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December 25, 2023


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Nice piece from Michael Shermer and your post re Mindfulness in Plain English.

I guess my Christmas and New Year message would be as transitory as the Popes, King Charles and all the others who, I’m sure sincerely enough, try to convey messages of peace, cooperation and so on to the world. But who listens? Who takes it to heart? Very few most probably, certainly not the various world leaders of any of the prominent institutions.

I don’t honestly believe (think) that generally people are capable of change. Okay, you might get a few who take on various principles and try to live a decent and sustainable life, but generally, people don’t want to change, or are afraid to as it would no doubt mean a complete change of life-style, one that entails a type of socialism – anathema to many in America and parts of Europe.

It seems that there is little will to seriously address climate change for example; too many vested interests even though the drastic effects are affecting millions around the world. We, the comfortably off do not wants to give up our energy dependent life-styles; in fact, many are so committed to such a way of living they prefer (no choice) to deny the facts. Perhaps, nothing short of a worldwide catastrophe is what would enforce change and I can imagine that the worlds leaders would survive to gradually reinforce their control.

I often hear prominent people say that we must look after nature. Such arrogance, as though nature depends on us to administer its natural laws that have functioned admirably for millions of years. I would rather hear the world to agree that the best plan was to leave nature alone – meaning the few untouched environments. Okay, there is a need to cooperate with nature in the hope of re-pairing the already damaged and destroyed places, and many are involved in such, but it may be somewhat too late.

Happy New Year.

@ Ron E.

>>I often hear prominent people say that we must look after nature. Such arrogance, as though nature depends on us to administer its natural laws that have functioned admirably for millions of years. I would rather hear the world to agree that the best plan was to leave nature alone – meaning the few untouched environments. <<

When some followers of MCS would come forward with a public confession of haveing done some wrong, he in variable would remain silent for a moment and then say:

"do not do it again"

THAT should be said to humanity too,...... stop doing the things that cause havoc to nature.

Leave nature alone as you wrote an certainly do not think you have the knowledge and or power to look after nature ... as ... you are part of nature; something that is totally beyond your understanding..

STOP the unnecessary use of fossil energy

To live in places where we cannot live.
To produce what naturally cannot be produced
To move around on a global scale what should be regional and local.

Just have a look in nature .. where the animals only have what is needed in a day, to survive.

Scientist of all disciplines and politicians should focus on how to live a natural life in a natural way and a simple life in a simple way.

There is nothing wrong with nature, nature doesn't need a cure, there is something wrong with the child of humanity, society and culture.

THEY should change their "sinfull" ways of living as lustfull consumers, that are addicted to consumption as drug addicts are to their hard drugs.

Energy and data are worst than "crack" ...and .. GROWTH for an illusiuonary "better"

Well-wishing and positivity "grate on my nerves"?

Because there's suffering, the answer isn't positivity? The answer is to deplore everything Christmas stands for and retreat into an ersatz Buddhist narcissism of be here now? And lament how decrepitude and death is nigh?

Gosh I feel so much better.

But wait, there's climate change. Oh, won't somebody do something to stop it, as long I still get to keep using fossil fuels. Don't call me a hypocrite, I'm one of the goodies. I hate Christmas, I did my part to make the world better.

Happy Christmas, New Year, the whole season of cheer thing, Brian. And to everyone here, um, Ron, Spence, umami, SM64, manjit, Osho Robbins, everyone.

Here's something guaranteed to bring a smile on, that I happened to come across the other day. From the inimitable Christopher Hitchens:

What do you get when you cross a Jehovah's Witness with a Unitarian?

Someone who comes up and knocks on your door for no particular reason!

When I search for something positive, as I do daily, the world doesn't generally oblige. You have to look for it. The idea of a holiday to celebrate the birth of God seems strange. Why have holidays at all. But they do celebrate. Perhaps because, exactly because life is difficult, that to give ourselves a holiday to celebrate something good is maybe the best most folks can hope for.

I'll take it.

And then what are we celebrating?

A guy who said "Love your neighbor as you live yourself."

"Love One Another as I have loved you."

"Don't judge others, unless you want to be judged. God will forgive you, so you should forgive everyone also."

"Let one without any sin cast stones. Let them cast the first stone. What, no one is qualified? I guess you will have to forgive each other. So sorry!"

"If someone wants to take something from you, give it to them. It's just not worth the hassle. You have far more important things to think about."

Who is this person who said these things? They are ridiculous, and elegant, and stunning.

Some guy from a time when you had to rub two sticks together to get fire?

And yet, so incredible.

To be that person! To carry that attitude of kindness everywhere, even when we are under the most tortuous circumstances. Incredible.

So, I don't mind celebrating that, since most of the troubles of the world come from being very far from that very high personal standard. A standard that has no rules separating people. That is just pure, unselfish love.

Yah, that's worth celebrating, even if we are far from it. That's worth trying to get closer to.

So, what do you know, there is something worthwhile in all that celebration after all.

Something personal that each of us can take for ourselves. Something small, personal, and perfect. A story about true love.

Not to say there aren't others..Bertrand Russell's Christmas address (from the perspective of a rational Atheist is also inspiring...) these things are our treasures, when we understand them, when they get under our skin, not these possessions, nor even this bag of chemicals we call a body.

In case anyone doesn't know about Bertrand Russell's Christmas message:

"The spirit of brotherhood embodies only the highest
morality but also the truest wisdom,
and the only road by which the
nations, torn and bleeding with the
wounds which scientific madness has inflicted, can emerge into
a life where growth is possible and joy is not
banished at the frenzied call of unreal
and fictitious duties. Deeds inspired
by hate are not duties, whatever pain
and self-sacrifice they may involve.
Life and hope for the world are to
be found only in the Deeds of Love."
Bertrand Russell

Spence. Lovely stuff, but so far away from the reality of peoples and nations everyday reality. The sentiments you repeat here have been around for over 2000 years and has not changed the most negative aspects of humanity, in fact, it has often been a source of even greater conflict and suffering.

The on-going conflicts and barbarianism currently happening in the so-called holy land, I find particularly abhorrent, seeing as though it is the bedrock of three of the most prominent, peace-espoucing religions in the world.

I will say that Mr. Hines's opposition to religion isn't without merit. But there's hardly a matter where context matters more than what's meant by "religion."

I'm working my way through Will Durant's tome The Age of Faith. He points out that for much of the era of Western mainstream religion, most people were taught and most people believed that only a tiny fraction of humanity would gain salvation. The rest would endure eternal torment. For a time, that included unbaptized babies and Greek heathens like Plato.

So no argument against that context. But Xmas 2023 isn't the same animal.

Anyway, it should be obvious to me that we all think a bit differently, and so I apologize for any offense given in my previous post.

On the topic of thinking differently, I just finished Going Infinite, Michael Lewis's bio of infamous crypto king Sam Bankman-Fried. I found it an extremely interesting tale, a story quite unlike anything I've ever read. SBF comes off not as a greedy conman (which I"d assumed from the outset) but rather as an autistic genius who had a value system (or actually, a no-value system) that at once made him a world-famous billionaire and felon in only a couple of years.

Hi Ron E.

You wrote:
"The sentiments you repeat here have been around for over 2000 years and has not changed the most negative aspects of humanity, in fact, it has often been a source of even greater conflict and suffering."

Depends whom you speak with. Some have transformed into better human beings having fallen in love with such writings.

To tell anyone that they should treat everyone as their brother and sister cannot ever lead to the violence we see.

But people may attempt to coopt that message to justify doing harm.."This is for their own good.." Etc... People use these fine teachings as propaganda because they don't actually practice them.

To get into the spirit of brotherhood, there can be no violence whatsoever, of any kind, certainly not retaliation, even self-defense. Zero, Zip, Nada...None.

I would not say these teachings have anything but pure love in them.

But what religious leaders do, in bed with political leaders bent on acquisition, is to turn these into something else.

These poor teachings need to have their voice heard and understood. They are the best of all of us, and not attached to any school of thought. Universal love is its own language.

But if teachings bring you closer to that, they are a fantastic gateway to that higher love.

Take them in the form you like best. Take them as Humanism, the enlightened form of Atheism, where all faith is in the human potential within all of us.

There is power to transcend small thinking in larger thinking. And th largest of thoughts is beyond thought...Love itself.

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