“Desert cultures are prone toward monotheistic religions; rain forest dwellers, polytheistic ones. Nomadic pastoralists’ deities tend to value war and valor in battle as an entrée to a good afterlife. Agriculturalists invent gods who alter the weather. As noted, once cultures get large enough that anonymous acts are possible, they start inventing moralizing gods. Gods and religious orthodoxy dominate more in cultures with frequent threats (war, natural disasters), inequality, and high infant mortality rates…
Ecosystems majorly shape culture—but then that culture can be exported and persist in radically different places for millennia. Stated most straightforwardly, most of earth’s humans have inherited their beliefs about the nature of birth and death and everything in between and thereafter from preliterate Middle Eastern pastoralists.”
The crusades of new and old are ironic in that Christians and Muslims share the same lineage and beliefs in stories that are just not that old.
It’s a gift to be able live in the Rain Forest, civilized cultures tend to think of Native American religions as unintelligent…unevolved…savage. But, when you live in a world not that different from Avatar you realize that other humans were the least of their worries. You have this unending sense that you are a guest in a beautiful green world that can never be tamed.
You see death daily, thousands of ants ripping off bits of a grasshopper the size of your palm. On a grander scale there is a house on the property beneath ours that is being completely consumed by the Jungle. The roof and floor already caved in. The owners left it vacant about a decade ago and it took me months to even see it from the road.
The sights and sounds of the day and night here help you feel small in a good way, in awe of nature and the trivial shortness of your existence within its web of retooled carbon.
Like it or not, we are not that different, but as humans took over this world and chained it with cement, we made different so we could feel safe and sheltered from the chaos. We created shared beliefs that united us against the constant unknown that can never be tamed. But that shelter is an illusion, entropy will always win.