24 February 2011

The cheerless gloom of necessity

The point of a proper religion is to organize a culture to move beyond the dictates of utility. 
Utility is defined in terms of production (food) and reproduction (sex). Utility is measured by its contribution to survival in the face of competition. Beyond utility we find the third drive for fulfillment and completion. 
For societies governed by the third drive to register greater survivability, the competitive societies need to be stopped from supplementing their food and sex drives with plunder and thereby 'falsely' enhance their survivability. If we do not have a policeman to govern societies, at least we need a general value system that shuns those who violate the prohibition against plunder.  
"Ultimately, though, I believe that the great achievement of humankind is not to have perfected utility through banding together to form groups, but to have learnt through our faculty for intersubjective experience, and our related ability to imitate, to transcend utility altogether. ... Instead of looking, according to the manner of the left hemisphere, for utility, we should consider, according to the manner of the right hemisphere, that finally, through intersubjective imitation and experience, humankind has escaped from something even worse than Kant's 'cheerless gloom of chance': the cheerless gloom of necessity. " (The Master and His Emissary, Iain McGilchrist, 2009; page 124). 
That necessity is represented in our social system by the invocation of the specter of scarcity, ever-present scarcity. 

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