Wednesday 19 January 2011

A Creed

Time to update the Nicene Creed and others with the Chamberlain Close Creed, 2011:

We believe that there could be mathematical simplicity at the heart of the universe, that what we see as its complex outpouring is but a part of what there is, and what there is does not necessarily follow our notions of common sense.

But as observers of what there is we participate in its active appearance.

And we believe that from simplest origins complexity has built up, from competitive and collaborative successes and setbacks in different close environments; that complexity is alive, and the most complex lifeform - humankind - knows that it is alive. And humankind, evolved with language, can store its past, imagine a future and weave stories of purpose.

We believe that knowledge and ability with our sense experience produces sympathy and empathy for any other aware creature, although this needs nurturing. In the process of nurturing, cultures have developed with different world views, some with Gods and some without, and produced prophetic people of different kinds. Within such variety, these exemplars have lived life to suggest - as written by followers - an ethical way forward. Yet we have also recorded some of the worst tyrants who have lacked every sympathy and released wretched cruelty.

Like our animal cousins and forbears, we humans organise in groups; as such, individuals and our tribes exchange and symbolise one to each other for necessity and luxury, binding us together and making distinctions. In doing this, some exchange for gain and advance, but others exchange as a gift, and in that gift of sympathy and binding can find holiness. Some will offer a material gift for a spiritual reward, in an activity that has no product other than unconsciously binding one to another as community. The worst tribes have promoted cohesion through exclusion of the other and war; the best tribes have looked after their weakest: the best are the most harmonious, after all, but in a dramatic change of environment the once weakest may suddenly become the most adapted to take the tribe forward.

We see that developments natural and cultural can be both chaotic in detail and yet systemic in general. We live in systemic equilibria, whether economic or environmental, that will shift; forms of life and thought that attach us will frequently change. So much is transient and ultimately we do not know where we are going, and we may indeed evolve away. We understand that we are about half way through the time of our sun in an accelerating universe, which will probably have a long cold end, but can believe that other universes and consciousnesses might yet spring surprises of existence.


Murdoch Matthew said...

Interesting statement, but not a creed. Can you imagine reciting this in a meeting? Not even readily affirmable for private use.

Reminds me of the tendentious litanies people compose, to put words in the mouths of a congregation, hoping they'll make them their own if they have to say them.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Just statements then.