12 Jul


terrorist photo: Terrorist Terrorist.jpg

If I knew everything I would be a god.

And that god could range anywhere between being a hoary old man with a dubious beard to a nano-particle that nobody properly understands though scientists reckon they might get close enough to see one some time soon.

But I don’t know everything, which is why I’m writing this now. I’m not a god, you see, but an elderly old bloke in England who likes to do a bit of writing that hardly anyone will ever read.

And what I do know is that absolutely nobody knows everything. In fact, I’d be prepared to bet there are huge gaps in even the most comprehensive knowledge. But what troubles me is that there aren’t enough people aware of this.

And another thing I do know is that mankind has progressed in knowledge if not in wisdom since he evolved and knows a darned sight more now than he did know in an earlier age. And he still doesn’t know anywhere near everything.

Back in the bad old days there was absolutely no knowledge about the cause of disease, so there was no sensible way of combating it. The closest they got was distrusting miasma, or smelly air, and they cured the sick (or tried to) with sweet fragrances from nature. They were ignorant as to the elements that constitute all of matter, though they did believe there were four – air, earth, fire and water, though how they combined to make, say, glass, they were at a loss to explain. Knowledge takes time to be discovered and there’s a great deal of trial and error before real know-how is confirmed.

Before the notion of germs, of bacteria, of viruses, of the periodic table of elements there were men (and maybe a few women, if they were permitted) struggling to make sense of their world and they hit upon what, to them, was a sensible explanation: in the beginning some guy designed and made it. Different groups of people had a variety of similar explanations, and the one that time made dominate the rest came under the heading of gods.

In the end what they call monotheism dominated, monotheism meaning the whole kit and caboodle that we call the Universe was made by a bearded bloke who is a combination of control freak, cruel megalomaniac and loving father. And that fearful figurehead survives into the modern age.

At the moment there are random(ish) groups of terrorists using their concept of what they call god as an excuse for murdering and destroying. I’m not sure whether they’d be doing that if they didn’t have that concept of their god but guess some of them probably would find a different banner on which to attach their blood-stained colours because all they really want is the violence. Some of them, psychopaths to a man, merely want power, and in their eyes power resides solely in the control of others.

It’s got nothing to do with Higgs boson particles, or old men with dodgy beards or anything called god. It’s something that is antisocial and really ought to be exterminated, for the sake of the rest of us. There are, after all, billions of us humans and we all have our own views of reality and yet the vast majority don’t get all pig-headed and go about willingly murdering and destroying for the sake of views we may pretend to hold.

I, for instance, admit to being largely ignorant. Is there a God (either with a capital or lower-case g)? I don’t know, but rather suspect not, and my not knowing has more to do with my awareness of my own ignorance than because I think there’s a gap in Creation that an old bearded bloke would fit neatly into. Am I an atheist? Well I don’t go along with any of the currently revered army of deities so I suppose I am, despite my own ignorance.

You see, our long lost ancestors had their dreams and wrote them down and their words have lasted a great deal longer than the dreams ever should. And they are still being read today, and not just read but repetitiously hammered into willing heads until the old dreams gain an impossible new life. You can do that with the human brain: it’s called brain-washing, and you can even do it to yourself.

Yet most of us, when we read an ancient book, know it for what it is: a struggling attempt by men (and possibly women, though women weren’t always given a proper say in the affairs or our species) to determine the truth about their world, but with considerably insufficient data. There are few of us who would read, say, the Old Testament, and believe every sentence in it. If we did we’d have to wrap out morals round a barley-twist and probably end up talking and thinking out of our back passages. And the same is obviously true of the Qur’an. The words, the dreams, are from another age. They’re like Harry Potter meets the dinosaurs: fictitious magician greets the truly ignorant.

It’s only those who batter old myths into their own skulls that end up believing them, and some with no imagination get the idea that their knowledge is so special everyone should share it. Deluded maybe, idiots yes.

And very dangerous.

© Peter Rogerson 12.07.15


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