Friday, August 7, 2015

Brief overview of my spirituality

 A brief overview of my spirituality, lifted from a Facebook post (or two).

Religiously, I'm a Unitarian Universalist. That's the church I go to and best symbolizes what I'm teaching my kids. Spiritually, I'm a radical polytheist with humanist tendencies.

I believe in an infinite number of deities with an infinite number of forms and an infinite number of names. Do you want a deity that responds to the name "God" that hates pinball but loves trashy romance novels? I believe such a deity exists. Do you want one that hates all the same people you hate? That one's easy, too. (I caught an episode of "Toddlers and Tiaras" where a woman basically said she prayed until she found a God who wanted her toddler to compete. I totally believe such deities exist.) Who do you talk to when you pray? You talk to the deity that you know most clearly. A person full of rage will find plenty of deities full of rage, and plenty of those willing to be the deity they're looking for.

On a very core level, I don't believe humans are unique. This means, it isn't just humans that have spirits and deities, it is everything. The interaction between things in the form of systems and relationships also have spirits and deities. Perhaps that's the ecology of a small isolated valley. Perhaps that's your own circulatory system. Everything has a soul and deities from your individual cells through the complex interactions of your clan interacting with the environment or other clans. Of note, this means I believe that all spermatozoa and ova have individual souls (and deities) well before fertilization. I'm still pro-choice, however, because none of this is unique or special in any way. The individual grains of rice that go in to Rice Krispies have souls, too, just as Rice Krispie squares have souls. Do they cease having the souls of rice, once they become puffed, once they join together as a Rice Krispie treat, when a piece of puffed rice is cut when slicing individual squares? For me, that's a legitimate question.

And, I believe in things like past-life experiences without believing in even a separable soul, let alone a "real" past life. There's a notion that there is only One, and all of reality is just the One trying it understand itself. If everything is ultimately the same Oneness, then why would the ability to remember someone else's memories as if they were your own require actually owning that person's life? It's an implicit part of being an aspect of the One. I've also experienced a vision in dream that further elaborated upon how this is the case.

I don't believe in an "after" life, so much as I believe in multidimensional beings, parts of which transcend space and time. So our spiritual aspect can experience what we might consider an "afterlife" concurrent to our physical lives being all full of blood and poop. It goes one better, I believe that on a person's death, their reference for time becomes reset to the point of their birth. In effect, they are reincarnated to the same body. They're free to make other choices, but without knowing what happened previously, they rarely make different decisions. Then deja vu becomes a memory of a previous iteration seeping through. This has direct consequences for my views on depression-induced-suicide as well as terminal/assisted-suicide. In one case, pain can only be transcended by living, and in the other a return to a joyful childhood is nothing to spurn.

I have a simple concise reason for life, the universe and everything. It is universal and inescapable: To experience and to be experienced. If your life amounts to a repository of experiences for the universe, what sorts of experiences do you want to store? What do you cherish and cling to?

I firmly believe in a biological basis for what could be called the soul. (Technically, this makes the "soul" references previously states more accurately described as "spirit". Changing that language in myself to be more clear is still a challenge.) What is a person's soul? It is that which would still be like the person if the memories and experiences were stripped away. Two people with the same soul would be a lot alike, even if they lived in different places and times. It amounts to humans being "value engines", and the formula with which we assign value to things is our soul. I know my own formula, and it is simple enough that it could easily be encoded in my DNA, if not an expression of the DNA combined with developmental hormones.

More recently, and a bit more surprising for me, I've stumbled upon what could be a biological basis for the concept of original sin.

Some of these things are, for me, decades-old ideas that I've lived with and that have gradually permeated deeper and deeper in to my being. Even I didn't really believe some of them when I stumbled upon them. It was just a matter of, "Woah. This idea has merit, even if it is totally wrong, the fruit of it is good."