A Statement To Be Evaluated

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by osiris, May 8, 2004.

  1. osiris

    osiris Senior Member

    The major failing of all religion lies in the attempt of those who interpret it to set something outside of existance that they may revere as its source. Yet all of this is, quite plainly, in and of it"self". If one can accept this, there is no reason to inflict suffering, but to refrain in "self" interest.

    disections and dissertations?

    much love :)
  2. Professor Jumbo

    Professor Jumbo Mr. Smarty Pants

    While this is indeed an idea meritourious of further discussion I think that you'll have to tells us more here. Your conclusion seems to be a non-sequitur at the momment. While your conclusion may seem obvious to you, do not assume that it is obvious to everybody. You have not included your thought which occured between your premise and conclusion. In other words, how did you arrive at your conlusion?

    Of course I am assuming that this is your original statement. If instead this is a statement from somebody other than yourself, please include more of their thoughts on the matter.
  3. osiris

    osiris Senior Member

    tsk, tsk. what makes you so sure there is inherent within this, a conclusion? ;)

    i am simply furnishing this, a brash generalization, in order that there may be many points from which it may attacked. i use so few words, because to overintellectualize it would only drive it farther from my point. i am trying to escape the ambiguity of words, and cut to something deeper.

    almost a zen concept.

    can i hit you with my staff now?


    much love :)

    p.s. bla bla bla bla bla bla bla...
  4. for at least christianity, perhaps other religions, it does seem that a major failing is separation of God and man. by making interaction a one-way street (except for our actions' effects on God's will, rather than His separate reality),the importance of self interest decreases. I don't know if there's ever a "reason to inflict suffering," but presuming there may be, yeah, the point in inflicting suffering diminishes. Unfortunately so does the point in joyful living, at least for religious reasons.
    When a religion defines a higher reality/entity/power as connected to the individual, the reverence to the self should be more accepted, since the individual's self defines, in part, the greater power. 'selfish' oulooks may be more prone to cause suffering, but the religious side of the outlook gives more incentive to act altruistically.
  5. sky_pink

    sky_pink er... what's the time?

    The question is whether or not there must be a cause for everything. Logic insists that theremust be at least something that has no cause; we perceive, however, that everything HAS a cause. A contradiction that is difficult to solve.
  6. spinelli

    spinelli Member

    Fantastic point sky pink
    Maybe logic is the representative of the physical and its limitations
    And the perception that we have, that not everything has a cause, that there is a God source that goes no further. The cause that has no cause. is the representative of the non-physical connection we have. The knowledge that goes beyond our earthly mind, and its logical limitation. The knowing that can sometimes be scientifically unexplainable, the knowing that we need to survive.
  7. osiris

    osiris Senior Member

    ok. but what if that source is literally, in every term, nothing?

    back to square one?


    much love :)
  8. osiris

    osiris Senior Member

    to amend a bit my last statement- it seems that beings must have a cause, so how can the causeless cause be a being, other than that being the way some relate to it via our perception? i mean, even if one believes in a god, if they can't see past that god, how can they know there is nothing beyond it, and if there is "nothing" beyond it.... damned words. i've already gone too far. lol.

    much love :)
  9. the question of causality is interesting because it ties the big and the small...creation, levels of existence, god/man, etc. versus the question of free will and what to do with it if we have it. are we aiming to define the different levels and ordes of cause, if in fact cause actually exists, then find the implications?
    osiris: yep, if everything has, as you said, come from nothing, then it suggests that cause doesn't exist, right? i like that though...it seems to give more of a chance of free will...that cause is the illusion, and will is the reality, puts more emphasis on the self (to connect it back to the original topic).
  10. osiris

    osiris Senior Member

    i don't know that i would say it suggests the nonexistance of cause, but rather that cause and effect are ultimately a product of will and will naught, but a manifestation of unceasing existance. we have become so enraptured with the idea of our immortality that we consider our ego that which is immortal.

    let's examine that word: immortal, but merely from an etymological standpoint. im- means not and mortal means "subject to death". so this really means "not subject to death". in my admittedly limited observation of this universe, which is really all any of us have to go by, the only thing not subject to decay and death is energy. all the forms it takes, on the other hand, inevitably perish in the act of transformation. if we are to suppose this was all created by some intellegent being, we must at once admit that even this being's intelligence is a form of that energy, and "he" too, or any substance he may possess, is only a form of it, as are we. the energy never ends. it does not need consciousness to exist. it simply is. that things manifest from it, and within it, that develop a consciousness, and even perhaps create other things that have some form of consciousness, should be no surprise. that any of these forms of consciousness should be revered and worshipped as the creator of all existance, as preceeding that energy, when it must be inherent within them for them to even be capable of creation, is frankly quite appalling to me, and seems to me, at least, the source of the much lamented "suffering".

    someone in another thread here is talking about hare krishna, the vedas and whatnot. like "god", these are just words and symbols, manifest representations of that energy. but that energy itself is beyond them, and the accessing of it is not exclusive to any one representation of it. indeed. the access of it is automatic and unceasing with every moment, regardless of whether or not any conscious being is there to regard it and describe it, though the way it is regarded and described by conscious beings undoubtedly has an effect on the forms it continues to take. if we want to make this form we have taken last, want to make it more enjoyable, it is up to us. that is our responsibility. the energy, it does not care. it has no consciousness.

    even the word "energy". just a word.

    so you see why in my original post i tried to be as general as possible while still conveying this point? have i succeeded at all in doing so?

    much love :)
  11. sky_pink

    sky_pink er... what's the time?

    'Nothing' cannot contain any seeds of something, because then it is not nothing.
  12. osiris

    osiris Senior Member

    ah, but if it seems plausable that there is a causeless cause, than why is it not that said cause is nothing at all.

    and if you are to say "nothing is the cause of everything" it really just comes back to the point that everything is existant in and of it "self", no beginning or end, no source, just... (t)here. *shudders with delight of revel* :)

    much love
  13. sky_pink

    sky_pink er... what's the time?

    I kind of like the physics idea of all this. There's no 'before' the Big Bang, because time didn't exist then. Still, doesn't get us rid of the problem we don't have the impulse for the Big Bang... oh well, no theory is perfect! :D
  14. Professor Jumbo

    Professor Jumbo Mr. Smarty Pants

    Your statement "If one can accept this, there is no reason to inflict suffering, but to refrain in "self" interest." Is, by definiton, a conclusion.

    Ah, but in being so very general and dare I say vague, you are inescapably trapped in an ambiguity still greater than which you have wished to avoid. You have furnished us with a statement so general that it can be taken to refer to almost every topic in religion, metaphysics, and epistemology. Your statement may be attacked, as you say, from many points preciecely beacuse it is fantastically ambiguous. Use of more precise and descriptive language would alleviate this problem.

    Only if you are able to provide precise and unambiguous reasons for doing so. :)
  15. Professor Jumbo

    Professor Jumbo Mr. Smarty Pants

    On cause and effect. (Sure, I'll play)

    Now in terms of human perception:
    Attempts to find, through logical deduction, the "first cause" will invariably end in failure. One or more of the three skeptic objections will come along and eat you up before you are even aware that it has been stalking you.

    The laws of cause and effect, our knowledge of which is a result of data gather by the senses, are merely an outgrowth of human interpretation of the world. In the same way we talk about color and brightness, pitch and tone, sweetness and bitterness, sensations of hot and cold, putrid and musky aromas however, none of these have existence outside of the human mind, or if they do we will be forever unable to know it. Yet we cannot stop ourselves from precieving in this way save by damaging or altering the organs reponsible for our perception. Cause and effect are much the same. We cannot but percieve in terms of them yet we are incapable of finding data to suggest that they have any a priori existence.

    Now in terms of a Deity:
    If there is some omnipotent creator deity, i.e., one who created literally everything (though not necessarily directly) we must assume then that this deity also created the laws of cause and effect. If this deity created the laws of cause and effect then all such questions as to the source or cause of this deity itself are rendered moot.

    Now in terms of mere existence
    Something from nothing? Yet how can this be? There is no such thing as nothing, at least not in the sense of ultimate nothingness. Even if existence itself is an "illusion" it must be an illusion in a mind of some kind for mind is the only residence of illusion. Perhaps then that mind is itself an illusion. Hmm. . no, that illusory mind would then have be in another mind of some type; et cetra ad infinitum.

    Now then, illusion itself debunks the theory of nothing, for illusion has its own very solid existence. Were illusion genuinely nothing at all then illusion would and could never occur at all, in fact we would have no concept of it at all if it were nothing. Illusion exists then, at the very lest, as a concept. Individual illusions exist as individual or multiple concepts.
  16. sassure

    sassure Member

    We humans, as well as God, are ultimately merely forms of energy. Energy is indestructible, so it has always existed, though at times it is altered in form and in how it is perceived.

    It is said that perhaps a lightning bolt hitting the ocean ignited the first forms of intelligent energy, the rudiment of what we have come to call Life. But the lightning itself was energy. The resultant Life was therefore energy too.

    So little has changed in substance, but so much has changed in form.....
  17. know1nozme

    know1nozme High Plains Drifter

    Thoughts on Plato’s Rational “Illusory” Universe: The Cave metaphor and an argument for the empirical.

    Much of this may already be known to you, but if you will kindly indulge me a moment, I think I will eventually get to something meaningful.

    Plato saw the universe we live in as an imitation of the “Truth,” which was embodied in what he called “Forms.” Plato’s Forms were supposed to be perfect and everything that we experienced in the material world was an imperfect imitation of those forms. To illustrate this he used a metaphor which likened our universe to a cave. We are prisoners in this cave, forced to face a wall. Light comes through the mouth of the cave, casting shadows of Plato’s perfect Forms onto the wall. These shadows are our only experience with the Forms.

    It is the Forms that Plato praises above all else. The discovery of Truth is the principle by which Plato lives. The Forms are man's deliverance and only through them may humanity redeem itself. The Forms are “God,” they are all that gives life meaning. Nothing matters except for the realization of the Forms. It should be the fundamental goal of every man's every action. Every man should be willing to sacrifice his entire country if they stand in the way of his realization of Truth.

    But what are the Forms? Plato does not know. His writings do not offer any concrete description. All that we know of them is that they exist and that they are “perfect.” Plato's solution to the abyss of Greek despair was the logical, rational process of inquiry whereby Greek thought would eventually realize x.

    Plato is appealing to something that is beyond humanity’s (including his own) ability to comprehend.

    Problem - Plato’s solution is no solution because the Forms remain a mystery. Plato can never pin down what any of the Forms are. Fine, then, suppose we assume the Forms exist. One cannot live by them unless one knows/understands what they are. A concept cannot offer salvation if the meaning of the concept is not comprehended. The Forms are meaningless to us owing to Plato's own lack of knowledge about them. Plato may as well have been spouting gibberish because he can offer no meaning behind the word Form.

    Now, not only does Plato admit to not knowing the Forms themselves, but even if he did, they could not be communicated. The Forms, are transcendent concepts and that means that they also transcend language. Since words are the tools of thought and we cannot put these thoughts into words, we cannot make an appeal to them. Until we experience an objective “Good” any appeal will be empty and the world will remain tragic and indifferent. One does not know that one is in “the Cave.” What is beyond the cave is beyond the cave and until we have understanding of the transcendental, the cave must be our primary concern. We might as well accept this and simply be what we are. Though it is mostly tragic, the cave can still arouse happiness in us. The trick is not to escape the cave, but to rejoice in its beauty and not drown ourselves in the despair of its tragedy. If we rebel against those aspects of the cave (or, more to the point, those aspects of ourselves within the cave) which we do not like, we can make it a world which we are both proud and happy to be a part of. This rebellion must come in the form of something human, a form that we can understand and use to resist the misery of this world. It must come from our interaction with the empirical world around us and it must communicate our thoughts concerning that empirical world on a transcendent level. There is a word, however ambiguous, which describes such a rebellion. It is ART.
  18. osiris

    osiris Senior Member

    "You have furnished us with a statement so general that it can be taken to refer to almost every topic in religion, metaphysics, and epistemology. Your statement may be attacked, as you say, from many points preciecely beacuse it is fantastically ambiguous."
    -prof. jumbo


    "Use of more precise and descriptive language would alleviate this problem."

    and i think i attempted to do so... did it alleviate the problem?

    and as for your suppositions about the nonexistance of nothing(ooh, that's so deliciously icky!)... no thing is merely the lack of some thing. we must be capable of percieving the lack of some thing's existance in order to percieve it's existance. so, in essence, this makes no thing some thing that we percieve! which leads me back to the point that one does not come from the other, necessarily, but that they are symbiotically simultaneous! no, this does not compute well with logic, but as kno1 so astutely demonstrated with plato, and as history and the conflicting and coalescing interpretations of life it demonstrates, as well as those demonstrated here by us, demonstrate(triple demonstration!), logic cannot and has not yet even approached an plausible explanation of any possible origins of existance, by its own standards.

    and as far as deity is concerned, it is all good and well to say that said deity created the laws of this universe, and that he may not necessarily be bound by them, but then... well, that doesn't really give us any clear answer as to what this deity's actual motivations in creating the universe and his intentions in perpetuating it may be. all of our accounts, or beliefs, concerning any deity, are, as with all of our observations, limited to our perceptions, as you so astutely put, jumbo. where does this leave us, with so many distinctly percieved deities to choose from, all of them claiming that they have created all of this, or at least their followers claiming that they have claimed so, or done so? if any one of these is to be believed, THE REST MUST BE LIARS! and yet all of the experiences of the various subscribers to the various religions can be said to be equally fantastically euphoric and transcendental. there is no evidence that supports one over the other or any at all.

    and kno1- art. yes, art. ah, for what if it is all art? what if it is all just a continual act of symbiotic, synchronistic creation? what does that say about the disastrous effects of religions based on fear, of science, based on cold empirical analyzation, of philosophies based on indifference? i see what your sayin, bro, and i dig it.

    much love :)
  19. osiris

    osiris Senior Member

    see i think that the other problem i run into when i say "something comes from nothing" is that ya'll take that i mean that something comes from some tangible void. can a void be tangible? i won't say that such a paradox is impossible, though paradox is by its nature supposed to be, but really i am just saying in a different way "there is no cause, not even a causeless cause".


    much love :)
  20. Professor Jumbo

    Professor Jumbo Mr. Smarty Pants

    Movtivations? Intentions? Are not these things possessions of high order biological entities? Do you know for certain that this hypothetical deity has motivations and intentions, or even that it is self aware? Take the God of Spinoza for example.

    Besides all of that, do not motivation and intention imply cause and effect? So if such a deity had motivations and intentions wouldn't it be that case that said deity would be subject to cause and effect?

    Yet this does not mean that the deity is merely the sum of our perceptions of it.

    Or perhaps they are all wrong. It could be that such perceptions of deity are products of disordered minds. Another option is that our experiences of so many seemingly separate deities have in fact been experience of the same deity clouded by individual bias. Or perhaps they have been experiences of parts of a greater deity. Yet another option is that we are being fooled by demons, governemnt brain implants, spacealien mind control beams, and etcetra.

    Where all of this leaves us (at least for the time being) is in the land of humanism and exestentialism. Either that or blind faith and doublethink.

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