on discussing god and religion

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:13 pm

From another thread...

Body Decomposition Timeline

24-72 hours after death — the internal organs decompose.

3-5 days after death — the body starts to bloat and blood-containing foam leaks from the mouth and nose.

8-10 days after death — the body turns from green to red as the blood decomposes and the organs in the abdomen accumulate gas.

Several weeks after death — nails and teeth fall out.

1 month after death — the body starts to liquify.


Another, more detailed rendition of it:

http://www.aftermath.com/content/human-decomposition

Now, in the context of God and religion, one can't help but wonder why on earth a God, the God, your God would require -- choose? -- that it all to unfold in precisely this [ghastly?] manner.

It is almost as though God may well be constrained Himself by the immutable laws of matter.

And how does a mere mortal even begin to wrap his or her mind around that?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby Ierrellus » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:04 pm

When the house is empty, it begins to decay. According to Plato, the soul that was in that house is "freed from prison". But that was just an idea in Plato's mind, even though billions of rational people have believed it is true.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby Bob » Sun Sep 24, 2017 9:02 am

iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote:For me, the investigation only involves comparing the data and merely asking whether it speaks more for a determined universe, or a mechanistic one – or “don’t know” - or something else.


Nope, for me it still revolves more around this...

Figuring out the extent to which any particular investigation is or is not an actual autonomous undertaking. Until we can know for certain that this very exchange that we are having is not only as it ever could have been, it might just be.

Then what?

Umm, what is “autonomous”? Autonomous or independent from what? If it is science, then it seeks an objective answer rather than a subjective one. If you question such an investigation outright, you will never be satisfied.

iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote: I disagree, because the enquiring mind isn’t so much “anchored” as limited to past experience in his ability to compare data.


Yes, but how is that limitation embodied in the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein pertinent to conflicting goods/value judgments? How do we ascertain when the data that we accumulate encompasses all of the data that would need to be accumlated in order to transend the existential parameters of "I" out in the is/ought world? The world that generates the overwhelming preponderance of human conflicts.

Those are a lot of words, but do they mean anything in the end? How will anyone quieten your insecurity and requirement of absolute certainty? I can’t and I doubt that anyone on earth can . it’s called the human dilemma!

iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote: It was quite tragic that the Christians that conquered other peoples, especially those who worshiped nature in some form, called those people antediluvian (an image from their own tradition). It was just a variation of imagery that they encountered, and probably in some ways a more experiential imagery than the imagery of Christianity at that time.


Here we have the historical data, the cultural data and the experiential data that any particular individuals back then accumulted in the course of living his or her personal life. How then is this integrated into the most reasonable point of view? Either with respect to a God or a No God world?

It is one thing for God to demand that we "struggle" with this, another thing altogether when, however much we do struggle, there is seemingly no definitive way in which to measure our success. I suspect that is why folks like Ierrellus take a leap instead to a God that, in the end, welcomes all into His Kingdom. Otherwise how "on earth" are we to continue that seemingly futile struggle given a belief in Judgment Day.

Who is “demanding”? We make assumptions from our own experience or that of others, and have to live with that. The best “God experiences” fail to give a maintenance guide for life, but they give assurance much like the comforting hand of a mother, or insight into something that has been mystifying us. Inspiration helps us proceed, but it doesn’t complete the journey for us, and judgement day is probably a confrontation with what we fear. But who knows?

iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote: Yes, the leap is in the end all a believer has and it would be helpful to have more explicit instructions, but that is why I see the Bible, for example, as an anthology of religious experience put into stories, rather than historical record. We have to accept that we are story-tellers. It is far easier for us to wrap experience in a story in order to pass that experience on, than to explain it. Judgement Day is in some ways the wish that justice will rule and people will get their dues. However, how that will be ascertained and what “sin” actually would be is as yet only a human projection – and to some degrees a projection of people who lived experientially in another world.


Imagine for example the "struggle" being endured right now by Christians in Puerto Rico. They may read the Bible from cover to cover, but who among them are saved and who among them will perish. Or, perhaps, wish that they had. To actual flesh and blood human beings this sort of "general description" of "projection" only takes them so far. But most Scriptures won't really take them much further. So they take their own particular "leap of faith" to a narrative most likely to comfort and console them. While at the same time convincing themselves that their faith is not just about comfort and consolation.

I can’t begin to imagine the “struggle” of those people in Puerto Rico. I know that in my own small “struggles”, inspiration came when I needed it most. However, do I have a right to assure others that this will happen? How can I be sure?

iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote: In your search for objectivity, you can’t put the responsibility on the test persons. You have to create an environment that favours objectivity and lead people with your questions to objectivity. This thread has been going on for so long that I believe that we will never get to where you want to go.


My aim on this thread is to reconfigure "general description" conjectures of this sort into accounts of particular behaviors chosen in particular contexts in which God and religion figured into the calculations.

In other words, to what extent can we grapple with these individual experiences so as to intertwine them into a more measured, a more sophisticated conjecture regarding "what really happens".

And [in my way of thinking] this always revolves around knowledge/beliefs that we either are or are not able to take "out of our heads" and convince others to share in turn. And then the extent to which together we can demonstrate substantively to more still that it is a reasonable way in which to assess "reality".

After all, what else is there with respect to these particular relationships?

Well, good luck with your reconfiguration then … sadly you don’t just have one operating system to reconfigure, but probably 7.442 billion
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:22 pm

Ierrellus wrote:When the house is empty, it begins to decay. According to Plato, the soul that was in that house is "freed from prison". But that was just an idea in Plato's mind, even though billions of rational people have believed it is true.


Yes, Plato believed this of the soul "in his head". And, sure, many, many folks deemed rational since have believed in one or another rendition of it.

Some from within particular religious denominations, some in embracing a more ecumenical ideal, some rooted in one or another Spinozan/deistic narrative, and others in embracing one of the countless "New Age" agendas.

The "soul" certainly seems to engender lots and lots and lots of converts.

And why wouldn't it? It is, after all, a belief in the soul that allows one to believe in turn that it is as a soul that we attain immortality, salvation and divine justice.

And very, very few things comfort and console mere mortals as much as believing that does.

On the other hand, there are also many, many folks deemed rational who do not believe in the existence of a soul.

And, "here and now", "I" happen to be one of them. And, really, all that folks like me can do is to engage in discussions in places like this with those who do.

I just happen to be someone who draws that crucial distinction between what we claim to believe is true "in our head" and that which we are able to demonstrate that all reasonable men and women are obligated to believe in turn.

And not just regarding the soul.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:48 pm

Bob wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote:For me, the investigation only involves comparing the data and merely asking whether it speaks more for a determined universe, or a mechanistic one – or “don’t know” - or something else.


Nope, for me it still revolves more around this...

Figuring out the extent to which any particular investigation is or is not an actual autonomous undertaking. Until we can know for certain that this very exchange that we are having is not only as it ever could have been, it might just be.

Then what?


Umm, what is “autonomous”? Autonomous or independent from what? If it is science, then it seeks an objective answer rather than a subjective one. If you question such an investigation outright, you will never be satisfied.


Sure, I'll be the first to admit that you are making a point here I am just not able to grasp correctly. But it would seem that scientists exploring the extent to which human beings have "free will" either do or do not have it themselves in going about the task. If human consciousness [mindful matter] is not independent of the "immutable laws of matter" then it would seem that "all there is" is encompassed in this one objective [and wholly determined] cosmological truth.

That which revolves around this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmogony

But a belief in God is one way in which to reconfigure that into...what exactly?

iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote: I disagree, because the enquiring mind isn’t so much “anchored” as limited to past experience in his ability to compare data.


Yes, but how is that limitation embodied in the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein pertinent to conflicting goods/value judgments? How do we ascertain when the data that we accumulate encompasses all of the data that would need to be accumlated in order to transend the existential parameters of "I" out in the is/ought world? The world that generates the overwhelming preponderance of human conflicts.


Bob wrote: Those are a lot of words, but do they mean anything in the end? How will anyone quieten your insecurity and requirement of absolute certainty? I can’t and I doubt that anyone on earth can . it’s called the human dilemma!


What they mean "in the end" to me has come to revolve around this:

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

As this revolves in turn around the many, many conflicting goods that we are all familiar with.

Then all I can do is to elicit reactions to this from others. To what extent are they not entangled in it? To what extent are they able instead to convince themselves that there is a frame of mind able to precipitate behaviors that they are convinced reflect the optimal or the only rational choice in any particular context.

And then take their "words" out "into the world" and describe [to the best of their ability] how this all unfolds ''for all practical purposes" when their behaviors do come into conflict with others.

iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote: It was quite tragic that the Christians that conquered other peoples, especially those who worshiped nature in some form, called those people antediluvian (an image from their own tradition). It was just a variation of imagery that they encountered, and probably in some ways a more experiential imagery than the imagery of Christianity at that time.


Here we have the historical data, the cultural data and the experiential data that any particular individuals back then accumulted in the course of living his or her personal life. How then is this integrated into the most reasonable point of view? Either with respect to a God or a No God world?

It is one thing for God to demand that we "struggle" with this, another thing altogether when, however much we do struggle, there is seemingly no definitive way in which to measure our success. I suspect that is why folks like Ierrellus take a leap instead to a God that, in the end, welcomes all into His Kingdom. Otherwise how "on earth" are we to continue that seemingly futile struggle given a belief in Judgment Day.


Bob wrote: Who is “demanding”? We make assumptions from our own experience or that of others, and have to live with that. The best “God experiences” fail to give a maintenance guide for life, but they give assurance much like the comforting hand of a mother, or insight into something that has been mystifying us. Inspiration helps us proceed, but it doesn’t complete the journey for us, and judgement day is probably a confrontation with what we fear. But who knows?


Yes, this seems reasonable to me. I merely intertwine [existentially] any particular individual's "lived life" into the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein, conflicting goods and political economy -- out in a particular world historically, culturally and experientially.

Then wonder if philosophically arguments can be devised able to reduce conflicting value judgments down to one or another set of moral obligations.

Philosophers like Plato and Descartes and Kant and Spinoza constructed them. But they were all basically predicated on one or another rendition of God. That crucial "transcending font".

From my frame of mind "here and now", No God = no way up out of my dilemma. Thus when you note that, "I know that in my own small 'struggles', inspiration came when I needed it most", I can't help but wonder what "on earth" you mean by that. Inspiration from God? And how is whatever measure of comfort this brings you able to be conveyed to others such that they might be comforted in turn?

And if it can't be...if it is largely entangled in your own personal experiences...what of those who never have them? And that just brings me around to the aim of this thread: describing the choices that religious folks make on this side of the grave in order that they attain what they construe "I" to be on the other side of it.

With -- again -- immortality, salvation and divine justice at stake.

On the other hand, as you note in turn, "However, do I have a right to assure others that this will happen? How can I be sure?"

I hear that.

In other words, me too.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby Bob » Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:30 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote:Umm, what is “autonomous”? Autonomous or independent from what? If it is science, then it seeks an objective answer rather than a subjective one. If you question such an investigation outright, you will never be satisfied.


Sure, I'll be the first to admit that you are making a point here I am just not able to grasp correctly. But it would seem that scientists exploring the extent to which human beings have "free will" either do or do not have it themselves in going about the task. If human consciousness [mindful matter] is not independent of the "immutable laws of matter" then it would seem that "all there is" is encompassed in this one objective [and wholly determined] cosmological truth.

That which revolves around this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmogony

But a belief in God is one way in which to reconfigure that into...what exactly?

1. I don’t see how having a “free will” has any bearing on the investigation of whether a free will is at all possible.
2. Is human consciousness “mindful matter”? Your use of the word “matter” intrigues me most. On the internet I only found “Mindfulness matters” or “mindful matters”. I anticipate that this stems from an assumption you have made along the way, but where did you get the idea from? I also searched the Wiki-Article and found nothing.

iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote: I disagree, because the enquiring mind isn’t so much “anchored” as limited to past experience in his ability to compare data.


Yes, but how is that limitation embodied in the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein pertinent to conflicting goods/value judgments? How do we ascertain when the data that we accumulate encompasses all of the data that would need to be accumlated in order to transend the existential parameters of "I" out in the is/ought world? The world that generates the overwhelming preponderance of human conflicts.

Perhaps we just can’t ...

iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote: Those are a lot of words, but do they mean anything in the end? How will anyone quieten your insecurity and requirement of absolute certainty? I can’t and I doubt that anyone on earth can . it’s called the human dilemma!


What they mean "in the end" to me has come to revolve around this:

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

As this revolves in turn around the many, many conflicting goods that we are all familiar with.

Then all I can do is to elicit reactions to this from others. To what extent are they not entangled in it? To what extent are they able instead to convince themselves that there is a frame of mind able to precipitate behaviors that they are convinced reflect the optimal or the only rational choice in any particular context.

And then take their "words" out "into the world" and describe [to the best of their ability] how this all unfolds ''for all practical purposes" when their behaviors do come into conflict with others.

Yes, we have been here numerous times before. We can only judge on what we know, or believe to know, or what we have experienced, or believe to have experienced. That means it is always impure and prone to failure, which is why we can only have humility in all our dealings with others. There is nothing else.

iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote:Who is “demanding”? We make assumptions from our own experience or that of others, and have to live with that. The best “God experiences” fail to give a maintenance guide for life, but they give assurance much like the comforting hand of a mother, or insight into something that has been mystifying us. Inspiration helps us proceed, but it doesn’t complete the journey for us, and judgement day is probably a confrontation with what we fear. But who knows?


Yes, this seems reasonable to me. I merely intertwine [existentially] any particular individual's "lived life" into the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein, conflicting goods and political economy -- out in a particular world historically, culturally and experientially.

Then wonder if philosophically arguments can be devised able to reduce conflicting value judgments down to one or another set of moral obligations.

Philosophers like Plato and Descartes and Kant and Spinoza constructed them. But they were all basically predicated on one or another rendition of God. That crucial "transcending font".

Yes, they were children of their time. We have profited by their insights but there is no conclusion to be reached until its all over.

iambiguous wrote:From my frame of mind "here and now", No God = no way up out of my dilemma. Thus when you note that, "I know that in my own small 'struggles', inspiration came when I needed it most", I can't help but wonder what "on earth" you mean by that. Inspiration from God? And how is whatever measure of comfort this brings you able to be conveyed to others such that they might be comforted in turn?

And if it can't be...if it is largely entangled in your own personal experiences...what of those who never have them? And that just brings me around to the aim of this thread: describing the choices that religious folks make on this side of the grave in order that they attain what they construe "I" to be on the other side of it.

With -- again -- immortality, salvation and divine justice at stake.

On the other hand, as you note in turn, "However, do I have a right to assure others that this will happen? How can I be sure?"

I hear that.

In other words, me too.

I see such inspiration not as an eternal truth that has eternal value, but a timely truth that helps us proceed. Where does inspiration come from? Did I always “know” but couldn’t access the truth? Did I create a touching story that helped me over a gap? Is a blockade dissolved in that instance? I’d love to tell you, but it could be all of them.

The same obviously applies to others, when we comfort them. Normally, non-pious people won’t accept the comfort of believers and vice-versa, unless they care for each other. Caring can help overcome this bias and, yes there is some interpreting done, but love is what matters more than the validity of the advice.
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Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:07 pm

I've always thought that God is the wrong authority to consult when inquiring about morality. Morality is an exclusively human affair. We must consult our communities and ourselves. It is the human conscience which has the final say AFAIC, and there is no guarantee it will agree with those of other human beings.


Most religious folks of course are not convinced. Without an omniscient and omnipotent "transcending font", human morality devolves into either...

1] might makes right --- it's moral because we say so and we have the power to enforce what we say is so
2] right makes might --- it's moral because it is in sync with one or another renditon of the philosopher king, nature, humanism, or ideology
3] the rule of law --- it's moral because "here and now" we have the political power to compel a particular set of legal prescriptions and proscriptions

Only God makes all of the ambiguity, uncertainty and potential for tyranny go away. Why? Because with God there is a guarentee.

This one:

1] something either is a sin or it is not
2] the sinner is always known by God
3] the sinner is always punished by God

And if you are not a sinner then God [and only God] can assure your immortality, salvation and understanding of His divine justice.

On the other hand....

1] Perhaps science will at last provide us with the hard evidence needed to support the one and only empirical distinction between ethical and unethical behavior

2] we live in a wholly determined universe and all of this is subsumed in the only way it ever could have been
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:39 pm

Bob wrote:
iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote:Umm, what is “autonomous”? Autonomous or independent from what? If it is science, then it seeks an objective answer rather than a subjective one. If you question such an investigation outright, you will never be satisfied.


Sure, I'll be the first to admit that you are making a point here I am just not able to grasp correctly. But it would seem that scientists exploring the extent to which human beings have "free will" either do or do not have it themselves in going about the task. If human consciousness [mindful matter] is not independent of the "immutable laws of matter" then it would seem that "all there is" is encompassed in this one objective [and wholly determined] cosmological truth.

That which revolves around this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmogony

But a belief in God is one way in which to reconfigure that into...what exactly?

1. I don’t see how having a “free will” has any bearing on the investigation of whether a free will is at all possible.


From my perspective, it is the difference between someone choosing to investigate it, while assuming she was able to freely, autonomously, willfully etc., choose not to investigate it, and someone convinced that this is the case when instead it all unfolds entirely in accordance with whatever set into motion the immutable laws of matter.

The investigation proceeds as it does, but only because it could never have not proceeded in any other way but the way in which it must.

Bob wrote: 2. Is human consciousness “mindful matter”? Your use of the word “matter” intrigues me most. On the internet I only found “Mindfulness matters” or “mindful matters”. I anticipate that this stems from an assumption you have made along the way, but where did you get the idea from? I also searched the Wiki-Article and found nothing.


Matter has many definitions, but the most common is that it is any substance which has mass and occupies space. All physical objects are composed of matter, in the form of atoms, which are in turn composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons.

And going all the way back one supposes to [at least] the Big Bang. But somehow along the way the matter that we call "star stuff" was able to evolve/reconfigure into the matter that we call "the brain".

Sans God, anyway. Or, sure, maybe not.

In any event, living matter. Matter able to reflect on itself as matter able to reflect on itself as matter. Which precipitated down through the ages all manner of debate regarding "dualism". The ghost in the machine. The Homunculus. The soul. The autonomous human mind.

But: what on earth does that really mean in a wholly determined universe?

Bob wrote: Yes, we have been here numerous times before. We can only judge on what we know, or believe to know, or what we have experienced, or believe to have experienced. That means it is always impure and prone to failure, which is why we can only have humility in all our dealings with others. There is nothing else.


On the contrary, the objectivists insist, re either God or Reason or political ideology or Nature or -- philosophically -- one or another deontological contraption, we are able to extricate that frame of mind which allows us to live our life on this side of the grave wholly in accordance with the moral and political truths righteously embodied in "one of us".

And then, with God, it all reconfigures [through the soul] into immortality, salvation and divine justice on the other side of it.

Bob wrote: I see such inspiration not as an eternal truth that has eternal value, but a timely truth that helps us proceed. Where does inspiration come from? Did I always “know” but couldn’t access the truth? Did I create a touching story that helped me over a gap? Is a blockade dissolved in that instance? I’d love to tell you, but it could be all of them.


Well, the aim of this thread was basically to explore the implication of this when particular behaviors are chosen by particular people who are inspired by conflicting renditions of "the good" derived from conflicting renditions of God.

Again, as that relates to how they go about "for all practical purposes" making a particular choice out in a particular world understood from a particular point of view given certain assumptions about their soul -- "I" -- on the other side of the grave.

Insofar as their own narratives may or may not facilitate me in extricating myself from my own [at times] brutally grim assumptions.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby phyllo » Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:56 am

From my perspective, it is the difference between someone choosing to investigate it, while assuming she was able to freely, autonomously, willfully etc., choose not to investigate it, and someone convinced that this is the case when instead it all unfolds entirely in accordance with whatever set into motion the immutable laws of matter.

The investigation proceeds as it does, but only because it could never have not proceeded in any other way but the way in which it must.
What's the difference between a "chosen" investigation into free-will and a "determined" investigation into free-will? Absolutely nothing. Right? :-"
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby Bob » Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:26 am

iambiguous wrote:From my perspective, it is the difference between someone choosing to investigate it, while assuming she was able to freely, autonomously, willfully etc., choose not to investigate it, and someone convinced that this is the case when instead it all unfolds entirely in accordance with whatever set into motion the immutable laws of matter.

The investigation proceeds as it does, but only because it could never have not proceeded in any other way but the way in which it must.

Hmmm, determinism. I’m not such a friend of determinism because I haven’t witnessed it in my life, even if you can look back and say that some things probably couldn’t have worked out any other way, given the circumstances. But if the circumstances are not “given” completely new possibilities arise and, like Murphy’s Law suggests, will arise.

Of course you can then assume that one set of “given” circumstances lead to another set of “given” circumstances, and then start asking about the giver. However, when you have a background in practical psychology, even as limited as I have, you begin to see how we ourselves create our circumstances – even unwittingly – and that an outside agent is often not needed. We just fail to grasp the bigger picture. I have often found myself explaining to people that their experiences are often caused by their personality traits, of which very many people are oblivious. They think they are just “normal” and fail to understand that there is a whole variety of Norms throughout society, let alone in the world.

The only thing I can find that is “given” is the constant psychological interaction between individuals, groups and nations, very much like the interaction between physical bodies, which is just as in need of investigation in order to discover the influences. This interaction is not conscious and takes place on a subliminal plane and therefore it is often others who notice it in our behaviour before we do ourselves.

iambiguous wrote:Matter has many definitions, but the most common is that it is any substance which has mass and occupies space. All physical objects are composed of matter, in the form of atoms, which are in turn composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons.

And going all the way back one supposes to [at least] the Big Bang. But somehow along the way the matter that we call "star stuff" was able to evolve/reconfigure into the matter that we call "the brain".

Sans God, anyway. Or, sure, maybe not.

In any event, living matter. Matter able to reflect on itself as matter able to reflect on itself as matter. Which precipitated down through the ages all manner of debate regarding "dualism". The ghost in the machine. The Homunculus. The soul. The autonomous human mind.

But: what on earth does that really mean in a wholly determined universe?

Okay, there was a lot of “Stuff” in there which assumes that Matter is the basic ingredient of the physical universe. Under the microscope though, matter dissolves into ever smaller parts and the Primary Matter eludes us. Far more, we have form of all kinds which dictates how the physical world will appear to us. The combination of protons, neutrons and electrons give us atoms which give us elements etc., but the primary matter is missing.

Just the same with consciousness, which is said to be located in the brain, but where? It is something that eludes us. A comparison has been made of the brain with receivers, saying that yes, consciousness fires areas of the brain and we have a lot of information stored in our brains, but isn’t that knowledge rather than consciousness? Is consciousness coming out of the brain, or going into the brain? This just shows us, how uncertain we are about basic ideas.

The ancients had a lot of ideas, whether it was God breathing awareness into mankind or whatever, how much helps us on in our quest?

iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote:Yes, we have been here numerous times before. We can only judge on what we know, or believe to know, or what we have experienced, or believe to have experienced. That means it is always impure and prone to failure, which is why we can only have humility in all our dealings with others. There is nothing else.


On the contrary, the objectivists insist, re either God or Reason or political ideology or Nature or -- philosophically -- one or another deontological contraption, we are able to extricate that frame of mind which allows us to live our life on this side of the grave wholly in accordance with the moral and political truths righteously embodied in "one of us".

And then, with God, it all reconfigures [through the soul] into immortality, salvation and divine justice on the other side of it.

Sounds familiar, and perhaps it is comforting. We all scrape hope from wherever we can find it.

iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote: I see such inspiration not as an eternal truth that has eternal value, but a timely truth that helps us proceed. Where does inspiration come from? Did I always “know” but couldn’t access the truth? Did I create a touching story that helped me over a gap? Is a blockade dissolved in that instance? I’d love to tell you, but it could be all of them.


Well, the aim of this thread was basically to explore the implication of this when particular behaviors are chosen by particular people who are inspired by conflicting renditions of "the good" derived from conflicting renditions of God.

Again, as that relates to how they go about "for all practical purposes" making a particular choice out in a particular world understood from a particular point of view given certain assumptions about their soul -- "I" -- on the other side of the grave.

Insofar as their own narratives may or may not facilitate me in extricating myself from my own [at times] brutally grim assumptions.

Well, the best of luck with your brutally grim assumptions.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:37 pm

phyllo wrote:
From my perspective, it is the difference between someone choosing to investigate it, while assuming she was able to freely, autonomously, willfully etc., choose not to investigate it, and someone convinced that this is the case when instead it all unfolds entirely in accordance with whatever set into motion the immutable laws of matter.

The investigation proceeds as it does, but only because it could never have not proceeded in any other way but the way in which it must.
What's the difference between a "chosen" investigation into free-will and a "determined" investigation into free-will? Absolutely nothing. Right? :-"


Right. And what's the difference between that and "a chosen investigation into free-will and a determined investigation into free-will?"

What precisely then is being suggested in putting "chosen" and "determined" in parentheses on the one hand and emphasizing them on the other?

If this exchange that we are having could only ever have unfolded as it did, wholly in accordance with the immutable laws of matter, how is that different from the fact it may not have unfolded at all had either one of us freely chosen not to pursue it in the first place?

How, going all the way back to whatever -- whomever? -- is responsible for the existence of existence itself, are we to grasp what is really true here?

Did Hitler "choose" to pursue the Holocaust or did Hitler choose to pursue the Holocaust?

And, if he did choose to pursue it, given some measure of autonomy, how is that autonomy itself to be understood given the manner in which I construe the is/ought world as more reflective of dasein, conflicting goods and political economy? Or given the manner in which you construe the meaning of objective morality and God?

And then, finally, re this thread, does God "choose" to judge us on the other side of the grave or does God choose to judge us instead?

And how is that related to the extent to which neuroscientists [and epistemologists] can determine definitively the extent to which the behaviors that we engage on this side of the grave are either "chosen" or chosen?

In other words, for all practical purposes, what's the difference?
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby phyllo » Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:46 pm

Right. And what's the difference between that and "a chosen investigation into free-will and a determined investigation into free-will?"

What precisely then is being suggested in putting "chosen" and "determined" in parentheses on the one hand and emphasizing them on the other?
I put those words in quotes because "chosen" and "determined", when used as adjectives, have a different dictionary meaning from the way I'm using them in that sentence.

It ain't as complicated as you try to make it.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:20 pm

phyllo wrote:
Right. And what's the difference between that and "a chosen investigation into free-will and a determined investigation into free-will?"

What precisely then is being suggested in putting "chosen" and "determined" in parentheses on the one hand and emphasizing them on the other?
I put those words in quotes because "chosen" and "determined", when used as adjectives, have a different dictionary meaning from the way I'm using them in that sentence.

It ain't as complicated as you try to make it.



Unless, of course, it ain't as simple as you try to make it.

Note to others:

Would you construe his reaction here to the points I raised in my post above adequate?

Me, I'm of the opinion he did not really address them at all.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby phyllo » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:32 pm

Unless, of course, it ain't as simple as you try to make it.
I just explained why I used the quotes. You misunderstood my post and now you ignore my explanation. :-?
Would you construe his reaction here to the points I raised in my post above adequate?

Me, I'm of the opinion he did not really address them at all.
Of course I didn't address the points ... they seem to be entirely based on misunderstanding my use of quotation marks. #-o
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby phyllo » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:39 pm

Do you notice anything interesting about your post? It consists entirely of questions. No argument, just questions.

For some reason you seem to think that questions are points and that I'm obligated to answer all your questions.

And when/if I do answer your questions, you will make another post with more questions. :evil:

Iambig wrote :
Right. And what's the difference between that and "a chosen investigation into free-will and a determined investigation into free-will?"

What precisely then is being suggested in putting "chosen" and "determined" in parentheses on the one hand and emphasizing them on the other?

If this exchange that we are having could only ever have unfolded as it did, wholly in accordance with the immutable laws of matter, how is that different from the fact it may not have unfolded at all had either one of us freely chosen not to pursue it in the first place?

How, going all the way back to whatever -- whomever? -- is responsible for the existence of existence itself, are we to grasp what is really true here?

Did Hitler "choose" to pursue the Holocaust or did Hitler choose to pursue the Holocaust?

And, if he did choose to pursue it, given some measure of autonomy, how is that autonomy itself to be understood given the manner in which I construe the is/ought world as more reflective of dasein, conflicting goods and political economy? Or given the manner in which you construe the meaning of objective morality and God?

And then, finally, re this thread, does God "choose" to judge us on the other side of the grave or does God choose to judge us instead?

And how is that related to the extent to which neuroscientists [and epistemologists] can determine definitively the extent to which the behaviors that we engage on this side of the grave are either "chosen" or chosen?

In other words, for all practical purposes, what's the difference?
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:56 pm

Bob wrote:Hmmm, determinism. I’m not such a friend of determinism because I haven’t witnessed it in my life, even if you can look back and say that some things probably couldn’t have worked out any other way, given the circumstances. But if the circumstances are not “given” completely new possibilities arise and, like Murphy’s Law suggests, will arise.


From my vantage point [whatever that means], it really all comes back to whether or not you could ever have freely chosen to be a friend of determinism in a world that is ever and always determined to be only what it ever and always can be, must be, will be.

Some folks seem able to wrap their minds around it and embrace what is said to be a "compatibility" between autonomy and determinism.

And, as I have noted a number of times, maybe they are on to something that I am just not able to grasp. Here and now. But then I go back to the extent to which in a wholly determined world I was ever able to grasp it if grasping it [up until now] was never meant to be.

Then I go back to imagining how some folks might be comforted [psychologically] in embracing autonomy, while others might by appalled.

Comforted by determinism because whatever happens to you is only as it ever could have been. And, if your life is in the toilet, "it is beyond my control".

Appalled by determinism because you are convinced that what has in fact happened to you is only because you were able to achieve it. Thus, if you are an uberman, it is something that you were able to freely accomplish. Just as those who are in the toilet have no one to blame but themselves.

Bob wrote:Of course you can then assume that one set of “given” circumstances lead to another set of “given” circumstances, and then start asking about the giver. However, when you have a background in practical psychology, even as limited as I have, you begin to see how we ourselves create our circumstances – even unwittingly – and that an outside agent is often not needed. We just fail to grasp the bigger picture. I have often found myself explaining to people that their experiences are often caused by their personality traits, of which very many people are oblivious. They think they are just “normal” and fail to understand that there is a whole variety of Norms throughout society, let alone in the world.


Really, though, where does "I" begin and "we" end? Where does "we" end and "they" begin? And, for the religious, where does "I" begin and "Thou" end?

Can the "bigger picture" ever really be fully grasped by any one particular individual in any one particular historical and cultural and experiential context? My own understanding of human interactions here revolves instead around dasein, conflicting goods and political economy.

But, again, that is no less an existential fabrication/contraption embedded in my own extant "lived life".

Bob wrote:The only thing I can find that is “given” is the constant psychological interaction between individuals, groups and nations, very much like the interaction between physical bodies, which is just as in need of investigation in order to discover the influences. This interaction is not conscious and takes place on a subliminal plane and therefore it is often others who notice it in our behaviour before we do ourselves.


Here though I always note the inevitable gap between understanding this as a "general description" of human interaction and the manner in which, once the words come to be reconfigured into actual behaviors out in particular worlds, folks are either more or less entangled in my dilemma.

And those the least entangled -- in fact many not entangled at all -- are the moral and political objectivists. For them, the "general descriptions" are ever and always in sync with behaviors deemed appropriate only for those who have proven to be "one of us".

Sometimes with God, sometimes without.

iambiguous wrote:Matter has many definitions, but the most common is that it is any substance which has mass and occupies space. All physical objects are composed of matter, in the form of atoms, which are in turn composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons.

And going all the way back one supposes to [at least] the Big Bang. But somehow along the way the matter that we call "star stuff" was able to evolve/reconfigure into the matter that we call "the brain".

Sans God, anyway. Or, sure, maybe not.

In any event, living matter. Matter able to reflect on itself as matter able to reflect on itself as matter. Which precipitated down through the ages all manner of debate regarding "dualism". The ghost in the machine. The Homunculus. The soul. The autonomous human mind.

But: what on earth does that really mean in a wholly determined universe?

Bob wrote:Okay, there was a lot of “Stuff” in there which assumes that Matter is the basic ingredient of the physical universe. Under the microscope though, matter dissolves into ever smaller parts and the Primary Matter eludes us. Far more, we have form of all kinds which dictates how the physical world will appear to us. The combination of protons, neutrons and electrons give us atoms which give us elements etc., but the primary matter is missing.


Indeed. Somehow [or other] it is all intertwined in turn in "dark matter" and "dark energy" intertwined all the more [given the precise relationship between very, very small and the very, very large] in what may well be an infinite number of additional universes with, perhaps, an infinite number of additional Gods.

And here we all are as individual reacting to things like, say, the Las Vegas shootings:

What does it mean?
What does it mean?
What does it mean?
What does it mean?

Again, with or without a God, the God, my God?

Where are we on the continuum between what our ancestors knew a few thousand years ago, what we know now and what must still be known in order that we acquire any degree of certainty about Reality/Existence itself.

In fact, what makes the discussions on this thread all the more surreal is that the focus is not on what may or may not be, but on what, given our enormously complex social, political and economic interactions, conflicting renditions of what ought to be.

In order that we acquire the necessary attributes to be judged eligible by one or another conflicting renditions of God to attain immortality, salvation and access to an understanding of divine justice.

We simply do not know yet just how more or less our "basic ideas" really are.

We have this tendency instead to look back thousands of years and marvel at how much more we know today, rather than looking forward thousands of years and imaging how much more our descendants will know instead.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:26 pm

phyllo wrote:Do you notice anything interesting about your post? It consists entirely of questions. No argument, just questions.

For some reason you seem to think that questions are points and that I'm obligated to answer all your questions.

And when/if I do answer your questions, you will make another post with more questions. :evil:


Well, I don't agree.

My answers are contained in what many here derisively call zinnat's "groots".

So, the complaint [ironically] is often not that I don't give answers but that my answers [here and now] are merely copied and pasted over and over again.

Again, guilty as charged. With respect to that which I deem to be the most important question philosophically -- how ought one to live? -- my thinking has come to settle over the years on the manner in which I encompass "I" in those groots.

And all I can then do is to seek out reactions to them. How is that not your own reaction when discussing [on this thread] the behaviors you choose here and now as they are embedded in your assessment of "I" there and then?

On this thread, my answers revolve around my reaction to the manner in which I construe individuals approaching and embracing particular religious narratives and particular Gods.

My answers here revolve around certain assumptions:

1] that there is no God
2] that, if there is no God, it seems reasonable [to me] to be entangled in my dilemma
3] that, if there is no God, there is no teleology
4] that, if there is no teleology "behind" existence, we can reasonably argue that we live in an essentially absurd and meaningless world

And that is predicated in turn on the extent to which any of this is even within my reach autonomously, freely, willfully.

And the answer to that can only be embedded [finally] in the extent to which the human mind is even capable of grasping the answers to these questions.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:31 pm

phyllo wrote:
Unless, of course, it ain't as simple as you try to make it.
I just explained why I used the quotes. You misunderstood my post and now you ignore my explanation. :-?


Okay, then let's bring this confusion [and your explanation] down to earth:

Did Hitler "choose" to pursue the Holocaust?

Explore this in the manner in which you understand the meaning of "choose" here.

And, if he did choose to pursue it, given some measure of autonomy, how is that autonomy itself to be understood given the manner in which I construe the is/ought world as more reflective of dasein, conflicting goods and political economy?

Which is how I pursue an understanding of the behaviors we choose given that "I" here is largely an "existential contraption".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby Bob » Sat Oct 07, 2017 8:53 am

iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote:Hmmm, determinism. I’m not such a friend of determinism because I haven’t witnessed it in my life, even if you can look back and say that some things probably couldn’t have worked out any other way, given the circumstances. But if the circumstances are not “given” completely new possibilities arise and, like Murphy’s Law suggests, will arise.


From my vantage point [whatever that means], it really all comes back to whether or not you could ever have freely chosen to be a friend of determinism in a world that is ever and always determined to be only what it ever and always can be, must be, will be.

Some folks seem able to wrap their minds around it and embrace what is said to be a "compatibility" between autonomy and determinism.

And, as I have noted a number of times, maybe they are on to something that I am just not able to grasp. Here and now. But then I go back to the extent to which in a wholly determined world I was ever able to grasp it if grasping it [up until now] was never meant to be.

Then I go back to imagining how some folks might be comforted [psychologically] in embracing autonomy, while others might by appalled.

Comforted by determinism because whatever happens to you is only as it ever could have been. And, if your life is in the toilet, "it is beyond my control".

Appalled by determinism because you are convinced that what has in fact happened to you is only because you were able to achieve it. Thus, if you are an uberman, it is something that you were able to freely accomplish. Just as those who are in the toilet have no one to blame but themselves.

Perhaps I oppose determinism out of a purely intuitive position. I oppose the thought that everything is determined because so many trivial things happen out of coincidence. If you assume that even chaos follows a deterministic pattern, then I would have to perhaps concede. However, there are so many things that happen despite the best heads getting together to give a reliable prognosis of coming events. It seems to be the non-conventional individual that confounds such attempts.

For me, it isn’t the question whether I could “freely” have chosen, but whether the choice could be foreseen. Instead the future seems to be a blackbox out which comes choices I would never have dreamt would be mine to make. I can’t determine a course that leads any distance into the future, and so it seems is the situation of most people. There are only negative constants, it seems, like “anything that can go wrong will go wrong!”

iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote:Of course you can then assume that one set of “given” circumstances lead to another set of “given” circumstances, and then start asking about the giver. However, when you have a background in practical psychology, even as limited as I have, you begin to see how we ourselves create our circumstances – even unwittingly – and that an outside agent is often not needed. We just fail to grasp the bigger picture. I have often found myself explaining to people that their experiences are often caused by their personality traits, of which very many people are oblivious. They think they are just “normal” and fail to understand that there is a whole variety of Norms throughout society, let alone in the world.


Really, though, where does "I" begin and "we" end? Where does "we" end and "they" begin? And, for the religious, where does "I" begin and "Thou" end?

Can the "bigger picture" ever really be fully grasped by any one particular individual in any one particular historical and cultural and experiential context? My own understanding of human interactions here revolves instead around dasein, conflicting goods and political economy.

But, again, that is no less an existential fabrication/contraption embedded in my own extant "lived life".

It is enough to make the scope of awareness as big as we can. Many people have such a narrow scope that a bigger picture would be noticing who the neighbours are, or in extreme cases, who their children have become. In many cases, employing an outside agent is laziness and an excuse not to become active. God blesses, answers prayers and cares for those I have no time for and feel guilty about.

iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote:The only thing I can find that is “given” is the constant psychological interaction between individuals, groups and nations, very much like the interaction between physical bodies, which is just as in need of investigation in order to discover the influences. This interaction is not conscious and takes place on a subliminal plane and therefore it is often others who notice it in our behaviour before we do ourselves.


Here though I always note the inevitable gap between understanding this as a "general description" of human interaction and the manner in which, once the words come to be reconfigured into actual behaviors out in particular worlds, folks are either more or less entangled in my dilemma.

And those the least entangled -- in fact many not entangled at all -- are the moral and political objectivists. For them, the "general descriptions" are ever and always in sync with behaviors deemed appropriate only for those who have proven to be "one of us".

Sometimes with God, sometimes without.

On the other hand, I may have described a kind of determinism in the constant interaction between individuals, groups and nations. Perhaps there is a collective knowledge that we pass on to each other, earlier in local conversation, today more over the internet. Both are prone to manipulation, and just as we see in the history of migration, the “others” often have the problem of getting in tune with local conversation. Until that happens, they are not part of that collective. The same is with every area of conversation. You are either in or out.

On the subliminal plane, we communicate without noticing it and I’m sure that there is much that we transmit that becomes common knowledge and the “given” at any one time. Like I said, it is here where we need others to reflect their perceptions of what we represent, which is one of the responsibilities of sages, priests and clergy in religion. Contemplation of spiritual texts, recitation and meditation can have a similar effect. In this way, we may come to the realisation of truths about ourselves that we feel “only God” could know.

iambiguous wrote:
Bob wrote:Okay, there was a lot of “Stuff” in there which assumes that Matter is the basic ingredient of the physical universe. Under the microscope though, matter dissolves into ever smaller parts and the Primary Matter eludes us. Far more, we have form of all kinds which dictates how the physical world will appear to us. The combination of protons, neutrons and electrons give us atoms which give us elements etc., but the primary matter is missing.


Indeed. Somehow [or other] it is all intertwined in turn in "dark matter" and "dark energy" intertwined all the more [given the precise relationship between very, very small and the very, very large] in what may well be an infinite number of additional universes with, perhaps, an infinite number of additional Gods.

Dark is of course esoteric and the opposite to transparent. It represents that which we have reason to know exists, but of which we cannot be sure. We hypothesize and use example out of the past to give it language, but we don’t know.

iambiguous wrote:And here we all are as individual reacting to things like, say, the Las Vegas shootings:

What does it mean?
What does it mean?
What does it mean?
What does it mean?

Again, with or without a God, the God, my God?

Where are we on the continuum between what our ancestors knew a few thousand years ago, what we know now and what must still be known in order that we acquire any degree of certainty about Reality/Existence itself.

In fact, what makes the discussions on this thread all the more surreal is that the focus is not on what may or may not be, but on what, given our enormously complex social, political and economic interactions, conflicting renditions of what ought to be.

In order that we acquire the necessary attributes to be judged eligible by one or another conflicting renditions of God to attain immortality, salvation and access to an understanding of divine justice.

We simply do not know yet just how more or less our "basic ideas" really are.

We have this tendency instead to look back thousands of years and marvel at how much more we know today, rather than looking forward thousands of years and imaging how much more our descendants will know instead.

In my mind, the LA shootings are a case of Murphy’s law: It is that gone wrong which could go wrong. If someone collects that many weapons, some day they will be used and it isn’t going to be tin cans that are going to be targets.

The only thing we can say “ought” to be is that which we work on to produce. Otherwise “ought to be” is a projection of our childish hopes and wishes. Salvation (whatever that is) and immortality may be just that. In my mind, the only way we can approach something that could pass as “divine justice” is having a clear conscience based on what we know is good for life on earth. If we constructively contribute to leaving the world behind in a better state than it was, we may be said to be “just”.

We may know more than or ancestors, but they experienced more and could cope with the challenge of survival. They knew that we can’t sit back and watch television whilst the neighbourhood goes to pot. They knew that who rests rusts, and finally contributes to the continual entropy of the world.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby Ierrellus » Sun Oct 08, 2017 2:10 pm

"Leaving the world behind in a better state"-- Bob.
I mentioned ecological morality a while back; but Iamb considered it as just another idea in the head.
You can't win an argument with someone who demands that the subjective be objectified. The closest I could come to doing so was to report some direct God experiences; but these were also sloughed off as well as the ideas on ecosystems.
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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:57 pm

Ierrellus wrote:"Leaving the world behind in a better state"-- Bob.
I mentioned ecological morality a while back; but Iamb considered it as just another idea in the head.
You can't win an argument with someone who demands that the subjective be objectified. The closest I could come to doing so was to report some direct God experiences; but these were also sloughed off as well as the ideas on ecosystems.


On the contrary, in regards to "ecological morality", I react to it in much the same manner in which I noted to Mannequin [on another thread] my reaction to "paganism":

[I think of it] pretty much what I think of every other frame of mind that speculates about human interactions in the is/ought world. The world of conflicting goods, of conflicting value judgments, of conflicting Gods and religious values. The world in which [with respect to a particular context] one either is or is not able to enforce a particular set of behaviors

Clearly, there is what any particular individuals believe about it "here and now" "in their heads", and there is what they are able to demonstrate [logically, empirically, scientifically etc.] to others that all reasonable/rational men and women are obligated to believe in turn.

In other words, the extent to which what someone believes subjectively/subjunctively about ecological morality can in fact be shown to be true for all of us.

Now, my own existential prejudice regarding it [rooted in dasein] is no less an existential contraption than yours.

Unless, of course, you can demonstrate that what you think about it reflects the optimal [or the only] way in which all reasonable/rational men and women are obligated to think about it.


Now, basically, what you do here is to shrug this part all off by insisting that you have had direct experiences with God that prove to you He does exist. And these subjective experiences make God exist -- objectively? -- for you.

Then you come in here and argue -- what? -- that this ought to be good enough for folks like me?

And yet folks like me generally want to believe that we do not live in an essentially absurd and meaningless world that ends for all eternity in oblivion. We would like to be comforted and consoled in the same manner in which you are.

But we can't just believe what we want to believe. We can't just "will" God into existence. We need arguments and empirical evidence and experiences that would propel [or even compel] us to go in that direction.

Your own have not accomplished that. For me. So, you can either try again or insist that I am the problem here and move on to others willing to accept that your arguments and your "evidence" have convinced them.

Really, unless God manifest Himself to me such that I could not possibly doubt His existence, what else is there?

You are comforted and consoled here and now, I am not. You believe in one or another manifestation of "I" beyond the grave, I do not.

That thumps me hands down.

At least from my point of view.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:27 pm

Bob wrote:Perhaps I oppose determinism out of a purely intuitive position. I oppose the thought that everything is determined because so many trivial things happen out of coincidence. If you assume that even chaos follows a deterministic pattern, then I would have to perhaps concede. However, there are so many things that happen despite the best heads getting together to give a reliable prognosis of coming events. It seems to be the non-conventional individual that confounds such attempts.


Intuitions [like dreams] are always going to be tricky. At least from my vantage point. After all, what are they but a murky [and ultimately mysterious] amalgamation of the ego, the super-ego and the id.

Genes and memes compacted down into a particular "hunch", a "feeling", a "sense".

For example, I have a "hunch", a "feeling", a "sense" that this exchange is not only as it ever could have been. Why? Because, if it is, right and wrong, true and false, good and bad etc., would all get reduced down to a mere complex "mechanistic" rendition of, say, an internal combustion engine. An agglomeration of matter/energy "designed" by us to propel a car. Only "nature" too has actually "designed" us in turn. In other words, such that, "for all practical purposes", it's all just cosmological dominoes toppling over in accordance with the immutable laws of physics.

Or, sure, a God, the God, my God designed nature in turn.

Bob wrote:For me, it isn’t the question whether I could “freely” have chosen, but whether the choice could be foreseen.


For me, it's the extent to which what is foreseen is only as it was ever going to be foreseen.

Bob wrote:Instead the future seems to be a blackbox out which comes choices I would never have dreamt would be mine to make. I can’t determine a course that leads any distance into the future, and so it seems is the situation of most people. There are only negative constants, it seems, like “anything that can go wrong will go wrong!”


To the extent I do have some measure of autonomous control over the behaviors I choose, the future is embedded in yet more existential contraptions. I then go back to the past. To, for example, the "I" that I was before my experiences in Vietnam and the "I" that I became after. Lots and lots of choices I would never have dreamed I was capable of.

This is the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein in the is/ought world.

Bob wrote:It is enough to make the scope of awareness as big as we can. Many people have such a narrow scope that a bigger picture would be noticing who the neighbours are, or in extreme cases, who their children have become. In many cases, employing an outside agent is laziness and an excuse not to become active. God blesses, answers prayers and cares for those I have no time for and feel guilty about.


Yes, as a "general description" of human interactions, this seems an entirely reasonable point of view. But, when it's crunch time, and this "frame of mind" needs to be fleshed out in choosing particular behaviors in particular contexts, I [as an existential contraption] become entangled [sometimes numbingly] in my dilemma above. Sure, I can choose to be active but only to the extent I am willing in turn to be pulled in many different directions with respect to all of the many "conflicting goods". And it is this grating ambivalence that [in my view] the objectivists [with or without God] choose -- "choose?" -- to vanquish in one or another rendition of "one of us".

In other words:

iambiguous wrote: I always note the inevitable gap between understanding this as a "general description" of human interaction and the manner in which, once the words come to be reconfigured into actual behaviors out in particular worlds, folks are either more or less entangled in my dilemma.

And those the least entangled -- in fact many not entangled at all -- are the moral and political objectivists. For them, the "general descriptions" are ever and always in sync with behaviors deemed appropriate only for those who have proven to be "one of us".



Bob wrote:On the other hand, I may have described a kind of determinism in the constant interaction between individuals, groups and nations. Perhaps there is a collective knowledge that we pass on to each other, earlier in local conversation, today more over the internet. Both are prone to manipulation, and just as we see in the history of migration, the “others” often have the problem of getting in tune with local conversation. Until that happens, they are not part of that collective. The same is with every area of conversation. You are either in or out.


Yes, perhaps.

But only to the extent one is willing to apply this to an issue we might come into contact with in the course of living our lives from day to day. Say, for example, the issue of gun control given the shootings in Las Vegas. Folks like me become entangled in my dilemma. What is the most reasonable political agenda that the collective should embrace...and then enact in the form of actual prescriptive and proscriptive laws?

I see this as a conflicting good derived from dasein embedded in a particular political contraption [out in a particular world] where ultimately those with the most power are able to enact what they construe to be in their own best interests.

Bob wrote:On the subliminal plane, we communicate without noticing it and I’m sure that there is much that we transmit that becomes common knowledge and the “given” at any one time. Like I said, it is here where we need others to reflect their perceptions of what we represent, which is one of the responsibilities of sages, priests and clergy in religion. Contemplation of spiritual texts, recitation and meditation can have a similar effect. In this way, we may come to the realisation of truths about ourselves that we feel “only God” could know.


Subliminal, yes. But, from my frame of mind, this is relevant not only pertaining to communication between people but to communication we have with ourselves. Thus Sartre's, "hell is other people" is no less applicable to the hell that we endure in considering only our own frame of mind. We not only objectify others but "I" as well. That is the whole point of objectivism in my view. It is far more a psychological contraption than a moral, political or philosophical agenda.

But again: What truth? Whose truth? And in what context seen from what point of view? That [at times] gnawing gap between the "general description" and the "agony of choice in the face of uncertainty".

Bob wrote:The only thing we can say “ought” to be is that which we work on to produce. Otherwise “ought to be” is a projection of our childish hopes and wishes. Salvation (whatever that is) and immortality may be just that. In my mind, the only way we can approach something that could pass as “divine justice” is having a clear conscience based on what we know is good for life on earth. If we constructively contribute to leaving the world behind in a better state than it was, we may be said to be “just”.


Again, this seems reasonable. But [for me] only up to the point -- the crucial point -- where the words here become intertwined in a particular world --- a world in which there are very, very different moral and political and religious and philosophical and narcissistic agendas regarding what constitutes "having a clear conscience based on what we know is good for life on earth."

And then there are folks like Ierrellus who seem to argue that, from his God's perspective, whatever we choose "here and now" we all become at one with His Kingdom.

But: why should others believe that? Other than to sustain a psychological font assuring them of comfort and consolation until the day they die.

And then, if they are wrong, well, so what?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:48 pm

Who can prove that the following pairs of words don't point to the same reality?

1) Jesus and Mary

2) Apollo and Athena

3) Buddha and Bodhisattva

4) Yin and Yang


So much more to the point though: Who can prove that the above pairs of words do point to the same reality?

A reality that is true for all of them. The reality. The reality that binds them all together in the same teleological narrative. The reality that provides them with a succinct frame of mind intertwining Birth School Work Death coherently, symbiotically.

That all-encompassing explanation providing them with the answer to the question, "how ought one to live?"
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby iambiguous » Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:53 pm

Generally, perfection is attributed to God. Any god with less than perfect attributes would be subjected to being inferior to another's god. As such, God has to be absolutely perfect which is the ontological god, i.e. god is a Being than which no greater can be conceived.


How is an assertion such as this not entirely encompassed in a world of words? And how are we to understand this particular world of words other than in the manner in which it is asserted [in turn] that we must grasp and then accept the definition [and therefore the meaning] of the words?

Suppose, for example, someone were to challenge such an assertion by demanding empirical proof that would clearly "illustrate the text".

How many assumptions qua loops would one be expected to jump through?

And then the part that most interest me: How would a perfect God judge the behaviors of considerably less than perfect mere mortals --- given that mere mortals can never hope to transcend "I" as an "existential contraption" in the context of conflicting values?

What would it mean to judge perfectly here?

How would one even begin to suggest an example of this?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: on discussing god and religion

Postby Some Guy in History » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:08 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Generally, perfection is attributed to God. Any god with less than perfect attributes would be subjected to being inferior to another's god. As such, God has to be absolutely perfect which is the ontological god, i.e. god is a Being than which no greater can be conceived.


How is an assertion such as this not entirely encompassed in a world of words? And how are we to understand this particular world of words other than in the manner in which it is asserted [in turn] that we must grasp and then accept the definition [and therefore the meaning] of the words?

Suppose, for example, someone were to challenge such an assertion by demanding empirical proof that would clearly "illustrate the text".

How many assumptions qua loops would one be expected to jump through?

And then the part that most interest me: How would a perfect God judge the behaviors of considerably less than perfect mere mortals --- given that mere mortals can never hope to transcend "I" as an "existential contraption" in the context of conflicting values?

What would it mean to judge perfectly here?

How would one even begin to suggest an example of this?



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