Tag Archives: hedonism

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.

Oppression

Oppression

The lot of a not quite smart animal just bright enough to pick the least hazardous path toward the future, oppression builds as societies age and politicians wrestle to gain power and control. America has apparently reached an age where the importance of watchfulness is important. Of paramount importance, of course, is to know what to look for and why.

The typical atheist’s regard for religion is despisement. I believe that results from misapprehension of the ties between religion, politics, and the never-ending struggle for power and control. The misapprehension is not just an American failing, it is worldwide. It originates in the mind games the rich and powerful play against all the layers of humanity they consider to be “beneath” them. They may have been born with that status already in place but they still shit the same as you, and need to wipe the same way, too. Their status rises from our acceptance, their own, plus whatever blood may have been shed or deals have been made to buy it. That is true across the board, for the wealthy, religions, and politicians, with few exceptions.

A more correct view of religion would show it, politicians, the greedy rich, and every form of priest, unburdening our pockets of everything of value we may once have hidden there. Never take me at just my word. Listen to, and analyze, their every word. Don’t choose gullibility. Practice healthy skepticism. Ask questions and Google for answers. What would it look like for him to be lying?– telling the truth?– the opposite of the truth? What do I have for verification? How did I learn to trust that source?

We oppress ourselves as much by believing false information as by every other means. Not every politician, rich or religious person, banker, priest, preacher or rabbi harbors dishonest aims. Most may, in fact, be known to uphold the highest of scruples. Observe to learn: what do your leaders harp on? Do they express worry about their followers backsliding or jumping ship? If your initial indoctrination was much the same as theirs, it will be harder for you to spot the holes in their logic. Of what do they accuse people? An old saying warns us, “for every finger pointed in accusation, four point at the accuser.” It is hard to think one’s own side might be wrong in any way, but nobody is perfect. Check: which side is pointing fingers? Do they have facts on their side?— or do they depend on rabble-rousers to stir emotions in their crowds while offering little of substance.

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.

Objective Morality

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Objective Morality

What I have been reading about under that label does not deserve its credits. Objectivity requires a measurable condition be present for testing. That which cannot, in some verifiable way, be compared against a discernible standard cannot be deemed objective. The problem with finding that standard for morality results from poorly defined and misunderstood terminology.

First, we must define what we mean by “morality” with words available to common understanding from a good dictionary. What we find there boils down to three more words: motivation and concern as relevant to behavior.

The religious appear to have the easier pass with “Do as God instructs” but, since no god named God has ever been shown to be present, people are forced to acquiesce to the thousands of stand-ins purporting to speak for it, a circumstance that leaves believers with mixed messages to puzzle through and no definite standard to guide them and no way to verify. Even the important instruction, to rely on faith, the basis on which the whole setup depends in order to avoid accreditation as a scam, cannot be verified beyond the unsourced written script. No wonder statistics show them to be many times less moral than atheists.

That, along with the history and real-time observations of their behavior, leaves no other choice but to conclude that the morality religionists pose as objective (observable, measurable), if it exists at all, is subjective (of internal origin, imaginary, prejudiced), originated in some unknown ancient person’s head. That it gives undue attention to that which offends a god rather than that which causes actual harm, loss or injury, implies they are more about worshiping the god than about morality.

Since the Jesus character effectively nullifies honoring parents in the New Testament, that one can’t count. Yes, the remaining Nine Commandments tell you not to kill, but you still have to eat and they don’t tell you what. It will offend your neighbor if you covet his wife, or his ass, but you can kiss both if lust does not get into your heart. The heart is not the body part to look at for a demonstration of lust. Since, in most places, that part is required to remain hidden in mixed company, how can that be considered objective? If the reason for morality is only to hide “dirty” impulses and cover the the dirt crust on your body, the religious interest adds only maintaining appearances to their moral edicts. The only current source of validated, verifiable instruction aimed at good behavior will be found in a secular book of ethics.

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.

No Forgiveness

 

NoForgiveness

No Forgiveness

Were he still with us, we should thank Mr. Franklin, and his friends and relatives, that he shared his thoughts with so many, and so many had the foresight to gather them up and preserve them for posterity. It gave us a direct record from which their shared thoughts may be studied and their intentions easily discerned. I have been accused of quoting out of context to change his meaning. I have a three-step deal for anyone who believes that:

  1. Show me where using context of neutral origin;
  2. Promise to verify such claims for yourself in the future before passing them on;
  3. Stop reading David Barton and listening to those who quote his words. They are his words. They would choke and gag those into whose mouths he sought to put them.

Although I owe you nothing, and my expectations are low, I will make two promises that can still be kept after I pass on, for just in case you disregard this message:

1)Unlike a makebelieve god, Mother Nature is real and we live on her beautiful world at her noble accordance. She offers no forgiveness when we mess up and make bad choices, but gives plenty of warnings by inducing pain and discomfort. You will sense such warnings all your lifetime. They are yours to interpret.

Some warnings go beyond individuals or groups, though, and may reach out to alert humanity as a whole body. We are receiving a variety of warnings that scientists have interpreted. We are ruining our planet. A few of us are raping Nature. Gaia is stressing beyond her limits. Nature offers no forgiveness. Once the line of no return has been crossed, there will be Hell to face, the innocent and guilty alike. That is the first promise.

2) If or whenever the American public awakens to all the ways they are being scammed and their birthrights stolen through dupery, the angry mob that erupts to set things straight, or get even, will be unstopable.

Due to the unusual nature of this script, I offer the following short editorial:

Atheists typically dislike metaphores and distrust the intentions of those who use them. Since I have presented “Nature” and “Gaia” as properties of reality accompanied by the metaphore “Mother Nature”, the entire script may fail to make its point. To forestall that I offer this instruction.

I understand all that exists to belong to a process named Evolution. That way of understanding helps me keep things straight, and I recommend it. Nature (Capitalized Initial) refers to the overall process, while nature and evolution (lower case initial) refer to portions of their related process. Gaia, as an example, is the regulating process of nature, whereas we are inescapeably immersed in a process named Nature.

Written entirely with OPEN OFFICE.

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.

Ethical Hedonism

EthicalHedonism

Ethical Hedonism

Although many try to lean close to Epicurus, wisdom would call for Ethical Hedonism to be updated to stay with our current knowledge, and then receive constant refinement to maintain its inherent integrity. It is, of course, a philosophy and not a religion.

Early advocates of hedonism may have had the right idea if we consider the limited knowledge of their time. The ethical hedonism that got swamped in the public mind by commercialism and zealous propaganda could use some help from modern science to restate its case, and to reclaim its rightful place as the predominant secular philosophy to develop a reasonable defense for atheism, humanism and secularism in general, and the predictive powers of science in particular.

Anybody familiar at all with bicycling will realize the importance of balanced stability to the cyclist’s well being. Even as expressed in early attempts to develop it by Epicurus, hedonism goes far beyond mere pleasure and pain. Thanks to modern science, hedonists can now apply to themselves the idea that the maintenance of balance permeates existence, that nature works toward balanced stability even in such major processes as ecology, evolution, the building of a universe, and every minor feature of it. That Nature does so through the destruction of unbalancing objects and processes in a “may the best one win” fashion is evident without much study. Hedonism is about more than the balance between pleasure and pain, therefore, since it can now be shown how loss of balance can negatively affect all forms of life in nearly every way, and even that which does not live. The universe looks designed? It should. Billions of years of balancing actions should produce that result.

All of those agents of naturalism seem to present a generally covert picture of support for hedonism’s ethical views with little awareness of what a modern, developed hedonism would have to say in their behalf. It seems that secular students of nature gain an innate awareness of that message, but find it hard to express in any meaningful way, mainly because the makeup of our modern cultures inhibits them from overcoming a lifetime of propaganda to gain that kind of knowledge on their own. They surely are not offered courses in it at any schools. They would surely and blindly begin by exploring the over-publicized aspect, pleasure, and never discover the importance of banance on their own.

They may, driven by impulse, gain some experience of the pleasure part, and so end up with some experience of the pain portion, but will not acquire the knowledge that will enable them to make accurate philosophical connections. Most people will never hear such words as ataraxia, eudemonia, disequilibrium, homeostasis, homeorhesis, let alone ever understand their meanings enough to realize their implications to themselves and their behavior. They will never get to read the thoughts of great proponents of hedonism like Epicurus, Hume, or Thomas Jefferson, nor about the gently raging debates spurred by such detractors as Pliney or Socrates. Their cultural and political beliefs will deny them the right to know that, and they will suffer the resultant ignorance as surely as any form of unbalance will induce suffering to a living being.

Picture this: the artificially developed sense of morality that we get coached about from the beginnings of our lives causes us to go through life as though on a right-leaning bicycle, upon which we must raise ourselves up from its seat to lean far enough left to maintain its balance. Political history shows us that if we lean right to match the bicycle, it will dump us. We will shed our blood for that political stance, and risk injury and loss of property. Look at the mess all the recent right-leaning folks have caused in our USA, and are continuing to cause because of their inability to learn from hard experience. There is no relief from guilt, either, for those whose lean leftward was induced by the divisive stance taken by their opponents. To act in contrary response rather than originate new trends and solutions to overcome the pervasive problems invading our world, only places their state of unbalance into opposing disequilibrium.

To a right-leaning person, even the most perfectly balanced, vertically upright stance will appear to be leaning to the left. The same as any political body, a leaning bicycle will travel in circles in an effort to maintain equilibrium, whichever way it tilts. What are the implications of that? A balanced bicycle will maintain an upright stance and undergo straightforward motion. Likewise, a balanced universe will have all its components traveling in such a manner that will limit their interference one against another. Unbalance caused by a rock traveling in an interfering direction will be met by calamity enough so that balance will be restored. Life itself results from a balanced state in an environment that will enable it to arise. Unbalance at any stage will endanger that process, as human beings are almost too slowly beginning to become aware.

Now, you may be cringing at such imbecilic examples, and if so, then heed this demand: Think of any situation involving any component of reality wherein a state of balance is not required, or else does not naturally, eventually result through some process tending toward equilibrium. A sign mounted at the top of a tall post stays up because all the forces involved in it are in balance. Lose some aspect of that complicated set of agents, and the sign will immediately topple. The same is true of a tree, a ship on the ocean, a building of any height on land. A cancer patient is the ultimate human example of unbalanced processes. All the doctors’ efforts go to a semblance of restoration of balance. Failure means the termination of them all for that one individual.

You breathe air while on your bicycle, your breaths coming in pants to match the effort of climbing a hill. You will lose weight if the calories your body consumes while riding that vehicle are not equaled by the contents of your meals. You will gain weight if your meals exceed the calories burned by your daily activities. You will maintain your healthiest body by balancing your intake of nourishment with what you expend, or else suffer the consequences.

Your body also makes other demands of you for its maintenance. Prejudice of any origin interferes with our considerations about some of of those demands by demanding of us to deny our animal natures. Commercial hedonism interferes in an opposite direction by demanding our involvement in a gluttonous way that considers pursuit of pleasure as an end in itself without considering any of the consequences. The consequences of extremism in either direction result from the unbalanced conditions that results from their application.

We are a lazy animal, for the most part. Much of the technology of recent development tends to support that foolish laziness, and maybe inspired much of it. We work at jobs we hate just to pay for that technology, and do little to develop and promote our own innate talents and interests. Unaware of the diseased futures most of us face, we choose the easy path offered by our social structures and pray to our gods that we will somehow avoid the tortured ends we see occurring to dying members of our previous generations. Such unrighteous prayers will be denied. Nature will answer to her forces that demand balance. Like those who drink poison will be poisoned, few will escape the consequences of stress by which our laziness gets maintained.

Those gods to whom we pray result from our intellectual laziness, enforced by the fact that we cannot learn too much about certain subjects before our gods get called into question and then deposed. Our laziness demands that we avoid such a route, and our religious leaders have even created injunctions of sorts against such knowledge. Disingenuous mesmerism cannot be supported by skepticism, but requires artless, naive, gullible trust in our self-appointed mentors, so much so that we label it faith and declare their stories true because we —or they—have said so. When nature demands for balance to be restored, we will bend under the forces she applies so that our self-chosen ignorance lowers our station amongst humanity, our physical effort will struggle to equal what we have failed to gain through the application of our minds to the art of living and the maintenance of balance that we failed to learn.

 It is the inclusion of balance as a requirement for moral living that completes hedonism and makes it an ethical statement applicable at all levels of any society. It applies not just to individual persons, but even moreso to groups, the actions of any of which can enhance or diminish the quality of life for numerous people in one swoop.

Think of a group of bicyclists riding along a highway, acting in complete accord, and their effects not only upon themselves, but upon others beyond their group, who may perceive and appreciate a kind of harmonious beauty. Aggressive refusal to give up space on a lane may lead to collisions among the cars attempting to get past them. Accidents with such vehicles will likely result in injury and death to at least some of the bicyclists, and offers a scenario not unlike the conditions found in modern societies all around the globe, wherein the refusal of give and take results in all kinds of violence as nature attempts to maintain stability by imposing balancing forces where required.

We fight against nature when we fight each other, and induce pain where hugs are required to balance relationships. We tend to offer pain where pain exists already. We have killed and injured each other by the millions over a span of time that surpasses the recording of history, and will as likely as not continue doing so in the future, just for that very same reason.

We, who ride bicycles, know the importance of balance and the consequences of failure to maintain it. We are seldom aware of our pursuit as being hedonic, but are aware of how the joy of it can bring us pleasure, and the strengthening burn of our muscles can enhance the joys we can share with others who ride with us. We know we will lose balance sometimes, and that we are then faced with a choice: to blame our injuries onto our bicycles, or to recognize that we toppled over because we became unbalanced. We face those same choices in all categories of life’s activities, and must face them with the same attention to balance or suffer the consequences.