Monday, November 24, 2008

The Word is Sufficient to Your Whys (12.09.11)

So, specialization is a kind of hypertrophy, or imbalance, that leads to a spiritual impasse. In most people the imbalance is obvious, in others more subtle.

UF mentions the guru or fakir who can do what we cannot do, for example, lay on a bed of nails or walk on hot coals. I am reminded of this fellow, who can actually make his brain waves stop when he meditates, for what it's worth. Which apparently isn't much, since he can't even recognize the elementary fact that Tony Robbins is a grotesque con artist who takes advantage of lost, stupid and vulnerable people. As such, one must ask: if this is enlightenment, then truly, what is it good for?

UF writes that the Cross is "mortifying and vivifying at the same time," for it represents the law of evolutionary growth, which is none other than "perpetual dying and becoming." This will lead not to "impasses of specialization, but rather 'throughways' of purification -- which lead to illumination and end in union." The Raccoon chooses the transmutation of perpetual death and rebirth over the folly of mechanical tower-building. The growth that results is a side effect of a life properly lived, not something you attempt to "impose" on your life from the outside with "techniques" or "secret knowledge" or "expensive platitudes" -- not even from Tony Robbins:

The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how (Mark 5:26, cited in MOTT).

Anyone who teaches "techniques" for knowing God is lying to you. For how does one teach real sincerity, real aspiration, real surrender? These are all a result of interior transformations. As UF puts it, the "lotus centers" awaken naturally "in the light, warmth and life of the true, and beautiful and the good, without any special technical method being applied."

Similarly, there is no place for "ready made answers to all questions," in that a genuine spiritual question is a crisis and the answer is "a state of consciousness resulting from the crisis." That is a point worth emphasizing: spiritual growth is consciousness of a reality; it is a new "container," not merely a different content in the same old container. But the new container will transform -- either suddenly or gradually -- all of the old content.

Have you noticed how all of the false (yes, a question can be false), stupid, or petty questions instantly evaporate amidst a genuine existential crisis? This is why we know that the "global warming crisis" is anything but. A real crisis has a liberating quality, in that it liberates us from all of the petty concerns that usually rule our lives.

It makes me wonder if this isn't one of the reasons why there was so much more wisdom in the past, and why our universities have become such bullshit factories. I suppose that if you are a lifetime tenured ward of the state, it "liberates" you to spend all of your time fantasizing about the evils of George Bush, or manufacturing crises about "torture" or civil rights for terrorists. It's almost as if the absence of real crises causes the tenured to invent them. One could say the same of Hollywood.

This was one of the purposes of the symbol system outlined in chapter four of my book -- to avoid the impasse that results from religion becoming a mechanical system. The point is not to replace religion, but merely to help prevent it from becoming saturated with a fixed and mechanical meaning. This is something that human beings habitually do, that is, attempt to contain reality within their own little manmade container, when that is strictly impossible. The moment God becomes contained and saturated, then you're no longer dealing with God, but with your own container, or graven image.

This is why the very last thing John says is a caution to the reader that if one were to attempt to chronicle the whole story of Jesus, "even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written" (John 21:25). Is this not a severe rebuke to the fundamentalist bibliolaters? In other words, the number of potential books exceeds the carrying capacity of the world container itself.

It all comes down to the error of seeing the world atomistically instead of holistically. This also leads to the ideas of "surgery" and "divorce," or, in psychoanalytic parlance, splitting and projective identification (i.e., fantasied evacuation of the contents of one's own mind).

As UF writes, "it is the marriage of opposites' and not their divorce" which constitutes the proper approach. Importantly, this is not a "compromise," but a true union. UF notes that "the 'lower self' is the cross of the 'true Self' and the 'true Self' is the cross of the 'lower self.'" This reminds me of Wilde's comment that the only cure for the senses is the soul, and that the only cure for the soul is the senses. Each might well say of the other: can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

It would be easy to, like the atheist, simply project and dissipate the true Self. Likewise, it would be easy to, like the fundamentalist, split off and repress the lower self. But we want to transform and divinize the lower self in a harmonious union of matter and spirit. In the absence of this fluid and dynamic union, the mind hardens and desiccates into a tower that can never keep pace with mother evolution. Hence the thunderbolt from father, which, by the way, Joyce describes on page 1 of Finnegans Wake as sounding like

bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunn-trovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk!

It is the same with the marriage of science and religion. I have no trouble marrying the two in such a way that each benefits from the union and produces particularly beautiful children. Just yesterday I read about one of Chesterton's novels, in which a priest is disguised as a common thief, and is eventually discovered. When the priest asks how he sniffed him out, Father Brown answers with words to the effect of, "Easy. You attacked reason. It's bad theology."

But one could say the same of the modern atheists. We know they are thieves because they attack sound theology, which is bad logic. Although in their case it's grand larceny, because they steal from the western tradition in order to destroy it. Yes, "the mechanical sciences have divided the clothing of the Word and they dispute amongst themselves for priority in the application of the universal principle," or attempt to absolutize their little corner of His tunic, still fresh with warm blood.

In contrast, we do not "in any way take part in dividing the clothing of the crucified Word, not in drawing lots for its tunic." Rather, we strive "to see the crucified Word clothed in appearance by the mechanical world." Which is why the Word is sufficient to all our whys.

56 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Bob

Your words are filled with a light that is a defense against the integral creepiness.

11/24/2008 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

UF writes that the Cross is "mortifying and vivifying at the same time," for it represents the law of evolutionary growth, which is none other than "perpetual dying and becoming." This will lead not to "impasses of specialization, but rather 'throughways' of purification -- which lead to illumination and end in union."

When I read this in the book, it went right by me -- but today, I was able to read it "in my own language," and it looks like a statement fraught with meaning. To identify towers, or "specializations," as blockages to the free-flow of truth ----> Truth, lets me transfer it from words to personal experience. So that's nice.

Not many comments yet, but a fine post, Bob!

11/24/2008 12:28:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>A real crisis has a liberating quality, in that it liberates us from all of the petty concerns that usually rule our lives.<<

It certainly can inspire one to start asking the Big Questions, eg., what am I doing here, what is my purpose in life, where is this circus headed?, etc. And it can get one off the fence that divides Good from Evil.

A curious listlessness in the Zeitgeist today . . . or is it a crisis creeping on lil cat feet? . . .

11/24/2008 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Couple of studies today - one you'll probably like, one not so much.

11/24/2008 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

But one could say the same of the modern atheists. We know they are thieves because they attack sound theology, which is bad logic.

I thought the objection was that they only attacked strawmen positions? It's so hard to keep track anymore.

11/24/2008 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous bob f. said...

"...there is no place for "ready made answers to all questions," in that a genuine spiritual question is a crisis and the answer is "a state of consciousness resulting from the crisis.""

Over the last few of years I've noticed that my perspective has changed over some basic issues. Items that I thought I had thought about and was pretty clear on, such as abortion, have, without any effort or further 'thought' on my part, morphed into something new.
For example,I moved from a thoroughly libertarian position-abortion is a private matter-that focused exclusively on the 'right' of the individual, to a great concern for the lives of the unborn and for the hearts of women who might choose to kill their unborn children.
The most interesting part of this is that I didn't "do" anything to bring about this change. It seems to be the unintended byproduct of other changes in my life that have lead me to see things differently.
There's an old hymn that asks, "Open my eyes that I may see...Spirit Divine"

11/24/2008 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Of course, there's a good tower, too: the watch-tower... which represents not specialization or imprisonment, but loftiness and detachment? Hmm.

11/24/2008 12:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

New Study Proves that Liberal Wackademia Nuts Can Prove Anything They Want With a Study

11/24/2008 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

I opened the door the other day to find a copy of the Watchtower on the stoop. The wind began to howl so I shut the door.

11/24/2008 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger gumshoe said...

"the tower".

seems safe to consider it an analogue of the tower of babel.

a mechanical attempt
to reach heaven.

Walt said:
"When I read this in the book, it went right by me -- but today, I was able to read it "in my own language," and it looks like a statement fraught with meaning. To identify towers, or "specializations," as blockages to the free-flow of truth ----> Truth, lets me transfer it from words to personal experience. So that's nice."

reading Walt's comment gave me an image of a globe covered in towers,
monuments to ...to what?

ego?
self-worship?

and what,perhaps,does the image say about Manhattan?

"Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made"
- Isaiah 2:8

a recent pic of the Dubai skyline shows the same impulse at work:

http://tinyurl.com/5dz986

11/24/2008 01:18:00 PM  
OpenID kaffepaus said...

Bob stated that:
"The Raccoon chooses the transmutation of perpetual death and rebirth over the folly of mechanical tower-building. The growth that results is a side effect of a life properly lived, not something you attempt to 'impose' on your life from the outside with 'techniques' or 'secret knowledge' or 'expensive platitudes' -- not even from Tony Robbins:"

...

Nope, we better listen to the Man:

"No Guru, no method, no teacher
Just you and I and nature
And the Father and the
Son and the Holy Ghost
In the garden wet with rain
No Guru, no method, no teacher
Just you and I and nature and the holy ghost
In the garden, in the garden, wet with rain
No Guru, no method, no teacher
Just you and I and nature
And the Father in the garden"

- Van Morrison


/Johan

11/24/2008 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how

This is a most neglected parable because you really can't make any money off it. How are you supposed to build a ministry telling people, hey, do what you're supposed to do and eventually everything will appear. It's kind of like the opposite of "if you build it, they will come".

If you leave it alone, it will show up.

The kingdom is always organic, hidden, delayed and, for most people, surprising.

11/24/2008 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger Warren said...

Even if the study proving that religious belief causes everything from acne to earthquakes were true, it would be totally irrelevant to the question of religion's truth or falsity. There is overwhelming evidence, after all, that science and materialism lead to all sorts of horrendous consequences, but that doesn't cause any of our "best and brightest" to go around saying that those things aren't true. So I guess I don't get the point.

And regarding the article itself, what kind of utter retard would write something like this:

"the US, where the majority believes in a creator rather than the theory of evolution"

What a waste of time. I need to get me a pair of Ray-Bans....

11/24/2008 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Gecko said...

A real crisis, Will,like this for instance?
="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHPOzQzk9Qo"

11/24/2008 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Gecko said...

Apologies for my hopeless linking ability.

11/24/2008 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

I think Wilber is doing a valuable service by proving that consciousness is nonlocal and does just fine without all those frenetic brain waves.

This may all be obvious to you, but it is bound to surprise a lot of Europeans. And they are people too, despite some wear and tear and icky smear on their souls.

But obviously stopping your brainwaves is no way to save your soul, or we'd all be saved instantly eventually.

11/24/2008 02:35:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Apology accepted, Gecks.

Way I see it, first comes the crisis, then the decision (doesn't "crisis" mean "to decide"?), and then, assuming the decision is along self-abnegation lines, comes the crucifixion.

11/24/2008 02:46:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

BTW, Ray - re: your self-comparison to Mrs. Leslie Godwin the other day:

I really don't mean to be insulting when I say that you generally have nothing of substance to say with respect to the tone and direction of the One Cosmos blog. I understand that it's simply not your schtick - the blog's depth is lost on you, so of course you regard it as deluded fantasy. For all I know, you might personally be a capital fellow, nonetheless you're just one of those folks innocent of genuine spiritual insight. That's okay.

But please. Mrs. Godwin takes her spiritual search seriously, meaning that she approaches it in humility and with a willingness to self-sacrifice. That in itself is a grace.

You, on the other hand, come in here with not much more than a preening ego and a callow desire to show off how smart you are. You are aware of this, aren't you?

To compare your ego-strutting - which would encompass your "prayers" to the "gods" - with Mrs. Godwin's desire for a humble and selfless spirituality is beyond asinine.

11/24/2008 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger CrypticLife said...

"I thought the objection was that they only attacked strawmen positions?"

Ray, you're confused. This site has nothing to do with atheists. That's why Bob never mentions them.

11/24/2008 04:11:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Ray, correlation is not always causation. At least once a year I have to point this out because there is yet another study showing that healthy, pretty people have more sex than sick, ugly, dying people, which the local media unanimously take as proof that sex will make you healthy, pretty and long-lived.

To conclude about causality, we need control groups that start out equal. The US and the UK are hardly that, since the people who emigrated did so voluntarily at best, being chased out or deported at worst. There was little if any randomness in it. The docile stayed, the rebels went. Whether these traits be conveyed through genes or memes, they would effectively SORT the population in Europe and the Americas into two different phenotypes.

Incidentally, I have had the displeasure of watching my native Norway go from predominantly Christian to overwhelmingly secular (with some Muslim) over these 50 years. Guess what has happened to crime here.

11/24/2008 04:21:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

bob f:
You're not the first person I've heard speak of a sea-change in attitude toward abortion. My experience is the same. I too sort of woke up one day to find myself on the other side of a fence that I wasn't aware I'd crossed. Michael Medved recently interviewed Joe Eszterhas, writer of screen classic Showgirls. Eszterhas was promoting a book- a story of his own conversion experience. Interestingly, he told the story of how his position on abortion changed after being on the receiving end of grace. Gosh- sounds like a litmus test, or something.

JWM

11/24/2008 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Gecko said...

Another attempt thanks to a Beaky racoonmendation.

11/24/2008 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Gecko said...

Sigh. Sorry again.
Watch on You Tube The Bright Side of Life. Clearly I am a hopeless linkage case.

11/24/2008 09:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

"I am reminded of this fellow, who can actually make his brain waves stop when he meditates, for what it's worth."

Hell, a bottle of rum can do that.

11/24/2008 09:17:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Sooo that guy is happy because he's brain dead?

Brain dead! What is it good for? absolutuley nothin'.

Guffaw-ha ha! Irony is lost on the brain dead.

11/24/2008 09:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i've been reading this blog for over two years and read Bob's book, too. i aspire to be as well informed/ enlightened as Bob and all the regular Racoons who i really enjoy (you gno who you are).
i freely admit that i'm not in your league but i get such a rush sometimes reading the discourse that i'm convinced my real self is 'getting it'! too many resonating entries defy coincidence.i want ALL of you to know how much this lurker appreciates your efforts!
Sean

11/24/2008 09:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The biblical account of creation is followed by an account of the reason for and consequence of the evolution of mankind. This account is 'the fall of man' the forbidden fruit so poisonous that it could not even be toutched may be snake eggs.hence the enmity between monkeys and snakes. Then there was the change of diet as narrated and of course selfconsciousness. Charles darwin having studied theology,so had the seed for his theory which sprung into life when the conditions were right.

11/24/2008 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

IRT Galileo bein' transcended, Ray replied with a (surprise!) Isaac Asimov article.

Natuarally, Asimov gets it wrong right off the bat (which I'll address here rather than the older post):

"The basic trouble, you see, is that people think that "right" and "wrong" are absolute; that everything that isn't perfectly and completely right is totally and equally wrong."

The basic trouble with Asimov's assumption is that he doesn't understand that absolute right n' wrong isn't the trouble with his assertion, but rather his assumption that those who belive in absolute Truth also believe that everything that falls short of absolute Truth (or "right" as he puts it) is absolutely a lie.

But I expect Ray and Asimov to make such silly assumptions.
Where has Bob or Raccoons ever said that?

Obviously, there is some distance between Absolute Truth and absolute lies (or right n' wrong).

And obviously, for Raccoons anyway, we realize there can be value in something not quite absolutely true or right, but that doesn't stop us from striving for an alignment, or a following of the absolute Truth.

To be satisfied with lesser truth's, or lies is to remain static or devolve...and to die instead of grow.

I could easily go into greater detail and thoroughly trash Asimov's false argument, but there's no need to go that far since Asimov, like Ray, have totally missed the point.

11/24/2008 10:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see what the Raccoon objection to Ray is. All he does is point out inconsistencies and glitches in the Raccoon ideology.

He never says its wrong; he just enjoys pointing out flawed parts of the doctrine as asserted here.

I think he does "get it" completely. He's just having a little fun with you.

He ain't no atheist, that's for sure. "Hu" can tell. Yeh, one of THOSE. Eckankar, friends.

11/24/2008 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Nymous,
I believe we just read Bob's explanation that contradictions are a GOOD thing. Obviously that only applies to fruitful contradictions, that is to say, transformative contradictions. People think Zen koans are so awesome, perhaps because they are not FED UP with Zen from kindergarten onward. But if you can get rid of the old wine, you might find some "koans" right here at home.

11/24/2008 11:26:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

People ask, if God is almighty, can he create a stone so heavy that he cannot lift it?

But God has already done more than that. He has created a door with a lock so strong that he cannot break it. This is the door of the heart.

The greatest of kings made himself a beggar at the door of his beloved.

How irrational isn't that?

11/24/2008 11:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The biblical account of creation is followed by an account of the reason for and consequence of the evolution of mankind. This account is 'the fall of man' the forbidden fruit so poisonous that it could not even be toutched may be snake eggs.hence the enmity between monkeys and snakes. Then there was the change of diet as narrated and of course selfconsciousness. Charles darwin having studied theology,so had the seed for his theory which sprung into life when the conditions were right.

11/24/2008 11:55:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Clean up on aisle three...

11/25/2008 04:15:00 AM  
Anonymous The Hanged Man said...

Geesh, Ray goes through rope like it’s goin otta style.

11/25/2008 05:14:00 AM  
Blogger Captain Fezziwig said...

You know what they say on the waterfront, “If you can’t tie a knot, tie a lot of ‘em.”

11/25/2008 05:15:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Anyone who teaches "techniques" for knowing God is lying to you. For how does one teach real sincerity, real aspiration, real surrender? These are all a result of interior transformations."

As above, so below. For a similar reason, I always get a pained 'kick' out of those who call themselves 'Educators', as if they are conceptual lathe operators "for an extra $20K I'll put a double groove in your left hemi & you'll be an intellectual!", or as Robbins would put it "Buy my book and I'll show you how to Unleash the power within! Or pay $1,000, and see me show you how for 4 days, but if your REEEEAALLYYY want unleashed power pay $1,200K and get Executive level Power! Or VIP power for just $16,000! Powerful! I'll push your buttons just like Ray says I can! All you got to do is gimme mo money to make me want to make you powerful!"

Oh my.

You can guide, point out, impart facts and instructions on how to assemble modules, but education is something that has to come from the inside, the integrations have to take place in your mind, they can't be installed. More so for higher Vertical,

"The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how "

Truth abides, it grows as you learn to gno it.

"As UF puts it, the "lotus centers" awaken naturally "in the light, warmth and life of the true, and beautiful and the good, without any special technical method being applied." "

Do and it will be done unto you.

11/25/2008 05:31:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

tiltaninny says "...biblical account of creation is fol..."

Dupree! Clean up on aisle 1.

11/25/2008 05:40:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Warren, Magnus - I rather expected that response. Funny, no one (except me) expressed 'study doubt' when the results went the way you liked. Indeed, it was called 'proof'. Oh, well.

And Will - If I wanted to 'show off how smart I am', I'd probably do it somewhere where I'd actually get positive feedback. Not really the case here.

Also, I'm not the one who compared my 'spiritual search' to hers, she's the one who did so. She suggested the very wording I used. Perhaps she was simply being exceptionally charitable, but I can't see how I was being disrespectful, let alone insulting.

11/25/2008 06:27:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Ben - And obviously, for Raccoons anyway, we realize there can be value in something not quite absolutely true or right, but that doesn't stop us from striving for an alignment, or a following of the absolute Truth.

And gee... that's what science took from the Galilean/Copernican model. It was 'more right' than the geocentric model. Now it's been 'transcended' by models that are 'even more right'. We might not ever get to 'Absolute Truth' (in the same way you can't cool something to 'absolute zero') but we can approach it.

You said that Galileo was transcended, but the Church is still here. I agree... but that may not mean exactly what you think it means.

11/25/2008 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Ray,
Study doubt is habitual with me, but I don't necessarily intervene unless I believe the stupidity to be harmful.

Given that I was alive at a time when societies went to great lengths to root out religion for the sake of a better society (right across the border from my native Norway, actually), I think that's a pretty dangerous path to start down.

11/25/2008 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Magnus - People also want to 'root out atheism' - and in past centuries it was done roughly the same way as the Soviet Union went about their project, albeit on a smaller scale. (Of course, everything else was on a smaller scale, too.) There's a difference between argument, exhortation, and discussion and violent repression.

Another 'transcending' along Ben's lines - the Church can no longer put people under house arrest, no matter how rude and politically incompetent they are. And, thankfully, neither can the 'scientific establishment'.

11/25/2008 07:48:00 AM  
Anonymous sehoy said...

To Julie, very Off Topic. Sorry.

I followed a link in the comments here to a previous post of comments. I saw that you had ordered the book I had recommended. I'm honored that you did so. I'm sorry it wasn't what you were looking for though.

Perhaps you might try Edith Stein? Here's a good place to check her out: ttp://www.catholiceducation.org/links/search.cgi

I was thrilled to discover that you have been going to Mass. I'm a pretty recent revert to Catholicism myself.

Best wishes to you from a raccoon wanna be. sehoy5@hotmail.com

11/25/2008 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Morning, Sehoy! While the book wasn't quite what I was looking for, I still greatly appreciate the recommendation. And I will consider Edith Stein, as well. I think part of my trouble is just that, having been a reader here for so long I needed something more esoteric. A couple years ago, it probably would have been perfect.

I blame Bob ;)

My company is waking up, so I'll have to get back to being a good host in meatspace. In case I forget to say it, I hope everyone has a wonderful and grace-filled Thanksgiving!

11/25/2008 08:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke 11:35 .isaiah 5:20.

11/25/2008 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Ray, there comes a time when certain things go beyond falsification. When we say 'what does this or that mean' we will come up with different answers based on our fixed ideas. The man who claims to have no fixed ideas still has them, he just has forgotten where he put them. Or as the hacker koan is concerned; if you close your eyes you have no preconceptions.

Your primary issue is that you don't see the personal aspect of the Absolute. So you are able to mock us because you believe basically what we believe, but don't believe you believe it. When Bob says "An atheist does not experience (x) and (y)" and you proceed to say, "Oh, but I do, and I'm an atheist" - your fixed idea, that is, that you are an atheist, causes you to misinterpret Bob's meaning. What he's saying - which is hidden from you for whatever reason - is that you're not actually an atheist at all. It seems like there's a fixation on how things are said, more than what is meant when they are said.

Don't know what's in it for you being an Atheist, or rather, redefining the terms in a basically Christian worldview to disinclude God? If it is because the terms are not precise enough or subject to misinterpretation, that goes without saying. "There is no way to speak in such a way that you may not be misunderstood."

As for approximating the truth? If the material world is compounded, complex and changeable, yes, our knowledge of it increases as we study it deeper and further. There is no doubt of that. But the means by which we can comprehend the material world involves things that are themselves fixed (like how we fix a control variable to be able to discern the difference between two groups?) Without them we slide into nonsense; the subjective and objective, the relative and absolute are two sides of the same coin for us. No understanding of the world can be entirely objective, since there is at least one subject in it (ourselves.)

If you reject all creeds as inaccurate, well, you can do that. The point is to die to our egoic lower mind and selfishness - something that is done through a spiritual practice and not in our discussions here - part of what we discuss here is side-results of that effort that each of us do on our own. What you are contributing is unknown, except to provide a kind of amusement that while we will not reject, is not necessary either.

You've got a lot to sort out, man, and I'm sure I don't know even the tip of it. Trying to keep Bob factually correct would be easier if you actually understood what he was saying, yes?

But I throw this stone at an empty wall; fear not, you are already correct in your rebuttal before it is written! Write it not.

11/25/2008 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

River - Look carefully. I haven't mocked y'all. I've tried to be very careful to address ideas and not people in my comments, and pointing out what I see as inconsistencies or inaccuracies. If you can come up with an instance where I actually insulted or mocked a person, I'd be happy to learn from it so I could avoid it in the future.

But speaking of 'hard to keep track anymore' - now I'm not even an atheist.

Physics has "F=ma". This relates force, mass, time, and distance. But given that relation, once you've defined three of them the fourth just 'falls out'. In the British system, force and time and distance are fundamental (pounds, foot, second) and mass is derived (slug, the mass that one pound of force accelerates at 1ft/sec^2). In the metric, time and mass and distance are fundamental (second, kilogram, meter), and force is derived (Newton, 1 kg*m/sec^2).

I think we have different things we regard as fundamental but we recognize a lot of the same relationships. Still, that doesn't make me a true Scotsman.

11/25/2008 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

I don't buy it no more, Ray, you aren't an atheist. Get over it and find a spiritual teacher. If you'll give me your location I can recommend a good Orthodox Church.

11/25/2008 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

River - One of the reasons I've been dropping by here is to - let's see, how did I put it - "I'm not 'proselytizing non-faith'. I don't plan on 'deconverting' people. But if someone is going to disagree with me, it might as well be with what I actually believe instead of a caricature thereof. Maybe by promoting understanding I can defuse some of the tension and prejudice."

I don't fit the model you have of atheists. You conclude that therefore I'm not an atheist. I respectfully submit the alternative possibility that your model may be wrong...

(Besides, if the teacher hasn't appeared, wouldn't that be a sign the student isn't ready?)

11/25/2008 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Ray,
The Middle Ages was centuries ago. The Soviet Union was in my lifetime. China is still around. In Tibet, the blood is hardly even dry.

More importantly, this resentment against religion (particularly Christianity) is clearly the motivating factor of the article you linked to. If they had been thinking scientifically, they would not simply have compared two countries with a completely different history and genetic makeup.

It is incredibly un-scientific to just observe that the more religious US has more crime and STDs. If you want to check whether the religion is in fact the culprit, you would have to make control groups where other factors are kept equal as much as possible.

So within each country, do you predict that the more devout a person is, the more likely he is to rape, kill, steal or commit adultery?

11/25/2008 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ray said "Look carefully. I haven't mocked y'all. I've tried to be very careful to address ideas..."

Heh. eh...ahh ha-ahem.

Ray, you have criticized ideas (meaning you have said "No... you can't proove that, look at this link, here's something that contradicts it!"), you have pointed to assertions, assexertions, claims and scientiferized political statements, which you claim proove that the ideas discussed here are misguided or groundless.

In keeping with your jester title, all you have to say is made all the more hilarious since at the root of all of your statements lies the skepticism of Hume & co, and a denial of Free Will, which ultimately means a denial of our (or your) ability to know anything at all, or for it to be able to matter all, if for some reason you somehow ever did decide to claim that we did, or could, know anything at all.

What you have not done, is put forth any ideas of your own (ideas, not criticisms or contradictions), or offer any support for your whinycisms or criticisms.

If you ever manage you promised critique of Free Will, I'd be interested in seeing it, in the meantime, if you ever manage to work up a substantial position of your own, you know where to find mine at my site - barring that, since you truly have nothing to say, beyond a token mock, I'm done with you.

11/25/2008 06:04:00 PM  
Anonymous sehoy said...

Hi Julie!

Julie:"I think part of my trouble is just that, having been a reader here for so long I needed something more esoteric. A couple years ago, it probably would have been perfect.

I blame Bob ;)"

Boy, ain't that the truth. I read that particular book before I stumbled onto One Cosmos. It's possible I wouldn't appreciate it anymore either.

I can't tell you how many books I've had to give
away or consign to the trash can in the last few years.

Movies too. I make deer fascinators from the discarded DVDs. They spin and catch the light and keep the deer out of the veg garden.

I've been ruined. :)

Happy Thanksgiving.

11/26/2008 05:31:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Van, on the other hand, has no problem going after people. :->

11/26/2008 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Magnus - Will the 1980s do for you?

11/26/2008 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Van, on the other hand, has no problem going after people. :->"

No interest in going after people at all... but flawed or bad ideas, that's another matter.

Catnip.

(insert favorite passive/agressive smiley here)

11/26/2008 12:14:00 PM  
Anonymous son of a preacher man said...

That article does not answer Magnus' question.

I find it amusing in articles like that when the person who is crying for seperation between church and state then turns around and uses the power of the state to silence other religious view points.

11/26/2008 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ray, will the 2008's do for you?

11/26/2008 08:36:00 PM  

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