My Contribution to a LindedIn thread entitled, “Can adherence to rationalism lead to Atheism?”
Martin: I like your thoughts, and in many ways agree. Our differences have to do, not with the details, but with the overall picture, particularly regarding freedom. You mentioned that, though there are bad laws, the laws based on plurality and freedom are good ones. To me, no law can offer freedom, at least not freedom as I understand it.
The way I see it, only one freedom exists, which is the freedom to be true to ourselves, which means also to be true to life. I believe we are each born, animal or human, with a purpose to serve. That purpose is imposed by the processes of evolution, and manifested by the structure of our genes that are expressions of evolution, many of which control our feelings. These genes cause our subconscious minds to emote feelings, such as love, anger, empathy, romance, the sense to accept, reject, sacrifice, kill, and so on, in response to specific circumstances throughout our entire lives. Being true to life, and thus to ourselves, requires that we are free to honor the dictates of our “genetic wisdom,” which I also at times refer to as “the survival wisdom of our species.” Natural laws, those that give us the freedom to be true to our purpose, and thus also to life, are expressed exclusively through feelings, never words. Only through feelings, can we live in a state of unconditional love.
And why does unconditional love exist—though, as subjects of instituted laws, we seldom if ever experience it? Unconditional love is how our species (or the genetic structure that defines our species, if you prefer) rewards us for being true to ourselves, and thus also true to life. There is no better feeling than to love and to be loved unconditionally (that is for a member of a social species) because, to serve our purpose, there is nothing more important for us to do than to take care of the other members of our extended families. All animals live by instinct. Because they are thus serving their purpose for being, they live in a state of unconditional love (those that aren’t members of social species experience love in dimensions other than the intimacy of extended family relationships) as did all humans until the first manmade law was instituted.
The problem with manmade laws is that each one prescribes how we are to behave, given specific circumstances. Consequently, when living by instituted law, we are living by prescription, not by instinct—our hearts. Instincts, animal and human, inspire the behavior required to sustain life as evident by life’s existence. When living by prescription, a practice humans began only ten to thirty thousand years ago, we can’t sustain life, because our perceptions, even our best, are based on “plurality and (individual) freedom,” instead of on behalf of our species’ freedom to survive. The doctors (lawmakers) who prescribe our laws don’t even see the survival of our species as an issue. But, even if they did, it would make no difference. The survival wisdom of our species can’t be prescribed because: 1) It would have to be decoded; 2) It is unique to each individual—i.e., by instinct, not everyone reacts exactly the same to a given situation: and, 3) It’s too complex to be expressed in words. Even if it were put in words, how could we, as subjects of those prescriptions, be expected to remember ten to thirty million laws?
Furthermore, the problem with legal prescriptions is the same as with medical prescriptions—there are side effects. One unintended side effect of living by prescription is that we no longer live in a state of unconditional love. The other is the likelihood that we are unintentionally denaturing our environment.
You accurately pointed out that laws allow us to live together in mass communities. But, in all due respect, I am dismayed, not elated, by that fact. Only by our being able to organize in mass, the very ability legal prescriptions allow, is mankind capable of creating the technology that possesses us with the power to unintentionally destroy the habitat. And as for love, we can hardly love, or be loved unconditionally, when living en masse.
We are in concert with Burt Bacharach’s “What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love,” but sweet love, no matter how much the world needs it, won’t happen as long as we continue living by state imposed prescriptions, instead of according to our individual hearts.