The way out of the dilemma.
We need to agree that the whole universe is evolving. Not only physically but genetically, neurophysiologically, socially and, in the case of human beings, culturally. In terms of joint social and cultural evolution it has been convincingly argued that without the “useful fiction” of supernatural beings human social groups could not have evolved beyond the size of an extended family or clan. There is little doubt that even today there are people whose cerebral hemispheres are not adequately synchronised and who hear voices which are often believed to be supernatural.
*The value complexes embedded in the religious cosmologies of the most powerful agricultural civilisations centred on fertility, righteousness, and land ownership, and were rewarded by forms of deferred immortality after death.
*The powerful mercantile industrial societies that replaced them have done so with an ideology based on materialism, utilitarianism, mechanistic causation, capital investment and money systems. The value complexes became centred on productivity, bureaucratic legalism, economic utility, and material accumulation with credit providing deferred material rewards on earth to money-lending capitalists. Money and debt are as much fictional constructs as immortality. Banks have been authorised by governments holding a monopoly of political power to print money and to make loans of money they haven’t even got. As soon as this imaginary money is borrowed it becomes a debt in terms of “real “money. Paper money is essentially a legal contract promising material redemption.
What happens when the global system of indebtedness loses credibility and the bears get loose in the stock markets? Should this happen, and it is certainly within the bounds of possibility, what control will governments and commercial enterprises have if they can no longer reward their electors and employees with material goods? The Boy Scouts, whose training includes bush survival skills, have a motto we should be adopting, “Be Prepared.”