Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Religion and the Love/Hate Emotion

A college friend of mine pointed out once that love and hate are not opposites. She pointed out that they are the same and that apathy is their opposite.

My experience since then has found this to have been, and to still be, profoundly true.

Both love and hate can drive a person insane. Both can induce irrationality in a person otherwise completely rational. Both can alter the courses of lives. Both can be powerful motivators.

Love and hate are the opposite faces of the same coin. The coin of passion.
The coin of passion is much like The Force in Star Wars. It has a light side and a dark side. 
The light side is used construct, build and help while the dark side is used to destroy and aggregate power and for revenge.

Obviously the difference is the direction of the passion and not the passion itself.

Love is much like the Jedi path while hate is the path of the Sith.

The Star Wars analogy, of course, is not a new one for any fans of the series (nor people who have even heard of it) and I am not claiming any originality in making it.

What interests me more than the Star Wars analogy to love/hate is the realization that religion is just an application of this emotional coin. Religious fervor is much like the irrational motivations people have when they are deeply in love or when they are deeply motivated by hatred.
Those affected by such devotion to a religion have the same level of responses to their faith and the doctrines of it that people have toward the object of their love/hate.

When people let this emotion warp and twist their lives they turn into hate machines that are willing to apply that hate toward everything and anything that opposes their faith. They will kill. They will torture. They will maim. They will steal. They will do all of the evil and bad things that people do when they hate something.
When people have a religious indoctrination based on the emotionally less-mature path that is easier to manage through destruction they are a detriment to ALL of mankind. They become examples of why humanity shouldn't be allowed to survive and become examples of why religion is bad. They make me glad that I lack any and all faith in anything because I never want to experience the level of darkness that their faith brings into their heart. There are far too many people like this in the news because they can do such a disproportionate amount of damage to others and that is scary to everyone else.
Conversely, though, are the people who find religion enhances their lives in positive ways.
I have many friends of faith. Many friends whose faith enriches their lives. Many friends whose faith brings them peace and comfort. Many friends whose faith is absolute and drives them to love their fellow man with the same heart-wrenching level of compassion as they have for the people they know in person. Many people who make me want to be a better person. Many people whose faith in their deity makes me angry that the gift of faith was never bestowed on me. These people are some of the best people I know and their love and tolerance makes the world a better place. There people, when they make the news, generate heart-warming stories that restore a small portion of my humanity. Unfortunately we do not have enough examples and stories of people helping others. We don;t have these stories because they are boring. Fear sells because it is actionable. Happiness does not sell because it is not.

Religious faith, therefore, must be the same emotion.
I find this revelation interesting that religion is just an extension of the love/hate emotion.

Which leads me to wonder if people who lack emotion or have trouble parsing love or hate or whose love/hate baseline is set at a different "neutral" position have vastly different (this is a relative term) brain structures or chemistries in a certain structure of their brains.

Just another idle ponderance that infected my mind and would not leave until I wrote it down. Feel free to comment, discuss, add links to relevant scientific articles, etc.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Global Climate Change

I think we're missing a lot of aspects of contributing factors because it is easy to fight over the two big arguments:
1 - whether it is man-MADE or not
2 - whether CO2 is the cause or not.

Sound is, essentially, the same as heat but at a MUCH lower frequency. Humanity makes a lot of noise. That HAS to have an effect.
Car engines, light bulbs, computers, etc all generate HEAT. It is an undeniable side-effect to what they do. That has to have an effect on things.
Furnaces generate heat. That is their core purpose. That has to affect things tremendously.

Our process of making CO2 generates a lot of HEAT and then traps that heat. It's not just the CO2 but all the things we do (per capita) multiplied by the number of people.

Also - the earth's natural equilibrium is for the northern sore of Canada to be a tropical rain forest. So says the paleontological evidence..... so on top of what we are doing the planet is still recovering from the last ice age to bring itself back to its normal.

In short - unless we figure out how to make the earth's equilibrium match OUR needs or figure out how to move underground / under the ocean - we're screwed on this planet.

200,000 years of human history is nothing next to the 80,000,000 that held the northern tropical rain forests and the 65,000,000 that held the tropical-temperatures around the globe before the impact prior to the Chicxulub impact... and all of the other epics prior to that one were also HUGELY larger than the time humanity has existed and all show the same thing - tropical temperature in the moderate and cold zones of this planet.

Is global climate change happening: yes, absolutely
Did we cause it? Nope.
Are we a contributing factor: certainly.
Are we a significant contributing factor: probably.
Do we ignore a lot of the ways we are contributing: this is as certain as the change itself.
Can we do anything about it: yes, but only if we, as a species, can accept the scientific truths about it and dedicate the resources to modeling ways to change the energy output of our industry and residences as well as figure out a way to properly sequester excess CO2 (secret: there are a lot of simple answers to the latter... some of them are even relatively easy to do).

For starters we need to accept that this is a very complex problem and stop outlining it as simple to the mass populace. We need to stop saying that we know, with certainty, that we CAUSED it. Many of the climate change naysayers are fighting back because they don;t believe humanity is so powerful that we could cause such a problem. Whether this view is ignorant of them or not we can stop their counter-arguments by eliminating the causation argument from the climate-change-is-happening camp.

From there we can focus our efforts on solar and wind technologies like several other "1st World" countries have done. Their usable lands for such energy sources are a fraction of the land available in the US for this and their capture rate is MUCH higher.

We could also engineer our buildings to support rooftop gardens and preserves to reduce the conversion rate of biological heat absorbers and carbon sinks into heat sinks that do not absorb carbon.
We could convert streets in cities into tunnels and cover the roofs of these tunnels with plant-supporting ground to do the same.
We could build buildings that allow for pockets of plants to grow on the sides of the buildings. This would provide additional insulation and further absorb carbon from the air.

These are just some things we could do to lessen our contributions to this problem.