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March 19, 2007

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Thank you so very much for the warm welcome, Brian!

I believe I understand what you mean about cyber-friendships. Anne Riske, my partner at Cafe Philos, and I have never met in the offline world. Yet, we seem to feel a deep affinity for each other, even a kinship of sorts. That's made me a believer in the notion that cyber-friendships can be just as profound as offline friendships.

I consider it an honor to be linked to by your wonderful blog.

Brian,I doubd about a loving god also.
we'll see what happens,maybe I don't mind any longer..
Loving or not,god or not, life is going on.
I can't express my feeling and thinking good in a different laguage.
But a loving..(?)god.
Maybe there is no god.
The story from your last post was nice and that can even going on and on and on with or without the neighbour and the quiet person.Life goes on and on with or without us.
It is strange and funny..and sad also..
Sita

Hi :) Thanks.

I am not sure what to say other than I appreciate the nice thumbs up towards A Personal Tao.

The talk about a loving god makes me ponder for a second. I personally never directly associate human emotions or love with the term God... A Taoist response is to shrug and then actively love those around us...It's fun to debate questions of God, but there then always comes a point to live life. We are human and love is so very much a part of humanity. So why even mix it up to to higher power when it's already in the here and now?

Of course I equate the term Love to joining to that outside of us, to become more... and to many the concept of God is the joining to a larger universe... to become more... So I can see why people jump to make the connection of God to Love from that sense of the term Love.

One thing for sure, we like to make things complicated to help keep us entertained in our passing...and that isn't so bad if it helps keep us away from the Television.

peace :) sorry about the spur of the moment ramble...

Casey,thank you so much about your tao..
I apreciate it very very much.
I read the tao and like it.
Sita

Dear Casey Kochmer,

I like the Television. What's wrong with TV? I just bought a new Sony 46" LCD HDTV with 1080 resolution and surround-sound which I expect to watch 6-10 hrs or more every day.

I like all kinds of programming from sports to wildlife documentaries, even American Idol. I can tivo the shows and not even watch the commercials even though some of them are good. This way I can see more shows. TV saves me the trouble of getting up and doing something to keep my mind occupied. It's really very environmental to be a TV watcher, because I don't have to get in my car and drive to some event for entertainment.

TV is a spiritual experience for me. I find it is very easy to go with the flow of life when I watch TV. I can remain in a very passive accepting state and watch the images go by. Sometimes my ego vanishes as I get absorbed watching the passing images. I love the hypnotic effect of a long tennis match which leaves me calm like after meditating for three or four hours, so now I don't have to do that anymore.

I have learned about many places and things watching TV. I have seen the rainforests, Europe and Antarctica. Now I don't have to buy plane tickets and go through the terror of flying, or worry about mad bombers, to go to these places. Not to mention the hassle of getting a passport.

Even so-called junk TV like soap operas and sit-coms can teach you much about human nature. I have learned many of the tricks and pitfalls of human relationships. When the TV repairman comes, I am very hard to sell unneeded parts to because I have learned from consumer shows that these guys are dishonest.

I get plenty of exercise watching TV. I put this peddling device in front of my chair and go at it for hours. This chair is very well built and reclines in such a way that I can do weightlifting. I have dumbells mounted by each side of my chair and do many exercises. I can press 100 lb. dumbells in each hand 20 times for two or even three sets on good days. This is not a world record, but pretty good for a TV bum. I use this grip device which has given me a very powerful grip because I squeeze it for hours. This helps to relieve the tension when Hilary Clinton or Bill O'Reilly is talking, but nothing helps when Wolf Blitzer comes on. Ha ha.

One time, the little woman brought me some guacamole and chips before the Tito Ortiz-Chuck Liddel fight. She tripped and spilled all the fucking chips, but I managed to break her fall and save the guacamole by grabing her wrist. She was severely bruised by my grip for which I was sorry, but this shows how strong I am. I dare say I could choke the life out of many athletes if they would dare to challenge me.

Socially, I'm not isolated as I ask the gardener and housekeeper to join me sometimes. It is an opportunity for them to learn some English as neither of them are very good at it. Hopefully, they will learn enough English so that I can talk with them about stuff.

I worked hard as a bus driver for several years in order to be able to retire and get the free time to watch all the TV I want which has always been my dream. Now I'm happy and in my element. What's wrong with that?

Brian,

Thanks so much for your kind mention of my Eternal Student web site (which is one among many “eternal student” web sites -- a quick Google will give you a handful of others). And also for quoting my little essay regarding the current state of my faith-life. It is indeed an honor to be a part of the Church of the Churchless.

Brian, I see that you are a betting man -- you’re betting against God, or at least against any notion of a caring, loving God. I realize that there is a lot of intellectual momentum in this direction at the moment: Dennett, Dawkins, Harris, et. al. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium, has a presentation where he explains what a horrible, awfully designed universe this is for sentient life. He includes shots of grossly deformed infants. View it yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgSaTYLYRGI

After watching that video, what or who could stop any rational person from getting in line with you at the anti-God betting window? C.S. Lewis and his successor, John Polkinghorne? Both are intelligent and worth a read, but they expend too much energy defending the particulars of Christian myth. Still, perhaps there is one man. Out of respect and reverence for who he is and what he and his community have been through in their lives, I normally would not bring him up. But Dr. Tyson is obviously using ‘the biggest guns’, so I hope you and all who read this will forgive me for going to a similar extreme in arguing for “staying on the metaphysical fence”.

That man would be Elie Wiesel (Christopher Hitchens notwithstanding). His ‘Trial of God’ continues. If anyone could have declared the defendant guilty and banished to oblivion, it is Mr. Wiesel. And yet he has not returned judgment. For me, then, all bets are off.

Respectfully and in friendship,
Jim G., a (hopefully) eternal student of life

Tyson and Koestler both argue that the seeming "mistakes" in the universal plan provide some kind of proof: of absurdity, of blind faith, of misdirected belief.

In the face of what may be the all-knowing presence in the eternally created now, I have a hard time recognizing the relative power of intellectual "big guns". How profound that we are aware of the suffering of Weisel, and are willing to grant him the status of high retributionist.

The number of possible forms of consciousness in the world of god implies that brother buffalo is in the same position as any other genome. Let's assume the necessary asana to learn the spiritual language spoken there.

Yikes, even the elves respect the death of witches accumulating in Miles Renfrow's TV.

Can you live without the computer?

Sita: thanks!

Miles:

On one level I have no problem with TV , it's a tool, and as such, you are right you can learn so much. I do watch television, very closely as one medium to watch social trends and such...

However, on another level... its a dangerous tool... The amount of subliminal pressure placed back onto a person is quite great...

On another level its been shown the frequency of the television actually induces the brain into a different state, a state not unlike that of being drugged... IN fact I suspect... on one level it can and does form an addiction for people...and thats the danger.

Any form of addiction from a Taoist viewpoint is extremely dangerous, as it literally means replacing your own empty space with one defined by an outside source...Thats something as a Taoist you are taught to not lose, the freedom to shape and build upon your empty space.

So while I use television as a tool. I approach it much like a shaman looks towards a drug... with great respect and care since I know, it has the power to destroy those who peer too deeply into its depths.

but then again isn't that true with much in life?

I would suggest trying an experiment to give up All television for three months, and write a journal of your reactions and feelings during the process. Then later look back at what you wrote and felt during the withdrawal process. You might be surprised at what you find and the depths the effect it has upon the spirit. For many the experience and ssymptoms could be very comparable to an experience of stopping smoking or other such items. And that really makes you think about what its doing to you...


Ander: Considering I earn my living on the computer between writing books, code and poetry... I sadly have to confess it would be difficult without one in the current social setup for me...

Casey,
Thanks for the advice and I think you're right about the TV putting me in a drug-like stupor. After watching last year's Masters Golf tournament for five hours I was covered with potato chip crumbs and didn't even remember eating any chips, and there were two empty bags lying on the floor by my chair. Then my wife called me to make sure I turned off the oven when the timer went off for her casserole. It was only then I noticed the smoke coming from the kitchen. There was hell to pay for that. She fed me nothing but Rice-a-Roni (The San Francisco Treat) and tunafish for a week after that little screw up. So, I might take you up on your suggestion and go cold turkey from the TV one of these days, but what am I going to do with my new wide-screen?
Miles

Brian,

Thank you for your kind remarks about Religious Forums. I'm very excited to have a link exchange with your site, and hope my members enjoy your site as much as I do.

Also, thank you for your mention of our Eros Room. When we first put up a special forum for conversations about love, sexuality and relationships, we wondered what we were getting ourselves into. As it's turned out, however, the Eros Room has very easy to moderate and the participants have been very supportive and considerate of each other.

Again, thank you for welcoming us to your blog!

i want to be freind

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