From: Grant Callaghan (email@example.com)
Date: Tue 12 Nov 2002 - 16:30:10 GMT
>It would be interesting to look at how other religions may have influenced
>the triad of Abraham (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). Wasn't Gilgamesh a
>Mesopotamian epic that had a reference to a great flood? Whither Noah?
>I've already asked about the belief system of the pre-Islamic Arabians and
>what importance pilgrimage and the Kaaba meteorite may have held for them.
>I'm also interested in the Zoroastrian concept of Saoshyant here.
I'm examining some of the resources on the pre-islamic era now. Another good area to look at, it seems to me, is Spain. Just looking at Spanish tells me it contains many elements that seem to come from Arabic. The religious elements of "the sword and the faith" also seem to come from that era. Spain was the only country that felt obligated to go out and conquer other countries "in the name of Christ" -- someone whom I believe would not want people going around killing other people in his name. The fanaticism of the Conquistadors bears a strong resemblance to the fanatacism of the Muslim fanatics who are promoting jihad in today's world. If they were alive today, we would be labeling their actions "ethnic cleansing."
But this kind of activity is not confined to the Muslim community. The
Shogun of Japan wiped out all the Christians in souther Japan and closed the
country to foreigners until British and American ships came and demonstrated
military superiority a couple of centurys later. Guns, Germs and Steel
recounts a South Pacific island tribe that took over another tribe's island
and wiped out the entire tribe. One of them remarked "That's just what we
do." in response to questions about it. Or words to that effect. Modern
China is suppressing all religions that they don't control. It must be
quite a dilemma for Communists to put down faith-based organizations while
at the same time they have lost their faith in Marxism. And just think of
the number of people who have died in response to that faith based
It's not just religion that carries these memes of destruction. It's any
belief system that contains the siren song of conversion at any price. You
must believe in what I do because my belief is correct.
Even university professors are infected with this meme. They are not moved
to kill people, but they will destroy the careers of people they think
believe in the wrong ideas. And look at political correctness. People
going around trying to impose on people what they can believe about other
people. Take The Bell Curve for example. Sure, I don't think the writer of
that book had much of importance to say, but I was not out there inciting
mobs of people who were clammoring for his dismissal from the teaching
profession. I got the impression from the rhetoric that many of them would
have tarred and feathered him if given the chance.
Why do some ideas rouse such radical emotions in people? What causes people
to take an idea and declare it "the TRUTH" and then want to force everyone
else to see things the same way? I think it has to do with how we create
our personal maps of the world as a function of consciousness and then help
to build a cultural map of the world within our culture. We create a
virtual world with our ideas that we are willing to defend to the death.
Especially if it's an unbeliever's death.
Xenophobia is alive and well in every culture. "Others" are merely people
who don't share our world view as expressed in our language, customs, and
beliefs. We often feel it's OK to kill "others" because they are not really
"people." So we invent pejorative names for them such as "infidel,"
"foreign devil," "barbarian," and so on. We do things to these people we would not dare to do to "real people." We divide the world up into "them" and "us." We need not be kind or polite to "them." They are, after all,
"barbarians." In time of war, we always see the people we are fighting against as "monsters" who must be wiped off the face of the earth. Can you recall a time when we ever fought a war against a bunch of "nice guys?" An how were we portrayed in the eyes of the people we went to war against?
There is something going on here that is essential to the concept of memes.
I think it has both genetic and memetic underpinnings. If we could control
it, I think we could change the world. How's that for thinking big?
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