The view from down here

God: Alpha Male

August 27, 2008

One of the questions I had to answer along my journey out of thrall was, if there is no god, why does everyone think that there is?

What is it about all this god stuff that makes people so crazy?

In a nutshell, it is because humans are primates, and we naturally seek out an alpha male to follow. In fact, a great deal of our daily motivations are related to our little lizard brain and the furry monster around it.

We seek status and dominance within our peer group. Our social structures, from work to the cliques we build, are hierarchical, and we are constantly seeking to find our place within that structure.

Do people look up to us? Do they listen to our opinions or return our calls? Do they include us in their thoughts?

One of the reasons crazy conspiracy theories stick like tar (apart from the fact that the crazy theories are often more true than you know) is that people would rather believe that a cabal of evil overlords and Bilderburgers are running the planet than all this chaos and misery be accidental.

We want someone in the driver's seat, and if there isn't anyone there, we'll just go ahead and make it up.

Can you think of a deeper and more entrenched conspiracy theory than Christianity itself? We love these Big Lies, and we love to cuddle up under them like a favorite blanky.

When I was a more active Libertarian, I often encountered people whose alpha god had migrated from god to government. To be libertarian is more or less political atheism, and people's reaction was often very much the same.

Who is it that maintains order, punishes the wicked, provides for the general warfare, and rewards unfettered procreation? God! Government!

We are an alpha-seeking species, and to paraphrase Mr. Orwell, some people are more alpha than others. People seeking power will use and propagate whatever tool they can. Businesses, governments, and churches are all pretty much looking for the same thing - your mind and your money.

Being atheist shouldn't stop with god. If you find your faith moving toward government, or the free market without understanding the mechanisms and trade-offs, you have only changed onw god for another.

Power seeks power, and you must seek your own. Politicians, CEOs, Priests, and your boss all want you to think they have everything well in hand, so you can just sit back and do as you're told.

I think ultimately you have to pick one. Are you going to lead or follow? There's not much of a middle ground. Once you start leading, even a little bit, people will throw themselves at you. All you need to do is act like you know what you're doing, or be a young movie star.

A wise Bob once said, reality is what you can get away with.

That pretty much defines the world, and once you really get this you can be pan-atheist, and stop believing in all of their vast and thickly spread bullshit.

So what's really real? You're an ape. Have a banana.

Copyright 2008 Daniel LaFavers