I know that more than half the people of the world believe in something they would call “spiritual”, and for any of you whom have read much of what I’ve written, it won’t come as a surprise to you that I feel sorry for these people – I pity the adult who cannot see past religion. I hope the religious amongst you will read this nonetheless, as I think it offers you something far greater and more wonderful than the brainwashing death-cult you currently follow.
So in this article I want to deal with the question:
“how would religion fare if it had to take responsibility for the consequences of its actions.”
Firstly, let’s be clear of a few definitions of things:
What is spirit? Let’s assume for a minute that it is real … so what is it?
The supernatural explanation of spirit is usually something like: “the aethereal, celestial, or divine essence of a living being” – but this is as meaningless as it is vague, because the truth be told, it’s a word with more poetic than practical value ( not that I don’t like poetry ) … the spirit is seen as an other worldly essence, a non-physical embodiment of “being”; but this is still vague and unhelpful.
A far better definition would be one that actually allows for spirit to be something real, without contradicting anything we know from logic, maths, and science – hence the following:
- numbers are an example of a purely conceptual object;
- numbers “exist”, but they have no mass, and occupy no space;
- we can write a number down, we can speak it, but it exists independent of our expression;
- thus it can be said that an object can exist without physical embodiment, in the conceptual realm ( at least );
- another example of this, but different, is the notion of an emergent object;
- an emergent object exists as a consequence of the existence of other things;
- for example: a car is the emergent object of the correctly assembled minimum set of car components;
- in other words: until you have that minimum set of correctly assembled components, the car doesn’t exist … you might have part of a car, but you don’t have a whole car;
- therefore, we can use the same principle for “spirit”, being:
“an emergent property of a place, being, or event, which expresses a characterising summation of the object”
… and now we can talk about “the spirit of a gathering”, as easily as we can talk about the spirit a person or animal or society.
We haven’t broken any rules or logic nor any laws of nature, and thus we have a non-supernatural definition of spirit.
So what then does it actually mean to be spiritual? I seriously doubt most people of faith could provide a decent answer to this question, and almost all of them would spout something they’d been told or read in a book, and not only would it be nonsense, it would be someone else’s nonsense they’d been trained to believe without question.
But from our definition above, we can logically deduce the following:
“the spiritual is that which pertains to the spirit, therefore the spiritual is anything pertaining to any component of any thing or group of things, which has a significant impact on the emergent spirit, and with an implied subjective value to the objective spirit”
… which might seem vague, but it will become clearer when you read the following definition for “spirituality”.
Therefore by deduction again:
“spirituality is the intentional pursuit of the improvement of ones spirit, by focus on the spiritual”
… by which definition:
- logic and mathematics can be spiritual, as they are valuable tools with which a person can improve their own life, the life of their community, and the general well being of all things in their environment;
- music can be spiritual, because it brings creative expression, joy, catharsis, and beauty to people’s lives;
- meditation and yoga can be spiritual, as they can calm human psychology, and improve health;
- sport can be spiritual, as it improves health, fitness, strength, and general well being;
- politics can be spiritual, as it can ( though usually doesn’t ) help people in need;
… the point being: anything CAN be spiritual, but that doesn’t mean it actually is.
Spirituality implies a betterment, it implies justice of action ( not necessarily rigid adherence to “law” ), and it implies a certain amount of enlightened self-interest, to see the benefit of helping others, including other species – for if one improves life for oneself, but at the cost of others, the overall outcome is often not a nett betterment, but a loss ( thus the antithesis of a “spiritual” action ).
Perhaps you might see now why Open Empire is based on principles that one could view as both scientific and spiritual in nature – not as a consequence of anything “supernatural”, but quite to the contrary, because it deal with the practical nett benefit of all things, and from a non-species-biased perspective.
For this reason, capitalism and religion ( I would argue ) are both the antithesis of spirituality – except perhaps by purest luck, where despite all actions and momentum to the contrary, someone manages to use them to do some nett good … but given the damage they cause, it can only be said to do a nett benefit, by first taking a single situation in isolation, as there is most definitely not a nett benefit taken over the entire course of capitalism or religion. At best we can say they may be a necessary mistake on the pathway to enlightenment, as only through doing things so disastrously incorrectly, can we experience the consequences of the brainwashing we have been subjected to, and thus realise the folly of our indoctrination.
To think in terms of logic and maths, the supernatural is the potential difference between any set, and a superset OR incongruent sibling set. So for example: with respect to the Real number domain, the square root of negative one ( the “imaginary” number, denoted ‘i’ ) from the Complex number domain ( a superset, which wholly contains the Real Numbers ), is a “supernatural element”. The reason for this is because the imaginary number breaks the logical rules of the Real number domain, and this is the essence of what is meant by “supernatural” – ie: not bound by the natural laws of a given domain.
Thus: for a being ( eg: a “god” ) to exist, and to be “supernatural”, it must “exist” both inside ( partially ) and beyond ( wholly ) the bounds of a given domain, such as to enable it to break the natural laws of that subdomain.
For example: your imagination exists both inside and outside this physical / prime material plane of existence, and therefore – at the very least – a “god” can exist in your delusions, and in your imagination, as they are not constrained by the same natural laws of your reality.
It is however a separate question as to whether a “god” can exist in some other domain or realm of “reality”, outside of human delusion/imagination, but I’ll be going into that in the book(s) ( starting to look more like a series than a single book ), as it involves a lot more discussion than is reasonable for a simple article like this.
Without however coming to any conclusion as to whether belief in god is delusional or not, we can nonetheless assess and quantify whether the concrete actions of religious institutions and people, are of nett benefit or detriment in ecological and social terms.
So during transition to an alternative economic paradigm, in which religion must eventually take responsibility for its actions and their consequences – what is the likely event pathway?
In the short term, religion would have no use for the Open Empire framework, unless a religious person or organisation wanted to use the framework for project development, and there’s nothing stopping them doing so.
In the early days, this system will lack a lot of the sophistication of its future, for the simple reason that it has to be operating for a while to collect enough data in order to evolve its own future functionality, as that data and those systems don’t yet exist, and are interdependent – ie: one cannot exist without the other. For which reason, many of the negative consequences of religion and religious belief will simply fall through the cracks at first, and be ignored by the framework – so there’s no disincentive for a religious person or group to use the framework.
As things evolve, the framework will be increasingly capable of accurately assessing the detailed consequences of actions and translations, across an increasing array of circumstances and events – so at some point, everyone’s cherished beliefs ( not just religious people ) are going to be challenged by this system, because you will want to do something, for purely lazy or selfish reasons, and the system is going to assess that action as a nett ecologically and socially deleterious action.
Now, when this eventually occurs, there is a bright side to it ( a few actually ):
- you’ll be given evidence as to WHY the action has nett deleterious consequences, HOW that is the case, and WHERE exactly things are going wrong;
- you can proceed regardless and ignore the advice, so long as you’re willing to wear those consequences;
- other people will be motivated by the framework to specialise in helping you fix the problem, and thus achieve your objectives ( if possible ), but in a different way that either produces less damage, or replaces damage with benefit.
So for example: if you want to start your own death-cult, brainwash people, and kidnap children to make your own army of child soldiers – then screw you, and screw your crazy imaginary friend, there’s no way to make this acceptable … you can do it anyway, but since you can’t be helped to make it better, people will be motivated to stop you, and to find out what’s wrong with you, and to fix that, or just remove you from where you can cause harm to others.
If on the other hand you want to raise kids into religious belief/faith, because you believe it to be “spiritually valuable” ( even though it’s probably not ), then the damage you’re doing may be less than the example above, but I’d bet money we will eventually be able to quantifiably prove that it’s still a nett detrimental action, because you’re stealing the mind that person would otherwise develop, and replacing it with an intellectually and psychosocially crippled sheep mentality – facts are facts, the most brilliant thinking in the world does not come from the devout, and even when religion absolutely dominated human thought across the globe, it was the heretics whom were the greatest thinkers, even if they hadn’t fully abandoned a belief in the supernatural.
The best case scenario: a well meaning religious group or individual, may decide to use the framework for some project of ecological or social benefit, or even just a purely commercial project – and during times of transition, where the capacity to assess all consequences is seriously limited, and where the religious belief of such people is of limited or no significance to the project being undertaken – then there’s nothing much to actually comment on … it would not be ( in such case ) significantly different to a project undertaken by anyone else, and the system will just do its best to enable and motivate project participants, to reduce all deleterious, and increase all beneficial ecological and social consequences of all aspects of project development and implementation.
Thus: there’s no reason to think that moderate religious people and groups wouldn’t use the framework in the short to medium term, especially if they were genuinely concerned about quantifiable ecological and social benefits, if they didn’t feel threatened by having their beliefs challenged, and/or even if they just thought it was a good framework for achieving their project goals.
The longer term is however another matter entirely.
So this is where it gets potentially prickly for people of faith, because after a certain amount of time, the evolution and growth of the framework has enabled it to quantify a wider gamut of ecological and social consequences, both in greater detail, and with greater accuracy – therefore, the religious are more likely to find their position challenged, especially as their agenda and beliefs stray to the more extreme ends of the spectrum.
Caveat: there’s still no authority or law, Open Empire is an anarchic vision, and the framework is entirely anarchic in nature – or at least, increasingly so, as the technology evolves to enable greater automation – so there’s nothing stopping a religious group ( even an extremist one ) from using the framework per se – but the problem they’re going to encounter is as follows:
- since others are motivated also to reduce deleterious ecological and social consequences, it is a probable certainty that many people will specialise – both individually and in team, including ad how collaborations – to data mine the blockchain, locate the most ecologically and socially deleterious activities, and then do something about it;
- additionally, others – perhaps the same people – will be inclined to also investigate what is not in the blockchain, figure out how to prove and quantify its addition, and thus justify taking action as before;
- such people do not need to ask permission for authority to take action – as there’s no authority to ask permission from – they simply have to prove the nett consequence of their actions are more beneficial and less deleterious than the consequences of not taking action, or versus taking an alternative action;
- this in turn means such groups are always motivated to try diplomacy first, unless there’s a serious and quantifiable reason not to do so, and to instead skip straight to more extreme measures – and in this way, both minor and major problems and risks can be dealt with in the best and more appropriate manner possible, in order to achieve the least ecological and social harm, from a perspective agnostic, non-species-biased, logic/science based and quantifiable approach;
- so all responses are proportional to both consequences and risk, providing the maximisation of the peaceful resolution of potential conflict.
If all you’re doing is brainwashing kids to believe complete horse shit, the consequence of doing so will probably only be a reduction in probability of access to scarce resources, so you’ll be motivated to speak not in terms of brainwashing/indoctrination into faith regardless of evidence, but instead to speak to kids simply in terms of your own faith, what it means to you, but ultimately without forcing compliance, and instead respectfully allowing the child to make up their own mind.
If you have an issue with that, I would suggest your motivations are fucked, as that is perfectly reasonable.
So the long term fate of formal religion is unknown:
- there’d be no money, property, or taxation left to subsidise it;
- therefore it’s likely the major power centres of religious control would fail ( eg: the Vatican );
- religious culture and artefacts would likely find communities of support;
- religious belief/faith would likely continue for at least several generations;
- however, belief/faith would become more generally moderate, without the controlling hierarchy;
- extremist religious belief would eventually die;
- much religious teaching would be replaced by more intelligent philosophical discussion;
- much religious dogma and ritual would be replaced by more genuinely spiritual lifestyle and pursuits.
So I don’t think religion would necessarily die – as much as I might personally wish it would – but it would certainly morph into something less harmful, more beneficial, more tolerable, and with its craziest extremes absolutely curbed ( eventually ).