Monday, July 1, 2013

A Search for Intelligence

     Mankind has been a herd animal the same as almost all other biological species on the planet since the beginning of time. They discovered that they lived longer, ate better, and found it easier to obtain a mate when they hung out with the tribal family. In the evolution of this social order, rules were developed quite naturally within the group - a pecking order that was enforced by the older and stronger members of the group. Seniority was a valuable asset to the group due to their longevity and memory. They knew where to find the best hunting, fishing, gathering, safety, etc. Strength was also a valuable asset in the defense from predators and enemies. The older and stronger members generally had an advantage among tribal members, in the first selection of food, shelter, mates, etc. as the pecking order developed.

     Leadership of the group eventually became divided into two patterns, an administrative leader surfaced as Chief, King, Ruler, etc., by virtue of their feats of bravery, skills in the use of weapons, and being a successful hunter. They usually served by mutual consent of the majority of the group. Occasionally there would be a challenge by others who felt more deserving of this leadership role and the dispute was usually settled by some sort of public combat, or by the mutinous murder of the reigning monarch.

     The second leadership position was created by cunning and magic to address the many superstitions that existed. This position interpreted past and present events into future consequences and relied heavily on illusions and an acquired knowledge of human behavior. Although this position did not usually compete with or threaten the ruling positions of the tribe, it did have a great influence over decisions made by the tribal rulers. This position became known as a Shaman, Witch Doctor, Medicine man, Wizard, Priest, etc. who wore costumes befitting their mystical powers.

     As human social cultures have advanced through thousands of years, these two positions have become more and more complex. Instead of a single individual occupying these positions, many societies now have numerous individuals functioning corporately, sharing the responsibilities of leadership. Some societies have incorporated these two positions into a single role, both as reigning administrative leader and religious cleric with total authority.

     Today, most societies which still maintain the two basic leadership positions use completely different sets of values for making decisions for the tribes. The administrative leaderships base their daily decisions primarily upon current facts regarding neighboring or world social conditions, using factual history and current knowledge as the measure to predict future results. Although this method of leadership has been in evolution for thousands of years, it still has not become perfectly suited to the ever changing needs of today’s tribes and cultures.

     The leadership of the religious side of the tribal equation has continued to base their rituals, philosophies and knowledge on thousand year old superstitions developed through ancient and mythological legends and theories which were used to control the obedience and continued support of tribal members. An irrefutable reward and punishment system in an afterlife was devised by Shaman of the tribe to control behavior and perpetuate their position and power which was claimed to be beneficial to the tribe. Today, these mystical rituals can be found in almost every religious sect on the planet.

     Although the method of selecting the leaders of our tribes has changed, its results have not improved. Administrative leaders continue to make decisions that benefit only a small and wealthy segment of the people. They obviously make decisions in favor of the power and money that has placed them in leadership positions and not for the welfare of the tribe for whom they were elected. They generally see the majority of tribal members as temporary tools to be used and discarded. Wars and dissention have existed between tribal units throughout history, and continue unabated today. The only historical difference in our battles is the ever increasing number of enemies we are able to destroy as we progress into the future of technological and modern warfare.

     The religious leaders operate in much the same manner as they have for thousands of years. They maintain ancient and mythological rituals in order to promote their version of spiritual philosophies and to justify or promote their existence. The dissension and violence between religions has also increased with time. The much expressed religious mission to save or convert the world’s population is paled in comparison to the resources spent on their religious buildings and schools, their frequent conferences, their comfortable pews, their numerous staff positions, and their more than adequate salaries for religious leadership, etc. 

     Churches and denominations have become social networks of like-minded tribal members where they are continually indoctrinated and stroked; where the care and nurturing of their young promotes continuation of the sect; places where newborns ritually become members of the tribal afterlife without their consent or understanding; where marital alliances are celebrated and made public; where phobic apprehensions of death and a mysterious afterlife are cultivated, and where the passing of a loved one is comforted only by words of hope for a desirable afterlife.

     Our search for intelligent life somewhere in the universe is an ultimate irony when you consider the condition of the intelligence and civility demonstrated by the humanity of this planet. Administrative positions of leadership have evolved out of necessity in the pursuit of civilized societies. Religions have continued for thousands of years out of superstitions and ignorance and continue based on ancient relics and myths. If there is another intelligent culture somewhere in the universe also seeking to communicate with other intelligence, I’m afraid they will surely pass us by -- or should.