Archive for reason

Reasoning, Politics and Teabags

Posted in Atheist, culture, Government, logic, politics, random, thoughts with tags , , , , on February 2, 2010 by chouck017894

On the teeter-totter that is politics, the exercise of coöperation for mutual benefit often gets forgotten in the fever of inflamed egos, with either end of the oscillating act imagining it is in complete control of what is up or down.  Weight, of course, can be a cause, but muscle and energy has its dynamics too.  When one end holds the landed position it can flatter itself by declaring, “I am the superior one because I hold command with the power of earthy magnetism,”  i.e. materialism.  The up-end can flatter itself and declare, “I am superior because I am catapulted skyward and therefore discern things further than you,” i.e. liberalism.

Of course neither extreme is what supports their capability of movement.  The necessary but commonly overlooked part in the attempt to out-seesaw each other is the fulcrum—the pivoting point.  In this illustration it is the point upon which political attention may seesaw between passion and skepticism.  That pivot-point, that area upon which balance is meant to be sought regardless of the violent oscillations imposed by either end, is often but erroneously presented by each side as reason.  For each end of the teeter-totter it is their assessment of what the reason represents which serves as the center of their self-assurance.  Regrettably, reason is not always reasonableness.

Reason serves as something like the central point of a magic circle that we all place around ourselves—a self-made center in which we may feel secure, and where the turmoil at either end of the seesaw is rendered invisible by the magic of modifying conclusions to suit our vanity (or greed).  This begs the question: Is reason always reasonable?

It is reasonableness that must serve as the true fulcrum, the means of balance in communal exchange, not simply some reason which can always be molded by one’s ego.  It is reason to which each person flees when meeting some opposing passion which obstructs desired control of some situation.  It is reason, not reasonableness, that allows the freedom to reject any relationship, which then bars the  seemingly  incompatible virtues from being tested by consideration of what is best for the majority of the people.  We can see that lack of reasonableness being played out today in the USA by the Republican odds and ends who are spoken of as “tea-baggers.” 

Their withdrawal into their shallow and brittle reason-center has been shown to be a sad and misdirected move by the fact that their stubborn and raucous refusal to consider any position other than their own is not the true fulcrum of the mechanism upon which everyone can share incentive.  Refusal to negotiate or coöperate on any principles and just say “no” to everything is not reasonableness, but is simply infantile self-absorption.  That obstinate refusal to give their enthusiasm and dedication to reasonableness and truth, but choose instead to indulge in “party-line” selfishness is hardly the quality that is looked for in social responsibility.

 

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Natural Equality

Posted in Atheism, Atheist, belief, Christianity, culture, faith, history, humanity, life, Pantheism, random, religion with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2009 by chouck017894

Religious pretentiousness has the self-delusional habit of refusing to recognize that humankind is but one species of mammal.  The eagerness to disassociate themselves from our distant relatives has inspired apprehensive men to invent convoluted notions of superiority and then practice that misconception as a religious truth. 

In the practice of organized religions the natural equality of all life is categorically denied—even though it is an equality that is easily proved by the chromosomal elements that all life forms share in common.  And herein is exposed a vital clue in solving the reason for the conflicts and bloody failures of organized religions—especially the western versions of “holy” truth.

Mammals vie for territory: it is the means of self-survival and species continuation.  And that territorial drive is reflected in the human clustering habit practiced as religion which, by extension, accounts for their attempts to impose themselves upon other through proselytizing.  Notions of spiritual exclusiveness are in direct opposition to experiencing life in concert with reason; that is to say, mutual respect.  Instead, all of man’s organized religions choose to concentrate on differences and magnifying them into gross distortions that continually attack and weaken the quality of man’s higher potential.

There have been great minds in the past, however, that have championed a deeper, more bonding understanding of man’s potential.  Unfortunately, wisdom is seen as a threat to a large segment of our species and so they are easily distracted and stampeded by the braying of fools that tell them they have elite status elsewhere.

The insolence and contempt for others that is often practiced today as religious “truth” has much in common with a school of philosophers known as Cynics founded by a  pupil of  Socrates named Antisthenes (144-375?  BCE).  The general attitude of the Cynics was to view everything in the external material world about them with contempt.  The nobler Stoic philosphy developed out of this in Athens around 300 BCE, and was introduced into Rome around 100 BCE by the Stoic philosopher Panaetius of Rhodes.  Panaetius had considerable influence on a literary group in Rome, and through them influenced Roman thought, especially regarding moral duties which served as basis for Cicero’s De Officiis.

Stoicism’s most distinctive aspect was in the attribute that we may evaluate as cosmopolitanism—the  sophisticated understanding that all men are manifestations of one universal spirit.  In that understanding the Stoics stressed living in brotherly love and readily helping one another.  Wealth and rank were recognized by the Stoics as purely external and transient, and therefore such things were regarded as virtually meaningless in social relationships.  Thus stressed was the recognition of the natural equality of all human beings—a wisdom that is sorely lacking in the three militantly organized religions that developed to distort the consciousness of the western world.

Stoicism prevailed widely in the classic Roman world, with metaphysics and pantheistic materialism being part of its ethics.  Material matter was regarded as passive (subject to man’s management) and was distinguished from the cosmic, animating principle that is active as life.  That sustaining energy-link out of that life principle was understood as constituting what religions refer to as ones soul.  The ideal followed by the Stoics was that man’s superiority does not lie in external objects, but exists in the state of ones soul.  Thus living in accordance with reason was expressed in the Stoic’s four cardinal virtues of–wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance.  This  reasonable approach honored in Stoic philosophy played a major role in Roman jurisprudence.

It is a historical fact, therefore, that well before the advent of Christianity, Stoicism accepted life’s unity (or natural equality) and believed in the brotherhood of mana tenet often praised in Christian adherence but haphazardly practiced. 

 That means that unlike Judaism, Christianity or Islam, the Stoics never pretended to be the especial darlings of the creative power.  Untroubled with rationality, Judaism, Christianity and Islam nonchalantly trampled underfoot any genuine thought to Natural Equality.