Ierrellus 11.30.06 9.70 (12)
For me, the darkest void is realization of the blight within the seed, of the fact that grain can die on the stem, grapes can wither on the vine and humans can, like flowers' "waste their fragance on the desert air" (Gray, "Eligy Written in a Country Churchyard") The precedent of some of us have it and some of us don't causes virulent negativity, as Jakob observed.
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Doug 12.03.06 9.71 (12)
"Opposition is true friendship."--Wm. Blake. If I read only what enhances my point of view, I learn nothing. If I read what contradicts my point of view and am able to see beyond the contradiction, I have learned something and my point of view can become more valid for anyone with questions about it.
In "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" Blake also believes we should stand in awe of genius. By genius he meant creative power exemplified in action. This, to him, was evidence of the divine inherent in the seemingly mundane. I can't be Einstein, but I can revere him as a spirit who obliterated concepts of absolutes so that the rest of us can move beyond these stagnant stopping places.
Ierrellus, If as Blake says "Opposition is true friendship" then you and I are true friends, Blake and I are true friends but I am not sure you and Blake can be true friends. I have an opposing view that I am ready to modify if your opposition is convincing. To be consistent with my view I have to say unconditional cooperation is true friendship and its opposite, conflict, is the death of friendship. Between these two extremes is a continuum containing all degrees of conflict and conditional cooperation. In my view the source of all conflict is not the way we try but just our effort to fill the void. The void is within our being and consequently the direction of the activity with which we try to fill the void is inward. So, regardless of the way, if I try exclusively to fill the void, the absolutely restrictive reaction to it, and you try exclusively to fill the void, our directions, are opposite, in opposition, conflict. Our 'horns' are locked; we both die.
I consider unconditional cooperation a necessary condition of the ideal reaction to the void. With it there can be no conflict because we reach out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God in the same direction, along parallel lines, to our unique capacities. We begin life "reaching out..." unconditionally to our mother. To continue "reaching out to the limits of our capacities..." we must similarly reach out unconditionally to others because quite simply we can't "reach out..." alone. We need my true friendship. Unconditional cooperation is diminished by our efforts to fill the void and as we move away from the ideal unconditional friendship, it becomes increasingly conditional and confrontational until we reach the conflict in the extreme.
Again, if he is correct in saying "opposition is true friendship" I think Blake's view of genius also makes us true friends. I agree "we should stand in awe of genius" and with "by genius he meant creative power exemplified in action....(which)...was evidence of the divine inherent in the seemingly mundane". However, if Blake divides us into genius to be revered and dunces to despise then we part company. In my view we all have creative power that I equate to the power for self-realization so as I told Jakob, my definition of genius is anyone among us who exercises their power to become what they are capable of being regardless of their capacities. The spirit of a person who manages to carry on though depressed by the weight of life is as worthy of reverence as the spirit of the person who discovered E=mc2
A biological take on the void, for what it's worth. According to some, evolution began when DNA became encapsulated within a cell wall and extended to bodies, which allowed mobility and protection for the constructing proteins. Encapsulation provides both protection and limitation. Human minds, arriving at self-consciousness, become aware of both. Religions have generally seen limitations as corruption, thus fostering a not- OK sense that can be exploited. Consequently, such religions have been antagonistic to scientific endeavors that push beyond the limitational envelope. The protective box, in religion and philosophy, often becomes more important than creative mobility.
"The cistern contains.
The fountain overflows".-- Blake.
Psychologically, repressive containment produces suffering and incentives to cause suffering. Biological containment is the only house that is free to move and to rebuild itself by moving. Its confinement, seen as a prison, is a social meme.
Don't question the worth of your biological takes. However, in what you have written I think you've omitted a word. I don't think religions can see "limitations as corruptions" and also be "antagonistic to scientific endeavours that push beyond the limitation envelope". Other than that I couldn't agree more. I hope that my failure to be in opposition to you does not mean we are not friends. Wait a second. I oppose your use of the word "often". In my view, "The protective box in religion and philosophy...(without exception, restricts)...creative (power)". So we are true friends.
For me, the darkest void is realization of the blight within the seed, of the fact that grain can die on the stem, grapes can wither on the vine and humans can, like flowers' "waste their fragrance on the desert air" (Gray, "Eligy Written in a Country Churchyard") The precedent of some of us have it and some of us don't causes virulent negativity, as Jakob observed
I don't know for sure what your "blight within the seed" refers to but it works for me if the blight is our efforts to fill the void and we are the seed. Our attempts to fill the void cause a great deal of "grain (to) die on the stem, grapes (to) wither on the vine...and...flowers (to) waste their fragrance on the desert air". It is our religious/philosophical reactions in particular that create the concept of "haves and have not", geniuses and dunces and as I have said, I consider the division unnatural to begin with and any subsequent thought of discarding the "have not", myopic and self-destructive. I think unnatural philosophical selection is a devolutionary process that can only lead to our self-destruction.
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Ierrellus 12.03.06 9.72 (12)
Much here to comment on. I'll take the quotes first. As for "opposition is true friendship", it is the opposition that stops a child from running into the street after a ball in front of a moving car or stops a loved one from believing in cult explanations of their value and meaning. As for the "worship of genius", it is the indictment of those who will not recognize the genius that is in us all, when precedents for it are freely given.
About the blight in the seed-- what is natural is not always kind or obliging to humans. Aids is natural. To decide who deserves such illness is a moral quandary. If you believe no one deserves it, you must answer as to why it exists. Gray, in the poem cited, was realistic enough to realize that not everyone can make it--to even a simple fulfillment of life. Tennyson recognized that "nature is red in tooth and claw"-- not always the Wordworthian ideal. In trying to establish a philosophy that entails the value of all existence, we must recognize those instances in which our ideals do not apply and ask, Why?
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Doug 12.07.06 9.73 (12)
Ierrellus, thanks for the improved context for your quote "opposition is true friendship". It is still somewhat problematic but I have a solution with which I am comfortable. Definitely my sister was a true friend of her young daughter when she opposed her inclination to run into traffic to retrieve her soccer ball. However, my sister also considers herself a true friend when opposing my niece's attempts to run into life, by confining her behind the Christian "cult explanations of (her) value and meaning". In this context I consider my sister to be an enemy of her daughter and my sister would certainly not consider me a true friend if I opposed her efforts. Of course I would disagree with her but this time after considering the contexts you provided for it, I can agree with "opposition is true friendship".
The way I see it now, when opposing my niece's "inclination to run into traffic" my sister's opposition prevented my niece's possible self-destruction. Thus she was indeed a true friend. However, since I consider all religious/philosophies restrictive, by opposing my niece's effort to escape hers, I see my sister preventing her daughter's self-realization and thus contributing to her self-destruction, not at all the actions of a true friend. So I can say "opposition (that prevents self-destruction and allows self-realization) is true friendship"; and "opposition (that causes self-destruction and prevents self-realization) is false friendship". We can be true friends to ourselves.
I oppose all religious/philosophies and the other seven ways we try to fill the void, all of which contribute to self-destruction, so in my view I consider myself a true friend of humanity. Both my sisters consider me an enemy of Christianity but only the older one refuses to communicate with me. My sense is that essentially the rest of humanity will consider me an enemy of one way or another we try to fill the void. It is comforting to know my mother loves me; but with each day that is added to her 90 years and 343 days I get a little more nervous.
Now "about the blight in the seed"...I agree "what is natural is not always kind or obliging to humans. Aids is natural.", and so is E. coli and death. I have never questioned why E. coli or aids exists. To me that's equivalent to asking why we exist and the answer is the same.... The only question I have ever asked is "why is there so much conflict within us, between us and with nature?" The answer I saw in our existence is our unnatural activity of trying to fill the void; and it is not a recent phenomenon. I have suggested our level of unnatural activity has increased since our ancestors first asked why we exist, "the last why." The environment this activity creates is certainly the context in which Grey and Tennyson wrote their poems causing the former to conclude "not everyone can make it" and the latter to conclude "nature is red in tooth and claw".
I happen to think our level of unnatural activity continues to increase, fewer of us are making it and the unnatural environment we are creating is becoming more "red in tooth and claw". We are thus getting further from my ideal. However, this trend in no way diminishes my ideal because it is not a philosophical construct. My ideal is simply to reach out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God. There are no "instances in which (it does) not apply". It is not an abstract we strive for but activity we engage in. I suggest that by engaging in this natural activity to an ever increasing level we will make our environment more natural and more of us will make it. I also suggest that if we ever take humanity to the point of the ideal where we all engage in natural activity, and a naturally occurring agent such as HIV is still destroying us, only then will we have a "moral quandary".
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Doug 12.13.06 0.2 (12)
I left some comments on violence in the "Violence as Creation" thread, but I want to elaborate on the related but more agreeable notion that conflict can be creative, in the context of my thread. In my last post I came to the conclusion with the help of Ierrellus that "opposition (which prevents self-destruction and allows self-realization) is true friendship" while "opposition that causes self-destruction and prevents self-realization is false friendship. From here it is only a short step for me to conclude conflict that prevents self-destruction thus allows self-realization is creative while conflict that causes self-destruction thus prevents self-realization is destructive.
To explain how I come to this conclusion I must recall from my view of life the continuum of reactions to the void and the direction of the activity associated with each. At the point of the ideal reaction where I imagine us all reaching out to the limits of our capacities to others and to God, there would be no conflict in the resultant reaction of humanity. It is absent because we "reach out..." in parallel directions toward unique potential capacities. At the absolutely restrictive end of the continuum there is only deadly conflict in the resultant reaction because our individual activities are directed toward the void within us and thus are opposed to everyone else. I suggest our present resultant reaction to the void is positioned on the continuum closer to the restrictive end than to the ideal. Though this means conflict clearly dominates our existence, it is by no means close to exclusive. There are significant efforts to "reach out..."
Although I say it is impossible for one of us to "reach out..." exclusively unless we are all "reaching out..." and that it is impossible for us to exclusively try filling the void and still be, imagine that these reactions to the void are possible. In a relationship, individuals with these respective reactions would be in conflict for the individual "reaching out ..." would be resisted by the individual trying to fill the void. To see the conflict in this relationship in contrast to the other two, imagine activity in the ideal relationship to the void being represented by two arrows pointed in the same direction. In the absolutely restrictive relationship the arrows would be head to head. In the relationship between an individual with an ideal reaction and one with an absolutely restrictive reaction the arrows would be tail to tail, pulling in opposite directions. In my view this conflict would be seen attempting to prevent self-destruction and allowing self-realization. Thus it could be considered creative conflict.
(I sincerely hope the conflict I've had with my sister over my mother has been creative.)
Doug 12.21.06 0.3 (12)
There is a thread "Why murder is wrong" which has morphed into a discussion about love. I think the metamorphosis occurred when a poster said murder is wrong because it puts one's own desires above the life of another, just the opposite of love. Before this tangential comment another poster expressed a similar do not do unto others view by stating, "I wouldn't want to be murdered so I shouldn't murder. Then among arguments about Christian morality and subjective morality, a poster expressed the view that "even asking the question is quite disturbing". Still another poster said it all depends on the circumstances.
I have no desire to argue with any of the opinions presented in that thread but I would like to place then within the context of this thread. The first step in that process is to establish my ideal definition of murder because in my view the dictionary definition is too restrictive. In it murder is defined as "the unlawful premeditated killing of a human being by another". I find this definition restrictive because it does not include the pre-birth human beings we lawfully "abort" every day. Nor does it include the human beings we legally kill in war. Furthermore, I don't consider all "killing" premeditated. I see us killing hundreds of thousands of our fellow human beings with preventable diseases and starvation without much thought. To be ideal then, my definition of murder cannot contain any reference to law or planning. Thus my definition of murder is simply: the killing of other human beings.
Now in my OP and in many recent posts I suggest we each have a reaction to the void somewhere on the continuum of reactions between either the absolutely restrictive or absolutely permissive and the ideal. I have also talked about the notion that our individual reactions to the void add together to form our collective reaction to the void; and have mentioned concluding by my interpretation of current events that our resultant reaction to the void is located on the part of the continuum between the absolutely restrictive and ideal reactions, closer to the former than to the latter.
This location accounts for the fact that the question "Why is murder wrong" is asked at all and for the disparate opinions and religious/philosophical views of murder. If we all were reaching out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God, the natural activity that is the ideal reaction to the void, then the word "murder" like "abortion" would be placed on the inactive list, a relic of the past. In the ideal resultant reaction to the void, that is entirely natural activity, there is no room for murder because we need each other to reach out to the limits of our capacities. In the absolutely restrictive resultant reaction to the void which would be entirely the unnatural activity of trying to fill the void that puts us all in opposition to each other, God would see legalized complete mass murder. In the resultant reactions between these two extremes we would see a mix of the consequences in the extremes. So in resultant reactions increasingly removed from the absolutely restrictive, the number of murders would diminish from mass murders to none in the ideal, along with the laws that allow murder and their religious/philosophical justifications.
Of course, as our resultant reaction to the void moves away from the absolutely restrictive toward the ideal the endless, tiresome argument and debate will diminish as well; and the question "Why murder is wrong?" will be asked less often. I would welcome these changes because I see the ideal as a possibility so that in my view one murder is too many and any debate about it is merely a sign of self-destructive inertia. I say let's quit talking about murders , get on with reducing the numbers and with this activity, move toward the ideal.
Doug 12.28.06 0.4 (12)
Kevconman started the thread "Superiority and the need to be right". Check it out. It is still on page one. He has made an astute observation that I would like to comment on here so I don't have to drag my context to another thread. In my OP I suggest there are eight ways we can try to fill the void. I've already mentioned our materialistic reaction to the void which I consider the way we try to fill the void that is most dominant in our lives; and our religious/ philosophical reaction that I think comes in a close second. They are pretty well blended though so it is really hard to tell which dominates. However, from my point of view arguing over their relative dominance makes no sense because they are equally destructive and thus like all ways we try to fill the void should, rather than argue about, be eliminated from our existence.
Now getting to the topic, a third way we can try to fill the void is with what I call our pre-eminence reaction. I suggest that as well as trying to fill the void with money and all the stuff it buys, with religious/philosophical answers to the last why and five other ways we can try to fill the void, we can also try to fill it with pre-eminence in what ever endeavour we can conceive. For example, as individuals we can try to fill the void with being the richest, the most powerful, number 1 in any sport, in the world and on and on.... Collectively as nations we can try as well. At the other end of the continuum, pre-eminence can be winning the argument with one other person over which way to put a roll of toilet paper on the spool. Between these limits we can for example try to fill the void by being the pre-eminent authority on someone else's philosophy in the forum at ILP. Neither the activity nor the size of the group matters. The efforts to fill the void with pre-eminence are equally self-destructive.
As noted in my OP we can not try exclusively to fill the void with in this case, pre-eminence for without some measure of the natural activity, reaching out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God, we self-destruct. Our lives can be a blend of just trying to fill the void with pre-eminence and a complementary measure of natural activity but we can also add to the mix other ways of trying to fill the void. Of particular interest is the mix that contains the unnatural activity of trying to fill the void with pre-eminence along with our religious/philosophies and the prerequisite natural activity.
I have mentioned several times in this thread that I suggest there is a sense of right which accompanies our natural activity. It is a sense that remains with reaching out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God regardless of how little natural activity we have in our blend of activities; and at whatever amount, it pervades the mix. As a consequence we come to believe our theories, in particular our religious/ philosophical answers to the last why are pre-eminent. This is tragic for even though when as an individual we try to fill the void with pre-eminence we destroy only ourselves, when we try to fill the void with the pre-eminence of our religious/philosophies we destroy humanity.
Doug 01.07.07 0.5 (12)
Thanks to coberst's thread "The Big problem: unity of knowledge", now on page 2, I learned about Ernest Becker who had he not died in 1974 at age 49, could still be with us. Apparently he said something like:
...science has provided us a comprehensive knowledge of human nature that indicates that we are not innately the horrible creatures that Hobbes speculated we to be. It is the societies that we structure that make us do the things we do. We need a new secular morality that must be based upon scientific knowledge but is also acceptable to most people. We need an ideal that all people can rally about. We need a unity of knowledge that can be kept up to date and that can represent the shared pool of understanding whereby we can reason together to attempt to reach our ideal.
It seems Becker's assessment of our existence is very similar to my own except his lacks motivation. In my OP I suggest our motivation is an instinctive fear of the void. It is this fear that "make(s) us do the things we do" that I call our reactions to the void. I pictured our reactions to the void as weaving threads of natural and unnatural activity into our individual fabrics of existence that together create the fabric of humanity. I suggest the fabric of humanity is equivalent to Becker's "societies that we structure".
Now tfdmissmatch asked, "Any idea what this 'new secular morality that must be based upon scientific knowledge but is also acceptable to most people' might be?" It appears that Becker "laid out a rational for action but no action toward accomplishing this has been undertaken". I would like to try answering the question. I suggest the "scientific knowledge" upon which we base the "new secular morality" is biological. The facts are that we can each become the sum of the genetic knowledge written in our DNA, our individual book of life. I suggest that we learn this knowledge by reaching out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God. I have called this natural activity, I say begins at conception, the ideal reaction to the void. The consequence of this activity is self-realization, a knowledge of ourselves that should be "acceptable to (all) people". We should be able to "rally about" this ideal that is identical for us all yet creates individuals. The knowledge that we gain with our natural activity would create a "shared pool of understanding" that we each draw from as we "reason together (in our) attempt to reach our ideal."
In my OP I present the ideal as a possibility. I also describe the reality that our lives both individually and collectively are blends of the natural activity, reaching out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God and the unnatural activity of trying to fill the void. I repeat, the consequence of natural activity is self-realization and the consequence of unnatural activity is the self-destructive conflict within us, between us and with our environment. If we engaged exclusively in the ideal natural activity we become what we are capable of being. The further removed our activity is from the natural and is thus more unnatural, the more we become like the "horrible creatures that Hobbes speculated we be".
In response to coberst's question "What truths is man to pursue for the sake of Man?" I provide the link to truth.
Ierrellus 01.07.07 9.74 (12)
The controversy over human nature which you refer to in Coberst's post is well articulated in Leakey's "Origins". In that book Leakey presents Aubrey's ("African Genesis") idea that humans evolved from killer apes and are naturally aggressive and territorial. The idea is well refuted by Ashley Montague and Leakey. Hobbes was out to lunch! Thanks for the reference to biology. If we cannot understand what we are, how could we ever expect to understand what we can be?
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kingdaddy 01.07.07 13.1 (12)
How can you discuss a reaction to something no one has ever faced?
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Doug 01.17.07 13.2 (12)
Kingdaddy, I was going to ignore your comment because in Sabrina's abortion thread you said," I don't subscribe to any particular religion but I would personally call myself a Christian because I endeavor to follow the teachings of Christ and firmly believe in them." and that contradictory statement casts doubt on everything else you say. Nevertheless, I searched "the void" again to make sure I wasn't dreaming the first time I looked. I wasn't. There are about 82,700,000 references. Somewhere among them is my short essay "the void". So, all I can say is that it is unfortunate that I and the authors of the other 82,699,999 references did not have the benefit of your pronouncement prior to our writing.
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Doug 01.16.07 9.75 (12)
The controversy over human nature which you refer to in Coberst's post is well articulated in Leakey's "Origins". In that book Leakey presents Aubrey's ("African Genesis") idea that humans evolved from killer apes and are naturally aggressive and territorial. The idea is well refuted by Ashley Montague and Leakey. Hobbes was out to lunch! Thanks for the reference to biology. If we cannot understand what we are, how could we ever expect to understand what we can be?
Ierrellus, I can't recall a post of yours to this thread that has not taught me something or reinforced my view with a reference from your incomparable list. Trying empirically to "understand what we are...(and thus)...what we can be" and could become, has been my major life long activity. I began publicizing my understanding about 18 months ago and I continue with this post. In it I want to present my view of "human equality". This is the topic of a thread which as far as I can tell has yet to discuss either equality or inequality and probably won't because the last time I looked the posters were into sex.
In my view we are all identically body/mind/spirit in reaction to the void. This is what is happening but for the purposes of this thread I didn't mention body/mind/spirit and thus the title, "Life: a reaction to the void". Despite our identical nature however, only in the extreme circumstances are there conditions of equality. I am able to suggest we are identically body/mind/spirit by discarding definitions of body/mind that describe form and function and creating one of process. I could see that for each of us, both our body and mind consist of unique potential capacities, activity and knowledge that preclude any claim of commonality. However, I overcame that problem by defining body/mind as the integration of realized potential physical/mental capacity, physical/mental activity and physical/mental knowledge. In defining body/mind as the process of integrating the facets of body and mind rather than defining the variable facets, we have a definition of body/mind that is identical for us all and yet allows complete individuality. Spirit I define as our "light of life", an aggregate of emotions that indicate to us the degree of integration and thus the complementary degree of disintegration that characterizes our living. Yes the degree of integration can vary and though the intensity of our spirit varies accordingly, the 'light' is always present in our lives. Thus defined we are the identical, monitored process of integrating unique body/mind facets with apparently unequal results.
The degree of integration and the complementary degree of disintegration of our body/mind can vary because not all activity integrates their facets. The only integrating activity is the natural activity of reaching out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God, the ideal reaction to the void I introduced in my OP and have mentioned probably at least 150 times since, in this thread. The unnatural activity of trying to fill the void, which I also introduced in my OP and have mentioned probably 150 times since, is active disintegrating activity. In "THE LAST WHY", my longer explanation to life and I think somewhere in this thread I introduced the unnatural inactivity of giving up which allows disintegration. As well, I suggested that though it is possible for us all to exclusively reach out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God, our present reactions to the void are blends of this natural activity and either the unnatural activity of trying to fill the void or the unnatural inactivity of giving up. Consequently, the degree of integration of our body/mind varies with the ratio of natural to unnatural activity in our reactions to the void.
I see us all being equally capable of reaching out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God and thus in the extreme ideal circumstances in which we all engage in natural activity, I see us all being equally, completely integrated. When we diminish our natural activity by replacing some of it with the unnatural activity of trying to fill the void we become less equal. We can not fill the void nor are we equally capable of trying to fill the void with money for example, or with religious/philosophical theories, or with any of the other six ways we can try . It is therefore a competitive activity which the less equal become even less equal and lose their integration. The harder we try to fill the void the more unequal we become and the more vicious is the competition until in the extreme at the instant enough of us try exclusively to fill the void we will all become equally, completely disintegrated.
Although I have used "life" as a synonym for living in the title to this thread, "Life: a reaction to the void.", I have also used "life" to define self-realization, the consequence of exclusively reaching out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God. I defined the consequences of trying exclusively to fill the void as self-destruction, death. Between these two extremes, living is something more or less than death and life. Thus I suppose I can say that in my view there is "human equality" in the extremes of "life" and "death" but somewhat less in between.
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kingdaddy 01 16.07 13.3 (12)
What void? How can you discuss a reaction to something no one has ever faced?
Kingdaddy, I was going to ignore your comment because in Sabrina's abortion thread you said," I don't subscribe to any particular religion but I would personally call myself a Christian because I endeavor to follow the teachings of Christ and firmly believe in them." and that contradictory statement casts doubt on everything else you say. Nevertheless, I searched "the void" again to make sure I wasn't dreaming the first time I looked. I wasn't. There are about 82,700,000 references. Somewhere among them is my short essay "the void". So, all I can say is that it is unfortunate I and the authors of the other 82,699,999 references did not have the benefit of your pronouncement prior to our writing.
I don’t understand a thing you wrote and I cant open the link.
Where are all these references to the Void and how do they differ from my interpretation of its meaning. What’s so cryptic or difficult about the meaning of the word “Void”?
Also, why does my description of my beliefs have any relevance to this subject or my post on this?
Who has faced the “Void” and what did they say about it? What is this “Void”?
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Ierrellus 01.18.07 9.76 (12)
There is little in your thoughts that an old fart, cranky biologist can disagree with. Regarding "reaching out", Xunzian in one of my threads accurately called this "optimization", which accounts for the strivings of all of us organisms. Those among us who cannot see spirit as included in optimization apparently have an axe to grind because they are claiming to know exactly what the limits of human potential are. Carry on.
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Doug 01.26.07 13.4 (12)
(1)I don’t understand a thing you wrote and (2)I cant open the link.
(3)Where are all these references to the Void and (4)how do they differ from my interpretation of its meaning. (5)What’s so cryptic or difficult about the meaning of the word “Void”?
(8 )Also, why does my description of my beliefs have any relevance to this subject or my post on this?
(6)Who has faced the “Void” and (7)what did they say about it? (5)What is this “Void”?
(1) How much have you read?
(2) There are probably hundreds of ILP members that can tell you for sure why you can't open the link but I am not one of them. I have been told that not all browsers can open all links so it could have something to do with your browser. I do know that other ILP members have been able to open the link I left to my web site since it is much easier to do, because their anonymous visits have been logged. If you are interested in reading my short essay on the void try the link again. If it still doesn't open you can find a copy in this thread around page 10 perhaps.
(3) I open my firefox browser and Google, type in "the void", click search and a page containing the top 10 of 82,200,000 references to the void appears.
(4) What is your interpretation?
(5) Nothing. In my view "the void" is empty space. It is the missing answer, what we discover when we ask what I call "The Last Why". It could be, "Why am I?"; "What is the meaning of life?"; "What is the meaning of existence?"; or any number of related questions. Since there is no answer in the conventional sense to these questions , when we ask them we discover "the void".
(6) To begin with I think I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said I have heard more than a handful of your fellow born-again Christians claim that Christ filled the void in their lives. The rest of the references I have collected are similarly personal, like people saying they experienced a sense of emptiness with the loss of a loved one. Nick-A, the first person to post in this thread had a lot to say about a favorite writer of his who dealt with the void. If you want more examples type the words "philosophers" and "the void" into your search engine and see what opens up.
(7) It is the most wretched debilitating feeling.
(8 ) This question affects me the same way as your initial questions "What void?" and "How can you discuss a reaction to something no one has ever faced?"; and your statement, "I don't subscribe to any particular religion but I would personally call myself a Christian because I endeavour to follow the teachings of Christ and firmly believe in them." They all make me wonder how carefully you've thought about what you say. I've said enough about "the void" and those who have faced it. As for your beliefs, surely they "have... relevance" to everything you do and say; and if you "follow the teachings of Christ", do you not "subscribe" to the Christian religion?
Now, I could be wrong about sensing a lack of diligence in your thought. If your "teachings of Christ" begin and end with "Do unto others as you would have then do unto you" then I will owe you an apology. If however, they contain the notions of sin, guilt, forgiveness, salvation, eternal damnation and the rest of the self-destructive 'Christian' theory I believe restricted my father's life to name one of billions, then I think you owe humanity an apology for perpetuating one of the crippling religious/philosophical reactions to the void that are contributing to, to quote from my OP, "the mass of clashing colors" in our fabric of existence.
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Doug 02.06.07 0.6 (12)
Even in the absence of a response from kingdaddy I am going to, in the words of my friend Ierrellus, "carry on" for awhile longer in a continuing effort to evoke a universal dialogue about what's happening. I am making this effort because I have been formulating "my view of life" for about 40 years and now I am taking this opportunity to discover if I was a fool to have spent my allotted time believing it matters that we come to a common understanding of life. It is a personal quest that became clearly universal on 02/02/07.
In the northern hemisphere 02/02 is the day on which several celebrity groundhogs emerge from their dens to predict an early spring if they don't see their shadows and six more weeks of winter if they do. On this day this year a group of eminent climatologists from around the world emerged from their 'den' with a rigorous, ominous, unanimous report stating that if we persist in living the way we have been, we will continue to create an increasingly hostile 'winter' humanity will not survive. The scientists' "if" suggested the possibility this 'winter' need not be inevitable. They said, apparently we still have time to recreate a 'spring' that would renew life. Being scientists they presented explicit findings but implicit in them are the questions, "Do we really care that we are contributing to the self-destruction of humanity; are we even generally capable of making that connection?"
I don't know the answers to these questions. To be honest I have my doubts the answers will be yes; but I will await the evidence we present in the coming months before concluding I've been a fool. In the meantime I will assume the affirmative so that I can offer my view that we will not recreate 'spring' by tinkering with the status quo. In issuing their report the climatologists concluded with 90% certainty that human activity has been responsible for the global warming that threatens our continued existence but beyond the production of too much greenhouse gas they didn't specify what human activity. Had they asked me I would have referred them to my OP and then told them that it is our unnatural activity of trying to fill the void that has taken us to this level of self-destruction; and I would not have waited for them to ask how to change the 'seasons'. I would have told them that for us to change our 'winter' into 'spring', to save humanity from self-destruction and to restore life will require nothing less than our supreme collective effort to empty "the void" of all efforts to fill it.
In my view I see eight ways we can try to fill "the void", all identically self-destructive, unnatural activity. They are all familiar to you but I only need two to connect our efforts to fill "the void" to the reported environmental crisis in which we find ourselves; and to connect emptying "the void" to recreating life. With our materialistic reaction to "the void" we try to fill "the void" with money and all the stuff it can buy. I am not sure when our ancestors first tried to fill "the void" with money but it has recently risen to prominence as, I suspect, more and more of our not too distant relatives became increasingly aware that their inherited religious/philosophical reactions are no more able to fill "the void" than any of the other seven ways we can try. It probably didn't hurt that religious/philosophical reactions are completely abstract while money and what it can buy are in large part concrete things we can actually hold.
Over the centuries our materialistic reaction, religious/philosophical reaction and the other six ways we try to fill the void have created an unnatural environment for our being. The natural environment would be the one in which we are able to reach out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God, the natural activity I call the ideal reaction to the void. This environment exists for pre-birth individuals who, except for the occasions when they are aborted or their mothers introduce abnormal substances into their environment, are only able to engage in natural activity. Sadly though, at birth we enter an environment, a fabric of existence in which our natural activity is more or less severely restricted by the more dominant efforts to fill "the void". We continue natural activity to some degree for that is a condition of life but mostly we train to climb the vertical, cone-shaped economy that has evolved over years of trying to get as much money as we can any way we can, to fuel our effort to fill the void; we learn to use a religious/philosophical shovel; and we pick up the other techniques of trying to fill "the void". "The void" can not be filled and trying is addictive and all consuming. In this unnatural environment nothing else matters, not ourselves, others or the environment. In a continuing effort to fill "the void" we will destroy ourselves, others and the environment. The scientists have confirmed this prediction.
So if it matters that we don't destroy it, we don't need to save the environment; we just need to save ourselves. If we return to life, life will return to the environment. Life is the result of reaching out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God. Death is the result of trying to fill the void. Thus, to return to life we must empty the void of all the ways we try to fill it. Now, I know at least my two Christian sisters will be horrified. However, if they would listen to me I would say to them just look at what we call life. If God is in control, who are we going to ask for help. Yes, all religious/philosophies appear to have associated with them the natural activity essential to life, but in my view this is not the case. Because natural activity is a condition of life, what seem like strictly religious/philosophical reactions will have an ideal component that is the sole source of all reaching out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God.
Indeed, not only are our religious/philosophical theories not responsible for any "reaching out...", they actually restrict our natural activity.
So rather than being essential to life, they result in self-destruction and death. If we were to remove from the historical perspective all natural activity I am certain we would see that the only consequences of all religious/philosophical reactions to "the void" is humanity divided. Trying to fill "the void" with religious/philosophical reactions to it divides us from our natural activity, divides us from others and our environment. They even divide God. It is not enough to say we can live without religious/philosophical reactions to "the void". Given that they replace some of the natural activity that is essential to life it has to be said we can't live with them or any other way we try to fill the void. To save our environment we must empty "the void".
I hear at least one voice insisting that if we empty "the void" there will be nothing left of life. I pause, consider the 'groundhog report', look again at what we call life and humbly suggest that if we empty "the void", there will be nothing left but life. Ah, but does it matter? May the dialogue continue.
kingdaddy 02.07.07 13.5 (12)
In my mind there is no unanswered questions, all questions have been answered and proven in this reality. The problem is that we continue to make our own truth which obfuscated the real Truth so we cannot see the answers.
So in conclusion there is no last “Why” in my mind. I can satisfactorily answer all the big whys like the meaning of life and so forth with great continuity to this reality.
To me the Void is not a mental concept but a description of what was before creation of the physical universe, this Void is what space-time is expanding into and displacing but since it is infinite it will never shrink. The Void is where Hell must be, there is no other logical explanation in my mind and God is a Logical God.
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Ierrellus 02.07.07 9.77 (12)
While I do not speak for Doug, I cannot help noticing your atavistic responses as not too well thought out at least. I still live in a universe that is in a state of flux. In this realm nothing has been ultimately resolved, finished, concluded. There are no absolute answers. There is the human quest for some sort of stasis in a given experience of moving temporality. If the answers are already given, we humans might as well stop striving toward anything better than static responses to dynamic experience.
If mankind is going to survive, it will take the brightest minds addressing our common problems. It cannot afford the unnecessary, dragging weight of static resolutions, which are never universal anyway.
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kingdaddy 02.07.07 13.6 (12)
Ierrellus, then you obviously don’t believe in any form of Absolute, which all evidence point toward in my estimation, therefore I feel that you have not given much in depth thought to ultimate origins. I never claimed that the answers are easy to grasp or accept, only that they are plain and not hidden.
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Doug 02.09.07 13.7 (12)
kingdaddy, although my good friend Ierrellus is capable of defending himself, he has graciously agreed not to, acknowledging there is already too much space between this and my previous post.
My final post to you is a sincere request that you set up a thread in which you present "the answers (that) are (not) easy to grasp or accept...(but) are plain and not hidden." and the " Absolute, which all the evidence point toward".
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Doug 02.14.o7 0.7 (12)
Jakob, a welcome contributor to this thread began one he called "All great thinkers are traps". In it he stated that each "lures you to think and do all sorts of stuff, (that) does not release you from the itchy feeling that lured you to this thinker in the first place; the feeling that there is something to be found out about life". My response, specific to his thread was that in my view the "great thinkers are (not) the trap". Rather the "trap" is the notion that "the void" can be filled with theoretical answers to the question about the meaning of life that reveals "the void", the question I call "the last why".
I went on to suggest the notion occurred thousands of years ago, to a better thinker who created a theory designed to fill the void. It didn't and when succeeding generations of better thinkers realized their inherited theories failed to fill the void they tried to improve them and the consequence is the present collection of inherited ways we try to fill "the void". Finally, I proposed that to extricate ourselves from this "trap" we need succeeding generations of "great thinkers" who realize "the void" can not be filled and that the ideal reaction to it is to reach out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God.
Jakob responded by asking, "Reaching out to one's full potential is good, but to what end? What are we capable of being if we don't have ground to stand on?"
I replied, "Jakob, I suggest we are not now but could be on solid biological 'ground'. Reaching out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God is natural biological activity that we begin at conception and by it every one of us replicates the life of humanity. Now, as I said to Sauwelios in his thread 'The Meaning of Existence', 'The 'whither' of...(this) ideal reaction to the void is the 'situation' of self-realization; but the why, neither the reason, the cause and the purpose', 'to what end?', we do not know. It is a mystery, unlike the 'whither' of 'the unnatural religious/philosophically motivated activity of trying to fill the void' that clearly separates us from our 'ground'; and we know ends and will end in self-destruction. So we don't know before we start, the 'end' of self-realization. At least by becoming what (we are) capable of being we enable the possibility of discovering why".
Given our history Jakob, I think you will know what I mean when I say we have this choice. We can continue to pick the 'rose' and suffer death by the thousand cuts of its 'thorns' or we can simply "reach out..." and smell the 'rose'; and possibly discover why."
Jakob then asked, "Doug; I like the roses metaphor. And I agree that we cannot precisely know what we will accomplish before we accomplish it. But I have certain purposes, certain goals, which are at the limit of my potential as I conceive it. They are well defined goals, and even if I don't know how I will turn out I know that I certainly have a definite idea of how they will turn out - if I succeed. So the question is: do we focus on the thing we aim to create, or on ourself?"
My response was, "My short answer is 'we (should aim to create ourself. The thing we aim to create is part of the trap'. I am working on a longer answer I will post in my thread".
I could have elaborated my short answer in Jakob's thread but the elaboration required enlarging his contest. Jakob focused only on what I see as trying to fill the void with our religious/philosophical reactions to the void. However, to repeat in his words what I said in my previous long post, our religious/philosophical reaction to the void is only part of the "trap". Another part is believing we can fill the void with money and all the stuff it can buy. I also mentioned in that post, I see in my view of life six other parts to the trap which, in my words now, are woven into a fabric of existence we inherit when we are born and begin contributing to with our individual activity.
Now, my contention is that our fabric of existence entraps us all. At the same time however, we create the "trap" with our activity. So, even though we can't escape our fabric of existence we can change it so that rather than entrapping us, our fabric of existence sets us free. We can change it by aiming "to create ourself" rather than "aiming to create part of the trap". Specifically this means aiming to reach out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God instead of trying to fill the void.
The former, the ideal reaction to the void, is I suggest, the only way we can relieve our bio-philosophical 'itch'. Though the "ideal", reaching out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God is difficult for it requires the supreme sensitivity to the gentle biological breezes that blow within. Despite being impossible to fill , trying to fill the void is easy. We just allow ourselves to be sucked into the vortex of our present existence. We live in the consequences of the latter. Until we try to "reach out..." , we can only imagine the consequences of the "ideal".
Doug 02.21.07 0.8 (12)
In my previous post I alluded to what I thought was a very useful conversation Sauwelios and I had on his thread, "The Meaning of Existence" that serves my purpose to extend and clarify.
For the question "What is the meaning of existence?", two kinds of possible answers exist. The first includes all possible answers to the question "Whither?"; the second includes all possible answers to the question "Whence?".
You see, existence may have a goal toward which its evolution works - it may be the means to an end. - Or it may have been brought into existence out of a profound need - existence may itself be an answer, the resolution of a crisis. It seems to me that most people who have thought about the meaning of existence hitherto have sought an answer to the question "Whither?".
Sauwelios, I have been thinking about the "meaning of existence" for a long, long time. I have never asked, "To what place or from what place?" My only question has been "Why?" When confronted by all the conflict in our existence I asked "Why?" My short answer is life is a reaction to the void. My longer answer is
I have never used the word "place" in this context. And what do you mean by "why"? Merriam-Webster defines it as follows:
"for what cause, reason, or purpose"
Which of the three do you mean here, Doug?
Sauwelios, I apologize for appearing to have given unintended context to your words. I am old but no where near old enough to have ever used "Whither" or "Whence" either in my writing or conversation. I was quite certain I knew what the words meant but I looked them up anyway. Here is what I found in Merriam-Webster:
Main Entry: 1whence
Pronunciation: 'hwen(t)s, 'wen(t)s
Etymology: Middle English whennes, from whenne whence (from Old English hwanon) + -s, adverb suffix, from -s, genitivesingular ending; akin to Old High German hwanAn whence, Old English hwA who
: from what place, source, or cause <then>
- from whence : from what place, source, or cause <no>
Main Entry: 2whence
1 : from what place, source, or cause <inquired>
2 a : from or out of which place, source, or cause <the> b : by reason of which fact : WHEREFORE <nothing>
Main Entry: 1whith·er
Pronunciation: 'hwi-[th]&r, 'wi-
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English hwider; akin to Latin quis who and to Old English hider hither -- more at WHO, HITHER
1 : to what place <whither>
2 : to what situation, position, degree, or end <whither>
Main Entry: 2whither
1 a : to what place <knew> b : to what situation, position, degree, or end
2 a : to the place at, in, or to which b : to which place
3 : to whatever place
Which do you mean?
To answer your question concerning the meaning of "why", in my view "why" can mean for what cause, for what reason and for what purpose depending on the circumstances. When I asked, "Why is there so much conflict in our existence?" "why" could mean either cause or reason. I don't see any difference. If I was asked what is the cause of conflict I would answer that in my view the cause of conflict is our efforts to fill the void because the activity of filling the void is directed inward, so the effort puts us in opposition to each other. Similarly, if I was asked what is the reason for conflict I would be able to repeat that answer. However, I do not have an answer for the purpose of conflict. To me conflict serves no purpose.
If I were asked why we have reactions to the void I would tell you the reason for them is they are our way of dealing with the ultimate unknown and thus their apparent purpose is to help us deal with the "void". As for their cause, that "why"another version of "the last why". I call the philosophical question "Why do we exist?" the "Last Why" because this question will remain unanswered after all other questions have been. Here again "why" could mean reason for or purpose but not cause of existence.
To answer your question I wish "whence" to mean "from which source of cause" and "whither" to mean "to what situation, position or end"
(1) But you just said you did not see any difference between reason and cause.
(2) In any case, it appears that in asking "why?", you do or did so in the sense of "whence", not "whither": (3) you can answer what is the cause or reason of conflict, but not what is its purpose. Very well. (4)Furthermore, you say that it is a reaction to the "void". I think I can relate to that, as for me, all becoming is indeed a creation or vision meant to veil the "void":
to (1) At the time of the conversation I didn't respond to this comment. Now I will say again that there are circumstances when asking the cause of something or the reason for something will evoke precisely the same response making the reason and cause interchangeable with why; and there are circumstances where this is not the case.
to (2) Sauwelios, you are half right and the only reason you are not all right is I didn't tell you that after asking "whence" I asked "whither". In my view, to repeat writing in this thread, I see two types of activity. There is the natural biological activity of reaching out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God, which begins at conception; and there is the unnatural philosophically motivated activity of trying to fill the void that begins when we start to 'think'. The "whither" of the former, the ideal reaction to the void, is the "situation" of self-realization. I know the cause and the purpose but not the reason why. The "whither" of the latter is the "end" of self-destruction. I know the reason, the cause but for the life of me I can see no purpose.
At the time of the conversation we passed right over "whence": "from which source or cause". To that question I respond our source individually is indisputably our first single cell, the biological cause being the fusion of a sperm and an egg. I suggest our individual histories replicate the history of humanity so I conclude that collectively we have the same cause. As for the source, perhaps it was God and Mother Nature, but really I have no idea.
to (3) After viewing yet another scene of carnage on TV my 91 year old mother will often say, "I think the purpose of war is to get rid of a lot of people." I say, "No, no Mom. That is the purpose of abortion. I don't think guys in suits sit around a table and decide to have a war to get rid of people." In this sense of "why" I do not have an answer.
to (4) You made my day, or at least the next couple hours.
Though he didn't say it at the time, after I suggested in Jakob's thread he made his discovery "All great thinkers are traps" by looking behind the "veil", Sauwelios made it very clear to me he had no intention of making my day or even a couple of hours. Apparently he did not intend "veil the void" to be equivalent to "reaction to the void".
The clarification was disappointing because it was a useful vision. In my OP I suggest that in reacting to the void we weave 'threads' of natural and unnatural activity into a fabric of existence. I further imagine the natural thread being clear and the unnatural threads being 8 different colors. Although I say we try to fill the void with unnatural activity, I can at the same time see the colored fabric of existence attempting to cover, obscure or "veil the void". It doesn't matter that a clear fabric would not "veil the void" for as I see it natural activity is not a direct reaction to the void. To me, natural activity is a reaction to innate biological motivation to become what we are capable of being, the process of self-realization that just happens to be the ideal reaction to the void.
So, the "whence" is clear. For the "whither" there is self-destruction or self-realization. For self-destruction there is a cause, a reason but no purpose. Self-realization is a purpose and the cause is biological. Sorry, I don't know the reason why. Perhaps we would find the "meaning of existence" in becoming what we are capable of being.
Doug 03.02.07 0.9 (12)
On February 19 2007, President's Day, Chuck Coberst posted "Aesthetics--I need some help here!"His first sentence was:
The last paragraph highlights my need for illumination.
That last paragraph was:
Becker says “Aesthetics gives the highest pleasure because it is the category that merges all the others, that pulls all the loose and disparate strands of experience together into one harmonious whole. Intellect, imagination, the whole organism of feeling—thought and dream, flesh and blood, emption and nerves—all are fused into one integrating merger. The aesthetic object draws man’s world together, by drawing the whole man firmly into it. In contemplating the aesthetic object, the totality of the life force is awakened and stilled at one and the same time.” "Beyond Alienation"--Ernest Becker
Have you had aesthetic experiences that will give us clarity regarding Becker's meaning here?
I think I have Chuck. I think though I will relate my story in my own thread in a few days when I have time to tie it into my context there. I will say though that I believe it is, for example, what a figure skater experiences when they begin a program and come to the end of a perfect skate without remembering the intervening minutes. Athletes describe the experience as being in "the zone". I call it experiencing "the ideal"; and it is not confined to athletics. It is a beautiful feeling that is rarely experienced in our present "fabric of existence".
Chuck did not respond at all, let alone indicate he was eagerly anticipating my story. Nevertheless, this post is for him.
My response to you on Monday was an instantaneous reaction to phrases Becker used that resonated with me. Today while trying to visualize the ideal framework to contain my experience I reread Becker's quote. This time I struggled like I do when trying to make sense of religious language. In particular the word "category" in the phrase, "because it is the 'category' that merges..." presented a problem. I could understand a category of something "merging all the others" but not just the category doing the merging. In other words, I felt I was missing the context.
So I searched "Beyond Alienation" to see if I could find the context. I didn't find the book. However, on the first page of Google's list of references for Becker I clicked on a Faculty of Washington Lectures entry and found a biographical sketch. The first two sentences were, "What makes people act the way they do? This was the absorbing question of Ernest Becker's intellectual life." It would seem that Becker's entire context is our motivations so in the absence of the actual context of the quoted paragraph I think I will not distort Becker's meaning if I insert "of motivation" after category so that Becker's first sentence reads "Aesthetics gives the highest pleasure because it is the category (of motivation) that merges all the others,.... Before anyone can tell me I am wrong I will relate my "...aesthetic experience that will give... clarity regarding Becker's meaning..."
To set up my experience I need to go back to my university days in the late 60's. While all my classmates were planning careers, mostly in teaching, I was struggling with a severe lack of motivation. I wondered why. I progressed to questioning why we act the way we do and in particular why there is so much conflict in our existence. As I questioned I recorded the 'answers' and for the first time in my 5 years at university I felt motivated. I do not know why I or any of us should 'feel' motivated. Regardless, I decided I was going to have an answer to the question, "Why do people act the way we do?" before I began to teach.
I thought I had the answer, well articulated, in the spring of 1996. Coincidentally, after 16 years of being alone I thought I was beginning a relationship. My doctor arranged for a patient of his, a philosophy professor to read my essay. The final sentence of his review was, "Good luck on other projects". I crashed like one of those WWII fighter pilots who was shot down; only, I survived. Two days later when the 'dust' settled enough I could see to write, I managed a response to the professor. As I entered into the parking lot of the post office, there, waiting to cross the entrance was my 'angel'.
The story of my aesthetic experience began on a day in February 1997. A busy summer of building had distracted me from the memory of my crash but now I was at loose ends. I decided to go snow boarding. On the way to the mountain I stopped at my mail box where I found a "Dear Doug letter" without the "Dear". It was a gloomy day anyway so I continued on to the hill. At the bottom of the third lift I encountered a "sea of humanity". It was President's Day and it seemed the population of the entire Pacific North west was waiting to get on the lift. This was not a day a savvy local goes boarding. Given the circumstances of my life though, it was fitting that I was there. At that moment I could have headed down but I chose instead to go to the top of the mountain for one long run home.
The final lift accessed an area called "7th Heaven". Despite having been closed all day for avalanche control I proceeded along the long road to its base thinking it might open. As I neared the lift I could see it was running and I didn't see a soul. I couldn't believe my good fortune. For the first time in my life I was first on the lift and I was well up the hill before I saw the lineup begin to grow. As an added bonus a huge hole appeared in the thick cloud cover allowing the sun to work its magic on hundreds of acres of fresh snow. At the top of the mountain riders can go down the south side to the base of the lift or go down the north side. I chose to go north right down the center of the massive glacier onto a huge dome. At the bottom I turned around to look back up the hill. It was a beautiful sight, one set of perfectly sculpted turns on a hundred acres of pristine snow carving a crescent in a patch of blue sky.
Chuck, even on the worst day, boarding in powder is an exhilarating experience. On this day it was an aesthetic experience. As Becker said,...it pulled "all the loose and disparate strands of (life) together in one harmonious whole". The experience drew me "fully into it". "It awakened and stilled (me) at one and the same time". It motivated me for whatever reason. The next day I began rewriting my essay.
Ten years later I am motivated by the extraordinary interest in my thread, especially by those who have contributed. Even though the last several posts are essentially monologues, I will continue to write them as long as people continue to read them, at least until my mother dies. Her needing my help and full time company to enjoy her life has allowed me to enjoy the past 18 months of mine like never before by enabling me to publish the results of my life on the web. Seeing her every morning is an aesthetic experience. The fact that she is 91 makes me nervous; but my 'angel' passed through my space on Wednesday. Perhaps another aesthetic experience awaits that will motivate me to continue explaining "my view" that "life (is) a reaction to the void".
Membrain 03.03.07 111.1 (12)
Even when calling it the question that gave 'birth' to humanity, I see it as the last question before discovering "the void".
So if the "Last Why" gave birth to humanity, I find it somewhat ironic, since before the birth of humanity, I assume that we weren't asking any questions superior to that of the other animals. By that I mean, I assume that many animals asks questions like "How do I catch that antelope?" or "How do I get over this river to escape the raging forest fire?", etc. and that those questions are NOT specific to "humanity". I assume that you are saying that the "Last Why" is (or could be) what defined the beginning of the human-specific question: in other words, the first question that separated us from animals.
So feel free to set me straight on any of those assumptions. My comment merely was to point out the irony of the Last Why being the First Why if in fact that's what you are saying.
I wrote this on 09.14.06 and I couldn't find a reply. Any reply? Thanks.
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north 03.03.07 14.1 (12)
Although we don't think of our lives in this way, I suggest they are reactions to the void. I see the void being simply what we discover when we question the meaning of life, ask the question I call "the last why". I suggest the void is our motivating force. If we haven't already, we will get a sense that life is this reaction to the void when part of an 'inheritance' we probably didn't even know seemed to be giving meaning to our life, is removed and we experience the emptiness most often referred to as the void. Once its effect is felt, we don't take long reacting to the void.
We can think of our reactions to the void as weaving fabrics of existence with 'threads' of activity. There are only two types. Natural activity is reaching out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God. Its consequence is self-realization. Unnatural activity is trying to fill the void. There are eight ways we can try to fill the void and the consequence of each is self-destruction. (for more detail see the link below)
We weave our fabrics of existence according to the law of human nature which has only two stipulations. First, we must be using some natural 'thread' or we will cease to exist. The law also stipulates there is a limit on the amount of 'thread' we can use. Thus, when we are at our limit, if we wish to add more unnatural 'thread' to our fabric, we must displace an equivalent amount of 'natural' thread. Conversely, if we wish to add natural 'thread', it must replace that amount of unnatural 'thread'. Within the unnatural component we can use any amount and any number of the unnatural 'threads'. Depending on the ratio of natural to unnatural 'thread' we choose to use in our weave, our fabric of existence is either dominantly self-realization or self-destruction.
Though we each weave a fabric of existence they have no boundaries. They weave together to form humanity's fabric of existence. We become part of this fabric the moment we are conceived. When we die naturally we fall away from the edge. When we die unnaturally we leave a hole in it. We are influenced and restricted by the fabric of humanity; but at the same time we can change it and the restrictions by changing our individual fabrics.
To 'see' the fabric of humanity, imagine the 'threads' of unnatural activity are different colours and the 'thread' of natural activity is clear. At present the fabric is a mess of clashing colours. We can see through it quite easily but only where there are holes. If we continue to weave with our present mix of 'threads' the fabric of humanity will self-destruct and God will not save it. Nor can any of us alone prevent self-destruction; but together we can. By reaching out to the limits of our capacities, to others and to God, the ideal reaction to the void, we can create a flawless fabric of existence through which we may see "God's Glory".
actually I think that it is a form of brainwashing thinking that this void is only filled , satisfactoryily by some sort kind of concept of god. and quite frankly I'm sick and tired of hearing about it.
it is this concept of god(s) that has caused ALL this MESS in the World first place.
if we , as a being , a unique being , called Humans , in this Universe believed in ourselves, beyond any concept of god(s), our life , our existence , is more important than any teachings from any god , from the begining of our time in this Universe. WE would ALL RESPECT each other NATURALLY , no matter where in the World you were from.
I believe in the Human Spirit. and NO other , EVER. NATURALLY.
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