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The God User Interface


fatherman
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I don't usually repost from my blog, but I'd like to have some discussion on this.

In the book, The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle, the author states that he rarely uses the word "God" because it is a broken word. It has been used and abused in so many ways that it is no longer useful or helpful when discussing the infinite being in which our Universe lives. I would like to explore this idea; why it is the case and how we can move passed it.

We all know what a user interface to a computer is. It's the part of a computer system that we can see, touch, click, type, and swipe. Every computer has an operating system that we can interact with through various apps; on our phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.

So why do we need a user interface (UI)? Well, a computer thinks with zeros and ones. Those are on's and off's. It's called binary. Think "bi" as in bicycle. A pair of things. UI software translates something that humans understand into something computers understand (one's and zero's) and vice versa.

Although the UI is part of the software, it's really only the part by which we tell the software what we want to do and by which the computer can tell us what it needs to tell us. But under the hood is where most of the computing happens. Stay with me now! What this means is that we can only use the computer in ways that the software's UI allows us to. And we can only use the computer in ways that the software can use it. There are millions of interfaces which all serve different functions to meet our needs.

Are you still with me? We're getting very close. This is where technical becomes a little inexact so that I can make my point. There are infinite combinations of one's and zero's, but a very finite combinations of the uses of a UI. We will never fully realize the entire capability of a computer. There will never be a moment in which a software engineers says "Ok guys, we're done! There is nothing left that the computes cannot do!" Perhaps you are already guessing what I'm about to say. In my analogy, God is the computer. God's abilities, knowledge, properties, forms, and interfaces are infinite and vastly incomprehensible.

I was born into a Presbyterian family. I was given a particular interface to God; particular theology, particular, beliefs, particular hymns, particular symbols, names, particular buildings. In college, I became a United Methodist and my UI shifted a bit. In my 30s, I began to meditate and study other spiritual paths. I acquired different interfaces in which to relate to God.

I hear people say that they can't believe in God because they don't believe in Jesus or Christianity because it just doesn't make sense to them. It doesn't work for them. I also hear people say that God is so much greater than our way of relating to him/it/she; therefore, we should shed of all of our names and traditional understanding of God as perhaps Tolle is suggesting.

But the truth as I see it is that although we might glimpse the one's and zero's of God through spiritual/mystical experiences, in general we need a human construct, a user interface, to have a relationship with God. And this is where we get stuck.

Think about the apps on your phone which you have deleted. Why did you delete the app? Perhaps it didn't do what you wanted it to do. Perhaps the interface was not user friendly. Now, because of this, did you ever throw away your phone? No, you found another app which made sense to you. You found a different interface into the same computer.

Over the years, my understanding of God and my needs with God have changed. And over the years, my interface with God has adjusted given the changes in me, the old way of interacting with God doesn't make as much sense to me.

This idea will be rejected by many religious people; people who believe that there can be only one interface to God. But the idea that there is only one way is losing traction, at least in America. The SBNR (Spiritual But Not Religious) crowd it growing, and the diverse interface idea with it. The one size fit's all God User Interface concept is shrinking.

If I believed that there was only one way of interacting with God, then I might not be a Christian today, because Christians can't even agree with which God User Interface to use. Do we go through Jesus? Do we got through the Father? Do we go through the God of Grace? Do we go through the God of Judgment? The God of Purity? That's just not the way I work. I name God in the way in which I need God. Did I need the guiding hand of a father. The friendly touch of a brother. The comforting touch of a mother. The infinite mystery. A God of forgiveness. These are interfaces to the same thing. And then there are those powerful moments in which God interfaces with me in ways I do not understand or would not have expected.

Also, I think that the world has fallen into the trap that God is the interface. Remember how I said that the UI is just the part of the software we can interact with and that under the hood is where all of the real computing is happening? God is infinitely greater than our understanding of him. Just the word him here is a limited way of referring to God. Mainly limited by a lack of gender-neutral pronouns for another being in the English language.

If the customizable God User Interface were a common accepted idea, I believe that there would be far fewer people who feel separated from God, or who cannot believe in a God at all based on God User Interfaces which did not work for them. I will continue to play with this idea this Lent. I will be examining my interfaces with God to see if there is a way to adjust my GUI in a way that allows me to have a greater understand and a fuller relationship with the infinite being which I call God for lack of a better term.

Edited by fatherman
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Some bad theology not addressed. Added:

 

As limitless as God is, I do not believe he will be everything we want him to be. He is not a random collection of stuff at our disposal. God has some sort of fundamental character, the nature of which is subject to endless debate. Just because I want a God who does my bidding, doesn't mean I get it. Ultimately, this is a poor interface which will eventually fail. Where the God and the computer fail as an analogy is that the computer is a human tool designed to do what we want it to. I do not believe God is a tool nor do I believe he is human designed. I accept that this is my belief and not a verifiable fact.

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Each of us has different ways of understanding and expressing our relationship with God, so it's never crap when we try to find a way to express this relationship.

 

Apart from the fact that I personally object to Eckhart Tolle's teachings, and find his book an unhelpful starting point for the spiritual journey, I think you have some interesting things to say in your starting post here.

 

Your observation about the one-size-fits-all God interface has been expressed by others in different ways, but it remains a valid observation. No need to apologize for it or call it crap. In fact, the problem of the "narrow portal" (a.k.a. the one-size-fits-all God interface) is one of the greatest challenges we face as children of God and communities of faith (not communities of religion per se, but rather communities of people seeking relationship with God).

 

It's an important reality that needs to be discussed.

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Hi Fatherman,

 

Being from a background in computers at the machine (hardware) level language and higher level language areas Basic, FORTRAN, C, i can certainly relate to your analogies. I agree there is a part of us that in general seems to need or require a human construct, a user interface, to have a relationship with God. YET personally i have come to a point where i have been shown that is not necessary. I tend to now agree with much of Tolle's teachings.

 

​A number of years ago while driving on a trip and meditating (which i certainly don't recommend while driving), i found myself as best i can describe ..... without location and in direct connect or one with my source which included moments of separation from which an exchange of a sort took place. I suddenly realized that i no longer really needed a belief system as "God" or "the source or substrate of my life" was an ever-present reality to me which was matter of fact rather than requiring any belief system. In one sense i was confounded, but in another sense i was relieved. A greater understanding seems to be nice to the fleshly mind but i found myself more at peace living in a mystery that no longer needed a solution to me.

 

So while i think i understand in practice the internal drive that seems to continually seek new ways to understand "God" and develop a fuller relationship, for me constructs for "God" are no longer required or even desired. While i certainly encourage others to continue their search and share , it is to the end that they also find a point where "seeking" and constructs are no longer required for relationship. Some may take offense in my words or the way i have written here but it is just a sharing of my own experience and what works for me at this point.

 

If something makes no sense to another, one can always file it or discard it.

Peace, Joseph

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Hello, Joseph

 

I take no offense at your words. Your personal experience is your own and, as always, it's up to each individual to decide what to do with his or her personal experiences. Your experience, in the way you describe it, is, of course, a classic experience of apophatic mysticism. Experiences of apophatic mysticism are described in all major religious systems, including Christianity (though it's a minority viewpoint within the history of Christianity). It's the majority viewpoint in Buddhism -- and is, in fact, the starting point for Siddhartha Gautama's revelations -- which may explain why a number of TCPC readers over the years have wondered if you're more Buddhist than Christian.

 

I can't help noticing that you ended your comment with this statement: "While i certainly encourage others to continue their search and share , it is to the end that they also find a point where "seeking" and constructs are no longer required for relationship."

 

You wouldn't be suggesting, would you, Joseph?, that the apophatic path is the only correct path, the preferred path, the one "narrow portal," the "one-size-fits-all God interface" to spiritual completion? Because, speaking only for myself, I'd have a problem with that.

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Ok. I called it crap because I used what my father, a very good preacher, called the "grand illustration". My view could be expressed much more simply. But, for better or for worse that is how my brain works. I've continued to meditate on this, and I've come to another related thought which is this:

 

I really like this statement "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience." I don't know if it is true, but I like the way it sounds. If it is true, then attempting to transcend our humanity is misguided. We came here to be be flesh and blood, experience pain and joy in a way that only a human can experience it. It makes no sense to try to transcend the human experience if this is true. It does, however, make sense to be aware that there is more to us than than our vessel once in awhile.

 

However, if this is not true, then yes, seeking to transcend human constructs for understanding God seems a noble pursuit.

 

So, those are just thoughts, not necessarily my beliefs. Tolle proposes that the spiritual journey is a journey of returning home. He proposes that we were born perfectly spiritually balanced and having full knowledge of the Universe. It's a great idea, and perhaps it is true. I do get a sense that I was more in tune with nature and had a simpler, more pure relationship with God when I was a kid. My son showed signs of psychic abilities as a young child. That went away. But as much as I like the idea, I cannot believe that we are born with the full knowledge of God and that if we become spiritually enlightened we will know how many grains of sand are on the planet. What I do believe is that through human conditioning as we grow up, our brains grow around false suppositions of the world and that to undo that requires active spiritual and neurological conditioning.

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I can relate to what you are saying, Joseph. There really is nothing to search for. I think Tolle would agree that everything is contained in the present moment, or the “NOW”. Not only can we not search, but we cannot escape either!

 

I recently read “Behold the Spirit” by Alan Watts, and his premise is very much the same. But, his hypothesis is that most people are unable to experience the presence of Now (God, Truth, Reality, take your choice of words or symbols) because of pride. Those who search for “God” are overly presumptuous. Thinking they can force themselves to understand, they miss the entire display.

 

The truth is much simpler. It presents itself in the unabashed nakedness of the Now, a fact that is both surprising and shocking. We miss it because we are distracted by entering the realm of discursive thought, and ancient belief systems. Neither of these allows us to be present in the moment.

 

So, yes, your words are probably offensive to some, as undoubtedly mine are as well.

 

Steve

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I don't disagree with anything that has been written, but allow me to chew on it a little more.

 

My experience tells me that God is in the now. The act of searching for God is not an act of finding a lost being that requires some sort of search party, it is about searching for a way within ourselves to make contact. And we seek contact for a myriad of reasons. Understanding, assurance, peace, love, guidance, forgiveness, etc. We all have the capability of living in the now right this very moment. The possibility that we will experience God/Truth/Reality will increase. But it's not so simple for everybody. To fully live in the now requires letting go of the resentments, wounds, and regrets which keep us living in the past, as well as the anxieties, expectations, and ambitions which keep us in the future...and perhaps, as has been suggested: pride. I would also add overbearing intellect...which is just another kind of pride.

 

The Now is an interface to God. Perhaps it is the ultimate interface. Perhaps all good interfaces to God lead to the now. But we have to have a way to get there. "Ancient belief systems" (SteveS55) began, in part, with people who were living in the now. These folks have given us models and ideas for living, some of which will work for us and some of which will not. Let's take SteveS55's theory that because a belief system is ancient, it is a hindrance. "We miss it because we are distracted by entering the realm of discursive thought, and ancient belief systems." Perhaps you are saying that there are elements of ancient belief systems which need to be let go or have been misinterpreted which are distracting us, or perhaps you are saying that Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity are invalid ways of experiencing God. Here's another "the truth is". We all have to start somewhere.

 

I can think of several beginnings of journeys or new segments. My parents made me go to church. Should they have? What if they believed that kids should be allowed to gravitate to their own truth? They gave me a starting place for a journey. Is church the truth? I was told by a therapist that I needed to go to a meditation class. Is meditation the truth? These are the interfaces to the Truth which I experienced. Ancient belief systems are interfaces. Believe it or not, billions of people for thousands of years have experienced God through thousands of ways including ancient belief systems. The TRUTH is that we will find God the way WE find God and God will find us the way God finds us. I think God is way more powerful and flexible than we give him credit for.

 

I've stated at least once on this site that God only exists in the present and that if we are living in the past or in the future, we will be separated from God. I think there is truth to that. But if God transcends space and time, then there really is no past or future to live in where God is unavailable. Time is an illusion that we create to help us live in the physical world. What is really happening is that although every cell in our body exists in the current moment, our thoughts gravitate toward things which happened in the past and things which may or may not happen in the future. They are really just a distraction. Some distractions even happen in the present. But there are distractions which do nothing more than take our focus away and there are distractions which elicit emotions and self-talk and physical responses. These are the regrets, wounds, unmet expectations, joys, sorrows, worries. These things keep us glued to the distraction. These are more than just the train whistle that disrupts our thoughts. These are the things that we have to let go. Surrender. Detach from. In order to live in the now.

 

So my conclusion is that there are plenty of things happening in the now which can prevent us from experiencing God. Perhaps it comes down to judgement. This car is ugly. This work is unpleasant. The weather is good The lady is annoying. Our judgments prevent us from experiencing ultimate reality. The ultimate truth is that a car is neither ugly or beautiful. It is just a car. It gets us from here to there. Ugly and beautiful are our own creations. Living in the now is really worthless if the reality we have created is miserable. Perhaps we'd be better off living in the past if things were better then, as long as we're not able to see the true reality of the present.

Edited by fatherman
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Hello, Joseph

 

I can't help noticing that you ended your comment with this statement: "While i certainly encourage others to continue their search and share , it is to the end that they also find a point where "seeking" and constructs are no longer required for relationship."

 

You wouldn't be suggesting, would you, Joseph?, that the apophatic path is the only correct path, the preferred path, the one "narrow portal," the "one-size-fits-all God interface" to spiritual completion? Because, speaking only for myself, I'd have a problem with that.

Hi Jen,

 

I am not familiar with the words ""apophatic path" nor the construct it may represent. Any encouragement i may offer is not intended to direct one to one particular path or any "one-size-fits-all God interface". However, it is my personal view that eventually all are apprehended by the same source which in my experience requires no construct and is the end of "seeking".

 

Joseph

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"Let's take SteveS55's theory that because a belief system is ancient, it is a hindrance. "We miss it because we are distracted by entering the realm of discursive thought, and ancient belief systems." Perhaps you are saying that there are elements of ancient belief systems which need to be let go or have been misinterpreted which are distracting us, or perhaps you are saying that Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity are invalid ways of experiencing God."

 

I don't mean to be flip, but yep, that's pretty much what I'm saying, fatherman. But,I don't think belief systems are an invalid way to "experience God" because they are ancient. They are invalid because they are "belief systems".

 

The positive thing about all efforts to "experience God" is that they end in futility, which is exactly where one needs to be to "experience God".

 

Steve

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I can think of several beginnings of journeys or new segments. My parents made me go to church. Should they have? What if they believed that kids should be allowed to gravitate to their own truth? They gave me a starting place for a journey. Is church the truth? I was told by a therapist that I needed to go to a meditation class. Is meditation the truth? These are the interfaces to the Truth which I experienced. Ancient belief systems are interfaces. Believe it or not, billions of people for thousands of years have experienced God through thousands of ways including ancient belief systems. The TRUTH is that we will find God the way WE find God and God will find us the way God finds us. I think God is way more powerful and flexible than we give him credit for.

 

Yes, thank you, Fatherman. The entire human brain is built on quantum interfaces and there's no way around it. So Fatherman, your starting thoughts about user interfaces are entirely valid.

 

The difficulty for most human beings lies in the way we understand these interfaces. We try to understand them using simple Materialist cause-and-effect models. We imagine the brain as a bunch of simple Lego blocks that can easily be rearranged to suit our primary belief system (and we all have a primary belief system, even those who claim they've risen above such pettiness).

 

It's a large and complex and confusing and difficult subject. There are only a few things about it that can be said with certainty, in my view. The first certain thing is that it can't be reduced to simple formulas. Simple formulas start out as monism (ah yes, we're all One!), then quickly devolve into dualism (ah yes, we're all One, but some are more equal than others!), and eventually end up in pure hierarchy (ah yes, I'm the One, and you should obey me!). George Orwell expressed this pattern well in Animal Farm.

 

Interfaces can't be infinitely reduced to create a smaller and smaller (or bigger and bigger?) unified Truth. Interfaces always operate in parallel, not in series (to use an analogy from basic electrical circuits). Every time we, as humans, try to shrink the number of interfaces and wire them in series rather than in parallel, we get "the narrow portal" where a small band of self-righteous leaders tell ALL the rest of us why they're right and we're wrong. "The narrow portal" pops up everywhere in human society, not just in religion. Right now, one of the most conspicuous examples of "the narrow portal" is scientism, where individuals place blind faith in the dictates of scientific papers without taking the time to consider the research in nuanced and objective ways. It isn't science that's inherently bad (or religion that's inherently bad) but our all-too-human tendency to look for simple one-size-fits-all answers to complex questions.

 

Another certain thing is that interfaces draw on data from both Materialist physics (i.e. classical Newtonian physics) AND non-Materialist physics (i.e. quantum physics, particle theory, and field theory). Underneath the Materialist synapses and neural circuits of our brains lies a whole lot of messy quantum stuff that you can't control with your human brain (no matter how clever you think you are). You can certainly "push and pull" the Materialist matter of your brain through the principle of neuroplasticity (and this is a good thing), but you have no say in the underlying quantum mechanisms. That part's up to God. (And thank goodness for that, because if I had to take more responsibility for anything beyond the quadrillion bytes of storage capacity in my own brain, I think I'd throw up: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-estimate-boosts-the-human-brain-s-memory-capacity-10-fold/). For any human being to insist that they can and do control not only the matter of their own brains but also the underlying non-local quantum fields starts to lead down the slippery slope of profound hubris -- 'cause if you say you can control quantum fields, which are intertwined and non-localized throughout the universe . . . aren't you really saying you're God?

 

A third thing that's quite certain, no matter how inconvenient it may be for spiritual teachers, is the reality of Time as a quantifiable, verifiable, LINEAR factor in the foundation of quantum theory. As human beings, we're only at the threshold of understanding how linear Time relates to other fields such as gravity and magnetism, but I have no doubt that unfolding research will eventually confirm this. (The exciting detection of gravitational waves is a small step in this direction: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/searching-for-the-gravitational-waves-ligo-can-t-hear/).

 

For readers who are going to jump down my throat about the importance of "the Now," let me hasten to say that I don't believe having a linear concept of time interferes in any way whatsoever with one's ability to live a life of full acceptance and grace and wonder.

 

There are many factors that prevent us from being in full relationship with ourselves, with each other, and with God. But Time itself isn't one of them.

 

Time, like gravity and magnetic fields and dark matter and dark energy, is a powerful universal current that helps us find each other and connect to each other's hearts in God's vast and wondrous universe. As with gravity and magnetic fields, it's pointless to pretend it doesn't exist and is only an illusion of our minds. It just ends up sounding like a big, fat, lazy excuse for not doing the hard work of learning to love, learning to forgive, learning to transmute pain into meaning, and learning to use our free will wisely.

 

And this, by the way, leads to the reason I don't find Eckhart Tolle's teachings helpful (not that I can fault him for his brilliant ability to tap into people's deep yearning for healing!) I see no qualitative difference between his book The Power of Now (with its focus on "negative energy fields" and "pain bodies") and all the ancient religious teachings on "demons" and "spirit possession." He uses no science in his book. He provides no footnotes or bibliography or references. And it draws heavily on the "lessons" of ancient apophatic mysticism. It's pure revelation -- drawn straight from his own head and the heads of other apophatic mystics who have taught "the narrow portal" to healing.

 

In my view, telling people to ignore the powerful lessons of the past (difficult though they may be to glean) and focus only on the present is about as narrow a portal as one can get.

 

Edited for grammar and clarity.

Edited by Realspiritik
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The positive thing about all efforts to "experience God" is that they end in futility, which is exactly where one needs to be to "experience God".

 

Steve

 

It might be wise, Steve, for you to qualify your statement with some expressions of open-mindedness, leaving open the possibility that perhaps you're not 100% right.

 

I experience God fully and I experience God daily. My experiences haven't led to futility; instead, my experience of God has been indescribably healing and surprising and awe-inspiring and transformative. My experience of God has involved healing of past events and feelings and beliefs, discussions of present events and feelings and beliefs, and curiosity about how future events MAY unfold, though nothing in the linear future is carved in stone.

 

I don't for a minute believe that my experience is the only way to know God. In fact, I believe there are countless ways to know God. Each of us has to find the right path and right language for own our needs. God knows our unique needs better than we know them ourselves.

 

So Steve, if your path has led to follow the path you describe, that's fine. But please don't assume it's the right path for everybody. 'Cause it's not.

 

God bless.

 

Jen

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Point taken Jen. I assume that everyone understands we are dealing with opinions here, so I see no need to qualify everything I write. People are always free to disagree with opinions. That's one of the reasons we share in a public forum, to bounce things around.

 

Steve

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I'd like to take the interface model to another point. "UI software translates something that humans understand into something computers understand (one's and zero's) and vice versa"

 

vice versa. An interface for a computer which doesn't allow for return communication is limited, not useless, but limited. If my model is consistent with a relationship with God, then this part is really important. A relationship is a circuit which must be closed for it to work. Let's take George Clooney. Perhaps you're a big fan. You write letters. You watch his movies. You invest a lot of energy into his figure. But do you really have a relationship with him? Until you get a real letter back or a phone call or a visit, the circuit is open and useless. There is no light in the light bulb. That is the extent of my electrical knowledge unless you want to talk about potato batteries.

 

What I'm suggesting is that this is the most common interface to God. The Clooney. We treat God just like George Clooney. We adore him, we write letters to him (prayers), we invest our energies in understanding him. And yet we do not hear from him. But why is that the case? The difference between Clooney and God is that God writes back. God is seeking a relationship with us as much as we are seeking a relationship with him. But we have to check our mail. We have to pick up the phone. It makes know difference whether you see God as a conscious being or a Truth or an energy. We have to experience him to have a relationship with him. If study and debate is your interface with God, I wonder if you're even expecting a relationship. My participation on this board has certainly expanded the possibilities for me to think about God. But I've never come away from here feeling close to God. Maybe that's just me.

 

The notion of the Now is a powerful one for me. It's easy to skim over the moment in front of me. When I walk from my car to the office in the cold wind, rather than saying "Hey, this wind sucks, I'd like to get to the door ASAP" sometimes I just feel the cold air and the wind and become grateful that I'm alive to feel it. I do believe this opens a door in my mind which increases the possibility of experiencing God, but an atheist can certainly live in the now and not experience what they believe to be the false notion of God. So I'm not sure that these are the same things.

 

A relationship with God means that I take the time to listen. With my mind, my body, my soul, my eyes, my ears. Perhaps it requires faith. I've experienced the word of God late in the night when I've called upon him. Most would doubt it. We all have chatty minds at night, but there is a difference. There is something different with, as Jen calls it, quantum communication. It is describable, but I doubt describing it would be of use to anyone here. But it's not the only way God communicates with me. We've all experienced God's communication in some shape of form. It becomes a matter of believing. And that is where I split with many here. And I say this with no pride or with no belief in right or wrong. I simply believe.

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Hey Fatherman, I saw a zany new TV commercial last night with George Clooney and Danny De Vito. I can't even remember what the commercial was advertising. But George Clooney and Danny De Vito were really cool together!

Edited by Realspiritik
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Sorry, Fatherman. I'll try to bit a bit more serious. I relate strongly to what you said above in Post #15.

 

What you said about the way your experience the Now and the way an atheist experiences the Now is, I think, highly relevant to our ponderings about how to relationship with ourselves, each other, and God.

 

As you know, I'm never content to just accept the feeling. I always have to understand what's going on at a biological level, too. That's just me. I know it probably bores the crap out of most other people, but I get incredibly excited, and feel very close to God, when I can discuss questions with them on a scientific level as well as a spiritual level.

 

Anyway . . . I recently read a fascinating blog post on Scientific American about recent neuroscientific research into the differences between Happiness and Meaning. (I've capitalized these terms to make them stand out as two different human experiences). You can read the article here: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/the-differences-between-happiness-and-meaning-in-life/.

 

As some of you may recall, I've been talking for years here about two different main circuits in the brain, which I called the Darwinian Circuit and the Soul Circuit. Subsequent research has led to a refinement of those ideas, and I see strong links between the theory I've been using (via Jesus) and Dual Process Theory, which posits two different but parallel processing circuits in the brain called System 1 and System 2. The brain needs both in order to function optimally. It's System 1 (the older of the two systems, in terms of evolution) that seems to allow us to imagine and extrapolate in creative ways and ask about God. It's System 2 (the newer system, with a lot of neural activity in the neocortex) that pushes us to be logical, meticulous, and rule-based. So, comparing Dual Process Theory to the model I've been working on, System 2 would line up well with the Darwinian Circuit and System 1 would line up with Soul Circuit.

 

System 2 seems to urge us to seek Happiness (as currently defined by positive psychologists) and System 1 seems to urge us to seek Meaning.

 

Again, in order for us to function well, and be in full relationship with God, we need both System 2 and System 1, and we need both Happiness and Meaning. So it's not a dualistic, either/or situation. We need both (as the Scientific American article explains). Being happy helps a person build meaning and purpose in their lives; having meaning helps a person be happy on a day-to-day basis.

 

The really scary part in all this relates to neuroplasticity, free will, and the way in which human beings can and do choose to shape their brains.

 

It seems it's quite possible for an individual to force the brain into building EITHER System 2 to the detriment of System 1 OR System 1 to the detriment of System 2.

 

Our culture has recently fallen into the habit of constantly preferencing System 2 thought patterns, practices, and goals to the detriment of the different yet equally important System 1 patterns, practices, and goals. It gets to the point where the brain becomes literally blind to the intuitive and subtle and humbling nature of love, forgiveness, and related complex emotions -- not only in terms of relationship with self and each other, but in terms of relationship with the Divine.

 

So a person who's driven themselves into cold, hard corner of relentless System 2 "vision" can step out into the bitter cold wind (interesting that you picked this example, Fatherman) and find Happiness in the immediacy, the sensory thrill, the "Now" experience of the wind's biting currents, but he or she won't be asking the deeper questions that relate to the wind's Meaning, or its relationship to God and with God, or its relationship to timing, or to humbleness, because those are System 1 questions, and the one thing System 1 relies on for proper function is . . . the human sense of Time and Timing!

 

It takes time to sit down and mull over and contemplate all the meanings and emotions that can come to us when we listen to God and God's Creation through ALL our circuits and senses, not just the System 2 ones.

 

Thanks for a good conversation, Fatherman. God bless.

 

 

Edited for typos. I hope.

Edited by Realspiritik
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Hey Fatherman, I saw a zany new TV commercial last night with George Clooney and Danny De Vito. I can't even remember what the commercial was advertising. But George Clooney and Danny De Vito were really cool together!

 

Danny De Vito is just as worthy of God-dom as George! Them together makes me think of the movie Twins with De Vito and Schwarzenegger.

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While I was making lunch, I suddenly remembered the commercial was for Nespresso. And yes, the commercial definitely seemed to riff off the Twins movie. That's how it seemed to me last night, anyway.

 

Nice new photo and footer, by the way!

Edited by Realspiritik
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While I was making lunch, I suddenly remembered the commercial was for Nespresso. And yes, the commercial definitely seemed to riff off the Twins movie. That's how it seemed to me last night, anyway.

 

Nice new photo and footer, by the way!

Thanks! That photo was taken last fall. I worry that when I use the handle "fatherman" on this site and others that it gives the impression that I am stating that God is the Father and that I am his man. I do not have a problem with the name Father for God and I certainly am his man, but some people might think they have me pegged because of it. I've used the handle on non-Christian sites, a neo-pagan one in particular, where I think it has hurt my ability to participate. The book had a significant effect on me back in 1998 when I found out that I would be a father for the first time. There are a million books on pregnancy and none of them have much to say about the father. I really wanted to be a participant from the beginning. This book gave me a frame of reference for ways I could be a dad even before the child was born. That's when I started using the handle. I chose it to express that there is nothing more manly that I do than being a good father. I'm not terribly masculine in other ways and I make no apology for it, but there is a pressure on men to fit themselves into a certain archetype. I'd take Madam Butterfly at the Met or a good read with a cup of tea over the Super Bowl any day!

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I always assumed your handle had something to do with being a father. But, since being a mother is the most amazing experience I've ever had in my life as a human being, maybe I was being a bit biased (in a good way!) about your handle.

 

Love what you said about male archetypes. You-know-who started laughing when I read what you wrote about tea and the Super Bowl. I don't think he'd fit very well into current male archetypes, either (though he does seem to have a deep appreciation for black leather and Harleys).

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Faterman, I like your picture centered in nature, you being natural so nature is centered in you. This is a great thread that can only be termed crap if you are referring to it fertilizing the vast insights people have graciously volunteered.

 

I like your analogy of our mind being the computer, the applications being our beliefs that allow us to perform specific tasks. It seems once we open an application, it runs inside the operating system of our mind until we close it or upgrade it. The symbolic apps of religion work if our ego-centric consciousness is directed from the external contemplation of God as a separate object to the interior of our being where we become conscious that we are inside God. The app I like and am getting use to is the one that lives in the cloud not installed in my mind so I don't have to install anything the soul came with my being.

 

The cloud of pure consciousness in which we are involved is composed of energy, frequency, vibration, light and color, consequently our soul is a rainbow of colors in God’s ocean. From the soul’s perspective it is not words that communicate, but the vibrations behind them that are felt and if the frequency is sympathetic the souls dance making available the feelings of peace and harmony. In our soul I feel we can find all the secrets of the universe, the vibrations in God’s cloud of pure consciousness because the soul strives to understand the multitude of vibrations while our ego consciousness uses words to be understood. It is our choice to identify with the awesome reality deep within or with our mind that creates short-lived realities as it submerges sorrows below the surface. We all have different operating systems put together at different locations with different histories and experiences so we can help each other, but we can't tell someone the way to the cloud and beyond, only relate our experience. Thanks for starting this topic............

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