The beginning of thought
This is an ever-changing launching point for various ideas I’m working on.
The universe bends towards order and complexity. Far from being opposed to the laws of thermodynamics (entropy), this move is actually fueled by entropy. So everything in the universe is always moving in the direction of greater information content, greater order, greater complexity, greater cooperation. Entropy only dictates despair if the information content of the universe is finite. Otherwise, it dictates hope.
The way this plays out in our world can be characterized as The Vast Economy.
We can derive most of the things we would identify as positive human qualities (cooperation, lack of violence, intelligence, creativity, altruism, equality) from the overall slant of the universe towards complexity.
The idea that the universe “bends towards justice” can be derived from the above. This leads one to a theistic conception of reality.
- “Justice” is an emergent property of the move towards greater complexity and cooperation, and results in the periodic overturning of society, as the powerful from the previous cycle get churned under in favor of a new kind of powerful.
- Living in the “curve” of this turnover is troubling and dynamic and liberating. It’s where humans have found themselves during great moments in history.
- Most of religion should be read as the struggle to understand and deal with life on the curve.
We need to work on an explanation of the precise linkup between science and religion. Most of the conflict comes from different ways of speaking. Religion should be understood as a set of hypotheses (properly translated), and a set of values, and a set of ways of understanding and practicing the relation between the two.
Most of what religion says is not intended to be taken as statements about physical reality. “Soul”, for example, is not a hypotheses about the nature of the mind-body connection. “Justice”, however, can be taken as a hypothesis, given the framework I laid out above.
Christianity was originally the rejection of religion in favor of internal motivation towards objective values. This message came into being in the midst of a nation’s struggle for identity, and an impending conflict with the world power of the time. Christianity posited a particular application of its ideas to this political situation, and this is what most of the New Testament is about.
- Several main motifs in early christianity:
- The overcoming of racial division
- The equality of the rich and poor
- The equal participation of men and women
- The rejection of rituals and places of worship
- Love instead of violence, sacrifice overcoming power
Paul got it.
- Paul has been misunderstood on the subject of social divisions.
- Paul was working on overcoming any such divisions, and helping people deal with the clash of ethnicities and genders and social classes that ensued.
- This is the subject of most of Paul’s letters.
- Paul was a pacifist, and like most other pacifists, gets called a coward.
- Paul was against slavery, but was a pacifist. So many people think he was for slavery.
- Paul was for equal participation of women. But he got involved in several interesting discussions that have been misconstrued:
- 1 Cor 11, Paul suggests women don’t need to “burn their bras” to demonstrate equality.
- 1 Cor 14, Paul suggests wives and husbands don’t argue in public, but take their fights home.