Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pure Feeling Tone

If a particular line of thought produces darkness or despair, one thing that it indicates is that it might be wrong. The feeling tone cosmologies produce is therefore a guide to their core meanings quite apart from their conceptual content. If one of these produces energy while another drains it (or substitute hope or hopelessness), the energizing structure is closer to the truth. Or at least that’s an interesting hypothesis.

Using this particular test, systems in which the masses of humanity are doomed or “left behind” are certainly discouraging—and this is underlined by the way these systems describe the requirements for salvation or “enlightenment”; the requirements are altogether beyond the achievement of the masses of humanity.

The core of such negative cosmologies is a kind of naturalism. Put into secular terms, salvation in this world might be described as becoming a billionaire; the masses can never get there. The core of naturalism, in turn, is the absence of a meaningful transcendant structure; these systems have no God or, if they have one, that God is vastly distant and uncaring.

What supports negatively-toned cosmologies is observation of ordinary reality—which is certainly naturalistic. Its most consistent form, materialism, dooms everybody, even billionaires. Meaning in such structures is entirely invisible except in limited forms such as the meaning of words.

Positively-toned cosmologies produce meaning. They do so at the grand scale by enlarging reality so that it has, for us, invisible regions arranged hierarchically under God. In the most positive of these, God is all-loving. The systems get more concrete in promising salvation to all using only such powers as every person possesses (will, intelligence, morality, benevolence, etc.).

Such cosmologies acknowledge the observable reality here and explain it by the mythos of a fall or of a distance from the Divine—which last must not be understood as spatial distance. They also acknowledge the tremendous difficulties of living in this realm and provide communications from the higher realms to guide us and saviors to help us.

Opiate of the masses? Hey! Where can I get some of that stuff? Or, more seriously put, what if the hypothesis is right and a hopeful cosmology is closer to the truth?

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