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An essay donated by Susan Humphreys

Part 1 of three parts.

"The Power of WE"

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The Power of WE states that: alone we aren’t much, but together we are everything.

I call this the Seventh Understanding. Some would call it an Insight. Religious folk might call it a Revelation. Use whichever term you prefer. It comes from understanding; or as a Buddhist might say when your third eye is opened; or a new ager might say when your heart and mind are opened and you find the unity with the All, not as a Revelation from God.

I know this coalesced in my mind, not from an outside or other worldly voice. However, if you believe that the Bible is a revelation from God, then this Understanding is found there.

  • The First and Second Understandings I discovered after I first started writing essays for this website. I mentioned these in the second essay I wrote in 2009 -- though I didn’t identify them at the time as Understandings). It is titled "Seeking the truth, I found many truths."

This First Understanding, this common thread that ties togethr the teachings of the world’s great religions and the writings of our great thinkers and philosophers states simply:

"All the world’s religions—or no religion—can help you become a better person or a worse one. By worse one I mean more judgmental, hypocritical, self-centered, self-righteous, and intransigent. Becoming a better person, the best that we can be is what life is all about." 1

  • The Second Understanding also found in this second essay states:

    "It isn’t what religion we follow, or whether we follow any religion at all. All the world’s religions or secular philosophies can lead you towards that which you seek or lead you astray." 1

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  • The Third Understanding is mentioned at the end of my 5th essay, "Religious rights, persecution and discrimination". This states:

    "The rights and privileges (both secular and religious) that we demand for ourselves as our due, must also be granted to others as their due. If we don’t then we place our own rights and privileges in jeopardy." Along with this is a comment I made in my 8th essay, "Civility: Having the right to say something, doesn’t mean that it is right to say it."

  • The Fourth Understanding I wrote about in my 17th essay for this website in 2013. "It is all about QI -- attaining a just society so that every person has the opportunity to thrive." This insight states,

    "It isn’t what religion you follow or whether you follow any, all that matters are our day to day words and actions, how we treat our fellow man, especially those that are different from us, and how we treat other living things (plants and animals) and our planet."

    I added the "words" word and (plants and animals) a year or so later.

  • The Fifth Understanding I mentioned in my 27th essay, "About hubris: extreme pride or arrogance particularly as it applies to religious belief." It discusses how:

    "All of the world’s religions as well as the thinking of secular philosophers have realized that it is our Ego that gets in our way and keeps us from reaching our highest potential as human beings as well as keeping us from finding whatever it is we are seeking in this life; God, Allah, Brahmin, the Tao, Nirvana, Peace, Contentment, Happiness, Security, Oneness with the Universe. ..."

  • The Sixth Understanding what I call the Yin and Yang of Life. This comes from Chinese philosophy. Instead of seeing the world as many Monotheists do in terms of
    • Black and White;
    • Antagonistic opposites, constantly at war with each other;
    • Things are good or they are Evil;
    • They are TRUE or they are lies;
    • My Religion is right and yours isn’t just misguided but is the work of the Devil,

the Yin and Yang see things as complimentary parts of one whole. In all things good, there is an element that is not so good. Just as in all things bad, there is an element that is good. All assets have an element that is a liability and all liabilities have an element that is an asset. Folk wisdom recognizes this concept with sayings such as:

  • "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!" and
  • "Look for the silver lining when dark clouds hide the sun."

Our challenge as human beings is to work to bring out more of the good and less of the bad!

  • The Seventh Understanding states:

    "The Power of WE: alone we aren’t much but together we are everything."

Together these Seven Understandings are about becoming better people (the best that we can be). They are at the root of Religious Tolerance and the foundation for building a more just society where we all have the opportunity to not just survive but to thrive.

They are also connected to the rhetoric we are hearing now in the United States 2016 campaigns for the presidency. There is a strong call from the Republicans for a return to what Karl Popper calls Tribalism, an "us versus them" (all those others that aren’t like us) mentality that leads to persecution of those others and to the unholy holy wars that are tearing our world apart. I mention more about Tribalism at the very end of this essay.

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Part One: The Power of WE:

I just finished reading "The God Problem, How a Godless Cosmos Creates" by Howard Bloom. 2 It is a very interesting look at the physics behind how a Godless Cosmos creates all the wonderful diversity that we see. It is a book most people won’t have any trouble understanding, even if the ideas presented go against some of their preconceived notions.

I do however have one problem with the book. He states in the introduction on page 11, "Why does this cosmos break the second law of thermodynamics—entropy? Over and over again?"

I don’t think the cosmos breaks the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, I think the Universe is proof that the Law is at work! AND it has something to teach us about The Power of WE. I don’t see the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics as being at all incompatible with life as we know it!

From Wikipedia, "In thermodynamics (a branch of physics) Entropy is a measure of the unavailability of a system’s energy to do work."

As I understand this, Entropy is the useless or scrap energy in a system that is wasted, unavailable to do the work that is the job of the system.

Again from Wikipedia, the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics states "The total entropy of any isolated thermodynamic system tends to increase over time, approaching a maximum value."

To put the two definitions together, over time, the energy available in a system to do the work of the system declines increasing entropy until a maximum value is reached. As I understand these two, that means that, over time, there is less energy available to do the work of the system because more energy is wasted.

For example my Subaru Forester is 14 years old and I can no longer go as far on a gallon of gas as I used to be able to. The work of the system, is about getting as far as it can on the nourishment it takes in. Now in it’s old age it is wasting energy in parts that are a bit worn and no longer as efficient as they once were. Eventually it will reach the point (from a cost benefit analyses) where it will be time to consign my car to the junk yard because the cost of the energy I put in (to keep the car/system performing, in replacement parts as well as the gas and oil needed to keep it running) is greater than what I get out (the distance I am able to travel in the car). This is entropy at work.

Another website states that entropy is seen as a measure of disorder in a system. Usable energy is running out. Information tends to get scrambled, order tends towards disorder, a random jumble won’t organize itself…..

Creationists claim that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics requires that systems go from an ordered state to a disordered state and that this law does not permit order to spontaneously arise from disorder. Therefore there had to be an intelligent designer orchestrating, organizing everything! Only a Supreme God could create something out of nothing or from chaos.

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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A note and reference used:

  1. These two descriptions are slightly revised from what I originally wrote.
  2. book cover Howard Bloom, "The God Problem: How a Godless Cosmos Creates," Prometheus Books; New edition (2016). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store. Available in Kindle Format for U.S. $7.56, Paperback for $18.52 plus postage, or Hardcover for $20.89 as of early 2016.

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Original posting: 2016-MAR-18
Latest update : 2016-MAR-18
Author: Susan Humpreys

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