To: Egoism and Ethics Debate
Subject: Integrated Consciousness From: "David G. McDivitt" Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 17:39:14 -0700
I came across an excellent perspective the other day when watching the Discovery Channel: Integrated Consciousness (my wording).
The show was about the evolutionary history of man. They cited three species of humans existent on the earth up until approximately 30,000 years ago: Homo Erectus, Neanderthal, and Homo Sapien. Each was said to have similar brain structure. Homo Sapiens where weakest of the three physically, but it was said Homo Sapiens had consolidated mental function, in addition to similar brain structure, and so were able to overcome the others. The subject was only touched on briefly, but it was said humans at that time had many things to pay attention to, but attention was given discreetly by various parts of the brain, and mental function had not consolidated. In doing one thing, one part of the brain would kick in, and in doing another thing, another part of the brain. By contesting with other species of humans, homo sapiens were able to effect this consolidation better than the others.
The other day I wrote a brief essay explaining atheism for someone at work. It is attached below. I thought of the show I saw in writing it. I really do like this idea of integrated consciousness, and it explains many things to me.
"Being Good versus Being Christian", by David McDivitt
Often times when a person speaks of being good, religion replies, "But being good will not get you into heaven". We are left therefore to wonder how being good rates against religious or spiritual belief. Through which focus does society fair better? Surely there is something to be said for ethical conduct.
The hope of going to heaven is at best a selfish desire. Living a life of toil, woe, and obligation, the thought of one day having relief or satisfaction may have great meaning. Why must this supposed reward be in the afterlife? Why not enjoy the life we have now? If a person has fondness for principles and values, surely living by those principles and values can provide happiness, now. If people are being who and what they want to be now, should they not be happy now?
Religion represents an authority game lasting for thousands of years. There are whatever standards, said to be dictated by God. There are individual men who disseminate those standards, enjoying that position in society, and there are others who grudgingly or not abide by those standards. Strictly in the classic sense, doing good or abiding by standards is said to be hard, and human nature is said to be inherently evil or bad. It is said man cannot be good, worthwhile, or wholesome except by going against his nature.
Assuming God does exist and dictates rules for people to live by, what forces people to obey? One may say "going to hell", but does the presence of hell necessarily prevent people from killing each other? Does it prevent discrimination in our society based on race or sex? Okay, the mere presence of hell does not prevent crime, so one may then say the fear of hell prevents crime, or the fear of judgement or punitive action prevents crime. But does it really? Observing human behavior, it is realized that as authoritarianism increases, so does rebellion against that authoritarianism. How strange to have religion demand compliance with its own authority, and people suffer that burden of servitude, then following death religion says it will provide peace and reward. Need it be said people are no longer any use to religion after they die? This abuse of naive human participation in religious endeavor is not the fault of religion. It is the fault of no one. It is however representative of inconsistencies in the consciousness of mankind, how difficult it remains for men to reconcile the real to perceived ideals, and how from an evolutionary perspective human thought has yet to be fully integrated. Integration stands in contrast to fragmented or dualistic consciousness.
Another perspective is to realize people do what they want to do. Some think and act with a sense of purpose. Some think and act with regard to principles and values. Some think and act with no forethought at all. It is possible to enjoy being good without being religious. It is possible to recognize what principles do for self and society. It is possible to say, "These are my values", instead of, "I have God's values", or "I obey God". An integrated consciousness is thus represented which does not flip flop back and forth between views of authority and obedience. Nor does one vacillate between the real and ideal, or the physical and the spiritual.
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