Funny Gods

In the pantheon of behavior, there is one thing that primates in general, but humans in particular, like doing…

Being Funny.

Yes, apes do it, chimps do it, even dogs and pussy cats do it.

But no one does it better than a human.

So, given that we are so darn funny, why don’t our gods make more jokes?

You might argue that being a god is serious business and they don’t have time for such nonsense.  But I’d argue that it’s exactly WHY a god should be funny, to help relax from all that seriousness.

There are cultural considerations.  I came across two examples on the interweb where famous people tried telling English jokes to the Dalai Lama… and failed.  The punch line of ordering a pizza as “one with everything” means nothing when it’s translated.  Ordering food in Xining is probably a very different set of words from seeking unity between mind, body, and universe.

The greatest obstacle by far is going to be a combination of intellect and perspective.  Gods are supposed to be way ahead of us humans.  Perhaps even super-human.  This goes beyond culture, because it’s intrinsic to the nature of the beast.  They don’t think on the same level.

That’s why so much of our highest humor is rather incomprehensible to a great ape.  In all fairness, they’d probably understand the Three Stooges.

Consider the art that is George Carlin, or Will Rogers, and Mark Twain.  In many cases insightful, thought provoking, timeless, and funny.  Carlin elevated his into high art.

Now that I write this, I realize that many people today don’t comprehend this level of humor either.  Perhaps that says more about modern society than we realize.

At any rate, our gods would be operating at a much higher level.  Chances are that if they told a joke us normal mortals wouldn’t even get it.  In fact, I’m willing to bet that jokes abound in god-world.  Things like mosquitoes, or walking on water, or letting yourself be shown with a big round belly when you were as thin as a stick your entire life.

The point is that if we start looking, perhaps we can find humor in our gods where we least expect.  Who knows?  Maybe we’ll learn something along the way.

Pray we do.  Laughter is good for the soul.

 

Emily Believes, Do You Believe, Too?

Rocking your World since 1884

In this day and age of political correctness and word games, the hottest topics are those revolving around:

FAKE NEWS

The amount of confusion as to whether or not any news is true or false would be amusing, if it weren’t for the serious implications involved.

Emily was probably thinking along the same lines, although in a different context.  After all, asking someone “to believe” without convincing them completely has been going on since before there was language.

Consider this scenario.  A cave dwelling, some thousand centuries ago.  A young family huddles together.  Perhaps even several families, a tribe.  They may even huddle around a newly found discovery, fire.

The fire burns bright, but a young lad is curiously drawn to the darkness outside.  The moon is full, the stars are burning bright.  Mother dear, can I go outside tonight?

Absolutely not, she insists in no uncertain terms.  She doesn’t have the language to describe sabre-toothed tigers, giant pythons, and many other horrors of the dark.  But she can tell her son that he must remain.

Why?  But Why?

Because, she says.  The ultimate answer for any parent, before, and since.  You must believe me.  You must trust me.  Accept this as fact, as truth.

And this is what Emily touches upon.  Whether it is a religion, something hiding in the night, or whether Russians want to undermine American democracy, there comes a time when you must accept what someone tells you.  Whether you go beyond that in order to make up your own mind, well, that’s another story.

I never saw a Moor–
I never saw the Sea–
Yet know I how the Heather looks
And what a Billow be.
I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in Heaven–
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the Checks were given–

 

Space isn’t big enough for: God

Yes, you heard it here first.  As infinite as outer space is, and as powerful and willfully teeny tiny any god can be, there is no room for it.  Or him.  Or her, as the case may be.

The further we look, the more galaxies we find.

Are you shocked?  Are you a true believer who also has dreams of seeing humanity colonize the big bang?

Then, consider this.

 

God, or gods, or powers that be, are fine and dandy when you need to explain the unexplainable to those who can’t handle much explaining.

God is great for kids.  God is great for people who don’t have time or energy for deep thoughts.  God is great for trying to keep families together, especially during times of crisis when everything seems to be going wrong.

On Earth, that works fine.  There is time for those kids to grow up and find their own answers.  On Earth, even if every last possible thing goes wrong for a family, they still have themselves, and at the very least they still have air.

Those don’t come free on the moon, or anywhere else in space.  There is no time for anyone to pray that a solar flare might miss.  The stakes are much much higher than they ever have been for the human species.  Anyone who thinks they can mitigate the risks by taking time out for prayer is fooling themselves.  And by association, increasing the risks for everyone else.

To be clear, if a Moonster (or Lunite?) wants to pray on their own time, and invoke a deity on the sly, that’s their business.  It’s not like god will be outlawed.

But anyone who is hoping that the almighty intervene in lieu of doing actual work to protect the colony, that’s what this is all about.

The colony is going to be filled with the smartest people this planet can collect.  And if they can’t make it on their own, then there isn’t a god on Earth who can make up the difference.

Strike me now if I’m not telling the truth.

Amen

 

Archaeological Sexism

This is one of my favorite sculptures in the whole world.  It’s elegant, minimalist, hopeful, and ancient.

If this sculpture says fertility to you, then you've been in the field too long!

This museum calls it “Stargazer.”  It’s a perfect name, because it’s a figure looking straight up.

It might be a woman because there’s a triangle where the “legs” meet, instead of junk hanging out.  But it could also be sexless.

Other museums call these sculptures a “fertility” figure.

What the heck?

This is yet another case of MALE archaeologists ascribing a name to something that means absolutely nothing related to the figure.

Sure, you can make up a great story about how hordes of men would dance around dying embers late at night, lustfully shouting up at the “pregnant moon,” drinking to excess.  Once their adrenaline and testosterone reached their summit, they would run into the night pouncing on every available female they could find in order to spread their seed.

Maybe not.

Maybe it was simply a wonderful testament to the wonders of the universe, appreciated by people who had discovered farming, rudimentary laws, and had several good harvests in a row.  Maybe it was their way of saying “thanks” to the universe.

Is this getting a bit too extreme for the #MeToo movement?

Personally, I don’t think so.  After all, we are projecting our biases onto objects that should be neutral at best.  By calling this a fertility figure, the young people who see this in the museum are going to get a little bit of that macho bias implanted into their brain.  And that’s a bad thing.

So, the next time you look up at the stars, think about your brothers and sisters who were doing the same thing 5,000 years ago.  Then invite an archaeologist over for some tea.  I have a feeling those are some very lonely guys.

 

Ptolemy Was Right

Did you hear about big broohaha back in 1540?  It was so big that people started using the word “revolution” to describe anything that upset everything.

Or some guy playing with his toys.  Either way, nice picture.

Yes, this guy named Copernicus turned the world inside out by telling everyone we weren’t the center of the universe.  It was a big deal.

Except it wasn’t.  A big deal, that is.  Not in real terms.

First off, it wasn’t the first time that someone else suggested the idea.

Secondly, nothing changed.  Sure, people thought they were going to fly off the surface of the Earth because it was moving so fast, but they didn’t.  Sometimes I wish those sorts of people would, but that’s another post.

Most importantly, as students of behavior, there is no “right” or “wrong.”  There is only behavior that can be measured with respect to a purpose.

Ptolemy’s ideas that the Earth was the center of the solar system was a perfectly good idea.  It sufficed for many things, in fact, most people don’t care, even today.  And he gave it to us around 150 AD.

But for those people who really want to understand the universe, it wasn’t good enough.  Models putting Earth in the middle were complex.  Way too complex.

So a better idea came along.  It wasn’t the first time people presented the idea, but now it made more sense, because the better theory explained nature more efficiently than before.  Clock makers, astronomers, and physicists were all much happier.

So what?

When someone has a crazy theory, we shouldn’t simply dismiss them as “wrong.”  If that theory works for them, if it makes them happy, then fine.

However, if we have a question that our theory addresses more efficiently, or if our theory satisfies our purpose better than theirs, then our theory is “better” for us.  It is not necessarily better for them.

So the next time you hear someone fighting it out over their different theories of nature, sit back and relax.  You’ll know that they are both right.  Try and enjoy the spectacle.

That is, unless they are politicians fiddling with your future.  In that case, you should worry.

And that’s always right.