Critiquing Salvation

Imbolc                                     Waning Cold Moon

OK.  To finish up the thought that got strangled as Morpheus took over my body last night.

Salvation through technology has infected our thinking, a direct consequence of the relentless application of reason to larger and larger spheres of knowledge.  Astronomy, physics and chemistry, geology, later biology all have had their mystery peeled away to reveal orderly, predictable processes.  As mystery drained away from the natural world–though note that mystery is not gone.  It lurks still behind quantum mechanics, life, consciousness, unified field theory–a slow build of an irrational hubris grew in inverse relation.  Because we knew some, we believed we knew enough.

Salvation through economics has infected our thinking, a direct consequence of the relentless application of reason to the idea of value and its diverse manifestations.  The ancien regime has been replaced by capitalism in many flavors, Marxism, socialism and even state socialism.  Again, as mystery drained away from the field of economics–though note that mystery is not gone.  It lurks still behind market crashes, the failure of planned states and the strange amalgam called socialism with Chinese elements–an irrational hubris grew in inverse relation.  Because we knew some, we believe we knew enough.

Salvation through religious dogma has infected our thinking, a direct consequence of an aversion to the application of reason to matters of faith.  The axial age faiths continue and have split, many claiming exclusive paths to human redemption.  They have not been replaced and  the mystery is why?  The strong brew of metaphysics, gods and goddesses and an answer to the perennial question of death keeps reason at bay when it comes to matters of faith and belief.  Because we believe we know enough, we believe.

The only way to examine these outsized claims lies in the disciplines that fall under the broad rubric of the humanities.  Only by going deep into the ways humans have lived their lives and responded to it through the arts and through historical reflection can we critique those splinters of our humanness that clamor for our attention.  Technology, economics and religion seem to offer hope for the future if only we can subjugate ourselves to their demands.  The unexamined aspect(s) of our lives poses the greatest threat to control us.

It is to this project that I have donated my life, the project of never taking anything for granted, of trying to see as many sides as possible of a claim, of using unexpected tools.  Poetry as a defense against the outsized claims of economics.  Music as a foil to the reach of technology.  History as a way to place religious systems within their proper context.

In that sense, then, yes, knowledge is the fuel and I do know where I’m going.  I also know I will never find the end of this ancientrail.  Its end lies beyond all of us, perhaps beyond the gates of death itself.

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