Existential crisis - please Help!

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by aaqucnaona, May 16, 2013.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I suppose it might be construed as hate speech if I put it on a public billboard. But if you're on a private website among friends and colleagues who can smack you down if they think you're being unfair, you're free to speak your mind.

    You accuse me of mischaracterizing you, yet you obviously are not very familiar with my posts. I have consistently said that the purpose of every paradigm shift in history (the Agricultural Revolution, the Building of Cities, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Industrial Revolution, and now this one that doesn't have a name yet, the Electronic/Information/Post-Industrial/Computer/Whatever Age) is to make everyone more safe, healthy, comfortable, prosperous, and able to pursue his own dreams by cooperating with each other. I have never promoted greed or anger, and in fact have identified them as the enemies of civilization and all of humanity. As for delusion, it's probably been with us since Ardipithecus came down from the trees and I don't see any reason to assert that it's a bigger problem today than at any other time. At least we now have the first stirrings of a science that intends to understand how we think and feel, so perhaps in a few more generations they'll figure out how delusions work and how to deal with them.

    I would replace the verb "try" with the verb "pretend." How can you say with a straight face that a belief system based on fairytales and Stone Age legends--one that does not slap down a fringe movement that actually claims that science is wrong and builds museums to celebrate that claim--is not promoting delusion?

    You've been arguing from the position of a religionist. If you're not a religionist, you're doing a very skillful impersonation. So you can't complain if people believe it.

    Besides, you just made up stuff about me, with nothing to base it on. I have always decried greed and anger, and I've never weighed in with an opinion on delusion. If you're going to ask to be excused for that because you misunderstood me, then I suppose the civilized thing for me would be to say, "OK then, I must have misunderstood you too," and excuse you in turn. But you will indeed need to extend the same courtesy to me for misunderstanding you--based on the words you posted right here in this very thread, very convincingly impersonating a champion of the religious.
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  3. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    You're promoting the idea that planet Earth become one giant Stepford.

    People like you are the ones making it progressively difficult to earn a living for all those who don't share your narrow materialistic viewpoint.

    And yes, making it impossible for someone to earn a living is much like killing them: the difference is only in the speed.

    You calling them "fairytales doesn't make them so.

    Again, you're very narrow-minded to think this.
    It's as if you've defined the categories, and everyone has to be fitted into them, and that's it. As if those categories are objective and absolute.

    Your style of communication is an example of greed, anger and delusion at work: Things are either your way, or they're wrong. People are wither with you, or they're against you. People are either the way you say they are, or they're pretending.

    As usual, I am fascinated by your approach. I'm sure that in the short run, it seems to give good results. Except that you plan to crown it all with a lethal injection or a helium bag.
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Just because I hate religion, for very good rational reasons, why do you suppose I dislike diversity in general?

    That's the second time you've called me a materialist. The first time I refuted your accusation by giving you a fairly good view into my daily life. Since you did not deign to even try to rebut my refutation, to continue this same line of reasoning as though there are no objections is a textbook case of disingenuous argument, which flouts science.

    I already told you that I will no longer tolerate your insidious, illogical trolling--which is my duty as a moderator since it's a violation of the forum rules. Consider this your last warning. If you do it again, I guarantee that the moderator of this subforum will be delighted to start you on your journey down the ban cycle.

    And how have I made it impossible for anyone to earn a living? I vote for candidates who seem most likely to improve the economy, I excoriate our completely out-of-touch Congress who believes that the national debt is our biggest problem, even though A) the vast majority of Americans don't even list it in their top ten and B) Japan's debt-to-GDP ratio is 200% and every banker in the world is still delighted to buy their bonds. I could give you a long lecture on how to put people back to work (I have a degree in business administration, after all), but there's no point since you only scan my postings for tidbits that you can twist slightly and use against me.

    Perhaps you assume that because I rant against religion here that I vote for laws that will deny federal jobs and university admissions to churchgoers. Or perhaps that I have formed my own version of George Zimmerman's "Neighborhood Watch" and lie in wait for them as they walk back from the Seven-Eleven. In which case you're doing exactly what you accuse me of: characterizing me wrongly.

    I'm not dumb enough not to realize that the vast majority of people who believe in the supernatural manage, nonetheless, to be pleasant, productive citizens. It's a small minority who start the wars and build Creation Science museums. I'm not going to persecute several billion people for the sins of a few. I would like to re-educate them, but that's a different tactic. And considering that I don't know how, I'll leave that for the next guy.

    Of course not. It's their nature and content that makes them fairytales. They claim to falsify the entire scientific method, yet there is not one shred of respectable evidence to support them. Even you have not been able to pull evidence out of your hat for the six-day creation, the flood that covered the world with three times as much water as there is, or the Resurrection.

    You're arguing that religion is believable, in a place of science and scholarship. If that doesn't make you a religionist, then it makes you a troll who simply jumps into an argument and takes the side of the underdog just for fun.

    We can all see that, regardless of their truth content, the metaphors that comprise religion have the power to do good. But you never take that approach to the argument. Perhaps because you're not prepared to defend it against the predictable rebuttal that accepting metaphors as truth is a faulty cognitive process, and that, at least in the last several centuries, despite the good that religion may have done it has done far more evil.

    One definition of "religionist" is "a person with pretended or affected religious zeal." Since you have never actually identified yourself as a Christian or a member of any other religion, which any Christian or member of any other religion would certainly do under these circumstances, that definition seems to fit you. You very carefully tell us nothing about yourself, so you can slip into any persona that will infect our discussions with hostility and argument for the sake of argument.

    No. I only feel that way about a few things like racism and religion.

    Not true. You always come out against me so I don't have to make that decision in your case. Among others I'm perfectly content with the old adage, "Reasonable people can disagree." You're never reasonable so it doesn't apply to you. You always come here looking for a fight, and you know you can get one from me because I'm at the end of my patience with you.

    Uh... you certainly did clothe yourself in the garb of a religionist. So you either are one or you're pretending. Duh?

    You, who I would guess are no older than 40, continually rag on me, who will be 70 this year, about my decisions regarding the end-of-life issues which I must face now. I hope when you have to face them you will be able to do so honestly instead of having to maintain your persona.

    As usual, you snark without explanation. You have never once explained why it's wrong for a person to want to end his own life when he's still in possession of his senses, rather than spending another six months in bewilderment, captivity and indignity, losing his mind and everything else he had to live for, not knowing his friends and family, in an institution that is quickly dissipating the estate that his family and favorite charities were hoping to receive.

    All you do is insist that I should spend the last few months of my life that way, without explaining why. The only people who will benefit will be the bureaucrats and lawyers who run that institution. Even the people who do the actual work there aren't paid jack shit!
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  7. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    I'll focus just on this part.

    You are still unable to provide an actual quote from me where I in fact insist that you spend the last months of your life the way you describe. I don't insist in it, and that's why there is no explanation forthcoming from me.
    I'm not going to defend things you merely imagine I said.

    At least once, I have already pointed out that you are working out of a false dichotomy. Offing oneself or being a vegetable for months are not the only two options for the last period of one's life. You have said that your wife is a Vajrayana practitioner, and so I have suggested to you at least once that you ask her to explain the practices for preparing for death as put forward in Vajrayana Buddhism. Because they do have many of them.

    I think it is sad that someone of seventy years has such a narrow view of death and dying. But given that you frequently make the point of how advanced and enlightened you and your kind are (and how much better than the religious), I wanted to see what you actually have to offer for what is one of the most difficult times in a person's life.
  8. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    You know, Wynn, I'm not sure you remember who I am, but if you do, you'll remember there aren't many people I deem worthy of respect.
    Usually, it'll come down to some form of contribution. To what, it's difficult for me to say. Humanity isn't all that likeable, in general. Most of them don't really do much other than feed.

    I could go into all the whys, and the wherefores, and all that. But really, given my utter lack of interest in replying to anything much at all these days, I'm not going to do that. Other than to say that respect is earned, not granted. That's something you need to learn, and it has very little to do with whether or not you happen to agree with a point of view.

    You need to back the fuck off Fraggle, and you need to do it now.
  9. IncogNegro Banned Banned

    Yadda... Yadda... Witty starting point. I'm 23 life is awesome.

    Humble and humiliate mean the same thing... If you hate your life story try to change it the way you want it in your mind to be and laugh at the way it was not at the way it is now...

    Yadda... I would like to thank my grandfather for this speech. Who I was forced to live with my whole
    Life . Oh the years are going to be terribly
  10. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Oh, the irony.

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  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    No, you don't exactly order me to do that. But you consistently snark about the helium bag or any other way for a person to decide when his life should end. If I can't do that, then I'll end up like most of the other people I've known: warehoused in an institution, turning into a vegetable, while the people who loved me dither over how not to make this their last memory of me, and while a bunch of bureaucrats and attorneys divide the money that was supposed to go to a few deserving friends and various animal charities.

    No you haven't. It's Vipassana, not Vajrayana, and I would have caught that (quite forgivable) error the first time.

    She has brought home absolutely nothing about death or the preparation therefor. She feels exactly the way I do about end-of-life issues, and hopes as I do that we stay healthy at least long enough to take advantage of the sea-change in the laws about these issues that will inevitably occur as soon as the tsunami of Baby Boomers start facing them, which could be an economic nightmare worse than their sudden eligibility for Social Security and Medicare. This is a reasonable hope since we're only a few years older but a lot healthier than that generation.

    Whichever of us goes first will have the advantage of the other one's attempt to enforce our wishes, although it did no good in her mother's case. She's the one who's chosen the animal charities as our heirs, and the idea of that money going into the pockets of predatory lawyers and elder-care managers makes her very un-Buddhistically angry.

    You seem to think that I could be married to someone with whom I have great philosophical differences. Not our generation!

    And what, pray tell, would be a wide-angle view of death and dying? As usual, you criticize while offering only the vaguest hint of an alternative. Disingenous arguing again, your hallmark

    Well let's see if I can dumb it down for you:
    • We're all gonna die.
    • If the medical industry is allowed to manage our last six months of life, they will suck out of our accounts as much money as they have taken in all previous years combined.
    • To do so, they will keep our bodies "alive" long after our brains have lost coherence, so we will not be able to recognize anyone, communicate, read, or even enjoy a TV show. The contemplation of what it might feel like to have a brain that's still pumping blood and firing synapses but is now lacking order is incredibly frightening. That alone should give you pause. It could feel like endless pain, endless sorrow, endless fright, etc.
    • This will include ignoring any orders we have filed that direct them to do otherwise. (My mother had a no-tube-feeding order, which in fact often is respected, but since they knew we were too far away to come running down and bitch at them, they ignored it.)
    • This will be legal. The laws in the USA are heavily influenced by Christianity. We're supposed to wait for God to decide when it's time to die, while we and our loved ones suffer for some arbitrary number of days or months as we wait for that Divine Decision.
    So what I have to offer is simply this: LET EACH OF US DECIDE HOW TO HANDLE IT.

    I appreciate the vote of confidence. But you are now on Wynn's shit list and you'll be peppered with snark too.

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  12. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Wow. Just wow.
  13. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member

    If you are going to spend that much time and effort on an off topic discussion to try and strong arm Fraggle, he damn well deserves a better post than that from you.

    Ps. Learn to admit that you can be wrong.
  14. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member

    And I dont want Wynn to think this is just because of some ideological difference. You have been nothing but condescending and unhelpful and Fraggle has been patient and gentle about a very difficult issue. As an atheist of 19 who at times feels the real terror and dread than many new atheists do at the thought of death, I cant begin to understand how hard this must be for Fraggle to think about and clamly and rationally discuss. And while he does that, he does not need apathetic [and in your own words] unenlightened idiots like you on his back for whom wining an argument is more important than furthering a disccusion.
  15. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    A theory or hypothesis or philosophy or outlook that does not give one peace of mind in matters of death is not worth a dime.

    Other than that:

    For practical intents and purposes, the term "Vajrayana" is often used synonymously with "Tibetan Buddhism."

    And as for Vipassana being a Tibetan school - you'll have to substantiate that.

  16. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    There you have it folks, Wynn is obsessed with a fear of death.
  17. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    That's too bad.

    Anyone familiar with any school of Buddhism will quite likely soon become aware of books such as The Tibetan Book of the Dead, and searching Amazon for "tibetan book of dying" gives several results, such as The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying or Dying with Confidence: A Tibetan Buddhist Guide to Preparing for Death.

    It's strange that one could declare any kind of connection to Tibetan Buddhism, and yet be unaware of those very obviously titled teachings.

    You may have started out having the same stances, but clearly, you've developed in different ways, given that she is now a vegetarian and is practicing a form of meditation, while you are neither.

    Given your contempt for religion and how readily you express it, it is only reasonable to take for granted that you are thoroughly knowledgeable with everything that the religions of the world have to offer, down to chapter and verse. So there is no need to mention any specifics when talking to you, hints are more than enough for someone who is thoroughly knowledgeable of a topic.

    Or are we to suspect that you have contempt for things that you are essentially ignorant of?

    Which Christianity? Certainly not the one that gave us Ars moriendi.

    And the only one stopping you from doing that is you yourself ....
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013
  18. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member


    Oh.. and this:
    There are some who have enough strength to be able to deal with things they deem to be true, without the necessity that that "truth" should also be comforting.
    That which you've stated above, Wynn, is a watermark underpinning all religious philosophy. If you aren't religious, you should be.
  19. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    You talked about how respect is something that is earned, not granted. And then you expected me to grant Fraggle respect.

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    It's not about silly notions of "believing what makes one feel good," it has nothing to do with religion, it has to do with a few basic and noncontroversial premises:


    1. humans are part of the Universe,
    2. humans function (and experience) by the same principles by which the Universe functions,
    3. that which is true is in line with how the Universe is,
    4. that which is in line with how the Universe is, is not discomforting,

    then truth is cannot be discomforting.

    The truth could only be discomforting for a being that would be an alien in the universe in which it currently resides, but of which it is not part. Although it is not clear how such an alien being could function in such a universe to begin with.

    Which just goes to show that the idea that "truth is discomforting" is based on a poorly thought-out conviction that humans are somehow not really part of this world in which they live.
  20. Enmos Valued Senior Member

    Notion 4 is bullshit. If it were true, discomfort wouldn't exist.
  21. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Explain: How does discomfort exist? How does discomfort come to be?
  22. Motor Daddy Valued Senior Member

    It's when facts stand in the way of one's beliefs. Not a comfortable feeling, is it?
  23. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    I did nothing of the sort. I inferred he had mine, and told you that you should back off. I'm not going to argue with you about it any further.

    As for the rest of it... I lost interest at "noncontroversial".

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