Notes philosophy

Chapter 5: The Odd Couple (Homo Deus)

Science and religion are an odd couple.

Ancient religious myths were helpful when they called people into action that was beneficial to them but were not objectively true. Modern science is a collective story, but it is not a myth – it is based on reality. Antibiotics will cure infections whether you believe in them or not.

For these reasons, one may suspect that we are moving towards a world without fictions, but this not necessarily true. Science may help us build the technology to make our existing fictions and more accessible, it may allow us to blur the lines between reality and fiction.

Religion shouldn’t be defined as a belief or lack thereof in gods, but as anything that “confers superhuman legitimacy on human social structures”, this may be Christianity or Communism.

Religion is a deal; spirituality is a journey.

Academic studies that require a few years of studying, passing exams, before acquiring a job is a deal. But academic studies that take you to an unknown destination is a spiritual journey.

Why is the latter considered a spiritual journey? The origins are in dualistic religions of the past that believed in two gods, one good and one evil. The good god created pure souls that lived in the world of spirit. The bad god, Satan, created another world made of matter, where everything disintegrates. To breathe life into his world, Satan tempted souls from the world of spirit and locked them up in material bodies.

This is why humans are good souls trapped inside evil bodies. After the body disintegrates, and the soul can escape into the spiritual world, its craving for earthly pleasures draw it back to another body. The soul thus moves from body to body, wasting its time on food, sex, and power.

Dualism calls on people to break free from these material shackles and embark on a journey to the spiritual world. During this quest, we must reject material temptations and deals. Because of this legacy, any journey where we deny the deals and temptations of the material world is a “spiritual journey.”

Institutionalized religion conflicts with spirituality since it tries to cement the worldly order instead of escaping it. It is not threatened by people who preoccupied with food or sex, but by spiritual truth-seekers like Luther, who refused to settle for rituals and deals offered by the church.

Read Homo Deus

"Silence is the best expression of scorn" - G.B. Shaw

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