Essence of Our Reality

Our brain and its stem is the essences of our existence. Without this central, vital organ what we are is nothing as related to living-or the classification of brain-dead.

Our bodies exist as a vessel, as a machine that carries out our central organ’s function and receptions.


Star Trek: The Next Generation, episode “When Dr. Crusher finds lust, not love, in a humanoid man of a special kind’

Every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) includes relatable topics that are commonly discussed, while including a twist of imagination or a ‘what if’ possibility. In this episode in particular- purposefully worded in such a way- a main character reasons about a relatable topic, or the difference between loving someone or lusting after someone. As well, learning to love or to not love someone after some sort of disfigurement has caused perception and reality to become muddled and undesirable. The ‘what if’ clause being that a ‘humanoid’ species- or think of a Neanderthal as referring to another species of human beings, if it may help-has a peculiar homeostasis.

The main character in this episode being Dr. Beverly Crusher, chief of staff and medical doctor aboard the star ship, The Enterprise. And then a humanoid visitor from another planet, whose name is left purposefully omitted for this essay. As the name does not matter, nor any other pronoun referring to one’s sex matters here. Though pronouns are included to reference the confusion as understood by the main character.

The story begins here,

First Scene

Dr. Crusher ‘falls in love’ with a visitor aboard the ship. ‘He’ is a nurse as well, visiting to complete an assignment. Dr. Crusher reveals her newfound love fascination to her friend, and another chief of staff. In discussion, Dr. Crusher tells ship Counselor Diana Troy about her newfound love. Counselor Troy, speaks as a friend and as her title, ‘are you sure that it is love?’ ‘How long have you known him?’ Dr. Crusher expresses that though it has only been a couple of weeks the mutual passion and drive is something she had not felt in a long while. A feeling most desirable as ‘he’ is conventionally attractive and stimulating.

Second Scene

The humanoid lover part ways with Dr. Crusher as he embarks on his irrelevant mission. Somehow a malfunction aboard the shuttle carrying the visitor causes equipment and structure failure, resulting in an injury of the humanoid’s body. ‘He’ is then quickly transported back to the Enterprise for Dr. Crusher’s assessment. Seeing that she was unfamiliar with the physiology of ‘his’ kind, the humanoid tells her of a relevant detail about ‘his’ body. Within the abdomen region of the body existed the humanoid. The visuals will not be provided here, but can you imagine our brain and the spine attached? That’s essentially what exist as the humanoid lover, as it explained. The body is merely a vessel, one unimportant to their existence other than to provide a symbiotic means of life support. If the body is injured, resulting in death in some cases, the life of the creature is far more important and in need of a replacement body.

Third Scene

Dr. Crusher is left with a dilemma here. Not only in how to preserve this now, creature of a sort, but how to continue on to love it-genderless, sex-less, without any physical attraction to keep interest. She will discuss this dilemma with her friend, the ship counselor. Does she love whom she had come to know so far? Does the physical sense of a person matter so much? Perhaps so in the initial phases of love. The ‘creature’ tells her  that she needs to provide ‘him’ with a body soon or else it may perish as well. Given limited options and time of arrival for the new body, as sent by the other planet-per usual circumstances. A call to make drastic and new decisions that will certainly become temporary and problematic is made. Fellow first commanding officer Lt. Commander William T. Riker offers his body as part of the stasis for the creature. Now for the act of love. Commander Riker, or rather the creature as the lover attempts to pursue its passion for Dr. Crusher again. What is the issue then? As she shys away from an embrace, a kiss, a voice of attraction and romance. The point here being that the face was that of another friend, another chief of staff and someone not like the humanoid man she had fallen for upon arrival. She demands to know why this part of ‘him’ was not revealed initially. As the creature reasons, well there are parts a human may not reveal as it is considered irrelevant, for instance, that she has breast.

Fourth Scene

In an attempt to be convinced, Dr. Crusher begins to reason. If she has truly fallen in love with the creature, then the physical appearance of its being is irrelevant. She loves the creature that she has fallen for a few moments prior to this confusion. Dr. Crusher embraces love again, to understand that ‘love’ is not so much the physicality of the emotion. As there are other factors that compose. What did she miss? What all the humanoid had done to please her and that too was mental stimulation. However, a complication arises, since the human body was not developed for this type of invasion, Commander Riker then rejects the creature. All is well, and everything just in the nick of time, the new body arrives. Her job is done as she transfers the creature into a new body provided by their home planet.

Here we are to the last scene, a humanoid woman appears in the doorway of  Dr. Crusher. Here again to profess love, though this time the doctor is not convinced. Still conventionally attractive and stimulating this new body may be, this is a woman. And as it seems, where the pursuit of relationships must end as it does in fact matter to the human of the sex and gender of another human, or humanoid in this case. Attempting to plead that the mental captivation is what matters, essentially, and that the body is essentially a necessary irrelevance. The creature must understand that the quest for love has ended. Dr. Crusher’s lust, too, has faded.


This essay is less about gender. Or how the show tackles transgender people, more like gender shifters, or more so about the irrelevance of sex in the quest for love. This is about the essence of our reality.

How the show directors, artist thought of and designed the creature as resembling our brain and spinal cord is purposeful for sure. The purpose being to express and to explain the essence of ourselves. As it is played over again, once confronted with new understandings of life forms-seeming to exist beyond the comprehension of the human space travelers. Who we are not the flesh and bones we have, but how each part composed of our physiology is meant to help navigate ourselves, the brain. A common topic discussed within philosophy, how do we know who we are? The philosophy of consciousness.

If you wish to learn more about the mental and/or representation reality discussions, then I suggest the Internet Encyclopedia on Consciousness as an adequate source in summary.

Dennett

Browsing through the book store, I stumbled upon a philosophical reading Consciousness Explained, authored by Daniel C. Dennett.

 

Dennett
1991

The text is inspired by his quest for ‘knowing’. The content is about the physicality of our consciousness and by what means do we understand our conscious-still heavily debated and open ended as even the previous source provided summarizes.

 

More relevant here, is in the description of consciousness.

Dennett describes within his first chapter about an ‘evil scientist’ wanting to wake a brain. He includes the plausibility, as well as the actual possibility of this act. What is more important here is to set an example and by doing so is to play with what is an impossible endeavor. The brain is wake, now for the sudden realization that it has lost its key functions for reception of external sensory. That being the eyes for sight, the ears for sound, and the hand or overall extremities for touch. Dennett plays with the idea of a person who has lost all sense of who they are, physically, though unaware. In this case compare a person who has had a limb amputated. The person unaware may still feel the limb initially out of surgery, others in disbelief may need to see that they have in fact lost a limb. As the brain still recognizes what is familiar, and what is now missing. An amputee may still ‘feel’ their arm, for instance, the presence and all others sensory that may occur. The ‘evil scientist’ then attempts to recreate mechanical sensory projections in order to trick and to test the brain function. Dennett likens this to be impossible endeavor considering the advanced technology that is non-existent, and the boundaries in which we may be able to recreate external senses to be received by our extremities. In his example, the ‘evil scientist’ attempting to project a sense that there is sand beneath the brain’s ‘fingers’. Though how to accurately predict which finger(s) will run through the sand, to equally match the projection tricked upon the brain is impossible. The boundaries that exist with the human function. The point being that the brain, the mind is what controls who we think we are in the physical sense.

What we know as reality exist within a boundary. We are limited in how we may sense something external, as we are limited in how it is perceived. The fascination here is how we perceive something. For instance, the trick of the mind of showing ourselves images of something that it isn’t there. Or to feel something that is not there like a limb. Only that we know what is to be in the absence based on familiarity.

How then, do we discern what is imaginary and what is real? How do we know how to pick something up, or when to point at something? All discussed further by Dennett within his first chapter. Attempting to reason which is first-the mind or the brain, or is there a factor of dualism.


How do we know who we are? How do I know who I am? How does a person know that they are conscious? A curious question answered by someone great ‘I think, therefore I am’. What are we, who am I? The curiousness that allows us to think more deeply on this subject, not simply accepting reality without question

He Is Hero

‘In the beginning’, indicates a story that it is cliché and overdone. This will begin as others to tell the trope of Hero.

In the beginning, what inspired the common man- since women where often disregarded-was a Hero. A Hero was often born during mysterious, glorious, alien-like circumstances. It was his birth that predestined his good fortune, good looks and power and strength beyond that of the common man. Or simply put, someone did something so great that the common man thought to honor him- as it is usually a male- with the title of a ‘hero’. A common man witnessed another common man braver than himself, therefore the other more brave became a Hero. Or we can say that common man was much more sophisticated than we may give credit for sometimes, so a Hero was an imagined person. In regards to religion, or to gods, He or them are the imagined person(s). His purpose was to represent a figurative meaning of a few adjectives commonly associated with someone that has taken a risk or has made a (self) sacrifice for the greater good or in selfishness.

War or dangerous adventure is the hero’s normal occupation. He is surrounded by noble peers, and is magnanimous to his followers and ruthless to his enemies. In addition to his prowess in battle, he is resourceful and skillful in many crafts; he can build a house, sail a boat, and, if shipwrecked, is an expert swimmer. He is sometimes, like Odysseus, cunning and wise in counsel, but a hero is not usually given to much subtlety. He is a man of action rather than thought and lives by a personal code of honor that admits of no qualification. His responses are usually instinctive, predictable, and inevitable. He accepts challenge and sometimes even courts disaster. Thus baldly stated, the hero’s ethos seems over simple by the standards of a later age. He is childlike in his boasting and rivalry, in his love of presents and rewards, and in his concern for his reputation. He is sometimes foolhardy and wrong-headed, risking his life—and the lives of others—for trifles. Roland, for instance, dies because he is too proud to sound his horn for help when he is overwhelmed in battle.

Encyclopedia Britannica

The Hero to modern humankind is like the ancient definition- as revealed in super hero comics, movies and television. The Hero may also be one as described in Kung Fu films, anime collection films and television series. The Hero is someone that is strong, a risk taker and willing to sacrifice his life for others or the greater good. Though He or She is a conflicted character and may allow the more human emotions to overwhelm the mind. During this moment, as it is usually brief, self-reflection turns into selfish behavior that may cause greater damage to an individual or to an entire community. However, the Hero will readjust itself as good. And to remain forever timeless.

The most common, least forgotten form of the Hero is ‘God’. What is meant by ‘least forgotten’? No, ‘God’ is most often labeled as the Hero for modern humankind, but the meaning of that term ‘hero’ is often glossed over. A ‘hero’ is defined as a mythical person who is of the divine. This definition could also be applied to a warrior, or a soldier today, or just about anyone that exhibits such qualities like courage and bravery. In the sense of moral philosophy, the discussion here is the ‘God’ as the Hero that determines ethics. The Hero being part of a myth is one of divine creation by the imaginative common man (or men), in order to provide a figurative meaning of ethics for the common people.

In all tropes, either ancient or modern, there is a battle between good and evil. The successor, the one that triumphs over evil, is often regarded as the Hero. In ancient times this Hero overcame a battle either with the self or for a community of people- whether He was related to them or not. In modern times this Hero overcame a great feat often imaginary as it plays in superhero films and television. In the religious sense, every interpretation as ‘God’ or the Hero shows that He is the successor over what is evil- and that being the Devil/Satan in the Christian theology. What is evil? Evil is one that defies; a naysayer or negative thoughts and emotions; in opposition or question to what is good. The Hero then becomes an example to abide by and to follow by common people.

The purpose of these tropes are to exhibit good behavior or to have others obliged, for a common good. This purpose was exhibited in both ancient political and moral philosophy as a constant measure to ensure an ordered society, and well-behaved or well-ordered individuals. As for religious philosophy the same as true, though with an additional granting of immunity.

In the end, the Hero is simply a story of a moral code or something to achieve.

 


 

How to Explain Atheism?

The question posed to an atheist is often along the lines of ‘how could you not believe in God’?

The mindset that follows behind this question, perhaps, are along the lines of ‘you are denying your own existence along with everything else that exist’. Or, perhaps, the person or the believer posing this question may think that to not believe is the most ridiculous concept because of what the belief in ‘God’ offers.

A belief in ‘God’ offers sanity and hope. That is sanity meaning that the question of life existence is troubling to the human mind. In ancient philosophy, the undeclared atheist contemplated about how religion and the concept of the supernatural did not suffice in answering the greater question of life, especially that of human existence. Or in the case of Epicurus and Lucretius that thought if gods existed then they placed no importance on the lives of human beings, as they were absent and invisible. It is troubling to think what caused our existence and what gave us the ability to think and to question this fact. That troubling fact being one of insignificance, as I spelled out in ‘So They Believe’. And in hope meaning that there is an underlying purpose to suffering or to living on Earth. That there is some being out there beyond our sphere, well now beyond our universe, is our guidance and care-giver.

So, here I am to explain atheism. Atheism is the ‘lack of belief in gods’. This is not a ‘denial of god(s)’, as that statement requires a belief in god(s). This is not a belief system as its definition begins and ends in its initial statement. This term is not a religion as there are no doctrines, moral philosophy, and the sort attributed to the statement. There are two types of atheist: one that is gnostic and the other that is agnostic. Gnostic meaning to know something, or to know without doubt, or to know with affirmation. Agnostic meaning to be unsure of something, or to doubt, or to not know without affirmation. A gnostic atheist lacks a belief in god(s) because there is definitive proof of its or their non-existence. While an agnostic atheist are those like Epicurus and Lucretius expressing a lack of belief in gods, though not sure of that statement provability.

Therefore, to an atheist of either persuasion the mindset of a theist bears no weight on their mind. The argument that atheist are in denial of their existence, or in denial of their creator, ignores the point that an atheist thinks that the ‘creator’ was created by imaginative common people.

Then, depending on the particular atheist, the reasons in addition to their lack of belief is determined by how much that one person is convinced.


My Statement

I am asked often how and why I am an atheist. I tell them first that no liberal college poisoned my mind with liberal nonsense of the beginning or declining of everything. Actually, I first began to question the existence of ‘god’ after tattling on a younger sibling that expressed a lack of belief. It was only when I was a child that I questioned the imagery of this being, as well the purpose that this ‘god’ may serve in my life. As well, the lesson about there being different religions in the world proved to be a less convincing case for the religion I was indoctrinated into. So I told myself, though unknowing of the proper words at the time- that I will remain simply agnostic until I have read the holy text about all religions.

Over time I became simply an atheist. As a young atheist I never mocked the theist, only to question what all they stated as the exact meaning and purpose to every question and concern that can be conceived about life. I never got around to reading all of those holy text as they are many and most inaccessible to myself. Not even the Christian bible. I can only count on one hand how many times I have opened and read the Holy Bible. However, I took an interest in philosophy and the concept of religion as learned in the subject of history. As I graduated, moved on to college, I became a gnostic atheist.

How am I able to have a firm knowledge of something I have not read? To study the specific text(s) is meant to only argue the points made within the holy text(s). That was never my purpose since as a child. As a child I questioned the imagery and the purpose, not ‘what did Jacob say?’ Therefore, the confirmation and answers to the many questions I had kept silent existed in the origins of each religion. As I had moved onto college I wished to major in philosophy. Upon searching for the likelihood of making a living with that degree it encouraged me to choose history instead. Specifically, I concentrated on western civilization and that meant learning of the beginning of ancient philosophy and the philosophers, as well as the beginning of the major Western religions present today. In learning about something you learn about how and why it was created. Though the details of this topic is for another extended essay, I may state that my confirmation was found that god(s) and religion are human created.

My confirmation was not told specifically, but through several courses. This affirmation was told by Christian professors that had to explain the point of historical interpretation of religion as not being a denial or criticism of their present religious convictions. Though one could sense the discomfort in the room whenever we discussed the early Christian beliefs, as in comparison to their own as modern Christians. I was told this to be true when discussing the concept of ‘hero’s’ as told in epic poems or the history of a glorious time before the existence of writing by the ancients. This was never specific. There was never a confirmation that ‘yea all of this myth’ by professors or by the students, whom all or most are religious as well. This is simply a person, myself that came to the conclusion of all that I have been taught- and all that had been carefully worded as to not offend.


My Conclusion

What I have come to conclude: ‘He Is Hero’.

A combination of all of the courses, lessons, lectures have concluded to that specific topic. Now I admittedly failed at knowing the mundane, specific details of the epics; the purpose of Homer’s writing; the thoughts of Socrates; to actually read the text about the Jews and Christians under Roman rule; etc. All of which were disinteresting as my mind often went on a tangent about the overall idea, gathered without reading much further. My mind is primarily fascinated by concepts. I am moved by the general idea of something rather than the specifics, though the specifics like an event’s date may prove to be useful. Though not useful in understanding the underlying meaning of everything, or one specific topic and the purpose of it.

I have concluded here that He is in fact a Hero. My quest in knowing this fact was due to my thoughts and views on religion. What does Hero mean and what does Hero provide to others has always been a common topic upon my mind. And then whenever questioned about my inability to believe in a higher, supernatural being I vaguely reference that He Is [A] Hero.

A simple statement not conveying and justifying all that is known or could be known. However, in its simplicity answers a common question asked of an atheist. Here I gave my own summary of how and why I’m convinced.

A Heart That Is Gold

After writing Hashtag ‘Talk To Someone’ the thought occurred to me that I should share this fact to two people. I told my mom and I told my only associate. I told my mom that I have a strong desire to just simply walk away. I told my associate that I rather not waste time on another person again, expecting them to be honest and truthful about their nature or character. My mom called me to tell me that, of course, I’m not alone. It’s a mental illness that runs throughout our family, from a grand mother that suffered from a more severe mental illness. Depression is a common illness in my family, something I know my mom to have. She told me that she too becomes depressed, to cry at night. I know the source of her problems, one that refuses to just leave on his own accord. A selfish and self-centered human being, just as the individuals I have encountered throughout my life so far. She told me that she too will cry, only to roll over and to fall asleep. To wake up and to pray that everything will be better. She told me of her distractions too, one that I have been aware of and concerned about as I age. The two parts of the conversation that…when my mom told me that she will cry sometimes, I found it difficult to imagine. You see, in my mind and through my observations growing up, I have never once seen my mom, or my dad cry. Though every time the topic of depression surfaces my mom will tell me that yes, they are human too and that they too express a common human physical response to emotions. I still find it difficult to imagine that my mom is just as vulnerable as I am. Even if I have witnessed her sad, I have never witnessed her to cry.

She told me that yes, as I grow older the more my nature will become challenged. She has always known and accepted that her two children are different from other children. She has had to explain and to defend to her own family members why and how her children are different. Per society standards, as young black people, my younger brother and I fail to be loud, eccentric, or to ‘live in the moment’. We are so different because we both value intellectualism, idealism, concept knowledge, abstract thinking, an inclination to reason and to challenge established norms. All that is considered odd because we are black; all that is considered disrespectful in some cases. An important point to make as this a cause for our experience in being bullied and harassed, as well for others to misinterpret who we are. The greater point here is that we are both quiet introverts, something strange to a group of people that only understand ‘voices are to be raised and heard’. This is my nature, to live in a world that is so loud and demanding for myself to speak up and state your position clearly for us all to hear. What else did my mom tell me? She told me that I am sensitive because I care. And she’s right. I have always been sensitive. I have always been the one to care a great deal about how  others are in their nature.

When I care, I care to understand the purpose and point of it all. I am also inclined to apply logic to what is emotional. As I described within my article of confession, the source of my depressed state has always been other people. Not only the fact that people generally make me anxious and uncomfortable, as I am hyper-aware that they have the ability to judge. People, as individuals who are all typically self-centered, unkind, judgmental and rude. I grew up within an environment where the strongest individuals were those that are rude, seemingly uncaring of other’s emotions and careless with emotions. Though they reveal how truly vulnerable they are whenever they feel the need to take revenge on those that may mistake them as weak. That is to return hatred with hate. Or to not concern themselves with the disadvantages of others by forming an attitude whenever asked for a favor, because the thought of being ‘used’ matters more than a person truly in need.  It is along the lines of this fact and those type of behaviors that caused me to be sensitive and to care a great deal into understanding them. To understand why such forms of behavior are expected to be justified.


Love

I am to apply logic to what is emotional. If you do not love a person, yet you tell them so as an obligated response within a relationship, why do you do it? What compels you, a person with emotions, to lie to someone else with emotions as well? This may apply to your current partner, spouse, friend, or even child and parent. Why is it deemed an obligation to face another human being and to lie about how you may feel about that person? In this society, or as I’m referring to the United States poor cultural habits, we are to lie to a person in order to spare their feelings. We are to believe that initial honesty within relationships are to be forgotten and regarded as sensitive matter not worth the trouble to share and to tell. Though we are creatures with the urge to tell. Instead of initial honesty, some people may tell a person their true feelings in a more passive sense. Instead of telling the person ‘I do not love you’, the unloving individual will purposefully purchase an item different from what you asked for exactly. Instead of confessing one’s true feelings, the person may lash out in anger over something petty or insignificant. As there are many ways to tell a person that you love them without those exact words, there are many ways to do the opposite. For whatever reason the exact purpose or point of this behavior is not understood.

The question remains ‘why do you do it?’


Trust

The idea of trust is foreign.  Actually, Pew Research Center has found that U.S. Americans are unable to trust their neighbors more so now than before. This fact is associated to different environments where poverty and [apparent] crime are heavily concentrated and specific. This fact too remains as our society becomes increasingly more diverse and that our economy becomes increasingly dire. On the subject of relationships, we find it difficult to trust  another person. And whenever a person expresses a sense of distrust in others, not considering those that are in abusive situations, the attitude that surfaces proves to be damaging. The idea of a lack of trust in individuals initially is the fear that all others will prove to be damaging to the person. Then a vicious cycle has been created. One person refusing to trust may become agitated, rude and the like towards someone that may be honest with their emotions.  Then the one honest by their emotions may then become distrustful of others, because of their experience with people that are agitated and rude. So on and so forth until a large population of people warn their children, or to give advice to someone that is troubled-that this is simply how people are.

Then there are those whose fears are confirmed as they are left abandoned in their personal issue to trust. In their minds it is then confirmed that people are not only untrustworthy, but they are just as uncaring as expected. A misunderstanding is then formed as every relationship is either sabotaged or put to a test.


Judgement

The fear to be ‘used’ is a fear to be judged by others. It seems that within our culture we must display a hard surface that is not easily penetrated by others. This is to say, if we are ever to find ourselves in a situation that causes for the kindness of heart we are told to never let it bleed. If we are to allow the heart to bleed we may find ourselves stripped of our dignity; of our possessions, time, money and body. If we are to allow ourselves to be ‘used’ we may find ourselves weak and judged. The last association we should want to have to our name is that we are easy and vulnerable. And the last thought we wish to have is someone, either closely associated or a stranger, to judge us.

So in turn a person establish clear boundaries of what requests are okay. One may find a person reluctant to give another person in need a ride to work. The reason given that it is their responsibility to have their own transportation, so if I were to forget then oh well. They will know. Of course a favor that is offered is a favor given in kindness. However, this is deed is concerned by how others may interpret the action as being ‘too much’. And by ‘too much’ meaning too easy, too vulnerable, well then anyone can ask this person anything and they will give. The fear to be judged, as applies to this examples and others not mentioned here, trumps the act of kindness.

 

unsung hero
Unsung Hero Commercial

 


A Heart That is Gold

It is those subjects and others more personal that causes me to feel disheartened. It is those understandings I have formed that leaves me to be questionable and concerned about others. But my mom told me, too in this conversation-that I will certainly lose myself in them. She told me, encouraged me to find my happy.  As she told me about her distractions from reality, or what keeps her going and anticipating for more, I was thinking of my happy. I had written in my confession that walking and writing are my happy. If one ever writes something sad or discouraging it always best to end with something that is hopeful or that it is a remedy. I am truthful in what allows me to escape though. I find my happy in those activities and in exercise. Obesity in the U.S. is another anticipated writing, as it was my personal experience as well. I never knew that exercise, taking a risk to lift something heavy would excite me so.

As I partake in all activities that are my happy, the conclusion then is that I should focus on myself. As my close associate told me, it’s alright to focus on yourself now. Then when you are ready to open up and to allow a person into your life again it will be worth it. If someone cannot accept who you are then it is their loss- to forget someone worth knowing about.

I’m not in the belief that my heart is so pure that I am without flaws too. I understand how my nature can be off-putting; seeming to cause conflict with others. This is true that I am sensitive about the greater sense of human behavior, but as far as individual troubles I seem more bothered by the request to listen and to answer. Well, especially since I assume the person is wanting for an answer to their troubles that is based on logic, rather than to simply listen and to agree. I disregard social cues. I may even belittle a person for simply being human without understanding what all I am saying or doing to that person. I am always willing to add self-criticism in addition to what I understand to be flaws in human behavior. I am human too, of course. And I am guilty of assuming one of those subjects of behaviors listed above. My inability to trust as I deny any chance to have close association with others or to form a relationship of any kind. My attitude then becomes of rudeness and being overcritical of how this too may fail. All because of my depression, pessimism and the like.

My mom told me to find my happy, but to also form happy thoughts. The concept here is that if I accept the negative thoughts that only deepens my depression, then to assume positive thoughts will increase my level of contentment. In that time I may attract the same within my environment and with others to be happy, as my close associate told me. In that case, to find what will work is the ability to find a balance.

 

The ‘Borg’

What is the ‘Borg’?

An entity that speaks as one. The uniformity of individuals grouped. Impersonalization of the individual, to ensure that the concerns of all are equal. The notion of equality, or the indivisibility of the group. That is all that defines the ‘Borg’, or the arch enemy of the United Federation of Planets. Or, more philosophically, the arch enemy of humanity.

The war of the Federation with the Borg has proved to be a great discussion about humanity- that is a constant subject presented by several science fiction television and cinema. There have been other films that have discussed this ‘war’ in great length, for example, The Invasion (2007). I will use it in comparison to the concerns presented by the Federation. The actual war as presented in Star Trek: The Next Generation 1987-1994 (TNG) is between the Federation star ship The Enterprise and the Borg, introduced by an omnipotent being called ‘The Q’. On ‘Q’s’ behalf, the purpose of the introduction was for the human [and humanoid kind] to understand that there are bigger, stronger, more influential enemies than the squabbles that they found themselves in within their domain [or sector of the universe(s)]. The lesson then was to be introduced, and to find a way to combat what the Borg stood for exactly. The aimed peaceful agreement, then was to combat the idea of uniformity without losing the particular aspects of individuality. This was also reminded in filler episodes, or where the human, the Klingon, the Cardassian haphazardly came together and heard a message from a representation of the human and humanoid ‘creator’. The ‘creator’ reminded the human and humanoids that they are of one DNA strand and that their differences were not a means for violence, but for character in a sense. Of course, as the captain, Jean-Luc Picard of the starship Enterprise stated ‘it was such a shame that the message fell on such deaf ears’. The squabbles continue as the Enterprise found itself in surprising and in intense contact with the Borg. The Borg’s purpose was to colonize and to include all humans and humanoid species as part of its entity. Their key collective mindset being that ‘resistance is futile’. This meant either peacefully or through violent contact all others not part of the entity will be assimilated as the Borg. For the sake of humanity, the humans ultimately refused, thus resistance proved worthy.

In the process of the war, there had been debates of the morally contentious thing to do. There is a moral code of conduct followed by those of the Federation. The codes are summarized as follows:

  • All entities have the right to exist
  • Disturbances or destruction of another life form is prohibited
  • Disturbances or destruction of another life form’s environment is prohibited
  • Solutions to where violence and death, which are preventable, is the preferred course of action
  • Disturbances of newly discovered humanoid species have precautionary terms
  • To engage in diplomacy where disagreements of species by respecting their customs and beliefs

As the Borg proved to be an enemy without the ability or inclination to speak humanely, or to form a peaceful agreement without force and an assumption of power- the one contemplated idea then was for its ultimate destruction. In one instance, a contact with a youthful Borg- or representation of being impressionable, willingness to change, and revolution-led to discussion of either ultimate destruction or a ‘choice’. The first decision was unanimously agreed upon by the Enterprise senior officers. Where they discussed that the entire destruction of humanity was of the greatest threat. Therefore, the ultimate need to destroy that threat is an exception to the moral code. All those that agreed thought to program a ‘virus’ that would then end the entity altogether. All agreed except for one senior officer, Dr. Beverly Crusher. The youthful Borg had come aboard the Enterprise injured. As it is Dr. Crusher’s duty and oath to heal, she took offense to the unanimous decision. She reminded the senior officers of the moral code and of her duty. As well, she reminded the members that despite the youthful Borg’s presentation he was still a being, a child and someone in need of humane treatment.

iborg138_zps2d07c1e7

The Borg are a collective humanoid species existing within a highly technological advanced hive. In their worldview there is no concept of ‘I’ or of the individual. If they are to speak about a desire it is only the desire of the collective. Or they will speak as ‘we’. For example, an individual Borg will speak as “we are alone” rather than “I am alone”. The chief engineer of the Enterprise, and one part of unanimous decision, Geordi LaForge helped Dr. Crusher with the technological aspects of the youthful Borg’s injuries. As well his task was to program the virus to ultimately destroy it and his kind. Though in interacting with the Borg, LaForge began to understand why they insisted on a collective. The youthful Borg felt disconnected as he was no longer part of his hive. In his mindset, or as he was programmed to think and feel, being alone or as an individual would be lonesome. LaForge would offer his rebuttal-that being an individual is not lonely as one can connect with another individual to share likeness. However, in sharing that likeness he would not give up his individuality as that gave him character, or a purpose to his name. In order for the youthful Borg to understand this need and desire, LaForge personalized him or gave him a character by naming him ‘Hugh’ [pictured above]. Hugh then accepted his name.

After this new discovery that the Borg are capable of changing or forming a new understanding about humanity, the senior officers of the Enterprise came together for a new devised plan. It is imperative that they devise the plan as the Borg collective intend to collect their kind. Therefore it was an imminent violent threat approaching, and a need to find a quick solution. In discovering that Hugh could have a character, the second decision then was to give the Borg a ‘choice’. This meant instead of programming Hugh with a virus to ultimately destroy the others, the senior officers thought to program Hugh with a sense of ‘choice’. In that is the desire for individuality, a new revolution of thought.

The concerns of the Federation about the ultimate destruction of humanity is adequately presented. Why would one want to give up their individuality for the sake of all others? What were the benefits of existing as a collective rather than as an individual? Upon the first encounter with the Borg there was total silence. Three of the senior officers of the Enterprise boarded the ship.

the borg cube

The Borg were unbothered and were not threatened by the presence of the few crew members. But what is characterized by the Borg’s hive, or their environment? It was quiet, it was peaceful, it was cold. What seemed like a blank slate was actually a thriving consciousness only present within the mind through connective wires. Now to answer the first two questions one must understand what humanity is like, especially existing as individuals. TNG presents the lives of 24th century Earth beings that had become united over their differences. Therefore, no more wars or acts of violence- though the ‘Q’ forced them to answer to their previous crimes or behavior. A rough summary of the event presented here. However there were still squabbles among the humanoid species and the human, whereby the human attempted to end. Revert to our own time, the 21st century, where countless wars and violence are waged in the name of ‘differences’, ‘lack of resources’ and ‘lack of education’. What is meant to give up being an individual to then become a collective means to give up violence, or the notion that differences are to cause tension. The benefit of existing within a collective, or as the Borg, is ultimately peace. As individuals we have proven that we are bound to allow disagreements to cause chaos and by that what means of peace is only through force. It’s an idea played out in science fiction countless times.

This point was played out well in the movie ‘The Invasion’, previously linked. Within the film the ‘virus’ had turn every individual into a blank slate. The only differences among those infected with the virus were their appearances. A police officer, a black woman, a white man, a Hispanic woman walking together though they are the same. There exist no personality, no strong emotions or emotions at all. There exist no other apparent differences other than physical characteristics. Instead they are all one person, a collective of the same being. The same thought with the Borg’s motive is played out within the movie or that ‘resistance is futile’. The resistance being the main character, or as the Federation, for the sake of humanity individuality must be preserved. The resistance proved to be worthy, however what did that all mean exactly? At the end of the movie, once a cure had been found for the ‘virus’, the main character and her husband were sitting about their living area talking. The last scene was of the news playing over as they count the last of those being cured. The news as well played over the rise of violence, and chaos going about the country and the world as the humankind regained its humanity.

In watching the television series now, and the movie as a child, I have begun to wonder why peace on Earth or among all individuals is so difficult to fathom. So difficult to fathom that the idea of peace is merely a fantasy and one that can only be forced. By being forced it is an alien being, or an alien concept to seem united and to convince others to be united in thought, action and behavior towards the other. As I am hopeful that humanity would come to a peaceful agreement- as there are human beings that are at peace, but I agree peace is alien. I disagree that in order for there to be peace we must strip human beings of their sense of individuality. As the 24th century Earth beings aimed to accomplish- as they proved for themselves that there can be peace without forsaking the individual. However, how did 24th century do away violence and disagreements that is so often associated with individuality? They gave up capitalism-profit, money and materialism, and in return found that minimalism sufficed the needs and wants of the individual. This too is revealed throughout the series. This then did away with greed, inequality and the violence, selfishness and the sort. That very thought or means of acquiring peace is why it is so difficult to fathom.

My love for Star Trek TNG is not the purpose or the point here, though it is proven useful in discussing key concepts and ideas. Instead I am here to discuss how the Borg finds its way into our society, and how it is ultimately resisted at every turn. Here I am to discuss humanity, and what we have accomplished thus far in preserving that idea of individuality. To define exactly what is humanity, what is peace, and by what means we may fix the issues from within.

What is Humanity?

Humanity is defined as by Merriam-Webster dictionary as the quality or state of being humane; the quality or state of being human; and of the humankind. What does it mean to be humane? The adjectives often associated with this term is that of compassion and sympathy. For example, it is humane to treat other animal species with the same dignity and respect that we, humans, require of ourselves. In practice, the ‘humane’ treatment is something that activist must argue for exactly. In this we are discussing organizations like PETA, or organizations calling for the fair treatment of criminals and of poor minorities. The ‘state of being human’ refers to biology [physiology] but in this context it’ll refer to character, personality, and a sense of morality that is kindred to all humans-or the individual. By no means is this a positive reflection of the individual, though there are positive aspects of some individuals. Humankind is simply the collective of human beings.

That is what defines humanity. In practice we, humans, reveal our humanity by showing compassion to those without a voice in their condition or predicament. We often contemplate about the humane treatment of others, especially those marginalized or oppressed. That is humanity when we are discussing the treatment of others or ‘othered’ people. Those discussions evoke feelings of passion and righteousness. All good and well, however, humanity is often associated with its third definition provided here. Humanity is often associated with violence, deception, untrustworthiness, etc. all that is thought of when we discuss individuals as being part of humankind. The religious of the West may refer to mankind as being wicked, untrustworthy, and impulsive or all those adjectives relating to the thoughts and behaviors of individuals within the collective. It is the individual, then, that taints the meaning of and the imagery of what is meant by humanity.

We are, as individuals, a collection of varying degree of personalities and moral judgements, and by that causes disagreements. We disagree in the way to provide proper healthcare for all citizens of the state. And we allow such disagreements to jeopardize the health of our people. On a personal level we may disagree with a persons’ character or how they may conduct their self outside of the established ‘norm’.  This then causes trivial scrimmages that are not too important at first glance, but are of greater concern knowing that humans engage in pettiness. The individual is often corrupted and dissatisfied too. We base our wants and needs on what we want and need more of generally. For instance, the poor not realizing the economic state of their community will be compromised in the their want and need of something from someone else poor. Or when the poor steals from the poor the community has gained nothing more than a greedy individual. In the discussion of violence, the fight for resources is never a collective action, or so at first, it is the individual against another. And we may find examples of this in reality or in fiction whenever a nation of people, yet in disagreement, are faced with greater trouble. In summation we live in a society plagued by the self-interested.

And because there exist the greater self-interested human beings find it difficult to trust another. This is true that people are distrustful of their neighbor, be it closely related or not. As we age and as we become more aware of the troubles that plague our society-the cost of individuality- we find that more people are distrustful of others than before. When the next generation arises, they too become less trustful of the other (USA Today). This is easily divided among skin color, age and their respective environments and communities they may reside in (Pew Research Center). Those communities more so negatively impacted by the negative connotations of the individual, the self-interested, battle with the issue of trust.

To bring it all a back again, and as it relates to TNG: In a way the humans of Earth, perhaps the Federation exemplified, and preached often, all that is defined by humanity. However, in actuality and as the ‘Q’ character pointed out that humans and humanoid species are the exact antonym of the definition. This then helps me to conclude that the enemy of humanity is not that of a virus- or an entity that exist as a hive-that strips away the positive aspect of the term. Instead, the arch enemy of humanity is the individual, the self-interested.

In Our Society

Where do we see the individual most often? In random acts of violence that speaks to inequality and impoverishment- that may be either a generational effect or a failed individual. We see the individual as we discuss income inequality; racial disparities in the criminalization of citizens; inequitable access to educational resources and influences; experience qualifications for entry-level occupations; etc.. We see the individual as a violent reaction to lack of opportunities and resources in urban or rural communities. Or the subject of the individual whenever we discuss access to the same privileges afforded to the affluent. The individual is the arch enemy of humanity in this sense as it does not allow for peace, or for peace for our society.

Peace is what we aim to achieve whenever we discuss humanity of the individual that aims for it. I am discussing the activist that views the individual as self-interested too. It is in activism do we see the positive aspects of the individual. Where they fight for the marginalized, or they fight for the acknowledgement of the commonality of all of humankind. For instance, the fight to recognize people of the LGBTQ+ are in fact valid in their existence as they are with their inner feelings and truth. Or when past activist had to argue that those of non-Caucasian or European descent are in fact human and deserving of humane treatment. The activist are those that remind us that we can have peace within our society, however, only if all other individuals are willing. And we find that they are not willing to change, not willing to come forward in order to set aside differences. The activist struggles to be a greater influence, despite legislative changes that make their initiatives a reality. What do I mean exactly? In the call for peace, we still have a large population of individuals that are still racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist, classist, etc.. I could go into great length of each example; however, I’m sure that you can either draw from your own experience or observations how unachievable total peace is exactly in our society.

How Do We Acquire Peace?

According to popular science fiction, we are told that by peace means that we should strip the human being of their individuality. And by no means will humans submit willingly to give up their character. Peace within our society will require that we share no apparent and/or emotional differences. Since we are so incapable of doing so ourselves, the means by which to acquire ultimate peace is a Borg. Here I’ll argue that in line with the argument presented by the humans of the Federation: peace is ultimately achievable without stripping away what qualifies us as human beings. We are able to exist together, yet so very different, if we are to be rid of two concepts. Those concepts are as follows: materialism and that differences are a means to violence.

On Minimalism

The way, in which, to achieve a peaceful society is by be ridding our society of materialism. In doing so we embrace the notion of minimalism. There are different definitions and philosophical understandings of the word ‘materialism’. How I am using the term is in reference to consumerism. By consumerism I am referring to the preoccupation and inclination to buying materials (Merriam-Webster). Though I’m not suggesting a society without means to acquire reasonable material ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ [i.e. clothing or other accessories]. I am suggesting that in a society of excess, and where we are encouraged by either a marketing team our one another to acquire more than what is needed, we then create self-interested individuals. As we call for more, we then have issues with the more affluent assuming rather than sharing more materials. Thus we have on the other extreme the poor taking from those that are poor as well. It’s the assumption we always require more than we need, more than we can afford to posses. In this assumption creates the inequalities and the violence that activist aim to create initiatives for in order to erase. Therefore, the means to peace is by minimalism.

What is minimalism? It is defined as extreme spareness and simplicity. This is meant by foregoing the additional pair of shoes when you have two or three in good or fair conditions. This is meant by the decluttering of house space by allowing only the essence in organization, entertainment and comfort. This may include the actual physicality of the home, by reducing its size the equivalence of a bedroom and kitchen area. Of course this is respective to your relationship status and whether you have additional people to fill up space. However, have you ever thought how much space is wasted then, in obligation to fill an empty space, that we fill it with more stuff? It is wasteful, it is clutter, it is the means by which consumerism still thrives. There are those that hate the superficial aspect about a minimalist. I understand, in the age of social media human beings feel the need for additional fame and approval from others. Thus their minimalism is the cause to spend more money in addition for what they were able to save from what they lack. I’m not referring to those that chase the aesthetics and the fame. I’m referring to how minimalism, as defined could help with the idea for peace.

This is an oversimplification of the facts and factors about materialism and how it affects individuals. I am to prove a point here, and without drawn out specific examples. If we are to forgo what we have in excess, the constant vying for resources would reduce. If we are to give up what we simply want in addition over what we need, we would see less envy from the individual. If we can use minimalism to reduce the assumption that one always require more than what is needed, or one that requires more than what they can posses, then perhaps we can be at peace. To be at peace, meaning to live among others without the assumption of excess; without stripping away what all makes us truly unique. Since we are living in a constantly progressing society, in the age of advance technology and of social media all that is fine. As technology is often considered an excess material when it can be a positive reinforcement. How else are we to share our thoughts and ideas, alike or also different to society and so rapidly?

Acknowledgement of Differences

I encounter this issue quite often on my own as an argumentative personality.  Whenever it comes to an expression of differences, people tend to find it as the source of tension and the reason for violence. This couldn’t be further from the truth, however it is difficult to convince others that it is okay if two or more people disagree. We are individuals, after all, and we have our own characters and moral judgements that are influenced by nurture or our own lived experiences. We are individuals with varying beliefs on how to do something or in what way to determine decisions for all. However, such disagreements are not the cause for upset and violence. As the Federation aims at mending the fraction of a species that are all too similar. For instance, the Enterprise constantly engaging in diplomacy of a species engaged in civil war over simple differences of opinions, values and beliefs. The cause of the Federation diplomats or those experts they may call upon are to remind them that they are all too similar. In one example, in United States politics I call upon issues such as gun violence, healthcare, and taxes. Whereby there are similarities in thought but there are differences in execution. And because of those differences, instead of allowing them for finding a common ground we find that it causes tensions. In some cases it may even cause violence. We reveal that we are unable to achieve peace because we are unable to resolve our differences maturely.

I call upon the classic film The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951). Where an alien, who appeared human as well, warned the people of Earth that if they are not to resolve their differences then they are doomed to be destroyed.

the-day-the-earth-stood-still

This film is quintessential as it aims to address the current political culture of that time with the ending of World War II and the new emergence of the Cold War (1947-1991). As the point was clear it was about the Cold War as the diplomats of the respective countries to be called for peace were those opponents of that war. I like this film as it addresses a political aspect in the midst of other issues surrounding their time that isn’t addressed but revealed. Or having a predominately white cast, though there were a few non-white Americans present as representing the citizens of Earth and of the United States. There was a Civil Rights Movement rising, as there existed no peace for racial minorities or black Americans, Latino Americans, Native Americans, Chinese Americans, immigrants, etc.. And the Women’s Liberation (Feminist) Movement rising, as there existed no peace or equality for women. However, in this time and frame of mind, global peace of the political persuasion was a great concern. As they addressed directly, or not all the several disagreements that caused so much tension and violence that the only way to achieve peace is to introduce an alien, perhaps one that appears similar to the majority demographic.

Peace can be achieved in the matter of differences if we as individuals could understand the concept of compromise. Depending only on some issues as not all are about an equal division of opinion. Other issues can exist with a compromise, or understanding that both parts are equally true. I’m discussing the recent light with police homicides and violence as briefly discussed and will expound upon later here. I’m discussing the issues with taxes and healthcare that is a common issue among many societies. We can achieve peace if individuals are so willing to engage in compromise and to understand that it is for the good of all. In this way we can still retain our individuality without compromising the nation.

To conclude with brevity:

There exist no need for a Borg to correct ourselves, it is only ourselves that should be corrected. Though this is difficult to fathom because it seems so impossible. The beginning of its possibility then is to start with sacrifices.

So They Believe

Religious affiliations account for just about 88% of our global population, while only 16.3% are unaffiliated to any religion. That is about 9…hold on midnight mental math at work here “6 and 8 is 4…9, 10?” According to a published 2012 Pew Research on the global religious population, the vast majority affiliate to a religion largely identified or not. In contrast, a minority identify as ‘nones’. I skimmed past an article once that used the word ‘nones’ to describe atheist, agnostics, anti-theist, etc. people that were too shy for labels. Anyway, to what I am to convey in anticipated long-winded paragraphs. It fascinates me, still, that we have human beings- in the existence of a modern world- that still believe in a higher power and the second coming of a rewarding death [or new life]. They still believe that the answers to human suffering is a clasped hand in prayer, a hymn, a meditation, a song, etc. Humans still build these great small, yet significant, buildings for collaborative prayer and community involvement. I am in awe here, just how influential these religions are to many others, whether they accepted as a child or grew to become devout. In fascination, in awe, since this is a modern world where unanswerable questions have been answered. A modern world where we can actively prove, scientifically, the truthiness of an extraordinary claim. And yet people still believe.

I will have to limit this essay to those most likely to have access to education beyond traditional means. That means most likely to have access to information to educate oneself or to be educated about religions, their history and impact on the world and of other scientific pursuits and ideas. Specifically I will refer to a nation and religious majority that I am most familiar with-that being the United States of America. A nation where the vast majority are Christian at 70% and are aging. A comparative study conducted by the Pew Research Center has found that while affiliation to religion, Christianity specifically, remains high the numbers are in slow decline. We are witnessing more so now a population of people, growing, and while still young, either unsure or sure about the religious claims by the Christian faith. We are slowly witnessing a population of youth questioning the existence and the purpose of a higher being. I find that too fascinating, since I am part of the young sure and labeled as an atheist. Here I am not concerned by those who challenge religion on it’s grounds. Instead I am here to write about what keeps a modern population religiously devoted to what we now know, regardless if it is acknowledged, to be human-created and constructed. What I have summarized is despite the wide access to information and education about religion, there are some inalienable uses for it still.

For Comfort

I have found that religion is useful for comfort and is familiarly useful for comfort. There is a quote posted and shared somewhere on social media that essentially stated that as an atheist we have no traditional means for comfort. That is, when confronted with the idea of existential crisis and of life existence we are left to understand then to accept alone. As an atheist I have been faced with the idea of our exact purpose based on the history and scientific understanding of our development. We are simply the product of a star born in space. Along with that we are one of many genetically similar DNA copies of one another, or we are no more special than another. Expand this scope to our solar system. Our planet is one of many planets.

View From Mars

Our solar system is one out of 100 billion or so within our galaxy. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is one out of 200 billion galaxies multiplied by 10, within our observable universe. And how many universes are there? This has yet to have been discovered, so we play with the idea through science fiction. My personal favorite to date being Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994), an anticipated future essay. As my astronomy professor demonstrated-on the free activity field on campus, we are truly insignificant. And I remember feeling truly insignificant as a child as I became more sure of being a ‘nones’, an atheist rather. How did I cope with this profound discovery? In regards to our insignificance: I am glad to be a part of the age and time where technology, technological advancement, scientific research and more scientific questions are being asked about our existence and beyond that we can only imagine. I do not think we serve a greater purpose on Earth, as I think we are just as other animals and creatures, though more advanced or better able to be curious and to be aware. This greatly differs from the religious as they are told to believe that their existence is significant, and more importantly, significant to some higher being that exceeds the basic human form.

In conversation with my family, they often tell me in some variation that ‘I know that for whatever obstacles are thrown at me, God is there with me and I know it’. In their minds their purpose lies within their belief of significance. They believe that they are significant, and of course able to adapt to the Sun being the center and that there are other planets. They believe that their God created them, and placed them on Earth that is bountiful with resources. And in return they give their devotion and obedience to their creator, their father and God as a form of appreciation of this gift. Therefore, whenever they have issues with existence itself, or ‘is this all there is to life and living’. They were taught to believe that Earth is simply a test for his people. Or that the reward for their living a sin-free life is to meet Jesus Christ, God’s son, in heaven by death. Then ultimately, those who have the chance to witness such an extraordinary event, the rapture then will allow God’s believers to ascend into heaven. By this belief they live their life relatively without anxiety of greater questions. Religion proves as a greater sense of comfort in dealing with mundane details of human life as well. That being dealing with emotions of love or in dealing with a crisis. Their belief still proves as a safety net for whenever life for presents itself.

As I have felt some devastations, disappointments in life, my family thinks to comfort me with their religious thought. They tell me, ‘in this world you have to believe in something and that don’t have to be what believe, but something’. They tell me this because I will face obstacles in occupations, lifestyles, living arrangements, relationships and the like. They tell me that they are able to endure all of this because they know that ‘God is always looking out for me’. The message does not offend me, instead I subtract the religious dogma and take the already understood lesson for what it is exactly. Religion does help, in a way to provide an ease of comfort whenever life becomes overbearing. What is harmful in believing that if you had to skip a bill payment on a necessary utility that the landlord became forgiving because of God? Well you have just disregarded the kindness of an individual as being dictated by a higher power. Therefore, meaning that an individual is no more responsible for their self and actions than you are for a skipped payment. However, this is comforting to you that God is watching you and that he loves and cares for you. And despite all else you have God. Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him! 

Religion as a form of coping mechanism for the greater anxieties of existence, and of mundane details of human made obstacles and emotions is also out of familiarity. How do we learn how to comfort ourself or to comfort one another? Well we saw or grandmother praying once, perhaps asked ‘why does she pray?’ We see our parents in church singing and dancing about. We see a congregation of perceived happiness in the church, house of God and prayer. And others may ask how does one go through life knowing of the anxieties and obstacles that came with it? There is a song titled It’s the God In Me to illustrate that response. People use religion as means of comfort because it is familiar. It is what they were taught indirectly or not in how to cope with life. It is what they were told when they ask another person seeming to have their life in order, or not so much, or at all. So they continue to believe, and to believe for comfort.

For a Moral Ground

Atheist are often criticized as those being without a moral foundation. We may be asked often, if we so reveal ourselves, how do we determine right from wrong? Albert Einstein stated best:

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”

Basically, I know to treat my fellow human with kindness. Or that if I see you are either able-bodied or not, young or old, gender being unimportant I will still hold the door for you. If I see that you are homeless, or not even, we all struggle with money trouble from time to time, I will give you cash if I have it. I will give you a car ride from and to your destination free of charge. I will volunteer my time by picking up and beautifying the community. I will donate food, donate clothes and choose for those in need. I will thank you when you are kind whether in silence or not. I’m that driver that allows other cars through and in front, if I can, when turning into a lane or turning out of a drive way. I’m that restaurant manager that will give a free meal. I made my point well and clear in that aspect. As well, I know not to kill and that war is senseless, wasteful and destructive. I understand, too that suffering is not kindness; or that brain death should not be sustained. I have morals and I know right from wrong based on how I would wish to be treated and simply, it’s humanely right. I do not require a religion to tell me so, but others, many others do.

We may disagree on what is considered moral and what is not, as some tenets of faith are the product of previous archaic human biases and ignorance [i.e. homosexuality deemed as amoral]. However in some acts of kindness and views on violence there are some commonality or agreement that this concept or that action is either wrong or right. There are examples of kindness that Christians may live by example. Of course, as I stated, I will do good for those in need too. Though I do not require a verse within a book to tell me so, I understand that a Christian may so require that guidance. This is assuming that all Christians in fact read their holy text, as I find many within my own circle of influence do not and have not. So I then ask in return, how do you know what is moral and what is not when you do not ever read your holy text that tells you so. Their answer lies within their name. They are Christian and they were taught vaguely that Christian means kindness, forgiveness, minimalism, and friendship to likeminded good Christians. So they are good to others because they were taught that is where morals are founded.

Because it is Tradition

Based on the number of Christians there are in the United States- just as the numbers there are for Islam in middle eastern countries-we know they believe based on circumstances of birth. This means that you are more likely to claim a religion that is familiar, or that you were raised to affiliate with, based entirely on where you were born. If your community is Christian and Baptist, then your parents are the product of that community, therefore your faith was already predetermined before birth. This includes those adults that find religion without exposure while young, or with limited exposure; I’m sure many of you still chose Christianity. Of course there are outliers, or those that believe in a different religion entirely as adults. This is why I indicated ‘many’, as I am too an outlier, however, chose not to believe in all of the above. The same aforementioned Pew Research studies are finding that many Christians are simply Christian in name only. As in they identify as Christians because their parents were, and then their parents were before then. You see they may vaguely claim to believe in the Christian god in the face of others, but there is no strength to their testament. They cannot tell you a Bible verse, or know that there are many versions of the Bible. They may very well spout something that is not stated within their faith if their politics and comforts are challenged. I’m referring to the people that retorted ‘hate the sin but love the sinner’ fervently during the debates of allowing same-sex marriage, or marriage equality legally and nationally. They are Christian because that is what their community has identified as for decades. In a way they are still believers because they have not challenged what they do not know or care to know. Instead they are the type of apathetic believers in a sense that they will believe for paradise.

If you are one those that believe because it is tradition, you do intrigue me as well. Because the stepping point of you becoming either devoutly religious or ‘nones’ is a simple interest in all that I have typed here. It is with these interests that we are finding a steady, yet slow decline in believers. Only one Google search away, only a page within a chapter to read-whichever you may choose.