The Center of  Centering

Picture yourself as Charlie Chimp on the plains of Africa and you hear a rustle in the grass. Is it a lion or just the wind? If you assume it is a lion and it is just the wind, you have made a False Positive error, but to no harm. But if you believe the rustle in the grass is just the wind when it is a lion, there’s a good chance you’ll be lunch and thereby removed from your species’ gene pool. Thus, there would have been a natural selection for those hominids who tended to believe that all patterns are real and potentially dangerous.

“Historically, religions have unquestionably served the same purpose as art: they have helped to satisfy the universal human yearning for immortality. …when these beliefs become dogmas that prevent individuals from accepting scientific knowledge that might also relieve their existential anxiety, then these beliefs become problematic…..It seems to be only a matter of degree that separates the mind control imposed by cults from the dogma imposed by institutionalized religions. In both cases, a privileged minority uses mental manipulation to keep as many people as possible in a state of dependency by depriving them of their ability to think critically. ….it has always had a dark side as well: the manipulation of the masses by a privileged few.” – The Brain

People are religious because we are social and we need to get along. The moral sentiments in humans and moral principles in human groups evolved primarily through the force of natural selection operating on individuals, and secondarily through the force of group selection operating on populations. The moral sense (the feeling of doing “good” in the form of positive emotions such as righteousness and pride) evolved out of behaviors that were selected because they were good either for the individual or for the group. An immoral sense, the feeling of doing “bad” in the form of negative emotions such as guilt and shame evolved out of behaviors that were selected because they were bad either for the individual or for the group. While cultures may differ on what behaviors are defined as good or bad, the moral sense of feeling good or feeling bad about behavior X (whatever X may be) is an evolved human universal. The codification of moral principles evolved as a form of social control to ensure the survival of individuals within groups and the survival of human groups themselves. Religion was the first social institution to canonize moral principles. This is the basis for the belief in souls, spirits, ghosts, gods, demons, angels, aliens, intelligent designers, government conspiracy theorists and all manner of invisible agents intending to harm us or help us. It must be kept in mind that religion and god are mutually exclusive concepts.

“Thus, the major premise of religion, requires that this god believe in the tenets of the religion we have cast him in, which begs the question “If god must adhere to our beliefs, is he god?” Or have we “Created god in our own image? ” A person who believes that there is no god is just as guilty of this false positive error as the one who believes there is. They are just two different belief systems of an unresolved issue. They are both crazy. We didn’t evolve a false negative detector. While there is no evidence that there is a god, there is no evidence that there isn’t. Which god we believe in is completely a matter of chance. The question is the methodology used. Saying “just because” doesn’t address the issue in any meaningful terms. If couched in different terms the question may be resolvable. This is the classic “dead cat” question. Until we look in the box, we won’t know. We must ask a reasonable question if we expect a reasonable answer – el Loco Gringo

This then, would appear to be the center of centering. A centered person recognizes and accepts the ambiguous nature of the issue. As is the tone through out this paper, “Do not allow anyone to occupy rent free space in your mind.” If you choose a religion, make sure that it is between you and God. Do not allow another person in the loop. Anytime people get involved in something, they screw it up. Remember that the preacher is not God, he is not the representative of God. Religion is between you and God only.

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