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Dungeness
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if we TRULY were existing at the level of consciousness that we KNEW we were God, things like traffic jams and bills and hearing other people’s views on religion probably wouldn’t have the power to upset us in the slightest way. Hmmmm. If God is a completely personal experience, I should be able to experience God by getting pissed off by bad drivers, having to pay bills, and reading ridiculous stuff like Sapp's views about God. How does Sapp know what truly knowing God is like? Didn't she just say that each of us was free to have our own unique way of knowing God, since God is everything? I think the point is the difference in consciousness. Get pissed off at the knuckle-headed driver ahead. You don't have to turn in your God-card. But if you're totally immersed in your rage at the SOB, you continue to live within the framework of the dream. Your limited awareness, like Zhuang Zhou dreaming he was a butterfly, will trap you. The butterfly now takes all he sees as real. His consciousness (or "knowing you're God" if you equate God with consciousness) is diminished. A more evolved observer would just see his rage as part of an unfolding dream. It's a shadow shape entering consciousness...an event which is no more substantive than his transient reactiveness. A character in one of Shakespeare's plays notes "Nothing's good or bad but thinking makes it so". His emotions, his thoughts are real but he isn't circumscribed or enslaved by them. They don't shatter his equanimity. There's no helpless reactiveness or loss of control until "he's jumping out of his car to bang on the idiot's windshield". He doesn't "become his rage" instead of his consciousness of it. He's no longer an automaton constantly smiling, crying, reacting to the endless twists and turns of the dream. He's no longer tilting at windmills, sneering at others, railing at their stupidity, destroying strawmen in countless diatribes.
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Being aware of the butterfly dream as only a dream would prevent its being an experience of being fully and completely a butterfly,"self-content and in accord with its intentions." Remembering the dream -- thinking back to it -- would prevent the waking state from being an experience of being fully and completely human. Hm, I think the mystics answer though that our natural "spiritual" state is total consciousness. If there's no escape hatch, then when a dream becomes tiresome or scary or dangerous, it's a nightmare. The "escape hatch" has to be enough latent lucidity to seek a way out. But wait, you say, you're spoiling the dream. Just go ahead, surrender consciousness. So what already? Dumb down, have another drink, walk on the wild side, live life, and, who says a little dreaming is bad for 'ya. Alright, maybe the dream gets a little rough, becomes a nightmare, seems like a perpetual "winter of discontent". Let it go! Stuff like disease, wars, injustice, hatred, stupidity will be with us in perpetuity. They're just props to make the dreams seem real. Tomorrow things will be different! Take my word for it, fellow dreamer. Scientists, religionists, bloggers, the holy rollers of all stripes will soothe your troubled psyche. They'll find another gadget, a new savior, a brilliant slant on living. A few eons or so and things will be all better. Meanwhile you can go on enjoying fantasies, wasting your moments, relishing your humanity. Just don't wake up. You know you love it here! Remember how bored you were with total consciousness! You surrendered a piece of that insipid, dry consciousness for this. The dream state may last only a few more years or a few lifetimes. Don't waste it. Think how good it feels to no longer know whether it's real or dream, whether you're butterfly or human. As long as you play the game, enjoy the erasure of consciousness, go with the flow, you'll never have to bother your pretty little head with philosophy, untangling the conundrum, erasing duality, or merging back into total consciousness. At least, you'll never be bored. You'll get to play lots of nifty roles too: sinner, saint, everyman, fool fiddling while his house burns down. What fun!
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Since members of this group were told over and over that they've been singled out by a higher power to learn cosmic truths and experience realms of reality not available to other human beings, naturally a pervading sense of "tribal" pride was evident throughout the organization. We were the cool kids in the spiritual lunch room. Other faiths were inferior, since they didn't have the direct connection to God we did. I believe this an apt example of one of those "self-centered tendencies rattling around in one's psyche" you mention. Perhaps the rattling gives rise to one of those fun-house mirror distortions. The problem is everyone entering a fun-house sees reality askew. Once you've entered, spiritual growth, the "real fun", is in seeing what you're misperceiving, in looking inward to see what's been warped by your own prism. Ultimately, you find yourself just laughing at "the man in the mirror" rather than railing against those who you're assuming are taking shadows and twisted images to be real. The very essence of the great religions is humility, tolerance, and understanding our own insignificance in the great scheme of things. What credence does any great religion give to the perception of "being singled out", ennobled over others... none. It's light being bent. It's the agenda of the self-absorbed, the vain, the hypocritical. It's even more evident in the dangerously deluded "witch hunter" or the modern day jihad-ist. To criticize a religion's faithful still struggling in darkness - and who isn't struggling no matter what their "religion" - rather than engaging in self-examination is a distortion all its own. It can manifest as angry overreach to expose cult-ish plots to deceive the unwary by making them feel "special". Someone else may see it through their prism as having nothing to do with entitlement at all. But simply as an acknowledgment that they've begun a new journey. A long difficult one that will require massive effort to be self-aware, to be ever cognizant of our own fallibility, to keep our mortality in mind, to beware of ever present deception, and to begin to understand for the first time our own "ordinary-ness".
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Have you considered starting a petition on www.change.org ...? I know I'd sign and wide exposure might rattle US Bank and its city cronies.
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Have you considered starting a petition on www.change.org.? I'm sure many will sign and a wider audience might well rattle the bank and their city hall friends.
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------------ BLOGGER ---------------- In nondual thinking each thought is experienced as arising and passing away by itself, not "determined" by previous thoughts but "springing up" spontaneously. That, of course, is complete bullshit. There's reams of neuroscientific evidence showing that present awareness and thinking is strongly affected by prior experiences... ------------------------------------- In this setting, I suspect the intent is just to isolate and experience individual thoughts as they arise -- not to deny the causality of previous thoughts and awareness. As a practical matter, if you simply allow thoughts to simply "arise and pass away", you're potentially at least, more open, more focused, less consumed by following trains of thought than derail stillness. Anyone who's tried to meditate quickly sees the need for this strategy. Loiter and there's an endless litany of: "Hm, why do I keep thinking that thought?, That reminds me of the time..; OMG, taxes are coming due! ".
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----------------- QUOTE -------------------- The way I see it "no statistically significant conclusions to be made" could be an argument that banning assault rifles didn't help with gun violence. -------------- END QUOTE ------------------- It could be but an equally strong case could be made that any conclusion was unwarranted. The bulk of homicides have nothing to do with assault rifles so any movement up or down would become statistically insignificant. But assault rifle deaths actually did dip during the ban. Here's "dip" confirmation from the "fair and balanced" channel: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/12/24/history-gives-mixed-grade-to-impact-assault-weapons-ban/#ixzz2GGvqpeqv But, of course, the gun lobby is dismissive. Their attack dog LaPierre argues there's nothing to be done... except armed guards in the schools. And an ongoing spiral of more "good" guns to fight "bad" guns. ----------------- QUOTE ---------------- For instance, Jared Loughner who shot Gabriele Giffords and others in Tucson was a known nutcase who was disruptive in his college classes and elswhere. Many people felt threatened in his presence and were afraid of him. He could have been sequestered, evaluated and possibly treated before he lost it completely. --------------- END QUOTE --------------- Agreed but from what I gather he more nutty than overtly violent or threatening. Also I thought he had been seen by a psychologist pre-massacre but I could be wrong. The overwhelming problem though is how do you identify, sequester, and/or treat every potential threat. It's the most herculean, expensive, problematic solution of all. What goes on in the human psyche is the real intractable problem of our time. Being careful about what potentially dangerous toys wind up in human hands is more manageable.
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------------------- QUOTE ----------------- we could try banning assault rifles to remove some "cancerous tissue" like they did from 1994 to 2004 but it didn't do any good, so they were reinstated. ---------------- END QUOTE ----------------- How do you know "it didn't do any good"? How many studies did you look at... why didn't you cite them? I read that there were no statistically significant conclusions to be made. Not one though asserted "it didn't do any good". Assault rifles may be a drop in the crime bucket but, they they're a potent, murderous component. They've become a weapon of choice in mass killing. By the way, Adam Lanza left the hunting rifle at home. ------------------- QUOTE ----------------- I would like to see a more aggressive policy towards those who diaplay mental illness coupled with violent/aggressive tendencies or threats. -----------------END QUOTE ----------------- Certainly, but increasingly I wonder how effective that'd be. I don't recall reading that Adam Lanza, for instance, made any threats or bullied anyone. He was described as a quiet loner, certainly not aggressive or violent outwardly. Eccentric yes but functioning at a high level in school. He likely internalized his pain... until he snapped. There are many profiles like Adam's in high schools everywhere. Banning assault rifles is the highest priority now in my opinion. Maybe, just maybe, if it had been harder or impossible to grab an assault rifle, there would have been fewer funerals.
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--------------- QUOTE ---------------------- Banning assault rifles could be viewed as a quixotic attempt to remove mass gun killings from society. ------------ END QUOTE --------------------- Is there any attempt at all to listen to the arguments or facts already cited? Or to the clear majority who'd support just such a ban? We don't stop looking for disease cures because the problem seems intractable or because any solution will be imperfect. The assault rifle has been the weapon of choice by mass murderers recently. And for the reasons we've gone over repeatedly - large clips, higher velocity bullets, rapid fire, huge exit wounds, etc. Only fools argue these guns need to be in the hands of civilians for "target shooting" or to "protect his family" when doomsday arrives. --------------- QUOTE ---------------------- I have explained elsewhere on this blog how a simple .38 cal revolver can be fired at a rate sufficient to wipe out a classroom. So, while we're at it, we may as well ban them as well. ------------ END QUOTE --------------------- Yes, any semi-automatic handgun could be a WMD but there's no reasonable chance of a ban. I think just about everyone accepts that. Assault rifles are a different story entirely. Sometimes you have to just cut out the most cancerous tissue while you're working on the cure.
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------------------ QUOTE ------------------- This kind of madness is not new and probably can't be prevented unless every conceivable object, chemical, biological substance that humans can use to harm one another is banned. -----------------ENDQUOTE------------------- It's almost as if you're conflating any new gun ban with some quixotic attempt to remove evil from the world. Why promote this kind of paralysis when there's a clear imperative to ban the worse offender - the assault rifle - as well as close canyon-sized loopholes in gun acquisition... As you know, assault rifles are lethal military weapons, designed not for target practice fantasies or paranoid doomsday scenarios, but to kill enemies with high-velocity, large bullets, rapid fire, up to 30 rounds in 10 seconds according to one source, and humongous clips, even a 100 bullet drum although thank god, it's still jam-prone. Their presence in civilian hands has wreaked a terrible toll. The evidence of saved lives in other countries is overwhelming. What possible justification to marginalize this menace or fail to act?
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---------------QUOTE----------------- I think the problem is cultural and that is what needs to be evaluated even though you can't just flick a switch and change it. It has to evolve for better or worse. ---------------ENDQUOTE----------------- But you can circumscribe the easy availability of WMD's, such as handguns and assault rifles for God's sake, to save life. We've seen the stats...and the lower gun-kills in countries which do. What's the alternative... to cite a cultural penchant for violence and wait for some evolutionary Godot to make things better. That's just another chant of "guns don't kill people ...people kill people" from the NRA faithful.
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>> Knives, guns, clubs, bombs, hammers, cars, bricks, poison, smelly feet...you name it... << True, but why not mitigate the horrific havoc wreaked by handguns and assault rifles. They're widely available, relatively cheap, easily concealed, efficient, quick, and lethal in ways most weapons aren't. Admittedly, some of those are deadlier, but, there's also more planning involved, difficulty in arming and deploying accurately, less concealment, etc. And those other weapons obscure the real issue. Handguns and assault rifles are doing the most damage now and acquiring them is far too easy. And I can think of no justifiable reason ever for assault rifles to be civilian hands no matter what doomsday scenarios the fringe likes to conjure up.
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>> Knives, guns, clubs, bombs, hammers, cars, bricks, poison, smelly feet...you name it... << True, but why not mitigate the horrific havoc wreaked by handguns and assault rifles. They're widely available, relatively cheap, easily concealed, efficient, quick, and lethal in ways most weapons aren't. Admittedly, some of those are deadlier, but, there's also more planning involved, difficulty in arming and deploying accurately, less concealment, etc. And those other weapons obscure the real issue. Handguns and assault rifles are doing the most damage now and acquiring them is far too easy. And I can think of no justifiable reason ever for assault rifles to be civilian hands no matter what doomsday scenarios the fringe likes to conjure up.
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...Hallucinations, whether revelatory or banal, are not of supernatural origin; they are part of the normal range of human consciousness and experience.... They provide evidence only of the brain's power to create them. What is that odor...? Ah, it's that distinct reek of dogma. Of a certain supercilious certainty about the nature of hallucination. It's appropriately draped with scientific due process of course. Guilty - step right up to the gallows reserved for all things hallucinatory. But "whether revelatory or banal"- not all religious insight/perception can be herded into a hallucinogenic box. The fact that the "very same systems of perception in the brain are deployed" doesn't invalidate their authenticity either. The a priori necessity of "a brain in the vicinity" at the time of someone's religious or mystic vision doesn't prove the brain was causal. Or that inner realization of a transcendent reality is myth. Maybe a hallucinogenic sub-category is needed - call it "brain-less epiphanies" to invest it with the scorn it undoubtedly deserves.
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Nicely done. I'll bet the "thud" of your remarks hit the prosecutor hardest of all. He probably had a vision -- you talking to other jurors and the evolution of new wrinkle in jurisprudence: "not guilty by reason of diminished free will". (Oh, thank God for voir dire).
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I'd especially like to see that "A Human Being Lives Here" banner hung on the Pope's Vatican residence, and the home of every supposed divine or quasi-divine person on Earth. Gurus. The Dalai Lama. Yogis. Anyone who claims to talk with God. We're all just human beings living a human life. We all have human desires, human lusts, human cravings. For sex, for God, for all sorts of things. The force of life drives us at every moment, as it must. Until we're dead. Even the quasi-divine wannabe is often the first to admit his human-ness and fallibility. But, he/she may counter that "the force of life drives us" only as long as we remain unenlightened. And those mysterious flashes of intuition; those few precious moments of peace and detachment from life's maelstrom; that sense of the surreal about this "too, too solid world" -- all are leakage of something beyond the "surly bonds of earth". And some mystics assert that total enlightenment is possible -- just not with a self-help book or 24-hour fee course. Difficult, long, painfully transformative but nonetheless, not impossible. No, they can't prove a higher reality or spirit or God. How could you shoehorn proof of the transcendent back down through the wormhole into "reality" as we know it... Even a mystic's metaphor would fall absurdly short. You'd have to experience this transcendence yourself. The alternative is to remain safely in a cocoon offered by the usual suspects - priests, idealogues, even men in lab coats. However well-meaning, they'll expound the only reality they know; doubt those without "proper" credentials and orthodoxy; inevitably reveal a bias that any other reality is a hoax, a chimera, the refuge of a young child or a scoundrel. They'll insist that there's no exit door from this train "driven by the forces of life".
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A Buddha-nature unraveling... what a terrible sight to behold :) But, wait. There's a vision coming to me... not quite in focus... ah, here it is: Oregon's still the top team in the country. Or maybe Alabama. But the rest, nah! This is no phony-baloney, religious wishful thinking. Look at the current paradigm: you win - no matter how crummy the opponents play or weak the schedule or flukey the win - you get enshrined. Grab your nose and look at the current numero uno. Lose and you sleep with the fishes until the enshrined falter or memories fade. Of course, if you lose near season's end, you're a fart in a phone booth with no chance of breathing clear air again. See how it works... God, I must be channeling Nate Silver again.
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I think I'm at the Big Toe chakra -- or maybe a bit lower (Bottom of Sole?) You're getting close... the "Dust of His Feet" beckons.
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I can attest to the scariness of a theocratic state... in this case the state was Texas. My buddy and I decided to skip the obligatory baccalaureate service before graduation. It was hardly inter-faith in those days; more like hard-core Christianity with the faint smell of brimstone. My parents had to appear before the principal and beg, argue, and finally threaten before they allowed me to graduate.
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What you said is pretty much what I expected: you don't have any evidence for your beliefs, but you believe in them anyway. Huh? I'm surprised you want to pigeonhole so quickly. I'm not arguing for any particular belief - but for openness and impartiality. I don't believe analogies build a case for Bargini's "bundle". And I believe the "Ego Trick" he postulates is layered on to give his speculation a more solid ring. It also has a dismissive and condescending ring to me... Like most of us when we want to make our case, we conclude firmly that it's some other poor schlep that has been deceived by his ego. ... Note, though: this is a churchless blog. You should expect to be challenged if you promote religious beliefs for which there is no demonstrable evidence. That works both ways. And I would argue that B.'s "demonstrable" evidence and analogies don't warrant the conclusion that there's no self or unified consciousness. Lastly, usually it isn't possible to prove with certainty that something doesn't exist. In science and in everyday life, the burden is on those who claim that something DOES exist. And mystics would agree. They have their own discipline and meditative techniques. Unlike some dogmatic, evangelizing faiths, they shun the limelight; don't make baseless assertions; require rigourous discipline and careful lifestyle; and certainly don't marginalize or speculate about others' sincere beliefs.
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There is no core self; we are a bundle of thoughts, perceptions, emotions, and such that constantly flow through us, but there is no enduring "Us." But that's an assertion without any evidence either. Bagnini's analogies with his "trickster mind" in the fray have no more validity that the most far-fetched religious narrative. His book and the "plenty of evidence" you speak are not proof. It's pure speculation and dressing it up as "Neuroscience" will never change that. However, they have assumed a seemingly inaccurate alternative -- that a changeless soul or such lies hidden under the surface of all the ever-changing mental stuff. How do you know it's "inaccurate"...? You don't know one way or another. Qualifying it with "seemingly" doesn't make it any less judgmental. Because mysticism or religion doesn't offer an explanation that resonates with you doesn't make it inaccurate. I don't know of any neuroscientific theory that holds to a "soul" or "unified consciousness" theory. Do you? Who cares if it's in your "holy of holies" Neuroscience Camp or not. To claim dismissively that the "self/soul" doesn't exist or offer some bogus proof or its non-existence is the worst sort of hubris in my opinion.
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It's easy to write a sweeping blog comment that dismisses solid evidence accumulated over decades of research and experimentation by hundreds or thousands of top scientists -- just as its easy to hold on to unfounded religious, mystical, or spiritual beliefs. That's a bit facile too... it's almost suggestive that Baggini has a phalanx of "hundreds of thousands of top scientists..." supporting him. I seriously doubt that all of them are in step with Baggini's speculative battle cry. Zen masters are fond of saying stuff like, "show me your self!" It's a good question. Buddhism stripped of religiosity is close to modern neuroscience... Yes, but Baggini isn't just attacking the false idea of self but pawning off his "bundle theory" as a refutation of soul altogether. He has no compelling evidence of course but warms up by reminding the uninitiated of the complexity of the atomic/planetary models, hows cars are assemblies of parts, etc. He then leapfrogs to the conclusion that because neuroscience observes only a "complicated bundle of mental events served up by the brain" - his "collection of stuff" - that any core unity is a myth. In fact, mystics have identified the deceptive nature of mind/ego eons ago. But B., stealing a page from them, even tries to shore up his case by fingering the "trickster ego/mind" as the 'perp' who's blinding us to this "remarkably disunified bundle-like system". The "tricks up the mind's sleeve" may be blinding us to other compelling explanations.
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Religious belief is the default human condition. What takes courage, effort, and determination is going against the religious current that sweeps the vast majority of people into a faith-based ocean. I think mystics would agree but would clarify that the real 'current' is non-denominational. True believers - whether at the altar of science or religion - are swept away by their own inner helplessness, by a tsunami of thought they can't control, by an inability to ever simply remain in stillness and in the here-now, by an enduring existential angst that no material discovery or religious dogma will ever allay. The "courage, effort, and determination" to reform oneself and swim against this riptide is the real beacon of hope.
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It is indeed strange that someone with such divine powers would have to pray to the Lord for assistance to Japan, and apparently is clueless about what has happened to his disciples after the earthquake. Again, why would the language of empathy be taken so literally...? "We pray that the "worst is over..." is a common idiom for voicing concern and hope for the future. Surely, the perceived mythology of a consoler's religion should be forgotten at the scene of a tragedy. Ridicule is everywhere but here, it seems mean-spirited, small, "un-churchly"... Even enemies try to set aside differences at the funeral of a mutual friend. It's not about their differences but their common decency and compassion.
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Some Indian mystics view God as almost exactly like Christianity does: granting favors in response to prayers. But mystics are human. The hallmark of any decent human being is understanding and compassion for the human condition. Why can't they relate to people on a human level with words of empathy and hope... even if, however arguably, they have some deeper or more philosophical understanding of tragedy. If God is in control of the world, then God allowed the 9.0 earthquake to hap pen. What sense is there in praying to the Big Guy Upstairs who was responsible for the disaster to now ameliorate it? None undoubtedly. But how else could you express a personal measure of compassion for this terrible event... In the face of incomprehensible tragedy, we all want to voice a hope that it's ended and better times are ahead. Financial and other help can always be done behind the scenes. Gurinder Singh is saying to disciples in Japan, many of whom probably are still engaged in getting their lives back in order after the earthquake/tsunami, that they should be focused on putting in 2 1/2 hours of meditation every day -- not on helping to rebuild their homes, community, and nation. That's absurd. I can't imagine any religious figure not encouraging disciples to rebuild their lives and provide real help to others on every level. But at the same time, they may want to remind them to live in the "here-now", to realize how fleeting and unpredictable life can be, and/or to draw solace/strength from spiritual discipline.
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