Friday, July 23, 2010

Science Neglecting The Transcendent Spiritual Life Of Infants, Insects

The look of a man in
a state of spiritual

Yes, Science can study the reactions of an infant and wonder if it is passing moral judgments on complex contextual stimuli,  or maybe just gassy.  They can ponder how intricate cooperative behaviors evolved, such as we see in the hive of bees, the farms of ants, or the cartels of drug lords.  But do these studies go too far? Do they not take us into the realm of collectivism, of  Bolshevism, and Liberal Elitism ("leetism")?  They are certainly not some beautiful brawling Real Americans, punching it in or out or up--all thanks to their wonderful pioneering American DNA which keeps them voting for increased Medicare benefits in a very pioneering and Real American way.  No, they are definitely not. 

These scientists emphasize group cohesion over individual dissent..  Although you may think it utterly hypocritical of me to espouse the virtues of group conformity on one day and the next day praising individualism (especially mine), when it's politically expedient to use that to attack my enemies in The Current Administration--well, I can tell you this:  It ain't.  Because if it were hypocritical, I wouldn't be writing this column today.  So there.  I think I've proved my point.

At this conference, they barely mentioned the yearning for transcendence and the sacred, which plays such a major role in every human society.  Deep down we instinctively know, after all, that when people donate money for a church, or a pyramid, or ziggurat, it has nothing to do with group conformity and self-identification or massive egocentricity.  And capitalism is much more about transcendence than it is about making a giant wad of cash.

Moreover, their implied description of the moral life is gentle, fair, and grounded--say, if Africanized bees were to fatally swarm an elderly person in a beautiful ballet of cooperation, fair play and toxic shock.   Nay, these scientists emphasize the cooperative virtues, like empathy, over the competitive virtues, like the thirst for recognition and superiority, such as when a potential queen ant bites the head off of her rival and devours her corpse in order to take over the colony--I'm sure that Science has completely ignored the idea of competition, and if they have not, well it's their job to inform me.  Not the other way around.  I'm a columnist, dammit, not some group-conforming technocrat living high on the hog and under the public dole like some freeloading climate scientist.

Besides, what would happen if people like me actually had to seriously entertain the notion the idea that there is really no evidence that the ideas of people like me are any better than any other ideas?  First of all, I'd be out of a job, and that wouldn't do much for my thirst for superiority, that's for damn sure.  Secondly, the individualistic Real Americans with their pioneering genes would have no one to tell them about their pioneering ways--even if they spent 50 years working for the telephone company and haven't gone without running water or electricity since, well, ever.  And we can't let that happen.

So far, it seems that Science will not address those who yearn for a morality that is "awesome, formidable, transcendent, or great," like when we individualistically cooperated to bomb the fuck-all out of Baghdad. Perhaps scientists just want to think about things that they can demonstrate instead of things that are unprovable, undemonstrable, unseeable, untouchable, or utterly implausible.  In other words, those things which can only be experienced through a very individual submission to an ultimate authority.  That's right, God.  Mr. Big.  The Bigshot Uptairs.  

Which is why we as individuals must choose to conform as a group to something which will tell us what to do.  Or else.

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