eo wilson was the guest on radio west yesterday. i already name dropped him once, so it seems an appropriate starting off point for this prayer. but before that, i want to question my own name-dropping in prayers. what’s that all about? am i trying to impress you? like, “well, god, you should take these blog-prayers seriously even though i barely believe in you because i’m interested in the ideas of people like jesus, joan of arc, st. francis of assisi, darwin, nietzsche and so on and so on so i’m obviously taking this whole thing seriously.” but am i taking it seriously if i’m name-dropping? i hope i’m only doing it as a way of linking my concerns about you with people i’ve read about who have maybe figured out ways to come to terms with ideas about you. but, as i’ve already said, i’m so narcissistic i feel like i can’t trust anything i do.
but the truth is, the interview i heard with eo wilson yesterday really got me thinking about you.
(here’s a side note: would you like these prayers more if we posted pictures to? obviously if the photos help make our case or serve as a starting point or whatever, but would you like random pictures? i ask because i’m getting the feeling that this entire world is an experiment conducted by you and possibly some of your friends. i know i’m still anthropomorphising you, but i contribute that to biological limitations. so in my latest idea about you, you set up some physical laws or whatever made the big bang and you’re now just watching this all unfold. maybe you have limited interactions with the universe, but mostly you’re just watching. i don’t blame you. this world, not to mention the entire universe, is pretty crazy. it’s way better than tv but it also includes tv.)
so wilson was taking about richard dawkins war on religion and about how he feels like dawkins has gone too far. dawkins argues that religion is responsible for many of humanity’s biggest problems — wars and genocide and entrenching unjust forms of government and generally holding us all back from, i guess, a kind of rational-utopia. well, maybe not utopia, but something much better than all the shit going on right now. wilson sees tribalism as the cause of these kinds of problems. that we, as humans, have an instinct to band together in groups to better survive. not only to simply replicate our genes, but to replicate our mental states.
nevermind. i’m not laying these positions out very well. let me try and sum up what i liked about wilson’s interview and how it got me thinking about you.
if we look at naturalistic accounts of the origins of religion we see that it grows out of this tribalism. religion, in many instances, becomes a way of sanctioning power structures. this still occurs today. but at the same time, religion is simply a way to understand the mysteries of life — why we’re here, what’s our purpose in life and so on. so religion is both good and bad.
i still don’t feel like i’m explaining myself very well. this is my whole problem with you: how do even find the language to translate the dread i feel about everything beyond my understanding?