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13 November 2019

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The logical fallacy of monotheism is that a spiritual absolute would necessarily be the essence of sentience, from which we rise, not an ideal of wisdom and judgement, from which we fell. More the new born, than the wise old man. The light shining through the film, than the images on it.
Yet no culture could exist, if it simply reveled in sentience, so we have this top down father figure lawgiver, because the anarchy of desire has to be balanced by the tyranny of judgement. The heart and the head. Liberal and conservative. Youth and age. Cycles of expansion and consolidation.
When we confuse the ideal with the absolute, it does create some significant problems. For example, good and bad are not some cosmic duel between the forces of righteousness and evil, but the basic biological binary of beneficial and detrimental. The 1/0 of life, from which all the higher order social nuances rise. Respect, responsibility, honesty, trust, empathy, sympathy, etc. So when we treat the simple basics of good and bad as an ideal, rather then an essence, conflicts quickly devolve into a race to the bottom, of us, versus them, good, versus bad, rather then each side respecting the structure of civilized evolution on which they rest and being able to work through the complexities.
A good book on the history of Western civilization is Gilbert Murray's; The Five Stages of Greek Religion. One of the lessons drawn from his writings is that tribal beliefs tended towards forms of monotheism, as the tribal spirit. Against the larger world. It was with the advent of city states, that a form of multiculturalism emerged as poly and pantheisms. These were the cultural basis for the democracy of Greece and the republicanism of Rome. So when the west went back to a form of monotheism, in the Holy Trinity, the default civil system was monarchy. As in one god, one ruler. Divine right of kings. It was when the west went back to those more complex and interactive forms of government, that separation of church and state, culture and civics, became necessary.
I don't think the whole story is finalized just yet.

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