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May 30, 2009

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Dear Brian,

Somehow your posts and reflections are becoming more and more irrelevant and expressions of ignorance as their claims and affirmations are more and more false generelizations and (poor) straw man arguments. As some else pointed out recently, lately you have also and too often asked the wrong questions ...

How do your superficial and ignorant accounts apply and 'incriminate' this minister of the Unitarian church ... http://monkeymindonline.blogspot.com/

Simply reread Meister Eckhart (his best sermons articulate all the answers [as much or extent as an answer is possible; intrinsic limitations apply here] to your ill-positioned questions ... ) and the appendix of the first part of Spinoza's Ethics.

the elephant, your comment is full of what you accuse me of: false generalizations and poor arguments.

What did you disagree with, specifically, in this post? What is the problem with Life that you have evidence of, and I don't? What are the correct questions that aren't being asked on this blog?

Instead of saying "superficial and ignorant," which are just insults with no content behind them, what do I need to know (which you apparently do) that is profound and wise?

Light a candle. Don't curse the churchless darkness. There's always an open invitation on this blog for anyone, you included naturally, to demonstrate the truth of a religious doctrine. Demonstrate away.

I've read Eckhart...over and over. I love the guy. One of his basic premises is that "God" (all of our concepts about ultimate reality) have to be discarded before we can realize what the Godhead beyond knowing is like -- Mystery.

Spinoza didn't make a distinction between God and Nature. God is Nature, which is Life. See my post where I say that Spinoza's God is my God:
http://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2007/06/spinozas_god_is.html

I don't agree with everything Eckhart and Spinoza said, but they certainly are right up the churchless alley, pretty much. Anyone who is called a heretic by the Catholic church has to be a good guy, in my opinion.

Brian:

"the elephant, your comment is full of what you accuse me of: false generalizations and poor arguments.

What did you disagree with, specifically, in this post? What is the problem with Life that you have evidence of, and I don't? What are the correct questions that aren't being asked on this blog?

Instead of saying "superficial and ignorant," which are just insults with no content behind them, what do I need to know (which you apparently do) that is profound and wise?

Light a candle. Don't curse the churchless darkness. There's always an open invitation on this blog for anyone, you included naturally, to demonstrate the truth of a religious doctrine. Demonstrate away."

The elephant:

Time constraints compelled me to be brief. Moreover, I just wanted to bring to your attention the possiblity of insufficiencies of your own posts and thoughts. Not what they are. I did not leave entirely hanging there -- I left you pistes to explore. But instead you decided to shift the blame on me. I was well aware of what I was doing. Regarding explaining the problems and flaws of your thoughts and posts in more details, there are many reasons why I do not wish to do so. And nothing compels me to do it. Forum like this is a poor medium to explore your insufficiencies. [I expect you to disagree with my own view on these matters]

And the fact that your contradictions and gross generalizations and judgments do not reveal themselves to you as obvious in regards with the religious experience of the Minister I brought up is a sign that a forum like this, and its inherent limitations, is clearly not the proper way for me to address your concerns ...


the elephant, thanks. As I suspected, your words meant nothing. I just wanted to confirm that what upsets you about what I write, and others say on this blog, is emotional and personal in nature -- something within you, not within reality.

Quite a few commenters do this. They project their own uncertainties about what they believe onto what they read here, getting upset at the churchless thoughts -- whereas what they likely really are disturbed about is their own honest feeling of "I don't know, yet I believe I do."

Hi Brian,

If this how you wish to perceive my comments and their dynamics, you are welcome. Yours is a perfectly reasonable interpration of and take on the apparently dismissive nature of my reply (although I have explained why it is so)-- reasonable but nevertheless incorrect (particularly about the emotional content and implications you infer from very little evidence).

The elephant

the elephant, fine, I can sort of see where you are coming from. I just consider it impolite and inconsiderate to call someone (like me) superficial and ignorant without explaining why that is.

As you said, it's understandable that I'd view that sort of name-calling as coming from an emotional/personal base, rather than a disagreement over some philosophical or metaphysical point.

I like to discuss. I don't find what often passes for "discussion" on the Internet -- insults, name-calling, ranting -- to be productive, so I make a point of calling people out on this blog when they engage in that behavior, which I see you doing.

Next time, consider saying what you feel, and what you believe to be true, rather than attacking me for what I've said. That isn't the way to have a productive discussion. Mutual respect, in my opinion, is a big part of what life is about.

We can disagree passionately about some subject. Yet at the same time we can agree that open-minded courteous conversation is a pleasant productive way of spending some of our time while we're alive.

I agree. Life just is.

I have a poster at home.
I has a picture of a baby.
He is sitting there - with nothing.

The words state :-

No Money.
No Girlfriend.
No Job.

No Problem.

Now that's what you call enlightened.

If there is any such thing.

There are so many stories that say man has fallen.

Adam and Eve. Everything was cool.
Then Adam ate fruit from the tree
"Of the knowledge of good and bad" (bad=evil)
In other words - until then - Adam did not know what was good and what was bad.
Adam had no 'problem'.
Nothing was good or bad - so life was life.
It is what it is.

Then - once Adam ate the fruit. He saw he was naked and he hid from God.
Now he has a mind - good and bad has entered. Now he has a problem.
This was the fall of Adam - the story says.
Every child is Adam. Born in the garden of Eden.
Every child 'falls' because he eats the forbidden fruit.
He enters the world of 'good and bad'.

You become as a child again by dropping all the dualistic concepts
given to you by religions.
Like that 'there is something wrong' and 'you need to be good'.
"You need to meditate or pray or recite or whatever' in order to
'please God'.

The assumption is that God is displeased in the first place.

You have created God as if he was a man.

It is not that God created man in his own image.

Man created God to be like himself - like a human.

You used to please your parents - now you try to please God.

The Guru becomes a 'father figure'.

It is only out of your own insecurity that you create a God.

Then you get trapped by your own concept of God.

Sant mat comes to the rescue in the form of a Guru who will take

you to Sach Kahnd and all your problems will be over.

Hence the attraction of the sant mat path.

The Buddha said "There is no saviour - not even me."

Why? because there is no problem in the first place.


See how the whole trap is created. Life was wonderful when you were
a child. You smiled for no reason.

Now every human is trapped by their own concept of God.

break free and you get closer to the child-like state again.

The mind creates the problem.

Inherently life is simply life - however, the mind wants more - it seeks to
achieve more. It wants to arrive somewhere.

It is not happy just being here and now.

It wants there and later.

Now the spiritual journey becomes a goal and a struggle.

And nobody gets 'there'. They all live in hope and die in vain.

Unless you 'wake up' and realise that it is a mind-trap.

The Buddha did not find 'truth' or Nirvana until he gave up.

Anything within Space ('there') and Time (when will it happen?)

is all part of the trap.

Truth simply means - No Time and No Space.

That means nothing happens - it cannot because Time is required for events to happen.

Osho wrote, "The assumption is that God is displeased in the first place."

Good point. Doesn't God have anything better to do than going around pissed off? Eternity is a long time to feel that way. If Sach Khand is so great and blissful, why is He so uptight setting up all these requirements? Heck, I would think He would just say join the party, you don't have to do endless hours of boring meditation. Have apple pie with lard in the crust, I don't care. Have a glass of wine and a friendly poke with the chick you met on the bus. No skin off my teeth. It's all good.

Tucson,

Does your statement include, "properly handling a gal" that knows how to hold a beer, too?

Roger

the elephant said [to Brian]:

"your posts and reflections are becoming more and more irrelevant and expressions of ignorance as their claims and affirmations are more and more false generelizations and (poor) straw man arguments."

-- If you cannot give or refer to any specific instances, then your critical comment above has no substance to it.

"you have also and too often asked the wrong questions"

-- If that is so, then you should offer and present the questions that you feel are the RIGHT questions. You merely say that Brian asked the "wrong" questions, and yet you have offered nothing better.

"Time constraints compelled me to be brief. Moreover, I just wanted to bring to your attention the possiblity of insufficiencies of your own posts and thoughts. Not what they are."

-- That excuse is evasive. And, if you are going to say that Brian's thoughts - his post - is somehow insufficient, then you you must necessarily indicate specifically what those insfficiences are. You haven't done that, so your comment means nothing.

"I left you pistes to explore. But instead you decided to shift the blame on me. I was well aware of what I was doing."

-- If you knew, then why not offer and provide something of substance? To merely say "I left you pistes to explore" is nothing more than a game.

"Regarding explaining the problems and flaws of your thoughts and posts in more details, there are many reasons why I do not wish to do so. And nothing compels me to do it."

-- Again, this is obvious evasion. And no one has compelled you to do anything, so your defensiveness is unnecessary. And if you really had something, anything, of substance, you would say it.

"Forum like this is a poor medium to explore your insufficiencies"

-- Another evasive comment.

"the fact that your contradictions and gross generalizations and judgments do not reveal themselves to you as obvious"

-- Then what exactly are these so-called "contradictions and gross generalizations and judgments" that Brian has made, in your opinion?? If you are going to say there are "contradictions and gross generalizations and judgments", then please point them out.

"Yours is a perfectly reasonable interpration of and take on the apparently dismissive nature of my reply (although I have explained why it is so)"

-- You have not explained any such thing. Indicate where you have "explained".


========================================


Now for some real clarity on the bigger issue here from OshoRobbins, who made the following excellent observations:

"There are so many stories that say man has fallen. The assumption is that God is displeased in the first place. It is not that God created man in his own image. Man created God to be like himself - like a human. It is only out of your own insecurity that you create a God. Then you get trapped by your own concept of God."

"Sant mat comes to the rescue in the form of a Guru who will take you to Sach Kahnd and all your problems will be over. Hence the attraction of the sant mat path."

"The Buddha said "There is no saviour - not even me." Why? because there is no problem in the first place."

"Now every human is trapped by their own concept of God. [...] not happy just being here and now."

"Now the spiritual journey becomes a goal and a struggle. And nobody gets 'there'. They all live in hope and die in vain. Unless you 'wake up' and realise that it is a mind-trap."

"The Buddha did not find 'truth' or Nirvana until he gave up."

An other episode of "how life should and should not be" by Tao ...

"If that is so, then you should ..."
"then you you must necessarily"
"And if you really had something, anything, of substance, you would say it."
"If you are going to ... , then please ...."

btw, as opposed to what your characterization suggests, I was not trying to evade anything since I was not, contrary to your beliefs on what should and should not be, compelled to do anything in particular (as I already said). What was I evading? Satisfying and gratifying the needs and desires of some elderies (aka old farts) telling others what to do and think on the net ... lol ... let be serious here ...

The opinion "What a control freak" comes naturally to mind .. (although that does not mean that I agree or not with it)

the Elephant,

You said, ""your posts and reflections are becoming more and more irrelevant and expressions of ignorance as their claims and affirmations are more and more false generelizations and (poor) straw man arguments."

--Please clarify this statement and cite examples. If you don't wish to do so, fine, I don't care, but not to do so makes it appear that you are the one creating straw men and irrelevant expressions of ignorance.

"but not to do so makes it appear that you are the one creating straw men and irrelevant expressions of ignorance."


Thank you tucson,
but I said earlier I am perfectly aware of the many ways the state of affairs can be perceived. And as I said my goal is not to satisfy and gratify the needs and desires resulting from positions on appearances by some elderies (aka old farts).

To be honest, you are a bad emissary on this issue since when, in the past, I tried to engage with details (example, discussions, etc) and depth some of your naive statements, you dismissed me and my questionings by first, consistently going for the personal jugular, and thereby avoiding the issues, and when it became clear that your personal attacks were ineffective you simply dropped from the exchanges on the pretense that 'it was getting too serious' and 'we needed to chill out'. I guess between your attitude in our past exchanges and your latest request we can label your inconsistency a 'nondual' inconsistency ...

I make mistakes, I just try no to repeat them.

the elephant,

OK. I don't think I deliberately intended to go for the jugular or to avoid issues. You have an excellent command of english even though it isn't your first language. However, and this is not intended as a criticism as it could be partly my fault, your manner of expression in some of our previous exchanges was sometimes hard for me to follow which may have led me to provide less than complete responses. I may have been overwhelmed by the volume of material presented.

Keep in mind that I am not a scholar. I don't know Spinoza from Eckhart (I do know how beer is best carried on a Harley, but that is between Roger and me). You go over my head when you refer to these philosophical types. I am not well versed in all the various religions, philosophies, and all the prominent teachers.

Words often fail, but I try to express my views based on personal experience. I'm really kind of a simple guy. I have driven school buses and 18 wheelers. I spent years in the restaurant business and wholesaling avocados and citrus. Eventually I found my way to commodity futures.

So, in light of the above...

In a comment recently you cited the following statement of mine as naive...

"-I think as soon as it is caught, IT is lost as well as never being some 'thing' that can be taught or thought."

Why?

Catch IT, or get caught by IT

Then you will know

This is a very good article.

I have been thinking the same thing too.

Why is life just not accepted for what it is?

There are good and bad moments, but we seem to have so little time as it is, that i am not quite sure why ppl spend so much time on religion and the afterlife.

I mean if there is something or there is nothing after the present life, what difference does it make in terms of what we do in this life?

Surely if there is some sort of supernatural prescence or moral overlord or god behind it all, there's a purpose to our lives and its not to be living in the esoteric dimensions of neverneverland.

This is not complicated or mystical in any way. All that I intended by my quote in the comment above is that for me IT is not some sort of thing that can be known and put in a mental box where I can say and describe this is how IT is. For me, IT is an intuition or apperception. IT is not even an 'it', yet IT is somehow perceived but as soon as the mind tries to hold IT and say, Ah! this is IT, then IT disappears from view. This is because IT is not objective at all but rather the functioning which we are. So, Hukm (Ashy) I will never catch IT or be caught by IT for I am IT.

George, I agree. Assuming that a conscious creator exists (a big assumption), how likely is it that he/she/it formed the unimaginably large and old universe as some sort of joke: "Ha, ha -- this isn't really real reality; you humans have evolved after some fourteen billion years; now you have to discover that life is to be truly lived elsewhere."

As you said, this would mean that the Creator wants us to ignore the creation, treating it as maya, illusion, a place to escape from. Such a belief seems insulting to the Creator (again, assuming one exists) since it implies that there is no essence or substance of the Creator in the creation.

Embracing life as a gift, gratefully, sure seems to me like a much more respectful way to say "thank you" to whatever produced the universe and the life we are living now. Whether our source be unconscious laws of nature or a conscious creator, I feel like we should see the reality we inhabit as it is, not as how we imagine it to be.

"Embracing life as a gift, gratefully, sure seems to me like a much more respectful way to say "thank you" to whatever produced the universe and the life we are living now. Whether our source be unconscious laws of nature or a conscious creator, I feel like we should see the reality we inhabit as it is, not as how we imagine it to be."

---How does one know that life is a gift? Nothing wrong with being grateful. However, who is the source of life as a gift? Has there ever been an example of life as a simply horrible event or series of events? Where was the gift there? Could the act of embracing life as a gift, be an example of how one can imagine it (life) to be?
---Seems like one should, possibly could, embrace life, as it is. The good and the bad.

---That which produced the universe, some supposed 14 billion years ago, needs to be respected with a Thank you?

Roger, note that I said "as" a gift. I didn't say that life "was" a gift. In fact, I acknowledged that life could (and likely is) the product of unconscious laws of nature.

This is just how I feel. There's no reason for feelings. They are what they are. Facts are different. You are viewing what I said as factual. It should be viewed as poetry.

Sure, why not thank the Big Bang for bringing the universe into existence 14 billion years ago? I do this frequently. I'll be walking along in nature and suddenly feel an intense burst of gratitude that I'm alive, able to be conscious of the world.

That feeling is real. What would be questionable is if I tried to elevate that personal feeling to a universal truth. Which, I'm not.

Brian,

The questions were retorical. Not directed to you. In addition, I had to rush away, so sorry for the lack of proof reading of my comment. Never viewed your statement as factual. Your statement was your statement.

Nothing wrong with thanking the Big Bang for bringing the universe into existence 14 billion years ago. However, is this your imagination, or what actually is? If the Big Bang actually is not the reason, it is still ok to be grateful, even if it is from ones poetic imagination.

With that said,

"......I feel like we should see the reality we inhabit as it is, not as how we imagine it to be."

---So, how we choose to imagine "it" to be ......is OK too. We have a right to imagine, however we choose.

Roger, evidence for the Big Bang is very strong. So it isn't my imagination. Science is how we tell the difference between individual imagination and consensual reality.

In that regard, I don't agree that we have an unconditional right to imagine, however we choose. That only applies so long as we make no attempt to urge or force our imaginations onto other people, as is the case with religious believers who want creationism and intelligent design to be taught in schools.

They can believe whatever weirdness they want, on their own. But they don't have a right to expect that other people accept faith-based belief systems as equivalent to scientific theories backed up with lots of evidence

Brian,

Never said that the Big Bang theory was not strong. I find the BB theory to be interesting, and it is a scientific theory. If one wants to be grateful to a scientific theory, thats OK.


"In that regard, I don't agree that we have an unconditional right to imagine, however we choose. That only applies so long as we make no attempt to urge or force our imaginations onto other people, as is the case with religious believers who want creationism and intelligent design to be taught in schools."

---I would like the idea, that we all can engage in imagination. My imagination, when engaged in science fiction fantasy is OK. No harm to anyone, even to me. I know its just a fantasy and a sorta hobby. I'm not trying to empose that particular fantasy on anyone. Its just a hobby. In a particular blog, I may be enjoying that particular sci fi fantasy with others too. We all, hopefully, know its just a fantasy and a fun hobby.
---Graditude can come in many forms and its purpose can be many too. I, speaking for myself, like to express graditude to someone that gave me a gift. That particular person, appreciates my graditude, and hopefully benefits from my
expression of graditude. That expression makes them feel good. This is just one simple example of giving graditude, and only one of many. Rarely, do I give an expression of graditude to benefit myself and only myself. IMO, The graditude is for the benefit of the giver of the gift.
---I'm not relating imagination to religious believers, creationism and intelligent design. One can have an imagination, and not force it on anyone.

With all said, not sure how a religious or scientific theory can benefit from Ones expression of graditiude directed to it. However, its OK to give graditude to anything. Graditude should be expressed more often than it actually is.

An other episode of "how life should and should not be" by THE ELEPHANT

Posted by the elephant:


"Brian, your posts and reflections are becoming more and more irrelevant and expressions of ignorance"

"their claims and affirmations are more and more false generelizations and (poor) straw man arguments."

"you have also and too often asked the wrong questions"

"your superficial and ignorant accounts apply and incriminate"

"insufficiencies of your own posts and thoughts."

"the problems and flaws of your thoughts and posts"

"this is a poor medium to explore your insufficiencies. "

"your contradictions and gross generalizations and judgments"

"the apparently dismissive nature of my reply"

"I was not [...] compelled to do anything in particular"

"the needs and desires of some elderies (aka old farts)"

"control freak comes naturally to mind"

"I am perfectly aware of the many ways the state of affairs can be perceived."

"my goal is not to satisfy and gratify the needs and desires resulting from positions on appearances by some elderies (aka old farts).

"you are a bad emissary"

"to engage with [...] some of your naive statements"

"we can label your inconsistency a 'nondual' inconsistency"

"I make mistakes, I just try no to repeat them."

I think we look for answers because life is so complex and we don't really want to think we will someday just be gone-- even if someday we will just be gone. Just as Einstein didn't like thinking the Universe wouldn't last forever, we don't like thinking we won't. We want to see a reason to our existence and it leads to science and religion.

We saw a good show this week-end on National Geographic which came out earlier but I had missed until then. It was done with Hubbel photos and computer graphics-- 'Journey to the Edge of the Universe.' Some complained it was too simple and maybe for a 'scientist' type, it would be but for me it just inspired awe that the Big Bang happened, that it led to this universe that is now self creating and destroying.

The Big Bang though explains nothing because when you get to the point of it, you still get something coming from nothing. Building blocks had to come from somewhere for this to happen and yet how could they? It all ends up mystery but it doesn't keep man from trying to figure it out as we do our own personal life mysteries. I think trying to figure it out is one of the wonders of our existence.

rain,
yeah i must admit i don't really understand why scientists dismiss the 'what came before the big bang' out of hand.

some of the theories are that the big bang is just one in many big bangs that continue to expand and deflate and recur cyclically.

hawkins made analogy question to 'what is north of the north pole'? the point i think is that its a nonsensical question since there is nothing north of the north pole and so in a recurrent universe there is nothing before the big bang.

But i agree with you, this seems all very speculative and my intuitive earth-bound mind is looking for a prime mover or some sort of causal explanation for singularities, magneticism and all the other forces and matter in our universe.


Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (from Monty Python)

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...

And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life...

If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle - that's the thing.

And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life...

For life is quite absurd
And death's the final word
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin - give the audience a grin
Enjoy it - it's your last chance anyhow.

So always look on the bright side of death
Just before you draw your terminal breath

Life's a piece of shit
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.

And always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the right side of life...
(Come on guys, cheer up!)
Always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the bright side of life...
(Worse things happen at sea, you know.)
Always look on the bright side of life...
(I mean - what have you got to lose?)
(You know, you come from nothing - you're going back to nothing.
What have you lost? Nothing!)
Always look on the right side of life...

lol, yip monty python, could just be more wisdom in that song than all the gurus put together.

This is nice,

"And always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the right side of life...
(Come on guys, cheer up!)
Always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the bright side of life...
(Worse things happen at sea, you know.)
Always look on the bright side of life...
(I mean - what have you got to lose?)
(You know, you come from nothing - you're going back to nothing.
What have you lost? Nothing!)
Always look on the right side of life..."


So: ...I guess these people ought not complain so much:

http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-05-31-voa5.cfm

http://www.exodusnews.com/editorials/editorial-091.htm

Robert Paul Howard

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