Monday, June 23, 2008

Darwinism and Spiritual Genocide

The soul's perfection consists in liberation from the life which is in part, and admission to the life which is whole. --Meister Eckhart

I suppose we'll get back to the Darwinist bashing in due time, but for the moment I want to return to our spiritual ascent to the top of the real Mount Improbable; or, to be perfectly accurate, Mount Impossible in the absence of grace, or the "vertical energies" that lift us by our own buddhastraps. We'll come back down and deal with the Darwinist stragglers later, as would any soph-respecting bodhisattva.

Then again, perhaps we will touch on Darwinist Man in this post, because he is always present as a kind of shadow or inverted version of the Real. People always ask me.... No, wait a minute.... no one's ever asked me. But one could ask, "why do you waste your time talking about these people? They're stuck. You can't change them."

I suppose for the same reason that a doctor cannot help talking about disease. It's just intrinsic to the work of a suburban shaman, freelance holy man, and coonical pslackologist. You cannot discuss wellness in the absence of the disease, and reductionistic Darwinism is definitely one of the central pneumapathologies of our time, partly because it permits and encourages so many others. It is not just "counter-cultural" but counter-civilizational. It is the penultimate spiritual corrosive, in that we should have the courtesy of reserving some space for the Evil One himself.

I don't think the corrosive Richard Dawkins would disagree about his own spiritual corrosiveness. After all, his explicit mission is to destroy human spirituality, which is to say, Man. Call it gene-ocide.

In fact, you could say that Darwinism is the quintessential pneumapathology, not just because it denies Spirit a priori, thereby eliminating what it needs to explain, but because it obliterates any understanding of the nature and purpose of human life, which is to say, of human normality. For if one is a reductionistic Darwinist, what, aside from homosexuality, abortion, and being a Cubs fan, constitutes "abnormal" behavior?

To put it another way, Darwinist tautology can normalize virtually anything. The Cubs fan says, "we'll win next year!," conveniently forgetting that natural selection does not plan for a future that will never arrive. But once you understand that truth -- not to mention, virtue and beauty -- are real and that man is free, you are no longer a Darwinist. Man is only free -- and intelligent -- to the extent that he is free to choose truth. If he is only free to choose error or stupidity... well, you figure it out. To quote my friend Baba Rum Raisin,

"Having causes is not synonymous with being determined. For example, adulthood is the final (i.e., telological) cause of child development, but it obviously doesn't determine it. Indeed, one may ignore it all together and remain a child or liberal for life.

"Man as such is composed of intelligence, will, and sentiment [paraphrasing Baba's friend Schuon]. To suggest that man has no free will is to say that he has no intelligence, as intelligence quintessentially involves discerning options and then applying the will toward achieving the ends determined by the intellect. Obviously there can be no freedom without the intellect and no intellect without truth, which is precisely why knowledge of the Truth sets one free.

"What Baba has just revealed to you is Absolute Truth, and therefore the foundation of real liberty (and liberation). Reject it if you like, but know that you only reject it to the extent that you are a slave and ardently wish (with the passions, not intellect) to remain one."

Thank you, Baba. Now, some people are so narrow-minded that they think this is a matter of Darwinism vs. Creationism, when it is really a matter of two competing visions of evolution, one of which is complete and consistent (that would be mine), the other of which is of necessity neither. Nor can Darwinism ever be consistent and complete, for reasons that are intrinsic to its erroneous metaphysical assumptions. If the Darwinist cannot see this... well, you figure it out.

When I or Baba or Petey speak of evolution, we don't really care all that much about a bacterium or virus that can learn a new trick. After all, isn't that why we need to get a flu shot every year? But if you transfer that reality to the human plane, you might gain a better understanding of why religion and spirituality must constantly "learn new tricks" in order to deal with their perennial Adversary, the Great Deceiver. Was that clear? No?

There is this thing called health which humans would like to preserve. But unfortunately, there are other beings with interests of their own -- such as the flu virus -- that are at odds with human interests.

Likewise, there is a thing called "spiritual health" (we'll define it later), and it so happens that there is a sort of "competition" with other beings -- let's call them principalities and powers -- on that plane as well. For example, in my book I talk about mind parasites, which operate precisely in the manner of a biological virus or parasite to advance their own interests at the expense of the host -- i.e., us. And I didn't go into all of the details, but these mind parasites are present on different planes of reality, from the material (i.e., genetic or dietary), to the emotional, to the psychological, to the cognitive, to the psychic realms.

For example, reductionistic Darwinism would be an example of a cognitive mind parasite -- being that it thwarts knowledge of truth -- but it could very well be rooted in genetic or developmental reasons located "below" or spiritual causes located "above" (or let us say, on the vertical plane).

Back to human normality. As Perry writes, "tradition is characterized by a normal constant; the saint or sage is none other than the culminating point, essence, pole or logical perfection of this norm" [emphasis mine]. To cite one obvious example, when Jesus says, "I am alpha and omega," he is trying to telos all about the point of human development.

Now obviously, in the Darwinist paradigm there can be no teleology, no transcendent normality, no culminating point of development, no essence, and no perfection. I would think this would be an uncontroversial statement, something with which we can all agree, even shrill and spiritually purblind lizards.

Guenon writes that flat-earth Western men indoctrinated into one-substance/one plane materialism simultaneously see the human individual as much more and much less than he actually is. On the one hand, they reduce him to his "corporeal modality, which includes but a small fraction of its possibilities."

But at the same time, it absurdly elevates the human ego to the last word on human evolution, as if that is where human evolution ends! In reality that is precisely where it begins. Again, to borrow a pithy formulation from Schuon, the Darwinist simultaneously makes man less than human and all too human at the same time. Either way, there is no exit from this dreadful state "from above."

In fact, this also reminds me of a pithy comment by Guenon, who said something to the effect that the 19th century closed Western man to the "above," while the 20th century opened him up to the "below." Is it possible for an observation to be both brilliant and a banality at the same time? Yes, to the extent that man needs to be re-minded of the obvious again and again.

So, here we sit in the 21st century, in a culture that is almost completely closed to the above, but continues to plunge with gusto into the below, being that it represents a kind of "Dionysian" spirituality that we really saw emerge on a widespread basis in the 1960s. This spirituality is radically subjective, passionate, narcissistic, and ego-driven, and thoroughly confuses the psychic with the spiritual plane proper. In other words, it is a leap into the murky swamp of the lower vertical in the guise of "freedom" or some other perversion of an eternal value. For again: there is no freedom in the absence of Truth, except the freedom to be essentially bad and stupid, but only "accidentally" good or intelligent.

Man in his wholeness is much more than a "replicating machine." As Schuon (in Perry) writes, "intellectuality becomes spirituality when the entire man and not only his intelligence lives in the truth" [emphasis mine]." Perry then cites D.T. Suzuki, who writes that from the perspective of Zen, the integrally intelligent man "thinks like the showers coming down from the sky; he thinks like the waves rolling on the ocean, he thinks like the stars illuminating the nightly heavens; he thinks like the green foliage shooting forth in the relaxing spring breeze. Indeed, he is the showers, the ocean, the stars, the foliage."

This description by Suzuki is precisely what I meant by the abstract symbol O-->(n). Again, as I explained in the book, this symbol can be thought of as an abstraction from the sort of statement made by Suzuki. Or, alternatively, it can be thought of as the archetypal preconception, or "empty category," that awaits personal experience in order to fill it with personal meaning. Either way, it must be experienced, or not known at all. One reviewer, who otherwise very much liked my book, thought that these symbols were a bit cold and abstract. Yes, that is the point. The word "love" is cold and abstract until you fall in love.

In the traditional view, man is the one being in all of creation who contains all levels of reality within him; he is the microcosm, an abridged edition of reality. For example, when we say that man was present at the moment of the creation of the universe, we mean this literally, as evidenced by our ability to place ourselves there with our mathematical abstractions. No other being can do this. So when the sophisticated Darwinist criticizes the "young earth creationist" for saying that man and creation arose at the same time, that is hardly valid. After all, the Darwinist is saying, "you're wrong, because I was there!" But if he was there "in spirit," then he cannot be a Darwinist.

As reader Wm. Shakespeare mentioned in a comment just yesterday,

And oftentimes, to win us our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray us
In deepest consequence.


Or, in the words of Schuon, "the apparent 'reality' of the sensible order and the passions which belong to it -- becomes 'negative' in the Truth, while what appears negative from the standpoint of sensible experience -- the transcendent and thus invisible Reality, with all the spiritual consequences which it entails for man -- becomes 'positive' in proportion as Knowledge transforms the mental and 'abstract' concept into spiritual and 'concrete' Life."

One man's O-->(n) is another man's Ø. What a waste of a lifetime.

If, after being born a human being, one gives no heed to the Holy Doctrine, one resembleth a man who returneth empty-handed from a land rich in precious gems; and this is a grievous failure. --Gampopa

Never, my son, can a soul that has so far uplifted itself as to grasp the truly good and real slip back to the evil and unreal. --Hermes

*****
Brilliant essay by Roger Kimball. I haven't even had time to finish it, because I have to leave for work, but file reductionistic Darwinism under the heading of a "critical philosophy" -- or "criticism-ism"-- that destroys what it would attempt to explain, i.e., the phenomenon of Man.

95 Comments:

Blogger walt said...

Fine post, Bob!

If reductive Darwinists have an explicit wish to destroy human spirituality, then it is <----->, both gene-ocide and suicide. They may not see it that way, but uh, can't we judge ... by results?

And the quotation at the end -- "...after being born a human being, one give no heed to the Holy Doctrine, one resembleth a man who returneth empty-handed from a land rich in precious gems..." -- reminds me that, in general, kids do not receive any sense of what it "means" to be a human being; nor is it ever considered that there is any "obligation" involved with being here. We are endlessly told to "Have fun!" or "Go nuts!" or "Have a nice day!" Those become our instructions for living.

6/23/2008 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Let's be honest: for a Darwinist, there an be no intrinsic purpose to existence, just elaborate self-deception.

6/23/2008 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

At least the Darwinists who acknowledge this are consistent (but obviously not complete).

6/23/2008 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Brilliant essay by Roger Kimball. I haven't even had time to finish it, because I have to leave for work, but file reductionistic Darwinism under the heading of a "critical philosophy" -- or "criticism-ism"-- that destroys what it would attempt to explain.

6/23/2008 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I've been reading Steyn's America Alone this past week, Walt, and going by the demographics it really is suicide.

Tying in with the idea of health and dis-ease, there's an idea that's been stewing in my little brain since Thursday-ish, when Ray said something along the lines that all the atheists he knows manage to find meaning, and he didn't think organizations with disturbing agendas would gain power if atheism were the rule rather than the exception (which sounded to me a lot like "I don't know how Bush won - everyone I know voted for the other guy!). Never mind that you need not go far in largely-atheist Europe to find groups with disturbing agendas lobbying for real political power in the name of "my meaning is just as valid as your meaning, stop violating my human rights!"

It struck me that atheists in America are a little like anti-vaccinationists. People who don't vaccinate their children in this country still have a strong buffer of protection, by virtue of the fact that the vast majority of other people around them still do vaccinate. However, there is some evidence that the small percentage of people who don't vaccinate are actually having a negative impact on the entire population (for instance, the growing number of cases of whooping cough).

By the same token, because the majority (70%?) of Americans are religious, our society still has, however fragile it may seem at the moment, the underlying structure of religious tradition which gives definition and cohesion to the cultural body, and provides a degree of innoculation against bad ideas that can only be fought by judging them against Absolute ideals. It's easy for Americans like Ray to think that humans in general are inherently good, because the majority of Americans, outwardly religious or not, are good intentioned, well-meaning people. They were raised that way. Take away that cultural structure and replace it with mob rule, however, and you can count the seconds until the worst mind parasites are truly running the country.

6/23/2008 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Julie--

Excellent point about the intellectual inoculation. Dennis Prager talks about how he flirted with atheism as an adolescent, only to encounter the abject stupidity of contemporary academia when he attended college in the late '60s. It was so strikingly devoid of wisdom, that it pushed him back to religion, which, properly understood, is the ultimate inoculation against various intrinsic stupidities such as atheism.

6/23/2008 09:38:00 AM  
Anonymous christopher said...

Julie, excellent comment about mob rule. I work in industry, related to unions and have long understood the natural tendency of business to exploit labor with the intention of holding down and managing the main drag on profit. Now that unions largely succeeded there is a claim that unions are no longer necessary... But the downward pressure on wages and benefits in order to keep profits continues unabated, unions or no unions.

Thus there is always the risk of the baby going out with the bathwater. That unions tend toward socialism is unfortunate perhaps, but I am intimately involved in efforts to trim labor and know the issue very well from that side. I engineer and in doing so very often somebody's father, mother, son, daughter is forced out of this job for some other.

It is one thing to choose to go, another to be laid off. For that matter, I have never been unionized and I get laid off all the time. It is one reason I have to work to 70 in order to retire at all.

6/23/2008 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Julie - when did I say that I didn't think "organizations with disturbing agendas would gain power if atheism were the rule rather than the exception"? (At most, all I've said is that, in such a world, kids probably wouldn't die of easily-treatable diseases when medical help is right at hand.)

And I've never, here or anywhere, stated that humans are "inherently good". Feel free to point to an example of me saying something different.

(It takes two people to hold parallel conversations, y'know. :-> )

6/23/2008 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Bob -

'Purpose' is something
that minds decide, and not a
property of things.

6/23/2008 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Ray, last week in Wednesday's comments you said this:

"The point is, atheism doesn't have to lead to NAMBLA - and very rarely does. The reason I'm dubious about claims that atheism leads inevitably to horrifying immorality is the simple fact that it's not true for me or any atheist I know."

So there's the answer to your first question.

Implied in the quoted statement is the idea that atheism does not lead to horrifying immorality. For that to be the case, humans would have to be, on the whole, inherently more good than inherently bad. Absent an absolute moral authority, people must decide for themselves what is good, and it is vastly simpler to go with what feels good than what is good (especially when what is good often puts constraints upon us that we see as decidedly unpleasant). Judging by the slippery, suicidal (birth-rate wise) slope of the largely-atheist parts of Europe and Russia, I think you are wrong.

6/23/2008 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Oh, and Ray - if "purpose" is something that minds decide, what is the purpose of the existence of life?

6/23/2008 10:37:00 AM  
Anonymous christopher said...

Ray, here is a divide between a theist position and a non theist position. You say purpose is sourced in mind. But if that purpose is in God's mind and God is found not only somewhere out there but as well deep "within", then there is no "thing" without mind in this way and also no "thing" without purpose. It was from this standpoint that Aristotle and others a very long time ago saw sense in the notion of destiny and also an end state or final cause that draws one out or forth. Destiny comes from purpose within. Final cause reaches from God's realized perfect world into this world and calls matter and beings forward. Thus there is a push and a pull both in play on souls, and in some sense even on rocks, quite beyond the physical.

This is of course nonsense from a non theist position.

There is a considerable language difficulty in talking across divides like this.

6/23/2008 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Julie - But that just doesn't follow. People don't have to be 'inherently more good than bad' for atheism (or theism) to be ultimately irrelevant to 'horrifying immorality'.

People have to potential to behave morally or not. Different people have learned to be moral in different ways. I'm not saying religion isn't or hasn't been the predominant way that people have learned that - of course it has. But the fact that other people have learned it in different ways - even atheistic ones - indicates that it isn't the only way.

Nor is religion necessarily the best way. Consider the devout Protestantism that went throughout Germany, and Poland. Which was tied to the anti-Semitism which dehumanized the Jews there... though mostly-Catholic Poland had plenty of anti-Semitism to go around, too. Not much different than the purges under Stalin and Mao, really. Dogmatism - absolute certainty - was the killer in all those cases, not the specific doctrines used to justify the slaughter in 'self defense'.

NAMBLA's based on a pathology, and - most happily - an exceedingly rare one. They're individually dangerous, not collectively so. The political movements we need to worry about are the kind that have been shown by history to be dangerous - dehumanizing, demonizing witch hunts.

As to birth rates - I've got four kids. Maybe you'll take that as evidence that not al strands of atheism are "suicidal (birth-rate wise)". We already know that there are different theisms - can you imagine that there might be different atheisms, too?

6/23/2008 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Christopher -

God's purpose might be
nice, but still you must choose
what it means to you.

6/23/2008 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Purpose, smurpose.

Apparently, we are doomed.

6/23/2008 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Christopher said "I work in industry, related to unions and have long understood the natural tendency of business to exploit labor ...".

B.S.

Laissez-faire capitalism requires the respect for and defense of property rights of all the people (which the Classical Liberal Founders recognized as a necessity for any discussion of any Individual Rights) - owner and employee alike. The business offers a wage they calculate to enable the production needed at a rate they won't lose money on, and which people with sufficient skills and intelligence will consider to be worth their time. If a person agrees the rate is worth their time, they accept the job, if not, they don't. If they can convince the employer that their productive skills have improved enough to warrant a raise (in whatever form, pay, benefit, etc) to keep them there, they'll get a raise. If the business is decides it wouldn't be worth it, no raise.

An honest person has a few options at that point, continue at that rate, quite and find another job, or continue working while looking for another job or develop skills ('college' etc) and move to another line of work.

Banding together for the purposes of harassing the business into submitting to their demands to be paid more that they are thought to be worth, is not an option for an honest person. Agitating for, or supporting political action and legislation to put the gun of the Gov't to the business's head, forcing them into submitting to their demands to be paid more that they are thought to be worth, is no less a dishonest action.

"That unions tend toward socialism is unfortunate..."

No, it's not unfortunate, it is inevitable. You can't have your nicey nice theology on one hand, and your desire for forcing others to bend to your demands on the other. Sooner or later Paul is going to find out what you're doing to Peter. Not a good prognosis there. That path leads back through Marx and the most 'darwinistic' outlook on what is right and what is wrong, namely naked force and power.

(Please don't bother noting that some businesses use gov't for their purposes too, the last place you look for support of laissez-faire capitalism, is to businessmen, they will take advantage of any advantage available to them, especially to stave off threats to their businesses. Two wrongs make nothing but wrong, and it is up to all of us to put it right again, partly by not supporting one of the wrongs.)

Because you see some benefits, means only that those are the benefits visible, and says nothing of the greater benefits lost. Read Thomas Sowell's "Economic Facts and Fallacies", or as a free online alternative, Fredrich Bastiat's "Economic Sophism's" , or The Law.

6/23/2008 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous christopher said...

Ray, you say we choose. So do I. But as a theist, I have to admit I am free too choose by the Grace of God. However, I would remind you that some theists don't think we really choose with more than a little logic on their side. This is so much so that Protestant Christianity has a long standing debate over the matter. Is it free will for real or a kind of determinism which permits the illusion of free will? This becomes really important concerning the idea of the elect in the last days. Who goes to Heaven is a matter of God's judgement and God in some sense "already always knows". How does one interpret that conundrum?

6/23/2008 11:45:00 AM  
Anonymous christopher said...

Van I appreciate your philosophy, however I have been in the trenches. If what I say is BS when I am simply reporting what my job has been then the part of corporate America I have spent over thirty years in is BS.

When the best jobs available are what they are, then people flock to them, living wage or not.

But it is not the wage level that I am talking about. I am talking about the ever unrelenting pressure to take people out of the labor equation, to automate in any industry that can. That's what my job has been for most of my working life, to support the inevitability of machines being cheaper than people in nearly every way.

I am also talking about people where the die has been already cast. You write as if changing your life is easy and simple when it is not always. It is easier if I actually want to, but when you add in the grief and loss factor, it raises the difficulty considerably. Also not everyone does well in school still, even when the opportunity is there.

I am no perverse slinger of bullshit and there is always more than one side. There is a tension between freedom to choose and the need for security that will never go away. Some people will always choose to value freedom, others security. We all know there is a dynamic between these.

6/23/2008 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Christopher - the "foreknowledge" aspect doesn't bother me.

The notion that a being with infinite resources at Its disposal would nevertheless choose to dispense eternal blessings to only a finite number of beings - less than their total number - at a whim... that does seem, er, hard to reconcile.

6/23/2008 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Ray - From an honest atheist viewpoint, the only real motivation is self-interest. And that can usually only be fulfilled through the exercise of power.

Survival...of the fittest.

6/23/2008 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Ray...and that is the sum of your "morality". Or you're kidding yourself.

6/23/2008 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"reductionistic Darwinism is definitely one of the central pneumapathologies of our time, partly because it permits and encourages so many others. It is not just "counter-cultural" but counter-civilizational. It is the penultimate spiritual corrosive, in that we should have the courtesy of reserving some space for the Evil One himself."

Yep. And it was the first widely accepted, and easily pointed to, theory that could be manipulated into giving support for making the switch from traditional Wisdom - the traditional Liberal Education of Religious, Poetic and Historical understanding and which required one to be or become wise in order to master it and which no lifetime could ever be long enough to fully master it; towards a defined set of quantifiable facts and measurements which any fool could memorize and be certified to proselytize as 'knowledge' - essentially switching out Truth, for fact.

By removing substantial ideas of Right and Wrong in favor of effective and functional, it was also the path that opened wide the ability of some to do what was in the interest of others, for their own good no matter what they thought about it, or how many were hurt in the process.

What did Petey say the other day? "Knowledge minus wisdom = materialism", well a combustible mixture of rationalism and darwinism, is just the metaphysical mixture to leach wisdom out of knowledge.

6/23/2008 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Wizard said...

Walt said:

"apparently, we are doomed"

That's just social mood talking:

www.minyanville.com/articles/BKX-CHINA-C-citigroup-energy-shanghai/index/a/17671

Just the beginning of the hangover from the 25 year credit boom.

suddendebt.blogspot.com

6/23/2008 12:32:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Christopher, you're sounding like a whiner. So, you're a victim & the big-bad-corporation owes you?

Change is difficult - so what! When you point a finger at something else, three times as many fingers point back to yourself.

You don't mention anything about what you workers have done to improve your own marketability, but it sounds a tho you think it's ok to put the squeeze on the ones who provide your paycheck.

Unions give all that money to Dems who love to tax those evil corporations out of business.

No wonder job providers get tired of the gimmi-gimmi whining & take the work elsewhere.

6/23/2008 12:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

"Man is only free -- and intelligent -- to the extent that he is free to choose truth. If he is only free to choose error or stupidity... well, you figure it out."

Ho!

6/23/2008 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Christopher said, "If what I say is BS when I am simply reporting what my job has been then the part of corporate America I have spent over thirty years in is BS."

No comment.

There is Right and Wrong, or there isn't. If it is wrong to steal with a gun or the threat of one, it doesn't become right because you have a bigger gang than the other guy. It doesn't make it right by saying it would make it easier for a number of people to get by, if you let them gang up and take what isn't rightfully theirs. There is a Principle involved, and it is rooted in Truth, and you can't pick and choose the ingredients of that.


“There is a tension between freedom to choose and the need for security that will never go away. Some people will always choose to value freedom, others security.”

There is also a tension between Right and Wrong, and some people, for security, will do what is wrong. Are you suggesting that that is ok? The lure of what is doing what is wrong in exchange for what will make things easier, is age old. I appreciate that the situation we are in now is complicated and entrenched. Doesn’t change the nature of it one bit.

To ok those actions, is to discard the principle of Property and Justice and our Individual Rights, altogether, and put them at the whim of those in power. The Progressives peddling of various forms of Marxist/Darwinism was what made what were once inviolable Rights, into materials to be distributed for the public good... as necessary. It is the corrosive heart of socialism, and we are in the situation we are today because so many thought they could indulge in 'just a little' ... you know... for a good cause.

"And oftentimes, to win us our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray us
In deepest consequence."

6/23/2008 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Christopher said
"I am talking about the ever unrelenting pressure to take people out of the labor equation, to automate in any industry that can. "

I'm in IT, if I don't ingest several 500 pg technical books a year and stay on top of things, I'm out of work really damn fast.

I'm constantly involved in a struggle with cheap IT labor from overseas, if I don't show I'm worth two or three of them on a near daily basis, I'll be out of work really damn fast.

I also see a point where enough of a codebase will be in place, along with decision engines, as to make a huge number of programmers obsolete, most of their task being replaced by easy user drag and drop interfaces.

Too damn bad for me if I'm one of those replaced.

6/23/2008 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Ray,

{Bear with me, fellow coons; I've had an extremely long (even, perhaps, a bit eternal) (and really wonderful) weekend, which has left me in something of a waking dreamstate that doesn't feel anywhere close to touching down yet, so it is entirely possible that in my waking sleep I am missing some inherent meaning. In fact, I'm feeling very Scattered today. So if I'm off track, by all means let me know}

"But that just doesn't follow. People don't have to be 'inherently more good than bad' for atheism (or theism) to be ultimately irrelevant to 'horrifying immorality'."

I'm trying really hard to parse this sentence, and it keeps coming up sans meaning. Which is to say, I'm not even getting the gist of your point. This could be due to exhaustion, or it could be that you just didn't say what you think you said. So pretend, for the moment, that I'm kinda stupid (depending on your point of view, that may not be much of a stretch) and dumb it down a notch.

Clarity is the key.

"People have to potential to behave morally or not,"... yada yada yada.

If I wasn't already shaking with exhaustion, I might well start banging my head on the desk.

I give up, Ray. Respond all you want, but I just don't have the energy to talk at you anymore today.

***

So how was my weekend?

Stillness, pervasive
contralto foghorn sighs, “Ohmmmm
mystery is berthed

6/23/2008 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Ramen said...

Christopher: This unrelenting pressure as you put it is THE central feature of capitalism. Is a guy digging with a shovel going to displace 10 guys digging dirt with their bare hands? Of course. Just as a guy with a Catepillar dirt mover is going to displace a hundred guys with shovels.

In the big picture, that displacement just frees those guys up to do something else. If we didn't have a dynamic economy, those displaced workers are going to be screwed. Thankfully we do. But we would be much worse off if those people were stuck digging dirt with shovels because the capital (i.e., tools) wasn't around to replace them.

Ray: Your idea of God is about 6,000 years behind schedule. This omnipotent, arbitrary and capricious being you speak of isn't God but nature. Nature randomly 'decides' to wipe out this city with a hurricaine, or that city with an earthquake, or some lucky guy to be born here in America while a thousand more are born in some toilet of a country. God has nothing to do with it!

God doesn't bestow his blessings on a finite number of people. This is what Bob means when he says that Darwinism isn't the whole answer. If it were, we wouldn't be having this conversation, because nothing about having this conversation increases our chances of getting laid.

God has blessed ALL of us with the ability to know a higher truth. Whether or not you choose to seek it out and return to Him is up to you.

6/23/2008 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Nomo - but an atheist can believe in - heck, experience - love, "the condition whereby the happiness of another becomes important or essential to one's own". In which case the interest of others is in your self-interest.

And that's entirely aside from the problems that pure "will to power" without cooperation gets you:

When one of the most secure and luxurious of his palace-and-bunker complexes was completed in 1984, at a cost of $70 million, Saddam Hussein moved in right away. But even protected by enormous layers of concrete, sand and steel, behind zigzag corridors and blast doors made to withstand a Hiroshima-size explosion, and guarded by men who knew they'd have to be ready to die for him, or be killed by him, Saddam apparently could not sleep.

"All night long he heard a sound like the cocking of a pistol," remembers Wolfgang Wendler, the German engineer who supervised the project. Wendler was summoned by angry officials to find out what was wrong. He discovered a faulty thermostat.


Me, I can sleep at night without fear.

6/23/2008 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Christopher-
Unions, despite all of their good intentions, will always result in what we see today:
corruption, left-leaning ideology, bargaining themselves out of a job (GM, Ford, most of the Airlines),
reduced productivity, increased litigation, and extortion.

I'm not sayin' all union employees want that to happen, but that's the result of unions.
Can you name one Conservative union?

I'm also not sayin' there ain't corrupt and greedy company owners, however, a truly free market will eventually provide for more principled employers.

Even with all the restrictions unions, the government, and environmental, etc, groups place on businesses, there is still only a 5-6% unemployment rate in America, and that is remarkable!

"Living wage?" Please, don't fall for that one. I have worked two full time jobs when I needed to, and it was always temporary. No more than a year or sometimes for 6months.

I'm not an expert on economics, but Thomas Sowell does make easy to understand points about the benefits of free enterprise.
And despite not being an expert I can easily see the results of unnecessary regulations, taxes and unions on businesses.

In the short term it does help employees a bit. But in the long term it actually hurts employees, their business, and consumers; a lose, lose, lose situation.

When force is used on liberty, everybody loses.

6/23/2008 01:06:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

I have no comment on the politics. I am not arguing right and wrong even, except that I have anecdotal stories including my own that point out that preserving profit kills people. Insofar as property is profit and versa then the preservation of property can be murderous. Your right to property may not always be a higher good.

I am convinced that American commercial life is the best possible on the planet. I have no doubt. It is what permits me to go home and sleep well that what I personally do is the best I can. I have not been a participant in deliberate evil as far as I no. However, people have lost what they had (their property) as a result of what I and others on the design teams have done.

Property is not permanent. Property rights attempt to forestall that. People with major property eat people with small property. God.

American business is the best but God weeps. God is infinite. His weeping is infinite. That the others on the planet are worse makes little difference to the infinite.

6/23/2008 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Ramen said...

Van: Microsoft has been trying that drag and drop stuff to make us all obsolete for years. So far it ain't workin! (Please see WWF, SOAP, EF, et. al.). I haven't touched the component designer in 3 years, and I'm all the better for it.

6/23/2008 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Ray-

"This description by Suzuki is precisely what I meant by the abstract symbol O-->(n). Again, as I explained in the book, this symbol can be thought of as an abstraction from the sort of statement made by Suzuki. Or, alternatively, it can be thought of as the archetypal preconception, or "empty category," that awaits personal experience in order to fill it with personal meaning. Either way, it must be experienced, or not known at all. One reviewer, who otherwise very much liked my book, thought that these symbols were a bit cold and abstract. Yes, that is the point. The word "love" is cold and abstract until you fall in love."

If you don't experience what Bob and the Raccoons are talkin' about, you'll never comprehend or understand what we are talkin' about, because your only frame of reference is the atheism you experience.
You can't understand the aditional dimensions while remaining in one dimension.
You can't gno Eternity while remaining in the finite.

You either take the plunge or you don't. It really is that simple.
And it really is that hard!

6/23/2008 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Christopher-
I do cooncur...there are injustices committed by some businesses, and there are many injustices committed by social-governance and rogue Justices (re: property rights).

I believe a lot of that would go away if our government demanded fair trade practices (zero trade deficits or at least close), a return to a Constitutional Supreme Court (and lower courts), and politicians that actually put the Constitution and it's time-honored Principles above "special" and self interests.

6/23/2008 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

(Gorn - can't... resist...)

"The notion that a being with infinite resources at Its disposal would nevertheless choose to dispense eternal blessings to only a finite number of beings - less than their total number - at a whim... that does seem, er, hard to reconcile."

And there we have it. I get the impression that for a lot of atheists, it really boils down to just this. "There is no god (and he's a real asshole, because life isn't fair)." It's not even so much that you don't actually believe - rather, it's that waaaay deep down you really do - and you hate him.

And it's so much easier to say he doesn't exist (especially when he refuses to yank those scales from your night-adjusted eyes) than to try to reconcile that hatred, and the inherent unfairness of the world, with the reality of a loving god; to you they are mutually exclusive concepts. It is inconceivable that the harsh, brutal world as it is can be the creation of Someone who claims to love all humanity. Also, you get that little frisson of naughty pleasure in stating your defiance, knowing that there will be no penalty for doing so.

Believe it or not, I actually understand that position very well. But then I grew up.

Did you ever read a story, Ray, or watch a movie, or play a video game where there were no challenges for the main characters to face, no risks to be taken, and nothing to lose? Of course not. Why? Because that would be the most boring book/ movie/ game ever made; in fact, it might make a good cure for insomnia. If there was no Mystery to be revealed - if the light was there for all to see (which, ironically, it actually is, but first you must learn to focus) without effort, we would have no free will. We would be like eternal infants, or imbeciles, smiling like blissed-out drug addicts in O's direction.

*Sigh*
(shaking head, mumbling "pearls before swine, pearls before swine...")

6/23/2008 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I said this the other day -- atheists can get away with not believing because western civilization has been built by the believing. I don't know exactly how the Kingdom of God will be brought into being in its finality, but I know that we have had momentum in that direction for at least eighteen or nineteen hundred years. The morals and values of the great religious traditions have inoculated us against atheistic relativism. Consider the way the atheists leaders of China handle Tibet or Tiananmen Square.

On a much more important issue, I wish to say that words cannot express my appreciation for my inclusion in the Mens' Club. Thanks to QP for informing me that I am now listed with that august company of illustrious luminaries and industrious looniaries.

As instructed, I have recited, "I am not worthy" while bowing in the direction of Upper Tonga and making the Sign of the Coon on my front lawn.

6/23/2008 01:39:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

Ray, I have a friend who believes, the whole of his non churched theism, "either we all go to heaven or we don't". This in regard to your "dispensation of blessing to a finite number." You are not the only one who finds it hard to swallow.

The measure of the gap between infinite goodness and finite imperfection is infinite. That is a mathematical truth which cannot be doubted. Thus the best of us are infinitely far from God as are the worst. Both of these infinities are of the same order, thus mathematically identical. That is the measure by which works doesn't save in the Christian theology, but only faith saves.

Even then it is two way because human power cannot reach God, period. So there are groups who believe right along with my friend that if we are not ALL saved in some ultimate sense, the injustice is also infinite.

But one must remember "in some ultimate sense" also means "no time". I tend to favor this kind of position only I am not so sure that salvation is the issue.

I am a once churched member of this Christian nation, but I am not Christian myself.

6/23/2008 01:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Johan said...

Ray,
so purpose is made up by mind?

Then what is the purpose of mind?

6/23/2008 01:51:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Shroom: like'n your avatar

6/23/2008 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Like I've said in so many words, ad nauseum, "Everyone KNOWS God is there. BELIEVING it is the problem." By believing I mean becoming someone whose thoughts and behaviors are a result of the knowing.

6/23/2008 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Mushroom - I noticed that a while back (coongrats). I'm still smarting from being removed when it was discovered that I don't have my own blog. Sheesh. (I still crash meetings regularly, though).

8^)

6/23/2008 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Captain Ramen said "Van: Microsoft has been trying that drag and drop stuff to make us all obsolete for years. So far it ain't workin!"

Lol! Oh I know and know the same alphabetlets... so far all their attempts have only succeeded in drawing the users into wanting just a little bit more..." and deeper into my code lair...Bwah-ha-haaa-heh-haaaAAA!!!

So far.

;-)

Christopher, another link from Fredrich Bastiat (the last worthwhile Frenchman), if you read no others, read "What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen", it's a short and illuminating essay.

If you look through the contents of these collections of his online, you'll see introductions to his works by F.A. Hayek, Henry Hazlitt, Walter E. Williams and he is much admired by Thomas Sowell as well. Joseph Schumpeter called him the "the most brilliant economic journalist who ever lived", and the Truths he wrote about 150 years ago, still hold true today.

There isn't a single bit demogogic economic flim-flam in the air today, that he didn't puncture way back then, and they still don't hold air.

It's worth reading.

6/23/2008 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

(Btw, the 'B.S.' was directed at the concept, not you. Sometimes I'm a bit too quick on the keyboard)

6/23/2008 02:15:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Julie said: "I'm trying really hard to parse this sentence, and it keeps coming up sans meaning."

Save your brain - it's a waste of time.

Some people see threads of different colors woven into patterns, interconnected, flowing back & forth, making a tapestry.

Others see discrete polka-dots on a single-color background, not touching each other, not interconnected, static on their own.

I'll venture your trying to parse discrete polka-dots to find threads that flow back & forth.

Not happening.

6/23/2008 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

No worries, Ximeze - I didn't try for long ;)

6/23/2008 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

From the 'doomed' link Walt linked to:"Americans need do no more than check the weather, look in their wallets or turn on the news for their daily reality check on a world gone haywire."

Yeah... imagine how good it must have been for the Founders as the greatest nation on earth made war on them and shipped them overseas for trial & hanging. Or how rosy it must have been for their slaves. Would have been hard for them to imagine how much more rough we have it today.

Or maybe for the generation coming of age in the mid-1860's... they'd just endured an unpopular and divisive war (with Mexico), and now were embroiled in a civil war... brother against brother, father against son... and the fab health care of "Here, bite this piece of wood while I saw your leg off. If you don't die of gangrine in the next day or two, you'll be fine". They would certainly have shuddered at our hardships and the dim future prospects before us.

Or the generation of WWI who lost hundreds of thousands in Europe while millions here were then killed by the flu... progressives were destroying the educational system, the Law and the Gov't... and booze was outlawed. I can just see them thanking their lucky stars that they would be spared our travails.

I can't bear to go on... things are just so bad now...

(What a pathetic bunch of temporal provincial whiners!)

6/23/2008 02:36:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

I have added that link to Fredreich to my list. I have been here before in other ways.

One of my core beliefs is that when my intuition shoves me hard it is Destiny talking to me. Since I believe that Destiny and God are linked, then I follow as best I can. Back in 1966 I was pushed very hard and chose to commit to the impetus.

Now I live and do my best to make sense of things from that place of destiny. I have it as the primary authority in my life for better or worse. It is what tells me that compassion trumps knowledge, or more correctly knowledge without compassion cannot be wisdom. Or more correctly, there can be no compassion without wisdom.

And this because that push that I received was merciful, compassionate, and wise. I attempt to model after it.

It is from that place that I can strongly feel capitalism falls far short even if it is the best system. That just means that human systems fall far short. I can live with that. Best for most still means cruel for some. For too many.

It reminds me of the story of saving Sodom if there is even one righteous man. God is merciful in this way. I am Sodom but I have one righteous piece.

6/23/2008 03:00:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

Van, I didn't take it that way

6/23/2008 03:02:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

Someone said it sounded like I was a whiner. But not about me. I am not one of the workers I am whining about. I am one who creates their difficulty by removing their jobs for them without permission!

6/23/2008 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "...So pretend, for the moment, that I'm kinda stupid..."

shyeah... as if! Why don't you ask me to hand you that piano while you're at it! Would you like me to try to imagine any cube shaped circles while I'm at it? Maybe a nice five sided triangle?

Sheesh.

;-)

6/23/2008 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Mushroom said "I wish to say that words cannot express my appreciation for my inclusion in the Mens' Club. Thanks to QP for informing me that I am now listed with that august company of illustrious luminaries and industrious looniaries."

Hey! Mushroom's got Blog!
(I'm a bit slow on the uptake)

Oh... that kind of Mushroom...
(see what I mean?)

6/23/2008 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Welcom to the incoonclusive Men's Club, Mushroom!

We all are lookin' foreward to more RaccoonOdelic Mushroom Medication! RMM(tm).

6/23/2008 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Hey, coongratulations Mushroom!

6/23/2008 03:33:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Christopher said:
"It is what tells me that compassion trumps knowledge, or more correctly knowledge without compassion cannot be wisdom."

"Or more correctly, there can be no compassion without wisdom."

???

Can't follow the logic of these two together as written. Care to clarify?

"I am one who creates their difficulty by removing their jobs for them without permission!"

Yet, you seize the high-ground by being compassionate. Would not the correct, ethical thing to do in this case be to quit the job that causes their difficulty?

6/23/2008 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger QP said...

Wish I'd had a "Julie Weekend", but I did have guests and am now am imbibing on some waste of critters who imbibed on some grapes, which has momentarily rendered my inadequate to post anything coherent, much less make the sign of the coon on my lawn.

Carry on.

6/23/2008 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Julie - I get the impression that for a lot of theists, it really boils down to just this. "There is no god because life wouldn't be fair without one." It's not even so much that you actually believe - rather, it's that waaaay deep down you really don't - and it scares you.

I don't argue like that. There are atheists that do, but I'm not one of them. I try to hold to Sydney Hook's maxim, "Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments." Depressingly few people do.

Even if you were right, why would that automatically make atheism factually incorrect? People have stumbled upon the truth for the wrong reasons before...

"Did you ever read a story, Ray, or watch a movie, or play a video game where there were no challenges for the main characters to face, no risks to be taken, and nothing to lose?"

"There's another, more fundamental issue with this idea. Courage and fortitude are - absolutely - virtues in our world. No argument there. This world is better for having them, and would be a really terrible place without them. But that's this world. In heaven, there won't be any concentration camps, right? So the trait of 'being willing to risk yourself to save people from concentration camps' would not be of any use, would make zero difference. Is courage still a good if there is no call for it? For people in heaven, courage will be superfluous for nothing will be at risk. Indeed, so far as I can see, every single 'good' highlighted by Swinburne - "courage... compassion, sympathy, penitence, forgiveness, reform, avoidance of repetition" - will be, according to every conception of heaven I've ever encountered, utterly unnecessary.

Why are traits which are so completely unnecessary to life in heaven supposed to be the hallmarks of those going there? How important are these 'goods' - how much of a justification for evil do they provide - if they are ultimately irrelevant to life in eternity? (Or, more disturbingly, what does it say about what life in heaven is like if those traits are vital? Or is life in heaven ultimately meaningless, in the exact same way it's claimed a paradise on Earth
would be?)"

6/23/2008 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

QP-
Was it the Grapes of Wrath? :^)

6/23/2008 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ray said "Why are traits which are so completely unnecessary to life in heaven supposed to be the hallmarks of those going there?..."

I'm not going to try to explain how things work in a 'place' which is not a place, and in any case which I know nothing about... but lets try this from the point of view of one of your A.I. experiments. Let's say you were facing the prospect of being alone for a very long time, and wanted to set up your AI generating program, in order to generate independent 'lifeforms' (minevian’s? was it?), which you would be able to converse with and keep you company.

Your plan to develop such worthy minevians, might be to provide an environment where the critters, by self selected actions (your programming them to do what you want them to would be rather pointless… why not just talk to yourself?) in order that they could develop to the point of not only being able to carry on an intelligent conversation, but in a fashion that would be pleasant, interesting, illuminating, etc.

The development gates you'd likely set in place, for those that would best provide entertainment and lasting friendship for you, would be to select for a learned ability for manners – no good being trapped with rude mievians…, patience… wouldn’t want to be forever interrupted by pushy minevians… good humor… a willingness to not only develop their ideas, but to develop those which they themselves found to be truthful and sound, even in the face of possible disagreement with you, but not in a disagreeable fashion… sound plausible?

Now this is an absurdly 'flat' example, but then so is your question. You seem to assume virtues to be of utilitarian use only, such as Courage to be a trait that has usefulness only in dangerous circumstances (you might want to start with rereading Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics), or Evil as being just doing bad things, rather than a supreme lack of Good traits.

This is like disliking sitting next to someone at dinner who uses no utensils, rolls their face in the plate, flings the drippings off of their lips and hands upon those sitting next to them, while hawking and spitting into the middle of the table solely because they didn't meet any of the requirements for etiquette and manners… such an evaluation would be to miss the whole point of etiquette and manners – it’s not the points of behavior that is sought, but the Good which such internalized points of behavior reflect.

Sort of like the way you generally miss the whole conception of The Good, The Beautiful and The True... I suppose.

6/23/2008 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

"I don't argue like that. There are atheists that do, but I'm not one of them. I try to hold to Sydney Hook's maxim, "Before impugning an opponent's motives, even when they legitimately may be impugned, answer his arguments."

Fair enough. Perhaps I did read too much into what you said, and I won't bother trying to defend my earlier statement.

The fact remains that I know something that you do not consider to be actual knowledge, and which it is impossible to prove to your satisfaction. Nothing I can say will change your mind, and nothing you can say will change mine.

We are at an impasse.

6/23/2008 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Julie, is that you?

6/23/2008 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Yeah, I decided it was time for a new sketch; it's been at least a year. My husband still thinks the eyes aren't quite right, but it's better than the previous version.

6/23/2008 09:08:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Only Van would pick a minivan to keep him company

6/23/2008 09:14:00 PM  
Anonymous walmart shopper said...

Just a hunch, but I'd guess that when courage isn't tied up working to save beauty, it's working to create beauty.

And when intelligence isn't figuring out how to help courage save truth, it does what it really enjoys doing, which is figuring out new ways to understand truth.

In other words, the virtues have perfectly good things to do even when they're not busy fighting rear guard actions against evil.

That's why heaven isn't just a waste of time.

Of course, a computer can't understand these things because it can't comprehend truth and beauty, nor for that matter courage or will or even intelligence.

6/23/2008 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Its not that the infinite God does not finitely dispense his power - he certainly does - with a finite world, how else are you to do it? Also, haven't we been through this in Bruce Almighty? Answer everyone's prayer no matter how minor and you get Chaos. God's a little too .. um.. experienced for that.

The real abiding truth is that God is indeed with you, (even if not presently dwelling within you in his Spirit...) even if you do not see him working. All of reality is a big rolling miracle, even if we get a bit unlucky and get crushed along the way. God looks at the state of the heart, not outward piety or material success.

In other words, nature - necessity - is indeed capricious, but it is a creation of God (either way) and in the grand scheme of things God is beyond it absolutely. God is in no way constrained to only save those who say a particular thing at a particular time or acquire some kind of special knowledge.

But woe to him who hates God. It is said that sometimes the saints will, in their human temerity pray for Satan that he will repent. In some cases, Old Scratch will appear and say (something like): It is not I who needs to repent, it is GOD!

The fathers say: This is hell.

Watch the gate to your city, lest it be taken while you are asleep.

6/23/2008 09:30:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ximeze said "Only Van would pick a minivan to keep him company"

nOOOoo... not me... Ray has some A.I. program on his site, minuvIans... or something like that.

(Not that mini Van's wouldn't be a good idea... prolly best not to go there though)

6/23/2008 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Walmart Shopper said "Of course, a computer can't understand these things because it can't comprehend truth and beauty, nor for that matter courage or will or even intelligence."

Bingo.

And of course is isn't just one virtue working to assist another... the Virtues are One, as different facets of dazzling diamond. Sooner speak of Courage apart from Patience, as remove to top surface of the diamond and expect it to still be of value, or even to be at all.

6/23/2008 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Am I stil awake?

(no)

Oh.

Uh-oh.

(g'night)

6/23/2008 09:41:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Julie:
How in the heck do you look at yourself for a sketch & get the eyes right?

Thus asketh the drawing-retard to whom stick-figures beith an insurmountable challenge.

6/23/2008 09:42:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Julie:
How in the heck do you look at yourself for a sketch & get the eyes right?

Thus asketh the drawing-retard to whom stick-figures beith an insurmountable challenge.

6/23/2008 09:42:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Hey, a twofur. Blogger must really luv me

6/23/2008 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

It's damn tricky, Ximeze. Especially when your critic first says, "Well, okay, but you look mad (the expression was neutral). You're usually smiling" Then, when you get the smile in he says, "yeah, that's better, but the eyes aren't smiling..." This, followed by "Now you look older."

*dramatic sigh*
It's sooo hard to be me...

:)

Walmart Shopper, what a lovely observation.

Now, time for some much needed rest.

6/23/2008 10:03:00 PM  
Anonymous walmart shopper said...

And of course is isn't just one virtue working to assist another... the Virtues are One, as different facets of dazzling diamond.

Yep - absolutely.

6/23/2008 11:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sentence in your post cannot be overemphasized:

But once you understand that truth -- not to mention, virtue and beauty -- are real and that man is free, you are no longer a Darwinist.

The Darwinist has finally done this to himself. He can no longer sit and look at something beautiful that came from the mind of God and just simply worship what God has wrought. Can a Darwinist look at a Sequoia, majestic and mighty and be filled with wonder?

Does his mind then contemplate that the Sequoia cannot exist alone? That in order for there to be that Sequoia, there had to be an earth, a sun, microbes, a spinning Galaxy, just the right gravity, just the right distance from the sun, just the right things happening for billions of years to produce the environment for that Sequoia, and all of it beauty added to beauty.

The Darwinist has started the process of Hell in himself, first a dead spirit, then a polluted intellect, then the worst of all, the loss of wonder, the loss of awe, until all is ordinary and to be exploited.

Kepler Sings

6/23/2008 11:21:00 PM  
Anonymous walmart shopper said...

Thanks Julie :)

6/23/2008 11:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Johan said...

River C:
"Also, haven't we been through this in Bruce Almighty? Answer everyone's prayer no matter how minor and you get Chaos."

Is it then just as simple as saying that God answers prayer then our will is in line with Gods will?

6/24/2008 12:37:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Kepler Sings said-

"The Darwinist has finally done this to himself. He can no longer sit and look at something beautiful that came from the mind of God and just simply worship what God has wrought. Can a Darwinist look at a Sequoia, majestic and mighty and be filled with wonder?"

Indeed! Perhaps a one dimensional wonder is possible for the Darwinist, but not a complete Oneder.
And certainly, the only worship possible for a Darwinist is the worship of self or another charismatic manimal.

6/24/2008 12:58:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Good point, Johan!
Personally, I believe that prayer, first and foremost, ought to be a communion; a communication with
G-d.

Of course there is far for than that, giving thanks, worship, listening, singing, conversing, and petition, just off the top of my head.

And we gno that God's will is for us to align ourselfs with Truth, and to the degree we do that, we are doin' His will, and our prayers are bein' answered, although we may not always understand the answer or even like it, initially.

Most of the time God answers my prayers with something far better than what I requested!

And often, the answer, or the questyon is in the form of Revelations, which are meant for us to realize, experience, grow into the understanding of, and to Become more of our O'tential.

I rarely pray for myself, but I do pray for others, and I pray to God, and all I prayers is for the realized Hope of His will, which is the best outcome (but I admit I do sort of wince sometimes when I do this, because I gno God's answer can be painful). :^)

6/24/2008 01:17:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Far MORE than that, not far for than that. Then again...LOL!

6/24/2008 01:19:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hey Julie!
I love the new portrait!
So...cheerful! :^)

6/24/2008 01:21:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Johan said...
Ray,
so purpose is made up by mind?

"Then what is the purpose of mind?"

Good one! Ha ha!

6/24/2008 01:24:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Since Nomo isn't here at the moment, here's a verse that ties in to what Johan is talkin' about cooncerning prayer:

Jeremiah 33:3 (King James Version)

3Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Plus, Rick loves that 333 thing! LOL!
I gotta admit, It's growin' on me as well.

6/24/2008 02:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Johan said...

Ben said:
"And we gno that God's will is for us to align ourselfs with Truth, and to the degree we do that, we are doin' His will, and our prayers are bein' answered, although we may not always understand the answer or even like it, initially."

Of course, He moves in mysterious ways, and that's how it has to be most of the time (for obvious reasons). It cannot be like rubbing the genie-lamp to get wishes granted. It's all that you stated, a way of communicating and having a two-way experience.

"Most of the time God answers my prayers with something far better than what I requested!"

So many good things has happened in my life since I turned and opened up to Him... And at that time I didn't even prayed. It's a bit scary too, because I do have the feeling that I want to get closer, but still "keep a distance". It's hard to explain, but I think I'm just not used to all this :)

Thanks for your input, Ben!

6/24/2008 04:17:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Julie - People can be moral or immoral with religion. People can be immoral without religion. I presume those points are uncontroversial.

My contention is that at least some people can be moral without religion. That's been my experience, and I'm not aware of any study that's shown anything but slight differences on average in terms of moral behavior between the religious and non-religious in similar circumstances.

You see religion as a strong determiner of morality. I've never seen evidence that it's anything but a mild determiner of morality. Consider what happens when police go on strike. God doesn't go away then, allegedly, but police do. Which one appears to have a stronger influence on moral behavior?

I don't think people are inherently good or bad. People are people. They have a deep streak of self-centeredness, but they also have a deep sense of community and fairness. Different circumstances encourage different ways of expressing those.

Under some circumstances, almost everyone will behave morally. Under other circumstances, almost everyone will behave immorally. Religion has historically been an important way that the desirable circumstances have been arranged, but it's not necessarily the only or best way.

6/24/2008 04:48:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

To Kepler Sings:

Darwinists wonder.
That's why they are Darwinists;
wonder led them there.

To ben:

Wonder alone, just
sitting there, not drawing forth,
is much like stupor.

To johan:

Mind's purpose is to
make purposes. I thought you
liked paradoxes?

(Haiku are just as
likely to work as aught else
and are much shorter.)

6/24/2008 05:22:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Johan: Yes. Look carefully at the Lord's statements about 'ask it in My Name it shall be done' (there's more to it than just that) and being conformed to God's will is an important part of that equation. Not to say you could never get a prayer answered otherwise, just don't ... expect a genie-like performance.

6/24/2008 05:37:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ray, I should probably leave it for Robin... but dividing a sentence into lengths of syllables, does not a Haiku make.

Syllabic selection alone won’t put life into a Haiku – it’s a good illustration of what your missing though.

6/24/2008 05:37:00 AM  
Anonymous matthew said...

Atheism and Agnosticism are often confused. (As are Atheists and Agnostics!) To believe that there is no God is not the same as not being convinced that there IS a God...

Whether it's 70% or more, most people do believe implicitly in a higher order or purpose. Whether they can articulate that or admit it, it comes out when they talk of morality-- for indeed, why act morally unless there's some deeper substrate to the universe? Why not steal or otherwise sin, if you could get away with it, unless there's some deeper Reason not to?

I myself am technically a half-convinced empirical agnostic-- which is to say, i'll believe it if I see it, but i HAVE seen a few things with my own eyes that science has no answers for, but various theologies or spiritualities DO...

gagdad's top-down, whole->part logic (as well as Michael Talbot's Holographic Universe) seem to hold a better framework to allow Mind to hold Science and G-d in a consistent logic, than other attempts I've seen...

6/24/2008 05:51:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Van -

Maybe it's just
senryu, or without life, but -
do you want verbose?

:->

Matthew -

In the real world,
can you 'get away with it'?
What, then, do you get?

6/24/2008 06:25:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Ben!

“Hey Buddy.”

:-)

~

Fortunately for me I figured out the “333” (to my satisfaction) before I traded in my home for an electron microscope and secret lair. Of course I was very far from that place. That joke means something no matter how unfunny it is. There’s probably a certain amount of scientist in everybody. We’re observing, interpreting, accepting and rejecting data all the time. Some just have more energy and determination than others for certain types of inflo. And if I lost all my links and notes and data tomorrow, the scientist would still be there; because it’s the quality, stupid.

The short answer to the 3s is, the mystery of these “sightings” did not reside external to me. (Long story, Ray – but I’ll send you a link (no joke) That was the tricky part. Cold numbers they were. Like Bob’s symbols. The mystery resided with-in me, a “who” who just knew they must mean something. They had to. I’ll tell you, I look back at the old me and giggle too. 40 years of picking up all these things; not just the 3s, way more nouns begging for verbs. Putting them in the box. Until one fine day I was finally determined ripe. Take a bath, He said. Or the tub was full with old tired water. Either way, the point is, it wasn’t entirely up to me; no different than it is for anyone else. A matter of time? A blink to some. How could I not love how it happened – it was in perfect proportion to me. A custom fit, eventually, but I would grow into it, my father said.

And Ray, honestly, I am sorry for getting personal (in the wrong way) a while back. But you should know that “you started it” when you rang the door bell. This was back when your name was Sorcerer (unless I mixed you two) and it was how your sales pitch offended from my perspective. I apologized then, and most every reply to you since has been with that little giggle you can’t see. It was like you were trying to tell me I didn’t have that tuna sandwich for lunch. When in fact it was the best one I ever had.

RE “my perspective” and that detachable scientist quality, here is an observation: The Master of Links (not you Nomo) seems incapable of re-pairing the ultimate one. Now, that’s not a judgment. An observable paradox at least. Which shows this scientist, once again, it’s ultimately not up to you. Or any “you”. Or any of us. It can’t possible be any other way, if God exists. And He does, of course.

I think it was Christopher who said something like, “either they all get to go, or none of us do.” I believe that, and believe I read that somewhere too – Tomberg, I think. (That’s a joke that rhymes with, “It’s 3:33am. Do you know A)where your links are? Or B) why you are linking them.” Inside joke. It’s a matter of time and how you spend it. And believe me, Ray, I offer you a seat so close to me than Hitler, Ray, you would not believe it. We’re buddies compared to that other guy.

Anyway, your suspense is over. We may be making it harder for Ray by replying to him. Trying to talk him into what you can’t talk him into. Can I say more? Did I say ignore? No. I think he needs some leisure time, “leisure” properly understood. I could be wrong and defer to the higher coons. But I don’t think so. There’s clearly something eating at you Ray and we all know it. This may be wonderful news.

Ray, if you found out you were wrong about a great deal, would you chuck the old notebook? Of course you would. Now don’t forget it.

That’s this morning’s obsermeditation from 30,000 feet. Thanks for flying with us.
Over and out.

6/24/2008 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Two split sentences
Commas, inflections, et al
Selah options: none.

Poetry in truth
Was always more about this
Breathe and speak the beat

Get me a slide rule
Get me a pen and paper
Still not a haiku

To wit, the silence
More important than the sound
hear Ahmed Jamal

Walls are not the house
But the space in between them
Is the place of life.

Five, seven, five now
Break the rules of good grammar
Understand me, still?

6/24/2008 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

By the way, my Branding book said that creative professionals are good at 'Most Advanced Yet Acceptable' solutions. Or, Maya.

I just said to myself:

"Self, how true that is. How true that is."

6/24/2008 07:37:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Ricky - The apology is welcome, but the attacks weren't a big deal. (Being indifferent to getting knocked around is not the same as being unaware of it. :-> ) I intended no offense, but there's enough obnoxious types out there that it's easy to develop a hair trigger.

Like Julie says, y'all think you've had an experience that I haven't. I don't even deny the experience, I'm just dubious about the interpretation thereof. Very sensible, sober people can be convinced they've seen UFOs, too. Until I experience either, I'm going to have to be skeptical.

I've been wrong before and changed my mind. Maybe not as often as I should, but that's being human for you. Like I said, the trick in life is to make new mistakes.

I also think that the notion that something is 'worrying' me is roughly on a par with Julie's psychoanalysis, or the remote diagnosis of Asperger's. But I do agree that a point of diminishing returns approaches on swift wings.

A small concluding haiku for now:

Mosaic's meaning
is not in those little dots;
still, they must be there.

Why look at the dots?
Because to make mosaics
you need the pieces.

Arrangement begets
the orthogonalilty.
Levels don't conflict.

6/24/2008 07:55:00 AM  
Anonymous matthew said...

ray,

anyone who steals or does other 'unacceptable' things (say, larry craig or elliot spitzer) seems to think they can, indeed, 'get away' with 'it'. Some thrill of doing something forbidden. Where do they take it? off into their own subjective experience, I suppose. Forbidden by whom? Sometimes, by their very selves...

yet neither our illustrious 'caught' sinning politicians, or those of us who don't get caught, can avoid the seeming underlying moral web that DOES dictate to us, both internally and externally, that certain things are indeed Wrong. Collectively we do define NAMBLA and such as wrong.

Admittedly, different societies do seem to define such collective-substrate morality differently (ancient Greeks and pedophilia, or Saudi or Pakistani Islam and rape) but even they wouldn't deny that there IS some sort of basic morality that we all should and deep-down-do subscribe to.

(I think that Hindi/Indian culture does seem to have a place somewhere in its philosophy that either transcends or dares to defy that moral-base-reality. western nihilism also tries to, with less success.)

6/24/2008 07:56:00 AM  
Anonymous christopher said...

I love your haikus.
There is poem, there is verse.
Hearty doggerel!

6/24/2008 08:52:00 AM  

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