Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas Homily

This could well be my imagination, however my impression is the seasonal "peace on earth, good will to all mankind" rhetoric has been subdued and scaled back this year.

Most people aren't thinking like Freeman Dyson, that 2010 would be a great year to cut way back on those nukes, as another step towards their eventual elimination.

Speaking of rhetoric, as a practicing geek I've sampled a kind of "world domination" talk in these blogs and elsewhere (e.g. at Grunch dot Net -- which I'm in the process of moving today).

I'm seeing where this self spoofing nod to some inner drive or motivation might be misconstrued as an endorsement of unsustainable lifestyles based on militarism and/or brute force, especially to the casual reader.

Let me just say again for the record that "world domination" and "self mastery" are the two sides of this coin, and true "jihad" (as a spiritual discipline) means working together for a world less cruel, nurturing an internal psychology well suited to this purpose.

Neither nationalism nor racism are in the driver's seat here.

Peaceful co-existence is the name of the game, which to my way of thinking involves many flourishing civilizations, with people free to explore their shared planet, heritage, global university, promised land.

Protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are some of the themes here.

If you find a subculture that reflects your values and heart's desires, see about joining and becoming an insider. A "subculture" might be a religious group, a company, a cult, a tribe, an art colony... an extended family. Of course we've already joined in the world game playing right from the get go, by virtue of being born.

Diversity, not uniformity or mono-culture, is what to nurture and respect even as we work within one set of non-humanly contrived universal principles or "laws" (such as we investigate in science).

I apologize to my readers if I've not been clear enough before, about where I stand. My interconnected world-readable writings, video clips etc. are what I call my curriculum. I'm some kind of teacher engaged in work/study, and people will want to know what kind, especially if they think I might be influential in some way. What flames am I fanning? Whose politics do I espouse? Even if nobody is asking these questions, it's up to me to have some answers.

I'm also acutely aware that we feel trapped within institutions not of our own design or choosing. We fill prisons to overflowing, struggle in poverty, suffer under oppressors. Hopelessness and despair stalk the planet.

Religion and science are not eternally opposed. Intelligence and ingenuity are chief assets of our species. We have the ability to design new institutions, invent new roles for ourselves, stage different dramas. Our technologies work together in ways not anticipated by these components in isolation. "Compassionate engineering" is not an oxymoron.

Feeling called
by our deeper nature or higher selves is what many identify as a religious sense of God's will. Others think in terms of evolutionary pressure or the fury of being. We needn't all use the same language. It's a sign of strength that we don't.