Sunday, November 21, 2010

Do gods proliferate ?

Do gods proliferate ?
Andre Willers
21 Nov 2010

Synopsis :
Proliferation in the number of gods , each one with a commemorative day in a limited set of 365 days places an unbearable strain in societies in decline . This contributes to revolution or collapse .

Discussion :
Facebook :
Facebook enables humans to bypass the old limitation of 150 persons .
The question is : how many friends on facebook can you have to give a probability of 99% that every day of the year will be a birthday .
According to wikipedia it is 21 170 ( = 58*365)

Now do the same for gods or saints .
Being virtual , they do not share the 150 limit .
This number of commemorations puts an unbearable strain on primitive economies .
Especially if they are in decline .
Vested interests (priesthoods and god-kings) demand ever greater percentage of resources , until the very fabric of society tears .

See what happened to
The ancient Mayans , Egyptians , Roman-Greeks , Angkor-Wat , ancient Arabians , to a certain extent Bronze-age societies , France in medieval times , etc .

Even today , modern societies utilizes the various commemoritive holidays as reserve mechanisms (about 1/3 of a year) . See previous posts .
Going over this 1/3 optimum eats away at the society's competitiveness .

The economic appeal of mono-theism .
A point not exactly emphasized by religious historians .
Having one god is far cheaper than having a lot of them .
Especially in decline phases .

Roman Empire example :
Most emperors were made gods . They had commemorations , enforced by the priesthood and the Roman Army , who took a big share of the offerings . And the number of gods increased with each new emperor .
This was a tax .This became unsupportable as the economy and population declined .

A classical Hegelian Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis ensued .
The Roman Catholic Church (being , well , catholic) , imported the old gods and called them saints . This proliferated the number of entities needed to be honoured by adding human historical figures .

But the synthesis was that commemoration was not obligatory .

A very important point . It limited the support a religious order could extort . Neatly short-circuiting the whole priesthood problem into a voluntary thing . Also ensuring the break between State and Religion . (The State is a legal person , a virtual person in our terms . What is sauce for the gander , is sauce for the duck ) If religious liability for persons is limited , so is the liability of the state .

It is then possible to rebel against the priesthood without rebelling against the mono-theistic deity . (eg Protestants vs Catholics in Middle Ages) .

This is what happened .

Variations of this played out over the millennia .
In Eastern countries Buddha was conscripted into the same monotheistic role (something that would have amused him tremendously) .
Just look at all the Temples !

Theistic Drag .
The cost of the religious establishment .
Is it worth it ?

It cannot be zero . (Because A plus ~A See Toba and WWII . (Crux points : Altruism has a higher survival value . Proven the hard way .)
But too much altruism stultifies and destroys .(See above)

Optimal Religious Investment .

It exists , but shifts .

As an exercise for the Dear Reader , calculate the optimal investment of a society in religious establishments , in general and in particular for various civilizations and era's .
Show the effects of uncertain data on the error boundaries of the solutions .(to the nearest 3% )

Hints :
1.Use Pairs (to keep infinities to manageable levels)
3. "New Tools" , "TSP and QG" , "Problems with Randomization" , et al
4.Actual example : Judaic systems . A monotheistic system with a stripped down priesthood . Proven survivors .
Any explanation of Optimal Religious Investment must be able to explain this survivor . Note the size of Schules : about 150 . Are there Facebook schules , and how do they adapt to the larger virtual congregations ?

For those with too few or too many gods .


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