may travel far and know little. Those realized know without going about, recognize without looking, achieve without acting.
“One in realization has no fixed mind. Those skillful in the Tao are not obvious to the Collective. They appear to be simple-minded.”
Lao Tzu appreciated that those in the Collective who do not seek enlightenment consider the endeavor farcical. “My words are easy to know, easy to follow. Yet the Collective are unable to know them, unable to follow them.
“When superior people hear of the Tao, they diligently try to practice it. When the average person hears of the Tao, they appear both aware and unaware of it. When inferior folk hear of the Tao, they roar with laughter.”
Whereas a guru was a realized teacher – such as Lao Tzu – a prophet was someone with a vision of the future. Few Earthers possessed both.
Historically, those realized or with the gift of prophecy were either revered or thought insane, depending on their circumstance. “To the iğnorant, all that they cannot understand is madness,” observed Maharaj.
The year was 2166 BF: 4 years before the Romans rained ruin upon Jewish Jerusalem. Jesus ben Ananias wandered the city, prophesying that it would be destroyed.
Jewish leaders, annoyed with Ananias disturbing the peace, turned him over to the Romans for prosecution. Ananias was tortured, but then released as a madman because he had shown no concern for his fate while being tortured.
Ananias persisted with his prophecy until killed by a catapulted stone during the Roman Siege of Jerusalem in 2170 BF. In the moments before he was struck and killed, Ananias uttered, “Woe once more to the city and to the people and to the temple, and woe to me also.”
Ananias’ bitter prophecy proved true. The siege ended with the city sacked, the destruction of Jerusalem’s famed Second Temple, 1.1 million Jews killed, and 97,000 enslaved.
Less than a century later, another Jesus paid the price for annoying the authorities. Jesus of Nazareth lived in the 21st century BF. It was a time when the Jews looked for a prophet to lead them from Roman oppression.
But Jesus was no prophet, nor much of a guru. In his short life, Jesus managed to corral only a dozen or so disciples, as well as a wife. At the age of 33, irascible Jesus got himself crucified by the authorities for rabble-rousing.
Jesus left behind no writings. His small retinue of followers admitted they never did comprehend what Jesus tried to teach them. Recondite would be an understatement. But crafty manipulators transformed Jesus into the son of God.
For decades after Jesus’ death, a small, devoted group of Jewish mystics spun tales of Jesus. Later fables became increasingly far-fetched. The most notable of these fantasies was that Jesus resurrected from the dead.
Jesus’ postmortem followers splintered into sects in the 20th century BF. By the end of that century, a single sect had become dominant, by dint of spinning appealing dogma.
This sect was far from Jesus’ teachings of spiritual self-realization. In step with Jewish tradition, the sect emphasized moralizing monotheism, along with emphasis on faith and orthodoxy as the path to fabled eternal life. To believe and obey was enough.
Touting a superhero savior, the ruse worked. The Catholic Church’s political ascent was assured in the 19th century BF, when Roman emperor Constantine 1 adopted Catholicism as the state religion. The Catholic Church was a potent political force throughout Europe during medieval times.
Power corrupts, as it did those leading the Catholic Church. A marked schism in the 6th-century BF, known as the Protestant Reformation, weakened the Catholic Church. But Jesus’ legacy lived on. Nearly 1/3rd of the world’s peoples counted themselves as Christians when Earther civilization collapsed.
The most influential guru-prophet was Muhammad ibn Abdullah, who lived in the 16th century BF. Muhammad unified fractious Arab tribes, and then served as both moral and political leader until his death. Muhammad left behind copious texts on a wide variety of subjects.
The inspiration of Muhammad resulted in Islam becoming the most advanced civilization of its time. This progress came to a sudden halt at the beginning of the 10th century BF, when conservative clerics gained power.
Islam regressed in the centuries that followed. Acting as a degenerate social disease, conservatism gripped Islam until the fall. The Muslim world’s only salvation, and then only economically, was the discovery of vast reservoirs of oil under their lands in the early 2nd century BF, as industrialization was burgeoning. This viscous black gold, along with coal, were the fossil fuels which powered Earthers’ surge to self-extinction.
In the 1st century BF, the number of Muslims was 2nd only to Christians. 25% of the world population was Islamic.
The orthodoxy of Christianity and Islam were moralizing dogmas that did nothing to propel their adherents toward mental health. Instead, there was a correlation between religious fervency and disturbing mental illness, including extreme violence and sex abuse.
Whatever consolation it may occasionally offer, belief is itself the crux of mental illness. Healthy people had no need for such inner crutches.
“God is only an idea in your mind. Give up all this trash, whatever you are studying in the name of religion, in the name of spirituality. Understand only one thing: that consciousness at present is your nature – you are that only,” Maharaj advised. Few knew such wisdom, and even fewer heeded that counsel.
In Earthers’ last centuries, after science had become a religion, the Collective worldview strangely straddled the irreconcilable philosophical divide between naturalism and supernationalism. Oblivious to a fault, few in the Collective even recognized that such a chasm existed.
“Religion – or the belief in an invisible, supernatural order – exists in all human societies,” wrote 2nd-century-BF political analyst Francis Fukuyama. Such widespread belief arose from fear.
Between the ages of 7 and 10 years, children fathomed that death is permanent, irreversible. This comprehension often led to lingering anxiety. Despite a growing ability to rationalize, fear of death commonly persisted into adulthood. Though ostensibly focused on living a righteous life, religion was, ultimately, a mortality ritual.
Every Earther religion promised consequence for bad acts: if not in this life, assuredly afterwards. Fear of retribution in the afterlife was the backstop of every religion. “If death were a release from everything, it would be a boon for the wicked,” figured 26th-century BF Athenian philosopher Plato.
Naturalism is the belief that actuality and reality are synonymous: that observable Nature is all that there is. Naturalism dated to ancient Indian and Chinese philosophies which expounded atomism: that Nature consists of interacting atoms. Modern science also took this matterist stance.
Supernaturalism posits a discontinuity between actuality and reality. That gap created the philosophical space for religion to emerge. Supernaturalism splintered into several schools.
That Nature is a mystical, entangled unicity was a prehistoric apperception. From antiquity, energyism was taught by all true gurus.
In the modern era, energyism remained a tradition in some preindustrial groups. But tenets of energyism were seldom espoused in industrial nations. Only the obscure, last-century guru-scholar Ishi Nobu fully elucidated energyism.
Animism was an early supernatural conception: spirits were inherent in all matter, inanimate and animate. An optimistic variant of animism was that powerful spirits might be turned into temporary allies. This active animism arose from the hope that the capricious forces of Nature might be domesticated to some degree.
Animism independently evolved into polytheism among many cultures 7.5 TBF. Polytheism was belief in a plethora of gods. Polytheism independently emerged in the earliest political states, including Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and China. “The most successful ancient empires all had strikingly non-moral high gods,” noted 1st-century-BF anthropologist Nicolas Baumard.
An offshoot of polytheism was pantheism: the belief that reality was identical to divinity. Pantheism was a steppingstone to monotheism, and to the birth of moralizing religions.
Monotheism arose 5 TBF: first in China, then in India, and then among the Jews of the Levant, 28 centuries before the fall. Politics was behind this development.
Watchful gods arose in many mythologies before monotheism became the religious norm. Among other gods with supernatural sight, the ancient Egyptian sky god Horus was often depicted as a sharp-eyed falcon.
Monotheism took omniscience to a new level, as it was coupled with a single, all-powerful God: one who was supposedly a stickler for morals. This theistic package was devised for social control. “Mindful agents serve as a powerful source of social influence and control, increasing adherence to socially accepted norms of conduct, whether those others are actually present or merely presumed to be present,” wrote social psychologists Nicholas Epley & Adam Waytz in the 1st century BF.
God did not arise until deemed useful by political authorities. Legal codes first emerged in the 5th millennium, contemporaneous with monotheism.
It was not until the Axial Age, between the 30th and 25th centuries BF, that moralizing ideologies gelled across the world. The idea of a judgmental God was sold by the dominant tribe to bind together the sizable societies which had emerged from the conquests that created them. “People say we need religion when what they really mean is we need police,” observed 1st-century-BF scholar H.L. Mencken.
The evolution of moralizing religions reflected changes in societies and caused changes in those societies. Materialism and moralizing monotheism were the complementary sides of the same conceptual coin.
Prosperity provoked conservatism among dominant groups striving to hold their social positions. Moralizing religion was part of that package. “Affluence changed people’s psychology, and, in turn, it changed their religion,” remarked Nicolas Baumard.
Church and state intertwined in early civilizations, with pyramidal societies of hierarchical social castes. The vast majority lived as enslaved laborers: the base foundation of the social pyramid.
The idea of a “divine right of kings” spanned the ancient world. Christianity kept that idea alive in Europe until eroded by overweening materialism, brought on by burgeoning trade. Modernizing capitalism commoditized divinity, minting it into money. Wealth was worshipped.
In a tangible sense, plutocracy was Earthers’ last religion. The United States of America was, constitutionally, a secular nation. Yet the state stamped on all its currency: “In God we trust.”
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Organisms modulate their behavior according to their habitat. For instance, young starlings reared in a highly competitive environment invest less in their physical maintenance as adults. This lessens lifespan. Such starlings also develop a fast psychology: preferring immediate rewards over riskier, but potentially more profitable, foraging.
Humans were no different than other animals facing long odds of a long life. Those repressed also adopted a fast strategy: grow up quickly and have offspring early and close together, thus maximizing the probability of leaving some viable progeny. “Animals in a poor biological state face reduced life expectancy, and as a consequence make decisions that prioritize immediate survival and reproduction over long-term benefits,” summarized 1st-century-BF ethologist Melissa Bateson.
Fast psychology had deep historical roots. Lao Tzu lived in the shadow of a powerful political state, ripe with moralizing and inequity. He warned of insidious societal dynamics. “When the great Tao is forgotten, philanthropy and morality appear. Stratagems are produced and great hypocrisies emerge. When the family has no harmony, piety and devotion appear. The nation is confused by chaos, and loyal patriots emerge.”
For the elite who ruled a society and its religion, fast psychology was incipient subversion underfoot: brimming with potential for revolution. So – to foster taking it slow – religions came to condemn fast behaviors. Sex was religiously circumscribed to couples who had ritually pledged matrimonial fidelity. The promoted sole purpose of sex was procreation. Genitalia were considered obscene, as were women’s nipples: though ample bosoms were universally esteemed.
Life-speed strategy may also explain the gradual decline of moralizing religion in wealthier, decadent societies as the fall neared. Such was the case in western Europe and North America. As more people (the middle class) become materially comfortable, moralizing religions become less relevant. Their adherents thinned.
That people also lost confidence in institutions abetted the decline of religious practice. Christian churches were repeatedly rocked by scandals. There was extensive pedophilia among Catholic priests, as well as its cover-up by clerical authorities. Making sex naughty turned it into a perversion. Those psychologically repressed by their beliefs were eager perverts.
People lost faith in institutions, but not in belief. Even in the last century, 90% of the Collective believed in a God.
Those in modern societies who still held to moralizing religions in the last century were largely the underclass: people who clung to traditions and feared change as a threat to holding onto what little they had. Clutching to religion also served as a supportive social badge, signifying an in-group by belief. Tribalism by religion appealed to those who felt beset.
There was an odd dichotomy between what was known about Nature as contrasted to the false dogmas perpetuated as knowledge among the Collective. Crucial insights about reality had been the core of all religions. The lessons of gurus were corrupted for political advantage. In the modern era, their scientific rediscovery was ignored in favor of illogical explanations.
Concepts don’t exist. They are capricious mental bundles: inner sketches of convenience. Believing an idea true ignores the uniqueness of everything experienced. As Maharaj noted, “All knowledge is conceptual, therefore untrue.”
Faith in the mind’s patterning is not a slippery slope into self-delusion. Instead, belief is itself the crippling fall that defines iğnorance. Acting through ideas versus believing in them is the difference between using a tool and being in thrall to it as a mystical signifier.
Such was the irony behind science. The practical benefits from scientific findings were multifarious and often profound. Yet, in embracing matterism, science was, at root, a religion. This was most telling in the science that mattered most: political economy, the science of societal well-being.
The significance of Collective iğnorance cannot be overstated. Fables which passed as truths diminished humanity and paved the road of self-destruction.