AcharyaS and Earl Doherty
Taking "Heat" - Life on the Wall
I've often wondered why Acharya S gets more virulent flack than Earl Doherty (The Jesus Puzzle). I'm going to formulate an answer here of course. It is this. She's "on the wall" shooting while Mr. Doherty is in the courtyard of the Alamo "practicing".
Here's a spectrum of possibilities:
The difference here is recognizing (even if only intuitively) that the issue is not "religion". It is, rather, the efforts of the mob to get independent minds to
and become "one with the mindless horde". The question begged is …
If all organized religions suddenly ceased to exist … would our "problem" go away? No, it would not. The scene of the crime would simply shift to politics, i.e. the individual vs the collective. We enter here the turf of Ayn Rand (whom I greatly admire but do not agree with on some fundamental issues). Though she too does not identify the issue explicitly enough for me, she understands that the answer lies in the realm of epistemology. That's pretty close … still …
In art, the closest approach I've yet seen is in the movie "V" … in the scene where Evy (Natalie Portman) is released from her "cell" by V (Hugo Weaving).
Your mind functions by means of "comparison to standards". For instance, you have a standard of pleasure and pain which is fixed in the womb, i.e. soft, smooth and warm. If the womb were full of nails … that would be your standard of pleasure. However, by the nature of flesh, if the womb were nails and razor blades, we would not mature beyond a small fetus as we would be promptly cut up into bacon. Consequently, after you are born, anything which doesn't resemble the womb is rejected as "bad". Get it?
So too in the conceptual realm.
What conceptual standard?
This is your "soul". I mean here that the actual … real … soul of an individual … is a programming object that has been elevated to the status of a "standard" to which all new experiences are compared. Your soul is acquired in the first year of life or thereabouts (as judged by taking my own experience as "typical"). It happens by the mechanism of free induction. Free induction is what the human brain will do automatically. It is as though a bucket is being filled by similar experiences and when that bucket if full … a new bucket is created which is placed above that one in importance and given an identifier which sums up the contents of any buckets below it, i.e. a hierarchical structure. The highest bucket is your "soul" (at least a preliminary soul).
There is another level up you can go. At some point, you may grasp what your brain is doing, i.e. how your mind is being formed. If and when this happens, you will try to augment the bucket forming process by "concentrating" on whatever catches your attention. To concentrate is to "focus" your mind on a single object or topic. You can focus your mind just as you've learned to focus your vision. It's automatically learned by everyone.
Focusing your mind and trying to augment its development is called "forced induction". Your best result from that process is your finalized "soul" which you will reatain for the duration of your existence. You will compare every experience to it whether consciously (as I do) or subconsciously (as most do).
Your soul is your sword and your shield ... and ... in the context of a peaceful existence … your "digging tool", i.e. a mechanism for dealing with the ongoing flood of new information acquired through daily experience. The most salient point here is that it is a tool. Without that tool, you are truly lost in a sea of undifferentiated information. This leads to horrific malfunctions of course.
Principle Malfunctions of the Soul
Loss of Focus is the most common ailment in mental development. Your soul should always be at the leading edge of your life where it can encounter everything good-bad, right-wrong immediately. To remove one's soul from the leading edge is to "lose one's soul" … it drifts into the background due to lack of use. If you cannot consciously identify what your soul is, you cannot use it as efficiently … and … if you don't use it … you lose it. You mind gets filled with un-integrated experiences forming a jumbled mess where order should have been.
If you lose your soul, you will sense the mess in your mind and become frightened because you know that the failure to know ... leads directly to death. And if you can't find your own soul, you will form some kind of substitute. Religion answers to this basic need by supplying an avatar, i.e. a comic book type character with many details (you can add your own details later to fit your preferences). Then, having accepted this avatar, you can now go through life using it as an artificial standard (just like an artificial leg). You can "get by" … so long as nothing comes along that disturbs your resulting view of existence … like a war, or a disbeliever, etc.
If your new artificial soul is disturbed is such fashions, you can either toss it away and get another (not normally done because a toss off would require that you recognize the "artificialness" of your wooden soul) … or … you can fight back against the infidels … and kill them … arrrrgggghhhhh!
Your real soul never completely goes away. It becomes your "conscience" and works in the background to keep you on track if at all possible. You don't permanently lose critical info in your mind unless you have a physical brain injury. That info just goes to the background … out of the focus.
Very often individuals will "hide" their souls in the depths of their minds to preserve them from painful attacks. They curl up into themselves psychologically … a defensive posture. However, this is also a big mistake because your soul is ... under all circumstances … your best shielding device. It will protect you from psyche damage better than anything else and leave you free to face the remainder of your existence in the best possible state. It is self-repairing over time. It may not be perfect, but it is the best you can get given your personal circumstances. In other words … just gut it out and accept whatever consequences that present themselves. Hiding just doesn't cut it in the real world.
Also, you get an "anti-soul" as well. Whatever is your worst experience is also that little devil on your shoulder (as opposed to the angel on the other shoulder). If you try to hide from existence as above or simply lose the best within you, you leave open your leading edge to this "bad soul" replacement and then you are a really bad person … like a conman, rapist, murderer … or even … an insurance claims adjuster.
By the way, if you do consciously recognize your soul … and … keep it at your "leading edge" … you're still not out of the woods. If you use your soul, it gets dirty and worn out from touching things like dirt and crap and rusty nails and rocks and such. You have to daily clean it off and sharpen it as well. That is, you must go through the events of the day and ticking them off one by one … debug your digging (classification) routine. Get it? Daily - conscious - cleaning regimen. Even with the best soul in the world, you will make mistakes on a daily basis which have to be constantly removed because they constitute impediments to the erection of a proper hierarchical structure. You can be your own best friend or worst enemy depending on your diligence in your daily tasks.
These two souls form the "range" of your existence. You can draw a life-line for your existence like this:
The high to low distance is your "range". This can in fact change … if … you have some really, really bad experience in later life … like going to Auschwitz and watching your family murdered, etc. But generally, the first experiences are lifelong because they get "reinforced" through constant use.
This is why I admire people like AcharyaS, Ayn Rand and a host of others
They do battle against the mob. Without such as these, the mob will carry everyone down that easy road and it leads only to eventual oblivion. I have a recurring dream over the past few decades. In it, I live in a tree house and below me is a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people all pressed together. I climb down out of the tree house and walk on top of the mob … on their shoulders or on their heads … and nobody seems to notice. Occasionally, one of them looks up at me and I try to pull him out … but I can't … and they are just carried along in the "press" till at length they all go over a cliff which is where the drift of the mob is heading.
I don't know what to do.