Tag Archives: Religion and Spirituality

Fear, Hope, and God

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God? What The hell is that?

“When I was a child, I played as a child and spoke as a child. Now that I am a man I have put away childish things.”

Jesus

Believing in a god as an adult is not a childish act. If you ask me – it is merely an outcome of socialization. It is both a hope and a fear driven act.

The hope is to hold an idea of a much larger picture than what we believe about ourselves, purpose, meaning, and about reality.

The fear is to face the unknown without an omnipotent superhero to back us.

The childishness is pulling apart this toy named “God” in a tugging war with another inquiring mind.

As if either of us know anything.

Really.

We are all navigating the unknown…and, by our own devices.

The real mystery here, is happiness.

Is it not?

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Filed under anthropology, Archetype, atheism, blog, Blogging, cultural relativism, culture, evolution, God

The High Road and the North Star

see.think.

I was asked by a friend today “What gives existence meaning?

Existence?

Meaning?

In my experience, meaning is seen by the seer, measured by compass and square, eaten by the glutton, weaved by the weaver, drafted by the architect, stalked by the hunter, beheld in the light, bought by the owner, briefly grasped by the artist, drummed by the drummer, hatched by the mother, sculpted by the craftsman, thought by the thinker, constructed by the carpenter, needed by the missing, fought by the fighter, protected by the father, tuned by the mechanic, loved by the philosopher…the child whispers it in a smile, the lover embraces it with a kiss, and the state of mind reaches at association in fleeting attempts to title it. And, as if each of these hollow words could take that which hides it.

For me, it is found in walking the high road.

Life is a verb. It is alive. Never still, it is yours…and, it is mine. Only held motionless with the discipline of mind. Each moment that passes is the birth of opportunity for us.  And, when caught in the dire straight, the wealth in life passes by the you, and the I.

Walk to a point and stand where your sight is far, in a circle.  Now, pick a direction.  Someone might have told us that there is either left, or right.  Another may have taught that there is a North, West, South, and East.  Yet, the expanse of your circumference never ends.  PI shows, with its infinite hint, that no point is a true equidistant. Our directions to choose number infinity, though, even five choices are better than two.  It saddens me when each new mind sets out to reach – only to be told its arms are too short for that peach.

Some grasps at reality stick with us…..walking as ghosts along the sides of us – others, transformed by the shifting fractals of change. To know where others end and I begin is my North star.  Anything resembling meaning was first guided by this point, whether deemed as trivial when near or obfuscated by the complex and far.  Intrinsic value is the sole measure of what many call “soul.”  As, within, it is the gauge that lowers if small minded are allowed to pull you down.  The body can break.  It can fall.  It can weaken regardless of how you stand tall.  Yet, to feel words bead up and bounce off you finds the spirit unscathed extending from a self knowledge and a love known as ‘divine.’

Knowing yourself and the reach of your integrity is sourced from within and cannot be stained nor taken.  Believing in yourself and holding within – your sense of purpose, is a script of the self taught.

The pressure of the world has bound your reaction.

To some path we all slave – Let it be one we have purposefully named.

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Filed under blog, Blogging, Conciousness, Human Condition, Perception, Philosophy, writing

Make It Small

Do you ever want to change the world?  If so, your broken dreams are, and have been, crushed underfoot while you had been looking to the sky.  You change the world with every atom sent into the atmosphere through exhale.  Today I realized how one small act of kindness can prevent a universal upheaval.

Action 1 Comics - Rags Morales

Earlier today, I suggested in a political forum that spreading good acts is an alternative to counter the negativity we see around us in the world.  Sure – these small acts of humanism may seem small.  It may feel that these small candles  lit by us may only flicker against disillusioned hope.

Naturally, that is a perception perpetuated by how small the individual may feel when contrasted against the vast backdrop of an Earth populated by 7 billion people. The problems that the world faces may seem mountainous in scope.  Size is relative.

If it all seems too big – make it small.

How is this done?

While watching the evening news tonight, I discovered the perfect illustration to demonstrate the “make it small” philosophy…     I turned the channel to CNN, and the cast was discussing the clip below.  This was a “road rage” induced conflict.

Now – imagine how different this scenario could have turned out if the teenagers slowed down and kindly waved the man ahead of them…  No, don’t shrug this off.  If the victim brandishing the handgun would have been pushed further into his fear, into his confusion, into hate…etc…this may have ended in people unnecessarily dying over something that could have been prevented by a person with a different perspective. Beyond picking our fights, the most important fights may be the ones we evade.

The things we say, or don’t say to our boss – our clientele – our brother – our friend – our mate…

The things I say to you – or to me. What we say – what we do. Raw power rolls from our fingertips. Reason unites choice with action. Action unites the individual with raw reality. On the platform of this reality, the self is realized.  Here, you strum the harp of gods.

The things we do on a daily basis pioneer the future. Daily interactions. Inaction in action, and action in inaction. The things we do while operating on autopilot could change everything you thought you knew about reality. Here, we are either rumbled by the world’s reach, or the world shrinks in your shadow…

 

“Make It Small”

5 yr. old Clark Kent : “The world’s too big, mom.”

Martha Kent“Then make it small”

People are powerful beyond measure, but I’m afraid that mine is a voice in the wilderness.  When power becomes immeasurable, it gravitates into the boundary of responsibility…

If there were one, and only one, piece of all my rambling and rhetoric I could pass onto the people that have ever enjoyed my work – it would be this one.  This is a point I have made time and time again, through various method and means.  Take all this combined media and make it yours.  “Make it Small” is actually cut from Nietzsche’s philosophy.  I have only dissected the finest point.   “Size is Relative” – well, that’s Einstein.  All else tumbles through the fine tones and enhanced vision of my perception.

….and only we stand in our way.

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Filed under blog, Blogging, Conciousness, culture, evolution, Human Condition, humanism, love, Perception, Philosophy, relativity, Social Evolution, sociology, Subconscious, thinking, Unconscious

The Looking Glass: Amidst The Chaos

“The historian of science may be tempted to exclaim that when paradigms change, the world itself changes with them.” (T. S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 1962)

“The task is not so much to see what no one yet has seen, but to think what no body yet has thought about that which everyone sees. … But life is short, and truth works far and lives long: let us speak the truth.” (Arthur Schopenhauer, 1818)

Chaos Fractal

The Looking Glass: Amidst The Chaos

In all directions surrounding the small rocky planet we inhabit, the clockwork of the universe is at war.  Small debris everywhere are traveling paths of inertia until collision mates them with larger material bodies.  After thousands, or possibly millions, of cosmic conglomerate collisions, planetesmials both grow and shatter at the same rate of probability.  Those surviving continue to build mass up to the point that the gravity of a nearby star pulls at and positions them into a spiraling structure. Expanding in/at certain points, and devouring itself at other points.  From a finite and demanding point of view, we might fathom that it is all part of an elegant scheme.  Man kind is now lifting up chaos driven rocks in hope that an underlying grand purpose resides there.  Yet, none is seen without persisting in fabrications.  Measured by humanity’s cumulative five senses, the scope of experience breeds questions with every problem it resolves.

As with the business of space – From an angle, we can see both the edges of our understanding expanding into incomprehensibility, and being crunched into meaninglessness at fine intersections meeting with our deduction.  The chaos of our dealings is similarly apparent.  Like the cosmos, we are at war – both internally and externally, as individuals and societies.  Colliding, crashing, coming together and falling apart.  And…as with the universe, forces at play serve as both the source of, and attempts to order, the chaos.  Like each planet found in our solar system, social identities are distinctly unique and beautiful. This diversity can be seen in the ways in which societies communicate.  Every cultural language contains a conclusive number of terms and values.  Each word carries a fragmented meaning with it.  Depending on the context in which each value is used, the meaning varies to a degree.  Furthermore, the individual interprets each word through unique association(s).  These associations factor in emotional values imposed by the subject upon the word’s discovery.  Ultimately, language plays a center role in cognition and communication.  Through social interaction, people share thoughts, feelings, ideas, and develop a limited understanding of the world around them.

Information travels through a neural transitory system psychologists refer to as cognition.  The process of cognition involves the defining moment (or, millisecond) of the information.  The data is then converted in preparation for cerebral optimization, and filed away in categorized pockets of memory.  The primary uptake of sensory data is seldom used.  Useful, or necessary, information, such as linguistic terminology, is retrieved from the files of memory frequently for utilization.  Cognition is a multifunctional process and carries out a number of different tasks.  Depending on the  task, cognition carries out dissimilar functions that tap separate neural patterns.  Cognitive processes include imagery, decision, conceptual, deductive, and reasoning functions.  Thinking is a widely used term, but most people’s understanding is not synonymous with the actual cognitive pattern of thought.  Thought process exceeds basic cognitive function, as it forges synergies between two or more functions to achieve its aim – namely, concepts and imagery.

Applying concept to imagery formulates an inductive thought.  Often, thoughts drift through the conscious mind with open reign.  That is, until a problem draws in focus.  Problem solving/deduction and reasoning are central components of the decision making function/process.  At birth, instinctual needs operate the body without thought, nor the need for it.  As the brain develops, familiarity with the outside world expands and the intensity of interaction increases.  Socialization is a natural feature of the human environment.  Infants gaze up in wonder at giant faces and are comforted by an instinctual recognition of symmetry.  Soon, they’ll be running in packs around the school yard or funneled into churches.  It’s difficult being a child.  Instruction is presented in a perpetual continuum by physical presentation of the surrounding environment and the solicitors of socialization. However, every attempt at building an absolute framework for understanding our cumulative reality is a cry to calm the chaos apparent in our consciousness.

“A human being is part of the whole called by us universe , a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty .. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” (Albert Einstein)

War, violence, famine, baseness, false entitlement, greed, separation, selfishness, poverty, exclusion, overpopulation, abuse…

These self inflicted wounds plague the world.  Humanity; ill and misdirected.  Our potential; lost on us.  Time will judge whether we pass the test.  A test not written in holy books as a riddle, nor handed down by gods or goddesses.

This is the test we face in ourselves and in each other that will decide on our place in the universe.  No help is coming.  We cannot be saved from ourselves.  Choice is all we’ve ever had.  Blind, deaf, and dumb and stumbling against the cold dark, banging an empty head insanely against unseen walls.  Lack of sight is our plight, when we can see – there will be light.  Perspective reveals our humane eyes, a greater purpose, and I speak no lie.

Our technology reflects genius dancing with impossibility as it exceeds our compassion by leaps and strides – as if leaving it to die.  The tools of change linger at our fingertips – untouched.  Accomplishment is a quiet accomplice when it is self serving – silent and devoid of universal meaning.  Honored and remembered are the works of compassion – forever outshining the mundane.

Can the state of the world be changed?  Yes, and it can start with one move of kindness – one simple and contagious practice of compassion.  One positive change in perspective.  There is no act too small.  The message is universal.  As Einstein noted, traditional thinking is no longer relevant.

It’s time to evolve.

 

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Filed under Philosophy

The Burden of Proof

 

This is a very common argument in creationist circles. Hence, a perfect example for my demonstration.

First let’s examine the official burden of proof argument…

1) A skeptic, by definition, is one who challenges a claim – not a person who presents one.

2) A believer of anything, i.e. religion, space, time, bananas…ect. asserts a claim is indeed a valid one, and thus owns the responsibility to provide some kind of conclusive evidence for their belief to pass from subjective knowledge to objective knowledge to establish a Commonality between the two perspectives (subjective vs. objective).

Therefore, the burden of proof lies with the ‘believer.’

Furthermore,

Between the two parties, there are generally two different schools of thought on how life began:

1) Atheists/Agnostics/Skeptics may postulate evolution and scientific fact/theory.
However, you will not catch many people in this category claiming to have THE ‘truth’ – due to the fact science does not have all the answers. The most fundamental property of this group is that they position their understanding in credible evidence. There is little or no faith involved due to the fact that assertions on this side can be placed in objective reality either by physical evidence and/or logical conclusion.

2) Believers claim creation.
It is important to note that a believer’s ideas of creation belong to an extremely diverse group of people. There are over 10,000 + different religions alone (not accounting for sub-sects). Considering these numbers significantly lowers the possibility of believing in the ‘right’ religion – due to the fact that the majority, if not all people belonging to these differing variations of religions claim to have the one and ONLY ‘truth.’

Evidence – the only evidence for religion is alleged testimony of people who are typically unable to currently testify and/or teachings/prophecies/allegories passed down through history.

This evidence is:

a. Subject to alteration due to translation(s).

b. Subject to political influence(s).

c. Subject to interpretation(s).

d. Subject to questionable source(s).

Religion also must own up to the following Relative Factors:

a. Cultural Relativism

b. Moral Relativism

c. Linguistic Relativism

d. Psychologism

At this point in my demonstration comes the use of (one of my favorite tools) Occam’s Razor.

After taking all these factors of probability into consideration, Occam’s razor delivers the final death blow to religion when it is pitted against scientific analysis, logical/mathematical proof, and physical evidence. Religion does not hold even when these factors are not taken into account.

And finally:

It would be just as easy to say that of all the billions of people throughout history, none have been able to prove the existence of any deity.

This is known in philosophy as an Appeal to the Masses:

“APPEAL TO THE MASSES: One is committing this fallacy when he tries to justify a belief or action by the support base behind that action. Saying that Christianity is the right religion because it has a billion followers is an appeal to the masses. As with other logical fallacies, there is no logic behind this, just ignorance.

EXAMPLE

“There are more and more people converting to Creationism everyday. Even astrophysicists and biologists are seeing the light. This is God’s work!”

Creationists often engage in an appeal to the masses in tandem with the appeal to authority, as you can see here. In this case, they use the appeal to an anonymous authority with the appeal to the masses. If all the physicists in the world suddenly said that they Earth pulled down at 1,000m/s2 without any proof, they’d still be wrong. If all the Creationists in the world jumped off a kilometer-high bridge, would you? If you said, “Yes,” please proceed to the nearest bridge.”

Again, such arguments are dust in the realms of logic…

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Filed under Philosophy, Religion, Religion and Modern Politics

The Uncommon Sense

Common sense is not common. Every person develops their own unique framework of ideas that construct a working understanding of reality. This obstruction can be demonstrated by the diversity in human belief. Unseen deities stand at one end of this spectrum, whereas, pure empiricism is found at the other. Each end offers some form of absolutist posturing. This creates faulty foundations to base our perceptions on.

Are there absolutes? Of course, there are. The counterintuitive principle of an absolute; however, is the limitation of its scope. Absolutism does not provide all pervasive truths. Rather, they are relative to human understanding. Not many people consciously accept this because they need to comprehend their environment at some level. There is not much gained from accepting a realist view on a material level. However, Socrates considered this realization to be the height of his wisdom.

Accepting that we cannot be certain of anything is necessary for our personal and cumulative development. In contrast – A full grasp of reality has served as an evolutionary imperative in the past.Societies could be suspended in animation if the members patiently waited for complete bodies of knowledge before moving forward with daily activities. A humble moderation is needed to walk this fine line that borders restrictive conceits and stumbling foolishness.

The industrial revolution spawned from existing bodies of knowledge, adequate communication, and the development of a functional logic used for experimentation. Opposable thumbs were the original tool created by our species. The thumb enabled advanced tool usage. Logic seems to be the latest human technology. Abstract ideas are now the vehicle we move forward with. Accepting Socratic wisdom affords us unlimited potential. Logic is arguably the next thumb. Like the thumb, it is not something that exists outside ourselves. Silicon chips and quad core processors are simply machines developed through human understanding. Looking only outside of ourselves will continue to be the hindrance in our development. Only through a sincere progression can we move forward. Imagining deities was never detrimental until the hope became suffocated by a greed. Unlike property, we cannot own truth.

Truth remains forever beyond our reach, yet accepting this limitation is necessary for growth.  Through the unyielding results of scientific knowledge, the human species can find certitude to varying degrees.  This gives both hope and reason to keep stumbling forward into the unknown.  Ideas are being tested before they are accepted now.  It can be said that we are positively advancing scientifically.  Yet, technology will immobilize a society if it does not also develop its capacity for humanity in tandem.  For example, a nuclear weapon can destroy a third of the planet.  This is only an estimation.  Something is very wrong.  The existence of such a weapon clearly presses this fact.  What can we do?  We can use the tools available to us.  Political and economic systems are not perfected by any means.  As a species, we fail where we could succeed.  Again, this is due to our greed.  New ideas can be drawn from current bodies of knowledge in these areas.  People seem to be frozen in their conceits – as if current social, cultural, political, and economical paradigms cannot be leveled for progress.  To the contrary, the populace is often discouraged from reaching for any tangible and real change.

Felons are forbidden to vote after they have paid for victimless crimes, while those that are granted the right feel helpless to change anything.  The same economic models are preached by public figure heads.  Finite systems of governance are consistently presented as if they were as sound as scientific law.  Elitists feel that they are fit to rule due to an uneducated populace, yet never educate those they hold themselves over when it is well within their power to do so.  Distrust is bred like a noble horse.  An onlooker might begin to suspect that this is either a product of intention or that the elites continue to show incompetence.  Perhaps it is all the reasons I’ve suggested and more.  When alternative views are voiced, they are quickly funneled into existing themes such as socialism, communism, or measured by the actions of heartless warlords.  In our development of technology, we did not stop at the wheel.  No, and we will not stop when aerospace mechanics is mastered, either.  Progress is fueled by the very desire for it, yet in order for humanity to move in this direction – we must first discover a potential for movement.  Medieval times illustrate this kind of stagnation.  Royal lines ruled by divine right and the masses were then segregated by class.

These lines of class still exist in eerily familiar forms – ranking modern society.  It is nothing less than division of a people.  Unfortunately, due to a mixture of helplessness, fear, and apathy this separation is accepted.  It seems social roles are exacted as if they were engineered – as if lesser classes were left for dead in Plato’s Cave for eons untold.  Bound by chains, they watch representations of reality dance in shadow along the walls of their void.  Enlightenment is denied the more the reality is accepted – adopted, even.

Nonexistent gods were only the beginning of this blindness unfolding.  The gods that concern me are those that bind the progression of our species intentionally.  That is, unless I mistake their incompetence for intention.  I would not be so swift with false notions of certainty, like some.  As in Plato’s allegory, it was “the philosopher” who, after attaining his enlightenment, descended back into the cave to free his people.  However; the same question remains – would they not speak of his madness and refuse the knowledge of their chains?  If he tried to pull them up into the light, would they not feel attacked?

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Filed under humanism, Philosophy, Religion and Modern Politics, Social Evolution, thinking

Rythem of the Masses

And the masses sway to the popular song.
It would not matter if the lyricist were wrong.
The authority clasped in the illusion of a vote.

Told you had a voice.
Told you had a choice.

Lies spun of slick truths that miss the identity
of what would be a real case in point.
The aim drawn to fool.
The slight hand ever so faint.
If only one sought to ponder human affairs to date.

An aware public crafts an ominous device where the truth cannot slight.
If everyone closely examined our history there would not be much questioning.
Patterns of human nature course the veins of our evolution.

All the wasted potential following each hope of a spell or applauded saint.
Frozen by worship casting you to the lost and hoping.
At Jesus’ robe you are groping, yet his work told in counsel.

Slow student, you damage our world.
So …the deft leader crafts gods you can hold.
Dumb by the sight, the class taught in vein.
And of the miracles explained away?

Since when did magic make more sense than logical evaluation?
Any good teacher spoke on how to live, not mindless wit to give.
The planets held by forces bound by their own definition –
not Atlas, Zeus, or described in the book of Galations.

God is a comfort – not something that bears explanatory power.
I understand you need to comprehend, however…

I seek and have sought far beyond simple religion.
And I’ve graduated this spiritual kindergarten.

Pushing, pulling….shouting “MINE!”
only hurts the treasure you will find.

Intelligence is the metaphorical tree that will drive you out of the caged garden.

An apple eaten expels the tale.
And it becomes yours to tell.
What a burden to shoulder…

I say – better than a blind man’s somber.

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Filed under creative writing, cultural relativism, culture, humanism, poetry, Politics, Religion, Religion and Modern Politics, writing