Tag Archives: justice

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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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

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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.

Mother

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Mother

Mother Nature, a metaphorical construct at whose laws science digs to unearth knowledge for the sake of itself, represents the whole of eternity and the universe within it. That gives all of humankind a massive project to study wherever we go, with which we can stay involved our entire lifetimes to only scratch the surface. Scientists have barely learned how to ask the right questions and test their answers, and already the landscape has filled with the products of technology. Yet, there are those who act like they already know all the answers and tell us science is just a conspiracy against their religions and politics. They pick up on Bible verses that condemn pursuit of knowledge, and bring that into the present with fake, unsupported charges against science. The people they convince are those without access to source materials and no inclination to go looking for them.

If science is a conspiracy, it is against ignorance. Brave people, over recent ages, have dared to stand up to the face of bigoted prejudice, and declare their tested opinions as the facts their testing had demonstrated. “I can show you this. Can you show me why you dare claim it’s not true?” One by one into the thousands, those asserted facts demonstrate how science, through scientists, has worked toward a safer, easier, calmer world for human habitation.

Add political ambitions and science dies of poison from corruption. Like religion, politics rises out of beliefs. That unsupported beliefs are easily manipulated is why religion and government must stay forever, and totally, separated. That was recognized at our country’s (USA) inception, and can show itself still equally true today.

How? Here’s a scenario at play in your life right now, scene by degradated scene:

  • Let’s start in the Nixon era, when McCarthyism reached full bloom. Communism served as the source of fear (the threat) and eradication of your beliefs through brainwashing (enslavement, loss of freedom), the case against it.
  • Reagen, whose “trickle down” policies soaked the poor and middle classes, and refreshed the oligarchs.
  • Reconsructionism, apparently aimed at restructuring the United States, and later the world, into a New Testament theocracy based on Paul’s, not Jesus’, doctrines.
  • Reformationism: with expressed intentions of establishing Old Testament Law as the law of the land, not just the notorious ten commandments, but the whole Old Testament cherry-picked to suit the clergy and apologists.
  • Thousands of True Believers, sympathizers and malleable toadies ready to climb onto the next bandwagon that offers a ride into Gloryland.
  • Koch Brothers and their ilk: The small crowd of in your face, try and stop me evildoers who have turned AMERICA into a bought and paid for oligarchy run by remote control.

It’s scary to realize how that nowhere near begins to list all of them beyond a few of the major players. After looking at the list awhile, it begins to sink in: “Those groups and philosophies are all competing to be the one on top.”

For justice to win, the setting must change. Any student of nature knows the one that will win in this setting will be the most cunning, cruelest, heartless of them all, able to lure the greatest number of voters into the most innocent-appearing traps designed especially for them. Watch a spider spin a web outside your window, a trap of spindly fibers that look like a safe place to take a walk while resting the wings. Alas, they were coated with a sticky syrup. Bugs get trapped, the careless, gullible idiots who never realize it is the destiny for which nature designed them. Watch when the spider bursts forth, injects her poison, the bug’s final tremors as he freezes into rigor-mortise. The end comes after it’s too late to learn the lesson.

Meme Evolution

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Meme Evolution: from grunts to words

Memes are most easily understood as ideas that people want to copy and share. This chart of Abrahamic memes is as accurate as I could make it with limited resources. I revised it once and will do so again when verified errors are brought to my attention.

That religion memes developed right along with written language should make sense, as language must be copied and shared to make conversations possible. Writing adds the sense of vision to word of mouth stories and makes them more memorable and accurately repeatable, and, so, provides a benefit for people who cannot read. Those who could read probably told closer to the same version to their listeners, which increased believability and acceptance by appearing to provide verification. Writing also made fiction more believable, and propaganda easier to spread, and religions became political tools.

Modern religions did not suddenly appear fully developed in their present form. They evolved by borrowing ideas from older religions, then stealing or slaughtering their adherents. Religious memes evolved as people around the world fought to develop the “best” possible religion in each area.

This chart depicts the development of the meme that has lately been called ‘Abrahamism’ from simple tokenism into the four ecclesiastical threads still ongoing. The timeline for this chart starts at the bottom and runs upward.  The original thread called Christianity seems to have almost died out and its name to have been confiscated by Catholicism and Protestantism, and, later in the United States, by most candidates for political offices. These are dangerous times in this world.

Liar

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Liar

The liar commits “a sort of suicide” because s/he will be found out, will lose valuable trust, will be made to suffer loss, and share all the misery with his loved ones.

The “stab at the health of human society” seems very current in times when all sorts of liars vie with each other to gain control of America’s future. In the wrong hands, the entire world will be endangered by any of the several sorts of shysters grabbing at the helm. The most dangerous are the fanatical connivers who won’t dirty their own hands, but use lobbyists to bribe politicians into their corner. These churls, as the Bible calls them, count on the religious, the poor, the workers, the middle class, to be too ignorant, lazy or busy to learn the truth about them. I hope they are wrong.

They have to be wrong! The slumbering giant representing the bottom “classes” of classless America must stir themselves alert and avoid the sham that induces their blindness to the hoaxes liars are playing against them. They come from all sides to pit themselves against the weak, the wage earners, those whose hands get dirty daily at their toil. They steal credit for themselves from those entrepreneurs, those makers of America who risk failure to give life to new ideas, and then point to themselves as the source from where trickle-down begins. They are not the source; those little people who risked their savings to start a business and work long, hopeful hours to make it grow are the fountain from which the future flows, and those who pin their hopes on their success by going to work for them.

The rentiers, the biblical churls, the modern-day scalawags (I’m being kind, here) whose inherited affluence enabled them to, using technology, game the system to gain inconceivable riches undreamed of in all of history. To do what with? To hoard in amounts whole countries envy as beyond their means!—to bribe legislators and judges to enable even more hoarding—to cede cronies into seats of power—to swindle gullible voters into supporting covert moves into oligarchy.

What is oligarchy? According to Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 1: government by the few
2: a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes; also: a group exercising such control. He promises freedom; he aims for self-enrichment at your expense. Here is where the liar commits his suicide, for he can never benefit from his hidden agenda without exposing himself to risk from his victims’ ire. He may enjoy the largess of his ill-gotten riches, but the protective wall behind which he must hide himself diminishes the total amount of his freedom to less than that enjoyed by his starved victims. He can go where he wants, do what he wants, but only when accompanied by a crew of watchers. Moreover, he is forced to maintain a gracious relationship with the craziest of the zealots from whom he has lured support to keep them from killing him.

From our eyes as his victims, however, his plight invites envy enough to deserve our hatred, and it is from our group that he most expects someone to rise up to attempt an assassination. Whoever accomplishes it, we will be blamed. Another like him (most likely the actual perp) will leap into his spot and the system will never miss a beat while he takes over. The suicide is complete.

I am amazed that freedom-loving Americans do not support the actual conditions of freedom, and will spout the opposite of freedom to describe them. You can almost hear their voices in the background. (“You only want freedom so you can do anything you want.”) Not true. Freedom requires a great measure of responsibility. (“Hah! Freedom can only happen in a place with no laws and cops.”) Not true. The opposite of freedom occurs in lawless lands where the strongest groups feel free to pillage and murder while the rest live in fear. (“But, that’s a form of law. I said, ‘No laws’.”) That, you did, but you can see how that is not going to happen. Only in a democratic republic have humans found a way to maximize freedom under the guidance of wisdom evoked into law. (“Are you calling our laws ‘wise’? Liberals have given half of our wealth away, and they have their eyes on the other half now.”) I believe you have been staring at the wrong people, or else fell asleep about three decades ago, Rip. We all have to pay attention to both sides of the story, run the numbers instead of running with the rhetoric, and be willing to change our minds—or at least put our beliefs on hold—when we discover reason for doubt.

And, learn to follow the evidence, no matter what you think about that. Without evidence, all you have is words. Words are opinions, myths, fables, stories, wishful thinking and excuses. None of those will serve you well in today’s world, and can actually cause you harm, and cause you to harm others. They are not evidence. If you cannot accept that, you have no reason to discuss any issues with me. The liars can justify their faith in such duplicity as can be found in those trained to search only among words for evidence.

Rules

rules

Rules

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or…”  Am I the first to notice that it says nothing about making laws disrespecting a religious establishment?

Atheists are often queried, in accusatory fashion, about how we can be moral without the god named God to assert its laws. I willingly acknowledge the many atheists who appear to agree with that religious assessment by denying that morality “exists”, but I disagree with that religious assertion. They are looking at the topic a wrong way, the same way as religion.

Morality is simply an innocent name for actions recognized as good behavior, as opposed to ‘immoral’ to reference bad behavior. We can proceed from accepting that simple definition to assert that, since atheists do not believe in a god, moral rules from religion will not be granted credence. Only moral edicts whose effects have been observed and verified are justifiable. Mores, those practices that originate in cultures, should not be considered as part of this—a dangerous error made by too many which has too often killed this topic in discussions.

The next step must be to ask ourselves, “Why ought we to be interested in this possibly boring subject?” The most productive answer may be, “Because, not only do we need to know rules of good behavior so we can get along the best way with people in various situations, we also need a way to recognize when someone is trying to scam us with an illicit rule.”

So far, we have determined that morality is about a set of objectively established rules to govern human behavior and furnish a guide to universally acceptable behavior. I would suggest that the first rule must be, “Learn the mores of cultures you will visit to avoid offending the natives.” Epicurus’ ‘Law of Reciprocity’ bases just acts on mutual uncoerced consent, wherein all parties involved in an action have agreed to their participation, whether a kiss, hug, fistfight, or whatever. The gist is that we must treat others in ways that demonstrate what we wish from them; that honesty, kindness and respect should beget honesty, kindness and respect, and accusation, denigration and lies earn accusation, denigration and lies.

Morality requires choices from each person, religious, pious, pie-eyed, pistoff or pooped out, and assigns the related hedonic penalty or reward via natural processes. It may not be easy to understand how we get our just dues in old age that we earned in our youth, or why someone we think deserves better or worse has been sadly overlooked, but that makes no reason that it can’t be taught, or learned to the point of understanding and then explained to others. Franklin best expressed the only interest a centralized authority, whether government or organized religion, can justify in this. We are rightly lauded or punished for our actions, and wrongly for what we think or say, or believe, or doubt.