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1) Compared to other animals we humans don’t matched up too well. We aren’t very strong, we don’t see that well, our hearing isn’t that good. We have survived, and thrived, because of our reasoning mind.
The necortex of the human brain accounts for about 76% of the mass of the brain; with a neocortex that much larger than other animals, we enjoy unique mental capacities, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_brain .
It’s this reasoning power in analyzing the world around us that gives man a competitive advantage over other animals. It’s reason and logic that helps us gain a better understanding of the world we live in and to build a better future for our children.
We also have an emotional side. Love is an emotion. We are attracted to someone who seems to be too tall, too short, too thin, too heavy, or has no taste in clothes. We enjoy singing and dancing, going to concerts or churchs, because of our emotions. These things just make us happy. There is no need to analyize the experience, just go with it.
Whatever inspires people to be good citizens and help others, be it religion or anything else, is a good thing.
However, when we decide on the laws of the societies we will live in and how to deal with our neighbors in other countries, it’s the reasoning side of our brain we need to listen too. Using reason we can break down the barriers of racism, religion and nationalism our emotional side has put between us.
The reasoning mind created democracy, where citizens choose their leaders; capitalism where it’s the efficiency of the worker that counts not their skin color; technology like the Internet that brings the people of the world together. The reasoning mind uses science to develop new ideas and create solutions to the problems that challenge us.
The emotional mind on the other hand can result in caring, hard working people following a crazed, charismatic leader like Hitler, who tells them the Jews are to blame for all their problems and that they are the master race. The emotional mind gets young people to listen to a religious fanatic like Osama ben Laden, because they are sure that if they die in a holy war they will join God in heaven for eternity.
I won’t see it in my lifetime, it may take a 1,000 years or more, but socities, using reason and logic, will evolve that rely more on cooperation, and not conflict, to resolve the differences between the races and nations of the world.
The pace of scientific discoveries is increasing exponentially. In ten years we will likely know ten times more about the world than we do today. These discoveries will demonstrate the value of relying on reason to create the world we need. As science finds more answers I believe people will gain confidence that humanity can build a better future. People will turn away from the magical world of myth and unquestioning faith.
The more we use our reasoning mind the better able we will be to overcome the barriers of racism, religion and nationalism that fuel the conflicts and wars that exist today. Using reason and logic will give us that better future we dream about.
Wouldn’t it be better if we took all the resources, energy and love that is now focused on God and redirect them to our fellow man?
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we worship humanity and not God?
My favorite podcast is one just about people talking about their life, http://www.thislife.org . Each show has a different theme. Last night I listened to “The Matchmakers”, show #347. It had segments about 1) a bad date, 2) two development workers in Afganistan giving their driver money so he could afford a wedding, 3) a women who donated her kidney and is know an organ donor “matchmaker”, and 4) a disturbing story of what happens in a store when the white baby dolls sell out.
1) Blind Dates
Ah! The adrenaline rush of pure horror at seeing the guy pictured above is your blind date. It might be a little worse if your female date looked like that to. You might find that hard to believe but you have never seen some of the women I have dated.
You hope and pray no one you know will come by. You want to flee in terror. It will do you no good. A blind date will always find you. “Hi. I thought that might be you hiding behind the garbage dumpster. The men’s room was a little crowded so I came back here to take a piss. I know lets go dancing!
Show producer Jane Feltes tells such a story.
2) A good year for grand gestures.
From the American Life site:
“Miriam and her husband were development workers in Afghanistan. They had a whirlwind romance themselves, so when they heard that their driver was in love, but didn’t have the money to propose to the girl, they made a grand romatic gesture: they gave him $10,000 to pay for the dowry and the wedding. It was a move they probably should have known wouldn’t work out so well.”
3) Organ Donor
“Chaya Lipchutz, an Orthodox Jewish women from Brooklyn, donated her kidney to a stranger. After that, she decided to spend all her time trying to match up potential donors with kidney patients. It’s incedibly hard to make a match, and for a year, she had no success. Then, she gets her first break: her brother is going to donate. For, Chaya, a single, middle-aged woman who was supposed to get married decades ago like everyone else in her community, being a kidney matchmaker has become an obession. She needs this surgery to succedd. Roporter Mary Robertson recorded Chaya and her brother as the transplant day approached.”
A link to the National Transplant Society:
4) Racism In Baby Toys
“Elna Baker reads her story about the time she worked at the giant toy store, FAO Schwartz. Her job was to sell these lifelike “newborns” which were displayed in a “nursery” inside the store. When the toys become hot new toys , they begin to fly off the shelves. When white babies sell out, white parents are faced with a choice: will they go for an Asian, Latino or African-American baby instead? What happens is so disturbing that Elna has a hard time telling it.”
I grew up in the racist world of the 1950′s. I did play with black kids at school, but we never invited each other to our homes. I never thought of black girls as being attractive. In high school things got better and worse. Blacks and whites began to socialize more and to fight more.
The Army probably did the most to change me. When you are in a fox hole and need help you don’t care what color the hands is that is reaching towards you.
When I was growing up it was thought that blacks and whites should not get married. It would be bad for their children. Looking at Derek Jeter and Halle Barry I think we were pretty stupid back then.