belief, superstition, reality and truth

What if the interface is intended to be "one way?" I mean, what if the tv wanted to use the remote to tune you to a different channel?


Dunno. It seems reasonably obvious we utilize symbolic thinking and association to categorize and catalogue, assembling a library of memories and learning/training. But I'm still not convinced of the value (or at least continuing the value) of superstitions and superstitious symbolism. When used to convey an idea, I suppose it is OK as long as the idea is actually conveyed and it stops there. The parable, the metaphor, the allegory. What troubles me is the tendency to confusing the symbol for reality and calling it truth, the literalization of the symbol.

That's when skivvies turn into idols. As funny as that sounds, I think religions do far worse things and end up dogmatizing metaphors and symbols as though they are reality instead of teaching tools.

Which is how we end up with people sincerely believing in some pretty strange ideas and fervently believing them to be true.

To me the point, or pay off of examining these processes is in the increasing realization of just how pervasive and all encompassing they are. It's kind of frightening, really, to realize just how immersed we are in the pea soup of self-referential symbolism. We're swimming around blindly grasping at shiny objects. Well, that's my observation, can't say for anyone else. But, see, everyone wants their favorite idol to be objective truth. "Everything else is crap, but my God, my religion, my political orientation is different."

I want to just let it all go. I can use superstition for what it's good for. If it helps me play better golf or hold on to my lighter longer that's great. Maybe it's good as a mnemonic device in some cases. I can use that. Instead of buying into the idea that there MUST be meaning, I'm more interested in understanding how "meaning" is built up from the self-referential soup, and evaluating my participation in that.

Chris
 
You know Juan, I thought something like this was going on with you from what you wrote in the OP. I can only imagine what you are feeling about this, but I do know that inquiry along these lines can only be healthy, and if followed through will bring deeper understanding. Maslow wrote about what happens in groups that follow on behind a founder who has had a peak experience, usually they become somewhat dogmatic and superstitious about the things the founder has said.
Every mystic in history couched his experience in terms that his fellows understood, usually religious terms.
Looking deeply, you won't find much real difference between St. John of the Cross and Rumi for example.
Further I think it important in the growth of an individual when they stand up and say " I respect all that my elders have taught me, and the traditions are of great value, but now I would open my mind to all the possibilities of reality and inquire what is real"
Or, as I like to put it, "why do cows say mu?"
(The feeling of emptiness that follows a great religious experience doesn't really cover it. Some call it 'the great doubt.')
It's like the Coming Full Circle thread.

Somehow, Phillipians 4:11-13 seemed to help me out in that regard:
11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.​
 
To me the point, or pay off of examining these processes is in the increasing realization of just how pervasive and all encompassing they are. It's kind of frightening, really, to realize just how immersed we are in the pea soup of self-referential symbolism. We're swimming around blindly grasping at shiny objects. Well, that's my observation, can't say for anyone else.

Self referential symbolism...just letting the concept sink in. If I am understanding correctly, I am thinking that is an occupational hazard attached to a self-learning autonomic system. The predisposition to grasp at shiny objects in the dark (I presume figurative) is in evidence in other critters besides humans, so may even have an evolutionary component. I can't reach for the stars in your galaxy, and I can't use your symbology; they are alien to me and out of my reach. Besides, my stars and symbology are close at hand and I have spent a lifetime building my own referential library.

But, see, everyone wants their favorite idol to be objective truth. "Everything else is crap, but my God, my religion, my political orientation is different."

But then we are back to the mental instability caused by undermining surety and security. Surely even an atheist does not believe in "nothing?" If not else surely they would believe in themselves or fellow humans? Even crazy people (not all, there is a spectrum) believe in some pretty wierd ideas and notions, but *they believe.* I am beginning to think it goes with our programming.

I want to just let it all go. I can use superstition for what it's good for. If it helps me play better golf or hold on to my lighter longer that's great. Maybe it's good as a mnemonic device in some cases. I can use that. Instead of buying into the idea that there MUST be meaning, I'm more interested in understanding how "meaning" is built up from the self-referential soup, and evaluating my participation in that.

All of us build a house of cards inside our heads. What of that is permanent when we are gone? Anything?

I want to believe there is something more, something left, but I doubt it is mind-rational-intellect-logic. I don't know how it applies metaphysically, but I suspect spirit is divorced from intellect at death. Besides, what have we learned here that would truly be of value in the next existence? How to play nice?
 
I can only imagine what you are feeling about this, but I do know that inquiry along these lines can only be healthy, and if followed through will bring deeper understanding.

Thanks. Of course I wonder if I'm ready for the deep end of the pool yet, or if I am in way over my head?

Maslow wrote about what happens in groups that follow on behind a founder who has had a peak experience, usually they become somewhat dogmatic and superstitious about the things the founder has said.

I seem to recall something like this, but we didn't delve deeply into Maslow's musings at the upper end of the hierarchy. It seems business has little to gain from that end and finds a great deal to feast on (and feast well) in the lower end of the hierarchy.

Every mystic in history couched his experience in terms that his fellows understood, usually religious terms.
Looking deeply, you won't find much real difference between St. John of the Cross and Rumi for example.

I have heard of Rumi and know nothing about him (her?). I would be interested if you would like to present a brief comparison...

Further I think it important in the growth of an individual when they stand up and say " I respect all that my elders have taught me, and the traditions are of great value, but now I would open my mind to all the possibilities of reality and inquire what is real"

Perhaps. I am also aware that such...bravado...can come at great cost. Many are those in history who were martyred that dared challenge the status quo and the institutional monster. We have a certain freedom *now* to consider such things, but that freedom came with a price, a price that transcends traditional patriotism and political boundaries.

It does not leave my thoughts, that I might inadvertantly tread into genuine heresy or blasphemy. G-d knows if no other that that would be the last intent of my heart. I do not challenge for the mere sake of challenge, for ego, or for self-righteous justification. My challenge is not *me* centered. It stems from years of observation, collecting pieces here and there that do not add up. When puzzle pieces do not fit regardless of how often and sincerely I am assured that they do, and I have turned these pieces in every manner possible to try to fit them *as I am told* and they do not...I am left with little other conclusion. <shrugs>

Or, as I like to put it, "why do cows say mu?"
(The feeling of emptiness that follows a great religious experience doesn't really cover it. Some call it 'the great doubt.')
It's like the Coming Full Circle thread.

Very well Seattlegal, please tell me, why do cows say MU? :D

I don't know that I can say my feelings to this are the result of any great religious experience...unless by great you might mean cumulative, as in over the course of many years. I remember reading that thread, and it would probably serve me well to reread, but this crisis of faith is not a new thing to me. I have been skirting the edges of this *no-man's land* for a long time, about 5 years or so I would say, with no clear distinctions one way or another of which way to turn. I just feel like I want to cut out all the crap and get to the raw essence. Maybe G-d is like a hot summer sun and religion is like sunscreen, and maybe I am daring to go naked without sunscreen and risking turning lobster red from head to tail...but it just seems like a risk worth taking.

Somehow, Phillipians 4:11-13 seemed to help me out in that regard:
11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.​

You never cease to amaze me with how you are always able to pull just the right passage with the proper nuance. I love this passage, it always speaks to me on a very visceral and intimate level. It strikes home.

G-d has laid many challenges before me in my life, but I am confident He has never laid any obstacle that could not be overcome. G-d helps those who help themselves; G-d loves doers of the word, not hearers only. G-d also appreciates when we go to Him for assistance. He will lead if we but only ask diligently, sincerely and with a contrite heart.

I have long asked for wisdom and understanding. It always seemed to me the noble and courageous path. It is well that foresight is not so clear as hindsight...if I had only known beforehand what the price and burden was for the prayer I offered, I would likely not have asked. It isn't a path for the faint of heart, or those who need to be led by others. But then I suspect those like you, Paladin and China Cat know this as well as I do, even if you might word it a bit differently.
 
Hi juantoo3,
if I had only known beforehand what the price and burden was for the prayer I offered, I would likely not have asked.

I seem to have gotten on this path in a similar way. Every once in a while the choice to exit is offered, but for now I keep moving along. It's different than it was before, sometimes tiring, but I think this way is better.

Joe
 
Remember the famous experiment by BF Skinner? He used pigeions and fed them at odd times of the day and irregular intervals. What he noticed was that the birds would repeat whatever behaviors they were doing when the pellets were dropped. In many rituals and belief systems we try to find some kind of control over what is seen as a chaotic world.

found this:

Superstition and psychology

In 1948, behavioural psychologist B.F. Skinner published an article in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, in which he describes his pigeons exhibiting what appeared to be superstitious behaviour. One pigeon was making turns in its cage, another would swing its head in a pendulum motion, while others also displayed a variety of other behaviours. Because these behaviours were all done ritualistically in an attempt to receive food from a dispenser, even though the dispenser had already been programmed to release food at set time intervals regardless of the pigeons' actions, Skinner believed that the pigeons were trying to influence their feeding schedule by performing these actions. He then extended this as a proposition regarding the nature of superstitious behaviour in humans.[10]

Skinner's theory regarding superstition being the nature of the pigeons' behaviour has been challenged by other psychologists such as Staddon and Simmelhag, who theorised an alternative explanation for the pigeons' behaviour.[11]

Despite challenges to Skinner's interpretation of the root of his pigeons' superstitious behaviour, his conception of the reinforcement schedule has been used to explain superstitious behaviour in humans. Originally, in Skinner's animal research, "some pigeons responded up to 10,000 times without reinforcement when they had originally been conditioned on an intermittent reinforcement basis."[12] Compared to the other reinforcement schedules (e.g. fixed ratio, fixed interval), these behaviours were also the most resistant to extinction.[12] This is called the partial reinforcement effect, and this has been used to explain superstitious behaviour in humans. To be more precise, this effect means that, whenever an individual performs an action expecting a reinforcement, and none seems forthcoming, it actually creates a sense of persistence within the individual.[13] This strongly parallels superstitious behaviour in humans because the individual feels that, by continuing this action, reinforcement will happen; or that reinforcement has come at certain times in the past as a result of this action, although not all the time, but this may be one of those times.

Superstition - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Here are my examples of superstition including religious ones:

-Step on a crack break your mothers back.
-Get dunked in water or sprinkle water by the preacher and all your sins get washed away.
-Say Jesus is savior & 'poof' the magic wand waves & you go to heaven instead of hell.
-Break a mirror and have 7 years of bad luck.
-Make a doll and stick pins in it to cause other humans pain.
-When the volcano erupts, strong winds blow and the ground shakes, God is angry.
-Drive nails into a mans skull to release the devils.

You will find the same superstitions with planets, reincarnations, animals like dragons orient, sacred cows india , black cats pagan & white cats in egypt...and fowl...
Some others are feng shui lines, pagodas, crosses, beads, garlic, circumcision, oils, fortunes, crystals, chanting & whatever...

There are probably tens of thousands of superstitions found in all religious dogma, cultures. Maybe installed from childhood by use of fear and panic buttons(?). {Do this, & this will happen and if you don't do this, then that will happen} Kind of like a proverb only a superstitious one, lacking any thought or wisdom:)



Is Religion Just Organized Superstition? Is Superstition Always Religious?
Religion vs. Superstition: Is Religion Just Organized Superstition? Is Superstition Always Religious?

Is there a real connection between religion and superstition? Some, particular adherents of various religious faiths, will often argue that the two are fundamentally different types of beliefs. Those who stand outside of religion, however, will notice some very important and fundamental similarities which bear closer consideration.

Not that I agree with all of that article & don't give two hoots either way!
BTW Juan, we are on the same page. Only it is in all of the religions & cultures and not just the christian/hebrew one(s) and was a BIG turn off for me after discovering people think that way.

April 1st has some interesting superstitions surrounding it where all pracitical jokes must be played before noon and if you do a joke after noon then you get bad luck....so Happy All Fools Day.
Another good place to look ( I am sure you know) is at the Romans. I think it was papas gregory as one who said- black cats are of the devil:D
 
The continuity is that Christianity has appropriated all sorts of pagan rituals and practices over time. These things were co-opted by the Catholic Church as a way of assimilating worshippers.

Easter/Ishtar: easter ishtar - Google Search
OH DEAR NOT GOOD :eek: putting easter in the bible when it should say PASSOVER
 
BTW Juan, we are on the same page. Only it is in all of the religions & cultures and not just the christian/hebrew one(s) and was a BIG turn off for me after discovering people think that way.

Good to "see" you again old friend!

I do see much in all of the religions that an outsider could consider superstition, but that insiders almost seem to have to accept on faith.

April 1st has some interesting superstitions surrounding it where all pracitical jokes must be played before noon and if you do a joke after noon then you get bad luck....so Happy All Fools Day.
Another good place to look ( I am sure you know) is at the Romans. I think it was papas gregory as one who said- black cats are of the devil:D

Seems to me Poppa Gregory had some to do with April Fool's day as well, at least according to some. It was while he was in office that Christopher Clavius corrected the calendar for the Catholic countries, I want to say something like 1585AD +/-. The calendar had been getting further and further out of sync with the seasons until April 1st was about to mark the New Year (used to be on the spring equinox). The decree went out along with the correction to the calendar that any who celebrated New Year's on April 1st was a fool...hence, April Fool's day. :)

Correction: 1582 AD,

Christopher Clavius - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Paladin said:
Remember the famous experiment by BF Skinner? He used pigeions and fed them at odd times of the day and irregular intervals. What he noticed was that the birds would repeat whatever behaviors they were doing when the pellets were dropped. In many rituals and belief systems we try to find some kind of control over what is seen as a chaotic world.

Isn't that how beings learn and evolve? It takes a lot of banging around hit and miss fashion before the pattern or inherent logic of something appears. I imagine if there had been some coherent, if complex, pattern to the pidgeon's experience with getting the pellets they would have found it. The headline would be "Pidgeons found to have amazing ability to recognize complex patterns."

Chris
 
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