Monday, October 31, 2011

Religion Part IV - History

Like other viruses, religions are subject to the process of evolution. Religions have changed over the millennia of human history. And these changes follow a certain pattern.

1. Animism
The first religions were simple without clearly defined tenets and without personalized deities. Certain unknown phenomena in nature were supposed to have supernatural causes. Humans believed to see intelligent spirits acting in natural processes. These spirits were supposed to control fertility, the weather, the seasons of the year, thunder and lightning, diseases and death. Humans were unable to explain these phenomena with their limited knowledge, so they began speculating about them. They believed that there was some causal relationship between their actions and particular rituals they performed and these natural phenomena, which they thought to be controlled by unknown spirits. Although there was no causal relationship between their rituals and nature but rather a coincidence, it was impossible for them to verify it as coincidence. So they assumed that they had discovered some supernatural secrets and told them to their offspring creating the first religious traditions.
However humans were not so irrational to believe that they could identify the names of these spirits and their biographies.
However this changed during the next step of religious evolution.
The human society corresponding to this type of religion is mostly that of nomadic hunters and gatherers.

2. Polytheism
When humans settled down during the Neolithic Age, their religious believes became more and more elaborate. They invented names for their spirits who were supposed to control nature and they made up stories about these personalized gods based on observations of events in nature (natural disasters, the movement of celestial bodies, the cyclically repeating seasons of the year). For example the seasons were explained by the death of a vegetation god in autumn, his remaining in the underworld during winter and his resurrection and return to the surface of the world in spring.
From this time on we have the first distinct religions with different gods competing among each other for followers. This is when religions became entities themselves, when they developed into viruses.

From this point on religion developed differently in the Western and Eastern hemisphere. Let's first look at the Western hemisphere.

3a. Monotheism
In the West the polytheistic pantheon changed mostly for political reasons into a monotheistic religion, because a particular ruler used the cult of a certain god for his own personal interests to maintain in power.
  • The first example was the Egyptian pharaoh Akhetaten who declared his god Aten to be the only one in order to break the power of the mighty priests of the traditional Egyptian gods. His success was temporary because everything was reversed after his death.
  • A disciple of Akhetaten made a longer lasting attempt to use monotheism as apolitical tool but on a smaller scale. Moses renamed the Egyptian god Aten giving him the name of a smaller god worshiped by a tribe in the Sinai Peninsula (Yahweh). He then established this god as the only god of the tribes he controlled founding the religion of Judaism.
  • Saul of Tarsus, half Roman, half Jew, adapted the Jewish religion for a broader audience (extending largely the number of possible hosts for the virus) by relaxing its rules and including non-Jewish members. But this new sect only became an independent religion when the Roman Emperor Constantine used this religion to get rid of his competitors and unify the empire under his rool. This was the beginning of Christianity, as we know it today.
  • The Arab leader Mohammad used the same strategy when renaming the Christian god by giving him the name of the supreme god of the Arabic pantheon but banning all other gods. This way he created the new religion of Islam.

3b. Religion becoming Philosophy
In the Eastern hemisphere the evolution of religion followed a more sophisticated course. It had also happened in ancient Greek before. For many rational thinking philosophers the trivial polytheistic pantheon was rather unsatisfying. So they simply ignored the entire issue of divine beings and developed independent philosophies.
  • In the East it was the purely idealistic theory that the material world was only an illusion of an all-compassing mind similar to the dreams that we experience during sleep and with the only difference that these dreams last a lifetime before another dream starts.
    This philosophy is called Hinduism today. It coexists with the older folk religion that surrounds the Indian gods (Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesh etc.).
  • Like Christianity made itself independent from Judaism by opening up to non-Jews, the philosophy of Hinduism abandoned the Indian pantheon and became Buddhism spreading far beyond the borders of India.
  • Parallel to this the philosophy of Taoism developed in the environment of the polytheistic Chinese folk religion and became partly independent from it. Taoism is focused on advices how the world works and how to integrate in it while mostly ignoring the issues of gods, afterlife, ethics and supernatural things.
  • Confucianism is even more radical and focuses only on rules of social behavior hardly deserving the name religion.

Since modern Eastern religions are at least in theory far more sophisticated than the rather dull Western monotheism, it is difficult to decide if we are dealing with religions at all here. Nevertheless the theoretical philosophies of these religions are mostly unknown to common people and the daily practice looks just as irrational and superstitious as in the West. Instead of punishment for sins people fear bad karma. Even the rituals look similar with prayers, temples of worship, asceticism (irrational self-punishment), rituals with candles and incenses etc. Furthermore religion is also in the East strictly conservative and always an obstacle for progress and development. So they clearly show religious (viral) patterns, even if their philosophical payload is higher developed than the primitive Western monotheism.
Their philosophies might not be self-contradictory like Western religions, but they still fail to provide sufficient proof for their claims and can therefore only considered speculations at best.

Rules of Religious Evolution
When we look at the history of religions, we can see that there a certain mechanisms art work. Religious evolution follows certain rules.

1.  New religions always build on the existing traditions of older religions. They never contradict the basic doctrines of the former religion. A founder of a new religion, even if it is based on revelation, never introduces something completely new, which was never heard of before.
When essential doctrines of a religion are changed, at least the name of the former god and the formal rituals are preserved. We can see this when Moses uses the name of the Sinai god Yahweh when he introduces his monotheism or when Emperor Constantine preserves the traditional pagan liturgy and identifies the pagan god Sol Invictus with the Christian monotheistic god or when Mohammed uses the name of the supreme god of the pagan Arabic pantheon (Allah) as well as the Arian Christian theology when creating Islam. In the East the new philosiophies of Hinduism, Buddhism or Taoism never intended to abolish the gods of the traditional folk religion.

2. New religions are always better optimized for spreading fast and efficiently. Newer religions are always more virulent and more irrational than older ones.
Judaism made it difficult to spread beyond the Jewish people, but Christianity removed these obstacles and started actively proselytizing gentiles. Islam streamlined the religion furthermore making the concept of jihad and dhimmitude central to its teachings. As the youngest Western world religions, Islam is therefore the most virulent and aggressive one. In the East Buddhism removed any traditional ballast from Hindu teachings (e.g. the caste system) in order to spread faster.
The downward spiral when it comes to rationalism is also easily observed. While animism had few doctrines, polytheism had elaborate fictitious myths invented around its deities. Monotheism introduced for the first time illogical and self-contradicting absurdities like omnipotence in its belief system. Only the Eastern religions made an attempt to break out of this downward spiral and tried, without success though, to overcome primitive superstition.
So whenever a new religion develops, we don't need to expect any improvement. It will only get worse.
The virus will be better optimized and farther away from the interests of its human host.
Todays most virulent religion is Islam. But if the Western world (The Middle East is hereby considered part of the Western tradition, since it is based on Judaism and Christianity.) continues on this track, a future religion will even be more dangerous than Islam.

There seems to be a way out of the dilemma. Several times in history philosophers have attempted to replace primitive superstition with a more sophisticated philosophy. It happened in ancient Egypt where the cult of Amun developed more and more pantheistic characteristics seeking to get religion in harmony with science. It also happened in ancient Greece, when people like Pythagoras, Socrates, Aristotle and Epicurus ignored the Greek mythology and created advanced philosophies, which are still relevant today. And it happened in the East with the traditional Eastern philosophies that made the concept of deities more and more obsolete.
However none of these philosophies attempted to attack the established religion directly. They lived in peaceful coexistence with the folk religion and simply ignored it or integrated it as an irrelevant detail. 
Modern atheists like Nietzsche, Marx, Feuerbach or Freud were less successful. Perhaps it was a mistake to confront religion directly. As we have seen, a new religion has always to build upon the existing former one. The old superstition could never be replaced by a new alien concept. So perhaps the way out of religious superstition is through a philosophy which integrates the old religious traditions but lets the old deities become more and more irrelevant.
The unpleasant alternative is going farther downward through a new fanatical religious virus building upon anti-scientific Christian conservatism and Islamic jihad.
We will have to look at the possible future of religion in the next part.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Religion Part III - Classifications

The different philosophical payloads of religious viruses are sometimes divided into 2 classes: The Right Hand Path (RHP) and the Left Hand Path (LHP).
Originating from a classification of Tantric traditions (dakshinachara and vamachara) this classification has recently been used to describe the distinct approach that religions or philosophies have in general. This classification can equally be used for secular and religious philosophies, because we are only dealing here with the philosophical payload of religions, not with the religious practices and traditions that constitute the reproductive viral element of religion. 
Both approaches are based on two contrary premises - the concept of collectivism and the concept of individualism. Depending on which of these two premises a belief system is based on, it will necessarily go into a completely different direction.

The path of collectivism, of altruism, of integration with the divine is the Right Hand Path; while the path of individualism, of selfishness and of preservation of the self is called the Left Hand Path.

Hand Path
Hand Path
  • Selfishness and rejection of
    altruistic ethics.
  • Belief that all individuals are
    ultimately separate and the will to preserve and advance the
  • Partnership with deities instead
    of subservience.
  • Includes sexual practices
  • Moral relativism.
  • Rejection or rebellion against any
    supernatural mechanism of retribution.
  • Conviction that each individual is
    responsible for his own happiness by mastery of the physical
  • Altruism and obedience to a moral
  • Belief in one origin of all
    existence and the need to reintegrate into this origin.
  • Belief in a higher power and
    obedience to its will.
  • Oppresses sexuality
  • Universal concept of
    good and evil.
  • Supernatural mechanism of
    retribution like karma or Last Judgment according to the
    assessment of moral decisions made in one's lifetime.
  • The need for salvation and the
    treat of damnation.
  • Vamachara Tantra
  • Dugpa Buddhism
  • Sophism
  • Epicureanism
  • Existentialism
  • Philosophy of Nietzsche
  • Satanism and Demonolatry
  • Dakshinachara Tantra
  • Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism
  • Hinduism
  • Platonism
  • Judaism, Christianity, Islam
  • Confucianism 
  • Zoroastrism

This is how the classification is commonly understood, but the phenomenon of religion is far more complex and interesting.
In fact we have both aspects, Right Hand Path and Left Hand Path in most world religions.
We have the theoretical philosophy, which is taught by theologists and clerics (RHP) on the one hand and we have the daily rituals, which cater to the daily needs of the less religiously educated people (LHP), the folk religion. Sometimes this folk religion openly contradicts the teachings of the official religion.

Voodoo altar for Erzeli Freda
In Christianity, especially Catholicism, we have the worship of the saints leading sometimes to such extremes like Voodoo or Santeria, which almost form distinct religions, although they are firmly embedded into a Christian belief system. These saints or lwa in Voodoo are worshiped for individual benefits. The worshiper makes his offerings to the deities in order to gain a personal advantage disregarding the tenets of Christian monotheism. 
This cult does not make any reference to a moral system and is only for personal advancement. It is widespread among Catholic or Orthodox Christians, especially in Latin America, but also in Italy and Spain. 
The worship of saints occurs mostly hidden and is often formally denied by many practitioners. It clearly shows the characteristics of the Left Hand Path, although it is part of a formal Right Hand Path religion.
The saints are often gods from former polytheistic religions, which have been suppressed by Christian monotheism. By taking the image of Christian saints, the former pagan religions still survive within Catholicism. 

Personal miniature temple in Thailand
In Buddhism we have the folk religion with small temples dedicated to personal or local gods where incense sticks are burned in order to gain luck and protection, which is in obvious contradiction to Buddhist philosophy that preaches overcoming worldly needs and desires. This small temples can often be found in homes or small businesses, including bars and brothels. This is an obvious contradiction to Buddhist asceticism. 
Just like their Christian counterparts, Buddhist believers often deny or downplay that they actually worship these folk deities, however they still believe in their effectiveness. In Buddhism this parallel folk religion is still far more public and openly visible than in the more restrictive monotheist religions.

Altar for Egyptian goddess Sekhmet
Even the strictly monotheist religion of  Islam is not free from parallel folk religions. When visiting one of the ancient temples in Egypt for example, you might meet Muslims who secretly perform rituals to the ancient Egyptian gods. These gods are mostly interpreted as jinns and like the Christian saints in this way integrated into a monotheist system. The practice is considered some kind of witchcraft and harshly condemned or even persecuted in Islam. But even those who condemn it, often  believe that it might have some effectiveness.
Since Islam is far more restrictive than the other mentioned religions, this practice is driven underground. But its existence proves that even among Muslims there is a need for some kind of Left Hand Path parallel cult.

What we can see is that  the Left Hand Path/Right Hand Path classification of religions has its flaws. There are aspects of both in most of the major world religions. Religions are catering to different psychological needs of their followers and have therefore different and sometimes even contradictory aspects.
The theoretical teachings of a certain theology have often little in common with the way a particular religion is actually practiced.
The Left Hand Path aspect is meant to benefit the individual practitioner and usually doesn't involve any ethical system. It is not meant to influence the society and often denied and hidden from public with no intention to proselytize. It is actually a personal superstition with personal benefit as its only ambition. This makes it harmless for the society.
The Right Hand Path aspect of a religion on the other hand is the one which includes a system of ethics that the religion tries to impose on the society. This is whats makes a religion a highly dangerous virus. It wants to spread itself by proselytizing and by changing its host society to fit its needs. This virulent aspect makes it a danger to everybody in the society.

There is another important classification: Revelation and Tradition.
Ancient religions were always based on tradition. Their tenets, ceremonies and religious practices grew and changed over centuries. They adapted to new social developments and were no major obstacle for social progress, science and technology, since they were based on alleged knowledge of former generations combined with self-acquired knowledge. Priests and scholars permanently worked in elaborating the religious system and adapting it to knew knowledge.

Most modern world religions however don't belong in this category. They are based on revelations to particular humans who later became the founders of their religion: Moses for Judaism, Zarathustra for Parsism, Jesus for Christianity, Mohammad for Islam, Siddhartha Gautama for Buddhism, Baha'u'llah for Baha'i. All these religions have their unalterable holy scriptures and have been severe obstacles for social progress, since they are not willing to integrate new knowledge into their doctrines.

While religions based on traditions develop evolutionary like a virus, which is subject to mutation and biological selection in order to optimize itself, religions based on revelations are like a virus, which has been genetically designed in order to be more virulent, e.g. to be used as a biological weapon. Or to use the example of a computer virus, they have been programmed for malicious purposes like a computer trojan.
Religions based on revelations are artificially designed religions, created by some power-hungry individuals for their own needs, optimized to spread as fast and efficient as possible. This is the reason why these religions have proven to be superior to traditional religions and are dominating the world after having displaced the traditional religions.

For those who are not infected with this kind of mental virus, the most important classification of religions is their grade of virulence. We don't need to care about what other individuals believe as long as their believes don't affect us. It may be unfortunate that so many humans waste their lives by being subject to irrational superstition, but it would be intolerant to interfere with their faith as long as it doesn't affect others or the society in a negative way. However when a belief system affects the society and others, then it becomes a threat. Therefore LHP religions are irrelevant, RHP religions are not. Or to put it in other words: The LHP aspect of a religion is harmless, the RHP aspect is dangerous.
The grade of virulence is also determined by the issue, whether a religion is based on tradition or on revelation, the latter type being far more virulent than the first one.
Therefore the focus has to be on Right Hand path religions based on revelations, since they pose the biggest threat.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Religion Part II - Opium of the People?

Apparently a person affected by religion has a certain disadvantage, since he is busy doing useless things and limited in his capacity for analytic thinking. This might therefore be a helpful advantage for people not suffering from this kind of mental disorder.
And indeed many governments use religion to solidify and justify their power and keeping their subordinates ignorant and harmless for them. Therefore religion has often been made it into a very efficient tool of politics and for personal ambitions of ruthless rulers. 
However, as it was explained before, religion is not an invention of politicians but is an independent entity with its own selfish intereswt in reproduction. If it is used by governments for their own purpose, it is in the same way as computer viruses are used to distribute hacking tools or advertisement or as DNA viruses are used as biological weapons in war. It is not the cause of their existence but merely a sort of domestication in order to turn them into useful tools. Many politicians who use religionn as an instrument of power are often not free of the virus themselves and are to a certain extent affected by the religion, which they use as a tool, too.

Independent from this phenomenon the questioin remains: If somebody is free from religious superstition and has understood its nature and mechanism, should he be interested in keeping religion alive so that he can gain a personal advantage over those people who are unaware of the virus and suffer from all negative consequences of religion? Or shoukld he be interested to help others to free themselves from religion and eliminate it from society?

Many of those who like to use religion as a tool to keep others ignorant, who use it as some kind of opium of the people and who don't practice religion in their own private lives, since they know better, underestimate thge influence that society has on the life of every single individual human being.
Their private lives in their own houses cannot be completely independent from what is going on in the ouitside world. In fact they depent on the society in every aspect of life. A religion that suppresses technological advancement will paralize society and even those who are free from religion will not be able to enjoy these technological advancements in their private lives, since they were never invented.
If religion limits personal freedom and puts restrictions on things that may be enjoed or consumed, these things will not be available for those who don't follow this religion in their homes. They simply won't have access to these restricted things in their private lives either. Or at least the access to these things will always be severely limited and made far more difficult. Furthermoire there is the danger that the violation of the religious rules in their private sphere may become disclosed and the society imposes a punishment on them.
So whatever personal advantage they may gain by keeping others religious and being free from it themselves it is more than out-weighted by the disadvantages it has on their own lives.
In many aspects technology has allowed even lower class members of modern society to havea better and more comfortable life than the ruling class in former centuries. Even welfare recipients receive medical assistance and can live in climatized rooms, while not even the monarch of the Middle Ages could enjoy such kind of luxury.
Therefore it would be no good idea to promote religion in order to keep others ignorant while being free from it in our own private life. The negative effect that religion has on the whole society will backfire on us, since we depend on the society we live in and our private life cannot be totally separate from society.

It is therefore necessary to reduce the influence that religion has on society. Using religion as a tool is short-sighted. At the end it will work against those who think they control it. Religion cannot be totally controlled, since it is an autonomous entity with its own selfish interests, which are the reproduction of itself and the optimization of the mechanisms of its own reproduction.
Religion is pathogenous, malignous and highly virulent. It should not be played around with.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Religion Part I - Why Religion?

Religion seems to be a unique feature of humans. It cannot be observed inn any other species and has no evident rational purpose. However it can be found in most human cultures and seems to have developed independently. For example there is no evident relationship between the ancient Aztec pantheon and the Mosaic religions.

Since it has originated independently there has to be a reason for it. And since it is limited to humans, there must also be a reason why humans are particularly vulnarable to this kind of behavioral disorder.

One of the best explanations for the phenomenon of religion among human beings was discovered among others by Richard Dawkins. 
He describes it as a virus of the mind. 
A virus a a piece of information with the ability to copy itself using the resources of a host system. This can be a gene in the DNA of a biological organism that has become independent from the rest of the genom and is just interested in copying itself without consideration of negative effects to the host organism. So the piece of information has become an entity in itself following only its own interests without being part of the functioning organism of its host.
The same applies to computer viruses, which were the second case where viruses were observed. A computer virus is a piece of information in an electronical data storage media that is only interested in copying itself without consideration for negative effects on the computer system and its purpose. So it is also an independent entity following its own interests  without being part of the functioning host computer system.
Religion is a another kind of virus. It is a piece of information in the human mind with the ability to copy itself to other human beings using the resources of the host mind. It is also an independent entity followingg only its own interests without consideration of negative effects for the human host.

Thereis also a reason why only human beings are affected by this kind of virus. More than any other species humans use the accumulated experience of previous generations to optimize their behavior in order to survive in their environment. Other species rely mostly on inherited knowledge (instincts) or personal experience in order to make optimal decisions when confronted with a problem. Humans have rely mostly on knowledge wich has been communicated by previous generations to them. 
This is a certain advantage. It is the reason why not every individual human being needs to invent the wheel again. An invention only needs to be done once by a single human and is then communicated to other humans and to following generations. This ocurrs as well through spoken language as through written documents.
In order to gain this ability to aquire knowledge from previous generations as fast and efficient as possible, human children believe without questions what their parents or accepted authorities tell them. This allows them to aquire in a very short time the accumulated knowledge of previous generations. No effort is done to verify the received information because it would slow down the process and the majority of the information can be trusted simply by the fact that previous generations were successfully able to survive using this information. Wrong information, which would be very harmful would not be able to be communicated to the following generation, since it would have resulted in th edeath of the individual before being able to communicate this wrong information. However wrong information, which has no or only a minor negative effect on the survival can easily be transmitted to the following generations.
This is a vulnerability, which is exploited by special viruses like for example religions.
Or as Richard Dawkins describes it:
"Natural selection builds child brains with a tendency to believewhatever their parents and tribal elders tell them. Such trusting obedienceis valuable for survival. [...] The flip side of trustingobedience is slavish gullibility. The inevitable by-productis vulnerability to infection by mind viruses."

Through the process of evolution, the survival of the fittest, those religions, which are optimized to spread fast and efficiently are those, which are most successful today, the so called world religions. They have slowly eliminated competitor religions and now dominate the world.
They have all the features, which are necessary to ensure that they spread efficiently to the biggest possible number of individuals.

  • They encourage proselytism
  • They disallow coexistence with competitor religions (religious intolerance).
  • They reward faith (not verifying the truthfulness of its claims) and punish doubt or disbelieve.
  • They require early indoctrination of children.
  • They they develop mechanism to make infection irreversible (for example by marking the body through circumcission and pounishment for apostasy)
  • They try to prevent mating with partners of competing religions and make sure that the own religion is imposed on the off-spring.

Due to these biological reasons it is very difficult for a human being to free itself from the religious virus, once he has been infected. However when a human learns to use his ability for rational thinking and give it priority over his emotional inclinations, it is easily to achieve. Reason and logic are independent from biological needs and enable those who use them, to overcome their biological dispositions.
This is why there is a small minority of mentally healthy human beings who are not infected by religious viruses. However biology can explain why the majority still suffer from this mental disease.
The nature and mechanism of religion needs to be understood first. It is useless to dispair over human ignorance. There is a reason why humans behave just like they do. When we have understood this, we can start to think about the consequences that result from it and how to handle them.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Irrational Human Behavior

There are several patterns in human behavior, which are hard to understand from a rational viewpoint.
It is particularly surprising that the same patterns can be found independently in many or most human cultures, although they are clearly irrational.
Some of them can be explained by their biological background. However it is surprising that the human ability to use reason has been unable to overcome these patterns.

Here are some examples:

1. Human burial traditions
In all known cultures dead bodies receive a special treatment, although humans are normally aware that a dead person is unable to perceive what is done with his physical remains. Complicated ceremonies have been established around the disposal of dead bodies like burial rituals. These rituals even contradict the widespread belief in an afterlife. If the soul doesn't remain in the dead body, why should it care about this body? These burial ceremonies are almost universal. 
The state of Israel has in several cases even exchanged prisoners for bodies of killed Israeli soldiers. So a lifeless body was valued higher than living prisoners, although the dead body was later of no use for the Israeli government or the relatives of the killed soldier. He was simply buried.

2. Relationship to inanimate objects
Humans often develop a relationship to inanimate objects. Many people would for example not exchange their matrimonial ring for another ring of the same or even higher value. It does not matter if the ring is indistinguishable from the original one. Many people also collect things, which they won't use any more in the future, like souvenirs, gifts or stamp collections.
This is surprising since these people are fully aware that the object in question has no consciousness and it would be without any consequences, if they give it up.

3. Religion and other superstition
Humans are unique in their asumption that there is a god, which is a thing that they haven't seen or experienced in any form. They even make important decisions of their life based on this completely arbitraty asumption. The presence of a god is usually believed to be evidentonly where nobody is able to perceive it, so that he cannot be disproived. There is also the belief that some irrational actions would have consequences on totally unrelated events, like wearing a certain amulett or burning a candle with the intention to influence positively the outcome of something beyond their control, 

4. Body modification 
A major part of humans mutilate their body for no obvious reasons. Very common are perforations of the earlobes or other body parts and sticking small items through the holes. Also very common is cutting off parts of the genitals of infants or children (so called circumcission) or marking their skin with permanent ink (so called tatoos). None of these body modifications fulfills any known function.

5. Conspiracy against children and teenagers
Children are commonly victims of several irrational conspiracies by adults whose purpose is impossible to explain. One example is that adults tell their children that a fictious person called 'Santa Claus' would deliver presents to them during a particular day of the year, although it is usually the parents themselves who prepare these presents for their children. 
Another example is that the biological process of reproduction (sexuality) is for some strange reasons kept secret from children. Questions regarding reproduction are either wrongly or not answered at all, while the whole society makes major efforts to hide anything which is remotely related to sexuality from children leaving them totaly clueless about how they came into being.

6. Feeling of shame when nude
Humans usually feel incomfortable when in their natural state, this means when not covered with artificial clothes. The extemd of the required covering of the body varies among different cultures. It can be limited to the genitals and secondary sexual characteristics up to the entire body with exception of the eyes. In many cases the society has established norms for obligatory covering certain parts of the body, whose violation is punished. This is a very strange behavior pattern, since making clothes to cover the body is an aquired habit and not the natural condition of human beings.

7. Music, singing, dancing
Humans show a tendency to react to some kind of cyclic repeating noise (music), which is intentionally created, but fulfills no further function (music). They start moving in the same rhythm as the noise and even adapt their communication to it by pronouncing words synchronized to the music (singing). The text of these songs is normally totally out of context of what the human is doing in this very moment.

8. Poetry
Humans sometimes create texts whose formal structure is organized in a rhythmic way often sacrificing the precision of the actual the text. These texts are called poems and their meaning is often hard to understand even for humans used to it. The formal structure of language is given priority over the actual purpose of communicating a message, which is severly hindered by this kind of text.

9. Taboo of particular synonyms for words considered to be offensive
Certain isolated words of human language can cause an extreme emotional reaction in humans, although the word alone carries no message. These words can be related to sexuality or to humkan or animal excrements or an underprivileged group of people. The words are considered offensive and the human society makes efforts to eliminate them from the media. Strangely enough different synonyms with the exact same meaning are not considered offensive. Example: 'cunt' is considered offensive, 'vulva' is not considered offensive, both words having the same meaning.

10. Exaggerated protection of children 
Humans value their children higher than adults. Special care for offspring may seem biologically reasonable, but considering that the social investment in an infant is significantly less than a fully developed individual, the exaggerated valoration of children by humans is still irrational. For example a crime against a child is considered more severe and punished more severely than the same crime against an adult human being.

11. Phobias
Many humans develop an irrational fear against particular animals like spiders, snakes, mice and others, even when these animals are harmless to them. Affected humans are normally fully aware that their fear is irrational but cannot overcome it anyway.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Overpopulation is the central problem that humanity, the ecological balance of nature and our individual quality of life are facing today. Energy crisis, food shortages, totalitarianism, repression, unemployment, pollution, mass extinction of animals and plants, desertification, but also the alienationl, the sense of superfluity, depression, everyday stress - everything is ultimately the direct or indirect result of overpopulation.

To combat the problem of overpopulation, there are basically two approaches: either reduction of natality (birth rate) or increase in mortality (death rate).For humanitarian reasons, most people tend to give preference to thew first approach, the reduction of the birth rate, since nobody wants to deny the right to live to somebody who is already born. This essay will show, however, that this is the wrong approach. It leads to new problems and risks a collapse of the total population. Moreover, it is based on a false understanding of life itself.

The reduction of natality as a solution was successfully implemented in China as a state-decreed measure, in other industrialized countries, it became a reality without government pressure. The birth rates are falling in almost all industrial countries. The average number of children a woman gives birth during her lifetime has dropped to less than two, which is less than would be necessary to keep the population stable, and therefore leads to a reduction of the population. However this population reduction is currently more than compensated by immigration from developing countries, so that it has not resulted in an effective decrease of the total population.
Even though this is only a transient effect, which will end when the birth rate among immigrants will also decrease, it will rather lead to new problems (which are already being felt today) than it would bring the society closer to a solution.
The main problem today as a result of the reduced birth rate is the aging of the total population. Apart from the fact that it turns the natural demographic pyramid upside down and endangers the retirement system as well as the entire social welfare system, it has not led to any improvement of the problems caused by overpopulation.A complicating factor is that a population with a higher average age also consumes significantly more resources than a younger population. This is caused first of all by the higher social status and the amount of possessions accumulated during lifetime and also by the fact that an aging population requires significantly more medical efforts to be kept alive, both contributing to a higher impact on natural resources and environmental burdens. All together an older population causes a higher damage to the natural environment, has more vehicles and has a higher total consumption than an equally large but younger population.
In the short term an aging population even aggravates the problems related to overpopulation until the welfare system finally collapses and therefore at last massively increases the mortality, although latter one was meant to be avoided.
The problem of overpopulation would ultimately have been resolved, but not at all in the intended manner and with a huge risk for the survival of the population due to the collapse of the existing social order.

So lert's consider the alternative approach to the problem of overpopulation, the deliberate increase of mortality. Some critics of this approach argue that a higher mortality means the arbitrary killing of a large portion of the population and therefore associate this approach with genocide. But this is not necessarily the case. An increase in mortality can be achieved simply by return to the natural biological equilibrium of birth and death. Overpopulation is a phenomenon that does not occur in nature in this magnitude, if one does not interfere with the existing natural equilibrium.In order to increase the mortality to a healthy level, it is not necessary to actively do anything, but simply to do nothing at all and let things take their course, according to the Taoist principle of "Wu Wei".

In practice, it means discontinuing to protect people from the dangers of everyday life, be it through safety measures, the restrictions on the use of weapons in daily interactions or free access to health care and preventive medical measures. At the same time, this also means the absence of welfare measures for socially weaker and humanitarian aid to developing countries.This may seem heartless, but it is the natural way to maintain a balance between the population and the natural resources.It must also mean change in our basic attitude towards life, away from excessive security and towards a greater willingness to take risks.The fear of death in modern society has become an obsession. The issue of "death" itself has become a taboo. Death is avoided under all circumstances, denied, or at least delayed, without regard to the actual quality of life, even in cases where it makes no sense because the whole existence has become an endless state of suffering.This fear of death in modern society is based on an incorrect understanding of death and consequently also a false understanding of life. In an attempt to oust death, life itself has been made more and more similar to death.Death is nothing to fear. Death is not negative, it is not suffering, it is neutral. Death is like the zero line of a sine function, not positive, not negative, not up, not down, always consistent, in perfect balance and eternal stasis. Death is just what the modern man seeks in life: absolute stability and absolute security, absolute justice.And just as an oscillation is created by a peak and an identical trough from the flat zero line, so life is created by a dynamical up and down from the complete stasis of death. Stability is replaced by instability, security by insecurity, stillness by movement, justice by inequality. For everything positive an equal amount of negative has to be created. From particle physics we have learned that particles always occur in pairs that mirror each other, particle and antiparticle, proton and antiproton, electron and positron. And when particle and antiparticle collide, they cancel each other out and return to nothingness (actually energy). The creation of matter out of nothing is like cutting out a piece of paper from an infinite, smooth paper surface. Where the piece of paper was cut out, a hole of the same size remains, the particle (cut-uot piece of paper on the paper surface) and its antiparticle (hole in the paper surface).
Life works the same way. Death is the total balance, the zero line. To create pleasure in life, the same amount of suffering must be created. To accumulate wealth, the same amount of material possessions has to be taken away from others. More inequality, more dynamics means more life.

Modern people on the other hand want just the opposite: justice for all, security, everlasting stability, exactly what constitutes death..Ultimately, this will never be achieved in life, because it would mean precisely the absence of what life means.
In his desire to make life like death, modern man has created a bizarre situation. He desires security. Everything must be insured, so you can suffer any material loss, but by the increase of insurance fees and taxes, it also becomes harder to gain any wealth. The state is expected to protect the individual, even from himself and his own possible errors. Freedom is perceived as threatening because it represents a risk factor. Therefore it is drowned in an ever-growing flood of laws and regulations.Health and social insurance are expected to protect the people from any inconvenience in life. And even life itself can be insured by life insurances. Class differences and discrimination are outlawed. Everyone should be equal.As a result of this approach to life, man is more and more concerned with preserving what he has instead of trying anything new in order to avoid risks. He has become phlegmatic and it is virtually impossible to get him to fight for a cause or to risk his life for something. The successful application of this strategy has led eventually to an exponential increase in population numbers. Life is longer, but has also become boring. Finally it has led humanity into the current situation of overpopulation, and the general feeling of alienation.

We have to overcome this wrong attitude. We must cease to fear death. We must be willing to take risks. We must begin again, to appreciate a short intense life higher than a long and boring. We must not act against nature, but let her have her own course. Who is destined to fail should fail. There is nothing wrong with death. Who fails and dies in the process, only returns back from the negative range to the neutral zero line. It makes no sense to keep him in a state of suffering, just to prevent him from dying. There is no merit in becoming 80 or 90 years old, if life from a certain age on has only become a hopeless struggle against aging and disease. Let us live intensively and willing to take risks and let us die early and without fear.This is the healthy way to increase the mortality of the population to a natural level and to address overpopulation and its problems.Let us trust the course of nature. Nature knows, even without our intervention, what is best.

Overcoming Altruism

Much of human behaviour is still determined by biological instincts. This biological drives are necessary to motivate us humans to comply with our biological purpose. In most cases this is a very helpful mechanism. The instinct of self-preservation for example helps us to prevent harm from us. And this is by far the strongest of our instincts, which under normal circumstances has priority over all other instincts.
However there are cases where our biological purpose is not identical with the interest of our Self. In these cases our instincts try to lead us into a behaviour, which would be irrational, because it would mean acting against our own interests. Since humans have the ability to think rational and analyse situations logically, we can identify these cases when biological instincts and our own interests contradict each other.
What situations are these?
Man is a social animal. This means man is not made to live alone and completely independent in his environment, he lives in groups with other individuals of his species who support each other. Originally these groups were small family clans. This is why human feel such a strong affection to other members of their family. In modern times these groups have become more complex and bigger. Modern society is organized in states with several million individuals. And the recent phenomenon of globalisation has turned entire humanity in one big society.
Such societies form new entities on a higher collectivist level of organization. Just as our body cells together form a human being, millions of human beings form a new entity: the state. Due to the specialization of its members the state has gained the ability to act as single being. It has its own mind; just as the giant conglomerate of individual cells form a human being with his own mind.
The collective entity of the family, the clan or even the state, is held together by biological mechanisms. These are our instincts that don’t just help us to survive as individuals, but also help this higher collective entity to survive. There is for example the sex drive that motivates us to reproduce and keep our family, our clan, and our race alive in future generations. Reproduction has no advantage for the individual. Future generations are irrelevant for our own survival and their existence doesn’t give us any advantage. So reproduction makes indeed sense for the collective entity of the human society, but it makes no sense at all for the individual human being.
And there are more examples like this. In fact any kind of altruistic feeling is based on biological instincts that serve the survival of the society. Love, patriotism, and compassion – they are biological instincts that guarantee the survival of the collective entity of the human society.
The only problem is: We are not the society. We are just individuals. Society is a distinct entity. It is not us.
Many altruistic philosophies and religions try to give these social instincts a higher, noble value. They develop ethical codes, which are supposed to be superior to selfish actions. But they are not. Social instincts and selfish instincts are both biological instincts. However when discussed with other individuals, social instincts are of course far more likely to reach a consensus than selfish instincts. It would be hard to get others to agree with your personal interests, but it is quite easy to agree to a common interest. This is why social instincts are valued higher. Everybody agrees with them, while only you yourself agree with your selfish instincts.
However we have to be aware that it is not logical for us as individuals to act according to social interests when they are in conflict with our individual interests. In other words, altruism is irrational, whenever it is in conflict with our personal advantage. It is nothing but a biological instinct that wants us to do things, which may not be in our best interest.
We must not let irrational emotions control us. We must overcome altruism and its misleading emotions. Logic and reason must always question the motivations of our actions in order to eliminate any irrational altruistic purposes. We must not be slaves of collective instincts.


Although altruism is an irrational emotion from the point of view of the individual, it is not always irrational to help others without any personal advantage. To help a friend is often very reasonable, even if there is no immediate benefit for us in this action.
A friend is an ally, and allies make us stronger than we would be alone.
But we should be wise when choosing our friends. Somebody who is weak and asks for our help is a useless ally. He will never be able to pay back any favour and will continue to exploit our help in the future. We have to choose our friends among those who are strong. Even if they depend on our help today, there will come a day when they will return the favour and provide us help when we need it. True friendship can only be between equal partners. Friendship between a strong and a weak is only a parasitic relationship, where one abuses the other. So in order to have strong friends, we need to be strong ourselves. The weak on the other hand don’t deserve compassion. They are useless. They are meant to perish. They even weaken the society because they nourish themselves like parasites from the stronger members of the community. Humanitarian help for the weak is the most decadent foolishness of our modern society. But this is not our concern. If the society wants to weaken itself, then so be it. We only need to keep the weak away from us.

Altruism the Root of Evil

Apart from being irrational from the point of view of the individual, altruism is also a very dangerous ideology. Altruism is the main reason for mass murder, destruction and suffering in human history. It poses a permanent threat to every individual, because it may become a victim of its irrational arbitrariness. For an altruist every mean is justified as long as it serves his abstract idea of the human society. An altruist has no inhibitions, when he believes that his actions have some “higher” objectives and will improve the society as a whole. Where a selfish man would hesitate to commit a crime in fear of becoming the victim of retaliation some day, the altruist doesn’t make such considerations. He neither cares about himself nor about his victims. The society stands above all and justifies any sacrifice. It was altruism that made the Khmer Rouge killing one third of the Cambodian population in order to create a better society. It was altruism that made the Nazis kill 6 million Jews in order to protect the German people from an imaginary conspiracy. It was altruism that made Stalin kill more than 20 million potential opponents and their families in order to create a communist paradise or the society. It was altruism that led to religious oppression and the genocide of the native population of America who refused to worship the Christian god of altruism.
Selfish persons also commit crimes, but altruists commit crimes on a far larger scale.
The altruist doesn’t act in his own interest. He acts in the interest of others. He acts in the interest of the human community. Since the human community is a rather abstract entity without the possibility to express its will or its desires directly, the altruist has to invent for himself, what the abstract entity called “society” wants, needs and desires. Therefore he develops theories about what he thinks is best in the interest of the society. Since his theories - just as altruism in general -aren’t based on reason, every altruist comes up with a different theory. A conflict between these different theories is predetermined, which results necessarily in wars and oppression.
Since the altruist cares primarily for the interest of others, it is first of all necessary for him to know what is in their best interest. Otherwise he would not know what interests he had to serve.
So whenever he acts for altruistic reasons, he acts for what he thinks is in the best interest of others. Actually he cannot know for certain, what is in the best interest of others, but in order to act in their interests, he has to be convinced that he knows it, and he knows it even better then they do. By his very nature an altruist will therefore always interfere with the affairs of others. And he will impose what he thinks is best for the community on them. If they disagree with him, he will still try to impose on them what he has decided to be best for them. This is the source of all oppression and the lack of freedom in any society.
Some people have a theory or concept how the society has to be and they impose their theory by force on others.
A selfish person does not care about others and their destiny. He leaves them alone as long as they are not relevant for his own interests. Therefore the scale, in which he would try to impose his will on others, would be far smaller than in case of an altruist. Only the people in his direct environment would be affected, while an altruist wants to apply his theories on the whole society including people he will never meet in person. Altruism is by its nature always intolerant, aggressive and oppressive, because the altruist wants to interfere with the lives of others. His intention is irrelevant in the result for the victims. For the one who suffers the consequences, who gets deprived of his freedom or physically harmed, it does not matter, if the perpetrator had good or bad intentions. The result is the same. So there is nothing that could excuse the crime from the point of view of the victim.
Let’s take the example of the “war on drugs”. There is the altruist that thinks that the use of drugs is harmful and therefore bans their trade, possession and consumption. On the other hand there is the drug addict who disagrees about the harm for him and prefers the benefit of drug consumption to the physical harm they may cause to him. He is primarily interested in the selfish satisfaction of his addiction. So the altruist initiates the use of force and takes the drug away from the addict in order to help him and to prevent physical harm. The selfish drug addict sees his freedom restricted and looks for illegal means to get the drugs he desires. He gets in conflict with the law that the altruist has imposed on the society and gets imprisoned. The drug addict has now learned how serious the altruist is about this issue and now uses violent means in order to get his drugs. The result is the situation we have today. Because some altruists want to create a better drug-free world in some distant future, millions of people get imprisoned or killed. A lot of real physical harm is done for an altruistic concept how the society should be. 
A selfish delinquent could only cause harm to a small amount of people that get in direct physical contact with him, while the altruist imprisons and kills people without ever getting to know them. This is because a selfish person can’t get others to fulfil his own selfish interests, but an altruist can count on obedience, the obedience of all the other altruists who share the same concepts with him. So the harm an altruist can do to others, is multiplied by the number of those he can convince that his actions and theories are in the best interest of the society. And all who are obedient to him want to be as altruistic as him. This is the mechanism that empowers altruism to commit large-scale crimes that selfishness never could commit. Therefore all big crimes of mass murder, genocide and oppression were committed by altruists.