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Thread: great paragraphs from what you're reading

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    " “Adulthood” in our culture begins fairly early on - between ages 7 to 10 according to
    developmental psychologist Jean Piaget - as we learn to substitute mental activity for
    actual sensory experience. This is also a viable description of what the loss of
    innocence consists of, and is arguably a good working definition of insanity.
    I can safely bet that fantasy, interpretation and preoccupation are deeply ingrained
    habits of yours (resulting in a sense of things being separate, static, mundane, normal,
    a little dull, known - with perhaps a bit of anxiety lurking at “the edges”), and certainly of
    the culture - hard habits to see let alone break.
    Unfortunately, this is an understatement.
    Fortunately, these habits seem to dissipate on their own through noticing, which are
    what the notes address in detail.
    It is also fortunate that the juice of experience is not hidden - it is conversely so obvious
    and ubiquitous (and subtle) that we don’t even see it, it is taken for granted. These
    notes are about thawing out that ignoring. It would be accurate to say that these pages
    are about turning the process of “adulthood” around: substituting actual sensory
    experience for mental activity (which actually is a sensory experience too)."



    @Adam Strange this relates to a recent post of yours where you mentioned that babies should understand that an object keeps existing even when it goes out of sight. The supposed usefulness of the learning/ unlearning process is interesting.

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    Perfect purity is possible if you turn your life into a line of poetry written with a splash of blood.

    Yukio Mishima, Runaway Horses
    "The society that separates it's scholars from it's warriors will have it's thinking done by cowards and it's fighting by fools." ―Thucydides

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    Enlightened Hedonist Subteigh's Avatar
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    1. The world is all that is the case.
    2. What is the case—a fact—is the existence of states of affairs.
    3. A logical picture of facts is a thought.
    4. A thought is a proposition with a sense.
    5. A proposition is a truth-function of elementary propositions. (An elementary proposition is a truth-function of itself.)
    6. The general form of a truth-function is [p, E, N(E)]. This is the general form of a proposition.
    7. What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.
    6.1 The propositions of logic are tautologies.
    6.2 Mathematics is a logical method. The propositions of mathematics are equations, and therefore pseudo-propositions.
    6.3 The exploration of logic means the exploration of everything that is subject to law. And outside logic everything is accidental.
    6.4 All propositions are of equal value.
    6.5 When the answer cannot be put into words, neither can the question be put into words. The riddle does not exist. If a question can be framed at all, it is also possible to answer it.
    6. The general form of a truth-function is [p, E, N(E)]. This is the general form of a proposition.[...]
    6.4 All propositions are of equal value.
    6.41 The sense of the world must lie outside the world. In the world everything is as it is, and everything happens as it does happen: in it no value exists—and if it did exist, it would have no value. If there is any value that does have value, it must lie outside the whole sphere of what happens and is the case. For all that happens and is the case is accidental. What makes it non-accidental cannot lie within the world, since if it did it would itself be accidental. It must lie outside the world.
    6.42 So too it is impossible for there to be propositions of ethics. Propositions can express nothing that is higher.
    6.43 If the good or bad exercise of the will does alter the world, it can alter only the limits of the world, not the facts—not what can be expressed by means of language. In short the effect must be that it becomes an altogether different world. It must, so to speak, wax and wane as a whole. The world of the happy man is a different one from that of the unhappy man.
    6.44 It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists.
    6.45 To view the world sub specie aeterni is to view it as a whole—a limited whole. Feeling the world as a limited whole—it is this that is mystical.
    Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein

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    The Evolution of Religion
    Then when the whole earth moves beneath our feet, and cities tumble

    To the ground, hit hard, or cities badly shaken, threaten to crumble,

    Is it surprising mortal men are suddenly made humble,

    And are ready to believe in the awesome might and wondrous force

    Of gods, the powers at the rudder of the universe?

    Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, Book 5, lines 1236–40

    On the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Adam and God touch fingers. To the uneducated eye it is not clear who is creating whom. We are supposed to assume God’s the one doing the creating, and much of the world thinks so. To anybody who has read the history of the ancient world, it is crystal clear by contrast that, in the words of the title of Selina O’Grady’s book on the subject, Man Created God. God is plainly an invention of the human imagination, whether in the form of Jahweh, Christ, Allah, Vishnu, Zeus or Anygod else. The religious impulse is not confined to conventional religion. It animates ghosts, horoscopes, ouija boards and Gaia; it explains all forms of superstition, from biodynamic farming to conspiracy theories to alien abduction to hero worship. It is the expression of what Daniel Dennett calls the intentional stance, the human instinct to see purpose and agency and power in every nook or cranny of the world. ‘We find human faces in the moon, armies in clouds . . . and ascribe malice and goodwill to every thing that hurts or pleases us,’ wrote David Hume in his Natural History of Religion.

    The urge to impute the shape of every leaf and the time of every death to the whim of an omnipotent deity may seem to be as top– down as it gets. Yet my argument will be that this phenomenon can only be explained as an instance of cultural evolution: that all gods and all superstitions emerge from within human minds, and go through characteristic but unplanned transformations as history unfolds. Thus even the most top–down feature of human culture is actually a bottom–up, emergent phenomenon.

    O’Grady vividly tells the story of how Christianity emerged in the first century AD from among a bewildering ferment of competing religious enthusiasms within the Roman empire, and was far from being the most obvious candidate to win global power. The ‘single market’ of Rome was ripe for a religious monopoly. Empires usually do become dominated by one religion to a great extent: that of Zeus in Greece, Zoroaster in Persia, Confucius in China, Buddha in the Mauryan empire, Mohamed in Arabia.

    In first-century Rome, every city had scores of cults and mystery religions competing alongside each other, usually without much jealousy – only the god of the Jews refused to tolerate others. Temples to Jupiter and Baal, Atagartis and Cybele, lay one beside another. Consolidation was inevitable: just as thousands of independently owned cafés were replaced by two or three mighty chains such as Starbucks, with superior products more slickly delivered, so it was inevitable that religious chains would take over the Roman empire. Augustus did his best to pose as a god himself, but that cut little ice with the merchants of Alexandria or the peasants of Asia Minor.

    In the middle of the first century, the cult of Apollonius of Tyana looked a better bet to conquer the empire. Like Jesus, Apollonius (who was younger, but overlapped) raised the dead, worked miracles, exorcised demons, preached charity, died and rose again, at least in spiritual form. Unlike Jesus, Apollonius was a famous Pythagorean intellectual known throughout the Near East. His birth had been foretold, he abjured sex, drank no wine and wore no animal skins. He was altogether more sophisticated than the Palestinian carpenter. He moved in grand circles: the dead person he raised was the child of a senator. His fame spread well beyond the Roman lands. When he arrived at Babylon, the Parthian King Vardanes greeted him as a celebrity and invited him to stay and teach for a year. He then travelled east to what is now Afghanistan and India, never to re-emerge. Long after his disappearance his cult competed with the Jewish, Zoroastrian and Christian creeds. Yet eventually it petered out.

    Blame Saul of Tarsus, also known as St Paul. Whereas Apollonius had a plodding Greek chronicler as his evangelist, named Philostratus, Jesus was blessed with a peculiarly persuasive if rather eccentric Pharisee who set out to reinvent and convert the Jesus cult into a universal, rather than a Jewish, faith designed to appeal to Greeks and Romans. And St Paul was acute enough to realise that the Jesus cult could be aimed at the poor and dispossessed. Its strictures against wealth, power and polygamy were well designed to appeal to those who had little to lose. Quite how the Christians eventually (three centuries on) persuaded an emperor, Constantine, to convert to their cause remains a little mysterious, but it surely had much to do with the populist appeal of the new creed. After that, the conquest of large swathes of the planet by the Christian religion owed as much to power as to persuasion. All competing religions were ruthlessly and violently stamped out wherever possible, starting with the Emperor Theodosius.

    In short, you can tell the story of the rise of Christianity without any reference to divine assistance. It was a movement like any other, a man-made cult, a cultural contagion passed from mind to mind, a natural example of cultural evolution.

    The predictability of gods
    Further evidence for the man-made nature of gods comes from their evolutionary history. It is a little-known fact, but gods evolve. There is a steady and gradual transformation through human history not only from polytheism to monotheism, but from gods who are touchy, foolish, randy and greedy people, who just happen to be immortal, to disembodied and virtuous spirits living in an entirely different realm and concerned mainly with virtue. Contrast the vengeful and irritable Jehovah of the Old Testament with the loving Christian God of today. Or philandering, jealous Zeus with the disembodied and pure Allah; or vengeful Hera and sweet Mary.

    The gods in hunter-gatherer societies manage without priests, and have little in the way of consistent doctrine. The gods of early settled societies, though organised, codified and served by specialised personnel with rituals, were (in the words of Nicolas Baumard and Pascal Boyer) ‘construed as unencumbered with moral conscience and uninterested in human morality’. This moral indifference characterised the gods of Sumer, Akkad, Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Aztec, Mayan and Inca empires, and ancient China and India.

    Only much later, in certain parts of the world – apparently those places where sufficiently high living standards caused some people to yearn, like hippies, for ascetic purity and higher ideals – did the gods suddenly become concerned with moral prescription. Priests discovered that demanding ascetic self-sacrifice induced greater loyalty. Sometimes the switch happened through a reformation, as in Judaism and Hinduism; more often through the emergence of a new and morally prescriptive god cult, as in Jainism, Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity and Islam. These moral gods proved very jealous, and more or less elbowed aside not only the morally neutral religions, but those moral codes that lacked superstitious belief, such as Pythagorism, Confucianism and stoicism. Remarkably, they all seem to recommend some version of the golden rule – do as you would be done by – as illustrated by precepts of Buddhism, Judaism, Jainism, Taoism, Christianity and Islam. They thrived, argue Baumard and Boyer, by appealing to human instincts for reciprocity and fairness – by emphasising proportionality between deeds and supernatural rewards, between sins and penance. In other words, gods evolved by adapting themselves to certain aspects of human nature, the environment in which they found themselves. They were doubly man-made, unconsciously as well as consciously: human-evolved as well as human-invented.

    Just as Rome was ripe for Christianity, the same is true of Arabia and Islam. The vast Arab empire was bound to spawn a universal religion of its own, and probably one that was jealous of others, but that it should be Mohamed’s version that would win the prize was far from inevitable. (Religion is predictable; religions are not.) Yet in this case, we are assured, it happened the other way round: a religion spawned an empire. In AD 610 Mohamed received the Koran from an angel, while living in a pagan desert town called Mecca, which was a thriving crossroads of the caravan trade, and he went on to win a remarkable battle with divine assistance and conquer Arabia. As is often said, we know a great deal more about the biography of Mohamed than we know of the life of other religious founders.

    The evolution of the prophet
    Or do we? In fact, every one of those biographical facts is doubtful. Except for one brief Christian reference to a Saracen prophet in the 630s, nothing was written down about the life of Mohamed during his lifetime, the first public mention in the Muslim world coming in 690. The detailed biographies were all written two centuries after he died. And what historians can reconstruct about late antiquity in the Near East tells us that Mecca was not a major centre of trade, indeed it is not mentioned till 741. Clearly, too, the Koran was written down not in a pagan society, but in a thoroughly monotheistic one – it has huge amounts of Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian lore in it. The Virgin Mary features more frequently in the Koran than in the New Testament; as do a few concepts shared with the long-lost Dead Sea scrolls, which would have been obscure in the 600s, and must have been passed down from older traditions. The Koran is too full of details about Jewish and Christian literature to have been a compilation of notions picked up by a trader, let alone one from a pagan and largely illiterate society.

    Indeed, there is nothing to tie the life of the Koran’s compiler to the middle of the Arabian Peninsula at all, but lots to tie it to the fringes of Palestine and the Jordan valley: names of tribes, identification of places and mentions of cattle, olives and other creatures and plants not found in the Arabian desert. The story of Lot, Sodom and the pillars of salt is mentioned in the Koran in a way that implies it happened locally – and it almost certainly refers to salt features found close to the Dead Sea. The northern part of Arabia, just outside the bounds of the Roman empire, had long been a fertile breeding ground for exiled Jewish and Christian heresies, each drawing on different traditions and some with an admixture of Zoroastrianism from Persia. It is here, many scholars now suggest, that the Koran is actually set.

    The traditional alternative requires, of course, a leap of faith. As the historian Tom Holland, author of In the Shadow of the Sword, has put it: ‘Mecca, so the biographies of the Prophet teach us, was an inveterately pagan city devoid of any largescale Jewish or Christian presence, situated in the midst of a vast, untenanted desert. How else, then, are we to account for the sudden appearance there of a fully-fledged monotheism, complete with references to Abraham, Moses and Jesus, if not as a miracle?’

    To those who do not accept miracles it seems more likely that the Koran is almost certainly a compilation of old texts, not a new document in the seventh century. It is like a lake into which many streams flowed, a work of art that emerged from centuries of monotheistic fusions and debates, before taking its final form in the hands of a prophet in an expanding empire of newly unified Arabs pushing aside the ancient powers of Rome and Sassanid Persia. It is, in Tom Holland’s vivid words, a bloom from the seedbed of antiquity, not a guillotine dropped on the neck of antiquity. It contains bits of Roman imperial propaganda, stories of Christian saints, remnants of Gnostic gospels and parts of ancient Jewish tracts.

    Holland goes on to speculate about how the Arab civilisation arose, and minted its new religion as it did so. The (bubonic) plague of Justinian in AD 541 devastated the cities of the (Byzantine) Roman and Persian empires, but left the nomads on the southern fringes of both empires relatively unscathed. Nomads have fewer flea-infested rats in their tents than city dwellers do in their houses, which makes plague much less of a problem. In the wake of the plague, parts of the imperial frontier were depopulated, left undefended and ruined, leaving fertile land for the nomads to expand into. A great war between Constantinople and Persia in the early 600s, in which first Persians then Romans triumphed, further exhausted the hegemonic powers and further emboldened the nomadic tribes on the fringes. The Koran contains hints that it is set against this backdrop of a great war, and includes echoes of the campaigns of Heraclius and his attempt to don the mantle of Alexander.

    It is only in retrospect that Mohamed is enshrined as a prophet, the Sunni tradition is crystallised and the Hadiths are written down to give Mohamed a realistic and detailed life. By then the Arabs had established a wide empire with firm but brittle self-confidence, and there was clearly a determination to extinguish any hints of intellectual ancestry of Islam within the infidel faiths of Christianity and Judaism. So the sudden, miraculous, a nihilo invention of Islam by Mohamed becomes the story that is told. In fact, what was going on in the 690s was that a newly entrenched Umayyad Amir, Abd al-Malik, set about deliberately cultivating the legend of the prophet, naming him for the first time. ‘In the name of God. Muhammad is the messenger of God’ was stamped on his coins. He did so deliberately to separate his empire’s religion from that of the rival Romans, establish that it was not just a reformed version of Christianity, and ‘rub Roman noses in the inferiority of their superstitions’, to use Tom Holland’s words: ‘Out of the flotsam and jetsam of beliefs left scattered by the great flood tide of Arab conquests, something coherent – something manifestly God-stamped – would have to be fashioned: in short, a religion.’ Thus, Islam was more the consequence than the cause of Arab conquest.

    There is nothing uniquely Muslim about this. It is what Christianity and Judaism did also: construct elaborate backstories to obscure their origins. We can see it most clearly in recent religious innovations, like Mormonism and Scientology. Consider the bald facts of the matter about the Church of Latter-Day Saints: in upstate New York in the 1820s, an impoverished amateur treasure-seeker who had stood trial on a charge of falsely pretending to find lost treasure, named Joseph Smith, claimed he had been directed by an angel to a spot where he dug up gold plates on which was written text in an ancient script and language, which he found he could miraculously translate. The plates had since, he said, been put in a chest, but the angel had told him to show them to nobody. Instead he was to publish a translation. Some years later he dictated 584 pages of this translation, which proved to be written in the style of the King James Bible and to be a chronicle of some early inhabitants of North America who had somehow travelled there by ship from Babylon hundreds of years before Christ, but who none the less believed in Jesus.

    Of the two possibilities – that this is true, or that Joseph Smith made it up – one is far more plausible than the other. Yet to me there is nothing, except the grandeur granted by the passage of many centuries, to distinguish the implausibility of Mormonism from that of Christianity, Islam or Judaism. After all, Moses too went up a hill and came down with written instructions from God. All religions look man-made to me.
    ~ The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge by Matt Ridley

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    Quote Originally Posted by Subteigh View Post
    ~ The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge by Matt Ridley
    I have this book. Obviously, I should read it.

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    Socionics is a spook ashlesha's Avatar
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    I was just sitting down to start weil's waiting for God and I remembered this thread exists <3 and I have pictures on my phone that I took of a book I was reading, a week or so ago, bcuz I was feeling it <3 but I didn't know what to do w them cuz I don't feel comfy about sharing that on fb or sth. Anyway! Sitting down for Weil reminded me, bcuz Kierkegaard is the other author i place in the same category, which is "Christian thought that is totally my jam"

    So here's those Kierkegaard book pics that have just been sitting on my phone <3


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    Socionics is a spook ashlesha's Avatar
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    Weil

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    ^ I like the “perfect obedience” part, but I probably shouldn’t.

    Reminds me of the disturbing lyrics of Dusty Springfield.

    Personally, I think that imperfect collaboration is better for everyone.
    Last edited by Adam Strange; 12-26-2020 at 05:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Subteigh
    Further evidence for the man-made nature of gods comes from their evolutionary history. It is a little-known fact, but gods evolve. There is a steady and gradual transformation through human history not only from polytheism to monotheism, but from gods who are touchy, foolish, randy and greedy people, who just happen to be immortal, to disembodied and virtuous spirits living in an entirely different realm and concerned mainly with virtue. Contrast the vengeful and irritable Jehovah of the Old Testament with the loving Christian God of today. Or philandering, jealous Zeus with the disembodied and pure Allah; or vengeful Hera and sweet Mary.
    An understanding of Zeus as a "philanderer" evolved too. Zeus was conflated with gods from different cultures, many of which had their own mythologies about important figures being descended from the god. Or aristocrats might claim to be descended from a god. This understanding of Zeus as a "philanderer" comes from people realizing thousands of figures claim descent from Zeus and satirizing their own religion.

    In early mythology gods are painted as human -- often more human than actual humans. In the Iliad you notice that people seemingly aren't written with much of a sense of agency. They're usually described as taking action either because of the influence of a god, or because of some emotion or impulse arising out of some part of their body (Achilles might act because his thumos, for instance, inspires him, but you rarely just see "Achilles acted" if some consequential decision is being described). Gods have to be "human" because they're really the only forces with agency, and everything that happens is directly due to their influence. If something good happens one day and then something bad happens the next, it's either because the god in charge of the event was capricious, or you did something wrong and he punished you. The gods are right there; you can directly experience their influence; you might even believe for whatever reason that you see the gods themselves physically in front of you. Gods might even be conflated with their representations in the form of idols; the idols might talk to you, or even move around on their own. But as people gain more an idea of agency idols go away; if there are physical representations of gods they're moved to temples, and there's an understanding that they aren't really the gods themselves. The number of gods also declines. Every force of nature you encounter doesn't necessitate a god to explain it anymore, and you maybe don't need a different god to protect every room of your house. Instead of 12,000 gods you worship you might lower that number to 12. The gods can then become more abstract -- they created the world, maybe, but don't directly cause every single blade of grass to grow or wind to blow. The idea of monotheism is also made possible: all you really need at this point is a creator god who occasionally interacts with the world.

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    What's the purpose of SEI? Tallmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Subteigh View Post
    Further evidence for the man-made nature of gods comes from their evolutionary history.
    Gods are obviously personifications of psychic forces, but it depends what we mean by "man-made". Are dreams man-made? Some things to consider:

    If you are overcome by rage you might do something stupid. Later you calm down and you say "I don't know what went into me". Is rage man-made?

    You meet a beautiful girl and fall in love so that you loose your mind and you can't work and only think about her. Is erotic love man-made?

    It is a little-known fact, but gods evolve.
    I've read that there is also a backwards movement were gods regress. They go from gods to heros to characters in literature/ entertainment.

    I think that at least for more secular people Jesus has regressed from the redeemer archetype with actual spiritual content to become some kind of general "good guy" that he is now. The spiritual content of Christianity has been lost and we are left with only the message of love.
    A true sense-perception certainly exists, but it always looks as though objects were not so much forcing their way into the subject in their own right as that the subject were seeing things quite differently, or saw quite other things than the rest of mankind. As a matter of fact, the subject perceives the same things as everybody else, only, he never stops at the purely objective effect, but concerns himself with the subjective perception released by the objective stimulus.
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    Enlightened Hedonist Subteigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallmo View Post
    Gods are obviously personifications of psychic forces, but it depends what we mean by "man-made". Are dreams man-made?
    They're an aspect experienced by us. I don't know if we can be meaningful said to create our dreams

    Quote Originally Posted by Tallmo View Post
    Some things to consider:

    If you are overcome by rage you might do something stupid. Later you calm down and you say "I don't know what went into me". Is rage man-made?
    That's a state experienced by us. I don't know if by man-made, you mean something which is created by Man, or something which is experienced by Man.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tallmo View Post
    You meet a beautiful girl and fall in love so that you loose your mind and you can't work and only think about her. Is erotic love man-made?
    That's a state experienced by us. I don't know if by man-made, you mean something which is created by Man, or something which is experienced by Man.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tallmo View Post
    I've read that there is also a backwards movement were gods regress. They go from gods to heros to characters in literature/ entertainment.

    I think that at least for more secular people Jesus has regressed from the redeemer archetype with actual spiritual content to become some kind of general "good guy" that he is now. The spiritual content of Christianity has been lost and we are left with only the message of love.
    My understanding of Christianity that it is primarily a message of hate. There is nothing loving about "follow me or be punished".

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    Socionics is a spook ashlesha's Avatar
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    I don't wanna create a tangent in this thread but I wanna mention that I was thinking earlier about a post I made mentioning diff approaches to the Bible and thought how (though not a definitive factor) I would say that @Subteigh decidedly takes an approach I would categorize as logical in socionics. I saw his name here and assumed it had something to do w my own reading pics, but I see there is another conversation and it's not about me, carry on lol

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    What's the purpose of SEI? Tallmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Subteigh View Post

    That's a state experienced by us. I don't know if by man-made, you mean something which is created by Man, or something which is experienced by Man.
    I think it's really interesting to examine psychic forces. A man falls in love with some pretty girl that he barely knows. He stops eating, becomes pale, can't work. Some men have died from this. Obviously it was not her fault personally. She only matches an image in his mind. If something like that can kill you it is in a way reasonable to call it a god.

    The point is that this is what the gods always were. They were just projected into images and mythological stories. It's a matter of definition, but in some way gods actually exist as real terrifying powers.

    My understanding of Christianity that it is primarily a message of hate. There is nothing loving about "follow me or be punished".
    I'm thinking more about the "living Christ" in the minds of people. It was definitely a genuine experience 2000 years ago with all the hype and myth formation. People still have an image of Christ but it is very much watered down in my opinion. But it probably varies a lot.
    A true sense-perception certainly exists, but it always looks as though objects were not so much forcing their way into the subject in their own right as that the subject were seeing things quite differently, or saw quite other things than the rest of mankind. As a matter of fact, the subject perceives the same things as everybody else, only, he never stops at the purely objective effect, but concerns himself with the subjective perception released by the objective stimulus.
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    Enlightened Hedonist Subteigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallmo View Post
    I think it's really interesting to examine psychic forces. A man falls in love with some pretty girl that he barely knows. He stops eating, becomes pale, can't work. Some men have died from this. Obviously it was not her fault personally. She only matches an image in his mind. If something like that can kill you it is in a way reasonable to call it a god.

    The point is that this is what the gods always were. They were just projected into images and mythological stories. It's a matter of definition, but in some way gods actually exist as real terrifying powers.
    Reality doesn't become more powerful by using intangible definitions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tallmo View Post
    I'm thinking more about the "living Christ" in the minds of people. It was definitely a genuine experience 2000 years ago with all the hype and myth formation. People still have an image of Christ but it is very much watered down in my opinion. But it probably varies a lot.
    There are so many Christs that I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

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    https://www.academia.edu/9768942/Met...ract-read-more

    "That is why surpassing capitalism will mean surpassing philosophy and philosophical metaphysics (since, as demonstrated above, metaphysics does not necessarily have to be philosophical)."

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    "And although we live in the most debased of all ages, it’s still possible, as you will see, to break this Babylon and have the eternal fire of youth surge you to the heights of power. In your own life you can break their power and ascend to a chaos of joy and destruction. And in our future I already see like faint image far on horizon of vast ocean in violet evening—I see the islands of Hyperborea, on the edge of this Leviathan, where we will be able to establish new outposts and subdue this great beast from the outside."

    BAP. (2018). Bronze Age Mindset.
    "The society that separates it's scholars from it's warriors will have it's thinking done by cowards and it's fighting by fools." ―Thucydides

  19. #499
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    And herein, I think, all the philosophers of the newest age are open to a serious criticism. What they do not possess is real standing in actual life. Not one of them has intervened effectively, either in higher politics, in the development of modern technics, in matters of communication, in economics, or in any other big actuality, with a single act or a single compelling idea. Not one of them counts in mathematics, in physics, in the science of government, even to the extent that Kant counted. Let us glance at other times. Confucius was several times a minister. Pythagoras was the organizer of an important political movement akin to the Cromwellian, the significance of which is even now far underestimated by Classical researchers. Goethe, besides being a model executive minister — though lacking, alas! the operative sphere of a great state — was interested in the Suez and Panama canals (the dates of which he foresaw with accuracy) and their effects on the economy of the world, and he busied himself again and again with the question of American economic life and its reactions on the Old World, and with that of the dawning era of machine industry. Hobbes was one of the originators of the great plan of winning South America for England, and although in execution the plan went no further than the occupation of Jamaica, he has the glory of being one of the founders of the British Colonial Empire. Leibniz, without doubt the greatest intellect in Western philosophy, the founder of the differential calculus and the analysis situs, conceived or cooperated in a number of major political schemes, one of which was to relieve Germany by drawing the attention of Louis XIV to the importance of Egypt as a factor in French world policy. The ideas of the memorandum on this subject that he drew up for the Grand Monarch were so far in advance of their time (1672) that it has been thought that Napoleon made use of them for his Eastern venture. Even thus early, Leibniz laid down the principle that Napoleon grasped more and more clearly after Wagram, viz., that acquisitions on the Rhine and in Belgium would not permanently better the position of France and that the neck of Suez would one day be the key of world dominance. Doubtless the King was not equal to these deep political and strategic conceptions of the Philosopher.

    Turning from men of this mold to the “philosophers” of today, one is dismayed and shamed. How poor their personalities, how commonplace their political and practical outlook! Why is it that the mere idea of calling upon one of them to prove his intellectual eminence in government, diplomacy, large scale organization, or direction of any big colonial, commercial or transport concern is enough to evoke our pity? And this insufficiency indicates, not that they possess inwardness, but simply that they lack weight. I look round in vain for an instance in which a modern “philosopher” has made a name by even one deep or far seeing pronouncement on an important question of the day. I see nothing but provincial opinions of the same kind as anyone else’s. Whenever I take up a work by a modern thinker, I find myself asking: has he any idea whatever of the actualities of world politics, world city problems, capitalism, the future of the state, the relation of technics to the course of civilization, Russia, Science? Goethe would have understood all this and reveled in it, but there is not one living philosopher capable of taking it in. This sense of actualities is of course not the same thing as the content of a philosophy but, I repeat, it is an infallible symptom of its inward necessity, its fruitfulness and its symbolic importance.

    We must allow ourselves no illusions as to the gravity of this negative result. It is palpable that we have lost sight of the final significance of effective philosophy. We confuse philosophy with preaching, with agitation, with novel writing, with lecture room jargon. We have descended from the perspective of the bird to that of the frog. It has come to this, that the very possibility of a real philosophy of today and tomorrow is in question. If not, it were far better to become a colonist or an engineer, to do something, no matter what, that is true and real, than to chew over once more the old dried up themes under cover of an alleged “new wave of philosophic thought” — far better to construct an aero engine than a new theory of apperception that is not wanted. Truly it is a poor life’s work to restate once more, in slightly different terms, views of a hundred predecessors on the Will or on psycho-physical parallelism. This may be a profession, but a philosophy it emphatically is not. A doctrine that does not attack and affect the life of the period in its inmost depths is no doctrine and had better not be taught. And what was possible even yesterday is, today, at least not indispensable.

    To me, the depths and refinement of mathematical and physical theories are a joy; by comparison, the aesthete and the physiologist are fumblers. I would sooner have the fine mind begotten forms of a fast steamer, a steel structure, a precision lathe, the subtlety and elegance of many chemical and optical processes, than all the pickings and stealings of Present day “arts and crafts,” architecture and painting included. I prefer one Roman aqueduct to all Roman temples and statues. I love the Colosseum and the giant vault of the Palatine, for they display for me today in the brown massiveness of their brick construction the real Rome and the grand practical sense of her engineers, but it is a matter of indifference to me whether the empty and pretentious marblery of the Caesars — their rows of statuary, their friezes, their overloaded architraves — is preserved or not. Glance at some reconstruction of the Imperial Fora — do we not find them the true counterpart of a modern International Exhibition, obtrusive, bulky, empty, a boasting in materials and dimensions wholly alien to Periclean Greece and the Rococo alike, but exactly paralleled in the Egyptian modernism that is displayed in the ruins of Rameses II (1300 B.C.) at Luxor and Karnak? It was not for nothing that the genuine Roman despised the Graeculus histrio, the kind of “artist” and the kind of “philosopher” to be found on the soil of Roman Civilization. The time for art and philosophy had passed; they were exhausted, used up, superfluous, and his instinct for the realities of life told him so. One Roman law weighed more than all the lyrics and school metaphysics of the time together. And I maintain that today many an inventor, many a diplomat, many a financier is a sounder philosopher than all those who practice the dull craft of experimental psychology. This is a situation which regularly repeats itself at a certain historical level. It would have been absurd in a Roman of intellectual eminence, who might as Consul or Praetor lead armies, organize provinces, build cities and roads, or even be the Princeps in Rome, to want to hatch out some new variant of post-Platonic school philosophy at Athens or Rhodes. Consequently no one did so. It was not in harmony with the tendency of the age, and therefore it only attracted third class men of the kind that always advances as far as the Zeitgeist of the day before yesterday. It is a very grave question whether this stage has or has not set in for us already.

    Spengler, Decline of the West.

  20. #500
    Ксеркс, царь царей xerxe's Avatar
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    That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
    And all who heard should see them there,
    And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
    His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
    Weave a circle round him thrice,
    And close your eyes with holy dread,
    For he on honey-dew hath fed,
    And drunk the milk of Paradise.
    Rereading the classics.

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