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Passions in Poetry

Can you really change a person?

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TomMark
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100 posted 11-26-2007 11:27 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Dear Bob K, I read part of an article about Social Neuroscience...Interesting field.

I'll see if I can tell you more.

Tom
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101 posted 11-28-2007 11:37 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


Dear TomMark,

I looked at a few web sites about Social Neuroscience and it looks interesting, though it has a bit more hard science to it than I find I can follow or understand easily.  I'm going to have to find one of those Neuroscience for Fools primers someplace if I want to keep up.
     I do know that there were some hard markers found for schizophrenia back in the early '80s at Harvard; something about abherrant eyetracking movements that seemed to show up in folks with a fairly solid diagnosis of schizophrenia..  I'm still at the place though that I'm uncertain and uncomfortable about assigning any but the most basic of psychiatric diagnoses to people in the first place.  Historically, diagnoses seem to be quishy.  
     For some reason, Psychiatry seems to feel justified in taking a jump way beyond that, assigning diagnoses with what they seem to think a high level of confidence, and then using these (to my mind) rickety, diagnoses to draw conclusions about heritability, biochemistry, structure and evolutionary function.
     It's possible, especially with advances in real time brain imaging, that some of these conclusions are possible.  That's why I'd like to have a look at some of the research and talk to people who might help me puzzle it out.  My sister probably know this stuff well enough, and I'm going to be seeing her in a few weeks,  She and her husband may be able to fill me in a bit.  


     You asked Stephanos about Buddhism.  I thought I'd chime in a bit as well.  I have some thoughts on the matter that might diversify your imput.  Buddhism's been around 500 years longer than Christianity.  It's got as many differences and quirks as anything can acquire over that time.  Some nooks and crannies of Buddhism are more complex than others.  I think they'd all agree on The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path.  You can probably Google a thumbnail description of the first in one or two simple pages.  The second can be laid out in three or four simple pages.  
     Remember, I used the word "simple," and not the word "easy," please.
     I happen to think the theology is compatable with Christianity.  I think Stephanos is respectful of the core of it, the ethical core of it, but doesn't see a Christology or a sense of salvation and redemption to it, and finds it lacking there.  I think the eschatology may be a problem for him as well.  The End, if I understand correctly, in Buddhism is not a final day of judgement between Good and Evil, but that time when all beings have reached enlightenment and have been helped off the wheel of incarnation and the moment to moment suffering implicit in that.
     Two different views, both driven by a sense of radical love.  I have more understanding of western notions of creation—where all this came from—so I find Stephanos more understandable in may ways.  His ontology is familiar.  But I'm still learning.  It should be good to hear from Stephanos, and find out what he has to say.  Anyway, Nice to chat, Affectionately, BobK
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102 posted 11-29-2007 12:16 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Dear Bob K,

Scientists are now targeting a gene called Neuregulin-1. I know that one is trying to screen her 170 some blood samples of Schizophrenia patients.

and other
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=pubmed&Cmd=ShowDetailView&TermToSearch=18032396&ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum
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103 posted 11-29-2007 01:05 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

And about the Buddhism.

I view their "wisdom" as mind game. But I have to say that the most smart one was their master. He was a truth searching man.

may I ask Who defines their terms, such as  "suffering" ?

Sculptors are able to sculpt anything to beauty. Human mind too, can make anything we believe a beautiful logical thing.  

If human beings' basic existing was to live and to propagate, then how did we get to the point of create religion? Does religion make us live better? if yes, we shall choose the best, the most easy one, right? We can't possibly make life easier by hardening our life, can we? But for the enjoyment of philosophical thinking and talking, we shall have the most fancy one, like those psychoanalysis, right? (don't be offended, I am joking) Buddhism dose not close to either ends.

what am I talking about?

best

Tom
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104 posted 11-30-2007 12:29 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

BobK,

My reply may take a while.  (busy)

But it will come around.


Stephen
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105 posted 01-21-2008 02:52 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear TomMark,

         I think Stephanos will probably be a while longer.  So I thought I'd say about "suffering," that to use the term doesn't make much sense at all unless the one who defines the term is the one with the messy end of the stick.  I never met anyone who was willing to listen to me when I said to them that they weren't really suffering.  Despite my confidence in my grip on reality, for some funny reason they always thought they knew more about what they were feeling than I did.

     Wisdom is funny.  If you claim to have it, you're wrong, almost by definition, aren't you?  If you do have it, and other people claim you have it, then you know they're wrong because you know how little you actually do know.
It dumps you into the funny situation of accepting that vast and deep humor of the world, and of the funniness of  flawed fools loving each other and learning how to laugh and take things seriously at the same time.  Wisdom is funny, I suspect no matter how you look at it.  Someday I hope to get some or earn some, or awaken to some or laugh myself sick into some.  It would be nice, wouldn't it.

     Psychoanalysis isn't a religion, it's a method of investigation with highly specialized uses.  It sometimes is useful as a psychotherapy as well, but it isn't for everybody and probably not for anybody all the time.  Classically, it's best for people with obsessive-compulsive problems and for people with what they used to call Hysteria, a psychiatric illness with no exact modern equivalent but which overlaps several others, such as hystrionic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder.  

     A religion, by definition, needs to be more broadly defined.  Nor is it clear to me that Buddhaism is as much a religion as a method of living, though that is certainly much much more debatable.  I may even probably be wrong there.  Hope you don't mind me reopening an old discussion, I simply thought that waiting for Stephanos gave away more control than I actually had to.  Bob K.
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106 posted 01-21-2008 02:53 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

So I thought I'd say about "suffering," that to use the term doesn't make much sense at all unless the one who defines the term is the one with the messy end of the stick.
Suffer is kind of feeling. If you want to acknowledge it.  Beside the cursed two: man has to sweat to get food and woman shall bear pain when delivery.

I never met anyone who was willing to listen to me when I said to them that they weren't really suffering.

One can possibly not feel and understand how other is feeling.  And how can one erases other people's feeling by rational reasoning?

Despite my confidence in my grip on reality, for some funny reason they always thought they knew more about what they were feeling than I did.
truth.
One man complained about his ex-wife to show that he was suffering from the marriage because his ex didn't do such thing as " I have to iron my own tie". (true story heard on last Saturday)
But my father happily polished my mother's shoes which was also truth.

To understand human feelings is to feel but not to analyze.

Wisdom is funny.  If you claim to have it, you're wrong, almost by definition, aren't you?

No. By definition, Everyone can possesses wisdom. What is  your definition of Wisdom?


If you do have it, and other people claim you have it, then you know they're wrong because you know how little you actually do know.

Wisdom is not knowledge. But a fair and fine judgment. Illiterate people can have it. Or I misunderstand you at all?


It dumps you into the funny situation of accepting that vast and deep humor of the world, and of the funniness of  flawed fools loving each other and learning how to laugh and take things seriously at the same time.

one needs to be a fool sometime because overly-smartness can trap one to be more foolish.

Wisdom is funny, I suspect no matter how you look at it.

why?

Someday I hope to get some or earn some, or awaken to some or laugh myself sick into some.  It would be nice, wouldn't it.

agree.

Psychoanalysis isn't a religion, it's a method of investigation with highly specialized uses.

I have never seen one usage in my life time. But if I wanted to tell people that we were not suffering, I might use it to numb their emotions.

It sometimes is useful as a psychotherapy as well, but it isn't for everybody and probably not for anybody all the time.

You are right here. But I have not seen a single case.  

Classically, it's best for people with obsessive-compulsive problems and for people with what they used to call Hysteria, a psychiatric illness with no exact modern equivalent but which overlaps several others, such as hystrionic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder.
if you have data on this.  

A religion, by definition, needs to be more broadly defined.  Nor is it clear to me that Buddhaism is as much a religion as a method of living, though that is certainly much much more debatable.

Yes, I agree.

  I may even probably be wrong there.  Hope you don't mind me reopening an old discussion,

You can say anything you want, dear Bob K. we all learn from each other. And I do cherish your every post here and in other forums because you are writing what in your mind with you heart in great passion.

Thank you, dear Bob K.

TM

"why do you twist my passion into a string to fit in your thread?" TM

[This message has been edited by TomMark (01-21-2008 05:17 PM).]

Stephanos
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107 posted 01-21-2008 04:27 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

BobK,

Looking back, it seems you've expressed the essential differences of Christianity and Buddhism quite well.  You've noted the different metaphysic and ultimate goal, even noting that it is not clear to you whether Buddhism is a religion.  I guess I'm trying to figure out what you were expecting of me, by way of a response (that hasn't been touched upon already).  My short version has been that Buddhism and Christianity have totally different centers, and goals, though having a similar expression of ethics.  But it seems you've acknowledged this already.

(and my apologies, I had forgotten about this thread)

Stephen
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108 posted 01-22-2008 12:56 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Stephanos,

         No clear expectation, I think.  But I did miss your imagination and your thought,  Can't say I agree all the time, but then I can't even say that about myself.

Yours, BobK.
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109 posted 01-27-2008 10:49 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

BobK,

To begin the discussion then, I would ask you why you consider Buddhism and Christianity to be compatible or complimentary?  Or if you think their differences are at all significant, and why or why not?

Stephen

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110 posted 01-30-2008 12:56 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Stephanos,

           Thanks.  I don't know quite how to approach this because of the first commandment.  In so many ways it makes discussion of other paths and how they relate to the varieties of the judeo-christian path very very difficult.  The proscription against Idols and having no other Gods before God cuts deep.  It's one of those places in the bible where it's tempting to say, okay, this is a good place to stop; we've got the whole thing in a nutshell right here.

     It never actually seems to work that way, though, does it?  I mean, when you think of it, most of the problems we have in life probably come from putting something between ourselves and God.  Money, job, ambition, whatever, and we lose sight.  I think in some ways we can let rules and prescriptions intervene between ourselves and God as well, although nobody's ever done to my mind a good job of teasing out the element of madness that so easily gets jumbled up in the mixture.  

     The story about the sacrifice of Isaac seems to illustrate the principle.  In Abraham, we have a man who allows nothing to get between himself and his God.  God is jealous.  Anything that you set up as equal importance has got to go, and the story is absolutely ruthless in its point.
It simply doesn't address the identity of God, though; and not everything that identifies itself as God, is God.  Sometimes it's God, sometimes it's madness, sometimes it may be the IRS.  Faith is our attempt to transcend the difficulties.  I shouldn't speak for others; it is my attempt.

     Unfortunately, I've never been able to tell myself that I believe in the truth of something when I'm not actually convinced.

     These things are the province of religion and of faith.  People have been trying to apply logic to religion, especially to Judiasm and to Christianity, for thousands of years.  The proofs of God's existence are definitive for believers.  For non-believers, they are not.  For doubters, they haven't been very convincing on the whole, perhaps because doubters are seeking something more substantial than logic alone can supply:  Something perhaps of surity and comfort that logic has not been engineered for.

     I suspect that the great religions of the world are systems which attempt to give life meaning, and which actually succeed in doing so for the majority of people.
Religions are sense.  Most religions have strong feelings about the quality of the sense they offer and have grown protective and proprietary.

     Some of the things that folks call religions I would not.  Unlike religions, which are systems and which require belief, these are more properly methods,  which are paths or ways, which require practices.  Buddhaism, which is what I'm talking about here, is one of that latter group.
Buddahism has a longer history than Christianity, so its practice has become quite heterodox, and it has in some of its iterations at this time picked up its share of Gods and Goddesses.  I don't think they are central to the path, however, which is at its heart fairly basic.

     It addresses the Problem of Pain in as direct a fashion as it has ever been addressed.  And it offers a solution to it, and a method for implimenting the solution that works.
And then it offers a prescription for living that is practical and straightforward as well.  I see nothing in the Buddhaist approach that needs to incompatible with a Christian world view.  I once has the notion of reincarnation explained to me on a very here and now basis, and karma as well.  I think these things can be done, and with some utility, but I think that it's unlikely that it will happen.

Stephanos
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111 posted 01-30-2008 05:24 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:
Thanks.  I don't know quite how to approach this because of the first commandment.  In so many ways it makes discussion of other paths and how they relate to the varieties of the judeo-christian path very very difficult.  The proscription against Idols and having no other Gods before God cuts deep.


Yes, that's true.  But I've also recognized (like you) truth in other religions / philosophies.  Despite the monotheism of my religion, I can't say rashly that the insights of other religions are all wrong.  Truth is liberally scattered throughout our world.  The story about Paul and the altar to "The Unknown God" illustrates this.  Though the Athenians didn't know God per se, they had insight enough to unwittingly acknowledge him in their Pantheon.  There is both beauty and truth in other traditions, including Buddhism.  The rub, I think, is the Christian assertion that the "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" are found in Christ, and that redemption is found in him alone.  But even with this exclusivity in mind, I find myself free to recognize truth anywhere I might find it.  

quote:
Faith is our attempt to transcend the difficulties.  I shouldn't speak for others; it is my attempt.


You have spoken well.  Who ever imagined it was supposed to be easy?  

quote:
These things are the province of religion and of faith.  People have been trying to apply logic to religion, especially to Judiasm and to Christianity, for thousands of years.  The proofs of God's existence are definitive for believers.


I have a slightly different take on this.  In my lay study of Western Philosophy I have seen the weaknesses of Rationalism as well as Empiricism.  The insight of postmodern thinking was to realize that modernistic boasts of watertight certainty is fluff.  In other words, nearly EVERYTHING involves an ingredient we might call faith.  If not faith in the religious sense, it is very akin to it.  I don't think it is wrong for people of the Christian faith to appeal to logic, reason, evidence, or any such thing ... simply because it is within the Telos of the Judeo-Christian Revelation that such things retain their significance.  That doesn't mean that these things are not always limited.  They are.  But will one make the inference that such things are a chance product of an irrational nature, or a part of some meaningful design?  To me, the inference which trivializes inference itself is most questionable.


It's not that the Christian faith doesn't have its cognitive and practical difficulties.  It most certainly does.  The question is, which set of difficulties is merely mystifying, and which is damning?  As G.K. Chesterton once wrote (paraphrase):  We all argue in a circle, but which circle is the best circle?  Which explanation holds the most explanatory power for who we really are?


quote:
For doubters, they haven't been very convincing on the whole, perhaps because doubters are seeking something more substantial than logic alone can supply:  Something perhaps of surity and comfort that logic has not been engineered for.


True, this is the experiential part of faith ... or the existential part, if you will.  But it holds its own difficulties.  It was like pulling teeth for me to come to God, not because of intellectual difficulties, but because of hardness of heart.  The doctrine of original sin is a dogma for Theologians to discuss; But practically it is a personal rebellion against God that is closer than breathing.  And it is one that we can hardly even explain ... that we ourselves are even unconscious of much of the time.  I believe that honest doubt exists, but I also know that much intellectual contention about the faith is a kind of smokescreen.  To use a children's tale of C.S. Lewis; No one wants to come to Aslan at the first.  And even those who have will not mitigate the idea of Divine danger, but only add the epithet "but he is good".


quote:
Buddahism has a longer history than Christianity, so its practice has become quite heterodox, and it has in some of its iterations at this time picked up its share of Gods and Goddesses.  I don't think they are central to the path, however, which is at its heart fairly basic.


I agree with this.  The religious aspect is somewhat extraneous to the central thrust of Buddhism.
quote:
It addresses the Problem of Pain in as direct a fashion as it has ever been addressed.  And it offers a solution to it, and a method for implimenting the solution that works.


The greatest difficulty with the Buddhistic philosophy I have is the stance it takes toward "desire".  It seeks to transcend desire completely.  But so much of our humanity is rooted in desire.  It seems to me that the Christian answer is better in proposing a dualism in the area of desire.  Good versus bad desire or (if you prefer) proper desire versus improper, inordinate affection, too much of a good thing, uncontrolled impulses, unruly passion etc ...  I think this is truer to human nature and the problem we have at its most basic level.  It is not desire that is intrinsically bad.  Its that we do not know how to possess it without letting it possess us.  It is a problem of the spirit, of not knowing how to wield the glory for which we were created.  Opposing desire, to me seems to be tossing the baby out with the bath.  


Does that mean that suppressing desire is wrong?  No, I'm sure it is a practical way to avoid mayhem in many cases.  I simply need a philosophy which encourages some desires and discourages or keeps in check others.    


quote:
I see nothing in the Buddhaist approach that needs to incompatible with a Christian world view.


Well for one, the Christian worldview celebrates individuality, and the uniqueness of one's soul.  Isn't it true that the Eastern Hindu-Buddhist paradigm views individuality as illusory, or as the root of the whole problem?  Or the distinction could be put this way:  While Christianity is about the abolition of the sinful self, Buddhism is about the abolition of the self.


That's why the resurrection and the Christian "Heaven" is quite different than Nirvana.  One is restoration of all things, and the other seems to be (as far as I understand it) the dissolution of all things.  Paradise versus a kind of Oblivion.    


More later,

Stephen            
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112 posted 01-31-2008 04:39 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Stephen,
           Thanks for the thoughtful response.  I too should take some time to think.  But I am happy simply at having a chance to have a decent talk about such basic things.
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113 posted 01-31-2008 11:39 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

BobK,

The feeling is mutual.  I will not be able to really respond to much for the next several days, so please take your time.

~frustrated writer~
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114 posted 03-21-2008 05:31 AM       View Profile for ~frustrated writer~   Email ~frustrated writer~   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for ~frustrated writer~

people can't change you, unless you let them..

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115 posted 07-05-2008 04:21 PM       View Profile for MindBodySoul   Email MindBodySoul   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for MindBodySoul

Wow!  I recently told a friend that you can not teach an old dog new tricks... People don't change old habits, specially if they find joy in them.  In relationships we change in order to adjust to the situation that we allow, but it is usually a one sided change..  I only speak of my own experiences... i have seen change, but it doesn't last for too long, however i give credit to the effort in trying to change..

I believe that we all have the ability to change, as long as WE ARE WILLING, without the WANT, change is very difficult to come by....  
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116 posted 07-05-2008 09:47 PM       View Profile for Alison   Email Alison   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alison

Every time I read the title to this thread I wonder ...

Why would you want to?

----

Either they are worthy of your love and friendship - and you accept their weakness with their strengths.  Or they people you might not associate with - in that case, why spend the time trying to change them?

Most change comes from within.

A
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117 posted 07-07-2008 12:54 PM       View Profile for Falling rain   Email Falling rain   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Falling rain's Home Page   View IP for Falling rain

I agree with Alison on this one. I mean really, Do you really want to change a person?
But to answer your question.. Yes you can.. It is possable...

~Zach~  

"And so the lion fell in love with the lamb....,"he murmured. "What a stupid lamb," I sighed. "What a sick, masochistic lion."

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118 posted 07-08-2008 12:02 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     My observation is that we are long on opinion about what people are and should be.  People can change or people cannot change.  We should leave them as they are or we should attempt to change them.  We are or aren't worthy or each other.  If pressed, and under specific circumstances, I have opinions like this myself; I'm not trying to exclude myself here.

     Almost always, I've noticed, we leave ourselves out of consideration when we look at how changeable others may be, as though we were looking at people in isolation.
There's this friend or lover or husband or father or wife who's making terrible waves (out there somewhere) and is it possible to fix them, to make them turn out right.  Are they really, secretly, people we ought not associate with, too good for us or not good enough.

     We have our own plans for them, and part of what they are doing may well be a reaction to that plan.

     Jay Haley, one of the Family Therapists to emerge during the fifties and Sixties, has an interesting piece in which he tracks a dialogue between a couple.  It''s not a particularly significant conversation; the content after all this time evades me, but really it might have been about anything, the weather, the garden, anything.  Haley shows how every exchange is about not only the subject of the conversation, but is also about who is in charge of the relationship at that particular moment.

     Once you've noticed this level of interaction in conversations, they never sound the same to you again.  Most surprising, I've found, are not the things that other people say, but the things you find yourself saying and later defending. . . .

     Have you noticed this, had a chance to remark on it in your relationships?  Do you have thoughts on the matter?

Sincerely, BobK.  
 
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