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  • hardie karges 10:09 am on July 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , auto-da-fe, , Faith, GOD, , , , Sam Harris,   

    #Buddhism and #Science: #Materialism is an Act of Faith, too, auto-da-fe’…. 

    img_1773Every self-proclaimed atheist takes it as an article of faith (!) that the material world is the real world, and that any competing claims from the realms of religion and/or any other spurious metaphysics must be misguided at best, silly superstition most likely, at worst maybe even one of many conspiracy theory scenarios that inhabit the minds of the disenfranchised and disenchanted…

    Yet materialism is indeed an article of faith. The only question is to what degree. The fact that it goes largely unquestioned in the modern world, with or without the atheistic conclusion, does not make it fact, and if questioned, its typical devotee will most likely defer to common sense, as if it’s so obvious that no explanation is required. These manifestations say as much about us modern humans, of course, as it does about the validity of the assumption… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 3:34 pm on July 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Speaking as an agnostic who flirts with atheism, I can only applaud your identification of materialism as the villain of the piece. Developing/evolving our creative and more spiritual side seems to be the way forward.

      • hardie karges 9:59 am on July 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Flirting is fine, but I could never truly consider myself an atheist, though non-theist is different. Mostly I just want to consider all the possibilities, like Plato before me. And the fact that almost all near-death experiences involve ‘a light’ is a fact that I can’t ignore…

    • Trebronztul 7:20 am on July 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      On fact, only the early and immature forms of materialism can be considered as acts of faith or, as F. Engels put it, “metaphysics”. In his famous “Anti-Duehring” (published in 1877), he has already presented a critique of this “common sense” based materialism. From this book, I once used the following quote as the motto of my master’s dissertation that I prepared 102 years later:
      “Only sound common sense, respectable fellow that he is, in the homely realm of his own four walls, has very wonderful adventures directly he ventures out into the wide world of research.”

      By contrast, dialectical materialism goes far beyond this “common sense” based materialism. Needless to state that nowadays hardly anyone knows and cares about dialectical materialism, including most scientists. And of course, today much could be added to and modified in Engels’ materialism – WITHOUT FALLING BACK BELOW THE LEVEL THAT HE HAD ALREADY ACHIEVED IN THE 19TH CENTURY, and without falling back into religious mysticism that probably was adequate thinking for feudal and pre-feudal societies (and is dying away to the extent society progresses – good riddance!!). Of course, in times of major crises of the more advanced societies, old religious murmurs tend to come back – as crisis symptoms, NOT as useful recipes for the future!

      Here is a more extensive Engels quote that should clarify things: “Real natural science dates from the second half of the fifteenth century, and thence onward it has advanced with constantly increasing rapidity. The analysis of nature into its individual parts, the grouping of the different natural processes and objects in definite classes, the study of the internal anatomy of organic bodies in their manifold forms — these were the fundamental conditions of the gigantic strides in our knowledge of nature that have been made during the last four hundred years. But this method of work has also left us as legacy the habit of observing natural objects and processes in isolation, apart from their connection with the vast whole; of observing them in repose, not in motion; as constants, not as essentially variables, in their death, not in their life. And when this way of looking at things was transferred by Bacon and Locke from natural science to philosophy, it begot the narrow, metaphysical mode of thought peculiar to the preceding centuries.

      To the metaphysician, things and their mental reflexes, ideas, are isolated, are to be considered one after the other and apart from each other, are objects of investigation fixed, rigid, given once for all. He thinks in absolutely irreconcilable antitheses. “His communication is ‘yea, yea; nay, nay’; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” [Matthew 5:37. — Ed.] For him a thing either exists or does not exist; a thing cannot at the same time be itself and something else. Positive and negative absolutely exclude one another, cause and effect stand in a rigid antithesis one to the other.

      At first sight this mode of thinking seems to us very luminous, because it is that of so-called sound common sense. Only sound common sense, respectable fellow that he is, in the homely realm of his own four walls, has very wonderful adventures directly he ventures out into the wide world of research. And the metaphysical mode of thought, justifiable and even necessary as it is in a number of domains whose extent varies according to the nature of the particular object of investigation, sooner or later reaches a limit, beyond which it becomes one-sided, restricted, abstract, lost in insoluble contradictions. In the contemplation of individual things it forgets the connection between them; in the contemplation of their existence, it forgets the beginning and end of that existence; of their repose, it forgets their motion. It cannot see the wood for the trees.

      For everyday purposes we know and can say, e.g., whether an animal is alive or not. But, upon closer inquiry, we find that this is, in many cases, a very complex question, as the jurists know very well. They have cudgelled their brains in vain to discover a rational limit beyond which the killing of the child in its mother’s womb is murder. It is just as impossible to determine absolutely the moment of death, for physiology proves that death is not an instantaneous momentary phenomenon, but a very protracted process.

      In like manner, every organic being is every moment the same and not the same, every moment it assimilates matter supplied from without, and gets rid of other matter; every moment some cells of its body die and others build themselves anew; in a longer or shorter time the matter of its body is completely renewed, and is replaced by other atoms of matter, so that every organic being is always itself, and yet something other than itself.

      Further, we find upon closer investigation that the two poles of an antithesis positive and negative, e.g., are as inseparable as they are opposed and that despite all their opposition, they mutually interpenetrate. And we find, in like manner, that cause and effect are conceptions which only hold good in their application to individual cases; but as soon as we consider the individual cases in their general connection with the universe as a whole, they run into each other, and they become confounded when we contemplate that universal action and reaction in which causes and effects are eternally changing places, so that what is effect here and now will be cause there and then, and vice versa.

      None of these processes and modes of thought enters into the framework of metaphysical reasoning. Dialectics, on the other hand, comprehends things and their representations, ideas, in their essential connection, concatenation, motion, origin, and ending.”

      • hardie karges 9:26 am on July 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for that, Norbert. In fact some of us care about dialectical materialism AND dialectical idealism…

  • hardie karges 7:05 am on July 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , GOD, suffering   

    Buddhism 222: If you Can’t Find the Suffering, then Look Harder… 

    IMG_0712Many people say they like Buddhism, but without all that pesky suffering that Buddhists keep talking about. “I’m just too happy to be a Buddhist,” is a common sentiment. Of course some of those people have already gravitated toward Zen, which is as close as you can get to Buddhism without the suffering, but still it’s there…

    So what to do? Go find some suffering, then. Do you really doubt that it exists? Of course not, since many of these same people are the very ones who support—at least verbally—multifarious programs to aid the downtrodden. But have you actually gotten your hands dirty in the process? Have you actually experienced that suffering? There are many ways to do that, you know, and be helpful at the same time, without wallowing too much in the mire, so to speak, if that’s the problem… (More …)

     
    • quantumpreceptor 5:28 am on August 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting post, I would like to add something if you don’t mind. Everything is suffering, the best party, the most beautiful lover, all the money and wealth is suffering in comparison to enlightenment.

      Instead of nothingness it is very likely better to use emptiness as Buddhists are not nihilists.

      I love you photos, keep writing, I love reading.

    • davekingsbury 3:44 pm on August 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Enlightening …

  • hardie karges 4:30 pm on July 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , GOD,   

    Religion 222: Being and Nothingness, Atheism and Anthropomorphism—Putting a Smile on God’s Face… 

    “Given that Being, Consciousness and Life are synonymous, presence means consciousness realizing itself or Life achieving self-consciousness…” – Eckhart Tolle

    Huh? What? Anthropomorphism in the New Age is pretty much just as bad as what preceded it. We all know the atheist caricature of religion as consisting primarily of “an imaginary friend,” and the best arguments for atheism always centered for me around what were clear instances of assuming God to be some person or persona with desires and wishes and sufferings and blisses, and threats to be dealt with accordingly—obviously b*llsh*t.

    Michelangelo’s grey-haired patriarch with stolid gaze and fierce expression pretty much defined the look. The bad news is that the various ‘New Age’ manifestations of modern religion and ad hoc versions of Hinduism and Buddhism, fashioned more to modern Western tastes than traditional Asian scripts and scriptures, are not much better. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 12:20 pm on November 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: GOD,   

    Building the Perfect Religion: Why? 

    The last thing the world needs, really, is a new religion—been there, done that. What we really need is a synthesis of all the old ones. After all, for all the grief they’ve caused us, they’ve also brought goodness many times over that, a fact which atheists tend to overlook, because it fits their narrative. Atheists seem to assume everything was rosy way back when, before religion, but that’s a ridiculous assumption. In all fairness it’s hard to see into the past, but it’s there if you want it. It’s pretty simple, really: “nasty, mean, brutish and short,” as one famous philosopher once put it, Calvin or Hobbes, can’t remember which.

    The only problem with most traditional religions is that the truth, beauty and goodness that they provide, promote and accomplish usually stops at the membership line. If you fall outside that line, then all benefits stop, or in some cases, the wrath of that same loving God will fall upon you—ouch. That’s the problem right there of course, that religions have boundaries and membership requirements that must be respected and adhered to. Ever wonder why that is? (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:39 am on October 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: GOD   

    Trading God for Cosmic Energy (at pfennigs on the thaler)… 

    If you were like me, child of God-fearing parents and long Sunday mornings, lost in the deserts of Palestine in search of God or mammon or meaning or meatloaf, then you either resent that steepled ‘spired stupa’d snow-job or you got lost in the desert sand-job. Now maybe you even laugh at those who take comfort in their ‘invisible friend’ of wrath and redemption or maybe you take comfort in warm fuzzy atheism, complete with images of brutalist architecture and heavy-duty condoms…

    …or maybe you figured why throw out babies with bathwater, so decided to get all spiritual—NOT RELIGIOUS—and picked up some New Age training tapes, full of quasi-pseudo-science, complete with uncertain principles and stringy theories and quantum leaps and jumps through hoops of illogical syllogisms and irreconcilable silly jism lying lifeless on roadsides and undergarments…

    …promising you communion and redemption and transcendence and deliverance, all at reasonable prices. You’d be polishing the halo on your ‘energy body’ and getting in touch with your spirit being ASAP. There’s only one problem: there’s no proof of any of it. We’re back to religion’s square one, just without the god: belief. We’ve traded our invisible God friend for an invisible energy field. Even acupuncture, which I tend to think of as something that works, can only prove how with the help of a sympathetic culture to back it up. All of which is to say: Asian scientists find proof; Western scientists don’t. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 9:55 am on September 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , GOD, , , , , Michelangelo   

    Pictures of God—Faces and Places… 

    Michelangelo’s God…

    God’s face is a concept best left in the textbooks, suggesting as it does Michelangelo’s Charlton Heston, mugging for the cameras and getting all wrathful, railing at the Ishmaelites and rooting for the Jews; it’s better to talk about Nature, and Love, and Heaven up above, than God-heads with silver hair and yellow teeth…

    So I can understand why people are put off by the pictures of God, early on depicted by Renaissance painters as harsh and warlike, playing headlong into the notion of ‘God-fearingness’ as the proper basis of religion, AND…

    …even later depictions of Jesus with the bedroom eyes and the doe-like gaze do little to mitigate the sneaking feeling that, in effect, we’re doing exactly what the Bible enjoins against, i.e. worshiping graven images, whether graven in stone, oil pigments, silver nitrate, or bits and bytes, BUT… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 10:04 am on August 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , GOD, ,   

    Love’s ‘Crush’ as the Basis for Religion? Or maybe shamanism or ‘life-coaching’ or … wha’d’ya got? 

    Image result for God pics

    We all know that ‘crush’ of falling in love, if not for the first time, then at least the first time in a long time, or with any one particular person, something that can go on for days, weeks, months, even years, while you try to get sorted and either get it or forget it. That’s the problem, of course, that ‘crushes’ can consume you, multiple times, and then just go away like nothing ever happened: “now you’re just somebody that I used to know”…

    I don’t think I’m being too ‘anal’ (pardon the cliché) by suggesting that this is not always the optimal basis for a relationship—sometimes maybe, but not always. The opposite extreme, of course, would be to have marriages that are not only planned, but planned by someone else! Yeow! That goes directly against modern Western thinking, obviously, though still quite popular in traditional cultures of the Asian sub-continent and elsewhere. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 9:08 am on July 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: GOD, serendipity,   

    Then the Clouds rolled in… 

    It’s 80f/27c at 0900 in Tucson AZ on the first day of July, any July? Further proof of God’s existence, الله أكبر

     
  • hardie karges 9:48 am on May 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , GOD   

    Religio-Politics 101: Future Chac, the Rain God 

    Image result for chac moolThe problem with blogging is that it doesn’t pay Jack (he’s my accountant). We do it because we’re driven, by something—or other. Let me explain: I get paid by future archaeologists to try and explain WTF happened. So if you’ve ever watched time-travel movies then you can guess the rest: I leave them clues—in this case my blogs—printed and left in secret locations, so that they can uncover them there in the future and read my narratives on what occurred in the 21st century. Fun fun. So while they’re trying to figure out the past, I’m trying to figure out the future.

    The problem is that the paper trail for them ends at the end of the 20th century, about the time when the use of paper itself went into serious decline. So they’ve got all the leftover hardware that we now use, and more that we WILL use (for a little while at least, before the Big Event), but they don’t have the software to get information from it. Oops. So we’ve worked out a little system. It isn’t perfect, but better than nothing. The only problem is that I get paid by the future archeologists in future dollars (FUSD), so it’s not much good for now. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 8:50 am on March 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , GOD, ,   

    Religion 101: God as Superhero, & a Case of Species Exceptionalism to go, please… 

    American Exceptionalism? Meh, I’ll pass on that, sounds like a weak concept from the get-go, the definition of ‘American’ subject to the shifting southwestern sands of borders and politics and vaguely articulated definitions… to say nothing of the continents from which we ALL came: Asia, Europe, and Africa. But ‘species exceptionalism’? I’ll buy that. We are certainly exceptional, for better or worse, all contradictions considered…

    We are the love monkeys, we are the hate monkeys, we are the smart monkeys, we are the stupid monkeys, we are the happy monkeys, we are the sad monkeys, we are the f*ck monkeys, we are the abstinence monkeys, we are the drunk monkeys, we are the abstinence monkeys, we are the drug monkeys, we are the sober monkeys, we are the music monkeys, we are the sober monkeys, etc…

    Cut the DNA deck, re-shuffle, and the results would likely never be the same—humanity. Re-arrange the continents and it would’ve all been different. Out of nowhere comes a butterfly to flutter by and there goes the neighborhood—pure chaos. Cue Mandelbrot. This is something routinely overlooked in almost all discussions of extra-terrestrial life: the odds of intelligent life on THIS planet are infinitesimally small, yet—here we are. Cue Darwin. (More …)

     
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