What kind of god would you LIKE?
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15-11-2011, 03:01 AM (This post was last modified: 15-11-2011 03:04 AM by houseofcantor.)
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
(15-11-2011 01:58 AM)cufflink Wrote:  Here's another change I'd make if I were in charge of the universe:

Every human being gets exactly the same amount of time alive, say 120 years.

That reminds me... did you know that every living thing with a heart has an average lifespan of a billion and a half heartbeats?

It's Intelligent Design!

Nah, my bet is mathematics.

(Love it when I run my neck, then go looking: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story...d=12877984 Smile )

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15-11-2011, 03:30 AM (This post was last modified: 15-11-2011 03:46 AM by cufflink.)
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
(15-11-2011 03:01 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  That reminds me... did you know that every living thing with a heart has an average lifespan of a billion and a half heartbeats?

Very cool! So the faster the heartbeat, the shorter the life, huh? Those poor hummingbirds.

(14-11-2011 06:20 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  BTW - Since when does life have a meaning?

Well, it seems clear there's no meaning imposed from the outside, along the lines of "God has a plan for your life!" Whatever meaning life has is the meaning we ourselves give to it.

(14-11-2011 05:46 PM)Ghost Wrote:  There was an interesting experiment where they wired a monkey's pleasure centre to a button and it just sat there, all day, pushing the button. They had to shut it down because it wasn't eating or sleeping and it was going to die. Do the highs of life become banal mediocrity if they're all we have? Can the pleasure of the high exist without the knowledge of the low?

. . .

I think God's doing a decent job.


I’m with you that a life of unlimited hedonism wouldn’t be a meaningful one. I have no interest in endlessly pushing a button like that monkey. (Not that I have anything against stimulating my pleasure center, you understand—but all things in moderation. Smile ) And “it is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied." There is such a thing as human potential; there’s a higher calling than just being pig-in-shit happy.

I also agree that suffering can sometimes be ennobling. A “trial by fire” can strengthen us, help us see what’s important, make us truly appreciate the good things in life. The guy with no arms and legs becomes a motivational speaker and inspires others. Suffering sometimes leads to betterment.

But not always.

I tried unsuccessfully to locate a magazine article I read a few months ago, a memoir by a fine writer about his infant son who was born seriously ill; despite monumental efforts on the part of the doctors, the baby didn’t live more than half a year. The father wrote matter-of-factly and without self-pity, but his story was tear-your-heart-out horrible. And there was no uplifting ending. The suffering of the baby and the parents was devastating and pointless; it left the father numb and hollow, and the marriage was damaged.

It would be nice to think there’s always something positive to be gained from suffering, but that’s not the case. The religious zombies who smile sweetly and say, “He never gives you more than you can handle” don’t know what they’re talking about. Sometimes He gives you more than any human being can or should be able to handle . . . and when your cup of bile runneth over, it can be gun-to-the-head time.

So I can’t agree God is doing a decent job. If he exists and is in fact omniscient and omnipotent, then the abundance of unmerited suffering in the world is a pretty strong indication he’s not the third omni: omnibenevolent. A loving father doesn’t stand by and watch his innocent kids go through hell if he can do something about it.

In any event, the world is what it is. We can do our best to mitigate suffering, but we’ll never eliminate it. As you said, that’s the reality we have to deal with.

As for whether we should eliminate every bit of suffering from life if we had the power to . . . I dunno. Would humans lose the motivation to achieve if life were pure pleasure and nothing ever went wrong? Would Beethoven be Beethoven if he hadn’t suffered? If we could go back in time and cure his deafness, would he have written the Ninth Symphony? We’ll never know.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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15-11-2011, 06:24 AM
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
(14-11-2011 11:49 PM)Ghost Wrote:  If all we did was win, if we knew that was the only possible outcome, then why would we bother to try anything?

Sorry, Matt, I like to win. The more the better. When I win one, I want to go to the next challenge because I DO enjoy to win them.

Granted, all my challenges and victories are small. I never built a pyramid. Who the hell needs one?

I don’t know about you guys – all this talk about how without pain there is no pleasure, without suffering, there is no great art – just makes me want to scream (with pain). So I am sure this post is going to be great art because it was born out of pain! Wink

The pig-in-shit analogy, the monkey-with–the button analogy, the image of “mindless hedonism” – conjure up contemptible extremes we can laugh at or look down on, feel superior to.

It all sounds like a sanctimonious mantra to me: “we have to have suffering to be fully human”!


Do we say things like that to justify our lives and the pain we have had to endure? Has anyone tried a life without pain and suffering? See what happens?

So, maybe Beethoven would not have written the Ninth Symphony if he wasn’t deaf. I am sure he would have written something else, equally beautiful and moving. Lots of artists and scientists who had “charmed” lives and did not turn into mindless zombies.

…and all this talk about “meaning” of life, as if it did have any, unless you concoct one by religion. Life is what it is: life. My cats are never bothered by worries over meaning. They just live, soaking up as much joy from being alive as they can. I often envy them.

The life I live now is as happy as I can imagine it to be. Full of joy, creativity, love, laughter. It has no ‘meaning’ to me or to anyone else. It just is. I don’t think I am a better human being now because I went through hell 3 years ago when my wife had cancer. I would be just as happy today if it never happened. Maybe even happier. And if I am a better person, because of it, I would undo it if I could -- I don't want happiness and 'greatness' at the price of suffering.

Fuck suffering!

Do I owe it to some nameless, faceless arbiter to have paid for happiness in advance? Show me the arbiter and I will punch his lights out. It is obscene to insist on pain and suffering to justify creativity and happiness.

There is nothing wrong with living a happy, healthy, creative, benevolent life, living day to day, enjoying every minute of it, looking forward to the next day with anticipation and gratitude for our luck of being here.

…and of rant. Undecided

PS. I am not putting words in anyone's mouth. I am not misrepresenting anybody's post -- I have been addressing a widely accepted attitude in western civilization, best expressed in the "protestant work ethics" bullshit, probably created in order to motivate people to work their asses off without complaining.
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15-11-2011, 09:15 AM
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
I think it's important to identify two arguments occurring here. The first argument has to do with God being a dick and how one would change his policies vis a vis pain and suffering and death. The second argument has to do with the human experience and is existential in nature; how do we understand and live with the reality of pain and suffering and death.

If one believes that there should be zero suffering in the world, then yeah, God's doing a terrible job. My question is, if you don't believe in God, then who, if anyone, should be blamed for all of the suffering in the world?

Personally, I do not assert that there is a God, so I have no reason to blame God for suffering. The only thing that I know is that suffering exists and it is a universal part of the human experience. That's the reality that needs to be dealt with. My personal philosophy is that yes, to know joy, we must know pain. I think that’s an observation, though some might think it’s a rationalisation. For me, the knowledge of death informs how we live our lives. There is urgency in my life because I know I don’t have forever to accomplish the things I want to accomplish.

When I talk about meaning, I do not talk about God's plan and I reject the idea that one either believes in God's plan or believes that life is meaningless. It's not binary. There are thousands of cultural beliefs on the subject. All meaning is made. I think that death is part of what gives life meaning.

There's just something very odd to me about Atheists getting mad at God for anything. I mean, observation tells us that there is suffering. So why all the wishful thinking? Ain't no magic gonna change it.

Actually, this is a very interesting question to me. Are any Atheists here Atheists, not because they don't believe in God, but because they're angry at him and feel that he doesn't deserve to be worshiped?

Hey, Cufflink.

Quote:It would be nice to think there’s always something positive to be gained from suffering, but that’s not the case.

I'm not saying that suffering is positive. It is what it is. By and large, suffering is shitty. But you don't have to be REM to know that everybody hurts. Shitty as suffering may be, it is part of what defines us.

If your belief is that God is onmnibenevolent, then yeah, he sucks at it. Either that or it ain't his job. I believe that there is as much suffering in the universe as their is joy and that something decides who gets what (causality, God, random chance, who knows). If it is God, then he's doing a fine job; mostly because it's the shittiest job in the universe.

Hey, Zatamon.

But unpack that further. Why do you like to win? And how would you know that winning is better than losing without the possibility of losing?

I find it ironic that the Ninth Symphony ends with Ode to Joy. I can't imaging that Beethoven would have celebrated joy were it all we had (and had his own life not been so difficult).

My cat has an infection and is peeing blood. I don't think she's soaking up any joy. More to the point, as far as we know, cats don't have a meaning making system. We do. We cannot contemplate something without giving it meaning, that's just a fact of cognition. So life has meaning, end of story. What that meaning is is fully available for debate. Some people think that God gives our lives meaning, but not everyone. If you reject that notion, you don't have to (and can't) reject the idea that life has meaning.

Quote:Fuck suffering!

If you don't believe in God, then this is an existential question. Scream fuck it all you want, it's there. All we can do is try to understand how it affects us.

I am very curious though about who or what exactly you’re mad at.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

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15-11-2011, 09:25 AM
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
A Shakespearian god would be amazing
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15-11-2011, 09:34 AM
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
A God that would make me plenty of sandwiches.
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15-11-2011, 09:44 AM
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
Just a word about the monkey with the pleasure machine -
That's an artificial situation; something that never happens in nature. In its normal life, the monkey would have to make considerable effort and probably suffer fear and discomfort between brief episodes of intense pleasure. He would be entirely unfamiliar with the concept of accessing it at will. No preparation or training in how to use this power; no perspective on it. He couldn't handle it? Big frickin surprise!
It says nothing about monkeys or pleasure or pain.
It says a good deal about humans, and the kind of high-handed, inconsiderate interference they commit all the time against other species as well as one another... the kind of thing, therefore, that humans expect from their gods.

If you pray to anything, you're prey to anything.
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15-11-2011, 10:41 AM
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
(15-11-2011 09:15 AM)Ghost Wrote:  I am very curious though about who or what exactly you’re mad at.

I thought I made it perfectly clear in the PS of my last post.

I am mad at humanity for inventing obscene concepts like the "protestant work ethic", like "serving your country", like "no pain - no gain" and the like.

This magnificent Planet could have been a paradise for us humans, and we are turning it into a sewer of pain and suffering for all living things, including ourselves..

I am mad at all the philosophers who bulshited their way into human consciousness, who could not leave good enough alone because they had to have their pain and suffering and share it with everybody else.

Of course there is the inevitable pain and suffering like headache, stubbed toe, toothache, injury, illness and death, but ALL of it is negligible when compared to the human-made suffering that we have perpetrated over our stupid and bloody history .

And I am mad at people who do not see through this and let their vision of life be twisted by the pain- and suffering-worshippers.

Again, I am not pointing any fingers here, I am talking generally about human, and particularly western, civilizations and history.

But, what do I know about humans? I am from Malmac and we did a much more thorough job -- we blew up the entire planet. In a way, it was smarter: we ended all the suffering once and for all. Comforting thought: humanity is busy working on the same solution. Big Grin
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15-11-2011, 10:48 AM
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
There was this detonation right now? Zat go KA - BLOOEY!

I would say Zat suffers for his cats - then I'd run like hell. My philosophy, in cased someone missed it Tongue; is that identity is dual-state and dualism provides for descriptors.

Descriptors are not reality. I'm suffering from a lack of Gwyneth - whose presence would make my head explode. See how that works? Buncha complainers, humans. Tongue

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15-11-2011, 01:56 PM
RE: What kind of god would you LIKE?
(15-11-2011 01:58 AM)cufflink Wrote:  Apropos of your suggestion, Zatamon, did you ever come across an essay entitled "The Meat Eaters" by the Rutgers philosopher Jeff McMahan? It attracted some attention last year. McMahan talks about "the continuous, incalculable suffering of animals":

Cufflink, I have not read it yet but, from what you were quoting, it seems like I am thinking along the same lines as he was.

Definitely, god (if he existed) should go back to the drawing board and do an INTELLIGENT design for a change.


Let me repeat from a previous post:

Pleasure is good, pain is bad!

Both for me and for any other living creature!

(Except for sick minds like sadists and masochists).

What's so hard to understand about that?

For those who disagree, I would suggest total freedom to pursue their own preference, but only on their own self. Big Grin
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