We’ve got enough religion to hate each other, but not enough to love each other

from: Robert Anton Wilson
21 Jan 2007

Robert Anton Wilson: Well, in our language, er, there’s a natural tendency built into the Indo-European family of languages to divide things into “either-ors,” probably because we have two hands. Nobody realizes the influence on human philosophy — up in the highest levels — of the fact that 50,000 years ago children started playing the game of grabbing a rock, putting their hands behind their back, and then holding their hands out and saying, “Guess which hand I’ve got the rock in?” There’s only two possible choices, there. It’s gotta be in the right hand or the left hand. We’ve been so conditioned by that in the last 50,000 years that we think everything has a right and a left, or a true and a false. It’s a terrible shock to us discover something which the Orient discovered 2,500 years ago, or more, which modern science has just discovered in this century; namely, that most of the universe consists of maybes. There are very few things that we can hammer down into definite yesses or nos. You can reduce everything to yesses or nos if you’re sitting in an armchair discussing abstract philosophy, but when you’re dealing with the real world, it’s very hard to force things into the yesses and the nos. The people who are very good at forcing them into yesses and nos are totalitarian governments, and they do it by shooting everybody who sees the maybes, or finding some other ways to shut them up: locking them up for life or something like that. You’ll find most religions that are based on the yes-no thing have a distinct tendency to go to war whenever they get the opportunity. Jonathan Swift said, “We’ve got enough religion to hate each other but not enough to love each other.” The history of Christianity has been the history of continuous warfare over yesses and nos by people who can’t conceive that the universe contains mostly maybes.



21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 X 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1