Uncommon Sense

February 12, 2011

The Myth of the Moral Higher Ground

Filed under: beliefs,Religion,value — Derek @ 9:17 am
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Moralisers make a fundamental error when condemning those whose behaviour or expressed value system falls short of their own standard. It is an unavoidable error since it is based on a notion for which we have no direct evidence; it is something human society has assumed to be true based on religious preconceptions.

The concept of free will is not clearly understood by many, who seem to think it is a God-given ability, that it exists independently of any social or cultural conditioning and that all humans have equal capacity and ability in this regard.

The first assumption is that free will is God-given and of course a prerequisite assumption would be that there exists an entity such as God, and that it exists within the confines of our own ability to define such an entity. Assumptions and Faith are close cousins, since they both regard something to be true without any reference to reality. They are inevitably dangerous to the practice of knowledge for that reason, and should be avoided as the basis for understanding (more…)

May 24, 2008

Is Belief what we’re fighting for?

Filed under: beliefs,questions,Religion,thinking,Thoughts — Derek @ 1:19 pm
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Once upon a time, there lived Believers. It was important to Believers to Believe. And so they did. Of course, the First Difficult Thing was that they didn’t all have the same Beliefs.

Before I explain why this was Difficult, it’s important to explain what Beliefs were. Beliefs were ideas about Being, and yet the Beliefs that Believers Believed were not the Being part, they were Symbols of it. Very much like the shadows that are made when a Being gets in the way of the light, they were like Being but weren’t Being; rather they were an approximation or representation of Being.

The Believers subscribed so strongly to their Beliefs that they eventually lost sight of Being, and here’s why the First Difficult Thing was Difficult: Everyone saw the same Being, but called it by different names, and they believed that their different names made the Being different. This couldn’t possibly Be, but it was difficult to see that once you Believed in a certain Description. It was equally difficult to see how others could have another Description, since they Believed that there could only be one Description of Being. Naturally, this caused some problems, because, (more…)

March 22, 2008

The Symbols, the Sum and the Substance

That humans are self-important needs no supporting argument. Uncle Frank always used to say that egocentrism was unavoidable and at the time I hated that idea; it invalidated the foundations of my ontological reality at the time and placed me squarely in the middle of the existential vacuum: a universe where my perspective was always prejudiced by this thing called Me.

I began to think about the nature of Me and over many years of reading and personal contemplation I understood that there were really many ‘Me’s’: There was Personal Me, the identity that was determined by my Self, which included the dynamics of my personality (the things I did), my inner space (feelings and thoughts, beliefs and values) , and the physical reality of the body I lived within.

Then there was National Me, the aspect of me that had a sense of belonging to a Nation. Of course, I had had no choice in the matter. But I was subject to it’s laws, exposed to and took part in it’s customs, spoke it’s language, and used it’s infrastructure, and so in a sense, I belonged. Whether or not this stretched beyond the pragmatic reality was not something I was convinced about.

In addition there was Religious Me, the part of me that had a sense of (more…)

February 29, 2008

The Species who would be King

Filed under: Religion,thinking — Derek @ 9:28 am
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Humans rule Planet Earth. Much like a King who is ‘master of all he surveys’, the human dominance of the third rock from the sun is complete.

And yet the human monarch is not content. His desire for control has yielded circumstances which now threaten the lives of all denizens, and the changes to the living system brought about by humanity have often not been benign. You may be opposed to the use of the male gender to typify humanity, but dominance is a typical male characteristic, as opposed to the inherent nurturance of the female of the species. There are exceptions on both sides, but the principle is sound as a rule of thumb, because when women do get into positions of power, they seem to behave much like men, almost like men have set the ideal. The need for control is part of the problem, a cancer deep inside the human condition, fraught with insecurities that drive human behaviour towards larger and larger security blankets, these provided at the expense of other humans and the living environment. By now, one would think that intelligent creatures would have learnt (more…)

May 17, 2007

The Secret: Positive Thinking’s New Clothes

No doubt, you will have heard of The Secret. If you haven’t, Google it and check out the video.The Secret’s claim is quite simple – you can have whatever you want, just visualise it, and it’s yours. Apparently, we create our reality with our intentions – our thoughts cause things to happen, not just within ourselves, but in our external reality too.

It doesn’t take much to see that this is really karma and positive thinking with new clothes – only here you no longer need to DO any good, you just have to THINK it. Self-directedness just became moral – after all, if the Universe supports it, it must be right?

Except that the new clothes don’t fit. And the ‘lack of fitness’ I speak about is the relationship these ideas have to reality. They simply do not, in fact cannot, work in the real world. (more…)

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