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Passions in Poetry

Can you really change a person?

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Stephanos
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75 posted 11-23-2007 03:52 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Are we speaking of change in general, or change for the better?  If it is the first, then why would we want anyone to change?  It seems that some of us are talking about a generality, and others are talking about something involving a telos or standard (whether known perfectly or not).  

As for people changing for the better, I have seen it with my own eyes, and others are always part of it ... sometimes enemies, friends, family, and always God.


Stephen  
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76 posted 11-23-2007 04:46 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Dear Stephen, you are always right. Human beings can not change human beings, but God, the love from God can.

TomToo
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77 posted 11-23-2007 04:47 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Ah Stephan. I just love you. Really, I do.

You are such a good person and an idealist too. As far as I know, you practice what you preach, and I find that is rare.

So hugs.

My example of The Fisher King? I was thinking more specifically of the movie. The film ended well, with a happy ending, but I remember thinking that it wasn't very realistic.

What I'm trying to say is that good intent, even the best of intent can do harm. There are people out there who need their foibles--and I do believe most of us rely on some delusion to get through the day.

I have learned that playing armchair psychiatrist can bring on a heap of trouble.

Some delusions are protection.

Naturally, if someone's delusion is harmful to others, they are going to need some help.

That's when you let the professionals do their job.

Now. Let's say someone just has an annoying habit....like um, a grown man who throws his clothes all over his bedroom floor. That could be annoying to live with, but what we perceive as sloth and laziness might very well be "comfortable nesting" to the guy.

I say it's his room--his clothes--just close the door if it bothers ya.
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78 posted 11-23-2007 05:21 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Karen:
quote:
You are such a good person and an idealist too. As far as I know, you practice what you preach, and I find that is rare.


But I am also a realist, in that I recognize that no one is righteous or perfect.  As far as you know (our relationship is 98% virtual) is not very far.     But for now, without such a dissappointing reality, we probably wouldn't know how precious the doctrine of grace really is.

quote:
Now. Let's say someone just has an annoying habit....like um, a grown man who throws his clothes all over his bedroom floor. That could be annoying to live with, but what we perceive as sloth and laziness might very well be "comfortable nesting" to the guy.


Yeah, that's it.  Can I use that phrase with my wife next time she points at the floor of our bedroom?  "Nesting" sounds so much more natural, psychologically rooted and necessary than "lazy".  She just needs enlightenment.  

No, I see your point.  And actually the accomodating and tolerance approach is very useful (up to a point) on the part of someone else.  It is actually an indicator of patience and mercy.  But it becomes just an excuse and resignation if it is self tolerace.  If a man accepts his sloppiness as "nesting", he's probably accepted a cop-out for something he should be vigilant and apologetic about.  This is especially true when people still share rooms.    

Be harder on oneself than others, I say.  Though its more our nature to reverse that approach.    


Stephen
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79 posted 11-25-2007 01:44 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Folks,
         I few days off over the holiday was useful for me;  I hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving.  I meant the "affectionately", Stephen, although the conversation does get a bit frustrating from time to time.  I must laugh at my own reactions, but I've very happy to see that we seem to have been working our way back to the lotion  (I was going to say "the notion") of change.  There's something lovely, however, about the lotion of change, don't you think?
     I like TomMark—and here I take him out of context on purpose—when he says,"One may put faith on God and one may put faith on anything."  I am reminded of Samuel Johnson's comment about the wonderful 18th century religious poet, Christopher Smart, who was at the time going through a period of madness.  He believed that the only hope he had, and probably the only hope of mankind in general, lay in perpetual prayer.  He was apt to fall to his knees in the middle of the street (horses; think of horses!) and apply himself to long ferverent periods of loud prayer.  Such folk were called "enthusiasts" at the time.  And Johnson said that he would as soon pray with Kit Smart as any man.  
     I am not an enthusiast, like Smart, but I like what Johnson said.  I've known people whose lives have been turned around by religion, and I respect and encourage that.  I know athiests who have gained from their position, and I'm not about to quarrel with them either.
     The importance of faith was driven home to me about twenty-five years ago when I was having a talk with a schizophrenic guy about a time when his symptoms had been more florid.  He said that he couldn't bear to watch the titles on a movie, because he couldn't muster up the faith that the first letter  in a word—say, Director—actually had any relationship with the next letter.  For lack of that sort of faith, the man's entire personal universe fell apart.
I came to believe/think that faith had an absolute connection with our most intimate relationships with the world and with our selves.  It may be possible here that I'm wrong, TomMark; but the personal impact of the experience was very powerful.
     Also Truth still gives me a headache.  If you wonder why, look at the conversation in this forum since I made the statement originally.  As for where my logic leads, the statement is not part of a syllogism, it's a statement of physiological experience.  
     Why in heaven's name would you bother to ask me about  Jung's dream interpretation?  How would you know how seriously to take my reply?  I already come across too much as a stuffed shirt, otherwise you wouldn't be asking me the question.  If you really want to know what Jung's thinking is about dreams, you'll probably have to continue to make faulty assumptions or consult his work yourself.  The faulty assumptions are much easier and far less unsettling.  I reccommend them.  He's a thorny, unsettling and more than occasionally obtuse man.
     I stand by my statement about Truth (Capital T) being too abstract to measure; and that folks confuse Truth, the abstraction, and Fact, which is subject to measurement and verification.
     You proceed to offer an example in the next paragraph.  First, you assume I've told you how I feel.  No.  There is no such verb used.  I used the verb to think, and on purpose.  I have not defined Truth, by the way, and I'm not certain I could.  I have suggested one aspect of Truth.  Truth is an abstraction.  It is not a concrete noun.  Perhaps I could go further, but I don't feel confident in doing so.
     If Truth were concrete, as you suggest, you might make a wall out of it, or drill teeth with it; but you can't without playing games with the meaning of "concrete."  You would have to move the boundaries of the discussion and pretend you hadn't done so.
     Also, if you look at my actual statement, I do not, repeat, do not, say that you can measure Truth.  I say that people often make the mistake of confusing Truth and Facts.  Facts are subject to measurement and verification.
If they don't hold up, they are not facts.  Truth is not subject to measurement and verification because it remains speculative.  People measure Truth with different yardsticks.  When people argue about Truth, my observation is that everybody thinks they've won and everybody else has lost.  

     Dear Stephanos,  Are we talking about change in general or change for the better?
     Since The Question is Can you really change a person? you have done a piece of illogical magic in suggesting we look at "change for the better."  This is Begging the Question, isn't it? as though everybody has already accepted that it's possible for one person to change another (I think yes, by the way, given the proper circumstances)but everybody may not agree with me; and, beyond that, that there is a "better" that we can settle on.
    Furthermore,  I'm guessing your notion of "better" would be Hindu and that the word "God" and the concept of "grace" wouldn't figure in the discussion at all.  Call me wacky, I don't know.  Just a hunch.  And Yes, once more,
Affectionately, BobK
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80 posted 11-25-2007 01:54 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Folks,
        Has anyone thought about the notion of contractual change as a way of approaching the change relationship?
The change being worked on would have to have a legal object, meaning that you aren't allowed to contract for an illegal change.  Stephanos would probably have some interesting stuff to say about morality here.  There are other stipulations involved.  Any thoughts?
BobK
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81 posted 11-25-2007 10:16 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Dear Bob K,
Thank you for your kind holiday greetings.

And Do please not take me wrong when I asked you about Jung's dream-interpretation. I asked sincerely. I have a friend who believes breath Therapy. He does believe that the master's pictures, fax and telephone calls and words possess power. And If I ask why he believes it, I sure will hear the word "experience" and how good his philosophy is.   I respect his thought. He is a quite top material scientist in MIT. ( I can not understand, to tell you the truth)

====="It may be possible here that I'm wrong, TomMark; but the personal impact of the experience was very powerful."

You are absolutely right and This is a fact.
But allow me to make an extreme example: if plants were not rooted, what personal experience would bring to them ?

Truth is both internal and external. If we ignore the internal truth, sure we will follow around where our experiences lead...Do we human beings have highly biased selection on remembering our different experience? (can be good, bad and weired)

===="If Truth were concrete, as you suggest, you might make a wall out of it, or drill teeth with it;"
Do we drill wall or lick wall?  
    
Best

Tom
    

[This message has been edited by TomMark (11-25-2007 12:41 PM).]

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82 posted 11-25-2007 10:25 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

And Dear Bob K,

what do you mean by "contractual change"?
If I took it right,it means to change under pressure. Then I shall not call it a change. I'll call it a torture. really. 0r I am totally wrong here?

again  with best wish

Tom
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83 posted 11-25-2007 02:59 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've known people whose lives have been turned around by religion, and I respect and encourage that.  I know athiests who have gained from their position, and I'm not about to quarrel with them either.


Those who take religion only as a means to a personal end, have missed the heart and soul of it.  That's not to say that religious truth is not beneficial.  But that benefit remains secondary to truth.  There have always been times when pragmatism and piety have clashed ... when the former demands some kind of compromise of the latter.  Such discrepancy exists to illustrate that religious devotion is truly devotional first, and beneficial second.  That same kind of discrepancy also speaks of the atheist or impious person.  You say a person may "gain from their atheism", but this is due to the liberality of God who rains on the just and unjust alike.  It can be said that we are given a real choice, since the rejection of God does not always bring about immediate and obviously compelling ill.  It's kind of poetic really.  And a test all the way around.


This kind of question was addressed by the venerable book of Job.  Is piety only a disguise for self advancement?  Satan put the question in an extreme form "Does Job serve God for nothing?".  His insinuation was that Job's religion and professed love for God was kind of mercenary (not in the sense of money, but of personal gain).  And the thrust of the whole plot, and its conclusion, is to challenge that very assertion.

quote:
I stand by my statement about Truth (Capital T) being too abstract to measure; and that folks confuse Truth, the abstraction, and Fact, which is subject to measurement and verification.


Yes truth and measurement of it are often tenuous.  I just wanted to make sure that by saying so, you weren't implying truth to be unreal, unknowable, or totally subjective.  Love is also unmeasurable, as it were.  And yet everyone knows it is real.  And everyone knows the certainty of its verification, or lack thereof.  There are many other such examples.


quote:
If Truth were concrete, as you suggest, you might make a wall out of it, or drill teeth with it; but you can't without playing games with the meaning of "concrete."


It is a fact that there is no wall in my front yard.  It is the truth that I can not build one with water baloons, but must choose a sturdier material.  Truth is often an interpretation of "facts" which, though less concrete, is no less true.  You can't really build a wall or drill a tooth without it.

quote:
When people argue about Truth, my observation is that everybody thinks they've won and everybody else has lost.


The only problem with their thinking is that its not true.     Often everyone learns something, and has expressed at least a part of the truth.  "Haughty or not" seems to speak more to psychology than to the nature of metaphysics.

quote:
Dear Stephanos,  Are we talking about change in general or change for the better?  Since The Question is 'Can you really change a person?' you have done a piece of illogical magic in suggesting we look at "change for the better."


Not at all.  It is presupposed and inherent in the statement itself.  Its also scattered throughout your own replies.  You just told me of "gain" and of lives being "turned around".  If you do not mean by that 'change for the better' then what do you mean?

quote:
Furthermore,  I'm guessing your notion of "better" would be Hindu and that the word "God" and the concept of "grace" wouldn't figure in the discussion at all.  Call me wacky, I don't know.  Just a hunch.


My notion of better ... Hindu??  I might just be tempted to call you wacky, if I didn't think you meant to say something else.    

Hindu metaphysics are subversive to the whole idea of "better".  Any such distinction would be interpreted as an unenlightened evil (as contradictory as that is).  Christian Theology confirms that there is such a state, whether known perfectly or not.

Or did I misunderstand you?


Stephen.        
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84 posted 11-25-2007 03:44 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
but I've very happy to see that we seem to have been working our way back to the lotion  (I was going to say "the notion") of change.  There's something lovely, however, about the lotion of change, don't you think?


lol.  Do you believe in Freudian slips?  If I did, I would be tempted to say that you're telling me that change has to be more than skin deep.  

Stephen
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85 posted 11-25-2007 09:05 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I'm just coming back to address the question:

"Can you really change a person?"

*shrug*

Sure.

But what makes you think they will change into something acceptable to you?

How many more hoops will they have to hop through, until you decide that they are "what you need them to be"?
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86 posted 11-25-2007 09:58 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

One may ask himself that question: why does one try to change himself?  What's the point?  How far?  I think it is more important to ask what the problem or weakness is.  Sometimes you can help yourself in a certain situation more than others may, but sometimes others may help you even more.  It depends on what the situation or problem is and how much of a problem it actually is.  

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87 posted 11-26-2007 04:00 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear TomMark,
         Change by contract should be about as far from forced change as you can get.  Both parties, helper and helpee should agree that the change is useful and possible.  The helpee should be the one asking for the change, not some third party.  The change must be of a legal nature; that is, any contracts for theft, murder, fraud or things that are against the law are excluded.  The parties must be un-coerced in entering into the contract; no, if you don't do this, you'll be fired, your wife will leave you, and your puppy will be shot pressures are to be applied.  And both parties must be capable of entering into a contract; that is, one of them can't be unconscious or too confused to make a binding decision.
     Elements outside the contract, if they come up during the course of the contract, need to be negotiated with the same factors in mind if they are to be dealt with at all.  Compensation, if there is to be compensation, needs to be negotiated, as well as other terms at the beginning of the contract.  Violations of the contract on the part of one or the other party are to be discussed.
     That's it in a nutshell.  The power arrangements are laid out very clearly at the beginning.  The business of the relationship is laid out as well.  What's to b e done and how should—I think—be part of the negotiations, so everything is clear and up front.  I'm adapting this, by the way, from Claude Steiner, should you wish to look at him in more depth. I don't want to steal credit.  He's a Transactional Analyst, not to be remotely confused with Freudian analysis.  They'd have hernias on both sides, I think.


     I found your other stuff interesting. Yours also, Stephanos.  I think you were justified in giving me the sharp rap for my foolish use of Hindu theology.  I'm not as up on it as I should be, and I'm not as clear as I'd like to be about how Ghandi fits into the mainstream with his non-violent activism, his march to the sea to dispute the British salt tax, and the land-reform movement— Satyagraha I think they called it, though my spelling is off, I'm sure.  You know, when he was shot, in the instant he was dying, his last word was the Hindi name of God "Ram."   The truth is, he was not a very nice man to his wife or daughter, even if he seemed a saint to everybody else.  At least that's what I hear.
     As predicted, it proved impossible for either of you to resist trying to redefine the word "concrete."  QED, folks.
And the "better" I was talking about that got Stephanos into such a snit was his attempt to equate "better" with some sort of theological condition.  If it hasn't come yet, I am reasonably certain it will.
     Once again, God, even a Christian God, is a wonderful thing.  Christianity in its permutations is generally fine by me; often, in fact, better by me than one variety is to another.  I think Islam is mostly a pretty nice religion with some large problems with its extremities right now.  I happen to think the Buddhists are good too, with four noble truths that are a little lower on the abstraction scale than the ones we've been talking about, and easier to check out without dying.  I think agnostics are the cat's pyjamas and I've had some scientist friends who were athiests who were a bit dogmatic and hard to take, but generally swell people. Was it you, Stephanos, who called athiesm "sterile?"  Not cool, Stephanos, not cool, coming from a Christian.  These are the people who made athiesm a burning offense.  The Auto-de-fe from the folks who'd like to convince you of their compassion, and just accidently manage to think today that a little harmless linguistic smearing is fine.  "Sterile, Huh?"
     Stephanos, if I understand you correctly, you're telling me that you understand the rules of the universe, those of us who don't agree with you don't understand them, and that you are a simple, humble man.  I have no problem with this last part at least.  This is fine with me.  I do believe you are a simple humble man of great sincerity and that you have a core of deeply meaningful spiritual experience that sustains you.  I think of Kierkegaard's Knight of Faith.

     But I don't know if anybody other than you, yourself, and your personal relationship with God that can help you define how you need deal with the faith of others.  You seem comfortable instructing and correcting.  Joining, understanding, learning, synthesizing and growing are surely there someplace; you couldn't have come this far without them.  At this point, though, I suspect it's you and God around this issue of interfaith dialogue.  I don't see that I'm any help at all.

     Nothing I say seems to register.  You seem to be interested in correcting my errors without even understanding my point of view.  The thought that I may not consider my thinking erroneous doesn't seem to cross your mind.  The possibility it may not be erroneous is outside your universe.   I've tried to be clear that your religion is fine with me. Apparently the reverse is not true, though you don't know what my religion is.  Puzzled but  Affectionately, BobK
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88 posted 11-26-2007 04:34 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

(hugging Bob)



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BobK:
quote:
Was it you, Stephanos, who called athiesm "sterile?"  Not cool, Stephanos, not cool, coming from a Christian.  These are the people who made athiesm a burning offense.  The Auto-de-fe from the folks who'd like to convince you of their compassion, and just accidently manage to think today that a little harmless linguistic smearing is fine.  "Sterile, Huh?"


Bob, if you're going to accuse me of insult, could you at least quote me?  Sterile?  And in what context did I say that in?

Killing someone for atheism?  Have I ever hinted at such a thing?  Then why, I'm curious, do you bring up such a thing?  My discussions of atheism as well as theism are ideological, as this is a philosophy forum (a place for cross examining and discussing philosophical notions and claims).  I hate religious sins, and violence just as much as you do.  And if you want to accuse me of verbal smearing, at least quote me, so I may give a defense.  You may have taken it quite differently than intended.  

quote:
Stephanos, if I understand you correctly, you're telling me that you understand the rules of the universe, those of us who don't agree with you don't understand them, and that you are a simple, humble man.


Anyone who knows something revelatory runs the risk of being thought arrogant.  It's the nature of the knowledge and claims made.  No, I don't take personal pride in knowing what God has shown me.  If you are offended at such, I would ask you whether it is possible  that a philosophy of metaphysical agnosticism has led to such offense.  Many times, it is not even one's manner, but the very suggestion that it is possible to know truth, which is the stumbling stone.


And having asked that question ... I cannot apologize for the statements or claims.  But if it is my manner, I do apologize for anything that made you feel slighted or insulted.  


quote:
You seem to be interested in correcting my errors without even understanding my point of view.[/quote}

  
Have my descriptions of your point of view been inaccurate?  If so tell me how.  Chiding me is fine.  But I still need to know how I've misinterpreted you, if I have done so.

[quote]The thought that I may not consider my thinking erroneous doesn't seem to cross your mind.


Actually I usually assume that anyone who posts in a philosophy forum perhaps does not begin by doubting what they say.  So, yes, that did cross my mind.  I never was out to say you are wrong on all points.  You've said and expressed many fine things.  But I do like to challenge.

quote:
I've tried to be clear that your religion is fine with me. Apparently the reverse is not true


I've only been descriptive in saying that your acceptance of religion seems (according to what you've said so far) to be based upon how it may contribute to one's personal benefit.  And I've also conceded that that is a very important aspect.  But I've also pointed out that religion (by its very nature) holds other aspects which transcend this, namely the centrality of truth, authority, and devotion.  

Of course, saying that you accept religion based upon benefit, may be to misunderstand you completely.  But I've only based that perception on what you've said.  The wide variance of beliefs you gave in your examples suggested strongly that the beliefs themselves were almost superfluous or unessential ... almost as mere means to an end.  And a very individualistic end, if I'm understanding you correctly with what you say about the whole concept of "better".    

You are welcome to clarify / correct / expound.

Or, if you find yourself frustrated by this conversation, we could certainly pause a while.  


also affectionately,

Stephen.    

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-26-2007 10:27 AM).]

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90 posted 11-26-2007 12:09 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Oh, dear Bob K

" Change by contract should be about as far from forced change as you can get.  Both parties, helper and helpee should agree that the change is useful and possible.  The helpee should be the one asking for the change, not some third party.  The change must be of a legal nature; that is, any contracts for theft, murder, fraud or things that are against the law are excluded.  The parties must be un-coerced in entering into the contract; no, if you don't do this, you'll be fired, your wife will leave you, and your puppy will be shot pressures are to be applied.  And both parties must be capable of entering into a contract; that is, one of them can't be unconscious or too confused to make a binding decision."

This is grand but put aside working relationship, have you ever found a single case in real life? why should I agree with you? (on the contract?). Based on what I shall accept your suggestion? because I was feared of the penalty?  why I have to be afraid of the penalty? If I can leave the relationship anytime I want?

Because love. Love make people change to fit each other. The only force to change a person is love.

best

Tom
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91 posted 11-26-2007 12:39 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Stephanos,

         Once again I owe you an apology.  I have misquoted you.  "Sterile" was used in relationship with "truth" (small T).  I'm not comfortable enough with computers to skip back and get the entire quote and feel comfortable that I won't end up deleting this paragraph and the next two as well.  You should have had a chance to reply, given that I was way off base.

        It is not my perception that you've had a revelation of the Truth that bothers me.  It's your perception that your personal revelations are more important and correct than those of others that gets under my skin.

     I don't think all beliefs are equal, although I'm actually not sure how I'd go about defending that rationally.  I spent about fifteen years working on locked psychiatric units and patients used to ask my help sometimes in killing themselves.  Yes, I believed they had a right to decide their own fates, and no, I wasn't going to help them, even if it contradicted my beliefs because it didn't feel right.  Sometimes I wish I were more rational, sometimes I wish I were more feeling; instead, I'm stuck being a person caught in the middle, trying to make sense of things.

     I do think that all the different positions of faith that I've spoken about are valid positions.  None of them need my personal defense and most of them have people who are as deeply convinced in their authenticity as you are in your particular christian position.  Some of them might even overlap with your christian position.  What makes your position different is that you believe it with the force of revelation.  And that you are unaccepting of people who believe differently, because your revelation tells you you should and you've got a system of logic worked out that works if you're already a believer and only sometimes if your revelation is other.

    I don't think any of the people of faith that I know feel their Faith is convenient or for personal gain any more than you feel that yours is.  Though, Stephanos, I have trouble believing you if you suggest to me that your faith doesn't supply you with liberal personal gain in addition to its more substantial nourishment.  And I fail to see why such wouldn't be the case for others as well.

     I would like to confess confusion about a couple of statements of yours.  I'm working from a printed copy here, undated:

     "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."

     What is an "egalitarianism of ideas?"   It appears I asked before.  You quote me asking, "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."

     I was somewhat confused when you graciously offered to grant me mercy as an alternative to punishment, in the somewhat mistaken belief that I thought I'd actually done something wrong.  Pray tell, what?  I was asking for clarification.  Not only did you grant me absolution for the sin of nothing, but you still didn't tell me what egalitarianism of ideas was.  

     Then used it again at the end of the paragraph:  "I just just want to point out that the moment you protest punishment, you've lost your egalitarianism of ideas."

     Then, "An atheistic Buhhhist philosophy, and a Christian Philosophy cannot be admixed."

     Perhaps straight Atheism and Christianity can't be mixed; the two theologies are at loggerheads.  I'm not clear about Christian Philosophy being at odds with The Four Noble Truths.  Simply because they have nothing to say about God doesn't make them false.  Much about The Eightfold Path is compatable with Christianity.  Certainly is fits well enough with Judaism and Islam, although the more conservative members of all these faiths grumble.

     I've spent twenty years working on mindfulness and know of Jesuits who've done the same.  A lot of the Loyolla spiritual exercises are very close, I hear.
Till later, Affectionately BobK
    
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92 posted 11-26-2007 02:56 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

(hugging Stephan)
Stephanos
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93 posted 11-26-2007 04:17 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:
It is not my perception that you've had a revelation of the Truth that bothers me.  It's your perception that your personal revelations are more important and correct than those of others that gets under my skin.


Wouldn't a "revelation of the Truth" by its very nature, create the possibility of other claims being non-true, in relation to it?  I'm not talking about all other claims from other traditions, but merely those ones which really do contradict.


For example, the claims that Jesus Christ is the divine incarnation and the only sacrifice for sins are already at odds with some of the statements of the Koran (written some 600 years later after the gospels).  You can easily see how the Biblical revelation would really be at odds with a claim that he never died, or that humankind has no sin, etc ...


You may personally struggle with how revelation is validated at all, but at least you can see that Truth claims create a kind of hierarchy by their very nature.


quote:
Yes, I believed they had a right to decide their own fates, and no, I wasn't going to help them, even if it contradicted my beliefs because it didn't feel right.


Is there the possibility of conflating a "right" with something like will or ability?

I believe that there is a moral law which gives a person no more "right" to kill themselves, than to kill someone else.  And yet we have a terrible freedom to do what is not right, which brings us back to the concept of absolutes, morality, and sin.  

That's not to say there's not a whole medical and psycho-social angel from which to consider such a thing like suicide, or reasons for compassion.  If Jesus could say of sin "They know not what they do", then so may we.

If you doubt what I say, I will at least point out that your feelings of "not right" seem more in line with what I'm saying here.

I also work among suicidal people as well, since I work in an ICU at a local hospital.  

quote:
I do think that all the different positions of faith that I've spoken about are valid positions.  None of them need my personal defense and most of them have people who are as deeply convinced in their authenticity as you are in your particular christian position.  Some of them might even overlap with your christian position.  What makes your position different is that you believe it with the force of revelation.



I have no problem with the overlap of truth.  The periphery of all religions contain an embarrassment of truth, wisdom, and what is quite compatible with Christianity.  It is the central cliams whcih radically differ (which in Christianity involves very poignant metaphysical claims about the nature of humanity and God, as well as historical happenings).  I don't even begin to see how all of these contradictory foundational claims can be valid, if you understand what they are really saying.  

One could more easily make the claim that they are all false, than to say they are all true.  It seems you are making a very general claim, rather than dealing with specifics of comparative religion.  The mere fact that people believe differently, is no evidence that all religious beliefs are valid.  

And again, I acknowledge that you personally have a problem with how any such claim might be vindicated above another, and with validation.

quote:
And that you are unaccepting of people who believe differently, because your revelation tells you you should and you've got a system of logic worked out that works if you're already a believer and only sometimes if your revelation is other.


I would only ask you to consider whether there is a difference between being unaccepting of people who believe differently, and being critical of beliefs.


The Christian revelation says nothing about being unaccepting of people.  The command is rather to love people, whether they believe like you or not.  And that is a serious challenge for Christians, as for anyone.


quote:
I don't think any of the people of faith that I know feel their Faith is convenient or for personal gain any more than you feel that yours is.  Though, Stephanos, I have trouble believing you if you suggest to me that your faith doesn't supply you with liberal personal gain in addition to its more substantial nourishment.  And I fail to see why such wouldn't be the case for others as well.


I agree with your observations.  But I think you might have misunderstood me when I mentioned "personal gain".  I meant that your acceptance of religious ideas seems based upon the question of personal benefit alone, and not upon the religious ideas themselves.  

I've never denied that a relationship with God is not beneficial.  I'm only telling you that in the area of religion, it is secondary.

quote:
What is an "egalitarianism of ideas?"


By "egalitarianism" I was referring to a kind of assumed equality of ideas ... which is useful as an approach, for a hearing.  But as an absolute of philosophy, its not so good.

quote:
You quote me asking, "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."

     I was somewhat confused when you graciously offered to grant me mercy as an alternative to punishment, in the somewhat mistaken belief that I thought I'd actually done something wrong ...

Then used it again at the end of the paragraph:  "I just just want to point out that the moment you protest punishment, you've lost your egalitarianism of ideas."


No, it was tongue in cheek.  You were the first to jokingly mention punishment.  And I jokingly replied that I prefer to offer mercy, adding that any protest of punishment on your part devastates your 'egalitarianism of ideas' ... since you obviously don't think your own punishment would be such a good idea.

Bad joke perhaps, but with a truth.

quote:
Perhaps straight Atheism and Christianity can't be mixed; the two theologies are at loggerheads.  I'm not clear about Christian Philosophy being at odds with The Four Noble Truths.  Simply because they have nothing to say about God doesn't make them false.  Much about The Eightfold Path is compatable with Christianity.


But there is more to Buddhism than "The Four Noble Truths" and "The Eightfold Path".  These are instructions for virtuous living, and they are rich with moral truth.  But when I say that Christianity and Buddhistic Philosophy can't be mixed, I am referring to the central statements about the kind of world we live in.  Pantheism and theism are at odds.  A world which God created with a standard, is not the same as a world which is monistic.  If everything is one, and there is no other, then there is no god save 'everything'.  


I have difficulty seeing how the 'nobility' of the noble truths can be anything but conventional, if distinctions themselves are ultimately unreal.  


But as far as the prescriptions for wisdom and life, Buddhism holds much truth, and is very compatible with Christianity.  There again, I don't want you to imagine that I find all these traditions without truth.  There is rich truth, and I don't think that's accidental.  


later,

Stephen.    
Stephanos
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94 posted 11-26-2007 04:26 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Karen,

Your hugs are always appreciated

(hug right back)

Stephen
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95 posted 11-26-2007 05:34 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos


If everything is one, and there is no other, then there is no god save 'everything'.
  


But that is like saying the head can't be part of the whole body without the whole body being the head too.

I think everything can be one whole that includes God, without everything needing to be or be considered as being God too.  The word universe itself implies oneness, therefore, anyone that uses it, I think, is somewhat giving into a monistic approach.  

Stephanos
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96 posted 11-26-2007 07:09 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
But that is like saying the head can't be part of the whole body without the whole body being the head too.
I think everything can be one whole that includes God, without everything needing to be or be considered as being God too.


But Eastern Pantheism doesn't recognize a "head".  Such distinctions are considered illusory.    

And Christian Theology makes a sharp distinction between God and his creation.  God is not merely a "part" of a bigger whole, but the source of the whole.  He is not dependent upon it, in the same way the creation is dependent upon him.

Stephen  
Bob K
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97 posted 11-26-2007 11:19 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Stephanos,

         My time is limited, but I wanted to say that I greatly appreciated your last long contribution.  It seemed deeply felt and well thought, clearly your own unique point of view without compromise that I could see and yet substantial and humane as well.  I felt there was room for more that one person in the world you were offering to share with us, and I feel honored to be included in that offer.  Thank you.

     Some of the others in the discussion are up to interesting tricks, I see.  I think that offering paradox here isn't really very helpful.  If you'll look at the paradoxes closely you'll notice—as Bertrand Russell points out in his Theory of Logical Types—that paradox is generated by confusing two levels of abstraction with each other.  If the statements are reformulated to read correctly (apples to apples, as it were) Achilles beats the hare every time on the one hand and, one the other, you can certainly keep dividing the distance between two points forever, to revisit the Achilles and the hare paradox.  You'll not have to worry about Achilles never catching up.

     Try going back to the levels of abstraction around Universe and Everything and God and the various other terms you're juggling, and I suspect that the apparent confusions will simply vanish.  I think they're linguistic artifacts more than actual issues.  Anyway, it hurts the brain less to check the suggestion out than to live with unnecessary and resolvable paradox, I find.
Affectionately, BobK
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98 posted 11-26-2007 11:23 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

I realize I wasn't clear that the "you" I was addressing in the last two paragraphs was Essorant.  Beg pardon, and all my best, BobK
TomMark
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99 posted 11-26-2007 11:24 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Stephen,
========"But as far as the prescriptions for wisdom and life, Buddhism holds much truth, and is very compatible with Christianity"

where did you get this?

Does Buddhism work on observation, fact, feelings, experience and superstition? Does it say that it exists only because you believe it. It were not there if you didn't believe it?

May be I shall learn more.  

Tom


 
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