Stephen Hawking Proves My Point

Here is a quote from Stephen Hawking that illustrates my point about scientists trying to supplant God with word games:

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing,” Hawking and his co-author, Caltech physicist Leonard Mlodinow, write in “The Grand Design,” which is due to be issued next week. “Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

What irks me is that Stephen Hawking has become somewhat of a spokesman for the human community.  I can see many atheists that would applaud his statement.

However, examining this statement thoroughly reveals so many holes.

First of all, he has created a new mystical force which we are to accept as omnipotent, Spontaneous Creation.  Spontaneous Creation and the Universe are “God” with a different name.  Of course there is merit in explaining possible origins of the universe, but how can Hawkin not recognize that his quest for a creative force mimics a religious search, except with scientifically palatable terminology.  How can one man be so smart yet so close-minded?

We can see where the atheist movement is spinning its wheels.  It is now in ways as obstinate and outdated as the religions they speak out against.  I see no reason to pit science vs. God (the word and notion).  The same logic weaves through both.

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Ignorance is Bliss?

With all of this ‘Ground Zero’ Mosque bullshit, I think it’s good to take a satirical perspective to get to down to the roots of American xenophobia.

I’ll let ‘The Onion’ do it.. <— Click the Link

Hard Copy of Link:
http://www.theonion.com/articles/man-already-knows-everything-he-needs-to-know-abou,17990/

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, Sarah Palin and Glen Beck are gathering thousands of right-wingers near the Lincoln Memorial.

It is somewhat ironic, given that they are equating their cause (free market fascism) to the civil rights movements of the 60’s.

Palin, an ex-governor, and Beck, a prime-time host on a corporate network devoted to politics, are supposedly railing against the evils of big government.

However, the main focus of their gathering is nominally a focus on a return to religion.

MLK was a man of devout religion, but did not strictly follow sermon.  Christianity provided the rhetoric and morality to attach to his cause.

This is not much different from what Sarah Palin and Glen Beck are proposing, except that they are on opposite, and very real, ends of the political spectrum.

It starts with religion.  The righteousness of Palin and Beck stems from their assumed moral superiority.

I think it is foolish to say Obama isn’t doing enough.  Indeed, he is like the Dutch child with his thumb in the dam.

He is calculating, fighting to merely keep the right from rushing in again while enacting minimal reform.  A country and its fervor cannot go from a Bush to an Obama so painlessly…

The question is if we are truly doing enough.  Obama does his part.  It is up to the left to create new organizations, new logic, even a new religion.

We need to build a mindset that can replace the void left by enforced organized religions – one that we can use as a tool for pacifism, social tolerance, and economic justice.

This project is bigger than any of us.  We cannot be so afraid of the hyper-capitalist inquisition that we forget the greater cause.

Let’s get BUILDING!

“But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”

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Moving

We are traveling into a new logic

beyond age, beyond race, beyond gender,

beyond subject, beyond genre,

beyond theism and atheism,

beyond capitalism and socialism,

beyond nation and tribe,

to where?

to where?

to where?

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Poetry and Religion

So I was reading reddit.com and a user submitted a photograph of the following religious peom with the title, “Sigh…this was posted on a hallway whiteboard in my office the other day.”

“Almighty God, of majesty high

walked on this earth, and came to die

Bore on his back the weight of our sin

Beaten and bruised, the savior of men

Such love as this, I cannot tell!

He gave me hope, released me from hell

Holy Redeemer, loveth my soul

By his stripes healed, in His blood made whole.”

Then a commenter (luckynumbertwo) on the poem wrote and ‘atheist’ rebuttal:

If by chance You should exist

And pass to me a stone-etched list

Of rules and laws I must abide,

“Then I must cast them all aside.

What fair and moral Maker, good

And true, of holy purpose would

Allow this world to burn and die

Whilst holding His name, proud and high?

I wish to sate my curiosity;

This world has far too much to see –

Is this too great a sin to Thee,

Oh Lord? Enough to burn eternally?

If that is so, then honestly,

You’ll never be the God of me.”

I thought it was a nice poem.

What is interesting is that the atheist seemed to think, ‘Yeah take that!’

However, I think this is exactly the problem with the struggle between believers and non-believers.  They don’t think they can coexist.  Yet when reading each poem, one gets a sense that each person is happy and has good, positive convictions by which they live their own life.  At the end of the day, each person needs to realize that their own ‘poem’ of their belief is their own and that they can coexist.  Why we feel we have to assert our ‘own’ is something we really need to consider

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God can teach lessons, even through atheists (i.e. Existence teaches us lessons)

I found this link while searching my favorite internet dump, reddit.com. This link is to an opinion article that briefly describes the experience of a Christian  being the guest of and living with an atheist family. The following passage from the article brought out what I believe to be the core of active philosophy:

“It was interesting experience to go to a non-believer’s house because the atheist housed us, fed us, treated us very well, talked with us, and made sure our stay was very comfortable. These are basic values that any person has around the world.

For most of us, God represents love, peace, humility, kindness, forgiveness. This same person, in his early years in the villages, was hit by a snowball by a student and very angrily talked to the parent of the student but eventually forgave the person for hitting him with the snowball.

I could swear by the atheist’s actions that he believed in God. “

The line that struck me to be the most interesting is the last, “I could swear by the atheist actions that he believed in God.”  I think that without realizing it the poster was touching on the most important thing we need to realize about our belief systems.  To be a good person we don’t have to believe or not believe in God we just have to be good people.  It is clear that she innately understands what it means to be a good person and recognizes that this other person (atheist) has arrived at the same values through a different avenue.

In the end, it has little to do with WHAT we believe but how we USE that belief system to motivate our actions.

I think that one thing that this blog has done a good job at coming to the realization that people of all backgrounds and faiths can be do both good and bad things.   Furthermore, the way to get people to do more good things and less bad things is not by asking them to change their religion, rather is simply by asking them to be a better person.  The common thing between all of us is that we all chose a set of values and then we take effort to honor them. However, atheist or Christian, agnostic or Muslim, people can be good by their own choices irrespective of their ‘religion.’

It’s a choice for the better that active philosophy wants to promote.

Thus I guess the point of an active philosophy is NOT to tell people what to believe, but is to promote a positive, constructive, and progressive outlook on life given their beliefs.  It doesn’t matter what we subscribe to; we all know what is good and how to be good.

So… I don’t care if you’re a christian, atheist, muslim, or agnostic, just don’t be an asshole.   Or in the words of the blogger I am quoting:

These are basic values that any person has around the world… Even without God, the basic premise of being a good person was written all over him.”

Active philosophy is not God or no God, nor is it America or Iran, “[active philosophy is] the basic premise of being a good person.”

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The Ravings of a Lunatic

Forewarned: this is straight up bitching and whining. Hopefully someone responsible will delete this post at some point in the near future on the basis of irrelevance.

So I begin my job hunt….

I’m 25. I know maybe ten professionals. I guess that’s the curse of growing up in a lower-middle class family. I was told today that, “most jobs are found through referrals.” Well, I’m fucked.

It was recommended to me that I start networking HARD. Fuck that.

If you’re unlucky enough to suffer through an ABET accredited engineering program, then you’re probably aware of the terrible personalities that engineers posses. (Or are cursed with, if you want to look at it that way.) I’m not particularly fond of socializing with engineers, even though I am one.

So what’s a boy to do? I network, just not the same way the rest of the world expects me to. I make friends based off their integrity, morality, intelligence, and overall fun to be with. I don’t give a shit what you do for a living, how much money you make, what kind of car you drive, or how big your house is. Those are all superfluous meters of a man’s worth.

Consequently, I’ve amassed a friend-base with a wide range of professions ranging from mechanics to doctors. I’m quite proud of this too. Variety is the spice of life, and I learn something from every one of my friends every time I hang out with them.

I’m fucked. I have no contacts within the engineering industry. While I have a nice resume, I’ve been told it needs to “pop” more. Nice. Let me get some Redenbachers.

All I  can say is, “fuck you world!” And, “fuck you nepotism!” If you know me, don’t come asking for a job, you can fuck off. If you don’t know me, I hope you have a bag of Redenbachers in your back pocket. Then I might give you a job.

In the mean time, I’ll enjoy the life of a poor (Mechanical Engineer graduate) mechanic. Thank you G.W. Bush for fucking the economy with your trillion-dollar bailouts, and your predatory housing market. Brilliant.

JR

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The Search/Propoganda

Every moment is spent in search.

Is it really right in front of us? – Satori?

And what happens once we’ve found that moment?

Should we drop everything and clutch it for the remainder of life?

Is it to be clutched?  Or is this feeling of possession another level of illusion?

If you feel you should be doing something different, most activities in life become somewhat meaningless. 

Commercials prey off of this.  “Sex” sells because we hope to take at least some aspect of life, anything, and make it transcend the banality.  A puritan attitude designates norms and sets a certain behaviour outside.  Advertisements establishing appropriate and non-appropriate ways to act and make them seem obvious, universal. 

The notion has been planted in our brain that gross excess offers a way out.  This is where commercials come into play.

A scene in front of a newstand.  The vendor returns the woman’s forgotten change.  Already this commerical is making money the conversation piece.  After all, the whole point is that if you buy State Farm insurance, you will save money.  And with this money, you can do all kinds of things…

Pause at the :21 second mark.  Read the titles of the magazines. 

Obviously in a commercial they can’t use real magazines.  That’s a mountain of trademarked material, so they have to make up their own.

Above his left shoulder is a sports magazine with a blond model, posed alluringly.  Above his right shoulder is a magazine that reads “Stocks & Bonds Daily.”  Above that is a magazine called, interestingly enough, WOMAN.  Next to this left hand is a publication called Mountains.  There’s one for Travel, Guns, Pure Muscle, Podiatrist, News.  Reads like a list of top ten google searches.

This seems pretty innocuous.  Of course it would, after having been conditioned to accept this logic.  But in fairness, this isn’t much different than what a real magazine stand would look like.

Advertisements deliver a mindset, encouraging consumption.  And the way it does this is by making us yearn for the opportunity to escape the rat race, even for brief moments, yet presents the rat race as the sole option, as reality itself.

The irony is that the reason most people are miserable is the insatiable grind of capitalism itself, turning them into interchangable automatons. 

When I went to China, I was taken aback by the blatant communist propoganda.

It was so larger than life, captivating, intimidating.

But even more alarming was the realization that we are bombarded by our own propoganda…

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Purpose

The purpose of life is to live. 

I cannot remember a beginning – it is as though I’ve been here eternally.

I fear death because I cannot comprehend eternity ending.

We are time, fearful of itself.

 

We are surrounded by others and feel no connection to them.  Thanks to technology we can contact potentially any other given member of our species.  Both would have to play out their role.  Strangely, out of billions of potential interactions, we manage to make friends.  Friends that we are able to locate in a sea of otherwise anonymous people.  Following one scent out of a million in the catacombs of the anthill. 

The insect is analagous to the human.  Human beings seem to race in the same frenzied manner as a hive, insatiable, irrational.  We operate to the point of destruction. 

It makes you want to grab someone.

Do you realize we are ALIVE?!!!

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50,000, Value, God, Jesus & Satan

A couple days ago we reached 50,000 hits.  My typical take on this would be to disregard the mark as an arbitrary number.  That is to say, it possesses a weight that 23,766 does not, and we can explain this by our preference for symmetry and our system of 10s.

Explaining away the value behind a benchmark such as 50,000 makes sense, but we still find ourselves transfixed by the number.  It seems that the explanation of “how things are” hardly moves us.  After all, I still made this post.

Perhaps we could explain this by saying, well, if you were to move past the value that you traditionally place on a thing (a convenient word for this situation) the world would continue to view things the same. 

It seems to syllogize, if you could somehow see past the value of money, you would still have to follow its logic, because the rest of the world uses money.

This makes me think of Jesus.

It’s hard not to make fun of the guy.  This is because some people take him far too seriously, probably in ways that he would have never approved.

Jesus, if nothing else, is one brave motherfucker.  This is a man who feared in no way the typical convention of society.

After fasting for 40 days and 40 nights in the forest, Jesus is confronted by the devil.  After reading Milton’s Paradise Lost I realized that the devil’s folly mimics that of man.  Satan has rationalized away the power of God with no understanding that God is a real thing!  – And not only that God is real, but that God has true consequences in this world.

Satan’s problem is this – he really wants to be God.  Badly.  He can’t stand it that God is all-mighty.  Like all other things, he is a mere a finite number, on an infinite scale reducible to zero.  So instead of being content with his existence as a high-ranking angel he rebels against God.  He is enthralled by all-too-human ambition. 

God catches a lot of flack.  He seems like a total power hungry dick.  In ways it is easier to relate to Satan, someone with flaws.  However, it’s not God’s fault God cannot be defeated.  It is simply impossible, ipso facto.  He is the undefeatable itself.

Now, in our own lives, the undefeatable is a very real thing.  None of us will beat time.  It will catch us.  In a sense, we are time, experiencing itself. 

We are in perpetual contact with forces greater than ourselves – our selves being the ego.  Not only greater because these forces reduce the significance of self, but also because they will kick our ass.  Gravity, or tornados.  God symbolizes our relationship to mortality.

In light of these ideas Jesus’ confrontation with the devil after his meditation takes on a whole new twist:

Matthew 4:8-10

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Michael Pacher – Temptation of Christ

The Devil offers Jesus all the petty material crap that a man can conceive.  The catch is that Jesus must get totally “caught up”, forget that he is a speck in an all-encompasing paradigm, and become beholden to all the petty values that society promotes.  This reminds of the axiom that the defining quality of someone who makes lots of money is their desire to make lots of money.

Jesus responds to Satan by saying, no dude, fuck that, I see through you.  God, the undefeatable, my status as a mortal participating in a much larger sequence of events, is real.  This life is temporary and to get caught up in it will lead me to Hell, which is eternal and roving and exists in this world – within the scarred mind of a man that forgets his place in the universe.

Jesus isn’t satisfied with ultra-discipline, however.  It is as though he is following Fichte’s assertion that ‘Not merely TO KNOW, but according to your knowledge TO DO, is your vocation.’ 

Jesus proceeds to lead the life of Active Philosophy.  He preaches the same discipline he has realized, similarly to Buddha.  During the sermon on the mount he says: “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”  Mammon is a greedy diety of sorts that worships earthly treasures over all else.

So Jesus sees past the cowardice of man, he understands that apathy is rooted in fear, fear of being left behind, or being judged, of being murdered for our values.  And this is a real fear, a fear of the undefeatable, death itself. 

It’s hard to picture someone walking into a bank, throwing money around and screaming – all this is illusion and you people are completely deaf to the vibrations if you still allow it to dominate our lives.  Would we quit our jobs and preach that people need to be tolerant and forgive all debts?  In a country where the richest 1% control more wealth than the other 90% – and this is a true, widely accepted statistic by both sides of the political spectrum, couldn’t we use another Jesus or two? 

But maybe we would find his dark complexion suspicious, when we’d pass him in the grocery store we’d crack jokes about hippies and the Greatful Dead, our police would be annoyed that he was loitering on the sidewalk and if he were in Arizona try to deport him back to Galilee, the national media would be appalled by his socialist sympathies, and some citizen would probably shoot him with a concealed handgun the second he started throwing money around like it was worthless.

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