Critique? Undergoing peer review from Facebook friends:

About Racism (a lesson plan)


Me: memetic, ethnic, cultural, software
Me: genetic, physical, hominid, hardware

Memes are not just miniature billboards on Facebook. I'm stealing from Dawkins ("borrowing") and making memes mean a lot more than commercial jingles or fragments from films. Memes comprise the "daydream" of what one muses about, considers. Memes come up in meditation, sometimes from deeper levels than Surface Me. A lot of memes come through television and other social media.

Genes do not always translate into visible traits and they don't define character, personality, moral qualities, other attributes of a soul. That's all epigenetic stuff. DNA does govern eye color, skin color, nose shape, physical features (inside and outside) more generally, and because physically inherited, is not nearly as transmissible or alterable (flexible) as memes or culture.

What is Race?

A given race is usually a mixed up soup, a mishmash, of both memetic and genetic traits, sufficiently memorable to form stereotypes, a kind of default mnemonic typology (like dwarves and elves). Racist cultures encourage thinking in such racial terms (by definition).

The notion of race closely relates to "breed" in animal husbandry, including the language of mixed or mongrel, versus pure (perhaps with pedigrees to prove lineage).

The names of the races and the stories behind them, form a kaleidoscopic, ever-shifting tableau, made from memes. The Book of Genesis is a good place to start, if looking for conceptual roots (i.e. memetic content), at least for some people.

We will be reading the stories of Noah, and the Tower of Babel to get a sense of how people thought (or even think today). We'll also be watching various animated and live action versions of these narratives. We will discover what forms of racism might be traced to this part of scripture by studying a variety of curricula.

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Seems doable. Tracing sexism and homophobia can be similarly tracked through scripture. I am not sure about the human need to "fear" the "other." Is that endemic to our species, or others as well? Inter species breeding produces offspring that cannot then reproduce, such as horse and donkey producing mules.  Does that happen naturally, or only through human intervention.

That sort of natural taboo may have been genetically programmed in humans if the goal of the species is to reproduce.. as in Darwin's theory.  That argument has been used to explain why homosexuality or marriage of the same sexes was prohibited in many cultures, and biblical references have been used to declare this type of union "sinful."

Finding why people think a certain way is a worthwhile endeavor.  Calling a certain thought or belief as "righteous", and justifying it through scripture, denies the truth outside of the law as it has been written over time.

Marcia, thanks for your interesting comments.

Observations of our chimp cousins by Jane Goodall et al suggests a lot of our behavior is recognizably primate. I have respect for our branches in the hominid family, more about which we're learning all the time.

I don't think there's any point being ashamed of finely tuned life forms (on the contrary, life forms are awesome), nor am I being fatalistic in saying humans have no choice but to act out of pre- or proto- human reflexes.

The upside of our design is we're highly reprogrammable, our many civilizations to date, and around the world, a testament to that amazing fact. No other single species comes up with such a variety of technologies. Bees stick to hives, ants to their colonies.  Humans range from living in teepees to skyscrapers, with more lifestyles to come.  We bring along our entourage of domesticated animals.

Evolution and continuous revelation are not incompatible notions.

We continue to transcend who we were as a species, by Divine Grace (as some put it).

The Tower of Babel story, to me, is about the perils of groupthink. Once down to Noah's kids, one could anticipate there'd be a problem. A belief that God was literally "up there" and we could reach him with a literal Tower, is emblematic of all the crazy belief systems humans endlessly deceive themselves with.

I think God's solution was brilliant:  humans do not need to be on the same page, in order to share a planet, so take away any common language. Each will need to discover God for themselves, instead of vicariously, through others.

As I was sharing on Facebook earlier today, I think sometimes American racists especially come across as too strident, saying we have to care about their racial identity as something deeply important even though we're also told they accept there's no scientific basis for anyone claiming to be in some special race.

On top of that, you're sometimes expected to anchor all your ideas with respect to some American history -- instead of maybe South Africa's to take an example. Here's a compelling narrative with its own set of racial categories, and cast of Quakers.  How about we talk about racism outside America sometimes.

Kirby wrote: " How about we talk about racism outside America sometimes."

And I reply: How about we talk about "Primitive Christianity Revived, Again, sometime?  I understood that that is the central narrative of QuakerQuaker!

Indeed, in other threads I have taken up the primitive Mithraic roots of Christianity and by extension Friends. Mitra means Friend. Quakers mean business.  Merry Christmas in July!

Given I'm becoming so expert in the primitive roots of Christianity (i.e. its precursors), I feel more ready than ever to talk about primitive Quakerism.  As you know, Quakerism is characterized by an ideology of equality, egalitarianism. That was a hallmark of Mithraism too.  

In that context we talk about how it is, that egalitarian values are challenged by anti-Quaker racist doctrines that preach the superiority of some so-called "race" (pause for scornful expression) as if some racial group were "chosen" above all others, by God. 

We learn from the Tower of Babel story, that such doctrines are more nonsense (silly beliefs), praise Allah.


William F Rushby said:

Kirby wrote: " How about we talk about racism outside America sometimes."

And I reply: How about we talk about "Primitive Christianity Revived, Again, sometime?  I understood that that is the central narrative of QuakerQuaker!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithraism

Mithraism was a rival of early Christianity, apparently not a precursor of Christianity.

I appreciate your taking an interest, William, and yes, that's right. Ancient Mithraism was seen as a rival of the younger Christianity, presumably in high places.

One story is Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official imperial religion precisely to stave off a rival Mithraism, percolating through the ranks of the military itself, and yet somehow not under the emperor's command. Something Persian was poisoning the mindset of even top commanders and had to be countered.

Makes me think of Falun Gong versus the Chinese Communist Party. Or Gulen Sufi types not kowtowing to some Sultan in Istanbul (we've been discussing this story here on Q2 some).  Very threatening, very edgy, very Quaker, this egalitarian faith and practice, that didn't recognize the State as a highest authority.

To make Christianity more palatable to the masses, much in Mithraism needed to be engulfed and perpetuated. Christmas on December 25th for example. Plus Santa continues with Mithraic memes. 

Islam found itself faced with a similar challenge: how to keep enough of Old Persia alive without undermining later authorities (religious hierarchies).  Religions face this "anxiety of influence" routinely i.e. I don't think my assertions are that controversial. Genesis shows signs of wishing to break free of an earlier Dragon religion.

The upshot is:

I see ways for Quakers to make friends with esoteric counterpart sects on the Islamic side, by at least honoring a shared Mithraic side.

How deeply we choose to dive into that will depend on your brand of Friend.

I don't ask for all Friends to join me in this branching. I see religions as open source projects wherein inspired programmers have license to try stuff in Git.  Could be a dead end.  Feels spirit-led to me.

William F Rushby said:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithraism

Mithraism was a rival of early Christianity, apparently not a precursor of Christianity.

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