Posts Tagged ‘ Purpose ’

The Game

This post might take some thinking, some reflective thought. I hope that it does.

We’ve all done it. Played along to get along. The game of life, all that crap you do every day so that you can rush around in some strange place for a week or two, burning through all your savings, so that you can tell everyone what a wonderful time you had while you weren’t doing all that crap you do every day.

 

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Game:

a form of play or sport, especially a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck.
synonyms:    pastime, diversion, entertainment, amusement, distraction, divertissement, recreation, sport, activity

https://tse2.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.Ma437bee194a54789f760b220acd90590o0&pid=15.1

We don’t always realize it. Graduate from school not sure what we’re going to do and the next thing you  know you are caught up in trying to pay your bills and meet the requirements of being human. Eat, sleep, fornicate, drink, breathe… in any order that you like. Lather, rinse, repeat. Our interests distract us and we become overburdened just trying to meet the 5 requirements, the 5 necessary things that our bodies demand we do. Sure, some of us try to ignore them or do too much of one or more of them, but in the end we’ll do all 5. Our biology ensures that this will be. That’s it. The 5 requirements of mammalian life, and it appears that it applies to all forms of life that we know of.

Most of us will find that even if the 5 are satiated and no more difficult to acccomplish than opening our eyes each morning, something else is missing. Something else needs to be done. Those 5 just simply are not enough.

Not necessity, not desire – no, the love of power is the demon of men. Let them have everything – health, food, a place to live, entertainment – they are and remain unhappy and low-spirited: for the demon waits and waits and will be satisfied.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche was a fairly smart guy. What could that demon be? How are your demons today? What is true must be true for the best of us and the least of us. That demon has to be able to affect all of us, from the greatest human to the lowest worm. Thought of it yet? Think harder. Fear. Fear is the demon. Fear that we will not accomplish one of the 5 requirements now or in the future. Our biology drives us this way. It tells us to be afraid, makes us react whenever something, at its core, will stop us from doing one or more of those 5 things for too long. There it is, the five laws and the only demon we all share. Think about it for a bit. All the rest of human society and culture is based on these things, built up layer upon layer of complexity until we no longer recognize it. So many layers of complexity that we have thought ourselves more than animals for a long time, looking down upon those that do the five with much greater efficiency than ourselves.

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So many are sure that the world, that life is an illusion yet you are certain that your world and your life are real. Your mind will tell you many things in your life. That inner voice, your subconscious twin. It will tell you what beauty is, what it is not and it will tell you that the limb you used to have is still there. Can you truly know that it’s missing or not if your mind tells you so stealthily? Your mind interprets all the data that it can find and tells you what the world is, what society is, and what they are not. Who are you talking to when you talk to yourself. Who answers back when you reflectively seek answers to problems in this illusion of life? Do you have a twin inside your mind?

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When you tell yourself that you’ve done the best you can for today do you hear a reply? There is much to think about. Will both of you agree on what the answers are? Will you both even conclude that there are answers? If there are no answers, then what? What if the big questions have no answers? Oh, there’s that demon again. Now the argument with your twin begins in earnest. One of you dared ask “why are we here?”, “For what purpose are we here?” The wisest among us end such argument with the simple thought that it does not matter, here we are and here we will remain until someone figures out how to change that. The luckiest among us never ask the questions, they simply get on with the business of being. Once we ask our twin that kind of question all sorts of mayhem follows.

We worship ideals that we have deified, accepting the wisdom of this illusion because our ideal dictates to us what we must need do, how it is that we make sense of the world we cannot be part of. No, you are your mind and it will never touch or taste or smell the world around you. It does not have those abilities. It simply crunches data and models the world around you. Sure it has sensors but your mind will never know what a rose smells like, really know. It will never know the color of a juicy apple, never really know. All it, all that you will ever know is an approximation of what the world is like. You and your twin are trapped inside a skull. Yes, it is _your_ skull but it’s no better than any other skull. It just happens to be the one wrapped around the brain that your mind is in, that you are in.

You will never be closer to the world than some electrical signals tell you that you are. If we live in a simulation you will never know because whether it’s a simulation or just nerves bringing you sense data, your brain will interpret that data as reality. When you have a ‘reality’ the game begins. By the time you were 2 years old the game had begun. The day you were born, not so much.

It’s a game. Complex, scary, difficult. Still, it’s just a game. It’s the only game there is. Even that is complex for you can create a game within the game, play by your own rules in that part and by the other rules in other parts. The rules get complicated, layer upon layer of rules. What if you don’t want to play? What if you want to simply be? Can you step outside the game? Can you stop playing and still meet the 5 requirements? What would it be like to be outside the game?

Oh, that’s a lot of questions for you and your twin to talk about. I wonder what answers you’ll come up with? I wonder if you’ll share them here?

To help you and your twin to think about them, here’s Bill

Dark Corners And Rage: Part 2 The Eulogy

I think that I’ll start this with an apology that Part 1 is and will remain private.

I am a philosophical nihilist, monist, materialist, anti-theist, atomist and so on. There are those that think such people have no moral compass or reason to live and so on. I stand here in sharp contrast to those people’s ideas.

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The truth of the matter is that there is no intrinsic meaning or purpose to life and further that even those who think there is make up their own meaning to their lives. They just pretend it is about something else that none of us can see or test.

Despite the confusion over what these labels mean and what a person of these labels may or may not be or feel, I have deeply held beliefs. One of those deeply held beliefs is that the only thing we have is our experiences, our memories. These are all that we carry with us no matter where we go and no matter our situation in life. These things are intrinsically part of who we are. They _are_ important. As such, I am not averse to experiencing everything I can … even if it is painful or hurtful or harmful. To truly know what life is and what it means to be alive I believe that you have to experience it. I don’t think that selectively choosing what to experience is being in control of yourself. No, facing those experiences with the gusto of Hercules is being in control. You can’t say that you know what a hurricane is like till you’ve weathered one out. Life gives us hurricanes here and there. I try to face them, revel in it, languor in the experience of it.

Another firmly held belief I hold is that it is not possible to truly hold an understanding of what it means to be alive unless you have shared moments of compassion with another life. To accept and show compassion to another life, big or small, is to understand the reality of possibilities in connecting with another being. We live, trapped in our minds, visited only by vague impulses that render for us some representation of what it is like outside our minds. To connect with those senses to another mind at some level of compassion is a vital experience. One that we should not miss out on.

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DARK CORNERS

Very recently I was given just such a hurricane experience. It appeared suddenly and I had no time to prepare. From content and safe to swallowed by the storm. I told myself that I would stand and watch it, weather it out, experience it. When it fell upon me in full force I ran for cover. I found a dark corner and I hunkered down and hid, hoping it would lessen, that the storm would fizzle out some how. It was not to be so. There I huddled against the cold comfort of my former bravery, in the dark and lashing out at anything that came near me.

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RAGE

As I prepared for the rage of the storm I became angry. Why do I have to experience this? Why can anyone or anything take away from me a friend that I have shared moments of compassion with? What gives them a right? What did I do to the universe that I must experience this pain and grief? Why is it necessary that my friend must die? Why? I became angry. I filled with rage and wanted to go berserk. I wanted to be the storm, I wanted to be more powerful than the storm. And so I raged… I felt it fully. I wanted to kill. I wanted to rampage and leave carnage and death in retaliation for the storm.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

— Dylan Thomas

I was not stronger than the storm. I could not rage enough. I could not make it go away.

Part 2: The Eulogy

Today I lost my friend. A dear friend of 16 years. He never let me down, always spoke in ways to cheer me and sooth the angers of living in the game of life. He was one of my reasons to live at one time, he helped me through many tough times. Speaking just enough to let me know how much he cares. He supported me with all that he was, always ready to show his pleasure at being near me. He was, is, my friend.

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I held his weakened body in my arms, spoke in soothing sounds to calm him.

As the first plunger sent him to sleep, no longer able to make soothing sounds, my chest began to heave.

As the second plunger slowed his heart my arms began to shake, my tears unnoticed by his stilled eyes.

I was born alone, I walk alone, and I will die alone. I know that in the grand scheme of the universe my life is no more important than that of my friend. I feel pain and grief and ANGER that such can pass with so very few people even giving a damn. My life will pass as well. It will end  and I will be no more important to the world than my friend was as I held him today.

I have experienced this anger today for the second time in my life. It opened a dark place that I must now climb out of, to find respite from the game of life. I will miss my friend. He was never in the game with me, always waiting outside for my arrival. I will miss him like I would miss a finger. It is fair and right and normal that his life must come to an end. Even normal that I should experience the pain and grief. That didn’t make it fun. He was my friend. I am partly who I am because of him. He is part of my experience, part of my memory. He is important. Even if not one other person feels the same anger, pain, and grief, I will. I cannot be me without the memories and experiences of my friend.

I’m sorry if anyone felt the anger of my grief. I am not sorry that I grieve. I must grieve for a part of who I am no longer is. A part of me stopped existing today. Frozen in the vault of memories in my mind. I am better for both the memories and compassion and for the experience of knowing him and losing him. I am alive. His last breath was spent telling me that I am.

I will miss him.

Why Is There A Heaven?

I remember when I simply accepted that heaven existed. There is precious little in the holy book to describe what heaven will be like. It seems that the god of Abraham did not want followers thinking about that too much. (they might just figure out it’s a scam?)

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The persecutor of God. — Paul thought up the idea and Calvin rethought it, that for innumerable people damnation has been decreed from eternity, and that this beautiful world plan was instituted to reveal the glory of God: heaven and hell and humanity are thus supposed to exist – to satisfy the vanity of God! What cruel and insatiable vanity must have flared in the soul of the man who thought this up first, or second. Paul has remained Saul after all – the persecutor of God.

from Nietzsche’s The Wanderer and his Shadow, R.J. Hollingdale transl.

The god of Abraham is equally ready to torment you forever or give you a place in paradise (whatever paradise is). The entirety of this existence is then said to be nothing except to filter out which humans get to heaven and which do not at the whim of and for the whims of a god.

That sounds a lot like a farmer who is raising pigs and the lifetime of the pigs is so the farmer can decide which ones to send to slaughter and which ones to invited to breakfast.

Neither Paul nor Calvin managed to clear any of that up. It remains a problem to this day despite the apologetics’ attempts to convince us they have compelling evidence. To them I ask, what does paradise look like? Why would I want to go there? Why would I want to go there after being threatened with eternal torment if I did not sign up?

Why is there a heaven? The god YHWH was apparently completely happy with Adam and Eve in the garden till he let that snake in to mess it up. The god YHWH did not create humanity to be in heaven, rather he specifically created them to be in the garden here on Earth. Why is there a heaven?

 

On Orchids And Intelligent Design

Here we see an Orchid. They are part of a 100,000 plus variants or species of the flower. Like any life on this planet the various species have evolved to thrive in their environment. Like many forms of life on this planet humans have cultivated them (changed their environment) in order to change them to be more suitable in some way for humans. Every time that we see them in the shop we don’t think ‘oh, it’s a cultivated orchid’. Rather we think about how beautiful they are, how delicate they seem, how genuinely frail and wonderful they are. To be certain, they are all these things and more. All that changes if they start growing in a corn field. That makes them a weed: a wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants. Perspective is everything.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orchidaceae

Philosophies are like this.  There are hundreds of thousands of them, most of the ones you know about are cultivated, shaped by humans to be more palatable or useful. Some of them grow like weeds, thriving in their environments. The human mind offers bad philosophical weeds a fertile environment in which to thrive. Once there the human will cultivate it and work to make it grow and fall victim to the wonderment of its beauty to them. They seldom realize that the beauty of the bad philosophical weed is cultivated by them and for them, competing with the philosophies which will sustain them and help them thrive. The philosophical weeds soon choke out the good philosophies we want and need to cultivate and grow. This is not through malice. It is because we humans don’t like to change the environment that our philosophies live in very much. Change is difficult. In fact, left to our own devices humans have shown themselves to be very poor philosophical horticulturists. When it comes to thinking clearly few of us seem to have that envied green thumb. These weeds, like all weeds seem to do, spread far and wide to every niche they can find as suitable to thrive in. That’s what happens when life evolves to survive. It is very opportunistic with little or no long range planning.

It might be said that an intelligent designer might have planned that so we could all see the beauty of such weeds as orchids or some such drivel. If we carry this analogy through, an intelligent designer wouldn’t have designed our minds as such a fertile place for bad philosophies. An intelligent designer would know that bad philosophies should not be designed such that they are beautiful to behold. It seems almost maliciously purposeful that the human mind, if designed, was designed to be a fertile environment for bad philosophy. It seems shockingly bereft of logic that such a designer would turn out to not have a green thumb, unless you consider that such a designer might think bad philosophies are not weeds, and is cultivating them in human minds. If there was or is an intelligent designer it sucks at gardening or its idea of beauty is detrimental to the well being of humanity.

 

What Is On The Other Side?

Women are not more important than men. Women and men are not important, no, not in the long run. Humanity. Humanity is important to all men and women yet they blind themselves to this simple fact, this simple idea, with all the hatred their minds can muster in the dark, dank places they do their thinking. The explorers we read about search new destinations not for the fame or glory but for humanity. Fame and glory are fleeting. Identity is fleeting.

http://totallyhistory.com/biography/famous-explorers/
300,000 years ago there was an ape who thought “I wonder what is on the other side of that mountain”. Her cousin had a similar thought. His nephew a similar one. Eventually one of those curious apes found themselves in northern Europe. More spectacularly, though that sounds like a nice story these apes full of wonderment were not explorers. No, they simply were looking for more food to feed their babies.

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Those amazing minds among us that strive to keep alive drag the rest of us kicking and screaming into the future. No plan, no guide book, just the unmitigated gall to survive. Those that sit back and stake a claim to some branch of a tree are simply too stupid to go look on the other side of the mountain. It’s never important what is on the other side of the mountain. What’s important is going to see what it is.
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When the human mind stifles itself to maintain some paltry position of power it causes all of humanity to falter briefly. We’ve been stumbling toward the future of humanity for quite some time now. Do not listen to those that don’t want to go see what is on the other side of the mountain. Leave them under that tree to rot. Think not another thought for them. If they hold you back and beg you not to go to the other side of the mountain, pick up a stick and beat them with it. Their whimpering sounds will fade as you climb up the mountain, sun warming your back and the wind in your hair. No matter what you find, on the other side of the mountain is the future and it does not need that whimpering ape with the tiny mind and tiny thoughts.

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What Scares The Atheists?

I found an interesting post. The entirety of it is below.  One of many inspired by Gray’s article. I won’t reply to his post directly or even this post (shown below in it’s entirety). I am an atheist, anti-theist, monist, materialist, nihilist and a few other labels that are not used too often. I accept them. I like them. They each begin to describe my thoughts and feelings on life. None is complete on its own. I speak only for myself and no other. No other person speaks for me in these matters, certainly not John Gray. I think that it is convenient for people to think a single label is all that another person is but it is not. We humans are far too complex (generally speaking) to be held up under a single banner or label. That works for all sorts; have you ever met a Christian bigot or racist?

The post below throws out few points, the main being that a thinking non-theist should have a struggle with the concept of morality without inheriting morality from a faith tradition. As it happens I  have a problem with that thought. A big one. For a start, if morality only comes from a faith tradition, why are there so many of them? The three big monotheistic religions have one set of books each. If morality springs from them, then there should be only the three sets of morality yet we see tens of thousands of sects, each having their own moral values. We are left to believe that one book creates many moral codes, divinely inspired, without the input of humans yet it is exactly this unstable, mutable, malleable morality which I stand accused of using as my own.

In response I can only say that this thought insults me. It presumes that I am incapable of creating my own moral values. It further insults all humans in the very same way. Pity the human who lacks the ability to form their own moral values for even those who choose morals you do not like have chosen moral values. Even the young children choose moral values before they are able to follow any faith tradition.

I could ‘defend’ my position by criticizing the post below and that would be easy. I could defend my position by splitting hairs over whether other atheists are like me or not. I choose neither of these. My position does not require defending. It, like I, stands on its own. It does not need defending. It is, in its own right, a position that does not require defending for it does not care what you or anyone else thinks of it. It is not a shameful position without virtue and value. It is not a position of less than or alternative.

The very idea that I need to defend my position is ludicrous. Just the same, it is what is called for. We are each responsible to know our minds and speak freely of how we understand the world around us. This I can do.

I am not afraid. I know I will, from time to time, fail to live up to my own chosen goals. A goal that is easy to achieve is no goal at all. I will stumble, perhaps fall, get up again and carry on – wiser, more experienced, more determined and controlled. My morality is to myself. Should I find that I like you or something about you I can choose to help you in your time of need. You in turn might choose to help me and together we are stronger than either of us alone. In this bond is my second morality. Outside of these moral obligations there are none except that which I choose to extend beyond this basic circumstance. It is my choice, not a tradition or rule book. My choices are not yours and yours are not mine. By definition we cannot have the same moral values. They might well be very similar but they are not the same.

I was taught moral lessons by my parents and by society. My parents taught me to respect women. On my own I learned that I respect people. They taught me to respect my elders. On my own I learned that even they must earn respect. Society taught me to respect country and kin that are forced on me. On my own I learned to respect only that which benefits me and motivates me. Society gives me a vote to argue against what I do not accept. I accept society only in so much as it benefits me. I stand alone. I was born alone, I will die alone, and I walk alone. I am not afraid. There are those that will choose only safe harbors and warm fires. They may fear standing alone. I do not. They may require society and other peoples morals. I do not. I am not blind to the harsh, cold, brutal reality of life on this planet.

My morality comes from the law of reciprocity, not from a book or a tradition. I was born with the capability for it, learned it as a child before I could understand what faith was. My morality is the same as that of other animals. I am insulted that a believer would think it acceptable to deny it, accuse me of copying their poorly reasoned rules and laws. My morality stands head and shoulders above that of the believer. It is MY morality not that of someone else, not that of a book, not from someone that desires to tell me how to behave and act. My morality is far better than any from a book or tradition. I can defend it, explain it, live it true.

I am not afraid or scared. I know who and what I am. I know my failures and have found peace with them. I have no reason to think there is more than this life, this day, this moment. When I live this moment well, over and over again, the rest takes care of itself. I will worry about the next world when it comes to be that I am in it. I am not afraid, least of all do I fear what a next life might be like. If I have a duty of any kind it would be to live this life (moment by moment) as best I can within my moral values. Anything else is to live someone else’s life. I can only live mine. I will gladly hold my moral values up against the inspection by others. It is better than that of believers. It can be lived up to.

 

“What Scares the Atheists”

John Gray writes a lengthy and worthwhile piece on the New Atheism’s difficulty with the growing spread of religion.  He calls them “missionary atheists” and points out that they want to proselytize converts every bit as much as missionary Christians.

Gray, himself an atheist, also outlines the role of the Judeo-Christian tradition in the Western civilization concept of liberality.  He rightly notes that atheism doesn’t exactly have a clean slate when it comes offenses against liberal values–its 19th and 20th century taste for eugenics and colonialism being the conceit he uses.

This is a difficulty for atheism: No one who is serious about these sorts of conversations thinks that atheists can’t be moral or that atheism can’t have a moral code;  however, many a decent brainiac do struggle with the concept of atheism possessing and exercising a morality without having inherited it from a faith tradition.

Of course, Gray doesn’t think that an inherent morality exists at all, but that’s an entirely different topic for another day.

#FuckThePope – Fight Fire With Fire

I am sincerely offended by the tyranny of theistic belief. Theists can only go so far before they should expect a response.

 

 

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Pot, meet kettle.
Fight fire with fire, get the marshmallows out, let’s watch the world burn, Pornography for pyromaniacs of thought.

 

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They burn all that encroaches on their monolith, striking jawbone with stone axe to resolve the merest insult.

Apes using fire and brimstone to create a heaven on Earth in the belief that forging fires make steel, not realizing that wild fires of unconscionable belief simply raze the forests of reasonable existence. They are certain of their belief and profoundly unaware of their unthinking push to have us again living in trees.

 

http://jordanmmckinney.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/2001-monolith-22.png
Stupid is as stupid does. Education is the answer until you have to implement it at the end of a gun. Just pull the trigger and let the world burn!

 

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The question then, is how do you teach a bigot to love? Especially when he is the representative of god on Earth?

 

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