Tuesday, June 02, 2009

More Rants from the Monk

Also from my upcoming dictionary:

Theories of Beginning

In the beginning, there was nothing.  This should not come as a surprise to many people, since it was, as stated, the beginning.  In fact, the sheer beginningness of it precluded any "something" from even getting a word in edgewise.  It is for this reason that many people have given up the idea of a beginning entirely as silly, illogical, and ultimately pointless.

There are thus three theories of how the world came to be the way it is today:

1) Intelligent Design - a theory that says that things are the way they are because of the will of some intelligent designer.  This theory is generally regarded as so silly and immature that only ignorant under-a-rock dwellers would dare to adhere to it in the modern era.  It also happens to be the most popular theory held in the modern era.

2) Physical Evolution - a theory that is able to explain how everything came to be, but not why.  Working backwards, physical evolutionists are very good at putting cause and effect together, and are still frenetically active in looking for an end to their work, the beginning of everything.  This activity, though mind-bogglingly pointless except to show how silly the first theory is, is almost as popular in its promulgation and development as the first theory.

3) Unintelligent Design - a theory that says that things are the way they are because of a general stupidity among things that are.  This theory is not terribly popular among ignorant under-a-rock dwellers, as it directly implies that they themselves are not much smarter then the rocks under which they hide.  It says that, unlike rocks, human beings have minds, a fact which proponents of the second theory above heartily deny, and proponents of the first theory consider to be irrelevant as they wouldn't see the point in having a mind anyway, it being totally useless in carrying out acts like worship of, sacrifice of innocent animals for, requesting boons from, and blowing one's selves up into little bits in the name of an intelligent designer.

Morality is a word that human beings like to throw around almost as much as they do bombs and hand grenades.  Proponents of morality generally insist that without it the world would be such a free-spirited place, people wouldn't know what to do with themselves and thus would spend all of their time killing each other and watching dirty movies.  Others insist that this is already the case, and accuse morality of being terribly old-fashioned and out-of-touch with the times.

Reality says that morality, while being terribly important in stopping people from killing each other and watching dirty movies all the time, is still constrained to laws of cause and effect, which, in the end, take precedence.  For, it says, the idea of an "ought" in the first place is what leads one to want to kill and watch dirty movies.  "Ought" to speak the truth is just as much a judgment statement as "ought" to commit genocide.  Once, it postulates, people are able to rise above "ought" entirely, they would neither see the need to kill, nor to tell lies, nor watch dirty movies, and thus morality becomes moot.

Ah, but you see, counters morality, human beings, being for the most part under-a-rock dwellers, are unable to understand this and thus must be restrained by external forces like intelligent creators or secular laws.  Otherwise, it continues triumphantly, no one would ever reach a level of mental aptitude to fully understand reality, which in turn, therefore, becomes moot.  Reality, accepting this rather grudgingly, proposes a partnership with morality and together they produce, as an offspring, Buddhism.

Buddhism says that postulating a beginning or an intelligent designer is not only useless but also nonsensical.  It claims that ultimate reality is a single, ever-changing moment based solely on the acts and omissions of the individual unintelligent designers, and proceeds, with the help of morality, to develop a clear understanding of the reality of existence, which it thereupon discards along with morality and everything else that is arisen, and enters a state of total and complete non-arising.  This state, though generally accepted as the state of complete freedom or Nirvana, being entirely unprovable to anyone who has not realized it, is generally considered by ordinary people to be mere religious hype and far less preferable than killing each other and watching dirty movies.  Hence the reason why Buddhists generally prefer the company of trees to people.

God, being at this point in the discussion utterly superfluous, opens his mouth to speak several times, then closes it once and for all and disappears in a puff of utter improbability.