Stalactites Vs. Stalagmites

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I consider it significant that most of us find it impossible not to overeat at Christmas time. Likewise, we cannot avoid company on New Year’s Eve. It could be a proverb. Just try it—and afterwards, ask yourself whether you believe in free will. Look at all the women lined up and packing the halls in shopping centres before Christmas, purchasing last-minute presents for their kids and relatives. They are sweating in trolley jams. Their money drains away as their stress levels rise. There must be an enormous percentage of people who dread the festive season, yet they keep participating. Why? Don’t tell me it is free will.

   Christmas could well be proof of astrology. At the least it gives astrology some credibility. The basic idea of astrology is that large invisible forces nudge us along in herds (or ‘types’) according to the position of the planets. This is another way of saying ‘according to the time of year.’ And because these forces are invisible, we are never conscious of them. So we assume Christmas time was a deliberate decision by us. We don’t think to question whether we could stop Christmas if we tried.

   Some will point out that the date of Christmas existed long before Christ’s birth, and was preserved from pagan religions as the ‘Winter Solstice.’ This only strengthens my point: they tried to change religions but the date would not budge.

   Muslims believe in astrology. Ramadan might well be an attempt at resisting overeating at Christmas time. Lent may be a similar crack at achieving free will by the Catholics, at Easter. This gives a new spin to religions that are often criticised as being controlling. The stars are controlling. Disciplined practices like meditation, prayer, fasting and giving your money to the poor all take will power. Free-will power.

   This is not to say that people don’t get controlled through religion. That much is obvious. What I am saying is that the religion is only the medium. Any institution or philosophy can be abused, and is abused. This is because our average underdeveloped psychological condition makes us prone to outside control. Science is no exception. The atom bomb, the industrial revolution, the pharmaceutical industry, pesticides and herbicides, asthma, cancer, pollution and other weapons of mass destruction all owe their existence to the employment of ‘scientists’ in one way or another. The Enlightenment is as ignored in science at least as much as The Golden Rule is in Religion.

   But people drift yet towards one or the other, until they polarise. We might call each camp the stalagmites and stalactites. The left wing and right wing in politics are the Stalagmite Party and the Stalactite Party. They react against one or the other just like water flowing downwards. There is no reason and logic, not without free will first—just emotional reaction. There is no free will in Palestine.

   Those who are developing free will are found in either camp. The religious of free will founded groups like the Salvation Army or Oxfam or World Vision. These are Quakers becoming human shields and Buddhist monks creating ethical economics in Sri Lanka. The religious of free will champion ethics to money-driven science (or ‘speak truth to power,’ as Quakers say).

   The scientific of free will champion Reason and Logic to money-driven religion. They dispel illusion and cry out warnings of environmental destruction based on evidence. They prove our unity on an atomic level.

   Inevitably, the free of both camps overlap. The scientific become ethical and the religious become reasonable. We can see this happening at least as well as we can see the invisible forces of Christmas.