Monday, May 29, 2006

Being Human

Do you ever think about what it means to be human, in the sense of to be
a sentient being in a medium-sized mostly hairless ape body? Our
deepest formative experiences - the one's reached in certain deep
spiritual work - are affected by the life cycle of humans - how we are
born so helpless. Things might be different for sentient horses. I
read a book in which there were sentient frogs and their entire
psychology was formed by the experience of millions of eggs being born
and 99.9999% of them being eaten immediately by the father. Those folks
had a majorly strange relationship with their god. I am listening to a
book now in which there is a race of sentient predator birds, like
eagles. So human pack behavior is replaced by a need for a lot of space
and there is not much hierarchy.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

About "American Theocracy" by Kevin Phillips

I was fascinated by the detailed (and perhaps slightly overstated)
parallels between past great powers just before their decline and the
United States right now: the rise of intense religiosity, the sense of
being on a mission for God, the shift from making things (manufacturing)
to manuevering money (finance), and the rise of debt.
Also by the deep roots of the specific type of religion that goes
back to England, Scotland, and Holland in the late 1500s to 1600s and
leads all the way to the current disaster in Iraq.
I speculate that one factor in Kevin Phillips moving from the prophet of
the rising Republican Party in the Nixon days to the deep critic of that
party now is the fact that he is a Catholic conservative with a taste
for tradition and humble earnestness, not an evangelical or fundamentalist conservative with a
taste for Armegaddon and triumphalism.

Religion and Evolution of Average Ego

Is the history of religion a window into the particular form of the average ego as it evolves over time? Or is this just the surface appearance changing while the structure of egoing remains fairly constant?
If the history of religion does reflect/drive changes in the patterns of average ego, what can we learn from the shift from Catholicism to Protestantism, in particular the shift from emphasis on a single universal (catholic) church to "everyman with his own Bible and his own interpretation".
For example, I believe that the rise of fundamentalisms world-wide is an attempt to deal with reasonable insecurities in the face of rapid technological and social change. But do any of the fundamentalisms change the pattern of egoing (what is constrained/what is able to flow and grow)?