Friday, December 31, 2010

Why we need to reconcile science and religion

We stand at a precipice of human civilization. The gap between our scientific knowledge and our religions is enormous.
On the one hand, we live in a world of monotheism (dominant in the 'West') and pan-theism (dominant in the 'East').
On the other hand, interspersed throughout the world is a growing body of scientifically literate people who peer into the depths of the unknown, struggling to reconcile the knowledge of physics, chemistry, biology and sociology with the underlying traditions of the culture that they came from.
Their knowledge of physics, chemistry, biology and sociology gives no meaning to their existence, and at times, gives an opposite meaning to their existence than what their society and bodies are telling them to do.

We need to create a new religion that can help us cultivate consciousness during the peak of prime, and help us release that consciousness during the end of its life. The tenets of this religion can not be at odds with the growing body of scientific knowledge, and can not be at odds with new knowledge that we have yet to invent/discover.

The underlying symbols of the old traditions may help in this goal, but some of them may hinder the goal mentioned above (cultivate ego, and then dissolve ego). We will have to pick and choose wisely. But decide we must because we need to address the widening gulf between our religion and our science.

For example, science seems to be telling us the following:

That life is a means of bringing the universe to its final state as soon as possible.
Let me rephrase this a few times so as to clarify.
Life is a means of increasing the entropy of the universe. For example, the production of entropy on Earth is greater than if there had been no life on Earth. But by increasing the entropy of the universe, we are speeding up the eventual fate of the universe, which appears to be a uniform state of equilibrium. At equilibrium, there is no entropy production...there is no life. There is just equilibrium (now, of course, this depends on whether there is enough mass in the universe to cause the universe to contract backwards...but either way, the end fate of the universe appears to be one of equilibrium, and of no life.)

The purpose of life is to bring the universe to equilibrium as fast as possible.

While there are a few religions in which this 'purpose of life' may be compatible, the 'purpose of life' mentioned above is quite incompatible with the Muslim-Jewish-Christian religion of the 'West'. In these religions, there is a heaven and everlasting life for the individual. Science does not give us a 'heaven' and suggests not only that life for the individual must end, but also that all life must eventually end.

How do we reconcile life as a means to heaven and life as a means of bringing life to an end? (i.e life as a means of ending all life and eliminating all gradients across the universe.)

I do not know how to reconcile this problem. My suggestion, however, is not to ignore this problem. It seems like the religion of the future will need to be some combination of Star Wars and Hinduism.

The Star Wars element is required in order for us to understand that our goal to populate the universe with life. We must expand to other planets so that we can create life on other planets. We must explore other planets and learn to co-exist with other lifeforms so that together we can increase the entropy production of the universe.

We need the Hindu element in order to understand that universes, life and our notions of gods (even Brahman itself) come and go just like a lotus flower dies and comes back again each year. At equilibrium, there is no male and female. There is no good and evil once we reach equilibrium because all forms and structures dissolve away. But perhaps, the universe will start over again. Perhaps, there are multiple universes. Perhaps, metaphorically, the sleeping Brahman will awake again on a new lotus flower and open his eyes.

What we need is a new Luke Skywalker in the form of Bill Gates and Chuck Bartowski (from the TV show Chuck.) We need a new Leia Organa Solo in the form of Meg Whitman and The Bride (Uma Thurman in Kill Bill). Our heroes are action figures like Chuck or The Bride. But we also need business heroes: we need heroes that build businesses like Bill Gates and Meg Whitman in our TV shows and movies.
We all need to fight, but the question is what are we fighting for. To defeat the Galactic Empire, to revenge an assassination attempt, to defeat crime organizations and protect the US government???
No, what we are fighting for is the capability of growing life on other planets so that the entropy of the universe increases even faster, so that life expands. So that life evolves even more. So that life becomes more complex, more dynamic, and more self-aware. More feedback, more mirrors back on itself, higher levels of consciousness, and larger societies on more planets with more entropy production.

Business, nations, family are routes to speed up the production of entropy, but there is no ultimate right business, nation or family. There is no one right meme.
There is no perfect solution to the question: how to bring the universe to equilibrium the fastest. Some memes are better at this than others, but there is no way to prove that one meme is better than another.

So how do we choose between differing memes? How do we choose between Christianity and some new religion? (perhaps something like what I described above.) What if this new religion incorporated into it the idea that there is no right religion? Why should we believe something that states that it's not correct?

Ultimately, this new religion must be capable of growing faster than all other religions and perhaps must also be flexible enough to incorporate old religions into it smoothly.

What we need is a reconciling of Luke Skywalker, The Bride, Leopold Bloom, Molly Bloom, Bill Gates, Yoda, Meg Whitman, Jeff Bezos, Leia Organa Solo, and The Dude.

We need to avoid the creation of billions of George Costanza's: fearful of death and the ending of the individual ego, afraid of his parents, incapable of owning a business, never to marry and bring new life into world. George Costanza represents what goes wrong when religion and science are divorced from each other. He lives in a world in which he understands neither science nor religion and can gain nothing from either. He lives in a world in which he can't make decisions on whom to date or what to eat because each action carries with too much significance because he doesn't see the purpose of life.

The purpose of life is to increase the entropy of the universe. The question is: are we capable of living up to that purpose, or do we run and hide from it? Are we afraid to give up this individual ego that has sprouted up from the elements when the time arises? Are we willing to live with the individual ego during the peak of our life in order to take advantage of its capability to solve complex problems? (i.e. are we willing to not become Zen Masters until we get close to ego's end? Are we willing to avoid the pitfalls of the twenty year old 'Zen Master' and the pitfalls of the 70 year old George Costanza?)

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