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Annihilation, Afterlife, Majesty & Immaculate Conception
Posted: 16 March 2007 03:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 211 ]  
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[quote author=“homunculus”][quote author=“burt”]. . .
. . .  Religion arises, in whatever primitive form, when the goal of survival becomes transcendental.  If you are referring to religions with established temples, priests, and all those accouterments then you are looking as a late manifestation of the phenomenon.

And let’s not forget the invention that allowed the creation of fundamentalism’s greatest asset: the written word. Until the invention of writing, religions were uninfected with fundamentalism, at least in the way I define it: reliance on scriptures as being holy and perfect. Writing is a very recent invention, and therefore so is the type of religion that is most objectionable.

Burt, I haven’t had as much free time as usual today and have lost track of the location of your comments on the Greeks having given rise (or birth) to Judaism-Christianity-Islam, so I don’t have your quote. You’re absolutely right, of course. The Greeks were almost frightfully creative. . . no, delete the “almost.” Look at what they sowed and how much difficulty, as well as beauty, has resulted. My hats off to the ancient Greeks for their brilliant achievements, but my take on the world is more humble than theirs. Less ambitious, you might say. Less provocative, confident, domineering. We’re obviously stuck with what we have, so we might as well do our best to appreciate the positive while struggling to prune away what is unfortunate.

I don’t think the Greeks can claim credit for Judism, but certainly their philosophical ideas were taken into Christianity and later had a strong influence on at least certain streams in Islam.  My own speculation is that Judaism drew strongly on the Akhanatan heresy in Egypt.  The reference I like for Greek influence in Christianity (aside from Augustine plagarizing Plotinus and then condescendingly saying that if he had lived a century later he would have been a Christian) is David Fiedlier, Jesus Christ: Sun of God.  We are in complete agreement about doing what we can to preserve the positives and prune the negatives.  That makes us Lamarkians!  LOL

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Posted: 16 March 2007 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 212 ]  
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[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”][quote author=“burt”] Religion arises, in whatever primitive form, when the goal of survival becomes transcendental.  If you are referring to religions with established temples, priests, and all those accourtements then you are looking as a late manifestation of the phenomenon.

And man has been “transcendental” for tens of thousands of years, before writing, before temples.  Primative cave art and talismanic articles found in graves demonstrate this. The religious impulse is part of who we are, and remains quite active, although it is on the decline.  It is not yet vestigial.

 

Actually, Bruce, I wouldn’t say it is on the decline, just changing form.  I think that all of the New Age fluff going around is a symptom of this.

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Posted: 16 March 2007 03:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 213 ]  
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[quote author=“Joad”]Religion occurs when a self-appointed Priest Class arises and begins to plagairize the generic customs, beliefs, and spirituality of a society.

If it interferes with the normal functioning of a society, then it is a religion.

Otherwise it is just another set of goofy ideas.

Get real Joad, religion is a part of the normal functioning of society.  Always has been and, in one form or another always will be.  What we need is not to abolish but to reform (note: if you assume religion is only as you define it, then I would say that the definition is too restrictive).

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Posted: 16 March 2007 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 214 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”]. . .
I don’t think the Greeks can claim credit for Judism, but certainly their philosophical ideas were taken into Christianity and later had a strong influence on at least certain streams in Islam.  My own speculation is that Judaism drew strongly on the Akhanatan heresy in Egypt.  The reference I like for Greek influence in Christianity (aside from Augustine plagarizing Plotinus and then condescendingly saying that if he had lived a century later he would have been a Christian) is David Fiedlier, Jesus Christ: Sun of God.  We are in complete agreement about doing what we can to preserve the positives and prune the negatives.  That makes us Lamarkians!  LOL

HA . . . (sorry for my incorruptible resistance to using the orange emoticons politely provided for the more rational among us) . . . my mistake . . . and how the hell is it that Lamarck got 130+ pages of rapt attention from Gould in his final book? Was he pre-senile by the time it came out? Obviously an amazing intellect, nonetheless. Gould, that is. Lamarck . . . obviously not. (?)

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Posted: 16 March 2007 05:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 215 ]  
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Just a note to acknowledge you Bruce for pointing out several off-the-mark comments I made earlier.  I should have said “then we might die” rather than “will die” - I was surely projecting my own fears in that instance and basically contradicting the major premise of what I wrote.  Also, I do agree that religious thinking (in the dogmatic sense) is certainly on the decline, although it is not yet vestigial (perhaps that was another projection from me about the future).  I am not against spiritualism or the search for some kind of transcendental meaning/experience, but like most people here I am firmly set against religion.

Bob

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Posted: 16 March 2007 05:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 216 ]  
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It seems that you and I part company again here burt as I cannot accept the notion of mind as described by Parmenides - but it does have a nice feel to it.  Maybe it’s a mistake to call it ‘mind’ or ‘consciousness’ and to then admit that it is undifferentiated, nebulous, motionless, and timeless, because to me those are the basic attributes of what I call conscious activity varied, ordered, motive, and temporal.

I do have another theory that might indeed satisfy the Parmenidian construct to a large extent.  This theory revolves around an inverted grasp of physics, where mass is actually travelling at the speed of light and thus forms (creates/manifests) the limits of the universe in a spacetime dimension, while light is the phenomenal effect of wavering between a pure undifferentiated, timeless, motionlessness void and the massive phenomenal realm.  But it would take a tome to flush out that idea - the key word here is ‘flush’ and the action to which it normally is attached.

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Posted: 16 March 2007 06:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 217 ]  
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[quote author=“homunculus”][quote author=“burt”]. . .
I don’t think the Greeks can claim credit for Judism, but certainly their philosophical ideas were taken into Christianity and later had a strong influence on at least certain streams in Islam.  My own speculation is that Judaism drew strongly on the Akhanatan heresy in Egypt.  The reference I like for Greek influence in Christianity (aside from Augustine plagarizing Plotinus and then condescendingly saying that if he had lived a century later he would have been a Christian) is David Fiedlier, Jesus Christ: Sun of God.  We are in complete agreement about doing what we can to preserve the positives and prune the negatives.  That makes us Lamarkians!  LOL

HA . . . (sorry for my incorruptible resistance to using the orange emoticons politely provided for the more rational among us) . . . my mistake . . . and how the hell is it that Lamarck got 130+ pages of rapt attention from Gould in his final book? Was he pre-senile by the time it came out? Obviously an amazing intellect, nonetheless. Gould, that is. Lamarck . . . obviously not. (?)

That is the difference between biological evolution and cultural evolution, the latter is in part potentially controlled by us, and we always try to make things work out the way that our current beliefs indicate is best.  Lamarck’s idea is okay in the right application/context.  He just had that wrong.

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Posted: 16 March 2007 06:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 218 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”]It seems that you and I part company again here burt as I cannot accept the notion of mind as described by Parmenides - but it does have a nice feel to it.  Maybe it’s a mistake to call it ‘mind’ or ‘consciousness’ and to then admit that it is undifferentiated, nebulous, motionless, and timeless, because to me those are the basic attributes of what I call conscious activity: varied, ordered, motive, and temporal.

I do have another theory that might indeed satisfy the Parmenidian construct to a large extent.  This theory revolves around an inverted grasp of physics, where mass is actually travelling at the speed of light and thus forms (creates/manifests) the limits of the universe in a spacetime dimension, while light is the phenomenal effect of wavering between a pure undifferentiated, timeless, motionlessness void and the massive phenomenal realm.  But it would take a tome to flush out that idea - the key word here is ‘flush’ and the action to which it normally is attached.
Bob

Well, we don’t have to agree on everything, but move on (motion again smile

I once decided to treat Parmenides description as an equation with the unknown being anything that satisfied his conditions.  The three things that came out for me were pure consciousness; undifrerentiated matter (or energy to be more accurate); and “pre-space”, that is a void to be filled (but without dimensions, geometry, or etc.) 

One catch with your theory, at least according to relativity, is that anything with mass cannot travel at the speed of light while on the other hand, anything lacking mass must travel at the speed of light.  Because proper time in relativity is measured as distance along a worldline in spacetime, the indefinite metric introduces something that would fit with your thoughts on light, namely the spacetime distance along the worldline of a photon is zero.  So any point along that worldline (a null geodesic) is zero distance from any other point.  One way to visualize this is to imagine that your image is projected out toward a star, say 25 light years away, and the beam is so focused that it doesn’t dissipate.  When it reaches that star, there is a mirror that perfectly reflects it back toward Earth (or where Earth will be in 25 years), again with a perfectly focused beam.  This arrives back on Earth 50 years after the initial projection and illuminates a photographic plate.  When the picture is developed and compared to the you at that time you will have aged 50 years but the photo will show you as you were 50 years earlier.

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Posted: 16 March 2007 08:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 219 ]  
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Interesting observation burt.  You said,

“One catch with your theory, at least according to relativity, is that anything with mass cannot travel at the speed of light while on the other hand, anything lacking mass must travel at the speed of light.”

Actually that’s the beauty of inverting the whole of physics, nothing really changes at all except the location of the observer.  We have always assumed that matter (mass) is somehow a stationary observation point relative to the speed of light.  Although different bits/bundles of mass are in motion relative to other bits/bundles this massive motion is unrelated to the speed of light, which is an unvarying constant relative to matter.  I realize that the uninverted physics maintains that mass CANNOT travel at the speed of light and that only what lacks mass (e.g., photons) can reach that ultimate velocity.  However, if we invert that relation and assume that in order for something to have a material manifestation it must reach the ‘c’ velocity relative to the motionless void, then light photons are not actually instantly moving at ‘c’ as they are produced but rather they are intermittently massless phenomena that stop moving altogether by merging with the void and then reverberrating (or just stretching) between the void and the phenomenal realm.  The point that made this idea interesting for me was the notion that masslessness means motionlessness.  It makes sense that a photon is virtually unmoving . . . why would it be moving anyway (we - the massive realm - are the energy producing light)?  It also makes sense to think that in order for there to be mass, motion is the thing that produces it.

Why would energy (like light) have such an impact on our world if it was indeed standing still?  Well if the massive world is always at some sort of maximum, directionless velocity (‘c’) relative to the void, then particles/waves losing their massive momentum would have a powerful effect on the material realm.  When energies are attracted to the motionless void, depending on their original massive configuration, they could literally rip apart sections of the material realm.

Quite honestly burt, this inversion does not change an iota of what is known about the subatomic world or the physical world.  All the known theories remain intact including relativity, the configuration of spacetime, quantum mechanics, etc..  The inversion is a descriptive event only and while it changes the explanitory metaphysics, it does nothing to science as we know it.

One thing I need to point out in closing is this mistaken dependence we have on imagining light as naturally occuring in beams (even you mentioned that in your scenario).  We must manipulate light in order to produce beams, but naturally occuring photons (unless blocked by some impenetrable mass or directed by electro-magnetic fields) disperse in all directions at once.  This bit of trivia is important in trying to understand how the massive world and the motionless void are related . . . this dispersal of photon energy as it appears to our senses is the evident traces of our own directionless journey we (massive bodies) take in producing the phenomenal world.  If it appears that the massive realm is both shrinking and expanding relative to the void, perhaps that’s because we are?  How can this be explained?  The idea that different points are zero distance from other points through the worldspace of a photon (you said the spacetime distance along the worldline of a photon is zero, but you were thinking in terms of beams) might be saying something about the nature of the massive realm in relation to the ultimate void?  How could we ever know if we are shrinking at the speed of light relative to the void or if we are exploding at the speed of light relative to the void or both?

I’ll have to give this a bit more thought burt.

Bob

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Posted: 16 March 2007 09:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 220 ]  
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burt,

Religion is a PARASITE on society. It is neither necessary nor beneficial.

It serves no purpose except to enrichen a priviledged class by keeping the masses in ignorance and fear.

Worst of all, it removes our natural sense of awe and wonder.

Spirituality is our feeling of being connected to our universe. Religion is stoning women for adultery.

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Posted: 17 March 2007 03:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 221 ]  
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[quote author=“CanZen”] I am not against spiritualism or the search for some kind of transcendental meaning/experience, but like most people here I am firmly set against religion. Bob

Can you distinguish between your definition of “spiritualism or the search for some kind of transcendental meaning/experience” and “religion”?  I assume by religion you mean formal organized denominations or cults with specific dogmas, or something along those lines.  On the other hand, if a person engages in a spiritual quest, without any pre-conceived notions of what he/she may find, and without any a priori conceptions about whether God in any form may or may not exist (and I realize this is probably impossible, since we all carry some baggage of prejudice), then is that valid in your eyes?  And if such a person “finds God”, whether in Jesus, Mohammad, etc., would you automatically discount that person’s individual quest because you didn’t like the results, and denigrate it by calling it “religion?”

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Posted: 17 March 2007 03:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 222 ]  
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[quote author=“Joad”]burt,

Religion is a PARASITE on society. It is neither necessary nor beneficial.

It serves no purpose except to enrichen a priviledged class by keeping the masses in ignorance and fear.

Worst of all, it removes our natural sense of awe and wonder.

Spirituality is our feeling of being connected to our universe. Religion is stoning women for adultery.

So when Jesus DID NOT stone the woman for adultery, he was not engaging in religion.  And when Jesus expressed awe in his prayers to the Father, he was engaging in spirituality, not religion.  And if I engage in communion with God, not being in a privileged class myself, and not being over any masses or under any priests, I am not engaging in religion - correct?

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Posted: 17 March 2007 05:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 223 ]  
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[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”]So when Jesus DID NOT stone the woman for adultery, he was not engaging in religion.  And when Jesus expressed awe in his prayers to the Father, he was engaging in spirituality, not religion.  And if I engage in communion with God, not being in a privileged class myself, and not being over any masses or under any priests, I am not engaging in religion - correct?

I think if you examine the issue a little more thoroughly you may come up with questions that inquire directly into the source and form of that “communion”. I know it is not as easy to do this with spiritual experience as it is with “scientific” data, but you are not without obligation to “consider the source”. Again I urge you not to be so focused on labeling things first and only later inquiring into the nature of the labeling.

People should be exposed to numerous systems of spirituality while they are growing up, rather than a single one. I was, and the result was to reject them all, one by one.

I’m not opposed to those who value spiritual experience. I happen to feel emphatically that the less said about it, the better. Otherwise, you are getting your kicks out of discussing spiritual experience rather than getting a kick out of experiencing it. I think it is important to distinguish among modes of discourse that are purely emotive rather than spiritual. Other people seem to confuse the spiritual with the emotive, at least in some cases, experientially, but in the end, you can’t tell, can you?

Nobody “discovers” Jesus (sensu strictu) without having had somebody else tell him about it first. Childhood indoctrination is the usual route to this “discovery”. Even adult “conversions” depend on it.

Incidentally, Bruce, I do not really think of you as less-than-human. If I succeeded in giving you the experience of what it feels like to be considered less-than-human by someone else, I will have fulfilled my aim. Sorry for causing you discomfort, but you know that old saying about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. (Yeah, I know that one is not about going the second mile, but there you have it.)

Otherwise, you may only have had the experience of your viewpoint being the majority viewpoint. I appreciate your remarks about what you are experiencing in seeing how the other 5% lives.

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Posted: 17 March 2007 06:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 224 ]  
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[quote author=“Joad”]burt,

Religion is a PARASITE on society. It is neither necessary nor beneficial.

It serves no purpose except to enrichen a priviledged class by keeping the masses in ignorance and fear.

Worst of all, it removes our natural sense of awe and wonder.

Spirituality is our feeling of being connected to our universe. Religion is stoning women for adultery.

 

In your view.

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Posted: 17 March 2007 07:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 225 ]  
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[quote author=“Salt Creek”]
I’m not opposed to those who value spiritual experience. I happen to feel emphatically that the less said about it, the better. Otherwise, you are getting your kicks out of discussing spiritual experience rather than getting a kick out of experiencing it. I think it is important to distinguish among modes of discourse that are purely emotive rather than spiritual. Other people seem to confuse the spiritual with the emotive, at least in some cases, experientially, but in the end, you can’t tell, can you?

 

One of the main values of discussing spiritual experiences is that it lets other people who have had such experiences know that (a) they are not crazy, (b) they don’t have to automatically think that the experience means they have a special calling to preach to the masses, and (c) they don’t have to categorize the experience according to any particular religious doctrine.  You are also correct in pointing out that there is a good deal of confusion between a real spiritual experience, and an experience that merely involves a deep emotion.  Legitimate spiritual teachers know that real spiritual development only comes after the emotional phase is left behind; the fakes know that they can play on emotion to make big bucks.

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