Act, then see

"The whole road is ordinarily traveled in darkness.  We receive enlightenment only in proportion as we give ourselves more and more completely to God by humble submission and love.  We do not first see, then act: we act, then see.  It is only by the free submission of our judgment in dark faith that we can advance to the light of understanding: credo ut intelligam.  And that is why the man who waits to see clearly, before he will believe, never starts on the journey."

-Thomas Merton

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  1. This is a wonderful quote about an aspect of faith that I am seeing more and more of in my own readings. As I am reading Fr. Keating's work on the centering prayer, I can see this humble submission at work. If one lets go and faithfully submits in the prayer, a wonderful divine connection occurs.

  2. Yeah, just ignore reality and then meta reality seems much more tangible. This is bs. Knowledge begets knowledge, ignorance does not beget knowledge.

  3. Let me explain what he's saying in non-Christian terms, because I don't think it is what you expect it to be.We're not just talking about believing in God here. We're talking about everything. The basic principle is that during the hard times in life, you're not going to be able to see clearly. Nothing is simple, nothing is reconcilable. If you wait to see before you act, you'll never go anywhere. You're stuck.Faith (not necessarily faith in God but faith in general) is about trust and letting go. What Merton is advocating is a kind of consenting to walk forward in the dark, rather than willfully try to control everything about life. A patient, open-minded, approach to life. In my opinion its actually very much like the Buddhist principle of non-action. Instead of asserting your will on the things around you, you go with the flow. Submit where you would have fought.By submitting, letting go, giving up what you are aiming for, you paradoxically get it back. The only way to true happiness and freedom from fear is to stop avoiding fear and pain and go with it. Submit.To me, this is about so much more than a person's ideas about metaphysics.And it felt personally applicable to me because I was stressing over trying to be able to see what I'm doing, and I've felt paralyzed by it. But there isn't a perfect existential choice. So I'm going to chill out, relax, and let the stillness grow in my heart and mind. Follow that, and know that whatever happens, somehow things will be okay. Maybe not in the way that I want them to be at this moment…but everything is okay.To me, that's faith.

  4. That's awesome. I've been meaning to read Fr. Keating for a while now. πŸ™‚

  5. K. If you want to read it as being about an individual deciding not to stress you can, and that's valid. I'd have to say what you describe doesn't have anything to do with faith or "darkness". Based on your past experiences and empirical evidence it is clear that you cannot control entirely your surroundings and that trying makes you unhappy. Thus, the supposedly faith based decision of not trying to control every aspect of your life is in actuality the only logical course. A similar argument can be made for the idea that everything will turn out ok in the end. You've made it this far, so there's little reason to suspect that if you continue a similar lifestyle you shouldn't continue to succeed. All logic and reason, no faith required.In fact, faith, as my reading of the quote implies, requires "darkness," also know as ignorance. If you ignore your past experiences, (and the world in general) you have no grounds for logically concluding as you did. In that case, you are acting on faith. However, since you have no information, no direction, you're just as likely to put your faith in anything. Given complete "darkness" you could have faith that no matter what you do you'll make the world a horrible place and that the only way to mitigate it is to try to control your environment.

  6. Yep, we're operating under completely different definitions. :)Faith,
    for me, is not an add-on to knowledge. It is not merely assenting to a
    certain proposition without evidence. It is about trust, fidelity, and
    it is an entire way of viewing the world. A person with no faith then,
    on my definition, would be a nihilist.Why do I use this
    definition? Because (a) the etymology of the word tends more towards
    this sort of understanding, which got changed somewhere around the
    enlightenment, and (b) because this definition is much more
    existentially and personally relevant to our lives and how we live them
    than an assertion about objective reality. But I admit, my definition is not the popular one, and using your definition you are entirely correct. Maybe I should invent a new word and just call it that. πŸ™‚

  7. so faith to means caring about things other than yourself?

  8. I'd say faith is a mode of operation. Faith is a letting go and trusting in general. It's not trying to control things. Being patient, willing, and open. Going with the flow and aligning yourself with the natural order of things rather than trying to forge your own path. It's about seeing yourself as *part* of the world, not separate from it.

  9. yeah… you should come up with a different word.

  10. well, keep in mind that this writing was from a book on mysticism. everything tends to look different from the mystic's perspective. It's certainly not your average religious perspective. πŸ˜‰

  11. couldn't say. Apparently they have difficulty communicating.

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    • April 8th, 2008

    I just recently re-read a few books by Merton and Finley's book on Merton's Palace of Nowhere. He was a huge fan of Camus and I haven't been quite sure what to make of Camus so haven't been quite sure what to make of Merton, either. But I LOVE this quote!! The truth is, we are wandering in darkness. Subconsciously we know this to be true and that's why we need proof for everything. Whenever we visit Arkansas we see lots of Missouri license plates which proclaim Missouri to be the "show me state". Missourians are proud of not believing it until they see it. But really it's the opposite – what you believe is what you see. Even science is beginning to confirm this. The outcome of an experiment is inextricably linked with the expectations of the experimenter. Change your beliefs and you see differently. That's because we give everything all the meaning that it has. Let go of perceptions, and you begin to be able to meet reality face to face rather than desperately trying to control it. We want to know and we want to understand because we want to feel safe. But if we are waiting to make sure we are safe before we journey on, we'll only remain where it is we are. The journey always exists in darkness. It isn't until after we have time to reflect that we can make sense of it. (Or as Sartre says, an adventure is only an adventure when it is being told as a story. While engaged in the adventure, it isn't an adventure at all. It's just another journey in the darkness.)

  12. those are good thoughts. i think i agree – a lot, with some of them. i get tired of science and knowledge being the only viable answers to everything. just because you don't have knowledge yet, doesn't mean it's not there to be gotten. lack of knowledge doesn't always have to be equal to ignorance. sometimes i think if you only rely on the knowledge you have (or that someone else has) already acquired, you're limiting yourself.and i'm glad he spelled 'judgment' correctly.

  13. you guys are silly. If you're tired of science being the only way to get answers, then come up with a different system for getting the correct answers more frequently than random chance./shrug I know you guys are only trying to say that people need to chill and not be paralyzed with fear. It's just you say other things that catch me wrong when you try to make that point.

  14. Is science really the only way to get answers? What about rationalism and philosophy? Science is most definitely not the only way to get "answers." To think otherwise is to be ignorant and insecure.

  15. rationalism and philosophy are both used by science. Neither are sufficient w/o science.

    • a
    • April 25th, 2008

    How about the answer we get through plain and simple lived experience? Lived experience is very rarely rational until we take the time to reflect upon it (which tends to destroy the lived experience). And it certainly doesn't require science unless you feel inclined to explain how you managed to work out the answer. πŸ™‚

  16. lived experience is very fallible. It's what leads to "old wives tales". It's based on human memory (very unreliable) and the experience of an n of 1 (statistically unreliable) in uncontrolled environments (too many variables) from a necessarily biased perspective.Obviously, in a lot of cases we must rely on "lived experience" and in those cases we should, although, I think, understanding its limitations will lead to better decisions.

    • a
    • April 25th, 2008

    Old wives tales were once considered to be the equivalent of scientific fact. Truth changes. It isn't static. Science is completely reliant upon our lived experience now, now, now, now….

  17. No. Truth is static. Human understanding improves. Unless you can come up with something better than science, you should rely as much on science as you can.Science does not rely on "lived experience". It relies on experiments. Experiments are controlled to eliminate all those problems with "lived experience" I listed above.

    • a
    • April 26th, 2008

    Fundamentalist Christians think truth is static, too. How do you know that truth is static? How could this possibly be proven? Isn't the belief in static truth really just another way of believing in a sort of abstract God? Isn't it based on the same utopianistic desire for control that much of religion is based upon? Science itself guards against the idea that truth is static by dealing in hypothesis and thesis. It doesn't rely on a static truth. If static truth is somehow proven not to exist, science will remain valid while fundamentalist Christianity will not.Science doesn't trump lived experience nor does it claim to. It's scientism and fundamentalist religion that makes the claim that an abstract static truth is more important than lived experience. Not science.

  18. Ok. I've thought about what you've just said and I've come up with a few possibilities. Let me know if any of them are right.1. You don't think science works.2. You don't believe the universe exists. Ya know, the whole shadows on a cave wall and whatnot.3. Miscommunication. When I say truth is static you think of the personal truth and your word for my kind of truth, the really real truth of what's going on, is something different.Now I'll just directly answer questions.How do you know that truth is static? I don't. I assume it to be so so the scientific method will be valid, and since science seems to work, I continue to under this assumption.How could this possibly be proven? It can't. Technically, nothing can. This one is extra slippery in that it involves all of time, very difficult to rig an experiment for that.Isn't the belief in static truth really just another way of believing in a sort of abstract God? No. A deity is traditionally what stood between man and truth. God would let us know what's true cause we're too dumb to figure it out ourselves. God also generally implies personification, which is definitely not applicable. God also implies worship, which is definitely not applicable. Truth is just what you would know if you knew everything, nothing more.Isn't it based on the same utopianistic desire for control that much of religion is based upon? No. If truth was changing, the universe would be unpredictable, and science wouldn't work. So it's based on the fact that science works. Originally, it was based on "lived experience" and philosophy.

    • a
    • April 27th, 2008

    1. I definitely think science works. It's a rigorous perspective. I just don't think it is THE perspective. There are many (lived experience being an alternative).2. I don't know whether the universe exists or not. That's one of those abstractions that doesn't really matter to me. Our individual lived experience – be it factually extant or not – matters (perhaps literally). 3. Very likely a miscommunication. When I think of static truth – I think of some absolute truth that is just waiting out there to be discovered. The old view that science will solve all the mysteries of the universe by coming up with a unified theory that will finally explain it all. Dostoevsky said that if we were able to come up with a unified theory (he didn't call it that but he was pointing to it), we'd be so bored based on our ability to predict that we'd start sticking golden pins in our arms to give us something to do. And worse – we'd be grateful for the golden pins. Science offers us a perspective. A very rigorous perspective. But it is just one perspective. To elevate it to THE perspective is to fall into the same trap that religion has fallen into. I suppose it is reasonable to hope that everyone becomes reasonable and predictable as they gain scientific knowledge, but who says that this is what we need or that it can even work? The insistence that science trumps lived experience can only lead to nihilism (which is likewise the problem with fundamentalist religion). The idea that only one perspective can be "right" is what creates all the trouble. Thankfully, science doesn't claim to be the only perspective. What it does is provides us with the most rigorous perspective possible. But this rigorous, reasonable perspective can coexist quite nicely with a spontaneous, unpredictable lived experience unless the powers that be insist that we put nothing before it (as is demanded by the monotheistic God.)

  19. There is, in my opinion, an actual reality out there. And science, as of yet, is the only way we have of figuring out what it is. Your, "lived experience" amounts to really bad science and should in all cases be superseded by good science.Science will not solve all mysteries. First, because science can never conclusively prove anything. Two, because it only deals with the material realm, and there are mysteries outside of that (who framed Roger Rabbit?). And three, because even within the material realm science will find mysteries that it's own understanding of the universe will necessarily make unsolvable. If you think that the fact that you "experienced" homeopathy working is as valid as all the science that says homeopathy doesn't work, then I say you're wrong. Which is what it sounds like you're saying, which is dangerous thinking, which is why I bother to argue.

    • a
    • April 28th, 2008

    No. I'm not talking in terms of either homeopathy or medical treatment. I'd be more likely to go for the medical treatment although I hand it to people who have the courage to go the more natural route. The only thing that ever worked for my kids earaches was finally garlic oil drops which was a way out there treatment at the time but thankfully their pediatrician recommended it and now doctors regularly recommend it. But that was over 10 years ago when it was still looked at as a sort of taboo and I was willing to try it as a last ditch effort before we had tubes put in their ears. I'm glad we tried it because it worked beautifully and was far less dangerous, invasive and damaging than the tubes. (Science and lived experience can co-exist beautifully, I tell ya!)You say there is an actual reality "out there". What does that mean? That reality exists external to you? I'd agree with that. But from a human perspective, our experience of reality is still just a perspective, even if it is a scientific perspective. Perspective never shows us actual reality. It shows us a perspective of actual reality. So does love, reverence and trust.

  20. Right. but the scientific one is the best one… the one closest to reality.and btw, homeopathy is natural only in the sense that it is just water.

    • a
    • April 28th, 2008

    I know nothing about homeopathy but I think the garlic oil drops were considered to be a homeopathic prescription back in the day and now they very often are given as a matter of course by doctors to children who experience chronic ear infections rather than prescribing long-term antiobiotics or tubes like they used to. I had the tubes which gave me a 25% hearing loss. When my mother had children, it was a matter of course to give a pregnant woman massive drugs for morning sickness; massive painkillers for childbirth (mother's were basically knocked out); and nursing was considered a no-no because formula was scientifically proven to be nutritive. Thank goodness women wanted to take back the birth experience because science was wrong! I can agree that sometimes science is the best perspective, But it is only scientism that makes the claim that it is always or even usually the best. Sometimes we instinctively know what is best for us even if science says otherwise and the more we rely on science to tell us what to do, the more we lose those instinctive abilities.

    • a
    • April 28th, 2008

    I need to restate that – it wasn't science that was wrong. That's a mis-statement. It is more accurate to say that science was abused in the case of nursing mothers and childbirth. Women were right to trust their natural inclinations in that situation. Now even formula commercials say mother's milk is best, but… In my mother's day, it was almost considered abusive to nurse your child.

  21. I think your confusion is you think that if doctors do it it's scientific. Your example of the whole drugs during child birth thing is very complicated, but back in your mother's day it boiled down to the opinion of a doctor based on very little evidence vs. the opinion of the mother, based also on very little evidence.Your other example of the ear pain thing is, as far as I can tell, similar. I searched pub med and found 4 total studies on the subject, which amounts to very little, especially since 3 of them were done by the same guy. (Incidentally, my reading of those articles is that basically you can put any liquid in the kids ears and it doesn't matter. Time passing is the only statistically significant determinant, excluding pain killers. Still, I stress, 4 studies isn't enough to be confident.) I don't know what doctors do, or why they do it, so I can't argue that point except to say it doesn't really have bearing on the larger issue.That larger issue being that scientific "experience" if you want to call it that, trumps individual experience because, by it's nature, it's more rigorous, as you said. This is just obvious to me, because I look at "lived experience" as just poorly conducted experiments, so obviously the sum total of many good experiments is more reliably an accurate depiction of the real reality out there.You, and everyone, can list all kinds of examples where educated professionals have said things that are wrong. Often that's because they said things with no scientific backing. Sometimes science seems to point to something that is wrong, or is interpreted incorrectly. None of that actually applies to the statement scientific knowledge is better than personal knowledge, though, because we're comparing the methods and the methodology is science is just the methodology of "lived experience" + a bunch of stuff that makes it better.

    • a
    • April 30th, 2008

    I never said that scientific knowledge is better than personal
    knowledge. What I said was that scientific knowledge does not trump
    lived experience. There has been a long history of mothers nursing their children. Women didn't need science to tell them that nursing was best. We instinctually know it. So women fought to get rid of the biases that had been created by scientific data which included getting scientific support which confirmed it. But the scientific data didn't come first, lived experience did. That happens all the time. To say that scientific perspective is always better than the perspective of lived experience is to abuse science. Science has to be used in conjunction with lived experience. As far as the garlic oil drops go, my point was merely that we were presented with garlic oil drops or long term antibiotics or tubes. Had the drops not worked, we would have gone with the more invasive procedures. But they worked. And we had tried all kinds of medicines and drops prior to the garlic oil. I was told that there was a lot of data on the anti-bacterial properties of garlic oil and it was not going to hurt my child so seemed worth a try. Personally, I'm very glad my doctor presented me with an option besides what had been scientifically proven.What is the point of enslaving ourselves to any single perspective, no matter how rigorous?

    • a
    • April 30th, 2008

    Whoops – what I meant was – I never said that personal knowledge is better than scientific knowledge. That is not what I've been saying at all. Science doesn't trump lived experience and should not be enslaved by the scientific perspective.

    • a
    • April 30th, 2008

    Uggh! Too much going on at once but I need to make sure I say this correctly because it's my main point: Lived experience should not be enslaved by the scientific perspective. It's the other way around. Science supports lived experience.

  22. See, all your talk and you didn't address the issue.I'll make it easy. How is "lived experience" not just a series of really bad scientific experiments? If you admit that it is just really bad science, I'd like your explanation as to how really bad science is just as good as good science.And don't give me any more child rearing examples. Specific examples don't matter, no matter how emotionally charged they are.

    • a
    • May 4th, 2008

    I addressed the issue – but you are coming at it from a very specific mindset so have skewed what it is I've said. I am not comparing bad science and good science. I'll try one more time…Lived experience is based on trust, love and reverence. Science is based on reason. Lived experience is broader than science. Trust, love, and reverence are broader than reason. That doesn't negate science or reason, it simply puts them into perspective.As Nietzsche said, for 2000 years we've been a slave to an abstraction created by religion and now we must likewise refuse to become a slave to reason. Reason and science are not our masters, they are our tools. To make science our master is nihilism.

    • a
    • May 4th, 2008

    Just to be clear – Here is the question I was answering:Is science really the only way to get answers? What about rationalism and philosophy? Science is most definitely not the only way to get "answers." To think otherwise is to be ignorant and insecure.My response: How about the answer we get through plain and simple lived experience?
    Lived experience is very rarely rational until we take the time to
    reflect upon it (which tends to destroy the lived experience). And it
    certainly doesn't require science unless you feel inclined to explain
    how you managed to work out the answer.

  23. So how does trust, love, or reverence get you closer to the real reality out there? People trust, love, and revere everything, including opposites. Can't all be closer to the same real reality. Therefore, you need a way to test what to trust, love, and revere… some rational, reasonable way of figuring out the truth… hmm…

    • a
    • May 6th, 2008

    Why assume unreality is "in here" while reality is "out there"? People believe in what it "out there". That is not trust, love and reverence. Trust, love and reverence constitute wisdom. As soon as you say you trust in __________ or you love ____________ or you reverence ____________ that is no longer wisdom, that is belief. It is absolutely necessary to test what it is people believe. But to claim that we need to test trust, reverence or love is to be stuck in the realm of belief, not wisdom.

  24. What?Not only does that not answer my question, it reads like gibberish, to me.I'll answer your question, though. The reason reality is "out there" is that it is distinct, separate from interpretation by any observer. If it was in me, then it would also be in you, and these two internal "realities" would necessarily differ. That's why what's in me is not reality. By reality here I'm meaning the universe as it would be observed with absolute knowledge and zero bias.Yeah. I dunno what to do with the rest of what you said. Sounds to me like you're arbitrarily asserting the components of "wisdom" (which is good), and also arbitrarily asserting that if those components are applied to anything specific it's "belief" (which is bad).I dunno. If that's the case I challenge all those assertions and request definitions for any of those words you use in the future.

    • a
    • May 6th, 2008

    How can we possibly know reality if knowing it requires zero bias? Our knowing is necessarily biased because it relies on perspective. What is observed is always affected by the observer. That we can minimize that through science doesn't mean we can get rid of it altogether. Science remains a perspective, not an absolute truth.The sort of reality you are referring to seems to me very closely related to the sort of reality that assumes an omnipotent, omniscient, God but you've made science that God. That's scientism.Belief isn't bad. But belief is not love, trust or reverence. It's belief.

  25. I didn't say we could ever observe reality, I just said it is what we try to observe. I'm defining an abstract concept so you know what I'm talking about.I know you really think that because I don't buy your little catch phrases that sound so nice in philosophy class I must worship science, but I'll tell you again, I do not worship science.Again you have made a post that completely misses the point, makes assertions with no explanation or evidence and again I'm scrambling for a coherent response.If you do not believe in a single reality external from us that exists in a state that we would observe if we could somehow observe without bias, then how exactly do you think science works? The whole point of science is to observe such a reality more clearly by eliminating bias.Since you claim to think science works, I must conclude you concede the existence of the reality I write of. Based on that, I ask, how does "lived experience" offer any insight into the nature of reality that is superior to the insight offered by science? (Assuming science has been done on the subject of interest. I will concede that, in the absence of science, personal observation is useful. I hold that it is useful because personal observation is, in fact, a form of science, however.)

    • a
    • May 8th, 2008

    I think it is a faulty assumption that there is a single reality that exists external from us. That's an idea we've inherited from Neo-Platonism and institutionalized Christianity. But just because we've inherited an idea doesn't mean the idea is factual. It likely worked for the times it was introduced but it no longer serves us. It's run a-muck.It is not my understanding that science assumes an external reality. Science would work equally well if no such external reality exists. It provides us with an understanding of our rational world. That's invaluable. But if no external reality exists, then science, like the idea of an abstract God, is limited. That may discredit the idea of an abstract, external God, but it doesn't discredit Science. Science remains viable. I don't think a single static rational reality exists. I think it is very likely that science will eventually prove that there is no such static reality. I do think Reality is One. But I don't think we are separate from this reality. We are an integral part of it. It's a process. It's not something static and unchanging. It's dynamic. If it were static, perhaps science would be the "best" perspective. But because reality is in flux, science will always be just one step behind our lived experience (although science likewise influences our lived experience). To wait to act until science says it is OK may be an exercise in prudence, but it could also be a fear of adventuring into the unknown. If we refuse to act until our actions can be scienfitifcally validated, then what happens to human creativity?

  26. Could you explain how science works without an external reality? I always thought that was one of the limitations of science, was that it only worked if we concede a single external universe.Now this idea of a static reality is not something I endorse. The only time I have ever said the word static in this conversation, without directly quoting you, is way back at the beginning when I said truth is static. This is confusing. I'll provide my meanings of these words to clear it up. Truth is the sum total of the rules of reality (e.g. mass of an electron, speed of light, strength of the weak electromagnetic force). Reality, again, means the universe as it would be observed with absolute knowledge and zero bias. So, I think reality changes all the time. When I breathe in and out, when birds chirp, when stars explode, but all those things happen because truth is what it is and doesn't change.As for your final thoughts on science being behind personal experience and human creativity, I pretty much agree. Until we completely automate science, science can't compete with the recentness of human experience. Regardless, barring complete understanding of physics and a perfect simulation of the universe, thus knowledge of the future with an accuracy of 1, (in which case there is no free will so the subject is moot) science will never be able to completely solve all personal problems. You are unique and are in novel situations, so science can't predict perfectly what will happen. It can tell you odds based on similar situations and inform you of impossibilities, but there's still room for human creativity. Additionally, I'd like to point out that I only argue that science should be used to make decisions as much as possible, I do not condone any sort of force on the matter. I philosophically hold, so far anyway, that people have the right to creatively do stupid things.To the point of waiting for the science to "be in," I think it's a false dichotomy. Personal experience is the first limited scientific information, on which we often act, because it's all we need. In cases of important questions, a study is done. This alters the weight of the initial observation. As more and more studies are done and any theories arising are tested and go through the same process, the original claim gains or loses credence. Along this process the original ideashould be treated differently according to the level of science backing it up. Just as our level of knowledge of a subject is not all or none, the appropriate level of action based off of that knowledge is not all or none.

    • a
    • May 8th, 2008

    Maybe we agree more than we disagree? We differ on a few minor points.There is a rational, materialism that we perceive as being external. This doesn't mean it is external, but we experience it as external and science is therefore our best means of evaluating, measuring, and explaining the material universe. But not everything we experience is material. For years, science discounted our emotional life and therefore our aesthetic sensibilities. But now we are realizing how important these are to a meaningful life. We may be able to evaluate the mechanisms that give rise to emotions and aesthetics, but emotions and aesthetics don't give rise to materiality (although they do significantly influence it).I think lived experience (in particular: trust, love and reverence) precede scientific explanation because they give us the courage and the motivation to venture forth into the unknown. The big complaint of religion is that it's an attempt to dispel are paranoia by providing a means of escape from suffering. It does this by creating an imaginary otherworldy utopia that exists in the future. If we follow the precepts of the Bible or the Church we go to Heaven (or we create a future heaven on earth). The Enlightenment kept this same idealism but replaced Church, Bible and God with Science, empiricism and reason. The science of the Enlightenment, like religion, promised a future free of suffering. The problem with the emphasis on the future – both in religion and in science – is that it keeps us from living here and now by placing meaning in the future rather than on our lived lives – the life we are living now. It creates a sort of nihilism. Our lived life doesn't matter, what matters is what is coming in the future. Western society lived as virtual slaves for 1500 years under religious idealism and then we switched masters and for the past 500 years we've been slaves to rationalism which has created a nihilistic view of the world both secularly and religiously. (The 20th century was exceptionally bloody and we wreaked havoc on our environment, etc.) My original point was simply that our lived lives are what should always be given priority. (Not that the future or past should be disregarded altogether, however.)I think trust, love and reverence are particularly important as far as lived experience goes because reverence is very often what motivates science and reason; love allows us to transcend ourselves in order to truly see "the other"; and trust is what allows us to have the courage to venture forth into the unknown. As I said before, if you say you love ________ or you trust in _____________ or you revere ______________, that is no longer truly trust, love or reverence. It becomes belief as soon as it is reduced to something known and "certain".If we say science is the best perspective, I think we risk falling into the Master/Slave morality of the Enlightenment, making Science our master. Clearly some perspectives are better than others but even the best perspectives have to keep in mind other perspectives. I think it is extremely important to the future of our planet that we regain trust in our lived experience – the life we are living right now. Not some future free of suffering promised to us if we faithfully follow a prescribed set of precepts (religious or scientific). That's ultimately a denial of life.

  27. First, why do you never answer any of my questions?Second, love, trust, and reverence are not experiences, they're characteristics. Having them might be nice, but they in themselves do not tell you anything about the universe. Consequentially, I don't think they compare to science.You've hit on a common idea, that science only works with the material, and there are things outside of that realm. I don't think there is anything outside the material. If you do, all you have is your belief. By it's nature you cannot ever have an evidence of it. Such beliefs are not interesting for conversation. There is no substance, just boils down to ya huh and nu uh.Everything else you say is just unbacked assertion and ax grinding, so I'll ignore it. If you want to present any falsifiable claims or evidence, I'd be happy to discuss it.

  28. This is bad timing.. but <b>WHAAT?!</b>

    • a
    • May 8th, 2008

    If you think only the material exists, then you are in need of certainty. That is what defines belief and scientism. That's the flip side of the literalist Biblical argument. There is something that can be known and you have faith that you will figure out how to know it. Good luck with that. πŸ™‚

    • a
    • May 8th, 2008

    Just a clarification – trust, reverence and love are processes. They are verbs. They are not characteristics.

  29. Ok, just for clarification, you refuse to answer any of my questions throughout our entire conversation (including my question as to why you won't answer my questions), you don't define your meanings or provide evidence for your assertions, you ignore my point that belief in anything outside the material must by definition be held entirely on faith (and in fact flip it around and claim I'm the one acting on faith), you conclude by admitting that truth, reverence, and love are not experiences despite it being required for a previous argument, and you feel good about that?Everything I think, I think for a reason outside of myself. Experiments have been done that support my idea, or, at the very least, the idea conforms to the current model of the universe and could be tested in the future. Any of your beliefs outside the material realm must by definition be based solely on yourself. You believe it because you think you should believe it.My understanding of your three favorite words is limited. I understand that following them with several underscores is bad, but I feel compelled to do so anyway. I am compelled to revere the universe as my understanding of it's unending complexity and stunning simplicity increases. I am compelled to trust the scientific method as it continues to make accurate predictions and improve the human existence. I am compelled to love everything as I learn how rare, beautiful, and interconnected it is. Science has lead me to ultimate humbleness.You believe things just because you thought them up. You even believe that those beliefs must be outside the material realm in order explain the complete lack of evidence for them. Maybe you should trust, revere, and love yourself a little less.

    • a
    • May 16th, 2008

    I have not answered your questions for the same reason I don't answer the questions asked of me by literalist Biblicists. You are demanding that the argument be based on your foundational beliefs and I don't share them. A Biblical Literalist will say – you are wrong and here is why and quotes from the Bible. From the Biblical Literalist perspective, I am definitely wrong. What is there to argue? I don't really care that I am wrong from their perspectibe because I don't believe in the Literalist understanding of an omniscient, omnipotent God and I most definitely don't believe in the literalism of the Bible as a means to absolute truth so there is no argument to be had based on their demand I conform to their foundational belief. It's not an argument worth having.It took me a while to figure it out, but it seems to me your questions are based upon the foundational belief that there is only materialism. I don't share this belief therefore no matter how I answer, from your perspective my views are necessarily wrong. You are right from your perspective I just don't share your perspective. I'm not willing to conform to the foundational belief in materialism as the means to absolute truth. Again, any argument based upon this belief to me is not an argument worth having because we don't share the same foundational basis to have a valuable argument in terms of what Kristen originally posted. Based on your perspective, you will necessarily have to reject it so it seems to me any argument you make based upon this post is based upon a desire to convert, not to understand.

  30. Yeah. That makes sense. You didn't answer my questions, because you knew we had different foundational beliefs, making our whole conversation pointless, according to you, but you had the conversation anyway. You drew the conclusion that we had different foundational beliefs off of my first few posts, because you determined not to answer questions very quickly. On top of that, all my questions indicates a desire to convert you, not a desire to understand. Questioning never means a desire to understand. /rolls eyes And even on top of that, in order to tell me your reason for not answering my questions, you answered one of my questions.I present a list, in order, of all the questions asked by me over the course of our discussion. I exclude that giant one at the start of my previous comment. Hopefully, reading the list will help you see how these questions clearly demonstrate a desire to understand what you were saying.Who framed Roger Rabbit?How is "lived experience" not just a series of really bad scientific experiments? So how does trust, love, or reverence get you closer to the real reality out there? What? (In reference to the description of the holy trinity, love, reverence, and trust)How exactly do you think science works? How does "lived experience" offer any insight into the nature of reality that is superior to the insight offered by science? Could you explain how science works without an external reality?Why do you never answer any of my questions?Regardless, I offer arguments for answering questions. Even if all questions directed at you are designed to convert you to an alternative belief, one should attempt to answer them for the following reasons:1. A good answer, or series of answers, may convert the questioner.2. Attempting to answer the questions solidifies and fleshes out ones understanding of ones beliefs.3. An inability to answer a question will lead to a conversion when it is appropriate, or thought that will lead to a more complete personal belief system, one in which the question is answered.

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    • May 19th, 2008

    You originally wrote in response to Kristen's post: Just ignore reality and then meta reality seems much more tangible.
    This is bs. Knowledge begets knowledge, ignorance does not beget
    knowledge.You didn't understand Kristen's post and you made no effort to do so. Why do you think you can understand reality? Because you hold the "right" beliefs? How does this make you any different than a fundamentalist Christian. It's the exact same pattern except that you think you hold the right beliefs about reality. There are appearances. How can you prove appearances are reality? You can't any more than a fundamentalist Christian can prove God is a reality.Here you go…How is "lived experience" not just a series of really bad scientific experiments? Because lived experience is all we have to go by. If lived experience condemns us to really bad scientific experiments, what is the use of science? We are stuck with our experience. That's all we've got! We don't have a God's eye view. We only have our experience. So how does trust, love, or reverence get you closer to the real reality out there? What? (In reference to the description of the holy trinity, love, reverence, and trust)This isn't a "holy" trinity. It's the foundation of the faith we place in our experience – including the faith we place in science. How exactly do you think science works? It is based on reason and experience. How does "lived experience" offer any insight into the nature of reality that is superior to the insight offered by science? Science is subject to lived experience. Could you explain how science works without an external reality? Could you explain why science relies on an external reality? We experience reality as external, but does this prove that it is external? Can science prove it is external. Science seems to be proving the opposite. What is observed is affected by the observer. There is no external reality. That's an illusion. Science can't prove otherwise.Why do you never answer any of my questions? Because your questions are biased and you don't pay attention to the answers I offer anyway. You are right because you are right and I am wrong because I am wrong. Rationalism is always rationalism, be it religious or secular. We rationalize what it is we cannot explain. That doesn't mean we have a corner on reality.

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