Science, Resplendence and Existence
Resplendence poster Reparadising the Planet - Please download and share
Science, Resplendence and Religion in a Nutshell
Science is the foundation of our description of nature and the physical universe.
Resplendence complements scientific cosmology providing three existential raisons d'etre for humanity as a climax cultural species:
(a) To cherish and replenish the diversity of life on the planet so that the immortal passage of the generations will continue
(b) To facilitate the unfolding illumination of all conscious beings.
(c) To support a caring community to realize resplendence as a creative process.
Traditional religions are in fundamental conflict with both scientific cosmology and human survival. Monotheism is particularly dangerous, because it invokes a violent End of Days, leading to conflagration, triage of all life and destruction of the Earth in favor of a heavenly kingdom.
Revealing Resplendence - Text of the talk
See also the Resplendence Codex: Reflowering Apocalypse in the Tree of Life
Religion, according to Augustine and others, comes from re-ligare to "bind again" or "bind fast". Religions bind together spiritually-minded people into mass movements, but religions are also contaminated with the notion of bondage to a potentially oppressive utopian moral order. This is a fascist totalitarian notion that makes traditional religions dangerous and harmful to world futures. The fasces is a bundle of sticks, sometimes with a protruding axe, or labrys, whose strength bound together is greater than the sum of its parts.
In scientific revolutions, the skeptical principle of inquiry, seeks verification from nature, confirming a theory to be true only when all attempts to negate it result in contradiction, rather than imposing preconceived beliefs. This means that descriptions of reality only remain stable over limited epochs, called paradigms, punctuated by evolutionary leaps. When a new theory, or description of reality, is discovered, which generalizes, or replaces a previous one, a new scientific paradigm is born. The term paradigm itself has an ancient origin in Greek paradeigma, "pattern, example" from para, "beside, beyond" and deiknumi "to show, to point out" meaning "exhibit, represent, expose". The term was used in Plato's Timaeus as the model or pattern that the Demiurge (god) used to create the cosmos. Resplendence in making a paradigm transition from religion does presicely this, transforming the naive view of religious creation of the cosmos by God into a wisdom tradition to guide human action based on the extraordinarily confounding and detailed scientific knowledge of the universe we have more recently accumulated.
There are just three simple commitments to make this a reality:
Human societies and individual consciousness have been driven by two complementary sensibilities. On the one hand, the practical understanding of nature is essential for survival, manifest in gatherer-hunter society, for example in knowledge of diverse food and medicinal plant species and in the practicalities of hunting and developing arrow poisons and this has eventually become science. Complementing this are feelings of belonging and meaning in a precocious natural world, associated with beliefs in spirits and deities that guide behavior towards societal strength through morality, and explain the mortal condition and the vagaries of fate. These have over time become what we call science and religion.
However, religions have resisted natural paradigm evolution because they seek permanent ascendancy. Thus Jesus, Buddha and Muhammad remain fixed male entities impeding the natural evolution of human insight and world guardianship of nature. Buddha has become a symbol of perfection unattainable in the round of birth and death. Muhammad is claimed to be the last prophet under pain of execution. Jesus is claimed to be going to return in the 'second coming' as the avenging Lord. This prevents natural evolution, even though our understanding of the world, and the closing circle of the biosphere have been transformed, both by science, and human impacts of our burgeoning planetary technological society, leading to climate change, ecocrisis and potentially irreversible risks to human and natural survival.
Morality and Emotional Virtue: Christianity asserts a fallacious moral imperative that human beings are flawed by original sin, stemming from Eve's transgression, and that human free will is set in a moral cosmology, in which those who do not believe in God, and/or commit any of the seven deadly sins, will suffer eternal damnation in the Day of Judgment. Resplendence asserts that humans possess original virtue in their emotional makeup, which allows for love and empathic relationship as well as expedience and betrayal, and that moral behavior is a natural feature of sociobiology in which individuals in a species, or human society, or religion, forgo immediate advantages over their peers to enable the society as a whole to gain dominance over competing societies and better survive in the wider environment. Below: Three features of morality in mammals (a) Protective behavior at risk to the individual. Lion attacking a wildebeast. A pride of lionesses cooperating to try to capture a young, or weaker, straggler are rounded on by a herd of buffalo also cooperating with one another, making a classically moral decision to act together for the benefit of the group at some risk to their individual lives, forcing the predators to flee. (b) Clear evidence of emotional bonding in elephants and chimps showing they can make emotional decisions. (c) Collective altruistic action. A group of hippos act together to save a zebra at a waterhole from a crocodile. Altruistic punishment is neither necessary, nor sufficient for morality, although it is very effective in human societies. Compassion and empathy are natural mammalian emotions which have also been observed, even across species in animal societies. Notice also that the carnivores have an essential role in the ecosystem of avoiding boom and bust in the herbivores, which could lead to a famine resulting in them becoming extinct, so their role in tooth and claw is also beneficent. The lion lying down with the lamb of Isaiah is thus a misguided fantasy. The religious moral imperative in urban societies arises from the imposition of cultural values which rob the human individuals of their deeper relationship with the passage of the generations in nature. As a climax species having major impacts on the planet, we are only now becoming aware of our cognizant role in planetary life. Resplendence, by restoring the natural relationship between humanity and life as a whole, applies the redemptive principle, which heals cultural tendencies towards selfish exploitation, because they are futile mortal strategies with no long-term fulfillment and no lasting outcome, except for diminishing the regenerative process by short-term exploitation and tragedy of the commons.
Resplendence accepts the paradigm shift to the scientific description of reality in all its manifestations, while at the same time resolving the dilemma of existence in a way religions are failing to do, by coupling our sense of purpose and collective action to the one thing that immortalizes us - protecting the life flow of the living planet and its generations.
Gods are projections of conscious personalities onto the cosmos that come from an earlier phase in human emergence, where gatherer-hunters devised parent-like entities to guard over their vulnerable lives in a tumultuous world, and later in our cultural adolescence, agricultural civilizations used increasingly powerful deities as punishing moral entities holding sway over life and death, and the implied after-life as the final moral end-of-days scenario.
Women and Sexuality: Left: Enforced veiling and homicidal stoning. Islam, imposes stringent and violent restrictions on female reproductive choice, social, educational and career opportunities, enforced by torture and homicide for adultery, as part of an archaic patriarchal tribal code. Such reproductive control of the female to ensure patriarchal reproductive imperatives has been an almost universal feature of world religions for millennia. Centre to right: In contrast with religion, resplendence seeks a high degree of sovereignty for female reproductive choice in an overall climate of mutual partner choice consistent with the needs of the human family. This is because humans are at an extreme among mammals in the dissonance between the male reproductive strategy which is primarily focused on fertilization and the female strategy focused on parenting. Because mammals bear live young and the females engage lactation and a pivotal role in infant care, females need to be able to choose the best combination of resourcing partner and good genes for what is a massive commitment, with a long pregnancy leaving the woman vulnerable and travail, a risky delivery bearing a large head, months to years of breast feeding and years of young child care. In addition mammalian XY chromosome sexual selection favours males displaying single X-linked characteristics, while females are able to apply sexual selection to these, again emphasizing the importance of female reproductive choice. In an overpopulated world, universal access to contraception is essential, but in addition, there need to be social incentives to enable capable achieving women to both pursue and maintain their professional careers and have security of parental leave, to avoid the conflict between parenting and women's careers that has blighted democratic countries from Italy to Japan. At the same time, this predicates a pro-choice position concerning terminating pregnancy, not least to avoid the risks women suffer when these rights are withheld in the name of religious conviction. Finally resplendence implies ensuring natural childbirth remains a viable process, and advising against routine cosmetic Caesarians based on a false image of womanhood, and giving responsible advice about the implications for future generations of technologies such as in-vitro fertilization and intra-cytoplasmic sperm implantation, as well as more advanced techniques such as generating gametes from stem cells, to avoid the human species becoming perpetually dependent on medical procedures to survive. Right: Sexuality commands respect as sacred to the natural order, as we each become conscious beings through sexual fertilization and sexual recombination to create the diversity of all sexual beings, without which higher life forms would never have come into existence.
With the coming to maturity of human culture in reaching a state today where human actions themselves can irreversibly harm the planet's future, we have to accept we have entered a state of de-facto maturity and accept that it is we ourselves, neither God, nor Jesus as Lord in the Day of Judgment, who must assume responsibility for beneficent guardianship of the planetary future, and achieve the enlightenment to be able to do this successfully. This is a complete fulfillment of our life meaning and purpose and enables the mystery of conscious existence to be more and more deeply explored over the lifetimes of all the sentient participants as an open-ended process.
Consciousness and Enlightenment: Resplendence rejects the notions of heaven and hell (left) because they have no place in the physical universe and they are a product of a fantastic moral punishment causality that is in fundamental conflict with nature, where moral systems are simply a natural evolutionary manifestation of sociobiology, implying that heaven and hell are imaginary realms generated by conscious experience, as religions endeavour to come to terms with the mysteries and paradoxes of conscious existence. It likewise rejects the contrivances of cults, such as the Galactic Dictator Xenu of Scientology. The Buddhist realms of the hungry ghosts and titans are likewise representations of mental states with a false anthropocentric emphasis on a universal morality which falsely demotes the animals to a realm of inferior incarnations due to previous moral dereliction. Biological incarnation is a sexual process inconsistent with the reincarnation of individual souls. Resplendence wisdom thus remains clear of false misleading assumptions based on preconceived religious notions. However resplendence accepts the discoveries of neuroscience concerning the brain-mind relationship and the full diversity of experiences and personal accounts spanning the spectrum of mental states (right), from waking, through dreaming, meditative, contemplative, visionary and sacrament induced, because these are a central part of the discovery of the inner nature of conscious experience. Cosmology would suggest that, since the brain is the most complex interactive process manifest by the forces of nature in interaction, consciousness may be the most inscrutable mystery in cosmology and one that may take evolutionary time scales to fully elucidate. This in no way rules in or out forms of consciousness extending beyond our biological life spans, consciousness being shared directly between beings, or prophetic forms of conscious anticipation, all of which remain to be explored over time, without prejudging the nature and scope of consciousness in fixed religious doctrines, or preconceived beliefs - a fatal error, given the sensitive nature of consciousness. Right: The Huichol nierika or portal to the visionary world induced by peyote is a valid part of subjective sacramental exploration of the conscious condition because it can be experienced first-hand.
Spiritually, resplendence seeks a condition where every individual is able to explore the mystical and visionary undercurrents of the conscious condition first hand, without becoming subject to oppressive forces seeking to assert any religious belief or creed, or to deny people the opportunity to experience such states themselves through legislation to prevent the use of visionary sacraments or drugs which induce visionary states. Attempting to ban access to mind altering substances is a benighted policy aimed more at shoring up mindless consumer materialism and existing traditional religious beliefs than any protection of society from misadventure. Any forms of societal abuse of substances need to be treated as a heath matter to avoid the growth of violent criminal organizations seeking to profit from banned substances in an age where technology is making synthesis on demand ever more available.
Politically, resplendence aims at an ecosystemically diverse informed non-violent democratic society of mutually enlightened beings, possessing maximal autonomy of choice, avoiding the tyranny of the majority democracies are prone to , while recognizing the need to actively oppose all forms of totalitarianism that could lead to a loss of democratic autonomy, both from political movements such as totalitarian fascism and communism and from world religions with totalitarian doctrines that form an even more all-encompassing utopian threat to freedom of choice and world futures.
Primary Threats to Evolution and Survival: Top: Hiroshima after the nuclear holocaust. Middle: Intentional deforestation in Indonesia. Bottom: Genetic technology hold both great promise and great risks, requiring careful ethical assessment to avoid irreversible damage. (Left) Macaques genetically edited using CRISPR to alter three genes. Right: Parthenogenetic and stem-cell generated mice using reproductive genetic technology.
Technologically, resplendence seeks a society utilizing the most advanced techniques in a sensitive way which works closely with evolutionary principles to achieve a high standard of living and fully informed intelligence, while having minimal impact on and actively restoring the biospheric resilience of the planet over evolutionary time scales. The energy economy needs urgently to move to renewable forms of energy not having deleterious impacts on the climate and biosphere as a whole. The information economy needs to remain as free as possible from governmental surveillance and accessible to all people.
Habitat destruction and Climate Change: Above all resplendence seeks to prevent the destabilization of the entire planet's resilience and robustness to survive, through rampant habitat destruction, burning the fossil fuels accumulated over three hundred million uears and climate change running to tipping points which could compromise both human survival and the survival of the diverse species upon which we co-depend.
Weapons of mass destruction need to be replaced by programs to provide defences against events on an astronomical scale threatening to the continuity of life, such as asteroid impacts and nearby supernovae. Questions of interstellar migration, or communication, need to be considered cautiously for their deeper implications.
Genetic Technology: Great precautionary care needs to be applied to bootstrap genetic technologies such as germ-line editing and engineering, which feedback directly into the process of genetic evolution itself and hence the informational foundation of the biosphere. These technologies have vast utopian potential, and invoke the temptation to make choices which result in an elitist dependence on advanced reproductive technology. They are liable to lead to 'poisoned chalice' dystopias, lacking the resilience to survive over evolutionary time scales.
Because resplendence is founded on the resilience that natural evolutionary ecosystems have over cosmological time scales and the super-computing power of parallel genetic algorithms in a diverse natural ecology, resplendence as a concept applies a very strong precautionary principle against forms of technology which impose utopian forms of dominion over nature - the patriarchal notion accepted by most historical religions, and against winner-take-all exploitation from the business world, such as the terminator technology Monsanto and others tried to introduce to mass market seeds which would lose viability in the second generation due to genetically engineered death traps.
Technologies such as germ-line editing, particularly in humans and the species upon which we depend, have to be examined very carefully on a case-by-case basis. Eugenic genetic engineering and/or cloning, or using other genetic reproductive technologies for "brave new world" utopian aims is a key potential threat to long term ecosystemic viability that needs to be avoided, because it is most likely to lead to irreversible loss of characteristics essential to the long-term adaptiveness of both human beings and the species upon which we depend for our future survival.
CRISPR, a new gene editing technology based on a key bacterial immune system, has already been shown to be able to make changes in specific genes and yet enable the birth of live gene-edited primate offspring, leading to the potential to make selective changes to genes such as those causing diseases in humans. But this technology has to be very carefully assessed. Combining it with 'gene drive' techniques, which can selectively result in the edited genes being transmitted to virtually all offspring when an organism containing the edited changes mates and produces offspring, rather than the natural 50-50 ratio, could eliminate a disease such as malaria by precipitating an explosive loss of mosquito fertility, but could also cause irreversible changes to both species and ecosystems. Such gene drive mechanisms could continue to cause collateral damage, resulting in the loss of essential characteristics in species upon which depend or even our own species. A decade ago Monsanto tried to introduce 'terminator technology' which would cause seeds produced by the company to become genetically infertile in the second generation leading to a similar risk of irreversible loss if the natural varieties ceased to be cultivated on an adequate scale by farmers dependent on the technology.
Resplendence is the natural paradigm successor to religion, in which we cherish and replenish the Earth throughout the generations of the diversity of life, no longer seeing through a glass darkly, but now face-to-face, coming into coherence with our sexually-immortal condition, becoming the source of a collective illumination of enlightenment, both scientific and visionary, to flower the future generations and sustain the epoch of paradise on Earth.
To get an idea of how this came about see: The Resplendence Codex.
Here is the text of the YouTube talk about replendence above:
I want to explain what resplendence is all about and why it's a win-win for everyone and for the future of life itself. Resplendence is the living condition in which we complement the science of how the universe works and how life emerges, with the wisdom to ensure the generations of life on our planet continue to survive in abundance and illumination. Resplendence is the way, or Tao, of wisdom that arises from knowing how to live in paradise in the natural world by caring for it as our central sacred calling. Resplendence - "to shine brightly" - transcends the spiritual and behavioral bondage of religion - "to bind together".
No matter how much people try to paper over the cracks, our exploding understanding of the natural world is in a collision course with traditional religions based on archaic notions of creation. Ideas such as the moral deity who creates the world in seven days and holds us to account for our sins in a final Day of Judgment, as Judaism, Christianity and Islam declare, are tragic fallacies based on myth and fantasy which are projections of our own human nature into the cosmos and have no basis in reality. They also lead to a terrible outcome - apocalypse - a triage of all life amid scorched-Earth conflict and tumult - the very thing we most urgently need to avoid to survive as a species.
The knowledge we have gained of the universe through the scientific revolution shows us, if we are truly honest with ourselves, that there is no place in the universe for a creator deity to hide, nor is there an outside either. There is no place for God in the heavens, not in black holes, nor dark matter, nor the galaxies, nor in the centre of stars, nor in the trackless reaches of empty space, just as there is no place for djinns or angels in the rarified upper atmosphere among the clouds. Nor can a rapture in the clouds sustain us into heaven. Only by making this world into the paradise it can naturally be, can we attain the blessed condition. But this is also a condition of conscious illumination in which all the potentialities of transcendence become unfettered for us to discover.
All religions revolve around the nature of conscious existence, in a world spanned by waking life, dreams and visionary states, but we now know that conscious awareness is an emergent attribute of the biota - the living biological life forms - and the biota are in turn the most complete interactive manifestation of the complexity of the forces of nature shaping the physical universe. Thus if anything manifests the attributes we associate with deity, it is we ourselves as conscious sentient beings, and it is we ourselves as active agents, who must take personal responsibility for affecting the universe, creating history through our actions during our life span, and for the future fate of the world we are so impacting upon.
We are living on a planet that has all the attributes of our wildest dreams of paradise, but if we don't look after it properly, it could become an apocalyptic hell. Human impact on the planet is both destroying the natural habitats of the species on which we depend for our own survival and in one or two centuries releasing all the carbon stored over 300 million years, precipitating a rapid change of Earth's climate more extreme than at any time since the demise of the dinosaurs. We are also stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. In the case of nuclear weapons we could accidentally annihilate whole continents through the hair trigger of mutually assured destruction.
Right in the very generations in which scientific discovery is giving us an inscrutable understanding of the universe around us, we are collectively acting in a way to cause completely unnecessary deleterious impacts on the planet that are deranged and completely unwise from any point of view. Although some of this misadventure comes down to human expedience and greed in a winner-take-all tragedy of the commons, traditional religions based on the supremacy of God over nature, men over women, and mind over matter, many founded in a desert environment, are leading to the destruction of nature on a planetary scale. At the same time in the pursuit of global dominance the same religions struggle to out-populate their competitors exacerbating the overpopulation of the planet and the ensuing impact on its natural viability.
Regardless of our diverse beliefs and cultures, we have only two primary goals in life, firstly to ensure the planet continues in as viable a state as when we entered it for the benefit for the future generations and secondly to discover, ever more deeply, the nature of reality and conscious existence around us.
As sexual beings we inherit our life and consciousness from the fertility process, so we need to respect sexuality and our biology as the basis of our higher consciousness, and not reject it as inferior or 'corrupted' as religions tend to do. Without sexuality and sexual recombination complex conscious organisms could never have evolved, so the mortal condition is the trade off which gives rise to the immense variety of each of us as sexual individuals and to sexual love, This comes with the redemption that by giving back our energy to sustaining the generations of life, the immortal condition is perpetuated in the passage of the generations.
Critical to conscious existence is the knowledge that we are autonomous beings capable of changing the physical world around us and knowing the good and bad consequences of our actions. Having intentional will means the buck stops with us. We are consciously responsible for our actions and need above all to use our lives to make the world a better place. Our one true calling in life is to cherish and replenish the Earth, so that the generations of life can continue to flourish. Nothing else furthers in any way once we have passed on. Resplendence is the way we can couple together with science to re-paradise the living planet for all the generations to flourish in abundance.