I have a soul. I can observe it through introspection. It is a full accounting of my sins, offset by a selective accounting of my acts of charity. I know the balance of that account. We all know the balance of that account – even if we fear to look at it. The chief value of an all-knowing god, is as a psychological device that assists us in looking at the transactions in, and balance of, that account, without any ability to lie to ourselves.
The chief value of confession is to publicly admit this balance, and use peer pressure to eliminate any deficit.
Whether that soul is eternal is not a question – of course it is. We can commit no sin or perform no charity without the existence of others to sin or perform charity against. Our actions leave a permanent record in the universe. We live on eternally in the changes to the universe that we have made by our actions. That is what acting means: to alter the course of events. Each action does so. That our simple human minds need to anthropomorphize these ideas so that they are easier for the ignorant, dim, and fearful to grasp is no more surprising than that children need parables, myths, legends, and fairy tales to grasp basic concepts using models for concepts otherwise beyond their experience.
[pullquote]the practice of sport, the discipline of stoic mindfulness, the sacredness of nature, the ceremonial request for wisdom from, and the ceremonial thanks to our heroes, the gathering of souls in the practice of all of the above, and our surrender to the pack as a means of overcoming our petty differences and interests.[/pullquote]
This scientific view of one’s soul is not without what humans consider supernatural properties however. It is increasingly clear that we do not understand the structure of matter, space, and time, and that our perception of matter, space, and time, is limited to that in which we can act. If even some small part of our understanding of the universe is true, then it is entirely possible that it matters not only how we act, but how we think, and what we believe, and how others remember us.
Given that the worst case argument we can construct about supernatural forces is to say “I do not know, but it places no cost upon me either way,” or that “I choose to act as if it is so because there is no penalty for doing so, but a benefit for doing so”, “and there are benefits to psychological rituals for all mankind”, we have enough justification for the conceptual use of one or more all knowing gods that assists our minds in confronting a full accounting of our actions, and the presumption of the possibility that collective ritual may in fact alter the structure of not only our minds, but the minds of others, and potentially the structure of the universe in beneficial ways.
Moreover, since it is increasingly clear that we are not cognizant of the power of our genes, our intuitions and our biases upon our minds and actions, it is not clear that there is an as yet unrecognized equivalent of a calculating system of some sort – ostensibly unaware – produced by the actions, thoughts and memories of all of us. I have no way of knowing one way or the other. But without knowing I will not fail to pay the cost of perpetuating what has worked for all of human history: rituals that bind us to one another through invocation of the submission-to-the-pack response ever present in our brain stems.
Our understanding is overrated, because it is extremely limited. So in these cases I prefer to do what is beneficial for men and man, assuming that the recipe we follow for collective religious ritual is causing us to produce some product that I do not understand, rather than to write it off as a psychological crutch or weakness. It’s just science. How we justify this particular thing as purely scientific and useful, rational, psychological or mystical is not important to me. These are just languages for different levels of abstraction, all of which describe the same process and its effects.
As such I merely prefer the least false set of beliefs, and the most constructive forms of ritual. And those are, from my knowledge: the practice of sport, the discipline of stoic mindfulness, the sacredness of nature, the ceremonial request for wisdom from, and the ceremonial thanks to our heroes, the gathering of souls in the practice of all of the above, and our surrender to the pack as a means of overcoming our petty differences and interests.
The Philosophy of Aristocracy
The Propertarian Institute