Tuesday, December 30, 2014

No God Religion

What would a No God religion (NGR) look like?

This is a complex and heady sort of question which can only have subjective answers. It has been approached by many in the past. The current guru is Alain De Botton in this area. But the more important question, is what would a no god religion teach?

First it would teach a rational, logic system of beliefs, a knowledge system as nothing needs to be just believed, that are common to most religion, or a consensus of beliefs that may be taken as facts with a bit of doubt. It would need to allow for a range of views on some subject, and always be ready to update views. It would allow for non-rational people, and those of us who are a mix of rational/nonrational. It would need to stay current with science, more or less. It would need to be a systematic work, and cover a great deal of material.

NGR would need to be rational yet cover non rational subjects. It would need to address the golden mean concept of characteristics and emotions. This golden mean is that too much of a good thing may not be good, that a desired characteristic has two opposite. Consider charity for example, too little is stingy, too much ends with us in the poor house, with (mother) haven given away everything. Charity also has two other sides, those that collect for charity, and pay themselves most of what is collected, and collecting for non existing charities. There are those who's primary reason for giving is narcissistic to make themselves feel better, those that give unwanted or inappropriate items, those who do it to reduce taxes, those who do it to build a reputation to counter what their employees think of them, or their customers who are being gouged. But then what is gouging? Does Bill Gates do it? Or is this an acceptable profit for the risk?

It will need a foundation on the sanctity of healthy life, and build from there. Notice, that I inserted healthy in there, I could have said flourishing, or some other adjective to eliminate those who the medical industry can keep alive to generate revenue but no quality of life. It is always at our option to leave at any time when conditions are extreme, and real.

It will need to teach at a lower level than Alain De Botton, so that the young, uninterested, and oppositional defiant either through resistance or existing belief can understand. I am not suggesting forcing adherence by any means, just to not confute the actual teaching or bury them in thousands of pages of irrelevant dribble like the christians. 


Monday, December 29, 2014

Belief Without Foundations

What happen a belief is overturned, we recognize it as false? (First I will say sorry to you English majors, this is bad english many ways). There is an saying about beliefs, "and thinking makes it so." And what if it just ain't so? What is the result of discovering that a foundation belief is not true, and all beliefs that build on that foundation belief are not true. Or they may be true, but not for the reason that we originally believed it. Just doing the right thing but for the wrong reasons. Oh well.

Consider all those reasons to be nice to others: Buddhist, they may be the soul of some dead relative (reincarnation), or Christian and Judish; all in god's image (requires a belief in god), Stoic, we are all related, part of the devine, for the common good of society. But now that we know there are 10% psychopaths, and most people do not care about us (narcissistic). Ultimately, it all falls from sanctity of life, golden rule, live and let live principals of most religions. (Not Islam, the non Islams, non sect are considered animals, according to many and the literal translation of the Quran ) Most people just want a quiet life, just like us. From this simple perspective, and likely enough to be part of our virtue. All the extraneous bullshit is just that.

It all come down to our hierarchy of values. What is our primary values? Perhaps a bit of gratitude, or spiritual safety or security, or virtues, or mental doing what is right, taking care of our spiritual health, followed by taking care of physical self, followed by concern for others. Or perhaps virtues, gratitude, taking care of spiritual self, followed by physical self, and then compassion for others. I am not sure, but something along those lines.

So what am I saying? How do we protect ourselves from mass bullshit that we see in media? If I can identify it as bullshit, I may be ok, but what about all those innocents that have not yet had the benefit of the education that I have had?

How about all the bad nutritional and weight loss information.

Fasting has long been a contentious issue. Now we have cleanses. So what is different between a cleanses and a fruit fast? Mainly the name, but it is not contentious. OK. A day of fasting or even two is likely good way to get insulin down and fat coming out of fat cells. Atkins Induction phase anyone?     

Saturday, December 27, 2014

On Prader-willi like issue

My question is simply is a lesser form of Prander-willi possible? Prader-willi is the result of a group of  genetic deformation. If only one or small amount of that group occurs, then what?

Quotes from about the web:

The reasons for abnormal eating remain unclear and effective treatments are lacking. Ghrelin, the most powerful hunger hormone, is markedly raised in some and is the likely cause of overeating. 

In individuals who are obese, including those with a biological predilection for excessive eating due to delayed satiety response.

Individuals are noted for relent-less food seeking (e.g., hoarding, foraging for food) if free access to food is denied, and their insatiable appetite may lead to maladaptive behavior(e.g., stealing food or money to buy food, aggressive behavior). If food is readily available, however, it may lead to life-threatening obesity because of overeating, low metabolic rate, and decreased activity.

Hunger does not appear to be the issue, rather heightened visual stimulation, combined with availability. Allow them one cookie, and they will eat the whole plate. Address the visual stimulation is the most important part of treatment. Ideally, there should be no visual stimulation. 

But, but, other than high Ghrenlin, which I do not know about, this describes my issues.

Protein in diet suppresses ghrelin
Diets high in protein are a good way to keep hunger in check. Protein in the diet is effective at keeping ghrelin in check, while carbohydrates and fats don't work that well. Suppression of ghrelin is a way to lose appetite. Fats suppress ghrelin quite poorly. Proteins suppress ghrelin quite well. Carbohydrates suppress ghrelin well at first, but levels rebound later, rising to an even higher level. Carbohydrates eventually make people even hungrier than before they had eaten. (http://www.raysahelian.com/ghrelin.html)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

BuSto mesh

Merry Christmas  to all who celebrate.

Quote from Ronald W Pies, The Three-Petaled Rose -  this is a book about the common ground between Judaism, Buddhism, and Stoicism. His depiction of Stoicism and my grasp of Stoicism is not the same, by that is not the subject today.

"Marcie has a distorted understanding of the world, herself, and others."

This is from a summary of Marcie's issues, which the book then go on to take it apart with CBT style questioning in Buddhist and Stoic perceptive. But the Stoic perspective, while it is taking the distortions, one at a time and addressing them, misses the real effect of Stoicism, that is Stoicism is a replacement philosophy. Had Marcie been a stoic, her whole understanding would be different; it would be distorted, in a different way. She would know here whole story is just story in a way that her whole life story would be mostly irrelevant, just the underlying motives and values have lasting effect, and she would be full of joy and this situation would not be discussed. There would simply be nothing there to discuss, no issue. She may need a bit more purpose in her life, but most the non-understanding would be gone.

Such is the effect of Stoicism. It is a philosophical clearing of the fog and mist. (1) It is a clear hierarchy of values, starting with virtues and knowing what virtues we wish to uphold, and going down through knowing that taking care of self, (2) physically and mentally, which is primary. We are of no use to others if we are not looking after ourselves, like that air mask on planes, place yours on first, then help others. Health and our own welfare must be first, even if that is not what you were trained to in your youth. Moderate exercise and proper diet are primary and essential. For this, I am responsible. Mental health includes protecting our mind from bullshit, and distraction. Turn noise off. (radio, music, TV) and the like. We cannot live with continual stimulation. Maintain a proper attitude toward life. After that extending our (3) understanding and knowledge is likely third value. By the way, this includes the Buddhist four truths, and the first 2 of 8 of the path. With the exception of the emphasis and language, Stoicism and Buddhism mesh amazingly well.

After that the hierarchy of values (HOV) is not so clear. We are here likely to serve others in some capacity. The remaining items on the path, and fleshing out details of our desired life must occur high up on the list. It is like the first thing on a todo list should be to make a todo list, which gets crossed off when the list is completed.

It is obvious to me now that a school of Stoicism combined with Buddhism could be wonderful. Stoicism supplies the theory and Buddhism the practice.  It is not clear what form that should take.

Just as Buddha accepted his birth religion concept of reincarnation/rebirth, belief in a supernatural god is not required, and is not even logical. Carma is a concept equivalent to the next life, not much real substance there, but some influence in the present to improve or compliance with virtue, without demonstrating the present value of living virtuously.  For something to exist, the description should be independent of the observer. When we apply this to a god, the logical conclusion is that we are opportunistic aggressive organic matter growing on a big rock.

Our relationship with time will need a major rework. Past and future will get a haircut, and be put on a diet. The future is changed in the present, and the present is all we really have anyway. 

Morning meditation to encourage gratitude for another day, to lay out our work for that day, and a bit of reading to pick something to learn today. Perhaps even run our HOV list. We then must do the work of a citizen of the world for this day. Evening mediation, to see how we did, what we need to fix up tomorrow, what we did well, what problem we fixed, what we learned, and the like. If we return to our bed with the world better than when we arose, perhaps the day was good.

Enough. A plan to try.   

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

On Beliefs #3

What is human nature?

We are all just animals, sometimes clearly reasoning animals. So what is the basic characteristic that are difficult if not impossible to train out of us? But what is our individual reason for doing anything?

Opportunistic animals, we always want a equal or better life that our peers, other citizens. Well at least a blood good life. But it is mathematically impossible to all be equal or better, or above average. This makes us naturally greedy. We are typically eager to get a leg up above the herd. That makes us aggressive.

We are all programed to eat and to reproduce. When food is plentiful, many of us are programed to get fat, something some sixty percent of the population need to correct. Some of the others 40% either do not have the drive, biology, money, or address these motivations, either through direct control or by redirection. Displacement of the motivation toward making money, greed, or some indirect, all absorbing endeavor, work or career. Those who are all work are also obsessed, but their obsession is a social accepted, even preferred characteristic.  This makes " obsessed" as a common characteristic, it is just what we are obsessed with a quasi choices.

We need a set of words to describe good and evil, and those affects which is more sever that good and bad or harm. There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. The stoics say that nothing can spiritually harm me other than myself and my thinking. We need a word to describe hard on a spiritual level, non physical level for good and harm. It is only our spiritual self that has ethics, virtue. Our body does what it does, but it is the reason, logic, that is a chip of divinity. It is this duality of our nature, a reasoning animal and sometimes instinctive animal of our nature that we must also account for. 

And lets not forgot the ego, I'm right, you are wrong attitude, and we all have a issue with time, past, present, future, rush, not enough time, and then we die. Embrace impermanence, and living in the now. We have issues with attachment to things and people. We create expectations and delusions of how things should be. We develop desires for things, people, places, wealth, fame, concepts, comfort, security, safety, relationships, etc. We can let all that drop, live in the now with no attachment, and looking after only those things that are truly up to us. 

We can paint on a purpose of working together for a better future, but that is not held by all. As ideology comes into play with more people on earth, the difference become apparent. Islam vs Christian vs Communism being the most obvious ideology conflicts.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Dec 23 On Beliefs

It is not our beliefs that are important but what we do as a result of beliefs. Only our action effect other people. It is not events that effect us, but rather our thoughts about those events. I cannot be harmed by those events, just my reaction to them. That is the true "I", that part that I have absolute control over. The Stoic I, that controls judgement, desires, impulses, aversions, attachments, delusions, beliefs, values. It is also the no self part, impermanent, with no physical existence, like time, voids, opinions, and the like.

So I guess I will take this bundle of habits off to do something.

Monday, December 22, 2014

On Beliefs

It is not our beliefs that are important but what we do as a result of those beliefs. The concepts we hold as good and right are just concepts; it is our actions that effect others. Also our speech about our concepts; these can cause others to turn off, to run, to avoid, or to challenge us.

We can examine our beliefs four ways, internally for negative and positive effects, or externally for positive and negative. What do I mean? Lets consider four topic groups:
  1. Tact, empathy and compassion, -external, postive
  2. Anger, rage, revenge, -external, negative
  3. Worry, sorrow, and depression, -internal, negative
  4. Joyfulness, gratitude, pleasure, -internal, positive 
Now we can expand these group to cover any number of other emotions. This is not unlike the cost-benefit analysis, both ways, for and against something.

Now we have no right to force our beliefs on others and no right to shun those who do not believe as I do; however, I am under no obligation to hang out with them either. It is all about finding like minded individuals. There in lies the challenge of society, and special interest groups. 

In protected environments, I have no right to express my beliefs if they are not the common belief of the group. For example, in OA meetings, I cannot say that I am a food addict, even though that is the better description. I cannot say that a belief in god, and indeed, if or if not there is a god is irrelevant. It is all about following a food program, regardless of cravings, desires, habits, impulses, baiting, temptation, physical issues that cause craving, emotional issues, or food addiction. It is the doing of the action is all that is important. Inventories, relationships, history and the like may give some relief, but their main function may also be to produce busy work.  There is a line in the Bridge Over the River Kwai, with the meaning of "if they had not asked for a bridge, we would have need to build one anyway for morale.  These inventory processes may also help us to understand ourselves better, and have no bearing on the problem. We may stumble across a solution or two. But in OA, do not dare to describe a solution to a problem you solved, if someone is having that same problem... you will get attached. Oh well.

We also have no right to force our beliefs on others. That was the way I was raised. Believe this because I say so. It was all bullshit. I also note that a religion forcing their belief system on others is the cause of the current war in the middle east. (ISIL) my way or die. All of Islam has this view, however, some do not force the issue, else they would be more issues. I digress.

I have been enthusiastically persistently pursuing a cure and understanding of this over eating compulsion that I suffer from. The science and rational study of the problem has lead me away from the religious cult solution offer by OA, but it can work if you are a believer in and of a god.


Sunday, December 21, 2014


Gratitude may be the most important emotion, feeling to have on a frequent basis. We can only hold one emotion on top; gratitude would be a good one for us older people. Greed and need are fine for the young; they need to hurt a bit before they become willing to listen.

We can have gratitude first thing in the morning for waking at all, likely in a warm bed, in this country, where we are relatively safe and secure, even with those radicals Islams around, and other wild humans around. Oh well.

We can have gratitude for having time to read this, and all the development that has allowed such a system to develop before it needs to be so limited that it becomes secure. That time, I fear is coming, but it is not here yet. Rejoice. The days start getting longer now, spring is coming. We may get a few cold days first yet, spring is coming. We are half way there now. It is that six weeks psychological lag behind the true season that gratitude can get us through.

also Food Junkies is worth a read for more understanding of that part of this issue.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

another skill deficient

The ability to separation of wrong information from right has become necessary in this information age. Wrong information is potentially more damaging than no information. So what stratagems exist for handing information?

Well, we were not trained anywhere that I have been for sorting of information. Engineering always used logic from "first principals" for the basic stuff and then dumped tones of unsourced stuff and a list of references that we not readily available. Minimalism may be the best method, believe nothing or very little. Religions, the first dream merchants, selling false hope and dreams of a wonderful future are not the way. The cultures are not correct, they produce a bunch of misfits. Stoicism, is good for what it is good for: With hold judgement on everything, I know nothing is a good place to start, but then what.

I do not know nothing. I think I should go shoot something at the range.    

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Skill Deficient

Do we suffer from a skill deficient? What the hell is a skill deficient?

Can we cope wit frustration?
Can we cope with niggling picky abrasive people?
Can we handle conflicting and wrong information?
Can we manage anger?
Can we manage resentments?
Can we handle stress, emotions, boredom, isolation, exhaustion, etc.

How is our relationship with time? Are we in the now or in the past or in the future?
Can we maintain a positive attitude?
Are we engaged with life?
Are we doing something with meaning for us?
How are our relationships or the lack thereof?
What have we achieved recently?

Are we living by our virtues or what we hold as virtues?
Are we living within our means, or are we digging ourselves a hole? Do we need to curb our wants, desires?

Up to us are our judgements. Desires, aversion, impulse to action, delusions, expectations follow directly from our judgements.

These are all skills that we can learn. Many are induced by our belief system. How about that folks?

But what do I know?

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Destructive imagery and self-talk, awareness and refusal method. 

Aka cravings. First we need to become aware of these nasty little concepts that creep into our mind. They may come as images, or impulse to act, or thoughts, or smells, or sights. They are destructive, there is no mistake there. After we become aware to these rotten little bastards, smelly rats, we need to acquire an adequate impression of how rotten they are. They will not kill us, they are just unpleasant, vial concepts that wonder around in our brains. We can kill them dead with a big hammer or club. We need to minimize there effect, they are not awful, just unpleasant but strong, like a rat smell. Squash rat dead.  I am not entitled to live life without them, they exist and I accept that. I will even give him an name -Billcurtis. Someone who I would never say yes to, evil bastard. Get out of my life. I stomp on them with big foot, OK. end.

Note that we have an opportunity after we form an adequate impression to reject that adequate impression before we get to the evaluation or judgement stage. This could be a truly Stoic tool as well.  

Is this a skill that can infill the skill deficits list?
What do I know?

More defination control bullshit

Does realizing that we live on a rock, and we are just part of the opportunistic organic matter count as a spiritual awakening? 


If you’re a real alcoholic, nothing short of a spiritual awakening will eliminate the obsession to drink.

And if anything but a divine intervention keeps you sober and clean, well then you were not a real alcoholic.

So AA  defines an real alcoholic as one who gets better via a spiritual awaking. So what are the rest of us?


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fear, Shame, Guilt

http://www.laurassoapbox.net/2014/12/throwing-starfish-interview-at-gurze.html got me thinking. Fear, shame and guilt are christian responses. Other religions do not have these. This suggests that the root cause is christianity. Go figure.

I lost all traces of those when I went eccentric (not concerned about what others think) and started to study and understand the Stoic philosophy. Shit happens, I need to tend to what is up to me first. What other think is up to them, and none of my concern.

We need to let young people grow up, and teach them many things not in the current curriculum. How to deal with stress or not to feel it in the first place. How to be free of worry, how to put fear into bullies. How to control our emotions, especially anger resentment, all those negative feelings. How to deal with academic work overload,  overbearing and controlling parents, or absent parents for that matter. They need to have the tools of life taught to them. Some will use them, some will not, oh well. But we will have done our part, and that is up to us.

Do not lie to the young, tell them the truth. We live on a big brutal rock, and we are just organic life forms without a natural purpose beyond eating and reproducing. We can pick any purpose we want, but to survive within society, we can choose to tow the cultural line, what ever that may be. Fish, cut bait or go away. It is that simple.

Yes, I am an eccentric asshole. But what do I know.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Living in harmony with Nature

All things can be divided into self, the world and mankind. Self can further be divided it up to me, and not up to me.  The universe can be seen as beyond the home rock, the home rock, and the organic matter that lives on the home rock. Part of that opportunistic organic matter is the human species. The natural purpose is to survive and multiply (you may need log tables if you can only add).

I have started to read "Donald Robertson,  Stoicism and the Art of Happiness. It is one more interpenetration of the ancient philosophy. It is striking how one word can be translated in so many ways. Virtue or flourishing or character development. OK. But then to say that it is thoughts that lead our beliefs and desires. Our automatic thoughts, decisions of judgement are largely due to our individual beliefs and patters of thinking. Ah yes. Thinking that something would taste great leads to overeating. It must be stopped before that thought. Baiting ourselves to eat is not good; that is over the slippery slope for sure, headed to an undesirable situation, a vice, an evil of personality behavior.

Do not allow thoughts to wander, to even consider and thing beyond my portion to be food at this time.

It is thinking that makes it so. And then thinking seeds the desire, and the desire leads to a drive to satisfy that desire. Plato had it pegged the third part of the mind that houses desires, after emotional, and rational. In the triune brain scheme, this would be the primal part. This is where motivation comes from, the desire to move, to do something, to act or not. It is fed by the conscious and unconscious parts. So it is thinking that seeds the primitive, and the way to address this is to not even consider it is possible, as if it were evil as it is. Some other ancient thought we would not knowingly do wrong, and if we consider even thinking about the possibility of eating more to be wrong, perhaps we can rationally end overeating long enough to make it habit. But our bodies will not let this happen. We who were obese can absorb more food than we need, faster than we need, and so become ready for more food too soon. We need to down regulate the intake and absorption process to more closely match our need. Since up regulation is quick and natural, cheat days cannot be considered possible, as they will completely destroy the effort to down regulation of absorption rate.

But then what do I know?

Duties, responsibilities, and appropriate actions are all the same.