Sunday, March 29, 2015

Athiest Stoic Serenity

Picture just because
Spring is coming 2015

I am trying to work out what I actually believe. Why should I petition a not existent god, or a god concept idea, for something I can get for myself? Some of the stoics were atheistic, to some god was nature, to others god was reason, logic. To some, it was the forces of nature, and if the forces could be defined and described, it would form the Logos, a written text of logic.

Epictetus says "some thing are up to me and some are not." If it is not in my control, I need to accept the outcome. If it is in my control, I still need to accept that the outcome may not be what I want. The only thing I can change are my judgements, desires, and impulses to move; the final outcome is still beyond my control, I must accept the outcome. So I must accept the past, as it is. I must accept the future which is beyond my control, and most other things.  I need to accept time's ravishing abuse, nature, impermanence, death, decay, pain and the like. I need to accept the ideas of others, but I need not go along. Any idiot can have a idea, and forcefully convey it, even convincingly, but if it does not meet the logic test, it is just noise. There is so much noise in the world.

Emotional pain is of my own making; it is of my judgement, and then is only natural events, and I need not react to those any more than when I turn out a light.

And yet the body wants. The mind wants. It does not mater. As long as he, the body, gets what it needs, all will be ok. Acceptance is the key to everything. Acceptance. Acceptance. Acceptance. And yet not accept crap from others.

So in reality, I must accept everything, except that which I have control over, my thoughts, and then even some of them are beyond my control. I can bitch and complain if others are in control of the problem, or I can accept and ignore them.

Stolen from 

* Serenity to accept things we cannot change,
* Courage to change the things we can, and the
* Wisdom to know the difference
* Patience for the things that take time
* Appreciation for all that we have, and
* Tolerance for those with different struggles
* Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the
* Ability to feel your love for us if you exist,
* Or the ability to do without it if you do not,
* and our love for each other and the
* Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is
hopeless and
* Even when we realize that you aren't really there. 

But it is more than I can remember....


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ban all religions from the free world!

Jack was white a few days ago
Irrelevant picture, but it make the point that spring is a while away yet.

 Warning: Politically incorrect post. It may be offensive to some.

Now the Islams Radicals have gone too far.  Is it time to take action? Compassion is no defense. We can use compassion to eliminate or emotional distress, but the radicals still do damage to others. It it time to call for a ban of all religions and turn to philosophy instead.

Ok, so what am I on about. To me it seems that religion is the main cause of issues in the world today. Believe as I do, or I will kill you seems to be the cry of Islam (at least ISIL) , and yet no one can demonstrate that there is a god. For god to do as most religions say would be supernatural, and that does not exist, we only have nature. So the simple solution is to abandon all religion.

That is not to say all religion is bad. Many teach fairly good moral standards, but many people are too dependent on faith, rather than sound reasoning. If they cannot build up the logic of thier belief system from first principals, with logic, there is a problem. The two "religions" which do not depend on faith are Buddhism and Stoicism. After studying them, I realized how similar they really are, with the emphasis and language being so different. Words are dull pointers, but the concepts behind the words are so similar, that they work together. The ritual are different, the language is different, yet they integrate into a more complete belief system, philosophic of life type system, that is logical and near complete. 

What does that look like?

Well here are a reworked four truths.

Life contains emotional, physical and spiritual distress and suffering. The cause is our thinking, attachment, expectations, and delusions of how life should be. We have no control of the future. We have no control over that which is beyond our power. It is the desire to influence anything beyond our control that we must let go of. Within our power is our ability to assent, withhold judgement, or decent from a proposition.

Some things are up to us and some are not. If we keep our expectations to that which is up to us, we cannot be disillusioned, disappointed, or emotionally damaged. Humans are mortal; nothing is permanent; shit happens, we die in the end anyway.

It is our beliefs that need to change to match reality. Expect to go through life hungry, craving, wanting, all natural ways of life, but unnecessary to satisfy. Expect pain, physical discomfort. We can eliminate, after a brief time, most emotional pain by changing our thoughts.

The solution to removing emotional pain is to live virtuously, knowing I am doing right. This provides meaning, engagement, interest, commitment, motivation, to continue; if fate permits, then achievement, satisfaction, stoic mental joy, and hence a flourishing life.

Accept hunger, carvings, wants, pain as natural and unnecessary to satisfy or avoid, also accepting that avoiding is sometimes possible.

Wake up and look for gratitude for life, at this time in human development, for each breath, and for all that we have. We live in a period of rapid change, rapid population growth, beyond what the world can logically support. Oh well, all mortals must die sometime. The only solution is a general die back of the population. China's one child policy will be required everywhere if the humans hope to maintain. The other choice is war. It is the human choice.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Yah OK, But

On the road to Titanic, Sask. 2013

 A Picture just because.  That was a wet summer, in fact, the wettest in living memory of everyone around Titanic that day.


"thus basically thought of human beings as rational animals, which therefore, just like other animals, have an instinct for self-preservation and care for their offspring. Their share in reason, however, sets them apart from other animals and lets them develop a thirst for knowledge as well as a far more sophisticated sociability than any other animal species. According to the Stoics, and all their contemporary philosophers, the key to happiness was to live in accordance with this nature. This means that whereas animals reach their goal in life just by preserving the existence of themselves and their offspring, humans have to go further than that."

Animals who`s brain became conscious. OK. Along comes Musonius Rufus with his "nature has set us the goal of living a flourishing life."  And "consciousness is a chip of divinity. We should honor that, and use it as intended."

Rising to our highest potential in our time and culture is all fine and good. "Wishing for things to happen as they do" leaves us free of any responsibility for the past, and we are free to live with "that which is within our power." Knowing that we have the power of "assent, withholding judgement, or rejection; desire, apathy, or aversion; and impulse, indifference, repulsion" along with the animal fight, flight and freeze responses, we are equipped to make our way in the world. I, the directing mind I, has no control, so the directing mind I should have gratitude for each breath the animal I draws. I, the directing mind, is dependent on the animal I. A natural cyborg sort of concept. Rap your mind around that one, if you can.

The ability to understand concepts, and then accept, defer them, or reject them makes me responsible for my beliefs. That is a big one. This is also the explanation, or description to or answer to the wisdom in the serenity prayer, if you like. We are natural cyborgs, dependent on our animal bodies, gratitude should be the order of the day. OK. Enough.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bent and Folded

At Lower Kananaskies Lake
Sunset and moon rise from the valley perspective in the fall 2014.

Some things are up to us, some are not. Up to us are assent to a proposition, desires and impulses to act, or the opposite of all three including the neutral position of do nothing, or the null choice. Everthing else is not up to us. What does that have to do with anything?

Everything. That is all we have that is truly ours. Not much, and yet so much. Our ability to assent to a proposition controls our beliefs, our values, our choices in life, our decisions, our opinions. The opposite keeps us safe, the ability to reject a proposition as not being valid, untrue, allows us to clean our beliefs out to what we can demonstrate to be true. We can also withhold judgement as the neutral proposition. How does that work?

Well lets first ask, does nature exist, and without a doubt it does. How about the supernatural? to which we can say, without a doubt, it does not exist. Now let us test the god question? Does god exist? To answer that we must first decide what god is. If he is supernatural, he does not exist. There is nothing that is going to answer a prayer, for that would be supernatural. Now we may also need to decide if a concepts exist. They have no physical property, but once articulated, seem to have some properties of existence. They can be communicated to others. They can change people, or rather, one learned some people change themselves spontaneously. At best god can be a concept. so is that existence? The stoics call it subsistence, not existence. To me, there is no god. We are just opportunistic animals living on a big rock whirling about the sun. Death is final, there is no afterlife.

How can that be resolved with the 12 steps?

The 12 steps direct a process of change. That is clear. It tries to dictate the direction of change, cleaning up our character, relationships, and provide us with a make work project for the remainder of our life. It may work for some, but once we realize the god concept is not real, the remainder falls apart.

We humans have a duty, goal, purpose, or mission to nature to flourish. To that end, we have been given reason, physical drives, and the like. Some of us have perverted some of those physical drives into vices, driven by pathological desires, which have give rise to undesirable behaviors. It is up to us to correct those behaviors toward what is better, more toward flourishing. When I apply this to overeating, it is obvious that I need to figure out what is causing the desire to overeat, remove that cause, and thence to recovery. There is no doubt that anxiety in my youth was a major factor in the development of overeating.

Enough for today.