Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Supernatural vs Natural, part 2
This is going to be a short one, because I have already written a post similar to this. This one comes at it from a different direction though, so here goes. It occurred to me this morning in the shower (again) that the term supernatural is self-contradictory, or at least the word contradicts the definition. Consider that the root word of supernatural is natural, to which the prefix super is attached. Super alters the existing condition of natural. Natural becomes supernatural, supernatural stemming originally from simply natural. Now, the commonly accepted understanding of the word supernatural is something that is "above" the natural world, somehow beyond the reaches of the laws of nature, transcendent, if you will. But this definition implies that the supernatural is more advanced than the natural, that the supernatural is what the natural stemmed from. The accepted definition contradicts what the words actually mean. It's funny that so many religions claim this secondary, newly-adopted and morphed definition, the natural world is the intentional product of those inhabitants of the supernatural realm. If this were the case, then the word natural should apply to what we actually refer to today as the supernatural, while the natural world as we call it today should actually be referred to as Subnatural, since it is the natural world which, according to many religious doctrines, is the altered state, and consequently is less-perfect than the supernatural world. Looking at things this way, it is easy to see how sub-standard religions regard their very proponents. It is deceptively masochistic to base a doctrine, or series of doctrines on the idea that those who are to accept and believe the doctrine are somehow less than what they truly are. Religions should celebrate the wonder of humanity, the inherent worthiness of our existing at all. Instead, many relegate us to a station merely one step beyond that of rocks (and some even put us below them, as even the rocks and mountains will sing his praises, while we will not, aptly attests :-)). While this is partly a semantic issue, semantics are how we communicate. Through commonly accepted ideas, not just words, but the very ideas, we became civilized. Through the words, we now allow ourselves to either continue in a civilized manner, or degenerate into our previous more primitive selves, only this time knowingly. Choose your words carefully, make sure you are really saying what you mean, or you might find yourself in the middle of a Brainwashing session, a Jihad or even a cave in the middle of the french countryside making drawings of buffalo with slightly differently colored clays you happen to find while foraging for berries, or perhaps hunting stags. Progress happens from the less sophisticated to the more, the supernatural stemmed from the natural. Unfortunately, imagination has become so complex, it has hijacked our sense of existence, and has made us believe in our own fairytales. Perhaps, this is only a rogue branch on the tree of evolution, and the trunk remains intact. Infact, I'm sure it does, but wouldn't it be nice for humanity to be around for the remainder of the evolutionary road, instead of our getting lost down this dead-end branch, too ignorant, delusional or blindly egotistic to see that we should turn around?