Category Archives: Religion

A Change of Heart

I have explored the topic of self love previously. Recently, I came to a deeper understanding of this concept while attending a retreat. It happened while I explored why I feel inhibited at times around other people.

This exploration seemed to be related to my mother who died two years ago. Since then, I puzzled as to why I do not really miss her. I asked God why this was so. The answer came to me very clearly. There was no connection between us. I assumed a connection existed but the more I examined it the more I knew that this assumption was false. Accordingly, when she died there was no connection to miss. In my heart, beneath my denial and “beliefs” I knew this was true.

This insight left me feeling a profound emptiness. I saw how because I had no motherly connection I had never learned to love myself. And so I looked for love from other people. I sought to look good in the eyes of others, to entertain them and be the life of the party. I see now how this was a clinging, covetous, jealous love that generated friends who were not good for me. It made me hurt those people in my life who were good for me. I sought girlfriends I did everything to get and then quickly felt trapped by them. I never knew what I actually wanted in life and made quick decisions that I later came to regret. None of this ever took me to a place I wanted to be. These experiences made me feel good in the short term but never in the long term.

I saw all this and saw how empty I was. So I asked God to fill my emptiness with his love. To my surprise, the very clear answer I received was, “Fill it yourself.” He was right. I had to love myself first before I sought love from an external source. Having never really loved myself in the past I was at a loss as to where to begin. This was a place where God could help me.

It was through intent that God created this universe in which we live in all its mystery and complexity. Intent comes from God. And so I intended to love myself. I made the conscious choice to do so. Then God miraculously transformed me, and my own love for myself welled within me. I felt it. I wore a yellow and black checkerboard cloak. “I love myself,” I said inside with a silly, bemused fascination. I felt love within me in a way I had not felt as far back as I can remember.

Then I felt a profound love and gratitude for God. I felt his presence deeply but I longed for him to reveal himself in some more obvious way. I held my hands in prayer looking at the ceiling. “I love you, I love you, I love you…,” I repeated over and over. “I am so grateful!” And tears of grief for all the hurt that led to this point streamed down my face. All the regret for the emptiness and missed opportunity I held in my life for so long became starkly revealed. But my tears were also tears of joy. I sobbed for what seemed like hours.

I saw how my lack of self love made me incapable of offering authentic love to anyone else because I needed their love to make me whole. It was a transaction. I was a hungry ghost. I saw how my lack of self-love inhibited all my aims because I felt I had no entitlement to achieve them. I saw how my lack of self-love drove me to addictive behavior to fill the emptiness. I saw how if I don’t love myself and need validation from others then I will be inhibited in my actions because I will fear failure and humiliation. For how can I be validated from another person if I am a humiliated failure? And I saw how my mother had no love for herself either and therefore could not give me authentic love. I asked her forgiveness for never having a connection and for my lack of compassion. I forgave her as well.

Over the course of that long night, the tears would leave for a time and then came back again and again. Finally, the tears subsided and I felt peace and the healing process at long last began.

To love authentically I must first love myself. When I love myself I don’t need the love of another to feel whole. When I love myself I am capable of freely giving love to another who can then reciprocate freely and authentically. And of course, that authentic love is what I do need. Loving myself is liberating because I am not reliant on others or external circumstances to feel whole. If I love myself and find joy in myself then I never have to feel like I must engage in addictive or self-destructive behavior to fit in. My  presence (in theory) will be a joy to others. If I love myself then I will not demand of others to be a certain way. I can teach and set an example and they may follow of their own accord. If they do then we will be in a superior harmony than if I compelled them against their will.

I said the healing began, but it is far from complete. I spent a life time not loving myself and it will take a while to build up an internal reservoir of self love to sustain me. It will also take time for me to learn the new patters associated with self love and to discard the old patters associated with its lack. Finally, it will take time for me to trust in the divine plan overseeing this transformation. Whatever it is and whatever it takes and whatever uncomfortable feelings I must endure to get to the other side of this I will do it. There are old internal forces of darkness within me who do not want me to change and will fight this process. But there is also an internal force of light that allowed me to love myself and that seeks my change of heart. That internal force is of course, the hidden one, the one who created the universe with his intent, the one I love and the one to whom I am eternally grateful.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Psychology, Religion

Taking on Responsibility

Jordan Peterson frequently makes the argument that life is made meaningful by taking on as much responsibility as possible. The idea of taking responsibility occurs frequently in “self-help” literature. Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, for example, talks about taking responsibility as opposed to being “entitled” and expecting success to be given without earning it. Jack Canfield and Dave Andrews talk about committing to their program 100% (integral to taking on responsibility as I will explain) as a means of cutting off the internal, mental debate that would ensure if one committed anything less than 100% to the 30 Day Sobriety Solution.

Although the idea of taking responsibility is approached from different perspectives by each author there is a common theme present among them all. That is, the best way to live one’s life is by taking on the responsibility of living it. Put another way, the best way to live one’s life is to embrace the responsibilities that present themselves rather than avoiding them, treating them as a burden or blaming them for your own problems. Whether this means deriving meaning through responsibility, accepting the consequences of one’s actions without excuses, complaint or blame, or simply deciding to leave no wiggle room to escape when one makes a decision, the taking on of responsibility brings forth an authenticity to one’s life that would not otherwise be there. This authenticity, in turn, improves the quality of existence because it is aligned with Truth.

One might reasonably argue that the aforementioned authenticity comes from both taking control of one’s life by actively deciding to take on responsibility as well as from submitting to the higher power that bestowed the responsibility upon the self. In other words, authenticity is found by navigating that middle ground between ego and selflessness. The ego is needed for survival in this world. But selflessness or service to a purpose other than the self is where meaning can be found. Obviously, meaning in this world cannot be found if one is dead, so one must first survive. So in a sense, it is authentic (or real or truthful) to acknowledge both the need for the self to survive and the need to be selfless to provide meaning to the self’s existence at the same time.

Manson talks about the difference between fault and responsibility. He asserts that we are not at fault for the situations in which we find ourselves much of the time. But we are always responsible for how we act in response to those situations. This means that we frequently find ourselves in situations not of our own making that we are, nevertheless, responsible for. In The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, he provides the example of someone leaving a baby on another person’s doorstep. In this scenario, the person to whom the doorstep belongs is not at fault for the baby’s predicament, but once he becomes aware of the baby, he becomes responsible for acting to protect the baby or deliver it to someone else who can. In this situation he could theoretically avoid responsibility and pretend he has not seen the baby or in some other way ignore it. But (I assume few people would contest) that the right thing to do would be to take responsibility for the situation.

Notice, that pretending he has not seen the baby or ignoring the baby requires the doorstep owner to act inauthentically. He is pretending he has not seen the baby when he actually has seen it in order to avoid responsibility for it. Of course, one could argue that if the baby is not a member of the doorstep owner’s tribe (however he chooses to define it) he could authentically not take responsibility for the baby out of principle. That is, he is only responsible for those people he defines as inside his tribe. But this, in my eyes, would be denying the innocence and humanity of the baby who is neither at fault nor responsible for its situation and therefore, the doorstep owner’s denial would necessarily be another form of inauthenticity.

Now, it is not immediately obvious that the taking on of responsibility should be a proper aim in life. For example, many people often assume that happiness should be the proper orienting principle. But this would be a mistake from the position of those who hold that responsibility should be the orienting principle. Peterson argues that happiness is nice when it comes around but is not the proper goal because unbridled happiness is antithetical with survival in the material world. Manson argues that happiness is not enough because life is suffering and the only way for a person to grow and learn is by encountering problems and solving them. Happiness comes as a by product of solving problems but the problems, and solving of the problems, are integral parts of the process and should be accepted as such.

In the final analysis, the only way any individual can determine if taking on responsibility should be their proper aim in life and whether pursuing this aim will improve their life is to try it for themselves and to learn from it empirically. In a sense, taking on responsibility requires this empirical investigation because in a sense, taking on responsibility is itself an empirical investigation. That is, one who takes on a responsibility will necessarily learn from the experience. But again, the responsibility should be taken on willingly and not viewed as a burden or imposition. This is the connection with Jack Canfield and Dave Andrew’s concept of committing 100% to a process. Because any commitment that is less than 100% is not taking full responsibility for whatever is being undertaken. If a responsibility is not taken on with 100% commitment then it is not seriously being taken on. This, in turn, will open the door to the internal debate as to whether the responsibility should be taken on it the first place. Whereas, taking on a responsibility with 100% commitment eliminates this internal debate.

 

9 Comments

Filed under Psychology, Religion

Thordaddy’s Claim that his concept of “white (S)upremacy” accords with Christian Doctrine

This post is part of a series of posts designed to address the common topics brought by a frequent commentator to my blog named Thordaddy. Please see this post for an introduction to this series.

Thordaddy claims that Christianity is a “(S)upremacist” religion, therefore any white Christian must be a “white (S)upremacist”. There are two problems with this claim. First, (as always) Thordaddy’s unique terminology is vaguely and confusingly defined. Second, there is no scriptural basis for this assertion.

(a) The reoccurring problem with definitions

Thordaddy uses two definitions for white supremacy: (1) the mundane definition, and (2) the absolute definition. The mundane definition of white supremacy is the common definition that most people share. That is, “the belief, theory or doctrine that white people are superior to those of all other races, especially the black race, and therefore should dominate society.” By contrast, Thordaddy argues that he practices the “absolute” version of “white (S)upremacy” which he defines as a “white man who believes in and therefore strives towards perfection.” Thordaddy admits that these practices are not mutually exclusive. That is, a practitioner of absolute white (S)upremacy will often also be a practitioner of mundane white supremacy.

Now, Thordaddy often argues that the “dull masses” abhor the practice of absolute white (S)upremacy because they cannot see past the mundane version of white supremacy. This, I believe is incorrect. First, I do not think anyone would object to a white person striving for perfection unrelated to the mundane definition. I certainly cannot think of an example of this happening. Second, if the mundane and the absolute practices are often “intertwined” (as Thordaddy has said) then this is very likely the reason why the “dull masses” cannot see past the concept of mundane white supremacy. Moreover, Thordaddy is unwilling or unable to provide a clear definition regarding what he means by “striving towards perfection.” When asked for a definition or example the best he could offer was his “spreading his righteousness” to people he encounters. I assume this means him communicating his racist message in his unique communication style which again seems to only reflect the mundane definition.

In conclusion, if we are defining “supremacy” as trying to be the best you can be and a “white (S)upremacist” as someone trying to be the best they can be who also happens to be white, then I suppose Thordaddy could legitimately make the argument that Christianity is a “(S)upremacist religion”.  However, if the mundane definition is employed, then there can be no doubt that Christianity is not a supremacist religion because there is no scriptural support to support this contention. In fact, quite the opposite, as we will discuss in the next section.

(b) The lack of scriptural foundation

In the past, when confronted with the argument that his concept of “white (S)upremacy” accords with Christian doctrine has no scriptural basis, Thordaddy has never once countered with a scriptural passage supporting his position. This suggests to me that he is not at all familiar with scripture. Further, I suspect his lack of familiarity with scripture is on some level intentional, because if he was familiar with scripture, he would then have to explain the discrepancies between his arguments and the scripture. There are many obvious discrepancies. The following are a few of the most glaring examples.

(i) “Love thy Neighbor as Thyself”

In the past, Thordaddy has taken the novel position that the Second Greatest Commandment does not instruct a Christian to actually love his neighbor as a general proposition. Rather the commandment is to love his neighbor only to the extent that he loves himself. Accordingly, if a person does not love himself he is under no obligation to love his neighbor. He uses this as a license with the blessing of Christian dogma to hate his neighbor if he so chooses. I find this a novel interpretation of the commandment chiefly because, it has been my experience that (with the exception of Thordaddy alone) all Christians seem to agree that there is an underlying assumption embedded within the Second Greatest Commandment that a person would naturally love himself.

Moreover, Thordaddy’s interpretation of the Greatest Commandment is logically inconsistent with his unique interpretation of the second great commandment. His interpretation of the Greatest Commandment is to give all love to God such that there is no love remaining for the self and less still for the neighbor. In other words he sees love as a zero sum game in which there is a finite amount of love to go around and if all of a person’s love goes to God there is none left for anyone else. I would argue that the plain meaning of the Greatest Commandment speaks to the intensity of love and not to the percentage of love available. Furthermore, Thordaddy’s interpretation of the Greatest Commandment eliminates the need for the Second Greatest Commandment. That is, it would not make sense for Christ to specifically emphasize the Second Greatest Commandment in the gospels if the Greatest Commandment effectively rendered it moot.

His unique interpretation of the Second Greatest Commandment is made more peculiar still by the fact that he is obsessed with the concept of the (presumably sinful) act of self-annihilation which he seems to take delight in accusing other people of committing. I asked him point blank if he loved himself and he repeatedly dodged this question which surprised me. I would think a person who feels so strongly that the act of self annihilation is so morally wrong would naturally love himself. I assume, however, that he does not want to admit to loving himself because by his own logic he would then be compelled by the Second Greatest Commandment to also love his neighbor. In this light, his reluctance to admit to loving himself seems to prove that even he is dubious of his unique interpretation.

(ii)  “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”

From its inception, Christianity has been a racially ecumenical religion. This is expressly stated in the Gospel of Mark:

Afterward [Jesus] appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:14-15)

Here we see Jesus himself commanding his disciples to preach the good news of his resurrection to “every creature” in “all the world.” He, by no means instructed them to limit their teachings to their own kind, let alone exclusively white people,

(iii) “The fruit of the spirit”

Racism is also at odds with St. Paul’s conception of the “Fruit of the Spirit” he writes about in his letter to the Galations:

[T]he desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh…  Now the works of the flesh are evident: … enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, … and things like these. (Gal 5:19-21)

Racism, seems very much in accord with what St. Paul describes as the “desires of the flesh” particularly including “enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy”. By contrast, Saint Paul describes the fruit of the spirit:

[T]he fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… (Gal 5:22-23)

I must say that I do not see these qualities in any of Thordaddy’s comments. This is one of many reasons (beyond his incoherence and his illogical arguments) I hold his contempt and judgment of his fellow Christians suspect. Accordingly, if he intends to hold himself out as a righteous Christian, perhaps he should reconsider the spirit behind his message. And if the spirit behind his message cannot be reconciled with his message perhaps he should reconsider his message.

 

188 Comments

Filed under Political Philosophy, Psychology, Religion

Thordaddy’s Concept of White Supremacy

This post is part of a series of posts designed to address the common topics brought by a frequent commentator to my blog named Thordaddy. Please see this post for an introduction to this series.

(1) The Ambiguous Definition

Thordaddy has defined what he refers to as “white (S)upremacy” in the following manner:

White men who believe in and therefore strive towards objective (S)upremacy are white (S)upremacists. … [T]he definition of objective (S)upremacy is (P)erfection. What is (P)erfection? HE WHO WILLS ALL (R)IGHT.

This definition, however, does little to clarify what Thordaddy has in mind when using these terms. Declaring “objective (S)upremacy” means “(P)erfection” means “HE WHO WILLS ALL RIGHT” does not give me an understanding of what these terms mean or what a person would do to strive towards “objective (P)erfection”. I assume the “HE” Thordaddy refers to is Jesus or perhaps God the father. But if one were to imitate Jesus, it seems very unlikely that they would act as Thordaddy does particularly his hostility towards other races. Ultimately, a person trying to understand what he is attempting to articulate is left confused which he then claims is evidence of “radical autonomy” and “self-annihilation”.

(2) Thordaddy’s claim “white (S)upremacy” is distinct from “white supremacy”

On a general level, it seems to me that the “definition” above is an attempt by Thordaddy to distance his concept of “white (S)upremacy” from the commonly understood concept of white supremacy, which by its plain meaning promotes the idea that white people should be supreme over (and thus hostile to) other “nonwhite” races. Thordaddy, however, denies this by saying:

This is exactly what I AM NOT TRYING TO DO. The “commonly understood concept” of “white (s)upremacy” is the liberated concept whereas my articulation represents the absolute concept. … [T]he liberated concept has perversely illegitimated the absolute concept in the minds of the degenerately dull mass. And those who participate in this deception are almost certainly hell bound without repentance.

As we have established supra, the “absolute concept” of “white (S)upremacy” is white men who strive towards perfection. Although Thordaddy has consistently resisted defining what he means by perfection, or what one would do to achieve perfection, we can assume that he means something along the lines of “white men trying to be the best they can be morally and in other dimensions.”

This begs the question as to how “absolute white (S)upremacy” has been “perversely illegitimated” by the commonly understood form of white supremacy? For example, I don’t think anyone equates the 2019 white supremacist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand with other white men trying to act morally in other contexts. The two have nothing to do with each other as far as I can tell. But Thordaddy seems to believe the two are connected and that liberals have somehow conspired to make them connected.

(3) Thordaddy’s claim “white (S)upremacy” has nothing to do with other races.

Thordaddy has at times argued that “white (S)upremacy” has nothing to do with other races and that “striving towards objective (P)erfection” is something akin to white people trying to be the best they can be on their own, and not related or in comparison to other races. He becomes very dodgy when asked what “perfection” means in this context nor does he seem to be able to provide concrete examples of what a white man would do whilst in the act of striving towards perfection. For example, he stated the following in the comment section to this blog post:

If I offer every individual who crosses my path my righteousness then I have expressed a desire for (P)erfection. It need not be anymore complicated than this.

If a group of white men share this desire, the horde of orcs call it “white (s)upremacy” (or racist a [sic] Christianity).

In the quoted passage above we see Thordaddy give an example of his “striving towards perfection” as him “offer[ing his] righteousness”. I assume the literally hundreds of comments he has posted on my blog is an example of him “offering” me “his righteousness”. If that is the case, then I am unclear as to what is “perfect” about this. On the contrary, it seems obsessive and maladapted. Moreover, if he really wanted to offer his “righteousness” perfectly, I would think he would be able to communicate it in a manner that could be understood.

Further, I am unsure why he believes his acts of “offering his righteousness” to be unrelated to other races when his “righteousness” is replete with racial epitaphs. His own logic seems to betray him on this point as well as is evidenced in the following quote:

So when I say that my offering of righteousness to whomever crosses my path has nothing to do with other races, this is no different than saying that my offering of righteousness is not contingent upon the existence of other races.

I think what he is saying here is that when he offers his righteousness (i.e., insults other races, or labels those who question this behavior “radically autonomous” or a “self-annihilator”) it has nothing to do with other races because he, himself is white. He seems to believe his “white (S)upremacy” and his hostility to other races are unrelated and coincidental. But I think any reasonable person would find this argument dubious at best. The dubiousness of this argument is further reinforced by the following comment he posted:

I need only point to the single instance of the entire socio-political “spectrum” being against [a] white man desiring “supremacy.” IOW, the dulled, mass desire for “equality” JUST IS animus for white men desiring (P)erfection. [The] “Equality” dogma JUST IS the reaction to white man’s desire for objective (S)upremacy.

Why is desire for (P)erfection racial?

Because desire for “equality” is anti-racial.

Here we see Thordaddy explicitly contradict his own claim that his concept of “white (S)upremacy” is unrelated to other races. He says quite clearly that the “desire for (P)erfection” (i.e., his concept of “white (S)upremacy”) is racial. And that “equality” (i.e., the opposite of a “desire for (P)erfection”) is “anti-racial”. One marvels at the mental gymnastics he must put himself through to make sense of all this.

Ultimately, it is obvious that Thordaddy is racist according to the common understanding of this term but is unwilling to fully own his racism as is evidenced by his attempts to philosophically or “intellectually” justify it. Moreover, the fact that he is incapable of clearly defining what he means by “striving towards (P)erfection” or what one can do to accomplish this state (besides trolling my blog with hundreds of comments) is also telling.

(4) Thordaddy’s Queer Assertion – “Your Race is Your Father”

Thordaddy often makes the claim that a person’s race is his father and that a line of fathers extends back to God the Father. The implication to this assertion is that a white person’s line of fathers is different from a non-white person’s line of fathers. Therefore, because the lines of fathers are different between races, there is no requirement to love a person of a different race. In fact, to love a person of another race is an act of self-annihilation according to Thordaddy. Of course one glaring problem with this theory is that “race” is not so easily defined and certainly blurs around the edges when examined closely. Moreover, a recent study has shown that every living person on Earth today shares a common male ancestor. Accordingly, every living person shares the same, ultimate line of fathers.

What also makes this claim strange is that Thordaddy apparently does not believe women to be a part of a person’s race. He asserts this even though women are required to procreate just as much as men are. This is yet another example of Thordaddy taking an obvious concept, claiming the opposite is true and then justifying it with a line of complicated mumbo jumbo.

 

10 Comments

Filed under Political Philosophy, Psychology, Religion

What Would Moloch Do?

MolochIn a recent Orthosphere post entitled Freedoms of Speech & of Religion Open & Allow the Race to the Bottom the author Kristor argues:

The basic problem with freedom of speech and of religion is that … it opens the agora to the discussion of the pros and cons of every alternative cult. … There ensues a proliferation … of heresies and petty foreign cults. The cult of Moloch is then sooner or later bound to enter the lists.

In a previous post, Kristor defines his term, “the Cult of Moloch” as referring to modern, liberal notions of tolerance for multiple belief systems, which he equates to nihilism. He argues that a tolerant belief system cannot itself tolerate non-tolerant belief systems and so ultimately pushes them out of mainstream practice. I assume he uses this particular name because the Canaanite god named Moloch is associated with ritual child sacrifice. This of course is a reference to legalized abortion which exists within the modern liberal system. To the Orthosphereans, liberalism, tolerance, nihilism, abortion and all the other ills of modern society are related and mutually reinforcing.

Kristor goes on to say:

In an unruly competition of cults for the hearts and minds of people too dim to understand the consequences in their distant future of actions taken today, or to think with the necessary care and precision about metaphysics, political economy, and culture – i.e., of most people – the cult with the greatest short term hedonic payoff is going to prevail.

Because freedoms of speech and religion lead to the cult of Moloch, I assume Kristor is advocating the abolition of these freedoms and their replacement with the forced implementation of some other cult (presumably whatever form of Christianity Kristor adheres to) which would then regulate speech and religion in a manner more satisfactory to him.

BASIC PROBLEMS

The first basic problem I see with a belief system enforced by the government is that the belief system might not be true. I assume Kristor desires a government enforced belief system that is also true. Or perhaps in the absence of definitive proof of the truth of any one particular belief system, Kristor believes it is better to pick any belief system so long as it is not a tolerant one so as to avoid the inevitable slide into Molochism.

The second basic problem I see is that when a government enforces a belief system, the belief system typically gets watered down so that it can be acceptable to a large population. The watering down of the belief system then stops connecting with the people who take their religious beliefs seriously. This then gives rise to underground sects of true believers which work to undermine the government enforced belief system.

The third basic problem is that there will always be non-believers. This includes both people who take issue with specific tenants of the belief system and people who reject the system entirely. Similar to the second basic problem, this problem will also lead to the creation of subversive groups.

In addition to these basic problems it seems that many of the people who favor a government enforced belief system exhibit an unchristian disdain for their fellow men. This is articulated in the quote above where Kristor describes “most people” as “too dim to understand the consequences in their distant future of actions taken today, or to think with the necessary care and precision about metaphysics, political economy, and culture.”

I certainly do not want people of this ilk deciding what is best for me to believe and ordering the world in which I live. I do not want this not because I suspect they would not have my best interests at heart. I also do not want this because this disdain runs contrary to the fundamental Christian idea which is love (i.e., willing the good of the other as other). It might be argued that the desire to implement a government enforced belief system is motivated by a willing of good for other people. But the disdain articulate in Kristor’s quote (and quotes of other Orthosphereans) seems to indicate otherwise. Saint Paul’s description of the “Fruit of the Spirit” offers guidance when determining whether a person is advocating a policy that is born out of love. Specifically, “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Gal 5:22-23). Disdain is noticeably absent from this list. 

CULTURE OF DEATH

Kristor concludes his OP by stating,

As permitting the advocacy and practice of the cult of Moloch, freedom of speech and religion, then, sow the seeds of national death.

So we observe at last that, like Molochism, freedom of speech and religion, too, are in the end autophagous. The nation that keeps those freedoms is doomed.

The Orthospherean position against liberalism is not baseless. There is are inconsistencies to liberal notions of freedom, equality and tolerance. No one can be completely free and the freedom of one person impacts the freedom of another person. People are not equal in their abilities and to legally make them equal to a certain extent negates this truth and creates problems. A tolerant belief system cannot completely accommodate non-tolerant belief systems and can become intolerant by attempting to enforce tolerance.

On the other hand, no political system is perfect. In order for liberalism to work well, there has to always be a balance of forces. Just because speech is labeled as “free” and is actually regulated to an extent does not mean that there are not nations where speech is very not-free and other nations where it is relatively free. And it also does not mean that a reasonable person cannot appreciate the difference between the two. In the same respect a “tolerant” belief system might actually be “intolerant” of certain taboos. But, there are more tolerant nations than others and reasonable people can appreciate the difference here as well. And yes a system might shift in terms of its level of tolerance depending on the situation but that does not mean that it will always, inexorably degenerate into Molochism in every circumstance. The pendulum may very well swing back the other way.

Also, do these “flaws” of liberalism really spell the doom of a nation more than any other form of government? All nations (and things of men) are doomed. Even nations with government enforced belief systems are doomed. How else would tolerant systems have come to replace them? Moreover, an intolerant belief system does not rule out the possibility of Molochism being practiced. It merely forces it underground where it cannot be observed and regulated.

Do freedoms of speech and religion necessarily open and allow a race to the bottom? I think reasonable minds can differ on that question. More importantly, would the alternative of a government enforced belief system create a preferable situation? We are all well aware that there exist countries that do enforce belief systems in the world, some of which Kristor himself objects to.

 

 

34 Comments

Filed under Political Philosophy, Religion

Consciousness as the Basis of Reality

In a recent Actualized.Org podcast entitled “What is Consciousness” Leo makes the assertion that consciousness is the basis of reality. This is opposed to the materialist paradigm which holds that matter is the basis of physical reality. It seems that materialists can be either atheist or theist. The atheist materialists would hold that there only exists matter and the physical laws that govern its interaction and that this makes up the entirety of reality. The theist materialist would hold that there exists a spiritual realm that is separate from the material but that we humans inhabit or are in contact with primarily the material realm.

I would describe the friendly folks over at the Orthosphere as theist materialists, believing they reside within a material universe created by God who declared it to be good and therefore the goodness of the material is not to be questioned. To them there is unquestionably a spiritual realm with which those of us inhabiting the material realm (if we’re good) will choose to align ourselves. Of course, I would not presume to speak for their point of view as I have been told on numerous occasions that I lack the capacity to fully understand their wisdom. I am merely presenting my interpretation of their world view based on what I have read from their contributors. I am sure Terry Morris will correct me if I have inaccurately described their beliefs.

It is unquestioned that most people are materialists of one sort or the other. One probable reason most people believe the materialist paradigm to be the correct description of reality is because it is easier to understand. Our senses seem to readily confirm the assumption that we are each individual units of consciousness living in a physical body, in a three dimensional, physical world of other physical objects. Some of these physical objects are living creatures with varying degrees of consciousness. In this model, consciousness seems to be an emergent quality of the physical universe. That is, consciousness naturally results when matter is arranged in a specific way.

By contrast, under the paradigm where consciousness is the basis of reality, consciousness is not an emergent property of physical reality but rather the fundamental property of physical reality. That is, the universe is created from consciousness. Two  counter arguments to this assertion readily come to mind. First, consciousness as I understand it is the quality of being aware and mere awareness which has no physical properties cannot logically be used to construct a physical universe. Second, (I suspect an Orthospherian would argue that) in order for there to be awareness there must first be someone or something that is aware which in turn presupposes that materiality precedes consciousness.

Leo contends that although consciousness has no physical properties, this allows it to take on all the infinite possibilities of physical reality. In other words, consciousness is a vessel for content. One could also justify consciousness as being the basis of physical reality through a thought experiment similar to Descartes “evil demon” scenario. In this thought experiment we acknowledge that physical reality is rendered through the mind therefore there is nothing necessarily physical or material about it but merely consciousness interpreting it as such. If one were to hold the point of view that consciousness is the fundamental basis of reality then one would have to discard the notion that in order for consciousness to exist there must first be a person who is conscious. In other words, consciousness would have to be able to exist independently which I suppose is not inconcievable.

Another aspect to consciousness is that it is both aware and self-aware. So not only is consciousness a building block (so to speak) of reality but it is also by definition aware of itself. Under this model consciousness is diffused throughout everything in the universe including biological objects and non biological objects. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that everything in the universe is diffused through consciousness. Of course certain things have greater degrees of consciousness. A chimp has more consciousness than a rock for example. From this perspective it seems entirely plausible that artificial intelligence will be able to have consciousness on the level of a human or perhaps greater because it was constructed in such a way so as to allow the underlying consciousness to manifest itself.

I suppose one might reasonably ask what difference does it make whether material or consciousness is the basis of reality and how might one confirm whether this is indeed the case? Leo contends that this can in fact be confirmed through spiritual practices such as meditation and use of psychedelics. If this has been so confirmed to an individual then I assume this knowledge will change the way he or she looks at the world. I am certainly open to this perspective but I cannot say that I have yet confirmed it one way or the other.

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Religion

Readings for Ash Wednesday

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment. (JL 2:12)

There is an interesting nexus of psychology and spirituality in the readings for Ash Wednesday as observed by the Roman Catholic Church. The first reading from The Book of Joel talks about authentically returning to God. This is to be done with your “whole heart.” That is, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion to use the language of the Presidential Oath of Office. Nor is this to be done through compulsion but of one’s own volition. We are told to “rend [our] hearts, not [our] garments.” Again, the actions (specifically fasting, weeping and mourning) must be accomplished on the deepest level of the self as opposed to making a show of action or pretending to act. But what exactly is the action we are to take? What does it mean to return to God whole heartedly? It seems the action of fasting is an act of self sacrifice. It is intentionally taking on discomfort as an act of devotion to a greater good above the self. The weeping and mourning suggest that there is sadness and loss in a return to God. Are we mourning the loss of our earthly lives and desires? Are we mourning the loss of the self? Is this not something we should readily give up without a sense of loss? Perhaps if one is honest there will always be a sense of nostalgic loss anytime one is either separated from God or returning home from this separation.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Take care not to perform righteous deeds
in order that people may see them;
otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
When you give alms,
do not blow a trumpet before you,
as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets
to win the praise of others.
Amen, I say to you,
they have received their reward.
But when you give alms,
do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
so that your almsgiving may be secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (MT 6:1-6)

In the Gospel reading Jesus speaks of not letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing when giving alms. In other words Jesus instructs us not to let the ego take credit for the act of charity as a means of self aggrandizement. This is not merely giving alms in secret so that other people do not see you and give you credit for the act. This is giving alms (in a sense) in secret so that your self (i.e., ego) does not take credit for the act. Again, we are talking about authentic action but perhaps even a level deeper than what Joel described. In this way, your Father who sees in secret will repay you. In a sense this might seem to be an act of trickery – that is, the ultimate goal is to receive payment from the Father who sees in secret. But if we are to follow the theme of authentic action to receive authentic results then this payment by the Father who sees in secret cannot be a kind of payment that the ego would find pleasing. It must be an authentically Good and True form of payment. It is as if Jesus is trying to explain something selfless and non-egocentric in the language of the ego as if that is the only language his disciples could possibly understand.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Religion