11-03-06 2:57  •  Loving Myself

Empty: This may sound silly, but.....how do I learn to love? I don't love myself and I want to learn how. How do I learn to trust? My trust has been shattered by an event that happened recently..... I want to know these things, I really want to know, from people who know how to love themselves........

First relax. It sounds like you had a traumactic experience. Shutting down and drawing in to regroup is a perfectly natural self defense in responce to a trauma. It doesn't mean you suddenly don't know how to love yourself or you don't know how to trust. It just means you got hurt and you are responding to that hurt.

Take your time. Do things you find reassuring. Talk with old friends or other worthy people in your life about what happened and how you feel. Depending on what happened it may take a while to get your emotional wind back. That's OK. There is no hurry.

Personally I find long walks in nature, like a park trail, help me get regrounded and reconnected. Many people like to do some voluteer work, but if that doesn't call you, that's ok too. The thing is to let your psychic wounds have a chance to heal.

I would not try to change anything about yourself right off. You are too close to the event to see it clearly. If there really are skills you need to build they will be waiting when you are ready to take improving your life on with your full faculties. Now is a time to heal and reconnect with the good people in your life. And don't worry about imposing on them. Imposing on each other in times of need is what friends are for.

Who knows, they may even have an insight you will find helpful.

Remember, it feels bad right now, but better you should know now than you should spend years with this person and then find out later.

You are stronger than it seems at the moment. You'll be fine and you'll find your way to what you seek.

11-03-06 2:53  •  Half a Sandwhich

Mark: There are many imgainary objects, from unicorns to the Wicked Witch of the West. Vampires don't exist either but one can know a great deal about them nonetheless.

You are back to playing word games again. You don't actually know anything about actual unicorns, wicked witches of the west or vampires. You've taken an arbirary placeholder term and arbitrarily assigned it a fantasy definition. It has the look and feel of real knowledge, but it is just fantasy knowledge. It is only conventions, often contradictory (is a unicorn part horse or part goat?), which can be adopted and observed at a whim.

No Zeus ever raped any real person named Leda. You knowldege is of the myth and how its characters relate in a story. It is not about any actual deity.

Mark: Julius Ceasar was real and so is the character in the play

Julius Ceasar was real and there was a charecter used to represent him written into a play. That character is just a fantasy representation, nothing more.

Mark: There are many fantasy objects--such as Swedish stewardesses, who also happen to be real--that are not regarded as gods.

Again you play games. A real person may certainly adopt the fantasy role of "swedish stewardess," but that fantasy role doesn't make the person unreal. It just means they only pretend to be a "swedish stewardess."

For those unfamiliar with the ploy being used here, its all variations on the little meaning shift slight of hand which follows...

Nothing is better than god.
Half a sandwich is better than nothing.
Therefore, half a sandwich is better than god.

11-03-06 2:53  •  Faith and Spirits

Alt: The ignorant have fear...the intelligent man has faith.

There is nothing either the ignorant or intelligent are capable of that the other is not also capable of, including ignorance and intelligence.

Alt: What is the purpose of your existence?

Your question as it stands is unintelligble. Existence preceeds purpose. You could try "what purposes have you created with your existence?"

Alt: You are the materialist Magician...denying the existence of "spirits."

I only deny that you can make claims and expect me to accept them without offering evidence for those claims.

It is you who denies the actual mystery by claiming the existence of "spirits."

10-31-06 1:23  •  Eradicate Religion

Jane: Okay, maybe the Communists weren't a good example. I'm just saying, it doesn't matter what a government calls itself. If a movement is trying to eradicate religion then it is de facto atheistic.

There is nothing in atheism which calls for the eradication of religion. Not one thing. You can religisize to your heart's content and some atheists will even join you. Atheists ONLY get in a huff when theists posit a god without offering any supporting evidence, like said god. If the theists would just pony up a god, even a small one, the atheists would be happy and that would be the end of it. Unfortunately all the theists do is point at dusty books, offer silly arguments and kill atheists.

Now there may be a total lack of definition for what a god is, but a god is definately not dusty books, offer silly arguments and kill atheists. So the atheists remain rightly disgruntled.

Lot's of people try to eradicate religions without being atheists because eradicating religions has nothing to do with atheism. In fact theists are the ones who have historically tried to eradicate religions the most and still are. I would say xtianity has the crown for having eradicated the most religions with having eradicated countless pagan faiths in a mere 2000 years.

The communists didn't eradicate religion because they were atheists. They did it because it competed with communism.

10-31-06 1:23  •  First Cause

Skinny: How can you say there is no God!! The universe was a big empty place before the big bang, therefore, something was created from nothing...therefore there has to be a cause before the effect (you can't tell me there can be an effect without a cause, it's original law).

Actually you are mistaken in a couple regards here.

The universe was extremely dense and hot in the beginning.
It was not bigger or emptier than it is now.

It was already there, as a singularity. It just wasn't "unfolded."
Nothing was created. Matter and energy are conserved, neither created nor destroyed.
You could maybe say it was started.

Skinny: But there had to be a cause before the effect!

There are two problems here. First, if you insist that a cause caused the universe I see no reason not to have a cause cause your god. He is not ultimate in any way. Just another cog in the wheel, and no closer to any actual beginning.

Second, we now know not everything has a cause. Quantum events, for example, can be causeless.

You may have to face the fact that 3000 years ago Jewish sheep herders didn't know that much about cosmology.

Skinny: But, obviously, it all worked in such great and mysterious way to allow life to flourish on this particular planet.

Actually it's not too mysterious any more.

Skinny: The odds of it happening without purpose, without design, is ridiculously tiny.

This is a misconception. Odds only apply to events in the furture. The odds of it having happened are 1 in 1 because it did in fact happen.

Skinny: When a baby is conceived, it is a lump of flesh with the makings of a person, but something has to happen for an entirely new soul to enter into it and give it life. Do you know the precise moment and exactly how that happens?

Never. No soul. Anatman.

When a baby is conceived it is not a lump of flesh, it is a single cell.

As for when life begins...it begins about 3.5 billion years ago and it has been continuous ever since. At no point from mother/father to egg to adult to mother/father is there a break in the living of the DNA as it evolves new forms for itself.

Skinny: We are God-breathed into that tiny bundle of atoms and neurons.

I see no reason to blame god for what we obviously are doing ourselves. Have a bit of personal responsibility there.

10-31-06 12:02  •  Numinous Experience

Be!: This is totally fascinating! You claim to have had numinous experiences, and I am curious, how do you make meaning of mystical experiences and this state of oneness? This is where most would posit divinity, the great mystery, whatever... and yet you do not!

For myself I have realized that seeing mystic experiences for what they are is more important than trying to pretend they are what I wish they were.

A great mystery is a great mystery, not a god. Calling it a god just cheapens it with my limited fantasies of what a god must be.

Divinity is just a word and not a particularly useful one at that. Thinking "oh that's divinity" obscures what it actually is and it gives me a false sense of understanding and complacency.

Be!: So, if i understand you correctly, you stick with the experience.

Experience is the closest one comes to what is actual.

Be!: It is a psychological fact that human beings expereince numinosity and mystery as sentinet beings in this universe. what they do with it is another matter entirely.

I would agree that humans have experiences which they find mysterious and inexplicable and some of these are classed or described as being "numinous."

"Numinous" however is a problematic word in that like "god" it doesn't actually seem to describe anything.

While in ancient times they toyed with the idea of a numena, in practice we have found numena and phenomena are one.

10-31-06 11:11  •  Interpretation

Prometheus: Rene claimed, "No one can have certain belief in God."

…unless they have had experiences which he didn't happen to model in his cognicentric and frankly stupid straw man argument.

I say, just because YOU can't have a certain belief or experience, doesn't mean that you can know if anybody else has. I -CAN- know God exists with certainty, because i HAVE had such experiences.

Rene: Can you be certain that whatever experience you have had can only be interpreted in one way?

Prometheus: Actually, I choose to interpret it in many different ways.

Unfortunately it is not the quantity of interpretations but the quality of any specific interpretation which matters.

Prometheus: there are some experiences which defy interpretation, of any sort, period.

I don't see anyone gainsaying any claims that an experience was had which defies interpretation.

The only contention is about experiences where the interpretation is that it was of a deity when no reason is given to support that interpretation.

Prometheus: if you were swallowed by leviathan, i assure you, it wouldn't leave any doubt in your mind.

When that actually happens we can discuss it.

Prometheus: If you had similar experiences, they would leave no doubt in your mind either.

I am proof that this is not true.

Prometheus: You have experienced the sun, and you know it exists. Belief in it is only required if you say for instance lived underground and never came to the surface.

And you have also experienced the sun and know it exists. Our beliefs are justified by our experience and if questioned, additional shared experiences can be produced and tested for consideration.

Prometheus: Look dude, just because you can't have a certain belief or experience, doesn't mean I can't have it.

Belief and experience, while related, are not the same.

Beliefs are conclusions you can draw from your experiences.

All experiences of anything are inherantly private and to a certain degree, ineffable.

But the beliefs you draw from that experience are not and they are subject to justification and verification.

So while it is nice that you had a far out experience, and I agree that experience is not public, when you call it "an experience of god" we are back to where the matter can be dicussed and you need to be able to defend your claim.

And before you get too carried away, I have had fair number of mystic experiences including ones that seemed deific at the time.
I see no valid reason to posit any actual deities because of those experiences.
I have also come to realize that I experienced deities because I was creating that experience for myself.

Those experiences were mental noise which can be let go of.

Personally I have no desire to get sidetracked worshiping my own mental noise and I have come to realize that even if there are actual deities somewhere, it is entirely irrelevant. I am the business that I am about and no one else, even a deity, can do me besides me. If there happens to be a god, he hides because he is just a distraction from the business at hand of us being, even when he is non-existant.

10-31-06 9:17  •  Relationship Questions

Ahna: Hi there Swarm! You seem to understand a few things. Can you answer these important relationship questions for me?

1. What's the one big issue that people seperate or break up over besides something like cheating? Be specific.

Cheating is not necessarily a big deal. People get past it if they want. Not wanting to stay together any longer is the issue.

2. What's the one issue couples have to work on the most to make a relationship work?

Being nice and paying attention.

3. How do you deal with boredom in a relationship?

Pay attention to your sweety. Pay attention applies to any boredom! If you are bored it is because you stopped paying attention. Pay attention and you will not be bored. It really is just that simple. What you pay attention to is irrelevant in regard to the boredom, but pay attention to your parnter to build the relationship.

4. What do you do if the passion and romance dies out yet the love is still there?

Pay attention to and be nice to your sweety.

5. Who is responsible for intimacy, the man or woman or 50/50?

Intimacy needs both people present.

6. Does living together kill romance? Would it be better to live seperately?

No and definately no.

7. Is arguing healthy? You know, getting it all out?

No. Disagreeing and expressing it politely is ok, but save arguing for others. Be nice. Conceed the point. You are on the same side anyway. Don't pretend otherwise.

8. How would you feel and what would you do if someone said "I haven't been happy since I moved in with you?"

Bummer, but such is life. Time to move you back out then.

9. What's the secret to a happy relationship?

Pay attention. Be nice. Care. Be there. And understand that your sweety is almost as cool and wonderful as mine, you lucky dog.

10. Are you a man or a woman?


10-31-06 6:17  •  Belief vs. Behavior

Krazihorse: The question I am getting to is what matters most; how one acts or what one believes?

Personally I do not see them as seperate, though at times it can be useful to address them as such.

How you act is how you actually believe and how you actually believe is how you act.

It is only when one sets forth how one wants to believe (or aught to believe or is told by society to believe or any of the myrid of ways that we worship how we don't actually believe), that there is any apperant discrepency possible. This apperant discrepency is the diference between what we actually believe and how strongly we believe that what we don't believe should be done any way for whatever reason.

Thus a person who truly believes theft is wrong will not steal. A person who believes in gratifying his desires will steal when the perceived risk is less than the perceived gain. And a person who believes in theft will actively seek to create opprotunities for it.

But always the funtimental beliefs are reflected in the action and vis versa. Once this is grasped a person of strong beliefs is easily understood. Of course not everyone has strong beliefs and those that do rarely have them on every subject. :)

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