Discussion in 'Science and the Universe' started by Tao_Equus, Aug 24, 2008.
Thanks, path and tao.
I enjoyed reading this. I got the visual. Nice work!
My experience of anonymity in the city, staying with the analogy, is similarly the feeling of smallness and essential unimportance. The oblivious masses have no idea that I even exist. They don't believe in the legend of me. The identity that I created out of hand me downs means nothing here. I'm not special, or even noticeable anymore. But insignificance doesn't sit well. What's needed is the sense of belonging to something trans personal which, in turn, bestows a new and improved identity on the participant. An identity that means something, that carries currency in the mass informational environment here in the big city. One could find God, and it really is the perfect occasion for that. Tailor made.
But one should also inquire into the nature of this need people have to construct legends of themselves in order to feel significant. If we were humbled by the weight of our own inherent insignificance before, and found solace in this new sense of belonging to a trans personal, identity bestowing God, team, nationality, political party...etc., is it because IT actually bestowed upon us status with the masses whose ambivalence started this whole mess, or is it because it gave us standing with IT in a new sense of trans personal self-ness which transcends the need for meaningful individuation?
Have you come out significantly different than when you went in, do you think?
Thanks for that encouragment, Chris.
The human psychology exists for everything to be just as you are saying, but self honesty continues to be one of the most deceitful tools we have to work with. I think that the question cannot be answered in textbooks perhaps for that reason. There is another question worth answering though: if it is as you say than would an immature understanding of it result in chaotic anarchy? That is, would it destroy the world? That question keeps a lot of people from worrying about your question, but my opinion is that I don't know right now. The ancient traditions that I am barely aware of seem designed to guide meditation into understanding the infinite through a study of nature, although they focus upon different aspects: sex, marriage, the mind etc. I think this is why Bushadi, the big noisemaker, kept insisting upon Science as a new religion. Unfortunately, he was not aware of his own insignificance. Someone could reveal the mystery of the universe right in the next post and no one would care unless it was an idea whose time had come. Who can say whether the big ideas in this generation will be carried on to the next?
The functional paradigm is too firmly established for everything to come unglued like that. We people are, as a whole, completely assimilated. Not enough people will ever simultaneously look behind the curtain to derail "reality." So, everyone can just relax. Nothing is going to happen. Here, listen to this Ocean Moods CD. Ahhhh, relax...and imagine that Deepak Chopra is rubbing your feet. Mmmmmmmmmm, mama!
What a depressing thought.... I need a soma holiday.
Actually, not enough people will ever look behind the curtain period. The reason: fear of the unknown, and fear of self revelation.
... as we can't "prove" God exists, s/he must not... if we apply this reasoning to everything we will find there are lots of things we accept as truths in the world which do not exist in themselves, such as...
numbers, units of measurement, commerce, the appreciation of art... none of these things are truth, as such- instead they are but judgements made by man to order his world... these judgements then are shared by others, and collectively we proclaim them as truths, yet in themselves they are not...
if then, we create a Utopia, where God is not something man has pondered/created; a place where there are no religions, no religious objects, no spiritual art works, no literature, no poetry, a place where the concept of God does not feature at all, would a person ever "find" "God"?
that would depend, on whether God exists, or whether the man makes him exist...
Can you prove I exist? Or am I just a ghost in the machine?
I have already proved that you exist. I remember you from two years ago. A "ghost in a machine" that posts pictures of itself that look exactly like human beings and tells stories that correspond exactly with the lives of human beings, and commits deeds online that correspond with deeds done online with human beings must be a human being. A deity that promised two millenia ago "I will return before this generation passes away" and has not returned yet, and who says "I will never leave nor forsake thee" and has never been present in times of need, and who promises, "Ask and it shall be given thee" but has yet to answer a prayer, probably does not exist. That is just one little part of it, but it's a start.
To the person who asked if I am a changed person as a result of doing a degree in theology. I keep growing and changing in response to my life experiences and this experience of doing a degree in theology was no exception, so I guess the answer is Yes. I went in an unorthodox (heretical) Christian and came out an atheist. But the atheism was inevitable. I just feel much more confident in my position because of the degree in theology because I had some really serious questions about basic tenets of the Christian doctrine. Reading the theologians and finding that not one of them even addresses the issues gives me confidence that Christianity does not answer my questions. Since there are no answers, for the sake of personal integrity, I have no choice but to deconvert.
As for the mystical feelings, I think it was on this thread that I mentioned Michael Persinger's work. There seems to be a part of the human brain that brings on mystical feelings. Somewhere (not on this thread but in a book) I read that of all the religious practices in the world, there is nowhere more agreement across religions than in the mystical traditions. This suggests to me that the experience of mystical feelings are consistent across the board of humanity regardless of time, place, religion, or culture. I can testify that it feels no different for me now that I am an atheist that it did when I was a Christian. I am not the only atheist who experiences mystical feelings. And yes, it is the same as what religious people experience, if we can go by descriptions in the literature.
I remember you too Ruby. And my question still stands, can you prove that I exist? Time has changed me as well, and I don't back down to a good discussion, regardless of where it takes us.
there are billions of people out there who have never seen me, nor been affected by me directly...does that mean I don't exist to them? if your answer is "yes" then it is subjective...
Hey, Ghostie, nice to meet you.
Yes you exist. I proved it. Got you to respond promptly to me.
Hey, that is no evidence of a change. You liked a good discussion two years ago already if memory serves.
Hi Ruby it was me.
I asked because I suspect a degree in something like that might be more affecting upon the student's mind perhaps, than say, oh, geology. (unless one is a creationist hehe).
Thanks for your answer. Will you and Tao being playing tag?
Naw, you don't exist to the people who don't know about you. You're just a statistic to them. Just another rich American using up resources. Nothing more and nothing less.
Feel free to judge my answer as you like. I need to go for an appointment and won't be able to respond for some time.
Hi Tao, I don't think you question my sanity as much as whether I am mentally lost and need something to fill the void? I can understand it must be very difficult to understand someone that believes something you totally reject and in your shoes I would want to explore all avenues to find out what makes them believe something I can't even contemplate. I think if people are respectful of others beliefs and opinions there is no reason they should not be free to ask anything they want.
I can't imagine not believeing in Allah, every cell in my body knows it is the truth but I can't prove or rationalise that knowledge, it just is, so if you don't have that feeling then it must seem a little odd to you.
Keep the questions and thoughts coming
Good point! But what about those who say they got God to respond to them promptly... does that prove that God exists? Even if witnessed by others (like these previous posts are witnessed by others), does that mean there is me? Or does on the other hand, that mean there is a god? (please seperate the two, since I'm not God)
Oh that's ok. But you'd be surprised at how little I live on...and it suits me just fine. Furthermore, you'd be surprised how little many others live on...by choice. So, let's get back to the question at hand. Just because people may not know about me, does that mean I don't exist? Or does that prove I don't exist?
So, we fly to the moon or to mars or to the ends of the solar system, on a wing and a "prayer"? That is not logical. We mark time with symbols, and we know time is not constant, so we adjust for it, but time does exist, as surely as the earth rotates at a near constant, and orbits the sun at a near constant. The pattern is established and we can use it with some certainty.
We also know this: when impatient (as humans are want to be) God's time, does not always sync with our time, which leaves us frustrated. So we dismiss the concept of God, because he simply does not meet our expectations. "He doesn't exist, because he didn't come for me, when I called."
But is that the truth?
Here is a lead on to the previous thought: If time doesn't exist, then why do we get impatient in the first place?
Just some thoughts
Now see, that is called a "personal truth". And that is what keeps us going. Belief and conviction is a powerful tool to help us move past/through the tough, and be grateful for the grace we experience, as we move through "time".
Determining an entity's existence requires far more than investigation from one angle. At least, for my satisfaction it does when it regards so important an entity as a God that can cast one's soul into hell for eternity for believing the wrong things. I think that in Post 50 (copied below for your convenience) I had already provided sufficient evidence of your existence as a human being; however, you wanted more.
I did not know what that "more" was so I grabbed onto the most obvious piece of evidence available, i.e. that you had responded to me promptly. If for some reason I needed to see you in person, I feel confident I could meet with you and shake your hand. That is about as real as we can get in this world--experiencing a person or thing via the senses. The same does not apply to God.
The most "tangible" evidence I have been able to find for God's existence is the mystical feeling. However, as explained in Post 50 copied below, the mystical feeling can be produced, brought on, or evoked independently of God. Many people say nature is evidence of God's existence. But no one has yet been able to produce an argument (other than poetic or sentimental) that establishes such a connection. I am open to the evidence if any can be produced. So far, none has been produced.
I am also on a Christian forum where they think philosophical arguments can prove God's existence. I'm sorry, but word games do not prove the existence of anything. They prove only that the human mind is capable of manipulating complex concepts in interesting ways. They may be able to postulate new ideas but that is all it is: ideas. These ideas need to be taken into the real world and proven via concrete data whether or not reality bears them out. Possibly philosophy justifies its existence in this way, I can't say for sure.
On Richard Dawkins.net I wrote at length in several posts why I think God does not exist. You can look it up if you're interested. It's this thread, starting with the Sat Jul 05, 2008 3:48 entry on Page 4. I'm RSM on there.
Separate names with a comma.