Friday, July 07, 2017

Mono

Monotheists get bashed pretty convincingly by Harari:

That’s why divorce is so traumatic for children. A five-year-old cannot understand that something important is happening for reasons unrelated to him. No matter how many times mommy and daddy tell him that they are independent people with their own problems and wishes, and that they didn’t divorce because of him – the child cannot absorb it. He is convinced that everything happens because of him. Most people grow out of this infantile delusion. Monotheists hold on to it till the day they die.

Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (p. 173). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Animism and polytheism gets slightly better reviews:

Animist and polytheist religions depicted the world as the playground of numerous different powers rather than a single god. It was consequently easy for animists and polytheists to accept that many events are unrelated to me or to my favourite deity, and they are neither punishments for my sins nor rewards for my good deeds. Greek historians such as Herodotus and Thucydides, and Chinese historians such as Sima Qian, developed sophisticated theories of history that are very similar to our own modern views. They explained that wars and revolutions break out due to myriad political, social and economic factors. People may fall victim to war through no fault of their own. Accordingly, Herodotus developed a keen interest in understanding Persian politics, while Sima Qian was very concerned about the culture and religion of barbarous steppe people.7

Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (pp. 173-174). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Recognition that there are more powers in the world than one is a big advantage in comprehending reality.

One can argue that it was Koranic literalism that killed the Islamic enlightenment of the early middle ages.

Unfortunately:

Yet even though Herodotus and Thucydides understood reality much better than the authors of the Bible, when the two world views collided, the Bible won by a knockout. The Greeks adopted the Jewish view of history, rather than vice versa. A thousand years after Thucydides, the Greeks became convinced that if some barbarian horde invaded, surely it was divine punishment for their sins. No matter how mistaken the biblical world view was, it provided a better basis for large-scale human cooperation.

Harari, Yuval Noah. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (p. 174). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Delusional thinking still seems to be in the driver's seat.