Academic journal article Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy

Metareligion as the Human Singularity

Academic journal article Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy

Metareligion as the Human Singularity

Article excerpt


Man has always craved knowledge of his own identity. Human identity is coherent, existing as a unified whole, without gaps or breaks that might interrupt the connection between its various parts and aspects. If human identity were ultimately pluralistic--e.g., dualistic, existing in two essential or fundamental parts--then the equally fundamental gap between the parts would destroy its continuity, rendering it dissociative and pathological.

To understand his own identity, man requires a coherent and therefore monic self-model reflecting its psychological coherence and relating it to all levels of reality. That is, man requires a valid interpretation of the human individual in society, and of the individual and society in reality at large. This interpretation must take the form of an unbroken correspondence spanning the extended relationship between man, as an inhabitant of reality, and reality in its most basic and universal form; man must see himself as an integral part of reality, and reality as an extension of his own being within a single unified ontology or metaphysics. In short, man and reality must share a common metaphysical identity.

Where metaphysics is a language expressing the relationship between mental and physical reality, spirituality can be understood as the metaphysical essence of human identity, and religion as its organizational manifestation. In its various benign forms, religion provides man with self-understanding and a sense of community ... a model of the individual and his or her relationship to other people, society, and reality at large. Religion tells people who they are, and mankind what it is, by establishing their relationship to the global environment on the spiritual level; it is a binary relationship of man to his real environment, and where the global environment of each human being includes all others, the relationship of mankind to itself.

The spiritual model of self, the extended man-reality relationship required by religion, is thus a stratification of human identity from the individual to ultimate reality, the level of reality that cannot be explained in terms of anything prior to itself or any sort of exterior embedment. This follows from the fact that man is embedded in reality and thus shares all of its most general and ubiquitous properties, up to human limitations of structure and dynamics. Parallel to this degree of extension is the outward extension of self that is sought in certain Asian religious traditions; the self becomes ever more expansive as its hidden depths are plumbed.

But here we must note that the phrase "ultimate reality" is necessarily a partial description of God, incorporated in the (otherwise variously defined) identity of all viable monotheistic religions. Any God not incorporating ultimate reality could exist only in a properly inclusive reality partially beyond His influence and creative power, and would thus come up short in virtually every major strain of monotheism. On the other hand, this description holds regardless of any more specific properties incorporated in various definitions of God.


In mainstream social and economic theory, a human being is understood as a mechanistic automaton driven by individual self-interest and governed by impersonal laws of nature and rules of behaviorism. Human automata are subject to conditioning on the basis of individual self-interest, which is a function of the individual's pleasure and happiness, freedom from want, pain, and sadness, and standards of biological fitness including survival and reproduction, all of which inhabit a standardized economy with a monetary metric. Man is thus simplistically viewed as an economic agent subject to monetary control, through centralization of which the entire future of mankind can in principle be mechanistically determined by the calculated pushing of buttons. …

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