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  • Dr. Philip Van Berten

Digressions Around Easter Time

Dr. Philip Van Berten


Watching the news on Easter Eve about an official visit of European leaders in mainland China, at the same time we prepared to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, a few observations and memories came to my mind.


When a society has no God because no religious freedom is granted to its people, like in some big countries in Asia. The government or the ruling party decides what is good, claiming it is natural, and this can be done against the laws of physics, biology, and thus science generally speaking. What then puts the order in chaos if natural laws are labeled as wrong? Who decides what law and order should be?


Easy comrade! Let’s replace natural law studied by science (ask a K. Popper for details) by THE human desire, becoming THE new science. Ah! Now individuals, not speaking this innovative truth, are suspects and must be silenced (remember Dr. Li Wenliang who warned his peers in 2020 of a new disease and was silenced by police for “spreading false rumor.”


Remember also Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis whose discovery of an antiseptic procedure in 1847 was rejected by his peers, which eventually killed him). When science becomes an official dogma with the complicity of some graduate scientists (oh yes, follow my science because “with respect, you don’t know what you’re talking about!”), what you bring up as an obvious reality not forecasted by the system must be destroyed.


All of this can happen if society is organized by specific political rules. So, the question is: what ideas rule the world? Where are they coming from? As stated by A. J. Toynbee, revolutionary


ideas like Christianity emerge in history, claiming the preeminence of an individual over the group, meaning all humans are equal because, created equals, and equal before the law as well, because all of them have the same natural rights.


The second part of this equation is that we acknowledge that evil is present in individuals, or broadly said, that the good, the bad, and the ugly (thank you, Sergio) are living in the same place, fighting the idea that only the tribe living behind the hill, aka the barbarians are, of course, the only bad, while only us will represent, of course, the good.


That led to the idea that political systems are to protect good against evil because both are living in the same society. To make this work, we need the separation of powers, described by Montesquieu (a French guy from the past who had lots of ideas on individual freedom), to prevent a mighty state (did someone say government?) to oppress individuals.


The marvel of the syllogism above is the U.S. Constitution with a strict equality between the three pillars of power: executive, legislative and judiciary branches. Ah, ah, everything seems OK; evil is there but with enough coercion to keep it under control, and natural right (like “thou shalt not murder”, right?) is also present because in God we trust!


So, it seems that it is what it is! We are like we are, and good and evil are given to us as a burden to share. That should prevent us to believe that we are perfect, right? Wrong! Some “persons” as they say, think we have this new power to be thaumaturges, to free ourselves from nature and proudly assume our society of gods and goddesses: I decide to be what I want to be, what I’d like to be; not what I am, and guess what? If somebody wants to see me as I am for real, I sue, I sue, I sue.


I have the right to silence those who do not agree with me (normal, I am so good). No need for me to work for my continuous improvement (leave the W. Deming’s wheel alone, buddy), because I’ve decided once and for all that I’m perfect, yeah! Ah, and, because you are not perfect, I think you deserve censorship!


Again, I am so good, I know everything, and better, I can decide what the reality is. What do you say? Science? What do you mean by “science?” No, no, no, I desire, thus I decide what I want. What do you say? I cannot get what I want? My desire is the law now, period.

Should that be about politics, society, customs, habits, traditions… it turns out that the rest of the world (roughly 70% of humankind) watching this, thinks we are crazy, as I was told by my Indian friends when I visited Mumbai in January 2020, accompanying them to their routine morning visit to the temple before work.


Starting with the news from China, thinking about my trip to India, I felt that the world needs more than ever good news. As proved above, our society and its rules are fundamentally Christian, and at this time of Easter, my wish is that we will keep surprising the world.

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