Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Its O.K to admit you don`t know something!

 I was watching some Youtube videos about religion and anti-theism a few days ago and I found it interesting that both Theists and atheists accuse each other of the same thing. This "thing" being  dogmatism. I must say that one trap that many on both sides fall into is that they claim either; that there is no God, or that there is a God. The only truth here is that neither statement can be proven definitively, so anyone who makes such claims is uninformed at best and a liar at worst. Being presumptuous  is one of the great failings of mankind; we all want to "know" something. Have you ever asked someone a question, and when the person clearly did not know what they were talking about, they proceeded to give a answer anyway? People find it very difficult to say; "I don`t know" and move on. As far as a "proof" of God is concerned, Thomas Aquinas perhaps came the closest in his Summa Theologica where he speaks of "five ways" that God must exist. Although quite interesting, he does not prove a God exists. Especially, if we are speaking of a personal God that is concerned with human affairs as we find in many Judeo-Christian beliefs. One problem is with the definition of "God" itself. Are we talking of a Judeo-Christian God, which is involved in human affairs or are we speaking of the "God" of Spinoza, which is impersonal and pantheistic in nature. I deal with this in a previous blog post "What is God?" Now on the other side, when Atheists say "there is no God," what are they talking about exactly? Usually they are referring to the "man in the sky," or the traditional anthropomorphic representations of God. However, this view is inadequate for those who believe God is merely energy or nature. I think presumptuousness emanates from  fear; you see, some have to know what happens when they die or they can`t face life. Therefore if you ask most religious folk, they have everything mapped out. They tell you about Heaven, Valhalla,Paradise, or wherever and Hell,Hades, or Gehenna. To top that off they can even tell you what you will be doing while there, so they have an after death itinerary.Assumptions get us into all kind of troubles, because we back ourselves into a corner with no where to go. When finally proven wrong; we are stuck with two choices, admit we are wrong and eat humble pie, or as many do, modify the original statement. For instance, there was a time when people believed the earth was created in a literal six days, when that didn`t work out, instead of saying the Bible was in error, a new "interpretation" was created. So that "day" was not a literally 24 hour day but "time period." This type of stuff goes on ad nauseum.  These type of situations can be avoided with  three humble words "I don`t know." Instead of acting like you know and getting disgraced later, be humble, research discuss your opinion and be open. I think Socrates would be proud.

Monday, June 25, 2012

What are you really saying?

"I gotta get a job" or "I just want a good paying job" is a phrase that is all too common,especially with the economy in dire straits. However, this is not about the economy, it is about your mindset. Often our words fail to match our true desires; this can be for several reasons. Fear,lack of belief, and feelings of inadequacy can all be the culprit. Often we are vague enough to cover all possibilities in case of failure. In order to achieve greatness in anything, a certain level of focus is required so that we can concentrate on that which is necessary. Do you enter a restaurant and say; "I would like some food"? Your efforts to eat will be tedious and unresolved unless you choose an item! When we were children our goals were so explicit and clear, "I want to be a fireman" or "I want to be a doctor." Somewhere via life`s ups and downs, that specificity faded for most of us and turned into " I just want a decent job." Let me clarify and preface by saying that there is nothing wrong with speaking in that manner, if that is what you wish, but you do yourself a disservice and the society that would benefit by not going after your dreams. Notice the generality and generic sound of "I have to get a job" or "I have to get an education." These statements are so broad that they mean almost nothing, and you cannot focus. "I want to go to college" is not enough, you must choose a school, correct? This indecisiveness leads us to the very place we do not wish to go, failure and frustration. It is easy to see the fallacy of this type of thinking in the examples I used but this is exactly the type of language and idea patterns that control many of our lives. Have you ever worked at a job that you hated? Of course! Part of the reason for this is that we never wanted the "job" in the first place, what we wanted was the income to meet a need or desire at the time. We trade misery for cash, this is what happens when you say "I need a job," you get exactly that. As you think, so shall you be. This can be applied to relationships also. You get lonely and look for a "boy friend" or "girl friend."The problem is that you settle at that, and get in a bad relationship. Be specific, and don`t be afraid. If you want certain qualities, don`t settle, you will get it.  Remember, if you cannot focus, you can not succeed. It is not enough to say "I want to start a business." That is the first step; you must decide exactly what type of business it will be. Only then you can concentrate on it. So now if you are on the job hunt; here is how to apply this. Start with what you want to do the most! So if you wish to be a construction manager, you will be able to concentrate on that one field intensely. This is not guaranteeing success, for instance you may have to find another profession. However, by being specific you will achieve the level of focus necessary to succeed. The idea is not  to trivialize ourselves or lower our self worth, regardless of outward circumstances. When you speak in generalities, the message conveyed is that it does not matter where you work or what you do, you are not that important, and so on. This is not a winning mindset, you are important, what you do is important, your dream is important. Let your words and thoughts be consistent, if you want money don`t say you want a job. There is a difference. You have all heard of the old saying "Do what you love and you`ll never work a day in your life."Specificity seems to be a major rule for succeeding. " I want to be an astronaut" is more powerful than "I want to be somebody."  The moral of the story is to speak and think the same thing! Eat,sleep, and breath your desired outcome until it has run its course. If it ends favorably,fantastic! If not focus on the next thing and so on. You will be unstoppable. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Something from Nothing? and other oddities.

People like to say; you can`t get something from nothing.Especially when arguing scientific points concerning the origin of the universe. Those that believe in divine assistance; posit that this orderly universe must have been set in motion by a creator, arguing that we cannot have "something from nothing." On the other side many point out that the universe works fine without the assumption of  divine orchestration and that there is much chaos and disorder to offset ideas of an efficient creator. The purpose of this essay is not to debate the existence or non-existence of a God, I have dealt with that in other writings. This essay is to point the flaw in the question of "something from nothing" and other similar type of questions. The flaw exists in the fact that we try and separate "something" and "nothing" as different entities, this is illogical. The truth is that the only way we can understand things in universe is by contrast. For instance you cannot define "up" without "down" or "left" without "right." With this in mind try and ask the question: "What came first "left" or "right"? Absurd isn`t it? You must understand that they must exist simultaneously. This is the same concept with "something" and "nothing." They define each others existence, and cannot exist separately. One must always define the other, just as you and your shadow exist simultaneously. The only way you know what "something" means is because we can contrast it with "nothing."  It is the same with light and darkness. Darkness can only be expressed as an absence of light! If light never existed; darkness could never exist! They exist in pairs, simultaneously. There are many such things. Take life and death for instance; they are not separate. Life can only be understood in view of things that are dead for a contrast. In other words, as soon as there is "life" there must be something that we can contrast it to i.e. "not life" or death. If there was no such thing as "death" you would have no such thing as "life." Interesting is the 23 psalm , where the writer speaks of the "shadow of death." Our shadow is like our negative image, and cannot exist without us. Death is the "negative" image of Life, but not necessarily bad but that is another topic. Just understand that you cannot fully embrace life without understanding death. Lets look at some more examples. Soon as you have a "first" "then "last" simultaneously must exist, "alpha-omega", "past" and "present." Infinite and finite exist simultaneously, you don`t have one before the other, it is impossible. The key idea to recall, is not to separate things. For instance; to say we have darkness then light etc. Remember you can only say this because of your life experiences in contrasting the two. However; if you never ever saw light and everything was just  void, you would not have a mental construct to define this situation. Also consider the concept of "empty" and "full," they can only exist simultaneously. The question; "can you get something from nothing?" Is incorrect, as they are opposites of the same coin! Correct is, You can`t have something without nothing!

"You cannot have the ups without the downs...We shouldn`t really contrast existence with non-existance...the troth manifest the wave...Space manifests the solid...the background manifests the figure... Alan Watts."
There are many patterns of inter connectivity, some I have listed. This existence is known to the Chinese as the Great Tao.

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