The Great Chain

The Great Chain

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Why I Don't Believe - The Great Chain Part 7

Given the small associational range within which Humans operate, the Great Chain is best understood not only as a series of associational levels, but also divided based on our ability to meaningfully associate.  The first eight levels of the Great Chain are best understood as Macroscopic Associational Levels.  Objects and forces on such levels exist and associate on a level far beyond than anything an individual human or humanity in the aggregate can hope to meaningfully relate. Neither an individual nor our entire species can meaningfully associate with the Sun, for example, no matter how hard we might try.

Human activities and concern are almost exclusively limited to Experiential Associational Levels.  Objects, forces and organisms that exist and associate on roughly the same level as we ourselves do.  It is to these Experiential Associational Levels that we now turn.

Level 9 - Human Communities

Communities are generally the largest aggregations of people with whom the majority of humanity is capable of meaningfully associating.  Like the larger scale divisions in human society, such divisions are often, but not necessarily, geographic in nature.  Indeed, the interconnectedness of modern human society has facilitated the rise of incredibly diverse communities unbound by geography.  Communities are generally capable of meaningful associations not only with other communities, but larger political, ethnic and or religious entities.  There are so many communities and their size is so varied, that most human interactions take place within one community or another.  Indeed, most humans are involved in and meaningfully associate with numerous communities simultaneously, thus giving the community a remarkable flexibility in human society.  This flexibility enables humans to meaningfully associate with one another to accomplish a shared goal or purpose.

In purely religious terms, community generally refers to a much smaller group of individuals who distinguish themselves from other members of a larger religious community by means of some doctrinal distinction.  Many, but by no means all, of these communities actually believe that their community and ONLY their community is capable of knowing the will of God and worthy of salvation.  A handful of these communities are so radical, so blinded by rage, xenophobia and hatred that they are actually willing to murder those of differing sects out of some perverse sense of divine duty.  While such individuals and communities are, thankfully, rare, their presence and unthinking, unfeeling devotion to their warped ideas about God serve as a constant reminder of the dangers of fundamentalism.

Why would God care about a small group of people amongst the sea of 6,800,000,000 people based on their interpretation of a book?  The picture below shows a small portion of a crowd of about 70,000.  Having attended the event in question, I can personally attest to the fact that meaningful association within such a group is next to impossible.  And 70,000 is merely a small portion of a single city, located within a single country.  Attempting to distinguish amongst individuals within the enormous sea of humanity is incredibly difficult, even when we exist on the same level.  To expect that the Creator of the Great all would bother to make such distinctions with creatures so far below its level of existence seems silly.

Does such a distinction make any sense at all?  As with every previous level, the question is whether, why or how the God who created the Great All, who exercises dominion over the 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 or so stars in the observable Universe would bother making a distinction based on a human interpretation of an allegedly divine book.    Even assuming that God wrote the book, in what way does it follow that He would be in any way bound by OUR interpretation of that book or would even be Interested in how we interpret it.  This question becomes especially pertinent when EVERY single Sacred Text claims divine authorship and is mutually exclusive of every other Sacred Text.  And where nearly every sub-sect claims some manner of exclusive Divine Mandate over their specific interpretation.  The idea that any one of these sects has ANY insight into God, let alone that they know His will, let alone that they know the proper way to worship him, is simply ludicrous.  Indeed, such distinctions look more and more like the distinctions we make between ourselves than the kind of distinctions any deity, let alone one incredible enough to have caused the Big Bang would make.

Even more ludicrous, is the idea that this being, this entity, this force that is responsible for the creation of and is master over the countless worlds and endless phenomena in the Universe will actively INTERVENE on our behalf.  That this being is interested in us personally, by which I mean YOU.

Level 10 – You

At last we've arrived.  We're here.  At you.  We are now 10 levels of existential association down the Great Chain, meaning there are 10 levels of existential association between you and the Creator of the Great All – The Author of Existence.  In case you haven't figured this out yet, I personally find the idea that the Creator cares about you to be a bit far fetched.  A bit narcissistic.  A bit arrogant.  A bit egocentric.  A bit much.

Be honest with yourself.  Do you have a hotline to the Governor of your state?  Can you call him any time?  Do you meaningfully associate with him or her?  If you do, then you are one of the more powerful people in your state.  What about your President or Prime Minister?  Are they within your circle of meaningful association?  Do you have a Red Phone that rings in their office letting them know that you are on the line?  Unless this book has spread much farther than I imagined, it is highly unlikely that you have a personal connection with the President or Prime Minister.  And the President is on the same level of existential association as you!

Most normal people will never have an audience with the President no matter how hard they try.  And far, far fewer will meaningfully associate with such people.  So if it is difficult if not impossible for you to meaningfully associate with another being who lives on YOUR OWN LEVEL OF EXISTENTIAL ASSOCIATION, how can anyone possibly claim to have a direct and meaningful connection with THE BEING THAT CREATED EVERYTHING! WITH A BEING WHO DWELLS ON A LEVEL OF EXISTENCE 10 LEVELS ABOVE YOUR OWN?  If the vast majority of the people who dwell on the same level of existence are oblivious to, or uninterested in you, how is it reasonable to presume that the Nexus of the Entire Universe is more interested than your human brethren?

My apologies, but the egotism, narcissism and self-importance in such an assertion simply blows my mind.

Obviously, you know who you are, you know who you associate with.  No one knows better than you, how far up and how far down the levels of existential association you go, whether you are a leader of a community or a leader of a nation, you know the people you meaningfully associate with.  You also know how far down the chain of existential association your interests lie.  To be sure, you probably love your pets, you probably care about your organs, you are probably partial to your specialized cellular tissues, but how much farther down do you care about?  Do you care about your individual cells?  Do you care about individual bacteria?  Do you care about your individual cellular organelles, DNA, amino acids and other organic compounds?  Do you care about individual molecules?  Do you care about individual atoms?  Do you care about individual sub-atomic particles?  Do any of those things meaningfully associate with you?  Do you meaningfully associate with any of them?

The reality is that once you get down to the levels of Microscopic existence and association, individual existences rapidly lose any meaning or relevance in our lives.  The reality is that we do NOT care at all about our individual cells.  Why would we?  Depending on our size we generally have between 50,000,000,000,000 and 100,000,000,000,000 of them.

As an example, a single drop of your blood contains approximately 5,000,000 red blood cells.  The picture below contains approximately 500 red blood cells, meaning that 10,000 identical pictures would contain approximately the same number of red blood cells as a single drop of blood.  These cells are YOU.  Your body made them.  Crafted each with precision and care.  Do you care about their individual existence?  Do you concern yourself with their well being?  Mete out justice between them?  If you are honest, the answer is clearly no.  You do NOT care about any of your individual cells.  And these cells exist only ONE level below you.  A single level of association separates you from the countless trillions of cells within your own body.  And even that distinction renders an individual existence meaningless to us.

We care even less, if that were possible, about the constituent components of an individual cell.  How much less, do we care about individual molecules or atoms or sub-atomic particles.  The simple fact is that once we get more than two or three levels of existential association below our own level, we simply cannot care because the individual existence is functionally meaningless to us.

As you read on, consider this.  There are at least 10 levels of existential association between God and you.  How many levels of association below you can you go before you lose any and all interest in the individuals comprising that level of existence.

No comments:

Post a Comment