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Goodbye Jesus

Language, Truth, God, And Humanity


Antlerman

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I’ve been intending for some time to put my thoughts into words for discussion but am finding it difficult to articulate them here as well as I would wish I could. So I will just post some sketches of these thoughts instead and see where they go from there.

 

 

Beauty in the world is an integral component of life. We seem born to respond to beauty and to pursue beauty, along with all of life in various responses to beauty from the highly colored plumage of birds, to the rituals of a well executed mating dance, to the scent and colors of flowers, to the pleasure of eating, to the soft touch of skin, to the pleasure of sex, all the way to the power of signs and symbols in culture through poetry, song, mythology and dress. We respond to the life through our perception of beauty.

 

We are wired to experience life.

 

Human’s sudden talent for specialized language and culture in terms of our evolution cultivated this natural response to beauty by creating a biocultural feedback loop, which continues on through today. This feedback loop in evolution is where cultural values affect choices in sexual selections, which led to offspring with greater abilities to response to the more specialized mating rituals of culture, which led to bigger brains, which led to greater language skills, which led to more advanced cultures, which led to more refined sexual selection, which feeds culture, which feeds biology, which in turn feeds culture in a feedback loop.

 

Cultural feedback always leads much further ahead of slower processes of biological evolution. Who we are as humans evolved through the direct influence and power of words and ideas.

 

“In the beginning was the Word.”

 

We are incapable of directly interfacing with and experiencing reality. We interpret the world though the use of language. No true objectivity in the universe is possible for humans to experience because we are all uniquely different interpreters of reality. No two individual think in perfect unison, nor can they do so, due to the collective sum of our experiences never being equal.

 

Furthermore, humans are limited to the tools of perception our biology offers us: Our limited eye sight, our limited brains, our limited tools we create, etc. It is not possible to know truth absolutely, or objectively. At the best we have languages we have devised to communicate ideas with one another that approximate an individual understanding of truth. These languages vary in their purpose and consequently their ability to communicate.

 

Additionally, language creates the framework through which we conceive of the world. Language even imposes limits on our ability to comprehend ideas, much like its phonemes shape the formation of the mouth making it difficult to produce certain vowels or consonants present in other languages. Our perception of reality is both expressed through language, while at the same time being defined by it.

 

Mythology is one language we use, music is a language, poetry is a language, science is a language; art, smiles, touches, colors, shapes, smells, gestures, sounds, and even silence are all languages that communicate ideas, thoughts, and the experiences of life and being, both to our conscious mind and to our genetically inherited, hard-wired programming.

 

In all, each language system communicates aspects of our perception of the reality of our experience of the universe and our own existence. Is there a universal language? Is there any language so equipped as to express and influence the full experience of being human: from science and technology; to communicating and inspiring our innate response to beauty in our connection to life itself that we are all participate in; to the power of human imagination and dreams in displays of creative power in the world like flowers blossoming out of life, creating life of its own; to the subtleties of silence in inner communication with the reality of our individual perception of the life we are part of.

 

We will only ever be able to talk about the universe through our own eyes as humans. We will only be able to approximate an objective reality through coming to near-consensus agreements on the words to describe it. This allows us to act as a group; as a society to share ideas, build social infrastructure, promote cultural values, and drive our own evolution within the laws of the natural universe.

 

“And the Word was God.”

 

Truth is a perception of, or an idea of what reality is. It is a perception of the individual or group of individuals, in close agreement with each other for the purpose of social structure. True objectivity cannot exist in the human experience as I mentioned above, because of the limits our biology and uniqueness of our individuality. We approximate reality through the use of language systems and a consensus decision.

 

We can talk about absolutes in mathematics such as the value of 2, but this also is a language. We have agreed that 2 has a representative value in nature, but this level of rudimentary mathematics does not go far in speaking to the complexity of the human experience in life. Again, we are not binary robots; we are biological human beings with the fluidity of thought linked with emotional response. We are programmed to respond to beauty. We speak, we dream, we debate and discuss, we love, we create. 2 + 2 = 4 seems an equation that says very little about how we perceive reality through the full experience of being alive.

 

Yet it seems in order for us to function we have to define rules: rules for language, rules for math, and rules for our societies. These rules are agreements and serve as the touchstones of connection to our language about reality. That idea of truth is dependent upon the humans who perceive it. Notions of truth will vary from group to group, and from person to person. Truth is a consensus reality. I realize we can talk about gravity being reality, and that you can believe all you want it doesn’t exist until you walk off a cliff face, but I’m not talking about natural laws. I’m talking about how people use the word truth, the function of these human rules as societal truths or individual realities.

 

You can call these beliefs, but beliefs are reality to the person believing them. If they weren’t why would they persist in them? Who can function without operating within a framework of perceived reality? This defines truth to them.

 

Our words create reality.

 

Who is God, or more appropriately what is God? God is a word sign we use to describe those things we call truth; those things we value as the ideals of the human experience that promotes social unity and individual experience; those things that describe that sense of beauty in our experience of life.

 

Does God exist? Does the experience exist?

 

As a word that describes all those things, “God” exists then. So when someone is dismayed how anyone could not possibly believe in God, what is it that they’re confounded about? To them saying you deny God is to say you deny the experience of beauty; the essence of life itself.

 

Insomuch as biocultural feedback has played a part in our evolution in creating a species with a greater command of language and potential for the aesthetic appreciation of beauty, in this sense using the language of mythology to express this reality, we could easily say,

 

“In the beginning, God created man in his own image.”

 

We have been shaped as a species biologically by our cultivation of the aesthetic in nature. Beauty in nature has given rise to our culture and our humanity as we have it today. We were no different than all other animals within the ecosystem until language changed us. The words we use cultivated an appreciation for beauty, and created our species in its own image.

 

Again using the language expressed through poetry,

 

"The Word became flesh.”

 

Now there’s some food for thought. :grin:

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Mythology is one language we use, music is a language, poetry is a language, science is a language; art, smiles, touches, colors, shapes, smells, gestures, sounds, and even silence are all languages that communicate ideas, thoughts, and the experiences of life and being, both to our conscious mind and to our genetically inherited, hard-wired programming.
Antlerman – I agree completely. We think of language as the basics, words, music, science, math, etc… We rarely think of language as consisting of other – more subtle – means of communication.

 

We are incapable of directly interfacing with and experiencing reality. We interpret the world though the use of language. No true objectivity in the universe is possible for humans to experience because we are all uniquely different interpreters of reality. No two individual think in perfect unison, nor can they do so, due to the collective sum of our experiences never being equal.

 

Furthermore, humans are limited to the tools of perception our biology offers us: Our limited eye sight, our limited brains, our limited tools we create, etc. It is not possible to know truth absolutely, or objectively.

Again – you hit the mark. There can be NO TRUE OBJECTIVITY – it’s not physically possible.

 

 

Who is God, or more appropriately what is God? God is a word sign we use to describe those things we call truth; those things we value as the ideals of the human experience that promotes social unity and individual experience; those things that describe that sense of beauty in our experience of life.

 

Does God exist? Does the experience exist? <snip>

 

We have been shaped as a species biologically by our cultivation of the aesthetic in nature. Beauty in nature has given rise to our culture and our humanity as we have it today. We were no different than all other animals within the ecosystem until language (until WORD ;) ) changed us. The words we use cultivated an appreciation for beauty, and created our species in its own image.

 

Thank you, Antlerman, for starting this topic.

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. <snip> And the Word became flesh and lived among us.

These verses are my favorite verses in the entire Bible – for many of the reasons you outlined above.

 

I do believe in God – I believe that LOVE and Compassion and Wisdom and Intention are as much a part of the human experience as the appreciation of Beauty. As humans – we express and seek all of these things. For me – they are innate within the very fabric of the universe – that is why I use the word, “GOD”.

 

But – the human experience also transcends language – it is there that we should seek to go together. And that is the difficulty – how to go there together – how to transcend the differences in language and get to the place that is beyond language, the place of Beauty and Wisdom and LOVE and Compassion and Intention, that we all seek?

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very interesting analogy. i definitely feel that language created civilizations, but maybe not quite as much as you believe. i would think it to be our will to survive that would have increased our brain function more so that our desire to describe the world. i still think there is a higher power that helped move things along. you know. "Goddidit" i am not quite as hard core evolutionist as you are.

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very interesting analogy. i definitely feel that language created civilizations, but maybe not quite as much as you believe. i would think it to be our will to survive that would have increased our brain function more so that our desire to describe the world. i still think there is a higher power that helped move things along. you know. "Goddidit" i am not quite as hard core evolutionist as you are.

All animals have an equal will to survive, but not all have evolved brains like ours. There are other reasons for that than a strong survival instinct.

 

BTW, what exactly is a "hard core" evolutionist? Someone who accepts the science of it? It's not a phiolosphy you know. I'm sure after this post above, I would be considered fairly liberal in my application of what science has discovered. Hardly a hard core materialist.

 

Edit: To spell that out, it's looking at what mythology communicates and understanding it in the light of scientific discovery - the convergence of two languages, so to speak. It's acknowledging a value in it. There is a truth to the myth language it seems in this context, except it communicates it in the form of poetry.

 

Is there a "divine" priniciple that guides this, that is its essence? There are components to nature that make it what it becomes. If you wish to call those God, and understand them through the language of mythology, that can work too, depending on what your trying to accomplish and who you trying to communicate with. If it's the value of myth for the sake of the experience of Beauty, the inspiration of imagination, and the power of creativity, then that might be much more useful for you than the language of facts and figures.

 

It's not one language for all applications, you know?

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It's not one language for all applications, you know?
Freeday and Antlerman - here's a question for the both of you.

 

Do you think it's possible for the human mind to live with and reconcile paradox - to let the paradox stand as it is and accept it - not try to rationalize it - but reconcile it by just allowing it to be as it is?

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Too many quotes, so the first few are just lined out like a conversation.

 

Antlerman - I’ve been intending for some time to put my thoughts into words for discussion but am finding it difficult to articulate them here as well as I would wish I could. So I will just post some sketches of these thoughts instead and see where they go from there.

 

Me -It's about darn time! ;)

 

Antlerman - Beauty in the world is an integral component of life. We seem born to respond to beauty and to pursue beauty, along with all of life in various responses to beauty from the highly colored plumage of birds, to the rituals of a well executed mating dance, to the scent and colors of flowers, to the pleasure of eating, to the soft touch of skin, to the pleasure of sex, all the way to the power of signs and symbols in culture through poetry, song, mythology and dress. We respond to the life through our perception of beauty.

 

Me - Here you are describing the spiritual aspect of humanity...the God essense. These are things that cannot be known by the mind, but by the "heart" so to speak. This is the part that is described by myths, poetry, song, etc. This is what inspires such.

 

Antlerman - Human’s sudden talent for specialized language and culture in terms of our evolution cultivated this natural response to beauty by creating a biocultural feedback loop, which continues on through today. This feedback loop in evolution is where cultural values affect choices in sexual selections, which led to offspring with greater abilities to response to the more specialized mating rituals of culture, which led to bigger brains, which led to greater language skills, which led to more advanced cultures, which led to more refined sexual selection, which feeds culture, which feeds biology, which in turn feeds culture in a feedback loop.

 

Me - I think what happens when people get involved in this outward movement so intensly that they forget to "stop and smell the flowers" is what many myths refer to when they mention "the absense of God" or "turning away from God". The feedback loop has become a feeding line.

 

Cultural feedback always leads much further ahead of slower processes of biological evolution. Who we are as humans evolved through the direct influence and power of words and ideas.

Yes. I feel there must be a balance between knowing what the words are and what the words are pointing to in order to recognize the experience of life. I'm with you here when you say it is hard to put into words what you want to say. This is where the words themselves must be recognized as symbols only and are pointing to something that is inside yourself, not outside. If I were to say that I saw the mountain stream as a million points of light that shown like diamonds, I am not pointing to the water itself, but the feeling it inspired in me.

 

It's when we start searching the water for the diamonds, is when we are not allowing the symbols to do their job. Mythology is full of the inner conflicts of life and is portrayed as something happening outside of ourselves. There is no other way to do it.

 

 

“In the beginning was the Word.”

 

We are incapable of directly interfacing with and experiencing reality. We interpret the world though the use of language. No true objectivity in the universe is possible for humans to experience because we are all uniquely different interpreters of reality. No two individual think in perfect unison, nor can they do so, due to the collective sum of our experiences never being equal.

Indeed. Never ask a painter what their picture means... ;)

 

Furthermore, humans are limited to the tools of perception our biology offers us: Our limited eye sight, our limited brains, our limited tools we create, etc. It is not possible to know truth absolutely, or objectively. At the best we have languages we have devised to communicate ideas with one another that approximate an individual understanding of truth. These languages vary in their purpose and consequently their ability to communicate.

I agree. But I do think that there is something that is common in all of us...the desire (for lack of a word that will describe what I want to use) to know happiness. This happiness, IMO, is already with us, it just depends on one's outlook towards life. If we are cordial towards life, life returns the favor. This is fact and be verified by laughing. People will laugh back even if they don't know what the heck you are laughing at. There are some though that won't and they will never see that happiness come their way. "Give and you shall receive."

 

 

Additionally, language creates the framework through which we conceive of the world. Language even imposes limits on our ability to comprehend ideas, much like its phonemes shape the formation of the mouth making it difficult to produce certain vowels or consonants present in other languages. Our perception of reality is both expressed through language, while at the same time being defined by it.

Again, yes. This is where it is important to understand that there are two purposes here. Not all use of language is towards the outer forms that are in reality. The same words are also used to describe the inner world of experience. This is where trouble comes in; when one takes the all the words and looks outward. When this happens, God is born into some other realm.

 

Mythology is one language we use, music is a language, poetry is a language, science is a language; art, smiles, touches, colors, shapes, smells, gestures, sounds, and even silence are all languages that communicate ideas, thoughts, and the experiences of life and being, both to our conscious mind and to our genetically inherited, hard-wired programming.
What can I say here? :grin:

 

In all, each language system communicates aspects of our perception of the reality of our experience of the universe and our own existence. Is there a universal language? Is there any language so equipped as to express and influence the full experience of being human: from science and technology; to communicating and inspiring our innate response to beauty in our connection to life itself that we are all participate in; to the power of human imagination and dreams in displays of creative power in the world like flowers blossoming out of life, creating life of its own; to the subtleties of silence in inner communication with the reality of our individual perception of the life we are part of.

I think that just knowing this opens up the world. All of this can be found in each of us and expressed the best way we know how. I have found this in my own language. It is there, but you have to be able to spend many hours contemplating what the symbols are pointing to. I spent three hours last night on 2 pages of one book of mythology in order to shift my thinking from what they were literally saying and what they were trying to point to. It was the paradox of the coincidence of opposites that are revealed by the crucifixion. Not only Jesus, but all the myths that have this symbol.

 

We will only ever be able to talk about the universe through our own eyes as humans. We will only be able to approximate an objective reality through coming to near-consensus agreements on the words to describe it. This allows us to act as a group; as a society to share ideas, build social infrastructure, promote cultural values, and drive our own evolution within the laws of the natural universe.

Yes, but I think there needs to be a new way of expression that includes the entire earth also. Adam and Eve represented a culture that excluded others. They weren't the first humans, they were the first humans representative to that culture. The Gentiles weren't of that group, so they weren't included in the myth. But, if the symbols are understood universally, the language will be okay. People used these words to express their understanding just as other people experience life in more or less the same will also use words of their group to express their understandings. This is where people could say that one group has copied from, or stolen, ideas from someone else. There are many things that are common to the human experience, so the symbols may vary or they may be the same, but they are expressing something that is common to everyone...being human.

 

“And the Word was God.”

 

Truth is a perception of, or an idea of what reality is. It is a perception of the individual or group of individuals, in close agreement with each other for the purpose of social structure. True objectivity cannot exist in the human experience as I mentioned above, because of the limits our biology and uniqueness of our individuality. We approximate reality through the use of language systems and a consensus decision.

 

We can talk about absolutes in mathematics such as the value of 2, but this also is a language. We have agreed that 2 has a representative value in nature, but this level of rudimentary mathematics does not go far in speaking to the complexity of the human experience in life. Again, we are not binary robots; we are biological human beings with the fluidity of thought linked with emotional response. We are programmed to respond to beauty. We speak, we dream, we debate and discuss, we love, we create. 2 + 2 = 4 seems an equation that says very little about how we perceive reality through the full experience of being alive.

 

Yet it seems in order for us to function we have to define rules: rules for language, rules for math, and rules for our societies. These rules are agreements and serve as the touchstones of connection to our language about reality. That idea of truth is dependent upon the humans who perceive it. Notions of truth will vary from group to group, and from person to person. Truth is a consensus reality. I realize we can talk about gravity being reality, and that you can believe all you want it doesn’t exist until you walk off a cliff face, but I’m not talking about natural laws. I’m talking about how people use the word truth, the function of these human rules as societal truths or individual realities.

 

You can call these beliefs, but beliefs are reality to the person believing them. If they weren’t why would they persist in them? Who can function without operating within a framework of perceived reality? This defines truth to them.

I can't add anything here either. :)

 

Our words create reality.

 

Who is God, or more appropriately what is God? God is a word sign we use to describe those things we call truth; those things we value as the ideals of the human experience that promotes social unity and individual experience; those things that describe that sense of beauty in our experience of life.

 

Does God exist? Does the experience exist?

 

As a word that describes all those things, “God” exists then. So when someone is dismayed how anyone could not possibly believe in God, what is it that they’re confounded about? To them saying you deny God is to say you deny the experience of beauty; the essence of life itself.

Yes. It is the formless life that is a part of all of us. The "being" part of human being.

 

Insomuch as biocultural feedback has played a part in our evolution in creating a species with a greater command of language and potential for the aesthetic appreciation of beauty, in this sense using the language of mythology to express this reality, we could easily say,

 

“In the beginning, God created man in his own image.”

 

We have been shaped as a species biologically by our cultivation of the aesthetic in nature. Beauty in nature has given rise to our culture and our humanity as we have it today. We were no different than all other animals within the ecosystem until language changed us. The words we use cultivated an appreciation for beauty, and created our species in its own image.

 

Again using the language expressed through poetry,

 

"The Word became flesh.”

 

Now there’s some food for thought. :grin:

The Word became flesh in order to experience life. Man puts away his life in order to experience God. When we awaken, God can no longer experience the flesh (material)...God dies.

 

A coincidence of opposites that is mind-blowing. A paradox that can hardly be grasped by the mind.

 

Man awakens to God, so he sacrafices himself to himself.

 

The Word becomes flesh to experience life and when the form awakens, God has sacrificed himself to himself.

 

Himself is two sides of the same being.

 

Thanks for the topic Antlerman. I love reading your thoughts.

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Antlerman, over the past few months I have come to appreciate your posts focused on language. Indeed, language is the tool we have to communicate, but how does one adequately communicate a reaction to an emotional feeling? Certainly, many writers over the centuries have done that, but have they been able to do it perfectly? I think not. However, they've been effective in probing us and making us think about what they have said.

That is what you have done with your language-centered discussions, and I congratulate you for it. You enlarge yet another dimension in our understanding of things. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on such weighty matters.

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Antlerman, over the past few months I have come to appreciate your posts focused on language. Indeed, language is the tool we have to communicate, but how does one adequately communicate a reaction to an emotional feeling? Certainly, many writers over the centuries have done that, but have they been able to do it perfectly? I think not. However, they've been effective in probing us and making us think about what they have said.

That is what you have done with your language-centered discussions, and I congratulate you for it. You enlarge yet another dimension in our understanding of things. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on such weighty matters.

Thank you for those kind and generous words Piprus. I plan to respond to both OM and NBBTB above, but something you said above offers me something to quickly respond to out of my own experience in doing just that, communicating a reaction to an emotional feeling.

 

One of my favorite lines in movie (from Carl Sagan's book Contact), is when Jody Foster's scientist character encounters the power and wonders of the universe as she is being transported across the galaxy. She's left speechless and remarks, "No words. No words. They should have sent a poet."

 

When I was confronted with profound feelings in my own life, there was an urge to release it from myself, to get it out to understand it, to touch it, to look at. The language that I found to do this with was in writing and performing music. (see here, if you're interested in hearing some of it: http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?s=&a...st&p=192410 ). These same expressions come through in stories, poetry, dance, word choices that are inspired by the human heart. None of it is perfect, or complete. It seems as soon as it is released and the feeling of satisfaction is experienced, there is another welling of song that begs expression; that begs to be given life, so to speak. It isn't one thing that is said nor is there one way to say it. It's living, breathing, and dynamic as life itself.

 

Life cannot be understood under a microscope. We are wired to experience it.

 

There are many languages that resonates with us as human beings, both as biological beings and as part of the languages of the cultures we create that cultivates and gives expression to this. What is truth? I keep coming to this because the truth is what is. There's lots of ways to express this, and lots of way to look at it and communicate what it is.

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It's not one language for all applications, you know?
Freeday and Antlerman - here's a question for the both of you.

 

Do you think it's possible for the human mind to live with and reconcile paradox - to let the paradox stand as it is and accept it - not try to rationalize it - but reconcile it by just allowing it to be as it is?

 

first off antlerman, i am in the middle road, i feel that both God and evolution played there parts to get us where we are. i could throw out my conspiracy theory, but i will save that for another day. sorry to call you hard core. i understand what you are saying, but i look at the world a little differently than you do. i don't see the beuaty, i see the flaws. that is the baptist raising coming out. they focus more on scaring you into heaven instead of teaching the good principle that religion has to offer. and for the record, antlerman you write and convey your thoughts in a very bueatiful way. i have yet to talk to a person as eloquent and skilled in writing as you.

 

open minded. i think that is imposible. if we accept everything for what it is, i feel that would be detramental to human society. i think that is what sets us appart as a species is our ability to rationalize and think outside the box.

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I think the scene is set for a really good discussion thread here. I hope NBBTB and OM will answer, and we can share some thoughts on these considerations, along with antlerman and freeday.

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open minded. i think that is imposible. if we accept everything for what it is, i feel that would be detramental to human society. i think that is what sets us appart as a species is our ability to rationalize and think outside the box.
Freeday - I'm not so much saying that we sould always accept things "as they are" without analyzing or processing on a deeper level.

 

But, sometimes we OVER analyze things. The universe is infinite. There is no way we can possibly comprehend it all. In my life I've learned to sometimes just let things sit (so-to-speak) as they are. Not throw one idea or understanding out because it conflicts with another idea or understanding - but simply allow them to co-exist. Take what NotBlinded wrote - for example:

 

The Word became flesh in order to experience life. Man puts away his life in order to experience God. When we awaken, God can no longer experience the flesh (material)...God dies.

 

A coincidence of opposites that is mind-blowing. A paradox that can hardly be grasped by the mind.

 

Man awakens to God, so he sacrafices himself to himself.

 

The Word becomes flesh to experience life and when the form awakens, God has sacrificed himself to himself.

 

Himself is two sides of the same being.

 

There are all kinds of paradoxes that can exist side-by-side, Freeday. As you may be aware - I have a deep interest in interfaith education, dialog and relations. One of my favorite books on this topic is The Mystic Heart by Wayne Teasdale. Following is an example of the co-existence of opposites - the opposites of Buddhism and Christianity

 

It is clear to me that these two traditions are in a dialectical historical process. If Christianity can represent, in this relationship, the position that God exists, while Buddhism negates this view or is silent about the existence of God, then up the road of history, the honest, open, patient, and generous dialogue over this and other matters - such as arguments over the existence of the soul, karma, reincarnation, grace, free will, and eternal life - will lead to a breakthrough that will carry humankind to a higher level of awareness. The dialectic must progress because truth cannot tolerate a contradiction, and the Christian-Buddhist relationship is a historical contradiction awaiting resolution.

 

What eventually does emerge will go beyond both Buddhism and Christianity in their present views. It will be a new view that both can embrace, a subtle refinement of what they have both known.
It is difficult to predict the precise shape of this forthcoming breakthrough, but I think it will have something to do with a process understanding of the divine - even though this process may occur in human reason and understanding, rather than in the divine itself. Process theology or thought assumes an incomplete quality to God's knowledge and being, that somehow the divine needs us to complete itself. I think it is more accurate to say that human understanding of the divine is in process, or development, and this is suggested by the differences between Buddhism, Christianity, and other faith traditions.

 

The implications for the human family are far-reaching. A change in view that takes us beyond the impasse between the positions of God or no God can introduce a vehicle to higher consciousness into world culture. Discovering a way to reconcile this supreme contradiction is not unrealistic when we consider that religions are not static systems but living social organisms capable of unlimited growth. To journey toward this enlarged vision, we must experience the truth found in the meeting _ and dialogue - of opposites.

The thing is, Freeday, right now humanity cannot reconcile these opposites. But, if we do the work of dialog - and if we do the work of allowing these opposites to rest side-by-side (without judgment) - the reconcilliation will happen.

 

Right now - language (theology) is getting in the way. Sometimes - just allowing things to be-as-they-are (and taking the time to experience both sides of the paradox) - is a way past the language barriers. :shrug:

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open minded. i think that is imposible. if we accept everything for what it is, i feel that would be detramental to human society. i think that is what sets us appart as a species is our ability to rationalize and think outside the box.

Hi freeday,

 

The language I'm going to us is going to sound contradictory, but I think that is the intent of Antlerman's thread; to get pass the barriers of the language, so bear with me.

 

It's not an acceptance of what is, it is an acceptance of what is that life is presenting in front of you. If one can accept it, then what needs to be done after that will come more easily. It doesn't mean to not do anything. Contrary to that belief, I think it can be shown that when one doesn't reject what life has put in front of them, the answers will come more clearly on what to do next. A total rejection in an extreme case can lead to suicide.

 

If I were to say that I just cannot accept that life has put this challenge in front of me or that life did this to me, then I will react out of instinct with probably hatred and anger towards myself or others. I create suffering for myself and those around me. If I can accept what has happened to me (or what is going on in the world), then I won't have the anger and hatred so a more sane answer will come to me. I might be able to find an answer that won't be filled with revenge. As O_M stated, we have to process them on a deeper level.

 

I'm going to ask you, if you don't mind, that you also look at the image of Jesus suffering and his last resistance when we stated, "Why have you forsaken me?" and his next words being, "not my will, but thy will be done". Now, I have to ask you, if you can, to put this in a life situation that involves the inner conflict of people because it doesn't matter if you believe in a god or not. The symbology of the suffering is still there. If we can accept what life brings us, then what actions we do need to take will have more impact because it isn't coming from the part of us that feels we need to seek revenge through hatred and anger. It comes from the same place that Antlerman would call, the power of creativity. I call it Being or sometimes God. Same thing because it is the essence inside of us, no matter what the name. It is something that can't be understood by literally interpreting the words.

 

If we cannot accept what is going on in our lives, we are rejecting life and no good outcome can come from that. It's a movement from the ego (forsaken me-rejection) to the inner state of being (not my will-acceptance). Opposite sides of the same being, yet one.

 

The deterimental effects to society can be seen all around us when we look to the conflicts everywhere. Too many hurt egos reacting out of non-acceptance that perpetuates the endless cycle of who is right and who is wrong.

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I think the scene is set for a really good discussion thread here. I hope NBBTB and OM will answer, and we can share some thoughts on these considerations, along with antlerman and freeday.

I hope you join in too Piprus!

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Too many quotes, so the first few are just lined out like a conversation.

Time for a response to you. This is the problem with bigger posts. It makes it hard to respond to everything you want to. I only have so much time these days. I’ll try my best.

 

Yes. I feel there must be a balance between knowing what the words are and what the words are pointing to in order to recognize the experience of life. I'm with you here when you say it is hard to put into words what you want to say. This is where the words themselves must be recognized as symbols only and are pointing to something that is inside yourself, not outside. If I were to say that I saw the mountain stream as a million points of light that shown like diamonds, I am not pointing to the water itself, but the feeling it inspired in me.

 

It's when we start searching the water for the diamonds, is when we are not allowing the symbols to do their job. Mythology is full of the inner conflicts of life and is portrayed as something happening outside of ourselves. There is no other way to do it.

I’ve been pondering what Piprus seems to have been bringing up, how that there is no language that communicates the emotional experience of humanity sufficiently. In fact I see no language that communicates perfectly any thought. We are all trapped inside our brains, looking across the way at others trapped inside their own brains who are participating in their own experience of the world around them as we are in ours.

 

We construct languages to talk to these other biological thought-islands. Because of shared environments we can relate to each other using languages describing those common experiences. The trick is teaching the nuances and subtleties of that language to communicate better with each other. A language that isn’t native to the user’s world from childhood up, will fail to convey these subtleties. These subtleties of language are hard to define and are generally “intuitive” to the user.

 

I’m wondering if the problem with literalists is that myth and metaphor is not a native language to them. It’s a foreign language that miscommunicates to them because they don’t understand its place in a modern context? Its place in culture as a language is lost with the culture. I think the reason for this goes back to an earlier conversation about how that oral tradition allowed the mythology to grow and adapt itself to the cultural language of various societies, and that codifying these traditions into a book, canonizing it and making it’s exact words sacred, sealed its ability to remain dynamic as all language by their very nature must be!

 

There is no one way to communicate these experiences, because these experiences are constantly gaining to depths and dimensions through the dynamics of living. Life is dynamic and language needs to be also.

 

What happens when art remains the same? Some new form comes along to break out of it and people respond. They respond because they are changing as their societies change. We as humans are constantly looking for ways to better express ourselves. That’s why there can never be a universal language. It has to change.

 

Again, yes. This is where it is important to understand that there are two purposes here. Not all use of language is towards the outer forms that are in reality. The same words are also used to describe the inner world of experience. This is where trouble comes in; when one takes the all the words and looks outward. When this happens, God is born into some other realm.

Yes, this is what I am seeing. It comes back full circle to the rise of Positivism in response to early metaphysics. Though the scientific method does offer highly accurate knowledge, Positivism asserts that only scientific knowledge is the only authentic knowledge. Whereas early metaphysics dealt with a broader scope understanding areas of human experience, those have been broken off now into separate branches of philosophy, several of which we are discussing in this thread.

 

Not surprisingly philosophical movements grew out of response to positivism: aestheticism and irrationalism, existentialism, etc, moving away from the cold rationality of scientific knowledge, to the reality of experience in perceiving one’s own meaning of reality. All of these approaches to philosophy are programmed into us here in the West, through culture, media, art, song, poetry, etc. We don’t even realize just how much we are products of these thoughts.

 

Are my thoughts original? Hardly. But I do extract and personalize these thoughts through my own experiences. These are things I can see and come to “on my own”, so to speak, only to discover they have been there all along in our culture, without my directly knowing about them.

 

This comes to what you said above, that how that these philosophies and the language they employ have had an effect on us as a society. Is the language of positivism leading people away from the language that created human society in the first place? I think in some regards this is true. The language of science is highly valuable, but it is not the language that speaks to everything it is to be human.

 

I can see maybe the problem is that we use the same words for too many things and a lack of proper context, or even understanding what exactly those contexts are or mean, is what causes a failure of the language and consequently human conflict. In science, this is why mathematics is used, because it bypasses cultural connotations. But how to you express joy in numbers? Joy is an inner experience.

 

Yes, but I think there needs to be a new way of expression that includes the entire earth also. Adam and Eve represented a culture that excluded others. They weren't the first humans, they were the first humans representative to that culture. The Gentiles weren't of that group, so they weren't included in the myth. But, if the symbols are understood universally, the language will be okay. People used these words to express their understanding just as other people experience life in more or less the same will also use words of their group to express their understandings. This is where people could say that one group has copied from, or stolen, ideas from someone else. There are many things that are common to the human experience, so the symbols may vary or they may be the same, but they are expressing something that is common to everyone...being human.

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.

 

This is the answer for all of us. We need a new language, dammit! :grin:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darmok

 

The Word became flesh in order to experience life.

This is something I have been pondering in all of this. Metaphorically speaking, it could be viewed that life itself desires something too, to become aware of itself. I like to imagine (nod off to Amanda here) that in the Universe life is bubbling up all over the place like grass in a fertile field where through various forms created, it gains a collective image of itself through many and varied incarnations.

 

It’s like me writing music. Each work is a creation of what is inside me, put out there for me to examine and try to understand something about myself, something about what makes me, me; something that explains something about the nature of my own existence. So too maybe with life itself. Each form is an act of its own creation, its own song expressing something innate to existence.

 

That’s the poet speaking. Of course I can see that our idea of purpose and intent is really tied into our perception through our biased perspective as sentient beings, that it is a projection of ourselves, and that under close scrutiny doesn’t hold up consistently. However, since seeing beauty is how we are wired, and it is what we respond to, then to strip that away rationally does seem to set up a conflict that leaves the human experience incomplete.

 

This is all leading to exactly where I was hoping to go with all of this, and that is the Leap of Faith. (we’ll get to that soon I suspect)

 

Man puts away his life in order to experience God. When we awaken, God can no longer experience the flesh (material)...God dies.

 

A coincidence of opposites that is mind-blowing. A paradox that can hardly be grasped by the mind.

 

Man awakens to God, so he sacrafices himself to himself.

 

The Word becomes flesh to experience life and when the form awakens, God has sacrificed himself to himself.

 

Himself is two sides of the same being.

 

Thanks for the topic Antlerman. I love reading your thoughts.

Likewise. :notworthy:

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I'm going to just take a few of your words to respond to because we are in such agreement here that it would take a lot of space for me just to say, Yes, I agree! :)

 

I’m wondering if the problem with literalists is that myth and metaphor is not a native language to them. It’s a foreign language that miscommunicates to them because they don’t understand its place in a modern context? Its place in culture as a language is lost with the culture. I think the reason for this goes back to an earlier conversation about how that oral tradition allowed the mythology to grow and adapt itself to the cultural language of various societies, and that codifying these traditions into a book, canonizing it and making it’s exact words sacred, sealed its ability to remain dynamic as all language by their very nature must be!

Yes, I agree! Oh dang-it! :)

 

It is the death of the myth and all it represents. A good way that I have found that works for me is by reading other myths with notations of the commonality with other myths. The human experience is different, but we all are human.

 

Yes, this is what I am seeing. It comes back full circle to the rise of Positivism in response to early metaphysics. Though the scientific method does offer highly accurate knowledge, Positivism asserts that only scientific knowledge is the only authentic knowledge. Whereas early metaphysics dealt with a broader scope understanding areas of human experience, those have been broken off now into separate branches of philosophy, several of which we are discussing in this thread.

 

Not surprisingly philosophical movements grew out of response to positivism: aestheticism and irrationalism, existentialism, etc, moving away from the cold rationality of scientific knowledge, to the reality of experience in perceiving one’s own meaning of reality. All of these approaches to philosophy are programmed into us here in the West, through culture, media, art, song, poetry, etc. We don’t even realize just how much we are products of these thoughts.

This is what I meant when I said that the feedback loop has become a feeding line.

 

Just for funnies here, this is a human experience that I have had and in relating it, I have become aware that there are entire branches of philosophy dedicated to it! This is what we need to look for when we are trying to understand different myths. We need to find the human experience that is common to them all, then we will have a greater insight into our own selves.

 

Are my thoughts original? Hardly. But I do extract and personalize these thoughts through my own experiences. These are things I can see and come to “on my own”, so to speak, only to discover they have been there all along in our culture, without my directly knowing about them.

Woops...that is what I said above also. This is the commonality. Although the experiences themselves may differ greatly from society to society, or even person to person, there is an undertone of this outside world vs the inside world thoughout all of them.

 

This comes to what you said above, that how that these philosophies and the language they employ have had an effect on us as a society. Is the language of positivism leading people away from the language that created human society in the first place? I think in some regards this is true. The language of science is highly valuable, but it is not the language that speaks to everything it is to be human.

Maybe all it would take is the recognition that one and the other are part of who we are as a whole. One can't rule the other, but has to work together. Can it be so simple?

 

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.

 

This is the answer for all of us. We need a new language, dammit! :grin:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darmok

:HaHa:

I love Star Trek!

 

Did you know that Joseph Campbell (the myth studies I am doing now) was an inspriation to Star Wars? Specifically the book I'm reading now, The Hero with A Thousand Faces? There's a picture of Luke Skywalker on the front. Although Campbell wrote it in 1948, when it was re-published it incorporated this. Pretty cool I thought.

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I'm not so much saying that we sould always accept things "as they are" without analyzing or processing on a deeper level.

 

But, sometimes we OVER analyze things. The universe is infinite. There is no way we can possibly comprehend it all. In my life I've learned to sometimes just let things sit (so-to-speak) as they are. Not throw one idea or understanding out because it conflicts with another idea or understanding - but simply allow them to co-exist.

And now we come to the Leap of Faith discussion.

 

First, we have to be careful to not under-analyze things too. It’s too easy for many to use, “Well, there’s just some things we’ll never understand,” as an excuse to not grow in knowledge by avoiding having their views challenged. Many people will respond to this language with that assumption learned from far too many experiences with it. I know that’s not what you mean, because I know you.

 

You asked me earlier,

“Do you think it's possible for the human mind to live with and reconcile paradox - to let the paradox stand as it is and accept it - not try to rationalize it - but reconcile it by just allowing it to be as it is?”

Yes, I think it is possible. But in a modern world with an emphasis on scientific thought, it has become a difficulty to find a way how to bring the two worlds together.

 

I think the trick is recognizing at what point it actually goes beyond rational thought, and must transcend into the aesthetic. As I said before, I think there is a downside to people availing themselves prematurely of “There are some things we just can’t understand,” as they go skipping off into the realm of faith.

 

By the same token I think in this age of reason and science we can likewise go down the road of rational pursuits, and as NB said, not stop to smell the roses. We look to explanations of something as the key to knowing it. I absolutely value understanding the “how” of something, like how language shapes our ability to conceive of things, but then again is this the experience itself? It’s one thing to read about love, it’s another to experience it.

 

Let’s talk about the mystical elements of life. Are these real? Sure. They happen. Is there a scientific explanation for them? Perhaps. I tend to think so. But can that explanation impart the experience and the perspectives gained through them? No. Not at all. Are those experiences valuable to humans? Yes, I believe they are. They give us a perspective of ourselves through experience. The experience is part of who we are, so why would that not be valuable in one way or another – especially if it leads to a richer enjoyment of life.

 

What about the value of experience gained through ritual? What about the value of using a language of mythology? Have these things given people an experience of their own humanity that is positive? One has to ask, if not, then why were they practiced for tens of thousands of years?

 

I tend to think it goes way beyond just simply trying to explain the natural universe. I think it touches on the aesthetic - the core of our consumption of life, and the essence of our own power of creation. It lives inside us in realm of art, music, poetry, and myth – the telling of what we desire in symbolic tales of love, power, forgiveness, compassion, wisdom, purpose, and meaning. These all appeal to us, and the language of myth has been its vehicle into our minds from the birth of our humanity.

 

Have we cut ourselves off from this through an emphasis on the sciences? What is the first thing they cut out of school curriculums, and the last thing they really should if they wish for students to have a well rounded exposure to society and humanity? The Arts. Is it the same thing that happens when we cut off ourselves from the language of myth?

 

As I said before, aestheticism and existentialism were born as philosophical movements in response to the rise of positivism. Kierkegaard is attributed to be the first to use the term Leap of Faith. Modern Evangelicals hate this term, and it is misapplied to tem all the time. They have a teleological approach to religious belief. But the leap of faith is more a decision to accept something as a paradox and accept it as true without any benefit of reason. This is more how I see what you are asking above about accepting paradoxes.

 

In essence I see this as a choice based on value. Someone chooses to adopt this language because it has value to them, rationality aside. Can someone participate in the language of myth in the performance of ritual, and still maintain integrity as a rational being?

 

Now here’s a paradox for you. Under the circumstances of our biology and programming to respond to beauty, is irrationality a rational choice? Is it an act of human rationality to make a leap of faith beyond rationality?

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first off antlerman, i am in the middle road, i feel that both God and evolution played there parts to get us where we are. i could throw out my conspiracy theory, but i will save that for another day.

Conspiracy theory? Are you talking about the annual convention of evolutionists who sit together in a great hall filled thick with cigar smoke, conspiring together to over that year’s findings in their research to make it look like it was all just natural occurrences? Yes, I know about them. I was at one of those meetings, and let me tell you I nearly choked to death from the cloud of smoke and all that deceit that was going on in there. They had a big paper shredder in there, and I can’t tell you how many Bibles went through it! All that evidence of God, gone, shredded into mountains of unreadable confetti.

 

Ok seriously, I’m just having some fun here :grin:. I’m sure your thoughts aren’t quite that silly. I would like to hear them sometime.

 

But to the serious, there is a difference between accepting the research, and interpreting it as a hard-line materialist. You can see God as the instigator of natural processes if you wish. It’s not something that science looks at. It’s only the how, not the why that science addresses.

 

sorry to call you hard core. i understand what you are saying, but i look at the world a little differently than you do. i don't see the beuaty, i see the flaws. that is the baptist raising coming out. they focus more on scaring you into heaven instead of teaching the good principle that religion has to offer.

That’s truly tragic. It makes me both sad and angry. I do however know what you mean. This is one of the big problems I have with traditional Christian teachings about the fall of man. It’s all good and fine as a metaphor for certain aspects of the human struggle, but damnation is quite another matter.

 

I see little good that comes from teaching people to view the world so pessimistically. If God created it, then why not view it as beautiful? What better expression of gratitude can be offered than to see its beauty and have an appreciative heart? That attitude does nothing but good for someone. Seeing it as crap, well… that’s crap.

 

Like I’ve said, our natural drive is to seek out beauty. It’s how the world has spawned life. To celebrate beauty is to celebrate life. Go ahead and believe in God, but at least see him with a smile on his face! In the end, its better to die having enjoyed life, than to live seeing it as ugly and praying you can have a better one next time. That belief does a true disservice to human beings. I consider it a horrible philosophy that dishonors the idea of God.

 

and for the record, antlerman you write and convey your thoughts in a very bueatiful way. i have yet to talk to a person as eloquent and skilled in writing as you.

Hey, thank you. It’s a fruitful exercise for me to do here, and I’m glad people get something from it. I’m still not sure about the suggestions of others that I write a book though. I put together a music album in studio, but I wasn’t much on promotion and sales, as I was the only one involved in the whole project. Besides, I’m just some arm-chair humanities fan and not some highly credentialed philosopher. I like the idea though as more of a journal my own thoughts, but I’ve never actually written anything formally. I just like doing this for now.

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Antlerman and NBBTB... just wanted to say thanks for sharing your insights! :thanks:

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I'm not so much saying that we sould always accept things "as they are" without analyzing or processing on a deeper level.

 

But, sometimes we OVER analyze things. The universe is infinite. There is no way we can possibly comprehend it all. In my life I've learned to sometimes just let things sit (so-to-speak) as they are. Not throw one idea or understanding out because it conflicts with another idea or understanding - but simply allow them to co-exist.

And now we come to the Leap of Faith discussion.

 

First, we have to be careful to not under-analyze things too. It’s too easy for many to use, “Well, there’s just some things we’ll never understand,” as an excuse to not grow in knowledge by avoiding having their views challenged. Many people will respond to this language with that assumption learned from far too many experiences with it. I know that’s not what you mean, because I know you.

Yes – I agree – there is a need for balance. :)

 

You asked me earlier,
“Do you think it's possible for the human mind to live with and reconcile paradox - to let the paradox stand as it is and accept it - not try to rationalize it - but reconcile it by just allowing it to be as it is?”
Yes, I think it is possible. But in a modern world with an emphasis on scientific thought, it has become a difficulty to find a way how to bring the two worlds together.
Well – now here’s the thing – in reconciling such things sometimes it’s not a matter of completely bringing “the two worlds” together. Maybe we allow the two worlds to compliment and interact with each other. Maybe that is the reconciliation.

 

I absolutely value understanding the “how” of something, like how language shapes our ability to conceive of things, but then again is this the experience itself? It’s one thing to read about love, it’s another to experience it.
Exactly – it’s possible to research the physical dynamics of what’s happening in the human body when a person is “in love”. But – can there ever be any real explanation for the experience itself? Sometimes, human experience defies scientific explanation. It’s not scientifically significant – so it doesn’t belong in the realm of science.

 

Let’s talk about the mystical elements of life. Are these real? Sure. They happen. Is there a scientific explanation for them? Perhaps. I tend to think so. But can that explanation impart the experience and the perspectives gained through them? No. Not at all. Are those experiences valuable to humans? Yes, I believe they are. They give us a perspective of ourselves through experience. The experience is part of who we are, so why would that not be valuable in one way or another – especially if it leads to a richer enjoyment of life.
There is another way to view these things as well, Antlerman. Yes – if an experience leads to richer enjoyment of life it is valid and valuable and should not be discounted.

 

But, there is more. To me – the subjective realm of reality has validity to the degree that individual experiences promote increased compassion and love and wisdom and peace towards other humans and towards the natural world.

 

This has become very important to me – subjective experiences can take us off the deep end. It is not science alone that keeps me grounded in my approach to these things. It is also the bigger picture – that we are all connected and interconnected. And if an individual subjective experience doesn’t increase awareness of this, if subjective experience doesn’t result in concrete compassionate and loving actions towards the rest of humanity or towards the natural world – then of what value is it?

 

If a subjective experience – is manifesting itself in more selfish and ego-centered actions, if it is manifesting itself in violent and angry actions – then as human beings we have the right to challenge the validity of the experience.

 

What about the value of experience gained through ritual? What about the value of using a language of mythology? Have these things given people an experience of their own humanity that is positive? One has to ask, if not, then why were they practiced for tens of thousands of years?
Excellent point!

 

I tend to think it goes way beyond just simply trying to explain the natural universe. I think it touches on the aesthetic - the core of our consumption of life, and the essence of our own power of creation. It lives inside us in realm of art, music, poetry, and myth – the telling of what we desire in symbolic tales of love, power, forgiveness, compassion, wisdom, purpose, and meaning. These all appeal to us, and the language of myth has been its vehicle into our minds from the birth of our humanity.
Exactly – if an experience does not lead us into more compassion, more wisdom, more purpose and meaning in our lives and towards others – then of what value is it?

 

Now here’s a paradox for you. Under the circumstances of our biology and programming to respond to beauty, is irrationality a rational choice? Is it an act of human rationality to make a leap of faith beyond rationality?
I think you answered this once yourself – in another thread – when you spoke of this leap of faith as Non-rational instead of IR-rational. :)
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Antlerman and NBBTB... just wanted to say thanks for sharing your insights! :thanks:

Thanks Amanda and your insights are greatly appreciated also!

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Yes, I think it is possible. But in a modern world with an emphasis on scientific thought, it has become a difficulty to find a way how to bring the two worlds together.

Well – now here’s the thing – in reconciling such things sometimes it’s not a matter of completely bringing “the two worlds” together. Maybe we allow the two worlds to compliment and interact with each other. Maybe that is the reconciliation.

I’m thinking this is the issue for most of us as Ex-Literalists, or even generally speaking as people who products of a modern culture in the industrialized nations. We view these aspects of human history as being at odds with each other. They are perceived as a conflict: either as a violation of reason, or a violation of the aesthetic.

 

I agree that the reconciliation is not so much finding a way to make myth align with scientific research (like that garbage about a literal reading of Genesis to speak point for point to scientific findings). Rather that we just accept that both are valid in themselves and not beat ourselves up for indulging in either non-rational or rational pursuits, if that’s what we’re drawn towards.

 

Isn’t it sort of like saying a vacation is “wrong”, when contrasted to work? Likewise isn’t it like saying going to work is wrong when you like to vacation? I think both are good and when practiced together in the individual, though distinctly different things they create a whole, more well rounded person. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” At the same time, “All play and no work makes Jack lacking in depth of experience and pretty darned dull too.”

 

The analogy isn’t perfect, but you get the gist. I tend to like the analogy about someone who never experiences the arts. There is definitely a dimension to living that is lost and lacking in the person who never stops to reflect and open yourself up to new dimensions of thought and experience.

 

Is mythology or mysticism the only avenue to these sorts of human experiences? No, but they do have unique offerings that have been a part of the human experience for a very long time. Are they the ultimate human experience? I would say no. The beauty of life is seen and experienced in many ways, not one. This also is why rationality alone is hardly equipped to understand what it is to exist.

 

I for one used (and still do) rationality to draw a line in the sand to stop certain religious thought from usurping the positive experience of sound reason by falsely claiming to be rational. Now that those boundaries have been defined for me and know where religion doesn't belong, it’s time to be fair minded and acknowledge where can be positive. Not everything religious is disingenuous.

 

Hmm…. Should I change my user name to Fair_Minded?

 

Nope, I like Antlerman. I think I’ll stick with that. :grin:

 

There is another way to view these things as well, Antlerman. Yes – if an experience leads to richer enjoyment of life it is valid and valuable and should not be discounted.

 

But, there is more. To me – the subjective realm of reality has validity to the degree that individual experiences promote increased compassion and love and wisdom and peace towards other humans and towards the natural world.

Well I think what you are describing touches on what I mentioned before that our makeup responds to beauty in order to promote life. Our culture nurtures this in us and seems to make us more acutely tuned to it. However at the same time, like NB said, the feedback loop becomes a feeding line (still not quite sure what she means by that, but I suspect it is that we get caught up in the signifier and miss the signified).

 

I agree if our experiences lead us away from a sense of community and into greed that violates respect of others, then we've become focused more on self consumption, rather than seeking knowledge and wisdom from life. When I mentioned a richer enjoyment of life, I am referring to one that is a fulfilled life, and that doesn’t happen when you're self-absorbed.

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Yes, I think it is possible. But in a modern world with an emphasis on scientific thought, it has become a difficulty to find a way how to bring the two worlds together.
Well – now here’s the thing – in reconciling such things sometimes it’s not a matter of completely bringing “the two worlds” together. Maybe we allow the two worlds to compliment and interact with each other. Maybe that is the reconciliation.
I’m thinking this is the issue for most of us as Ex-Literalists, or even generally speaking as people who products of a modern culture in the industrialized nations. We view these aspects of human history as being at odds with each other. They are perceived as a conflict: either as a violation of reason, or a violation of the aesthetic.
You hit the nail on the head, Antlerman.

 

One of the things that has always struck me, is this perceived competition between science and spirituality. And since I've arrived onboard - here - this dynamic has stuck out even more. Having never been exposed to the nitty-gritty of literalist beliefs - I just never understood this "conflict".

 

I grew up in a family that held both sides of the human experience in equal reverence, and I was taught early on that they compliment each other - that they aren't in conflict at all (at least not anymore than apples and oranges are in conflict). It's impossible for me to understand why it is that our culture sets these things at conflict with each other. It's just asking for trouble.

 

But, then again, if one is taught literalist beliefs - then there IS conflict. :shrug:

 

Isn’t it sort of like saying a vacation is “wrong”, when contrasted to work? Likewise isn’t it like saying going to work is wrong when you like to vacation? I think both are good and when practiced together in the individual, though distinctly different things they create a whole, more well rounded person. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” At the same time, “All play and no work makes Jack lacking in depth of experience and pretty darned dull too.”

 

The analogy isn’t perfect, but you get the gist.

Yes - this is true. This goes back to a question I've asked in other threads: "Do we reduce reality to that which can be measured in a quantitative, scientific way?".

 

This is a very important question in the industrialized, scientific cultures of today. Who are we - as humans - as citizens of the world, if we reduce reality to that which can be measured in quantitative, scientific way? How does that world-view make us better citizens of a diverse world? How does that approach make us better citizens of the natural world? Can we really live up to our highest potential in these areas if we reduce everything to that which our finite brains can measure and grasp hold of?

 

Not everything religious is disingenuous.
Ahhh... :) Do I sense that healing has taken place, Antlerman. ;) Congratulations..... :)

 

There is another way to view these things as well, Antlerman. Yes – if an experience leads to richer enjoyment of life it is valid and valuable and should not be discounted.

 

But, there is more. To me – the subjective realm of reality has validity to the degree that individual experiences promote increased compassion and love and wisdom and peace towards other humans and towards the natural world.

Well I think what you are describing touches on what I mentioned before that our makeup responds to beauty in order to promote life. Our culture nurtures this in us and seems to make us more acutely tuned to it. However at the same time, like NB said, the feedback loop becomes a feeding line (still not quite sure what she means by that, but I suspect it is that we get caught up in the signifier and miss the signified).

 

I agree if our experiences lead us away from a sense of community and into greed that violates respect of others, then we've become focused more on self consumption, rather than seeking knowledge and wisdom from life. When I mentioned a richer enjoyment of life, I am referring to one that is a fulfilled life, and that doesn’t happen when you're self-absorbed.

Exactly.... :grin:
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Well I think what you are describing touches on what I mentioned before that our makeup responds to beauty in order to promote life. Our culture nurtures this in us and seems to make us more acutely tuned to it. However at the same time, like NB said, the feedback loop becomes a feeding line (still not quite sure what she means by that, but I suspect it is that we get caught up in the signifier and miss the signified).

 

I agree if our experiences lead us away from a sense of community and into greed that violates respect of others, then we've become focused more on self consumption, rather than seeking knowledge and wisdom from life. When I mentioned a richer enjoyment of life, I am referring to one that is a fulfilled life, and that doesn't happen when you're self-absorbed.

:3:

 

You expressed that better than I could have. :17:

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You expressed that better than I could have. :17:

Well for goodness sakes. Where the controversy? Where's the debate? We're all just kissing each other around here. Surely there must be someone who has somesthing to challenge here? :lmao:

 

As much as love all this affirmation, we need some challenge in order to dig up some thoughts as of yet unexplored. Are there no questions? No challenges? :grin:

 

(sorry I'm just in a mood tonight! Lots of stress at work. By the time I finish eating this cookie, I'll be right as rain.)

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Hey Antlerman, thanks for starting this thread. I’m coming in on it a bit late, but better late than never. I’d like to try and respond to the opening post rather than the ensuing discussion.

 

Language is a complex and powerful thing. I’ve heard it said that its acquisition and correct deployment are a kind of miracle. And if all communication can be considered a part of language then its scope is vast. As you know Antlerman, I subscribe to a naturalistic philosophy. You once asked me what the epistemology of naturalism is and I was somewhat at a loss at that time. Now however, I feel that language plays an integral role in what I think of as the epistemology of naturalism.

 

The “faith” and goal of naturalism is that understanding can obtain. So the question naturally arises, what is understanding? I think it could be effectively argued that understanding obtains when a modeling relation has been established. This relation depends on the notion that 1) perception, 2) inference and 3) prediction can commute with 4) causality. Language plays an indispensable role in inference and perhaps a lesser role in perception and prediction. Certainly the sort of inferences afforded to us by mathematics and mythology for instance would be impossible without language. So seeing that correct inference is a part of understanding and language is a key component of inference it follows that language plays an important role in our explicit understanding of things.

 

It seems to me that every person, people, school of thought, and discipline have their own language. What I wouldn’t give to be able to speak some languages fluently!

 

Anyway, thanks again for providing me with an opportunity to give voice to some of these thoughts.

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