Absolutes
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21-01-2012, 11:59 AM
Absolutes
I have had the same issue my whole life.
I don't believe in the human possibility of absolutes.
That's right you dirty atheists I don't believe you. None of you. Theists either. So far as the title suggests anyways. I don't buy it.
I am pretty sure that the human mind isn't entirely capable of absolute anything. We don't have the capacity for this, I think Smile So when I hear someone say something is impossible I snicker inside and secretly curse them. When I hear someone say there is no god, I snicker inside and secretly curse them, and when I hear someone say that there is a god, I snicker inside and openly curse them because their absolute causes pain.
I'm on a time crunch, but let me lay out my issue.

My main issue, the one that got me writing here, is when a theist says that god is the only answer they need. WHAT?

I`ll play along and say that sure, there`s a god. Why not, makes about as much sense to me as anything else though I find it less likely. But in what world is that the final answer to anything? How does it put someones mind at ease? It's an absolute that arises from nothing. There's no basis for this. NONE.
At least when an atheist says there is no god, there's an abundant lack of evidence against them. But to say that god is the final answer, just sounds like wishful empty headed thinking.
Why is it ok to think this way? it seems rather deficient to me.
When I hear god created man I am overcome with follow up questions, none of which I think I could ever have answered to my liking. Who made god? Why did god bother? Is it a super power of gods? or did he use tools? Why did he make space so fucking big?

How do people think in absolutes? Or make themselves believe they are. How do theists not have more questions? How is it possible? We evolved to ask more questions, to use our brains for survival, so how does one have a switch that just turns them off?

I call bullshit.

Stop pretending that anything could ever be absolute. There is always doubt, and always a new question. We are never right. We are only on the verge.
Sorry I'm ranting. I suppose I should have done so in the ranting thread. But I gotta go rock out on guitar like a champ.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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21-01-2012, 12:28 PM
RE: Absolutes
Your statement is true . . . . absolutely true . . . . no question about it.

Seriously, you have a valid point. Although I defend to the end my belief that there is no god I certainly can't be absolutely sure of it. I suppose I should be open to "It is highly unlikely, and has never been proven, that there is a god"

Although atheist absolutes are much different than theist absolutes. To the theist not only is there a god but he is absolutely their God.

Step this out to all the uncertainties that they take as absolutes and you have quite an assertion without evidence: Their God, how he made stuff, when he made stuff, why he made stuff, how and why he killed people and stuff, Jesus is his son then all the shit his son said or did that are taken as absolutes.

Okay enough of this shit I'm going snowboarding.

.
I wasn't . . . until I was
I am . . . until I'm not
.
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21-01-2012, 01:05 PM
RE: Absolutes
(21-01-2012 11:59 AM)lucradis Wrote:  How do theists not have more questions?

This is my main issue, the absolute claims, and the reason I see this "God" as finite rather than infinite.

Where does the curiosity go? Shy

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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21-01-2012, 02:04 PM
RE: Absolutes
Hey, Lucradis.

Awwwww yeah. A subject near and dear to my heart.

George EP Box once said, "All models are wrong, but some are useful."

It's a simple but powerful axiom. The reason being that all models are abstractions. They have to be. A 100% accurate model of a cat is a cat. The author of the model decides what bits are important and which ones can be left out, creating a model that does not tell the whole story and that is heavily mediated. For example, a stick man. If any one of us looked at a stick man, we'd understand human. But that model leaves out so much detail that if I said that a stick man was just as accurate as a human, you'd laugh, and rightly so.

Now here's the crazy bit. Human cognition works in models. Human cognition cannot function without abstraction. Everything that we know and understand is an abstraction. It's wrong, but pretty useful.

All of this is to say that we do not understand reality as it exists, but rather as we understand it; in a heavily mediated way. This isn't a bad thing; it's simply how the mind works. It's worked quite nicely for us for the last few hundred millennia.

Nothing we know is absolute. It's only meaningful.

The human mind is a meaning making machine.

Flashback to the feudal era. All the kings are like, “Check this out, bitches. I'm like totally God's mouthpiece on earth and everything I say is true, not because I'm so smart, but because I'm God's avatar. So disagree if you want, but it ain’t me you're disagreeing with, it's God.” This is what's called divine truth.

Flash-forward to the Renaissance and everyone is calling bullshit. They said, “Up yers, God boy, that's not where truth comes from, truth comes from what we see and we've devised a method of seeing that allows anyone in the world, given the proper training, the ability, by looking themselves, to verify that no one is just making shit up.” Poof! Science is born.

Now here's the thing. Somewhere in there, the focus moved away from meaning and towards fact. It didn't matter what something meant, what mattered was naked, unbiased, incontrovertible fact. Between the scientific method itself and the lies that Theocrats had fed people for centuries, people wanted to know what was true. Scientifically true.

But fact is nowhere near as important to the human mind as meaning and meaning can be derived from a million sources other than science. But people didn't want to hear about that sort of thing because of this factocentrism. People wanted the one Truth, the single Truth and nothing but the Truth.

But the mind doesn't crave Truth, it creates truths. The mind creates meaning. It's through meaning that we understand the world around us. And the ultimate tool of meaning is STORY.

Human society could not function without story. I can function without facts, but not without story.

Stories, according to Daniel Quinn, tell us one important thing; "How things came to be this way."

Quote:Alasdair MacIntyre, the moral philosopher, says in his book After Virtue that humans create their sense of what matters, and how they should act, by referring consciously or unconsciously to the stories they have learned. MacIntyre says, “I can only answer the question, ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question, ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?’ Children grow into adults by learning stories, and so do nations and communities. MacIntyre says, “Deprive children of stories and you leave them unscripted, anxious stutterers in their actions and in their words… There is no way to give us an understanding of any society, including our own, except through the stock of stories which constitute its initial dramatic resources.
-Robert Fulford, “The Triumph of Narrative,” p. 33.

All cultures have stories.

To humans, story IS reality.
Quote:A master narrative that we find convincing and persuasive differs from other stories in an important way: it swallows us. It is not a play we can see performed, or a painting we can view, or a city we can visit. A master narrative is a dwelling place. We are intended to live in it.
-Robert Fulford, “The Triumph of Narrative,” p. 32.

Now, flashback to 10 000 BC. The Natufian period. Humans start to settle down because things are warming up and they've figured out this crazy thing called agriculture that allows them to make enough food to stay in the same area year round and abandon their nomadic lifestyle for the first time ever. Think about that. 12 000 years ago, something happened to our species, that's been around for 10 times that long as Homo sapiens and 100 times that long + stretching back to Homo habilus, for the first time ever.

Flash-forward to 5 000 BC. The first cities are founded. Why? Because the populations of these villages have begun to balloon. To hundreds at first, then to thousands. Once we passed 150, the Dunbar number, we had to adopt hierarchy. 5 000 years ago, human society became hierarchical. That means that decisions are made FOR people by a central power rather than decisions being made TOGETHER by everyone.

Hierarchy requires law in order to function because there is no kin selection or interpersonal relationships to hold the society together. So people need to be told what keeps them together. People also need to know that they get as fair a shake as the next guy. So law is required. Law must be absolute, not arbitrary, in order for people to feel they are safe from abuses of power. And so 5 000 years ago, beginning with Hammurabi, we start to see evidence of systems of laws being codified. Along with codified law, came codified morality. Codified behaviour. People were being told what the right way to live was. Do do that, don’t do this. This is right, this is wrong. And more importantly, they were being told that this way was absolute, inviolable and never to be questioned.

That's problematic enough. But at some point, as Daniel Quinn's masterwork Ishmael points out, some of these massive hierarchical societies made some fateful decisions. One of the many was the idea that "we", whoever we might be, have THE right way to live. We MUST. We've been told since birth that we cannot question the way we live. Not only do we have the one right way, but others must be made to live like us.

Our story is the only story. No other stories can be. REALITY ITSELF is at stake!

Set the Wayback machine for today. They have succeeded. Every hierarchical society in the world believes that it has the one right way. And every hierarchical society in the world is more than happy to make everyone else live that way.

And so this human need for meaning, this human need for story, fuelled something terrible.

It's only in the last few decades that people have been able to even begin to see past this all powerful ideology and for one simple reason. It's failing on premise. We can see the wall we're about to hit and we know the only reason we're careening towards it is because of the way we live our lives. So maybe, just maybe, our way of living isn't right.

Quote:My main issue, the one that got me writing here, is when a theist says that god is the only answer they need. WHAT?

When a Theist says there is a God or a scientist invokes the Big Bang, they're both doing the exact same thing. They're trying to understand the world around them and their place in it. They want to know where they came from so they can figure out where to go.

That's all anyone ever needs.

Quote:But in what world is that the final answer to anything? How does it put someone’s mind at ease? It's an absolute that arises from nothing. There's no basis for this. NONE.

I agree.

The world in which it's a final answer is the world that claims there is only one answer. That's a zero sum world. You're either right or wrong. And the anxiety of being wrong, the cost of not understanding the world around us or our place in it, is absolutely devastating. When asked which one that one is, what else is one supposed to answer?

In the world we live in, absolutes are all important and the one thing that puts people's minds at ease.

And it's a load of shitte.

Positive psychology, brainchild of Dr. Martin Seligman, tells us that there are three routes to happiness.
-The Pleasant Life: The life of enjoyment, pleasure, experience...
-The Good Life: The life of being engaged and of flow
-The Meaningful Life: The life of being a part of something larger than one's self.

Whether someone is trying to find the theory of everything, or to do God's will on earth, or divest themselves of material possessions, they're all looking for the meaningful life...
Quote:We evolved to ask more questions, to use our brains for survival...
... and so are you Cool

Scientific truth, spiritual truth, divine truth, emotional truth, sexual truth, one is not better than the other. They're all meaningful. And that's what the human experience is all about... I swear...

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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21-01-2012, 02:16 PM
RE: Absolutes
(21-01-2012 11:59 AM)lucradis Wrote:  Stop pretending that anything could ever be absolute.

Uh, isn't this an absolute contradiction?
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21-01-2012, 07:43 PM
RE: Absolutes
Yes.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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21-01-2012, 09:16 PM (This post was last modified: 21-01-2012 09:23 PM by houseofcantor.)
RE: Absolutes
(21-01-2012 11:59 AM)lucradis Wrote:  My main issue, the one that got me writing here, is when a theist says that god is the only answer they need. WHAT?

You give my life meaning, Resident Evil. Angel

What I have done, alone, in madness; is attain far greater completeness than all of them in ages of relative sanity. Not in the sense of speaking to you or making pronouncements to an uncaring world, but in the mind's eye, that names god Gwyneth Paltrow. And it is a completely rational concern; if she were here, would I be writing? Hell, no. Be real. Big Grin

In the name of good, what inspires them that is different than what inspires me? Nothing.

In the name of evil, however; I am. And they flounder uselessly and point fingers. I point the finger to my own head. What is known as evil arises from the zero-sum game of "I am/I will be" contrasting against finite resource. They continually fail to see the necessity of Satan - not as an invisible demon leading to damnation - but as a component of the self that weighs the scales of me versus you. That is what they do; shade the truth. Speak of light as if darkness has form; they are absurd. They cannot contend that absolute good is equivalent to absolute evil because their primal archetype is incomplete.

If we have a primal archetype as atheists it is science. Already science is beyond the limit of absolute in that it represents knowledge beyond the capacity of one mind to hold. We do not speak of facts in terms of the absolute, but rather what is factual is that which is non-random. Facts of being human and communicating in English.

Random that I am not human (I am 4 - I love my Gwynnies!), that I communicate in absurdity. Absolutely. Wink
(21-01-2012 02:04 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Scientific truth, spiritual truth, divine truth, emotional truth, sexual truth, one is not better than the other. They're all meaningful. And that's what the human experience is all about... I swear...

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
If I simply ignored this cat, I wouldn't have to admit his ability to talk sense. I talk about killing because it is definitive; I peel my fingernails back, I'm killing shit. But Ghost? In his terms, I am war and love and empathy. There's bound to be some controversy. Wink

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21-01-2012, 09:51 PM (This post was last modified: 21-01-2012 10:13 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Absolutes
(21-01-2012 02:04 PM)Ghost Wrote:  George EP Box once said, "All models are wrong, but some are useful." ...
Nothing we know is absolute. It's only meaningful. The human mind is a meaning making machine.

Yup.

(21-01-2012 02:04 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Positive psychology, brainchild of Dr. Martin Seligman, tells us that there are three routes to happiness.
-The Pleasant Life: The life of enjoyment, pleasure, experience...
-The Good Life: The life of being engaged and of flow
-The Meaningful Life: The life of being a part of something larger than one's self.

I think it is worth noting here that Seligman's Positive Psychology was spawned from his observations of Learned Helplessness. I like it, I like it a lot. So much so that I've been looking into this.

(21-01-2012 02:04 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

Always, Matt, always.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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21-01-2012, 10:14 PM
RE: Absolutes
Hey, Cantor.

Isolate the chemical in your blood and sell it on the black market and you will be rich beyond the dreams of Avarice Cool

Sup, Girly girl?

Yeah. Learned helplessness is a crazy phenomenon. My personal favourite aspect of it is how it blows the Victorian idea of willpower out of the water... well, it's one of many things that do it, but LH gives it a particularly good drubbing. But I digest... no, seriously; just had some cashews.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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21-01-2012, 11:08 PM
RE: Absolutes
Hey Ghost.

I'm absolutely insane. I don't want wealth. I often consider suicide as that chemical is "love of my Gwynnies," and I seriously cannot consider it a good thing without seeing it as an evil thing. Ghost I can occasionally hate, Matt I must always love; that's what that dang Gwyneth did to me.

Perhaps I'll find a "real" girlfriend and shut my hole. That is the only "wealth" worth considering. Wink

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