You are not logged in.

Gougai! Gougai!

HOLY SHIT PEOPLE, IT'S NOT BAD ENOUGH WE'RE GETTING AN UTENA EXHIBITION RIGHT NOW

THEY. ARE. MAKING. A. NEW. MUSICAL. NEXT. YEAR. START LOSING YOUR SHIT RIGHT NOW

#1 | Back to Top12-04-2007 04:30:40 PM

Stormcrow
Magical Flying Moron
From: Los Angeles
Registered: 04-24-2007
Posts: 5971
Website

What is important?

This post was inspired by Lady N's recent post about wanting something to believe in. This is something that I've spent a great deal of time looking for as well, so I thought I might be able to help out. And if not, this could make for a lively discussion.

I think I've said this somewhere before, but I'm a humanist. What that means to me is that I believe in people. Not that they're all good, more that they're all capable of amazing things. No telling what those things will be, but a lot of them will be worthwhile. I wasn't exactly raised a humanist, there aren't really churches of humanism or anything like that (well, not that I know of, maybe there are?), but reform Judaism is moderately humanistic, so it wasn't a radical departure for me either. I never actually believed in a deity, and this bothered me for a long while, to the point that I tried to pretend, which just made me feel quite silly. I don't recommend that really. In the end, it was my discovery of Nietzsche that allowed me to truly resolve this issue and accept my atheism at face value.

Nietzsche wrote about many topics, but one problem that concerned him the most was the origin of values. We all know that Western civilization places a fair premium on individual liberty, but why? Where does that come from? Nietzsche spent a great deal of time and effort trying to answer those questions and had moderate success. Incidentally, it was in this context that he wrote that god was dead. He meant that the historical faith in Christianity was fading, and that people no longer believed in god the way that they once did. So, if god is dead, then where do we turn for our system of values?

Nietzsche's answer, and the one that worked best for me, was that we had to seek out or own sense of right and wrong. He wrote that good and evil were things that had yet to be discovered. And the way to your own good and evil goes through your beliefs. As part of my own journey, I had to discover what I myself believed in, so I could learn from those beliefs what was right and what was wrong. It's not something you ever actually figure out completely, but it has helped me a lot. Along the way, I studied a fair amount about what other people believed in, including various religions. So I thought it might be helpful, or at least interesting, to share a little about our personal beliefs. I'm not looking for theses here, I'm just rambling on and on because I haven't written much of anything in a while, and the reservoir is full, you know?

So, a few questions I personally would really like to hear answers to from any of you that feel comfortable sharing:

1. Do you believe in a supernatural being or beings more or less like a god? A creator? Do you see god as immanent, (having human-like characteristics), or transcendent? Do you feel a moral obligation to seek out what god wants, and to follow god's rules? What are those rules?

2. What are some rules of conduct that you think everyone should follow? How about rules that you feel compelled to follow, but don't look down on others for not complying? Where do these rules come from for you, and why do you think they're important?

3. What matters in life?

I know those are some big questions, but if anybody would like to share answers to a couple of them, I'd love to hear them! And you might help somebody else out too. Discussion and comments on others answers are strongly encouraged as well.

etc-love
Stormcrow


"The devil want me as is, but god he want more."
-Truck North
Honorary Hat Mafia Member

Offline

 

#2 | Back to Top12-04-2007 06:54:14 PM

Alexandra
Covert Diarist
From: Dreamworld
Registered: 04-07-2007
Posts: 808

Re: What is important?

1. Do you believe in a supernatural being or beings more or less like a god? A creator? Do you see god as immanent, (having human-like characteristics), or transcendent? Do you feel a moral obligation to seek out what god wants, and to follow god's rules? What are those rules?
I believe in God.  I don't know what religion He's from, though.  I just feel in my heart there is someone out there watching me and has a plan set out for me.  He has characteristics that He shows me in ways that I can understand, so I suppose he has human-like qualities, but as a whole He's above everything.  I don't believe my God has a strict moral code and a set of rules for me to follow; I feel He is a guide to helping me in the right direction.  It's funny - whenever I feel overjoyed about something, or when I'm really sad or afraid or in pain, I find comfort in talking to Him.  The relationship we have is flexible but intimate.  I believe He doesn't want me to be bogged down by the intricacies of religion; rather, I think He appreciates keeping a wide scope of things and staying a good person and growing.

2. What are some rules of conduct that you think everyone should follow? How about rules that you feel compelled to follow, but don't look down on others for not complying? Where do these rules come from for you, and why do you think they're important?
This is very difficult.  I believe people should follow their hearts.  I think it's okay to let passion take over sometimes.  But you have to be responsible and you have to be respectful.  With respect, I don't believe everyone deserves it.  But it's good to try and give it until it is apparent that it's not warranted.  I believe in treating people as people, and I am a strong advocate for justice.  There are so many inequalities in the world and they need to be changed.

3. What matters in life?
I hope to one day be happy.  I want to be in love.  I want to learn so much more about everything.  I think family is important because my mom has been so influential in my development and she's always been there for me.  You shouldn't abandon people who care about you.  I honestly don't think money matters, maybe I'm just spoiled and personally never experienced financial woes, but I would hate to live a life slaving to the bone for it.  That's not something I can see myself doing.  I'd rather sing, or go to school, or find a boyfriend, and find a job that doesn't feel like work.  The most important thing I feel is knowing who you are and loving yourself.  I think the ultimate test of loving yourself is - if you were reincarnated; would you live as yourself again?

Offline

 

#3 | Back to Top12-04-2007 09:46:57 PM

MissMocha
Bettie Page Princess
From: Tallahassee, Fl
Registered: 10-19-2006
Posts: 4632

Re: What is important?

1. Do you believe in a supernatural being or beings more or less like a god? A creator? Do you see god as immanent, (having human-like characteristics), or transcendent? Do you feel a moral obligation to seek out what god wants, and to follow god's rules? What are those rules?
I'd like to say flat out "no" but I think that's an easy answer. It's easy to refute out of hand something that you don't have any proof of, or at least, nothing of what fits the definition of substantial proof in your own mind. I call myself a nihilist, but realistically, sophilism works for my outlook as well. To me, it seems that those who rely on a god figure are demeaning themselves, by saying that they don't understand enough to make decisions on their own. To say that you're trying to follow "god's way" isn't... it smacks of having nothing of your own with which to define yourself. I really hope I'm not offending anyone on the board by saying that, but to be honest, not a lot insults me more then people that win awards for their achievements, and then immediately thank god or jesus for it. Because, really, they have nothing better to do then help you with your work. emot-rolleyes Thank your parents for fucking and not getting an abortion, that seems a tad bit more relevant. Because morals are constructed by religion, it follows that I have no morals. That's to say that I don't have ethics. 


2. What are some rules of conduct that you think everyone should follow? How about rules that you feel compelled to follow, but don't look down on others for not complying? Where do these rules come from for you, and why do you think they're important?
"Do not kill. Do not rape. Do not steal. These are principles which every man of every faith can embrace." There are universal truths to every religion, and while the codes of behaviour may differ, the purpose, the truest purpose of a religion is to better yourself and the lives of others. I think as long as the way you choose to live your life doesn't hurt others then there's not much that anyone else can do about it. I try not to ever yell at people, but I think that's just from my service background. I look down on others for not complying, but I don't expect most people to, sad to say. emot-frown




3. What matters in life?
This is the best summation I can give.

http://www.queenofwands.net/comics/20061127b.jpg
http://www.queenofwands.net/comics/20061127c.jpg

Sorry if it seems like a cop-out.

Last edited by morosemocha (12-04-2007 09:49:42 PM)


The first time you looked at her curves you were hooked
And the glances you took, took hold of you and demanded that you stay
And sunk in their teeth, bit your heart and released
Such a charge that you need another touch, another taste, another fix

Offline

 

#4 | Back to Top12-04-2007 10:56:58 PM

Scortia
Rose Bride
From: Louisiana
Registered: 12-23-2006
Posts: 116

Re: What is important?

These same answers will probably pop up in one way or another but here they are from me:


1. Do you believe in a supernatural being or beings more or less like a god? A creator? Do you see god as immanent, (having human-like characteristics), or transcendent? Do you feel a moral obligation to seek out what god wants, and to follow god's rules? What are those rules?
I am an agnostic deist... which basically means I believe that there has to be some sort of higher power out there but I refuse to stick to any one set mindset on what that is.  I view "god" as being transcendent because if we were based off of him, that makes him pretty screwed up for being benevolent doesn't it?  I think he should not be properly understood by any moral and that he needs to have a sense of humor.  A god who can't laugh at what we make of him is a god I'd not be satisfied with.  I believe that moral obligation should be,... and IS... only something worthwhile when you decide on it for yourself.  How can we ever truly grow up if we're only good because we think "daddy" is going to paddle us if we aren't?  Chick... egg... and all that jazz.  I think that the basis of morals and ethics are universal so there's no dogma necessary to live a good, honest life.

2. What are some rules of conduct that you think everyone should follow? How about rules that you feel compelled to follow, but don't look down on others for not complying? Where do these rules come from for you, and why do you think they're important?

Respect others, despite their differences from you.  You can do whatever you want so long as you don't harm others in the process.  That's all I would ask of anyone.  I personally expect far more of myself... and yet sadly, most people can't even manage the first two.  It is the wonderful source of my never-ending cynicism over the human race in general.   As for my own personal rules for myself, they're somewhat 'eastern' in origin... but I developed them long before I even understood the basics of Taoism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

3. What matters in life?
Making your life worthwile to yourself and others... to not just leech for your entire life, to produce more positive results than negative.  To find your potential, find what you were born to do, and pursue it.  To find a sense of peace and zen in your day to day activities and take joy in simple pleasures.  To show respect and concern for those weaker than yourself... to just care about others in general.  And, of course, to THINK.  To desire knowledge, to seek to improve yourself, to acknowledge your faults and learn from them.  This process is what it means to live imho.

Last edited by Scortia (12-04-2007 10:59:18 PM)

Offline

 

#5 | Back to Top12-04-2007 11:02:51 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Re: What is important?

Stormcrow wrote:

1. Do you believe in a supernatural being or beings more or less like a god? A creator? Do you see god as immanent, (having human-like characteristics), or transcendent? Do you feel a moral obligation to seek out what god wants, and to follow god's rules? What are those rules?

Well... no.  As a general rule, I believe in science and in the evidence of my senses, and to a lesser extent, in the evidence of my heart.  I'll be the first to admit that science is imperfect and that nothing in any textbook will ever be able to prove that there is no God.  But I can't help thinking, because it would be so easy for a real, immanent God to reveal himself -- in person and with lightning and meteors, not in that "God reveals himself to you every second of every day" way -- that His apparent absence means that either He doesn't exist or He doesn't give a crap whether I believe in Him.  So I don't.  No offense meant to any forum members, of course.

All that said, when I'm lying in my hot tub under a clear night sky, the stars and moon beaming down on me through the trees and the crickets chanting in the grass, I imagine I feel something.  Not up there, but down here -- not supernatural, but subnatural -- something that underlies the universe rather than sitting atop it.  I don't have a name for this subnatural entity; I don't even know whether it's an entity, or a force, or my strings resonating with the universe's strings, or just an artifact of the fumes from the spa and my human heart.  Colloquially, I call it blackbirds, after the Wallace Stevens poem, which expresses my feelings about the subnatural more eloquently than I could with ten lifetimes and an ocean of ink.  Whether that's what he was writing about, of course, I have no idea.  It has to do with the vaguely Zen idea that we are all individuals, and we are also all the same; that we are completely separate from nature, and also utterly inextricable from it.  Was it Niels Bohr who said that the difference between small truths and big truths is that the opposite of a small truth is false?

Anyway, the subnatural -- if it even exists in the absence of an observer, or in his presence for that matter -- certainly doesn't want anything from us.  It doesn't have desires; it's not that sophisticated.  The world could blow up and it wouldn't notice.  That's not to say, however, that awareness of it doesn't affect my life.  In fact, I tend to gauge aesthetic beauty in terms of how conscious it makes me of the subnatural vincula that join my insides to my outsides.

SC wrote:

2. What are some rules of conduct that you think everyone should follow? How about rules that you feel compelled to follow, but don't look down on others for not complying? Where do these rules come from for you, and why do you think they're important?

I like the Wiccan Rede -- "An it harm none, do what ye will."  There may be cases where it's okay to hurt someone, particularly to protect yourself or others, but it's never wrong to do something that hurts no one.  There are no victimless crimes; if it's victimless, it's not a crime.  As a result, I don't have a lot of "shalt alwayses" or "shalt nevers."  The closest thing I have -- a rule I follow imperfectly -- is something like the Golden Rule.  Be conscious that your loved ones are a part of you, and that looking after them is a form of looking after yourself -- and vice versa.  Be kind and patient and tolerant and (perhaps above all) honest.  As for strangers, give them the benefit of the doubt as long as possible, and never hurt them for no reason.  In the end, your needs must always come first -- but always with the awareness that others play a part in those needs.  It's not a very deep morality, but it works well for me.

Where do these rules come from?  Well, common sense, I guess.  We have to look out for ourselves, but our threads are all intermingled in this improvised and sometimes dystopian tapestry we call living.  If I tangle yours, I tangle mine.  So I try to give my nearby threads the respect and freedom and love that I hope they will try to give me.

Let's abandon the horrid mixed metaphor, shall we?

SC wrote:

3. What matters in life?

Ultimately, happiness.  But that's a little like saying that what matters about a hamburger is that it should taste good; it's true, but it doesn't add much to the discussion.  I find I feel the most fulfilled when I'm doing #2.  (Stormcrow's question, not the body function.)  When I'm looking after my own needs, when I'm loving my friends instead of hurting them, when I'm feeling their love in return, when I'm surrounded by blackbirds -- I'm happy to be here.  And so that's what matters.

Offline

 

#6 | Back to Top12-04-2007 11:32:57 PM

Nilamarthiel
The Icon Icon
From: Northern Michigan
Registered: 02-05-2007
Posts: 3972
Website

Re: What is important?

1. Do you believe in a supernatural being or beings more or less like a god? A creator? Do you see god as immanent, (having human-like characteristics), or transcendent? Do you feel a moral obligation to seek out what god wants, and to follow god's rules? What are those rules?

I can't be sure. Who am I to judge what is there, and what isn't there? I don't feel as though there is anyone but myself guiding my actions. I just follow what feels right and natural to myself.



2. What are some rules of conduct that you think everyone should follow? How about rules that you feel compelled to follow, but don't look down on others for not complying? Where do these rules come from for you, and why do you think they're important?

Common sense. Everybody has it. Everybody has the ability to use it. If something about your actions makes you feel uncomfortable, guilty, or otherwise gives you a negative feeling, quit doing it and make up for it. A lot of people tell me it's more complicated than that, but it really isn't. I follow what is right to me, and what seems natural to me. Everyone has their own set of ideals and morals, and I often wish that those ideals and morals were more in tune with mine most of the time, but to each their own and I accept that. Generally. Unless those ideals and morals hurt innocent people, then I have a fit.



3. What matters in life?

To have a purpose. For someone five-hundred years in the future to point at a picture of me and say, "You see that woman? Her name was Erin Fonville. She changed the world."

Offline

 

#7 | Back to Top12-05-2007 01:27:19 AM

Clarice
Well hello, Clarice...
From: New Zealand
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 3102
Website

Re: What is important?

1. Do you believe in a supernatural being or beings more or less like a god? A creator? Do you see god as immanent, (having human-like characteristics), or transcendent? Do you feel a moral obligation to seek out what god wants, and to follow god's rules? What are those rules?

There are things outside the scope of my perception in this world, and most likely beyond it. I don't believe in any one God, nor do I imagine that anything of the sort would have any interest in the life I lead. I don't have a problem with others believing this, however, because such things come to affect the second question you ask, i.e. religion can offer a stability, an order, and provide a community in which people can operate in a way that is both mutually beneficial to those involved, and extends outward to the larger community. If that makes any sense.

In some ways I am spiritual, in that I seek outside myself, but I lack a guide in these matters and can't find the road myself. I've tried religion, and it largely doesn't work for me. But I keep looking. What do I want from this? Mostly just confirmation that there is something beyond the mudane and the ordinary. I just want to know that there is something more than this.

2. What are some rules of conduct that you think everyone should follow? How about rules that you feel compelled to follow, but don't look down on others for not complying? Where do these rules come from for you, and why do you think they're important?

I think people just need to realise that they're not the only people in the universe. I think what others have already said gels well with my belief, which is just that is people stopped and considered how what they are doing would impact their lives if they were the receiver rather than the giver of that action, things might even out a little. But common sense is in short supply, and in the true fashion of a hypocrite I don't have very much of that myself anyway.

3. What matters in life?

Having somebody at the end of it say: "I miss her."


It takes forty-seven New Zealanders eight months to make just one batch of 42 Below Vodka. ...luckily, that leaves one of us free to be Prime Minister.

Beyond The Silver Leaves

Offline

 

#8 | Back to Top12-05-2007 03:23:31 AM

OnionPrince
Covert Diarist
From: Nagoya
Registered: 10-28-2007
Posts: 876

Re: What is important?

Fascinating topic, Stormcrow, and one I wouldn't approach without an asbestos suit were this any other forum. emot-smile I'm also a secular humanist, though I was raised Catholic and have gone through a long Buddhist phase. There's a lot I'd like to say, but I think it best if I remain brief.

1. No. Sure, a supernatural being is possible. There is almost certainly life elsewhere in the universe that might seem like gods to us. But based on observable evidence, there is almost certainly no entity remotely like the deity or dieties of any of humanity's wide collection of myths. Indeed, having read the Old Testament, I seriously hope there isn't.

2. Satyreyes already mentioned my favorite law: "An it harm none, do what ye will." You can't get too rigid with your rules. Serious problems arise from one group of people having rules forced upon them by another group, who either invented the rules to suit their specific purposes, or in turn had those rules forced upon them long ago. Buddhism has some nice ideas, but no system is perfect. "Do no harm to any living thing." No deal. I'll whatever force necessary to defend myself and the people I love, whether the danger is a rabid animal or a lawless human. I think everyone should make it a rule to constantly improve themselves and strive to be the most caring, respectful, educated, and productive person they can. That's just my idea, though.

3. The big picture matters to me. The survival and advancement of the human race. I want to see what we can accomplish and where we can go from here. I want to contribute to human history in some memorable and important way. I look back at all the amazing things this species has done on our tiny rock floating through space, and I can only imagine what we're capable of. Then again, sometimes I have a hard time believing that we'll ever triumph over our current problems.

Offline

 

#9 | Back to Top12-05-2007 02:23:05 PM

Lightice
Azure Paleontologist
From: Finland
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 1255

Re: What is important?

1. Do you believe in a supernatural being or beings more or less like a god?
I find the concept of supernatural oxymoronic. If something exists, that makes it natural. Do I believe that some entity/entities created the universe, the Solar System, the planet Earth or the life on the planet Earth? I'm in no position to say that it's impossible and I've heard a whole bunch of interesting and not entirely unbelievable scenarios of that sort. However, as long as no evidence exists, I don't feel compelled to actually believe any of it. Any claim of real knowledge of such an entity is misguided at best and delusional at worst.
If knowledge of such an entity came available, I still wouldn't worship it, though. I just don't have it in me - the concept of worship is completely alien to me. If the entity is at all worth its titles, then it would surely understand. If not, then it wouldn't be worth worshipping, in any case.

2. What are some rules of conduct that you think everyone should follow?
I don't think that there are any, as such. More like guidelines. I would be delighted if everyone would understand and follow the Code of Thelema, as mystical hogwash as it is - it's without doubt the most beautiful spiritual code that I know:
Do what Thou Wilt;
Shall be Whole of the Law;
Love is the Law;
Love under Will;
Every Man and Every Woman is a Star.

I think it summarizes nicely what is important in life and find it sad that most of the time people only remember the first two lines and think it's some sort of hedonistic, sociopathic message.

But I suppose that you mean ethical codes in more concrete sense. I don't think that they are as important as people make them. If your sense of empathy is functional, then you can't harm another being like you and not feel bad about it. I find those who this does not apply to be partially insane, mentally damaged, incomplete products, more subjects to pity than hate, although the hate-reaction is understandable if you understand the human evolution. It's almost as sad to be a murderer as it is to be murdered, even if most don't recognise it.
I hope that this portion of the human mind, born in an age when it was neccecary, will eventually be cured - hopefully in a manner that won't throw us at the other extreme, belevolent passiveness.

The more complex social codes are tools and construction materials of the society; completely artifical, but important for the continued existance of society. I like to think it as a house-metaphor: You need hammers, chisels, saws and nails to make a house; all completely artifical devices, but without them you sleep outside. The same thing with society; without social codes, you won't be able to live in a society. It's good to remember, though, that there are different kinds of houses and different kinds of societies.

3. What matters in life?
I really don't know yet. To start with, life itself - without it, you have nothing to build on. I would say happiness, but I've often used the expression: "Better an unhappy Socrates than a happy pig" - though I know fully well that applied to myself, I could never be happy as a pig, so I can only try to be as happy as I can as a Socrates. Seeking happiness through improved understanding might be a good compromise.

As a species, I think that our motto should go like this: "Being a human is great, but you can always improve". I fully sign to the Transhumanist ideology which states that we shouldn't limit making ourselves better just to conventional learning or ethical growth, but also to the physical aspects of our beings, as they directly reflect to our mental character. Life-extension is a good start, as it gives us a chance to enjoy the other benefits, as well. For the ultimate, if distant end, see the aliens in 2001: Space Odyssey. "They no longer needed spaceships. They were spaceships".

Last edited by Lightice (12-06-2007 03:14:18 AM)


Hei! Aa-Shanta 'Nygh!

Offline

 

#10 | Back to Top12-05-2007 05:05:11 PM

Jellineck
Wondrous Sexual Eggplant.
From: Under your bed
Registered: 08-02-2007
Posts: 894

Re: What is important?

1. Do you believe in a supernatural being or beings more or less like a god? A creator? Do you see god as immanent, (having human-like characteristics), or transcendent? Do you feel a moral obligation to seek out what god wants, and to follow god's rules? What are those rules?

2. What are some rules of conduct that you think everyone should follow? How about rules that you feel compelled to follow, but don't look down on others for not complying? Where do these rules come from for you, and why do you think they're important?

3. What matters in life?

1. Impossible to truly answer either way. I find those who find those who lean towards either extremities are missing a part of the bigger picture. Science as we know it is always being expanded upon, and there is so much that we do not know. Faith more often becomes the tool of the worshiper, not the will of a higher power. Religion is more often a perversion of spirituality more than anything else, filled with contradictions and hypocrisies. I feel a bit like generalizing as many religious institutions have done plenty good for this world and has been the predominant central force of society, but as Nietzsche states, it is becoming outdated. Yet one question always comes back to haunt me...why do we feel the need to have a god, if one does not exist? People always answer that it's a primitive way to explain our surroundings. Alright, but why must we explain? Monkeys don't explain, they react (as far as we know). Monkeys don't worship a god, and their brains are very similar to ours. Why do humans alone feel the need to justify our existence?

I believe that there must be something. Something that is translated by our various religions. I don't believe in relying solely on the senses, because the senses are often misleading. But I don't believe in a definite God with a capital G, this great big father figure who beats you with a stick after you're dead for fondling someone of the same gender.

2. Everyone is ethnocentric. One of things I detest the most is also one of the most prevalent in our society: neglect of the young and neglect of the old. The emphasis on the strong and surest. We may see this as purely Darwinian, but it is also an indicant of a crumbling society. The U.S. currently reminds me very much of what I read of Rome. Oh, it's still very different, but some of the social issues are a direct parallel. When we stop caring about our most vulnerable, society is undermined. Children really are our future and yet they have become our prey. We sexualize them, target them for products, slash benefits that help them, and most people I know view them as petty annoyances. Soon they will become the generation that supports ours. And thus the cycle will continue from there...

So, point being, I admire societies that protect their most vulnerable, such as Ireland and France. Recently Ireland just passed a brilliant measure that will pay grandparents to take care of their grandchildren. It lets the parents focus on work, provides caretakers for the children, lets the grandparents be useful contributors and earn money, and emphasizes tradition and closeness of the family. That said, in case I'm sounding too conservative, I do appreciate societies that encourage freedom and individuality. Although there are elements in our media that I don't appreciate, the results of personal freedom are often brilliant and inspiring.

3. I guess I'll just go with my current deduction, since this seems to change from day to day. I suppose I'll draw a bit on Plato (ugh) and say that it's all a matter of filling your niche. Finding what you enjoy and doing it well. As far as I'm concerned, there's no single great ambition that we should all seek, and the chances of impacting society are more born from our fear of death than our desire to do well. So being content for small but significant gains, but still reach and dream.


"You said you would do anything for me, right Mamiya?" Mikage purred as he slithered close. "Yes that's right" Mamiya said with a rosey blush. Mikage's smile was evil and cinister as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a banana. "Eeny meeny myny moo. I wonder where my banana will go?" - The Forbidden Passions of Nemuro

Offline

 

#11 | Back to Top12-06-2007 04:54:52 AM

Lightice
Azure Paleontologist
From: Finland
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 1255

Re: What is important?

Jellineck wrote:

Yet one question always comes back to haunt me...why do we feel the need to have a god, if one does not exist? People always answer that it's a primitive way to explain our surroundings. Alright, but why must we explain? Monkeys don't explain, they react (as far as we know). Monkeys don't worship a god, and their brains are very similar to ours. Why do humans alone feel the need to justify our existence?

I've heard a very good explanation for this, actually, and it relates very closely to our primate past: we are descendants of bands of primates that as a rule were set around alpha-males and social order of top- and underdogs. As our abilities for abstract thinking have increased, we still try to look for an alpha-male for advice and we find it difficult to understand how something could work without an alpha-male in charge. As a result, we get God(s), the hypothetical alpha-male of the entire universe.

If you look closesly enough, we haven't really gone that far from the classical primate system in some areas. Think about all the symbolic uses of excrement in our language and how it relates to the territory-marking of our close relatives, the chimps, for example, or the border conflicts or the instinctive desire to gather more than we need. Some of our alpha-males may actually be female these days, but they still fill the same niche.


Hei! Aa-Shanta 'Nygh!

Offline

 

#12 | Back to Top12-06-2007 05:47:09 AM

Asfalolh
Knight of Gates
From: Barcelona (Catalonia)
Registered: 10-23-2006
Posts: 2005

Re: What is important?

Lightice wrote:

I've heard a very good explanation for this, actually, and it relates very closely to our primate past: we are descendants of bands of primates that as a rule were set around alpha-males and social order of top- and underdogs. As our abilities for abstract thinking have increased, we still try to look for an alpha-male for advice and we find it difficult to understand how something could work without an alpha-male in charge. As a result, we get God(s), the hypothetical alpha-male of the entire universe.

How does that get along with polytheism? I think first religions -Sumerian and Egyptian- appeared as a ritualistic way to explore the metasystematic facts man wasn't able to reason, but wanted to control; being climate, life and death probably the first of those. The reduction of polytheism into monotheism is tightly bound with the need of a leader, symbol and protector of a State who has enemies to fight against, or that's what History of Religions tells; Asur in Syria, Marduk in Babylon, and El in Israel are the typical examples of gods who go higher and higher in a whole pantheon that eventually disappears. [/rant]

I wish I had more time to answer Stormcrow's questions emot-frown

Last edited by Asfalolh (12-06-2007 06:08:21 AM)

Offline

 

#13 | Back to Top12-06-2007 06:57:03 AM

Lightice
Azure Paleontologist
From: Finland
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 1255

Re: What is important?

Asfalolh wrote:

How does that get along with polytheism? I think first religions -Sumerian and Egyptian- appeared as a ritualistic way to explore the metasystematic facts man wasn't able to reason, but wanted to control; being climate, life and death probably the first of those.

Indeed - originally each aspect of nature required an alpha-male of its own. Sumerian and Egyptian religions definately weren't the first religions, they just are the first ones with written dogma. The earliest form of religion propably was animism where all things in existance had a spirit in them and they had a hierarchy of some sort, often with "higher" things (Sun, moon, etc.) on the top and "low" things (roots, cave-dwelling creatures) on the bottom.

The reduction of polytheism into monotheism is tightly bound with the need of a leader, symbol and protector of a State who has enemies to fight against, or that's what History of Religions tells; Asur in Syria, Marduk in Babylon, and El in Israel are the typical examples of gods who go higher and higher in a whole pantheon that eventually disappears.

I don't doubt that you are correct in this - I've had a similar or same theory taught to me and I see no reason to doubt it. My suggestion, based on satirical yet seriously suggested writings of R.A. Wilson is about why there is religion in the first place, rather than how it evolved once it came into being.


Hei! Aa-Shanta 'Nygh!

Offline

 

#14 | Back to Top12-06-2007 07:38:12 AM

Asfalolh
Knight of Gates
From: Barcelona (Catalonia)
Registered: 10-23-2006
Posts: 2005

Re: What is important?

Lightice wrote:

Sumerian and Egyptian religions definately weren't the first religions, they just are the first ones with written dogma. The earliest form of religion propably was animism.

And I can't believe I forgot this. emot-redface

My suggestion, based on satirical yet seriously suggested writings of R.A. Wilson is about why there is religion in the first place, rather than how it evolved once it came into being.

I don't dare to answer this question in any other way than with lots of conditionals; the fact that most religions are "born" -in lack of a better term- in shape of rituals, and way far from any indications related to morals, leads me to think they are closely linked to the fear natural yet unforeseen phenomena (usually called "area of the metasystem") might cause to people. Honestly, I can't come up with anything better; the evolution of this ritual religion into a moral one, and especially its survival when almost anything seems to be already included in the "area of the system" (think science. Most natural phenomena need no more god to be explained) only indicate, imo, that religion is no more caused by that ignorance/fear I believe to be its origin.

[again, /rant. Sorry, Lightice, if I rambled and rambled in a wrong tone. Never meant to. My paper on Inquisition and fear of not finishing it on time is killing half of my neurones emot-frown]

Offline

 

#15 | Back to Top12-06-2007 01:17:06 PM

Lightice
Azure Paleontologist
From: Finland
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 1255

Re: What is important?

[again, /rant. Sorry, Lightice, if I rambled and rambled in a wrong tone. Never meant to. My paper on Inquisition and fear of not finishing it on time is killing half of my neurones]

I didn't notice any bad tone, so no worry. I'm not claiming my view to be the absolute truth. It just makes a considerable amount of sense to me in relation to our ape ancestors. Hierarchy has been in our genes for millions of years. It's not surprising that we should extent it to the metaphysical matters as soon as our brains were developed enough.


Hei! Aa-Shanta 'Nygh!

Offline

 

#16 | Back to Top12-06-2007 01:33:30 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8731
Website

Re: What is important?

satyreyes wrote:

All that said, when I'm lying in my hot tub under a clear night sky, the stars and moon beaming down on me through the trees and the crickets chanting in the grass, I imagine I feel something.

O-oh yeah? emot-mad Well real romantics get awed at the wonder of life while floating in the ocean! emot-tongue

Stormcrow wrote:

1. Do you believe in a supernatural being or beings more or less like a god? A creator? Do you see god as immanent, (having human-like characteristics), or transcendent? Do you feel a moral obligation to seek out what god wants, and to follow god's rules? What are those rules?

I don't believe there is anything supernatural, just many many things our sciences cannot describe yet. If there is in such a system anything that can be called God, I suppose it would be the underlying order of things. Or maybe the underlying chaos of it. The set of rules, loose or otherwise, that dictated the setting in which stars could develop and create elements, and much later, where man could evolve from lower mammals. That may be conscious, but I doubt it, and even if it is, I don't think it cares a lick for any one planet or species, and does not dictate to us rules to follow except for the rules of physics/nature.

Stormcrow wrote:

2. What are some rules of conduct that you think everyone should follow? How about rules that you feel compelled to follow, but don't look down on others for not complying? Where do these rules come from for you, and why do you think they're important?

I'll throw my hat in for the Wiccan rede as well. When I'm not being irrational, it's the best I can offer. Usually however, I am irrational and still full of Catholic rules and social structures I learned from a passive aggressive Italian household, such that I'm constantly bombarded by things I do in the name of getting along that no one else does. Chief among these is that I tend to bottle up anger, irritation, and generally any kind of discontent with others if I feel it'll cause unnecessary drama. Most people it seems don't behave this way, so I feel like I'm constantly getting harped on while I'm being a good little girl and not bothering people with my petty bullshit. I think that counts here since it's a rather Catholic trait and if I could just drop it already I'd be so much happier. It's not a bad idea or impractical, but like most rule sets, it only works if everyone's playing the same game. emot-frown Wiccan rede just makes a lot more sense, although I admit my dabbling in the culture beyond the rede left a bit to be desired.

Stormcrow wrote:

3. What matters in life?

Depending on the day you ask, it's making a difference or being happy. It seems kinda drab to live one's life and die here and leave no true lasting mark past maybe you're great-grandchildren when there are names that have been discussed for centuries. Unfortunately not everyone can be an Aristotle, Einstein, or Napoleon, and how disappointing it would be to live a life in that pursuit only to fail, when you could have spent it being happy. I tend to think making a difference, a contribution (hopefully for the better) to the history of man is more important than being happy, but given how few people reach such lofty goals, it's far wiser to give up on what matters in the larger sense and stick with going for the happy. I guess that kinda betrays a disdain for the common man, saying X matters but forget that because most of us won't get it. I figure it's no worse than saying less than a quarter million people actually go to heaven.


Also, do thou wear thine suits and cuffs, be thee male or no, for such attire doth please my girl parts. - Gios 3:15
Chiefest of Calamities

Offline

 

#17 | Back to Top12-06-2007 02:05:10 PM

rhyaniwyn
Myth is my Bitch
From: Tallahassee, FL
Registered: 11-09-2006
Posts: 684
Website

Re: What is important?

Stormcrow wrote:

1. Do you believe in a supernatural being or beings more or less like a god? A creator? Do you see god as immanent, (having human-like characteristics), or transcendent? Do you feel a moral obligation to seek out what god wants, and to follow god's rules? What are those rules?

I guess the answer is no.  I hate that, but I just can't.  I agree with whoever said that if something exists, it's natural, not SUPERnatural.  But as much as I'd like to believe in gods, fairies, and ESP... I just don't.  I hold out hope.  I raised myself on fantasy novels, so I find purely scientific worldviews (even if the science is interesting and advanced enough to seem esoteric to me) somewhat depressing.  I have an odd take on religion, thanks to Joseph Campbell.  When I get to talking about my real opinions, I end up talking about Prometheus, Kabbalah, and self-actualization.  These are related for me, I assure you. ;-)

Stormcrow wrote:

2. What are some rules of conduct that you think everyone should follow? How about rules that you feel compelled to follow, but don't look down on others for not complying? Where do these rules come from for you, and why do you think they're important?

I'm gonna have to chime in with everyone else on the Wiccan Rede.  I like the longer poem, too.  I don't really think there are moral absolutes.  But I respect a lot of social conventions for the very good reason someone else mentioned, by natural extension of living in a society, norms are developed that help that society function.  Since I think I'm smart, I pick the ones I like.  If people want to follow religious codes of conduct themselves, though, I feel like that's up to them.  So far as I'm concerned, I try my best to consider the effects of my actions on other people and try to keep my promises.  I do those things because it would suck for me if everyone else treated me thoughtlessly, and also because I care about the quality of person I am.

Stormcrow wrote:

3. What matters in life?

I think living authentically matters.  I don't want to let myself be ruled by moral precepts I don't agree with (I was raised Christian).  I want to be brave enough to diverge from social norms if I'm miserable--a few minor examples: only going to school if I WANT to and not being afraid to quit a job I hate.  I'm working on it, which refers to my only pseudo-religious belief...human potential and my duty to strive to meet mine.


http://i120.photobucket.com/albums/o165/absolethe/itrg_signature.jpg

Offline

 

#18 | Back to Top12-07-2007 01:35:00 AM

Maarika
Someday Shiner
From: Estonia
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 2510
Website

Re: What is important?

Giovanna wrote:

Stormcrow wrote:

3. What matters in life?

Depending on the day you ask, it's making a difference or being happy. It seems kinda drab to live one's life and die here and leave no true lasting mark past maybe you're great-grandchildren when there are names that have been discussed for centuries. Unfortunately not everyone can be an Aristotle, Einstein, or Napoleon, and how disappointing it would be to live a life in that pursuit only to fail, when you could have spent it being happy. I tend to think making a difference, a contribution (hopefully for the better) to the history of man is more important than being happy, but given how few people reach such lofty goals, it's far wiser to give up on what matters in the larger sense and stick with going for the happy. I guess that kinda betrays a disdain for the common man, saying X matters but forget that because most of us won't get it. I figure it's no worse than saying less than a quarter million people actually go to heaven.

This is kind of how I feel about it too. Until recently, I had been thinking that being happy is the most important thing in life. There are still things that matter more than that. I also agree that most people won't ever change the world or have very little to contribute on the larger scale. And you know, it's not important. All the little things matter much more than we may realise. Do something nice for someone else, make them smile, be there for your friends etc, even if you manage to make someone's day a bit brighter then I believe that's a very good thing. Pursuing personal happiness? Go for it if you can/want. Other than that, you could try to make someone else happy. Even if there's only little you can do. Even if it's only for a short while. It still matters. I think this is what having high ideals is all about. It may not change the world and you may not go down in history but all those things are what can inspire other people to live. I liked the comic mocha posted. A lot of people take life too seriously, I think it's very important to be able to laugh at yourself.

I'm not going to answer the other questions 'cause I have nothing worthwhile to contribute. Just wanted to say that this is an intriguing topic.


The Saionji Support Squad:
Believing in True Friendship Since 2008.

Offline

 

#19 | Back to Top12-08-2007 03:37:41 AM

Arki
Dark Whisperer
From: Croatia
Registered: 10-28-2006
Posts: 1121

Re: What is important?

Just to answer a bit...

1. I won't rule out the possibility that God exists, but I usually won't follow any rules that people claim God wants me to follow. The rules I will follow are mine and cross my fingers that God will like my choices, if judgment really exists. But the concept of judgment is a such a human thing... It doesn't seem like a concept a supreme being would use.

2. Do what you want to find your happiness, as long as you don't prevent someone else from doing the same. Including yourself. As for others, they can follow or not follow whatever rules they want, as long as the results aren't of a negative nature. I like nice people, yes. My own rule comes as a conclusion from personal observation of people and society.

3. That which we consider important.

Offline

 

#20 | Back to Top12-11-2007 09:25:34 PM

Stormcrow
Magical Flying Moron
From: Los Angeles
Registered: 04-24-2007
Posts: 5971
Website

Re: What is important?

I have to say, first of all, this thread succeeded much more than I expected. I wish I could respond to everyone's post in detail, since you all so boldly shared such intimate feelings, but there's just too much to say...a few things though:

a. I've heard the concept of making your mark before, but this was the first time I recognized it as the will to power in a fairly pure form. I can't believe I didn't before.

b. I looove Joseph Campbell.

c. How many people that were alive five hundred years ago can you name off the top of your head? Kind of a tall order.

d. I learned a secret recently: order is in fact more natural, more simple, than chaos. Order is easy. Chaos is enormously complicated.

e. Back to the will to power thing...I just wanted to agree with Maarika's point that it doesn't take all that much to make a difference. The other day, I drove a student home so she wouldn't have to walk through the snow. Not a huge deal, but it made a difference. And it made me feel good.

f. I didn't actually answer those questions did I?

1. I think, strictly speaking, that those who have objected that the supernatural makes little sense are correct, but it's a rather semantic distinction isn't it? I am a scientific man, and I rely only on empirical evidence as far as what exists, so I can't accept the existence of a "god". Not because there can't be one, why not? Just because I have no evidence which can't be explained more simply. That said...even the belief in god or the supernatural troubles me a little bit. Like Nietzsche, I feel that people should "remain faithful to the Earth", which means that this so-called material world has worth on its own account, and by looking beyond it, we devalue it. If I am wrong, and I certainly could be, I'll worry about other worlds and such when confronted with them. There's more than enough here in this world to keep me occupied. On the other hand, I would be perfectly comfortable with multiple gods, who were a part of this world rather than apart from it. But I don't feel any need for such things either.

2. The Wiccan Rede is indeed a good starting point in my opinion. I think it's fair to say that violence should only be resorted to when a peaceful solution to a crisis is unavailable. Also...it's bad to condemn others, or the behavior of others when it hurts no one. And it's wrong to value colored smoke and fevered dreams above humans. Nobody civilized would kill someone over the name of a teddy bear. Unfortunately, I also have several things that I feel that I should or shouldn't do, but don't think others need to abide by. Several of them are related to sexuality, others have to do with material success, or how far you should go for friends...I'm leaning toward the idea that it's best to have one standard for oneself and for others, but I find that difficult. Where thes rules come from is a hard question to answer. I would like to say that I chose them for myself. Failing that, I would like to claim that they come from my parents, and from the teachers that I have admired. But I must also accept the role of popular culture in shaping my values. Which is pretty embarrassing.

3. What is important? From one perspective, nothing. We live in an absurd universe, void of meaning or purpose. We do, really. That's just how it is, and it doesn't really matter if there is a god or not as far as that goes. On the other hand...from another perspective...everything we experience matters. Our brains constantly make value judgments about all sense impressions they receive, sorting all input by relevance. You see everything in front of your eyes, but your brain grades a fair amount of it as not important, and you don't really recognize those things. With hearing it's even more noticeable. That's why you can be in a crowded room full of noise, and then someone says your name and suddenly you can hear them clearly. Voices only wake me up if they're talking to me or about me. So, you could say, if it weren't important, you wouldn't notice it in the first place. Personally, I tend to agree with Arki, it's what we value that matters. I value my happiness, and the happiness of you who are my friends. I value the accomplishments of humans. I value aesthetic moments. I value companionship. And I value certain particular traits in people, like courage, honesty, charity, respect...many others. I value so many things, but that's a good list.

So what can we believe in? Look at your answer to question 3, that should give you a good hint. Looking at my own answer...I can kinda see what I believe in...

Thanks to everyone who answered, does anybody else have other questions? Or answers to those?


"The devil want me as is, but god he want more."
-Truck North
Honorary Hat Mafia Member

Offline

 

Board footer

Powered by PunBB 1.2.23
© Copyright 2002–2008 PunBB
Forum styled and maintained by Giovanna and Yasha
Return to Empty Movement