Tag Archives: balance

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.

Abeyance

Reposted from Hedonix of December 3, 2013

Abeyance

Lloyd H. Whitling

Hang it up. Put it back on the shelf. Keep it in cold storage. Give it a rest until we see a reason for it. Abeyance…

If you study only all you’ve been handed, you will never learn anything that goes beyond that. You will never feel the joy of making your own discoveries. You’ll have only old stories to tell children already much wiser than you.

Over the past two or three centuries, depending on what we would choose for a starting point, science has been slowly building and refining a pool of knowledge. During that time, it has also refined and established a method for determining and verifying by how much we can depend upon a piece of information, its reasons for denying truth for other pieces of information, and why some other pieces of information accepted as true should not be believed.

During recent decades, that pool of knowledge has accelerated into a pond. Science still has an ocean full of lakes to go, but that does not mean we do not need to keep on, nor will not benefit from, applying that method to our individual existences. After eventual banishment of unfounded beliefs, will our world truly crumble into rampant sensualism? Will a universal application of well-understood science prevent that from happening—or, is what we have now to guide us the best we can ever do?

If there be truth to the often-expressed notion that science cannot make moral statements, it likely is true that there will never be a better world for human habitation. We cannot forget, however, the scientific method was never used to approve that statement. For people to believe it while untested makes of it a religious statement about “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.” Untested, it may not be true, or may be partly true but mostly misleading. It must be tested so we can know, and steer a proper course in harmony with the result. We can learn to trust it over the course of time, as increasing amounts of gathered data, as always, lead to refinement, until we (or, our heirs) get to compare life in some later times with ours. Will we or they laugh at our current duplicity? I will insist this: If applying science to morality results in a mess, it is set up to correct itself. It is the nature of religion that it will not. Religion will hide in every hole it finds, and hang in each hole until science finds a plug. The value of religion to humanity is not the possession of any truths. It serves the world by challenging science and forcing it to stay honest and, as much as possible, complete.

I was not raised to think the way any of that suggests. My folks would have felt proud of all the religious-right sons of (I so hate to sully my image of dogs that I will say) Satan that are running our country now. What changed? I believe my interest in writing, combined with the religious arguments in which my parents seemed to stay involved, caused me to rescue myself. Starting with the religious arguments, no one can ever claim I lacked interest. I started to read everything I could find, until it dawned on me that everybody seemed able to prove anything they wanted from their scriptures. I began to understand how God and Satan could switch places in people’s minds with no one ever the wiser. The only people who could show me what to believe were the scientists I eventually read about.

Yes, there is an element of doubt inherent to science. That is a good thing that allows for informational refinement. That element to enable a tuning-up process should no more be disparaged for science than for musicians. Think of musicians not allowed to tune their instruments, and you will soon have the conditions inherent to religion— people soon starting their own bands (new sects) just so they can re-tune, then having a blast with it until the inevitable detuning occurs. Rather than doubt, I now see it as being able to know a good thing that may later lead to knowledge of something even better. Hey, I can allow myself to stay in tune, now!—and I have standards of comparisons so that I can stay in tune. I only have to remember that not everything written about science is scientific.

The religious don’t see it that way. They see that element of doubt as a weakness they can latch onto so they can keep themselves convinced of their own failing sense of rectitude. That may be one reason why they search the Internet for arguments. They feel desperate, it appears, for a handle by which they can lift up their wilting belief, hoping against hope that it won’t die before Jesus comes back to rescue them. They don’t see the verse in their own scripts that tells them that day has come and gone. They don’t want to hear how the promise went unkept.

The religious call us fools, immoral, evil perverts with no moral compass, filled with anger. We may be fools, but only because we give them our attention, as if we give no thought to things when they’re not around pissing us off. Yes, it is their common inclination to reason with the gut that makes them so irritating to us. They proclaim something scientific, when that claim has passed muster with nothing more than their scriptures. They talk about hypotheses as though they may be indefeasible without realizing we commonly have no interest in them until someone can make testable predictions about them. They seem oblivious that so many people have tried variations of the same routine on every opportunity to present itself that we feel underwhelmed (a cliche, yes, but appropriate for a cliche situation). You! You are not the first to so approach us. Our parents and/or our neighbors beat you by most of our years.

Conditions found in the middle East give me my personal take on morality. It cannot be set in stone by centralized self-appointed authorities without doing great harm. Over time, the authority squeezes harder and tighter as new, more painful and unjustifiable edicts increase its grip while its subjects struggle to stay alive. Look at conditions in the middle east where that is normal and enforcement too often leads to death of an innocent victim and freedom for the guilty. Morality is a servant of Justice. That is not justice. That is injustice! To treat religious edicts as though they have already gone through science’s process of validation leads to the enforcement of sham laws based on them, a dangerous situation the rise of which we are seeing in our own country. Fascism is not just a Republican buzz-word. Dominionism is not just an idle threat. You would not like life under them any more than would most of us.

True morality is a province of responsible empathetic individuals. Living in a “righteous and good manner” is what keeps us all out of jail. The last statistics I found showed atheists to be, PER CAPITA, less than 1% of prison populations. That is what comes of mixing religion with governance, and of treating speculative hypotheses as though they have been proved. What good is a hypothesis if it gets you into trouble by leading you to moral edicts that fail? Why bother with all the trouble taken to hide religion behind rhetoric when the numbers show how it will fail you? It is as easy to call Satan “God” and mistake that entity for Allah, Yahweh, or whomever, because you have no way of recognition. You would be far better served to simply watch what happens to other people and learn from that.

Most arguers accusing atheists of ‘fundamentalism’ and ‘denying God’ leave out the one important element that DAs use to determine if cases are ready to be tried, that makes science the powerful tool it has become, and justifies the naturalistic atheist position. It is the matter of abeyance, derived from the defeasibility principle. A scientist may believe his hypothesis will pass all tests. A DA may be convinced the accused deserves to serve a long sentence for a heinous act. To serve the cause of justice, which we all want, abeyance requires unsupported hypotheses and accusations to be set aside and to not be acted upon until sufficient evidence can be gathered. Conjecture and speculation for which no evidence exists, and for which no testable predictions can be expressed, are considered to be frivolous, meaningless, irrelevant, dangerous to truth and justice.

I have lived a long life filled with people pushing a ‘god’ notion and have learned some things that warn me of slavery, intolerance and centralism. That means that my autonomy is being targeted. Someone is setting up a circumstance where they can grant authority to a central power so they can manage my sense of responsibility for the results of my choices in life, and such people act as toadies for that cause. Worse, they want to usurp my right to choose sensibly by introducing priests (by all the labels that apply) into the mix, who feel bound to serve their frivolously derived god named (God, Allah, Satan, the other 15000) by guessing at what It wants the same way they guessed that their version of It exists.

We already have a central authority, where the Almighty’s handiworkers have been making inroads since this country’s inception. We are embroiled in the middle East because of it. We have problems in our cities that can be (and have been) attributed to it. We have an unjust system of taxation because of it, and it will get worse before enough people awaken to the root cause and rise up against it. Look at what is happening in the middle East now. Look at Syria. Worse than that could happen here because of people pushing this conjectured existence into government. Do we want that evil here? My opinion is “No! Let them complain about persecution. They work hard to get it, then, when it comes, they don’t like it.”

Can you in all honesty, imagine a god as jealous, bloodthirsty and demanding as the one described in the Bible staying so completely absent from its flock? As all-powerful as it is said to be, I would expect to hear a ‘round-the-world deafening growl every so often. It would definitely make itself heard and put a stop to all these yay-hoots giving Satan all the credit and causing all those good-intentioned converts to be bound for Hell. I surely don’t envision a god so dumb as to let that kind of people do its talking, when the real, actual thing could scare Hell right out of me just by letting me hear it sigh. I would be at its service immediately after cleaning up the mess.

The only testable rules of right and wrong are learned from nature. The only demonstrable reason for ethics and morality is found in other people. We will praise each other for doing good and right, and warn each other when we see bad and wrong in our midst. We will sue people who do us harm. We don’t need priests to set down rules about those things, nor to form a court to determine reprisals and restitutions. Like any other animal, we can do that ourselves because we know what hurts, what deserves blame, what deserves praise, what constitutes loss, and what makes justice. Gods and priests serve no purpose in that, and only get in the way of its free practice. We need a government that works for the common good, not against it.

We also know how to determine the sources of many decrees about morality, the nature of the causes such decrees might serve, and do well understand what it leads to. Our USA is suffering in its sleep because of that now. It is the adverse of the freedom our leaders constantly tout. We don’t need more of that in our lives. You don’t need it in your life. Study freely with an aim to learn what atheism and hedonism really means away from churches and other commercial enterprises. Don’t try to sneak in what deserves nothing more than abeyance. Too many of us have already had that up to here. We have no reason to adopt such beliefs, and you have no reason for hanging on to them.

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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.

Morals

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Morals

We get trained by the manner of our rearing to turn to a central authority for behavior enforcement. It begins with our parents or nanny and gets reinforced by all the central authorities we learn to deal with as we age. They increase in number and size while we mature, all of them enforcing their own sets of rules. We choose what we agree with and can tolerate, and accept what gets forced onto us, often with reluctance.

All of that grows with us into maturity and hardens into us as we age. We all respond differently to it at different stages of the cycle. We are rarely taught to think for ourselves, but to accept what we get handed as true and try to work with that. Disparity between truth and reality often requires adjustments, but help is always available if you don’t ask too many questions.

Examples abound around each of us from which we learn reasons to practice good behavior:

  • Each central authority with which we dealt as we grew up, as a moral act, explained their rules so you would understand them. As we approached adulthood we were expected to already know and practice the etiquette behind good behavior, so rules may not always have been mentioned.
  • Personal experience and events involving others provide excellent sources of behavior-related information and examples that go far beyond the normal realm of moral concerns. Television, magazines, newspapers, radios are just a few of the sources hawking tons of information daily. The Ten Commandments look pretty weak compared to what a one-hour shoot-em-up can demonstrate on TV.
  • The Law of the Land encodes behavior and punishments at all levels of government, with many opportunities to learn them. Religions work hard to assure themselves that as many as possible of their artificial constraints also become encoded right along with natural concerns.
  • Reciprocity, a hedonistic part of personal experience that too-often escapes attention, demonstrates the hedonic pleasure that arises from sharing, giving and receiving, cooperating, or any other acts of an altruistic nature, both in the giving and receiving.

Human nature as a social species demonstrates that nature has provided us with plenty of ways to learn moral behavior, reinforced by hedonic means, to which technology had added increased hedonic support with increased opportunities to imagine pleasure and pain. We are hardwired with only the essentials of morality. The nature of our social upbringing does the rest, which explains our affinity for a centralized authority, and why most of us can so readily adapt to other cultures.

That makes centralized authority seem like a good thing, a product of natural design that should never let us down. Nature never made us that promise. In every category we find errors: stillborn infants, global warming for which we are loathe to take credit, on and on. The weakness of centralized authority by which we are all apt to suffer is its ability to easily hide important information.

A recent example is a trade deal that involved President Obama that was presented by petitioners as a secret trade deal about which little was known; it certainly was not making the news, so the ploy was believable. Of concern was the section purported to give the president unprecedented power by enabling him to ‘fast track’ international agreements without seeking congressional approval. People don’t like secrets kept from them. That so many Republicans supported the bill made it more worrisome. (the bill has apparently passed on a second go round)

Reference one Reference two

 

Love and Justice

love and justice

Love and Justice

Wise lovers who feel concern for each other will set down fair rules right from the start, but do we ever? It would be far better if we could grow up with such rules instilled in us so we understood them from long practice, followed them without pause, and accepted the humanistic reasoning behind them.

Justice, derived from rules of fair play, toleration, reciprocity and trustworthiness, does not equate with the common notion of justice as a form of revenge. Justice seeks balance, yes, but ends with that; to push it farther begets punishment, which has no place in love.

But, mercy does. When one lover sins against another, pain and blame rule in the offended lover’s thoughts. The relationship—that process which binds them—suffers from that even more than from the offense. To punish the relationship when it is innocent makes no sense. Show mercy until the offender has made it clear that it is not deserved.

Righteousness arises not from out of any edification by church or priest, but from having earned the trust and respect of those with whom we share our lives and a world. A moral life has less to do with catering to artificial gods and demons than with how well our world, and our fellow humans, have fared at our hands. Evolution favors not the most perfect nor the strongest, but favors the ones who best fit in the social environment where they reside. Why else, despite centuries of killing each other off, would the religious still outnumber atheists? It must be for the same reason that sheep outnumber goats, and that cattle outnumber those even while serving as a popular meal for the human species.

Does justice, then, decree that we must serve the needs of the power-wielders to increase our own kind upon the Earth? No—justice and love serve the same ends in roles that humans play as tested in the courts of every land. Justice conflated with vengeance unbalances: Where vengeance reigns, love ebbs; where justice rules, love increases as compassion so that a balanced state can be maintained. Balancing hurt for hurt does not satisfy: Vengeance demands that interest be charged. The relationship suffers for the excess toll of that.

Key

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Key

You will, at least, succeed at being happy.

So what if it ends up as ‘only a hobby’? Look: when something you love doing becomes something you have to do to earn money, it then often becomes ‘only a job’. You can no longer walk away from it to fill your life with all those other things you love, that you perhaps give little thought to now. As a result, boredom overwhelms you. You become no longer your own person. Each client or customer becomes a little boss you must make happy, or risk losing business.

This problem, called ‘burnout’, could be seen as a blessing if you planned for it from the beginning. Most of preparation will depend on the nature of your enterprise. A musician, for example, cannot ‘farm out’ his product at a profit, but a machinist or wood worker could. Enterprising people who foresee a future filled with increasing workloads could turn that into a thriving business in itself.

Musicians furnish us with an example of a different kind of occupation shared by performers of all kinds. Each performance must be as fresh and new to the audience as each previous performance, even though the audience is expected to be new. In that way it is not different from shaping the same piece of wood, or the same piece of steel, hundreds or thousands of times. The difference is that the machinist and woodworker get to throw their mistakes into the scrap pile. The performer delivers his and hers on the spot. Each performance is more practice for the next.

Wordsmiths seem to live in the best kind of world when they are financially successful, but most of us earn a living at something else. It makes a great hobby. We get to retype our mistakes into the computer, so nothing but time gets wasted. People seem to think we are not doing anything, so we have lots of company until we learn to hide ourselves out in the woods.

This all goes to support of the actual philosophy of hedonism in which the element called homeostasis gains recognition from biological science that sets an example of how balanced living must result from recognizing how our bodies maintain themselves, and then learning why and how to use that for moral self-guidance. Mother Nature has furnished that system from which we must learn if we are to ever learn how to live the best kind of self-directed lives.

 

Justice

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Justice

Faith is the believer’s hammer. A flaw in the process of fostering faith without evidence—of promoting faith as its own evidence—is that it teaches conflation as proper thinking and as common sense. To conflate is to mix together, as in the meanings of words so that they become confused as each other and then often gain a one-sidedness so the original meaning of one is seldom acknowledged.

Unevidenced credence provides the faithful with no real tools for self-guidance and opens a door for mischievous elements to enter. The believer has only the words of others to go by, of which there are many with many variations posing many more conflicts. The believer is handed a field in which doctrines have sprouted up like weeds. (S)He has only emotions to use as tools for choosing which weeds are weeds and which weeds may provide some sustenance. On the basis of emotions, the believer may accept the weed patch handed her at birth or choose to buy into a new one. New or old, interpreted words riddled with conflated meanings direct believers in the sect’s ideals.

In such a manner:

  • Belief in God becomes faith, but faith in self (self-confidence) becomes denied. The two faiths become incompatible, on opposite ends of the same scale.
  • Authority is ceded to the sect and never to evidence, since there can be no evidence about what does not exist. Objective evidence that provides authority for secular people gets superseded by hearsay evidence.
  • Justice is about revenge. Fair play and balance are for sissies.
  • Spirit is about ghosts, and not about joyous emotions. Even atheists fall for this one and engage in furious disputes about something in which most claim no belief.
  • Love is no longer an attractive emotion, but gets conflated in practice with hatred and doled out with threats. Presented as a process that can be switched on, off, or reversed, it is now a double-edged threat that offers only punishment or clemency. Pleasure is forbidden or conflated with selfishness.
  • A long list could be made of conflated, twisted, otherwise misused terms, depending on which sect it would be about.

Faith is about what one trusts. Wise people learn to trust demonstrable evidence, not words alone. For the believer, objective evidence and demonstrable facts are ‘worldly’ concerns of no interest. Though Jesus is 2000 years late at keeping his promise, he will return and this world will be no more. That is blind faith, brothers and sisters, no evidence required. Not even in plain-spoken words straight from the Bible.