Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Alpine lakes: Added these 3 views on wisdom to WUaS, Wisdom per Durant, per Stanford Encyclopedia of Phil., per Wikipedia, Ferdinand, Tao Te Ching

... added these 3 views on wisdom -


A.) Durant, Will. 1957. [http://www.willdurant.com/wisdom.htm What is Wisdom?]. Will Durant Foundation.


B.) Ryan, Sharon. 2007. [http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/wisdom/ Wisdom]. Stanford, CA: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. ... and


C.) Wisdom. 2011. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisdom Wisdom]. CA: Wikipedia. ...



to WUaS's "Children's Literature and Wisdom" wiki subject -


http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Children%27s_Literature_and_Wisdom



and the WUaS "Philosophy," wiki subject -


http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Philosophy ...


with an invitation to come into conversation with these,


via kids' books,


philosophically,


or, in other ways.




LP:

All I know is that nobody likes a wise guy.



Scott:

‎:0)




SM:


I see 'The Story of Ferdinand' as a good example of a wise kids' book, -


and the Tao te Ching (http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/core9/phalsall/texts/taote-v3.html) as an adult one. :)


... add your ideas, or links, about wisdom above, or create a new wiki, subject page about this at WUaS ...






Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Patagonia: What places would you like to visit in the world? WUaS avatar-accessible, whole, virtual world, WUaS Learning Sphere?

What places would you like to visit in the world?

I'd like to visit eventually all UNESCO World Heritage Sites

(there are 2000, estimated, in around 2020)


... & the hippie trail (from Edinburgh to Kerala or Nepal, or? ) ... for two ...


You?

(WUaS would also like to facilitate an avatar-accessible, complete or whole, virtual world,

with developing, increasing complexity,

and 'realism' ...

e.g. all 3 million -100 million species, etc. for research, in virtual worlds ...



What to call it?

WUaS Learning Sphere? or

World University & School World :))


BB:

I say WUaS Learning Sphere 'cause eventually we'll be going out of this world anyways :)




Monday, November 28, 2011

Yasuni: What are the values informing World University & School?, Idea sharing, conversation, science, creativity and freedom in thinking, care, love

What are the values informing World University and School?


Idea sharing

and information technological innovation

in the context of, and building on, great universities ...


... helping people through open, free education (MIT OCW-focused for free degrees),

conversation, science, creativity and freedom in thinking ...

And see the mission here ...

http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/World_University ... :)


In addition, WUaS values include those similar to Reed College's with its Honor Principle, and its ethos of the mind and focus on learning.

WUaS values also include those inherent in Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cambridge, and other great universities, especially in terms of knowledge generation.


And WUaS values also include nontheistically friendly / Friendly / unprogrammed Quaker ones ...

Helping, pragmatically, facilitate access to open, free, useful, innovative-in-a-developing-way-over-centuries, teaching and learning resources, as wiki, especially for the developing world, are also values informing WUaS.

And love and care are also important values informing WUaS ...



*

Check out this recent video OpEd at the Harvard School of Education by Justin Reich (3 mins.) - http://www.edtechresearcher.com/?p=157 - and his interesting research. I'm developing World University & School, - http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/World_University - like Wikipedia with MIT OCW, and potentially in all 3,000-8,000 languages, as wiki, accrediting for free Bachelor, Ph.D., Law and MD degrees potentially in 50-100 countries/languages, where people can teach to their web cameras or interactively online. I think free K-12 in the U.S. has benefited the poor, but expensive US college is limiting possibilities in this respect.

All the best,
Scott








Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giraffes: Practices for eliciting loving bliss, How to explore peaking, for ex., for 8 hours a day, naturally, with intention, Scheduling practices?

Practices for eliciting loving bliss neurophysiology


I'd like to explore peaking 8 hours a day, naturally, with intention and agency.

How?


... turn on this music
{so I turned on Fairfield Four channel, i.e. Gospel music, on Pandora and went 'there' in a variety of qualities, to start - ecstasy (MDMA) is a reference experience},

... dance in that way
{started dancing to above Gospel music } ...

... sing harmony, or sing

... make love ...


What else ... to explicitly elicit love neurophysiology?

... here are some resources ...

{and see the other four related 'letters'}



...

Now to explore scheduling such to elicit this neurophysiology, beyond the relaxation response ... :-)








Saturday, November 26, 2011

Turmeric flower: Herbalism at WUaS, Turmeric for Joint Pain, Socially responsible investments, Dr. Seuss & the Arms' Race, Chomsky on Knowledge

added this NY Time's article - "The Doctor’s Remedy: Turmeric for Joint Pain" -


to World Univ & Sch's Herbalism wiki subject -


with its growing wiki resources ... and an invitation to 'edit this page.'



*

Socially responsible investments are one complementary strategy to Occupy Wall Street :) ...


Here's World University & School's "Investing - Socially Responsibly" page -


... with a wiki opportunity for sharing ideas ...


*

Dr. Seuss ... read quickly and briefly ... :) ... another story about nature, learning about and lessening the arms' races ...




*


interesting siren voice from 1970's rock music ...


one friend say she heard this a lot while she was on the hippie trail in Kathmandu in the mid-1970s ... :)


*

Fire on Telegraph avenue in Berkeley, and that hippie, whole grain place, Cafe Intermezzo (right across from the now closed Cody's Bookstore, - due to the internet? - Moe's and other bookstores are still in business), burns down ... http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=%2Fc%2Fa%2F2011%2F11%2F22%2FBA421M2ELU.DTL ... The times they are a'changing ... 1960s are way back there ... but Berkeley is Berkeley ... (will look to add to WUaS's 1960's wiki subject - http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/1960s )


*

Far-reaching, lucid and edifying ... "Noam Chomsky: On Knowledge and the Mysteries of Language" ...



... will add to WUaS's Linguistics' subject - http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Linguistics - and possibly philosophy ... http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Philosophy ... enjoy ...






Friday, November 25, 2011

Wild, native Sunflower: Germany's abolishing of a Nuclear future (by 2022) is spreading to France ... great news ...

Germany's abolishing of a Nuclear future (by 2022) is spreading to France ... great news ...


will add to WUaS's Nuclear_Science_and_Engineering ... http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Nuclear_Science_and_Engineering ...


Chauvet cave lions: Three, diverse, nontheistically f/Friendly references, "Why did humans invent 'god,'" and, "Was this invention due to fear?"

(Friday, November 25, 2011, 1:58 pm Pacific Time)

Hi, nontheist Friends,

Here are three, diverse nontheistically f/Friendly references that might further inform thinking about the related questions: "Why did humans invent 'god,'" and, "Was this invention due to fear?"

1.) Huston Smith's "Religions of Man" which sympathetically characterizes what he thought of, at the time, as the world's 7 great religions. (You'll find the full reference here:

2.) Scott Atran's "In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion." (You'll find the full reference here: http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Religious_Studies).

3.) Werner Herzog's recent film "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" about the Grotte Chauvet in the south of France from around 28,000 years before present - 40,000 years BP (You'll find the full reference here - http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Paleontology and here - http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Archaeology).


My eclectic syntheses from the very diverse texts and media cited above:

1) Religion is diverse and widespread, but doesn't include fear in every case.

2) Atran suggests we are trip-wired for the God-idea, and that religion is neither going away, nor will it be supplanted by reason, science, knowledge, evolution, etc., because, as a metaphorical landscape, selected for over long periods of procreating time (evolution by natural selection), it provides meaning and workable responses to human, social challenges, in the aggregate.

3) Herzog's film "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" suggests no concept of god, (let alone fear of god), suggests a variety of different species (e.g. ibex, etc.,) from present day species in the south of France, and suggests the beginnings of beautiful, animated forms of representation and art, including drawings of the erotic (using the cave art drawings from the Chauvet caves as the only evidence he's drawing on, as well as art historical and archaeological interpretation), among many other interpretations.

I appreciate the evolutionary, archeaological and art focuses of the last two, from very different perspectives.

Fear has certainly been selected for, evolutionarily, probably in all 376, or so, species of higher primates (I'd hypothesize), and I can easily imagine how this could be 'transferred' onto symbols (language-wise) of god, or the divine (e.g. especially in the pre-Darwinian world of belief), in the vast diversity of sociocultural and linguistic landscapes that inform so many different bodyminds and groups through evolutionary time vis-a-vis human primates, but I think Atran's text comes closest not to answering why people invented the concept of god, but at least to suggest that it has been a significant part of some groups of humans' evolutionary past, in terms of evolution. (What are other texts in this vein, besides those listed at World University & School's "Religious Studies," wiki, subject page, with its evolutionary biological focus in religious studies?). But, while I can understand the link explicit in your question, NB, - perhaps there have been a lot of violent, alpha, dominant (and raging), etc., males among human primates through evolutionary time immemorial, which wound up, symbolically, in the aggregate, as 'fear of god,' - I'm skeptical of linking fear and concepts of god together.

In a nontheistically f/Friendly way, I'm much more interested in exploring how we might generate love around concepts of connectedness, in the context of evolutionary biology, as well as nontheistic {atheistic}, friendly/Friendly/Quaker discourse, peace-making discourse and process.

Thanks for your interesting question.

With friendly greetings,
Scott




*

(Saturday, November 26, 2011, 2:40 pm Pacific Time)

Dear Nick and Chris,

To complement this 'deep in the unconscious,' with its focus on the ancient, discussion
about fear and inventing the divine, vis-a-vis nontheistic f/Friends,
I find New Zealander John Money's "Concepts of Determinism" (Oxford
1988:114-117) concept of foredoomance (one of five exigencies of being
human per his analysis) relevant here:

"Doom, in Anglo-Saxon and middle English usage meant what is laid
down, a judgment, or decree. In today's usage it also means destiny or
fate, especially if the predicted outcome is adverse, as in being
doomed to suffer harm, sickness, or death. A foredoom is a doom
ordained beforehand. Foredoomance is the collective noun that, as here
defined, denotes the condition of being preordained to die, and to
being vulnerable to injury, defect, and disease. Foredoomance has its
phyletic origins in the principles of infirmity and the mortality of
all life forms. Some individuals are at greater risk than others
because of imperfections or errors in their genetic code. Some are at
greater risk by reason of exposure to more dangerous places or things.
All, however, are exposed to the risk, phyletically ordained, that all
life forms, from viruses and bacteria to insects and vertebrates, are
subject to being displaced by, and preyed upon, by other life forms.
Foredoomance applies to each one of us at first hand, in a primary
way, and also in a derivative way insofar as it applies also to those
we know. Their suffering grieves us; their dying is our bereavement."

(You'll find the whole, 4 page "Concepts of Determinism" section from
his book here - http://scottmacleod.com/anthropology/determinism.htm)

I see foredoomance as fundamental to human existence, and the
'foredoom' idea easily corresponding to the fear idea. I find Money's
analysis fascinating, and germane, because it doesn't involve any
concept of god, and instead, evolutionarily, suggests what all people
have in common, transhistorically, transculturally and universally.
Foredoomance may be a significant way for nontheistic Friends to
account for the ancient, prevalent experience of fear. As an exigency
of being human, it's certainly 'deep in the unconscious,' and
potentially a concept of great use and relevance to NTFs.

With friendly greetings,
Scott



*

Here's the sequence of emails as they unfold:


(Friday, November 25, 2011, 1:25 am Pacific Time)

(subject line:) Why frightened humans invented God


(NB:

Especially in the past, but even for many people today, Life can be a very frightening experience. It may consist of discomfort, pain, even sudden death.
Children learn with horror, often at a tender age, that pet animals and even people die. The prospect of sudden non-existence is a psychological threat that for many never goes away. It simply becomes unconscious.
Of course that is also coupled with the departure of those whom we love. Soon we may be bereft of all those we love, and be completely alone. This is a very frightening thought, as is the thought of going alone into death. We bury this thought deep in our sub-conscious. Many lives are lived out in this fear.
Sickness and injury are a somewhat similar threat, and we often question “why me, why this, why now”. In such circumstances, we may pray for recovery from this trauma. Thus we may temporarily suppress the fear within us.
So it is that throughout history, humans have developed imaginary creatures to help us to face up these difficulties. The ancients called them gods. There were Greek gods, Roman gods, Norse gods and pagan gods to name a few groups. They were so numerous, because people liked to choose one for themselves. Sometimes for a specific need, others because they were familiar to them.
These gods lived of course at the summits of mountains. People didn’t at first have the inclination to climb them in those days. Of course a few did, like Moses, who then came back with stories of having met one god up there, who gave him some rather strange (in today’s understanding) commandments. The claim that this god promised some land to the children of Israel, resulted in genocide, as recounted in the Bible. Some believers would like to replicate that by clearing out the Palestinians today.
Then there emerged the notion of there being one Supreme God, who was in overall charge. Depending on where you were born, you may have called this Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, Jesus, Christ, Brahma, Shiva or again one of thousands of names. Again these were personal choices, to protect one from harm, especially solitude. We all realise how important human community is, for us to thrive.
This notion became so prevalent that it became a common assumption that every person needed a God. Such a Supreme God had to be all powerful, despite the illogicality of that. More usually you were taught about God as a child by your parents, then shared ideas with those around you, to make it more acceptable. I remember being told that there were 50 proofs that God existed. Clearly not one was valid, since the others would not be needed.
For many this constant companion was not enough. They also needed a promise that their own personal awareness would continue on after death. That provided that they behaved themselves, they would move on after death, to this mysterious place, called Heaven.
In ancient days, when it was unknown what was above the clouds, from which thunder and lightening came, that came to be the natural dwelling place of divinity. That must be where Heaven was. Added to this was the fallacy that if you didn’t behave, you would be sent to suffer unspeakable suffering in Hell. There were, and still are, volcanos and hot mud pools which coloured the imagination as to what an after-life below ground would be like.
Even in the times of George Fox and early Quakers, those beliefs still held sway. Nobody had flown over the clouds. We actually know better today, when many people have flown above the clouds to find nothing there. Likewise we may realise the geological history of Earth, unknown in Fox's day.
For millennia it was the hope of a life after death which consoled people to live with the insecurities of their everyday lives. If they behaved their god would ensure that they lived on in Heaven after their life ended. This moral code of course suited some people in society. If you were a ruler, it was in your interest that your subjects did “as they were told”.
However, what was soon forgotten was this; all the gods (including the idea of one God) had been invented by humans. Humans were not made by God in his/her own image, but gods were made by humans in their own image of how God should be. “Know Thyself” was ancient Greek advice. When you know yourself, you discover what your God is, your own idea.
Charismatic leaders arose, who declared that they, and often only they, had messages directly from this Supreme Being. Disobey at your peril was their message. What power to control others that generated.
Religious faith and state power became blended in the Holy Roman Empire. Later in the UK, with Kings and Queens being appointed as Head of the Anglican Church, their authority came directly from God. Clearly a control mechanism.
Naturally, many people who didn’t, or couldn’t, think for themselves, thought it was good to have somebody tell them what to believe. Even if they found it hard to believe some of the stories which they were told, they found comfort in “knowing” that there was an invisible hand always supporting them, which would still do so when they became ill, or worse still died.
Is it now time for humanity to begin to realise that this world is all that there is, and that anybody who says otherwise is only trying to manipulate you for their own ends. The truth is cold and hard. Realising it enhances our joy in life.
In his book “Love is Letting Go of Fear” Gerald Jampolsky said it all in the title. We can choose to let go of fear, and the book tells one how to do that. To maintain an attitude of Love, is recommended. We are all able to do that if we wish.
M Scott Peck in “The Road Less Travelled” says that whether we realise it or not, to love is a choice that we make. Like many he seems to be coming round to the notion that God is Love. He clearly believes in this mythical God. But why?
Even today many people fear to let go of this illusory benign parent-figure in the sky. Why? Is it because they haven’t thought of an alternative. Let’s try one.
Evolution is now established as the practical way in which our planet developed first plants, then insects and animals. So far the limit of such development appears to be Humanity. However we do have the capacity to bring this process to an abrupt end, if we don’t get more in tune with the environment.
Humanity has evolved over many millennia from the animals that are our ancestors. Realisation of this is closely followed by the realisation that we are all related within the human family, as well as being related to all living things on Earth. Unfortunately it seems that we need to eat some of them in order to live.
What is more, we are also related to inorganics such as air and water. We could live for a few months without food, perhaps a few days without water, but only a matter of minutes without air. Yet we don’t have to remember to breathe.
Not only that, but the air that we breathe has molecules that have been re-cycled around for millennia. Indeed if Jesus lived two thousand years ago, he could have breathed some of the same molecules which you have breathed in your lifetime. (No wonder Quakers have long said that we have that of God in us all.) So what is there not to love in this world?
Any attempt to imagine the vast expanse of the Universe, is a very humbling thing. That whatever created it would have the slightest interest in each one of us is highly unlikely, if indeed it was created by an entity.
On the other hand, it does seem that all creatures living on Earth die here and then cease to exist. Once the Life is gone, their bodies are re-cycled. Why should that not happen to humans? We are not that special.
When those we know die, we may realise that we still have in our memories everything that we experienced with them. Yes, they are not in our presence, but our memories can remain as long as we choose. They will have gone away from us from time to time in the past. Only if we deny that, can we suffer, as we are cutting off a part of our own memories.
However, while we are alive, we have the Life force within us, which makes it possible for us to find enjoyment for ourselves here. Primarily that manifests as a profound Inner Peace for those who choose to seek within. Such peace does make it easier for us to go out into the world and find more pleasure for ourselves in helping our relatives (the whole of living existence.)
We have the option of enjoying every day of our life, or not. That is an inner choice. To wake each morning is a blessing, if only we can accept that. What we do with our day is up to us. I have personally found that Meditation and weekly attendance at Meeting for Worship helpful. However I interpret worship as worthship, as suggested to me some years ago by Harvey Gillman.
For me the silence is all important. Rather than the Cogito ergo sum of Descartes, I prefer to focus on the Sum ante cogito or I am before I think. The Latin for now is iam. So I am iam. To return to simply Being Now is always refreshing.
Meditation eventually becomes a state of peace and quiet in the mind, which can be available at all times of the day.
As Gerald Jampolsky says Inner Peace is the goal, we can always seek it.
We have no need for gods, if we can let go of our fears, and just Love Life.
from:-
NB
New Zealand



*

(Friday, November 25, 2011, 9:28 am Pacific Time)

CdO (replies to NB):

Hi NB,

Thank you for that email, and your theory. If you don't mind, though,
I'd like to test your theory and challenge some points within it, in a
spirit of loving-kindness, to help you further develop and refine it.
My intent is not to convert you or something - I'm not very theist (if
at all) and I find winning arguments decidedly less fun than making
them. I just happen to think that the respectful cut and thrust of
debate helps to expand knowledge and hone arguments. If that's OK,
please read on - otherwise, this is about the right time to stop
reading this email. Irrespective of your choice, I do want to thank
you for what you wrote.
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
The idea that God was invented by frightened human beings has quite a
long pedigree, going back several centuries and spread out across
different cultures around the globe. The idea has also been
challenged, mostly by those who couldn't string two coherent rational
thoughts together if you paid them, as well as more sophisticated
thinkers.

One primary challenge to this theory is simply the fact that there is
absolutely no archaeological or anthropological evidence to sustain
it. The earliest evidence of a theoretical spirituality tend to
center around birth and sustenance, rather than death and
disintegration. To wit: thousands (literally thousands) of sculptures
of corpulent, large-breasted "Divine Mother" figurines found
throughout many archaeological sites which predate all other figures.
Historians and archaeologists hypothesize that these figures, which
serve no practical purpose, had totemic value to ancient humans. Some
feminists even claim that the figurines are representative of a
matriarchal past in human society. These figurines would seem to
indicate a primary interest and concern with birth, with sustenance
(as represented by, say, the many-breasted statuettes of Diana) - not
death, decay, horror and revulsion.

Why no fear of death? Well, a visit to any rural setting in the
Global South gives the answer: death is a part of life. It is only in
modern society, in modern times, here in the Global North that death
has been removed from the daily experience of living and set apart.
It is only in the Global North that old people are shuttled off to
nursing homes to die a slow, lonely, miserable and hollow death, far
away from family, friends and any sense of their lives having had
meaning. It's here in the Global North that we no long have to raise
and slaughter our own animals - if we were required to experience
death, regularly, we might perhaps have more respect for the animals
that clothe and feed us.

The fear of death is simply not universal - but it certainly is
prevalent in societies which have pushed it away, hidden it, tried to
hide and run from it. Therefore, it is important not to impute to all
humanity what seems common to ourselves.

Similarly with literalist interpretations of myths and beliefs. The
idea that every author intends a rational-empirical-historical tale is
(again) a modern one. We've grown accustomed, thanks to the
Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution, to wanting, demanding and
receiving stories that give the facts, ma'am, and only the facts.
When an author bends time and space and reality, it's called science
fiction, fantasy, "magic realism."

This problem gives rise to religionists taking Genesis literally and
irreligionists (a) thinking pre-modern man was so stupid he literally
believed what's written in Genesis and (b) throwing the baby out with
the bath-water. Genesis is obviously an
allegorical/metaphorical/poetical description of the creation of the
world written by a person in a society who was wrestling with a new
concept: if there is only One God, how does Creation take place?

I mean, let's think this through: who was the author? What was the
message he was trying to convey? What material did he have to work
with? What new ideas, concepts, theories did he have to invent?

Most likely, the author of Genesis was a Hebrew in exile in Babylon.
That, right there, implies a lot. He's undoubtedly a part of the
Yahweh cult from the kingdom of Judea, and if that's the case, then
he's also probably at a complete loss as to what to do. Gods were a
part and parcel of the place in which they resided, such as the
temple. Babylon was MILES away from the temple. There was no way to
perform the traditional sacrifices. And the Yahweh cult was
important, because it represented the central cultural practice and
reference for Hebrews, especially in exile.

So the author is essentially writing a piece *NOT* to provide a
scientific manual to geoformation, but rather a pep piece for a Jewish
audience radically dislocated from their surroundings.

What material does he have to work with? Well, the dominant mythos at
this time was based on Sumerian legends, and the creation myths tended
to center around a male figure who beats back a sea monster
representing chaos. References to a Yahweh version of this myth are,
in fact, found within older portions of the biblical text. The
problem with such a myth, though, is that it's hard to see how Yahweh
is a heroic warrior god after Judea is so soundly thrashed by Babylon.
*NOT* likely to rally the sagging Jewish spirit.

So instead, the author of Genesis does something rather ingenious: he
makes his god *transcend* fighting, chaos, the world. This is a god
unlike other gods; this god is powerful enough to create the entire
world and all of its occupants in seven days. This god doesn't get
his hands dirty; he is utterly above the world.

When I say "above," of course, I do not literally mean "up there."
Nor did pre-modern man. Well... I take that back. Yes and no.
Pre-modern man was more adept at seeing the world on two levels: as it
is, plainly, and as a metaphor. Sometimes he mashed the two together,
other times he could examine each in its turn - I rather suspect that
this ability depended upon his interest and intelligence.

I guess my point is: the problem isn't the myth, the text, it's the
way you read it. You wouldn't watch "Star Wars" and think it's a
documentary on the Intergalactic Civil War; neither should stories and
ideas about deities be interpreted in silly, literalist ways.

Warmly,
CdO )





*

(Friday, November 25, 2011, 1:58 pm Pacific Time)

My first email above.




*

(Friday, November 25, 2011, 4:12 pm Pacific Time)

Nontheist Friends,

I added my slightly redacted email here to my blog in this entry:

http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2011/11/chauvet-cave-lions-three-diverse.html

Sincerely,
Scott


*

(Friday, November 26, 2011, 2:30 am Pacific Time)


Hi C,

Thank you for your response. I may have appeared to be attempting to convert, but I am also exploring ideas, even if I put them strongly.
My theory is that the fear of death, which is often a taboo subject, is deep in the unconscious.

I would submit that the Egyptian pyramids, with the mummification of the wealthy, is an indication of not being able to accept the reality of death being an end of individual life. Deceased ancestor worship is common in many ancient societies. Many of us regret the loss of the wisdom stream from our parents, when they have died. Many are convinced that they contact the dead. Why?

I don't see why being impressed with the miracle of birth, which I concede would have been celebrated, has any direct connection with an unconscious dread of death.

Here in New Zealand, the Maori culture is so obsessed with dead bodies that they want to claim the remains of their deceased relatives, many of whom died centuries ago. Their Marae houses have carvings of ancestors from centuries ago.

My main thesis is that all gods including the one God were the inventions of men or women. The Genesis story being just one of those.

NB



*

(Friday, November 26, 2011, 9:07 am Pacific Time)

Hi N,

I guess I'm still going challenge the idea that death is, necessarily,
a "taboo" subject - though I'm not sure in what sense you use the word
"taboo" here, whether you are referring to its original sense of
"consecrated, inviolable, unclean or cursed" or to its modern use as
"something not to be talked about."

As mentioned, death was a part of pre-modern societies and is still a
part of rural, agricultural societies. While undoubtedly it was
likely seen as "sacred," there remains little evidence demonstrative
of fear of death.

The pyramids of Egypt represent a cultural innovation that developed
over hundreds, thousands of years, and demonstrate the influence of at
least two other major cultural sites: Mesopotamia (Sumer, Ur, Babylon)
and the Indus Valley Civilization.

It's important to remember that hunter/gatherer societies often have
spiritual/mythical complexes which are broadly animistic: everything
has a spirit or force to it which can be beneficial or detrimental to
an individual. Religion and spirituality, at this point, is still
disconnected from a broad-based moral or ethical system: the question
is one of pure survival, and to this purpose humanity developed
shamanism, totemism, magic.

Then the agricultural revolution, from which we see a new
developmental in the dominant mythos of humanity, centered around a
death-and-rebirth cycle. This occurred in the Mesopotamia as well as
the Nile Valley Civilization, where repeated flooding created fertile
soil for the growth of crops (and thus the storage of food, which
allowed time for those societies to develop other technologies -
including the more in-depth mythos centered around death and rebirth).

The central premise of the death-rebirth myth is that a seed is
interred in the ground, much as the bodies of human beings had been
since homo neanderthalensis (likely because dead humans attract hungry
carnivores, though the presence of flowers and hemp possibly indicates
primitive attempts to come to terms with the passing of loved ones).
Once inside the earth, a seed sprouts of course, and is later "reborn"
as a plant which produces more seed. This seed - grain crops - of
course become the basis for feeding and sustaining the entire society
which farms them.

Internment of a pharaoh, of course, represents the burial of a
particular "great seed." The myth here is that of Osiris and Isis,
where Osiris is killed by his brother Set and chopped into lots of
little pieces, which Isis must go to the underworld (note: literally
under the world, that is, underground, under earth, etc) in order to
reclaim and reconstitute as her husband, bringing the god back to the
world where he may reign. Thus the pharaoh's recreation of the myth
ensures that Egypt may continue to have agricultural success.

Of course, these being agricultural societies, the other chief concern
is the sun and the rain - or in flood-plain civilizations, the
flooding. It is unsurprising, therefore, that we see astronomical
observations and calculations as well as solar myths, centered around
the "death" and "rebirth" of the sun during the year. The
flood-plains develop mythos which equally represent curiosity with the
"death" and "rebirth" of fertile silt for the crops, vital to the
survival of these civilizations. Or, in drier climates such as
Palestine where there is no fertile flood-plain, we see (as reflected
in the Bible) a repeated contest between Yahweh, a god of wars, and
Baal, a god of thunder and rain.

As for the Maori people, Nick, I think it's important to remember that
they are invaded people who were subjugated by the British and treated
horribly for a HECK of a long time. Dead bodies or representatives of
the ancestors have both political and psychological value in a
colonized society and culture, representing a link to the past.

Put another way - set aside entirely any self-described spiritual
religious significance, and ask why thousands upon thousands of people
flock to Stonehenge, to the Taj Mahal, to prehistoric cave paintings,
etc etc? Ask why so many find genealogy such a fascinating and
rewarding pursuit? Why do people go to Auschwitz, site of so much
death and torture? Why do we Quakers visit Swarthmoor Hall? Why is
Lenin encased in glass when the brand of communism he theorized was/is
so rabidly atheistic?

My feeling - and it's just a feeling, nothing close to a full-blown
thought - is that there is something in humanity which responds to
"the sacred." And by sacred I don't mean anything more than the
beautiful, the good, the selfless, the amazing - and yeah, the
horrible, the painful, the difficult. Around these sacred things,
humans create special places, special stories, special music, and over
time all of those things grow up to become gods and myths and hymns
and what-not.

And like all human creations, none of this is good or bad BY ITSELF -
it just is. They are tools, technologies, in this case for attempting
to recreate or inspire experiences similar to that which the creator
of the tool had. Some tools work well, others don't, and they
themselves go through their own evolutionary pressures and mechanisms.
As Robert Wright demonstrates, the concept of god is far from static
and drastically changes over time but - whether or not you believe in
god - seems to be broadly beneficial for humanity.

I'm not inclined to believe that humans invented God out of fear,
simply because... well, I'm a law student. So immediately I want to
know how "human" "god" "invent" and "fear" are defined. Because
everything starts with definitions. Also because there is a
discontinuity in the storyline, a jump somehow from animist "spirits"
to "awe-inspiring Gods" that doesn't quite fit. Why are gods a
response to fear, but not the animist spirits? What about religious
systems - such as Bön Buddhism - which mix animism with non-theistic
Buddhism and talk about deities (which represent aspects of the mind)?

Looking forward to hearing from you,
C




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(Friday, November 26, 2011, 2:29 pm Pacific Time)

MM:

As ya’ll must have heard; God is dead. She was on “life” support for a long time but is now definitely gone and the time for funerals and memorial services is over. While she “lived” she was blamed for all of the catastrophes and disasters and given credit of all the good things even though she never was real. Although it might be an interesting language game to play I don’t see how it serves us now to speculate about how and why our ancestors created Her. Her memory is now just a burden we should lay down and we must also lay down all of the religious baggage and trash that is still deeply embedded in our language and our cultures. Some of us may want to go and piss on Her grave -- but let’s not. Please, no more meaningless gestures -- no more talk of gods and the supernatural. She is dead. R.I.P.

Now we have some important work to do.

MM





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(Friday, November 26, 2011, 2:40 pm Pacific Time)

My second email above, posted a second time.


Dear N and C,

To complement this 'deep in the unconscious' and ancient discussion
about fear and inventing the divine, vis-a-vis nontheistic f/Friends,
I find New Zealander John Money's "Concepts of Determinism" (Oxford
1988:114-117) concept of foredoomance (one of five exigencies of being
human per his analysis) relevant here:

"Doom, in Anglo-Saxon and middle English usage meant what is laid
down, a judgment, or decree. In today's usage it also means destiny or
fate, especially if the predicted outcome is adverse, as in being
doomed to suffer harm, sickness, or death. A foredoom is a doom
ordained beforehand. Foredoomance is the collective noun that, as here
defined, denotes the condition of being preordained to die, and to
being vulnerable to injury, defect, and disease. Foredoomance has its
phyletic origins in the principles of infirmity and the mortality of
all life forms. Some individuals are at greater risk than others
because of imperfections or errors in their genetic code. Some are at
greater risk by reason of exposure to more dangerous places or things.
All, however, are exposed to the risk, phyletically ordained, that all
life forms, from viruses and bacteria to insects and vertebrates, are
subject to being displaced by, and preyed upon, by other life forms.
Foredoomance applies to each one of us at first hand, in a primary
way, and also in a derivative way insofar as it applies also to those
we know. Their suffering grieves us; their dying is our bereavement."

(You'll find the whole, 4 page "Concepts of Determinism" section from
his book here - http://scottmacleod.com/anthropology/determinism.htm)

I see foredoomance as fundamental to human existence, and the
'foredoom' idea easily corresponding to the fear idea. I find Money's
analysis fascinating, and germane, because it doesn't involve any
concept of god, and instead, evolutionarily, suggests what all people
have in common, transhistorically, transculturally and universally.
Foredoomance may be a significant way for nontheistic Friends to
account for the ancient, prevalent experience of fear. As an exigency
of being human, it's certainly 'deep in the unconscious,' and
potentially a concept of great use and relevance to NTFs.

With friendly greetings,
Scott


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... this Nontheist Friend email conversation continued for a number of further letters.






Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ecology happens in front of 7 billion human primates, as philosophers

Ecology happens in front of
7 billion human primates,
as philosophers ...
Life,
human drama,
water,
the natural world,
symbols,
what you think,
friends
and the extraordinary,
all flow by ...
watch & enjoy & be with ...
explore the relaxation response ...
a lot moves in us











Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Red Deer: College of Piping and media that promotes Scottish Culture, WUaS Bagpipe Tutorials?, Synchronized piping and drumming online via WUaS pages?

In reply to a College of Piping request to vote for them in a BBC contest about media that promotes Scottish Culture ...


Might I please nominate free, open, wiki World University and School's Bagpipe Tutorials' page - http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Bagpipe_Tutorials - for Scottish culture award, a later date? :) It's free and open ...


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Here's the relatively new, related WUaS 'Scottish Drumming' wiki, subject page - http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Scottish_Drumming.


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I hope we can bring the above pages together to make music in real time, together, with synchronized TCP/IP technologies.


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I added two interesting references to add - "Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band on BBC Radio "Pipeline" " http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_Q7oRcirvE - and "Film director John McDonald interview on the story of the Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band" http://www.canstream.co.uk/celticmusic/index.php?id=704 to WUaS's Bagpipe Tutorials ...


"On the Day" is a good film, too :)



Check out, for example, the very fine pipers' Gordon Duncan and Stuart Liddell + videos on this Bagpipe Tutorials' page, too ...



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And here's the WUaS Music School ...