I don't believe in mantras any more, having found the wisdom to deconvert from an Indian philosophy that espoused repeating some supposedly holy words silently in one's head not only during meditation, but as much as possible throughout the day.
Looking back, this was a ridiculous thing to do.
A mantra essentially mesmerizes the brain, distracting the repeater of a mantra from being fully aware of what is happening both in the world outside and inside of them.
It's a way of denying reality. Often a mantra is believed to have some sort of supernatural power, which of course is a bunch of crap.
As noted recently in a blog post, mindfulness has become my meditation.
I want to experience the world as fully as possible, not as I'd like it to be, or as I imagine it to be, but as it actually is -- insofar as I, or anyone else, is able to do this, given the inherent limitations of a subjective consciousness attempting to comprehend an objective reality.
So I have a new "mantra" that isn't really a mantra, because I only say it to myself a few times a day. It's more like an adage, a reminder of what I value as I go about my daily doings.
I am a child of the present moment, who finds delight in small things.
Those words came to me pretty much full-blown while I was exercising at our athletic club. Since, I've tinkered with the wording a bit, and enjoy how this adage currently sounds.
It's essentially self-explanatory, but I'm pleased do some explaining of it nonetheless.
I am a child of the present moment isn't original. I recall that I first read those words in a Rumi book, at a time when I devoured every English language book about Rumi's writings that I could find.
Translator William Chittick speaks of a well-known saying, "The Sufi is the child of the present moment."
However, I don't view this saying as Chittick describes it: "which is to say that a Sufi lives with the awareness of God's presence at every moment." Since I don't believe in God, obviously it doesn't make sense to imagine the presence of a non-existent being.
Instead, I simply do my best to be aware of what is before me at every moment. Naturally I still remember the past and envision the future, but I try to keep in mind that those remembrances and envisionings also are part of the present moment.
Everything is. There's nothing other than the present moment. How could there be?
I added who finds delight in small things to remind myself that it's senseless to keep looking for Big Wonderful Things that are either physically far-off, or might appear in the future.
Sure, there's nothing wrong with Big Wonderful Things: a vacation in Hawaii, a new car, falling in love, the birth of a child, getting a promotion, winning the lottery. But most things in life are much smaller.
Enjoying a cup of coffee. Taking a walk in nature. Writing a blog post. Reading a magazine in a hot bath while sipping a glass of wine. (These are things that I find delight in every day.)
For many years, decades really, I was filled with a sense of spiritual grandiosity.
I believed that I was on a path that would lead to knowledge of ultimate reality, which lay in a supernatural realm distant from this physical world. I thought that not only was God on my side in this quest, but so was a guru who was God in Human Form.
Weird ideas? For sure. I'm glad I've left them behind.
Now I'm content with small things, everyday things, simple things. I aspire to becoming more childlike even as I grow older, since children have a marvelous ability to find playful pleasure in ordinary objects. My adage is an aspiration that serves as a compass heading for me when I'm tempted to veer off into old grandiose habits.
I am a child of the present moment, who finds delight in small things.
Works for me. And probably only for me, since everyone has to find their own meaning.
I'd read some Chittick stuff long ago. If I remember correctly, he's actually a convert to Shia Islam, which is kind of rare, and lived in Bahrain for a while. Never would have thought of him had you not made this post today.
Brian, I think the older I get, the more it makes sense to me to get in line with this thinking of present moment awareness that you describe. Nothing about considering which god is best, which guru can introduce me to gods, or how important the shabd is appeals to me at all anymore.
Even from the perspective of a believer in a "deity", it kind of feels like an insult to god to think we have the ability to find him/it, or maybe more importantly that we'd stumble upon the right techniques to see god. And then after assuming we found the right technique, to assume we could discern between fake and real experiences and tricky devils and angels who exist only to lead people astray in subtle worlds.
Most people can't assimilate to the culture of a new city in the country of their birth. How can we expect to travel through astral realms and know what is going on? Seems like a stupid fantasy, assuming any of those things exist in the first place.
Better to just enjoy some tea and a book. If there's a god and it wants me for something, he'll come get me on his own.
Posted by: Jesse | July 26, 2018 at 10:38 PM
However, I don't view this saying as Chittick describes it: "which is to say that a Sufi lives with the awareness of God's presence at every moment.
Sufi is a cult to hide religious fanaticism, if these Sufis were so great why they could not discover even electricity, forget atomic structure.
Posted by: vinny | July 27, 2018 at 05:26 AM
"if these Sufis were so great why they could not discover even electricity"
A very small handful of humans were involved in the discovery of ways to harness electricity. They weren't sufis, hindus, icelandic pagans, buddhists etc etc
You make the same comment over and over, but what do you really want to say, Vinny?
Posted by: Jesse | July 27, 2018 at 06:44 PM
A very small handful of humans were involved in the discovery of ways to harness electricity. They weren't sufis, hindus, icelandic pagans, buddhists etc etc
You make the same comment over and over, but what do you really want to say, Vinny?
They were not sufis, hindus, moslems, sikhs but they were Christian Innovators.
You breathe the same air over and over, What do you really want to do by breathing the same air over and over???
Posted by: vinny | July 29, 2018 at 05:13 AM
Genes are what you want to talk about. Not religion. You could convert the Swiss to Shintoism and they'd still have exceptionally high IQ's and be inclined to invent things, while Ethiopian Christians, though being one of the oldest Christian populations on Earth, have yet to show much skill in technological development.
Tesla came from an Orthodox Christian family, but I've never come across anything indicating he was himself a believer in Christianity or that Christianity was the cause of his abilities. I think he was an atheist or agnostic in his later years, actually. This puts another hole in your theory.
The brain is a physical organ. Not an organ derived from belief and spirit molecules that shift along with changing objects of faith.
Posted by: Jesse | July 29, 2018 at 12:51 PM
I've been thinking along these lines, too. I don't need to do grand things. It's all really very simple. Breathe in, breathe out. Pay attention. Listen. Be curious.
In martial arts training we use a saying "Don't insist. Don't resist." It works in martial arts, and it works in life.
Posted by: Galen Pearl | July 29, 2018 at 05:06 PM
Quote Vinny : if these Sufis were so great why they could not discover even electricity, forget atomic structure
Quote Vinny again : they were Christian Innovators
Quote Jesse : Genes are what you want to talk about. Not religion. You could convert the Swiss to Shintoism and they'd still have exceptionally high IQ's and be inclined to invent things, while Ethiopian Christians, though being one of the oldest Christian populations on Earth, have yet to show much skill in technological development. --- Tesla came from an Orthodox Christian family, but I've never come across anything indicating he was himself a believer in Christianity or that Christianity was the cause of his abilities. I think he was an atheist or agnostic in his later years, actually. This puts another hole in your theory.
Vinny, Jesse is perfectly right. You seem to be conflating ethnicity with religion. And in any case, your knowledge of the history of religion, as well as the history of science and technology, the two ideas that you seem to base your world view (or at least your comments) on, both seem to be wanting in this instance.
Like Jesse says, Christianity is far from being the exclusively Western religion that many bigots fondly imagine. (To be fair, Vinny, you don’t actually come out and make this particular connection explicitly in your comment, nevertheless that seems to be the inescapable implication, the recurring motif, behind many of your comments here.)
To begin with, the person who inspired the Christian religion, Jesus himself, was a Middle Eastern dude. What is more, the man who, arguably, did actually start off the Christian religion -- that would be “the Rock” (and no, I’m not referring to Dwayne Johnson!) -- also, like Jesus, came from the Middle East, and he shared his martyred Guru’s (eastern) ethnicity.
And it is this geography, broadly speaking, the Middle East I mean, that is home to some Sufi movements (and, arguably, the spiritual home of all Sufi movements). There is no difference at all, in terms of ethnicity, between a great many Sufis and the inspiration behind Christianity (as well as the founder of Christianity). The only difference between these two groups is their religion and, as Jesse says, it is absurd to declare that to be the moving force behind these “innovations” that you speak of.
Also, Christianity can be found to have spread, in the very early days, to diverse geographies, including Africa (as Jesse points out) as well as Asia. I don’t think these Christians, within these geographies, are responsible for any greater feats of scientific or technological innovation than their non-Christian neighbors. So that nixes your particular contention very definitively.
Further -- and again as Jesse points out -- many of these “innovators” that you refer to, hadn’t really been Christian at all. Jesse speaks of Tesla. Let me speak of that poster boy of inventions, Edison. (He wasn’t the first to “harness electricity”, but he is probably the most dramatic and the most famous amongst those who did enable humanity to use electricity in our everyday lives.) Edison wasn’t really a Christian either. While not an out-and-out atheist (which is not surprising, given the zeitgeist of those days), his religious views appear to class him as a deist. (And the deist’s conception of God is miles removed from the crazed control-freak God of the Bible, and has nothing at all to do with anything that might set the Christian religion apart from other religions.)
And finally, “harnessing electricity” has a long history that precedes our modern innovations. The ancient Greeks -- who worshipped Zeus and Thor and all of those Olympians dudes and gals – had already, long before the Christ was even born, learnt how to “harness” static electricity (although I’m not sure they actually put this “harnessing” to any good everyday use). Rudimentary electricity-storing devices, which “harnessed electricity” to help light up dwellings far removed from cities, were apparently used by the ancient Romans (who worshipped their own particular pantheon of gods, Jupiter and Juno and that whole gang of theirs) as well as by the ancient Persians (who, as far as I know, worshipped fire and/or Ahura Mazda). All of these predate Christ, and Christianity, by centuries.
So, Vinny, I’m afraid your repeated reference to the atomic structure and science and technology, and in this thread to the harnessing of electricity, in connection with Christianity, seems unrelated with actual facts, and appears to be based on little more than your personal prejudice and bias.
I appreciate your ideas about Jesus that you’d expressed to me earlier on, in a different thread, and absolutely, I have no quarrel at all with your personal conceptions about spirituality : but perhaps you should take care not to let your ideas of spirituality to degenerate into prejudice and bias, at least in your public comments. Your unconventional ideas about spirituality are one thing, those many of us will happily indulge, even enjoy, but you must not expect your expressions of your personal prejudice and bias, skirting so close to racism as they do, to go by without question or protest.
Jesse, while I agree with many of the things you’ve said here to Vinny, especially as it applies to religion, nevertheless I’m afraid your own worldview, at least as presented within this comment, comes across as racist.
You seem to be implying here, quite clearly, that Scandinavians generally have a higher IQ than Ethiopians.
That point of view, Jesse, is so early-last-century. (And even in the early last century, that view tended to be held -- unfortunately not exclusively -- by scumbags with a penchant for ridiculous toothbrush moustaches.)
Race has nothing to do either with intelligence (or for that matter with athleticism, or the ability to dance, or an innate sense of rhythm, or any of the themes that the racists of the previous century had dreamed up). That is something racists have tried their best to prove, but haven’t been able to. That racist thesis, far from having been proved, isn’t even seriously considered at all days.
To be clear, Jesse, what you’re implying here is, despite its distinct racial overtones, a perfectly valid topic for debate. The fact that your POV, at least as I infer it, would be considered despicable by most people these days, is no reason not to rationally debate it.
Feel free to start this debate, if you wish, starting with backing up your claims made here about Scandinavians having a higher IQ than Ethiopians. But if you don’t, then you may consider withdrawing that particular remark of yours.
And if despite the inescapable implication that your words seem to carry, you tell me that I’m mistaken and that it was not your intention to make this implication -- and if you can clearly explain what your words meant to convey -- then I’ll gladly retract my own criticism of your implication as I infer it.
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | July 30, 2018 at 07:19 AM
"Race has nothing to do either with intelligence"
Intelligence is more generically heritble than height. You have no clue what you're talking about. Stop before you bury yourself in more politically correct absurdity.
Posted by: Jesse | July 30, 2018 at 07:36 AM
Would you like to try to cogently answer the point I raised, Jesse?
And why on earth are you attacking me? Telling me "You have no clue what you're talking about" is not a refutation, it is merely childish tantrum. Telling me to "Stop before you bury yourself in more politically correct absurdity" is, likewise, not a cogent response, it is only the equivalent of making faces at me.
Jeering and putdowns may, under certain circumstances, be the right response, for instance when faced with the absurdity that is organized religion. But jeering at everything that disagrees with you and attempting to put down everyone who questions you isn't exactly a very healthy thing to do.
But wait ... are you telling me that you do hold those racist views that I'd inferred from your comment? I was hoping that, notwithstanding your actual words, I may perhaps have been mistaken. Are you saying that you do hold these absurd and despicable racist ideas?
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | July 30, 2018 at 07:51 AM
-Calls me racist, stuck in the 19th century, despicable
- asks why I'm attacking him
It's not a topic I'll discuss here on this site. I'll just repeat that you have absolutely no clue what you're talking about if you think ongoing research that repeatedly comes to the same conclusion is "19th century."
You're more clueless about this subject than I am about manjits scientific ghost stories. As Eddie Bravo says "dude just look into out."
Posted by: Jesse | July 30, 2018 at 07:56 AM
Haha Jesse hi! I love Eddie..his bjj is great...peace
Posted by: Marko | July 30, 2018 at 01:13 PM
Marko, Eddie is a martial arts genius and a super funny guy. He really makes the JR podcast much better when he's around.
You know, I've been thinking about this idea of intelligence and genes all day and how to succinctly explain the obviousness of it without getting into any specific studies. But it's not easy.
The only thing that continuously comes to mind is simply that the brain is a physical organ and like all organs is subject to evolutionary pressures.
The implications of this speak for themselves, but everyone (not including taoists) hold intelligence to be sacred and attribute emotional value to the byproducts of brains but not other organs. Nobody gets upset if you mention difference in bone density
or calf muscles across various human populations.
Posted by: Jesse | July 30, 2018 at 03:00 PM
Yes Jesse and Eddie is also one of few if not the only one who has his 10th planet jj all videos for only 5$ a month on his site. So you can easily roll at home with wife maybe hehe...peace
Posted by: Marko | July 31, 2018 at 01:12 AM
Jesse, you misunderstand me. I’ve not called you, personally, a racist.
However, I’ve clearly shown in my original comment in what way the particular idea you’ve expressed here strikes me as racist. (To claim that some particular race is intrinsically more intelligent than another, and to make this claim without in any way backing up that claim, what is that if not textbook racism?) And absolutely, racist ideas are despicable.
You do see the difference, don’t you?
Nor am I at all “upset”. Your many comments here, thus far, as it applies to religion, have come across as fairly reasonable (if unnecessarily belligerent, and somewhat lacking in depth and substance when compared to some of your interlocutors, like Manjit and Spencer). Given this assumption of rationality that I had made about you, I was surprised when, at the first whiff of disagreement about something entirely unrelated to religion, I suddenly found you wholly abandoning cogent discussion, and settling instead for attacking me (by simply saying unsupported things like “you have no clue” and “stop before you bury yourself”) instead of addressing my argument. What I had expressed to you (and that you yourself implied, in your response, was an attack on you) was this surprise at this unexpected lack of rationality in your commenting.
To be clear, I wasn’t upset at your attacking me, that is, I wasn’t discomfited by the attack per se. (I think I am well able to brush off silly attacks like these, so such attacks do not bother me in the least.) I was wondering why someone who had seemed to be rational was suddenly throwing out childish personalizations instead of cogently arguing their case.
Again, surely you’re not incapable of seeing this difference, now that I’ve clearly pointed it out to you?
Quite apart from your apparently racist leanings :
You do see the fallacy, don’t you, of simply declaring loudly and repeatedly in support of your position, in the absence of any concrete evidence, that “(your interlocutor has) no clue”, or that “you are more clueless” or that “(you should) stop before you bury yourself (more)”?
It’s curious, even somewhat hilarious, the part where you say that you’ve “been thinking about this idea of intelligence and genes all day and how to succinctly explain the obviousness of it without getting into any specific studies”. Think about it : does this not appear weird even to you, now that I have drawn your attention to this? Why this curious urge to avoid evidence? You spend all day, all effing day, ruminating about how to present your ideas without evidence, and yet are unwilling to spend ten minutes to look up and link to the actual studies and the actual evidence that had led you to hold these views of yours that you talk of here?! Does that not indicate that your ideas themselves do not derive from evidence at all, but from sheer bias and prejudice?
Sure, you are free not to discuss this subject here if you don’t want to. No one can compel you to do that. But on what grounds, then, do you expect us to take your views seriously? Simply because you say so, loudly and repeatedly?
After all, if we are to take to your ideas about the correlation of race with intelligence simply on your say-so, then why on earth should we not take to the Christian’s earnest declaration that Jesus will save him simply on his say-so, or the RSSB follower’s declaration that his Master is God in human form, again on his say-so?
It now appears to me, basis what you say here now, that your apparent skepticism about religion, expressed thus far, was not so much rationality per se as simple prejudice! Like a monkey throwing out darts at random, those darts of yours sometimes accidentally tend to strike home. You see how wholly worthless that makes all your views, all of them, end up looking?
(And again, lest you start bristling, I’m not attacking you personally or calling you a monkey! I’m trying to show you the very obvious gaps in your thinking process, as evidenced here in how you discuss things.)
Do you understand what I’m saying, Jesse? Seriously? I’m not attacking you at all, only pointing out the very obvious lacks in your reasoning and argumentation, as presented by you here.
See if you can respond to what I say rationally and cogently. (And civilly, if that isn’t asking too much of you.)
I am genuinely interested in your ideas. At this point I’m no longer sure if this is a Poe. It seems improbable to me that anyone can brazenly and shamelessly double down on these blatantly racist ideas in the complete absence of evidence, so that I think it is more likely that you’re simply trolling. Nevertheless I am not averse to discussing your ideas with you, even now, should you want to do that clearly and cogently.
But if unsupported and belligerently expressed declarations of your racist prejudice and bias are all you have to offer, then I’ll probably not, after this, want to waste any more time with your comments.
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | July 31, 2018 at 06:07 AM
"You do see the fallacy, don’t you, of simply declaring loudly and repeatedly in support of your position, in the absence of any concrete evidence"
That's not what the word fallacy means. And there is no absence of anything other than your desire to use google or go to the library and read The Bell Curve or any of the million and one responses to it.
"But if unsupported and belligerently expressed declarations of your racist prejudice and bias are all you have to offer"
It's not belligerent to state a fact or an opinion. What is belligerent is your attempt to muddy the waters/poison the well by using all kinds of nasty insults that you claim aren't insults(I know how it works cause I do the same to religious beliefs I have no interest in knowing about).
"Why this curious urge to avoid evidence?"
The evidence is ample for those who want to find it, but as I said, I'm not gonna crap up this blog with it so dimwits can try to negate 100 years of studies with one word rebuttals like "racist." Why not say "poopy head butt face"? It is just shorthand for what you're writing.
You should watch the Rushton/Suzuki debate. Suzuki is a mirror for you. Someone who admits to being unwilling to look for or at evidence he doesn't like. Sad!
If you're literate, and can comprehend the not-so-abstract notion of variation in ALL physical organs across human populations, then all that's left is the ability to be honest and overcome your weird desire to keep writing the word racist over and over as if it changes anything at all.
Use google. There's a great article on Medium on the subject that you'll find if you're relatively competent with search terms. Get back to me in a month or so. Until then, ciao.
P.S. AR, Why do Kenyans so frequently win long distance races? Is it magic or are you just a racist for noticing that they win? Choose the more sciency answer. (Hint, don't look into genetic factors. Genes are racist, as are legs)
Posted by: Jesse | July 31, 2018 at 07:08 AM
So, no evidence. Why does that not surprise me?
You keep saying there is plentiful evidence out there. Yet you do not point to any. That hints at your perhaps not having any such evidence at all with you. Which leads one to wonder what it is that you've based your idea on, since it doesn't seem to be evidence. And the obvious answer that comes up is : bias, and prejudice. In this case, racist bias and racist prejudice.
Can you hear yourself speak? There's lots of evidence out there for those who want to see them, you say, and further accuse me of not seeking that evidence out myself. That isn't how this works. You don't get to make claims, and then have others run around to find evidence for it. If you are at all rational, then you yourself base your own beliefs on evidence ; and, when asked, you produce it. That is how rational discourse works.
You end your comment by asking me why Kenyans excel at marathons, with the air of having made an argument. That's not an answer, that's not an argument, that's just a question. To imagine as defualt that the answer to that question has to do with race, without any actual research backing up that answer, do you not see how that is racist prejudice plain and simple?
Here's another example for you, much like the bilge about the Kenyans you dug up. (That is, your question itself is valid. What is bilge is the fact that you imagine that this is an argument ; which, in turn, is obviously predicated on the assumption that it is race that is the operative factor here.) Anyway, my example : Ethnic Indian children tend to do exceptionally well in spelling bees. I suppose you'll say that too is due to some racial superiority in terms of how the Asian mind works?
In other words, there's a whole host of factors that can account for something like the Kenyans winning marathons (or Indian kids winning spelling bees). It takes actual research to dig these reasons out. Here are some guesses, totally wild guesses, about your Kenyan question. Perhaps it is because the Kenyans, having fewer avenues to pull themselves up, tend to train much harder? Might it be because they train desperately hard, and might it be that fatality rates (or at least, instances of injury or heart attacks or whatever) amongst Kenyan marathoners is signficantly higher than for regular runners? Perhaps it is because starting to run marathons does not require particularly expensive gear? Perhaps the sports infrastructure in Kenya is geared, for some historical reason, more towards producing marathon runners than other kinds of sportspersons?
I don't know, it could be any reason, any combination of reasons. You need actual research to answer that. Only someone not used to thinking rationally would immediately, without any evidence, directly jump up and say "because race!" to answer that question. And only someone who is basically a racist will stick to this race-based idea in the absence of evidence even when its absurdity is clearly pointed out to them.
(To be clear : Yes, if after real research, it is actually proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that it is indeed race that accounts for these things, then that is a different matter. If research unequivocaly bears out that Scandinavians are more intelligent than Ethiopians, that it is race that gets Kenyans to keep winning at marathons, and that Indians are inherently smarter than other folks, then sure, one can accept that. While I think that is highly unlikely, nevertheless if you do have convincing evidence to make your case, sure, why not? In the same vein, while it seems unlikely that a crazed Yahweh-God seeks out people who don't keep his commandments, et cetera, sure, if someone can produce irrefutable evidence that this Yahweh-God exists, and does the things that believers claim he does, sure, why not?)
Enough said? Or do you want to keep digging yourself deeper inside this hole of yours?
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | July 31, 2018 at 07:59 AM
"So, no evidence. Why does that not surprise me?"
You are what is known as a "lazy liar."
Use the internet. I just told you that we can talk after you've read The Bell Curve. If you don't consider the entire work of The Bell Curve to be evidence, you have serious cognitive disability issues that are beyond repair.
You and Manjit use too many words to say emote instead of making points. Write shorter posts and I'll read more than the first ten words.
Posted by: Jesse | July 31, 2018 at 08:43 AM
Wow, that was trolling par excellence! Lovely performance. My compliments, Jesse.
So let’s see what we have here :
“Jesse” makes racist claim. Claims one particular race (Scandinavians) is more intelligent than another particular race (Ethiopians).
I call him out on this racist remark, and ask him to back his claim up with evidence, or else consider withdrawing it.
Jesse responds with zero content, and no evidence, and proffers some ad homs.
I ask him, again, to present his evidence for these claims.
Again, Jesse can presents no evidence. Comes back with some pathetic argument about Kenyan distance runners.
I again ask him to stop waffling, and present his evidence. And I also demolish his parthetic Kenyan-runner argument.
Jesse totally ignores my response about the Kenyan runners. He still has no evidence for his claim, but in an amazing sleight of hand (that, in retrospect, I admire for its sheer cunning) insists that I should look up, myself, the evidence for his case. This turns on its head the entire process of rational thought and rational discourse. Instead of backing up his claim, Jesse not only insists that I search out the evidence that he has failed to produce, he actually has the nerve (which, again, I admire in retrospect for its sheer brazenness) to berate me for not doing his research for him.
Finally, he wriggles adroitly out of having to address my comments by pretending that they’re too long for his taste, and by pretending that he hasn’t read them at all.
And ding! It finally hits home.
Jesse’s no racist. A racist sincerely holds on to his racist ideas and beliefs. Jesse lacks even that honesty and sincerity. This is the Internet, after all, and as he’s told us himself, and he doesn’t take the Internet seriously! He’s just here, as he himself has admitted more than once, just for the “lulz”.
What Jesse is, is a troll, pure and simple.
The opinions he expresses here, whether about race or about religion, aren’t his sincerely held beliefs that he’s arguing, they’re merely poses he’s assuming here, just to get a rise out of those who read him and get taken in by him. Nothing at all about him is sincere : all that he says here, even his offensiveness, all of it is just a pose!
Here’s what Jesse lets slip in an unguarded moment, in a comment to me (and I now quote him verbatim) : “What is belligerent is your attempt to muddy the waters/poison the well by using all kinds of nasty insults that you claim aren’t insults (I know how it works because I do the same to religious beliefs I have no interest in knowing about). ”
And there you have it! In an unguarded moment, the troll has itself, through its own words, revealed to us its true nature. The troll is wholly mistaken about my intentions, but it ends up confessing, very clearly, its own intentions, in its own words.
By its own admission, it is deliberately belligerent. By its own admission, it deliberately seeks to muddy the waters and poison the well so as to forestall cogent honest discussion. By its own admission, it deliberately and consciously uses all kinds of nasty insults, and then pretends these are not insults. By its own admission, it pretends to embark on discussions that it has no real interest in at all, and asks questions about things that it has no real interest in knowing about. And, as this very thread clearly shows, its trolling isn’t restricted to matters religious ; no, this is one eclectic troll, who is perfectly willing to latch on to any subject under the sun, including random ideas like racism.
Incontrovertible proof that the troll is indeed a troll, in the troll’s own words. QED.
So the good news is : Jesse is no racist. A racist is a truly despicable person, an out-and-out POS, but no, Jesse is not that person. I was mistaken in thinking that Jesse is a racist. What Jesse is, is a troll, plain and simple, who isn’t here for cogent, serious discussion about anything at all, neither about those racist ideas he’s expressed upthread, nor anything else. And a troll is a harmless enough person : he can rile you up, certainly, if you get taken in by his performance, but beyond that, there’s absolutely no harm done, isn’t it? And if you can recognize him for what he is, then there’s no reason not to appreciate and welcome this performance-art entertainment that he’s providing by volunteering his own time and effort here.
Jesse, I do congratulate you. You truly had me fooled, back there, I don’t mind admitting it! You’re right, it was perfectly absurd of me to sit down and compose those long and earnest comments addressed to you, so earnestly presenting my arguments against racism, when all this while I was simply “feeding the troll”, the troll that, all through, was simply sniggering away at having taken me in so completely.
No harm done. Now that I realize you’re just a troll, I can enjoy your performance here without getting riled up by anything you say, because I know now it’s all just a performance, with zero basis in actual sincerely held thought and belief and opinion.
They say that the golden rule when dealing with the likes of you is this : Don’t feed the troll.
I don’t think I quite agree with that rule. I think the golden rule when dealing with the likes of you should be : Don’t take the troll seriously.
Provided one doesn’t take you seriously, it’s perfectly fine to throw you the occasional troll-feed. That way we won’t drive you away, and we can sit back and be entertained by your antics if we want to. And why shouldn’t one occasionally speak to the actor after all, off-stage as it were? Why shouldn’t one occasionally take the time for a brief civil aside? Like I’m doing right now?
So carry on, “Jesse”. Go ahead and regale us with your chosen performance-art form, on whatever subject takes your fancy : your make-believe disillusionment with religion, your make-believe racist ideas, whatever.
Peace! Now that I’m very clear that you’re not the despicable POS racist I’d imagined you to be, I have absolutely no quarrel with you. And nor do I have any problems at all with your trolling : after all, if this is what you want to do with your own time, why on earth shouldn’t you? I wish you well, and look forward to being entertained by your further antics here. Cheers!
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | August 02, 2018 at 05:48 AM
Genes are real and the brain with all its variations, being a PHYSICAL ORGAN, is to a great extent the product of genes. You having inherited different genes than myself is likely why you can't use google and/or read the book I've been telling you to read, but instead keep writing the word "racist" over and over and over and over and over. I can't tell if it's insulting or if I should feel sad for you.
I never graduated high school, yet I've tested similarly on (real not online) IQ tests as Mr "I don't want to talk about my IQ, but here's 800 words about it and how smart I am and how I was in Mensa as a Child" Manjit. I don't even read books often, yet I have a larger vocabulary than the majority of people I encounter. This is with almost no intentional input.
Obviously using myself as an example is completely anecdotal and serves no purpose to people who will look into this issue, but people like yourself seem to think that 100 years or more of research is bunk, so it can be assumed you're swayed by personal stories you see on the news. I'm providing at your level.
Point is, there were no positive environmental factors contributing to my cognitive development. I skipped school to skateboard. Smoked weed all day. Came from a broken family. Make the list as long as you'd like. All these things are claimed by others as undeniable proofs showing environment as a cause for weak intellect. They're wrong. People with a genetic/physical predisposition toward learning can't help but absorb information. Smoking weed and skateboarding definitely don't raise one's IQ.
So, just stop calling me racist or not racist. Stop using that word at all in this context. It's stupid and serves no reason other than to stifle thinking and inquiry. Researchers have had to go into hiding because a bunch of psychopaths won't stop screaming "racist!!!" and making death threats. You're adding to that mentality by giving credence to the idea that what you're uncomfortable with can't be and hasn't been studied.
This is a side note, but in case you didn't know, muscles are also physical organs, and all the related hormones and things that contribute to muscle growth are physical as well. Some people can lift weights, eat well, and generally do everything "right" and gain very little muscle. Myself, even in my mid 30's can eat trash, drink coffee, and sit on my behind all day, and suddenly decide I want to start working out again. Within weeks I'll make more gains than a lot of people make in many months.
Genes are real, bud. Genes are very, very real.
Posted by: Jesse | August 02, 2018 at 08:18 AM
ANATOMY OF A TROLL
This is lovely! I usually come here, to Brian’s website, for substantive discussions (which occasionally I participate in, and far more often simply read in silence), but Jesse has introduced a wholly different element that, while bereft of actual content, I personally am finding vastly entertaining.
Let’s look at this last comment from our self-confessed troll. [By the way, this comment of mine won’t be on biology. It’s not the concrete noun “troll”, it’s the abstract noun. What I’ll attempt is a brief analysis of the troll that is Jesse’s last comment, not a probing of the anatomy of the individual who’s composed that post. :-) ]
Okay, so here’s what we have this time :
Jesse pretends to tackle his racist views in earnest this time.
He wholely ignores the earlier portions of this discussion on racism, including his own comments on Kenyan distance runners (and my comment demolishing that argument).
He introduces a lovely new motif here : genes. It’s lovely, because this is both a strawman and a non sequitur. It is a strawman because no one in their right minds could possibly say that genes are unrelated with intelligence, nor has anyone done that ; and it is a non sequitur because this discussion on genes has nothing at all do with a discussion on racism. A discussion on racism is wholly different from the nature-vs-nurture debate, that Jesse seems to be embarking on here.
Jesse again fails to produce any evidence for his racist idea, and repeats his lovely topsy turvy demand that his interlocutor should do the research to seek out the evidence and the arguments that he (Jesse) claims to have based his own worldview on.
This last subterfuge is so good, that I’ll spend a paragraph on it. Religious types sometimes say that there’s lots of evidence for God out there, if only the non-religious took the time to see it. These arguments are obviously spurious, because the onus is on the religious to produce their evidence of God ; but at least they clearly spell out their particular argument (e.g., If you meditate 40 days straight for 3 hours daily, then you’ll see direct evidence of God. I’ve done it, everyone I know has done it, so it’s true.). This kind of argument means the person making the claim is either right, or else deluded, or else simply lying. Jesse uses this exact strategy, but goes one step further : he refers to some book he’s read (Gasp! He’s actually read a book!), but does not present his arguments that he finds in that book, nor the evidence he claims is in that book, leaving it to his interlocutor to do his research for him, and to frame his argument on his behalf! Again, this simply turns on its head the concept of rational thought and rational discourse.
And here’s the best part : No, I don’t think Jesse is a crashingly stupid person who does not know the basics of rational discourse. No, I don’t think Jesse is a staggeringly ignorant person who is unable to comprehend that an argument about genes is very different from an argument for racism. No, I believe Jesse is neither stupid nor ignorant. I think he’s skillfully put in arguments that are lacking, knowing full well that his arguments are wanting, specifically to draw me in to respond to him. Those lacks in his argument are the baits he’s dangling, to draw me into this discussion. This is so very skillfully done, that I would again had fallen for this, had I not been actually looking out for this sort of thing.
This is a lovely object lesson on how rationality can be used to see through fakes. Be they fake godmen, or glib salesmen, or slimy politicians, or disingenuous trolls. I’ve enjoyed reading this last post of Jesse’s, and writing out this response.
Note of caution : This method isn’t 100% fool-proof. That is something we must never forget! It is about what seems probable, not about what is absolutely certain. It is always theoretically possible, no matter how improbable, that RCC priests who diddle choir boys are actually an instance of God moving in mysterious ways his wonders to perform, that slimy godmen who sexually harass their trusting female followers are actually performing some deep esoteric dance whose true karmic purpose we ordinary mortals cannot comprehend, and that Jesse isn’t trolling but is actually so stupid that he doesn’t comprehend the basics of rational discourse and truly so ignorant that he cannot differentiate between an argument for genes from an argument for racism. It is important to remember this, that none of this is cent per cent certain.
Hello, Jesse :
The earlier portion of this comment was not addressed to you, although it is about you, or at least, about your last comment. But I hope you’ve read it, and I hope you’ve enjoyed my critique of your performance as much as I’ve enjoyed your performance itself.
You mention your troubled childhood. Please allow me to offer you my sincere sympathy (without in any way trying to condescend to you). Something like that can be truly traumatic, even when long past, and I’m glad that you seem to have healed now from those trials you’ve had to face.
(Sure, I could have included these also under the trolls I’ve enumerated above. After all how better to draw in someone’s participation than to provoke their sympathy by posting spurious personal details? But no, I choose to believe, wholly subjectively, that this at least is something you’d never do, and that this part of what you’re saying is genuine. While I could be wrong, this is what I choose to believe. And, on that basis, I offer you my heartfelt sympathy, Jesse.)
I’m enjoying your performance here, Jesse. Like I said, you’ve introduced a whole different flavor to this here blog and the discussions here which generally tend to be substantive but lacking in this levity, this meta humor, that you introduce here.
And by the way, I also choose to believe your claims that you make about your high IQ. Absolutely, the kind of trolling you do here isn’t the low-grade and invective-laden trash that you often see online, your version of trolling does clearly demonstrate a highly intelligent mind behind it. It clearly demonstrates a subtle thinking that can deliberately put in arguments that are just slightly awry so as to tempt your interlocutor to respond back to them.
Carry on, then : I’m enjoying reading your comments here!
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | August 04, 2018 at 05:50 AM
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | August 07, 2018 at 06:25 AM
Its easy to do a search on the Internet, sure we can't believe everything we read but it does help, especially for lefty snowflakes lol
Average IQ by Race, Ethnicity, and Career . . . And Why It Matters
Posted by: Jen | August 07, 2018 at 03:18 PM
I could fill a whole page of links to many of the most recent studies on that subject including twins studies and other "crazy stuff", Jen, but I won't. I've yet to read your link, but I can guess what it is sourced from, and that it likely has a political aspect to it. That's not a bad thing, but people use it to discredit the facts.
As I said elsewhere, I'm already bringing a bit of a negative unpleasant vibe to this site because I want to yell at the cult members until they admit they're liars and/or go away. The last thing I need is to get into politics and my ideas about ethnicity and genes here.
There is a book anyone opining on the topic with thousands of words needs to read first, and then a widely read Medium article which goes very deep into some famous (and bad) rebuttals to said book written in a Vox article. Anyone looking will come across it. Anyone saying "SOURCES PLEASE!" like AR is a clown.
Posted by: Jesse | August 07, 2018 at 07:06 PM
I know what you mean, in today’s world there is this pressure to be politically correct, which I must admit I don’t want to comply to, maybe just being a bit of a rebel, but still trying not to hurt people’s feelings. Have to be so careful because of ‘white privilege’ and the racist issue is difficult for me, because I am judged by the country I was born in (which is actually racist anyway). Can’t win.
Posted by: Jen | August 07, 2018 at 09:04 PM
Quote Jen : Its easy to do a search on the Internet
You know, this “discussion” that Jesse and I have been having, it spans three different subjects : first, this racist claim that Jesse has made here (that Scandinavians are more intelligent than Ethiopians, and that the latters’ lack of intelligence both explains their relative lack in technology as well as precludes their making significant technological innovations) ; then there is the meta discussion about the modes of rational thought and rational discourse ; and finally, the double-meta discussion around Jesse’s trolling here (which I’ve clearly proved, and which Jesse has admitted, so that all that remains is for us to applaud his performance).
I’m glad that you’ve taken the time and effort to inject some actual content into this discussion. And yes, I do agree that it takes very little of either to look things like this up cursorily. Which is why I’d been wondering why Jesse has been so singularly unable to back up with evidence his particular claim, why the few arguments that he did produce were so singularly lacking in substance and so easily debunked, and why he’s been further claiming to possess a profusion of evidence without actually being able to produce any. In fact I’ll go so far as to say that I believe he’s been simply lying about having read (or at least, about having fully understood) even that one solitary book that he keeps waving about in the air.
Quote : sure we can't believe everything we read but it does help, especially for lefty snowflakes lol
I agree, even biased research is better than no research at all (as long as one is clear about that bias, that is).
Your use of the term “lefty snowflakes” makes clear your own political leanings, as well as the fact that you’re fairly well-entrenched in your political affiliations. (Unless that “lol” was literal, and you’re only joking, that is, parodying a decidedly conservative mindset that sees everything liberal as “snowflakes”? Please correct me if that is the case.)
You know, I personally favor a non-partisan approach to viewing different issues. Partisanship, whether political or ideological or even religious, sometimes blinkers our thinking and prevents us from seeing clearly. No matter if you’re looking at the faith issue (is there a God, or isn’t there?) or the race issue (does race indicate IQ, or doesn’t it?), I think rather than thinking in our capacity as believers or non-believers, or as conservatives or “lefties”, it makes sense to see ourselves and our approach as either rational or else not rational. And I think it makes sense to firmly eschew the “not rational” approach, as far as possible, and to try to go for as rational and balanced an approach as we can ourselves.
I hope you agree?
Quote : Average IQ by Race, Ethnicity, and Career . . . And Why It Matters --- ">http://aristocratsofthesoul.com/average-iq-by-race-and-ethnicity/
Hm. Interesting read!
You do realize, Jen, that what you link to here is a rabidly alt-right website? It says right there, right at the top, the terms “New Right + Alt Religion”. And the website, it’s actually called “aristocrats of the soul”! No wonder their “analysis” is so very biased! Of course, the fact that this article comes from an arch-conservative source is no reason to discount it altogether, certainly not, but it would be wise to realize that the POV presented here is wholly one-sided, and far from uncontested.
Actually this POV, that this website (and this article) presents, has already been debunked, years ago.
Here’s some more links that you may want to check out, for a more balanced view of the matter :
A very informative article in The Guardian : https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/02/the-unwelcome-revival-of-race-science
An interesting take from a former believer in this racist thesis, who’s subsequently converted to the more mainstream view : https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/04/stop-talking-about-race-and-iq-take-it-from-someone-who-did.html
A discussion that touches on the “Flynn Effect” (the fact that IQ measures have steadily improved over the last century), which clearly shows how little evolution (and therefore race, in the biological sense) has little to do with IQ measures -- since evolution couldn’t exactly have gone into sudden overdrive these last hundred years!
An overview of Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mismeasure_of_Man
An overview of the 1996 book, ‘Inequality by Design : Cracking the Bell Curve Myth’, which directly debunks Herrnstein & Murray’s The Bell Curve : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inequality_by_Design
Jen, I appreciate your wanting to take an informed view of this matter, and your willingness to base your opinions on actual research.
If you read around a bit more, starting with these links I’ve presented, you’ll find that this thesis has been clearly debunked.
Poor Jesse seems incapable of holding any kind of a cogent discussion at all ; but if you’re interested, Jen, then I wouldn’t mind summarizing, in brief, my understanding -- such as it is -- of the key arguments that debunk that racist POV.
Of course, if you go through these links I’ve presented here, you’ll get to hear both sides of the story, the racist thesis as well as its debunking. There are lots of easily accessible articles online that you can check out, obviously, but if you access this short selection I’ve presented, then you’ll probably get a far better overview than I myself can present. But still, if you want me to present a very brief summary, then just let me know.
Quote : Have to be so careful because of ‘white privilege’ and the racist issue is difficult for me, because I am judged by the country I was born in (which is actually racist anyway). Can’t win.
Jen, I understand where you’re coming from, given your background in South Africa (that you’ve spoken of elsewhere) as well as the peculiarly white-vs-black tinge that this discussion has taken on in the US right since the time of the War.
However, the racist thesis (that is, the so called “race science” point of view) does not really represent “whites” per se as particularly intelligent at all! Absolutely not!
The most intelligent, according to this “race science” view, are Jews (that is, the Ashkenazim) ; followed by Asians (who are a very large and fairly diverse group) ; and only then are ranked the “whites”, whose average IQ, as a group, turns out to span a fairly pedestrian range of 95 – 100. Given that you’re a woman -- and this “race science” POV shows women to have significantly lower IQ than men -- that means that you figure (that is to say, your ‘type’ figures) way lower than even that very range, amongst the lower end of a group that is itself wholly unremarkable in terms of its IQ. Not particularly flattering, that, not by any means!
Of course, like I said, this POV has been soundly debunked already ; but my point is, you need not feel embarrassed when speaking of this debunked POV here -- at a personal level, I mean -- since this debunked POV does not really single out “whites” as being particularly intelligent at all, and certainly not white women!
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | August 09, 2018 at 07:03 AM
Quote Jesse : I could fill a whole page of links to many of the most recent studies on that subject
Of course you could, Jesse, of course you could. It’s just that you choose not to. We understand.
And of course you realize that simply dumping links isn’t rational discourse at all, no more than is throwing around the names of books. Having listed your links, what you need to do is present briefly but cogently the arguments within that link : but of course you know that too.
And of course, you could also very cogently present the evidence discussed within all those links that you speak of, and build up a very convincing arguments sourced from those links. Of course you could. It’s just that you choose not to. We understand.
You deliberately do not present this evidence, and you deliberately do not present these cogent arguments, and you deliberately choose, instead, to utter gibberish like “NASA” and “space flight”, and present nonsensical arguments like “Kenyan distance runners” and “genes”. We understand, Jesse.
No one thinks you’re stupid, Jesse, no one thinks you’re ignorant. Nor does anyone think you're lying your backside off.
We know that you’re very intelligent, and very well informed, and could easily talk cogently. We realize you only string together random nonsensical terms like “NASA” and “space flight” and “Kenyan distance runners” and “genes”, because … reasons. We understand, Jesse.
Quote : I want to yell at the cult members until they admit they're liars and/or go away
We clearly understand that rational thought is beyond you, Jesse. And that is why you don’t realize how wholly irrational your approach -- that you yourself admit to (and in fact brag about!) -- actually is.
Your strategy in an argument -- in this case, your argument against cult members -- is to “yell at them until they admit they’re liars and/or go away”?!! Do you know what it is to “beg the question”? Do you understand the concept of circularity (in terms of reasoning)? Heck, do you even know what it is to be reasonable and rational, and why it is important to be reasonable and rational even when one is certain of one’s conclusions?
You don’t, right? You actually do not realize how irrational your whole approach is, do you, Jesse?
Quote : There is a book anyone opining on the topic with thousands of words needs to read first, and then a widely read Medium article which goes very deep into some famous (and bad) rebuttals to said book
Ah, there is a book. An actual book, gasp! And not just a book, an article as well! And a very “deep” article at that, gasp! How very impressive!
You are, of course, incapable of discussing the arguments and the evidence within that book and that article, right? Imagine, poor Jesse actually presenting cogent arguments! Of course not, perish the thought!
I ask again : are you sure you’ve actually read this book, Jesse, this book that you keep referring to, but that, strangely, you never once actually discuss cogently?
I’m calling your bluff, Jesse. I think you’re lying. Reading one single book isn’t exactly some kind of an earth-shattering achievement : but even this is something you’ve not actually done. You may have heard about this book from fellow-racists that you hobnob with, or heard TV shows where this book has been referenced, or some such, but I think you’re simply lying when you say that you’ve read this book. The reason why you don’t discuss this book at all is simple -- guided by Occam’s Razor, we can safely conclude that you haven’t actually read the book at all!
While I haven’t read this book myself, Jesse, I’ve taken the time, just now, to look up references around that book you keep referring to -- in response to Jen’s taking the initiative in introducing some actual content into this asinine discussion -- and guess what, that precious book of yours has long been debunked. It has long been consigned to the trash can of serious research. It only lives on as pseudo-science for sundry racists to base their bias on (much like you yourself gibber on incoherently about “Kenyan runners” and “NASA” and “genes” and “space flight”).
But let’s forget for the moment the fact that you’re lying and that we all know you’re lying, and ignore for the time being the fact that you haven’t read this book at all, and also forget for now the other books and the other studies that have clearly debunked this book of yours and its proponents’ racist views ; instead, tell me this, Jesse : you still haven’t understood anything at all about how rationality works, have you? You still don’t see how pointing towards a book, and saying “that book, it answers everything!”, is not what rational discourse is, have you? You still don’t see how wholly irrational your entire approach is, do you, Jesse?
You’re just a crazed person that loudly keeps on screaming out their unthinking spittle-laced prejudices, without even attempting cogent rational thought and discussion, aren’t you, Jesse? (Heck, you admit that, you actually brag about doing that, in so many words here within this very comment!) And you seem to actually aspire to this role, and deliberately work at it, and actually take pride in your attempts to repel people simply by the sheer volume and the sheer repellence of your constant clamor (as you clearly admit here) : Wow, just wow! One lacks the words to convey one’s sense of unbelieving wonder at the outright brazenness of your intentional self-declared irrationality and your intentional self-declared asshattery.
Posted by: Appreciative Reader | August 09, 2018 at 07:17 AM
Another 5000 word manifesto filled with my name which will never be read.
Posted by: Jesse | August 09, 2018 at 11:38 AM
How to "do science" and "like measure things and stuff" by the self righteous genius known as Appreciative Reader who knows "dude totally way more" than everyone-
Racist, racist, racist, racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist,racist, racist x 500,000,000
Posted by: Jesse | August 09, 2018 at 11:43 AM
By the way, Appreciate Reader, Switzerland isn't part of Scandinavia. I'm 99.99999999% sure that my original comment was about Swiss people. If you can't tell the difference between Switzerland and Sweden, there's not much else I can help you with.
(Don't go berserk when you see that 99.9 number. It's not literal)
You should try reading the Bell Curve, by the way.
Posted by: Jesse | August 09, 2018 at 11:49 AM
Hi Appreciative Reader,
Thank you for the reply and the links. I will check them out later. I know that I don't have a high IQ but I do think (for me) having a high EQ is more important (feelings, ESP etc) but thats another subject that very practical people will disagree with.
"EQ, short for Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient: EQ enables us to use feelings to boost and complement our IQ (example: he had a high IQ but a low EQ)."
No probs, Appreciative Reader, this life is just a game we are playing and we do our best to play it well.
Posted by: Jen | August 09, 2018 at 02:03 PM
Appreciative Reader, that quote about EQ I found on my computer's dictionary, please don't take it personally!
Lots of love to y'all,
Posted by: Jen | August 09, 2018 at 02:19 PM