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The world is filled with various professions. But perhaps the most significant among them in terms of its direct impact upon human life, is the profession of a doctor. There’s a special kind of people who call themselves doctors. I wonder, whether they know what that term doctor really means. I wonder whether they actually, genuinely, realize the gravitas of the responsibility that they take upon themselves, by becoming doctor. What is it to be a doctor? Is it about merely knowing deeply, empirically, about biology, sickness and health – or is there much more to this so-called divine profession! So, let’s find out together – what is a doctor – and what is the real purpose of such a glorious title? What is the mission of a doctor?
Though I do not officially practice medicine, because I am in the field of mental health, I receive many queries from patients as well as doctors from all over the world on a daily basis, regarding various mental issues. I am not a doctor – I am a scientist – a scientist with deep concern for the well being of the global society. But you’d already know that, if you have read my works. I don’t practice medicine, but I do try my best to advise on issues of the mind, as a friend – and I mean, as a friend, which means I don’t take any money for whatever little time I can provide to clear the confusions of the some of the individuals who correspond with me.
And the very first thought that appears in my mind, upon closely examining the psyche of patients and doctors, is that to be a real doctor, it is imperative that while acquiring knowledge of medicine and biology, one must also foster the mentality of being a doctor. Because, being a doctor, is not simply about having an understanding of anatomy and sickness, rather it is about having an understanding of true wellness and more importantly, it is about understanding the intensity of the concern of the patient’s next of kin. The purpose of medicine is not to postpone death, but to improve the quality of living. Hence, a doctor’s mission should not be to prevent death, but more importantly it should be to improve the quality of life. Being a doctor is unlike any other profession on earth. Being a doctor is the closest real thing that we can have on earth to being a God with the power to sustain life. Gods are imaginary, but Doctors are not. They are actual living beings on earth, with the actual expertise of give life to others. The responsibility of a doctor is higher than any other kind of responsibility. Because, the human society does not rely on any other professional, to such a gigantic extent as it does on doctors.
The very first lesson of becoming a doctor is that, if you have very little patience, then you should not even think of becoming a doctor, because you may acquire all the knowledge about medicine and anatomy, but without the fundamental virtue patience, you can never in a million years become a Doctor. Patience is the golden virtue in doctorhood. Without it, no matter how many medical books and papers you memorize, they will not make you a real, effective and genuine doctor. So, what could define a genuine good doctor! After all, good doctors is what the society really needs, not some pompous bookworms with stethoscopes. And if you can’t be a good doctor, then there is no use of being a doctor in the first place – be anything else but a doctor. Because doctorhood is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you think you are good at studies, and that makes you qualified to be a doctor, then you couldn’t be more wrong my friend. You can go into medical research with that attitude, but not in medical practice.
There is a subtle yet quite radiant distinction between medical research and medical practice. Medical Research is about understanding the anatomy in a better way, and discovering new gateways of sustaining and nourishing life. But medical practice on the other hand, is about putting that understanding in practice, which involves real humane encounter with patients. Mind you, o conscientious doctor, patients are not your clients, they are the gods whom you took an oath to serve for so long as you live. The moment you put that apron on in your mind, you dedicated your life not to the benefit of your own, but to the benefit of your society – the benefit of people. It is the divine law of service that you promised to keep, even in the midst of utmost difficulty. And the moment you fail to abide by this divine law of service, you would no longer remain a doctor, but simply a mockery of the medical profession.
This law – the law of service – the law of benefiting your patient beyond any personal gain, is not a pompous philosophy to boast about, but the bed-rock of doctorhood. And if you want benefit of your own, above the benefit of your patient, then you should better go into business, not in medicine. Mind you, here I am not talking about self-denial, for it is an impossibility, rather I am simply talking about not taking your comfort and luxury to be more important than the well being of the patient, not just the physiological well being, but psychological as well. And I am pretty much aware that this is not at all an easy job. That is why I mentioned in the very beginning that patience is the golden virtue in doctorhood.
A doctor should be a clown at heart, a scientist at brain and a mother at conscience. This means that a doctor should be cheerful, insightful and caring. Being cheerful does not mean always being funny, rather it means to be aware of the seriousness of a situation, and still keeping calm. Being insightful does not mean knowing everything about sickness and health, but to have the common mental maturity and capacity to accept when you do not know something, or to accept a mistake if committed. And being caring does not mean flattering or pampering the patient, but to genuinely take the well being of the patient to be of more concern than the well being of your own. And these three principal faculties of doctorhood grow stronger in time as you keep fostering and practising them. However, on the off chance that you fail to truly practise them, despite all wishes and efforts, then you should have the basic courage to leave medical practice and go into research, for the betterment of the society.
No good can come out of denying the self. Therefore, if it is really in your soul to be a doctor so that you can do real good quite literally in people’s lives through direct interaction, then by all means, give your heart and soul to the service of humanity by learning and practicing medicine, but if that practice seems too much of an effort for you and you can’t keep up with the pressure and constant nagging of the patients or their dear ones, then be brave and leave the practice. Mind you, practice of medicine is a profession for patient souls, not rash intellectuals. A patient doctor is a real doctor, an impatient doctor is no doctor at all.
What is Mind?, 2016
Belief in God – that is what we will naively discuss in this piece. And the focus is of course on being naive, because it is the first criterion to understand a phenomenon truly with its real fundamentals. One cannot understand something, if one is already filled with predominant conditioned beliefs, opinions and ideas. So, let’s look at the belief in an Almighty Concerned Entity or Force, with literally, not theoretically, naive eyes. If you have read my works, you’d know that one statement is pretty prevalent in most of them. It is “belief is a self-preservation mechanism of the mind.” Here, the belief I mentioned is not necessarily of religious type. The belief in this statement refers to all sorts of belief, not just religious. However, in this piece, we are interested specifically, in the belief in a supernatural entity.
But why? Why am I talking about it exactly now? Because, I was scrolling through my youtube feed, and came across a video of some actor, shouting out “put God first”. The very first casual response that mind spat out was – even the stupidest and barbarian opinions of celebrities can appear to the masses as greatly inspirational and glorious statements – what a shame! As I said, this was the first response that my mind produced upon watching the thumbnail. So, now, let’s get over this casual response and dissect the situation – to be specific, the statement – “put God first”. It basically says, never lose faith in God, and you’ll achieve everything. I won’t say whether it is civilized or not. But I would say this. Belief in a supernatural entity having control of and concern for, your life, is basically, not a sign of glory, rather a sign of weakness.
Weakness is a fact – not bad or good. Like it or not, we all feel weak at times – I accept, that I do. And specifically in these times of excruciating agony, the mind kicks into a defense mode – where it naturally tends to put its faith and control upon a higher illusory entity. It’s not good – it’s not bad – it is what it is. And we cannot change this situation, just yet, because though we have developed extraordinary brain capacities, inside, we still remain cave-people, with a highly sensitive amygdala, that reacts quite effectively to every single fear and stress stimulus. And to quote from my book The Krishna Cancer – “Mother Nature created God as a neurological anti-depressant sentiment.”
Belief in an imaginary entity or force, is a sign of weakness. And, weakness is a part of biological existence. So, glorifying that weakness, does not make a person any more religious, spiritual or wise, than beating one’s wife does for not sleeping with him. Yes, we have developed through the process of natural selection, the capacity for limitless good and glory, but that does not mean, our innate brutal nature has vanished from our psyche for good. We have the capacity for courage and conscience, but you must remember, we also bear the seeds of weakness and brutality within us. These seeds served us well for millions of years. They have been the most crucial elements in our survival in the wild. Let me give you an example.
Imagine a man is sitting with his wife on the couch, while watching TV. Suddenly, a woman on TV starts stripping. What kind of changes do you think, would take place in the man’s pants! Now here is the real question, the man gets erect by watching the stripping lady on TV, say it’s my good friend and popular pornstar Olivia Austin – does this mean, he actually wants to do her? Does this mean, he does not love his wife? These questions are all non-sense. Of course he loves his wife. And consciously, he does not desire to mate with Olivia, but his subconscious mind does – and that’s not a theory, but a fact. Because that’s how the man’s brain has been surviving in the wild. His penis had to be prepare within seconds, the moment he had an opportunity to spread his genes – there was no consent involved. Because the competition was high. And that libidinal programming still remains active within the man’s neurobiology. That’s why erection upon the sight of a hot lady, is quite normal and in fact, healthy, but that does not necessarily mean, it is a sign of intentional desire for intercourse with that lady. A man may be married happily, and still his penis would get erect, the moment his mind visualizes a glimmer of opportunity for spreading his genes. Similar is the process of belief in an imaginary entity, named God.
The mind has various mechanisms to maintain its internal order and well being. And belief in something higher than the petty little human existence, is one of those self-preservation mechanisms. A person may be the most rational being on earth when everything is almost fine in his or her life. But the moment, clouds of excruciating agonies begin to cover the sky of his or her psyche, all rationality will go out of the window, and what will remain, is pure, savage, survival instinct. During these moments of utter disaster, a healthy human mind is more likely to give in to supernaturalism, than to bring out a notebook and do logical analysis. Eventually when those clouds start to disperse, the mind would slowly gain its natural rational capacities. Then he or she would again start talking most boastfully about reasoning and free thinking. This is not hypocrisy – this is human life – or to be more accurate, this is biological life.
Another such mechanism comes to my mind in this context. This mechanism kicks in when somebody faces a life-threatening trauma, and gives rise to the mesmerizing experience of afterlife, in which apparently the trauma-struck individual has an encounter with supernatural entities, prophets, or diseased relatives. And this experience manifests as more real than actual reality. The purpose of it is to put your mind in a preconceived domain of comfort, while your body is under tremendous stress. And before when medical science was not developed, people died with this last conscious experience of entering into a higher dimension. We did not have the means to save a dying person. Now we do. So, even though they go close to the doorstep of death and start experiencing the conscious hallucinatory domain of afterlife, we are capable of bringing the person back to life. And when they finally wake up, they can excite all others around them with their supposed experience of the afterlife, unlike our ancestors who did not have the means to come back from the doorstep of death.
The mind is who you are. You are your mind. And as such, you are not even aware of most of its features – because you are not supposed to, biologically speaking. Underneath the surface of conscious awareness, lies a whole territory of subconscious traits and processes. Some of these processes become active on a daily basis, others, when truly necessary. But they are there, nevertheless. They are there for a reason – the reason of survival – the reason of maintaining well being when every other modern means fails. They don’t follow modern norms of rationality. They only follow Mother Nature’s law of survival. And they are definitely not glorious in nature, rather, they are simply the mind’s way of preserving itself. It is not something to be proud of, or critical of. It just is, what it is – an unavoidable part of human mental existence.
(Simultaneously published on Goodreads)
We live in a world where we have put most of our focus on improving technology and not on improving human well being – not on improving the quality of life. And the argument put forward by the advocates of technology is that, this is the way to improve human well being. Yet, despite all technological advancements, human well being, or to be more specific, human mental well being has only deteriorated with the rise of technology, instead of improving. Because they confuse comfort with quality.
We are manipulating machine intelligence, and in the process we have forgotten to effectively utilize the true potential of our own mind, let alone focus on improving the mind. We are developing artificial intelligence and have forgotten to develop our psyche. We live in a dream state, where we are mostly unaware of our own potential and nature. We confuse luxury to be necessities. We confuse comfort to be peace. The only advancement that we have made in significant proportions is scientific ones, which are hugely limited to technological advancement. Now, do not be hasty and conclude that I am about to criticize technological advancements. I am not. We are neither criticizing nor advocating. Science has helped a lot, way more than any other human endeavor in human history. But my question is – at what cost?
Medicine has prolonged human life, but when you go deep into this matter, you find out something rather ugly. Medicine has indeed improved physiological existence of humankind, but has it truly, actually, genuinely improved the psychological existence – the existence that is more direct than physical. You are your mind, and medicine has done nothing substantial to improve the quality of our mental existence. Popping countless bottles of anti-depressant, mood-stabilizer, anti-anxiety pills relentlessly, is not the sign of a mentally well and advancement species.
On the contrary it is a sign of a mentally deteriorating species. So, yes we have the technological means to bring someone back from the doorstep of death, but then what? Have we truly developed an actual means to liberate the mind and the body from the ever-strengthening death-trap of pills and technology? If not, then I am afraid, such a species which is ridiculously dependent on external stimuli, is not an advanced species, in the truest sense of the term. In this situation one is compelled by circumstances to ask an essential question – what the heck has technology really done, better than our ancestors in the jungle?
Our ancestors in the jungle were fighting against the enemies that were outside, but now, quite interestingly, we have become the enemies of ourselves. We innovate things to make life comfortable, and not to make it truly well. And in the process, we the human society have become meek worshipers of innovation. The humans of this century idolize innovation. It is a disgusting idolatry of innovation. And like in any other form of idolatry, whether it is Hindu idolatry, Christian idolatry of the cross, or the Muslim idolatry of letters, the humans receive a sense of comfort in the idolatry of innovation.
The humans have become so obsessed with innovation that they have completely ignored their own soul. And among these innovation-obsessed humans, the so-called transhumanists are the most deluded bunch, for they don’t have a clue of any kind of order in the human mind, yet they boast about developing more advanced technologies to merge the mind with machine – and the most interesting thing to notice here is that, they don’t even have a clue that they don’t have a clue.
Amidst the fog of technological delusions, the human soul has been ignored for so long that its very independence has been destroyed. Technology has crippled the mind to such an extent that the mind begins to malfunction the moment it senses the absence of the technology, which it is usually surrounded by – and unfortunately, sometimes or perhaps quite often, even the absence is not necessary to disrupt the well being of the mind – the slightest trigger can set the so-called modern humans off.
Here I must be clear about something. I am not condemning technology, rather I am pointing out its actual implications in human existence. Technology was supposed to be the help in life, instead it has become the major driving force behind life. I use technology as well. Right at this very moment, when I am writing this piece, I am doing so, on my computer. But the point is, the computer is not in control here, I am. The devices do not use me. I am the one that uses the devices.
Unfortunately, when I look around, all I see is, a bunch of devices using the humans – a bunch of soulless devices sucking the soul out of humans. The humans have become slaves to their devices and slaves to innovation. They worship innovators as some sort of God, and forget to take into consideration the core values that make a creature human. One can live without innovation, but not without values. And when a society is being formed upon the edifice of innovation, and not on the foundation of core humane principles, it is inadvertently going to become more and more disorderly over time in its internal realm. And this is not a speculation, rather it is a fact.
I am pain-stricken to say, that today’s so-called modern humans are all like the dogs in Pavlov’s experiment. Pavlov used a bell to manipulate the mind of his dogs, and today, social media platforms are using people’s own beloved smartphones to manipulate them. Humans of this modern society are being conditioned without them even being aware of it, through the tone of smartphone notifications. The humans of modern society get a spike of happy hormones, the moment they receive a notification, and when they do not get any notifications in a while, they go crazy due to the rising tides of stress chemicals. Yesterday’s telephone was neutral on this matter, for it did nothing more than just sit there on the desk, until someone rings you to talk. On the contrary, today’s smartphones are so far the most effective tools of manipulating people’s mind at a subconscious level, through the tone of notifications. These notification thingies have made a mess of the human mind, pushing it more and more into the abyss of complications, confusions and disorder, via the psychological process of reward and punishment.
Simplicity of the mind has become scarce in the midst of all the rise of technologies and worthless “media-material” which we call “content”, that keeps the humans ceaselessly asleep, never to see the whole picture. Cat videos attract more attention – breasts acquire more likes – pedophile porn attracts more viewers – and content of real value gets ignored because they do not entertain the viewer. All that the humans want, is to be entertained. They want to forget all the mundane elements of life. And in the process, they forget a basic fact – it is that, life has become mundane because of their own way of thinking. They perceive impracticality to be practical, and practical facts of peace and harmony to be absurd romanticism. They take sexual attraction to be love, and hail unconditioned love to be stupidity.
And since this is the society, one lives in, I am afraid, we are no more advanced in our psychological realm than the baboons in the jungle. If we are to call ourselves humans, we must first be responsible of our actions, of our environment, of our society – and start acting as humans, not as device-obsessed apes and attention-craving insects. And it all begins with the individual – not the individual who thinks of himself or herself as an individual with unique traits while walking on the same deluded and neurotic path as the rest of the humans of the society – but the individual who can see the self outside the walls of labels and recognize the responsibility of that self in its society.
The society is neurotic – it is a fact – no conscientious creature can deny it. But my question to you is – what are you doing to obliterate this neuroticism for good? Remember, you are insignificant, as long as you think of yourself as insignificant. The moment you find significance – real, actual, genuine significance within yourself, then that significance will automatically radiate into the society you live in. It all begins with you. A bunch of people known as politicians are not going to change anything, for they themselves are second-hand humans, living second-hand lives, like most humans on earth. They live conditioned lives with their mind being in disorder, and yet, you want them to bring order in this world. It’s like asking a blind man to show the path. Mind you, the whole world is our family, and our family is our responsibility – not of a bunch of so-called specialists. And this is not a glorified hypothetical ideal, rather it is an actuality.
To refer to this kind of actual and not hypothetical statements with potential for inspiring others, I hereby propose the term “neuro-cookie”. A neuro-cookie is not simply an inspiring quotation, rather for a quotation to be a true neuro-cookie, it must be based on actuality. The world has already plenty of inspiring statements, but when you go deeper into those statements, you find out that most of them have no basis in reality whatsoever. Most of these statements are products of mere romanticism and imagination. And since we are talking about reality, we must also keep in mind that, it is not necessary for a neuro-cookie to be fully empirical, but it must have some empirical basis. The contention of a neuro-cookie is to not simply inspire the human, but to do so with the most effective fusion of rational and compassionate elements. You probably have seen some of those neuro-cookies in my recent talks. Now, let’s get back to the real issue of change.
Peace on earth can only reign when each human recognizes this basic responsibility and begin manifesting order within the self. And this can happen only if each human becomes conscientious enough to live with technology instead of living through technology. Keep in mind, technology has no conscience of its own. Therefore, it is neither good nor bad. It is us the humans who have to be responsible of the implications of technology in human existence, and use it at our disposal, not callously, but responsibly. Without this basic sense of responsibility, technology would only bring more and more destruction upon the world, quite like what irresponsible, fundamentalist usage of organized religions has been doing through ages.
Simultaneously Published on Goodreads.
“Humans are not evil – humans are not good – humans are just humans – a unique combination of both good and bad.” – What is Mind
In this talk, Abhijit Naskar discusses the age-old question – what is the nature of man? He starts off with the correction of the very term “man” referring to humanity.
What is Mind?, 2016
I want you to do something today. I want you to get rid of all the things that you have heard about meditation so far – everything – all those things about focus, attention, sitting upright, closing your eyes, focusing on breathing, sound, this and that – everything – even the things that you have heard from me. Let’s try it shall we! Let’s start afresh. Let’s take a fresh look at meditation. What is Meditation? Forget everything you know about meditation and simply think. Meditation simply means – thinking over – to think over something – to put your whole attention on something without pressure – anything. That is the simplest explanation for meditation. Meditation is simply thinking over.
Today meditation has become a kind of hectic practice where you sit upright and do a lot of breathing exercises, this and that – and they call it Raja Yoga, Vipassana or something else. They need to call it that way, because this way they can keep it mystical. And the more they can keep it mystical, the more they can gain from it. Simplifying it doesn’t make the whole business of yoga, meditation and all that, profitable, does it!
So let’s simplify it, shall we! Meditation has been proposed as a means to psychological well being – and that means usually comes along with specific methodologies. The Buddhists have their Vipassana technique – the Hindus have their Kundalini nonsense. I am calling it nonsense because of all the mysticism it brings along. The mystical advocates of all that kundalini stuff, truly believe that there are actual energy centers throughout the human spine, and by unlocking them one could attain glorious spiritual potential. The Hindus also call this method of unlocking the kundalini centers of chakras, Raja Yoga, as if its something supreme, and not an ordinary mental state to be attained by an ordinary human. So, when the very practice of Raja Yoga proposes the notion, that it is something not ordinary, and basically unattainable without a teacher – that it is something higher than normal human practice, you naturally feel like you are supposed to go to an expert. This makes it profitable. Hence rises countless spiritual institutions upon the edifice of the primitive elements of human mysticism.
Now let’s throw all that mysticism away and look without judgement and preconceived mystical illusions of intellect. Meditation simply means focusing on something, thinking over something. Now the question is, do we need to sit upright and practise meditation the conventional way – closing our eyes, focusing on breathing or chanting or say Aum and going through a million other rituals! Is it necessary? Well, if it suits your taste then of course it’s okay – nobody is condemning it. It will bring you obvious health benefits, surely. But it’s only the way of the novice, also the most robotic way. Meditation means thinking over. But think over what? Do you have something to think over – something that you’d just think over, simply to take the pleasure from it – to simply be yourself in it – anything – a practice, a habit, a hobby, an idea, anything – something you can think over without any pressure of technicality, ritual or norms – that you can pay your whole attention to, simply because you love it, not because some great so-called guru tells you to practise it or some great scientist tells you to practise it! Do you have something like that – do you – anything – painting, writing, going out for a walk of contemplation, filmmaking, photography – any human activity that you can engage yourself in, without all the pressure that comes along with the very term “method”!
When you love doing something, there is no method, there is no risk, there is no fear, there is no insecurity of failure, there is just doing it. You just love it and do it. Often we also use the term “passion”, but I think, the word “passion” is a petty human attempt to justify the activity in front of the society. Why do you need to justify it! You simply love it and you do it. When you love it and do it, you are basically meditating upon it. And when the humans have something they love to do, and they do it, which means meditate upon it, they give a certain amount of time from their daily schedule to that activity, not out of pressure, not out of the insecurity of psychological obscurity, not out of a revolting attitude against the social norms, but simply to be themselves in that activity. When you do that on a daily basis, or find time to do that every now and then, every week, you are basically engaging your brain almost in the same manner as anybody else does in practising the conventional way of meditation – sitting upright, closing their eyes and focusing within. The brain functionings in both cases are basically similar – and they bring the same kind of inner emotional stability, same kind of inner content more importantly – basically the same kind of internal well being, which is sustained in the long run, if you can simply do what you love to do on a regular basis. This way your brain goes through a kind of unique refreshment – that basically is the product of meditation – the simplest meditation – meditation upon the activity that allows you to be you.
Meditation is a method-less act – an act of contemplation – an act of being. And this contemplation or this being is not a buddhist thing, a hindu thing or a jewish thing – it is simply a human thing. No pranayama, vipassana or kabala has any kind of exclusive authority over meditation whatsoever. All these ways are merely the means of the novice to begin the journey. But the means is not the real act itself. Seeing the method of meditation as meditation itself, is like confusing the menu for the meal. The real journey takes place when there is no means whatsoever – when the self does not need to make efforts to be the self – that’s real meditation – the meditation where you simply are who you are and do not seek methods to attain a superficial state of mind.
If you find something you love and make that your profession, then you’ll never need to practise the conventional meditation in your life, in order to be psychologically well, because your very profession would be the best meditation for you. If you don’t exactly have that dream profession, then simply taking time out from your daily schedule to do what you love to do, would still be a better meditation for you than the conventional one. And if none of these is an option for you, then you can resort to the conventional form of methodical meditation. The final call on this matter, would be made by nobody else but you. But bear in mind, kids meditate on things, the adults meditate on the self. Meditation on the self is the highest form of true method-less meditation, for it brings self-awareness – which is beyond the everyday joy and sorrow. True meditation does not put you in control of your sorrow, rather it takes your mind beyond that very sorrow, as well as joy, into the kingdom of contentment – a kingdom without ideology – without cognitive extremes, such as radical rationalism, radical romanticism or radical emotionalism. In that kingdom, you simply are a human, with no name, no nationality, no tradition, no culture, no religion, no gender and no social image – simply a human.
(Simultaneously published on Goodreads.)
I say things – things that would most gloriously make me appear as an atheist to people, such as – “God is a human creation” – “scriptures come from humans” – “forget the gods and pay attention to humans”. However I never hail myself as atheist, and you never hear me saying out loud that I am an atheist. And it is because one simple reason, I hate discrimination, I hate bigotry and I hate creating walls. I don’t want to create a wall between me and all the peace loving people in the world who are just happy with their religiousness and they are not trying to impose on anybody’s else’s beliefs. Now, these are the people are I work for, just like I work for all other humans who want progress, who want the world to be a better place, if not for us, at least for our children. That’s why I don’t call myself an atheist.
Because when you put a label on yourself, that label comes along with a log of psychological baggage. And in most cases you may not be aware of these correlated psychological elements, but those who listen to you may do. So in their brain they would draw an image of your personality. And they will give that image qualities based on their subjective understanding of the label that you imposed on yourself. Like when you say you are an atheist, usually the religious population of the planet would very easily deem you to be against all of their religiousness – religiousness that is a part of their identity. And you cannot take away that identity – if you try, then there would be no difference between you and the religious fundamentalism.
And though I am not anti-religion, I am anti-fundamentalism. Fundamentalists do not make up the whole religious population on earth. As a scientist, as an educator, of course I am against indoctrinating children, I am against teaching them biblical stories as factual truth, I am against prayer given more attention than actual human contribution in the society. Still I am not against religion, because of those people who identify themselves as religious but do not take their scriptures literally and have the brain capacity to think which part of those books are good and which are not. And this process of taking the good things from the scriptures and ignoring the primitive ones, happens in most of the religious psyches of the world quite unconsciously.
I am not an atheist, because of these peace-loving religious people who are simply good people and they accept people from different religious orientation as equal. And no, not all religious people go around their neighborhood screaming the exclusive superiority of their religion and God over all others. They love their religion, but they don’t make a fuss over it, like the fundamentalists do. Religion is simply a part of their cultural identity, nothing more – it is fostered as a supremacist ideology only in the head of the fundamentalists. The fundamentalists are the enemy because they are driven by the elementary primitive notion of their religion being superior to all others, and hence other people are lesser humans. Fundamentalism is the enemy, not religion. In fact, fundamentalism is an enemy of religion itself, because in a progressive civilized society religion means realization of your inner divinity, not meek obedience to books of the dead people.
I am a scientist, and as such one of my core purposes is to understand the truth behind various phenomena of the universe with as much accuracy as possible And one of those phenomena is religion. And in order to understand it with as less subjective biases as possible, I must refrain from being called either “religious” or “atheist”. Now that’s the scientific reason for me to not hail myself as either atheist or religious. And as for the humane reason, which is more appealing to me as a human being, it is that the only label I go with is “human” – because that’s the label I received from Mother Nature. And that’s the label that makes me a part of human lives in human society, regardless of religion, regardless of race, regardless of gender and regardless of sexual orientation. The label of human is beyond race, beyond religion, beyond gender and beyond sexual orientation.
(Simultaneously published on Goodreads.)
Science and Religion – why are there so many conflicts between these two? Why do these two distinct feats of the human mind has not yet been able to join hands in the name of harmony? The answer is simple. The conflicts between science and religion still remain in this day and age, because though most people understand what science means, they do not have a clue what religion means – and they do not even have a clue that they do not have a clue.
I do not expect anything from those in the side of religion, or to be specific, from those who hail themselves as “fundamentalists”, because they are incapable of bringing the faculty of reasoning into action when it comes to the authenticity of their doctrines. In simple terms, the fundamentalists are mentally ill people. So when you encounter such individual, wear a smile on your face and simply say to them – “get well soon.” This would probably not turn them instantly into some sort of sentient humans, but at least you would know that you did your part in the name of sweet harmony.
Now let’s turn to the other side – the side that I think you are on. Those on the side of science, i.e. on the side of rational thinking, are the ones I have the most expectations from. They can think for themselves, unlike the fundamentalist patients on the other side. You do not even know my friend, even you are on the side of true religion. Rational thinkers simply are not aware of this fact, because of the definition of religion that has been imposed on all of us by our deluded society. Even the atheists would start to see religion as a positive element of the human society once they recognize what true religion really means. So, let me give you the simplest definition of religion which I proposed in my treatise on religious fundamentalism entitled “Illusion of Religion”.
“Religion is the process of internal growth, not a lifeless bag of foolish words.”
So, far from what we all have been taught by our ancestors, that when you follow your cultural scripture, you are being religious, real religion has never really been attempted to understand by most of the human population. You are religious when you care about your fellow humans influenced by your own conscience, not due to obedience to your scripture. That’s why, the atheists and agnostics are the greatest religious people on earth. Remember this my friend, true religion has to do with humans, not with books. And that’s the religion I advocate, and indeed that’s the religion which most of the prophets of human history tried to spread. But due to the human craving for a messiah and secure doctrines, those prophets became divine figures and their teachings combined with later incorporation, ended up being divine irrefutable gospel.
So, you see, religion has nothing to do with scriptures. Religion is what your conscience constructs as your baseline behavior in your society. As I have said in “Illusion of Religion” –
“Whether you call yourself a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu or an Atheist, if you have kindness in your heart and compassion in your act, you are on the right path of religion.”
So my dear humans, the true reformation of religion lies in your hands. You are the most capable people to do so, because the fundamentalists on the other side, are too deluded to think anything productive and healthy, that concerns all humanity. Their illness makes them concerned only of the exclusive survival of their dearest scripture. Hence, the fate of humanity lies in the hands of civilized, conscientious and compassionate humans.
(Simultaneously published on Goodreads)