Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Quote archive

"Stress is for those that think that they will live forever."
"In human language every thrust is made by a two edged sword."
- Zachary Long

Musings (Transcendent Representation and the Prideful Primate)

Humans need transcendence and identity to manage the world. Nation. Tribe. Gender. Ethnicity. Religion... and other identities give the individual a sense of greater significance than the limited mortal decaying being that they happen to be in a world and universe much larger and indifferent to their state of being. These identities are not necessarily problematic in themselves but they can be conduits of fanaticism that leads to the will to dominate others and the illusion of superiority to those who fail to fall in their identity category. Humans are fragile psychological reeds that can either bend or break with ease when faced with a world beyond their understanding and at times merciless to their well being. ***
The Chief, The King, The Priest, Royalty, Presidents, Senators and all other positions of status rest on "representation." To symbolically represent the State, the Church, the Kingdom, the Tribe, the Company. In truth these persons that represent the whole are merely decaying and defecating mortal flesh but in their representation the illusion is propagated and this transcendence of representation is given real weight in the minds of other mortals. It takes cognitive work to break this magical spell of representative transcendence and few would give it up because they too want to sit on the throne of transcendent representation or at the very least find significance in another primates position and status. Humans need something to hold on to conceptually for stability and significance. Imagine human beings in a great ocean(existence) floating around and all are headed to a gigantic waterfall(death), to keep afloat and distracted from the coming waterfall and the massive ocean one needs to grab on to something. There are lots of isms and symbols to grab hold of in the ocean to keep your head above water as you move toward the waterfall *** One can be arrogant and smart but it is harder for one to be arrogant and wise. Wisdom requires greater understanding and perspective and that greater context broadens the horizon of humility. Remember my mortal brothers and sisters that our confidence lies in a very narrow slice of human existence and experience and so much past history and future time lays beyond our reach. So much horror and wonder have been and will be beyond our reach. The best we can do is engage with as much current experience,knowledge, and personal imagination as possible to reach out to many realities and truths. Let this perspective temper the pride of the mammalian primate species homo sapiens***
A fanatic unlike water that adapts to new realities is like a stone that knocks against other substances different than itself and demands space. Fanatics have been very influential in human history (certainty is useful for political movements) because they demand space but often that demand eventually breaks them into pieces and creates unintended hybrid realities and space that they never intended ***Hitler's fanaticism unintentionally helped create a Soviet empire and a Jewish state. The apocalyptic Jewish prophet from Palestine unintentionally helped inspire a Roman Jew who spread a universal religion across the Roman empire. Imagine the shock of Jesus and Pilate if they could see the eventual changes that would come to the Jewish religion and Roman imperial religion hundreds of years later. History is full of unintended consequences and hybrid ideologies.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Colombia Bus fire Victims

Colombia bus fire victims

At least 33 children were killed when a bus caught fire in northern Colombia, trapping the young passengers aboard the burning vehicle as horrified onlookers stood by helplesslyThe bus was transporting 48 children between the ages of 2 and 13 to their homes after a Pentecostal church service when the tragedy happened Sunday in Fundacion, a sugar- and banana-growing town near the Caribbean coast.
Witnesses quoted by El Heraldo, the newspaper in nearby Barranquilla, said the bus stalled and that the driver tried to restart it by pouring gasoline over the carburetor. A spark caused an explosion, and flames quickly engulfed the vehicle, the report said. [Link in Spanish]
Residents said they heard screams for help but were unable to intervene due to the intense heat of the flames.
“I never saw anything so terrifying,” said taxi driver Alvaro del Valle.
“They came to speak with God and look what happened,” added Clara Lopez, a local resident.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dinesh D'Souza's Political Christianity bears bad fruit

"The criminal charges, filed in U.S. District Court, allege that D’Souza in 2012 illegally reimbursed associates(mistress included) whom he asked to make donations valued at $20,000 to an unnamed Senate campaign. At the time, primary and general election campaign contributions to federal candidates were limited to $2,500 each from any individual to any single candidate."
The Washington Post

"Dinesh stayed at a hotel with Denise Odie Joseph II during an apologetics conference last month in South Carolina, according to World Magazine.
D'Souza told conference organizer Alex McFarland that nothing happened that night though they shared the same hotel room, the magazine reported"
The Christian Post

"No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit."
Jesus quoted in Luke 6:43

 For Dinesh D'Souza Christian tribal identity is more important than Christian personal integrity. Dinesh puts political ambition over personal character. Political Christianity is a tree of double standards and hypocrisy that bears bad fruit and bad faith.

Nothing like the combination of religion, politics, sex, and money. Dinesh has managed to combine all of them in this scandal.  The kingdom of Jesus is not of this world but Dinesh's certainly is. Dinesh's apologetics in delivery and substance reminded me of someone defending their own ego instead of the faith itself. 

In the kingdom of Political Christianity, power is more important than purity. Giving money to your mistress to fund your political friends is justified and easily forgiven on the altar of power. The overt hypocrisy is ignored because after all Dinesh belongs to the right political and religious tribe. In Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov "without God everything is permitted" but with tribal and political Christianity "with God everything is permitted."
Jesus of Nazareth was much more tough on his own tribe than those outside his tribe. Dinesh does the opposite - all things are permitted within the tribe and those outside the tribe are given no understanding or mercy only judgement.

The Apostle Paul had a different paradigm than Dinesh's Political Christianity.
"What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?"
 1 Corinthians 5:12

Other political and partisan movements are also part of this tribal hypocrisy where they go soft on their in-group but are merciless towards the out-group.

Whatever your political ideology one should remember what Kant and Madison stated:

The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted."
James Madison

"Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made."
Immanuel Kant

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Epicurus - Intellectual Courage and Fortitude

For me Epicurus is a giant of intellectual courage and fortitude because he is like a man in a dark cave or a dark room with just a little light. And with that little light (with its shadows dancing on the wall and the mystery that ignites monsters and ghosts in the minds of the human animal) Epicurus would not be moved with the superstition of the darkness or the lack of scientific knowledge in his age. He had the intellectual courage to smile at the gods of man's imagination and their superstitious fears even with darkness and mystery all around him.
Meanwhile the modern human stands on the shoulders of the Scientific lights of knowledge like Copernicus, Newton, Darwin, Einstein and others and still the majority hides from death and jumps at superstitious noises coming from other primates. The modern human sits in a rather bright room of knowledge in comparison to Epicurus. With only a few closet spaces and corners of darkness of the unknown, modern man still fills those mysterious spaces with the likes of goblins, gods, and sophomoric superstitions. Is it too much to suspend judgement my mortal brothers and sisters where there is still mystery?
If Epicurus, Diogenes, and Lucretius can have that kind of courage in a metaphorical dark room how much more should Modern Man in a bright room? Perhaps it is too bright? Too much information? Has modern man been overwhelmed with the increasing knowledge? Are people trapped in a closet and have they not been exposed to the bright fires of knowledge through the ages? The flame may brighten the room but is it burning the foundations of human justification and meaning? Is a dark cave of Plato's shadows much safer than the bright light outside the cave? Staring at the Sun for too long can be dangerous. Is the exposure too much for an animal that wants absolute certainty and eternal life in a Universe that can give neither? Lack of knowledge demands courage but so does the increase of knowledge. The courage to not know and the courage to know.

“I have never wished to cater to the crowd; for what I know they do not approve, and what they approve I do not know.”
Epicurus (341—271 B.C.E.)