Author: Mark C. TAYLOR, Dean of the Department of Religion, Columbia University
This essay presents an interpretation of religion in terms of recent theories of Emergent Complex Adaptive Systems. Religion is a network of symbols, myths, concepts and rituals that both provide meaning and purpose and disrupt every stabilizing structure. To be effective such networks must be integrative, cognitive, volitional, affective dimensions of experience. This is done through the process of schematization, which mediates intuition, perception, consciousness, self-consciousness, and reason. Religious networks emerge and evolve through synchronic and diachronic relationships. For a network to persist, it must provide ways for individuals and groups to adapt effectively to changing circumstances and situations, which are natural, social, cultural, and technological.
Religion, Secularism, Network, Information Theory, Imagination, Emergence, Evolution
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