The science behind Life and Belief

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-

1.Infrastructure

2.Structure

3.Super structure

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

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