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Passions in Poetry

Can you really change a person?

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Essorant
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50 posted 11-06-2007 11:20 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Psychology: the art of overcomplicating human nature.
Ron
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51 posted 11-06-2007 01:14 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Right. Isn't that a bit like overcomplicating quantum physics, Essorant?


TomMark
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52 posted 11-06-2007 09:20 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Before neuroscientists tell us how exactly brain works, psycology has a big play ground to play how and why about human behavior.

my younger brother, so proudly, told me that he has started a new branch of psycology, seriously.  It is intersting to have a brother like him. He just got an award for community service.

His theory is based on that  God designed a very balanced, dynamic, neuro-hormone system(known facts). People suffer when that is out of balance. So any human behavior is to keep or go back to that original balance..."God saw everything that he made , and indeed, it was very GOOD".

I do have many questions for him. But I think that it sounds reasonable.  He is developing it daily now. How interesting!


Essorant
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53 posted 11-06-2007 09:47 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

The approach to human nature and understanding things in general today often seems to demand that everything must be complex, including our approach.  I just don't agree with that.  

The secret is that things are much simpler than they are often made out to be.


Ron
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54 posted 11-06-2007 10:42 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I don't think that's a secret, Essorant, so much as a hope and a wish. To paraphrase Einstein, things should be made as simple as possible -- but no simpler.

Any time you start thinking human beings are simple, I suggest you get one of your own. Sad to say, they don't seem to come with a manual.  
TomMark
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55 posted 11-06-2007 10:50 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

How  about the String Theory? Everything is made of String including energy.
Stephanos
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56 posted 11-07-2007 01:31 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ron, I think Essorant has a point.  Many things in life are complex, but that doesn't mean our approach has to be.  Here in South Georgia, there were many-a-crop-duster who didn't understand the intricacies of aerodynamics or physics, but knew how to keep a plane from crashing better than many who did.

On the other hand, if anyone is saying that things can't go frightfully wrong, or that the human psyche is simple like an equation, then they are erring as well.


You're both right.


Stephen      
oceanvu2
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57 posted 11-09-2007 11:36 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Nothing ever changes, as in plus ca change, plus le meme chose.  On the other hand, the possibility of transformation always exists and generally occurs.

Best, Jim
Bob K
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58 posted 11-10-2007 09:32 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear TomMark,
                I've been offline a few days. Sorry for being late in replying.  As I said, Jung is complicated.  Strict Freudians hate him in part because of his open attitude toward religion and his rejection of many of the basic assumptions of psychoanalysis.  I can't summarize him for you; he's too complex, but one of the things that makes him useful to poets is his respectful attitude toward images.  He doesn't go for the more common decoding of images you'll remember from english classes as a kid.  Paraphrase doesn't work here.  
     If you want to understand him, try Boundaries of The Soul, by June Singer, who gives a respectful and readable overview.  A book review won't work.  Your brother won't help.  Understanding brain physiology—sorry.  And whatever the reality of God, anybody who tells you that science has agreed upon a theory that depends on His existence for it to work, doesn't understand science.  The notion violates the principle of conservation of causes, true or not.  I advise you simply to give up trying to understand Jung.  Without enough interest on your part actually to read him or a decent sized piece about him,
it probably can't be done.  I know I'd muff any simple and short explanation.  I can see how misleading I've apparently been so far, while trying to be helpful.  I've got you listening to soothsayers an d people who know nothing about him for information.  Let me know how it goes, TomMark.
TomMark
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59 posted 11-11-2007 08:06 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Dear Bob K,

This world is not a happy world and people want to know why. Psychoanalysis is one of the scientisfic field of studying it. However I have always considered Psychology including Psychoanalysis as pseudo-science, no matter how many books are there in the bookstore and how many "master"s are there to tell what is the problems about human being and why the problems.

I will read Jung's Biography.

and True science, have to and must to be done on the base that there is somehting to the truth. Then what is truth? Science is in the field of discovering the truth.  The aim of the psychoanalysis is the same, I believe. Only it is on the road of imagination of human mind....not quite solid, if I shall not say that it is on the wrong road at all.

Now, tell me, Master Jung to you is like a religious figure or a Grand Master of social science? what part of his theory intertests you? You must shared similar understanding  of Human Beings with him. so tell me something.

Dear Bob, I hope that my frankly talking will not offend you.  

Best

Tomtoo
Bob K
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60 posted 11-17-2007 06:09 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear TomMark,
                Sorry to say, your reply seems a bit garbled or I'm simply having some trouble tracking; I get awkward that way sometimes.  I'll try to give you a decent response from limited understanding.  I don't believe either Freud or Jung thought of depth psychology as a science.  Both certainly hoped it might someday become one.  Freud hoped it might become the basis of a scientific neurology at some point in the future, and tried to write a book about psychoanalysis from that point of view between 1895 and 1900, if I have my dates straight; but he scapped the project as way premature.  Jung thought his Analytical Psychology might someday prove the basis for biochemical understanding of mental illness, but he felt that the Analyst should go with whatever seemed most useful.  Freud thought Psychoanalysis was, as much as anything a method of research into mental problems.  He though it would be useful for only two diagnostic groups: folks with what they used to call Hysteria and what they used to call Obsessional Neurosis.  Outside of those two diagnostic groups, Freud thought Psychoanalysis inappropriate; it was to be a method of identifying and exploring the problems of these two neurotic problems, both for the analyst and patient.  The truth should make you free.  Early Analysis valued insight.  Myself—I don't know.

     Science is probably more concerned with the somewhat  more slippery nature of facts than the more philosophical question of truth, and trying to establish those facts as best it can.  People often use the words fact and truth interchangably.  Is this always useful?  Philosophy and Theology are more about Truth.  About facts, disagreements can frequently be settled by checking the data and the method of collection.  About Truth, Truth is not subject to anything but Faith in the long run, because Truth (Capital T) is too abstract to measure.  And Faith very easily becomes the servant of Force.

     You did mention Truth, didn't you?

     As for the aim of Psychoanalysis—TomMark, you're the man who wants Truth.  Freud was more of a realist.  I recall two answers he gave as to the goals of Psychanalysis.  The first is probably the most straightforward, and the most quoted, "to love and to work."  If you can come out of analysis able to love somebody, especially in a grown up way, and if you're able to work, then that's enough.  Some people get more.
Some people don't get that much.  The other goal Freud
offered has some of the same flavor, "To replace neurotic
suffering with ordinary unhappiness."  I like that one.  It suggests learning some reality about yourself and doing things you need to do.  It also feels like a dictionary definition of the word "shrink," doesn't it?

          The story goes that two successful patients met after having been in analysis, one with a Freudian and the other with a Jungian.  They both looked a bit rueful.
The Freudian patient shook his head and said, I've lost all my demons!  The Jungian patient shook his head too and said, I've still got all my demons, but now I've got a headful of angels, too.

     The goal of Jungian Analysis is Individuation,  gathering all the scattered pieces of the Self together and learning to see them as part of a functional and harmonious whole.  Usually the patients in Jungian Analysis are older, in the second half of their lives, when they have something of a life to look back upon.

     Once again,TomMark and anyone else out there who's following this, hearing me talk around the edges of this stuff is useless to you.  Reading the Autobiography of C.G. Jung is a terrible pain in the ass unless you have the fascination for it.  It is one of the most readable Jung books, though; and the June Singer book, Boundaries of The Soul is good too.  I confess I enjoyed them when I read them, but don't go by me.

     As for your frankness, sometimes folks use the word as an excuse for being abusive or brutal, but you seem perfectly straightforward and well-meaning, and your tone is, I suspect, nicer than mine.  I enjoyed your letter and hope to hear from you and anyone else interested.
                                    My best, BobK
TomMark
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61 posted 11-18-2007 10:13 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

I'll write some of my thought later but where is Stephen ?
Stephanos
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62 posted 11-18-2007 11:39 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Bob K:
quote:
About Truth, Truth is not subject to anything but Faith in the long run, because Truth (Capital T) is too abstract to measure.  And Faith very easily becomes the servant of Force.



But anyone who has looked into the philosophy of science, should know that science itself does not escape the task of accepting first principles ... a kind of faith.  Even the belief that our measurements are meaningful and reflective of reality involves a kind of faith.  Religious faith is little different (in principle) though it is different in scope.  


And really, anything may become the servant of force, not the least science.  Did A-bombs come from religion or science?  

TomMark,

I have little to say about Jungian or Freudian psychoanalysis ... though both of these thinkers are quite interesting, and very influential.  I'm just reading and learning.


Stephen  
Bob K
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63 posted 11-19-2007 02:56 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Stephanos,

         I believe you're right about science being a potential  servant of force.  Am I reading you correctly, here?  I think you've offered me a useful corrective.  Let's try another look.  

     Doesn't it seem more accurate to say that Force seems the almost perfect servant of Faith?

     It seems that, whether the Faith is religious or political, the Faithful are frequently ready to use Force to carry the day.  Even those who place their faith in Science seem to become remarkably inflexible in their thinking when their assumptions are questioned.

     I still think that Truth (Capital T) is too abstract to measure; and that folks confuse Truth, the abstraction, and Fact, which is subject to measurement and verification.

     I have in fact looked into the philosophy of science, though probably not to the depth you have.  I have no idea what you mean by "first principles."  Are you talking about Aristotle and identity—A is A—as in logic?  Are you talking about theology?  And if so, whose?  Theology and ontology aren't the same thing, exactly, are they?

     Also, if we're reading the same sort of Philosophy of Science, I think the gist is that as studies get further from straight philosophy, they get more concrete and more available to actual measurement.  Aristotle, as a Natural Philosopher, wrote descriptions of animals and plants.
Pliny the Elder, also a Natural Philosopher of sorts, did the same thing in the first century AD, and died when Vesuvius buried Pompeii in 79.  Nowadays we call them biologists.  We do experiments in biochemistry and quantify the results.  Yes, our belief in the results certainly
does involve a kind of faith.  Many people choose not to
have their illnesses treated, to have blood transfusions.
It doesn't always kill them, either, but statistically I would guess it wouldn't want to be a bet you want to take all that often.  Certainly not without lots of information that a man actually believing in the kind of argument you're advancing would want to acknowlege needing.

     Physics also separated from philosophy, even earlier and more crisply that biology.  Chemistry as well.

     The further you get from philosophy, the more actual measurements can supply actual meaningful data.  The further back the split happened, the less influence faith actually has.  You've got to have some pretty enormous upheaval on the philosophal level to effect the day to day workings of the basic sciences.  It's not impossible, Stephanos, but what would it have to be in practical terms to disturb the general belief in the consentual reality of, say, newtonian physics for our daily lives?
                           Sincerely, BobK


    

TomMark
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64 posted 11-19-2007 05:34 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Dear Bob K,
(Just down from 16 hours flying)

Allow  me to say this, there are three kind of topics here
1. The Jung's psychoanalysis
What is the base base on which he did his approach on human mental issues? Did he find a clue? Was there any practical method for  people who suffere from  Hysteria and Obsessional Neurosis?

2. Jung himself...YOu said that it was very hard to understand him.

3. the books  you metioned.
I have to get the book first.


Talking about Faith. Faith is merely a personal loyalty to what you believe. It is not related to truth. Thuth stands independently from one's attitute.

I will write more later.

Best wish to you

Tomtoo
Stephanos
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65 posted 11-19-2007 07:11 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

TomMark:
quote:
Faith is merely a personal loyalty to what you believe. It is not related to truth. Truth stands independently from one's attitute.


I agree that Truth stands independently from one's attitude (I think you are referring to faith here).  But it doesn't follow that faith is independent of truth, unless your definition of faith is synonymous with belief in general, whether true or not.  Theologically, "faith" is not merely loyalty, though it contains that element.  Faith is a kind of settled certainty about things which are are unquantifiable, yet true.  If one has a certainty about something which is untrue, it should not be called "faith".

My statements about science, was simply to remind that we accept certain truths a priori, before we can even approach the practice of science.  The fact that it turns out to be practical is secondary.


Stephen      
Essorant
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66 posted 11-19-2007 10:26 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Remember the words true and truth are related to the words trow and tree.  You may think of them as being related to trow because they involve belief / faith, but related to tree because they involve standing firm on roots as well.

Bob K
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67 posted 11-20-2007 03:21 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear TomMark & Stephanos,

                            Two fascinating conversations at once!  Lovely.

     It's interesting both of you seem to have this focus on truth.  If there is such a thing, and there may well be, it's functionally useless and archetypal in nature, as in Plato.
It serves to drive men mad with self-righteousness.  If most folks would settle for TomMark's "personal loyalty to what one believes", things would probably work better.

     I don't know many, if any, people with that kind of faith in themselves and their personal beliefs.  Others may be more widely acquainted.

     Truth gives me a headache.  Everybody's got a different idea about what it is and wants to shout at you about why you shouldn't do your own thinking and listen to them.  

     Stephanos, if somebody has a certainty about something which is untrue, how would they know?  Which things are you going to tell people are untrue.  Have you ever tried to talk somebody out of a delusion?  Stephanos, if you can't talk somebody out of a delusion when they're crazy, how are you going to do it when they're sane and they think their logic is as good or better than yours.  And may be.  

     Whose delusion is more in line with reality, after all?  I know I've been out-thought as often as not.  There's always a brighter and more insightful mind someplace on the block.  Who's going to get away with telling me my delusions—if they are delusions after all—don't amount to Faith.  What we believe, we believe because we believe it's true.  Nobody sets out to purposely believe a lie.

     Although, I hasten to add, it might make a very interesting set-up for a poem, depending on whether the lie might be interesting enough, and whether the contortions could be portrayed in an interesting enough fashion.  Let's not forget that whatever else we're doing here, it's the poetry that probably brings us together.

     Just that last idea was enough for me to feel happy about this whole exchange—getting a flash for a piece of poetry, I mean.  Thanks, guys.
                          With appreciation, BobK
    
Stephanos
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68 posted 11-20-2007 08:38 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

BobK:
quote:
It's interesting both of you seem to have this focus on truth.  If there is such a thing, and there may well be, it's functionally useless and archetypal in nature, as in Plato.


Absolutely not.  Truth (whether religious or otherwise) is very practical as well as being true.

quote:
It serves to drive men mad with self-righteousness.


But to be "self-righteous" is to depart from the truth.  No one is righteous apart from the free grace of God.  Truth has also served to make men more humble, loving, and virtuous.

quote:
If most folks would settle for TomMark's "personal loyalty to what one believes", things would probably work better.


I am pretty sure this describes the current state of affairs, even if one believes in nothing, or the world of one's own creation.

quote:
Truth gives me a headache.  Everybody's got a different idea about what it is and wants to shout at you about why you shouldn't do your own thinking and listen to them.


I can sympathize.  But I would like to remind you that though I believe in an absolute kind of truth, I try not to shout.  More local truths get shouted just as much as anything else.  And when I speak of truth, I'm usually trying to stimulate thinking, not stifle it.

Secondly, its not as if saying "there is no Truth", isn't itself a form of claiming a larger kind of truth.  Not only have you offered a macro truth (albeit in negative form), but have made several prescriptive statements about how people should live (ie loyal).  I'm not telling you that you're wrong ... I'm just pointing out the inconsistency between what you're doing, and your philosophy.    

quote:
Stephanos, if somebody has a certainty about something which is untrue, how would they know?


This depends upon which particular "truth".  There are a myriad of ways people come to true knowledge (religious or otherwise).  Of course this is no guarantee they always will.

quote:
Have you ever tried to talk somebody out of a delusion?


Yes.

quote:
if you can't talk somebody out of a delusion when they're crazy, how are you going to do it when they're sane and they think their logic is as good or better than yours.  And may be.


You're arguing from the more difficult to the less.  If someone may reason, they are at least closer to the truth than someone who is insane.  Though I admit that the human mind is very good at violating reason, all the while being sure of reasonableness.

Again, there is no guarantee of changing someone from error to truth.  But in this thread, we are firstly more concerned with whether or not Truth exists.  

quote:
Nobody sets out to purposely believe a lie.


I don't believe in the fundamental innocence of humanity.  The fallenness of man included his intellect.  I'm not denying that there is such a thing as an innocent kind of ignorance.  But there is also such a thing as a willful ignorance.  If this is true, it should at least challenge your egalitarianism of ideas.  


Stephen
Bob K
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69 posted 11-20-2007 02:14 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Stephanos,
         Please don't take me out of context and distort what I'm saying to fit your notion of what you apparently would like me to be saying.  It's impolite.

     I acknowledged, even in the quote you highlighted, there may be such a thing as Truth:  "and there may well be..."  Don't set up a straw man here.  As for the practicality of Truth, one cannot sharpen a pencil with it, open a can of dog food, or clean a kitchen floor.  It is on an utterly different level of abstraction.  It is a concept.  A concept may supply motivation to drive a nail, but by itself it won't do the job.  Conflating two levels of abstraction sounds wise enough, but it leads to unneeded paradoxes.

     To be self-righteous removes a person from the commerce of reason.  If there is Truth (capital T), self-righteousness may or may not force a departure from that commerce.  I don't know any way to evaluate that that is open to general agreement.  It's tough to get a bunch of tabby cats to do a precision synchronous tap dance; and I regard the likelihood of reaching consensus on Truth as being far beyond that.  The two of us mean well, and look at us.

     As for God, God is most frequently what folks are self- righteous about.  And while you are right about the concept of truth serving to make men more humble, loving and virtuous, you ignore the shadow side of the concept.  People who believe in God, I've been told, tend to get very particular about the fine points and issues of purity of belief.  In the name of Truth as well, many become very particular about how true a given thing may be.

     As for belief in nothing, as long as a person speaks a language, there are beliefs that come along as part of the package, simply in the metaphors and idioms of the language itself.  For example, we talk about people as "deep" or "shallow", as if we need to assign metaphorical values to each.  We make a distinction between anxiety and eagerness when physiologically there is only arousal, a single physical state.

     Belief in a world of one's own creation is the rule.  Everybody does this.  This is the system upon which psychotherapy operates; psychotherapy allows a person to alter the world they have unconsciously constructed for themselves.  This includes how they deal with the rest of the world, and, to some extend, how the rest of the world deals with them.

     Belief in an absolute Truth, insofar as I'm concerned is wonderful and useful.  Many absolute Truths have been literal life-savers for people, and have proved sustaining and affirming sources of spiritual nourishment.  Those who can subscribe to such things should do so.  

     I have not said, repeating myself for emphasis, there is no Truth.  I have said I don't know what that Truth might be.  I have said that it is on a different level of abstraction than the practical world, and I have said it's upsetting when you take me out of context and use pieces of my prose to pursue a discussion I'm not having with you.  I don't think you understand either what I'm doing or my philosophy and that you are having a discussion with straw men who believe things I don't.

     I asked about somebody being certain about something that wasn't true, and how they would know that.  I was not talking about religious faith or truth.  As far as I'm concerned all the religions are true, including their various contradictions, and we simply don't have the wherewithal to put them all together.  I have no wish to put a man of Faith on the spot by putting the contradictions of religion on parade.    

     But surely you can think of non-religious examples—say, somebody who believes that global warming is a hoax or that AIDs isn't caused by HIV or, if you happen to believe in either of those, pick your own example and forgive me for treading on your sensibilities.  I think there is probably an Archetype of Truth out there, as in Plato,
much as is the Archetype for The Good or Evil or even Chairness.  

     An Archetype functions, or so Jung tells us, (yes, back to Jung) like the matrix of a crystal.  The individual atoms of salt are all different, but they will always come together to fit the same pattern or matrix.  The crystals all look the same, but the contents, the atoms of salt, know where to go and how to bond.  That's how I think of Truth (Capital T).  If there's a single Truth, it's the matrix around which the various contents form.  Taoism, Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism, scientism, whatever you want to plug in there.

     Not that you asked me.

     As for argument from more difficult to the less; 1) my thought when initially writing the paragraph was to write it the way you suggest I write it; 2) I thought maybe to go for a funny; 3) after thinking about it as a funny, it struck me that I might be closer to an uncomfortable truth than I thought bearable; 4) so I let it stand in the reversed position, perhaps wrongly,  though I like it.

     During the Enclosures in the 1830s, on the Scots Island of Skye, a local character named Gilleasbuig Aotram saw a poor madman being dragged away to the local madhouse in chains.  All around, of course, the local crofters were being tossed off the land they've been farming forever and a day to be replaced by sheep and a few shepherds so the landlords could make more dough.  Aotram's reported to have said to the madman, "had you the right madness, bread would be secure."  Clearly the landowners had the right madness.  The story's from The Right Madness on Skye, by the way, a book of poems by the late great Richard Hugo.

     The point being about the nature of madness.  There's more social support for the landowners of this world, and the other sane logical folks with Truth on their side.  Whose bread is more than secure.  I feel trite in pointing this out.

     High and low, innocence and guilt in this context are articles of belief, as is the fallenness of man.  To consider man's intellect to be other than fallen is probably hubris, although I doubt there all that much need to claim any exaulted initial status.  The knowledge of good and evil is exceeding painful, but the fruit of that tree is of a type I have no desire to give up.

     As for willful ignorance, I'm unsure; there may be such as thing.  It may also be the oppressor's label for passive rage and resistance.  It tends to go with words like bad
and underachiever a lot.  I've noticed it often applies to people who simply don't want to go along with the program and be one of the gang and a team player a lot.

     As for my egalitarianism of ideas, what's that?  Is it bad?  It sounds bad.  Should I be severely punished right now?     Sounds like maybe I should be.   Hmmmm.  Bad again, and in public, too.
                        Affectionately, BobK
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70 posted 11-20-2007 07:15 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

BobK:
quote:
I acknowledged, even in the quote you highlighted, there may be such a thing as Truth:  "and there may well be..."  Don't set up a straw man here.


I didn't mean to take you out of context.  But you did however imply that truth is unknowable ... a position which is (for all practical purposes) little different than the belief that there is no truth.    

quote:
As for the practicality of Truth, one cannot sharpen a pencil with it, open a can of dog food, or clean a kitchen floor.  It is on an utterly different level of abstraction.  It is a concept.  A concept may supply motivation to drive a nail, but by itself it won't do the job.  Conflating two levels of abstraction sounds wise enough, but it leads to unneeded paradoxes.


I recognize that sterile truth (as a mere concept) needs application.  But truth as a concept only is not Truth in a full sense.  The Christian conception of truth involves authority, a recognition of divine law, and a response to that authority.  When I speak of truth, I am not speaking of platonic abstraction, but revealed truth.  

quote:
To be self-righteous removes a person from the commerce of reason.  If there is Truth (capital T), self-righteousness may or may not force a departure from that commerce.  I don't know any way to evaluate that that is open to general agreement.


It does force a departure from the commerce (as you call it) of truth and reason.  Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for exhibiting self righteousness.  And if I fall into it, I am as subject to the correction of Truth as much as anyone.  

And whether or not you know a way to evaluate it that is open to general agreement ... you yourself know it exists, and could cite examples.  You, in fact, are the first one who mentioned it.  If you censure anything with a moral tone, you are no longer operating in the area of reason alone, but in a type of faith.  Though morality is reasonable,  reason alone cannot sustain morality.  


quote:
t's tough to get a bunch of tabby cats to do a precision synchronous tap dance; and I regard the likelihood of reaching consensus on Truth as being far beyond that.


Who ever said that Truth was popular?  Should one's goal be to follow the crowd, or the discovery of truth even if followed only by few?  

quote:
As for God, God is most frequently what folks are self- righteous about.  And while you are right about the concept of truth serving to make men more humble, loving and virtuous, you ignore the shadow side of the concept.


I have never ignored the shadow side of the concept.  God (the highest thing) can be forsaken for idols, and thus become the lowest thing ... a divine imposter who leads men to violence and hatred.  It's funny that the most valuable things of life, can hurt us the most if they are not handled well.  The better a thing is, the worse it may become when spoiled.  The greatest endeavors of life usually involve more risk than just coasting by complacently.  The risk of pursuit, though real, does not devalue the goal.  

quote:
Belief in an absolute Truth, insofar as I'm concerned is wonderful and useful.  Many absolute Truths have been literal life-savers for people, and have proved sustaining and affirming sources of spiritual nourishment.  Those who can subscribe to such things should do so.


So is the nature of "truth" only pragmatic?  Or is truth necessary to determine the right kind of goals?  It seems that whenever one mentions pragmatism, a presupposition of truth (or a pretense thereof) is already there as a hidden preface.  

I'm not denying however the pragmatism or benefit of truth.  

quote:
As far as I'm concerned all the religions are true, including their various contradictions, and we simply don't have the wherewithal to put them all together.  I have no wish to put a man of Faith on the spot by putting the contradictions of religion on parade.


I would differ from you, by saying that much of all religions in common, is true.  There are however, fundamental differences at their centers, diametrically opposed, which demand that certain claims be true, and others be false.  An atheistic Buddhist philosophy, and a Christian Philosophy cannot be admixed.  There is a real, objective, fork in the road.
  

And I'm wondering, if you say that about religion, what is the line that prevents you from saying that about everything?  And yet, the fact that you don't imagine everything to be true and equal, is evident by our discourse.    

quote:
But surely you can think of non-religious examples—say, somebody who believes that global warming is a hoax or that AIDs isn't caused by HIV or, if you happen to believe in either of those, pick your own example and forgive me for treading on your sensibilities.


The thing about either of those examples, is that there IS a right answer.  Whether or not I as an individual have access to the scientific data, or the erudite explanations that would convince me of the truth, is another matter.  I need not forgive you of treading on my sensibilities if you know something I don't, or if you want to correct my misinformation.  If I believe the HIV virus doesn't cause AIDS, then I am wrong.  (The verdict is still out on global warming for me- in that I haven't studied it enough).  But even in the case of  Global Warming, there may be some out there (of the industrial capitalists types?) who don't want it to be true, because it would require some changes.  Again, there is willful ignorance with some, as well as innocent ignorance.    


quote:
If there's a single Truth, it's the matrix around which the various contents form.  Taoism, Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism, scientism, whatever you want to plug in there.


I agree with that to a point.  However it is the center of many of these religions which are different (not the existential desire for 'goodness', but the solid and particular thing that is offered as an answer).  Ravi Zacharias once said that while most people consider religions essentially the same, and only superficially different ... that they are really superficially the same, and essentially different.  In my study of comparative religion, I have found that this is true.  And that much at least, is little different than the "non-religious" examples you just offered.

quote:
The knowledge of good and evil is exceeding painful, but the fruit of that tree is of a type I have no desire to give up.


Seems like a confession of Biblical proportions.  

quote:
As for willful ignorance, I'm unsure; there may be such as thing.  It may also be the oppressor's label for passive rage and resistance.  It tends to go with words like bad and underachiever a lot.


And there's a perversion even of this truth.       If there is oppression, and the resistance is (really) heroic for good, then it is not willful ignorance.  But not every situation can be described with such melodrama.  Though I don't deny that such scenarios, and such misnomers (slanders?) exist.  

quote:
As for my egalitarianism of ideas, what's that?  Is it bad?  It sounds bad.  Should I be severely punished right now?     Sounds like maybe I should be.   Hmmmm.  Bad again, and in public, too.


Its just that truth invites mercy, as an alternative to punishment.  And I'm glad to invoke the former, seeing I've been given so much of it myself.  But I just want to point out that the moment you protest punishment, you've lost your egalitarianism of ideas.      




And finally,

I'm glad you ended your reply with "affectionately".  I was beginning to wonder ...  If you are taking me as abrasive, then by all means we should cease this discussion for the sake of peace.  If you think I've taken you out of context, then gently explain where I have.  Things get corrected as they go.  But don't get your feathers ruffled.  Philosophical forums (with amateurs like myself) are not for the weak.  It's not personal.  (Or maybe I want it to be more personal, by saying it's not)      


Peace,

Stephen
TomMark
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since 07-27-2007
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71 posted 11-21-2007 01:44 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Stephen
========"But it doesn't follow that faith is independent of truth"

and dear Bob K,

======"If there's a single Truth, it's the matrix around which the various contents form.  Taoism, Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism, scientism, whatever you want to plug in there."

Yes, both of you are right. Connection! Contact does not nessarily make a connection. Electricty makes engine turn but does not make a rock turn.

Stephen, The faith I mentioned meant general faith including
"I truly see God in Grand Canyon."
"I felt my prayer was so powerful in the prayer's dome" and
" I felt so close to God in Jerusalem"

One may put faith on God and one may put faith on anything. So, faith is not related to truth. (or it is indeed related to self-defined truth)

Dear Bob k,

if "Truth gives me a headache." then where does your  logic lead? Did Jung believe that his explanation of dream was truth? (is it real truth?)

I'll write more.

best

Tomtoo

TomMark
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since 07-27-2007
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72 posted 11-21-2007 02:44 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Dear Bob K,

"I still think that Truth (Capital T) is too abstract to measure; and that folks confuse Truth, the abstraction, and Fact, which is subject to measurement and verification."

See, you tell me how you feel about truth. This feeling is telling the TRUTH( how you feel is how you feel, which is truth) that "your definition of truth is bothering you."  Truth is not abstract. It is very concret. But talking about the measurement of truth, do you mean if there is "more truth" or "less truth"? or shall I say that all the masurement in this world is trying to measuring truth and psychoanalysis is also trying to measure truth.

my thought

best

TomToo
serenity blaze
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since 02-02-2000
Posts 28839


73 posted 11-21-2007 03:27 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Read The Fisher King.

(If your reading list is long, and you're a thoughtful sort, shrug--see the movie.)

Then ask yourself this question again.

I oughtta be sleeping, anyhow.
TomMark
Member Elite
since 07-27-2007
Posts 2111
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74 posted 11-22-2007 07:51 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Dear SB, are you talking to me? I don't have a reading list. I have a chore list.
 
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