I find that the more I learn about Austrian economics and libertarianism, the more independent my analysis of other issues becomes. I no longer view people with doctorates as being the all knowing gods I once made them out to be in my youth.
These days, when a PhD economist tells me that printing money produces prosperity, I know he is full of crap. In fact, I view most of what people with PhDs tell me as being full of crap because they all have the same underling agenda with all of their lies. I take nothing at face value anymore. I look at all the possibilities being presented by all sides on any particular issue and use my own logic to arrive at my own conclusions. No longer do I accept the word of those in “authority” positions as being gospel.
One area of thought that I find myself revisiting often is religion. I was raised a Lutheran and I was forced to attend a Lutheran grade school until I got older and convinced my parents to send me to a public school, which was better in most respects given the conditions of learning at the Lutheran school.
My inner-self, even from an early age, did not accept the massive list of contradictions that make up the Lutheran doctrine. I have looked at other religions as well, but I found them to be loaded with the same contradictions and irrational thinking as Lutheranism, so I pretty much threw in the towel as far as organized religion was concerned. I felt that if there was a God, if he wanted me to know something he would have built whatever it is he wanted me to know right into the natural laws of the universe – enter Austrian economics.
Austrian economics HAS taught me that if I want to live a more comfortable life in a more comfortable world, the only way this can be achieved is through the application of the golden rule by society as a whole. It is interesting that morality is not forced upon us by some great all powerful being, yet if we reject the golden rule, the natural laws of the universe will make our life a living hell. Conversely, if we were all to obey the golden rule, life on this Earth would approach a state of Nirvana.
Consider that if God did impose his will upon us, then by definition we would not have free will. We would be automatons controlled by God. Little robots to do his bidding. It matters not if he gave us the choice of disobeying, we would still be bound to do his bidding under the threat of coercion. Does that sound like something a supposedly all powerful, all knowing, all loving being would do? Do people really think an all powerful God would create something only to torture it for eternity if it failed to obey his orders? That sounds more like a human politician than an infinite all powerful being to me. Clearly the history of organized religion on this planet is rife with political corruption and violence.
In other words, the natural laws of the universe make it clear what behavior leads to the most prosperous outcome for humanity. Organized religious doctrine is not necessary for humanity arrive at a “correct” moral code. The “correct” moral code is written into the fabric of the universe itself.
Setting morals aside for a moment to look at deeper spiritual issues, I find that science is not capable of finding an acceptable cause of human consciousness. By that I mean, I don’t think science will EVER be capable of arriving at a satisfactory answer to this question no matter how far technology or our understanding of the human mind progresses. The reason I believe this to be true is because in order to explain phenomenological experience, science first must explain how inanimate unconscious matter can produce experience. Any attempt to do so using materialism violates fundamental principles of logic and physicality.
The “emergence” of consciousness violates scientific materialism in the fact that we know the particles that make up the human brain are not conscious themselves. For the materialist explanation of consciousness to be a scientific truth, all properties of a system must be reducible. Yet with consciousness we KNOW that is not possible. As Bedau puts it, “How does an irreducible but supervenient downward causal power arise, since by definition it cannot be due to the aggregation of the micro-level potentialities? ”
For example, if I have a collection of red balls, it is impossible for me to arrange those red balls in such a way as to produce a gold colored square. It is simply not possible because the components I’m working with don’t have the properties of being gold in color or square in shape. The same principle applies to the human mind. The current scientific explanation of consciousness is akin to magic in all respects.
Which of these statements sounds more irrational:
1. If you arrange non-conscious physical bits of matter in just the right kind of configuration, you will create a human consciousness that is capable of experiencing the material world it is composed of.
2. Consciousness is a fundamental component of the universe, in the same way gravity and the electromagnetic force are fundamental components of the universe.
To me, answer number one seems more irrational than answer number two. Granted I could be wrong on this point, but I doubt it. For those of you who agree with my logic, I find this to be a very satisfactory explanation for the human soul. The human soul is pure consciousness, and it is not limited by the physical body. The physical body is simply a vessel for consciousness to undergo physical experience. Without the physical, all that exists is knowing. Knowing is not the same as experiencing.
We can know what up is, but unless up and down exist, it is impossible for us to ever experience what up is. We can know what love is, but unless love and fear exist, we can never experience what love is. It is impossible for us to appreciate good without the opposite of good existing for us to compare it to. What better way to experience these things than to do so within a physical realm that is distinctly separate from our true selves?
I would also like to point out that if the materialist explanation of consciousness were correct, it would automatically mean that there is no such thing as free will. If consciousness is a by-product of deterministic bio-chemical processes that are governed by the laws of physics, then there is no room for free will. Free will becomes nothing more than an illusion under such conditions. In order for consciousness to exist as free will, it must be detached from the determinism that governs our physical world.
I have put together a collection of theological works for you to consider that come from this viewpoint of consciousness being a fundamental part of the universe and “God” being the confluence of all that “is” and all that “is not”. In other words, life is God experiencing God by creating the conditions for God to explore all that God is not. I hope you find them as fascinating, enlightening, and thought provoking as I have.
I really like Walsch’s books. I think he hits the nail on the proverbial head with a lot of his insights. Even if you don’t believe he is really “talking to God”, the philosophy espoused is mind bending. The books will definitely make you think about things from a different perspective.
I know that’s a lot of stuff about near death experiences, but it’s not so much the experiences themselves that are the issue as is the philosophical insights that people bring back after having one. For example, the vast majority of near death experiencers do not report meeting a God that is anything at all like modern religions make God out to be. For the most part, they say that God is the pure emotion of love and that in the non-physical realm of consciousness, love is something that is tangible and visible.
What Walsch says meshes nicely with what the experiencers are claiming and it also happens to mesh very nicely with what we know to be true about Austrian economics and natural moral codes that uplift the human condition. At its core, Austrian economics is really about teaching people how to love others as they love themselves by explaining why doing anything else results in a worse condition for humanity.