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Yoga and Meditation Increase Narcissism

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6 hours ago, possibility said:

I never said this was religion at its core - only that it was something we tend to do in religion. It's something we tend to do in any search for knowledge - and again I'm not saying this is religion at its core, either.

You and I (and clearly Hart) recognise that when we talk about 'God', we aren't talking about a being, supreme or otherwise. I assume we recognise that the words of the bible refer to human experiences of 'God', and we strive to understand how these experiences and those of others relate to our own and contribute to a greater understanding of the mystery. We also recognise that it is this understanding that determines our beliefs and how we think we (and everyone else) should live.

But as Hart suggests, many theists and atheists and most who talk about God are actually searching for something to name, to know. One can present an unknowable, unnameable mystery, and we invariably add a (well-intentioned) capital letter to give it importance, to distinguish it from all other mysteries. We at least recognise this as a futile attempt to name the unnameable, to give substance or form to the formless. But suddenly this Mystery can now be interpreted as a noun in its own right - named and therefore something to know, to define, to worship or destroy, to gather evidence for or against, to build a relationship with, to defend with one's life or to use against others.

On 7/8/2018 at 6:59 PM, thormas said:

Fair enough on religion, I was just establishing that it is not (merely) about 'naming' something. And well said on "God" and the Bible. 

I don't know if Hart suggests this or even how accurate it is, however I think it is fair to say this is true for some but it is also fair to say that others seek (the) meaning of life.

One could add the well intentioned caps but this is not what Hart is doing. Rather, he is saying that there is a radical difference in god and "God." It is not an either/or for him, he is not shy is stating that to say that god is a supreme being is simply uninformed and, as such, wrong. However, I agree that the Mystery is unnameable and, further, that "God" is not a proper name (not sure whether Reality, in itself is formless, so I will pass on substance and form).

You lost me with the leap to the Mystery as noun. In the history of religion (history of the world) there is evidence that men thought they knew, named and owned or were owned by the god and defended what was theirs to the death (both theirs and others). However, those who agree with Hart know this has been and continues to be a mistake and is simply wrong.

6 hours ago, possibility said:

The 'flaw' here doesn't lie with atheism. 'Religions' can't be said to believe anything. Theologists argue such beliefs, and religious doctrine may even state it - the Pope may even say something to that effect - but none of these determine (let alone resemble) what each individual who adheres to that religion believes, thinks or says about 'God', or for that matter how they think they (and everyone else) should live. And that disconnect has only grown wider over the last couple of centuries.

On 7/8/2018 at 6:59 PM, thormas said:

I was simply responding to your comment about the atheist argument and that there is a flaw - as there is a flaw for theists, popes or otherwise, who conceive and speak of the Mystery as god and not "God. The doctrines should be understood as the insights, the efforts of a previous generation to say something about God but they have become 'truths of faith' and were to be accepted. So, for generations, much of what the Pope or the doctrines said, is what people believed.  I think that has and continues to change for some, hopefully for all in the future. So, we agree. 

6 hours ago, possibility said:

All evidence claims are a belief statement. As I understand it, 'evidence' is simply a high incident of shared experience (including first, second and third hand), and a 'thing' is an experienced point in spacetime. So when I talk about evidence here, I'm referring to documented, shared experience that demonstrates sufficiently reduced probability of a recognisable 'self' existing at any point in spacetime. Don't take my word for it, but don't dismiss the statement without exploring supporting documentation and/or conducting your own experiments.

It seems some differentiate between belief statements and evidence. For some evidence is proof and with proof, we are no longer dealing with (mere) belief (their sentiments not mine). However, as the Mystery is no-thing or object and, therefore beyond the reach of science, so too, is the mystery that is man - especially that 'part' of the human being that we most liken to "God" - the conscious self. Obviously, much of the human being is the proper study of science and science is to our great benefit. The brain is the valid object of science, however consciousness is ultimately beyond its reach. The higher incident of shared experience is that for most of us, except 'for a handful of cognitive scientists and philosophers' (Hart again) consciousness is quite real. As is the self. I side with Descartes," I think therefore I AM." The assumption (not sure if it is also yours) that consciousness is produced by the brain and that the study of the brain will ultimately account for consciousness speaks of a physicalism/materialism that I simply don't buy (believe). Again, I might be misunderstanding you.

6 hours ago, possibility said:

What about the idea that consciousness is simply the interaction of this energy in motion?

If so, then how could science ever get a handle on consciousness which,  by description, seems to be (part of the) Mystery? As long as this take on consciousness encompasses a participation in Consciousness (i.e. multiplicity of persons), it sounds intriguing. 

6 hours ago, possibility said:

This is where our language structures break down. Are you saying that absolute potentiality is not the same as 'the very possibility of all that is'? How can you be so sure that the Absolute is? I may have mentioned Actus Purus in passing, but I don't agree with Aquinas' argument, because it's built on an unprovable assumption that the Absolute is. I'm not saying that which is absolute has potentiality. I'm saying that it is potentiality - that potentiality alone has absoluteness.

I don't think it's language structure, I think it is first, accepting what particular words mean (basic definitions/word usage). If someone says that Reality is Absolute and Unchanging, those words (even acknowledging the limitation of language) have meaning. Potential speaks to movement from what is not (it is 'only' potential) to what is actual (actuality); movement is change; change speaks to that which is not total, complete, perfect - i.e. Absolute. Just using these words, I have been saying if someone says Reality is Absolute and Unchanging, yet speaks of fiction, illusion, ignorance and enlightenment then we are left with either that what we believed is Absolute and Unchanging, is not - or, if we hold that Reality is the Absolute, then there is something else going on (so to speak). So, what is it?

I am not sure of anything, this whole 'exercise' is my trying to get to the heart of what these words mean and, perhaps, surprisingly, what they suggest if examined closely. When I get to (already touched on) my take on things, it is always a statement of belief (never certainty because there is no object, no evidence, no surety).

Leaving all that aside, if the Absolute is potentiality that alone is or has absoluteness, what do you mean? The potentiality cannot be in/for itself (again suggesting becoming and change, unless that's what you are saying) and I have already acknowledged that the potentiality of the Absolute is (eternally) actualized in itself - so for what is its potential?

6 hours ago, possibility said:

This is an interesting point. Are you assuming the Law of Excluded Middle applies here? That a seed becomes a plant that becomes a flower, and that all other eventualities would constitute a failure to achieve this predetermined, limited potential that it cannot become other than? I don't believe this is how nature works. If I take the seed and give it to my pet bird, it could become nourishment for that bird, and it could be overlooked. If I then take the overlooked seed and give it water but keep it in a cupboard, primary school experiments prove that it could still become a plant (albeit a thin, sickly looking one). If I then take that poor plant and give it sunlight and care, it could become a flower that eventually fades, and it could also become food. Potential is not what should be, but what could be. It is the possibility of all that is. Interaction with everything else is what eliminates those possibilities.

At what point would you say that 'a human' is fully actualised? And considering that (until this point of said actualisation) one retains the potential to become human, at what point to do we label them an "animal", a "monster", and effectively destroy that potential? Who are we to label them or measure them as such - to fix them to that point in spacetime and declare it as definitive of who or what they are

Maybe we're looking at this all wrong. After all, Hitler was a human being, not a human becoming. In recognising him as such, we acknowledge our own potential to be other than whatever we determine 'human' to be. Perhaps 'human' is not necessarily a fixed state that one achieves, therefore, but a rather more diverse area of the dance than we imagined. And perhaps this potential that we attribute to 'becoming human' is not as limited or definitive as we might think. Perhaps no potential is initially as limited as we think...

Potential is a could but the could be is set. A seed is a seed is a seed be it as plant, pet food or a lab franken-plant. It is not ever not a seed.

However, man's potential is not set: it is yet to be but it could not be. On one hand,of course, we are all human beings and we cannot be other; we will never be a rock, tree or a dog. Yet, on the other hand, not all of us are (truly) 'human' beings. Human is not merely a noun, something you are; human is a verb, something you must do. We must do to be (or not do and not be). Just like one must dance to be a dancer; if one does not dance, he is not a dancer.

The potential is there form the moment we awake to consciousness; it is always our potential but it must be actualized (we must do) by us; if it is not, then, one has not become the only 'thing' they can be: human. And again, we recognize this truth in our everyday life and language. The child rapist, the wife abuser, the serial killer, the Hitler, the lone gunman attacking the school are called, inhuman, monsters, evil, the devil, we simply refuse to use their name (how telling is that?), animal, etc. We, strip them of humanity in recognition of what they have do. They look human, they are still not the rock, tree or dog, but they have not acted human, and therefore are not (human). Whereas, the fireman on 911, the swimmer who dies while trying to save the stranger, the teacher who stands in front of the shooter to protect her kids: on them we heap humanity, and we run out of words to express the reality of 'what' they are: the best of us, hero, great, what a special woman, what we should all try to be, the best we have to offer, a true man, etc. At what point does one become a monster or an animal (and are so labeled)? See above but I didn't say they destroyed their potential, only that it was not (yet) realized. It is still there, still before them. How many times have we heard of one who turns themselves around when in prison and becomes 'more' than they were?

Who are we? We are their fellows, we are the ones who live in community with them, we are the ones who suffer loss because of them, we are the one who clean up and repair lives after them, we are the one who build community, have families, and try to be human and 'humanize' our world. Plus, if not us, who? Plus, it is not we who have done it, it is a recognition of what the other has done and is. And who would have us not take their measure and condemn their action? Our 'judgement' or justice is fixed to particular actions in time and space but, as mentioned, anyone can define or redefine him/herself.

Hitler was a human being, in one sense, but he, and all, are becoming human, in the sense explained above. Human is a fixed state in that we, including Hitler and the rest, are human. However, it is not fixed in that it is not yet actualized or accomplished: to be human one must do (verb) Human.

Dancing is one yet many. There are many ways to dance (look at John Travolta movies, look at different cultures, times and ages) but dancing is always dancing from the old lady dancing at her great granddaughter's wedding, as she sits in her chair surrounded by family to Fred Astaire dancing, to Cagney, to ancient fertility dances, to native American dancing, to a little girl dancing for joy when she sees her mother. Dancing is dancing is dancing .........is one. There are many ways in the one but it is one. So too human: we look different, we sound different, we live in different times, cultures and lands - but human is human is human...........is one.  Like dancing, human looks different, there are many ways but the Way (to be truly human) is one and it is recognized.

6 hours ago, possibility said:

I'm sensing some frustration here (could be the exclamation marks?). And we keep coming back to this question of 'who'? You've clarified that you don't believe 'the Absolute' is a 'who' or a 'what' (despite your use of capitals), and I hope I've made clear that what you name 'the Absolute' I see as potentiality - the possibility of all that is. 

So, I present my confusing attempt to answer your question of 'who is the illusory one who writes in these posts to whom I respond?':

There is a subset of the unfolding universe, of interconnecting energy in motion or actualising potentiality in spacetime, experiencing 'sensations' and 'thoughts' as interaction of first, second and third hand experiences gained through interaction and interconnection in spacetime with recognised subsets of interconnecting energy in motion.

This particular subset (me) is driven by awareness of potentiality to interact with other recognised subsets of actualising potentiality in order to share experiences and interconnect throughout this unfolding universe, with a view to maximising awareness, and subsequently actualisation, of its absolute potentiality...

...I think

There is no frustration (this is fun), the exclamation marks are just that: exclaiming and emphasizing something and the caps (IT IS) because I refer to the Mystery.

Also, others seem to switch back and forth between lower and upper case, so at times I have followed their lead but I also use capitals to emphasize that which is, pardon the caps, Absolute Reality or "God" (also, caps don't make it a who or a what) - as I take Hart's point that there is a difference between "God"and god, as there is between Mystery and mystery (after all, what I might get for my birthday is also a mystery) :+}  Further, the use of the word 'who' is a convenient figure of speech and I, too, see the Absolute as the possibility of all.

If you see the Absolute as "the possibility of all that is" does that mean there is an all? And if there is (an) all then isn't there not only the Absolute? 

I'm not sure I follow or, therefore, agree when you say the Absolute is the potentiality of all. Possibility , yes. Potentiality, ??

So, first thanks for your answer. Do I read this correctly, that a 'subset' (by the way, interesting description), you, is and can interact with other subsets? So, is the me properly called self? And, is this me (self?) real or illusion? And, if illusion: fiction/make believe or more than it seems? And , why is it? It's 'why' can't be the need of the Absolute. And, finally, is Absolute Reality merely the unfolding of the physical universe?

Thanks.

 

 

Edited by thormas

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Hi Thomas

Oh no - I've written a novel again....

On 11 July 2018 at 1:48 AM, thormas said:

The higher incident of shared experience is that for most of us, except 'for a handful of cognitive scientists and philosophers' (Hart again) consciousness is quite real. As is the self. I side with Descartes," I think therefore I AM." 

But have 'most of us' ever taken the time to look for this self? Descartes was reacting to what was being taught at the time: that "everything I know, I learned from the senses" - he took an important step forward: the recognition that I am not my body or my senses, that these are deduced as trustworthy or rejected as false by 'the thinking self'. However Descartes didn't feel the need to move beyond this (it was revolutionary enough for the 17th century), to further recognise that I am not my thoughts, either, but that these thoughts come and go as separate from my perception of 'self'. To declare "I think therefore I AM" is to believe that 'I am my thoughts'. Follow Descartes method of enquiry further: Have you ever experienced a thought that you just had to disown? One perhaps that you dismissed as 'evil', crazy, illogical or simply unkind, that you couldn't possibly bring yourself to entertain for more than a moment? And yet that thought appeared, even momentarily, before you rejected it? If 'I' can reject thoughts, then who or what am 'I' that rejects them? Certainly not 'the thinking self'...I suggest you keep looking...

On 11 July 2018 at 1:48 AM, thormas said:

The assumption (not sure if it is also yours) that consciousness is produced by the brain and that the study of the brain will ultimately account for consciousness speaks of a physicalism/materialism that I simply don't buy (believe). Again, I might be misunderstanding you.

think perhaps you are misunderstanding me in this instance, because this is not my assumption at all. I don’t believe that consciousness is a product of the brain, and I continue to hope that you take a look at Blackmore and Harris so you get a better idea of where I’m coming from on this question of self and consciousness. However, I don’t think that consciousness (or this particular mystery) is ultimately beyond the reach of science, either - although I agree that it's certainly beyond the reach of physicalism/materialism, and won't be accounted for in a purely physical study of the brain. I would hope that your view of science and the scope of scientific enquiry is not that narrow. As much respect as you may have for Hart's intellectual ability, his purpose is to attack physicalism/materialism in science, and so his awareness of the potentiality of science has narrowed to where his argument has the most impact. To a hammer, everything is a nail.

 

On 11 July 2018 at 1:48 AM, thormas said:

Leaving all that aside, if the Absolute is potentiality that alone is or has absoluteness, what do you mean? The potentiality cannot be in/for itself (again suggesting becoming and change, unless that's what you are saying) and I have already acknowledged that the potentiality of the Absolute is (eternally) actualized in itself - so for what is its potential?

In the interests of accepting what particular words mean, i thought I'd offer some widely accepted definitions (from the Cambridge English dictionary):

Potential: someone's or something's ability to develop, achieve or succeed.

Potentiality: an ability for development, achievement or success that is natural or has not been used.

The difficulty you're experiencing with potentiality appears to come from your understanding of 'potential' as being necessarily attributed to something or someone - thereby assuming that 'potentiality' must also be attributed, rather than be in/for itself. But you're assuming a limitation where one doesn't exist. 

Forget the Absolute for a moment. When potentiality is considered as absolute, it is understood as the natural ability for development, achievement or success that is universally present, regardless of whether or not it has been used by someone or something. This is my current understanding of God.

On 11 July 2018 at 1:48 AM, thormas said:

Potential is a could but the could be is set. A seed is a seed is a seed be it as plant, pet food or a lab franken-plant. It is not ever not a seed.

Potentiality is set only by the name we have given it. It's more than a seed when it's being a plant. 'Seed' is merely a descriptor, a label for the action of 'being that which fits the description of seed' - a subset of actualising potentiality that we define by our interaction (senses and thoughts that arise in consciousness) with this subset in spacetime. When it is labelled or defined as 'birdseed', we interact with it as if it is pet food, and readily forget that it ever had the potentiality to be 'a plant'. So it often comes as a surprise when this birdseed falls into a puddle of water and sprouts, and we're reminded that this potentiality has not been destroyed by our interaction with it as 'pet food'. 

Likewise the man in prison who becomes 'more than they were' (and your words here are telling) manages to pleasantly surprise us. We are reminded of the potentiality present within the 'him' we observe to at least be 'fully human' (whatever we determine that to be), and that in our past interaction with the label of 'criminal' or 'monster' - even with his name and all the expected continuity of self that implies - we have failed to see God in him.

I don't believe we are ever justified in our judgement or condemnation of an actualising potentiality, regardless of what the structures of society tell you - and I think Jesus was pretty clear on this, too. To 'strip someone of their humanity', to say "they have not acted human and therefore are not human', is a destructive interaction that generates rather than prevents pain, humiliation and loss. A person should never be defined by their actions. How do we reconcile a heroic and an inhuman action from the one person? How many times have we heaped praise on someone for one heroic deed, revered them as 'the best of humanity', only to later discover that they're far from being a hero in other areas of their life? The fireman on 9/11 could simultaneously be a wife abuser or child rapist. Your supposed distinction between human and actualised or accomplished human, somehow define by what they do, does not hold water. 

Who are we to judge? In my opinion we are Adolph Hitler in very different circumstances, and any attempt to deny that possibility is false. Condemn the action, but love the person. To say "it is not we who have done it" is also false. There is no objectivity in judgement, no God-given distinction between good and evil. Personally I don't label Hitler as inhuman - I fully acknowledge his humanity in every action, and I think it's vital to do that in order to prevent history from repeating itself. 

Absolute potentiality is the ability to develop, achieve or succeed beyond a definition in spacetime (perceived actuality), regardless of whether or not it is used. To recognise that potential in any element of the universe is to recognise God. So a chunk of rock sitting idle for seventy years, declared 'riddled with faults' and rejected several times, could be recognised and nurtured with conscious interaction to become one of the most profound manmade expressions of absolute potentiality I have ever experienced: in Michelangelo's statue of David.

On 11 July 2018 at 1:48 AM, thormas said:

If you see the Absolute as "the possibility of all that is" does that mean there is an all? And if there is (an) all then isn't there not only the Absolute? 

I'm not sure I follow or, therefore, agree when you say the Absolute is the potentiality of all. Possibility , yes. Potentiality, ??

What you've written is not the same as what I said. "The Absolute" are your words, and while I personally don't believe it adequately portrays what it is we're attempting to understand here, I've been referencing the name you've given because it connects your perspective of 'God' to mine. But now I realise that I'm not making myself clear.

The word 'absolute' is an adjective, a descriptor for something that is 'true, right and the same in all situations, and not dependent on anything else'. As a noun it is a philosophical term: 'a value or principle which is regarded as universally valid, or which may be viewed without relation to other things'. Neither of these definitions is a complete or satisfying image of 'God' to me, and I've yet to find an accepted definition for 'absolute' or 'mystery' that portrays the fullness of 'God' in/for itself. So I have to assume that your use of "the Absolute" is a placeholder in the same way that "God" or "the Mystery" are placeholders for what you experience as both absolute and currently a mystery, and much more.

Possibility: a chance that something may happen or be true.

Potentiality: an ability for development, achievement or success that is natural or has not been used.

The difference in these two words (in my opinion) speaks of substance, goodness and personal relation in the latter that seems to be absent from the former, and also absent from the terms you've been using. It is the capital letters that attempt to add back in what is missing in these terms, but for me the sense of inadequacy remains.
 
On 11 July 2018 at 1:48 AM, thormas said:

Do I read this correctly, that a 'subset' (by the way, interesting description), you, is and can interact with other subsets? So, is the me properly called self? And, is this me (self?) real or illusion? And, if illusion: fiction/make believe or more than it seems? And , why is it? It's 'why' can't be the need of the Absolute. And, finally, is Absolute Reality merely the unfolding of the physical universe?

A subset of interconnected energy in motion includes what is understood as body, brain, memories, thoughts and senses. It can be called 'self', but that is an illusion as such, not least because the subset is only ever definable in the past and changes from moment to moment. It can interact with another subset called 'apple', for instance, in such a way that it ceases to be definable as 'apple' and part of that energy in motion is absorbed into the original subset without altering the concept of 'self' that is perceived in consciousness, and a single thought can also interact without altering the self in any way. Yet other interactions with subsets, senses and thoughts can profoundly alter or distort perception of the self to the point where it is drastically inconsistent with the subset (eg. anorexia). So I think this concept of self is not what it seems (but neither is it necessarily more/less), and that an actual self does not exist, but is only perceived by consciousness at any one point. 

Reality: the state of things as they are, rather than as they are imagined to be.

I don't know if I believe that such a thing as Absolute Reality exists, because I don't believe in an objective reality. My broadest awareness of 'reality', of things as they are, is more or less what I have described to you, but I am also aware that how I see the unfolding of the physical universe may have many similarities but is always going to be at least slightly different to how you see it. 

There is no reality (no state of things as they are) that is true, right and the same in all situations, or considered universally valid. Any gain in awareness, any sharing of experiences or knowledge, any actualisation at all is only achieved through interaction in spacetime. Potentiality is absolute - it is not dependent on anything else - and yet the actual development, achievement or success of anything lies in awareness of and interaction with other subsets of potentiality - from the rocks I walk on and the air I breathe to the frogs in my garden, to family, work colleagues and yourself. This means operating a complex interface of physical, biological, social, cultural, political and language constructs built by a long history of interactions to define, label, divide and control what is perceived, as well as recognising that awareness of the constructs and of the underlying 'reality' (such as I perceive it) will vary with each interaction. 

So I recognise you, for instance, as words on a screen that point to an individual human being (with subjective experiences and operating within a unique set of circumstances) that points to a subset of actualising potentiality (energy in motion, aware of unique thoughts and senses arising in consciousness) that points to the absolute potentiality in which you and I, Jesus and Hitler, the factory workers who put this iPad together and the mosquito that attacked me last night, are irretrievably interconnected. But it's just as easy to read the words on the screen and forget or ignore their connection to a human being at any one moment, let alone their (and my) connection to the infinite possibilities of the unfolding physical universe across time and space...

Thanks again for the discussion, and for your patience. This has been so useful to me.

I'd like to also open a particular topic on Hart's discussion (in two recent videos I saw) of 'the being of God', and 'God as Person' in relation to this, just as soon as I work out how to start one...

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On 7/14/2018 at 2:30 AM, possibility said:

 

One's perception of the self is a thought along side of other thoughts. Further, I recognize all my thoughts are mine be they evil, crazy, illogical, unkind, or otherwise: We are capable of having such thoughts. If I have an unkind thought, I don't disown it, I try to overcome it and think, do and be better. It is I, the self, who thinks and acts; a particular thought is not the whole of the self but it is ‘mine.’

I believe that "God" (Absolute Reality or Mystery) is beyond the reach of science but it remains fun and important to try to understand 'everything' as that is who we are and what we do. My view of science is not narrow at all; I was just referring to two specifics that others mentioned on this site and/or discussed by Hart. Further, I disagree with your take on Hart as he appears to be highly respectful, even awed by science, seems very well read (in that and everything) but still recognizes its limitation. You see, in him, as a hammer, I see a laser or a scalpel.

I recognize there is potential in the universe and man. However, this is the potentiality of  a creation that is ‘initiated (created) and sustained’ by God: the (absolute) potentiality of the universe is not God. I believe that God is the creator’ but this belief does not suggest that God is involved in the minutia of creation as it realizes its potential. God is not involved in the seed becoming a plant and God is not in the bedroom when humans are trying to have a child: this is part and parcel of the created order, of nature with its laws and processes. God is not the absolute potentiality of all, rather God is the ground, the very possibility that there is anything, that it has potential and that all is sustained in existence. A further question is whether absolute potentiality (success) really is universally present? Has science weighed in on the absolute success of the universe?

The potentiality in humanity is always there but it is only actualized or man only 'becomes' (truly) human when he 'acts' human. Here, it should be obvious that I am using the word human to note more than species. As we discussed Spong’s idea that God is best understood as a verb, so too human is a verb: being human is doing human.  Any failure in being human’ is relative not (yet) absolute: the potential is still before us and waitsto be actualized. Actually, the Catholic concept of venial and mortal sin speaks to this: there are some action that put our humanity in mortal danger unless we change (metanoia) and become a new man or a new woman (human). This is the recognition that we can be the likeness’of God but to be like God, man must do what God is: this is incarnation, man embodying, doing and being (which is identical in God) what God is.

Society is telling me nothing in what I have said and it is in agreement with Jesus. Who was the human one in the parable of the Good Samaritan? Was it the ones who passed by the stranger in need, ignoring him, wanting nothing to do with him? Hardly and they are judged! There was only one 'good' man, only one truly human being who put aside any self-centeredness (sin) and was for the other; only one man did and was what the Father is (love). That is the point of the story. It is a judgment for all who have ears to hear: to look to themselves, to become new men and women, to become truly human (divine) beings. And Jesus was not shy about telling others, judging others: while the 'prostitute' is judged and condemned by the crowd, Jesus says, 'sin no more.' And if she rids herself of selfishness, she is sinless; she becomes more than she was. However, his words are first a judgment on the others and in this story, they heard, dropped their stones and their potential was, as always, before them. There is chaos in all judgment, one is presented with both danger and opportunity: drop the stone or throw the stone, sin no more or continue as you have beed doing. In the latter options, chaos follows.

Stripping some men and women of humanity by calling them monsters or animals, is the recognition of what they, themselves, have done and are (at that time). Plus, I am saying "they have not acted human and therefore are not human" in what I consider an academic like setting to present my take on this particular subject. However, the real time use of 'monster' or 'animal' or the decision to not use the name of a school shooter – is indeed a judgment (on both the actions and the person). I would expect that professionals 'counseling' or working with such individuals in a prison or hospital setting would withhold any judgment, as is there responsibility as professionals.

A person is judged by their actions and, although we all make mistakes, or 'blow it' at times - there is the further reality that what we do reflects who we are. Does it completely define us? Hopefully not: a one time act of cheating or stealing just as a one time act of kindness or heroism (your comment on the 911 fireman who abuses his wife) might not define one but a consistent pattern might indeed tell us who and what that person is. Certainly this view holds water if carefully considered and judged for what it actually says. 

It is a civilized society’s right and responsibility to judge Hitler and, as they did, stop him! And, we would not all be Hitler in very different circumstances. Certainly many had similar experiences but not all turned murderers on a small scale or maniacs on a global scale. We, in society, condemn the actions and therefore make judgments that include condemning the man/woman who is the actor of the actions. However, I agree that ultimately, only God can know (emotional, mental, societal, psychological and other factors) and judge the sinner. There is more to judgment but that too is another conversation. 

There is a human distinction between good and evil: some, not all, believe this distinction is based on the human 'insight' or 'experience' of God - and this includes, the aforementioned Jesus. However that there is such a distinction is so obvious, it does not require elaboration. I acknowledge Hitler’s inhumanity, or, better, lack of humanity in his (every) action and it is this recognition of human evil that is vital for history. 

To "recognize and nurture with conscious interaction to become" is exactly what I have been saying. Michelangelo took (rock, clay, paints) what was given and created more; so too, we are given the clay of our humanity and we can (must) make it more. On one had, of course, we are human, but on the other hand, we are not (yet): we have yet to shape, to create our Humanity. Too often, it remains riddled with faults, too often we are too busy to do the work, too often we excuse ourselves or are comforted by the excuses of others. If the rock is not seen for what it can be, if the work is not started, if what is possible is not shaped, then there is nothing: no creation, no beauty, no realization or actualization. This is us. 

I actually belief that our humanity, our potential to be human, remains before us, even 'after death' and that from the Hitlers and Stalins down to any (and all) of us who have not yet finished shaping (creating) beauty out of our rock, will have 'time' to finish until all humanity realizes its potential and Beauty (how or where or whatever happens, I have no earthly idea). 

Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fair enough on religion, I was just to be clear 

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On 17 July 2018 at 6:25 AM, thormas said:

A further question is whether absolute potentiality (success) really is universally present? Has science weighed in on the absolute success of the universe?

Again, you misconstrue me. I never said that potentiality = success. I said that potentiality was the ability to develop, achieve or succeed. That is not the same thing as success, although there can be no success without it.

On 17 July 2018 at 6:25 AM, thormas said:

The potentiality in humanity is always there but it is only actualized or man only 'becomes' (truly) human when he 'acts' human. Here, it should be obvious that I am using the word human to note more than species. As we discussed Spong’s idea that God is best understood as a verb, so too human is a verb: being human is doing human.  Any failure in being human’ is relative not (yet) absolute: the potential is still before us and waitsto be actualized.

This term 'human', verb or noun, is a moving goalpost: there is no universally recognisable line between what 'human' is and is not. It's fuzzy at best. It might seem clearly delineated in your mind, but that is entirely subjective - and the assumption that such a distinction exists has long been the source of undue suffering. The potentiality still before us (or within us) is the potentiality not to be or do 'human' but to be or do anything - it is limitless, because it is actualised not alone in ourselves but through our interaction and interconnection with the entire potentiality of the universe, absolute potentiality, God. What puts any perception of our 'humanity' in danger is to believe ourselves or others unchangeable, actualised, devoid of potentiality or limited by names and labels (I'm only human, she's just a girl, etc). We can make ourselves new with every moment, every interaction and every experience - we only have to see the potentiality around us.

On 17 July 2018 at 6:25 AM, thormas said:

Who was the human one in the parable of the Good Samaritan? Was it the ones who passed by the stranger in need, ignoring him, wanting nothing to do with him? Hardly and they are judged! There was only one 'good' man, only one truly human being who put aside any self-centeredness (sin) and was for the other; only one man did and was what the Father is (love). That is the point of the story. It is a judgment for all who have ears to hear: to look to themselves, to become new men and women, to become truly human (divine) beings. And Jesus was not shy about telling others, judging others: while the 'prostitute' is judged and condemned by the crowd, Jesus says, 'sin no more.' And if she rids herself of selfishness, she is sinless; she becomes more than she was. However, his words are first a judgment on the others and in this story, they heard, dropped their stones and their potential was, as always, before them.

They were all human. I think you might need to read the bible again, and check that you're not reading judgment into the text. Jesus did not judged the priest or the Levite, nor did he judge the Samaritan. He simply provided an opportunity to learn the answer to the question: "who is my neighbour?" We are the ones who have added the title 'The Good Samaritan', enabling judgement of the other passers by as 'not good'. The point of the story is to draw attention to our desire to label others, to judge them and perceive or assume limitations on their potentiality - not the potential to be 'good' or 'bad' (these terms were not applied by Jesus), but the unlimited potentiality to be other than or more than 'Samaritan', for instance - to be 'neighbour' - and to see potentiality in others - not just a Jew or a stranger, but a fellow human being in need of compassion and care - and interact accordingly. Jesus effectively turned the common judgements or prejudices of the time on their heads - the two men whose labels may imply goodness and righteousness did not act righteously, while the man whose label at the time implied enemy interacted as 'neighbour'.

Nor did Jesus judge the woman labelled and thereby condemned by the crowd as 'adulterer'. He already saw her potentiality beyond her 'sin'. He invited the crowd to see her as they see themselves (as more than their sin), and then told the 'woman' to recognise that potentiality and not define herself by past sins. And again, he did not judge the crowd either, but reiterated what was said in Luke: "Judge not, lest ye be judged." It is the crowd and the reader who judge here, not Jesus.

On 17 July 2018 at 6:25 AM, thormas said:

I would expect that professionals 'counseling' or working with such individuals in a prison or hospital setting would withhold any judgment, as is there responsibility as professionals.

I would hope that anyone who interacts with such individuals, or even talks about them, would withhold any judgement, as is their responsibility as a compassionate human being. You probably think I'm being unrealistic to suggest this, given the way society (and indeed Christianity) operates to protect itself from danger or 'evil', and yet this is what Jesus did and what he taught. Sure, it takes courage - more than we have at times - but I would think that this is what we should strive for.

On 17 July 2018 at 6:25 AM, thormas said:

A person is judged by their actions and, although we all make mistakes, or 'blow it' at times - there is the further reality that what we do reflects who we are. Does it completely define us? Hopefully not: a one time act of cheating or stealing just as a one time act of kindness or heroism (your comment on the 911 fireman who abuses his wife) might not define one but a consistent pattern might indeed tell us who and what that person is. Certainly this view holds water if carefully considered and judged for what it actually says. 

I acknowledge that it sounds rational, if that's what you mean by 'holds water'. I guess I also understand why you so strongly believe it - after all, it appears to govern our laws and our sense of safety - but I can't say I agree with your statement of this view. You make a distinction between what these actions do: they don't 'define us' (hopefully not?) yet they 'tell us who and what we are'? I don't see much of a distinction here. I accept that our actions, particularly consistent ones, may reflect a perception of who or what we were, but they have no bearing on who or what we are at this moment, unless we choose to interact with the 'self' in this way. Likewise in our interaction with others. As I said before, we can make ourselves new with every moment, every interaction and every experience, and in focusing on this instant and ever-present ability to change (not just the actual, perceived change over time), we can glimpse absolute potentiality, not just in ourselves, but in others and in all things.

On 17 July 2018 at 6:25 AM, thormas said:

It is a civilized society’s right and responsibility to judge Hitler and, as they did, stop him! And, we would not all be Hitler in very different circumstances. Certainly many had similar experiences but not all turned murderers on a small scale or maniacs on a global scale. We, in society, condemn the actions and therefore make judgments that include condemning the man/woman who is the actor of the actions.

It is a civilised society's right and responsibility to condemn Hitler's actions and stop them. But you cannot confidently say that anyone would not be Hitler if they had the exact same (not just similar) circumstances of birth, upbringing, education and life experiences. To dismiss Hitler's humanity is to dismiss the possibility of another human being coming to power, with the support of the people, whose view of the world is so limited or distorted that his subsequent words and actions could bring about so much pain, humiliation and loss - not to mention the possibility of millions of human beings agreeing with him, admiring him and facilitating his mission to 'make his nation great again'...oh, wait...

It seems that, for the most part, we continue to believe that we (and all the people we love, respect and associate ourselves with) are fundamentally different in our essential makeup to Hitler. We prefer to separate him out as some horrible anomaly - and yet it seems here we go again...

On 17 July 2018 at 6:25 AM, thormas said:

To "recognize and nurture with conscious interaction to become" is exactly what I have been saying. Michelangelo took (rock, clay, paints) what was given and created more; so too, we are given the clay of our humanity and we can (must) make it more. On one had, of course, we are human, but on the other hand, we are not (yet): we have yet to shape, to create our Humanity. Too often, it remains riddled with faults, too often we are too busy to do the work, too often we excuse ourselves or are comforted by the excuses of others. If the rock is not seen for what it can be, if the work is not started, if what is possible is not shaped, then there is nothing: no creation, no beauty, no realization or actualizaction. This is us.

 I think perhaps we're closer here. On the one hand we can be called 'human', but on the other hand we are so much more. We are given the entire universe and we can make it more. Too often, we only see the faults, the limitations. If the rock is not seen for what it can be (ie. potentiality recognised) then work cannot start: there is no further actualisation and therefore no movement, no change - only a rock and unseen potentiality (not nothing). Whether potentiality is seen or unseen, ignored or rationalised away, it is still there, and all things are still possible. The rock may just have to wait for someone more aware of potentiality to come along - they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all.

If what is shaped is not possible (rather than what is possible not shaped), to me this is nothing - or rather, nothing but illusion. Here we delve into mathematics a little, because shape, movement and change can be reduced to mathematical equation. So if an equation cannot be solved, then it cannot be true, and therefore the hypothetical shape, movement or identifiable point seems impossible to graph, and you have nothing but a bunch of symbols that look like they mean something, but actually point to nothing - just an undefined space on a graph. This is what I think 'pure actuality' might look like without potentiality.

But then again, mathematics recognises potentiality even here: the ability of an equation to be solved, even if we never actually solve it. With things like imaginary numbers, it also recognises the significance of 'looking' beyond what is actual, to a potentiality that doesn't require interaction (observation) in order to be.

On 17 July 2018 at 6:25 AM, thormas said:

I actually belief that our humanity, our potential to be human, remains before us, even 'after death' and that from the Hitlers and Stalins down to any (and all) of us who have not yet finished shaping (creating) beauty out of our rock, will have 'time' to finish until all humanity realizes its potential and Beauty (how or where or whatever happens, I have no earthly idea). 

And I believe that our unlimited potential remains before us to facilitate the 'creation' of universal beauty and harmony out of the diversity of the unfolding universe, by recognising the oneness and potentiality, not of 'humanity', but of all matter. 

Our interaction with the life, words and actions of Hitler as a human being, for instance, just as we interact with Jesus' story, enables us to recognise the falseness of perceived limitations and develop a greater awareness of this underlying ability to succeed: to achieve beauty and harmony from diversity. In this way Hitler's unlimited potential remains before him even 'after death'. Most of people just don't see it that way. So be it.

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Well said possibility. It seems to me that the recognition concerning judgement is a powerful catapult in ones journey so to speak. Also the recognition of the potentially in all of us for behavior that we might have once used to separate ourself by judgement.  One could say Hitler could be then no other than he was nor can we. Understanding such things in my view leads to forgiveness of others and self to the point that one sees there is nothing to forgive because we then walk in that spirit of love that forgives prior to any perceived incicident that might have been perceived to require such.

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1 hour ago, possibility said:
On 7/16/2018 at 6:25 PM, thormas said:

A further question is whether absolute potentiality (success) really is universally present? Has science weighed in on the absolute success of the universe?

Again, you misconstrue me. I never said that potentiality = success. I said that potentiality was the ability to develop, achieve or succeed. That is not the same thing as success, although there can be no success without it.

The discussion is not simply about your understanding. If potentiality is the ability to succeed, then potentiality developed or achieved is success. So, the question remains.

 

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1 hour ago, possibility said:

This term 'human', verb or noun, is a moving goalpost: there is no universally recognisable line between what 'human' is and is not. It's fuzzy at best.

Well, on one hand, it is obvious there is no universal recognition or acceptance of what is human (I give you Hitler). However we are presenting our understandings and I am working within the framework of Christianity: humanity is tied to "God" understood as Love, so ...........

In addition, and on the other hand, given the reality of how most humans react to the most heinous of human actions and how they refer to those who commit such acts - there does seem to be considerable 'agreement' on what is human. 

Bottom line, 'human' is not really that fuzzy in religion or experience.

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1 hour ago, possibility said:

It might seem clearly delineated in your mind, but that is entirely subjective - and the assumption that such a distinction exists has long been the source of undue suffering.

Obviously you have twisted and misconstrued (and misunderstood) what I have said. The distinction I have been making is not the source of suffering. 

Edited by thormas

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1 hour ago, possibility said:

What puts any perception of our 'humanity' in danger is to believe ourselves or others unchangeable, actualised, devoid of potentiality or limited by names and labels (I'm only human, she's just a girl, etc). We can make ourselves new with every moment, every interaction and every experience - we only have to see the potentiality around us.

What I have said does not accept or believe we are unchangeable or devoid of potential. Again, misconstrued and misunderstood. We can make ourselves new.........or not. So we agree.

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1 hour ago, possibility said:

They were all human. I think you might need to read the bible again, and check that you're not reading judgment into the text. Jesus did not judged the priest or the Levite, nor did he judge the Samaritan. He simply provided an opportunity to learn the answer to the question: "who is my neighbour?"

That is judgment: as previously stated it is a moment of chaos. Something is pointed out, for example in the story the 'righteous' passing man by and when this is presented there is danger that those who ear it will ignore it but there is also an opportunity, that eyes will be opened, ears will hear, behavior will change and all things become new again. This is metanoia! Here are other moments of judgment: when a kid is about to touch a hot stove and her mother yells, at the top of her lungs. "No!" or "we don't use that kind of language" or "don't hit your brother" or "don't gossip' and on and on. Each presents opportunity and danger as should be obvious in the 'judgment of the kid and the stove.

Now, as should be universally obvious when a guy molests little kids, when a guy kills couples making out in a car, when Hitler decides to invade the lands of innocents or implement his Solution - sometimes the community or the global "No!" isn't enough. So people seek out and arrest the first guy, cops have a manhunt for the second guy and if he resists with deadly force, shoot him and people go to war and sacrifice themselves to stop the inhumanity of the third guy. Now, probably the first two are tried and go to jail (with or without psych help but they are removed so they can do no harm) and the third guy just needs to be stopped: tried in Nuremberg if caught alive (and imprisoned or executed) or hunted and stopped - however that might be so the loved ones of the ones pledged to stop him, have a chance to go home. 

The opportunity that you say is presented has a flip side: the danger is that the opportunity can be ignored. This is judgment. Present in this parable, present in the story of the woman about to be stoned, present in the Prodigal son, present in Jesus' dealing with people. I have read..........and also studied. 

p.s. I have decided to answer these in separate posts. And I am sensing some frustration and judgment on your part: "read the bible" and "source of undue suffering."  Real nice.

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2 hours ago, possibility said:

We are the ones who have added the title 'The Good Samaritan', enabling judgement of the other passers by as 'not good'.

Whether we added it or not is beside the point of the story, told by Jesus or, a story created by a Christian community to capture what they knew and believed about Jesus.

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2 hours ago, possibility said:

The point of the story is to draw attention to our desire to label others, to judge them and perceive or assume limitations on their potentiality 

No, that's your point. Certainly we should not label and write others off (and, anticipating your response: I do not, if read carefully and an attempt is made to try to understand the position). However, the point of the story is in its very telling; the judgment is implicit in the very telling of the story: opportunity to 'see' and decide what should be done, what you should do - or danger, ignore and pass by all those who stand in need.

Those who passed the man are the equivalent to those who have said, "she's just a girl"  or "he's only an immigrant" or pretty much any similar statements that Trump has made in his life. They do not present opportunity and danger; they are not 'for' the other (as the Mother's "No!"): they are for the self, they condemn, ignoring both the actuality and the potentiality of the individual. 

I am against the death penalty for the simple reason that I believe we have to condemn the action, we also must deal with and even perhaps (initially) condemn the actor of the actions. But the opportunity should never be removed because, as stated, i believe the 'to be human' is still before all and it is possible, perhaps not always probable, but possible that any might 'turn' back and become truly human (loving).  If we execute them, the opportunity, in this life, is over.

I agree: Jesus effectively turned the common judgements of the time on their heads (as stated above).

Edited by thormas

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2 hours ago, possibility said:

Nor did Jesus judge the woman labelled and thereby condemned by the crowd as 'adulterer'. He already saw her potentiality beyond her 'sin'. He invited the crowd to see her as they see themselves (as more than their sin), and then told the 'woman' to recognise that potentiality and not define herself by past sins. And again, he did not judge the crowd either, but reiterated what was said in Luke: "Judge not, lest ye be judged." It is the crowd and the reader who judge here, not Jesus.

Again, you misconstrue and misunderstand. I didn't say Jesus judged her; he judged the crowd and his word are also an occasion of judgment (opportunity and danger) for all who hear or read the story throughout time and to the far ends of the earth and back. Of course he saw her potential, her possibility; he presented her opportunity, "sin no more" and the danger is there also if she doesn't take the opportunity, if she continues to sin. Her potential lies in taking the opportunity to not sin.

He did judge the crowd if you understand how I have defined judgment). The judgment of Jesus is for the other (i.e. love), the judgment of the crowd is for themselves, the judgment of the readers is TBD. 

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2 hours ago, possibility said:

I would hope that anyone who interacts with such individuals, or even talks about them, would withhold any judgement, as is their responsibility as a compassionate human being. You probably think I'm being unrealistic to suggest this, given the way society (and indeed Christianity) operates to protect itself from danger or 'evil', and yet this is what Jesus did and what he taught. Sure, it takes courage - more than we have at times - but I would think that this is what we should strive for.

On 7/16/2018 at 6:25 PM, thormas said:

In reality, the first interaction is probably self-defense if they are trying to kill you or legal force if the cops are arresting them. Thereafter, we can talk of compassion when everybody is safe. And, as mentioned, I would expect the professionals to be professional but you can't fault people for condemning their actions and wanting them jailed or put in a hospital prison for 'as long as it takes' or forever, given the nature of their crime. And, as I have been saying, the initial reactions of people are telling in the recognition that these people have not acted human.

I have no problem recognizing the sins of Christianity or other religious expressions. And Jesus was compassionate but you seemingly overlook that there is judgment given by him also (as defined above) and an ethic presented for those who follow him to love. His 'comments' to the Scribes and Pharisees was not too compassionate.............. 

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3 hours ago, possibility said:

I acknowledge that it sounds rational, if that's what you mean by 'holds water'. I guess I also understand why you so strongly believe it - after all, it appears to govern our laws and our sense of safety - but I can't say I agree with your statement of this view. You make a distinction between what these actions do: they don't 'define us' (hopefully not?) yet they 'tell us who and what we are'? I don't see much of a distinction here. I accept that our actions, particularly consistent ones, may reflect a perception of who or what we were, but they have no bearing on who or what we are at this moment, unless we choose to interact with the 'self' in this way. Likewise in our interaction with others. As I said before, we can make ourselves new with every moment, every interaction and every experience, and in focusing on this instant and ever-present ability to change (not just the actual, perceived change over time), we can glimpse absolute potentiality, not just in ourselves, but in others and in all things.

On 7/16/2018 at 6:25 PM, thormas said:

Not merely rational but sensible (and rooted in Jesus and Christianity) and actually it goes well beyond the laws of society and safety. What I said was more nuanced. 

3 hours ago, possibility said:

It is a civilised society's right and responsibility to condemn Hitler's actions and stop them. But you cannot confidently say that anyone would not be Hitler if they had the exact same (not just similar) circumstances of birth, upbringing, education and life experiences. To dismiss Hitler's humanity is to dismiss the possibility of another human being coming to power, with the support of the people, whose view of the world is so limited or distorted that his subsequent words and actions could bring about so much pain, humiliation and loss - not to mention the possibility of millions of human beings agreeing with him, admiring him and facilitating his mission to 'make his nation great again'...oh, wait...

It seems that, for the most part, we continue to believe that we (and all the people we love, respect and associate ourselves with) are fundamentally different in our essential makeup to Hitler. We prefer to separate him out as some horrible anomaly - and yet it seems here we go again...

On 7/16/2018 at 6:25 PM, thormas said:

Actually, we have two different points: first, none of us have the exact circumstances of another and second, my point was meant to balance yours and it does. I have neither dismissed his humanity or the possibility of others using or misusing power and the resulting suffering and evil unleashed on the world. And I agree with your "oh wait." Good one!

3 hours ago, possibility said:

It seems that, for the most part, we continue to believe that we (and all the people we love, respect and associate ourselves with) are fundamentally different in our essential makeup to Hitler. We prefer to separate him out as some horrible anomaly - and yet it seems here we go again...

Not our makeup; our actions. There is a fundamental difference in what we do: one does God/love and one does not. And, therefore, there is a fundamental difference is what we enable or empower the world to be. And, there is a fundamental difference is what we 'are' when we love (remember I am stretching the ordinary understanding of the word human). What I have been saying is that 'human' is not just our makeup, it is a way to be. Again, this does not suggest the potential to become (fully) human is over for Hitler, the child molester or the serial killer: it is always before them, always waiting to be actualized (by being love) and I suspect for all of us it takes more that a lifetime. To put it another way, I believe that Love 'waits for all time' until all become love (divinity dwelling in humanity), all become new men and women (sons an daughter of the first born Son who because of degree of his love became Human (because he embodied the Divine, the Absolute). 

Hitler is not an anomaly; he is not yet what he is called to be and has a road to travel as he must overcome a lifetime of selfishness to become a radically different and new man - like the Christ, the truly Human One. Perhaps it could be said of others, including our president that upon hearing the 'Judgment of Life' throughout his days, when presented with opportunity to be, he ignored it and danger (to himself and the world) was loosed upon the world. Although I still hope (pray?) for the day for him to be reborn and become what he is yet to be.

 

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4 hours ago, possibility said:

 I think perhaps we're closer here. On the one hand we can be called 'human', but on the other hand we are so much more. We are given the entire universe and we can make it more. Too often, we only see the faults, the limitations. If the rock is not seen for what it can be (ie. potentiality recognised) then work cannot start: there is no further actualisation and therefore no movement, no change - only a rock and unseen potentiality (not nothing). Whether potentiality is seen or unseen, ignored or rationalised away, it is still there, and all things are still possible. The rock may just have to wait for someone more aware of potentiality to come along - they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all.

For me, we can only be human but this (potential) is only realized, made actual, when we become and do what "God" or Absolute Reality is. So, we can be so much more because we (can fully) participate in the Absolute. I don't think we see ourselves for what we can truly be, however, illusion, for me, means we are not (only) what we seem to be, we are more and yet to be. It is awareness that participation is Consciousness/Person/the Absolute is to be taken up: there is much to accomplish (to do and to be) and this can, in a finite way, heal what is wrong with the world and create Beauty.

4 hours ago, possibility said:

I believe that our unlimited potential remains before us to facilitate the 'creation' of universal beauty and harmony out of the diversity of the unfolding universe, by recognising the oneness and potentiality, not of 'humanity', but of all matter. 

 Agreed but it is more than matter, as we are also. Plus, I agree with Tillich (I believe it was him) that man leads creation to fulfillment.

Plus, Hitler's potential is before him and his life story presents us with opportunity and danger (judgment): we are presented with an opportunity to know and not repeat his history or ignore it and make the world a more dangerous and a more desperate place for too many. 

 

Sorry about the number of responses, it was just easier and more efficient to do it this way today.

 

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4 hours ago, thormas said:

The discussion is not simply about your understanding. If potentiality is the ability to succeed, then potentiality developed or achieved is success. So, the question remains.

Fair enough. It seems there are certainly individuals and teams who are working towards some kind of formula or algorithm - who believe that it's at least possible to determine - if that's what you mean.

My understanding of the physics, mathematics and informational science doesn't stretch far enough to even guess how close they are. I imagine there are also many funding agendas that keep threatening to derail genuine progress. But the speculation is fascinating. 

I do have the benefit of a specialist maths teacher nearby to give me the basic gist when I get stuck, though. It's been fun to delve into the possibilities, but sometimes my brain hurts.

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5 hours ago, thormas said:

Well, on one hand, it is obvious there is no universal recognition or acceptance of what is human (I give you Hitler). However we are presenting our understandings and I am working within the framework of Christianity: humanity is tied to "God" understood as Love, so ...........

In addition, and on the other hand, given the reality of how most humans react to the most heinous of human actions and how they refer to those who commit such acts - there does seem to be considerable 'agreement' on what is human. 

Bottom line, 'human' is not really that fuzzy in religion or experience.

Working within the 'framework' of Christianity or the 'reality' of how most humans react is too restrictive to get a sense of the truth, though - don't you think? 

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32 minutes ago, possibility said:

Fair enough. It seems there are certainly individuals and teams who are working towards some kind of formula or algorithm - who believe that it's at least possible to determine - if that's what you mean.

My understanding of the physics, mathematics and informational science doesn't stretch far enough to even guess how close they are. I imagine there are also many funding agendas that keep threatening to derail genuine progress. But the speculation is fascinating. 

I do have the benefit of a specialist maths teacher nearby to give me the basic gist when I get stuck, though. It's been fun to delve into the possibilities, but sometimes my brain hurts.

Actually just saying we both have opinions and are trying to understand the other. 

I agree the speculation of science is fascinating but the answers, in my opinion, are beyond them. But me too on the brain hurting :+}

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22 minutes ago, possibility said:

Working within the 'framework' of Christianity or the 'reality' of how most humans react is too restrictive to get a sense of the truth, though - don't you think? 

Actually I think just the opposite. I think Christianity and those who have thought deeply on subjects important to them and it over the centuries have great insights into life, meaning, God and man. I also think there is a great wisdom in the reality of 'ordinary' human beings - and by that I mean those who merely live and have neither the time or interest in such discussions. I think it is important to look to and appreciate the lived experience of 'most humans.'

I think there is a humility is most serious religious thinkers in that they know they can never definitively know and I extend that wisdom to the scientific quest.

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6 hours ago, thormas said:

Obviously you have twisted and misconstrued (and misunderstood) what I have said. The distinction I have been making is not the source of suffering. 

I understand that it doesn't look that way from your perspective, and is certainly not what you mean. And I'm not trying to twist your words - only to demonstrate how they can be twisted.

In my opinion, any description of a human being as 'less than' invites humiliation, loss and pain (ie. infliction of suffering) from those who choose to interact only with the condemnation without recognising the potentiality of the human being to which it is attributed. I don't doubt that you recognise that potentiality yourself even as you say (or write) the words, but your words alone don't communicate that recognition to others who would interact with them, and you can't expect everyone to assume any sense of compassion from the word 'inhuman'. It is this kind of misunderstanding that quickly leads to discrimination, regardless of your intentions.

I honestly don't mean to start a fight. As I mentioned before, my day job requires me to be alert for possible ambiguity or misunderstanding that enables audiences with different experiences/agendas to read the same wording in either a neutral or a negative light, and to bring it to the author or speaker's attention before the communication goes out.

Edited by possibility

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6 hours ago, thormas said:

That is judgment: as previously stated it is a moment of chaos. Something is pointed out, for example in the story the 'righteous' passing man by and when this is presented there is danger that those who ear it will ignore it but there is also an opportunity, that eyes will be opened, ears will hear, behavior will change and all things become new again. This is metanoia! Here are other moments of judgment: when a kid is about to touch a hot stove and her mother yells, at the top of her lungs. "No!" or "we don't use that kind of language" or "don't hit your brother" or "don't gossip' and on and on. Each presents opportunity and danger as should be obvious in the 'judgment of the kid and the stove.

I have to admit, I have not come across this definition of judgement before. I always thought the common understanding of judgement was: an opinion or conclusion; the decision of a law court or judge.

Your description of 'a moment of chaos', where opportunity and danger are presented, and the other examples you offer sound more like a warning than a judgement to me - and in that definition I would wholeheartedly agree.

I'm all for warnings - they're a vital communication tool, as long as they are interpreted as a warning instead of as a 'judgement'. It appears that is not always the case, and I'm intrigued that you see it that way. The potential misunderstandings here are enormous.

Thank you.

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16 minutes ago, possibility said:

I have to admit, I have not come across this definition of judgement before. I always thought the common understanding of judgement was: an opinion or conclusion; the decision of a law court or judge.

Your description of 'a moment of chaos', where opportunity and danger are presented, and the other examples you offer sound more like a warning than a judgement to me - and in that definition I would wholeheartedly agree.

I'm all for warnings - they're a vital communication tool, as long as they are interpreted as a warning instead of as a 'judgement'. It appears that is not always the case, and I'm intrigued that you see it that way. The potential misunderstandings here are enormous.

Thank you.

I will double check but I think I found it in Gregory Baum's Man Becoming. The difference is, I believe that judgment as you define it is understood as a condemnation and dismissal of the other (which I too disagree with since it is for self and against the other), whereas I am defining it in light of the Biblical Word: a two-edged sword that cuts into human experience and presents a moment of chaos: opportunity and danger. This is how I understand judgment.

Given what you have said, you might take the mother's "No!" when her child reaches for the hot oven as warning whereas I take it as judgment. The child is stopped dead in their tracks and made (invited) to see, to consider and decide. This judgment is always for the other. In biblical understanding the Word of God is always redemptive, mean to heal or make whole the beloved, so too judgment. And man is meant to 'judge' the same way, lovingly.

The possibility of misunderstanding: that's why in a teaching mode, more preparation and lead up is provided before a different take on judgment is presented. 

Edited by thormas

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