Friday, March 03, 2006

Guerilla Religion

When one looks, at least superficially, at the legal systems of North American society, obfuscation appears an effective tool to avoid repercussion. Guilt beyond reasonable doubt encourages criminals to pursue methods that increase uncertainty. In the application of law, a strong resistance to arbitrariness favors complication over common sense conclusions. Now this certainly protects the innocent. The extra work required to punish the guilty, to many, seems a justifiable balance. However the long term consequences may mean society is unable to deal with large scale guerilla wars. They can be challenged tactically, but strategically, a lack of arbitrariness may be a fatal flaw in a ideological and media based confrontation.

Religiously, the rise of guerillism in our society is quite apparent. Organized religion is taboo precisely because of its arbitrary tendencies. In its place individualism reigns. However the only consistent means by which individuals can succeed against organizations is with a response (ouda) loop that overpowers the benefits of group action. Extreme incompetence and disorganization on the part of organizations seems to enable this. However it is doubtful that every religious organization can be categorically inept (the benefits of group action almost always succeed in the long run). The other way is to have constantly changing conditions. Social progressiveness seems to assume that a rapid rate of change is a way to stay ahead of the consequences of stagnation, or the natural consequences of stability depending which view one favors. The other way individuals can succeed over organizations is within an obfusciscious society.

The complexity of today's rational state, its empowerment of experts, its resistance to accept any arbitrariness combine to empower the individual over the organization. However, what seems to be happening is that complexity is emerging as the new hideout for religion. By this I mean that it is a new vault where people can go to for vindication and empowerment. The rules are communally accepted and internally consistent. They are dogmatic in nature and morally based. The difference between this, call it guerilla religion, and organized religion is that the former can attack, but cannot itself be attacked, unless one takes an extremely arbitrary perspective on things. In this sense, is it any wonder that fanaticism and fundamentalism have increased? Realistically, if one wants a fight, how else does one combat religious guerillas? The irony with terrorism seems profound. Guerilla based neo-humanism in conflict with guerilla based diplomacy. The former fighting an unconventional ideological war via conventional means, the latter fighting a conventional ideological war via unconventional means.

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