Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Devolution of God -- Our Shift from Experience to Concept

Anybody else, besides me, curious about how the Ego-Explosion took us from Spirit-faith to theism...?

It seems that when the ego-explosion happened, people became unable to perceive Spirit all around them ... the entire focus was on survival, and control. The world went from a friendly/connected realm, to a cold, dismal, and even hostile environment ... and mankind needed a new narrative to make sense of it. While feeling insecure, and facing new dangers, they desperately needed something, or some ones, to make it all seem more orderly, more in control. So too, they needed something to explain why they felt separate and incomplete ... much like how young children require "transitional objects" (like security blankets), when they perceive themselves to be separate from their mothers.

And so, man invented religion.

With the loss of awareness of Spirit-force, people saw religion as something distinct, separate from "real life" ... gods were "out there, somewhere" ... far away, remote. Gods required special houses, special days, special rituals (for appeasement) ... and connecting with the gods/God could only be done in those special ways. And, because life was suddenly so dismal and painful, they formed the concept of a life after death, as reward/compensation for all the suffering in this life.

Christianity speaks of a "God-shaped hole" within us ... which we humans try to fill with various things (money, fame, success, drugs, food, busyness) ... but that we won't be satisfied until we find God. And, for a while, religion does seem to fill the void (or, at least it keeps us so busy that we don't have time to think about how we feel ... so too, are feelings considered suspicious within religion ... so, don't think, don't feel, just keep busy ... or as one of Kevin Beck's favorite bumper sticker says, "Jesus is Coming Back - Quick! Look Busy!").

However, as science has developed in the modern era, our understanding of life has expanded, and the panaceas of religion no longer suffice. Ultimately, religion doesn't work either. It only acts as a band-aid ... it doesn't touch the cancer eating away at us. It doesn't affect our sense of separation and incompleteness - it can only offer "eventual compensation" (once we die).

But there IS another way to deal with the separation and incompleteness ... through spiritual growth/development. Religion offers a worldview, a system, and an explanation for life... but it frowns upon spiritual growth (& the questioning of what we believe) -- it instead requires conformity, to the truths it already espouses (& controls).

Spiritual development is about transformation ... to heal our psychological pain, and to transcend our current suffering. How to overcome the sense of separation, how to be free of psychic pain, by reconnecting with Spirit (or to realize that we've never been separate from Spirit). It goes to the heart of the problem, rather than just dealing with symptom-management. Once we begin the inner transformation (a shift in perspective), we discover that we no longer need religion as a form of compensation ... it becomes both unnecessary, and even a hindrance to our transformation.

As Job says, after his experiential encounter with God:
My ears had heard about you.
But now my own eyes have seen you.

When we experience God/Spirit, as God/Spirit IS, then our previous mental concepts of God fall away ...

And may it continue..!

(Next: Other Effects of the Fall...)

Shalom, Dena


MysticBrit said...

Dena, it's a question I live, eat and breathe every nanosecond;)

Yup, God, or whatever you like to call the Totality of Existence (I must admit 'God' is a bit pithier:)) is within every atom, energising and transforming and evolving into the next amazing expression of the same.

That's a whole lot better than 'Him up there who'll whack you one if you don't read your self-proclaimed Holy Book every day and believe every semicolon'.

I wonder what semicolonic irrigation feels like? That's what the world needs now, I'm convinced. That, and Lurve, Sweet Lurve;)

Dena said...

Semicolonic irrigation!

Maybe THAT's what's been going on! An inner-cleansing! Wheeee!

Now WHAT the heck did I say to cause a Scientology ad to pop up on my blog?!? LOL!

Mary said...

The "ego-explosion" you speak of may have been the result of hunter-gatherers moving into community (agricultural societies) which created more need for cooperation amongst peoples. Tribal peoples (hunter-gatherers) were more likely to go to war against the tribes that they met wandering over the countryside simply because they looked or spoke differently from them. Once the agrarian society emerged people lived in much closer proximity to each other and had to figure out ways to "get along". I think religion served this purpose well. Controlling people was needed in order for economies to develop. Interdependence required regulation, thus societies survived. Otherwise the mayhem of tribal rules threatened the developing cooperation of peoples. With religion and a one-god concept in place the ego-explosion was perfectly set up by religion and all that goes with man controlling man.

I think the hunter-gatherers may have invented religion though. I think that any concept of god or spirit outside ourselves which we relate to can be called religion. The ego-explosion was simply the organizing of it which gave our brains a chance to exploit others and gain advances for ourselves.

But then again, maybe it was the change in diet that they experienced with agriculture opening up opportunity for more nutrients in the diet. (I actually have no idea about this last one. I'm kind of joking.)

sylvia said...

Dena, I love your post. Now my problem is finding a way to grasp the spiritual and let go of the religion!

Dena said...

Good thinking, Mary! Have you read "The Fall"? I had to leave a LOT out ... I think you'll find what Steve Taylor shared about the gatherer-hunters (written this way as gathering was far more predominant than hunting), and the agrarians, to be fascinating ... blowing the older concepts out of the water!

Sylvia ~ It's happenING. Just your stating so, is bringing it about. If you're aware, it's happening.

Ain't that cool?!? :)

MysticBrit said...

It's THE cure for all that aridity, fruitlessness and positivionitis, Dena;)

(Blame Google for the Scientology silliness - their 'puters probably figured, this blog's a bit weird - let's put a weird ad at the bottom:)

Do you have the 'Monetise' option enabled on your dashboard? That could be why you're getting things like that.)

Dena said...

Another thought, Mary ... Steve Taylor acknowledges that anthropologists have long assumed that the ego-explosion occurred when gatherer-hunter groups settled down. But here's the kink in that theory: there were civilized, established towns, housing thousands of diverse peoples, living in harmony, with no signs of violence, suppression, or war ... and then suddenly, 6,000 years ago, these people, regardless of whether they were gathering/hunting, or agriculturing, became violent, suppressive, and war-focused.

It seems that the sudden aridity played a huge factor in this ... and the sudden scarcity of food required the humans (particularly the males) to have to compete to survive, whereas before, when resources were plentiful, and the land was lush, cooperation was not only possible, but beneficial to all.

Mary said...

I've not read "The Fall". Just now looked up reviews for the book. Don't know the author either. I've been looking into evolution lately and have run across some of my thoughts from that.

Desert taking over land sounds feasible as to man becoming desperate for survival. Population growth coinciding with it might have played a part too. Fight for the goods or "get out of Dodge" and find some habitable land that will supply more than enough resources.

Ego growth caused by the birth of monotheistic beliefs, among other things, makes sense to me, especially if one observes today's religions and the problems caused by the superiority thinking they proliferate.

Thanks for the dialogue.