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VCH

We are animals . . . but we don’t have to act like it

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Thankfully, these crises seem relatively infrequent, but they may be the necessary impetus for a big step forward.

 

Did I say, "better" somewhere? That's the kind of term, along with "good" and "bad" which I try not to use very often.

 

Crisis. Let's put it this way: Life is up to the challenge. And moreover, it likes the challenge. Whether you do or not. This sentence, unlike the previous, does not use fragments.

 

-S-

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Originally Posted By: Synergy
And moreover, it likes the challenge.


Most forms of life do not like dying. There's that one in the Hitchhiker's Guide books, but yeah.

(Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in...)

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And yet, nearly all of life feeds on life, and what do we make of that? Dying is as much a part of life as living, and something else must die in order for anything else to live for most life on the planet. I have a hard time coming to terms with that, personally. I don't like seeing anything suffer. Sentiments aside, life seems content to sacrifice of itself continually in the name of its own overall progress. I do not assume that animals eating animals—or even plants—is the end product of evolution of life on this planet. It bugs us. Maybe that's an inkling of where it is ultimately headed here. Who is to say we won't evolve to harness the energy of the sun directly into our bodies one day and bypass this tedious work of gathering, preparing, eating, and excreting food? All energy is sun energy. Why not cut out the middleman? Excelsior!

 

The real question I would guess we care about personally, is what role do we get to play in the game of life, which surely includes our death. Is it enough? Is it good enough? Are we here to struggle to perpetuate our genes and hand off the most toys before we go, or do we get to get something more enduring out of the Life game? Because any one life is pretty short, and arguably pretty meaningless on a purely animalistic level of existence...as the existentialists explored. Remember the game of Life? There's a First World creation if there ever was one.

 

As a bit of an aside, I think a huge amount of what the ego of the human mind has developed over the last few millennia is precisely in response to its inability to come to terms with the inevitability of its own death.

 

Eph, welcome back. No reason one can't change one's mind.

 

-S-

 

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at this point i'm pretty much resigned to the fact that my life is going to be miserable and pointless

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I'm curious about what brings you to that conclusion.

 

-S-

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yeah sure why not let's turn this into a thread about my ongoing mental breakdown, all the serious discussion ended a page ago anyway

 

right now i am faced with a choice between tearing apart my family, alienating who knows how many of my friends, destroying my career and making myself into a laughing stock to the general public, or living a lie for as long as i can tolerate it and then probably attempting suicide 10 years from now

 

neither option is particularly attractive

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OK, you did it. I'm at a loss for words. That sounds....really big, Thuryl.

 

-S-

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OMG I didn't expect this much interest. I don't feel much like posting any kind of response after my epic fail of a presentation today ;(

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And a rainy day all around, it would appear.

 

How can you fail? You tried your best presenting your perspectives, I'm going to assume, am I right?

 

-S-

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It was a research update for my university honours project. Basically I spent way too much time focusing on abstract theory and not enough time telling people what I actually did, i.e methods and results. I've never felt so bad about anything I've done in school. Absolute epic fail. I'm normally great with presentations but this one was brutal. Even my supervisor thought it was bad.

 

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Originally Posted By: VCH
It was a research update for my university honours project. Basically I spent way too much time focusing on abstract theory and not enough time telling people what I actually did, i.e methods and results. I've never felt so bad about anything I've done in school. Absolute epic fail. I'm normally great with presentations but this one was brutal. Even my supervisor thought it was bad.


but it's just a research update right? are you even getting marked on it or anything? as long as you have a good relationship with your colleagues in general you'll recover from one bad presentation in no time. trust me, i've been there

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Originally Posted By: Synergy
Who is to say we won't evolve to harness the energy of the sun directly into our bodies one day and bypass this tedious work of gathering, preparing, eating, and excreting food?


(deep breath)

...AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUGH!!!!!

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is that the sound of you trying to harness the sun

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VCH, you lived to tell the tale! Well, who the heck wants to talk about all that boring methods and results stuff when you can dig into abstract theory? ; ) I think we can use all the visionaries in schools we can get. At least you committed the unforgivable sin of failing to deliver to the school the product it wanted—with epic-scale style. I'll wager you didn't fail to deliver something that was true to you and your interest, and personally, I'd rather hear that out of anyone than anything less. Be easy on yourself. Fail is just one temporary part of the bigger process of succeed.

 

-S-

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Originally Posted By: Ephesos
Originally Posted By: Synergy
Who is to say we won't evolve to harness the energy of the sun directly into our bodies one day and bypass this tedious work of gathering, preparing, eating, and excreting food?


(deep breath)

...AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUGH!!!!!
Originally Posted By: Lilith
is that the sound of you trying to harness the sun


Don't look now, Ephesos just transformed into a Super Saiyan!

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Originally Posted By: Lilith
right now i am faced with a choice between tearing apart my family, alienating who knows how many of my friends, destroying my career and making myself into a laughing stock to the general public, or living a lie for as long as i can tolerate it and then probably attempting suicide 10 years from now

neither option is particularly attractive


You shouldn't be so pessimistic. You can still get hit by a car crossing the street and not have to reach a decision. Personally for myself, I'm hoping that I have a massive stroke so I never have to worry about old age.

Synergy -
So you think mankind is heading for an extinction crisis and we will be replaced by the most successful animal around now, the cockroach.

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Originally Posted By: SoT
Maybe I'm a cockeyed optimist, but my scenario for a century or two from now is this. We've stabilized the environment by finding more efficient technology, the world human population is stable at around 10 billion, and Asia is First World. Average temperatures are several degrees warmer, farmbelts have shifted around, and there are dykes around a lot of coastal cities. Life goes on okay.


I think I pretty much agree with this assessment. The only conflicting factors that I can envision would be some sort of horrendous degradation of world relations and a resulting dark-age inducing nuclear showdown.

Originally Posted By: Synergy
There is increasing dialog in the sciences of late around the very notion that crisis itself is one of the most potent agents of evolutionary advance.


Any sort of population bottleneck can lead to rapid evolutionary change, for the simple reason that genetic variation exists in all populations and taking a small random sample will amplify any currently uncommon traits that the survivors happen to have. This isn't necessary for large evolutionary change, nor is large evolutionary change necessarily (or likely to be) a good thing. I think the areas where I seem to disagree with you the most are when you seem to either anthropomorphize nature a bit too much, or seem to think the development of life is somehow directed. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter though tongue

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Originally Posted By: Randomizer
You shouldn't be so pessimistic. You can still get hit by a car crossing the street and not have to reach a decision.


here's hoping

Quote:
Synergy -
So you think mankind is heading for an extinction crisis and we will be replaced by the most successful animal around now, the cockroach.


cockroaches are doing so well because they live off our waste, if anything they'd likely suffer somewhat after we were gone

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Sorry, Thuryl. That sounds unpleasant. Life/family/career plans can be like that, I guess.

 

Evolution has already happily provided us with sun-as-sustenance. That's the plants. Maybe those other kingdoms really are just experiments that will be terminated as unprofitable. Except then something needs to be done about those pesky parasitic and carnivorous plants...

 

—Alorael, who is fairly sure life is not at all happy about dying for other life. It's just that the life doing the killing is even more emphatic about its desires.

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Originally Posted By: Randomizer
So you think mankind is heading for an extinction crisis and we will be replaced by the most successful animal around now, the cockroach.


Naw, I think we're going to make it, because we'll get it together in time and forge ahead.

Speaking of how and when we go, my Grandma sure got it right. She said for years, "I sure hope the Lord takes me quick." She got her wish. She died of heart failure standing up at the sink, and was still standing when my brother found her. OK, that's morbid, but it's a not a bad way to go, if you gotta go.

Originally Posted By: Sporefrog

I think the areas where I seem to disagree with you the most are when you seem to either anthropomorphize nature a bit too much, or seem to think the development of life is somehow directed. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter though.


With mercy to Ephesos, whose lungs are getting a very healthy workout since I joined this thread, I'll try to summarize briefly where I'm coming from. I do see life as purposeful and directed, not from outside itself by a puppetmaster sort of God, but intrinsically from within. I see an organizing principle to all of life built in, and I think that's no accident. I don't care what anyone wants to call it, God or the Universe or whatever. The very nature of life is to evolve in every sense of the word, to become something grander, and I do observe and believe it ultimately accomplishes where it is going through cooperation. The evolution of consciousness in human beings is just the beginning of where it's going on this planet, I'm guessing. We may think we're all grown up, but I think we're probably still babes in the woods so far. Which is okay. It's always okay to be and act the age you are.

I believe, and science is increasingly pointing to, a universe which is an interwoven tapestry of incredible complexity on the quantum physics level. It sees all things as one interconnected energy, one life. On that level, we can't do anything to any part of life without affecting all of life. On the human level, anything we do to another person, we have done it also to ourselves.

I think I see now why sages and masters for eons have come around saying the same thing: do unto others as you would do unto yourself, love your brother as yourself, we are all one. I do believe our solution lies in recognizing this, and acting on it. As long as we are intolerant of other humans for their differing beliefs and cultures, and go to wars over these things and resources which we are squandering and hoarding rather shamefully from one another, I don't believe we can survive too much longer as a species.

I think our old belief system of ultimate separateness from each other is broken. I see our only solution is to start believing in our oneness, just as our individual body has come to be known as one unified thing built of many individual life forms we call cells. I think that's the trademark and unifying principle of life in the universe. It's what life does and where it's headed. If it looks messy and crude on our planet in our experience so far, I think that reflects our infancy in the process. Our diapers need changing a lot still. It's okay to be acting our age. But we do grow up. You don't fix the five year old, the five old just keeps growing up. Life looks after itself. It grows us all up in due time. Life, with a capital "L" might as well be a synonym for God. Same thing to me.

It's okay if you or anyone does not see things this way. I don't got nuthin' to sell. I just like talking about what thrills me, even if it is a swirled mixture of science, metaphysics, and spirituality. I see all these as inclusive and not at odds with one another. I think all fields will ultimately converge when we figure it out sufficiently. I also think it's entirely okay to be entirely wrong. I trust Life. I trust the process. It's way bigger than me and my little big brain.

Someone kindly tell Ephesos he can pull his fingers out of his ears now.

-S-

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Originally Posted By: Synergy
Our diapers need changing a lot still.


And I was wondering what that smell was.

I feel faint.

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Quote:
I trust Life.

Don't. Some element of it will figure out, or already has, how to eat you.

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Originally Posted By: Lilith
Originally Posted By: VCH
It was a research update for my university honours project. Basically I spent way too much time focusing on abstract theory and not enough time telling people what I actually did, i.e methods and results. I've never felt so bad about anything I've done in school. Absolute epic fail. I'm normally great with presentations but this one was brutal. Even my supervisor thought it was bad.


but it's just a research update right? are you even getting marked on it or anything? as long as you have a good relationship with your colleagues in general you'll recover from one bad presentation in no time. trust me, i've been there


It was worth 5% of my total mark. Not much but it still hurts. As narcissistic as it sounds when you're accustomed to constant success failures really deliver a strong blow to the ego. I've recovered now though and I am resolved to murder the next presentation.

As I said it came down to too much intro and not enough other stuff. This was made worse by the mostly general science audience i.e. non ecology people.

But everyone fails.

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presumably you didn't straight-up fail the presentation so you at least got like 3% of that 5% right? so you lost like 2% of your total mark. big deal. write an awesome thesis at the end of the year to make up for it.

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Since this thread is all about long ranting prose, I'll dump another letter I wrote, into the mix.

 

(Warning the below is a very rough draft)

 

 

 

Luxuries are the easiest things to take away, and there are many that should be. Yet our provincial government believes that taxing essentials such as fuel is the answer to climate change. The last time I checked Canadians are pretty much required to drive long distances to get around, and this is not likely to change soon. But we as Canadians are not required to sit idling in our cars waiting for a Big Mac, or use a 50 horse ride on lawn mower to cut a tiny patch of suburban lawn, or use a gas powered leaf blower when a rake would suffice, or put up enough Christmas lights to be seen from space.

 

If governments wanted to do something real they would simply say no more, no more hummers, no more Olympics, no more needless wastes. People would complain and say their rights are being taken away, but realistically your right to cut a lawn with a gas mower means less than someones right to buy food or travel at affordable costs. We need to change the things that can be changed easily, the things that really are not crucial for life as we currently know it. The luxuries must go before the essentials. But government continues to pretend they are doing something when in reality they are only hurting people and not preventing climate change. How many of you stopped driving because fuel prices increased? I didn’t, and doubt many did. I would rather have a government ignore climate change entirely rather than have it place ineffective taxes on fuel. If governments don’t start doing something real, starting with luxuries, then we are most definitely boned.

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Was the Permian-Triassic extinction a spanking?

 

—Alorael, who upon further reflection has decided that limited nuclear war is, indeed, an evolutionarily excellent idea. The world needs more brahmin. Also more super mutants.

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An interesting position. I agree with some of what you have said in the thread. However, there are other areas where I would disagree. I'll go through them, though if we end up with a fundamental philosophical difference then we can leave it at that before anyone explodes.

 

tl;dr version: Evolution is blind, and stupid. Cooperation may be the best strategy come up with so far, but nature doesn't know that. There is no compelling reason to believe nature has an underlying direction: non-directional development of life looks the same, to observers like us, as if the entire system were designed to lead up to us. If it hadn't led to us being here, we wouldn't be here to comment on it. However, I'd leave it an open question as to whether complex, intelligent life is likely to evolve, e.g. if it were possible to set up a bunch of experiments with the same initial conditions as 4 billion year old earth, are creatures like humans inevitable; likely but not until much more time has elapsed than it took for us to evolve; or exceedingly rare?

 

Originally Posted By: Synergy

The very nature of life is to evolve in every sense of the word, to become something grander, and I do observe and believe it ultimately accomplishes where it is going through cooperation. The evolution of consciousness in human beings is just the beginning of where it's going on this planet, I'm guessing.

 

I am a biology student graduating this spring, and everything I have learned about biology makes me feel like it is simply impossible to say with any sort of certainty that evolution is directional, or has at its heart any necessity to make creatures like us or become something grander. Evolution is not a thing and it is not a force, it is blind and stupid. It is simply what we call the result of the fact that (at least since life reached the level of simple bacteria) DNA (or RNA) gets changed, either from radiation from the sun, chemicals in the environment, or from replication errors.

 

If you take one set of molecules that are all clones, and one set of molecules that are all slightly different from one another, and crash a meteor into the area they're in, it's far more likely that, if anything is going to survive, it's going to be something in the diverse group and not the group of things that are all the same. This is especially easy to see over repeated disruptions, which early Earth was rife with. That's all evolution is. The best explanation I've ever heard was put by physicist Lawrence Krauss: "Birds fly because if they didn't they wouldn't exist."

 

So is there any bias towards cooperation? Well it's certainly true that in many cases cooperation is a very successful life strategy. In many other cases, hitching a free ride without providing anything in return works just fine. In other cases, competition has worked, and downright parasitism has worked. I don't think any is more favored than another, because as I said earlier, evolution is blind. Nature has no concept of good and evil. In exactly the same way that it is silly to say a proton is selfish to attract electrons, it is silly to say that a bacteria which survives by eating other bacteria is selfish, or a parasitic worm is being selfish.

 

It may very well be true that it would be in all organisms' best interests to come up with complex but serviceable mutually cooperative survival methods that are not zero sum -- better for resources, longevity, etc. But evolution, again, cannot see the future. Whatever works at the time is what happens. If cooperation is, in fact, the best way to go, it takes something with consciousness and brains, like us, to have the foresight to tell the difference. I certainly agree with you that it is the best strategy for our longterm success, but to say that it or anything else is in some way the goal of nature, I think is to say a bit too much.

 

I think the point about direction and grandeur is made readily apparent by moderate application of the anthropic principle. You can say, "Oh look, here we are, conscious, intelligent beings existing at the current pinnacle of an ever-increasing chain of complexity." But I see no reason to attribute this to underlying direction in nature for the obvious reason that random, directionless development looks exactly the same as nonrandom, directed development. With a sample size of one, of course our emergence looks oddly designed! If we weren't complex, we wouldn't be conscious, and we wouldn't be looking at ourselves in the mirror.

 

I think two of the most awesome science experiments one could conduct would be to find the average time for the emergence of life on a planet similar to earth, and the average time for the emergence of intelligence or consciousness. How set do the initial conditions of a planet have to be to produce life (was our combination on earth the only viable option?), and will that life inevitably develop complexity of a similar range to humans? What I think is pretty cool is that if our space travel capabilities ever get better, there are plenty of planets out there running these experiments.

 

I don't discount the possibility that somewhere in the vastness of the universe something like what you're suggesting might exist, I just don't see any reason to think so. I also don't think any of this in any way diminishes your suggestions for our future survival, or in any way diminishing the extraordinary nature of life.

 

I have another response of similar length to your "we are all one" section as well, but I think I'll save it for another post tongue

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Originally Posted By: VCH
But we as Canadians are not required to sit idling in our cars waiting for a Big Mac, or use a 50 horse ride on lawn mower to cut a tiny patch of suburban lawn, or use a gas powered leaf blower when a rake would suffice, or put up enough Christmas lights to be seen from space.


There have been some attempts south of your border, I think California, to regulate gas powered devices other than transportation to reduce air pollution. Lots of howls from the users that like things the way things are.

Gas and other fuels get taxed because it's the easiest way to regulate. It's not about fairness or what does the most enviromentally damage, but the ease of passing along a cost.

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Originally Posted By: VCH
The last time I checked Canadians are pretty much required to drive long distances to get around, and this is not likely to change soon. But we as Canadians are not required to sit idling in our cars waiting for a Big Mac, or use a 50 horse ride on lawn mower to cut a tiny patch of suburban lawn, or use a gas powered leaf blower when a rake would suffice, or put up enough Christmas lights to be seen from space.


Folks in Cananada and the states have freedom of choice. The folks in the states which you are describing have freedom of common sense as well. I know for a fact that there are people like this in your country, so watch for broken glass. The only way to force behavior, absent common sense, is to legislate. Sad, but true.

Now, if ad time of the telly was devoted to promoting common sense, rather than squeezing the last of it from our brains, we would be a better people.

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You are too busy to think for yourself! THAT IS WHY YOU NEED TO BUY OUR PRODUCT!

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Ooooh, it's still good for a few more hours. smile

 

With most people no longer watching shows when they are on, it's easier to record and zap past the commercials, especially those boring public service announcements.

 

Fredrick Pohl's Space Merchants had it right on how to make sure the consumer can't miss the advertising.

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For the past 15 years, at least, advertisers have had deals with television shows to place their gear on set, so that even with Tivo and DVD releases, you are still seeing advertising.

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@Sporefrog:

 

Your perspective of life is an entirely reasonable one, and there's no need to attempt to dissuade you from it. We've both basically stated our paradigm of how we see life working, and based on the foundational difference, everything else we see will predictably be somewhat different. I tend to be interested in the deepest underlying core of belief that shapes all our other beliefs. Whatever that is for someone, that's cool. It deserves respect. Its okay. Our core beliefs are also what shape everything we do on the planet, and what we do to each other, so thus my primary interest on this level.

 

I agree that we observe parasitism and plenty of other non-cooperative forms of behavior in life right now, especially among ourselves, and it has even been what we can call successful, if not particularly preferable or pretty. Because I do believe that the whole reason for the existence of life is for a grand, ever-expanding outplay of the nature of the "being" behind all life, I see it as hardly done with where it's going. In other words, life is doing some things pretty crudely right now, including what we humans are doing these days, and that too is part of the grander arc of getting to where we are going.

 

Related to some of the asides in this thread, failure is part of the larger process of success, and as such is not failure at all. I don't see parasitism or even carnivorism as where life has to settle or stay, just as it didn't stay with one-celled organisms in the ocean forever. And once life on a planet hits a degree of consciousness, the process of evolution can begin to speed up, because it can become intentional and self-directed. On one level, we're already on the brink of doing some remarkable and conceivably disastrous things with genetics, but that's not really the only way I mean this would happen—through technology alone.

 

As stated prior, I do think the development of where life is going in this world is still in a fairly infantile state, and though a bit crass, literally, we as humans are the one species who as adults continue to foul our own nests (thus the joke about needing to change our diapers.) We've been trying out certain paradigms of belief for some millennia with our new mind and consciousness with observable results, which we may argue may or may not be working for us and life on the planet very well at this point. Life's a process that always has a higher plateau to achieve, as I've been stating. Just because we observe the level it is at now does not mean it stays at that level, just as I expect a five year old is going to be more mature than five in a few years. Now, if life were merely doing what it does mindlessly, randomly, or even accidentally, I really would have no reason to expect any such thing. It might be business as usual or not at all at any point hereafter. So again, it does come down to the basic underlying belief about what it's all about.

 

So, for me, this is all about the paradigm of how it all works, and not an attempt to prove anything, though I do offer evidence to support this view to my limited, rather unscientifically-adept ability. It becomes a very personal matter trying to explain all what factors in to arriving at such views and beliefs, and it's been a lifelong quest of mine for settling deep inquiries into life. Ultimately, it's what we'd call spiritual belief. The realm of metaphysics that underlies the physics. The oneness and interconnectedness of all life emanates out of this perspective as well. It permeates a wide range of spiritual tradition that spans millennia. I think it's the only view that will enable us to get our act together in time. Obama said it in a speech a while back, "We are all one." I see the paradigm creeping into our collective awareness in a heartening way.

 

-S-

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First, something that's really been bothering me.

 

Originally Posted By: Synergy
I tend to be interested in the deepest underlying core of belief that shapes all our other beliefs.

Originally Posted By: Synergy
Ultimately, it's what we'd call spiritual belief. The realm of metaphysics that underlies the physics.

 

This is a rhetorical technique I can't stand. What I read here is essentially "You have the right to your opinion, but mine are more central and important." If you keep inserting your systems under everyone else's, there's really no point in continuing this discussion.

 

Originally Posted By: Synergy
Now, if life were merely doing what it does mindlessly, randomly, or even accidentally, I really would have no reason to expect any such thing.

 

So, if you don't expect it to be that way, it obviously couldn't be that way. For someone who is into so-called deeper truths, what if the deeper truth turned out to be that there was no such thing?

 

Originally Posted By: Synergy
And once life on a planet hits a degree of consciousness, the process of evolution can begin to speed up, because it can become intentional and self-directed. On one level, we're already on the brink of doing some remarkable and conceivably disastrous things with genetics, but that's not really the only way I mean this would happen—through technology alone.

 

So... what do you mean by this? Because it sounds like you're talking about eugenics. </Godwin>

 

Also, to respond to an ongoing point you've been making, parasitism and carnivorism are not going to evolve out of the system, unless other things stop being so tasty and nutritious. Evolution simply does not work that way. A species doesn't just suddenly go "hm, I should photozynthesize", and then sprout chloroplasts in a few generations. It doesn't even happen over larger timescales. Heck, it probably only happened once, and all plastid-bearing species have descended from that.

 

Originally Posted By: Synergy
Obama said it in a speech a while back, "We are all one." I see the paradigm creeping into our collective awareness in a heartening way.

 

If Obama actually meant those four context-free words to endorse this "paradigm", I swear to god I'm voting Republican.

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Originally Posted By: Ephesos


Originally Posted By: Synergy
I tend to be interested in the deepest underlying core of belief that shapes all our other beliefs...Ultimately, it's what we'd call spiritual belief. The realm of metaphysics that underlies the physics.


This is a rhetorical technique I can't stand. What I read here is essentially "You have the right to your opinion, but mine are more central and important."


I can understand how you'd read my words that way, but consider how this conclusion rides upon your own projection of who you think I am being. I don't think my opinions are more central or important, though I won't deny that a false ego self in me would like to think so. I think what has largely hampered humanity on this planet is precisely the belief that some opinions are more important than others. It's what we kill each other over. I'm saying two things. 1) I'm not able (or at least personally find it unuseful) to debate finer points that rest upon a foundational belief when the foundational beliefs do not make it possible for me. I could do it, but that would be role play, playing a role that is not really who I am at all.

2) I'm also saying what usually floats my boat is to dialog on the basest underlying level of beliefs (deeper does not mean "more profound" here, it means it lies further down underneath other layers that rest on top). I like examining that level, because that is more fascinating and meaningful to me personally. That doesn't need to be the case with anyone else, and it doesn't imply any other level isn't equally fascinating, meaningful, useful, and worthwhile. Each person gets to enjoy who they are and what inspires them. I think it's all great, Eph, I really do. I'm gonna be me and focus on the angles that engage me, and everyone else is going to do the same. Where we have overlap is where we can have some hopefully enoyable and friendly dialog where no one need be threatened by anything or see anyone's area of interest as better or more important.

Now, I'm not clueless. You and I and others are aware than in the past when I've had some of these kinds of discussions, I have permitted ego and emotion to greatly infect my words and motivations. Greatly. I freely confess that. I am a humanist though, and I deeply believe in the never-ending capacity (if not actuality) of any human being to grow and evolve. We are never the same person two days in a row even, as we are a little bit different every single day from the day before. You can choose to take me fresh as I am right here right now, or you can project your image of me from some experience of the past, a person who you might realize I am not being today. I can't fault you for seeing what you do in my words, but I do invite you to consider at least that it is possible this person is not the quite same person you encountered one or three years ago. I will always grant anyone that likelihood, and would love to be treated with the same good faith. At the very least, for most of us, I'll wager, it makes a person a whole lot more attractive when they demonstrate some degree of faith, or at least hope in the capacity of their fellow human instead of assuming and condemning them to be and forever remain the worst.

So again, what am I doing? I'm sharing thoughts, beliefs, ideas, musings that interest, amuse, or convict me. Why? See the previous sentence. They interest, amuse, and convict me. They also delight, intrigue, fascinate, and challenge me—and a whole lot more. I share them time and again here or wherever else I might, because I never know what's going to come of putting something out there when the inclination strikes me, who's going to respond, what's going to transpire, who I'm going to find. I can reliably predict that some of the same people are going to come forth and mock me for my effort, belief, or style. That's the distraction, not the meat for me. I consider it a personal test of my own growth and integrity, the degree to which I let it affect me. That's another reason I post here now and again on some of the very same subjects. It's a great exercise for me personally to gauge my own progress.

Originally Posted By: Ephesos

Originally Posted By: Synergy
Now, if life were merely doing what it does mindlessly, randomly, or even accidentally, I really would have no reason to expect any such thing.


So, if you don't expect it to be that way, it obviously couldn't be that way. For someone who is into so-called deeper truths, what if the deeper truth turned out to be that there was no such thing?


Then I'd live and die and be absolutely none the worse for it, having enjoyed my happy beliefs while alive. I don't understand the sentence that if I don't expect life to be (purposeful, headed somewhere), that it obviously couldn't be that way, unless you mean that I'm conceited and think that something is only possible if I think it is. If it helps, I'll concede right now that I could be "wrong" one hundred percent about everything. I'm not afraid of that anymore, because the evidence and experience has mounted too high for me to ever be able in this lifetime to arrive at the perspective that it's all just happening without a purpose, a guiding principle, a delightful goal in mind. To bother to challenge this level of conviction, you might as well argue with someone about why they believe in God. It's never been an argument for words. It's based on the personal and experiential and is largely unquantifiable in any means of measure we have at our disposal.

Originally Posted By: Ephesos

Originally Posted By: Synergy
And once life on a planet hits a degree of consciousness, the process of evolution can begin to speed up, because it can become intentional and self-directed. On one level, we're already on the brink of doing some remarkable and conceivably disastrous things with genetics, but that's not really the only way I mean this would happen—through technology alone.


So... what do you mean by this? Because it sounds like you're talking about eugenics. </Godwin>


No, far from it, I'm referring to conscious evolution. It has a lot more to do with harnessing the power of mind than that of technology, though who can say how the two will integrate? I think we've barely begun to get an inkling of the vast capacities of consciousness, and particularly, collective consciousness, but our awareness and exploration is accelerating rapidly at this time like no time before we know about. Unlike the crude, heavy-handed operations of our recorded history, we are going to begin to choose to do things collectively and voluntarily, not by force of law and threat of pain. The penal system of attempted control is an endless, self-reinforcing morass. We'll demonstrate a higher way, but it will require a higher consciousness than we've mostly been operating in so far. Namely an awareness once again that anything we do cannot be separate from ourself. What we do to any other part of life, we do to ourself. Self interest will dictate collective interest eventually. Voluntarily. Logically. It will be the ridiculously obvious choice to make.

Originally Posted By: Ephesos

Also, to respond to an ongoing point you've been making, parasitism and carnivorism are not going to evolve out of the system, unless other things stop being so tasty and nutritious. Evolution simply does not work that way.


Not yet right here right now. It'll take a degree of conscious evolution to make that kind of shift, if we decided we wanted that change, and I'm not even saying we would, but personally, if I could, I would. It's an intuition I have about something perhaps much further down the road. So far, life has been almost exclusively operating on an unconscious level (think autopilot/instinct.) Once it hits the point where it advances sufficiently in its conscious awareness of itself and, subsequently understands the nature of all life, and then begins to harness its own capacities through consciousness, that's when the really fun part begins. Collapsing quantum fields of infinite possibility intentionally into the singular actuality of your choice is a powerful tool indeed. I choose to not limit myself to the assumption that because I have not yet seen something happen a certain way, it can never happen that way. I see rather that it has never yet happened any other way, because there has been no organized or empowered intention yet for it to happen any other way. I see the outplay as a very patient process. Life/God is not in a hurry. We've got all the time in the world, because time is infinite. There's no end to the process of life, but it's forever changing. It probably never does quite the same thing twice, the possibilities and variations of creation are so endless.

Originally Posted By: Ephesos

Originally Posted By: Synergy
Obama said it in a speech a while back, "We are all one." I see the paradigm creeping into our collective awareness in a heartening way.


If Obama actually meant those four context-free words to endorse this "paradigm", I swear to god I'm voting Republican.


I don't expect he consciously meant it on any level beyond, "We humans are all brothers & sisters and need to learn to get along as one family on one planet." I'm going to guess that sentiment doesn't alarm you too much. That sentiment is the resulting attitude that tends to proceed from seeing what I'm trying to describe. I'm not saying it's coming from the same core belief in his case, but the awareness of the essential solution is creeping in on whatever level of awareness. Necessarily so. The drive of life dictates that it has to happen at this time in our evolution, so no one could stop it if they wanted to. Life/God is way bigger than us and will do what it's going to do. And like I said, it could be with or without us, but my vote of confidence is for the latter.

@Slarty: Any edits I have made in posts that are uncredited were made immediately after the initial posting and have almost exclusively been made to fix grammar or sloppy structure. I got the impression you were suggesting something unscrupulous from your comment a while back.

P.S. - Phanes...a blog is not what I enjoy. Would you prefer I not post here?

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did you say anything at all in that gigantic monolith of words that you haven't already said several times before in this very thread

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Your girlfriend is trying to convince you that because she once told you she loves you, she never needs to tell you again. Do you agree with her?

 

-S-

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Oh man, that's lose-lose. If you do, you're a jerk. If you don't, you're refusing to believe your girlfriend.

 

Also, presumably your girlfriend believes you, or at least enjoys the emotions expressed when you say you love her. That's really not at all what this is about. You're saying things that we don't agree with. No matter how many times you say them we're probably not going to agree.

 

—Alorael, who is content just to milk humor out of it all. Maybe that's what evolution is towards: comedy.

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Originally Posted By: Synergy
Your girlfriend is trying to convince you that because she once told you she loves you, she never needs to tell you again. Do you agree with her?

-S-
I've tried something similar to this before.

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Originally Posted By: Synergy
Your girlfriend is trying to convince you that because she once told you she loves you, she never needs to tell you again. Do you agree with her?

-S-


hahahahaha have you completely forgotten who you're talking to here

(i am going to die alone and miserable in any case so you picked kind of a bad example)

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Quote:
Phanes...a blog is not what I enjoy. Would you prefer I not post here?


You are free, and encouraged, to post here. That said, there is much we all could gain from being pithy.

EDIT: I do agree, that these message boards are not everyone's personal repositories for their thoughts on the world. There are more appropriate places on the internet for large essays.

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Yeah, I'm wordy, except when I'm not. Has it been noted that everything lengthy I've written subsequent to my one initial, not-really-all-that-long post was in response to inquiry and assertion? If you don't want to see my answers, don't ask me questions. I'm not good at short answers. It's really that simple. It's my nature to try to give thorough answers to inquiry. I'm not saying it's my best skill or quality.

 

Meanwhile, it is mostly the people who assert they do not believe the sort of thing I'm discussing and do not enjoy what I say or how I say it, are the very ones who continually invite my ongoing dialog on the matter. I file this all under personal exercise for me and entertainment for you.

 

If people truly aren't interested in my dialog, is it really so hard to stop acting interested and stop perpetuating it?

 

-S-

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Thuryl, you're more lovable than you think you are. Or at least more than you act like you are.

 

-S-

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