Simplicity, complexity, and Utopia
The usefulness of a definition depends on the concept being defined. The more complex a concept, the more complex its definition must be. A circle is a simple thing. “The set of coplanar points equidistant from a given point” (if I remember my high school geometry class correctly) is its simple definition.
Athana says, “The definition of western religion is pain & suffering.” Well, I would have thought there was more to it than that. There is a lot of pain and suffering in life – I dare say, a lot more than can be accounted for by Western religion.
(I should mention that I recently commented on a posting on Athana’s blog: “The problem is giving God a gender in the first damned place.” That also, I must admit, is defining a complex problem in terms that are too simple. The question I should have asked, which unfortunately took me two days to formulate, is, “Which is greater: Deity’s need for a gender, or humanity’s need to give Deity a gender?”)
One of my early exposures to Utopian thinking, though I didn’t realize it when I was immersed in it, was Christian fundamentalism, or specifically the notion that once the willing have been converted and the unwilling have been eliminated, the world will be a better place. There are other Utopians, of course. There are certain atheists who insist that the world will be a better place when all religion of whatever stripe has been wiped out. There are certain Goddess worshippers who insist that if we forsook male gods for female gods, most of our problems would go away.
There are many different Utopian ideas floating around out there, in religion and in other categories of thought, and all of the ideas tend to boil down to the same notion: “When everyone thinks like me, the world will be perfect.” The world is such that everyone possesses a small kernel of the truth (or, if you prefer, Truth). When I mistake that kernel for the whole truth, I delude myself and demean everyone else.