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152 Harmony surpasses unison

A humanist might recoil at the question "Do you want to be like God?" because of an understanding that being identical to one model might imply that people must be identical to each other, that is, be in unison. Personal belief must not destroy personal individuality. Instead, community requires being in harmony.

Tolerance in community

Church communities typically promote love and unity. Nevertheless, I have attended Quaker discussions of the tension between tolerance (being different) and community (being same). I resolve an apparent conundrum by concluding that my community consists of being different. Quakers appreciate fundamentally that unity is not the same as unanimity.

Unanimity suggests single-note unison, the implication that to be like God, individuals must be identical to each other. Unison is not our highest aggregate state. The model contradicts the principle that every intelligence comprises unique contributions, and denying differences denies the very concept of harmony, the principle by which different elements are combined into a result greater than the individual parts. To nurture individual and collective peace and well-being, it is harmony that underlies community. The word "harmony" is distinctly different from the word "unison".

Some differences comprise discord, while others produce harmony. It is an individual's responsibility to discern the difference. Therefore, Ernstraud Philosophy devotes considerable energy to recognizing that we live in different worlds. We must not obliterate distinctions, but we must combine those different worlds into a tapestry that is an expanded reality. Truth is not monochromatic. There is no single (monolithic) truth any more than there is one right note in music. We sing and rejoice in harmony.


Narrow religious inculcation provides an example of Orwellian "Animal Farm" bleating of the sheep. Adherents are taught that the Church is the only source of pure truth. The assertion that one person speaks for God undermines the power of reason and is dangerous to mental health. Claims of exclusive, unique correctness dismantle an underlying thesis of Ernstraud Philosophy, namely dualist respect for simultaneously true contradictory statements. I enshrine the richness and diversity of pluralism. Thoughtful examination requires building epistemology beyond scriptures. Blind adherence to a church as a universal sole and final authority is pure cult behavior.

On the other hand, a church body provides a superb implementation of an underlying social principle: this is where we help each other. Those who live primarily by reason cooperate in good causes equally with those who live primarily by intuition. Participation in giving assistance (including beyond the community) can occur in a church setting as well as in a secular organization-often with even more intensity. Combination of differences provides the richness of the harmony.

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