Bare Bones Biology 292 – There Are Rules

Last week I pointed out that religion and science teach us, at the top levels of their understandings, one big message. The message is that there are rules and we are far better off in the real world if we follow these rules than if we do not. I think that’s why humans evolved both religion and science – because the more we know about the rules, the better able we are survive and flourish in a real world of rules.

 

160119-TurkeyWe all live in the same world, more or less comfortably, and therefore our wisdom traditions, including both science and religion, as studied by for example Prof. Huston Smith and by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Prof. Joseph Campbell, Karen Armstrong, and others – if they do a good job of studying the higher-level information, that is the wisdom that is illuminated for us by the various religions and by basic science (not politically useful technologies, but the basic science that attempts to learn what the rules are and how they function) — that higher level information should be the same or similar in all the wisdom traditions, because we are, indeed, one world. Not a different world for science and then a collection of different worlds for the various religious expressions.

 

What do I mean by higher-level information? I mean the actual rules, the laws of nature, stripped of their various metaphorical interpretations. Every religion and also basic science abound with metaphorical elaborations of the rules for safe conduct in the world, and they vary from culture to culture, but the message is similar, and in that similarity are the truths that describe the rules of nature/God that are necessary to the proper function of the universe, the Biosystem, and humans within the Biosystem.

 

There are at least three levels of understanding in every wisdom tradition. First we grow to understand the culture into which we are born, all the things we automatically learn, that tie our instincts to our particular culture of birth — such as language and our interpersonal relationships and our relationships with our immediate environment.

The second level is our education, including the vivid metaphors of our religion that function to align our behaviors with our instinct for survival. Third, beyond the metaphor, is the highest level of understanding the facts of history and the laws of God and nature.

 

160118-cabin-ASC_1370sFor example, all the major religions encourage compassion, preferably “wise compassion,” or “pure compassion,” that is not entangled with negative motivation, because compassion, like any human emotion, can be used for self-aggrandizement (that is, pride), and these same major religions (and the basic science) also carry the message that: “Pride goeth before a fall.”

 

In my lifetime I have seen this meme actualized at every level of human endeavor, yet I have never seen a culture so prideful as are we in this world right now, and yes, we are mining compassion for all it is worth, both for money and self-aggrandizement. We actually believe we only need to think of a thing and it is do-able without any down side or blowback – just because it was we who thought of it. Scary it is. Where is our religion when we need it? And our basic science?

 

At the peak of human understanding, where the teachings agree, there lies wisdom, and that wisdom tells us there is an “unseen order” that drives reality. We only need to listen.

 

 

 

This is Bare Bones Biology a production of https://FactFictionFancy.wordpress.com

The podcast of this blog can be downloaded at: http://traffic.libsyn.com/fff/Bare_Bones_Biology_292_-_There_Are_Rules.mp3

 

 

Huston Smith. 2005. The Soul of Christianity. Harper, San Francisco.

His Holiness The Dalai Lama. 2010. Toward a True Kinship of Faiths. Doubleday     Religion.

Joseph Campbell. 1972. Myths to Live By. The Penguin Group

E. O. Wilson.  Sociobiology.

Karen Armstrong. A History of God.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: