The very idea of faith known to humans is the faith that is borne out of fear and not faith that is known out of knowing. I have a faith that sun would come up in the east tomorrow and not from the north. The reason is the spin of the earth would have to change in order for it to come up from any other direction. If the earth stops spinning suddenly…well, it interesting question in itself! You wont be there to see the sun next day. The faith that Jesus will heal once you become catholic or that Allah will reward you if you turn a Muslim is something we are all familiar with. People often say – “I am of the faith”, “My faith allows me to”,”My faith doesn’t allow me to”,”The true faith is” etc. The sentences that start like this talk of a subjective approach to live that also finds resonance in the masses. Since, there are a billion people who also subscribe to the same story or idea, the mind feels safe and relaxed to indulge itself in other things.
The principle motive of what we know as ‘my life’ is to avoid death at all times possible. We work in order to survive and live another day. We forge relations to keep the idea of death or the state of no-I as far as possible from our daily activities. We spend each day as if there is no such thing as – ‘I will die’. It is pushed far back in our mind and it is vital that it remains so. Otherwise, the very idea of becoming nothing again squeezes out the fun we derive in this world. Death could lead some people out of sensory indulgence into the search of a deeper existential reality, while for some it may lead to living a life full of self-abuse with drugs and sexual excess. The acceptance of dying is essential to overcome the deep set fear of human psyche. We are so much bothered by it that we created religions, heavens, gods, priests and a concept of afterlife to keep these thoughts from troubling us too much. We all want to believe in our own creation because it soothes our ruffled mind.
Coming back to the idea of faith, as it is understood in most human societies, it is the resolve we put into some idea that we have heard from certain individuals since childhood and has a mass following. The fundamental cause of suffering of the humans is the desire to live. The desire that gives meaning to this human drama. We think that ending the physical body means ending the life. Well, in way it is true. However, the information never vanishes from the universe. You cannot destroy information. Does the existential despair catapults one to create a religious faith as a refuge? If there is no death …would we be creating a God and afterlife? Most of us have heard that we humans have souls… Do we experience our soul? Have you seen your soul or felt it as you feel your heartbeat or as you feel a part of your body when in pain? No. We just repeat the mass hypnotic mantra again and again from childhood and forget that there are certain words we use that have no experiential value for us. We just use them because the society uses them. If something as a soul exists within me…how do I experience it? The priest in the church tells that the Lord siting on his throne high up in the heavens shall judge thy soul…Ask him, has he felt his own soul? Look in his eyes and ask if he knows it or is just repeating the words he learned. We live a life of great inner contradiction. We talk of the stuff we have no experience and serve this knowledge to others as if we “know” it.
This ephemeral existence of physical life has evolved many systems and structures of roles and statuses, customs and behaviors, philosophies and societies and all in a hope that man creates something that outlasts him. Something, with a lasting worth (No wonder diamonds are expensive!) that outshines the death we are subjected to. The idea of self perpetuation is also at the base of the greed for wealth and power. We want to extend the limitations of material existence by stretching the boundaries. And yet, the boundaries still remain. The freedom in its absolute sense seems unachievable and hence the very need to create the illusions in order to maintain the equanimity of our everyday lives. The language is a very potent tool to create a web of illusions with nice sounding but empty words…like humanity…there is nothing like humanity…its just an idea. However, we see this word thrown around a lot -“for the sake of humanity”,”to save humanity from” etc. while the humans die all across the globe.
Our faith is like a drug that keeps us from biting harsh reality. Who wouldn’t take a few illusions and sweet nothings in order to live a normal life? Look at the people suffering from mental illnesses. They believe in their own imagination so much that it becomes a reality for them at least. It forces them to act accordingly and makes perfect sense for them. Ask a schizophrenic about his “buddy” who visits him and talks to him at a certain time of the day. You will get a convincing reply. This man has absolute faith in what his mind projects. Isn’t all our life spent in projecting meanings and justifications? This pattern of psychological transference seems to be an exit from avoidance of death to me. In this cold infinite universe, we keep the flame of desire burning and hold it aloft as a sign of defiance against the terrifying reality of death. Death which is just the other shore…just as life is this. In between the two shores is the human dilemma and drama being played out. You do not have to believe in death…it happens just as life happened to you.