March 17, 2011

Have We Outgrown Religion?

What purpose does religion serve?

I suppose it sounds far-fetched to say that the air is a crutch on which we depend or that the earth is a lamentable ball on which we have to stand in order to hold ourselves up. But if you explore deeply the doctrines and history of almost any religion, you will find that there is simply no do-it-yourself way. Whatever path you follow, invariably you reach a point at which the efforts of you own will or your own ego have to be abandoned…

In one way or another, all of the religions of the world are concerned with achieving a state of consciousness that is not egocentric, so that we may see through the trick that, during the ego centric state, we always play on ourselves. And the trick that we play on ourselves is that we become unable to be aware of the relativity of opposites. Black and white, light and darkness, good and evil, pleasure and pain, life and death— or even oneself and the external world— in the egocentric state of consciousness seem to be separate and opposed to each other. However, the most elementary logic should tell us that opposites necessarily go together. In other words, if you feel you are a superior person in any way— morally, intellectually, or physically— you have no means of knowing that you’re a superior person, except through the presence of relatively inferior people. Were they to disappear you would be left in limbo, and you wouldn’t know where you were at all. The higher always depends on the lower in the same way that the flower depends on the soil and the rose on manure. So, too, the subjective self goes along with the objective, because thoughts are physical events as well as subjective ideas...

When the egocentric state is surpassed, it becomes apparent that these things all go together, and the curious consequence of this is that you see the unity of all opposites, that the world is a thing of glory…

In other words, everything that you tried formerly to exclude and deny and overcome is seen to be part of a continuous construction, so that the whole world is seen as profoundly harmonious. Everything in it is exactly as it should be.”  ~from The Culture Of Counter-Culture by Alan Watts

Have we out grown egocentric consciousness?

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