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The Malignancy of Idealism Options · View
aussiescribbler
Posted: Friday, March 30, 2012 3:55:43 AM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 6/22/2010
Posts: 52
Location: Adelaide
Our basic nature is to be unconditionally loving. As very young children we did not place conditions on our acceptance of others. We accepted them as they were regardless. Animals also love in this way, but when they become adults this nature is sometimes hidden beneath the need to compete for food and breeding opportunities. Adult dogs and cats in the wild can seem to be "red in tooth and claw", at least to those of us who might end up on the menu, but our domestic dogs and cats, having grown accustomed over generations to having their needs met by humans, are praised for their unconditionally loving natures.

Sometimes we humans have to compete over food or other necessities too. But the main source of human conflict is our thinking and specifically our attachment to ideals.

Idealism is like a dangerous conceptual virus, because it eats away at our capacity for unconditional love. It places conditions on our love of ourselves and of others by introducing the expectation of a certain kind of behaviour and eventually leading us to demand it. It is a particularly pernicious virus because we believe that we need it and that it is something which leads to improvement in ourselves and society. It doesn't. In fact it is the source of our capacity for evil.

It is only after we have been hurt by life in some way, and thus become insecure or neurotic, that we feel the need to cling to ideals of any kind. And usually we have been so wounded by the time our parents, our teachers or our religious leaders start feeding them to us.

Some believe that Jesus (on whose philosophy a very destructive religion was founded) was himself an idealist. I think this is a mistake, just like that religion. If one looks carefully at the description of his words and actions which we have and replace the word "sin" with "selfishness" and "God" with "love", etc., it becomes clearly that, unlike many who claimed later to represent him, he was not trying to insist on, or scare people into following, a moral code. He was simply describing our psychological state, offering comforting statements about it and providing advice on resolving conflict and promoting the healing of ourselves and our society.

Most, if not all, of the destruction wrought by humans comes from one of these things :

1. People trying to force themselves or others to conform to some ideal.
2. People retaliating against the oppressiveness of some ideal.
3. The selfishness which is just the natural self-directedness of those wounded by 1. or 2.

There is no objective standard for what is ideal behaviour. Healthy or loving behaviour is determined by consideration of the whole situation, but ideals exist in isolation.

Idealism and holism are incompatible. Idealism is the separation of that which is considered ideal from that which is considered non-ideal. A whole is something which is not separated. And anything partial incites its opposite. There would be no Right Wing if there were no Left Wing. There would be no Satanism if there were no Christianity. One group insists, the other defies and so society or the individual is torn apart.

To drive a stake through the heart of that vampire Idealism is to free ourselves from humanity's historic curse which had the power to turn us from beings characterised by loving playfulness into miserable and destructive ego maniacs.
nazhinaz
Posted: Friday, March 30, 2012 5:01:29 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 1/16/2010
Posts: 293
Location: Longview, United States


I believe that your description of love being common with animals is mistaken.
Love is a purely a human emotion and not shared by animals.
Animals do take CARE of their offsprings but only to an age; beyond that age their is hardly any attachment felt.
A cow would never cry or weep if her grownup bull or cow is slaughtered. In fact she hardly recognize the offsping once grown of age.She will use her own 'son's sperm to get impregnated.
Second, and most important, animals mostly live untill they procreate; not with human beings.
We love even our grand kids to prolong our life's longivity, much beyond reproductive age.
Third,
It is not IDEALISM that is source of all destruction. It is greed to have access to belongings of others.
Almost all wars of history, including WWI & WWII were fought to have access to means belonging to others including land.
Those fighting in WWI & II were never disturbed about the Idealism or faith of others; they wanted access to land and colonize others colonies too.
Still more,
No emotion or feeling about any idealism is permanent. What is relevant today will definite become obsolete in future, near or distant future.
As man evolves, so does his idealism, though slower than physical evolution, because Idealism is a social phenomenon.
So are all religions fastly becoming obsolete.
Just to remind, the number of those not confirming to any faith, religion or IDEALISM is much greater than followers of all faiths or religions put together.
Jack_42
Posted: Friday, March 30, 2012 7:07:39 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 8/21/2009
Posts: 986
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
So Greyfriars Bobby was just a movie and not based on fact.
MrNudiePants
Posted: Friday, March 30, 2012 8:22:17 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 8/10/2009
Posts: 2,141
Location: United States
Ideals do not exist in solitude. They need a framework, a perspective, a point of view to be seen from. An ideal that one person strives for may be just a waste of time to another. Ideals are one motivating force behind innovation. When one of our remote ancestors invented the wheel, he didn't do so to get closer to God, or because he thought Jesus wanted him to - he did it because it was an easier way to get all that mammoth meat up to the fire where it could be cooked. He knew that toting the meat over his shoulder was a helluva lot of hard work, and his ideal was to find an easier way.

Idealism is about improvement, about embracing the non-ideal and molding it, improving it, and making it over into something closer to the best it can be. If human-kind ever stops striving for the ideal, you may as well drive a stake through IT'S heart - it'll stagnate and die eventually, anyway. Might as well put the race out of its misery.

aussiescribbler
Posted: Friday, March 30, 2012 9:17:51 PM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 6/22/2010
Posts: 52
Location: Adelaide
nazhinaz wrote:


I believe that your description of love being common with animals is mistaken.
Love is a purely a human emotion and not shared by animals.
Animals do take CARE of their offsprings but only to an age; beyond that age their is hardly any attachment felt.
A cow would never cry or weep if her grownup bull or cow is slaughtered. In fact she hardly recognize the offsping once grown of age.She will use her own 'son's sperm to get impregnated.
Second, and most important, animals mostly live untill they procreate; not with human beings.
We love even our grand kids to prolong our life's longivity, much beyond reproductive age.
Third,
It is not IDEALISM that is source of all destruction. It is greed to have access to belongings of others.
Almost all wars of history, including WWI & WWII were fought to have access to means belonging to others including land.
Those fighting in WWI & II were never disturbed about the Idealism or faith of others; they wanted access to land and colonize others colonies too.
Still more,
No emotion or feeling about any idealism is permanent. What is relevant today will definite become obsolete in future, near or distant future.
As man evolves, so does his idealism, though slower than physical evolution, because Idealism is a social phenomenon.
So are all religions fastly becoming obsolete.
Just to remind, the number of those not confirming to any faith, religion or IDEALISM is much greater than followers of all faiths or religions put together.


What you describe as love is actually attachment. Love is nothing more than open, honest, spontaneous communication. This continues among animals because, unlike humans, they are incapable of putting up emotional barriers, being dishonest or behaving in anything more than a spontaneous way. They don't discriminate on the basis of genetic kinship, as we tend to do, after the age at which their genes have been successfully launched into the world. A loving human doesn't necessarily mourn the death of a family member. I was very close to my father and mother, but I did not mourn their deaths, because they were old and suffering, and love is not about attachment but communication. I love the living. One cannot truly love the dead, because communication with the dead is impossible. How much actually physical affection animals show for each other depends on the species - apes and dolphins show a lot, cows are less demonstrative, but they certainly tend to peacefully co-exist.

It is true that greed leads to much destruction in the world. I acknowledge that with point 3 - the selfishness which is the natural self-directedness of those hurt by the struggle between idealism and defiance of its oppression. This struggle is both an internal and an external one. It leads to feelings of insecurity about one's self, thus making us desire reinforcement through wealth, etc. and it makes us vulnerable to political oppression and nationalism, among other things.

But idealism comes first. Then comes defiance of idealism. Then comes greed. And when it comes to war and many other destructive human phenomena, all three elements can get mixed.

It is true that many people don't subscribe to a faith. Religious faiths are not the only form of idealism. Socialism and Communism are forms of idealism. Pacifism is a form of idealism. There are many. I would say that evolution in idealisms - and any kind of social evolution - takes place much faster than physical evolution, but perhaps that is what you meant to say. I think what is happening in the world at the moment is that many forms of idealism are in their death throws. All idealism is, at base, dishonesty. I think what is happening is that, unable to maintain our lies, we are in the process of coming clean - coming out of the closet so to speak.
aussiescribbler
Posted: Friday, March 30, 2012 9:25:28 PM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 6/22/2010
Posts: 52
Location: Adelaide
MrNudiePants wrote:
Ideals do not exist in solitude. They need a framework, a perspective, a point of view to be seen from. An ideal that one person strives for may be just a waste of time to another. Ideals are one motivating force behind innovation. When one of our remote ancestors invented the wheel, he didn't do so to get closer to God, or because he thought Jesus wanted him to - he did it because it was an easier way to get all that mammoth meat up to the fire where it could be cooked. He knew that toting the meat over his shoulder was a helluva lot of hard work, and his ideal was to find an easier way.

Idealism is about improvement, about embracing the non-ideal and molding it, improving it, and making it over into something closer to the best it can be. If human-kind ever stops striving for the ideal, you may as well drive a stake through IT'S heart - it'll stagnate and die eventually, anyway. Might as well put the race out of its misery.


You have a very different definition of idealism from mine. In describing the invention of the wheel you are describing problem solving via improvisation. To me this is the antithesis of idealism. Idealism is perfectionism, and perfectionism kills improvisation stone dead every time by closing off any possibilities which might deviate from the ideal. A dramatic example of idealism stifling improvisation was the Christian churches hostility to any science which threatened its dogma. Or one could look at the way that "political correctness" stifles free artistic expression and intellectual discussion. Improvisation, creativity and discovery require an open-mind. Idealism is all about closing the mind.
MrNudiePants
Posted: Sunday, April 01, 2012 9:26:41 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 8/10/2009
Posts: 2,141
Location: United States
aussiescribbler wrote:


You have a very different definition of idealism from mine. In describing the invention of the wheel you are describing problem solving via improvisation. To me this is the antithesis of idealism. Idealism is perfectionism, and perfectionism kills improvisation stone dead every time by closing off any possibilities which might deviate from the ideal. A dramatic example of idealism stifling improvisation was the Christian churches hostility to any science which threatened its dogma. Or one could look at the way that "political correctness" stifles free artistic expression and intellectual discussion. Improvisation, creativity and discovery require an open-mind. Idealism is all about closing the mind.


It seems to me that you have a very odd way of defining the word. Here's how Merriam-Webster defines it:

Quote:
1 a (1) : a theory that ultimate reality lies in a realm transcending phenomena (2) : a theory that the essential nature of reality lies in consciousness or reason
b (1) : a theory that only the perceptible is real (2) : a theory that only mental states or entities are knowable

2 a : the practice of forming ideals or living under their influence
b : something that is idealized

3: literary or artistic theory or practice that affirms the preeminent value of imagination as compared with faithful copying of nature


You can be idealistic and still view the world with an open mind. Steve Jobs was an idealist. He once said something to the effect of: "A old person sits down at a computer and asks, 'What does it do?' A young person sits down at a computer and asks, 'What can I do with it?'" It's that yearning for the ideal; that searching for better, faster, or easier ways to get things done that drives modern society. If you search, you'll probably find that idealism was at the heart of every major invention since the dawn of time. Henry Ford was an idealist. One of his idealistic dreams led to the development of the assembly line.

Christian idealism is the driving force behind food kitchens, clothing drives, and charitable works of all kinds. What you're talking about is the kind of zealotry that causes Christians to blow up abortion clinics, or Muslims to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners. That kind of zealotry is as far away from the actual practice of religion (whether Christian, Muslim, or other) as you can get.

The enemy of idealism is zealotry.
-- Neil Kinnock

Just like any other facet of the human condition, idealism can be a force for good or ill. You choose to view it only in the negative. I guess that makes you a pessimist. I choose the opposite. My ideals lead me to respond to this thread, in an effort to not let so much misapprehension and negativity go out into the ether unanswered. I choose to use the force that is "idealism" for the common good. Upward and onward.

You see, idealism detached from action is just a dream. But idealism allied with pragmatism, with rolling up your sleeves and making the world bend a bit, is very exciting. It's very real. It's very strong.
-- Bono

Ruthie
Posted: Monday, April 02, 2012 1:43:01 AM

Rank: Story Verifier

Joined: 10/21/2010
Posts: 2,367
Location: United States
MrNudiePants wrote:



Just like any other facet of the human condition, idealism can be a force for good or ill. You choose to view it only in the negative. I guess that makes you a pessimist. I choose the opposite. My ideals lead me to respond to this thread, in an effort to not let so much misapprehension and negativity go out into the ether unanswered. I choose to use the force that is "idealism" for the common good. Upward and onward.

You see, idealism detached from action is just a dream. But idealism allied with pragmatism, with rolling up your sleeves and making the world bend a bit, is very exciting. It's very real. It's very strong.
-- Bono


I think we need to define the difference between idealists and ideologues. This guy does it better than I can: http://www.costa-rica-guy.com/blog/reason-120-id-ea-olatry-idealist-or-idealogue.html

aussiescribbler
Posted: Monday, April 02, 2012 9:15:33 AM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 6/22/2010
Posts: 52
Location: Adelaide
MrNudiePants wrote:


It seems to me that you have a very odd way of defining the word. Here's how Merriam-Webster defines it:

Quote:
1 a (1) : a theory that ultimate reality lies in a realm transcending phenomena (2) : a theory that the essential nature of reality lies in consciousness or reason
b (1) : a theory that only the perceptible is real (2) : a theory that only mental states or entities are knowable

2 a : the practice of forming ideals or living under their influence
b : something that is idealized

3: literary or artistic theory or practice that affirms the preeminent value of imagination as compared with faithful copying of nature.


At first I was going to say that I was talking about the 2nd definition and not 1 or 3. On further thought though I think the views I expressed include 1 as well, though not 3.

The difficulty is that my post was an attempt to distill something at the very heart of the philosophy I have expressed in an ebook called How to Be Free by Joe Blow. (It's free on Smashwords). And what I was trying to express perhaps needs more explanation than I gave it to anyone who isn't familiar with the approach as a whole. I thought it could stand on its own. Perhaps for some it can, but for others perhaps it just gives the wrong idea.

But what I'm not talking about is zealotry, that is just an extreme version.

What I'm talking about is anything which gets in the way of us honestly embracing the reality of ourselves and our world. One thing I am not is a pessimist. I believe that we will achieve paradise on earth. That is not the belief of a pessimist. But it is also, in my case, not the belief of an idealist but a realist.

An idealist might envision paradise and then try to work towards it. He will fail and it will be his persistence of vision that will make what he longs for impossible. Because all that is healthy can only grow through a realistic and honest response to the present moment and the present situation. One of the principle influences on my thinking is a guy called Keith Johnstone, a teacher of theatrical improvisation. His masterpiece was a book called Impro : Improvisation and the Theatre. It may be intended as a manual for theatrical improvisation, but if one learns from it how to approach life as an improvisation, opening up to the full possibility of one's situation without self-criticism or pre-conceptions about goals then wonderful things happen. I believe that most innovators use this kind of approach whether they are aware of it or not. Steve Jobs could not have imagined an I-Pod or an I-Phone when he set out on his journey. Those who imagine the end of the journey never get there. Those who get to the place they seek very often weren't sure of what it was until they got there.

So the reason I see the first kind of idealism as destructive is that it stands between us and reality and it may lead us to hate those parts of reality that don't fit with our vision of the ideal. There is a reason why Jesus suggested that we love our enemies. Because if we hate those things or those people in the world which don't fit with the way we want our world to be - the greedy, the serial killers, the racists, the child molesters - we will continue to reinforce a world in which such forms of unhealthy thinking or behaviour exist. Only if we accept the reality of all people and all the world and honestly admit that we are all part of the same and no better than the murders, rapists, racists, Nazis, will we have the basis for a healthy honest realistic world in which these extremes of destructive behaviour don't exist. Because by denying the murderer/rapist/racist/Nazi that lurks behind our good citizen front we make the continued acting out of such forms of hostility by others inevitable.

I say here that idealism is the root of all evil. Elsewhere I've said perfectionism. I could also say repression or dishonesty. They are all part of the same complex.

Idealism is the desire to chose the dream over reality or to embrace only one half of reality. Only by openly embracing all of reality can we become whole as individuals and a species. Not only do I believe that this can happen. I believe it is inevitable. I think that makes me an optimist.

Here are some extracts from my book which may give some more context :

The Love of Perfection is the Root of All Evil

Most of us accept that it would be unreasonable to expect ourselves to be perfect, but we still see perfection as an ideal, something to be pursued. And yet to pursue perfection, if such a thing even exists, makes about as much sense as pursuing death.

If anything were ever perfect it would be sterile. It would be a dead end.

Everything wonderful in the whole universe has grown out of imperfection. That is how the creative principle of the universe works.

The universe is a system - a network of energy, some of which behaves in a particular kind of orderly way that we refer to as matter. This matter exists in a web of action and interaction with other matter and forms of energy. And some of that matter is alive and operating under its own internal direction as a subsystem of the whole. And the most complex form of that living matter is ourselves as we look out into the universe and try to understand it.

But how did we come about? Through a serious of mutations, i.e. imperfections. Perfection is a steady-state. But the creative principle operates through variation. An animal, for instance, is born which is not quite right, a mutation of some kind. If that variation, that imperfection, proves beneficial then something new and wonderful comes into existence, a new branch on the tree of life. And all of those imperfections led to us.

And yet we somehow became intolerant of our mistakes and imperfections instead of seeing them as an intrinsic part of the creative process of the universe.


***


Good is that which contributes to the health of the individual or the society or wider ecological system of which they are a part.

So what do we mean by evil? We could say that evil is anything which adversely effects the health of the individual or the system. But the term “evil” is a very strong one. Selfishness has a negative impact on the health of the system by interfering with the free flow of material, information or energy. But we wouldn’t consider minor acts of selfishness, like eating more than our share of a piece of cake, to be evil. Evil is a term we use to describe those acts which cause significant suffering or otherwise do major harm. The essence of evil is the imposition of the will. If we take something from somebody against their will - their life, their property, their dignity, their humanity - this is clearly evil. But also it is an act of evil to try to control another’s behaviour through fear or guilt or other forms of deliberate manipulation. The fact that such behaviour has a dire impact on the health of the individual and the social system can be demonstrated when we consider that the worst forms of socially-sanctioned cruelty we know of - the Holocaust, the witch burnings, the Spanish Inquisition, the stoning to death of women by the Taliban - have been the work of societies in which the repression and control of the individual through fear and/or guilt were the norm.

Of course there is such a thing as necessary evil. We have to impose our will on those who behave destructively towards others, etc. But it must be recognised that this does not solve the problem of evil. At best it contains it. But, more often than not, even this is an illusion and the act of using our will to contain evil sows the seeds of more evil behaviour. Only the healing of individuals and of society can actually decrease the incidence of evil.

But what we need to understand, if we are to understand ourselves, is our own impulses to engage in destructive or dominating behaviour towards others.
If we have such impulses they originate in a lack of acceptance of some aspect of ourselves. Hostility towards others or the need to control others is projected self-contempt.

It is commonly acknowledged that the hostility of some heterosexual men towards gay men is due to a lack of acceptance of their own denied homosexual impulses. The same applies to all forms of hostility. Those who wish to hunt animals for sport, or otherwise mistreat them, don't want to accept that they are animals themselves and thus physically vulnerable in the same ways. Those who wish to harm children feel threatened by their disowned inner child. Men who wish to harm women are threatened by their disowned feminine side.

Anyone who is fully accepting of themselves feels no hostility toward others. They may be troubled by the hostility of others and oppose it, but they will not experience feelings of hostility themselves. If a wild animal attacks us, we may be distressed and do what we can to protect ourselves, even to the extent of killing the animal, but, if we are sensible, we feel no hostility towards that animal, recognising that it is behaving according to its nature. Our feelings about the hostility of other humans would be the same if we did not have in ourselves something of what they express in their hostile behaviour. Those who scream for the death penalty after a vicious crime, if not loved ones of the victim, are those who know that they have within them the same kind of rage as the criminal and feel the need for a harsh penalty for such crimes in order to feel secure in their ability to control themselves.

From this we can see that evil behaviour originates in our neurosis (our divided state) and is not an expression of our primary nature.


***


I could accept that there were people in the world who raped, killed and tortured the innocent. I didn’t see this as a good thing, but it was at least honest. But it seemed as if dishonesty and hypocrisy caused more suffering in the world than violence, especially since they often led to violence.

And this is what I mean when I talk about our tendency to project the disowned part of ourselves onto the world around us and then fight against it. The reason that the one thing in the world I couldn’t stand was dishonesty was because my own dishonesty was the thing I was trying to disown. At the height of my neurosis I was going around being an idealistic do-gooder, working for an environmental organisation, but deep down I was just a pit of seething repressed hostility. My colleagues were praising me for my selflessness and generosity while my OCD was asking me whether they would still think so highly of me of I raped and killed their teenage daughter.

This is the nature of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Everyone I’ve come in contact with who has it is scrupulously considerate of others, polite and concerned about always doing the right thing. But at the same time plagued by thoughts about doing things like killing babies or putting puppies in the microwave.

How I’ve come out of that situation is through finding insight into myself and others, which I’m presenting in this book, and learning to express any repressed hostility through sick humour rather than keeping it bottled up. I think that the only reason that these hostile feelings build up for those of us who don’t allow ourselves an outlet is because of an unhelpful framework of thinking about ourselves and the world. Once we have a framework which works, we feel little frustration and thus little hostility.


Of course to understand the context properly you might have to read the book, but hopefully this gives some indication of where I'm coming from.
Riley103
Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2012 8:03:16 PM

Rank: Rookie Scribe

Joined: 4/26/2012
Posts: 1
aussiescribbler wrote:
Our basic nature is to be unconditionally loving. As very young children we did not place conditions on our acceptance of others. We accepted them as they were regardless. Animals also love in this way, but when they become adults this nature is sometimes hidden beneath the need to compete for food and breeding opportunities. Adult dogs and cats in the wild can seem to be "red in tooth and claw", at least to those of us who might end up on the menu, but our domestic dogs and cats, having grown accustomed over generations to having their needs met by humans, are praised for their unconditionally loving natures.

Sometimes we humans have to compete over food or other necessities too. But the main source of human conflict is our thinking and specifically our attachment to ideals.

Idealism is like a dangerous conceptual virus, because it eats away at our capacity for unconditional love. It places conditions on our love of ourselves and of others by introducing the expectation of a certain kind of behaviour and eventually leading us to demand it. It is a particularly pernicious virus because we believe that we need it and that it is something which leads to improvement in ourselves and society. It doesn't. In fact it is the source of our capacity for evil.

It is only after we have been hurt by life in some way, and thus become insecure or neurotic, that we feel the need to cling to ideals of any kind. And usually we have been so wounded by the time our parents, our teachers or our religious leaders start feeding them to us.

Some believe that Jesus (on whose philosophy a very destructive religion was founded) was himself an idealist. I think this is a mistake, just like that religion. If one looks carefully at the description of his words and actions which we have and replace the word "sin" with "selfishness" and "God" with "love", etc., it becomes clearly that, unlike many who claimed later to represent him, he was not trying to insist on, or scare people into following, a moral code. He was simply describing our psychological state, offering comforting statements about it and providing advice on resolving conflict and promoting the healing of ourselves and our society.

Most, if not all, of the destruction wrought by humans comes from one of these things :

1. People trying to force themselves or others to conform to some ideal.
2. People retaliating against the oppressiveness of some ideal.
3. The selfishness which is just the natural self-directedness of those wounded by 1. or 2.

There is no objective standard for what is ideal behaviour. Healthy or loving behaviour is determined by consideration of the whole situation, but ideals exist in isolation.

Idealism and holism are incompatible. Idealism is the separation of that which is considered ideal from that which is considered non-ideal. A whole is something which is not separated. And anything partial incites its opposite. There would be no Right Wing if there were no Left Wing. There would be no Satanism if there were no Christianity. One group insists, the other defies and so society or the individual is torn apart.

To drive a stake through the heart of that vampire Idealism is to free ourselves from humanity's historic curse which had the power to turn us from beings characterised by loving playfulness into miserable and destructive ego maniacs.

Thanks you for the post.
__________________
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elitfromnorth
Posted: Friday, April 27, 2012 3:51:52 AM

Rank: Brawling Berserker

Joined: 2/12/2012
Posts: 1,620
Location: Burrowed, Norway
1. If you change "sin" to "good deeds" and "God" to "The Devil" and so forth, suddenly the entire Bible becomes a manifesto for Devil worshippers. One thing is your interpretation of the Bible, but if you start swapping words then you're altering the text to fit YOUR point of view. In a scientific way; you're altering the evidence to fit your theory, which is an unforgiveable sin in science and makes your entire point as useful as a boat made of creme cheese.

2. How can you say that religion is nothing but evil? Won't you agree that it's more the practice and use of religion that should be criticised? One man will use the Bible as a reason to blow up an abortion clinic, while another man will use the Bible as a reason to start soup kitchens and help homeless people. Others will become priests and help people in funerals. For instance the priest in my grandad's funeral made the goodbye a whole lot easier than if he had been a shitty one. How can you call religion something bad when it makes death a less painful experience because they believe that the dead person will go to heaven and maybe not in the flesh but at least in spirit live on for eternety? Yes, all religion has it flaws, but isn't it more from the use?

3. Where's the love when a bear kills the cubs of a fellow bear just so he can mate with the mother? Not to mention the sadistic nature of a cat when he toys with the mouse for a long time before it gets bored and finally kills the mouse.

4. How can idealism be wrong if you strive for e.g. communism, and you truly believe that it will make the society a better place for everyone? That we will all recieve what we need and we will give back to society what we can. No more filthy rich people and no more greed. Sure, you can argue that they might need a reality check and that it will never function, but more or less saying that it's evil is pushing it too far.

5. Satanism existed before Christianity. It's an atheist view of life that puts humans in the centre.

There is nothing wrong with the idea of showing only love and affection, but isn't it so that love suddenly becomes the ideal?

"It's at that point you realise Lady Luck is actually a hooker, and you're fresh out of cash."
MrNudiePants
Posted: Friday, April 27, 2012 6:26:28 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 8/10/2009
Posts: 2,141
Location: United States
elitfromnorth wrote:
1. If you change "sin" to "good deeds" and "God" to "The Devil" and so forth, suddenly the entire Bible becomes a manifesto for Devil worshippers. One thing is your interpretation of the Bible, but if you start swapping words then you're altering the text to fit YOUR point of view. In a scientific way; you're altering the evidence to fit your theory, which is an unforgiveable sin in science and makes your entire point as useful as a boat made of creme cheese.

2. How can you say that religion is nothing but evil? Won't you agree that it's more the practice and use of religion that should be criticised? One man will use the Bible as a reason to blow up an abortion clinic, while another man will use the Bible as a reason to start soup kitchens and help homeless people. Others will become priests and help people in funerals. For instance the priest in my grandad's funeral made the goodbye a whole lot easier than if he had been a shitty one. How can you call religion something bad when it makes death a less painful experience because they believe that the dead person will go to heaven and maybe not in the flesh but at least in spirit live on for eternety? Yes, all religion has it flaws, but isn't it more from the use?

3. Where's the love when a bear kills the cubs of a fellow bear just so he can mate with the mother? Not to mention the sadistic nature of a cat when he toys with the mouse for a long time before it gets bored and finally kills the mouse.

4. How can idealism be wrong if you strive for e.g. communism, and you truly believe that it will make the society a better place for everyone? That we will all recieve what we need and we will give back to society what we can. No more filthy rich people and no more greed. Sure, you can argue that they might need a reality check and that it will never function, but more or less saying that it's evil is pushing it too far.

5. Satanism existed before Christianity. It's an atheist view of life that puts humans in the centre.

There is nothing wrong with the idea of showing only love and affection, but isn't it so that love suddenly becomes the ideal?


Awesome post.

aussiescribbler
Posted: Friday, April 27, 2012 8:23:24 AM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 6/22/2010
Posts: 52
Location: Adelaide
elitfromnorth wrote:
1. If you change "sin" to "good deeds" and "God" to "The Devil" and so forth, suddenly the entire Bible becomes a manifesto for Devil worshippers. One thing is your interpretation of the Bible, but if you start swapping words then you're altering the text to fit YOUR point of view. In a scientific way; you're altering the evidence to fit your theory, which is an unforgiveable sin in science and makes your entire point as useful as a boat made of creme cheese.


This would be true if I were picking words without reference to other ideas from within the religion. "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." John 4:8. Thus Jesus said that God was love, so by replacing the word "God" with the word "love" I am doing something consistent with Jesus' philosophy. As for sin being another word for selfishness, if you look at the seven deadly sins you will see that they are sins of selfishness, of taking instead of giving or of self-agrandisment rather than generosity towards others. One definition given for the word "sin" is "Deliberate disobedience to the known will of God." Assuming that there is a God capable of having a will (and I make no such assumption) then to go against that will would be to give preference to one's own will against that of God. And what is that but selfishness. My aim in suggesting replacing the word "sin" with "selfishness" is not to change the meaning of Jesus' statements but to make them more plain by removing the mysticism which clings to words such as "sin". If we can see that sin is selfishness then each of us can see when we are a prey to it, but if sin can only be determined by reference to the will of God, then none of us can ever truly know in what it consists, because none of us can be sure that we know God.

elitfromnorth wrote:
2. How can you say that religion is nothing but evil? Won't you agree that it's more the practice and use of religion that should be criticised? One man will use the Bible as a reason to blow up an abortion clinic, while another man will use the Bible as a reason to start soup kitchens and help homeless people. Others will become priests and help people in funerals. For instance the priest in my grandad's funeral made the goodbye a whole lot easier than if he had been a shitty one. How can you call religion something bad when it makes death a less painful experience because they believe that the dead person will go to heaven and maybe not in the flesh but at least in spirit live on for eternety? Yes, all religion has it flaws, but isn't it more from the use?


I don't believe that I did say that religion is nothing but evil. I said that Christianity (in the sense of the religion, not in the sense of what Jesus' preached) has been very destructive. I don't think that is a controversial statement. We all know of the excesses of the churches. But to say that something is very destructive is not to say that it is nothing but evil. A monsoon is very destructive, but it is not evil, the rain it brings is needed. Certainly some people do good deeds because of their religious belief, but if their example leads other people to feel guilty and that sense of guilt leads them to behave more selfishly, then no net good may eventuate. Good and evil can only be assessed in a holistic way by taking into account the effect of an act within the social system. The more one does this the less clear it becomes what constitutes a good or evil act. What I do believe is that insight, honesty, open communication and lack of judgement have beneficial effects on the system. This is why I believe in Jesus' philosophy which promoted these qualities and which put forward the view that acts of generosity should be kept secret ("So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full." Matthew 6:2). In this way the destructive side of generosity (i.e. that it makes selfish people feel guilty and thus increases their selfishness, since selfishness is the natural self-directedness of those who are suffering from such negative feelings as guilt) can be prevented. I think Jesus was spot on, but the founders of the Christian church, such as Paul, perverted his philosophy and turned it into its opposite. As George Bernard Shaw said : "Howbeit, Paul succeeded in stealing the image of Christ crucified for the figure-head of his Salvationist vessel, with its Adam posing as the natural man, its doctrine of original sin, and its damnation avoidable only by faith in the sacrifice of the cross. In fact, no sooner had Jesus knocked over the dragon of superstition than Paul boldly set it on its legs again in the name of Jesus." Introduction to Androcles and the Lion.

As for funerals, whether the minister or priest is doing the mourners a favour by saying that their loved one is going to an eternal life perhaps depends on whether or not that is true. Sometimes it is better to face up to the blunt truth of a tragic event. Some charlatans claim to help bereaved people by putting on an act of talking to the dead. This is widely acknowledged to be something which is detrimental to the healing process. My belief is that there is no existence for the ego beyond the grave. We may have an eternal "soul" but if we do it is a collective one, i.e. our body and its ego is filled with some of the universal consciousness (or God if you like) and when we die it goes back to being undifferentiated consciousness. So when I die I believe that I (as a separate entity) will have ceased to exist, but since the most blissful moments of my life have been those in which I lost to some extent that sense of being a separate entity rather than being a part of the whole, why should that be anything to view negatively?

The problems I have with religion are these :

1. The concept that God is perfect and that we should worship "him" separates us from God, encouraging us to feel bad about ourselves (something which makes us selfish) and causing us to hate and fear God as the perfect one who might hate us for our imperfections and might punish us for those imperfections.

2. A belief in the supernatural. This devalues the natural universe and leads to irrational beliefs which cause a split between ourselves and that natural universe which keep us from achieving psychological wholeness as individuals.

3. The concept that Jesus "died for our sins". He tried to show the way to freedom from selfishness and the suffering which accompanies it while he was alive. He failed. And he was killed because the sickest members of society can't stand to see someone who is healthy. But he left his philosophy behind him, so those who seek out its true meaning can still be set free by it. But the idea that what is significant about Jesus is that he went willingly to an agonising death rather than that he knew how to live a joyous and healthy life represents a second crucifixion inflicted upon him (and us) by the Christian church. Look at any church and you will find Jesus on the cross. The church loves that gruesome death because the church hates the life of the body. But many people throughout history have gone to martyr's deaths. That's nothing special. What is special about Jesus is his philosophy.

elitfromnorth wrote:
3. Where's the love when a bear kills the cubs of a fellow bear just so he can mate with the mother? Not to mention the sadistic nature of a cat when he toys with the mouse for a long time before it gets bored and finally kills the mouse.


I didn't say that animals are only capable of love. I explained that the need to compete for mating opportunities overrides the loving nature as the animal reaches adulthood in many cases. This is what happens in the case of the bear that kills the cubs. As for the cat and the mouse, the mouse is potential food. It may be true that the behaviour seems more cruel than is necessary, but love generally occurs within a species rather than between species (though that is certainly possible as we know if we are pet owners), but it is unlikely to occur between a cat and its food.

It's important to recognise that love is not compassion. Compassion is projected self-pity. Since it is likely that only humans are neurotic enough to experience self-pity it follows that only humans are liable to feel compassion. Love is open, spontaneous, honest communication. I grant you this is not an official definition, but it is the definition which seems most useful in understanding my own experience. A definition of love taken from Wikipedia is : "An intense feeling of deep affection." I use my definition because I find that I only feel "an intense feeling of deep affection" when I am being open, spontaneous and honest. If I put up some kind of defence or try to place some form of control over my communication with someone that stifles any ability to feel that "intense feeling of deep affection." And I think this is very useful for understanding the fragility of relationships between friends, lovers and family members. We may feel attached to each other, but whether we have those feelings of "deep affection" depends on whether we are being open, spontaneous and honest.

elitfromnorth wrote:
4. How can idealism be wrong if you strive for e.g. communism, and you truly believe that it will make the society a better place for everyone? That we will all recieve what we need and we will give back to society what we can. No more filthy rich people and no more greed. Sure, you can argue that they might need a reality check and that it will never function, but more or less saying that it's evil is pushing it too far.


They say that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. The problem is that, in the absence of healing, anything which pushes society in one direction will inevitably inspire a push back in the other way. Because it is all unnatural, all a matter of discipline. Look at what happened in the Balkans. Communism forced people to work together and to repress their racial resentments, but as soon as that unnatural system (a system characterised by its own abuses of power by the leaders) broke down, all hell broke loose and near genocide eventuated. Would the slaughter and rape have been less savage if the conflicts had not been repressed so deeply for so long? We can't know for sure. But hatred of "filthy rich people" is not a reliable motivation for social healing. Jesus said we should love our enemies.

elitfromnorth wrote:
5. Satanism existed before Christianity. It's an atheist view of life that puts humans in the centre.


While it is true that the myth of Satan pre-exists Christianity, appearing in the Old Testament, it is hard to confirm stories of people actually worshipping Satan before the establishment of the Church of Satan by Anton LaVay in 1966. (And it is not clear that he and his followers were really serious about it.) But the point I was trying to make was that defiant opposition to Christianity in the form of LaVay's "church" or the lyrics of various heavy metal songs occur because of Christianity. There is no need to express defiance of something unless one feels, in some way, oppressed by it.

I believe that LaVay's philosophy was an atheistic one, and that is why I don't think he was serious about the Satanic mumbo-jumbo. Satan is a meaningless concept if there is no God.

But does an atheistic philosophy necessarily put humans in the centre?

Firstly I think it has to be acknowledged that we are, of necessity, the centre of the universe as far as we ourselves are concerned. Because we are the focal point from which we experience the universe, we can't be anywhere but at its centre. But does the universe have an objective centre? Maybe. If the Big Bang Theory is correct I suppose the point from which the universe is expanding is it centre. But I don't know enough about astronomy to make sense of these things.

But beyond the purely positional question, does atheism see man as the centre? Not necessarily. We are a product of the universe. One of the more complex products. But many an atheist will acknowledge that there might be other even more intelligent and developed beings existing somewhere out in space. The idea that the universe revolves around humans is one that most atheists would probably be loath to promote, given that science was wrong about the earth being flat and the sun revolving around the earth, etc.

Religious individuals, however, very often put man (or at least a deity based on man) at the centre of the universe. The concept of God as masculine, jealous, angry, etc., is a projection of human characteristics onto the universe. It seems as if it is the religious who are more likely to put something essentially human at the centre of the universe.

elitfromnorth wrote:
There is nothing wrong with the idea of showing only love and affection, but isn't it so that love suddenly becomes the ideal?


If it becomes an ideal it ceases to be love. If love is open, spontaneous, honest communication, then it is a process that has to be unconcerned with its own imperfections. Ideals are fixed. Something spontaneous can't be fixed.
elitfromnorth
Posted: Friday, April 27, 2012 1:03:36 PM

Rank: Brawling Berserker

Joined: 2/12/2012
Posts: 1,620
Location: Burrowed, Norway
You have yet to convince me that removing religion and thus paving way for the new philosophy that you feel Jesus taught is not another idealism. Sure, there are things that keeps the spontaneous acts of love from constantly appearing, but the moment you preach and "enlighten" people about it, like you are here and in your book(that you haven't read because I have plenty of other books that I need to read) it becomes YOUR idealism. Unless the barriers that hinders this new spontaneous philosphy are broken by time and people realising it themselves, but it needs to be taught, preached and understood then it becomes an ideal. Your saying "Why don't we do this instead?" In all fairness, this seems like a paradox to me.

There are plenty of religions that aren't monotheistic or even polytheistic(and if you only have a problem with specific religions then say which ones you're talking about). Buddishm doesn't have any god at all. There's it all about insight. Hindu's have many gods with different qualities. The different mythologies have all gods that have flaws. Have a look at Greek Mythology and you'll see there's more drama there than in Days of our Lives. Hardly the perfect infallible deity that you're talking about, is it?
And the belief in the Judeo-Christian God does not automatically mean that you have to fear him. I am a Christian and I do not fear God, because I believe he loves me and don't want me to come to any harm. I don't believe in the image of the vengeful judgemental God that will strike me down. There is no way that my faith makes me feel bad about myself. It's not because it's against the ten commandments that I feel bad when I lie, it's because I lie at all. I have a conscience that dictates my feelings, not my belief. Will I apologise to God because of my sins, of course, but not in any different way than I will apologise to family and friends should I hurt them. If feeling bad is selfishness then I guess I'm as selfish as they come, and to be honest I don't have a problem with it. I'd rather feel bad about the shit I do wrong than be apathic about it. Who knows, maybe I'm just unique and none of the 3 billion people on Earth that believes in a monotheistic God feels the same as I do.

And the celebration of Jesus is partly that he died for our sins, but you exclude the most important part of it all; the ressurection. Just pulling the dying part is like going to church and have the wine but not the bread because it makes your mouth dry. You alter the concept of dying for our sins. And saying that martyrs are nothing special is like spitting on their grave. People willing to die before changing their beliefs is admirable. You might consider it stupid, but would you call it stupid if I took a man with the exact same views as you, put a gun to his head and told him that if he didn't denounce the philosphy I'd kill him, and then shoot him as he refused? Because that's what a martyr is. You get killed because you don't wanna give up your beliefs.

I would have replied more, but it's 9 PM on a Friday and my brain is shutting down. Have a good weekend coffee

"It's at that point you realise Lady Luck is actually a hooker, and you're fresh out of cash."
aussiescribbler
Posted: Saturday, April 28, 2012 2:50:13 AM

Rank: Advanced Wordsmith

Joined: 6/22/2010
Posts: 52
Location: Adelaide
elitfromnorth wrote:
You have yet to convince me that removing religion and thus paving way for the new philosophy that you feel Jesus taught is not another idealism. Sure, there are things that keeps the spontaneous acts of love from constantly appearing, but the moment you preach and "enlighten" people about it, like you are here and in your book (that you haven't read because I have plenty of other books that I need to read) it becomes YOUR idealism. Unless the barriers that hinders this new spontaneous philosphy are broken by time and people realising it themselves, but it needs to be taught, preached and understood then it becomes an ideal. Your saying "Why don't we do this instead?" In all fairness, this seems like a paradox to me.


I appreciate the fact that you take the time to debate these ideas with me here. While my book is short and would probably take less than two hours to read I understand if you have other calls on your time.

But I think these passages might make my approach more clear. I am not trying to preach. Rather I make my book available only on the off-chance that it may be helpful to others as the ideas contained within it have been helpful to me.

I offer these thoughts for what they may be worth. I trust that, if there is anything of truth in them, it will prosper, and if there is anything which is a mistake it will be seen as such and rightly dismissed.

So, to the extent that these ideas may be useful, it is a quality of the ideas themselves alone, and has nothing to do with the individual who gives expression to them. No doubt at this very moment many other individuals are expressing similar ideas, as any of us might if we learn to relax and be simply who we are and not who we think we should be.

A New World is Rising

If we have within us an original nature characterised by unconditional love which can be liberated when we feel secure enough to drop our armouring, then what about humanity as a whole?

Dogmas and forms of conformist social behaviour are to humanity what the inflexible character armour is to the individual.

But, just as a sudden breakdown of the armouring can be painful and destructive to the individual, the same applies to social or political structures. Racial conflict in the Balkans was kept repressed for decades by communist oppression. When communism collapsed a bloodbath ensued.

It is much better if repressive structures are gradually eroded by better understanding. But we don’t always have much control over what happens in the world. We can try to respond to the emergencies, but supporting oppression because its collapse might unleash violence probably wouldn’t be a good idea.

We can, however, see positive things happening in the world as well. The breakdown of old dogmas and conformist behaviours has allowed some of us to be more honest about aspects of our lives, such as sexuality, and has opened up a social space for the exchange of new ideas. If I had lived during the Middle Ages and tried to express some of the ideas I have here, if I was lucky I might have been able to talk to one or two people before I was executed for heresy. Today I might be dismissed as a loony by many, but at least I can reach an audience via the internet.

If dogma and social conformism and oppressive political structures are what is keeping our deeper nature as a species repressed, then, even though the collapse of some parts of that human equivalent to the earth’s tectonic plates, may release repressed hostilities that express themselves in violence, the overall direction could be towards health.

Jesus said of the last days : “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” Matthew 24:6-8.

To me this suggests the very thing I’m describing. The wars are the death throws of the old neurotic world, and the collapse of that world is necessary for the birth of the new.

Religious individuals may assert that Jesus was describing something supernatural which would include his personal return to earthly existence, but I believe that individuals who, for whatever reason, have access to their original nature often speak as that nature using the word “I” to refer to what is perhaps more properly thought of as “us”. During psychotic breakdowns individuals very often claim to be Jesus or God. Though they may be confused and what they say may be unreliable, they are merely acknowledging that what we term “God” can speak through any of us when armouring is either non-existent or broken. So the return is the return of the voice not the vessel through which it spoke.

Jesus also said this : “At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect - if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. 'So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.” Matthew 24:23-28

Here we can see that what is being referred to as “the coming of the Son of Man” is not something focused in an individual towards whom others can look for guidance. Rather the phenomenon is something which happens everywhere seemingly in a flash. This is consistent with the concept that the social space opened up by the death of dogmas, repressive regimes and social conformism allows for the decentralised improvisation of a new consciousness by those whose thinking has been thus liberated. I believe this book is a part of that, but only a part. There are many other useful ideas out there. And the internet is a key to this coming together of a new consciousness because it allows for completely decentralised communication similar to that found in the human brain. If we are to be one entity the internet will be our nervous system. The last sentence refers to the dying dogmas. A lot of people, like those vultures, will have their attention focused on those dogmas in their death throws, but the real action is happening elsewhere.

It should be emphasised that there is nothing supernatural about Jesus’ predictions. They are descriptions of a generalised pattern of events which would be predictable by anyone with insight into the operation of the system being observed, in this case, human society. Jesus was quite fallible as he predicted that these things would happen within the lives of his own generation.


To preach a form of idealism one needs to have faith in its rightness. My writing is not an act of faith but an exploration or excavation. I write what comes to me and only then look to see whether it has usefulness. As the ideas in my book have helped me to become free from often crippling degrees of depression and anxiety, and since others have written to me to tell me that my book has helped them, and since it has 57 five star ratings on U.S. I-Tunes, I would say that there is a certain amount of evidence that it has some usefulness. But as the extracts above explain I see my writing as nothing more than one articulation for something which is happening spontaneously in many people's minds anyway. While I am reassured when people say my book has helped them, I'm equally reassured when people say that I am not saying anything they didn't already know. There is nothing wrong with being unnecessary.

elitfromnorth wrote:
There are plenty of religions that aren't monotheistic or even polytheistic(and if you only have a problem with specific religions then say which ones you're talking about). Buddishm doesn't have any god at all. There's it all about insight. Hindu's have many gods with different qualities. The different mythologies have all gods that have flaws. Have a look at Greek Mythology and you'll see there's more drama there than in Days of our Lives. Hardly the perfect infallible deity that you're talking about, is it?


Because we were talking about Christianity I listed the things which I have a problem with in that religion, or in specific varieties of that religion.

Whether Buddhism is a religion depends on which definition of religion you use.

From The Free Dictionary :

re·li·gion (r-ljn)
n.
1.
a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.
3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.


If we take definition 1, then Buddhism is not a religion in that sense. However it is a religion if we take definition 3. When words are used so loosely it is hard to be precise in our statements.

But some of my criticisms apply to all religions other than Buddhism I think. All others seem to have belief in the supernatural. And even though the deities of ancient Greece and Rome were hardly perfect, devotees were expected to humble themselves before them.

elitfromnorth wrote:
And the belief in the Judeo-Christian God does not automatically mean that you have to fear him. I am a Christian and I do not fear God, because I believe he loves me and don't want me to come to any harm. I don't believe in the image of the vengeful judgemental God that will strike me down. There is no way that my faith makes me feel bad about myself. It's not because it's against the ten commandments that I feel bad when I lie, it's because I lie at all. I have a conscience that dictates my feelings, not my belief. Will I apologise to God because of my sins, of course, but not in any different way than I will apologise to family and friends should I hurt them. If feeling bad is selfishness then I guess I'm as selfish as they come, and to be honest I don't have a problem with it. I'd rather feel bad about the shit I do wrong than be apathic about it. Who knows, maybe I'm just unique and none of the 3 billion people on Earth that believes in a monotheistic God feels the same as I do.


Christianity is not entirely without an element of Jesus's genuine philosophy, a large part of which was to kill the idea of the judgemental God.

But why should you feel bad? If feeling bad benefited somebody then it might have a purpose, but since it stops us from enjoying ourselves and also makes us less available to be helpful to others I see no virtue in it.

Here is what I say in my book on the issue of complacency :

The key to happiness, mental health and being the most that we can be is absolute and unconditional self-acceptance. The paradox is that many of our problems are caused by trying to improve ourselves, censor our thinking, make up for past misdeeds and struggling with our negative feelings whether of depression or aggression.

But if we consider ourselves in our entirety in this very moment, we know these things :

1. Anything we have done is in the past and cannot be changed, thus it is pointless to do anything else but accept it. No regrets or guilt.

2. While our actions can harm others, our thoughts and emotions, in and of themselves, never can. So we should accept them and allow them to be and go where they will. While emotions sometimes drive actions, those who completely accept their emotions and allow themselves to feel them fully, have more choice over how they act in the light of them.

Self-criticism never made anyone a better person. Anyone who does a “good deed” under pressure from their conscience or to gain the approval of others takes out the frustration involved in some other way. The basis for loving behaviour towards others is the ability to love ourselves. And loving ourselves unconditionally, means loving ourselves exactly as we are at this moment.

This might seem to be complacency, but in fact the natural activity of the individual is healthy growth, and what holds us back from it is fighting with those things we can’t change and the free thought and emotional experience which is the very substance of that growth.


elitfromnorth wrote:
And the celebration of Jesus is partly that he died for our sins, but you exclude the most important part of it all; the ressurection. Just pulling the dying part is like going to church and have the wine but not the bread because it makes your mouth dry. You alter the concept of dying for our sins.


Here again we have the belief in the supernatural. I see no reason to believe that Jesus rose from the dead, was born of a virgin, turned water into wine, walked on the water or raised a man named Lazarus from the dead, any more than I see reason to believe that a man named Perseus slew a woman with snakes for hair or that King Arthur was handed his sword by a woman who lived in the lake. It is understandable that neurotic individuals, unable to acknowledge their own state of neurosis and thus unable to understand what made a non-neurotic man like Jesus special, should give expression of their intuitive awareness of that specialness by coming to believe magic stories about him. Which is not to say that those stories have no meaning. Jesus' ideas took on a new life after his death even if he did not. And to drink water with a loving individual like Jesus was no doubt like drinking wine with someone else. And there may have been a man named Lazarus who was returned from a state of spiritual death by Jesus insights.

I think much of what Jesus said also has been taken too literally. For instance he said : and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? John 11:26 Clearly he wasn't talking about literal physical death, because everybody who believed in him in his time did, in fact, die. I think he was talking about the spiritual death - the living death - of ego-embattlement, which makes us like zombies compared to the vital emotional creatures we were as children.

In one of the fragments of The Gospel of Thomas we find this description of the Kingdom of Heaven (or of God) :

Jesus said, "If those who attract you say, 'See, the Kingdom is
in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they
say to you, 'It is under the earth,' then the fish of the sea will
precede you. Rather, the Kingdom of God is inside of you, and it is
outside of you. [Those who] become acquainted with [themselves]
will find it; [and when you] become acquainted with yourselves, [you
will understand that] it is you who are the sons of the living
Father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty
and it is you who are that poverty."


So it seems to me that Jesus was never promising an after-life in Heaven, but rather a practical path to becoming once more living expressions of God in this world.

And then there is : And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3. To me this means that the path to paradise involves rediscovering the ability to love unconditionally which we had when we were very young children. This is not something we need to learn, rather we need to unlearn the unhelpful ideas - such as idealism - which separate us from that inherent nature. When we were young children we had no expectations about ourselves, others or the world around us, beyond the expectation that our basic physical needs would be met. Any expectations that we might have about ourselves, others or the world necessarily alienate us from our capacity for unconditional love.

elitfromnorth wrote:
And saying that martyrs are nothing special is like spitting on their grave. People willing to die before changing their beliefs is admirable. You might consider it stupid, but would you call it stupid if I took a man with the exact same views as you, put a gun to his head and told him that if he didn't denounce the philosphy I'd kill him, and then shoot him as he refused? Because that's what a martyr is. You get killed because you don't wanna give up your beliefs.


I shouldn't have said that martyrdom is nothing special. I very much admire someone who has the integrity required to die for their beliefs, whether it be Jesus, Socrates, Spartacus, Joan of Arc, Giordano Bruno, or any number of Cathars, Jews and other heretics killed by the Catholic church or the women burned as "witches" by the puritans. I should have said that Jesus martyrdom is not what made him unique. There have been many more martyrs than there have been individuals with a philosophy as insightful and influential as that of Jesus.

elitfromnorth wrote:
I would have replied more, but it's 9 PM on a Friday and my brain is shutting down. Have a good weekend coffee
redlips
Posted: Saturday, April 28, 2012 10:38:14 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 5/21/2011
Posts: 144
I am not quailified or capable of entering into this discussion, but I have a question from aussiescriblers opening statement about human capacity for unconditional love. I am not certain humans have that capacity at all. Perhaps, parents for children, but often that also turn conditional at some point. So are we really fully capable of total UNCONDITIONAL love? I'm not sure.

If you ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it.................Frank Lloyd Wright

I always practice obedience, when it's in my best interest.
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