« Buddhist wisdom: pay attention to the breath until the self dissolves | Main | Why do religious people go on atheist sites? »

December 02, 2018

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Reading of worth: Godless Citizens in a Godly Repblic, Atheists in American Politics by Moore/Kramnick

MetoliusMark, thanks for the book recommendation. I've ordered it. Like your commenter name. I assume you're referring to the Metolius River in central Oregon, where my wife and I enjoyed being part owners of a forest service cabin for about 20 years. But maybe there's another meaning to Metolius. (Now we've flown the coop to the nearby Black Butte Ranch resort, where we share ownership of a house.)

Hi Brian
While many posts do cross the line you mention, like Vinny's name calling, it goes both ways. I did not disparage Buddhism. I honour it as a path to wisdom. It's one path, Dude. And so is Sant Mat. One light, many windows.

But if you cite a writer teaching Buddhism, and they complain that religious worship is bad, wrong and ignorant, and that ego is bad and wrong, and vwe need to see it is in everything, like it's a demon lurking behind every corner, first, that's dualism. Not Buddhism, just that writer's complaints about worship and ego.

And secondly, Jim points out Buddhists also worship their statues, having just been to the east and seen it for himself, I think that's a balanced exchange.

Personally, I see worship as just another means to focus the mind, like Mindfulness practice, focusing on breathing or even focusing on creating art or innovation, or even athletics. Leaving ego and finding nirvana happens in a number of ways... It's very natural. You could focus on the tooth fairy and escape your ego just as easily.

Why does that upset you?

Finally, if some people think there is a danger to certain breathing techniques in meditation, that's their view.

Because Buddhism is one form of practice, it is not unusual that others will bring up theirs also.

And if it's possible that Pranayam and Mindfulness on breathing are being confused, maybe this is the best place for you to help clear up the confusion.

It doesn't seem like we have a lot of Buddhists on this site. Jen seems to come close. But after having had a spate of comment from the Satsangi wing, let's hear more from our Buddhist friends.

My point is only that all these have benefits.


This moderated-comments policy means more work for you, and for us it means a lag between posting and publishing, so it’s something of a lose-lose: but still, given the levels to which commenting here has devolved of late, I suppose this is a good thing.

I wonder if you could do a post, Brian, where you clearly lay out the commenting policy here, in some detail?

Normally this wouldn’t be necessary, with sane decent people commenting -- but seeing that this place has been infested of late with less-than-sane and less-than-decent folks, perhaps some clarifications may not be out of place.

I strongly suggest that you introduce and enforce a No-Personalization policy. Let people address one anothers’ arguments all they wish, including yours -- but not other people’s persons (including you). Make it clear that personalizations and insults -- whether directed at other commenters, or directed at you -- are not welcome.

Delete posts that personalize and insult. And ban repeat offenders.


(Personally I find these insults and personalizations extremely off-putting. I let it slide one time, twice, thrice -- then I'm perfectly capable of giving back as good as I get, and more, as you would know from my uncharacteristically rude comments addressed to Jim Sutherland now, and to Jesse earlier, made purely in order to return their insults in kind.

But I find this whole process of exchanging personalized insults off-putting. I don't spend my time with ill-bred foul-mouthed louts IRL, and see no reason to do that online. Nor am I comfortable letting repeated insults go unanswered. If this persists, I will simply stop commenting here. And no doubt I'm not the only one who finds this sort of thing off-putting.)


Although, to be fair, I have to say: this swings both ways. The policy has to apply across the board, consistently. Obviously this will apply to RSSB nut jobs like Jim Sutherland and SK (yeah, the same guy who’d celebrated your death not long back) and many others, but, to be fair and consistent, this must also include anti-RSSB foul-mouths like the late unlamented Jesse. To focus on the just the one category, the pro-RSSB crazies like Jim and SK, et cetera -- while leaving out the anti-RSSB crazies -- would be unfair.


Quote Spence:
Jim points out Buddhists also worship their statues, having just been to the east and seen it for himself, I think that's a balanced exchange.


I wish you’d stop defending this crazy old weirdo, Spence. Jim isn’t worth your wasting your breath on, not someone of your caliber.

Jim didn’t just say that, what you speak of here.

He let loose a whole volley of unsolicited preaching, coupled with insults to Brian about the experimenting with drugs that Brian has clearly spoken of earlier. (See the comment I’ve just now posted on that thread, where I highlight this.)

This is a repeated pattern of Jim’s -- he lays his grubby paws on some personal detail of someone’s life and, when he disagrees with the ideas and arguments of this person but has no cogent argument to offer, then he personalizes the issue, and tries to hit back at them with these personal insults. He’d done this to Osho Robbins in the past -- remember those unbelievable "Whore Master" comments, following on Osho Robbins speaking of his divorce? -- and he’s done this to Brian now, by referring snidely to his experimentation with drugs in his youth -- wholly without context, given that this refers to Brian’s pre-RSSB days, and is therefore this part about the marijuana use is wholly irrelevant as far as his RSSB meditation.

As for the superstitions on the part of Buddhists, Brian has clearly mentioned that he eschews this kind of mumbo jumbo, and focuses only on the core, experiential teachings of the Buddha.


Brian’s too much of a gentleman, that’s why he keeps tolerating these crazies. Me, I’d have booted out Jim if he ever tried setting foot in my house, with his foul personalizations, his half-witted anti-intellectualism, and his outright lies about his alleged inner visions.

(Yeah, they’re lies. No one can actually have had such grand inner experiences, and still end up the kind of mean-spirited, stupid, and downright nasty specimen that Jim evidently is, basis his comments. Nope, he's clearly a charlatan who's lying and posturing here. Someone like Brian is worth a hundred of someone like Jim. Hell, even perfectly ordinary -- but essentially reasonable -- people like you and me are worth twenty times a worthless foul-mouthed old crazy like Jim!)


Hi Appreciative
You wrote
"Yeah, they’re lies. No one can actually have had such grand inner experiences, and still end up the kind of mean-spirited, stupid, and downright nasty specimen that Jim evidently is, basis his comments. Nope, he's clearly a charlatan who's lying and posturing here. "

Hm. Is it possible to state your argument without any disparaging reference to anyone? Or their system if belief?

That would require searching for the grain of truth in what they wrote. Or ignoring it.

It is a fact that many of the world's Buddhists practice traditionally. Jim is correct there regardless of his other remarks.

Second, if someone is crazy because they report an experience so different from yours you feel compelled to apply this appellation, let me suggest it is neither an argument, evidence, necessary nor polite.

If you really know better, then of course you will need to prove it, or accept craziness as part of the human condition. Name calling is beneath a spirit

Name calling isn't part of the above. It only makes people happy at the expense of others. And we can find happiness without needing to do that.

Besides, when you call out the name calling without resorting to it, you retain substantial leverage in your argument. The Ill will of others can bury their credibility.

But when we engage in such name calling, even prejudice against millions of people who believe differently, through insulting descriptions, you are actually throwing the first stone and should expect waves to come back towards you.

I think of more crucial importance is to establish the necessity for Atheism as a foundational value for any other spiritual belief.

Without it, you have blind faith.

Now, the path of blind faith can also work to enlighten, because filled with love the world looks in balance. So any object you fall in love with can serve a noble purpose.

Atheism, at its core, says what essentially is the foundational principle of Judaism. No one can actually see God. He is too great for human comprehension.

I think that if you feel overwhelmed by gratitude to a higher power, nature, the Creator, etc it is both natural and healthy to follow that bliss and worship your God. But that is only for you, personally, coming from your own heart.

Another person will be in awe of the technical aspects of the creation. Their God will be Mathematics, or science or engineering. And that is also right, for their personal God.

Another will see art in everthing. Art is their God and they should pursue their God and become the conduit for great creations of Art.

The only way to honor each of these is to accept the inevitable subjective part of our symbol making brain and go with it.

That means God or no - God is as natural as following our heart and our intellect. There may be one God, but if we can't really know his/her./its attributes, only what comes from our own heart and mind, then we should allow with all respect these personal relationships with this creation, and honor their diversity.

What I take exception to is the polemic, the argument against any belief as a belief.

It is appropriate to call out child abuse, theft and fraud within an organization. It is on fact our duty to address it.

But personal beliefs are different.

For us to respect each other's beliefs we must regard them as mental constructions, and not physical realities.

It is only then that we can accept them all.

Therefore Atheism is in fact the foundation of any further sincere and honest belief we are drawn to.

Quote Spence:
“Hm. Is it possible to state your argument without any disparaging reference to anyone?”


Certainly it is possible to do that, but I refuse to keep on indefinitely extending this one-sided and unreciprocated courtesy to individuals -- that would be Jim, in this instance -- who do not themselves extend that same courtesy to others and who repeatedly indulge in unprovoked discourtesy themselves.


“Or their system if belief?”


No disparagement was intended, nor extended, to any “system of belief”.

The disparagement towards the person of Jim? That was fully intended.


“That would require searching for the grain of truth in what they wrote. Or ignoring it.”


I’m done looking for grains of truth within the cesspool that is the mind of Jim.


“It is a fact that many of the world's Buddhists practice traditionally. Jim is correct there regardless of his other remarks.”


You are correct. It was those other remarks of his that I was speaking of. I said as much in my comment, that you quote from.

Although even this particular remark of his, about the genuflecting superstitious Buddhists, is simplistic and obvious, given that every religion -- every one of them -- has (some/many) people blindly believing in its peculiar superstitions. One does not have to go gallivanting across to far shores to come to that obvious conclusion.

And in any case this is an out-and-out non sequitur, surely, given that no one had suggested otherwise at all, and given that Brian had expressly said that he’s personally eschewing the superstitious portions of these Buddhist beliefs (which clearly accepts the existence of these superstitions, else there wouldn’t be anything to eschew at all).


"Second, if someone is crazy because they report an experience so different from yours you feel compelled to apply this appellation"


You misunderstood what I’d said. That may be because I might have expressed myself inadequately last time, so let me try again.

Let me clarify my meaning now, and let me highlight my qualification in bold.

I am not discounting or disparaging RSSB meditation, or the experiences and realizations that (allegedly) accrue from it. No, what I am disbelieving is Jim’s past claims of manifestation within himself of the fruits of RSSB meditation.

And I base my disbelief on the fact that Jim has clearly shown himself -- at least per his comments here, which is my only window to knowing him -- as a small-minded, ill-behaved, unbalanced, intellectually retarded, and singularly stupid and nasty person. My understanding of the major spiritual systems tells me that no one who has had such wondrous experiences -- no matter which specific system or tradition they follow -- can possibly remain as mean-spirited and small-minded and nasty as our Jim.

To repeat: What I’m saying is clearly a lie in my assessment, are not the experiences of RSSB meditation themselves, but Jim’s past claims of having personally accessed them. And I’ve clearly presented the basis for this assessment of mine.


“let me suggest it is neither an argument, evidence, necessary nor polite.”


Now that I have clarified my position, I trust we are no more in disagreement?

My “argument” is sound: to wit, that deep experiential realizations cannot but be reflected in the spirit and the behavior of the practitioner, irrespective of the spiritual tradition followed. Such experiences cannot but endow one with a certain quietude, and equanimity, and indeed nobility of spirit.

My “evidence” is unassailable: Jim’s repeated -- and unprovoked -- personalizations and insults, and his very obvious paucity of inner quietude and equanimity are clearly documented here in his own comments. (Forget all this hifaluting “equanimity” and “quietude” stuff, the man is clearly lacking even in everyday decency and courtesy.)

I agree, what I’d said was neither “necessary” nor “polite”. I’ve already told you that I am no votary of the turning-the-other-cheek philosophy. Unprovoked insults I am willing to let slide one time, and twice, and thrice: after that, I reserve the right to (figuratively) mangle the person that initiated these rounds of incivilities. My lack of politeness was deliberate, and well earned by Jim, and I stand by it.


"If you really know better, then of course you will need to prove it (…)"


You said this, the portion quoted right above, while harboring a misunderstanding about my original meaning. Now that I have clarified it, earlier in this comment itself, I hope we can agree that I have already “proved” my point, by backing it with sound argument and adequate evidence?


“Name calling isn't part of the above.”


I agree. The name calling wasn’t, strictly speaking, part of the argument. But I don’t regret it in the least. Someone, like Jim, who makes a habit of dishing it out to others, unprovoked, whenever the fancy takes him, ought to be able to take it on the chin when it is dished back to them in return.


“[Name calling] only makes people happy at the expense of others. And we can find happiness without needing to do that.”


I agree.

So tell that to the person who started this. Tell that to the person who makes a habit of throwing unprovoked insults at people whenever he falls short of cogent argument. Tell that to the person who set rolling this round of insults, by themselves resorting to unprovoked name-calling, not just once but repeatedly. Tell that to your precious Jim.


“Besides, when you call out the name calling without resorting to it, you retain substantial leverage in your argument. The Ill will of others can bury their credibility.”


This I agree with. Returning insult for insult does take some of the moral high ground away from one.

Not all of it, though. Because what one is doing here is responding to repeated and unprovoked discourtesy.

And self-defense is an accepted defense across the board, for that matter even in law. Reciprocating repeated and unprovoked aggression with some aggression of one’s own is hardly something that can be censured, is it?!

Although I agree, not stooping to these levels despite repeated provocation would have been noble. I’m afraid I am not that noble, not when faced with repeated unprovoked discourtesy; and I have no desire to pretend here to a superhuman nobility that I do not actually possess.


“But when we engage in such name calling, even prejudice against millions of people who believe differently, through insulting descriptions,”


No, you were mistaken in thinking of this in these terms. This isn’t “prejudice against millions of people”. I hope I have clarified that adequately.

In fact, this isn’t “prejudice” at all, not even against one person. Ill-will this certainly is, but it is ill-will that Jim has handsomely earned for himself with his unprovoked name-calling.


“you are actually throwing the first stone and should expect waves to come back towards you.”


I trust you realize that I am NOT “actually throwing the first stone”. This is fourth (or fifth) “stone”, and it is being thrown back, finally and at long last, in exasperation and irritation and not without a bit of anger, after three or four stones have already been thrown my way, and after I’ve already batted those stones away, first with a laugh, then again with a laugh, then a few times with sharper but still not quite uncivil repartees, until now, finally, you see me bending down and picking up these stones myself, to hurl back at the person throwing them at me.

I have already said this, that I am no votary of turning the other cheek ad infinitum. It is ridiculous to accuse someone of throwing stones, when all they are doing is returning unprovoked and repeated insults in kind; and it is hypocritical to do this when you make no effort to take to task the original offender, who’s merrily and without provocation been lobbing “stones” all this while.

I cannot possibly take seriously the judgment of someone who does not censure the originator of unprovoked attacks, while at the same time attempting to censure retaliation in self defense and/or retaliation. Nor is it enough to now attempt to censure both parties, because there is an essential and fundamental difference between unprovoked aggression on the one hand, and retaliation in response to that unprovoked aggression on the other.

You may, on reflection, want to take back this wholly unjustified accusation that you make against me.

Perhaps you may, on further reflection, find it within yourself to turn that accusation, and that complaint, towards the person that actually does deserve it. Notwithstanding the fact that this person happens to be your colleague as far as your faith.

Hello again, Spence.

All of that notwithstanding -- the comment I’ve just now posted, addressed to you, and responding to your earlier comment -- what I'd said to Jim in that other thread, the whole “name calling” business, it’s been troubling me.

On re-examining, I continue to find my stance fully justified. It is Jim who was in the wrong, not I, and he has no grounds to run mewling and complaining now, now that the unprovoked (figurative) blows he so freely hands out himself have started coming home back to him.

But nevertheless, it was one thing my taking this line with Jesse, who is so much younger when compared to Jim, and so much nearer to my own age than Jim is. He, Jesse, would have the resilience of early middle age, if not quite youth, to fall back on, and will no doubt have brushed those insults of mine off in no time. That I don’t regret, at all, the Jesse thing I mean.

But this, here, is different. Despite the justifications, it feels mean to turn on and to hurt an elderly man so. I keep telling myself I am fully justified doing what I did -- and indeed I am so justified, not a shadow of a doubt on that -- but yet I cannot help feeling that my actions have been ignoble. I cannot help feeling ashamed about how I acted.

.

Fuck, it occurs to me, as I think about this, that I may have inadvertently gotten far too much involved in this whole commenting thing here at Brian’s blog. Anonymity offers one a certain degree of remove, a measure of detachment, but despite that I may have, of late, started investing an unhealthy amount of myself into this online persona of “Appreciative Reader”. It may be time to step back for a bit.

No matter how “justified”, still, these mental sparring sessions -- “mental” in more senses than one! -- isn’t why I come here, and isn’t how any healthy sane person ought to spend their time and energy!

.

I’ve requested Brian just now to take down that offending comment of mine, the one on that other thread that I’d addressed to Jim. (Although “attacked” may be a better word than “addressed”, in describing that particular comment of mine!)

And, while I’ll continue to visit this place and follow Brian’s posts and the discussions here in the Comments section, it might be best if I stayed away from commenting myself, at least for a while.


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Welcome


  • Welcome to the Church of the Churchless. If this is your first visit, click on "About this site--start here" in the Categories section below.
  • HinesSight
    Visit my other weblog, HinesSight, for a broader view of what's happening in the world of your Church unpastor, his wife, and dog.
  • BrianHines.com
    Take a look at my web site, which contains information about a subject of great interest to me: me.
  • Twitter with me
    Join Twitter and follow my tweets about whatever.
  • I Hate Church of the Churchless
    Can't stand this blog? Believe the guy behind it is an idiot? Rant away on our anti-site.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...