Wednesday, August 21, 2013

 iamachildofhis wrote:
 JCarlin wrote:
 iamachildofhis wrote:
iama:  We know that "all die."

JCarlin: End of story.  Get used to it.

iama:  You have evidence?

Yep.  In a long lifetime with many friends of all ages, I have been to many funerals, and other rituals associated with the end of life.  In many the celebrant said nice things about the deceased being "with God" and that we should be happy that their alloted life of woe and sin is over, including the devoted wife and mother of a 2 year old child I was godfather for.  In 100% of the deaths, the living had no further contact with the deceased, except for memories of the good times when the deceased played, sang, enlightened, and otherwise brought joy to our lives.  It didn't matter what faith they were, real memories, were the only contact anyone had.  Ever. 

I was at a Catholic Requiem Mass recently where the celebrant made rude comments in the homily about celebrations of the lives of the deceased, implying that those lives were worthless, and that the only important thing was that the deceased was happy in heaven or would be at some point.  But all those still living wanted to talk about was the influence the deceased had on their lives and how they would miss it now that (whisper it) the deceased was with God.  

In all the funerals, and celebrations of life, I have been to, not even once has the deceased been present in the moment even lying in the casket, to share the stories, the songs, and all that made their life worth living.  Nor has any been back since except in memory to report on their experiences with God, or the worms, or even the mingling of the material remains with a beautiful sacred place for them. 

No matter really, the living do it for them and keep the meaning of that sacred place alive for them.   Part of the cremains of my sister are near the grave of her beloved Chopin, and even the picture of her son placing them can evoke the many times she shared Chopin and others with us on whatever piano was available.  Actually, not even a picture is necessary, any thoughts of her always included either her sharing music or her kitchen with all who loved her for both and the wisdom and love that were a part of either sharing. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Belief, Truth, Reality, and Learning


I believe nothing as beliefs are incompatible with that learning. The mind is configured to protect beliefs, and the only counter is to root out the beliefs, be aware of them and be ready to sprinkle a little salt on them as needed.

What do you mean here? Of course you believe things about reality. Are you just saying you are open to changing your currently tentatively held beliefs?

I define "belief" as an emotionally accepted truth that needs no verification.  "God exists" is a belief.  "Fox News is fair and balanced" is a belief.  According to noted skeptic Michael Shermer in The Believing Brain beliefs come first and are defended later.   He further argues with strong scientific backing that information that tends to weaken or refute the belief is not even processed by the brain.  "Fox News is BS" is not even heard by a believer in Fox News. The "La, la, la, I can't hear you" is not figurative according to Shermer, it is a true statement.
I don't confuse "belief" with "true" in regard to statements or "real" in regard to the material world.  Both "true" and "real" are ultimately verifiable by independent means.  "You are 33" is a statement that I tentatively accept as true, but if someone else said it is false, we could resolve the dispute factually with documentation.  "The chair is real" can be verified by sitting on it.  You need not believe the chair is real.  If you were concerned you would sit tentatively and if it seemed substantial possibly rock on it to verify that it is functional as a chair.   

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Meaning in a Finite Life


My finite life is meaningful only if I learn all I can about how to make my world a more beautiful and benign space for all in it. I believe nothing as beliefs are incompatible with that learning.  The mind is configured to protect beliefs, and the only counter is to root out the beliefs, be aware of them and be ready to sprinkle a little salt on them as needed. 

But learning is useless unless I practice and teach what I have learned so that others can help while I am alive and carry on after I am no longer alive.  I can still teach after I am no longer alive either directly through stories that are remembered by others, or by the actions of others I have taught well.  It is quite comforting to know that much of what I have learned is from people and things that are no longer living.  

My world, as am I, is finite. It consists of everything that is affected by my actions or teachings.  I am comfortable with this.  There are many who because of truth or beliefs live in worlds (societies) that I cannot affect. I am not bothered by this.  They go their way I go mine.  The divide if any is created by their truth and beliefs which do not allow them to respond to the learning of my ERSSG It may be that they are right and we are wrong, but evolution selects strongly for flexible learning. I will bet my life on that.     

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

This Too Shall Pass

From Miniver Cheevy

Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings.

Rainer Maria Rilke