Christianity is uniquely confused and plagued with disinformation. The realm of secular humanism is almost worse, but your basic option in a secular time. There is no reason why secular humanism has to be so braindead. And there is no reason for such people to dismiss all spiritual beliefs as superstitions. Such people have rarely studied Kant and can’t see their own metaphysics and superstition. They find Nietzche groovy and degenerate into pseudo-philosophers. The issues of soul are a case in point. There is much superstition there, but the core meme is an aspect of human psychology and can’t be amputated. Spiritual beliefs are in the materialism of Samkhya equally material and many students of yoga claim to be doing a spiritual study, but yoga invokes Samkhya at the start and is thus not technically a ‘spiritual subject’.
The history of Christianity can help as a ‘religious’ exercise to see the way the whole subject degenerated, turning ideological and political and serves no purpose beyond crowd control by politicians.
I think our comments on abortion and soul are on the mark although there are still many obscure points here. But the theological injunction against abortion by the theologians has totally misled the public. Such people are not spokesmen for god, but hopless idiots in a tradition so corrupted as to be a dead loss. The reproductive process is an aspect of nature which all too often spawns unlimited or exponential life processes. We must bring human reason to bear to see that women cannot be regulated in the manner of theological now rightist/fascist politics.
I have revised this at some points as indicated as notes in a further update… Update: this account here can I hope help to orient thinking on abortion and soul questions, but it is still some…
Alaa Abd el-Fattah is a leading Egyptian dissident, today held in a maximum security jail in Cairo. His prison writings express the living thought of the Egyptian revolution, defying the Sisi government’s attempt to extinguish it.
Egypt will celebrate the centenary of its independence from Britain in February. About 70 years ago, liberation began to sweep across the rest of Africa. December 1951 marked the independence of Libya. Ghana won its independence in 1957. The Congo followed in 1960, Tanzania in 1961, Algeria in 1962, Kenya in 1963 and Zambia in 1964. Freedom came much later to the settler colonies in southern Africa. Mozambique won its end to colonial rule in 1975, and independence in Zimbabwe finally came in 1980.
The issue of elegant theories impinges on the question of history and we can see that much of human history is a portrait of human ugliness and dysethical action. And Marx had to take it upon himself to point that out in many cases. And that perspective colored his views of historical emergence and that of most leftists. And it can lead to inaccurate portraits of much of history. And it lead to a strain of cynicism all too visible in Stalin who thought nothing of inflicting gross exploitation in the various five year plans, etc…A great opportunity to bring liberation to free labor was thrown away in the name of historical pessimism.
While we can applaud that hard-headed no nonsense perspective it remains true that history which we have shown to work on two levels shows a side that is independent of that record of human failure: the eonic model distinguishes free action and system action, and system action always aims high. Once we sort out world history on the basis of that distinction something remarkable comes to view: the so-called eonic sequence operates at a very high level and never injects the evils that begin to appear in the course of civilization. Perhaps the most spectacular example is that of slavery, a key issue in Marx’s indictment of history. But Marx seems to have succumbed, marxists might challenge this statement, to a kind of cynical view of history where the factor of exploitation had a kind of historical necessity he felt he had to accept. We should be wary of any such conclusion. A closer look shows that slavery is a degeneration.
Thus as a spectacular example, if we look carefully at the eonic model and its histories we note that the macro factor never promotes slavery, so far as we can tell. The cases of Sumer and Egypt must be examined closely at their source, the two transitions, and suggest to a close look that slavery had no ‘eonic amplification’ but that it arose as a factor of free action in their wake such that by the time of classical civilization slavery, especially in the occident, was a dominant factor in civilization. Looking at that history one might become confused into thinking that history is a ruthless nightmare of endless cruelty and suffering/exploitation. A closer looks suggests that this is false and that slavery is a disease of civilization that arose under the factor of free agency. It would be important to look at the case of Sumer near its early stage (ca 3000 or so): slavery was not a dominant social issue, as yet, as the issue of ‘captives of war’, however, introduced a factor that later degenerated into some relation to slavery. And in Egypt we tend to see a horrific portrait of slaves constructing the pyramids when at the start the reality was that they were constructed by patriotic free conscripts who granted a year or so of labor for these projects. The later reality is thus probably misleading. We must be very wary then of the standard portraits of world history. And to the long view we see the way that civilization recovers from the disease of slavery: christianity ambiguously provided a starting point and in the medieval period we see a mutation into something else: the world of the ‘manu code’, classes, peasantries, etc…:hardly a full solution, but at least a progression beyond gross slavery.
The later history of early Greece shows how tricky the issue was/is: by the time of classical antiquity, in the Occident especially, the disease of slavery was almost insurmountable, and yet even so the macro effect injects the ideas of freedom there to gestate and lead finally to new eras of liberation. This distinction of free action and system action is a bit embarrassing for free agency! Note the way the whole game operates on two levels, with very confusing mixtures, greek democracy being an example with its coexistence with slavery. It may be that the case of Sumer shows some resemblance to the case of early Greece where ideas of freedom emerge sudddenly without the full creation of true democracy in the context of slavery.
We clinch the issue by seeing the way that abolition only comes in full force during an eonic transition: that of the rise of modernity, with its emergent theme of freedom and again democracy, followed by the full achievement, more or less, of abolition immediately in in the wake of that transition.
And let us note remarkable irony in the way that socialism, Marx, and the left emerge in the wake of that transition, and the way that figures like Marx try to establish the free foundation of society, and the immediate focus is on a new form of exploitation emerging with the rise of capitalism. We can see then that our claim that the macro factor poses an ideal while free agency struggles in its contradictions and human failings.
The eonic model has a very cogent answer to the question about the failure of monotheism in the Aten era: the momentum of Egyptian religions was too great. But more than that we see the issue of what we call stream and sequence, or continuous histories and transitional intervals in the macrosequence. Very often to a close look an innovation is anticipated in the stream history, but goes nowhere. And then in a transition interval it is picked up and amplified and moves into mainstream history. The history of Israel is a classic case. And the frontier effect with Egypt is also significant…
Out of the many gods of ancient Egypt an inspired Pharaoh created a monotheistic faith. What was Atenism and why did it fail?