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Dungeness
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So we shouldn't blindly accept that a personal conscious experience tells us something about reality outside of the confines of that consciousness, not without persuasive evidence that such exists Nor should we blindly reject that it could. What if you're really sleeping and your only reality is a dream world with a few, brief moments of lucidity and dim memories of wakefulness. Many share these compelling glimpses but they fade and once again are immersed in the dream. It's a phantasmagoric world, careening wildly out of control, with little or no understanding of ourselves, or our consciousness, our minds, full of surreal events, hatred, pain, disease, helplessness, and death waiting at the end. It's sad and there's no pervasive evidence of a reality outside this life which is "nasty, brutish, and short". Except for the glimpses... The skeptic is right - there's no evidence - but he is lost himself in the dream. The most virulent will frame the argument so only the materialist's evidence matters and scoffs at the idea of controlling the mind and perceiving anything outside the phenomenal. In fact he dismisses the scantest mention of the transcendental and likens it to theories of "little green men". He dogmatizes with the vehemence of the holy roller. The wakeful doubtlessly perceive the illusory power of the dream. But there's still no demonstrable evidence for those still dreaming. There never will be.
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O deity of the unholy, unchurched ones...hear our prayer: may Pastor Crowder steer a few closeted fundamentalists here in the righteous direction of "doubt".
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Apparently believers have nothing better to do than seek out unbelievers to preach to. It seems that calling your blog "Church of the Churchless" is tantamount to putting up a brightly lit sign saying, "Religious nuts welcome!". Like moths to a flame, believers fly to where their tedious, trite, self-serving drivel will be most annoying because preaching to the choir gets no response. Religious faith would sooner die than listen to reason, and this obstinacy, moronic and fanatical as it is, is the pride and joy of the believer. Gosh, I'm so glad you didn't name names! I don't mean to sound ad hominem but that response comes across as dismissive, truculent, and totally unfactual. There's such a wealth of opprobrium: "pathetic", "religious nut", "trite", "drivel", "obstinacy", "moronic", "fanatical". In some circles they'd call it an "attack dog" tactic. Bark, threaten, lay down suppressive fire. All from behind a fence and then retreat quickly if anyone nears, has a conciliatory word, doesn't do an immediate about-face to wherever the hell he came from. They're so quick to the reflex that there can never be any common ground. Growl, curse, put-down,.. Don't address any of the issues, they deserve no civility, no quarter will be given. That's for wimps. The world is black and white, either "nut" or "unchurched". If there's a whiff of the infidel, then by the gods of reflex, they're gonna get bit. If you don't like it, stay the hell off my street!
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.."transcendence and the unlimited potential of mankind" are fantasies. There is no reason to believe in such grandiose notions - only the pathetic yearning you spoke of.But there most certainly is a crying need for people to come down to earth and attend to what's going on in the very real world But what if your "pathetic yearning" is only to transcend your own anger and lack of focus. Maybe to be cognizant of the thoughts that fill your days and nights 24x7; to explore what's going on inside you; try to understand and channel the energy more constructively. Nothing too gradiose at all... How do you know it's a fantasy? Do you judge it by the rabid tenor and rants of "pool denizens"? Or was this just a reflex against something you deemed "churchy". Or perhaps you've tried it already and dismissed it. Maybe if the inner exploration had a proper scientific name, it'd be more acceptable. Free of the "churchy" taint. You could try it just for the hell of it. See if there's some room for improvement. Really, how can anyone know what man's potential is or circumscribe its limits. Or call it "fantasy" or "pathetic yearning". Will you always be better served by a physical exam, or time with a psychiatrist, or by popping a scientifically tested pill free of all but a few side effects. Surely there are areas of improvement before anyone should rush off to tackle the real problems on earth. Without doing so, you could be exacerbating your own as well everyone else's problems... both churched and unchurched. Being more aware, focused, less intolerant yourself you could reach a "god-state" nirvana (or a "churchless" equivalent). Halleujah, they'll cry...saved at last!
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Why distract yourself with the notion of "Something that transcends normal everyday perception, awareness and thinking processes" when everything real and perceptible is in dire need of attention? Why not pull your head out of the clouds and address the facts of life, one of which is that religious people make life on earth a hell of a lot more difficult and dangerous than it need be. Religion does lend itself to images of backwoods bigots, scripture thumpers, cultists, dangerous fanatics and zealots. Or even the other-worldly, the far out, "head-in-the-clouds" theorists. I'd agree...but then to a great degree, politics draws from exactly the same pool. History too...revisionists spout lunacy of all kinds. Various causes seem to pull from the "pool". However, I think the best religious practices are countering the difficulties and dangers of life by actually practicing to stay in the "here-now", struggling to tame the intractable mind and its impulses, inculcating discipline, living in harmony with others, being tolerant of other views, and by having a "reverence for life". All very "real and perceptible" issues and "in dire need of attention". Of course, arguably you don't need religion for this. But that doesn't and shouldn't denigrate the efforts that are made by any religion or quasi-religion. Certainly beliefs of transcendence and the unlimited potential of mankind to achieve a God-state are not the trappings of the "pool". To claim otherwise, I believe is seriously flawed, as judgmental, rigid, ignorant, and dogmatic as any "pool" denizen.
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so long as many people use their human mind to embrace concepts that point to entities that only exist within those minds, the concepts will continue to exist, changelessly. Hm, what about fantasies...or maybe you meant entities to subsume those too. Or perhaps by "entities" you mean just those beliefs that the faithful can ridicule with tropes about "BS Detectors" and "Little green men". But, the ordinary fantasies are fine. Today, maybe it's "One day my ship will come in" for the ten-millionth time; tomorrow, it's "I'll stay healthy... disease, death is meant for some other poor shlub". The next day, it's "Somebody will save me from this mess". The question is, what kind of living is this? Living in a thought-creation of one's own making, rather than the directly experienced world shared by all. Indeed what kind of world...? All live in a thought-creation of one's own making. The "thoughts that run on endlessly in the head" are universal. Listen to them closely. We're riddled with a tsunami of absurd, childish, at times demonic thought. An unstoppable steam-rollering wave. It's an eternal, pervasive "song" that afflicts everyone. Its extreme expression is depression, suicide, madness, criminality...arguably all attributable to thought that we don't control. Yet there's a thread of consciousness in mankind that a transcendent reality exists, a potential, a super-consciousness lying latent. A sense we're not meant to be at the mercy of thoughts or chained inescapably by the materiality we perceive outside. The yearning is timeless. But, perhaps some have faith that a super-scientist will discover a brain flaw and we can put this childish fantasy to rest forever. The truth isn't far off. It's just sad that religious believers look for it e verywhere but the most obvious place: right here, right now, in this world. Yes, I suspect the truth isn't far off. But the prism may be bent. Both for believer and skeptic alike. What is perceived as "here,now, this world" is filtered by thought, prejudices, the imprinting of materiality, an overwhelming need to make sense of it all and be correct. Who has subdued his mind and its tyranny... likely neither the religious or the brainy doubter. The elephant is still in the room. A mind we don't control, weaknesses we don't really want to see, the same song endlessly eddying around... We're the "poor player strutting and fretting his hour on the stage" with "more things in heaven and earth than are ever dreamt of in his philosophy".
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Science makes progress. Religions don't Ah, progress! Ain't it wonderful. Science takes on all comers. Cures disease, tames atoms, dispels ignorance. There's no end to its wonders. But, wait, there's more. Most scientists will freely profess their massive ignorance of both material and non-material realms. No matter. The intrepid skeptic, waving the banner of scientific proof, sallies forth to slay the charlatans. No one has the guts to say it but even agnosticism is for wimps. Atheism is the wave of the future. Hail science! Religion is the "opiate of the masses". Their ilk pigeon-holes together nicely...all of them. They can be ripped to pieces in a few blog-minutes. They have no place at the "show 'n tell" of scientific proof. Forget the few who talk about an arduous inward journey, long hours of introspection, a life of unwavering discipline. They're charlatans... all of them, unable to adduce a shred of proof for their claims. They're as credible as the world resting on an elephant. Yet nobody - science nor religion - can explain war, greed, death, or answer the eternal questions. The "grease" taketh down the mightiest and maketh road-kill of them all. Put your money on science though. One day, they'll unravel it. The true believers among us know.
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... Believers want it the other way around because without their faith, the only thing they have to say is that they're free of it. If I get your point, I believe that's overreach. Muslims understand and support free speech, except for uber fanatical idealogues incapable of nuance. But you can't expect them to jump on any "Je Suis Charlie" jihad bandwagon just as most Catholics wouldn't don a "Pro Choice" button to show support for a bombed abortion clinic.
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I want Muslim leaders to defend these cartoons, without the pious disclaimers. But why should they defend the cartoons as well condemning murderous acts? You're conflating condemning terrorism with defending free speech. Without that clear distinction, "Je Suis Charlie", becomes a peremptory march to toe the line, a kind of righteous bullying. This is a "strain of and a stain on your faith", so publish it you wimp! Depictions of Mohammed are offensive to the Muslim faith. Your position is effectively "defending free speech trumps your religious sensitivites. It offends you...so what! Get over it. This is a jihad for what's RIGHT!".
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No, I wasn't be crabby. Sorry if I seemed so. Maybe I was profiling though. Saw what looked like a "churchless patrol car", rolling slowly for a "stop 'n frisk", and clearly about to ask "whatcha doing in these here parts, boy". Talking about an idealized state doesn't mean I can pontificate about it in any depth either. "No, officer, I'm just passing through dreaming about how nice it'd be to live like the enlightened folks do. Don't worry, I'll try not to "pound on any windshields".
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Why the hell would anyone think I have advice? Or perhaps the conclusion was here's another loony New-Ager to bait :) No, I thought this was about consciousness itself, not advice for a "cleanup on aisle 4". Maybe there are people though who have an elevated level of consciousness and do not exist in a dream world with "impulse and anger and stupidity and diminished consciousness". Perhaps they've spent a lifetime of discipline studying their thoughts and what's inside to awaken from the dream. Cue the twilight zone...maybe there's green cheese too or Obama's an alien. Absurd! But surely a teeny doubt could arise. Why couldn't a more evolved consciousness be possible? If you're a materialist, you know the brain has unlimited potential. Remember the first time you heard: "there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy". Didn't it resonate just a little... This is not patronage. It still resonates with me and I love hearing it. I know...some of you are probably feeling angst for a clever put-down now. What to do...how do I dispose of this loony-tuner so I we can move on and savage the next crackpot and feel important and brainy and watch 'em squirm in their "religious" muck. If we can't come up with a brainy beat-down, then we need an emoticon for a virtual eye roll...we could save lots of these endless discussions. Yep, squashing bozo's online...it's the old school way of enjoying a violent video game. A catharsis for those still enjoying the dream.
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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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