April 20, 2014

Religion vs. Spiritual Enlightenment

The spiritual journey must begin with a quest for truth. But you first need to understand, “What is truth?” before you go looking for it.

The problem for most people is that their spiritual journey does not begin from this motivation or at all. Many people’s spiritual journey through life is happening to them like an affair behind their back. They have not the wit or will to see it. That’s because for most people, the only spirituality they know, comes to them as a pre-packaged and moderately priced religious/cultural window.
How this window, through which they will gaze out at the world, comes to them depends all on the lottery of chance which will put them in a certain geographical region and race/culture.  Keep in mind the “window” is the “religion” and the humans’ “gaze” and “ability to process what we see” out of that window is the REAL MEAT, the “spiritual” part of the experience.

No matter what part of the world you are born into and which window you gaze out of, you will be most likely taught two things:

One- The window provided to you by the lottery of your birth is unquestionably the best window to gaze out of the world and all other windows are inferior! You are, merely by the accident of your birth, superior to someone else and you should feel tremendous reassurance and self-worth about that. In some cases, so much self-worth you have Manifest Destiny and Divine Authority to do as you please to whom you please.
Two- The rest of your self-worth and your entire sense of purpose will derive from the following categories of “hierarchies of superiority”- financial class, gender, race, physical/mental ability. What about emotional ability? Ah, that does not even warrant consideration. It’s sentimentality, self-indulgence and weakness!

Note that our current order of human value puts physical and mental ability at the very bottom of that priority list. It does not even consider the value of our capacity to empathize, extend love, affection and a sense of self-worth and belonging. We rather judge other people on characteristics determined largely by the lottery of chance while calling ourselves “meritocracies”.

When you hear Dr. Martin Luther King’s words about being judged by the “content of one’s character” above all else, he’s literally handing humankind the key to their liberation from false hierarchies of race, class and gender.  It has imprisoned us for thousands of years. Now it’s time for a new age where we focus on the only things that matter in human beings- physical, emotional and mental ability.

Yes, we need all three! This is the trinity of what constitutes our character. When people start focusing on this…when it because it becomes THE STANDARD by which we determine roles, responsibilities and rewards, it will become easier to identify defective characters and intervene the same way we do regarding things like Climate Change and Poverty.

This area of our humanity has been neglected for thousands of years.  There’s a lot of unhealed emotional/psychological trauma. Many humans are predisposed to violence (inwardly or outwardly expressed) or lack empathy. Not all of them are guided by superior intellect and a strict internal moral code like BBC’s high functioning sociopath, Sherlock. They are the bullies and murderers clogging our prisons. Or worse, for in our world of badly prioritized value systems we have allowed many of these defective humans to ascend to echelons of power provided they have an IQ and appetite big enough. Psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists have made the world in their image.  

However, more of us are realizing that blind, predatory ambition to consume and expand with no check and balance of the physical ramifications (environmental destruction/disease); the emotional ramifications (low self-esteem, desperation, apathy) and the mental implications (de-evolution to a primitive mental state) is not mammalian or even human, it is viral, like Agent Smith pointed out to Neo in the movie The Matrix.

Some of us can see this so clearly yet others, cannot. The reason? They are staring out of the world through the blurry “window” of some religion. That’s why religion (and all other forms of false hierarchy) needs to be deprioritized. They protect the very systems holding back mankind from pure enlightenment, forever delaying the brotherhood of man in our shared imagination.

In places plagued by warring religious supremacist ideologies, gender oppression, class division and injustice, the people suffering need to perfect their “gaze” and “ability to process what they see”. They need to be taught critical thinking along with mathematics, science and grammar. They need to be taught how to empathize and take ethical action from that place of empathy. Clearly, their religion is not going to teach them this, not necessarily. Only scientific evidence and spiritual truth working their respective roles can do that.