Tuesday 21 June 2011

Jim Kalb - from the comments


Comment by Jim Kalb re: posting on Political correctness versus natural selection:

"One way to explain what has happened is that people decided there is no personal God, so the world around us isn't intended or meaningful.

"You can't trust it and you certainly don't want it to dominate you. Salvation lies in escape.

"In Buddhism escape from that situation involved something that looks like personal extinction. In the West it has involved self-deification."



Brett Stevens said...

Mr. Kalb's analysis of the split between Buddhism and Christianity seems accurate to me. The problem is that self-negation doesn't seem to work, at least on a practical level; it makes one a de facto liberal eventually.

Liberals talk about freedom from parts of reality; conservatives talk about finding the meaning behind reality. To a liberal, suffering and death are bad; to a conservative, they are unavoidable and must be necessary to lead to a better thing.

My favorite example are the terrifying forest fires. They are awful, indeed; however, they also provide a necessary service in cleaning away the detritus and weaker plants. A similar idea can be extended to the horrors of natural selection, war and competition. While they are terrifying to us little creatures as individuals, on the broad scale they guarantee a highly functioning world of inner beauty.

From that I think the split originates: our liberal society has for centuries been insisting that nature is not an order, natural law does not exist, and that our world is "random" (a false extreme produced by a false dichotomy; there's a middle state between "random" and "deliberate, personalitied, and specific").

As a result, people believe this world is meaningless and without order, and like most predictions, it can be self-fulfilling. Phooey on them.

The Crow said...

"No Man is an island: not even in his 'private' thoughts; humans are necessarily social even in solitude... ...A desert-dwelling hermit may exemplify the fullest membership of humankind."
Interesting observations.
Some men are very much "islands". While being aware that islands always comprise a bigger picture. Some men have no private thoughts, indeed no thoughts at all. This absence of thought is what enables a man to be an island, in an archipelago, in an ocean, on a planet, in a solar system, in a galaxy...

This absence of thought does not denote stupid, in this context. But a re-discovery that the mind comes with an "Off Switch".

The desert-dwelling hermit may be the best equipped to understand his place within the whole.
Jesus discovered this, in the desert: that he was - in fact - God, and that God - in fact - was him.
That while he was an island, he was - in fact - everything else, too.

Brett Stevens said...

@The Crow:

I have learned to distrust the desire to be an island. To assume that I am the cause of myself is error.

It is denial that I am an intermediate result of a long chain of calculations stretching back to the dawn of time and concluding in an indeterminate future. Denial of this is denial of (part of) reality.

Despite all the wacky twists and turns of life and logic, I have never found the truth to be anything but a friend. That requires we stop isolating ourselves from the world, realize where we are constructs of our time, and then play the role we are allotted.

And if we're really lucky, we get to be the good guys :)

The Crow said...

What would the world be, without its islands?
Not everyone, or everything can be - would want to be - one.
Islands are places where evolution explores different avenues. Takes different turns. Revelation, you might say. Often only possible away from the mainstream.