How would you characterise the endeavours of humanity? Knowledge, happiness, growth?
But what do these things have in common?
The question of the human race in one regard is explainable as the desperate desire to feel safe and secure.
We create buildings to protect us from the elements, wear clothes for the same reason.
Looking at humanity as a whole you can see that so much of what we do is about our safety and security.
Systems of thought or bodies of knowledge/ideas including scientific, religious, philosophical. So we explain what’s going on and define our place in this world.
Spiritual and religions traditions can give our lives meaning and avoid the existential angst we can suffer from.
Scientific knowledge to helps us explain it and operate in it.
Laws and morals to govern behaviour and protect us from each other.
We have a multitude of organisations, so people can group together and find others who are of like mind.
Bodies of language so we can communicate and connect to each other.
It all comes down to protection and certainty.
Think of them as like buildings. Which protect us from the stormy uncertainty of existence.
So much of what we do is for that purpose. Which is why I call it The Humanity Project, a massive building enterprise to give us the illusion of safety.
We wrap around ourselves these comfort blankets of beliefs, knowledge, and society. Because facing the storm alone is difficult even impossible without them.
All organisms change their environment to be more conducive to their growth. For humanity, it’s not only their physical environment. But heir intellectual one as well.
We create environments of knowledge and ideas like religions, systems of thought. So we can place ourselves within them.
Feeling safe, the Landscapes of belonging
True freedom, free from constraints of any kind is terrifying to us. Without each other, language, knowledge beliefs we are left in a void. With only our ourselves to count on.
That kind of responsibility is what scares us. Because if something goes wrong there is no-one else to blame.
Think of it linguistically. Words like.
dis·o·ri·ent·ed [dis-awr-ee-en-tid, -ohr-] adjective 
confused as to time or place; out of touch: therapy for disoriented patients.
Synonyms: distracted, mixed up, unstable, unhinged.
dis·o·ri·ent [dis-awr-ee-ent, -ohr-] verb (used with object)
- to cause to lose one’s way: The strange streets disoriented him.
- to confuse by removing or obscuring something that has guided a person, group, or culture, as customs, moral standards, etc.: Society has been disoriented by changing values.
- Psychiatry. to cause to lose perception of time, place, or one’s personal identity.
be·wil·dered [bih-wil-derd] adjective 
- completely puzzled or confused; perplexed.
be·wil·der [bih-wil-der] verb (used with object)
- to confuse or puzzle completely; perplex: These shifting attitudes bewilder me.
Synonyms: mystify, nonplus, confuse, daze, confound, stagger, muddle.
What they mean is your’e in a landscape that’s unfamiliar. You can’t count on much or any of your knowledge to help you.
You have been removed from the familiar places and habits and now you can’t locate yourself on the map, even if you had one.
The most obvious example of this is when you are traveling round in foreign country. Without signposts, you would have no way to find out where you are. It’s why tourists are always looking around, to locate themselves on a map.
Imagine an existence without these landscapes?
No knowledge, ideas, or concepts, just you. How would you understand the world, and yourself?
It would be scary, confusing. You could not place yourself on a map.
Your self-identity would be nonexistent because there would be no way of explaining it.
I believe that culture is personal psychology writ large. Our own fears and hopes are collect together to form the fads, fashions, and building projects we see.
It’s how we grow
Children develop by picking up words from adults. That convey ideas and piece by piece create those landscapes and find themselves in them. In so doing understand the world better and themselves.
You can see their identity grow as they develop to into young adults. We are then a product of our time and place, the culture we live within. A changing capsule of ideas and connections. We absorb from our surroundings.
A further point is that many landscapes change over time. As our understanding of the universe and ourselves changes. So we have to change as well. To continue to grow and adapt.
What it all means is that we create bodies of concepts and ideas. Systems of knowledge to be able to situate ourselves in them for safety and to get on in life.
Religion, science, language, society, beliefs, and so on are man-made endeavors. A set of ideas that allow us to make sense of the world and ourselves.
Our self-identity is a collection of ideas that we appropriate from outside.
We describe ourselves in term of our job, the clothes we wear, the things we own, the friends we have. Our dreams values, fears and so much more.
In this respect religion, philosophy and science have the same purpose. To allow ourselves to create our own identity and a sense of belonging.
Because placing ourselves in that landscape it’s reassuring. The familiarity, makes us feel safe and secure. Even if that feeling is an illusion.
Humanities existence, the work we do and what we create is driven by a need to belong, to feel safe and secure. To find our purpose and place in this cosmos.
It’s the grand project of humanity.
 disorientate. Dictionary.com. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/disoriented (accessed: August 09, 2014).
 bewilder. Dictionary.com. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bewilder (accessed: August 09, 2014).
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