“Does God exist?”
“Well, what do you feel: Is God real inside you?”
“I don’t know. What is it supposed to feel like?”
1. Mind over matter over mind
Either we have no fixed or determinable place of being, or we are biological beings. I say we are biological beings. Who may exist inside an indeterminable place of being.
2. Mind is matter
“Existance”, i.e. the concept of matter in time, memory of “having lived”, is a product of pattern recognition. *Pattern recognition* is what best describes the ordered functions and cooperation of biologically evolved parts of the brain, which control various functions of the “contact” to the surrounding “other” world – all that is NOT-BODY, that is: The so called “senses”, seeing, hearing, smeeling, tasting and feeling touch.
Pattern recognition are clusters of chemical roadways in the brain, made more or less permanent by repetition, which in conjunction work to produce, what we term “a coherent reality”: The table stays table within a broad framework that is more description of function than aestetics; the same goes for dog, cheese, the sensation of being taught, the feeling of being treated well, understanding how to carve with a knife, and everything else that is part and parcel of daily life for *the individual*.
As everybody live different lifes from everyone else, pattern recognition can vary to a larger or lesser degree, sometimes with the exclusion of specific “recognitions” stemming from lack of exposure to certain stimuli or from physical defects excluding fixture of certain inputs in the chemical clusters in the brain, eg. the recognition of colours, or the recognition of other people’s pain, or the passing of time, and much more. But overall, as humans inhabit the same *physical* world, we more or less make the same pattern recognitions, as we are exposed to the patterns of our forefathers as they present themselves in the world we are born into, as houses, infrastructure, social customs, “this is a tree”, “don’t do this; it will hurt”, etc.
3. Flexible mind
As pattern recognition is what *makes* our world, this is what we adhere to. Being biological beings it’s all about survival. Looking at us from a mental platform “up above” our mutual existance looks very static: We are born, we fight for existance, we strive to have needs fulfilled, we reproduce, we think, feel and create, and we die. A static view at life of the human being.
Looking closer we are less static; everybody are confronted with unpredictability every hour of the day, and therefore need to absorb this unpredictability – that which is unknown to the personal experience, the individual pattern recognition of the years of having lived – in order to survive. A “certain” amount of flexibility in the confrontations with the unknown is needed.
But much can be ignored – for example, the insect passing by one’s nose is of no consequence to one’s survival, unless one has a known allergy to eg. bees. Or the car passing on the street, as one is walking on the pavement, unless the car is breaking pattern by swerving violently.
People differ a lot in their flexibility. This can never be fully explained on an individual basis, and it must suffice to say that flexibility in the handling of the unknown stems from many factors, most predominately emotional bonding in childhood, appropriate exposure to variety during the formative years, and the ability of the brain to sustain imprinting. So, some can handle a lot of insecurity, or meetings with the unknown in specific areas of life, because their upbringing have prepared them well and/or they are physically apt, and some can’t, for the opposite reasons. This becomes (more or less) obvious in the way people organize their lives – in the larger or lesser “amount” of systems we feel the need to adhere to in order to feel safe.
4. “Lay off the booze and find Jesus”
Over time much of daily life has been cathegorised into consensually accepted “risks” – “degrees” of unknownness; a scale of recognisable threats to life ranging from what happens when knifes and forks are used by the wrong hands, over what happens when the rent is not paid, to the “great unknown” – indellible, unavoidable facts of existance like “death” or the “loneliness of the Cosmos”. Most risks can be faced through trial and error, and will sometimes prove to be just that – risks – as results are cuts, evictions and (other people’s) deaths. But some will remain unsolvable, unexplainable, unmanagable by trial and error (or unwillingness to take the risk…), and as such must either be respected and avoided, or ignored (and hopefully never encountered).
Some people have a really hard time surrendering to the percieved existance of the great unknowns, and will work really really hard to come up with adequat solutions, in order to find peace of mind. The wetwiring of the brain is totally neutral – if answers and results produce sufficient pattern recognition to lower the production of adrenalin or keep it low, or blot out the feelings of fear and anxiety through production of endorphins, the natural morphine of the body, any direction in life is good fine okay! And that is ANY direction. Alcohol, nicotine or books for some, sex, work or success for others, and for yet others hope, confirmation or love. What determines the individual “choice of dope” is (again) a result of previous exposure, often in the formative years, but can easily come about or change in later years.
5 No paradise but “the world in itself”
Reality is a very important word for most people. It means “what is”, or “what functions or works”. As such it is very hard to criticise. Based on the concept of individual pattern recognition, which again is the result of having survived with success “so far”, it is the criteria with which an individual describes or “measures” a *coherent* existance. And there is literally no limit to what “reality” can be or encompass. A human being molested in early years can literally find pleasure in pain; humans raised in a culture without dyes can be blind to certain colours; humans raised in pasture land can be fearstruck among large buildings; humans raised to understand various phenomena as the will of deities or spirits may retain awe even confronted with overwhelming consensual agreement to “scientific” explanations, and so on. Reality is what you can cope with – the functional combination of understanding and lack of understanding.
People, who have little fear of the unknown, especially of “death”, may have what is known as “a hard grasp of reality”. This phraze is used to denote a “relationship” with a world in effect much larger than the personal world of personal survival. A relationship that transcends personal needs, it is relatively immune to the reminders of pain and death prevalent in those suffering openly, which is often what makes the more fearful blind to other people’s needs. “The world in itself” to paraphrase Kant IS a place of much suffering – the results of greed, ignorance, aggression, indifference, sadism – and even if it is possible to rationalise oneself OUT of the need to participate in the reduction of suffering, *that* world doesn’t go away; it is there all the time – only waiting to be recognised. The beautiful, heart-soothing world of natural scenery, art, and humans working from ideals to the actual benefit of others is equally there all the time – only waiting to be recognised and added to. As people strive to cope with the challenges of living, by way of the mechanisms of pattern recognition, any passage over time for any human being can thus be said to come *from* the personal world, going *towards* “the world in itself”, on a lessening curve of adrenaline production. But a journey which can stop, or be held back, if fear of the unknown produce dogmas – (fixed) perceptions of the world, which cannot come into question.
6 Faith and Belief, religion and church
Dogmas or doctrines are systems of belief. “The doctrine of the Trinity”, “the doctrine of the infallability of the Pope, “the doctrines of Marxism” are all beliefs – Church definitions of existance that are held to be undeniably true. [“dogme”, Politikens Ordbog 2000]
Religion is a focus of faith, “I have faith in God”, not “I have faith in the Catholic Church”. A definition of that which is regarded as good, right and trustworthy. [“faith”, Cambridge American Dictionary, 2006]
To some people content and intent of church and religion are interchangable or the same thing. But they are not. Beliefs are teachings; consensual opinions that are passed on; faith is *trust* in “evidence”, empiric OR consensual, as one’s pattern recognition approves.
Dogmas and churches come about from politics and need for power – using infallability as stick and carrot. People, who “believe” in God, or Jesus, or Muhammad – possibly humans who are indoctrinated from early age, humans who seek protection with strong political players, or have a badly functioning mechanism of pattern recognition – believe in the teachings of people who have a vested interest in the continuation of the Church as institution and community. A Church is effectively a community supporting a community.
Religions spring from human beings finding faith in another human being, from personal experience or from the re-telling of actions, which make sense and give comfort and/or hope. Religions are in effect a collection of solitary relationships with inspiration.
Thus it is possible to distinguish between those who administer and those who practise. Their aims are different.
7 House of God
There are those, who believe that 50 year old modernism – the dissolution of conventions for absolute freedom of expression – are “killing off God”. Nietsche proclaimed the death of God a hundred years ago. 1000 years ago people were killed, if they believed in something besides God of the Church, any church. The Holy Trinity. The monotheistic God. The One God. The only God. And today too people are killed for not believing in Allah.
In buddhism, there are numerous gods, but no Church. Here gods are not controlled, but explained; even so people remain in self-inflicted bondage. In Scandinavia of 1100 years ago (and again today) the Norse gods were simple archetypes, identifying aspects of human existance, but adhered to as forces larger than man himself. And around the world in a thousand other animistic religions nature has taken on form to explain away the fears of the dark, controlled by shamans and revered with a vengegance.
Some say psychology, the updated version of animistic faith, is the new great religion of modern day, healing the sick, and giving hope to those dispairing, through insight into Self. But another great institution has sprung up to control and direct usage and advance, the Church of Psychiatry, which acts with a base in law and pseudo-science, i.e. statistics, to electroschock people, fixate them, isolate them or medicate them into oblivion in the name of healing.
“Having Faith” in itself is not a bother; it is a necessity. But have faith in *what*? What is “good, right and trustworthy”. That which works, of course. That which one can recognise as giving aid and support and hope. That which one’s personal pattern recognition accepts as fitting the bill. God? Sure. Jesus? Sure. Bill the panhandler? Sure. The immanent potential of Homo Sapiens Sapiens? Sure, why not, if it *feels* right. When it comes to the individual, there are NO limits to what or who can aid and soothe. None.
But who should tell human beings what to have faith in?
8 Declaration of faith
I am biological; I am ruled by my brain. I am emotional; I can be not-me. I am mental; I can be more-than-me. I am spiritual; I can be not-I.
Leave my beliefs alone. They work for me. For now.