By Mike Meyer
It must be that gigantic elastic band that we have been dragging behind us for the last few hundred years. Homo sapiens has had a pretty good run since the Scientific Revolution three hundred years ago. But we didn’t see that elastic band.
After some ten thousand years of building towns and cities while learning how to read and write we managed to break away from our befuddlement in understanding what we could do. Despite brilliant philosophers in Greece, Rome, Persia, India and China that had, by around 1400, managed to move to critical objectivity, it was the break to a heliocentric, fully objective system of physical knowledge that launched our shot at mastering our planet and, perhaps, more.
It was a brilliant compromise. Millennia of growth and barbaric expansion justified by manipulating Neolithic mythologies was a continuous cycle of expansion, conquest, collapse, and repeat. The realization that the old mythologies couldn’t be beaten led to simply separating the universe in which we live. Let the mythologies be carried on by those not yet able to understand their limitations while those who could worked only on the physical world. Pay homage to the mythic deities but otherwise ignore them.
This was, in the simplest terms, the first non-compete agreement in human history. Let the religions have their power but leave them alone to continue on as they will never change. Learning to objectively handle the physical universe, that really didn’t have a supernatural part, steadily eliminated the barriers to knowledge that enabled the ancient weapons of power, mythical reward, and oppression.
Almost every human culture learned the incredible benefits of this. Those areas that allowed mythology based, archaic power structures to survive struggled and fell further and further behind. Ironically the mythology based rulers of these cultures spent most of their time in the scientific world. After all who wants to live in ignorance, fear, and poverty. The benefits slowly raised all standards.
A brilliant compromise that allowed fast development but there was a catch. Morality and ethics were left to the mythology based rulers as that was the deal. They had always ruled on the basis of being divinely inspired and right. The basis of human morality is the same as the basis for human society and that is social well being, the limiting selfishness and creating unity from compassion and mindfulness.
This came to be fully understood within a century or so by the scientific center of human society but they had made a deal that became more and more destructive. The hope that the old mythologies and the power driven claims to morality would fade and die was partially correct but the old weapon was far too deadly and had been left where the immoral and evil could easily pick it up and use.
The ancient religions were not good with morality and didn’t understand ethics but those were the only systems that justified and recorded power. The only morality was in the hands of the god king as interpreted by the specialized clerks who became priests acting on the powers that everyone was struggling to explain and use.
The Western cultural tradition allowed morality to be from the old divinities although that had begun to seriously break down in the Western Roman Empire. Adoption of a branch of Judaism put emphasis on a version of morality as the reason for religion.
In China the orientation to philosophy from an older tradition had formalized a hierarchical state with mysticism institutionalized for those without education and for those tired of education. The study of the Dao was endless and fascinating providing fortune telling for the masses and pleasant discussions for the retired scholars. There was no pretense of serious knowledge in that form of popular religion.
It is this trading away of morality as supernatural in the great scientific compromise that created a giant elastic band that bound human societies to moral squalor, oppression, superstition, hatred, and bigotry. This also pulled them back into the control of those who maintained power over the supernatural.
Severing the mythical past was only partially completed in the west. The great engine of science and objective knowledge has pulled for three centuries bringing the knowledge and well being within sight of all on this planet even as we approach eight billion humans. But the drag of irrational and crippled ethics and morality has pulled this movement to a stop.
America is the lead failure in this. Forty years of stagnation in the well being of the great majority of the population was the halting of forward progress as the great elastic band of Moral ignorance exerted more power. Neolithic tribal morality is no morality at all. Remove the mystical elements and the masses programmed for centuries to be blind to reality and to accept primitive exclusivity as the source of power fall to their knees in the face of nonsense and endless promises to make others pay for their happiness.
The stupidity of allowing drastically unbalanced societies with only the tiny elite owning almost everything is the inevitable price of primitive morality. Education should have prevented this but that was allowed to be compromised by the religionists and that is always available to the immoral opportunists.
The compromise at the base of the Western Scientific Revolution needs to be removed now. The easy success of dealing “only” with the physical world and ignoring the importance of morality, ethics, and true respect for the magic that we must know and understand at the individual human level must be paid for now.
It allowed tremendous gains in knowledge and the power to both ruin our planet and to save it for all life but the failure to build a true Moral Revolution to complete the Scientific Revolution has become deadly.
The manipulation of bigotry and greed must be neutralized by a holistic morality based on scientific compatible reality. The limited role of objectivity and scientific methodology must be expanded to all and everything now. The criteria that matters for morality is human well being and the standards of compassion, mindfulness, with knowledge of who and what we are.
These things are hinted at in the ancient mythologies but were not known in any real sense. The protection of traditional tribal authority always required the maintenance of fear in the vestiges of their gods. Real knowledge could not be allowed because it would destroy the antiquated mythology that was all that was left on their half of the compromise. Both sides became crippled. Science could not provide a complete universe but only a physical one and the religionists traded knowledge for power.
This historical compromise has been forgotten by most of the population although it now threatens all life on this planet. At most we have only ten years to begin major corrections to human society. The inability to build a true morality able to handle the vast power that we have discovered threatens direct destruction. At the same time our expanded knowledge has broken through the wall that was used to allow religionists power to survive. There is no longer any logic to the compromise.
As our planet and our societies wrestle with what has evolved strength is moving to the east. We are seeing China coming to power with their own problems but without the problems that are dragging down the West. Could this be because they are not faced with a morally crippled cultural vision of the universe?
If so can we change to correct this?