Pure Atheism

Where do we draw the line between undiscovered knowledge and mysticism? Using tools we don’t yet understand—

Since there are no gods or god as ultimate ruler, controller and creator, what does atheism allow in between? Is there nothing at all in a mystical sense, or just our minds playing tricks on us?

Do we discount the Buddha’s, Yogis and gurus as the pinnacle of religious delusion—yet the antithesis of belief though knowing by deconstructing belief, as a moment of flatlined brain function through meditation? The moment of knowing may be the grand illusion, or is the world simply asleep at the wheel of the cosmos in a form of conscious chicanery? (I know, a lot of questions)

Do we discount evidence of the data stream as the totality of acquired consciousness, where people in their creative zones unknowingly predict the future? Or where ideas come from? (there is evidence ideas arise in your brain long before you are aware of them)

Do we discount the shaman and forms of primitivism as unlearned quackery grasping for explanations, or are they simply more atuned to the energies of the earth because of there primitive form?

Skill and adaptation can come in a variety of ways and disciplines. How the Polynesian navigators traveled thousands of miles from island to island by being in-tune with the ocean currents and reading the ripples and vibrations in the water to know there was land—days away? (Yes they did) Just imagine the level of skill and intuition required. Would it be any less likely that the Kofan could talk to plants, as a well documented Maori could sail to Easter island with no navigation tools but his skill and intuition of the ripples?

Whether hard atheism is simply non belief in god or gods, does it shut out every piece of evidence that points to a strange world where things aren’t what they seem, even after they seem like it?

Abrahamic tradition and western thought that has infiltrated human thinking, has calcified human perception into two camps—god did it and we don’t know how, or the scientific approach where nothing exists that can’t be measured with a tape and a photograph. But…

For thousands upon thousands of years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have navigated their way across the lands and seas of Australia using paths called songlines or dreaming tracks. Songlines will often follow on from one another, creating an intricate oral map of place“—A songline is based around the creator beings and their formation of the lands and waters during the Dreaming (creation of earth)—Australian National Maritime Museum. Is multiple sources of the same storyline from all corners of the world mere coincidence, or is it evidence?

They have proven they can do what they do, but how they got the knowledge…they just fabricated that part, or are lying? The problem with mystical perception is in its evidence—it cannot be measured except by its utility, so is therefore “magic” as some would say, and discounted as metaphysical mumbo. Who are we to know sophisticated when we can’t even find our fucking car?

As many varieties of skill and neuro-potential there are and has been in the world, can you discount everything else because you don’t understand it?

Ferns—6/6/20

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

315 thoughts on “Pure Atheism”

  1. Too many comments to plough through ’em all but I’ve seen enough to gauge the winds. For my own penn’orth, I am a devout atheist—simple (and I do mean simple, as in basic) logic blows God and gods out of the water with even the ranging salvoes.

    But, I’ve seen enough to know that what we see and feel isn’t it all. Spirits? What the hell does anyone mean by that? Gods? Jesuses? Religion (of any kind) is simply God’s little way of separating simple folks from their monies. Religion is a tool for garnering from the gullible wealth, pelf, and power:

    And this I know; whether the one True Light
    Kindle to Love, or Wrath consume me quite,
    One flash of it within the Tavern caught
    Better than in the temple lost outright.

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  2. You Stated — “Whether hard atheism is simply non belief in god or gods, does it shut out every piece of evidence that points to a strange world where things aren’t what they seem, even after they seem like it?”

    My Response — Buddhists are atheist and given how large the religion is, it would seem to answer the question.

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            1. There are many philosophies and interpretations within Buddhism, making it a tolerant and evolving religion. Some scholars don’t recognize Buddhism as an organized religion, but rather, a “way of life” or a “spiritual tradition.”

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            2. As with all things connected to mankind it’s based on perception.

              “Some think this and some think that”

              As is true with your perception of me and my religion per your earlier description of my support of domination.

              Some perceive me and my religion as anti Christian because we are supporting of the LGBTQ community (many members)

              Some see me and my religion as the true Christianity because of our support of people in need in our city.

              I myself don’t have any of the above thoughts or perceptions. I see these labels as a waste of time. I find it more interesting to let people just call me what they want.

              What does it matter to me how people perceive me or what I believe in. They determined all that long before they met me.

              Just saying

              The only thing that’s important

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            3. Agree. The West has a totally false concept of what Buddhism is. One more major man-made, male dominated mind controlling institution. When will people learn to live as self empowered individuals and stop running after ready made institutions to rely on for guidance? And if they cannot find one that suits, stop creating new ones? Until that happens, expect no irrevocable change to the existing patterns.

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            4. To be honest, and I think Jim may share this with me, Buddhism has some great teachings and practices, I often quote them outright.

              But

              Just like the other major religions (including mine) they have a male dominated agenda.

              Mankind in general has a male dominated agenda and it’s really just embarrassing at this point. Women make up 50% of the population and work while at the same time producing the next generation.

              This fear of women has to end. Not to mention this nonsensical fear of other genders. People are born into their bodies and shouldn’t have to fight against the masses to fit in, life is already hard enough.

              Just a thought

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            5. Everything becomes corrupt as it becomes institutionalized. Buddhism is a method to awakening, or liberating your mind. It requires no beliefs nor has any gods. It also does not hold you hostage. When you reach your objective liberation, or whenever you want, there is no expectation or pressure to stay.
              You use the raft to cross a river—you don’t then carry it with you, but leave it behind.

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            6. Quote: ” Buddhism is a method to awakening, or liberating your mind. It requires no beliefs nor has any gods.”
              Are you planning a separate (new) post on this topic by any chance? Lots of food for debate on your statement.

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            7. Im planning on it, but as simple, individual concepts. As a method, its doctrines are merely the beginning points of discussion. There are many ways, but the goal is to unclutter beliefs that get in the way. Probably friday ill have a primer ready, but its not what you might think. More of a logical path that shows how irreducibly connected we are whether you like it or not.

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            8. I’ll await your post before I wade into this too deeply … but what occurs to me as I read the comments about Buddhism is that while it perhaps is not considered an actual religion because it is not “theistic” (as tildeb points out), the fact that it requires certain actions on the part of its adherents does indicate a resemblance to what is often defined as “religion.”

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            9. There is a certain level of trust that must be developed before giving the game away. A rite of passage, so to speak, so the initiate can continue to live a productive life after seeing the game as it is. One of the problems associated with lsd, it can give you the experience or knowledge without the proper context or discipline, and one can become socially unacceptable. One reason the process requires a level of trust and a discipline to go with it, rather than letting the cat out of the bag without the proper restraint.

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            10. A social and ethical philosophy similar, say, to Confucianism. Just because a large number of people think the precepts make sense as a way of living doesn’t make it a religion… although it’s often presented this way as a set of similar kind of beliefs (Noble Truths) that organize a religious dogma. But the ‘belief’ aspect is not similar at all because it requires no faith-based assumptions in any superhuman controlling power that defines what a religion actually is. That’s why it’s a philosophy. That’s what makes Buddhism not theistic and so it makes no sense to say one is an a-theist in regards to the philosophy, any more than one is not an ‘atheist’ to not believe in Marxism as a beneficial social and ethical philosophy.

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            11. I would agree that from an atheistic perspective it’s clearly not a religion but from a non atheistic perspective it is because it’s competition and it requires tax protection. Life is messy and complicated, often not fitting into the labels we assign.

              I could easily argue the same for some denominations of Christianity since they also have similar beliefs. One branch of Quakers don’t follow a god but do follow Christ as an individual.

              To each their own as long as I am left alone 😉

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            12. Quite true about some versions of Quakerism. But when one applies the definition of religion to these philosophies, one immediately sees that these philosophies simply don’t fit.

              So that raises an interesting question: Why do people want to consider these philosophies to be ‘religions’?

              Well, I think people want to have it both ways: they want to pretend they are ‘religious’ to avoid the stigma of not being religious while, at the same time, live an ethical and moral life.

              Because religion steals everything (otherwise it’s an empty set, a subject without any object), the operating assumption seems to be that ethics and morals are somehow the purview of what being religious means. This is just one more pernicious belief that the religious believer imports into the world and then imposes on people to the extent that most people then go along with this lie. The reality is that ethical and moral ideas – philosophy, in other words – have nothing whatsoever to do with some required belief in an imaginary superhuman controlling power and everything to do with how to live an ethical and moral life each and every day.

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            13. You Asked — “Why do people want to consider these philosophies to be ‘religions’?”

              My Answer — The masses need simple titles or categories to organize concepts and resources quickly. For example, they need to be a religion for tax purposes. Or some people need to say what they “believe in” related to religion for conversation purposes without having to do a re-education for 30 min on the fly (not practical)

              We all have head slaps when it comes to titles because people generally have preconceived notions of what we are rather than a granular knowledge of our actual condition. Happens to me all the time.

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            14. “For example, they need to be a religion for tax purposes.”

              This shows you the silliness and selfishness of granting ‘religion’ a tax-exempt or tax-mitigating status. And such a policy is, by definition, a public subsidy. Why? On what basis? What is the demonstrable public gain by this public investment? I seem to recall numbers from a few years ago that this single exemption cost the US public ~100 billion dollars in lost revenue per year. Imagine the quantity and quality of, say, publicly organized soup kitchens for even a fraction of that amount! Yet the public continues to roll over for ‘religion’ and presume it – rather than real people in real life capable of helping others with good moral character and ethics – is the cause and therefore the recipient deserving of this special discrimination.

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            15. I disagree. Freedom of peaceful assembly and association are considered fundamental human rights. As such, they should remain free of government intervention. If two or more people want to organize and pool their funds to achieve a mutual goal, that’s their prerogative. More importantly, they’re doing so with their after tax dollars. To tax them a second time would be unjust. Paid staff, however, should be subject to income tax — just like the employees of any other business venture.

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            16. All money, in this portrayal, is ‘after-tax’ money. The fact is that tax is collected on the transference of money, with specified exemptions. What the religious have is a straight up exemption of any and all money transferred under the excuse it’s ‘religion’. This creates an inequity in public taxation that is by definition a public subsidy. If you are actually concerned about what’s ‘fair’, then you should be arguing either for the removal of tax on ANY transference for religious or non religious reasons OR arguing that there should be a removal of the tax exempt status privileged ONLY to the religious. You can’t have it both ways, Ron.

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            17. Well, it’s always been my position that taking someone’s money without their express consent is theft; so my extension, asking someone to subsidize the activities of others without consent would also constitute theft.

              And the tax codes already grant tax exemptions for various charitable and non-profit organizations — so how are religious organizations advantaged in that way? Because the transfer of money is voluntarily made by the members of those organizations.

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            18. And it’s for your last point that I asked what’s the evidence that this public subsidy is worthwhile? Non religious charitable groups have to demonstrate their value, whereas the value of the religious exemption – as far as I can tell – is purely for political gain with a few expenditures – less than 5% again as far as I can determine – used for real charitable causes. That’s why I say a hundred billion a year could produce slightly better soup kitchens, don’t you think?

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            19. How does not paying taxes equate to receiving a subsidy? So long as it’s voluntary, joining a church is no different than joining any other voluntary association. Nor is there any expectation that such groups must provide value to anyone other than their members. For example, if my neighbors and I decide to hold a 4th of July BBQ and fireworks show it benefits us alone. Should we therefore be taxed on account that it didn’t provide value to the entire city, county, state or nation?

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            20. The loss amounts to $100,000,000 a year taken out of the public purse in exempted taxes. That’s a subsidy, in the same way exempting, say, a business from having to pay local land and service taxes is a form of welfare.

              The tax isn’t on joining an organization; it’s allowing the organization an exemption from having to pay their fair share of a small percentage every time money is transferred… you know, like everyone else has to. That’s how government collects revenue to then spend on providing what is called the public good. My point is to raise the question, what is the public good? That’s what charities have to supply for judgement by the public’s representatives in licensing the exemption, licensing the ‘charity’ being offered.

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            21. I recalled the study I read about several years back, and it came in somewhere around 75-80 billion per year but forgot to add the three additional zeros for today’s numbers in my comment. If you added tax exempt asset counts to these, your numbers I think might line up but I’m just hazarding a guess.

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            22. Your response violates the very premise set forth in my first reply. To wit: that asking someone to subsidize the activities of others without their express consent constitutes theft. Or put another way: that no man has the moral right to take something from another without their express consent.

              What exactly is this “public good” you speak of? And who decided that everyone is obligated to pay their fair share towards this public good, or even what constitutes a “fair share”?

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            23. The tacit agreement you have made with the country’s laws and Constitution. You have agreed to give your autonomy to the public representatives and have the right to hold them to account. By majority vote, monies are collected by these representatives and spend them on specific voted programs. These run the gamut from fire, policing, and military essential public services to social programs. By staying in the country and participating with its public infrastructure and services and laws, you have agreed to be a citizen with rights and freedoms. It’s a two way street Ron; you can’t have liberty without responsibility to do your part for the whole.

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            24. Can you furnish a signed document of the “tacit” agreement I supposedly made with my country’s laws and Constitution? I seem to have misplaced my copy.

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  3. To tildeb and quote: “it is foolish to believe that all of humanity is NOT subject to a SARS-Cov-2- pandemic, to call this fact a ‘fake pandemic’. That claim is cruel, selfish, ignorant, irresponsible, and stupid.”
    Oh-oh, another believer. If the official COVID-2 pandemic claim was a deity, I’d be an atheist. I thought you were the guy pushing that pure science, compelling evidence. Haven’t you read the rebuttals by fully accredited medical people against the State promoted “war of the worlds” scare tactic called COVID-19? Where are the millions of dead bodies everywhere? The hospitals overfilled with dying C-19 people? The ambulances tirelessly screaming through the streets and highways picking up dead and dying people? No, what we have is the likes of Fauci saying one thing then reversing his claims, and the likes of Gates salivating at the billions to be made on vaccines if only the “pandemic” can be made to last long enough, or a “second wave” can be orchestrated via the media. What we have is hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their livelihood and businesses, suicides and millions living in abject fear of a monster that exists only by faith.
    But go ahead, believe, shudder, fear and accuse those of us who insist on remaining free of being murderers. Do you get as emotional about the endless imperial wars waged to guarantee corporate profits world-wide? Where’s the “pandemic” about the millions of innocents murdered in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Lybia, Syria, Somalia and… etc. Those Lives Don’t Matter do they. Enjoy living in your fabricated “1984” style dictatorship. I’ve finally seen through your belief system and I’m done here.

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    1. … except I know people – real life direct care workers – who have contracted the virus, two who have been put on ventilators and a month later survived, and one <60 worker who has died. Every direct care worker at my spouse's place of employment has come down it in a three week period. And that in spite of PPE. The virus has killed patients and infected family members as well as staff as well as people in the community with whom these workers came into contact before they showed symptoms. We are in communication with health care providers globally because my spouse is Pooh Ba in the field. I have seen personal film from Italy and Spain of what overwhelmed hospitals look like. I have talked with nurses in Michigan, New York and Mississippi. I’ve spoken to a health care administrator in Brazil who tells us the death toll is way higher in smaller place, that bodies are collected much the same way corpses were collected during the plague, with open trucks and stacks of dead people taken to pits and covered in lime. I’ve spoken with workers overwhelmed by having to make decisions with terrible consequences, people who plead… plead… for people to wake up and take this threat seriously. And fortunately, most of us have. The latest report I read earlier in the day indicated ~2.5 million US citizens have been spared infection because of a single two week period of relative isolation in April.

      It takes a special kind of foolishness to only accept Just So stories that fit with what you want to believe, that the virus is not a pandemic far greater in danger to the general population than was expected by even pessimistic planning, rather than what is the case. And that kind of faith-based belief can and does kill and injure real people in real life for the inexcusable reason that you wish to act on your belief rather than what is the case. To divert this criticism, you pull on a what-about tactic involving wars. It’s so patently ridiculous an argument that it can be nothing other than a rationalization. You should recognize this as the fallacy of poor reasoning it is.

      Your belief is factually wrong. And this is why I raised exactly this point earlier, that you have no means using your current belief method to find out if you are wrong. Being wrong matters. In fact, being wrong and acting on being wrong is a HUGE risk you bring to every single person you come into contact with… and every person THEY come into contact with. You risk, they pay. They pay the price of you being wrong. That assumption you make with confirmation bias playing a central role is what makes you so susceptible to this foolishness of a false belief and the rationalization you must use to then act on it. That’s where the harm comes into play. That’s why faith-based belief in any form is pernicious. It allows you to fool yourself and feel virtuous for doing so.

      You seem to forget in your Faux News/Trump-ian bubble world of disinformation that this is actually a world wide event and that the evidence for its danger to all comes from around the world regardless of diversions you raise that are wholly US based. The pandemic is not a personal belief of mine or those who have been ‘fooled’ into believing it is; it’s an indisputable fact for anyone with open mind, a concerned heart, and respect for what is true. The US is on track to reach about 130,000 very real deaths from this virus alone by July 1st… while a segment of the population fools themselves into thinking it’s not real. Oh, it’s real. Real enough to kill in great numbers already twice the rate of seasonal flu and long after that season is over. And this is just the first wave…

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      1. Ooh, and I wonder how long we will have to wait for an apology from Sha’ Tara?
        Perhaps I should take a selfie to remind myself that when this comment was written some of my hair was not yet grey?

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        1. It’s my experience that True Believers – when faced with compelling evidence contrary to their beliefs – just double down and go after one’s character for daring to cause cognitive dissonance.

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            1. I don’t think enough Americans understand that their country is under sustained attack by foreign powers using social media and spending real dollars on contributions to those who can help them divide the population from its institutions.

              The disconnect between Republican voters and facts is growing at an alarming rate. A poll was just done by a Canadian group asking Republicans a host of questions about the state of the relationship the US has a with a bunch of allies. The results are truly shocking to Canadians because the state of American ignorance about the wider world is not just growing worse but it draws in the entire Western world into a vast decline. This growing ignorance has a HUGE effect… and I suspect the US’s real enemies are rejoicing at just how easy and cheap this downward trend has been to implement. It is especially beneficial to historical adversaries like Russia and China who have both gained prestige and status at the cost of the US. And there are signs that this trend is only getting worse… like Sha’Tara’s myopic views so easily manipulated into dividing her tribe from some shadowy deep state conspiracy where I think she views other Americans with greater distrust than either the Chinese or Russian or even North Korean leader. Who benefits? Certainly not the West and least of all the United States of America.

              From the poll’s conclusions (knowing over 90% of Canadians think this Trump Presidency is the worst one in history between our two countries):

              “Republicans are four times more likely to say relations with Canada have improved (41 per cent), than think they have worsened (8 per cent). This is mindless partisanship—the facts of the last few years were almost constant tension around NAFTA, dairy subsidies, steel and aluminum tariffs, the idea of Canada as a security risk, the G7 Charlevoix summit friction. But for Republican voters everything seems to be going swimmingly. Eighty-five per cent say Trump has done a good job with Canada, and 78 per cent say Trudeau has done a good job managing the relationship with the U.S. Three out of four GOP voters want trade, co-operation and friendship with Canada—amazingly they believe Trump does too.”

              “The lack of a common fact base (I hope Sha’Tara realizes why this matters) makes it easy for people to imagine what they want to imagine. Right now, with racial divides widening, America feuding with most of its allies, an economy stumbling, a deficit at unprecedented levels, and a pandemic that has killed 120,000 and remains out of control in many areas (of the US)…80 per cent of Republicans think Trump has made America greater.”

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            2. Thanks. I agree. As a side note—I’ve noticed another effect of social distancing at work—I don’t think anyone has called in sick in three months. We are an essential business and have been in full operation the entire time. If we could truly quarantine ourselves an entire month I think we could knock down a whole host of contagions. Maybe cure the common cold, and save some serious healthcare dollars. Have you heard anything about this elsewhere?

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            3. The contacts are usually with ER staff, so what we heard about was a significant drop across the board in all other areas usually addressed in the ER, like a drop in the number of people who would usually populate it, like drops in the number of people for symptoms of potential heart attacks, way fewer walk-in requests for x-rays of potential broken bones (especially fingers and toes), evaporation of people who come in for shots, fewer cases of cuts for suturing, typical infections (kids and ears), but a significant rise in life-threatening asthma attacks. Also, quite a drop in the number of ‘frequent flyer’ people with complications and concerns from drug addictions with ‘abdominal pain’. Beyond that, I know this wasn’t the best year for flu… it was above normal for the total recorded cases (especially involving hospital admissions) but not overly; it was also a slightly shorter season. Beyond that, I have no data. To note, a decrease in numbers doesn’t mean much as a reflection of what’s going on in the community: it just shows people didn’t come to the ER if they didn’t feel they had to. But it does allow us to see how little room most hospitals have for handling an epidemic; they usually work very close to capacity so they adjusted mostly by postponing scheduled surgeries (as well as reducing clinics to only the most pressing cases) and assigning these beds to Covid. It’s very early days to be able to compare and contrast what if any effect the policies of reducing the community spread of SARS-Cov-2 may have had on other communicable diseases but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see fairly significant drops. Just more people washing their hands more often would have a pretty big impact!

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            4. The best way to decrease emergency room visits and hospital admissions is to simply stop testing for things like Covid-19, pregnancy, cancer, broken bones, heart disease, etc, etc etc. I’m SO glad we here in America have a “stable genius” like Princess Donald Trump to make our lives so much easier, clear and simpler. Who’da thunk it! Stop Covid-19 numbers by stopping the testing for it! God damn, but is that feller a friggin’ genius or what!

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            5. ”Well, her motto is “believe everything believe in nothing“,

              Which makes about as much sense as her declaiming: ”Wear underpants on your head on Tuesday …. no, wait a moment, wear your underpants on your head on Wednesday.”

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            6. It did give me an idea though, to make homemade covid masks from mens underwear—with the fly in front, but only on the sabbath

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            7. You can brand them ”Skidmark-Jims”.
              Dammit! I’m getting as bad as Jeff!
              Let me go and have some lunch and a quiet lie down —- as old people do in the afternoon, right?

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            8. Its summer. Sitting on the deck, coffee, quiet, calm—the morning azure skies awaken the dew laden forest, birdsongs crescendo, slowly waking songs at daybreaks boreal light

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            9. Seriously, jock straps are easily modified into pretty good make-shift masks when all else fails. So the underwear of the head isn’t as ludicrous as it might seem – especially on Thursdays. It could become a Thing.

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            10. Im off on Thursdays. I’ll get everyone in the family a jock then, from the second hand store and give it a try. Of course, I have a bit of a big nose, so I’ll brace myself for the boner jokes…

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            11. I knew your were going to say that. I used to not collect stamps all the time, but thats not what i knew. My clairvoyance new for gods sake. I am swami skidmark.

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  4. For myself, I NEVER use “Pure Atheism”. Very easy to overdose on it. ALWAYS mix your atheism with a cup of baking soda and two pints of skim milk BEFORE consuming it or you’ll find yourself surely waking up in an emergency room somewhere.
    *This message has been brought to you by a guy wanting to follow this interesting conversation but has nothing interesting to ad to it himself.*

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  5. Lots of questions in there Jim, but I think I can see where you’re coming from. I look at it like this: there are many people in ‘ancient times’ who have achieved some amazing things, who also happen to have mystical/religious beliefs. This doesn’t necessarily make their beliefs more valid. People do tend to jump to the conclusion that the ‘ancient people’ had some secret abilities that science can’t explain, because they themselves can’t explain how they did said feats without current technology. Usually this is because the concrete knowledge of how they achieved said feats is lost. Polynesian migration and construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza comes to mind. Perhaps these people were simply much more intelligent than what we give them credit for? Also, when you need to learn things which are critical for your survival, you tend to learn them much better. That is my take on all this… but what do I know?

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    1. I agree with this comment, particularly that some cultures were much smarter in different ways than we give them credit for. A great example of how far (sometimes too far) ingenuity can go. Unfortunately few have the awareness to stop going in a destructive direction.

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  6. Pure Atheism. Qu’est-ce que c’est? One either believes in the existence of gods, or one does not believe in the existence of gods. Unlike Ivory soap, one cannot be 99 and 44/100% pure godless. It’s an all-or-nothing proposition.

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    1. So may I ask—true there are no gods, but is there nothing at all? There are some disciplines that offer a third option such as the Hindu or the Buddhist. Being philosophically consistent here, in life we are most always given two wrong choices—in this case god or no god. Is there no other room for anything else behind the scenes? Can one be godless and spiritually minded in such as Zen, or as many of the shamans claimed that we are asleep in a dream, yet the real world is behind this one?

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      1. There is the universe, there is what we make of it. There is much yet to be discovered. That is the one thing I will truly miss when I’m dead. The learning of something previously unknown…

        I am always fascinated by new discoveries, and the questions new discoveries inevitably demand.

        I’ll spend no time looking for the maybe’s. If that was my thing I’d be watching Ancient Aliens right now. Maybe’s all the way down. But if the maybe’s become known, and we now have evidence for them, I’m interested to see what we have and wherever that might go.

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        1. Oh, let me be clear in case anyone comes along. By maybe’s I mean anything in the spiritual, metaphysical, or just plain outlandish departments (Ancient Aliens for an example of outlandish.) Science looks at the other maybe’s all day long, the maybe’s based on prior knowledge and understanding. Those maybe’s are time well spent. Evidence based knowledge and research is where the maybe’s are at. The other stuff not so much IMHO.

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      2. I agree with Ron, but if there is something in some sort of in between gods or no gods, it’s still science and in fact, I’d go as far to say, if there were gods…it’s still science ultimately. We would just not have the capability to grasp it…yet…maybe never.

        As a hard atheist, I think this search is similar to man’s age old quest for meaning, purpose and in some instances, an afterlife. Doesn’t mean there’s anything to it.

        Just my view…

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      3. Can one be godless and spiritually minded in such as Zen,

        What the hell is ”spiritualy minded”?

        If you can’t define spirit then such a term is simply fluff.

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        1. When my mother was alive her and I had an interesting bond. It became a running joke between us because we often shared the same thoughts at the same time, from great distance. Spirit is a poor metaphor because it has been shrouded in religious bullshit and has a tasteless odor. Let me rephrase;
          Spiritual would be that level of intuitive consciousness that connects us to our surroundings and to certain other people, not your ghost as is the common biblical style misconception of conscious awareness, but, like my mother and I, but wtf do I know?
          It is a word used when there is no word for an experience that has too many coincidences to be a coincidence.
          My wife is very intuitive to people’s needs. She routinely finds people that need help before anyone knows there is trouble. This would be a “spiritual” attribute. Btw, she does not believe in god either, but there may be more to it than pure atheism. She’s connected in some strange way she doesn’t understand. I can give you dozens of examples, but I think this is pretty clear.

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          1. So it is simply an evolutionary trait that is more developed in some than in others.
            See how simple and relatively straightforward it becomes when you remove all the bumph terminology?

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            1. So, with the correct wording you would agree there is something to consider outside of our ability to explain? At some point science will track the 12w per day of electronic human brain transmissions and solve the puzzle, but for now people will use spiritual to describe it.

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            2. So, with the correct wording you would agree there is something to consider outside of our ability to explain?

              Yes, of course! There are probably a zillion things we cannot explain and an equal number we are not even aware of.
              This does not mean we have to attach or allude to some sort of mystical/magical other-wordly esoteric Harry Potter type goings on.
              Using terms such as spiritual only compounds the problem and denigrates what is effectively nothing more than a part of the natural world.
              It also encourages many of the other not quite so savoury practices – like religion – and opens the door for ‘Woo’.

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            3. I think the woo is conditioned response in current thought to be a religious phenomenon, when it is simply a piece of the human experience. There are traditions that say there is no God, but still have very “spiritual” aspects to them for lack of a better term. Like many shamanic traditions, it was a process see what lies beneath, but not to worship it.

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            4. Again … using a term one cannot define -in this case spiritual – is meaningless, and leaves the door open to charges of hypocrisy – and rightfully so.
              One cannot expect to criticize religious people when they attribute such experience/s to a god or in context of your own former beliefs – Christianity – then bandy the term about willy-nIlly to things one may consider are more real or have more validity – such as shaman.

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            5. There’s no bandy about it. I thought we agreed it’s a term that doesn’t fit, but it seems across cultures and oceans there was an underlying theme where certain procedures could open a view this unseen portion of the mechanical universe and gain understanding of it. As far as I can tell it was nearly unanimous.
              Crazy Horse went into the world where there is nothing but the “spirits” (workings?) of all things. That is the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that one”
              This is not a unique perspective to the Native American, but all around the world from people that have no contact with each other. Is this not “evidence” of the utility of these practices, to all come to the same conclusion as a Tibetan monk, the voodoo acolytes, and many others?

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            6. Evidence of utility, yes, but based on misunderstood and misapplied terminology.

              The Christians use the same term, only they claim their source is God.(Yahweh/Jesus of Nazareth)

              Do you have any evidence that justifies what Crazy Horse believed yet at the same time denigrating what the Christian believes?

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            7. There are elements of this in the bible that Christians don’t see as Christian, and miss the point all together. If this is a true state of being, whoever wrote the Bible had encoded this practice within those writings, yet Christianity fails to get the message and worships the messenger. Although I have not tried these practices, there are many around the world that have tried it and swear by it, but what can you expect from a flatlined brain? I dunno
              https://jimoeba.wordpress.com/2020/04/22/what-really-was-the-good-news/
              And don’t start accusing me I’m simply writing from another point of view with some biblical corrections.

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            8. As I asked of Sha ‘Tal regarding spirit and spiritual – offer a succinct definition of what you mean.

              And to support it … offer verified evidence.
              Otherwise …..

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            9. what is an evolutionary trait, but a development of some innate potentiality? and how will you know what your potential is if you refuse to flex the boundaries of your set ideas? your ideas are your walls. reality doesn’t care what you accept or not. it will be what it is. limitless.

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            10. no. why would you interpret that?
              it seems that you are looking for the absence of something just as much as a christian is looking for the presence of something. and the result is just as nauseating

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            11. The question/s were surrounding the term spirit and spiritualism and other forms of undefined methods of communication that some claim they are able to ”tap into”.

              Much like religion, such threads tend to go off on various tangents and often get bogged down.

              I am not looking for the absence of anything but rather for Jim (and a few others) to specifically define the terms that will identify the things (phenomena?) they are referring to.

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            12. If you can give a specific example to illustrate your point of connectivity in relation to the topic at hand, ( I don’t want to misunderstand you) and in particular where it relates to spirits and spiritualism I’d be obliged.

              As for the link. I decided to stop reading after this …
              “Miraculous” activities, such as passing through walls, leaving foot and handprints in stone, reviving the dead, and appearing in multiple locations at the same moment, are considered mere “by-products” of accomplishment; they are not the point, only signs along the way.

              Call me close minded if you want ..

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            13. the article is only to show that there are numerous phenomena that are inexplicable by science or reason. (rainbow body is the result of rigorous meditation practices and i’m not suggesting it’s for everyone, or even desirable. nonetheless… it is possible)

              how everything connects within the universe is proven by quantum physics, which proved that at the smallest level particles are ‘entangled’ or communicate with other distant particles. this is modern science, my friend, not mystical speculation.

              gravity is there and you make use of it all the time… but you can’t see it. stay open minded.

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            14. Yes … and walking through walls and raising the dead illustrates the soundness of the article perfectly, and also the critical thinking skills of those who accept such things. Or maybe that should be their credulity?
              To ”quote” Feynman.
              ”If you think you understand quantum mechanics, then you don’t.”

              Perhaps you should rather focus on midichlorians? Just a thought?

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            15. You mean walking through walls and raising the dead is accepted science?
              Holy shit!
              Do you think I should apologise to Jesus and become a Christian?

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            16. i’m talking quantum physics.
              never mind the rainbow body. i’m referring to our original essay, and how ancients knew how to do things. i’m talking about quantum entanglement, and how everything in the universe is profoundly connected (and this is very much the accepted science, no need for opinions)
              but the way you refute everything, i might as well be talking to a devout Christian supporting a 7-days creation myth. i see no difference. and it’s just as dangerous.
              stay open-minded, you might learn something😋

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            17. That you referred me to a site where proponents effectively believe a dead body can be raised underpins your basis of belief and thus anything else you bring to the table is very likely going to be tainted.

              Trying to back pedal and justify this just makes you look silly.
              Maybe you would be better hanging out with Gary Habermas? Apparently he is shit hot when it comes to belief in the raising of dead bodies – well one body in particular.
              May the force be with you!

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            18. Monica T says, “how everything connects within the universe is proven by quantum physics, which proved that at the smallest level particles are ‘entangled’ or communicate with other distant particles. this is modern science, my friend, not mystical speculation.”

              Umm, no, this is a misunderstanding (fairly common among those who promote all kind of woo) of quantum physics generally and entanglement specifically. QM has to do with calculating probability and so the usual means when talking about entanglement is with particles that are linked to a splitting event where the split spins one electron this way and the other that way (which has something to do with conserving momentum). The thought experiment is having one particle available to measure its spin direction here and taking the other ‘entangled’ particle to any other place in the universe. By measuring the spin of the particle here, we can calculate with a high degree of certainty (remember, we’re talking probability here) the opposite spin over there because the two are ‘entangled’, meaning we can deduce the opposite spin. The word ‘communicate’ between the entangled particles implies a message is sent from here to there, from this particle to that one, to ‘tell’ the other particle which direction to spin, but that’s not it at all… even though woo-meisters try to argue as much. The entangled state is created at the point of splitting and not an encoded message that travels faster than the speed of light to tell the removed particle which direction to spin.

              As for the ‘connection’ of ‘everything’ in the universe, this kind of over-reaching understanding always reminds me of Douglas Adams’ Puddle Analogy, where a puddle wakes up one day, looks around, and says how remarkable is the hole in which it finds itself because it fits the puddle so very well – perfectly, in fact – that it must have been designed with the puddle in mind… so the puddle must be very, very special. (The hole and puddle are, indeed, ‘entangled!) The analogy goes on to say the puddle is so confident in its perfect creation that it doesn’t really notice the sun rising and evaporation taking place… so assured it is about it’s special-ness to the Designer. But the point is that quantum mechanics is a different kind of physics involving probabilities for likely outcomes (like velocity or spin or location) rather than our daily use of classical physics with forces. So when someone crosses between them to suggest mystical forces at work here with a wink and a nod towards quantum mechanics and fields is almost always a sign of a fundamental misunderstanding of what it is we’re really talking about.

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            19. you’re right about the general entanglement scenario; it needs a punctual event followed by a physical separation of the entangled particles. but in my mind I was thinking of the more pervasive entanglement that is found in the quantum vacuum (a.k.a. ‘zero point field’). the zpf appears like a sea of ongoing entanglements in which all charged particles are exchanging photons with each other at all times.

              you said: “By measuring the spin of the particle here, we can calculate with a high degree of certainty (remember, we’re talking probability here) the opposite spin over there because the two are ‘entangled’, meaning we can deduce the opposite spin”.

              in fact, the act of measuring the first particle collapses the entanglement i.e. wavefunction. this results in ‘observables’ which are non-probabilistic quantities. in other words, once you measure the first particle’s spin (say + 1/2), then the opposite spin (- 1/2) of the second particle is known with complete certainty, in theory at least. in practice measurements are often associated with less than 100% efficiencies and with ordinary classical probabilities which complicates the analysis.

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            20. How quantum mechanics describes reality is not like classical physics. That statement alone is difficult to understand when we live in a world of classical physics and our language depends on classical physics. This opens to the door for people to use quantum mechanics (QM) as if it indicates a second layer of ‘hidden’ reality. That’s why I am commenting. I feel this is being done here to make room for something else, something ‘spiritual’, something beyond our understanding that involves some kind of ‘spookiness’. This is what really annoyed Einstein and I think he had and has a very good point. Just because we’re missing the linking language between QM and classical physics (the Theory of Everything is the typical meaning here) doesn’t mean spookiness itself is a thing. But what is a thing is the use of QM to do so. In this, QM is not accurate or meaningful at all in this sense of physics we live and breathe on a daily basis but the physics of quantum – quantity… which is a very useful mathematical tool for calculating very large or very small units of whatever operating in reality. The use of QM is similar to someone suggesting your tongue has a ‘hidden’ agency because when we think about the tongue and only the tongue we find out just how weird it is! I mean, seriously, just spend some time thinking about your own tongue and you’ll know exactly what I mean! It even operates at times seemingly without direction from our over-sized brains… but that alone is not ‘evidence’ for a hidden reality or some controlling outside agency for our tongues any more than QM offers us insight into a ‘hidden’ reality or some weird outside agency. And, yes, we can understand the difference… but it’s complicated.

              A good example you mention is the wave function itself. There is exactly one wave function that describes the entire universe and everything it contains. It’s a probability function. But it’s really, really difficult to understand that the act of measuring something in reality means you plug values into the probability equation – the wave function – so that its calculation for a specific element of reality is described with a very high degree of accuracy… meaning the probability when calculated using the one wave function ‘captures’ a very particular element we have introduced in that one moment. So, of course the probability changes from a generic P=? to something approaching P=1 – what we call a certainty in the language of probability – once we provide details needed to capture the thing itself by calculation. That’s what ‘collapsing’ the wave function means. To ‘capture’ a location of a moving object means you are arbitrarily removing its velocity and freezing a moment in time! That’s what the ‘observer effect’ means. You’re not really changing reality; you are suspending it long enough to do the calculation!

              That’s why it is very important to always remember that the mathematical equation we call a ‘function’ as a wave is a probability for calculating all kinds of stuff – like location, like velocity, like spin – which, by filling in with specific numerical values, ‘collapses’ the wave as a probability function… it goes from P=? to P=1… because the velocity (and or momentum and/or spin or any other typical term regarding classical physics) is eliminated when the calculation is done. You simply cannot calculate location if there is movement (yet everything moves); the wave function for the entire universe also includes velocity, so that you can use the same function for velocity… as long as the location in space isn’t included! Again, this is part of the ‘observer effect’. This is why I say it’s a mistake to try to negotiate descriptions of reality using terms of classical physics with terms that describe QM using fields of probabilities. But this fundamental problem of terminology – of crossing this boundary in the service of some other idea regarding what I will lump together as something called ‘woo’ – never seems to affect those who want to describe reality by including the weirdness of QM as ‘evidence’ of some ‘hidden’ reality full of woo.

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            21. the Schrodinger equation deals with probability amplitudes- these generate probabilities. what you said about ‘observer effect’ is contrary to the Copenhagen interpretation of QM.
              the very reason why Einstein objected to QM, the ‘spooky action at a distance’ (which you call might ‘woo’) is Real. and this is the Copenhagen interpretation.

              my point is, just because a phenomenon is outside our every day experience, doesn’t make it supernatural, irrational woo. another great example of this is relativity (space bends, time stretches) hello??

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            1. So in your opinion, there are no gods. I concur. There is no other form of intelligence behind the scenes. But somehow there is an electrical connection to every living thing, and someday science will explain all of it? Maybe someday I’ll be able to pair my electrons with an eagle, and fly…

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            2. So in your opinion, there are no gods.

              Not quite. To date, there has not been any evidence to suggest gods exist.

              Maybe someday I’ll be able to pair my electrons with an eagle, and fly…

              Maybe you will …
              One of the characters in Terry Pratchett’s novels – Granny Weatherwax – uses a technique called borrowing, where she ”borrows” the mind of an animal or bird and sees things through it’s eyes.
              Although in one book she complains after a particularly long session with an owl that she had trouble getting rid of the taste of raw vole.

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          2. I keep getting the sense that this term “pure atheism” in the mentions here implies complete and utter emptiness. As though it is a black hole where no light of kindness, compassion, empathy, sympathy, sorrow, sadness (shall I continue?) gets in. A hint perhaps of not possessing any humanity at all? A hint that perhaps “pure atheism” is an illness of some sort? A brain injury?

            It is a long thread. Did anyone attempt to define “pure atheism?”

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            1. No belief or assumption that there is anything at all. That life is a brute, mechanical fact from the maternity ward to the crematorium —one and done. No gods, no spiritual nothing. It’s all faulty perception and hope. Is that bleak enough for you?

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            2. Well, the question I asked is “true there are no gods, but is there nothing at all? No room for “spiritually being”, or is it purely a mechanical universe of chance? Are people simply using unknown, future scientifically explainable phenomenon for there perceptions of existence through a unique set of neurons, or is it something different?

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            3. I’d be curious to know what your feeling are regarding no gods, but something besides atheism, which in these parts means no YHWY or Jesus. Is there space for other connective practices?

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            4. I’m curious as well Jim.

              One of my issues, struggles, problems is my C-PTSD. (Where’s Victoria when I need her.) 🙂 Not an excuse. It is the default lens I exist in. It’s why I often don’t comment and when I do it’s not until days or weeks into thinking through and around and over and under a trauma world-view. Sometimes I enter into conversation prematurely. Meaning, I haven’t worked through the trauma enough to not be triggered by the topic(s).

              I usually lack the confidence (I once had) to answer those types of questions. Rest assured though, I consider the content though I may not have a conclusion. Again, not an excuse. I’m just often troubled as I consider it through a trauma lens. For example, even the term “other connective practices” can trigger me. Naturally, my own experience with a family with mental illnesses, abuse, layers of trauma and belief-system trauma/abuse colours my feeling neurons and my cognitive neurons.

              It’s not the authors or the commenters problem.

              See I see the phrase “something besides atheism” and though you many not mean it, I read it as a derogatory statement. You’re looking for another conversation. I’m stuck at, “what’s wrong with atheism?”

              My apologies for the sidetrack.

              I will try to connect by saying for me, I think it likely that connective practices are natural. I don’t attach the word spiritual to them, though I understand the place holder that word is for the unexplained.

              As for is there space for these practices? Yes. Tons of them are taking up space and always have. That is true. Does it make them true? I don’t know. I often think there are natural explanations. I cannot though come up with a natural explanation for humans tele-transporting to Neptune say for a weekend off, as my mother believes.

              My mother who is a conspiracy theorist and the aliens are already here says they are true. She also knows that I consider myself an atheist and retorts that I am the most spiritual person she knows.

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            5. I’m stuck at, “what’s wrong with atheism?” Nothing, but as I sift through the complexity and depth of human cognition and ability, it does help me understand humanity, how they operate, and why it’s so hard for them to take control of their own life. Understanding these complexities makes me more tolerant.
              There are many beautiful ways of interpreting and being. So much of atheism thinks the other side is deluded. I see why they are stuck between what they perceive and the men of words have all the packaged answers that enslave their minds.

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            6. Yes. Belief systems are messy and they sure do mess up lives . . . except for those who think their belief systems saves them.

              Another rabbit trail for another time. Maybe we are all stuck.

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            7. @ Zoe
              As atheism is simply the absence of belief in gods – and nothing else – any other labels or tags that are
              tagged on are done solely at the discretion of, or for the edification of the individual who tags them.

              One might as well write ”pure Christianity” and expect this to suddenly be bestowed with some sort of deeper spiritual (sic) meaning than just good ol’ fashioned ordinary Christianity.

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      4. My point was that a/theism only concerns itself with one specific belief (gods), much in the same way that vegetarianism concerns itself with only one specific aspect of your health (i.e., the consumption of plant-based foods). As such, belief in other supernatural entities or phenomena other than gods falls outside the scope of a/theism much in the same way as the consumption of drugs and alcohol falls outside the scope of vegetarianism.

        And at the risk of being repetitive, I’ll re-post the Douglas Adams quote:

        “Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?”

        What more is it that you wish for?

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        1. Quote: “My point was that a/theism only concerns itself with one specific belief (gods), much in the same way that vegetarianism concerns itself with only one specific aspect of your health (i.e., the consumption of plant-based foods). As such, belief in other supernatural entities or phenomena other than gods falls outside the scope of a/theism much in the same way as the consumption of drugs and alcohol falls outside the scope of vegetarianism.”
          That comes across as an excellent point IMO. That sort of atheism I could understand. It wouldn’t lead to me being condemned or mocked for my awareness of non-divine entities invisible to the human eye. As a vegetarian I also concur with your conclusion: imbibing of alcohol or drugs has nothing to do with my chosen diet and unless it affects me directly and negatively, is none of my business as a vegetarian. Any atheism that jumps on a broader bandwagon of condemnation of those who believe as I do has gone over to the religious side with a new set of condemnatory commandments:
          The first and greatest commandment of Institutional Atheism is: “Thou shalt not believe in any gods.”
          The second commandment which is like unto the first is: “Thou shalt not believe in any invisible entities even if they do not claim to be gods.”
          The third commandment is: “Thou shalt not believe in the existence of any such thing as spirit or a spirit realm.”
          Saith the High Priest: “Cursed is the one who violates openly or in his heart any of these three commandments of Atheism!”
          The entire assembly bowed to the altar of sacrifices and pronounced its agreement and fate with a loud “Amen!”
          That is where any form of atheism that judges and condemns others for their belief in the mystical aspect of life, though they practice no institutional religion, is heading.

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          1. The cause for atheism is that the set of conditions necessary for justified true belief are not met.

            It’s not personal.

            In other words, atheists do not believe in gods or a god because there is no compelling evidence to do so. Because EXACTLY the same condition applies for many other belief claims – a lack of compelling evidence – means the same condition for non belief applies regarding invisible entities and spirits.

            It’s not personal.

            The point here is that non belief based on a lack of compelling evidence is rationally consistent, and not based on this notion of dogmatic commandments to be followed you propose or a means to vilify only certain people.

            It’s not personal.

            It’s rationally consistent to hold the belief claims of all people – believers and non believers in all kinds of stuff – to the same standard of requiring compelling evidence from reality to support that belief regardless of the ‘object’ of the particular belief.

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            1. That’s fine, Tildeb, but what of innate “compelling evidence”? What of the evidence I live with that I can share in words and of course, a certain lifestyle, but cannot physically demonstrate, either in a laboratory or in a court room? To deny me the freedom to live according to standards set by my personal interaction with non-Earth entities of much higher moral standards than I’ve ever seen here, or read about) is indeed personal. I was born and raised in Catholicism then much later switched to Protestant evangelicalism. Both of these institutional religions denied me the freedom to follow teachings they didn’t approve of. Now I encounter atheists who do the same thing. I can’t be “me” because my thinking is not in line with their thinking. So, do we need a much better definition for “compelling evidence” or better yet, should we just forget the idea? There is actually no such thing as compelling evidence. Everything is subject to change without notice, even gravity. Just because we haven’t encountered a condition “yet” doesn’t mean it can never happen. What’s wrong with an open mind?
              You seem to argue for a conformity of thought in line with a certain force or collective power. I argue for the complete freedom of an individual mind to be what she chooses to be – unless it results in actions injurious to others. That however is usually the result of collective power against individual freedom of thought. If “science” hadn’t so blatantly prostituted itself to predatory capitalism I might look at it differently. But now it needs conformity of belief in order to spread its control over humanity – COVID-19 a capital example. That is what I object to, Tildeb. Individual freedom and compelling evidence become mutually exclusive terms when one seeks to crush the other. It is very personal however much those with the power always claim it isn’t. When the army comes into your town, lines up people and shoots them, it may not be personal to that army – especially when it has “compelling evidence” that some of those being shot were aiding and abetting an underground organization, therefore the killing is justifiable, but it is personal to those being shot, those made to watch, those left behind in their tears and fears. So yes, it is ALWAYS personal.

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            2. You raise a bunch of points, ST.

              Firstly, no one is saying you’can’t’ believe whatever you want. That’s entirely up to you. But if you want others to accept any belief you hold as reasonable then it comes under scrutiny. This is fair. Not intolerant. Fair.

              You may have encountered me saying something along the lines of how think determines what we think. So how we think (called epistemology in philosophical terms) is really quite important to me. There is a kind of approach to informing how much or little weight we give to various considerations called Bayesian reasoning that deals very much with likelihood. One can think of bits of information as weights one place on a balanced board with each end representing, say, a ‘for’ or ‘against. Each bit of information is placed on the balancing scale to tilt it this way or that. How far from the center has to do with the quality of the information. After due consideration, one arrives at a greater likelihood that this, that, or the other thing is probably closer to being the case than not. The tilt of the scale reveals how compelling the evidence is… presuming the quality of the evidence is appropriately placed. (For example, listening to a point of contention about the stars between a astrophysicist and Phil the barber means more weight is granted to the astrophysicist’s position because s/he has studied the subject deeply from many, many sources, and is aware of a lot of information and knowledge Phil the barber has no reason to know. Phil might, but it’s not as likely. So the weight of likelihood would favour the astrophysicist.) This is an example of Bayesian thinking, of how we grant weight to various opinions and beliefs. Also, as new information is gathered or old information is discredited, one shifts the weights in response.. and can even change an opinion or belief! That’s okay, too. After all, I suspect most of us would like our opinions and beliefs to be closer to being the case than further from it over time yet many of us presume it is a sign of weakness rather than strength to change one’s mind, assume a position of certainty is greater than a position that is conditional. The presumption and assumption are both wrong. And that’s why the method of science that does just this is so robust in producing weighted conclusions that are the same for everyone everywhere all the time. That achievement is rather remarkable, the method… how science works to weight relevant information… one worth granting more confidence than, say, a pronouncement by Trump (hydroxyclorquine comes to mind).

              Let me say this: each of is an expert at fooling ourselves. That’s why the compelling evidence independent of our selves matters so much… because of the weight of likelihood is greater from sources that are less biased than sources that are more biased. And each of us is a bundle of biases. All we can do is try to reduce and/or mitigate these not by what we think or believe but by how we come to the positions we do.

              For example, perhaps you have not studied very much neurology and psychology of the brain and how it fools us all the time. This is why subjective experiences are the weakest kind of evidence (what you call ‘innate’ experiences). You might be unaware that a helmet with special magnets can be worn and when activated produce in the subject’s mind a very clear ‘other’ presence, with a different voice, different tastes and preferences, and a location in space outside the body. Many subjects swear it was the Voice of God. The same phenomena has been reported by neurologists who have experienced stroke. Our brain come in two hemispheres and so there is a lot of really good evidence that these ‘talk’ to each other all the time, that when something happens to one side, the other side notices the change and grants this ‘new’ voice a position outside of one’s self. So what we think we experience outside of ourselves is not necessarily a very good indication alone that this is the case. It would help a great deal if more evidence outside of ourselves could be used. Yet for a lot of beliefs, outside evidence is singularly lacking… evne where there should be a LOT of external evidence if the belief were the case.

              There are hundreds of such ways and means to demonstrate just how easily we can be fooled. And this naturally reduces the likelihood that an innate experience should be granted a high degree of confidence on its own… including a a guy in a gorilla suit crossing the stage and waving at the audience without being seen by the vast majority of people watching other people on the stage. Hard to believe that’s the way our brains work. The same techniques are used by magicians everywhere because we’re so easily fooled. That’s why I say it’s not personal; it’s a human condition all of us suffer from.

              So, yes, we are allowed our own beliefs but some beliefs have not only little evidence in its favour BUT a preponderance of evidence contrary to it. Bayesian reasoning (this is how insurance companies figure out rates and charge accordingly) is a method to help us NOT fool ourselves by going with the the most likely, the most compelling evidence regardless of whether or not we would prefer to believe something is the case.

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            3. My apologies, honest, for making you go through such lengths to teach me about how science works. Admittedly, I don’t know much about the “mechanics” of real science as my brain couldn’t process advanced math or physics in high school… and that’s as far as I managed to go before having to quit and go to work. That said, thanks for the interesting “new to me” terminology and the very clear information. If I’d had you as a teacher I bet my mind would have grasped these concepts. Ah well, live and learn. I still have to grapple with those who attack individuals who expound on non-conforming ideas as well as dealing with the growing area of corrupt and false science. Real life isn’t lived in the lab and money – too much access to it or lack thereof – certainly affects “scientific” studies and results. The building of the atom bomb and the use of Napalm in Vietnam were the turning points in my life when I saw bought and paid for scientists become nothing but willing tools of the State-Corporate-Financial empire. Then I read about Dr. Mengele in Auschwitz and those teams of medical doctors only too willing to do the bidding of the Nazi Aryan race engine to torture thousands of innocent people to death in so-called scientific experiments. Since then, with greatly enhanced technology things have only gotten murkier. I take the stand I take because I no longer trust in any man-run, man-controlled, man-ordained institution or power group. Every “ism” is suspect regardless of its provenance; regardless if it contains some “well meaning” individuals. Well meaning individuals served the Nazis at Auschwitz; well meaning individuals participated in the making of horrendous weaponry – and still do; well meaning individuals go along with the party line in government. The only thing a well meaning individual can do is opt out of any power group’s agenda and go it alone by the practice of self empowerment.

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            4. Have you ever been to Auschwitz? I have, and the incongruity between such a place – just one of many – and German culture really stuck with me. Like you, I wondered how this could happen, how could so many go along with such an atrocity? The same year, I was in South Africa when it still operated under the apartheid system; I was also in the Soviet Union and I came to a realization that all these expressions of inhumanity were the same thing: belief… the kind of belief that framed the world in such a way as to reduce real human beings into members of some lower ranked group somehow deserving of that ill treatment: Jews in Germany, Blacks in South Africa, the Bourgeoisie in the USSR… real people inserted by an ideology into this group or that. And the systems empowered this kind of divisive thinking by rewarding and privileging some while tormenting and reducing others to some state less than human.

              So I have always had a very deep mistrust of any kind of group-based ideology because I know it leads us to thinking about others as an Us versus Them framework, which automatically alters the status of real people based not on real life, on abilities, on character, on a host of admirable personal qualities, but on some group-based criteria like religion or skin colour or class or tribal affiliation. This kind of thinking divides people.

              I am a huge proponent of classical liberal values from the Enlightenment that elevates people to sharing the same rights, the same freedoms, operating under the same law, with striving for access to equal opportunity and equal civic responsibilities. Any framing that undermines this liberal ideal I see as a detraction from attaining full personhood for every individual regardless of the differences between us. So I see group-based thinking as a terrible danger to all of us when it is used to frame public policy and laws. Groups really are artificial constructs and they are not real things, whereas every individual who holds membership to this group or that are real people and who all share their individuality as people.

              I also understand that any human undertaking is done by individuals… people from across the spectrum of character and ability. The same is true for science; it is carried out by individuals who are human and who have the same flaws as any one else. But I also understand that science is not a product – and this is really important to understand – but a method. At its best it is a method that allows reality to arbitrate claims about how it works. At its worst, it is a method that allows reality to arbitrate claims made about it. So when someone says, “Science tells us…” you should recognize you’re being sold a bill of goods because science is not a product or a person but a method of inquiry each of us uses every day. We really do allow reality to tells us where we left our keys, for example. We don;t sacrifice a chicken and read its entrails to find the keys; we go through a logical process of likelihood where we may have left them and work our way backwards until we hit success. That’s the method of science in action and it really does work to an extraordinary degree of success because anyone can challenge any scientific understanding and do the work to come up with a better explanation. That’s why the results of certain inquiries and explanations change over time: we’re getting closer to what is the case. That’s why all scientific explanations are not certain; all are conditional because someday someone might find a better one and there’s no way we can know now if and when that might happen. But the downside is that people hear something one day and the opposite the next and think there’s something wrong or mistrustful about the method. That’s not the case: almost alays its how</i. the science was done that has been found to have problems and a better understanding has been produced. That’s a good thing, a self-correcting method open to everyone. Any scientific explanation that isn’t open to being reexamined and criticized isn’t science. Just like the experiments carried out by Nazi doctors on human subjects without any consideration for their welfare isn’t good science for just that reason: it cannot be repeated and/or verified without causing equivalent harm and that is considered unethical by every scientific organization in the world even though there will always be a few scientists who think their work outweighs the need for respecting this consideration. Knowledge about reality is the baby; the method of science is the bathwater. People skewing reality’s results to satisfy the needs of the few who pay for these unethical scientists to produce what they demand is not a good reason to discard the very best method we have at our disposal to learn about how reality really is.

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            5. I really like the first half of your argument. The second, the “defense” of the scientific method, well, that provides food for thought and perhaps some braking power when tempted to “throw out the baby with the bath water” when it comes to scientific inquiry. Now to separate the bad scientists from the method…😕

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            6. Been mulling over your responses. A partial quote: ” going with the the most likely, the most compelling evidence regardless of whether or not we would prefer to believe something [else?] is [would be?] the case.
              OK, but compelling evidence according to whom (or what, for that matter)? You probably have compelling evidence that gods do not exist (I am just assuming) whereas I have compelling evidence that gods do in fact exist. So it comes down to a show of “force” or majority belief, doesn’t it? My evidence, because it is entirely personal (well, along with a few billion individuals who also are sure gods exist!) would be negated in favour of physical no show. If “God” wants to be accounted as real by some Earthians then he’d better show up and do something truly impressive. There is a saying, absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence. I have a saying too, believe all things, believe in nothing. If I had lived my life strictly by believing what is physically evident it would be a caricature of what it is today. When I discuss these “issues” of evidence there is a constant kind of laughter in my heart, knowing I am participating in a silly game. But, like COVID-19, many Earthians like to take these things so seriously. Apply the scientific method and presto: there’s your answer, the only one possible. But what is not seen by those who present science as the arbiter of truth is all the rest of “it” that the scientific method can’t deal with. Since the scientific method can’t deal with “it” then everyone must accept that “it” remains on the absentee list? That it be non-existent? I am alive today because I experienced something that man’s scientific method can’t explain. My being alive is certainly enough compelling evidence that there is much more “out there” than can be captured, dissected, analyzed, measured, computed. Apart from my own experiences which cannot be denied, there is one more compelling evidence for there being more than what our senses can picture: the “beginning” of it all. Who/what started it (for those who have the finite mind belief) and why? What’s the point if it all must end in entropy? I’ll end with a famous Shakespeare quote: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” – Hamlet

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            7. Thanks for the comment, Sha’Tara. You are making some important assumptions that I think are leading you astray. But that’s not why I’m commenting: we’re all lead astray all the time (we humans excel at fooling ourselves… ahem, Trump… ) and so this aspect can be mitigated but hardly corrected. I think just being aware of the problem goes a long way to aligning how we might think about stuff to better to mitigate it. Even that is often a tall order. But you do say something that reflects poorly on me, so naturally I have to respond!

              You write, “You probably have compelling evidence that gods do not exist (I am just assuming) whereas I have compelling evidence that gods do in fact exist. So it comes down to a show of “force” or majority belief, doesn’t it?”

              I have no good reasons to think belief in any gods of a god is justified. yet. Maybe one day that will happen. I don;t know. I’m not sure – other than absence of evidence where it should be plentiful if the claim were an accurate description and/or explanation and/or model supported by reality – on what compelling evidence one could adduce something does not exist. So here’s the thing…

              The apologetic tactic here is to argue that this unequivocal absence of evidence doesn’t necessarily mean evidence of absence – and the practitioner then leaves this seemingly clever rebuttal hanging there… without taking this line of reasoning to its logical conclusion about why the absence is the case. Apologists know when to pretend their rebuttal is sufficient and to try to reverse the burden of proof to those who find the proof offered insufficient. That’s why it’s a tactic used all the time.

              In other words, this tactic isn’t concerned about finding out what is the case, what may or may not be more likely true, but a word game as a means to NOT finding out together what is the case. The assumption I make is that the apologist thinks he or she already knows what is the case and so doesn’t have to carry any burden of proof for the claims being made; rather, the tactic is meant to divert responsibility to someone to come up with ‘compelling’ evidence of why the claims are NOT the the case. And this goal has already been torpedoed by the apologist who says the absence of evidence won’t do the job. But what else is there for a claim about reality that has no supporting evidence from reality? An absence of evidence! That’s how you can suspect you don’t believe you have a dragon living in your bathtub!

              The tactic is used to stack the inquiry deck to align ONLY with what the claimant believes. That’s no way to find out what is the case; it a way to maintain belief in spite of problems one encounters trying support a belief that reality itself doesn’t support. Apparently it’s a sign of respect to just go along with anyone who says they just know The Truth (TM), you see, which is why religious believers from different sects can never come to agreement about the particulars of any one belief system. The tactic STOPS honest inquiry, stops honest examination, stops honest explanations, stops any way to determine honest strengths and weaknesses and likelihood about the belief. The tactic waves all of this away. Poof!

              So, no, it doesn’t come down to a show of force or majority belief at all. The burden remains identical whether one wishes to admit or not: if one is going to make a claim about the universe or anything it contains, then the burden is to offer enough reason to justify it… not from within by strength of belief alone but from the universe itself. This is why justifying various and even incompatible religious beliefs rests entirely on reversing that burden. Finding out what’s true, what is the case, is not the concern. Defending belief from honest inquiry is.

              I am not denying you any experiences you have had nor have any reason to doubt why they are important to you. These are yours. What I am suggesting is that although they are real, that you have had experiences, the conclusions you pull from them may not be correct. And so here’s the kicker: my point here is how might you find out not if they are the right conclusions you have reached/assumed (you have to be the judge of that and have every right to be so), but if they are wrong? How does your method of trusting in your own belief grant you the means to test your own beliefs independent of what you might wish to be the case (I wish I would win the lottery, I believe I should win the lottery, I know I can win the lottery and everyone agrees, but that wishing doesn’t make it so)?If you have already discarded and discounted any burden to do so beyond your self and own wishes by a belief statement alone (and probably a good amount of emotional investment), then how might you ever find out if you’re wrong?

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            8. Off to work here but quick reply to the last line: why fixate on the “fact” that I may be wrong? I settled that matter long ago. Was I wrong to enjoy that bread me and my mother baked on the old wood burning stove on the homestead back when? Oh my, what if I was wrong. What if that bread really wasn’t good at all? What if I fooled myself into believing wrongly? 60 years later how do I prove that bread was really excellent and healthy? It’s long gone. The evidence is absent, does that mean that thinking the bread was really good and healthy is wrong because I can’t prove it?

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            9. It’s not a question, really, of if you’re wrong, but a question I raised at the top, about using a method of inquiry that has no means to be tested. If we know we fool ourselves all the time, then this raises the importance of using some method to tries to mitigate that rather than doubling down on what we presume we already know using a method we know can fool us.

              There’s a distinction here.

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            10. So what are you implying is that the only thing that can be known is what you can put into words? Lets say you love someone. Can you adequately prove this by putting into words? Maybe you could convince us if you are very good at it, but what if you’re not very good at it? Is your love dependent on your ability to express it properly? But you do in fact know you do love her, or him, yet can never verify it by the scientific method.

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            11. The description was by analogy the canvas on which the painting – reality – is experienced. That makes the canvas a ‘thing’. Things have properties. Things can be described. With words.

              Love, in contrast, is not a thing. It is a variable emotional state. We describe it by caring actions to indicate an emotional attachment.

              The two are not the same ‘thing’, even though we have loads of words to describe the emotional state.

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            12. I ask a lot of questions because I don’t know the answers. Although ideation and connecting seemingly disparate topics is a strong point, I depend on others quite often to reason the fine points. Thank you.

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            13. First I apologize for leaving so many of your well-stated points unanswered and cherry picking in them, but I don’t have much leisure time so have to make the best of it. This discussion is fascinating in so many ways – I feel a bit like I’m the basketball surrounded by team players trying to score… To the point: fooling myself. That seems to be big for you but what does that really entail? Do you see me fooling myself? What am I after, after all? It should be obvious to any reading my blog, or my comments here that my purpose is to ‘create’ a better base for all of us to work from. Some call it Utopian. I read the book and I want something much better than that! I’m looking to trigger a rash of awakening to compassion. Religion wasn’t able to help me at all in that regard, quite the opposite. Can you tell me how the scientific method as you call it can be of more help to me on this quest? Obviously I’m not a scientific minded person – seen too much criminal misuse of science and technology to get excited about a future where that is all man has left work and evolve with. We’re seeing some of it right now with the totalitarian take over of individual lives and economies over a fake pandemic. That the fear was created and is kept alive with false science doesn’t help since most people can’t tell the difference between the real and the false. We are not mechanical robots; we are not machines made of flesh and bones, we are supposed to be intelligent, sentient, self-aware beings – yes, of a “higher” order than any other type of life on this world. There is more to us than a body and a brain. But if that body and brain concept is all that you can conceive of at this time, our discussion is over because I resolved that question at least 50 years ago and have been walking away from that dehumanizing concept over since. The scientific method would deny me my humanity and there exists no power anywhere that will ever be able to do that. I am a human being. I know what living a humane life demands in a world like this one. I know moral from immoral. I possess an innate ability to know right from wrong in any given moment. This isn’t methodical scientism, it is methodical humanism. I choose to carry the “stigma” of the compassionate being, not allowing my failures which are probably beyond count, to distract me from that choice. The methods I use to push myself ever forward may appear strange and unconventional (they do to those who know me personally) and to some I am delusional or “weird” but I don’t think it would hurt if more people chose to explore living in such delusions.

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            14. I’ve mentioned ‘fooling’ one’s self many times because humans are social animals and, when we act on foolishness we cause far more harm than good on everyone including those who have not. I see fooling one’s self a making a virtue out of (probably) the very worst vice. It’s not you per se I am accusing; it’s a the state of humanity:being foolish, of operating on foolish methods, on excusing foolishness in the name of something else, that I find worthy of sustained criticism.

              For example, one can fool one’s self by HOW one thinks. How we think determines what we think. And, as I quote Feynman saying, “WE are the easiest people to fool.” This is if not a rectifiable condition then one that REQUIRES intentional mitigation… educating one’s self, so to speak because being foolish is very much a human condition… if we are concerned about the human condition (as many foolish people presume they are), concerned about other the welfare of people, concerned about causing harm, concerned about acting not on selfish zero sum interests alone but altruistic motives, concerned about showing responsible caring, concerned about leaving this world a better place than we found it, concerned about addressing real world problems with real world solutions. That is why I think being intentionally foolish – and excusing ongoing foolishness with rationalizations and unlimited tolerance – is equivalent to deciding to be cruel, selfish, ignorant, irresponsible, and stupid and being okay with that. That’s not a choice I think most people wish to make, although it is a choice many people do make (even when made aware of it). And because it is made and excused, it falls to the rest of the social network to try to mitigate its effects not with violence and intolerance but with legitimate criticism… criticism that will offend. But that ‘crime’ is not a reason to suspend the criticism because the imposed cost on all of us so much outweighs this trivial concern of the foolish.

              For example, it is foolish to believe that all of humanity is NOT subject to a SARS-Cov-2- pandemic, to call this fact a ‘fake pandemic’. That claim is cruel, selfish, ignorant, irresponsible, and stupid. It embodies the kind of foolishness – by rejecting the overwhelming evidence for it – that causes great harm to everyone and is deserving of justified criticism. There is no excuse or rationalization that can make this claim – an encompassing rejection of reality itself – any other kind of ‘choice’ but deadly foolishness in action, one that directly supports a lack of concern for the human condition, a lack of concern about the welfare of other real people, a lack of concern about causing real harm, a lack of concern about acting on selfish interests alone and disregarding with brute indifference any altruistic motives, a lack of concern about showing responsible real-world caring, a lack of concern about leaving this inherited world a better place than we found it, and an utter lack of concern about addressing this real world problem by denying it requires any kind of real world solution because, hey, it’s a ‘fake pandemic’. Such a faith-based belief like this is compelling evidence of just how pernicious and destructive faith-over-reality is not only to the believer but imposed on everyone for the very worst reasons, that belief based on faith is NOT a vice but a virtue. And that’s a lie.

              Foolishness matters a very great deal. Human caused climate change. Vaccination programs. Education. Equality rights. Law. Governance. Health. Economy. All of it revolves around how much or little foolishness is enabled.

              So, yeah, addressing foolishness matters. A lot. To all of us. In fact, our very lives and lives of unborn generations depend on it.

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          2. Agreed. Those who insist you cannot call yourself an atheist unless you adopt their particular set of unrelated political and/or ideological viewpoints have changed the definition of atheism and created a new dogma, if not new religion. (I’m staring directly at you Atheism+ and Freethought blogs)

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            1. Atheistic ideological viewpoint?

              Look, because many churches and religious institutions are granted public money AND tax exemption status (in spite of these illegalities) under the banner of providing a needed social service, it only makes sense that those who advocate for this religious oversight to end – and are challenged by believers to come up with another solution – then offer an alternative practice so that the service can still be provided. The problem here is that by offering alternative solutions, the atheist can be accused of being an ‘ideologue’ promoting a ‘socialist’ solution. You see the problem: atheists once again are held to a double standard in order to be falsely accused. This ‘problem’ of a supposed ideology is the work of ideologues!

              As for Atheism Plus (“I’m staring directly at you”) being an ideological viewpoint, no. The call was for the same standard of skepticism used to explain atheism be applied to all kinds of issues in the public arena. Ironically, what I suspect you’re ‘looking at’ is what its misogynistic critics eventually came to believe about it was: a ‘socialist’ progressive ideology. Some of these critics – again, ironically – voiced their attacks on Freethought Blogs.

              The point here is that atheism has no ideology even if some atheists do. You’ve mixed up the order here.

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            2. The serious alignment you talk about is a world wide movement away from religious belief. This naturally opens up a place for alternative value systems… one of which is the accompanying movement towards what Pinker calls the better angels of our nature. And that is indisputably the slow process towards implementing enlightenment values in law and practice.

              But this movement is currently being hijacked by the cancel culture of the Regressive Left, otherwise known as the Woke movement, which itself a cult movement with the same religious undertones of empowering faith-based belief… not for some god or gods but in group identity, which is a totalitarian ideology of RightThink that presumes we live in a world of hierarchical power competition between victims and victimizers based on membership in ‘identifiable’ groups. It’s straight out of Marxism and we are seeing the same co-opting of language that reverse meaning and supports struggle sessions between the Red Guards of this social media movement and everyone else who are to blame for everything imaginable. And I think it’s tearing apart our society right now. But it’s not an atheist movement; it’s a political movement that infects the minds of those unable or unwilling to be critical, be skeptical, to insist on good evidence. It’s actually the opposite of non belief as a rational undertaking, which is why it’s irrational and doomed.

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            3. I agree that atheism has no ideology even if some atheists do. And that’s been my overriding concern: those who attempt to make atheism mean anything more than an absence of belief in gods.

              As to the rest, I disagree. Becoming an atheist doesn’t automagically grant you the ability to apply reason, logic and skeptical enquiry to every other facet of your life. Nor does it prevent you from holding on to irrational viewpoints and biased opinions. FTB has become an echo chamber of political ideologues who broach no dissent among their ranks. This is evidenced by the growing number of former contributors who were summarily shown the door for daring to disagree on some ideological point or issue held dear by the remaining members. IOW, they’ve now become the very monster they’ve been fighting against.

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            4. I agree non belief does not mean anything other than non belief. Atheism does not come with anything else, other than hearing the reasons for this, that, or the other thing concerning gods. And you are quite right that that’s where atheism stops. The atheism plus bit was to keep the reasoning used for non belief in gods to applied in other areas. And I have found far fewer atheists appreciate how that works when applied to their own pet preferences… preferences like GMOs and vegetarianism and conspiracies and climate change and so on. And I’ve found atheists are just as sloppy at including faith-based ideas and then using the same apologetic tactics the religious use. So atheism does not prepare one for skepticism and critical thinking but is a step in the right direction, I think.

              And I have been arguing for many years that the rise of this ‘progressive’ movement is a religious undertaking… in the sense that it relies on faith-based and not evidence-adduced belief. It infected FTB over a decade ago. It has swept our campuses and entered and become established not just in the media (the NYT? How could this happen?) but major businesses and large employers. Now it’s being codified into discriminatory laws at every level of government and in the judiciary and the harm it causes excused as the price of being virtuous! It’s insanity.

              My biggest skeptics are not the religious but those from the atheist community who confuse enlightenment values with virtue signalling, who go along with the idea that to offend is the greater crime than any other crime being criticized – regardless of evidence of great harm being done creating real world victims – but supported by someone who takes offense at being criticized! That’s when the virtue signalers come out of the woodwork and present themselves as ‘social justice warriors’ protecting and defending someone who is guilty of participating in a unjustified cause that really does cause real world harm but comes from a group considered victimized. And the infection continues unabated.

              So I think you are exactly right to say many of these bloggers and ‘influencers’ have become the very monsters they have been fighting against, namely, they have become promoters of a faith-based belief incompatible with what’s actually the case and immune from incorporating real world but contrary compelling evidence against their accepted ideology… no different from the anti-vaxers, flat earthers, and creationists they once criticized for a lack of critical thought.

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            5. Regarding mass movements —“In order to be effective, a doctrine must not be understood, but has rather to be believed in. A doctrine that is understood is shorn of its strength—If a doctrine is not unintelligible, it has to be vague. If neither unintelligible nor vague, it has to be unverifiable—Eric Hoffer

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            6. Just ask anyone what ‘gender’ means and you’ll get completely different meanings. The reversal of meanings is obvious in the cancel culture lexicon and comes right out of 1984, such as censuring to protect free speech, implement equity to improve diversity, and so on. The reversal of meaning is a sure sign of post modern totalitarian ideology hard at work in the name of protecting the individual.

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            7. So inadvertently descaminarían by the right is protecting the group, while simultaneously the lefts attempt to protect the individual is to counter evolution, to which they
              claim to adhere? Each side is playing a part in opposition to what they believe?

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            8. I don’t know this word ‘descaminarían’. Nor do I understand the reference to evolution. All I know is that group-based ideology – regardless of the political spectrum from which it originates – is always totalitarian in eventual outcome and is a necessary component for creating the Us v Them mentality. To have conflict, you must first have different sides, so any ideology that creates and/or accepts and/or promotes some kind of diversity of meaning that emphasizes differences rather than shared rights and freedoms has to inevitably produce the conditions necessary for systemic conflict, such as emphasizing and granting privileges in law or policy to the colour of one’s skin rather than the quality of one’s character. It’s an ideological recipe antithetical to the founding principles of the Constitution and in opposition to classical liberal enlightenment values.. regardless of who holds and/or promotes them.

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            9. “descaminarían” is a auto correct typo. Where the hell that came from I don’t know? Discrimination. I just noticed it interesting how inconsistent each side is, inadvertently fighting the ideology they subscribe. Right seems to play an evolutionary role they despise overall, while the left fights for the individual which has never fared well in evolution, which they teach (religion vs acadamia) I’m sure there’s some moral to this story, but like Ron said, we become what we hate. Even Hoffer tunes in on that. The break offs soon become the entity they fought to destroy.
              I do see you point and well noted. The appeal to faith and belief over utility just may be the most enduring of all doctrines ever.
              If I were a guru to challenge my student, I would place faith without evidence in front of him as the conundrum to enlightenment. Masterful. We will never get through this until we can surpass belief mode and it’s limitations.

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            10. Good quote, and how easily does a scientific theory become a doctrine for the simple reason that it is unintelligible to the vast number of uninitiates who, having ditched their faith in God feel they must now rely on “science” for their daily bread.

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            11. Well, you’ll receive no argument on any of those points from me. But how do you propose to turn the tide given that all the major institutions cited have now been compromised and taken on the same totalitarian refrain?

              Because as things stand at the moment, the U.S. republic (along with all the other western nations) appears doomed to becoming another balkanized state forever dominated by warring tribal factions with no workable resolution in sight.

              The results are in: diversity is not our strength. It’s our weakness. And that weakness is being exploited by those seeking to implement authoritarian rule via a divide-and-conquer strategy.

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            12. We turn the tide by advocating for classical liberal values and standing up to the invertebrates who continue to cave in to this craven ideology. We make its support a point of shame, something worthy of great humor and biting satire. (Thank you Titania McGrath.) We can even point out that following the ideology today in the name of confronting racism helps push people into voting for the ‘other’ guy, the same guy as the old one, the same incredibly destructive moron who has been dismantling the US from within for the past 3.5 years. For many voters, that guy is preferable to the lunacy that has the Left firmly in its grip.

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          3. @ Sha’ Tara.

            That is where any form of atheism that judges and condemns others for their belief in
            the mystical aspect of life, though they practice no institutional religion, is heading.

            More trite waffle. You are now applying religious terminology – ”form of ”.
            Let me reiterate. Atheism is the lack of belief in gods. Period..

            It has no doctrine, no ideology and no worldview.
            What ”baggage” an individual may bring to the ‘table’ is their business and has absolutely nothing to do with what the term atheism means.

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            1. But atheism is also implying (unless I misunderstood you previously) to incorporate this as well;
              The second commandment which is like unto the first is: “Thou shalt not believe in any invisible entities even if they do not claim to be gods”?

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            2. It says you seemed very uptight about even a hint of considerate discussion regarding most of the worlds perceptions. While I agree there no gods, how will we ever investigate anything when we blanketly dismiss everything without carefully investigating it? Most miracles have an explanation, and so does this.
              I live in a very religious community. Butting heads is not how we get through to them that the doctrines they love are the roots of hate? They circle the wagons—every time.
              I was fortunate to be out of the group for a time, but I know what it’s like. It could’ve turned out different. Having never been a believer yourself, maybe you don’t get that is a tremendous influence.
              I presented a topic in words that could change a way of looking at the spiritual as an undiscovered scientific principle, and instead of building on that theme with you, I spent two days defending my atheism.
              Anyone that will embrace you over belief will abandon you over unbelief. It appears to me the same is true in reverse as well.
              Not sure you get the fact that most of the readers here are Christian.

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            3. Most miracles have an explanation,

              Hilarious, now I know you’re taking the piss.
              You just want to get your off on this, Jim.
              Well, you will recall, I did say I was leaving for dinner so you could play with yourself?
              Now I’m leaving for a coffees, and, I hope, some apple pie and cream or cake and afterwards a Netflix movie.

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            4. Miracles have no natural explanation? Your not even being a respectable dick. Just a dick. It’s actually revealing to me how someone I respected is really a close minded twat. Read it how you want. You’re wrong.

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            5. Of course miracles don’t exist, hence the explanations. Some claims cannot be explained Maybe you need to lay off the sauce man, and try reading for comprehension instead of fault. I alone know you are dead wrong here. Maybe you’re using your premonition skills. Our might still provide some evidence for your faith.

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            6. We are again talking at cross purposes.
              And I apologize re: the miracle reply. You’re right, I read the comment incorrectly I should not watch a movie and follow a thread at the same time.

              I alone know you are dead wrong here.

              About what, I am not sure?

              Our might still provide some evidence for your faith.

              Not sure what this means. A typo, perhaps?

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            7. Dead wrong about me.
              This entire thread you’ve done nothing but miss the point. The depth and potential of human ability that built the pyramids and navigated the oceans is not supernatural or aliens,but people at their finest. Maybe some people see a bit between the lines, that what was once knowledge so common they didn’t realize it was special in any way. The one thing they most likely had was working together. Unlike our current culture.

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            8. The depth and potential of human ability that built the pyramids and navigated the oceans is not supernatural or aliens,but people at their finest

              Agree wholeheartedly – no Woo needed.
              Can we kiss and make up now, so’s I can concentrate on my movie?

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            9. I hold malice for anyone.

              Typo? And I thought it was me that read comments incorrectly? Maybe I’m not the only one who needs to ”lay off the sauce.”?

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            10. No. There are nearly 1000 readers here and most rarely comment, though it shows on the stats. About 100 or so are atheists.

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            11. I hardly think so. Apology accepted.
              Why are you so afraid to explore other points of view? There are others here that have added to the puzzle an even offered some grounding principles, yet you criticize. It’s a real interest for me, but I guess it’s not for everyone.

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            12. No, like Ron’s empiracism and tildebs ability to reign in some sense of things, or johns openness to other ways of interpreting the world. People do struggle to make sense of things.remaining consistent and open is a challenge.

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            13. I was being facetious, obviously.
              When such terms as spirit / spiritualism are introduced and are meant to refer to something other than Jack Daniels or a person’s mood or attitude then the conversation needs to be reined in before the horse bolts.

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            14. Wow, I didn’t know that. Not all religious people are closed-minded. I know quite a few (Bible-belt, Canada style here!) and quite naturally it’s the open minded ones I interact with and we have good discussions, exchanging thoughts when no one is trying to convince another and no insults are traded, of course. We compare motives and results. They all know I abandoned “the faith” because of the hypocrisy of the institution. They can’t let go but they do agree on many points – particularly about the degenerate clergy and the greed of the institution.

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            15. There are others that follow to get you to check out their blog so they can wrangle me back to Jesus. There are a few I visit as well, usually getting ideas for fodder.

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            16. Couldn’t resist… and just for you, Jim:

              Well it’s lonesome in this old town
              Everybody puts me down
              I’m a face without a name
              Just walking in the rain
              Goin’ back to Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

              I got holes in both of my shoes
              Well I’m a walking case of the blues
              Saw a dollar yesterday
              But the church took it away
              Goin’ back to Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

              I haven’t eaten in about a week
              I’m so hungry when I walk I squeak
              Nobody calls me friend
              It’s sad the shape I’m in
              Goin’ back to Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

              I got angels waiting there for me
              Well at least they say there’d be,
              Got my mansion forever
              and the streets are paved with gold,
              Goin’ back to Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

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  7. Whoops! I decided to fact check myself and found a blunder. I had watched a program a while back depicting the Korowai tribe, who were reported to live in tree houses 30 meters off the ground, and found it was actually staged by the people behind the documentary.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/tv-radio/bbc-fake-scenes-human-planet-documentary-tribe-living-rainforest-treehouse-a8289251.html

    …but my point remains the same regardless. We can do extraordinary things if that is just the sort of things we do.

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    1. I have seen firsthand that it is possible though. Spider-Man’s (Toby McGuire) stunt double lives that way near our Panama house.

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  8. That would be beyond my personal abilities no doubt. But does it surprise me at all that people steeped in the ways of sea faring could do so? Not even a wee bit.

    Don’t underestimate human capability. There are people who live a hundred feet off the ground in trees, the only way you can get good at anything we might perceive as extraordinarily difficult is to do it. What I’m saying is we can learn things that seem damn near impossible if that is the life we live. That these things might seem strange or beyond human capability to us is only because we ain’t been there doing it…

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  9. I think yes, we can discount the maybe’s.

    I have for the last twenty years or more been a practicing amateur astronomer. I can walk outside at night and by noting the stars in the sky I am not lost anywhere in the northern hemisphere. As well, I can get a rough estimate of direction during the day by noting the position of the sun as it makes its way across the sky (considering axial tilt and how the sun isn’t exactly in the E in the morning or the W in the evening, but usually somewhere in between. If its something you keep track of, you make an educated guess as to NE, E, SE in the morning and opposite that in the evening. It’s something you have to be used to doing to be good at it.) Back when I was on the river doing my thing I could even tell within 15 mintues what time of day it was by where the sun was in the sky. So guys who can navigate using our solar system surprises me not at all.

    Also waves are an action of the wind. If you are familiar with how weather patterns move through your area, and have a way to determine high or low pressure systems, it wouldn’t be that difficult to roughly assume a navigable direction by paying attention to these things. It wouldn’t be GPS by any means but as a rough estimate I’d think it possible. I was a river diver for a long time, I can look at a weather map and just by where a high or low pressure system is, according to my location, I can tell you which way the wind will be blowing through the day. While I was on the bottom working I can and still do*, navigate my direction underwater by which way the wind has the boat at my back.

    As far as predictions, if you make enough of them you are bound to get lucky once in a while. People tend to easily forget the many failures. E.g. the orange idiot…

    As for religious stuff fughetabout it.

    As for metaphysical stuff. Ghosts, ESP, what have you… I take the Missouri state motto, “show me” And knowing my eyes can be decieved, “show me how.”

    * I found out I can make up to 7K profit per year with SSI, so I got my license and am back to digging shell on a limited basis, based upon my pain factors and ability to get around and do stuff, just becasue I’m sick enough in the head to enjoy it. I also have secondary reasons to go, one of which is excercise. The other I may find something interesting out there, who knows? 🙂

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    1. Do you think you could learn to navigate the open ocean 2500 miles and predict landfall within three days without the use of a calendar, clock, sextant, chart, etc? The point of the post is where can you draw the line when human capability can be extremely deep? Are there things we generally cannot perceive or measure, that others may be able to utilize by conscious attention?

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      1. @ Jim
        You are a given a fairly comprehensive reply by Shelldigger and yet you seem insistent on establishing that ancient tribespeople without any technology were able to perform astounding feats – as if by (I use the word hesitantly) ”magic”, and yet are still unable to fully articulate how it is you believe they were able to do such feats.

        The answer: ”I don’t know” is perfectly acceptable until we do know how they did it. Why do you phrase your responses as if there is this tacit implication that some form of ”woo” is involved?

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        1. I thought it was a fair question (one that you repeatedly dodged). I made it pretty clear that human depth is pretty astounding. Is it woo, when I ask if maybe people have talents that go beyond what the instruments can measure? It wasn’t until 1800 that we could perceive the light spectrum by analysis, so what are you missing here? If there is nothing that exists that we cannot detect yet, why science? Is that your version of woo? Am I challenging your faith here or something?

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          1. You see … you switch from what is ostensibly metaphysical to physical as if they are on the same wavelength ( ‘scuse the pun).
            But perhaps we are on the same pager and merely talking past each other?
            This is why I keep asking you to clarify what you are writing.
            That humans may be/are capable of astounding feats does not in any way make this woo.
            But this is what you are implying. Or so it seems to me.
            Much like Sha’ Tara with her ”spirit” nonsense.
            Such terminology is meaningless.

            All it means is that there is something we have yet to figure out. Period.

            I am an atheist, Jim so please don’t be asinine and use the term faith.

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            1. Haha. No. I made it clear it is eventually all explainable and what people term metaphysical are things we don’t understand yet. Where do you draw the line? Certainly the term spirit has a tasteless connotation, but is it possible they have no other word or idea how to explain their perceptions? Call it whatever you want, but it isn’t Jehovah’s sidekick. But do these perceptions exist where people (because of cultural and anchoring biases) are seeing something you can’t see because of your wiring, and they’ve been trained to call that “god” when in fact it is an extension of the natural world.
              I won’t use faith if you’ll stop with the woo nonsense. All I’m asking, based on the awesome depth of human ability, can someone intuitively feel what you and I can’t? Where is the line drawn? Or everybody but a select few are just crazy? We’re all about the same intelligence, so I don’t think that’s a fair assumption.

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            2. All I’m asking, based on the awesome depth of human ability, can someone intuitively feel what you and I can’t?

              And the answer is ….. I don’t know.
              Oh, and neither do you for that matter.

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            3. I don’t really think everyone is lying. I do think the game is so thick and inculturated that few can swim out of it. Thanks, now go to, thy faith hath made thee whole…

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            4. That what the Hindus say—”We’re It” but does a fish know it’s in the water or is a worm aware of the dirt? How would you ever know if your it, that your it, when you couldn’t possibly know any different? That’s rhetorical btw, enjoy the day.

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          2. I’m confused about what you mean by human depth? Of course man has been capable in the past of doing things, perceiving things, that modern man can no longer do. Why does that appear to be a mystery to you?
            Blind people often hear or smell better, savants can calculate things most of us cannot. Gurus can lower their heart rate and some drugs can give you an out of body experience and on and on.
            This is simply the brain at work.
            I almost sense, as you now being an atheist, you are searching for something to replace religion.
            Anything we still feel is mysterious, is because the mechanics or scientific theories have not been discovered yet and many may not be discovered in humanity’s lifetime because there is probably too much to still discover and time is against us.

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            1. I think “modern man” could still do these things, but they no longer know how. We depend on tools and machines and computers and all sorts of gadgets to do the things that ancient people did by instinct.

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            2. I know you have an interest in some mystical persuasions, but the fact that you like them or think they sound cool, simply means that I like some of these ways of thinking. I’m not reaching or searching. But it does interest me. I like things that had a softer approach to nature than confronting and subduing. I think these philosophies should be preferred over the judeo Christian model that has brought us to where we are.
              If you see yourself as a part of nature vs a visitor in a temporary setting, you would treat the world more respectfully. That is the only real attachment I have to any of it. And understanding why so many group to these beliefs helps me to be more amicable to them.

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            3. Definitely better than the Judeo Christian model…
              And I do believe that we and the earth and the entire universe are all connected, but not in any supernatural way…just in the early elements like iron, etc. We’re the “we are all made of star stuff” connected. After all nature and science are the same. Nature is science, as is all of the universe.

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      2. i.e., is there “something more” outside our basic physical sensory equipment? To those who have, or do, experience “it” the answer is always, “Of course.” To those who do not, or will not, experience it (denial is also a powerful force) the answer is always, “Of course not.” The problem of answering or explaining is more irresolvable than unresolvable partly because our modern languages do not provide the means to intelligently communicate the concept of “spirit” at least as I use it – discounting divinities, angels, demons, ghosts, etc. Spirit exists entirely outside our physical perception. In my understanding spirit is what “life” flows from.

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        1. Spirit exists entirely outside our physical perception.

          Does it? And how do you know?

          And this …
          ”In my understanding spirit is what “life” flows from.”
          is no different from a Christian asserting: ”Jesus is in me/my heart.”

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  10. I think that “pure” atheism has a serious problem, or flaw. Discounting the “spiritual” aspect of life is deadly. I think you pointed this clearly to clubschadenfreude about reducing “life” to what can be physically observed or measured. I tried living the “pure” atheist life many years ago, going like so many, from strict organizational religion into a godless reality. It was incredibly bleak. I whole part of “me” died, or at least, went into a coma. I began to recover when I came across some “new age” books that reopened the possibility of a spiritual side of life that didn’t have to be religious or determined by symbols and rituals. Then I had an “awakening”and realized that it was all and entirely up to me what I thought and what I did with my life. I found out I could have my cake and eat it too. I began to move about outside the body restrictions and made “encounters” with entities I could not have allowed in my life as a Christian and would have never allowed to be real as a “pure” atheist. There is a world out there (worlds actually!) that religion denigrates or knows nothing about and interestingly, that “pure” science equally denigrates and knows nothing about. We are infinite and eternal beings who exist, if they so choose, outside the mandates of the gods and outside the strangling limitations of a physical life. We are shape-shifters. “We are stardust. We are golden. And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.” (Joni Mitchell) To me, the garden is the cosmos. All of it and always more of it, worlds without end.

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    1. All of our religious traditions seek to return to a paradise lost, but religion now locks the door after the horse has left the barn. The best I could think, is that possibly it was a time before we could think about thinking, living without a thought for the morrow. There was a time humans were like that, I think

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      1. Quote: “possibly it was a time before we could think about thinking, living without a thought for the morrow.” I personally don’t think that is a possibility for a human being. Tomorrow or “the future” is all important. We do not just “live”, we make it as we go along. We create our personal reality within all other realities which makes each of us unique, different from another. What keeps us going is that we create our future. Those not strong enough mentally to create an individual future must live such future as stronger ones determine for them. Regardless, the only “thing” that matters is that we have a future to look forward to, or to fear. Not being able or willing to develop a future landscape would make us zombies. Well, perhaps for the many, that is indeed the case.

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        1. Nostalgia may be the most errantly twisted noun in English.
          The way the game is rigged now, our children are raised simply as candidates for humanity. If they conform properly and eventually do voluntarily what is expected, then they are welcome members of the human race, and even the family. Our system is one of constant preparation for something else, from preschool to retirement. It may be hard to imagine at this point, but life is never lived that way. We never prepare our kids to live today, where it is constantly the present. When retirement comes and you’ve finally arrived, you have a sense that you’ve done everything right, yet somehow been cheated. Now relegated to watching tv and waiting more—to die (don’t forget to plan for that too) It has a lot to do with our economic system. Worry supplants naturally being. I know I’m rambling. Haha. But it doesn’t have to be that way. This is a modern problem, as we can see many indigenous types did not live this way for millennia. They still exist, but the fucking missionaries just keep working em over.

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          1. This is soooo depressing, Jim — Now relegated to watching tv and waiting more—to die. — and doesn’t describe everyone who retires. Many live active and joyful lives … at least as long as their bodies will allow. But even then, many find activities (other than tv) and interests that keep their minds active, if not their bodies.

            Unfortunately, this false image of “retirement” takes away from what can be a very happy and fulfilling time of life. And yes … it can very often include discovering who we are at our deepest level.

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            1. I hate to throw out such a sweeping generality, hahaha. Of course this doesn’t apply to everyone, but the data collected on tv usage and every other medium says that my statement is pretty accurate. But you can’t predict individual behavior. Glad you are outside the statistics!! And wrote an excellent book in retirement too! Things I Never Learned in Sunday School: Facts about the Christian faith that will surprise and astound you https://www.amazon.com/dp/B009GKUEEM/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_DQM3EbSRSQF67

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            2. 😊😁😎 — Thanks for the plug! It’s been awhile since it was published, but every so often someone decides to find out those facts about the Christian faith that never seem to make it into Sunday School class.

              P.S. I’m happy to be outside the statistics as well.

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            3. I’m retired too and feel quite happy and fulfilled. I do watch some TV, but I also garden, read, paint pictures and furniture, read good blogs (😜) and I’m generally more involved mentally and philosophically than I’ve ever been on many subjects…over a good glass of wine, of course.
              Seriously, I’m more of who I really am, finally, than I’ve ever been.

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            4. I see that you are both fairly engaged, and maybe that’s indicative of being here interacting on WP too. I know my three closest neighbors certainly sway things the other way, padding up the stats for you.

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          2. All of modern civilization is predicated upon possession, from the most basic, one’s physical life to billions upon billions of useless “money” it’s all a matter of saving, losing, having, not having, getting, hoarding. If we changed the system back to no possessions at all, we wouldn’t be possessed by worry. We could live again. As long as greed rules, every aspect of society can only get worse. It all began with that Coke bottle in “The Gods must be Crazy” That was a great assumption. God is synonymous with Greed. “Imagine no possessions…”

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  11. I think one can easily say that institutionalized religion is about separateness. One is told to look outward (or upward). Up (heaven) is good. Down (earth) is bad. God is in heaven and you are not. God is good and you are bad. You are fallen and strive to be risen.

    Spirituality, on the other hand, involves oneness, looking inward, not for a god or some mythic paradise, but for a greater consciousness of one’s on being. It is not looking for a supernatural power, but rather an effort to locate and develop one’s basic goodness–your humanity.

    The separateness of religion, i.e., Christianity, tells you that a person who doesn’t believe as you do is wrong and if he rejects your bullshit narrative, he will burn in hell–for eternity.

    The oneness of spirituality tells you that you are connected with everyone else as a conscious being who is capable of loving others, as well as this planet, for no other reason than they exist.

    How does this works with Polynesian sailors? Well, I would go so far to say their vision of time and space were much different from ours. They didn’t flap over a page of a Gregorian calendar. They didn’t tap the crystal on their watch. They didn’t measure their speed in knots. But I wouldn’t be surprised that with their mastery of sailing techniques they viewed the ocean as we view a system of interconnecting interstate highways in a major city. They saw currents, temperature, star formations, moon and sun rising and setting as clearly as we see exit signs and mile designations.

    Like most Americans, Jim, you’ve probably driven thousands upon thousands of miles. How many times have you “woke up” as it were and realized you’ve just driven several hundred miles, and you don’t remember one thing and yet you are sill driving, still on task and the signs are all telling you that you’re headed the right way. I’ll admit it’s not the best analogy in the world, but hey, it’s getting late.

    Great post.

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    1. I concur. The London taxi cab driver may have been a better analogy. Yet there is an autistic man that flies over a metropolitan area one time and then draws it.

      Our potential is more incredible than most people can grasp, let alone master. To blankety dismiss an ability we don’t understand can be quite puzzling.

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  12. the universe is not a thing, it’s an organic, living experience. it’s also pure intelligence.
    very much like our physical body is to a cell within the body. when the body is in perfect health, all cells communicate and receive whatever they need. it’s when something breaks down, that communication suffers, and illness occurs.
    it’s all about alignment to the greater intelligence. when i’m aligned to the universe, all the knowing of the universe is mine. the ancients knew this.
    “as above, so below”~ Emerald Tablet by Hermes Trismegistus (what happens on one level of reality also happens on every other level; the microcosm and macrocosm behave alike)

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    1. the microcosm and macrocosm behave alike” We don’t see this at the quantum level. We’re pretty good at statistics and predicting what the group will do, like average lifespans, etc, but the individual cell is highly unpredictable.
      But I do understand the rest of your point.

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  13. The reason why these questions are uncomfortable for me is the history of dealing with people who are so quick to leap to any conclusion rather than an honest one. Religious answers to a mystery are unsatisfactory because it imposes some unseen actor behind the curtain of reality. Metaphysical answers outside the religious are often too dismissive of a natural view that hasn’t been considered. Similar answers may sound nice, but they ultimately reveal a lack of candor and honesty.

    I don’t know how Pacific Islander culture became so good at navigation. Culture, language, the environment, and other factors have produced a people who can do a thing very well. In that regard, it’s not surprising that people surrounded by water are good at moving across it.

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    1. John has used this comment in the past—no supernatural explanation has ever supplanted a scientific explanation. It does go the other way though. Every religious claim has fallen to reason but the final straw they continue to grasp.

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        1. Absolutely not tested or found those boundaries. Things may be stranger than were willing to admit sometimes, but it is all explainable. Just a matter of time that we may not have much of.

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            1. Well like I said earlier, if you take one thing at a time it’s going to take longer than we’ve got as a specie. I think it’s probably all explainable, but in the current mode of beliefs we’ll never get there, with 5% of the innovators dragging the opposition and all the dead weight of beliefs on a horse drawn skid. There are quite a few traditions that have all concluded it’s all, one big cosmic game and we are all part of a single entity. The shamans, the Buddhists, taoists, Native American medicine wheel, all explain awakening from the dream.

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          1. I think it’s a given that the universe is far stranger than we can presently say. Just the physical things keep amazing us, so Neptune only knows the weirdness lurking in those other shy dimensions.

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      1. Reality is a projection of our consciousness projected upon the infinite quantum foam. If ancients could read the ripples and vibrations of water to know that land was two days away (this is the first I’ve heard of this btw,) then they could read and interpret the energy of the quantum foam differently than we do, just as a bee can perceive ultra-violet light and we can’t. It’s all about perceptions, and right now we rely on instruments to perceive for us. Anyway, I’ll be blogging about this very subject in my next post…if I ever get around to it.

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        1. George F says, “Reality is a projection of our consciousness projected upon the infinite quantum foam. ”

          Puddle analogy again. I think this is exactly backwards.

          The method of inquiring about reality – nature – is based on a pretty simple rule: how we think very much determines what we think. If one assumes our consciousness projects reality, then we can test that… and we will find it simple doesn’t align with independent evidence we find in reality… or what I like to call reality’s arbitration of our beliefs about it. So to then frame a view of the world through this assumption means the result… the ‘what’… is going to be a problem because reality demonstrates otherwise. I can check with you that you are perceiving something, whack you upside the heads hard enough to knock you out, and then seeing if your loss of consciousness has altered the reality you perceived. I can even use machines to reduce my own consciousness from interfering. What do you think I’ll find?

          How we think is really important. For example, it’s not our eyes that see: it’s our brain. It’s not our nose that smells: it’s our brain. It’s not supernatural beings that cause a bump in the night: it’s our brain’s interpretation of a sound. It’s not quantum mechanics that reveals a connected universe: it’s our brain’s grasp of understanding what ‘entangled’ means. It’s not some supernatural ‘knowledge’ that navigates oceans: it’s our brain. There is a common thread here and the best way to date to figure out what it is we are perceiving is by training the brain to try to get rid of the noise, get rid of the framing, get rid of our imported assumptions and supernatural beliefs, and use a method that grants full authority to reality to arbitrate our beliefs about it.

          In the same way salmon smell their way back to their birth streams, and having spent quite a bit of time on fresh and salt water (I’m pretty sure Shelldigger will attest to this) I know that smell has much to do with location. (Humans have a higher percentage of neurology regarding smell than bloodhounds, BTW.) I would bet that, if blindfolded, Shelldigger would be far better than most identifying where he was on some body of water based solely on smell. The smell of land I know can be subtle as a faded rose – especially on a windy day – yet informative enough to indicate to me where on the coast of Vancouver Island I am approaching land from the ocean. The water has different colours, different surface textures based on out-of-sight interactions with the shore, with discharging rivers, with wind direction and cloud formation, with shifts in currents and general wave shape and direction. There is a huge amount of information available when one is on the water and, as mentioned, from the sky both day and night. It’s actually hard to get lost if one has even basic local knowledge. If someone is like I am, for whatever reason the case may be, I always know north. Always. I just do. My spouse thinks my brain must come with the kind of iron some migrating birds have aligned with the magnetic field in their brains. Whatever the reason may be, that’s just the way it is.

          So to assume some kind of special or lost power once resided in ancient seafarers us ‘moderns’ have lost that adds something to the idea of ‘spirituality’ (I’m with Ark on this one… I have no idea what that term actually means) to those who refuse to do so as ‘hard’ atheists (again, whatever that might mean beyond not being convinced any gods or a god exists and is an active participant in the universe) isn’t using reality to arbitrate these beliefs but is importing a framework that I don’t think serves the purpose of finding out what’s the case. It seems, instead, to divert us from finding out how reality works – by suggesting the use of a method that reduces to the greatest degree yet developed and grants to the results a higher degree of confidence than our imported beliefs alone is somehow less trustworthy than some kind of belief in the supernatural that cherry picks bits and pieces of stuff that only seems to support woo.

          Liked by 6 people

          1. Interesting you said that. I almost put in my previous post that there are times I can smell the gulf air all the way up here in Tn. That means a southerly wind. And you can feel the menacing of the north wind if you know it. You can also easily feel the lowering humidity of a wind moving from W to N and it has a cleaner, crisper feel to it. (these are all indicators of direction if you have a good sense of direction) I have been a part of so many fronts coming through out on Ky. Lake that I couldn’t count them with an abacus and a calculator.

            It’s a different experience out there, being a part of it, rather than sitting at the house. Vastly different.

            Ky. Lake is a fairly large body of water. 160,000 acres, with 2,300 miles of shoreline. Also at it’s widest point, at the confluence of the Big Sandy and Tn. rivers, its about 3 miles across there. Even a moderate wind there (12-15 mph) is rough water. And when the wind really gets up you better get the heck out of there no matter where you are at. I’ve seen waves that would make you think twice about ever going back. But that’s all a part of being out there to work. And understanding the weather cycles and how the wind moves with them, becomes something you just know. One of the most important things to do is keep a constant eye on the weather, and catch the weather on the news often so you have some idea what to expect. What you get though, often isn’t what you expect lol.

            Another thing you learn, if you have had a steady wind for a while and it just dies down, you better be ready, that’s often when a frontal change is occuring and when the wind picks up again it usually gets real rough, real quick. Same scenario for strong storms, sudden wind changes out of nowhere often means a big bad ass storm is heading right for you.

            And if I can pick up these things here in Tennessee of all places, some islanders who know nothing but the sea for generations, are going to know much much more. You know what you do.

            Liked by 6 people

            1. No, I’m not being facetious at all about the neurology coded for smelling. But I do try to explain the reasoning for my comments so that others can use that to decide for themselves where they might agree or disagree. Hence, the length.

              The difference the sense of smell and acuity between bloodhounds and humans is that we utilize only a fraction of this neurology today (I don’t mean to suggest we can reactivate the ability to smell like a bloodhound but that our brains still develop a greater percentage of the neurology even if unused for this purpose to do so than bloodhounds.) I don’t know how the genes are regulated today but the fact that humans have this neurology in place (just like the vast amount in whales) tells me that once upon a time we must have used it to a much greater extent (or we inherited these genes in cross-breeding with other humanoids through time) and evolution has influenced its use to the level we use it today.

              I also suspect the neurology for processing visual data has far outstripped all other sensory areas of the brain in that same time frame. It’s really quite difficult to appreciate just how much we don’t see that our brains fill in for us… I heard a neurologist once explain that the eye’s focused ability to see is a space equivalent to holding one’s thumbnail straight before us at arm’s length; all the rest is radically degraded but filled in by the brain to ‘make sense’ of what we’re seeing at any one time in our field of vision. (If you stare at something, for example, the genes responsible for processing this data begin to shut off nerve signals in the same way we shut off paying attention to most sounds when we sleep). This is why optical illusions work: our brain is fooling us, so to speak, as it endeavors to fill in a whole bunch of data that may not be there at all or fill in data for an incorrect assumption! Our sense of smell is like the opposite direction of this processing; we don’t navigate reality by our sense of smell except when it comes to either eating and/or encountering danger. (Like our brains are saying to us, “Hey! Pay attention here you idiot!) And much of our processing is hidden from us in the sense we are completely unaware of how, say, our brains detect and act upon encountering sexual pheromones and we are somewhat oblivious to how our brains are then shaping our attention and physiological responses to certain people… only after which we try to rationalize why we think and feel the way we do. That’s why ‘choices’ we think we are making are about 20 seconds slower than when we actually respond and our brains unbeknownst to our conscious brain has already made our ‘choice’.

              Anyway, the point I’m making here is that every indication is that our perceptions do not ‘create’ reality as George F suggested but are geared entirely to informing the brain with incomplete input. And this matters because – to go back to my central point – HOW we think really does to a remarkable degree determine – and I use that term ‘determine’ intentionally – WHAT we think. That’s why the more knowledge we can bring to the table about HOW we think helps us understand that we – our thoughts and feelings and suspicions and beliefs – are fooled by nature into a false sense of assuming we are seeing the world as it is. Au contraire. As Feynman perceptively said, we don;t want to be fooled but are the easiest people in the world to fool. So using the method of science to inquire into reality and Bayesian reasoning to evaluate the temporary conclusions we form mitigates this foolishness to a remarkable degree and allows us to have no shame to admit when we don’t know something… but have good reasons to think this that or the other thing.

              Liked by 3 people

            2. Hello tildeb,

              Thank you for your reasoned reply. It has been a long day for me, though it is still pleasant for me to get through your reply, which I would like to supplement with the contents of my post at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2017/09/28/optical-illusions/

              This said post covers the topics of optical illusions quite comprehensively with more than 200 examples. Given its length and scope, it will take some time to load fully. In addition, please be informed that you might need to use a desktop or laptop computer with a large screen to view the rich multimedia contents available for heightening your multisensory enjoyment at my websites, some of which could be too powerful and feature-rich for iPad, iPhone, tablet or other portable devices to handle properly or adequately.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. Hi tildeb,

              Once again, thank you very much for your clarifications regarding specific aspects of “how and what we think” in relation to the fragility, patterns and limitations of human perceptions and bahaviours, many of which are discussed extensively in a book-length post published at http://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/the-quotation-fallacy/

              In the post, I have had to coin and define several new terms, including the “Quotation Fallacy”, the ramifications of which are very far-reaching. I have also attempted to unpack as much as I can the core issues and fundamental causes that have plagued many folks, whether or not they are victims or perpetrators.

              May you find this post informative or beneficial to you in various ways. Though the post is very long and encyclopaedic, the navigational menu there can help you to jump to any section of the post instantly so that you can resume reading at any point of the post over multiple sessions in your own time.

              Please enjoy!

              Liked by 1 person

            4. In addition, hovering with a mouse cursor over a hyperlinked text or some stylized word(s) in the post will often bring up a tooltip showing descriptive information or instruction.

              You may also click or touch a photo or image to view a larger version or to comment on it.

              Like

  14. I think modern humans, due to the world we live in, find it difficult to accept that peoples who lived many years ago simply had conscious awareness of the world around them. They weren’t distracted by the need to know how something worked. They just leaned on their intuition and their “sixth sense,” if you will, to survive … and often thrive.

    How can we, who live in a world dominated by beliefs that supernatural beings are in control of us and our surroundings, even dare to think we have all the answers? We attempt to make sense of it all through science, but at its core, it actually takes us away from our visceral understanding of the world.

    Intellectualism is the bane of the modern human.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. It’s a rigid superiority complex. Those weren’t failed ways of being human. They were just creatures of the natural world. We are not, and rarely set foot outside.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. If I may, Nan, I would like to build on your observations.
      Primitive humans felt much closer to the supernatural because they encountered it every day of their lives. They took everytlhing at face value, including spirits, and such, because they could sense the life around that. But, in the last 5000 years, give or take as much as you need, humans, especially Europeans, discovered they could know things about the world, and the more they came to know, the more they stopped sensing the life around them. They counted on their physical perceptions, disregarding for the most part only those things they could believe because others told them they should believe in them, like gods.Now, after millennia of worshipping such gods, it is my belief that we are starting to see the nonsense of faith, and we are changing back to what our primitive ancestors believed, but with different senses.

      I’m not sure if I am making sense, but these are the things I found in me, in my body and mind. They are not easy to describe, but I continually try. We have cut ourselves off from the supernatural to believe in the unnatural (God). Now that atheists are cutting themselves off from gods, some are starting to wonder what is really there, if anything.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. rawgod, you wrote that they took everything at face value … including spirits. Do we know for a fact that “spirits” entered the picture? Or is that simply a projection based on the beliefs of modern humans?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. More of a history thing. Dryads and naiads were common in old myths. We call them myths, but they are verbal histories of the times. Everything had a living spirit in it, all around the world.
          Yes, I could be ethnocentrizing, but I take all today’s myths to be the beliefs of the mythos of the time. As I said, people all around the world felt that trees, rocks, animals all had spirits. Hardly anyone believes that today, but perhaps we should be revisiting their closeness to nature.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. From my understanding, “myths” are a fairly recent anomaly. IOW, they were developed among humans as they became more aware of the world around them … which caused them to assign certain qualities and motives to events and happenings.

            I don’t think they were all that common among the peoples that I was referencing … those that lived and survived by instinct and intuitiveness.

            Liked by 4 people

            1. This is exactly the kind of thinking I am fighting. I had a big fight with a Christian prof in university who told me ancient Romans really didn’t believe in their pantheon of gods, they just used them as teaching stories for their children, and knew the tales were not true. I think they believed them. They were not just for entertainment.
              I’ve read a lot of myths in my time, from all over the world as I said, and they have a lot of things in common, yet with definite differences. Even if I’m the only one who thinks these so-called myths are rooted in reality, that’s okay by me. I already believe coronaviruses have spirits too. I’m built that way.

              Liked by 2 people

            2. My comments were not meant to be taken personally, rawgod. I was just offering my thoughts/ideas on humans/humanity as a whole — in relation to Jim’s blog post. Sorry if it didn’t come across that way.

              Like

            3. I didn’t take it personally, only inasmuch as I often run into people who don’t believe myrhs come from ancient truths. It was a talking point for me.

              Liked by 1 person

    3. What the natives and aboriginals can do and have been doing for ages are not something magical or mystical. They have a reverence for life around them with their concomitant pragmatism and traditional ecological knowledge, which have been well studied and documented by interdisciplinary researches straddling (socio)linguistics, paleohistory, forensic science, social sciences (anthropology, archaeology and sociology) and natural sciences ((ethno)biology, (ethno)botony, (ethno)zoology, palaeontology, geology and so on) as well as behavioural sciences (psychology, psychobiology, anthropology and cognitive science).

      Liked by 4 people

      1. What I am trying to illustrate is the amazing depth of the human mind. Where do you draw the line in front of that depth? Can people perceive things we don’t understand? It is called metaphysical, or mystical. I think the answer is yes but that gets in to frightening territory for some

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Dear Jim,

          Thank you for your reply and clarification. I would strongly suggest using the word “metaphysical” carefully, as the layperson’s use and understanding of the word are often very loose, haphazard, ill-defined, inaccurate and/or inappropriate.

          Also, in the context of our discussion, it would be more apposite to state that the human culture or cultural evolution (rather than the human mind) has “amazing depth”. It is the accumulated and collective knowledges as well as the sociocultural and sociohistorical outcomes in all its synergy and diversity that impart the depth, not so much the human mind per se. Even the word “mind” needs to be used with care.

          It is also not so much about drawing the lines as seeing and understanding the parts and the whole through (socio)linguistics, paleohistory, forensic science, social sciences (anthropology, archaeology and sociology) and natural sciences ((ethno)biology, (ethno)botony, (ethno)zoology, palaeontology, geology and so on) as well as behavioural sciences (psychology, psychobiology, anthropology and cognitive science). For example, to fathom the “mystery” (to use your own word) of songlines, one needs to understand the oral history of the aboriginals through anthropology with a greater emphasis in ethnography and ethnomusicology as well as cultural anthropology, (socio)linguistics and paleohistory, plus archaeology, ethnogeology, ethnobiology, ethnobotony and ethnozoology when necessary.

          The need and importance of seeing and understanding the parts and the whole are also why many of my posts (and certain pages) tend to be very extensive, interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, encyclopaedic and elaborate in their details.

          Quoting Dyami Millarson and Ken Ho as follows:

          Practically all human tribes and clans developed their own language. These languages are complex puzzles that provide the pieces to create a picture of reality. Languages contain data that help us get an idea about what our ancestors experienced and it also helps us understand what we could potentially experience (hypothetically speaking) as well as how we could efficiently describe our current, past or future experiences. Therefore, all indigenous languages provide us with the pieces we need in order to know the range of experiences that the ancestors of a particular group of people regularly experienced. As we may assume that each language is a simulated reality that is an intentional copy of observed reality, we can safely assume that the language of a tribe or clan – whilst languages do usually not appear overnight but build on many generations of observed reality of immediate experience – is an accurate display of the puzzle of the historical reality that a certain people lived in. Said in a simpler way, a tribal language reflects the environment in which a tribe lived; or said in the simplest way, a language is a people’s memories of experiences a.k.a. history.

          Hence, you can see that “Languages offer you a kind of ‘uncensored’ or ‘unprocessed’ version of history that practically no history book would ever tell you; the way in which languages tell you about history is so much more chaotic, yet so much more informative on so many levels.” Whilst different languages have many similarities (and differences) in syntaxes and grammars, it is very true that they possess very different “sound and feel” as well as “cosmologies”, so to speak, even as/if we take into account the subjective or elastic nature of the meanings and imports of words. In addition, when one adds or super(im)poses linguistic/cultural variations and idiosyncrasies, the results can be unexpected and contingent.

          Unfortunately, many languages are (or in danger of) going extinct as we speak.

          When I was in the social science department (inclusive of anthropology, sociology, criminology and archaeology) of one of my former universities, I voluntarily audited some of Dr John Bradley’s classes to learn the Yanyuwa language, which has been regarded as one of the Ngarna languages of the larger Pama–Nyungan language family. The language belongs to the Yanyuwa people are an Indigenous Australian people of the Northern Territory who reside in the coastal region around the Sir Edward Pellew Group of Islands in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria. In some respects, the language is more complex than English to learn. According to a passage from Wikipedia which also mentions Dr Bradley:

          Many Yanyuwa have also been bilingual in the Garrwa language.[1] The retention of their language as with Garrwa has been attributed to the relative disinterest of colonizing whites in the lands both of these tribes traditionally inhabited.[2] Taking as his starting point an observation by Edward Sapir concerning the Yahi dialect of Yana, who considered the gendered distinction in language use between Yanna men and women as very rare, or not as pervasive as in this dialect, John Bradley showed that in Yanyuwa, the differentiation was at least as structurally thorough as in Yahi. The gendered linguistic difference between liyi-wulu-wu (speech for men) and liyi nhanawaya-wu (speech for women) affected noun classes, verbs and pronouns, and in their creation stories, this distinction was maintained by male and female spirits. Raised predominantly by the women, boys spoke the women’s dialect until initiation, whereupon they were obliged by custom not to speak as if they had breasts and vaginas.[3] Neighbouring tribes, speakers of Marra, Garrwa and Gurdanji consider Yanyuwa difficult precisely for this gendered difference in grammar, whereas the Yanyuwa, conversely, have no difficulty in mastering the latter languages.[4] Two exceptions exist, in ribald talk, and in certain songline cycles where male figures use female speech, though the reason is not known.[5] Bradley’s conclusion is:

          The reasons as to why two distinct dialects for female and male speakers developed are lost in time., This feature has however served to make Yanyuwa a language unique within Aboriginal Australia, if not the world.[6]

          Happy June to you and your family!

          Liked by 3 people

          1. I missed my calling as an ethnographer. Thank you for the insightful comment. While I am no expert in linguistic anthropology, it has been a long term interest to understanding different ways of being. It is a fascinating reveal of how we see the world and shaping its reality. All of these primitive ways were not failed ways of being human, but truly different ways of being, interpreting, and interacting with the world.
            Wade Davis coined a term “ethnosphere” and the varietal health of the planet depends on these varieties of life and being for its sustained health.
            Roughly every two weeks an ancient language becomes extinct, taking with it a unique (and correct) way of expressing life on earth. Imagine if we only grew one crop, one kind of tree, etc. It’s not long before the whole forest becomes diseased and corrupt. Imagine how life will be when we all think the same way? Where we’ve satisfied our curiosity and determine this-is-it, this is reality—there will be little beauty left in the world and no one who cared to remember it anyway.
            Thanks again. Always a pleasure.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Dear Jim,

              I am delighted that you have quoted Wade Davis by rephrasing his statement: “Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.” As you probably already know, he defines ethnosphere as “the sum total of all thoughts and intuitions, myths and beliefs, ideas and inspirations brought into being by the human imagination since the dawn of consciousness”.

              It would be prudent to avoid using the word “primitive”, lest you be accused of harbouring ethnocentrism, which can be related to racism. Hence, your phrase “All of these primitive ways” is best replaced with “All of these distinct cultures and modalities of being”.

              In any case, I am in agreement with you on the centrality of preserving ethnoscape, the wellspring of cultural diversity of humankind, considering that half of the six thousand languages are highly vulnerable to extinction, as they are not being passed on to the younger generation.

              So far, we have only been dealing and reconciling with differences between human cultures and belief systems (including religious ones and atheism). It can be even (much) harder and trickier to deal with those differences between humans and nonhumans, as the gulfs and therefore discriminations (and even atrocities) can be much greater or rampant, if not irreconcilable or intractable.

              I would like to invite you to carefully peruse my interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary post entitled “🦅 SoundEagle in Debating Animal Artistry and Musicality 🎵🐕🎶🐒🎹🐘🖼🐬🎨”, which is simultaneously witty and serious about a number of outstanding issues.

              The said post actually ventures far beyond whatever its title may suggest or mean to any reader, especially in the very long “Conclusions” section.

              It is available to you at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2013/07/13/soundeagle-in-debating-animal-artistry-and-musicality/

              I look forward to reading your deep thoughts and feedback at the comment section of the said post.

              Liked by 1 person

  15. “I find it fascinating that the Maori could identify the sea in such a way that some would think it impossible, ”
    We do not know how many of them died trying do we? It could simply be a case of trial & error, just like how everything else is learnt by us humans. We try and fail and then someone else tries and succeeds and whoala, we put it down to some mystical intuition

    Liked by 4 people

    1. People that die at sea do not return. Trial and error? Maybe. That wasn’t the technique they demonstrated.
      The Australian Aboriginal language Guugu Yimithirr, or Guguyimidjir, has no words for left and right. Instead, speakers give all their descriptions and directions based roughly on the fixed four cardinal points of the compass: north, south, east and west. They constantly know where they are and how to get home. It is part of the language and culture (they have no words for left and right) yet have the cadence of a migratory bird. Fascinating the possibilities, yet modern human seems to be calcified of such perceptions.

      Liked by 3 people

  16. It’s simply things to think about. I think many atheists don’t like these questions and connections because it implies there may be more to it than simply abandoning the Judeo/Christian theme as the nonsense that it is. The only way this doesn’t at least spark curiousity, is we’ve closed ourselves off because of the bitter taste of religion.
    This isn’t all about an archaic past, but current investigations in consciousness and thought, where ideas come from and so forth. I find it fascinating that the Maori could identify the sea in such a way that some would think it impossible, but I think it is the limitless potential of the human mind. If they can feel and navigate by what we moderns can’t even see, wouldn’t that open the potential human perceptions to include the mystical as well as the physical? There are countless examples of different ways of interpreting the world. Maybe there is something to it, or maybe it’s just pure human genius. I don’t know

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am completely open-minded to the very real possibility that our brains are untapped reservoirs of ability/creativity.
      All I am asking is this: Are you in any way implying anything supernatural?
      A simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ will suffice.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t believe in supernatural. There are simply things we cannot measure (yet). They are only supernatural until we can understand them. Let me ask you this; is it possible that people tap into this area of nature we do not fully understand, and utilize it?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. So, ‘no’ to supernatural.

          ; is it possible that people tap into this area of nature we do not fully understand, and utilize it?

          I don’t know. Is it possible? Can it be explained?
          Do (certain) people claim this is what they do?

          Like

          1. I am completely open-minded to the very real possibility that our brains are untapped reservoirs of ability/creativity”. Then where do you draw that line? The aboriginal navigator did not make this claim. It was observed and then investigated. Then it was duplicated by sailing to Hawaii with no modern navigation in a pontoon boat.
            The Kofan didn’t make the claim. It was observed and investigated. Claims seem to be for those who don’t know. They just did what they did without questioning it.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. To me? Really anything can happen and does, in spite of us thinking.
              I’ve done about 500 posts on different topics, but the way my mind works it could all be one. By taking seemingly disparate topics and connecting them, it appears that the world is a lot stranger (and older) than most people can grasp, and the abilities are limitless. I would hope it would lead humans to being more tolerant of other ways interpreting the world around us.
              There are as many possibilities as brains in the world. I think that’s pretty cool. But when you have belief without utility, we get what we have today. So enjoy the show, but not too seriously.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. That’s a non answer, and you’re beginning to waffle again.
              In the previous comment you said the voyage was repeated in a pontoon.
              Was it repeated by non Maoris?

              Like

            3. How am I waffling? I’m just open (and also open to correction). The first experiment was here—
              In 1768, as he sailed from Tahiti, Captain Cook had an additional passenger on board his ship, a Tahitian navigator named Tupaia. Tupaia guided Cook 300 miles south to Rurutu, a small Polynesian island, proving he could navigate from his homeland to a distant island. Cook was amazed to find that Tupaia could always point in the exact direction in which Tahiti lay, without the use of the ship’s charts.
              The second was done in 1976 in a reconstructed pontoon— Using no instruments, the canoe team navigated as their ancestors did, by the stars. They had no maps, no sextants, no compasses, and they navigated by observing the ocean and sky, reading the stars and swells. The paths of stars and rhythms of the ocean guided them by night and the color of sky and the sun, the shapes of clouds, and the direction from which the swells were coming, guided them by day. Several days away from an island, they were able to determine the exact day of landfall. Swells would tell them that there was land ahead, and the surest telltale sign would be the presence of birds making flights out to sea seeking food. By sailing from Hawaii to Tahiti, Hokule’a’s team was able to prove that it was possible for Polynesian peoples to migrate over thousands of miles from island to island.

              Liked by 3 people

            4. The point is that what may simply look like a wave to you, may have tremendous meaning to another. That the natural ability of humans is now relegated to opinions and papers and an hour a day in the garden. It seems rather arrogant to me to think these people couldn’t take it a step further into areas we don’t understand. We call it supernatural, not them.
              Why is this so mysterious? Um, 2,629.54 mi (4,231.84 km)

              Liked by 3 people

            5. Sure, everything can be explained. And like a migratory bird knows direction, there are people like that too. We can hypothesize and take it apart, but the bird doesn’t know any better. We may no longer have the ability though, or the ability to even discover it. We may have devolved enough through science to have lost an art.
              Why do I detect such a skeptical tone aimed my way? It would take volumes of text and years of collaboration to fully explain a blade of grass. Don’t be too quick to judge. We know very little

              Liked by 2 people

            6. From your first comment to accusing me of metaphysical waffling. What’s up with that? I’m simply inquisitive with questions. I don’t mind being grounded, yet I have no beliefs. It may sound esoteric at times, but how do I ask the question without constantly prefacing the question into bias? I have no agenda but discovery, and learn a lot from the comments. People have done some amazing things without knowing they were amazing. I think we short change ourselves a bit by the scientific documentation that is required to move this train. It’s like doctors—2 hours of medicine and 6 hours of documentation. Where can we have a safe place to think or express our thoughts (that sometimes come out of the blue) but among friends?

              Liked by 2 people

            7. I have no agenda but discovery,

              And I have no problems with this at all.
              It is merely the way you are phrasing some of your more ”esoteric” posts which suggest that, as we might not currently be able to explain what is going on you seem to hint at something other than a perfectly normal / ordinary underlying scientific answer.
              If I have misunderstood then tell me so.

              Liked by 2 people

            8. I am merely sharing other points of view in some of these posts that are interesting thought exercises. There are some fascinating philosophies that were forbidden in my youth, and some of these are actually much kinder and sustainable ways of being. It does bother me how much Christianity has even effected the scientific theories though they don’t see it that way. But it’s fun to watch, nonetheless.

              Liked by 1 person

            9. I acknowledge you are sharing other points of view.
              I am merely asking for clarification that, any answers you may be looking for you expect will have a scientific basis.
              Is this the case?
              Again a straightforward yes or no will suffice.

              Like

            10. There are no straightforward answers. Of course I would expect eventually to be able to explain everything. I would like a strait forward answer to the previous question though, without waffling.” is it possible that people tap into this area of nature we do not fully understand, and utilize it?” That would be areas that are currently deemed as supernatural. Do the mystics tap into this, or do you have an explanation for that experience?

              Liked by 2 people

            11. is it possible that people tap into this area of nature we do not fully understand, and utilize it?”

              I’ll offer a straightforward answer, no probs, Jim.
              Baring in mind, however, you stated you do not believe in the supernatural, first explain what you mean by ”tap in.”

              Like

            12. See things, feel impressions, see ghosts, predict the future, heal people, whatever the claim, source energy, spirit guides, the whole array of metaphysical claims we are unable to measure that most of the world thinks is real. “Is it possible knowing the unlimited potential of human cognition and skill, that people “tap into” this area of nature we do not fully understand or measure yet, and utilize it to their benefit? I’ll give you one example and maybe you can explain it. During purposeful meditation, some people claim to enter the Akashic record and see a data stream of all that has ever happened or will happen where no time exists. What is it they are really seeing. Some actually return with information they had no prior knowledge of. What would you say to that?

              Liked by 1 person

            13. See things, feel impressions, see ghosts, predict the future, heal people, whatever the claim, source energy, spirit guides, the whole array of metaphysical claims we are unable to measure that most of the world thinks is real.

              Somewhat like when Christians tell us they feel Jesus in their heart?

              Like

            14. Somewhat like a Christian, but that is simply anchoring bias and societal expectations. Actually you Ark, are in a great position to try one of these other disciplines and see if it works, because you believe none of it.
              One thing about Buddhism or the Tao, it is a process and not a belief. Essentially they clear your mind of belief and undomesticate all of the bullshit we’ve grown up (identifying us with labels before we can even talk) with to initiate the experience.
              I have an interesting experience to share from a close friend of mine. She went to the local tribe and met with a lady shaman. No drugs, just a brief meditation and opening shakras (whatever that is). She went into a room where the records were kept. She was met by a spirit guide and she asked him his name. He said he was Qin Shi Huang and she was of his people, his tribe. Now this is the interesting part. This lady had no knowledge (that she can recall) of any Chinese history or historical figures. She came out with something she’d never heard of. Wtf?

              Liked by 1 person

            15. Somewhat like a Christian, but that is simply anchoring bias and societal expectations.

              So, in essence … bullshit.
              Appreciate the suggestion, but I’ll pass. I find reality interesting enough, and the really great thing is there is so much of it. You, however, give the impression that you haven’t quite got over religion/Christianity and are looking for something to fill a void you may well have created yourself?
              Just an observation.

              Liked by 3 people

            16. Nah, no void. I’m not joining anything. I do not have an agenda, but somethings (like akashic) are pretty hard to explain, but do concern themselves with IIT, panpsychism, the data stream (good evidence) but not enough yet. I see you handwaved the akashic question. Where did that info come from. I actually know two people that had the same thing happen and were given info they’d never heard of. But hey, I wasn’t there so it makes me skeptical.
              I wonder what it is with most rigid atheists that don’t want to even consider more than meets the eye. It should be addressed and falsified if possible, or explained.
              I think it’s a fair question. Can some people perceive what we don’t detect with the instruments?

              Liked by 1 person

            17. I wonder what it is with most rigid atheists that don’t want to even consider more than meets the eye.

              Ironic that Christians say the very same thing, have you noticed?

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            18. I remember John’s comment on another blog, that evidence would be “did the revelation produce any new information?” I realized this is a very small sampling, but makes me wonder. Maybe I’ll go see the lady and check it out myself and write about it. I’d be very open to scrutiny. Or I could just say it’s bullshit and not investigate it.

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            19. Didn’t the early navigators use the stars? And heard stories from someone who happened to make a correct turn at sea and found inhabited land. This went on for centuries..also there were birds returning or going in yearly patterns, maybe heightened sense of smell…so many things old have contributed to what to us seems unexplainable, but not to them..

              Liked by 2 people

  17. It’s not what you write that I find disconcerting but rather what you may be implying. So, just in case I am running about beating the burning bush … what are you implying?
    And as I ask our Christian ”colleagues” – Straightforward answer please, sans any sort of metaphysical waffle.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I dunno Ark. I’ve followed the conversation between yourself and Jim because that topic is of great interest to me and I get the impression that you are the one defending something you can never be sure of, i.e., your science is based on Western ideology that “nature ” is strictly a physical manifestation, as is life and nothing beyond that. You are defending life without spirit because you automatically reject any possibility there could be more than your science can explain. Your science is too proud to admit there could be aspects of life it can never explain. That, my friend, is faith. What I ask myself is, why this need to control everything even if it means killing it if if won’t fit under the microscope? Why can’t your science (and I do mean your science, not mine) leave well enough alone what it isn’t designed to measure or explain? If there is a mystical aspect to sailing a canoe across the Pacific ocean without modern scientific equipment, why not simply accept that? They use their “mystic” senses and you use your GPS. Who needs to compete; to prove one is right, one therefore has to be wrong? That’s a great problem with Earthians’ reasoning: if I’m right and my religion/science says so, then you are wrong for not accepting my beliefs because my religion/science says so. Why not say, I don’t understand it but if it works, great. The whales and as mentioned, the birds, have been navigating their migratory paths for probably millions of years without fail, not by trial and error. Why could aboriginal peoples not do the same simply because Western minds have lost that ability due to growing reliance on external man-made resources? What you end up arguing is, “my ignorance trumps your innate knowledge because I am a product of exceptional Western European thought.” Hubris, pure and simple.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Good question, Ark. How about a deal: I answer you when you answer Jim’s question: “is it possible that people tap into this area of nature we do not fully understand, and utilize it?”
          OK, so that’s somewhat unfair, it’s none of my business. Your question has no answer, you do know that. Spirit is, making no differentiation between atheists, deists and whatever other sorts of “ists” or non-“ists” there may be. Spirit undergirds what we call life but again, it makes no difference if that is believed or not. I can tell you that spirit isn’t some sort of divinity or spirit-being(s)(as sensed by some people through extrasensory perception. A properly developing human being is aware of itself as three aspects: spirit (it’s source), mind (the eternal aspect of being human and a physical body which changes with each incarnation. Most Earth peoples today have degenerated to being aware of only one aspect of themselves: a physical body. Their conclusion then is that at the end of the body’s cycle they terminate. I find that incredibly sad, not only because of the pointlessness of living such a dead-end life, but because it causes the creature to act in totally un-human and inhumane ways.
          Our languages do not give us the means to define spirit – maybe no language anywhere in the universe does, or can. I “define” it for myself as an awareness more than a presence. Each individual has to seek for, find and develop that awareness for themselves. It’s not a question of faith but of re-discovery.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. So, in effect, you are simply making something up.

            As for Jim’s question:
            “is it possible that people tap into this area of nature we do not fully understand, and utilize it?”
            Again … what do you mean by ”tap in ”.
            For example: Scientists now know how birds utilize the earth’s magnetic field to navigate.
            Mystery solved. No ”spirits” involved. Nothing untoward or magical.
            Or are you alluding to something else when you use the term ”tapping in”?

            Like

          2. Their conclusion then is that at the end of the body’s cycle they terminate.

            It’s generally called death, and happens to all living things.

            I find that incredibly sad, not only because of the pointlessness of living such a dead-end life, but because it causes the creature to act in totally un-human and inhumane ways.

            Amazing …… Christians have a filthy habit of uttering similar bullshit.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Spirit/spiritual – no longer politically correct terms, must be redefined. Car/gas guzzler – no longer politically correct term, must be redefined. SUV/hybrid? Ah, good, now I can drive my car (oops, sorry, SUV) again without upsetting the new status quo. You get twisted over a term used by billions over thousands of years to describe a certain function of their mind they happen to be aware of. Will some “misuse” the term? Of course, that’s an Earthian specialty, to destroy meaning. Will that change how the adept perceives the function? Not at all. Enjoy your gardening, Ark.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. It has nothing do with political correctness.
              One can hardly criticize a Christian ( for example) for asserting Jesus’ (spirit) resides in their heart while using the word/term to suit your own ends.
              Again, if you cannot define it – or are not prepared to – then it is simply a bumph word and suggests that, because of ignorance, you wish to claim some form of knowledge by using a word that is some sort of ‘catch all’.

              Maybe we should get the Ouija board out and ask Crazy Horse … or even St Paul?

              Liked by 1 person

            3. I don’t get your antagonism to that particular term, Ark. Is it me, or is it the word itself? I mean, it’s only a word. And as to definitions, it has some pretty good ones on an Internet search – which I deliberately avoided as I tried to express what that term means TO ME. I was raised a Christian, Catholic actually and after a bout with atheism I had one of those “experiences” which plunged me into born again Christian evangelicalism for about 5 years. Both experiences of Christian thinking were quite enlightening for the confusion of beliefs within these institutions. I never did return to atheism having discovered that “gods” as people call them do actually exist. I’ve explained my reasoning for that many times. But “spirit” to ME is a force, comparable to the Force of Star Wars. A good description would be like the wind: you can see the effects it has but you can’t see it. The difference of course is that the “effect” of spirit is sensed by me only for MY life. It is real, powerful and is more important to ME than being aware that my heart is beating. We use words so freely Ark but none of those words ever accurately describe what we are talking about, we just make huge assumptions that everybody else senses the same thing when, for example, someone says “horse.” What if another has never heard of a horse, what will they make of that? For you “spirit” is obviously non-existent but for me the term is hugely meaningful. Can’t you allow another to believe in pink elephants, for example, if they want to? One more point then I have to go: what about “inspiration”? Do you ever experience an inspiration about something? Doesn’t the word “inspiration” source itself from “spirit”? Detach the word “spirit” from whatever inimical thoughts you have towards organized religion and let it roam freely. It isn’t going to hurt anyone – unless it is misused. Am I misusing it, in your opinion? If I am then you have to define the term for me, see if your definition fits my experience. What else can I say? However much anyone berates me for having a personal awareness of “spirit” in my life isn’t going to make any difference. This isn’t stubbornness. If someone berated me for breathing, I’d still go on breathing… unless someone put their knee on my neck… You’re not trying to put your knee on my “spiritual neck” are you, Ark?

              Liked by 2 people

            4. never did return to atheism having discovered that “gods” as people call them do actually exist.

              Oh really? Well done, you!
              Unfortunately, with such a classic, yet sadly, wholly unsupported piece of … well … let’s say manure? …. you have effectively excused yourself from playing with the grown ups.

              Let me know if you decide to study midichlorians. Meanwhile, may the force be with you.
              Or perhaps you are more at ease with Cowabunga?
              *Shrug*

              Liked by 1 person

            5. Sha’Tara: “If someone berated me for breathing, I’d still go on breathing… unless someone put their knee on my neck… You’re not trying to put your knee on my “spiritual neck” are you, Ark?”

              Zoe: I realize this comment is directed at Ark, however I saw it and had my own reaction. I was going to write about how I couldn’t breathe in relation to trauma regarding Christianity &/or spirituality the day before the black lives matter protests. I had this overwhelming feeling that I just couldn’t write about it because how could my wording be appropriate in light of the knee George Floyd had on his neck. Throughout my entire life I’ve often said, “I can’t breathe.” Now I literally am thinking, I can’t use this phrase anymore as a metaphor for my own Christian/spiritual experience. I’m alive. He isn’t. But it is my metaphor.

              It’s stunning and harsh.

              Liked by 2 people

            6. Without knowing your story it is difficult to comment back but I understand only too well the “I can’t breathe!” feeling in relation to religion. Then in relation to our government and then in relation to the financial and corporate world. These have us in a choke-hold and tightening their grip with each passing day. You are aware of what that feels like but sadly billions carry on as if their freedoms were not being threatened and taken away… with each passing day. I have felt the “death” energy of the planet these last few months and it was the sort of feeling that, were I in a “spiritually lower state” I would have been seriously contemplating suicide again. That option is no longer in my reality which is good, and I have found a way to “breathe” by how to put it, importing spiritual oxygen from non-Earth sources. I know I can do some good here while waiting to “transition” and that gives me the joy I was taught I would experience if I allowed myself to also feel the sorrow of this world. Not exactly “atheistic” thinking I suppose but that’s how it goes.

              Liked by 1 person

          3. Sha’Tara, you wrote: I “define” it for myself as an awareness more than a presence. Each individual has to seek for, find and develop that awareness for themselves.

            The phrase that came to me when I was writing my book was Universal Presence, but I think “Universal Awareness” works just as well. In any case, from my perspective, it has nothing to do with “us;” that is, who we are and/or what we believe. “We” are simply part of the whole.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Hi Nan – for me the problem with referring to “spirit” as a presence instead of awareness implies the existence of some separate entity, as in a god. I always try to find the best available words to express what I mean, an onerous task at best when dealing with the “esoterical” aspects of sentient life.

              Liked by 2 people

        1. I’ve read them, twice. Quite a bit above my pay grade so let me ask, what prompted you to ask me to re-read the comments? Anything in particular you wanted me to
          “notice?” Thanks.

          Liked by 2 people

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