Monday 23 August 2021

Good & Bad – Final Intellectual Advancement

In two articles that I wrote last year, I tried to model the development of ‘science” and “religion” where I emphasized that “human civilization” was not possible without human beings adopting the “after-life” concept (links in the comments section).

Thanks to the generous contributions that many of you have made as a response to the past series of posts on spiritual matters, now I am having a much-expanded view in this regard. 

I am writing this article, well-realizing that a majority of readers will find it ultra-difficult to come out of their respective religious models, and read what I write. Therefore, I request you to be as open as possible in your mind, although it is a difficult task for most of you to be open-minded.

As I see it, many religions have used the after-life concept to take control of the community and lead masses towards collective goals. I deliberately refrain from giving examples in this regard as some people are quite sensitive to such facts. 

A strong justification for the man-made nature of the after-life concept is the way that different religions define “good & bad”. The after-life concept survives only if there is recordkeeping of good & bad deeds of a person, which determines his after-life status. In some religions, this is defined as a divine process and in others it is credited to a natural law, most often referred to as “karma”. However, one can see that the definition of good & bad depends solely on the requirement of the creator of the religion or society during the time of origination. Few such cases are given below;

Killing animals: Many Indian-originated religions, evolved in highly fertile landscapes, brand animal slaughter as a very bad deed, whereas religions developed in regions where animal farming is essential for survival, state animal slaughter for food is a good deed. There are even festivals for slaughtering animals in these religions.

Killing human beings: Religions developed in peaceful space-time frames condemn man-slaughter under any circumstances as a cardinal sin (a very bad deed) whereas religions that evolved in violent societies allow man-slaughter under various conditions.

Religious worshipping: Every religion treats worshipping or praising their God/s, originator or other religious symbols as good and doing the same for entities that belong to other religions is bad. This is a simple act of making the religion continues in the timeline. 

Treating religion-keepers generously: Every religion considers contributing towards the well-being of the religion-keepers (monks, fathers, pastors etc.) and religious places of their own as a merit-attracting good thing. This is also an act of ensuring the continued existence of the religion.

Adultery: This is the act that has the widest variation of acceptance.  Depending on the numbers of participants and the connections between the people involved in sexual acts, the good & bad may be defined very differently among different religions, sectors of the same religion and even in the application of the rule to different layers of society (eg. an act which is bad for common people may be ‘ok” for royal families). In regions and time frames where the male population has dwindled due to wars and other natural calamities (male goes out for earning and poses a high risk of losing the life), it is very natural that a religion considered multiple wives as a good thing.  

Stealing or robing: Religions that were evolved for the survival of a community accept invading landscapes belong to other people and acquiring their wealth (and even taking the defeated as slaves) as a good deed unless the people of the defeated regions are converted to their religion. However, the religions that emerged in peaceful timeframes totally prohibit stealing or robing what belongs to others. 

Similarly, many other deeds such as lying (some religions warrant lying for survival), food selection (some food items are treated bad), alcohol consumption, greetings, and several day-to-day practices are defined as either good or bad depending on the need of the society where the religion was originated. Sometimes, over the centuries, these definitions have undergone significant changes based on the needs of time and space. 

The above argument shows that “good & bad” has no universal standard. Instead, it is space-time dependent. Such a scenario makes the recordkeeping process ultra-complex.  

This good & bad consciousness is an issue only for human beings. In the animal kingdom, every act is pre-programmed. A monkey knows very well what he should and should not eat, when to conduct sex, with/of whom to fight, to be friendly or to be scared of. There are no consciously decided “goods & bads” in such animal communities. 

Now consider that a man or woman who has lived in isolation (say in a forest) since childhood, is abruptly introduced into the civilization. He/she knows only the jungle laws. For example, in the first life, he/she may have been used to steal food from a lion’s prey or kill the first rabbit he/she comes across in the morning. Now how can one convince him/her to get adopted to this brand-new civilization? One way is to introduce fear into him/her regarding a person (head of the civilization) or a system (punishing mechanism such as the law). However, control of consciousness through such personal or human-intervened systems is short-lived as the demise of the person or changes of the system can make the people break free from the norms of good & bad. Thus, the best way is to introduce a physically non-existing entity (God/s, karma etc.) to enforce the civilization norms to the newly introduced human being. A non-existing entity can neither be destroyed nor proven non-existing (unlike something which is existing). Thus, the system will last much longer.  And………… the religion is born.

Have you ever thought that the only way that human beings could be convinced about religion is the after-life concept? 

One can see in everyday life that people who do good things according to their faith undergo serious bad things and vice-versa. Also while people of his own faith suffer a lot, people of other faiths enjoy happy and prosperous lifestyles. This could raise serious doubts on a human mind about his/her own faith. The only way that they can pacify themselves is by self-arguing that “The God/s or karma will facilitate getting the due merits or demerits to these people when they die”. Although they see mixed results in this lifetime for good & bad people they are 100% sure what those people will get in the after-life. 

Isn’t this way of thinking somewhat problematic?


What is the ultimate intellectual advancement of human beings?

Before addressing that question, let’s look at the disadvantages of adhering to a religion. There is no doubt that every religion has done a huge service to mankind in sustaining civilizations. However, once the facts are established as due to a source that cannot go wrong, it will be a dilemma to adjust the rules according to space and time (although it happens naturally over the centuries with many human-life and property losses). This leads to many unnecessary actions at a time where the rules are not accepted or applicable to civilizations (at another time frame). That has caused many unpleasant scenarios all over the world.

Human beings are herd animals from the fist species of homo- creatures. This, herd mentality still exists very strongly in the human mind. This is the reason behind people identify themselves by many labels such as country, race, religion, caste, community, profession and even school and village. Human beings get a feeling of security being in a herd. However, being inside a herd has its own drawbacks as well. Instead of concentrating on the original purpose of the label (eg. religion), the labelled person starts being proud of the label and develops a purpose of life as of protecting the label.  This leads to unpleasantness, headaches, heartbreaks, sadness, aggressiveness and anger etc.

How can a person in a civilization get rid of this religious model?

If nature decides to drive the human race back to animal nature, that will be one of the ways that the concepts of religion (and civilization) could be destroyed. Once the intellectual consciousness is replaced by animal instinct, the creature no longer needs an externally implemented set of rules to decide what is good & what is bad. Nature will take that role into her hand.

The other way is to improve the intellectual capacity to realize that there is nothing that continues beyond death, directly or indirectly, thus, there is no God or karma but still could develop a self-consciousness filled with pleasantness, blissfulness, peace and happiness. My view is that one is able to do this only and only if he/she could realize that there is no “I” and no “my” that continues after-life. I visualize this state of consciousness as the ultimate human intellectual capacity.

As I see it, a couple of thinkers in history clearly showed the pathway to this advanced intellectual capacity. It is so straightforward and simple that according to religious literature, many people who listened to these thinkers realized the reality (and are called enlightened) instantly. They did not need to read long sermons written in many thousand-page books. Unfortunately, the concept of the after-life enrooted into the human civilization for millennia, made common masses realizing the reality ultra-difficult. Thus, instead of seeing the obvious, they made those thinkers their spiritual leaders and the simple facts those thinkers tabled as religions which could support sustaining their herd mentality. And even today, a majority of people say that "this is my religion" to make themselves comfortable being inside a herd.




  1. "...improve the intellectual capacity to realize that there is nothing that continues beyond death, directly or indirectly, thus, there is no God or karma but still could develop a self-consciousness filled with pleasantness, blissfulness, peace and happiness." this requires people to think beyond what they have taught in their religions and enormous courage to brake mental barriers. There could be a few who could do that and this is a very good article for those. My thoughts are the same and planning to write something soon.

    1. Thanks for the encouraging comment. Looking forward to your article.