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INTERVIEW WITH THE HIGH PRIEST OF HUMANITY
Curiosity and Other Irrelevant Motives
The Positivist High Priest of Humanity probably resides in Paris, France. For this IMAGINARY interview, which took place in 1980, I used the writings of Auguste Comte, the first High Priest of Humanity and of some of his followers in later years. I opened the discussion by describing the following incident:
ERICA: I caught a few moments of the Phil Donahue show Monday. The subject was arson by children, and the work of a group that counsels with child arsonists. A boy of about twelve was being interviewed about the fires he had set. The first was a fire outside his home--no damage whatever. His next fire was in his room when he set fire to some balsa wood which he had been using to make models. It flamed up and burned fast, igniting nothing else--no damage. At this point Phil asked the youngster why he had set the fires. “I was just curious,” he said.
The answer was not good enough. Phil asked the mother why she thought the boy set the fires, and together they concluded that it was because her son had not been getting enough love and attention. Why didn’t they believe what the boy said? It was as if they called him a liar on national television. Would you agree the behavior of the TV host and the mother was stupid?
PRIEST: Of course not. It makes perfect sense to me. They were trying to determine what it was in the boy’s environment that made him react by setting fires.
ERICA: It doesn’t make sense to me. Please explain.
PRIEST: The answer about curiosity is irrelevant. What you call curiosity is not a part of the boy’s environment. Our behavior is affected by our natural and our human environments. If we want to affect or change the boy’s behavior we must find something in his environment which will bring about the desired change.
ERICA: So in this case the environmental change might be to have his parents be more loving and attentive toward him?
ERICA: Maybe the parents ought to give the boy more attention by punishing or spanking him, and by telling him what he did was dangerous or stupid.
PRIEST: Abusing the child is no answer. It may be all right to point out that he could hurt or kill himself and others with his fires. He can see very clearly that this is possible. His human experience can tell him this.
ERICA: If he learned to obey his parents, he might not have to learn so much through human experience. He might also learn the difference between right and wrong.
WHAT ABOUT RIGHT AND WRONG?
PRIEST: Oh, you mean moralizing! Children brought up with the proper Positive training are not affected by moralizing. Who really knows what is right and what is wrong?
ERICA: Any sane adult ought to know the difference between right and wrong. In fact, it has long been accepted legally that one who does not know the difference between what is right and what is wrong is looked upon as being insane.
PRIEST: That is according to the old concepts of law and morality. Many significant changes are taking place in values and laws.
ERICA: Meaning that there no longer are any standards of right and wrong?
PRIEST: And also meaning that we no longer look to gods or other transcendental sources for the basis of our values. That is the real meaning of freedom.
ERICA: Positive ‘freedom’ means freedom from God and any commandments of God?
PRIEST: Of course! Those are things of the past. We are living in the scientific and industrial age of the Twentieth Century. We follow the ethics of Positivism.
ERICA: On what foundation are the ethics of Positivism based?
PRIEST: The aim of all human life must be the preservation and perfecting of the Great Being, Humanity, whom we must love, and know, and serve. The Great Being operates through her individual organs, so we, those individual organs must be studied with care in order that our service be properly rendered. The primary precept is: Know thyself to better thyself.
ERICA: For the sake of Humanity?
ERICA What about God?
PRIEST: You mean theologism. Under theologism morals are under the control of what might be called, ‘supernatural principles.’ This brings each person into direct connection with an infinite power. Giving sanction to such an existence isolates the individual from Humanity, rather than cementing the fundamental union between the world and man.
ERICA: you mean, don’t you, that one who believes in God is not so easily moved by the things of this world.
PRIEST: Exactly. You see, the Religion of Humanity is social. The study of morals is based on scientific observation of others. Scientific observation seeking the laws of social behavior is called, social science. All of us are totally dependent on each other and on our surroundings. You might say we depend on our human and our natural environments. Sometimes we use the term, ‘interdependent’ to express this idea.
ERICA: Interesting! You have freed yourselves from God and from all values based on a belief in God. Then you have bound yourselves to all other beings on earth, whether strong or weak, good or bad, wise or foolish, well or sick, friendly or unfriendly, law-abiding or criminal,
PRIEST: Yes, it is a beautiful thought, isn’t it? That is what we mean by universal brotherhood.
ERICA: Actually, I think it is a very confusing and hypocritical thought. I have heard many people say they believed in it, but I never have known anyone who meant anything other than he would like sanction to put his hand in someone else’s pocket.
PRIEST: Sharing is a part of brotherhood.
WHY IS CURIOSITY IRRELEVANT?
ERICA: We seem to be getting off the track. I would like to see if I can figure out from some of the things we have said why you think that curiosity is an irrelevant motive in the study and understanding of human behavior when each of us is, or once was, so much aware of it within ourselves.
PRIEST: You have just made my point.
ERICA: What do you mean?
PRIEST: You said that curiosity is something you have within yourself. It is not a form of behavior. It is not a reaction. It cannot be seen It cannot be measured directly. All that we can see are the possible results of certain stimuli, or lack of stimulation. Those things which you claim to have within yourself cannot be shared. They only serve to separate you from the family of man, and according to the Religion of Humanity, separation is sin. People have to be taught, and sometimes conditioned through operant conditioning, not to separate themselves from others or from the environment.
ERICA: Wait a minute! I’m just beginning to understand something. Whether they knew it or not Phil Donahue and the boy’s mother were using operant conditioning on the boy.
PRIEST: They were.
ERICA: Of course they were. Operant conditioning, I am told, refers to a process in which the frequency of occurrence of a bit of behavior is modified by the consequences of the behavior.
ERICA: When the boy mentioned that he was just curious he was treated as if he did not even exist. He was treated as if he had spoken, but nobody heard him. What he said was totally ignored.
PRIEST: What do you think that proves?
ERICA: It doesn’t really prove anything, but if attempts at behavior modification were being made and the boy did not know what was really going on, he might get the message that ‘just curious’ is not a very comfortable thing to say. If he got the same lack of reaction a few more times he might think twice before admitting to curiosity. The idea of parental neglect and lack of love, on the other hand, got a big response and lots of attention. the boy could soon begin lying to himself--telling himself that the reason he misbehaves is because his parents neglect and don’t love him.
PRIEST: We need love to have self worth, and we need to have a feeling of self worth in order to be successful and loving.
ERICA: Yes, I suppose if by ‘we’ you mean Positivists and Humanists, that is true. As you said earlier, they have no direct connection with infinite power and love. I can well imagine that they might feel unloved and worthless; and therefore need frequent and continual stimulation from their natural and social environments to prove to themselves that they are alive and loved. It is getting easier and easier to see why Positivists and Humanists do so many things which, from my own point-of-view appear to be really stupid.
PRIEST: For instance?
ERICA: OK, recently we were discussing men and women, emotions, marriage, and children, etc. Humanism and Humanistic laws intend to base all of these relationships on environmental factors and on the teachings of the social ‘sciences.’
PRIEST: What are you driving at?
ERICA: They pretend to be concerned about the increase in teenage pregnancy, venereal disease, and abortion. Yet it was Humanism and social science which taught ‘values’ instead of Commandments. It was social science which pushed to set up ‘environments’ such as coed dorms and acceptance of unwed pregnancy. It was and still is Humanism which uses the positive approach to sex education in schools which is, ‘not primarily to suppress sex expression, as in the past but to indicate the immense possibilities for human fulfillment that human sexuality offers.’
PRIEST: Yes, come to the point.
ERICA: So now we have all kinds of problems. Do the Humanists go back, like any intelligent person might do and say, “Oops, sorry, we made a mistake. Perhaps it would be a good idea to teach people to develop a little self control.”? No way. They can’t because self control is personal--and therefore separate; and because it does not involve manipulation of the environment, it is irrelevant. According to the Religion of Humanity, self control is irrelevant for the same reasons curiosity is irrelevant.
PRIEST: We have to be scientific.
ERICA: So you solve the problem by changing the environment, by legalizing and popularizing abortions, by using tax money for venereal disease clinics and education, by supporting and controlling unwed mothers and their babies, by talking gullible school boards and parents into more sex education, and by offering new scientific methods of conception to those who have been made incapable of producing children naturally because of venereal disease as well as those who are unable to bear children due to other health factors. Conception by technology was planned before the massive problem was created. Comte talked about this type of conception more than 150 years ago.
PRIEST: He was a brilliant and perceptive man.
ERICA: That is all you have to say?
PRIEST: That is all I need to say.
HATRED OF CHRISTIANS
ERICA: I can see now why Humanists and Positivists have such an all-consuming hatred of Jesus Christ and Christians.
PRIEST: Who told you this was true?
ERICA: Who is so blind that he cannot see it? You hate him because he could not be controlled by manipulating his environment. He could not be corrupted by praise, deceived by pride, seduced by gifts, destroyed by hate, frightened by pain, tempted by unwholesome pleasure, or intimidated by the prospect of death. No wonder you and yours have worked so hard for so long to destroy His Name. you are running scared even now, aren’t you.
PRIEST: Of course not. We have all the power.
ERICA: You think you do! What if businessmen, scientists, teachers, workers, women, professors, bankers, students, preachers, legislators, managers, even sociologists and philosophers and mathematicians began to wake up in larger and larger numbers? What if they began to do what they can on an individual basis to correct some of the errors they have made and some of the damage they may have done in their former ignorance? What if they started to pay attention to their own good sense and good conscience instead of the social ‘environments’ you and yours have manipulated them into accepting. How could your computers, questionnaires, and survey takers keep you informed fast enough so you could make the needed moves and plan the needed changes in environments to maintain your hierarchy and your power?
PRIEST: You are a dreamer. You don’t understand the power we have in religion, industry, education, science, communication, finance, and government.
ERICA: You don’t understand the power we could have with greater dedication to right and truth. It could do something to your power.
PRIEST: Foolish talk. What could it do?
ERICA: Make it irrelevant. For part 3 click below.
© 2006 Erica Carle - All Rights Reserved
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Erica Carle is an independent researcher and writer. She has a B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin. She has been involved in radio and television writing and production, and has also taught math and composition at the private school her children attended in Brookfield, Wisconsin. For ten years she wrote a weekly column, "Truth In Education" for WISCONSIN REPORT, and served as Education Editor for that publication.
Her books are GIVE US THE YOUNG--$5 Plus $2.00 P&H WHY THINGS ARE THE WAY THEY ARE--$16 PLUS $4.00 P&H BOTH BOOKS -- $25 Total. A loose leaf collection of quotes titled, SIX GENERATIONS TO SERFDOM is also available--$15 Plus $2.00 P&H. Mailing address: Erica Carle; PO Box 261; Elm Grove, WI 53122.
Sociology is Auguste Comte’s science which was meant to control people, priests, scientists, professors, business executives and governments according to the SYSTEM.