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June 11, 2018

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Great post
I've had similar thoughts in the past without being able to express them in this kind of manner

The beginner's mind is always there for those who can place their own thoughts aside.

Sometimes this can be facilitated by discipline. But it's done best by love. And for most of us that is a little of both.

If we fall in love, that's a very good thing.
Discrimination sets in when we realize the object of our love is temporal, and it's passing painful. And all these things are temporal. It doesn't take long for us to become "experts".

Then we think we were wrong to love, mistaken to love. We become such experts on the subject of what not to love. Of course, we are still mistaken. We are still beginners. Foolish children pretending to be adults instead of good children, which is the best we can aspire to be.


Then we try to understand why we loved, and how we loved. and it all comes back to our own self, what is within us.

Love is within us. When we discover that, our joy is boundless. And then we become, if we are good children, servants of that love. And worthy inheritors of that love.

And we see it everywhere and in everyone. And we realize it is alive, that love is real. Love is as tender as a spring daisy, and at our best we are as well.

A Satsangi knows this also. A good Muslim knows this, as does a good Christian, and even a humble atheist.

Spencer, sorry bro, but I cannot find love and forgiveness for paedophiles. It seems so prevalent now, probably because of the information age we hear more about it and your post seems so airy-fairy and lovely but not at all practical when we are living on this planet where raping and killings are happening on a daily basis.

How can I feel love for those people who are deliberately causing such suffering. That just seems to me, to be very selfish, a kind of "I'm okay, living in my little bubble and why should I care about children I don't even know". It breaks my heart, I am an empath and a mother who feels the suffering of others. I suppose I can remove myself and sit in meditation all day and every day and find peace but I am a human being with feelings, and I don't want to withdraw into myself, it seems very selfish. What kind of God created this cruel and unjust world.

It is easy to find some kind of peace in nature and I experience this every day when I take a walk on a path nearby with trees and bush on either side and also next to the ocean. Its absolutely beautiful and I use mindfulness to be totally aware hearing the birds and the ocean and feeling the energy of nature. I give thanks that I am so lucky to be living in a safe environment and am so grateful but also feel for those less fortunate.

Hi Jen
If you gain strength from nature, use it to help those children.

If you can find that strength, see yourself in those children and help them.

As for the perpetrators, help them by preventing them from doing any more harm.

In all instances help.

There is no point to being here and finding happiness if you gain no strength from it to help your brothers and sisters.

Complaining accomplishes nothing.

Bake cookies for the local woman's shelter.
Deliver coats and help cook and clean at the homeless shelter.

Help clean the cages at the animal shelter.

More joy and wisdom in any of these, any service, than some nature walk.

Unless that walk follows a hard day of good work.

Spencer, you are here on this planet obviously on a mission, and thats wonderful, you love to help others.

I follow my own path, my adventure, being as authentic and observant as possible. I have been a Satsangi, also into New Age philosophy, following the love and light brigade, and am now simply trying to be an observer. Trying not to get entangled which is not easy. Your preachiness does trigger me. How to deal with that?

Gotta laugh ... C'est la vie

Jen

Baking cookies takes almost no effort.
Don't save the world. Just be nice to one stranger, one person who could use even a cup of water from a kind hand.

The happiness in that is lasting. Intense,
And immense.


Be a big sister one afternoon a week for an at risk child, a disabled child. Take them with you on the nature walk.

You can laugh at me if you like but I know well how little happiness that brings.

And yes. You will react. You may become frustrated, you may feel helpless, you may fail.

Then try again.

Why avoid it? That isn't real peace.
It's running away.

Spencer, I do appreciate your wanting to help, thanks but I don't need it. I found this quote which says what I feel better than I could explain it myself...

“What I must do, is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Hi Jen!

Beatifully cited. Each of us must be the final judge of our life. No one else can rightly judge anyone else.

I stand corrected.

Having said that, in general terms, if we have time and ant capacity to help, the happiness and joy this brings, along with the challenges, cannot be measured.

Hard work in making someone else a little happier is a wonderful antidote to depression, and brings us a little closer to others, a chance to practice those open mindfulness skills.

There is so very much we cannot do.
But doing what little we can, in that tiny space, humanity.

I agreed many times , specially concerning music
Or combinations of chakra-emanation-pleasure-workings

Now, . . what is "not thinking at all and enjoy that"

It is going through the 6th hole in the needle
only available to jeevas who NEED IT, who have had enough of the beautiful mafia planet
and wish not anymore be an active part

Interference between pleasure from the 5th and the 6th-UP chakra

Mindfulness is utilising it to its maximum
and nothing is against it

But being the Anahabaded Shabd is a whole other ball game pleasure,
available to Lovers of Compassion

Again
You are somewhat right but it depends totally of what we desire profoundly
in our innermost mind

Hope the english was reasonable

777


it can overlap
like all other chakras

See yourself as a "pleasure"-machine in many ways , on so many levels/chalras

Jen said : What kind of God created this cruel and unjust world.

YOU , next together with other like you !

We did


777

WRITTEN TO A LOVELY CAM GIRL

We are not the body but we are a 7 chakras energy system
Chakras are
1- For letting shit go out : ASS
For procreate > is a little higher

3- Belly : for energy via food
4-Our Heart: For feeling emotions
5- For breathing energy & higher emotions- hormonal love

6- Called Third Eye: For feeling Higher Love ( spiritual things )
7- For hearing that we are not body cells but a beautiful melody

ps
That beautiful sweet melody > we hear also an echo like a Song
in the sixth chakra - just above our eyes - little to the Right

So we are a 7 fold pleasure system

and each of us can wish for exactly what s/he desires

Attention : when there is pleasure , there is also pain

When you have pain , you can go to a higher chakra
which will soften the pain of a lower one

all this is regulated by good or bad karma
ALL IS DESIGNED TO ATTAIN ENORMOUS LOVE BY THIS MELODY
but first we live through many low things

People, WE we tend to switch often between higher & lower

Generally with good concentration on a higher chakra we can
undo ‘mistakes’ that we did with lower chakras

Like
Black magic or voodoo done at the low end
can be deleted by concentrating higher
even when the operator was another individual

SO, the whole system is for pleasure 
and for rather easily correct HARM that we did to others in the meantime 

Just to diminish suffering,

Our own and suffering of other individuals and animals

The system can exist very long
1000 lives to live is even a short time,
even in different universes
When we not do some corrections the “low” almost impossible lives like Auschwitz 
will force us to do this corrections



Ultimately all souls will dive into the music sweet music vibration, … where we came from



Quick returns are also offered regularly!


On a NO OBLIGATION BASE

Thanks Spencer and 777,

I know you are kind people and so am I. When I read your messages I watch what I react to and it seems like I have this kind of program in me which feels like I don't want to be happy and joyous and on cloud 9 (like 777) when the world has so much suffering - that seems kind of selfish to me. Strange!

Faith might not save you. True enough. Regular church going might, True enough. But without religious belief church wouldn't exist so isn't it kind of stupid to attack faith as a hedge against suicide?

As for mindfulness and all that. That is not going to protect anyone from the darkness that overcomes an individual and leads to suicide. If you have never experienced that darkness, or known somebody who has, then you can not possibly understand it well enough to comment in the trite way evidenced here.

Jen
This I messenged to a lovely Cam Girl
she knows nothing but understood :


Darling, We are not the body but we are a 7 chakras energy system

Chakras are
1- For letting shit go out : ASS

2- For procreation > is a little higher
3- Belly : for energy via food
4-Our Heart : For feeling emotions
5- For breathing energy & higher emotions- hormonal love

6- Called Third Eye : For feeling Higher Love ( spiritual things )
7- For hearing that we are not body cells but a beautiful melody

ps
That beautifull swweet melody > we can hear also a echo like a Song
in the sixth chakra - just above our eyes - little to the Right

So we are a 7 fold pleasure system

and each of us can wish for exactly what s/he desires

Attention : when there is pleasure , there is also pain

When you have pain , you can go to a higher chakra
which will soften the pain of a lower one

all this is regulated by good or bad karma
ALL IS DESIGNED TO ATTAIN ENORMOUS LOVE BY THIS MELODY
but first we live through many low things
We People, WE we tend to switch often between higher & lower



Generally with good concentration on a higher chakra we can

undo ‘mistakes by harm ’ that we did with lower chakras



Like
Black magic or voodoo done at the low end

can be deleted by concentrating higher
 even when the operator was another individual

SO, the whole system is for pleasure

and for rather easily to correct HARM, . . that we did to others in the mean time



Just to diminish suffering, Our own and suffering of other individuals and animals



The system can exist very long like >
1000 lives to live is even a short time,
even in different universes


When we not do some corrections the “low” almost impossible lives like Auschwitz 
will force us to do this corrections

Ultimately all souls will dive into the music the sweet music vibration, … where we came from



Quick return are also offered regularly for FREE!


On a NO OBLIGATION BASE




It's fantastic, much better than Sniff
and also for ever

Jen
This I messenged to a lovely Cam Girl
she knows nothing but understood :


Darling, We are not the body but we are a 7 chakras energy system

Chakras are
1- For letting shit go out : ASS

2- For procreation > is a little higher
3- Belly : for energy via food
4-Our Heart : For feeling emotions
5- For breathing energy & higher emotions- hormonal love

6- Called Third Eye : For feeling Higher Love ( spiritual things )
7- For hearing that we are not body cells but a beautiful melody

ps
That beautifull swweet melody > we can hear also a echo like a Song
in the sixth chakra - just above our eyes - little to the Right

So we are a 7 fold pleasure system

and each of us can wish for exactly what s/he desires

Attention : when there is pleasure , there is also pain

When you have pain , you can go to a higher chakra
which will soften the pain of a lower one

all this is regulated by good or bad karma
ALL IS DESIGNED TO ATTAIN ENORMOUS LOVE BY THIS MELODY
but first we live through many low things
We People, WE we tend to switch often between higher & lower



Generally with good concentration on a higher chakra we can

undo ‘mistakes by harm ’ that we did with lower chakras



Like
Black magic or voodoo done at the low end

can be deleted by concentrating higher
 even when the operator was another individual

SO, the whole system is for pleasure

and for rather easily to correct HARM, . . that we did to others in the mean time



Just to diminish suffering, Our own and suffering of other individuals and animals



The system can exist very long like >
1000 lives to live is even a short time,
even in different universes


When we not do some corrections the “low” almost impossible lives like Auschwitz 
will force us to do this corrections

Ultimately all souls will dive into the music the sweet music vibration, … where we came from



Quick return are also offered regularly for FREE!


On a NO OBLIGATION BASE




It's fantastic, much better than Sniff
and also for ever

Hi Jen

You wrote

" I have this kind of program in me which feels like I don't want to be happy and joyous and on cloud 9 (like 777) when the world has so much suffering - that seems kind of selfish to me."

Jen, if you can serve the world, if you can help a child feeling miserable then that's OK no matter how you feel. But if feeling so much misery you are paralyzed, then that is living underwater.

If, feeling happy, and realizing the beauty of other souls, you are grateful and serve just as a natural quality, then you truly an empath, connected to the joy and the sorrow with such a strong connection that you can go anywhere, and take such risks, even small ones, so necessary.

Human beings are meant to help each other, and cannot survive otherwise.

Sometimes, helping others, we realize that they are actually our salvation.

The word selfish has many sides.

"If I am not for myself, who will be?
If I am only for myself, what am I?
If not now, when?
If not you, who?"
Rabbi Hillel


Just reading an article about empaths written by a psychiatrist and empath herself.

Traits: 1) highly sensitive, naturally giving, spiritually open, good listeners. 2) absorb other people's emotions. 3) introverted. 4) highly intuitive. 5) need alone time. 6) too much togetherness can be difficult. 7) targets for energy vampires. 8) replenished in nature. 9) highly tuned senses. 10) huge hearts but sometimes give too much.

If interested this is the link:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/judith-orloff-md/top-10-traits-of-an-empat_b_9278720.html

Cheers guys, now I am not going to talk about myself any more !!

Mindfulness is my meditation !!! :)

Yes Spencer
If suicide was announced
best say OK, don t harm others with it
but
first do a nice deed to someone or an animal
really nice
and you have something to be happy about during suicide

7
( my idea about degree of spirituality :-) )

Quote Spencer : Human beings are meant to help each other, and cannot survive otherwise.


Spencer, you realize, don’t you, how your unexamined religiosity -- or perhaps it isn’t necessarily “unexamined”, as it applies here, I wouldn’t know -- seeps in there into what you think and say?

I’d say you’re advocating the right choice, but for entirely wrong reasons! (And that’s ineffective, sub-optimal, because when one’s reasons are wrong, then it is only by coincidence that one is sometimes led to the right choices.) [ And I say this realizing that all I mean by “right” here, is merely what appears to me to be right, so well, round and round it goes, as most things do end up going! :-) ] Still, you do see how your advice to Jen is laced with your own personal religious convictions, don’t you, convictions that she may or may not share at all? So that your apparently sensible advice is, at one level, simply a form of proselytizing?

No one is “meant” to do anything at all! (“Meant” by whom, after all? Our language -- the passive voice, in this case -- sometimes masks presumptions we end up making, perhaps unconsciously, in our thinking.) We simply are ; and we simply choose what we choose basis what appears best suited to us, given our understanding of ourselves and of the world, that’s all. And in as much as that understanding (and that choice) is free from unexamined biases and blind unsupported beliefs, to that extent that choice is more effective.

And evolution theory -- which you seem to be bringing in here implicitly, in the background as it were -- won’t support you there either, when you make such specific statements. To begin with, evolution is general, while individual choices are specific, and the ends that the two work towards need not always coincide. Nor is such choice automatic even when the two do coincide, because evolution is, at the end of the day, descriptive, not prescriptive. Even something as basic as “survival” -- that you present here with the air of producing a trump card -- isn’t necessarily, at all times and in all circumstances, an overridingly good thing!

No wonder Jen rejects your well-meant advice! (She’d be doing herself a disservice if she were lulled by the feel-good-ness of and the halo around the thought of “helping others”, into blindly following your prescription.) The only right reasons for her (or for me, or for you, or for anyone else) to go around helping at hospitals and orphanages or wherever -- and absolutely, that’s a great and very admirable thing to do -- is if, on careful analysis, it appeared to be what would ultimately make one happier personally, make one feel more fulfilled. Considerations of others’ needs, while obviously extremely important, are ultimately relevant only in so far as they end up acting on one’s own self. Even when one is exceptionally empathic ; this hyper-empathy would merely be another factor to be aware of and to consider, not something that directly and necessarily leads to your particular ‘solution’.

To be clear : I support your general advice about helping folks, absolutely, both in my own personal capacity and as a general exhortation : but only when done as a result of conscious thought and after conscious self-examination.

.

Sorry : My intention was not to nitpick away at one single particular statement of yours! Actually this is more fundamental than just one statement, and underlies much of what you’ve said on this thread. Your comments generally reveal a very thoughtful mind, and it seemed to me that this particular thought, that occurred to me when I read your comment, may have -- perhaps inadvertently? -- escaped you.

Jen, re. your last comment (posted June 13), here’s something I found curious.


[And absolutely, I’m going to respect your desire, expressed in that comment, to not talk any more about yourself personally, in this context I mean. What I’m saying now speaks only in general terms to the those two traits, empathy and introversion.]


Now I’d expect that both these traits -- empathy and introversion -- to follow a sort of continuum, so that all people would be both empathic and introverted (as well as extroverted), differing only in terms of where they lay on the continuum. That said, let’s put that nuance aside by defining an “empath” as someone whose empathy is significantly more than the average ; and an “introvert” as someone whose introversion is, again, significantly greater than average.

My understanding is that introverts tend to be self-focused -- not necessarily shy, nor necessarily selfish, but people who find their energy enhanced when by themselves, and depleted when their attention is dissipated amongst other people (which is the exact opposite of the extrovert) -- so that I find it a bit counter-intuitive that empathy would generally be correlated with introversion. Based on nothing other than my own intuitive understanding (that is open to correction!), I’d expect the exact opposite to be the case.

Any thoughts around this?

.

P.S. I read the HuffPo article you’ve linked, and follow the explanation offered there. I wonder how correct it is, though : because that explanation implies (clearly implies, even as it does not state this outright) that extroverts in general are happy in company not so much because they’re interested in and intuitively invested in people, in others -- which is what I’d have imagined would be the case -- but because they kind of use others for their own gratification. Extroverts in general are, in other words, some form of the “vampires” that the article talks of.

That makes sense -- that is, that article is internally consistent, so far as I can make out -- but I wonder if it is actually true?

Hi Appreciative Reader, thanks for your thoughts and insight. Difficult to know what is true and what isn't.

I totally resonate with the following excerpt, its exactly how I feel and operate in life (its not easy) :

"Affective Empathy" .... Once they’re aware of it they start feeling the same way, they’ll begin to feel as the other person does and try to deeply understand however they’re feeling. They’ll continue to do this over an elongated period, they might feel guilt or other emotions as a response. This isn’t quickly forgotten, it lingers with them."
---------------
Cognitive Empathy — This is known as ‘shallow empathy.’ You can look at people and sense their mood, you don’t feel it as such but you can get a grip on their body language, you can read a crowd or a person to get an idea of what they’re feeling, but you don’t really FEEL it as such. In fact, the feelings of others are quickly forgotten once the usefulness of recognising them has passed.

Affective Empathy — This kind of empathy is strange, it’s what’s known as ‘deep empathy.’ Those with deep empathy can seem a bit terse as they don’t immediately read a person/crowd to understand. However, they can often pick it up from tone of voice, or just being told. And here’s where this empathy differs from cognitive empathy; Once they’re aware of it they start feeling the same way, they’ll begin to feel as the other person does and try to deeply understand however they’re feeling. They’ll continue to do this over an elongated period, they might feel guilt or other emotions as a response. This isn’t quickly forgotten, it lingers with them.

Does Introversion correlate with Empathy?

https://www.quora.com/Does-Introversion-correlate-with-empathy

Yess Spencer

In materialistic sense perhaps we can doubt

In massive Spiritual sense IT IS THE TARGET OF EVOLUTION

If u have never a will to help an other soul
One is lost
but it is impossible , because of the pain coming
( see above on "no corrections " )

Only the way will be the longest ever

777

Hi 777

Even the desire to leave this place is a part of our evolution.

It is natural. It can be a sign of an early deepening awareness and understanding, an awakening.

But misunderstood leads to unnecessary self harm.

But all is forgiven.

How to take the awakened understanding of the true flawed nature of this place, of our imprisonment in every corner of this place; and our irresistible desire to leave here forever, and transform these into action that is healthy, natural and actually helps us move forward?

That would be spiritual meditation, which is the purest form of prayer. The deep revulsion for another day here living in denial, and the deep desire for something that is not this place.

"The difference between the Saint and the Suicide is not necessarily their experience. It is what they do with that experience."
- St. Augustine

I see you haven’t responded to my comment, Spence. I’d have liked to know your thoughts about what I’d said there.

But no matter, I won’t disturb you if you don’t wish to get involved in this subject.

Reason I’m writing this comment, now, is to merely say : I hadn’t meant that earlier comment of mine here, addressed to you, as any kind of criticism of you. (Not at least in the negative connotation of the word “criticism” : I suppose I have to admit it was very much an attempted critique, there’s no getting around that.) That comment of mine was no more than an interesting thought that occurred to me, that I wished to examine along with you, that’s all.

No offense intended, in other words!

Thanks for the Quora link, Jen. Very interesting read.

The second at-length comment, especially, was extremely insightful. It does reinforce the commonly held idea that extroverts tend to be shallow-ish. (I mean, even without literally reading out the “shallow” from “shallow empathy”, and looking simply at the nature of the beast described there.) Which is not surprising really : not all cliches are necessarily all smoke without fire, some of them are predicated squarely on actual trends and norms.

But of course, this is Quora : so the next few comments there go on to present ideas in direct opposition to this one. One of them, in fact -- presented by someone who appears to have actually written books on this subject, no less -- speaks in terms of my own original (and unexamined) idea : that these two are wholly different things, and only peripherally connected, if that.


Empathy is a truly fascinating thing, isn’t it? Why does my heart ache when I see a loved one crying (and sometimes even a random person crying)? Why does my heart sing out when I see a child laugh out loud? How exactly does this happen, I mean to say, following what mechanism? How did this fascinating mechanism develop over the millennia? And what does this remarkable trait ultimately say about us and about the world we inhabit?

Just as saying “God did it” is no explanation at all, merely a way to side-step having to explain ; similarly, simply saying “Because evolution” is, again, no explanation at all, merely an appeal to modern-day magic. Except, of course, one says this while in ignorance of any actual research that may have gone into this : perhaps there may be people better versed in these things who might, just might, be able to tell us how exactly the mechanism of empathy works, and to trace for us exactly how it came to be. (Just as medical science can clearly spell out for us the precise mechanism of sight in humans, and evolutionary biologists can tell us just as clearly, in easy-to-understand steps, how so complicated an organ as the human eye came to be.)


Anyway : thanks for bringing this up! Great food for thought!

Hi Appreciative
I honor what you wrote, even if my view is different. You present your view well, and it is to the reader to pick their own path.

It is much more a matter of conditioning and sentiment.

My conditioning and experience are spiritual.

That is a good thing for me. I'm being true to my nature.

No no, no need for any third "reader" to pick and choose. All I wanted to do is discuss this with you, and if you don't wish that, then I simply retract what I'd said. Like I said, I have no wish to challenge you -- or anyone else -- in any way. (Not unless they're some in-your-face hyper-aggressive proselytizer, which you most certainly are not, not per my lights.)

I'd only wanted to point out that you were, perhaps inadvertently, making a presumption there. If we face that presumption squarely -- the presumption that we're "meant" to be doing such and such -- then that clarity may perhaps help us evaluate what we're saying more clearly.

But no issue, we can simply let this go if you wish. No big deal!

Dear 777,

Hello, after a long while! :-)

I know you speak from a centeredness from within your own spiritual practice, 777, and that what you say has more to do with your feelings, and with poetry, so to say, rather than plain everyday fact. And I don’t really wish to get into an argument with you about petty facts, not when I’m addressing you after such a long time now! :-)

But still, I have to say : I don’t think it really makes much sense to talk of some “target of evolution”. From what I’ve read about this subject -- and it is no more than a layman’s perspective, and therefore always open to correction -- evolution doesn’t work towards any target as such, nor anything remotely equivalent. It would be gross anthropomorphic projection to impute any such “purpose” to this process.

My understanding of evolution -- such as it is -- is of an unthinking process, albeit its effects are often fascinating (but then that fascination is ours, and speaks more to us than the subject that has triggered that fascination within us). I don’t think evolution necessarily works towards refinement or even simply towards complexity : it may well happen, going forward, that our subtle (human) culture is stomped underfoot, like nests of ants, by great unthinking brutes of dinosaur-like hulks all over again, or perhaps overrun by some “Planet of the Apes”-like apocalypse with our world taken over by gibbering unthinking parodies of humanity (which would be “apocalypse” only from a human perspective, but life as usual from a larger perspective). That would be evolution too, should something like that happen.


.


But I agree with your underlying point. A heightened empathy, a self-less and disinterested desire to offer help (without any trace of the self-serving and the self-aggrandizement that usually accompanies so-called “philanthropy”) is often a side-effect of protracted spiritual practice. I have no clue how (or whether) that ties in with ‘secular’ theories of psychology and/or evolution, but that has been my personal observation, as well as my own personal experience.

Somewhat counter-intuitively, spontaneous “compassion” follows on a first-hand realization of one’s impermanence. “Counter-intuitively”, I say, because when you think about it, one would imagine that disinterest and withdrawal would be the reasonable reaction to a clear understanding of one’s impermanence ; and indeed, that does follow, that disinterest and that withdrawal are actually experienced ; and yet, inevitably and inexplicably [I’m tempted to add “miraculously], somehow a deep-seated “compassion”, a deep-seated empathy, that is wholly disinterested and wholly devoid of self-serving meanness, does tend to well up spontaneously within one’s heart even as one clearly sees the transience of oneself and of everything that is around one. I can vouch for this myself.

God alone knows why that should be so! [Which -- to recap what I’d said earlier -- is merely another way, a somewhat colloquial way, of saying : I have no clue why that should be so! :-) ]

Hi Appreciative

You wrote

"My understanding of evolution -- such as it is -- is of an unthinking process, albeit its effects are often fascinating (but then that fascination is ours, and speaks more to us than the subject that has triggered that fascination within us). I don’t think evolution necessarily works towards refinement or even simply towards complexity : it may well happen, going forward, that our subtle (human) culture is stomped underfoot, like nests of ants, by great unthinking brutes of dinosaur-like hulks all over again, or perhaps overrun by some “Planet of the Apes”-like apocalypse with our world taken over by gibbering unthinking parodies of humanity (which would be “apocalypse” only from a human perspective, but life as usual from a larger perspective). That would be evolution too, should something like that happen."

Isn't this is how the human mind is conditioned? It thinks it thinks. But it remains a biochemical machine. It thinks based on the experiences of the environment. Thoughts are merely conditioned responses pieced together.

Evolution works in the same way. Physical changes that are selected by the environment through nothing more than survival rate.

You can think of creation as a giant brain developing in very small increments.

Or you can think of God as this reality, however little of it science actually has measured and understood.

Is there even such a thing as thought, separate in concept from this physical reality?

Or are all thoughts just more physical creations in these biochemical machines?

Hi Appreciative

Nice to dialogue with you this morning.

You wrote
"I'd only wanted to point out that you were, perhaps inadvertently, making a presumption there. If we face that presumption squarely -- the presumption that we're "meant" to be doing such and such -- then that clarity may perhaps help us evaluate what we're saying more clearly."

One person's presumption may be another person's physical fact.

So much depends upon the premises our thinking relies upon, and that is highly sensitive to personal experience and knowledge.

Very little knowledge or experience is transferable. Appealing to reason works among those with similar conditioning.

Everyone has a purpose, in retrospect.
At the end of their life you can see what they did and how it affected others. They served their place on the cosmic chess board.

If we use our capacity to objectively and dispassionately see the stream of time and place we are in, and personal condition, we can find our purpose and do a better job at it. We can all do better.

Seeing how clearly human survival and the gifts of living in a society, requires teamwork of one kind or another, it does seem to me this is nowhere greater than when we find our members in need of help.

If we were not meant to help each other, what right do we have to be here?

As President Lincoln wrote, and I paraphrase, 'If slavery must persist America has no right to exist as a nation.'

If we cannot help those in need, if each of us doesn't do something, what right or purpose do we have? On the scale where helping others is the standard,
Nothing has a greater weight, save preparing to do so.

So in shorthand, human beings were meant to help each other.

Nothing else we do has any value except to strengthen our capacity to help one another. Absent that, there is no value. The creation contains far greater intelligence, beauty and strength than humanity.

Whatever great discovery we think we have made already exists and has for billions of years before we showed up.

Human beings because they have choice, have the obligation to choose how to use their time.

So we should find our purpose.

If anyone thinks their purpose does not include doing what they can to help those in need, that reasoning deserves scrutiny.

The argument "I don't have to" is circular. It doesn't prove we don't have a purpose. It is only evidence that we can waste time.

You can think of creation as a giant brain developing in very small increments.


That's just it. I don't think a brain "develops" -- that is, it isn't as if the brain were the "target". My understanding that the brain is merely something that happens to have developed, that's all.


Is there even such a thing as thought, separate in concept from this physical reality?

Or are all thoughts just more physical creations in these biochemical machines?


I'd say the latter. I'd say that appears the more reasonable answer.

But of course, that's just my subjective take. I could well be wrong.

Except, that also happens to be the current scientific paradigm. Occam's Razor, and all that. (Albeit Occam's Razor is no more than a heuristic, nothing else. So sure, it could give us wrong explanations, and indeed has in the past. Gravity, for instance.)

Your subsequent comment(posted June 15, 2018 at 08:09 AM) carries food for thought. But I'm rushed now. Later!

Quote Spencer : One person's presumption may be another person's physical fact.


Oh, absolutely, but it's more to the point here that one person's implicitly accepted physical fact (yours, in this case) may be no more than another's person's presumption (and one, moreover, that may choose to accept, or choose not to).

You do see what I was saying there, don’t you?

All of your comments there, your advice/exhortation to Jen, was predicated on this premise : that man is meant to help others.

That premise was slipped in innocuously, without drawing attention to itself, almost glossed over as it were. If one isn’t careful, then, given how wholly unobjectionable the premise is -- I mean, who could possibly object to helping others, how mean to even consider such an objection?! -- one may (that is, your interlocutor -- Jen, in this case -- may) swallow your premise itself unawares, under the blanket of that innocuous exhortation.

And indeed, I was wondering if your slipping in that premise itself was not unawares -- that is, unawares even to you. If it was, then it was my intention to point it out to you.

If you say it wasn’t -- and you haven’t actually said that -- then sure, I’ll take your word for it. Absolutely.

But then, if that is the case, if you’d said what you did wholly deliberately, then you do see my point, don’t you -- in attempting to slip in this presumption without clearly spelling it out, you were trying to slip in a spot of proselytizing there!

Let’s unpack that little statement : “Man is meant to help others”.

First of all, let’s flip that to the active voice, so that you have to clearly spell out what it is you’re implying. WHO is it who’s meaning man to whatever? Who? God? Providence? Evolution? Who?

And, after spelling this out, you need to establish that what you’re stating is indeed true : that such actually does "mean" anything at all, intend anything, for man.

Second of all : You need to establish that this … whatever, it does mean for man to help others.

And third of all, you need to establish that it makes sense for man to acquiesce to this “meaning”, this intention, of God/Providence/Evolution/whoever/whatever.

Only when all of these three are agreed on, only then your advice makes sense. Otherwise it doesn’t!

Because you aren’t predicating your advice of helping others on those others’ need ; nor on moral or ethical grounds ; nor even on grounds of personal fulfillment. You’re predicating your exhortation on “man being meant to be doing such and such”.

And I hope I’ve been able to show you how that’s either the one or the other :
(a) Either an unintentional slipping in of a personal presumption on your part ;
or
(b) A bit of sleight of hand proselytizing, slipped in under the feel-good blanket of ‘helping others’.


(No offense meant when I say that last, Spence! I hope you see my argument? I’m not trying to attack you personally, what I’m trying to do is to clearly point out to you what it was that struck a jarring note with me when I read your comment addressed to Jen. If you’re trying to clearly present your beliefs, that’s fine by me ; even if you're trying to advocate your beliefs for others' consideration, that's fine too, as long as do that clearly and without coercion ; others may accept them or not, as they please ; but to attempt to slip your personal beliefs in, unawares as it were, that, well, doesn’t seem quite done.)


Everyone has a purpose, in retrospect.


Only if you so interpret things, “in retrospect”. Either for yourself, or for others. Not otherwise. That’s a subjective (and individual) stance, pure and simple.

The best you can hope for with this kind of stance, is inter-subjective agreement. Even if such agreement were forthcoming -- and it clearly and demonstrably isn’t, out here, at this time -- even then it would be wise to not conflate such inter-subjective agreement with some objective or universal principle.


If we were not meant to help each other, what right do we have to be here?

As President Lincoln wrote, and I paraphrase, 'If slavery must persist America has no right to exist as a nation.'


That first sentence there makes no sense! Neither the first part (of that first sentence), nor the second part (of the first sentence), nor the two parts (of the first sentence) combined!

We are here. That’s it. “Rights” don’t come into it, not in this context. Our being here is not predicated on anything else. And certainly not on our having been “meant” to do anything at all.

That sentence makes no sense at all! At best it can be seen as an expression of your own personal predilection, your personal code. Seen thus, I have no objection to it, obviously : indeed, I’d say it’s very admirable. But as a generalization, it makes no sense whatever.

As for Lincoln’s exhortation, that you quote : Sure, that’s very admirable, too. But it can be read as literally true only if you unpack the clearly documented vision of the Founding Fathers in order to interpret it as seeing this nation as intrinsically allied with freedom for all. If you can show that America as a nation was founded based on principles that clearly do not support slavery -- and this is something that can objectively be decided, one way or the other, basis documented evidence -- then sure, you have grounds for saying, quite literally and quite correctly, that America has no right to exist as a nation if it allows slavery to persist. Perhaps that is exactly what Lincoln meant. If he did, then that’s a very specific application of a very specific situation, and made basis a very specific premise.

If that was not Lincoln’s meaning, even then it is an admirable statement : but again, admirable only when you clearly unpack his meaning, and find yourself agreeing with his exhortation. No longer is it a literally true statement, but only an exhortation : and it is a “good” exhortation, only if you find yourself in agreement with its spirit. Not if you simply got carried away by his rhetoric and the feel-good-ness of abolishing something as reprehensible as slavery.

And history does show that very large numbers of people had not agreed with his exhortation. Were they wrong, those who’d disagreed with him? That can be seen in two ways : First, the literal. If we can literally show that they opposed the clearly stated founding principles of the nation, then they were literally wrong, perhaps even legally wrong. But we can declare them to have been ethically or morally wrong, in the absence of such literal support, only when our own morals and ethics (which are wholly subjective) happen to side with Lincoln and against the Southern states, back during the War. Not to recognize this essential subjectivity, and to imagine that our personal predilections carry some universal stamp, is to delude ourselves (and others).

Not for a minute am I saying that slavery is okay, or that abolishing slavery was wrong, or that helping others isn’t good, mind. I’m saying, we don’t need wrong reasons to follow these very right courses of action.


The argument "I don't have to" is circular. It doesn't prove we don't have a purpose. It is only evidence that we can waste time.


Again, that makes no sense. I don’t see why you’re setting out to disprove a negative at all, and why not being able to do that (which is no surprise, since negatives cannot, in general, be disproved) seems to be at all relevant.

Not only does this not make sense, in fact I find this line of thinking somewhat manipulative.

I can say the very same thing about anything at all under the sun as long as the end result were inoffensive and innocuous, not just about helping others. And I can (attempt to) shame others into unexamined acceptance of any and every of my personal predilections, as long as they were presented in inoffensive and innocuous terms, using this same tactic.

To be very clear : I think it’s great to help others. Not for a minute am I saying otherwise. It’s great to help others : but only when done on proper (self-) examination, and for all the right reasons. Not following on unthinking acquiescence with someone else’s predilections and religious beliefs. Predilections and beliefs that haven’t been clearly spelt out, but slipped in unnoticed, as it were.

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