Friday, February 26, 2010

The Myth Of "Heaven"

"Heaven" and "Hell" ideation: two poles of brain dynamics - but they don't exist in reality, only as brain confections.

Having already dealt with the invention of the Hell Myth it makes logical sense to deal with Heaven as well. The Second Council of Constantinople as it extirpated Origen’s doctrine of metempsychosis – replaced it with the dualistic Heaven-Hell – again, in order to spur humans more quickly to embrace salvation or redemption. The reasoning was that Origen’s doctrine afforded Man too much time to seek God. Heaven-Hell meanwhile allowed only one lifetime, not multiple ones. The sinner – so-called, had to make good in this one life, garner the reward of Heaven, or the everlasting punishment of Hell.

The error of the Heaven confabulators is basically the same as for the Hell inventors – since the two are irrevocably twinned- 2 sides of the same sanity-raping coin. In any reward-punishment setting, one must offset the other. If you invent Hell to punish the unfaithful or the hardcore sinner who refuses to repent, you must have a Heaven for those who comply. Just like religionists have Dante Allegheiri to thank for his ‘Inferno’ (to supply imagery of Hell) they also have him to thank for his ‘Paradiso’ (the third book of the Divine Comedy) to describe the Heavenly dimensions.

Moving on- the reward-punishment model gained many adherents by virtue of its appeal to fatuous human concepts of justice. Note, I said “HUMAN”, since to be sure, no human can explicate (or mentally imitate) what a divine concept would be- but one thing we do know, it would bear no semblance to a finite brain’s concept. In any case, the confected reward-punishment model became widely acceptable as humans asked: “Why NOT? How can you have murderers, rapists, etc, as well as thieves being rewarded in the next life, especially if they got away with their crimes in this one? And look at Hitler!”

The fact is that "justice" is a limited human concept and invention, not a divine decree. It is also hard to make a cogent argument that the world wouldn’t be any more "chaotic" today if we did away with a lot of the so-called "justice" . Truth be told, we probably would see a saner, more temperate world - filled with fewer psychos (who had been degraded in prisons) out for blood when they leave. The hard fact is most human “justice’ retains an abominable eye for an eye atavistic undertow. You take a life, you give up yours, etc.

Comparisons to human justice also make little sense. , even the most cursory examination by a superficial observer will disclose that "justice" - certainly in the US of A, is capricious. There is no standard, and the rich are more likely to get off than pay the piper.

At another level, there is no evidence that any afterlife exists, whether Heaven or Hell. No one has returned from the truly dead- by which I mean no heart or brain activity for at least twenty four hours- and given us proof that anything exists., (Btw, this means not being on any machines that sustain or aid breathing). All we have are facsimile reports of “near death” or people briefly technically “dead” for a few minutes, or maybe a bit longer. But no one has returned from a stone cold morgue and related in detail his or her experiences.

Thus, in the absence of unambiguous empirical proof, the simpler hypothesis applies, according to the Ockham’s Razor Principle. That hypothesis is that when we die, our bodies (including brain) die and decay, there is no residual life of any type that remains- including an individual consciousness. No afterlife of any kind we’d recognize (though in a previous blog I did leave the door open to an amorphous consciousness based on scattered B-waves, But these would exhibit no individuality or personality. Essentially no “self” would remain that could be associated with the prior physical being.

For all practical purposes, once we die, the condition is little different from that experienced when we undergo total anesthesia. You are simply not “there” and when you awaken you have no recall of anything – it was a blank. The difference is that with death there is no wake up, no revival, no coming to.

Bottom line, nothingness is the end point of life. There is no Heaven or Hell, these are fairy stories invented by Church Fathers determined to employ a not so subtle means of psychological coercion to get their flock to heave to and follow orders. The irony of it is that all that’s happened is people have been as amoral or immoral as they ever were. Even more butchering has been done (per capita) since the Council decree was passed in 553. Thus, rather than humans responding to the “one life to live” model by seeking more rapid redemption, the exact opposite has held ….and vastly more iniquity and abominations, including the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Holocaust.

Philosopher Joseph Campbell ('The Power of Myth') gave the best direction on where to seek Heaven if one wishes to:

“Heaven is everlasting, not eternal, and you find it in the here and now, the present”

But once you’re gone, there won’t be anything, So the message is, enjoy your Heaven now! Or whatever you can do in earthly life to make it as close as possible to the heavenly ideation our brains entertain.

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