Each one of us must have asked these certain questions once in a while that what exactly is life? What are beliefs that we are forming and conforming to? What are sacred thoughts and why we act according to them?
All these questions if googled, then, a phrase not even a proper sentence would define it and hundreds and thousands of quotations would also pop up along with it, based on all sort of philosophies been said and written over the course of time. But the actual meaning of all these lies behind a simple yet complex science of nature and the insatiable needs of organisms has made the circle of life which has been well-aided with beliefs and certain sacred thoughts.
If we go by the formation of earth then around 13 Billion years ago a little Physics playedits role in order to bring in matter and energy to work and formed atoms which very finely combined together in numbers to form molecules to let chemistry play its part and these molecules together came into being very delicately to form organisms and let Biology be the incharge of bringing in Life to earth.
Physics × Chemistry × Biology = Life
And now with these organisms coming together to make life on earth brought the benevolent needs, the basics of living being. For example : a tree needs Sunlight, Water and CarbonDi-Oxide to survive. Similarly, the other organisms also needed the energy; the chemical energy consisting minerals and nutrition to survive and further it evolved with time adapting as per the environment and its climatic conditions.
When Homo Sapiens came into existence, the lineage of genus Homo, they had their needs for survival. If we go through Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need, we find it in very organised and justified manner. Similarly, Malinowski also described it well while putting together the needsof Homo Sapiens to survive.
But, what are these basic needs and how did they have any connection with beliefs and the sacred thoughts? Well to answer that, there is a theory which rationally talks about Cultural Materialism and divide the whole phenomena into 3 parts-
According to Marvin Harris, in a purely scientific sense; Infrastructure talks of basic needs which include Production and Reproduction and helps Sapiens fulfill their need of hunger, thirst, sex and shelter. To move ahead, they brought in culture and society to live in a formally organised community which makes the structure rather a Social Structure where all the Domestic and Political Economy falls under it and people tend to stand in society formed by them with a status to hold. In order to do so they needed resources, now, the major thing kicks in. These sapiens used environment as per their need. To keep his point, Harris while his travels to India observed that Cow was taken to be sacred, a belief that she is mother of all beings and thus, they started worshiping them. Meanwhile in other countries around, they are good source of meat and killing them for it is not an offense unlike in India where it is a sin to do so.
He came to the conclusion with all the atrocities that cows are much more resourceful when alive than dead for Indians as per their conditions and needs. How? That’s the question, as cow is a good source of milk and dairy products and further it helps in agricultural activities as well its dung and urine are also quite effective and useful. So, why just kill them for meat? And thus, this bought a simple benevolent need to keep them alive and restrain others from killing her and a sacred belief was formed that cow is a form of deity and shall be worshipped. And even after this long period of time where technology prevails it is still carried on.
And then we have Super Structure that has two divisions one is Behavioural Superstructure which includes art, music, sports, literature, etc. and Mental Superstructure which includes symbols, myths, aesthetic standards and philosophers, religion, taboo, etc. The conscious to unconscious beliefs and behavioural patterns which tends to change. To which Harris very finely quoted it as “is based on the simple premise that human social life is a response to the practical problems of earthly existence”.
How could they change? Well, on the basis of these beliefs mental patterns and behavioural superstructure was formed due to the requirement of Sapiens to fulfill their basic needs perhaps which brought us to conclusion that “as the needs changes the superstructure will follow suit.”
So, there is nothing as such God’s will to follow as sacred belief or thought, instead it’s the need which makes sapiens to form them in order to survive. Such hubris on the name of survival as it is the only one thing which matters to any living organism whether it’s an animal or a sapien.
Life, to be truthfully described, is an accidental science where some molecules happened to be present at a time together and combined to form organism and further its the need and biology which resulted in life to sustain till date where only the survival matters and for that whatever belief one has to follow falls in line.
Article by:- Jagjeet Kaur
© Alysane Society
© Jagjeet Kaur