23 November, 2013

Sanity and Insanity

Warning...this is going to ramble a bit...

What is sanity?
What is insanity?

If we hide behind a wall of "faith" are we still sane? Is this a method of legitimising insanity, in such a way that it becomes socially acceptable (at least within a certain segment of society)?

(A post from an old schoolhood acquaintance in my facebook feed)

If I was to walk down the street claiming that I was hearing voices I'd probably be treated as an outsider, certainly as someone who needed to stop believing in imaginary friends and childhood fancy. If I made mention of hearing these voices while in a doctor's office, I could probably expect a quick psyche assessment...if I stuck to my story, a visit to a special hospital might be in order. As long as I kept the belief about voices hidden within my head, and it didn't impede my ability to interact with society...everything would be fine. But it's the whole interface between our mind and our world where things start to get messy. I could describe my views of the world, but how would I know that my perspective would be understood. I could relate tales in allegory and parable, but there would be some people who'd take that allegory at face value, there might be some who'd understand what I was aiming at, but there would be others who would interpret the ideas through their own filters of perception and understanding. If I was a prophet 2000-odd years ago, my parables and allegory might become confused even more...some might claim that my words were appropriate to the time when they were spoken, some might claim they are eternal concepts for the ages. Some might claim to follow my words, some might tell others to follow my words so that they can reap the benefits.

If I was to find a few people who believed in the same imaginary voice(s), or who held the same ideas about the way the world worked, we might be designated as a cult. If there were thousands who followed the same ideas, it could be dangerous, especially if they followed the tainted words of an ancient prophet or cherry-picked their beliefs (claiming that some of the old parables were indicative of eternal constants, while others were only valid to their time and context, and others were misinterpreted at the time of writing).

Lots of things have been contributing to my thoughts in this regard recently.

The antics of the Tea Party in US politics.
The same sort of thing happening with the election of neo-conservatives in Australia.
The current era of Globalism and the previous era of Colonialism

Then I thought about the possibility of life on other planets. We've recently been told that there are millions of planets with a chance of harbouring life in our galaxy alone (one of which might be as little as 12 light-years away).

What are religious fanatics and the current neo-conservative ruling class going to say when we encounter alien life?

It's going to be an amazing time, but I predict that the same old patterns of human history will repeat.
I foresee...

A group of people who will try to exploit the new world. Any life we might find there will be considered primitive and ignorant, requiring human intervention (regardless of how deep or ancient their history may be). We've seen this time and again when "civilised" nations have "conquered the great unknown". It will be colonialism all over again.

A group of religious fanatics who will claim that the alien life are "demons" who need to be destroyed, and a contrarian group who believe they are "lost angels" or something similar worthy of worship.

A new translation of the Bible, where the people dispersed across the world after the tower of babel are now dispersed across the worlds (perhaps even dispersed across the universe)...and similar changes to all religions.

A new understanding of class, where humanity may become the underclass, or perhaps as inherent predators a ruling class.

When certain members of our race try to expand our consciousness through the understanding of aliens cultures, others will claim alien-appropriation.

The paradigm will shift. The notion of sanity and insanity will be twisted.

That's enough rant for now. Sorry, I just had to get that out.
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