Category Archives: Relationships

Love

Love

Love only becomes meaningful by demonstration.

If you have to brag about loving people, you’re not demonstrating it.

If you have to brag about God’s love for people, God’s not demonstrating it.

My words. I will not ask you to believe them. Most of us are astute enough to recognize when love is absent. We are most of us astute enough to recognize when we are confronted by hatred. Whether religious or atheist, we are poorly served by displays of hatred, and edified by displays of love directed toward us. Whether Christian or atheist, we read the signs and attempt to understand the intentions of those who approach us. If we are mistaught or inexperienced, we may misunderstand and read them wrong. We read as hatred attempts to foist onto us opinions unaccompanied by evidence. No matter what we believe, we are alike in that. Also, we commonly understand attempts to preach to us without first asking our permission to be hatred. Common to us also is our way of understanding displays of love. Showing respect is accepted as love. The ability to disagree without devolving into enmity is a loving trait.

If we could develop a meter to measure love and hate, we would label the midpoint between love and hate as apathy. That is the most of what God demonstrates in our lives, as in the kind of God the deists believe in. The impression that God does not exist, as the atheists would have it, arrives from the total lack of valid evidence in support of it. That someone wrote a book 2-or 3000 years ago is meaningless without any new developments in addition. Rather than frivolous, the demand for evidence follows precedents set by law, science, and any investigatory practice. To proclaim faith as its own evidence is the same as saying faith has no evidence. Results of praying linger close to statistical expectations as if there is no God. There can be only one legitimate reason for the total lack of evidence to support the existence of a god named God.

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Pain

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Pain

All the ugly sensations get dumped into the heading for PAIN’. Can you imagine a world without pain?

Although we may hate the suffering, pain is part of Nature’s warning system, delivering a message that something is going wrong (Go see a medic) or, you are (or have been; go see a medic) doing something wrong; STOP IT! While we may bemoan the mean system, if we remember we are products of evolution’s sorting process, we can recognize how the process required something with power enough to occupy our fully engaged attention. Hardheaded humans getting their jollies respond to nothing less. “Hoibert, I’m getting sore. We gotta stop for a while.”

He wrapped his arms around her and stared into her blue Irish eyes. His fake Latino accent sounded breathy when he spoke. “My darling, I love you more than life. Just one more time and I will stop. I promise.”

O-o-o-k-kay-a-a,- H-h-hoi-b-ber-r-t.”

As a teacher, pain has no peer. Only love can overcome it. Humans have learned to apply pain to serve their own purposes, some of which may be questionable. Although spanking has a historical place in the raising of children, it is increasingly regarded as a dangerous practice when applied by powerful, angry adults against juveniles. Some regard it as a criminal act to induce pain into another’s body at any age. My brothers and I were spanked, not overmuch, but often. Spankings with Dad’s razor strap ended after I used his razor to cut the strap in two. He whipped me with his belt when he learned what I had done, a thin snake that liked to coil around my legs. When Mom asked him what he would use for a razor strap, he caught the grin forming on my face. “Nothing. I’ll just wear a heavier belt.” I still wore the grin when he next looked at me, from picturing him standing with his pants around his ankles.

Pain represents a cost for accomplishments. Those who won’t endure pain or undervalue their talent won’t pay the price and won’t gain the pleasure of the associated reward. To overestimate your capabilities, on the other hand, will cause at least the equal of that pain. We can’t all sing or perform high-wire stunts, but we can all learn to become good at something enjoyable.

Nature

Nature

Nature

I will acknowledge a fondness for the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

(“But, that is about something that’s not real.”)

I won’t argue against that. What role the Flying Spaghetti Monster can play for everybody is as a stand in for testing other beliefs. If whatever can be said about the Flying Spaghetti Monster is not also true about the belief being tested, that belief could be true.

It doesn’t work all that well because people lie to defend their own beliefs. What I do accept as true, however, is nature occupying the position of final authority.

(“But, nature is not a god.”)

That’s true, and I never claimed that. It’s also true that some people consider nature as the Supreme Being.

(“Isn’t that the same as what you just now said?”)

It could be so, if there were an entity involved. There’s none.

(“There is always God.”)

No one has ever brought forth evidence to support any kind of such claims

(“Who made the trees, the beautiful flowers, the grass? That’s evidence for God.”)

It works better as an argument for nature. Anyway, which god are you talking about?

(“I am sure you know the god who gave Moses the Ten Commandments is the only god.”)

So, you are talking about the god named God? No, I didn’t know that about her.

(“God is a ‘him’, I’ll have you know.”)

Back when gods were many and each tribe and village had their own, the female form was prominent. Are you proposing your god underwent a sex change?

(“Don’t be ridiculous.”)

It was your idea. There are statues all over the world for evidence.

(“Those aren’t gods.”)

Maybe not to you, but their history is still known by some natives.

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.

Opinions

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Opinions

As the old wisdom decrees, opinions are like assholes; everybody has one, and they need to keep it to themselves. What old wisdom overlooks is the relief of letting it go and the satisfaction from dumping on somebody who was asking for it, after too long of holding your breath.

Opinions serve two important purposes, both as teaching tools for anyone wise enough (and brave enough) to learn to use them. They most commonly find roles as defensive tools, whether against someone we have offended, a teacher struggling to clarify a misunderstood point, a proselytizing predator howling at your heels, or anyone asserting something with which we disagree.

Even predators can learn by applying the second purpose toward the achievement of their own betterment. While the stings and burns of battle still rage and the heat of it still warms your brain, now is a good time to reflect on the process just undertaken, while still fresh in memory. Predator and intended prey will consider their answers for the same list of questions, plus some of their own:

  • Might I owe my opponent(s) an apology? Nobody will gain true knowledge from name calling, accusations, nor any other form of personal comments.

  • Did I engage in that to proselytize? —to exchange information? —to ask (a) question(s)?

  • Did I intend to learn something? —or tell something about which nobody asked?

We get poorly educated about rules for effective argument or thinking. Most of us have no idea why such topics should be hers as though we have the greatest expertise in that topic. Some may be, but why argue if you can’t convince, and will not learn.

Nobility

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Nobility

Whether or not regarded as an irksome chore, to endeavor upon the task of improving oneself can be a rewarding and necessary lifetime pursuit.

Rewarding? Yes. Each accomplishment that makes you feel better about yourself—that focuses ​on your brighter future—that alerts others about your effort—that puts you into the company of others making a similar endeavor—who will impart new insights about your own goals, new ideas and planning. Beware new friends you make. They might steal your good ideas before you realize their value. Shhhh, quiet…

Necessary? Yes. If you’re not advancing and improving, you are decaying and falling into obsolescence. That’s just Nature at work. Those who get ahead are those who keep moving; those who get run over are those who stood still.

Irksome? No, getting caught unprepared, getting overlooked, getting left behind are what’s irksome. Find your dream vocation, master that, and put yourself into position to go for it. Sounds simple? It can take years that you can endure or enjoy, your choice. Attitude matters. If you find find your choices irksome, that is a sign they are wrong for you. Find new dreams and choose again.

Lifetime? Yes. Once you discover a pursuit that pleases and engages you, you will want to develop your skills to the peak of your capabilities. Don’t be surprised to discover new worlds of possibilities will open up a new array of choices to your awareness, that were previously beyond your reach. If you find one tempting, go for it. You won’t be the first famous person to change careers midway.

But, what if you’re just a common, ordinary schmuck like me, who’s perfectly happy with life the way it is? When the end of your time comes, whom else do you have to impress than your own self? I am neither wealthy nor famous , I learned many things too late to apply them, but I have learned to keep one woman happy and live to a grand old age. I have met others I might have liked as much, but none that that I could love more. Take that as advice, and this: If you are happy, keep doing what you have going now.

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.

Credibility

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Credibility

Human beings may be social animals, but we must undergo a lot of training before we master the required skills. The rapidly fluxing change of expectations running through the passing flow of generations, plus the increasing intimacy of antagonistic cultures crowding together as our world grows smaller, makes us strangers to each other as our horizons widen until our focus becomes fixed on distant points.

Although essential to the social process, credibility suffers and trust wanes as the pool of people with whom we can feel truly intimate grows ever more shallow. Maybe most people will never notice this effect and will want to argue about it. Maybe they just haven’t lived long enough.

While fast approaching the ninth decade of my life, I’ve been privileged to notice and think about a lot of things. As an old man I won’t expect these words to glean much serious consideration, but, there are still people of high integrity who will read and understand, so I will go on.

Whether or not people agree with you, maintaining credibility demonstrates high integrity:

  • Your existence demonstrates verisimilitude—

    • Your reputation is impeccable. You pay your bills. People trust you. You don’t play games with their accounts when people owe you money, nor sell off their accounts to increase profits or lessen losses at others’ expense. You always give fair measure.

    • You can be called upon to show the truth. Evidence is your friend. Absence of evidence is reason enough for doubt and disbelief under the law and in life.

    • You feel no need to pressure people about their beliefs:

      • No need for defensive explanations. Apologia acts as a stand-in for reality for when something doesn’t make sense. You don’t hold still for apologetic reasoning; when something seems off, you look for the truth and evidence.

      • No need for name calling. You don’t see why well-behaved people are called heathens, infidels, heretics, pariahs, blasphemer, reprobate, profane, nor all the other put-down names used for those who believe differently. You see such tactics as intentionally divisive.

      • No need for personal attacks. You that name-calling and physical abuse are not the only forms of personal attacks, and that this column amounts to only a partial list.

      • No need for gas-lighting, an especially egregious form of common attack wherein one person attempts to gain control of another’s thinking by reducing self-confidence.

      • No need for Gish-Galloping. That motor-mouthing to stomp on an opponent’s response is unfair during debates seems irrelevant to practitioners of it does not mean they are as smart as they think. While it stays true that some people enjoy being fooled, and others will root for their favorite no matter what, people are getting wise. Such tactics are used to hide something. They may gain few new converts.

      • No need for back stabbing. The spectacle continues with attempts to poison people’s opinions against someone else. People of high integrity feel no need to tell anything but the truth about others; they suffer no spurring to sully reputations for their own advancement or any reason except to tell the truth.

      • No need for conflation. Where one word has multiple definitions, it is easy to slip from one meaning to another for the sake of winning an argument, by treating all the meanings as one and confounding an opponent. A person of high integrity regards cheating as a malicious form of personal attack to avoid.

      • No need for one-upsmanship. People of high integrity will see interpersonal discussions as a potential information resource. They will not see them as competitions, but as a chance to gain and impart ideas and knowledge.

      • No need for weekly belief-reinforcement. People of high integrity, those who value their personal trustworthiness, know that unsupported beliefs diminish over time and lose their importance. Reality supports reality, while fairy tales get abandoned in childhood if given no support.

      • No need for stress induced by a need to continue justifying indoctrinated errors against all of their challengers. As a person of high integrity, you want to know the truth and nothing less will do. You already know the only path to truth runs through evidence to keep you straight; that without real evidence you have only your emotions to guide you; following your emotions will lead to belief in anything that appeals to you, and that is not apt to be truthful.

So, Smartass, where do I find evidence, and how do I tell the real from the fake​?

To watch evidence at work, find a criminal court in session and spend a few hours (or days) watching the process. Anything relevant to science depends on evidence to gain approval and development funds. Reports in the magazines aimed at popularizing science seldom delve very deeply into the actual processes, but may provide “learn more” links or footnotes, as will science-related websites, that will lead you as far as you care to go into most topics.

In fewer words, evidence should be evident on the page; you shouldn’t need to search for it, but, since you are reading this online, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and a host of others are waiting with dangling tongues for you to click on them. Just choose a word of interest, click to highlight it, hold down [ctrl] while pressing [c] to copy it, get your browser running and paste it into the search bar. Click on the blinking cursor, hold down [shift] while pressing [ins] and then press [enter] after lifting your finger off the [ins] key. Don’t hold me responsible for whomever labeled the keys on your computer.

So, that leaves “How do I tell the real from the fake?

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.

Don’t Believe?

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Don’t Believe?

Don’t get carried away with your skepticism without first giving it a lot of good, honest thought. Skepticism for the sake of appearing skeptical solves nothing. Those atheists who claim to have purged their minds of all beliefs have granted their accusers the upper hand with that unnecessary claim. Taking that philosophical position enables them to back you into the corner where nothing is true. Do you really believe that our perceptions of reality misinform us? —then, you support a belief. Can you demonstrate how that belief is true? —then, you have either demonstrated that you have a belief, or that you still haven’t mastered the art of fiction. Or, maybe, both.

I suspect the multi-layered composition of reality befuddles thinking about it, especially when we fail to recognize the borders that separate the layers.

Calling them layers probably also contributes to befuddlement, which is why we more properly refer to them as ‘realms’. They are not under foot; we stay immersed in them. The realms are named “micro”, “macro”, and “cosmo” with the suffix “logical” appended to each, plus a suspected multiverse that may remain forever beyond human apprehension. Somewhere in that never-to-be-known portion, prehistoric people asserted a supernatural realm most scientists would place in abeyance since it, too, cannot be verified.

I believe that entire approach to understanding reality yields the most accurate simulation of truth possible with the tools available in our time. I believe that because I see the technology and predictions from science improving over the years while the scoffers on the other side lose ground, become less convincing to more people, and increase the rate of killing each other over who has the best answers.

I do have their answer: “None of them.”

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.