Showing posts with label Tribalism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tribalism. Show all posts

Friday, July 3, 2015

Hillel, Jesus and the Decalogue

christine3 wrote:
"These are our highest most honesty-keeping rules and should be considered sacred. If you follow these rules you will not be cut off, you will live in the world to come." For the Commandments were written with the foreknowledge that there was going to be a world to come.

Neither the Hebrew nor the OT Commandments were written with salvation or a world to come.  There was a hint of a world to come in Isaiah but the life after death, sin, and salvation were all invented by Paul. The Decalogue is simply a sacred rulebook as you note.  
I do find it interesting that in the Hebrew Decalogue the social rules are mashed into 2 verses.  In your version the 10 could be contained in 3.  1 through 8 condensed into ""These are our highest most honesty-keeping rules and should be considered sacred."  I can see where Hillel the Elder got his one foot Torah.  And Jesus found his Two Commandments: 1-8 condensed into Love the Lord thy God, and the rules condensed into Love thy neighbor as thyself.

I know why my Jewish friends liked to talk about Hillel the Elder.  I didn't really notice that God was missing from our discussions.  I have no doubt that God was assumed by Hillel and my friends as the originator of the social rules, but the overemphasis on worship and obedience to "I am the Lord Thy God" was clearly missing.  No wonder atheism is compatible with Judaism.  If the rules, all 613 of them were the result of a tradition that worked there is no reason to add God to the tradition except to establish a supernatural cop that would punish transgressors. Moses was for some reason having trouble governing his tribe, and perhaps thought that a supernatural supercop was just the thing he needed. It sure did work.  A few thousand years of working.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Pain and Death and Morality

Humans and other social animals work very hard to eradicate pain because pain is next to death on the spectrum of things to try to avoid. There is a problem, however, in that humans have been inventing tools, weapons and machines that are designed to inflict pain and death in order to conquer and use other humans for thousands of years. Somebody want to continue this thought? I don't know exactly where to go with it. .christine3

Inflicting pain and death is part of survival for predators and frequently pain and risk of death are part of predation.  And humans are certainly predators.  Avoiding pain and death is a characteristic more of prey than predators, and social prey animals develop moral strategies to minimize pain and death for the social unit.  One universal moral imperative is protect the next generation at any cost.  Although it might be argued that this is a species survival instinct rather than a moral precept for our purposes the difference is probably insignificant. 

The real problem for humans is that they are both prey and predators.  In tribal societies (aren't we all) especially nomadic tribes resources are generally controlled by other humans and tribal survival means better killing tools, weapons and machines and not incidentally tribal moral imperatives that encourage their use.  Kill or subdue all the heathen, gentiles, or other "non-humans" that is, not us,  with the fear of pain and death.   It is no accident that religious morals distinguish strongly between "us" and "them" and discourage any sympathy or empathy for them. 

It is perhaps significant that the "thems" have not only developed highly efficient defensive killing and pain inflicting weapons, but have also developed more inclusive moral imperatives that recognize others as important as well.  Probably the most radical and important moral innovation of the Enlightenment was that all are equal.  OK all men, but that was the critical break with the "Us v. Them" morality.  And put the human race on the slippery slope to the humane treatment of all.  There are still those trying to claw their way back up the slope to the rock of hatred, frequently led by God the rock, but those "defensive" horror weapons in the hands of the relatively enlightened are formidable intimidators of the remaining predator humans. 

Interestingly one of the most intimidating of those weapons is the Enlightenment idea that all are equal.  The people in the streets have no fear of pain or death, and can in fact defy the most powerful offensive weapons.  See Tiananman Square or Kent State University. Certainly many were hurt and killed, but the mores of the world were radically changed.

Incidentally, I would put pain as a much greater fear than death. Suicide is a common solution to pain, emotional and physical. Three banksters seem to have heard the call to jail them and fear the pain that will be inflicted if those calls are implemented.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A World without Borders

Is Theism Simply Fear Of Facing Reality? - beliefnet

I like to imagine a world without borders, without local goverments or political parties , without different religions or beliefs and where equality is not and empty word but a reality, where diversity is respected and appreciated for its contribution to enrich cultures, and where nationalities are not seen as a threat because there will be only one, Earth citizenship.
This world is closer than you think. It is a world-wide coalition of educated intelligent people leading the world into a gender, skin color, nationality neutral rational meritocracy. It is being lead by the secular Chinese, abetted by secular Americans, Europeans, Indians, Australians and several other secular parts of the world. I say secular, as most religions discourage the rational education required to be a part of this coalition especially for women who are the natural leaders in this coalition.

Unfortunately it won't be for everybody. Religious and political leaders will opt as many people out of it as they can to maintain their control. In the US the politico-religious axis will opt most of the country out of this revolution. This is the reality that religions are seeking to avoid. Or looking at it crassly, religions are using to sell the big rock candy mountain in the next life, to substitute for the reality in this life that they cannot deliver.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Is This Life All There Is?. - Beliefnet

As intelligent social animals I would argue that the basic human evolutionary unit is the tribe. Larger than a relationship clan but small enough that all members have a 'nodding acquaintance or potentially so. The tribe sets the mores, creates the Gods, and establishes the membership rules. And historically, establishes other. Gods allow the tribe to exceed the acquaintance limitation, as all tribal members worship God as the unifying entity. And use the rituals as the unifying principles. As long as communication was controlled by the priesthood, this worked well, although resource conflicts with the others were always an issue.

Gutenberg, laid the groundwork for the disintegration of the tribe, and humans have basically tried to find a substitute since. Nations, Religions, and Ethnic groups have all in one way or another tried to replace the tribe, and it seems we are still working out the solution. It is as the Chinese Edit: proverb curse notes 'Interesting times.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tribal Moral Law

atheism is NOT a "worldview" - Beliefnet

All moral law is ultimately the mores of the tribe. That which allows the face group of the tribe to function. The tribe may adopt a moral law giver in the form of a shaman or imaginary super shaman, but either will of necessity codify the mores of the tribe: Be nice to members of the tribe, protect the children of the tribe, respect the leaders of the tribe and protect the traditions and lore of the tribe.

In the modern world tribes are larger than a face group, and dispersed among other tribes in the society, but have common tribal values. Some are built around a religious tradition, others are built around business traditions, and another is based around the traditions of the university community. The university communities are typically split into the scholars and the warriors, and loyalties to each group carry beyond the campus with the warriors transferring loyalties to professional warrior teams, either sport or military.

The above is grossly stereotyped of necessity, there are major differences within each 'tribe.' Religious groups in particular are split into smaller and smaller groups some as small as a parish, each with its own mores and most with it's own higher moral law giver providing an absolute higher moral law for the tribe. Of course it is too much to expect that these absolute higher moral law agree on much of anything except that they are right and all the other absolute higher moral law givers are wrong.

It should be noted that there are atheists in most of the tribes, and the atheists generally adopt the world view of the tribe with the exception that the absolute higher moral law giver, if there is one, is an imaginary myth.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Morals of the Tribe.

The 'existence' of gods - Beliefnet

They both are talking about morality. The real issue is where Ken gets his preferences and cptpith gets his empathy basis for good and evil. And for that matter where you get your 'God says'

Humans are basically tribal animals. Tribes these days are distributed in the larger society. But within the tribe morality, that is, what is right and wrong is as rigid and strict as the 10 Commandments, although less frequently violated. 'Aunt Matilda' tells mom and dad which fork to use, who may screw whom, and who may own whom, and all of the other rights and wrongs of the tribe. Mom and Dad in turn make sure the children from the time they are old enough to play with other children internalize these rules with their pablum. 'Aunt Matilda' has lots of help, other relatives, teachers, mentors, authority figures all play a role in defining right and wrong for the tribe.

Your tribe throws God into the mix, but in general God's moral precepts are so archaic that even the most devout must pick and choose among them and interpret the ones they choose so heavily that in effect God's morality is the believer's personal preferences just like Ken's. I would bet that Ken's preferences are based on a modern educated tribe's morality, and that in fact they are more rigid than a believer's.

If the believer has chosen only the Second Great Commandment and discarded all the rest of the archaic moral precepts, they don't have much of an argument with cptpith, except maybe that God said so rather than the tribe dictates.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Tribe as the Human Evolutionary Unit.

What is the Purpose of Religion? - Beliefnet

As the human evolutionary selection unit is the tribe, as long as tribes were small enough and cohesive, a god was a useful entity to take the responsibility of leadership from the tribal leaders. 'Hey, it isn't me making bad things happen, it is God. I only take credit for the good things that happen.' Religion codifies the social necessities of tribal cohesion, providing the moral and social rules that allow the tribe to function. Another important function of religion is to codify and preserve the stories that transmit those moral and social rules. Humans are story telling animals and the stories told in the gatherings are the way the mores are transmitted and preserved.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tribal Issues

king of the universe(s) - Beliefnet

The basic human social unit has been the tribe or clan. Certainly tribes and clans competed for space and resources, just as religions and nations do today. But within the tribe or clan social compliance, that is being nice to one another, was absolute. A serious social error got you expelled from the tribe, and until very recently a lone human was a dead human. Even today, disfellowshipping or shunning can be a devastating experience that frequently leads to suicide or in some cases being killed. The social contract between the individual and the social group is critical to the survival of both. Even at the nation level an individual who violates the social contract no matter how powerful can be brought down by the tribe abetted by modern communication channels. See Nixon and Mubarak. There will be more. You got to be nice to your fellow tribespeople no matter how big the guns at your back are. Those guns are operated by members of the tribe.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tribal Issues

At Davies Symphony Hall last night sitting in the cheap seats next to a family obviously out of place in the setting. Chit-chat quickly revealed that the youngest daughter was in town for a master class with the musician on stage. The family was obviously uncomfortable with the fact that ":She really likes classical music:" but were determined to give her a chance to follow her muse. Probably putting a fair dent in the family budget to do so to provide lessons with a world class musician in the rural city. Kudos to that world class musician who was "also an attorney" for carrying the rational educated tribal values to the hinterland.