Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Simplifying the unknown

While people seek comfort in religion for assurance that they simply wouldn't blink out when they finally croak, religion for its part has dismally failed to deliver on its end of the deal and provide a convincing concept of eternal existence that the modern human mind could at least explore in the way that it does best.

Instead of a coherent framework to simplify the unknown, we get an appeal to the mysteriousness of the unknown. Not satisfying to say the least. This appeal quite simply no longer cuts it in a modern society (which last I heard, Filipinos aspire to becoming).

So let's simplify the unknown, shall we?

Sounds oxymoronic, doesn't it? But consider that most misunderstood "unknown" called infinity. A commentator recently admonished me:
benigno, even the greatest REAL minds in all the history of mankind never pretend to speak, in authoritarian manner, in infinite terms. to define infinity is to limit it, which is absurd and contradictory.

He was of course referring to a brilliantly simple mathematical principle that underpins my challenge to the monopoly that organised religion enjoys over governance applied to how people regard what happens after they die. The concept is so simple that I can state it in one phrase (a complete sentence is not even needed):

The certainty of even the most unlikely given infinity

With the above phrase, you could actually go up to the Pope and a-la Crocodile Dundee, tell him flat out: "Dude, that's not a god, this is a god".

How certain is, say, a one-in-a-million guy like me, given infinity? Quite simply, very certain; in fact infinitely certain. I am not a unique individual across space (if space is infinite), and/or I am not a unique individual across time (if time is infinite). Because everything with a non-zero probability of happening will happen given infinity. That means there will be an infinite number of instances of moi all over space for all eternity.

How's that for a humbling concept to regard?

Consider that even the god of the Roman Catholic Church Himself consistently fails to curtail the renowned misplaced kayabangan (arrogance) and self-importance of the typical Filipino. If we then regard a robust ability to evoke humility in a thinking people as a measure of godliness, then hands-down, my god wins.

We all want a simple god -- not one that plunged (and continues to plunge) humanity into innumerable wars, and immeasurable atrocities, all the while accumulating untold volumes of painfully convoluted written reasoning to prop up a pained semblance of His coherence in our minds. In mediocre thinking is propagated our continued beholdenness to the absurd. And it is in all ironies the absurd that the most militant mediocrity is nourished.

So consider the epiphany of the venerable Jim Paredes where the term "militant mediocrity" arises:
This “militant mediocrity” is easily threatened by superior ideas and often rejects them outright. Because it is highly invested in being average, it mocks anything that wants to raise the bar. Don’t we often dismiss as pilosopo, a snob, or an elitist, anyone who questions or challenges us with new concepts and ideas and new ways of thinking?

Fortunately for those who see the elegant simplicity in the concepts of the infinite, there is no need to renounce your Catholic sensibilities. It's quite simple:

Hell is empty, because God's mercy is "infinite".

If we are to believe in God's infinite mercy, we can conclude that behind every sin, is an infinite range of possible avenues for clemency. So fear not for your souls.


[This article was originally published by the author on 21 April 2009 in the now-defunct FilipinoVoices.com.]

3 comments:

  1. It seems I have a comment here that got lost

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  2. Nothing in my Spam queue or Recycle bin. Just post it again.

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  3. binigno, you are a very intelligent man, but each time you write something about religions, the other side of you pops out, and that is stupidity and arrogance.. the man who thinks he knows all. moron! im not very good at english so please bear with my grammar... infinity has no limits, it continues for as long as it goes, if it wasnt called infinity, how would you call it then? so, dont be stupid if there is a word as such coz you wouldnt be writting something about it right now would you? hate the catholic church and its dogmas if you like, who cares? i myself dont like the church even though im a catholic.. but that does not give you the right to tell people that we need not to worry of being saved because of GOD's infinite mercy. have you been reading the BIBLE?or even just search for the truth? im not a preacher so i wont say anything that speaks for The GOD, i have no right and so are you! lets put it this way.. you are a teacher of 40 students, you taugth them everything and then examination comes, 5 failed because they were not listening when you were discussing the lectures. will you fail them or pass? you are a teacher not a god ok? but can can pass them if you like coz you are the teacher.. tell me honestly are they worthy of passing? mababaw and example ko, pero may laman... hindi katulad mong kalaliman ang pinasasabi, pero wala naman palang maidudulit na mabuti.

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