I have a personal theory, a hypothesis; why so many people believe in organised religion and never seem to question it.
In the vastness of the cosmos and the endless sea of humans, their triumphs and disasters, most ‘ordinary‘ humans may find themselves either lost or overwhelmed. In such times, when one does not have a purpose, a mission, a ‘why’ to look into the future organised religion acts as a nice cushion. It helps people make sense of their existence, gives them a heightened sense of purpose and makes their life worth living and provides some meaning. It makes them believe that their is a higher cause and they should strive to achieve their position. It also helps provide companionship and solidarity in a sea of strangers.
The way I have put it makes organised religion sound like a saviour. Well, it is neither a saviour nor an annihilator. I think it is a tool. And, a tool is only as effective as its wielder and a wielder is only as good as his intentions. So we come back to square one – WHY?
The other reasons for ‘following’ (not believing mind you!) is peer pressure, social acceptance and conformity.
We all have different aspirations, drives, motivators and inhibitors.
None of us would ever voluntarily choose a life of pain and suffering. Strip off all the fluff and at the bare minimum we all want the same things. Good meals, water, clothing, shelter, companionship and entertainment.
For me a religion, an ideology or a school of thought (faith based, scientific, social, political or economic) loses its steam the moment it becomes about “I don’t understand your point of view, so it is f***ing scary”, “I don’t like your point of view, so it is evil”, “Here, listen to my point of view. Don’t like it? Let me shove it down your throat.” and so on.
Now imagine a new religion, a religion (i.e. a system of belief) which solely believes that the true purpose of life is investing in the future. Not the past, the future. Investing in our future selves, our future generations and the future of this planet.
Investing in the future puts the present into perspective. This gives us the opportunity (foresight) to see the world as it should be and could be. This gives us the realism to see the world as it is as well as idealism and imagination to see the world as it could be.
Investing in the future gives a sense of our finite existence and creates a sense of urgency in our actions. It helps us realise that at least in the foreseeable future we are stuck on this piece of rock wrapped around a ball of fire, hurtling to nothingness around another ball of fire and help is not coming, EVER! Only we can save ourselves from ourselves.
Hopefully, investing in the future will help us realise that over consuming resources to satiate our greed (or just because we can) is suffocating the next generation, sharing is the solution not hoarding, avenging a death just creates another cycle of hate, our educational systems are redundant, our economic systems unsustainable and governments broken. It will help us realise that we have over inflated egos and rate negative in tolerance. It will help us realise that humans are not the masters of this planet, hell with being masters of a piece of land or an ideology, we can’t control a heartbeat; who knows the next moment you sneeze and BAAM! It will one day help us realise that we really are an inter connected and highly dependent species and our survival depends on the survival of all other species (flora, fauna and in between). It will finally help us realise that we are in this together or we sink together.
True, we all may not have the same view and opinion of the future but at least we will have the same goal, i.e. preserving our planet, safeguarding our future selves and our future generations. In this selfish pursuit of self preservation I see humanity rise.
Remember, life is fragile and finite. Yet, its will to survive, its ambitions and the future aren’t.
“If we take man as he really is, we make him worse. If we seem to be idealists and are overestimating, overrating man and looking at him that high. Here. Above! You know what happens? We promote him to what he really can be. So we have to be idealists in a way because then we’ll wind up at the true, the real realist.”
-Dr. Victor Frankl ( Finding meaning in difficult times – Dr. Viktor Frankl )
PS: Coming to the question of how to find your ‘why‘ and have very clear intentions (I elaborate on my personal journey in another article). The way I have found mine and help my students find their’s from Physics, Math and 5Whys.
Use the First Principles i.e. get to the core basics and build thereupon. Use the 5Whys to actually get to the true purpose of your actions. Until I write my version of thinking clearly, check out Tim Urban’s here.
PPS: There are certain problems that could arise when being future centric. Reserving that for another post.
Originally posted on my Facebook in November 2016: https://www.facebook.com/msaifq/posts/913728862008224 ; https://www.facebook.com/msaifq/posts/913745455339898