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Passions in Poetry

. . .a great mystery. . .

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Huan Yi
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50 posted 01-02-2006 05:48 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Whole civilizations have bred and thrived without ‘love’
as we consider it.  The parents got together, sorted it out
and brought their sons and daughters to the wedding.
Afterwards there might be “love” which may have been
no more than relief and a growing affection for the familiar.
Love in the West may be much the same after initially being
no more than a mask on lust.  Remember “love is blind”;
not much of a recommendation.

Grinch
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51 posted 01-02-2006 05:59 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Baba,

“Sure, we have hardware which helps us experience love in physical ways, but to say that that's all that constitutes it is to deny our spiritual context."

What spiritual context?

I believe that love is a chemically created biological state originally created through evolutionary processes to increase the likelihood of self-preservation and\or reproduction.

I don’t see any spiritual context – please explain
Huan Yi
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52 posted 01-02-2006 06:08 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


“It is easier for a needle to pass through a camel
Than for a poor man to enter a woman of means.
Just go to the graveyard and ask around.”

Mark Strand


“Even a good man prefers the company of an attractive woman.”

Diane Wakowski

Essorant
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53 posted 01-02-2006 06:33 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I don't think I may express my opinion about love better than I did in the "Soul" thread about Nature and Spirit.  I still feel the same way:
  

The words Nature and Spirit, usually distinguish different states of Nature and Spirit. When we use Nature it seems like we usually tend toward more "physically driven" being or state.  When we use Spiritual a more spiritually driven being or state.  Over all though, I don't think God is biased for spiritual/physical like humans are; God sees all things at once, as one whole, where all things are equally part of creation.
On a higher level there is probably not much more difference between Spirit and Nature than light and shine (from the sun).  What is the difference between light and shine?  Doesn't light always have shine, and shine always have light?  If one is so convinced that things are mostly physical, then things that are not "physical" shall seem only different states of experiencing a physical whole; if one is so convinced that things are mostly spiritual, than things that are not "spiritual" shall seem only different states of experiencing a spiritual whole.  Overall though, is the whole all this or all that man says? Is God and the Universe and Nature really "biased" for naturalism or spiritualism?  I don't think so.  

Local Rebel
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54 posted 01-02-2006 10:49 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

LR,

"For all its eloquence it ends rather clumsily.  'You don't have a right to ask'."

Which is not contingent on how, when, or if anyone else was first,
asked.

Thank you

John



You're welcome.  I'm not really getting the connotation of this particualr post though.  Would you care to expound further?
Stephanos
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55 posted 01-03-2006 03:14 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch:
quote:
To believe that something suddenly becomes cold or something less than it is once the origin is understood doesn’t make any sense, I also can’t understand why you would prefer to believe that there is no love at all than a love created through evolutionary processes, could you explain?


If I take your view seriously, it really comes down to the disparity between what we understand love to be, and what love really is.  We think of love, in terms that defy mere egoism, and pragmatism.  The thoughts and feelings that love convey to us are sublime, and don't really fit with the discovery that it is just a chemical "tickle" in the brain to help an impersonal process of proliferating a certain kind of DNA.  


If this were true, many of our assumptions about love would be undermined, because we would now know the "real" story.  The feeling that personal devotion to someone else is based upon something virtuous or lofty, would become necessarily mythic.  I can't help but think that a person who believes in the evolutionary origin of love, would begin at some point to doubt it altogether.  (John seems to give us a good example of this, if I'm understanding him rightly, when he says that love is merely "a mask for lust")  


If you deny that this is a valid concern, on my part, I would refer you to a host of existential philosophers, who took the materialist view of reality seriously, and ran into paramount problems in maintaining meaning, purpose, and hope.  Many of their descriptions of modern "angst" are related to this tension between the "real story" of things, and the merely subjective definitions we attach to them.


In actual day-to-day experience I have seen it too.  I am currently speaking to a young friend of mine, who is not a Christian, about some deep issues.  He told me that it seems to him, if there were no personal God "behind" what's going on, he really sees no reason to feel optimistic about anything.  Marriage was one of the things he felt would become a casualty, if blind materialism were accepted.  In light of what you believe, do you never struggle with those kinds of thoughts?  Maybe you've never followed the trail of your beliefs, in thought, to their full end, like the existentialist philosophers have.  Or maybe you've chosen to remain optimistic about love, in a naturalistic scheme, in spite of where it might seem to lead.  


Francis Schaeffer referred to this as the dichotomy between upstairs optimism, and downstairs rationality.  If love is merely an evolutionary contruct, to believe that love is really love, there would have to be a Kirkegaardian "leap" into the upper story.  Ibsen once said that "if you take away a man's lie, you take away his hope".  To me, living as if the lie were true, but knowing otherwise, is unthinkable.


I would also like to mention that viewing "love" as more helpful to human reproduction and survival, than its alternatives, is mistaken.  Lust does just as well as love, in making offspring.  Has it been proven that love is superior in this regard?  If love is only a chemical response in the brain to help survival, then "hate" is also just an alternate chemical response.  You can survive by killing off competitors, and stealing their wives too.  There's nothing in "nature", as such, to guarantee one more value than the other, in regards to producing offspring.


And if you reflect just a moment ... If you are genetically endowed with the "love method" of evolutionary success, then your preference for love is predetermined, and merely one of many impersonal and amoral tools.  In which case, wouldn't your deep seated feelings about love being fundamentally "better" than hatred, be undermined?  In fact such feelings themselves would seem to be part of the genetic predisposition.


So in summary:  The materialistic evolutionary view of "love" is untenable for these reasons:

1)  It isn't compatible with our human assumptions about what love really is.

2) Because of #1, it has lead to either despair, or a blind leap into optimism, for many brilliant thinkers in existential philosophy.

3) There is no proof that "love" is more fit than its alternatives, in the "survival of the fittest" scheme.  


Stephen.  
Stephanos
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56 posted 01-03-2006 03:42 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

LR
quote:
The message of Job could well have been the catalyst that led to the turning over of the tables of the money changers who were ripping off the people who came in with their best first fruits.


Oh, I don't disagree.  I just think that's a secondary effect, rather than the central message of Job.  Then central question (and affirmation) of Job being the genuineness versus egoism of faith, and the faithfulness of God to his servant.  


But in view of what you've said, I still don't feel that the book of Job (nor the teaching of Jesus) serves to undermine the connection between sin and divine punishment.  Rather it served to break the dogmatic assumption that every instance of suffering was because of sin.  When Job answered his presumptuous friends, he didn't dispute them as absolutely wrong.  Rather he said things like: "I have a mind as well as you.  I am not inferior to you.  Who does not know these things?" (Job 12:2)  Which tells me that his was a word of temperence and caution for "orthodoxy", rather than an annulment of it.


Jesus' driving out of the money changers illustrates this even more vividly.  It was the act of a zealous reformer, not a bohemian plea for tolerance.  And, that, set up the same standard of right and wrong.  It just reapplied the standard which had been misapplied.  A Pharisee who is self righteous and full of religious pride, may very well be more of a sinner than a prostitute.  It was a readjustment of the belt, not a loosening, if you know what I mean.


Stephen.        
Huan Yi
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57 posted 01-03-2006 07:10 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Stephen,


“To me, living as if the lie were true, but knowing otherwise, is unthinkable.”

Joseph Campbell  made a career of showing how we do and have done this
through the ages, though usually one suspends admission of the suspicion
if not knowledge to accommodate his purpose.  Again, Ernest Backer’s
“lesser insanity”.

“a host of existential philosophers, who took the materialist view of reality seriously, and ran into paramount problems in maintaining meaning, purpose, and hope. “

And in some cases accepted that in so far as the universe is concerned
they don’t exist, which meant we’re pretty much on our own.  Seems
to me like quite a challenge.

LR

Read the other posts that were suggesting otherwise.

John
Essorant
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58 posted 01-03-2006 11:23 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I don't believe that any one truly "believes" in a lie.  People doubt lies, and find confusion and misunderstanding with lies.  That's why they are called lies.   What make truths truths, is that people truly believe in them.  And the reason that they are able to believe in them truly, is because there is strength behind them.  

You don't find feet standing on something, if there isn't something to stand on, nor do you find beliefs standing, if there isn't something to believe on.  A strong belief, betokens something strong to believe in.   The truth that our beliefs are strong, endure thro the time, endure in our minds and hearts and traditions, are the evidence of that they stand strongly as truths, not weakly as lies.

Stephanos
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59 posted 01-03-2006 11:34 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

John:
quote:
Joseph Campbell  made a career of showing how we do and have done this
through the ages, though usually one suspends admission of the suspicion
if not knowledge to accommodate his purpose.  Again, Ernest Backer’s
“lesser insanity”.


You can hardly recommend people to your dark kind of "realism" and then call it a "greater" insanity.  You are admitting that it's the worst of positions.  And you can't urge people to live in a hopeful illusion either, because your realism makes that repugnant to you.  I've seen you demonstrate your disdain for such "naivety" in more than a few of the threads you've posted.  So where are you?


Stephen.  
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60 posted 01-03-2006 11:44 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 make truths truths, is that people truly believe in them.  And the reason that they are able to believe in them truly, is because there is strength behind them.


  
"I know your Daddy, honey.  He told me to pick you up from school.  Get in the car.  I might even have some candy here.  Do you like candy?"


You are grossly misrepresenting the nature of a lie, Essorant.  A lie is never a total falsehood.  Rather it is a twisted truth, with a false root ... a mixture.  In the above statement, the pedophile is appealing to a whole lot of truth, for the strength of his lie.  1) The girl has a Daddy.  2) The girl associates "Daddy" with trust.  3) The girl likes candy.  These are all "truths" wrapped around a viscious lie.  


Yet for a time, this girl may very well have believed the lie.  Why do you think it's impossible for someone to actually believe a lie?  Are you willing to argue philosophically that deception is impossible?    


Stephen.
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61 posted 01-04-2006 12:40 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

But in view of what you've said, I still don't feel that the book of Job (nor the teaching of Jesus) serves to undermine the connection between sin and divine punishment. Rather it served to break the dogmatic assumption that every instance of suffering was because of sin. When Job answered his presumptuous friends, he didn't dispute them as absolutely wrong. Rather he said things like: "I have a mind as well as you. I am not inferior to you. Who does not know these things?" (Job 12:2) Which tells me that his was a word of temperence and caution for "orthodoxy", rather than an annulment of it.




People in 600 BC, (or all the way up until Curie?) had no notion of micro-organisms.  No one even fathomed until Da Vinci that air is a fluid (that might carry these little critters from one host to another).

As was demonstrated all day today -- the rain falls on the just and the unjust.

quote:

Jesus' driving out of the money changers illustrates this even more vividly. It was the act of a zealous reformer, not a bohemian plea for tolerance. And, that, set up the same standard of right and wrong. It just reapplied the standard which had been misapplied.



This may be a comparison of oranges and microwaves.

Although -- I'm not sure I follow you.

Here's what I see;

The 'money-changers' in the temple are exchanging the common street currency for (clean) temple money.  And, or -- they're certifying animals for sacrifice.  They would examine the animal and tell the husbander that his lamb has a small flaw and is unsuitable -- but he may trade it for one of the pre-certified sacrificial doves if he wants.  Of course -- having made a long journey from the country he wants -- rather than to go back home and try looking through all the sheep again for a 'perfect' specimen.  

In the meantime -- the 'money-changers' reap a huge profit from the trade of the absolute best livestock in the country.

This made Jesus mad.  It probably happened to his father -- which was his initial exposure to the Temple and probably the root of his rage.

In the meantime the priests are priestly -- while the poor are hungry and the sick are sick.  I think he just got sick and tired and decided to restore some justice -- since it was the Temple gang that was really oppressing the people more so than the Romans.  Jesus gives us the novel idea that the Master IS the servant.
Huan Yi
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62 posted 01-04-2006 12:58 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Stephen,

I have no problem with someone never the less
consciously choosing to be under the influence
of myths and illusions that give comfort to his life.
The moon is the moon, the stars no more than they are,
yet if you slip over you’ll find me treating them quite differently.
My meanings and purposes may only be my own with no one
else caring one way or another, yet so long as they do no harm to another
they are as good if not better than many claimed to come from God.

John

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63 posted 01-04-2006 01:32 AM       View Profile for Baba Michi   Email Baba Michi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Baba Michi

Grinch,

  I think that Stephanos answered your question more eloquently than I can, but since you asked me specifically, here is what I think.  In order to arrive at one's own spiritual context within the framework of the individual consciousness, one simply begins to sort out what is true about life from the concepts that are illusory.  For instance, really becoming aware of the fact that we will all die one day, and being at peace with that idea, brings out an incredibly strong sense of the spiritual- not as the mind's desperate grasping at the idea of immortality, but a real peace with the order of things, regardless of whether or not one believes in a soul or an afterlife.  It is through this harmony with the Way Things Are that we begin to cultivate the chief product of a genuine spiritual path, which is love and compassion.  Your reductionist perception of love as a tool of self-preservation/reproduction does not mesh with the fact that many people have given up their lives in split-second situations in order to benefit the greater good, out of selfless love.  Understanding that the rain, does, indeed, fall on just and unjust alike, that everything with form will someday perish, certainly brings tearful or angry emotions, but there is a profound peace inherent in really learning about the way the universe works, and it is this peace, this all-encompassing compassion that is at the heart of our spiritual context.  
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64 posted 01-04-2006 09:05 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
There is ... love, which is directed to man apart from God, which disowns the eternal aspect of man (perceptible only in God), which in a word is not turned toward everlasting life.  This love is impersonal and collective, it drives people to huddle together so that they may not be so frightened of living, for in losing faith in God and immortality, they have lost the meaning of life.  That sort of love is the final term of self-will and self-affirmation;  God having no place in it, man denies his own spiritual nature and its primacy and is a traitor to freedom and immortality.  The last refuge for man's "idealism" is in the pity he feels for his fellows as feeble creatures who are the plaything of blind necessity;  beyond that, ideas cease to exist and reason itself is abolished.  But this pity is not the same as Christian compassion.

(Nicholas Berdyaev, from "Dostoevsky")
Essorant
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65 posted 01-04-2006 09:31 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,


"Why do you think it's impossible for someone to actually believe a lie?"

Because one doesn't know that a lie is there.  And without knowledge of something, you can't even make any judgement upon it, let alone believe in it.  How do you judge and believe in the face behind a mask if you can't know anything about that face, or if you can't even know that its a mask to begin with?  How do you believe in the ice under  snow, if all you ever see and know is the snow over the ice?  Without knowledge in something, there is no way to believe in that something.  But even if you  move the mask, and move the snow, and find out of the evil under the mask and slip and fall on the ice, does that now mean that mask you believed in was evil itself, that the snow you saw was really ice because it concealed those things?  

Stephanos
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66 posted 01-04-2006 10:18 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
How do you judge and believe in the face behind a mask if you can't know anything about that face, or if you can't even know that its a mask to begin with?



Essorant, you are confusing the lie with the truth.  The mask is the lie ... hence it is what is often seen, and believed in.  The face behind the mask is what goes hidden, (the truth) and is not believed in.  


If you don't know "that it's a mask to begin with", you have believed the lie.


A lie has this strange quality that, when you know it's a lie, you don't believe it anymore.  So believing a lie, requires you to not believe there IS a lie.  If I don't know any better, I can't believe a lie exists.  But at the same time I do believe the lie on it's own terms.  Maybe those two things, you are confusing:  1) Believing the lie, and 2) Believing IN the lie.        


Let's say I wear an Elvis mask.  And since you don't know there is mask, you think I'm actually Elvis.  (The National Enquirer was right!).  Are you trying to tell me that you are believing the truth??


Need to rethink this one, pal.  


Stephen.
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67 posted 01-04-2006 10:35 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

Your reductionist perception of love as a tool of self-preservation/reproduction does not mesh with the fact that many people have given up their lives in split-second situations in order to benefit the greater good, out of selfless love.



Couldn't it be equally argued that the greater good is a selfish desire?  Ultimately in the knowledge of death we recognize that individual sacrifice sometimes is required to assure the survival of the genome.  We are, after all, a cooperative species.

But, it still chokes one up when Spock dies...

'The good of the many'

quote:

God having no place in it, man denies his own spiritual nature and its primacy and is a traitor to freedom and immortality.  The last refuge for man's "idealism" is in the pity he feels for his fellows as feeble creatures who are the plaything of blind necessity;  beyond that, ideas cease to exist and reason itself is abolished.  But this pity is not the same as Christian compassion.



But, I resent the implication Stephen that my tears aren't real because they aren't Christian... whether or not I believe my emotions are centered in an eternal spirit or if I understand the physiological processes -- I feel what I feel.
Huan Yi
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68 posted 01-05-2006 01:19 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your reductionist perception of love as a tool of self-preservation/reproduction does not mesh with the fact that many people have given up their lives in split-second situations in order to benefit the greater good, out of selfless love.

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

Or blown themselves up in the midst of
a crowd in a marketplace or a funeral . . .
often after longer deliberation.

I think it was W. Somerset Maugham
who, through one of his characters, expressed little confidence
in human intelligence, saying he found most people
more willing to give up their lives than learn the math tables.

Stephanos
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69 posted 01-05-2006 01:30 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

LR:
quote:
But, I resent the implication Stephen that my tears aren't real because they aren't Christian... whether or not I believe my emotions are centered in an eternal spirit or if I understand the physiological processes -- I feel what I feel.

The implication is that your tears cannot be ultimately significant or "real" from a materialistic base.  Now to what degree such a scenario might become "reality", if believed to the end is another topic.  I know if I don't believe I have any money in the bank, I could very well miss it, and so my illusion becomes reality, in a sense.  I personally believe that your tears are both real, and significant, because you are made in the image of God, and there is someone really there to see them.  And I certainly don't have a problem with understanding physiological processes ... I only have a problem with a worldview that allows nothing beyond them.


Stephen.  
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70 posted 01-05-2006 01:37 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Or blown themselves up in the midst of
a crowd in a marketplace or a funeral . . .
often after longer deliberation.


Still unwilling to admit an essential difference between sacrifical death (a lifeguard that drowns to save a little girl), and a suicide bomber?  That's like seeing no difference between someone who uses a baseball bat to hit a homerun with, and someone who uses it take someones head off with.

a superficial similarity
a fundamental difference

Your argument only works, if this distinction is ignored.

Stephen.
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71 posted 01-05-2006 01:43 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


And is the bomber not sacrificing himself out of devotion to his god
and in defense of his religion, perhaps in his mind to save “his” people?
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72 posted 01-05-2006 03:02 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

John,

Yeah.  But there is still a fundamental difference, you're not addressing.  Especially since we can still ask whether or not a person is using his or her "god" to cloak or mask unbridled anger and violence.  


We can argue the above example ad infinitum.  But, unless you discuss an example that is admittedly evil, in comparison with the sacrificial "hero", you are avoiding the whole question.  The reason you brought up "Jihad" is because it is only purportedly good from someone's religious standpoint, and therefore might cast doubt upon the goodness of the sacrificial hero, too.  If the one act is only purportedly good, how can we know the other is not the same? (thus goes your line of reasoning).  Your example has created a fog, simply because Jihad can be construed as good from someone's extreme religious ideology.  


So, let me make it harder for you.  Let's say that a person blows up a crowd of people he doesn't really know, for no political or religious reason, but because he delights in death.  Is that fundamentally different than a person who dies rescuing someone else?


Stephen.            
Huan Yi
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73 posted 01-05-2006 05:32 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Stephen,

”Let's say that a person blows up a crowd of people he doesn't really know, for no political or religious reason, but because he delights in death.  Is that fundamentally different than a person who dies rescuing someone else?’

Yes, if the first is seeking merely his own gratification; I assume the second
out of professionalism or sense of duty, etc accepts the risk to his life,
which he cherishes, ( Andy Rooney in “My War” which I’m just reading
said “No one gives his life for his country, it’s taken from him”, which thinking
about the Kamikaze and more recent events may illustrate nothing more
than Western incomprehension). But we’re straying here because,
unlike the suicide bomber before, in your comparison the first person
is doing something so he can experience gratification,
which is pretty tough to do when you’re dead unless you believe there
is some afterlife reward for your self-destroying action.  Let’s stay
with those who lose their lives.

John
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74 posted 01-05-2006 05:56 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

okay.  Let's.  


One doesn't have to ascribe to an afterlife, in order to kill himself, while killing others.

Stephen
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