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Who decides our fate?

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Lady Lost
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since 07-13-2000
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0 posted 10-10-2000 09:49 AM       View Profile for Lady Lost   Email Lady Lost   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Lady Lost

Do we have designated purposes in life? Are you fated to do certain things with your life? Or, do you have full control of your actions throughout life?  Which theory could best support this?  Do you think that philosophical “fatalism” even has a chance as an argument (maybe to the atheist!)   For example:

a. Either it is true that I am going to get run over by a truck or it is false.
b. If the statement that I am going to get run over is true, then I will get run over however carefully I cross the road.
c. If the statement that I am going to get run over is false, then I will not get run over even if I walk slowly across the road fifty times without looking.
d. Therefore, there is no point in taking care crossing the road.

I have studied a few different views and would be interested in hearing your comments:

1. Let's say the Gods on Mount Olympus have decided your 'fate', and there is nothing you can do, nowhere you can turn, to escape your destiny. The Gods don't need to be able to see into the future. They simply watch you and act accordingly. If you turn left, then whatever it is that you were going to meet up with is on the left. If you had turned right, it would have been on the right, because that is the way the Gods fixed it.

2.There is an all-knowing God, who can see into the future. So He already knows everything that you are going to do with your life. He has always known.

3. Just as there can be truths about what happened in the past or what is happening in the present whether we know these truths or not, so there are truths about what will happen in the future. There doesn't need to be an all-knowing God who knows these truths.

Philosophy class is HURTING MY BRAIN!!!!!

"And I still believe you can never have too much fiction because reality is such a bore..."
- REA


[This message has been edited by Lady Lost (edited 10-10-2000).]
JP
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1 posted 10-10-2000 01:15 PM       View Profile for JP   Email JP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit JP's Home Page   View IP for JP

Whoa!  Big subject to tackle here isn't it?  Too many twisted tentacles extending from the simple idea of fate...

e.g.  If there is an all knowing God who knows our future - knows all the horrible things that will happen - yet does nothing to protect us from them, does that not destroy the concept of a loving God? A caring God?  If he does indeed protect us if we put our faith in him, yet not those who do not believe - what does that say about him and how are we to know which belief is correct?  Doesn't that paint a picture of a malicious God?

So if fate is unchangeable what then is our purpose?  Why then should we struggle in life, or strive to achieve?  What reason do we have to get out of bed if our very lives are pre-determined?  I could never get up and whatever is supposed to happen to me will come to me to happen, yes?

Doesn't the logic of reality argue against that? If I do nothing but stay in bed will I not eventually shrivel up and die?  Or is that what fate had planned all along?  Seems a simple case of post hoc ergo proctor hoc.

There are others but I will wait and see how this thread develops first.  I will go on record as saying that I do not believe in fate, I believe in the possiblity of infinite futures depending on infinite possible decisions:  If I turn here at this time, this will be my future, if I turn here at this time and go 5mph faster, my future may change... etc..

If there is God, who knows all, s/he would have to know all the possible futures, but by definition would also have to know what decisions we would make and when... that would place that God in the 'non God of love' category (some may argue some gnostic points of view where there is a god but a god who does not actively participate in our lives, this by definition would make that god a non-loving god, because to sit back and watch our misery unfold is not love, but selfish amusement.)


Yesterday is ash, tomorrow is smoke; only today does the fire burn.
JP

Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so.
B. Russell
Local Rebel
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2 posted 10-10-2000 01:24 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

If you were meant to beleive in fate then you will...  but if you haven't decided whether or not to yet.. then....????
Christopher
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3 posted 10-10-2000 02:51 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

LOL@ Local Rebel - funny...

I think "fate" makes for a good excuse. It makes good justification for those kind of people who need it... "There is really no right or wrong if it is all pre-ordained, so I can do whatever I'd like."

Personally, I like the idea of controlling my own destiny... intermixed with a fluid sorta fate - Kind of like...hmmm... Fate gives us options.

If I turn left, I get hit by the truck and die. Game over.

If I turn right, the truck misses me and we move on to Act IV.

Soemthing like that... Sometimes it seems like the "bad/lazy" people in the world are the ones ahead... but I think in reality, those who choose well, try hard, and work for their lives are really the ones doing better. Things like that make me inclined to believe that there is no "all-controlling" fate. Perhaps a series of choices, but not in entirety.



Chris
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4 posted 10-10-2000 03:32 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

There was an old woman
who swallowed a fly
I don't know why
she swallowed the fly
perhaps she'll die

There was an old woman
who swallowed a spider
it tickled and wiggled
and jiggled inside her
she swallowed the spider
to catch the fly
and I don't know why
she swallowed the fly...


Chris -- I think your comments are generally well taken but there are no gaurantees that hard work and right choices deliver desireable outcomes -- we live in a universe of cause and effect and sometimes

shirt happens...



glad you got a laff man...
Sven
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5 posted 10-11-2000 06:43 PM       View Profile for Sven   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sven

This is a great question. . .

I would say that we all have a "perfect" life waiting for us. . . one that's been picked before we were even born. . .

The problem is that we can choose. . . and those choices will either take us closer to, or farther away from, that "perfect" life. . .

So, how do we know that we've made the right choices?  We don't most of the time.  But have there been times in your life where you just knew that you were doing the right thing?  That you didn't even think about the other option because you knew that it would be the wrong one for you?  That's what I'm talking about. . .

So, who makes this determination for us?  Well, some would say the "Fates" and some would say "God". . . while still others would say that we make our own lives. . . that we are the "Masters of our fate". . . and while this may seem to be true. . . it's just not how it is. . .

You have a fate for your life. . . it's been chosen for you. . . clues have been left along the way. . .it's up to you to see them and to find them. . . don't miss them. . . they're always there. . . we just get too caught up in things sometimes to see them. . .

And that's my two cents. . .

--------------------------------------------------------

That which gives light must endure burning
--Victor Frankl

Severn
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6 posted 10-12-2000 01:01 AM       View Profile for Severn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Severn

Sven, I have chosen you to pick on because you speak with an air of authority that I find fails to convince. In the time I have I want to focus on your idea of the 'perfect life' that awaits us.

Firstly:

quote:
The problem is that we can choose. . . and those choices will either take us closer to, or farther away from, that "perfect" life. . .


Two things here:

1This begs the need for an infallible definition of the word 'perfect' and every person's access to that.

2This also implies that anything less than this loosely defined concept in one's own life is deficient and unfulfilling.

Let's expand on #1

The term perfect, like so many others, is entirely subjective. It cannot be measured against one standard. Here you might interject and claim that you are well aware that perfect might mean different things to different people and so the perfect life is indeed waiting. However, in essence, that would defeat the idea that we aren't 'masters of our fate'. If we can therefore determine perfect for ourselves, surely we could navigate our own way there. Nothing spiritual in that I'm afraid...doesn't speak to me of a created place 'waiting' for us.

Added to the philosophical flaw, let's look at the practical reasons for why there is not a perfect life waiting for everyone.

A - there are not enough resources per person in the world to support a 'perfect' life for all. 77% of earth's population (stats from 1999 sociology class) exists in suffering - from a socio-economic pov. Where, do you suppose, are all these people -  on their unwitting journey towards their perfect life - going to find the necessary resources to outfit an extraordinary transition from misery to perfection?

B - such a premise would assume that this perfect life occurs for some. Could you please point out enough examples of a perfect life, whether in history or in the present, to affirm this? Can you also explain how you determine that those lives consititute a perfect life?

C - You mention choices as if the social condition a person finds themselves in is solely a matter of personal choice. I believe, and sociological, psychological and anthropological research supports this belief, that the values of one's culture becomes entrenched in one's life. As a result of this, I don't think all actions are a matter of 'choice'. Hence, a near-starving mother of 5 hungry children in India, does not have a lot of choice to strike out on her search for her waiting perfect life. The practical reasons are obvious. However, her cultural beliefs, class system, and her gender identifications will also bind her.

#2

I personally do not want the waiting perfect life you imply. I will always strive for personal happiness. Frankly though, I'd be bored horribly in a perfect life. Life for me has seen many trials, many times of despair and loss. These times have taught me many things, given me much strength. I am grateful for that. I think difficult times - times that fall far short of the perfect life - are necessary for our growth and wisdom. Seriously, the idea that a perfect life waits and we have to make choices to get there undermines this. It implies that choices which bring us pain are bad, and therefore stunt our designed potential as humans to find our perfect lives.

Secondly:

quote:
But have there been times in your life where you just knew that you were doing the right thing?  That you didn't even think about the other option because you knew that it would be the wrong one for you?


I agree that many people would have times such as you describe certainly, (those of course that are able to make choices...), yet in all honesty, I find this to be a matter of commonsense more than any guidance from an anonymous creator of our perfect lives.

Which brings me to this:

quote:
You have a fate for your life. . . it's been chosen for you. . . clues have been left along the way. . .it's up to you to see them and to find them. . . don't miss them. . . they're always there. . . we just get too caught up in things sometimes to see them. . .


I am afraid this comes across as solely a romantic notion, primarily because you haven't assigned any creator or entity as responsible for this fate. I am curious - and this is not a criticism per se, but true curiousity - how can you, or anyone else, place unshakeable faith in a perfect life created by an anonymity? Without a personal relationship to work from where is the evidence for personal faith?

You also speak of clues. Which brings me to my concluding point.

Basically, from what I understand, if I were to put your whole argument in one sentence it would read something like this:

There is a being who has chosen your fate, he/she/it leaves clues for you to find, you look out for them, and depending on your choices you either arrive or don't arrive at a 'perfect' life.

It seems inherently contradictory to me that our Anonymity picks out perfect little lives for 12 billion + people in the past and present and who knows how many in the future and then doles out a few clues to help us on our way. Humankind, as a whole, is either very dense, or there simply aren't any clues...

For really - what is the POINT of designing this great, perfect life if no one ever gets there? (Please refer to my first point #1 B).

I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable having faith in an Anonymity who created a path for our time on earth that no one has ever reached the end of.

And to sum up: choice and fate are simply just oxymoronic in the same sentence.

  K



"He looked across the
silky surface of the Severn...
it was a famously difficult
river with fierce tides..."


From Jack Maggs



[This message has been edited by Severn (edited 10-12-2000).]
Local Rebel
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7 posted 10-12-2000 10:52 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Every once in a while I'll indulge in a little guilty pleasure of listening to, laughing at, and feeling apalled by what some televangelist has to say.

I was watching one the other night and was actually quite impressed with his economic theory -- but then he started dipping heavily into Proverbs for 'promises' from God -- basically -- that if people will live 'right' they will be rewarded with a happy life...

It should be interesting to note that up until around the time Proverbs was written the idea of individuality really hadn't crept into Hebrew thought.  

People didn't see themselves as individuals with personal 'fates' or destinies.  They couldn't even concieve of themselves as seperate beings from their tribe.  They could recognize that some individual actions could bring harm to everyone and quite a bit of Leviticus is directed at removing offenders from the fold -- for say -- no more of an infraction than having an infected cut...

No-one asked 'why do bad things happen to good people?' because there was no good or bad people -- the tribe was either in favor with God or not...

Prosperity in a permanent settlement brought with it though the notion that somehow the people had deserved this reward.  However -- at some point people began to notice that some had more than others.  This -- they concluded must have meant -- that they were more favored -- individually -- than the others...

Protest literature began to crop up though.  Such as the fictional story of Job..   this story begged the question -- and apparently drove the point home -- because it was eventually included within the sacred texts...

This would also be important later when the Hebrews became genocidal after their return from Exile in Babylon.  They had to look for a reason why God's 'Chosen' had lost their great nation and been sent into captivity for generations.... and the notion of Tribal or Ethnic purity took over again -- and the notion of 'rewards' for how one would live life...

Protest literature again cropped up -- the book of Ruth for instance -- another apocryphal work that portrays a foriegner being more obedient to Jewish law than even full-blooded Hebrews -- bad things befall her family -- she remains faithful -- and ultimately she is in the lineage of David -- the great king...  meaning of course under the law of the day -- the greatest king would have to be expelled from Judah...

This question of fate really ties back into the 'problem of evil' discussion in that the main point of it all is 'why do bad things happen to good people?' and the answer is -- because life is not fair -- and no amount of economic success, happy family life, attending church, paying tithes -- or anything else -- is going to make us immune from a tornado dropping out of the sky and taking everything and everyone away from us.

Shirt happens -- and whether or not we were fortunate enough to be born in the wealthiest country on the planet we all will have to find meaning for our lives.  It doesn't really even matter whether or not there is pre-destined courses for our lives -- because here we are -- and life is short.

Just as a side not Sevrn -- there are plenty of resources in the world -- I don't dispute the number of persons living in poverty -- it's just a problem of distribution and greed.  The poor will always be with us -- and it is a relative term.

There may be some Utopia out there --- there may be a Dystopia -- but what does it matter?  Here we are....

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...


But we shoot people who think like that don't we?  


[This message has been edited by Local Rebel (edited 10-12-2000).]
jbouder
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8 posted 10-12-2000 12:43 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Wow, guys.  Some great discussion here.

I think it is important to note that, historically, the most heated discussion of this topic centered around the tension between our perceived freedom of choice and the sovereignty of God.  I don't know if God micro-manages our lives, but I am convinced that, ultimately, what He wants to happen will happen, regardless of my (or your) choices.  I find as many logical problems with Him directing my every thought and action as I do with him giving me free-reign to do what I want to do, without being able to exert any control on His part to stop me.  But what is, is.

Augustine defeated Pelagius in the 4th century on this very subject.  Pelagius took things to a bit of an extreme, arguing that our will was not bound by any force (be it sin or God) and that we are free to make our own choices, including the choice to apprehend God w/out His intervention.  The next major resurgence of Pelagianism (actually Semi-Pelagianism) took place prior to and during the Protestant Reformation.  Luther's treatise, "Bondage of the Will" is a classic (he wrote it in refutation of semi-Pelagian arguments made by Erasmus in his "Diatribe").

Both Augustine and Luther viewed Pelagianism as an attack on the sovereignty of God and, being influencial people in Christendom, sought to put it in its place.

Kamla:

  
quote:
1. This begs the need for an infallible definition of the word 'perfect' and every person's access to that.


I would tend to agree with this.  Perfection is not a realistic aspiration and, by its elusive nature, would have to be revealed by a Perfect Being rather than discovered by some mortal mechanism.

  
quote:
2.  This also implies that anything less than this loosely defined concept in one's own life is deficient and unfulfilling.


I'm not convinced that Sven was meaning to imply this but I think you could draw this conclusion by his line of thinking.  

  
quote:
The term perfect, like so many others, is entirely subjective. It cannot be measured against one standard.


I disagree.  You are speaking in terms of "entirely" and "cannot".  I would advise you to avoid the universal negative of the latter in your argument.  In humanistic terms, I would agree with you but I am of the opinion that there is more to existence than what we human beings are able to perceive and understand.  Backing up a bit, I think a perfect standard can be ascertained and communicated by a Perfect Being (the example I am thinking of is the Old Testament Law).  The standard is perfect and, to a large degree, understandable to our thinking.  But I don't think the standard can be met (the Apostle Paul referred to this as being the curse of the Law).

I might have agreed with more of what Sven was saying if he interjected "contentment" in place of "perfection".  Perfection is a lofty, but I think unachieveable goal.  Contentment is also lofty, but I think it differs from perfection in that it is, in many ways, achieveable.

  
quote:
Could you please point out enough examples of a perfect life, whether in history or in the present, to affirm this? Can you also explain how you determine that those lives consititute a perfect life?


I could point out some examples of a content life (I've known many dear people who found happiness and contentment in their lives ... a few even died early in life)

Local Reb:

  
quote:
-- but then he started dipping heavily into Proverbs for 'promises' from God -- basically -- that if people will live 'right' they will be rewarded with a happy life...


LOL ... I suppose what he gained in economic theory, he lacked in hermeneutical methodology. Let me guess ... the offering plate was passed out shortly after dispensation of Divine knowledge ... more evidence of his grasp of economic theory, I suppose. ~sigh~

I agree in large part with your summary of the Biblical narratives and your recollection of many of the historical details.  I can see where Job could be construed as being fictional but so are the parables of Jesus ... and many of them have been accepted by some of the most skeptical biblical scholars as authentic elements of the sacred text.  My point is, whether Job is a fictional or not is moot.  Also, I would not be so quick to consider Ruth apocryphal.  The same was said of the so-called "Second Isaiah" before the discovery of the complete text at Qumran (actually, the claim was that it was written by Christians in the early middle ages).  As far as I know, there is no compelling reason to consider Ruth to be anything but authentic.

I'm still waiting for what you have to say about Taguchi's Loss Function, btw.    

Jim

P.S. Lady Lost ... now which is giving you the biggest head-ache ... Philosophy class or this thread?  



[This message has been edited by jbouder (edited 10-12-2000).]
Local Rebel
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9 posted 10-12-2000 12:56 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Jim,

I only point out the fictional nature of parts of scripture to illustrate how important even fictional/apocryphal works can be and that Truth is not limited to being literally True...

I think in some cases construing them to be True devalues the real Truth they contain...

That's all..

And Taguchi is still coming up --

gimmie a little bit more time
Sven
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10 posted 10-12-2000 12:58 PM       View Profile for Sven   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sven

Hi Severn  

First of all, let me say that I'm glad that you have chosen me to pick on. . . no one loves a good philosophical debate more than I. . .

So, now then. . .

quote:
I am afraid this comes across as solely a romantic notion, primarily because you haven't assigned any creator or entity as responsible for this fate. I am curious - and this is not a criticism per se, but true curiousity - how can you, or anyone else, place unshakeable faith in a perfect life created by an anonymity? Without a personal relationship to work from where is the evidence for personal faith?


So, are you saying that if I had said that "God has chosen a perfect (or to use jbouder's word, "content" (which I do like better jb, thanks. . . )) will (or life) for all of us, and our choices take us closer to or further away from that" that you would have less of a problem with my point?

I have faith that there is a will out there for me. . . God (and you know, I hate to say God, because for some people, it's hard to believe in God, for whatever reason. . . but for myself, and this point, I will use God) has chosen it, and the choices I make will take me closer to that life or farther away from it.  

I guess that I didn't specify any entity or being or God because I didn't want anyone to think that "God" is the only way of looking at this. . . I was speaking in purely general tones. . .if you saw "God", great. . . if you saw "Fate", great also. . .I chose those words on purpose so as to make it as general an argument as possible. . . so that everyone could apply it to their own lives without trying to think that I was "forcing" a belief system on them. . .

Perfect (or content) is what you see. . . and what you see is based on what you believe. . . for some, it's God. . . for others, it's fate. . .and for still others, it's Buddah, or Allah, or whatever belief system they subscribe to. . . therefore, if you believe that your life is content right now. . . or you do believe that it will be content. . .then you must be on the right path. . . because when you are. . .you know it. . .it's in your heart, in your soul. . . you can feel it. . .  

And you're right K, we may never get there. . . but half the fun is trying. . .

But fate is not choice and I will tell more later. . . I just want to know what others think about that statement. . .

And jb, please feel free to insert "contentment" in the place of "perfection" that will do wonderfully, thanks.  

-----------------------------------------------------------------

That which gives light must endure burning
--Victor Frankl



[This message has been edited by Sven (edited 10-12-2000).]
jbouder
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11 posted 10-12-2000 01:17 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Reb:

I suppose there is truth in your words.    Seriously, I see your point.  Assuming the truth of something (actually that one's interpretation of that something is the truth) makes the tail-spin of circular reasoning a very real danger (your evangelist example a case in point).  I have no doubt that the apocryphal books have some value.

I will give you more time on your Taguchi thing ... just reading your link gave me a head-ache ... look forward to the next dose of Excedrin Migraine.  

Sven:

quote:
And jb, please feel free to insert "contentment" in the place of "perfection" that will do wonderfully, thanks.


Don't mention it (and you can call me Jim).    
Christopher
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12 posted 10-12-2000 02:40 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

quote:
In humanistic terms, I would agree with you but I am of the opinion that there is more to existence than what we human beings are able to perceive and understand.  Backing up a bit, I think a perfect standard can be ascertained and communicated by a Perfect Being...


Jim - Honesty curiosity here... HOW can this be anything but subjective? How can you truly assignate a "perfection?"

quote:
(the example I am thinking of is the Old Testament Law).  The standard is perfect and, to a large degree, understandable to our thinking.  But I don't think the standard can be met (the Apostle Paul referred to this as being the curse of the Law).


Ok - "perfection." For whom? If I'm reading this correctly (and there's no guarantee I am, lol) then yes, it was "perfect..." for those people. But how can you convert that perfectionism to encompass the whole of mankind? To an athiest, perfection cannot be a "god." To a Christian, perfection is an idyllic vision of peace and everlasting in the ethereal plane called Heaven. (generaliSing here of course.) I just don't see how we can have a non-subjective idea of perfection, when we invariably have such diverse conceptions of what that perfection is. Unless... you're implying that perfection simply "is." In which case, I think we would have to backtrack and determine again whether or not this state is attainable and what it's based on.

quote:
And to sum up: choice and fate are simply just oxymoronic in the same sentence.


On a roll there K - but I don't like this one!   Choice and fate might be oxymoronic when used in conjunction... IF they're defined with absolute values claiming them as the whole. However, just to theorize - what if fate presents options and choice allows you to make what you will of it. Call it 50% fate and 50% choice. Boom, there you have it! Fate and choice operating side-by-side like good children!

LOL I think you're way off track with this one and just wanted to use it because it sounded good for closing up your arguement!  

C
Christopher
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13 posted 10-12-2000 02:47 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

Oh yeah-

What do you get when you cross an insomniac, athiest, and a dsylexic?

----------------------------

Someone who stays up all night wondering if there really is a Dog.
jbouder
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14 posted 10-12-2000 04:57 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Christopher:

quote:
Ok - "perfection." For whom? If I'm reading this correctly (and there's no guarantee I am, lol) then yes, it was "perfect..." for those people. But how can you convert that perfectionism to encompass the whole of mankind? To an athiest, perfection cannot be a "god." To a Christian, perfection is an idyllic vision of peace and everlasting in the ethereal plane called Heaven.


I did not build that case here (although I'd be happy to, if you'd like) ... the assumptions behind my reference to the Ten Commandments was (1) That God is a perfect being, (2) that He revealed Himself in space and time (e.g. the observable universe), and (3) delivered His standard for moral perfection or "justness" to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

If God reveals His moral standard to man, I don't think it matters if it is to your people, my people, or anyone else.  

But that isn't the subject of this thread.

Jim

Local Rebel
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15 posted 10-12-2000 05:30 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

October 12th, 2000.... just jotting it down in my planner -- Jim and I agreed on something -- circling it with huge red marker...!!!     lol

Thanks for the info and the read Jim, Chris, poet philosiphers et al...

Here's a note:

Which is perfect?  The bud?  The rose in bloom?  The petals falling to the ground?

My refrigirator will die.  It is inevitable.  It will no longer be perfectly suited to fulfilling my need to keep food fresh -- but it will be perfect within it's design because the engineers designed it with planned obsolescence..

Human DNA also dictates that we will die.  The telomeres will grow shorter and shorter with each cell reproduction and ultimately become too short to reproduce.  At that point -- even with no disease -- the body loses it's ability to sustain life beyond the next generation of cell production.  The DNA is the design... the plan...

As is the plan for our brains -- that dictates the intelligence and self awareness to be sentient beings -- thereby making choices -- thereby making mistakes -- therefore -- even making mistakes falls within the designed functionality of the human animal.

What seperates us from non-sentient life forms, however, is the ability to distinguish the difference between what we are and what our potential either is or is percieved to be.  The ancient Hebrews called this difference 'Sin'.

Perfection is another word that is dangerous.

That's all.

Have fun.


[This message has been edited by Local Rebel (edited 10-12-2000).]
serenity blaze
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16 posted 10-12-2000 05:39 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I have been enjoying this read tremendously---and I am confused on only one minor issue...

Reb---is your refrigerator ALIVE? (and this guy invited me over for gumbo, sheesh!)
Local Rebel
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17 posted 10-12-2000 05:47 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

rofl@serenity...

in some aspects -- actually yes -- the refrigirator does satisfy the requirements for a living system

life -- another dangerous word...

I've often said -- a gumbo has life -- like a living system too -- you know -- when the roux starts to come alive -- and then you take the leftover jar to start the next batch... lol
jbouder
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18 posted 10-12-2000 07:51 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Local Reb:

While I don't think we are necessarily on the same page, I have my suspicions that we are in the same book and, therefore, am not as surprised as you are that we agree on something.    But, hey, I'll mark it on my Outlook Calendar anyway.

Jim

P.S.  On what, exactly, do we agree?
Local Rebel
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19 posted 10-13-2000 11:30 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

LOL Jim... well... you said

"I agree in large part with your summary of the Biblical narratives and your recollection of many of the historical details"

and "I suppose there is truth in your words.      Seriously, I see your point."

so... there ya go...

and well damn... we're at least in the same forum.. lol...

later man
Christopher
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20 posted 10-13-2000 12:08 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

lol - y'all crack me up!  

Jim - yes, I would definitely be interested in hearing that. Maybe in another thread if it goes off on too much of a tangent here.

Chris
Christopher
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21 posted 10-13-2000 12:15 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

ok - so back to where we were...

re-reading (I have a short memory... ) I caught on this part-

quote:
1. Let's say the Gods on Mount Olympus have decided your 'fate', and there is nothing you can do, nowhere you can turn, to escape your destiny. The Gods don't need to be able to see into the future. They simply watch you and act accordingly. If you turn left, then whatever it is that you were going to meet up with is on the left. If you had turned right, it would have been on the right, because that is the way the Gods fixed it.


Actually - if there's a pre-determined path for us, then it doesn't matter what we do. We can't "act" anything out, because by definition of that, everything has already been mapped out.

Here's where I have a hard time buying the pre-destiny bit. If everything is pre-determined, then that includes our actions, responses, emotions... everything. It completely precludes free will. And at least in my life, I've felt the indication of free will... unless fate is incredibly insidious and undetectable as such. If that's the case, then it's also fairly stable and logical, as responses fit the mold, emotions normally fit the consequences, etc.

Local Rebel - you're absolutely right. There are no guarantees (unless of course it is all pre-determined. I speak in a generalised sense. When taken as a whole, I believe that the people who try, are the ones "ahead." What this ahead is, is of course subjective... my parents used to tell me "We don't care what you do with your life. If you want to be President, you be the best damned President you can be. And if you want to be a garbage man (note: sanitation engineer to be PC..LOL), then be the best damned garbagemane you can be."

I think if you sincerely try - you will succeed. Terms of success vary from person to person tho.

Chris
jbouder
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22 posted 10-13-2000 12:28 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Christopher:

I don't disagree with you that working hard can contribute to your achieving financial success but it is common enough for people to work hard all their lives and, for whatever reason, end up with little more than they started with.  From a practical standpoint, what difference does it make if a person's success/failure is a result of preordination or a consequence of bad choices?  Practically speaking, the person ends up in the same boat either way, so why worry about it?

Or something like that.  

Jim
serenity blaze
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23 posted 10-13-2000 01:19 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

(serenity timidly raises her hand...)

Speaking from a scriptural point of you, I do not understand pre-destiny.  What then, would be the point of the gift of "free will"?
Lady Lost
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24 posted 10-13-2000 01:22 PM       View Profile for Lady Lost   Email Lady Lost   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Lady Lost

Wow!  I have been following this for days...I did not want to include my own personal experiences in the topic, because I was interested in hearing all of yours first.  After reading the 20 + responses (which are all fabulous BTW!) I would like to share my personal views:

I do feel very strongly that we are beings of free will, and do not have a set destiny. Indeed, why would we? What purpose would life have if we were all just acting out some grand play which had no real choices and was completely pre-destined? How would one learn from such an existence? And why would God be so cruel as to create such an existence? Or is it that God simply couldn't do any better? There simply is no purpose in an existence which is completely pre-destined, and so we do not live such an existence. We have the ability to create whatever we wish, and follow any path we choose. The Universe will make manifest whatever it is we most deeply desire, or focus on, and will not condemn us for making certain choices over others. This is the essense of our free will. Many do not wish to accept the reality of our free will, because doing so would require them to take responsibility for everything that's happening in their lives. That fact that we have free will, and that nothing happens to us, means that we are creating every aspect of our life in the choices we make.

Even those things which would seem to be happening to us, and be coming from sources outside ourselves are, in Reality, experiences which are being drawn to us, because of the choices we have made, because of what we Truly desire most deeply, and because of what we have focused on. Another person can never do something to you which you have not called upon yourself. Every experience in your life, whether it be something brought about by you, or something seemingly brought about by another person, is in Reality, created by the free will choices you have made. This is a difficult thing to accept because it does not allow one to cast blame on another for anything "bad" which has happened in that person's life. However, in taking responsibility for every aspect of our lives, and realizing that we are beings of free will, we take control of our lives, and cease creating our life experiences unconsciously.


"And I still believe you can never have too much fiction because reality is such a bore..."
- REA


[This message has been edited by Lady Lost (edited 10-13-2000).]
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