How to Join Member's Area Private Library Search Today's Topics p Login
Main Forums Discussion Tech Talk Mature Content Archives
   Nav Win
 Discussion
 The Alley
 Considering The Source   [ Page: 1  2  3  ]
 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49
Follow us on Facebook

 Moderated by: Ron   (Admins )

 
User Options
Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Admin Print Send ECard
Passions in Poetry

Considering The Source

 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
Ron
Administrator
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


25 posted 01-15-2009 12:31 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Parochial, Stephen? You mean in the "imperfectly all knowing" sense?

LOL. No, I wouldn't say that an omniscient god has a restricted viewpoint.


oceanvu2
Senior Member
since 02-24-2007
Posts 1007
Santa Monica, California, USA


26 posted 01-15-2009 09:04 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Hi Ron, I'm either misunderstanding what you are saying, or we're miles apart on this.

RE:  "Your hypothetical photograph, Jim, is probably accurate as hell." I'd certainly agree with that, which is exactly what I was saying.

But when you continue with:  "But someone decided what to shoot, what angle to shoot it from, and just as importantly, they decided what not to shoot." I have to say that's not what I was talking about at all.

Any photo can be manipulative.  Probably 95% are, from the Raising of the Flag on Iwo Jima which was restaged, to MacArthur's return to the Phillipines which was staged from the beginning, to the "art" photography so carefully contrived by photographic artists.

But what happens in the cases of a WeeGee or Braisai for examle.  They shot what was in front of their face, primarily because it was in front of their face, and the only self-censoring moment, if there was one at all, ocurred in the instant between sight and anctivating the shutter.  I do not believe this was a "considered" act.  I think it was an act without consideration, a gut, not mental, reaction the instant.

You seem to dismiss the notion of "the immediate" I say "seem" to not put words in your mouth.  A possible analogy might be found in the experience of being shot at.  One reacts -- ducking is a common response -- without thinking too much about it.  In this same way, a photographer can take a picture without any intervening rational/irrational or editorial considerations.  There is no "choosing," there is only the "doing."

Re: "So, to answer your question, no, I don't believe there is a truly objective reality. If someone else isn't lying to us, we're lying to ourselves."  

Here's one simple examlple of "objective reality."  If you or I or anyone else were confronted by a 1,000 pound or so boulder and required to push it up a hill, we couldn't do it.  The underlying metaphor in the Sisyphus myth is that Sisyphus was condemned to deny, or not catch on to an objective reality.

Here's a more abstruse example:  We currently posit that everything is made of atoms in constant motion, and that everything made of atoms contains more empty space than solid matter.  If this is so, it is then possible that my atoms and empty spaces just might line up with a brick wall and its empty spaces, and I could walk through the brick wall.  Personally, I wouldn't bet the farm on this, or try to walk though a wall on the off chance that everything was aligned.  There is an objective reality at work.  Brick walls are hard no matter how I choose to subjectively view them.

To claim that there is no objective reality is one of the mind traps that drive most of us dotty. To get over that nonsense isn't easy, and I don't know if anything is gained by it, except the ability to see what we see, and maybe take a picture.

Best, Jimbeaux  

[This message has been edited by oceanvu2 (01-15-2009 10:48 PM).]

oceanvu2
Senior Member
since 02-24-2007
Posts 1007
Santa Monica, California, USA


27 posted 01-15-2009 11:08 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Ron -- Other potential objective realities:  The speed of light, the table of elements, and single malt Scotch.

Stephen -- You're one of my best Pip friends, and I know you don't think there's any "hooey" in what you say. I just disagree with your underlying premises so profoundly that it cracks me up.  You also make a fabulous hot sauce, which, drop by precious drop, I've consumed.  I hope you are right and I am wrong.  I think I would rather go to whatever "heaven" might be than to, to my mind, a more predictable nothingness.  I'm not too worried about going to Hell. That's even wackier than Heaven.

To paraphrase an old Mel Brooks' joke:  "If God is omniscent, how come He made the pits in the avocado so big?"

Best, Jimbeaux
Essorant
Member Elite
since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


28 posted 01-15-2009 11:41 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Subjectivity = imaginative objectivity

oceanvu2
Senior Member
since 02-24-2007
Posts 1007
Santa Monica, California, USA


29 posted 01-16-2009 12:37 AM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Hi Ess!  Boy, would I ever buy that!  There's a whole business about seeing through a veil, darkly.  Let there be light, or at least a little less diffusion!

Best, Jimbeaux
Ron
Administrator
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


30 posted 01-16-2009 01:11 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
They shot what was in front of their face, primarily because it was in front of their face, and the only self-censoring moment, if there was one at all, ocurred in the instant between sight and anctivating the shutter.  I do not believe this was a "considered" act.  I think it was an act without consideration, a gut, not mental, reaction the instant.

The self-censoring moment, Jim, occurred between the moment of their birth and well past activating the shutter (consider the photos they took that no one ever got to see because the artist didn't like the result). I will, however, agree that self-censorship need not be a "considered" act. Indeed, the greater danger, both to artist and audience, is when the inherent subjectivity remains unconscious and unrecognized.

quote:
You seem to dismiss the notion of "the immediate" I say "seem" to not put words in your mouth.

Okay, I'll do it for you.

That guy ducking when he hears a gun shot? That's a learned response, and in most instances an incorrectly learned response. Most modern rounds travel faster than sound, so the poor guy is ducking what has already passed him by. Of course, he probably wouldn't duck at all if he didn't know what a gun was. At best, he might be startled by the loud noise, a reaction that apparently doesn't need to be learned. Humans don't seem to have a lot of those instinctual fears, though.

quote:
The underlying metaphor in the Sisyphus myth is that Sisyphus was condemned to deny, or not catch on to an objective reality.

Really? For years now, I thought the lesson was that washing the dishes tonight, only to have them dirty again tomorrow night, was an unwarranted punishment from the Heavens.

Seriously, Jim, in one way or another, we are ALL rolling our boulders up the hill every day. One man's routines will inevitably be another man's curse. And isn't that the very definition of subjective?

quote:
To claim that there is no objective reality is one of the mind traps that drive most of us dotty. To get over that nonsense isn't easy, and I don't know if anything is gained by it, except the ability to see what we see, and maybe take a picture.

Jim, I'm not denying the existence of an objective reality. Only the possibility that we can ever perceive it objectively and, more specific to this thread, our ability to communicate that perception objectively. Your four examples, I think, offer a perfect example of what I'm trying to say. The wall is not made up of empty space (there is energy even in the absence of mass), the constraining speed of light is almost certainly determined as a result of our perceptions (tachyons may exist but will never be perceived), and single malt Scotch tastes like something someone already ingested once. I'll give you the periodic table of elements, though.

Objective communication is an oxymoron. If you don't pick and choose what is said, nothing can be communicated.

quote:
To paraphrase an old Mel Brooks' joke:  "If God is omniscent, how come He made the pits in the avocado so big?"

Omniscience clearly doesn't preclude a delightful sense of humor. Anyone who has got what he prayed for already knows that.
rwood
Member Elite
since 02-29-2000
Posts 3797
Tennessee


31 posted 01-16-2009 07:24 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

quote:
Omniscience clearly doesn't preclude a delightful sense of humor. Anyone who has got what he prayed for already knows that.


That's a "delightful" quote. I could wear that, lol! And I'm not one who has ever advertised anything on a T-shirt or a bumper sticker or even a coffee mug, but THAT statement really appeals to me and I hope you know I'm not making a joke out of it, Ron. It at least belongs in an inspirational calendar or something. It's witty, bold, amusing and profound.

so I'm considering You one of the best sources of my inspirational reading this morning.
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


32 posted 01-16-2009 07:58 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

I think Ron stole that one from "Chicken Soup for the E-Poet blogger's Soul".  Though I wouldn't accuse him to his face of plagiarism.  
Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


33 posted 01-17-2009 04:46 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     I've always like the notion of the spontaneous moment, the spontaneous piece of art, the spontaneous painting, line drawing, photograph, throw, or strike.  Zen mind, beginner's mind.  This is the reason why one practices the same calligraphic stroke literally a million times so that on the million and first time, it will be natural, spontaneous and unhindered.  

     However, you may have noticed that the spontaneous art of a particular person bears an eerie resemblance to other spontaneous art by the same person.  Nobody writes haiku quite like Basho, even though they are supposed to be spontaneous productions, though of course imitation is possible.

     Even in these spontaneous moments, an editorial process goes on about what is the center of the photo, what is the focus, when the photo is taken, when one is prepared for the photo, how one places one's self in situations in the world that reveal themselves as significant in a visual way and so on.  These elements reveal a level of intentionality that is perhaps greater than Jim is initially willing to grant.  What the chinese call Yi in the term [i]Hsing Yi Chuan[i], or mind/intention boxing, placing one's intention flexibly, effortlessly forward into the boxing:  By extension, doing so into the world as well.

     Even the seemingly casual snapping of a photo is a highly individualized process.  That's my thought at least.

     Comments?

     Sincerely yours, Bob Kaven  
oceanvu2
Senior Member
since 02-24-2007
Posts 1007
Santa Monica, California, USA


34 posted 01-17-2009 08:20 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Hi Ron and Bob:  Here's another way to think about it:  The ability to percieve an objective reality is not innate, it involves a practice that overcomes an innate disability to percieve an objective reality.

Most people seem to believe in "ghosts."  "Ghosts" here is a metaphor for whatever nonsense we make up to deny or avoid the objective.  It can be anything from thinking that water can be found with a witchy-stick to the nonsense of Prester John or Nostradamus, traditional Tibetan Buddism with it's "ghosts" as 'Ghosts," of the belief that whichever line you enter in a grocery store is going to be the longest, of the shortest.

I'm agreeing with Ron that our minds fill our minds with a lot of irrelevant junk.  Seems to be it's job.  I'm agreeing with Bob in the sense that an act of spontaniety may well not take place until a millionth failed attempt. (The practice part.)

We're getting closer, which may or may not be relevant or objective, but interesting because its a conversation, with no links!

Still another way to look at it, the old nature or nurture stuff.  There is a possibility that there is no dichotomy.  In essence, I think Ron and Bob are saying is that we are what we WERE, and cannot escape/transcend/trnsform/ignore/move or whatever on from our past.  We are zotzed from birth.

I don't know that that's so.

I think that sometimes we can get "out of our minds," not in a crazy sense, but just in the sense of being in the moment, not thinking about or judging the moment.  

Maybe riding a roller coaster is a simple example of this.  When the bugger goes straight downhill, most people, experiencing this for the first time, scream in fear -- are in the moment.  If a person does it a dozen timers, there is a learning experience in objective reality.  The roller coaster isn't going to crash and kill one.  (Except when it does, which is not germane).

Bob:  Re:      "Even in these spontaneous moments, an editorial process goes on about what is the center of the photo, what is the focus, when the photo is taken, when one is prepared for the photo, how one places one's self in situations in the world that reveal themselves as significant in a visual way and so on."

This doesn't seem to hold up.  If a "spontaneous" situation turns up, it can't, by definition, or at least my definition, involve an editorial process.  There you are, there it is, click!  It doesn't matter how you got to where you are. There you are.  Click.

Best, Jimbeaux
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


35 posted 01-17-2009 08:31 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Jim,

With all affection reciprocated ... What's so wacky about Heaven or Hell?  The atrocities we've seen just in the last century speak of the plausibility of hell.  And the laughter of a 3 year old, the plausibility of Heaven.  At least I can be glad that you hope I'm right. For it makes me think that though he hasn't gotten all your head just yet, there's a part of your heart.

Nice to talk to you again Jim, it's been a bit.  

Stephen
oceanvu2
Senior Member
since 02-24-2007
Posts 1007
Santa Monica, California, USA


36 posted 01-19-2009 04:57 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Hi Stephen RE: "What's so wacky about Heaven or Hell?"  Ok, maybe the're not wacky, or at least not wackier than, say, reincarnation or the fountain of youth.  They may have an appealing internal logic, but they are figments of the imagination.  Hell, or the way many Christians might think of it at the moment, was specifically a figment of Dante's imagination.  It doesn't fit with a Biblical definition or hell, because, as far as I know, there isn't such a definition in the Bible.  Sartre's cynical definition: "Hell is other people," is an aphorism, not a trueism.  Etc.

RE:  "The atrocities we've seen just in the last century speak of the plausibility of hell."  Nah.  The atrocities we've seen in the last centrury only speak to the fact that we haven't learned much about the consequences of committing atrocities, just gotten more efficient at it.  Most of human history, at least the parts that get recorded, involve one atrocity or another.


RE: "And the laughter of a 3 year old, the plausibility of Heaven?"  Sure, or at least the plausibility of worldless-ness, which may indeed be a Heaven like state.  Nirvana, in a Buddhist, not Hindu state, is another example of this.  

Re:  "At least I can be glad that you hope I'm right. For it makes me think that though he hasn't gotten all your head just yet, there's a part of your heart."  Well, yeah.  I don't think I've ever denied my church schooled roots, and I've never gotten entirely away from them (Which may be a nod to the notion that no matter who we is, we are also who we was.)

I can quote Johnathan Edwards (or at least this line,"  from Presbyterian memory:  "Thus all you that never passed under a great change of heart, by the mighty power of the Spirit of God upon your souls; all you that were never born again, and made new creatures, and raised from being dead in sin, to a state of new, and before altogether unexperienced light and life, are in the hands of an angry God."

There's not much difference between the "experience" Edwards is describing and the experience of "satori," except that in once case God has something to do with and in the other case God doesn't.  Neither belief nor disbelief have anything to do with experiencing the experience.

I once found a hummingbird nest, about the size of thimble, with two humming birds in it, about the size of M&M's.  Whether the eggs were the product of God's incredible imagination, of two hummingbirds having had sexual relations, it was still pretty nifty.

Best, Jimmy

oceanvu2
Senior Member
since 02-24-2007
Posts 1007
Santa Monica, California, USA


37 posted 01-19-2009 09:31 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Hi Ron:  Re: "Objective communication is an oxymoron. If you don't pick and choose what is said, nothing can be communicated."

Well no and yeah.  The two statements seem to contradict themselves.  Objective communication may very well exist in the language of mathematics, in which the numbers do not care about who spouts them or what someone non-objectively thinks about them. Thermodynamics isn't dependent on subjectivity, though an irrelevant discussion about what one thinks of thermodynamics might.  

There is probably a difference between gibberish, the ravings of a disfunctional madman, and communicative speech, which doesn't mean that all communication is subjective or open to interpretation.  When a Drill Sergeant says, for example, "Drop and give me twenty," there is a kind of immediacy and clarity there.

I admit that I get confused about this, though.  Most of the time, I don't know why the hell I say what I say.  I have no idea about what is going to come up until it comes up. It's subjective communication in the sense that somebody else might very well have something else come up.  It's also objective in the sense that if I didn't say it, or somebody else didn't say whatever they said, it wouldn't be there at all.  

In the simplest of communication paradigms, somebody says something, and somebody hears it.  Within this paradigm, however, there is the stinker of interference, the subjectivity not of the speaker, but of the hearer.  

There is the possibility of objective communication if the listener is willing to listen, and it goes back a forth. Unfortunately, most listeners are too busy making up responses to what is being said before the speaker is finishing whatever her or she is saying.

It's not easy stuff.  You almost have to whack somebody on the back to get them to shut up and listen.  I suspect you may have encountered that.

Which still doesn't mean it can't happen.

Best, Jimbeaux     
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


38 posted 01-19-2009 10:12 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Jim:
quote:
Ok, maybe the're not wacky, or at least not wackier than, say, reincarnation or the fountain of youth.  They may have an appealing internal logic, but they are figments of the imagination.


As a religious dogma, I don't think re-incarnation is wacky at all, though I would say it is mistaken.  Probably what I would ask you to consider, is the question of why people of most cultures have tended to believe in some kind of reward/punishment paradigm?  It seems to be a bent of our race to think there is more to life than just the here and now, and that what is done in the now matters beyond the moment.  To a Christian, this is existential evidence that God has given a general awareness of something more perfectly revealed in the Bible.  

Probably the only fatal flaw (no pun intended) with reincarnation is its incongruency with the Hindu-Buddhist world-view in which it sits.  An ultimate reality which ultimately says that good and evil are illusions, can hardly support the kind of standard that Karma presupposes.

And likewise, my response to atheism would be to ask whether or not all human value becomes prone to the charge of being only "internal logic"?  In the face of absolute death, everything is relative transient and absurd.  And an atheist only overcomes this awareness by imposing arbitrary values.  It is interesting that these values invariably concord with those proposed by the Judeo-Christian view ... love, benevolence, giving, goodwill, etc.  In one world-view these are by design, and our adherence to them are therefore fitting and understandable (though not without mystery).  In the alternative view, they are only contrived attempts to make meaning.  I still think Nietzsche, for this reason, was the most unflinchingly honest atheist, who realized (for good or ill) that heart-values in an atheist universe is just an intramural subterfuge.  So, if you're going to have faith in that much (else embrace the nihilism of Nietzsche), God is no unthinkable leap.  Some may end up thinking that our humanity itself is doubtful.  But Christians believe that this general tendency to "faith" is a signpost to something much greater.  

quote:
Hell, or the way many Christians might think of it at the moment, was specifically a figment of Dante's imagination.  It doesn't fit with a Biblical definition or hell, because, as far as I know, there isn't such a definition in the Bible.


The popular imagination about hell, in art or otherwise, is symbolic.  But the reality is more terrible than the symbol.  And the difficulties inherent in a simplified symbol shouldn't make anyone skeptical of the reality, unless they insist on the strictest kind of literalism they often reject in some fundamentalist circles.  The common understanding of the atom as taught in beginning science class, for example, is fraught with error, and entirely symbolic too.  I don't think a case against atoms can be made from pointing out the frailty of analogy.

As far as the question whether there is a fairly unambiguous "doctrine of hell" inherent in the Bible, I believe I could show you there is.  What about where Jesus spoke of "gehenna" as the fire that is never quenched, and the worm that does not die ... and about it being preferable to enter heaven maimed than to enter hell with all of one's faculties?  Not to mention the many scriptures of the apostle Paul on the subject, and the description of the lake of fire in the book of Revelation?  I would say to you that a plain reading of scripture would reveal a provocative portrait of a fiery hell, and that predating Dante quite a bit.

The Bible also doesn't limit the conception of hell to externally imposed punishment, but also as a state of being.  This is the most unsettling aspect of "hell" to me ... though for others perhaps literal flames do the trick.  If anything gets someone to do an about face, then I can't criticize the means to that end.

One can at least think of more subtle descriptions of hell than a medieval furnace.  Consider Dostoevsky's words from "The Brothers Karamazov":

"(From Talks and Homilies of the Elder Zosima)

"Fathers and teachers, I ask myself:  'What is hell?'  And I answer thus: 'The suffering of being no longer able to love' ...  People speak of the material flames of hell.  I do not explore this mystery, and I fear it, but I think if there were material flames, truly people would be glad to have them, for, as I fancy, in material torment they might forget, at least for a moment, their far more terrible spiritual torment.  And yet it is impossible to take this spiritual torment from them, for this torment is not external but is within them ...
"


And here is an article entitled 'Seeing Hell through the Reason and Imagination of C.S. Lewis' that might interest you, if you're willing to explore an orthodox view about hell that is different, but not necessarily contradictory to more material descriptions.  I guess I would conclude by saying that all of such views (whether of St. John, Dante, Dostoevsky, or Lewis) are incomplete at best.  

  
quote:
Me: The atrocities we've seen just in the last century speak of the plausibility of hell.  

Jim:  Nah.  The atrocities we've seen in the last centrury only speak to the fact that we haven't learned much about the consequences of committing atrocities, just gotten more efficient at it.  Most of human history, at least the parts that get recorded, involve one atrocity or another.


I agree.  I wasn't saying that the last century has the market cornered on atrocities.  I was rather making an a minore ad maius argument, that if such horrors have been caused by people in just one century (which might at least make the notion of Hell plausible), then how much more if one considers all of history?


quote:
Me:  And the laughter of a 3 year old, the plausibility of Heaven  

Jim:  Sure, or at least the plausibility of worldless-ness, which may indeed be a Heaven like state.  Nirvana, in a Buddhist, not Hindu state, is another example of this.


I honestly can't see how the laughter of a child would remind one of a worldless state.  To me, it is makes me think of a heavenly joy with its feet on the earth ... making most connection with the Christian doctrine of a good creation (in spite of the fall), and the hope of resurrection, not eternal disembodiment.

quote:
There's not much difference between the "experience" Edwards is describing and the experience of "satori," except that in once case God has something to do with and in the other case God doesn't.  Neither belief nor disbelief have anything to do with experiencing the experience.


I would say "experience" divorced from a coherent context makes the distinction.  What is the metaphysical ground for joy or bliss in a monistic system, if all such distinctions (and even individuality itself) are meaningless?

And I would simply disagree with your statement that faith/belief is not connected to Christian spiritual experience.  Scripturally we are told explicitly that it is, even if we cannot unravel the mysterious interplay of human will, belief, and God.  And even if you wanted to defend the strict causal Calvinism of Edwards (which has its short-comings), I'll bet he didn't say that the New-Birth was divorced from human will and belief ... even if that will and belief owes completely to the divine will.  


quote:
Whether the eggs were the product of God's incredible imagination, of two hummingbirds having had sexual relations, it was still pretty nifty.


I'll bet that was quite a sight!  

I would say that secondary causes (Mr. and Mrs.  Hummer) would not rule out a primary cause and significance, such as the creative brilliance of God.  


Jim,

it's always a pleasure for me to chat (if you can call it that), with such a nice guy.  


Stephen.  
serenity blaze
Member Empyrean
since 02-02-2000
Posts 28839


39 posted 01-26-2009 09:49 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I'll be back to consider the philosophical arguments later.

I was wondering though, is there anything wrong with this one?
www.factcheck.org

Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


40 posted 01-27-2009 08:51 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Stephanos,

           I have had a piece of the reincarnation experience in miniature, in this life.  Actually, I have it from time to time.  Whether it translates to multiple lives or not, I don't know, but I think it goes something like this:

     I am in the middle of a discussion with somebody, oftentimes a heated discussion, and both of us are getting more and more stuck in the positions we have staked out; more stubborn and more convinced of our rightness.  If only that other dolt would understand the way things actually are, then we could get on with life, with things and complete the plans that I've had so rudely interrupted!

     All of a sudden, I take a deep breath, and I find myself able to say, "I'm sorry, I lost track of you there."  I really have to be able to mean this.  The truth of everything they have been saying suddenly becomes clear to me.  It's as though I am able, for a moment to switch positions in the discussion and see with absolute clarity the truth of everything the other person's been saying, and it's as though an enormous weight has come off my back.

     I'm not necessarily suddenly a believer in everything that they've been saying, but suddenly a large piece of the self protective illusion I've been using to keep myself distanced from this other person lifts, and I can see myself and sometimes the other person with gratitude, affection and even joy.  Often the feeling will stay with me for a day or two, as an understanding of the way things can be if I'm able to step outside my habitual ways of dealing with the world.  What the Hindus call, I believe, Maya illusion.

     The notion of reincarnation has to do with coming back and coming back to the same task, throwing off the bonds of illusion gradually, over millenia, and becoming free, able to step away from the bonds of illusion.  Some folks think that this is actually a metaphor for each person's task is for a single life and that all you get is that single shot at it.  In either case, the task is a worthy one, and one can attempt it with or without a Deity.  Illusion is something we seem to produce for ourselves automatically in the process of living.  To quote John Clare,

"I am the self-consumer of my woe."

     That's truth for most of us, I think.  Learning how to stop and then not inflict it on others, and then how to help others in ways that help them and yourself as well isn't a bad target.

Best to you, Stephanos.

Bob Kaven
Marc-Andre
Senior Member
since 12-07-2008
Posts 500


41 posted 01-27-2009 09:21 PM       View Profile for Marc-Andre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Marc-Andre

Actually, if I found a news source that is entirely objective, I probably wouldn't read it...I like to read a paper that is honest about its view though. My favourite one is The Economist: in-depth reporting, global,  and they're not even trying to hide their bias.

My mother advised me long ago to read from at least three different points of view (e.g. right wing, left wing, religious, secular etc.) for news and history. I think it does make a lot of sense.

Mark
Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


42 posted 01-27-2009 11:08 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear M-A,

           I agree with you about the bias in the economist; it's clearly right wing.  I also think that their facts are pretty solid.  I steer clear of their editorial comments, for the most part, and use them for their research, which is good, and I have used them more than once in these pages when talking with folks with a bias for the right because this is a source they are sometimes willing to believe.

     I find The Christian Science Monitor is also excellent with their facts; though I don't always agree with their editorial bias, their facts are always very high quality.
Thank you for sharing your interest in good and reliable source material here.  In the discussions you'll notice frequent references toward "media bias," so having stable. reliable sources becomes very important to furthering the discussion.

     Just recently, Balladeer used "The Atlantic" as a source.  "The Atlantic" has in recent times gotten a bit of a reputation for heading toward the Right among a lot of us Left wing folk, but it is still a terrific magazine, and I thing a trustworthy one.  You might have a look at some of the articles there and make your own estimation.  I tend to trust them.

Nice to meet you.

Sincerely yours, Bob Kaven
Essorant
Member Elite
since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


43 posted 01-28-2009 12:31 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I agree with Mark.  The notion that we shouldn't have "bias" to begin with I think is rather faulty.  It is like saying humans shouldn't have thoughts or imagination.  
Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


44 posted 01-28-2009 10:04 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Why mind bias, so long as the bias is clearly stated?

     In the case of The Economist, it is clear and the facts are first rate.  I don't mind the right wing bias at all because the facts are good, and I can get additional good facts other places to put together something that resembles a decent picture of reality.

     My concern is for sources that actively distort facts.  That bothers me.
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


45 posted 01-28-2009 02:34 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
What the Hindus call, I believe, Maya illusion.

     The notion of reincarnation has to do with coming back and coming back to the same task, throwing off the bonds of illusion gradually, over millenia, and becoming free, able to step away from the bonds of illusion.

Bob, I'm aware that this brings us back around to the usual wrestling point where we tend to meet ... But the problem I have with the Hindu use of "Illusion" in order to escape all duality and embrace Pantheism, is that duality is inherent in the word itself, and in the world.  When rebuked by a friendly adversary, for insisting on an either/or paradigm rather than a both/and paradigm by a friendly adversary, Ravi Zacharias could only reply with the question, "So you're saying I must either accept a both/and paradigm or I'm wrong?".  His antagonist could only smile and say "The either/or does seem to emerge doesn't it?".   Plato did not invent duality ... but it emerges from reality itself.  Illusion presupposes the non-illusory, or real.  The Hindus are honorable in trying to uncrux the cross ... but they only do so by offering non-entity in return.  I guess our bit of common ground (and it is important) may be this:  I agree that all people, and even all religions have valuable insight hidden therein.  


Stephen
Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


46 posted 01-29-2009 04:01 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     I suspect that duality is as much a habit of discourse as anything.  It may be about the number of hands we have.  But there are other ways of breaking up reality.  There is Unity, as in there being only One God.  There is of course duality the coin has two sides, doesn't it?  Trinity harks back to three-in-one, yes, the threefold nature of God?  Jung reminds us that this threefold nature will often exclude the Feminine, and that therefore many cultures regard the quatrinity as the number of wholeness.  It is through the exclusion of that fourth element that Jung believes we bring the demonized feminine element into the world through our attempts to supress it as the Magna Mater.  The Marian element has often found its way back into the Church by way of the pressure exerted by the exclusion of the Feminine.  So to, in distorted form, have mythic elements like The Tooth Mother and Kali the Destroyer.

     You can go right up the number chain talking about the significance of numerical elements in addition to duality that have a great deal of significance.  Maimonides frequently organized his writings after the Muslim traditions, using other sorts of groupings than the either or groupings of two we have become fond of.  13 was a biggy for him.  10 was a great number for commandments.

     Because it is simpler to think in terms of Good/Evil, we are easily distracted into ignoring the possibility there may be other than a continuum of points along a line, simply because the trap of the prestructured thinking pattern lies there in front of us.  "The five colors blind the eye," says the Tao te Ching.

     "Maya" is a useful concept.  Illusion.  You tie it up with pantheism as though it has to be there, when it not.  It has more to do with understanding those times when you are caught up in things that are generated by your own thinking process, and not necessarily by things that have substance and are real.

     In T'ai Ch'i boxing, one of the principles is to start after the person with whom you are boxing, and to arrive at the place you are going first.  This sounds impossible, and it certainly is for me, but I have sparred with people for whom it is not.  They certainly know where I'm going, can start after me when I start and get where I'm going first because they don't have to filter their need to move through all sorts of contradictory nerve impulses, urges to start and stop, moments of indecision that even the quickest of us have to deal with.  They simply read my motion and they're right there, in front of me.

     They have a clear understanding of what's real and not real, right down to the motor level.

     A lot of Taoist meditation does the same sort of thing to one's mind as well, it takes the clouds of dust out of one's thoughts, and allows a person to have a clearer view of the world.  Polytheism has nothing to do with it.  I think if you're Christian, it would give you better insight into the workings of the Holy spirit in the world.  If you were Jewish, you might have a better view of God's hand.

     The meditation is more about making the world clear and keeping it that way.  Hopefully, you get beyond the structuring that dualism provides, or at least you learn to use it as only an occasional tool to use picked up very carefully because of the marks it leaves on the work you're doing at the time.

Any thoughts?  I'm trying to respond here your last post in a reasonably thoughtful fashion.  And I'm trying to offer a different look at some of the oriental religions than you've been voicing.  Think of it as something to place beside what you've been saying for very critical consideration, not a replacement; I'm not offering it in that spirit.

All my best.  Bob Kaven
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


47 posted 01-29-2009 10:25 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Bob, I will thoughtfully consider all that you say.  Though, I don't think the concept of "illusion" is absent either from Judeo-Christian thought, or Western thought in general.  And for that reason I don't see what "Maya" adds other than the Pantheistic element.  I am aware that dualism can distract one from missing and savoring subtleties of thought.  My goal is to find the middle path of wisdom where Heaven and Hell are not married, and yet there are more swatches than just black and white.

  
Stephen
Bob K
Member Elite
since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


48 posted 01-29-2009 11:57 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Stephanos,

           In western thought, I believe that "illusion" is more often used in terms of error or sin or delusion, some sort of mistake about what is the spiritual correct course.

     In eastern religions, illusion is possibly more fundamental than that, dealing as it does with one's basic perception of reality.  Polytheism or pantheism is really extraneous to illusion.  One may be trapped in illusion about polytheism or pantheism as easily as one may be trapped in illusion about anything else.  One may be trapped in illusion about love or hate or almost anything that clouds the mind or that gets you stuck in any single place in your mind, unable to move about freely.

     The Jesuits have a series of exercises that are, I believe, helpful in this matter, in gaining clarity, so I don't believe the matter is purely east versus west.  As I believe I said, I have an appreciation for the taoist exercises in this matter, though, simply because it doesn't insist on any theological answer.  In my own experiments with the taoist meditation practices, I believe I've had a few brushes with the divine, or with something very much like that, but I'd rather not try to nail an experience like those experiences down.

Sincerely, Bob Kaven
Stephanos
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 07-31-2000
Posts 3496
Statesboro, GA, USA


49 posted 02-03-2009 05:52 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Bob,

Though the idea of "hamartia" as pertains to morality, is present in Western thought, it also includes mistakes and/or ignorance.  This is true of any worldview that acknowledges the existence of an objective reality.  I do think that reality itself (which would allow for the concept of both amoral illusion and moral failure) is most tenuous within Monistic belief systems (since illusion and reality, good and evil are all included in the "one" with nothing to arbitrate or make a meaningful distinction).  But I think you're correct in saying that the expression and importance of minimizing illusion is not East versus West.  And there's nothing wrong with appreciating any particular tradition that addresses the issue.


Stephen
 
 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
All times are ET (US) Top
  User Options
>> Discussion >> The Alley >> Considering The Source   [ Page: 1  2  3  ] Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Print Send ECard

 

pipTalk Home Page | Main Poetry Forums

How to Join | Member's Area / Help | Private Library | Search | Contact Us | Today's Topics | Login
Discussion | Tech Talk | Archives | Sanctuary



© Passions in Poetry and netpoets.com 1998-2013
All Poetry and Prose is copyrighted by the individual authors