Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Atheists Handbook

Atheists Handbook

A few days ago I start to think about a Secular Overeating Recovery group handbook, what it would need to say, and how it should be organized. This is a keep busy project. I realized that it has three separate topics, and before we can address overeating recovery, it would need to address what it means to be a atheist in a comprehensive way. 

I have come to realize that we are all independent beings, but dependent on others in many ways within our society. We are social animals some say, but I support the other view, we are a group of independent animals that have learned that we can do better in cooperation that apart. Evolution is not uniform, so there may be both mixed into our population, just to add more twist to the mix. Once we take hold of atheism, we may find ourselves at odds with many of the extended family, and we may find that uncomfortable and need to address the resistance to what appears to be the true reality. This supports that we are cooperating individuals, and those closed minded religious individuals do not want to be corrupted by what they see as "sinners". It is all about like minded sticking together.

To replace this "god culture" we may need to develop a "local community chapters" of atheists, whose primary function is to provide support for we atheists. As many of us entered the wormhole as some kind of agnostic or believer, and emerge into a foreign world of complete unbelief, we need to stumble about and explore. What we need to explore is also different for many of us. Most of the North American population have grown and lived in a inbred christian culture, where religion permeates everything. Many expressions contain references to religion, "by god". Musonius Rufus used, by Zeus as his expression of certainty. We atheist need to clean up all our language to remove these trained in phrases.

We atheist need to start with what we know, that the concept of a god that has any interest in humanity, is supernatural in any way, is not real. God, as a word for that which is unknown is being ground down by science. We cannot see any application of god in the last 13.8 billion years, unless god is dark mater and dark energy to make the observed gravity work correctly with our science. God as a calibration ballast just does not seem likely. Oh well.

There is much for the atheist to make peace with. What should we have done with our bodies after death? Considering that the world is at a population, above which it can support long term, we need to consider this carefully. For carbon capture, cremation is not a good practice. The Native Indians, the Celts and others used "sky burial", where the bodies are exposed for the carnivorous to clean up. That way the carbon is recycled quickly. Burial below ground does maintain carbon capture, but it occupies too much land. Perhaps we need to create a new system like garbage disposal cells where we are stacked and a thin layer of dirt is used to cover each day. when the "terminal mound" is full, a thick layer of soil is placed and capped with grass cover. Or perhaps precast concrete coffins, and we could be stacked above grade, or be made into buildings or other civil structures like road overpasses.

Much to think about eh? But what do I know?        

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Secrets of Weight Loss

The big secrets of weight loss is to bring our will into alignment with small meals and some exercise. Just how do we do this? That is the question that we must answer, once we understand that we must want, desire, only small meals three time each day. It is our will that must change. Staying distracted from food, eating, the remainder of the time is necessary. It is about change of our will to induce change in our behavior. Behavior change alone is some help, but long term, our will must change.

Those of us that are never satiated, that implies that we have a physical hunger continually have a special challenge. The answer is still the same, we need to bring our will into line, aka, three small meals each day, and nothing but water in between, hot or cold. We need to overcome a natural physically driven need, and that is an added challenge. 

This program is tough. It is for those who need it, yes, but those who want it, and you must really want it to make the changes necessary. Without wanting to change and wanting to become willing to change our own will, success will be difficult. Those who do not want to change their will are beyond our concern. We wish them well.

Now comes maintenance. We must maintain our will in line with three small meals each day, and a clean busy living between those meals. Learning to direct our will is not straight forward. We use the term "our will" here in the Stoic understanding of will, not the modern connotation of emotions. It is the directing part of our mind, compatible with logic, but not totally controlled by logic. It lies in the region that is partly controlled by passions, partly by logic. It is some of the time beyond our control, and sometimes within our control. It switches sides of the line, and that is the frustrating part of all this.   

There are those things that drive appetite, which we need to identify and remove. We need to understand appetite, the desire to eat, to some extent. We need to understand all the psychological, physiological and beliefs that can drive us to eat, and methods to overcome them. We may need to change from a negative person to a positive person, and learn to deal with the negative people around us. Ignoring the issues is not a solution, we may need to make others unhappy, or cause them stress, or express our outrage. We may need to clean our minds or wrong concepts and learn to use logic to direct our lives. When we start, we do not know what we need, and this may be different for each. The only thing we can do is try each thing and test it. Keep what works and abandon that which does not work for now. We can adopt a totally new "operating system" and not try to fix the old.

It has taken me sixty years to get to this point, while it comes to other people automatically. I do not understand this, but some small percent of the population are this way. The course is not yet clear, but change is required is clear. When my will is in alignment with the plan, it works. When it is not, it does not. It is that simple, and that difficult. I do not have consistent control of my will, that is the ultimate problem. To bring about sufficient change to end this problem is the ultimate objective of this program.

Typical diet plans are aimed at changing behavior, and these work short term. We also need to want to stay on the plan to maintain the loss. Once our will is changed, aka our directing part of our mind, then it is natural to maintain the behavior. Some part of that behavior is life between the meals, and that is where the problems really lie. This is where changing our directing part of our mind is maintained through positive psychology and philosophy of life concepts, where our beliefs are known to us, clean, consistent and well defined.    

 How do we get our will readjusted to wanting only three small meals each day? That is what this is all about.

 Do we have control over our will or is it the part of the brain we cannot access?  If we cannot control it, can we influence it? 

But what do I know?

Friday, March 25, 2016

No god, whats is next?

After we accept that there is no god, there never has been, and we have been fed shit all these many years, what is next in our day to day lives? There is no life after death, we get only this life to "make our mark" on the world. We can take the "name carved into a rock" approach. The purpose of life is to flourish, in some form. I have, now what? The obvious answer is sorting and cleaning out the shit out of our minds. 

I need to learn how to make friends and care about being around people. That is difficult if I do not care about all the things that are too negative to do in my life.  So I sit in front of this computer. Once a week I go work out for an hour or so. Perhaps twice a week I go to the range and shoot arrows for a hour or two. There is considerable time that need to be filled.

Early in my life, I was harassed so much that I avoided people a great deal for the comfort until no people around me became comfortable. One wife is enough. Then I studied to get out of there, and either worked or studied most of the time. Now that I have retired, due to getting to forgetful, what is next?

Religions and similar groups can provide extended social networks where a low social need person, such as I am, can be around people without rejection. They provide a common instrumental purpose. The terminal purpose is life until death. But I cannot stand the religious bullshit, criticize, condemning, comparing and complaining. You do not like it, go do something with your life. That is where I am at, what to do, what to do?

Religions provide philosophies of life, or should that be philosophies for life. Of or for, that is the question. The Christian ideal is acceptance first and why bother fixing the problem, where as modern concepts push fix the problem, and struggle. Organizations like AA and OA (god based) are needed to fix this philosophical problem of those things which have no answers but acceptance. This is different from the Stoic approach of acceptance/ignoring those things beyond our power and addressing those things within our power. It does not address those things which we physically can overcome if we had the will pointed in the right direction, and overcome our actual personal nature, like overeating.

Overeating goes far beyond weight and not knowing what we should not eat. Currently there are no secular overeating programs, the counter part to the population based largely ineffective OA program, but quite effective for those few who truly believe, and who's issues are on of the ones that the OA program addresses. Moral issues, relationship, social/community, and a life plan are addressed in OA, if the person is persistent enough, and meets with success fairly quickly. The "washout" rate in OA is high, that is the one's who come in, do not see the value of the program, and leave never to return.

Perhaps the "Personal Project" for me should be to document what I think the program should be and look into starting a "Secular Overeating Recovery Group". A "Personal Project" is a concept of a project which we do that fills all available time, and becomes more important than eating. The first piece of documentation would be to document the tools, concepts, and the like that I and others have found useful. Ultimately, the final problem I need to address is the lack of things to fill my time with, to avoid boredom, or the realization that after the "wheel of life, the path, virtues, what ever we call it", we have to fine a specific personal project to keep us busy, while we overcome the natural desire to eat. I have concluded that this natural physical desire to eat is just not going away. I will tentatively, call this tentative project "Secular Overeating Recovery Group Handbook 1.0".

But what do I know? This is an attitude that I am willing to change if I see a better way of thinking, of being, that is rational. There are rational appeals and emotional/passions/feelings. Passion appeals have no logic behind them, but work for people who are more passion based than logic based. That is one of the larger problems we have today, along with cultural and religious based thinking that we have picked up from our education. Some of this must go. Change, for the better, aka more logical, can be expected.    

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Who is responsible for our feelings?   (is this the right video?) It does not matter.

In the Q&A section the burka clad person states that she is offended by something said by Lawrence. That struck me as odd, and I had to think about what was odd about it.

She inferred the responsibility for her feelings were outside of herself. That is odd to my thinking. I am responsible for what I feel, regardless of where the input is from. Authorities are only authorities if I give them that power. We control our own feelings. We cannot be mentally harmed by outside verbal abuse, and if it does not agree with our worldview, we should ignore it or leave. Feeling offended is a passive aggressive attack, trying to hit back at the source of the statement. It shows a different way of thinking that is part of the problem. Most of us rational people would not be offended, we would just right off the statement or concept as noise, and disagree and feel nothing.

It all comes back to rational vs. emotional processing of inputs from the external world.

Also leaving is only possible if we are or can be independent. If religion is keeping us down, we have a second problem. Islam is one of those religions, and that is the problem. It developers followers and users who lead. That is the ultimate cause of brainwashed terrorists. The do not understand that death is final. This is the only life we get.

Of course, I am an asshole who does not let the emotions of others effect me much. If the other was the case, that I could not question anything, without risking hurting others feelings, we could say very little. But that was the way I was raised, and typically is the way of religion. We live in a noisy universe, ever asshole has an opinion. Many things are going to offend each of us. The only rational way is to not be offended by ugly noise trying to be an input. That is my responsibility.

Eh, that is what the old stoic said perhaps. What manner of appearance (perception) is this before us? Not real, but a perception of the nature or a manifestation of the unreal? (Paraphrased) A dream, or a ugly noise, a perception of nature, or proposition that we can test, assent to, hold in abeyance or reject, or just noise.

Is that also what they refer to as nothing external can harm us after we have built our inner citadel in our mind. We must separates physical injure from concept or mental stress, called harm. This is a translation issue of specific exact terminology of  Greek to the sloppy English language.

But what do I know? 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Stoic Cosmos

Stoic cosmos concept, the idea of community, seems to be breaking down. The sense community, as a whole is difficult to maintain in urban populations, where so much of the time is spent around people we do not know and are likely to not recognize again. I do not say not see, for we may see them, just not recognize then as each encounter is brief, impersonal, and we take little notice of many people. We frequently use them, not hardly notice them, in dense populated urban settings.

That is not to say we are not in communities of sorts. We may belong technical associations, where we know some of our competitors and cohorts. We may belong a community of employees at some company. We may belong to a community of some sport, or a church until we become free thinking. Than that community goes. We maybe part of a close family, and that helps form community. Most of the urban population is too transient to really form a location based community, as was normal before cheap independent transportation.

With overpopulation, community is further put under stress, as economics forced migration/relocation are common. Many areas are losing community through government programs like "strange danger" concepts. Children raised with a fear of other people is not good. Some of us were harassed as different/overweight/race/strange/ghetto children, and are more comfortable alone than in community, and aided by the internet, do not require much community. We may have overcome by adaption, but can we maintain that persona we adopted. All these factors and more have reduced community to a concept, not a existing phenomena of much strength.

Most of us do not know our neighbors well. Some of us do not know ourselves well. We spend so much time away working, and when we retire, our neighbors are away working. There is not the opportunity for community, unless we look for it, and make considerable effort to establish and maintain friendships. In rural areas and in old times, encounters happened, they did not need to be forced into existence.

My thesis here is the sense of community has become strained, and will likely continue to be such, where it even exists. When it becomes strained, many will not make the effort, as we have other methods of entertainment. The sense of Stoic cosmos, we humans are one, will also become strained, is now strained. We compete for scarce resources, for jobs, for money, for parking spaces, for housing in some areas. I do not see as much community as before. The Stoic refrain, we are all one, related through humanity, is also strained where it even exists.

As the atheist truth is recognized churches, on of the old community insensitive, will decline, and could be replaced with something like community meeting halls. So far, these have not developed much other than as retirement organization, but fail to attract much support due in part to the personalities and beliefs of there core members, and there elitist attitudes. This is my opinion of the three groups that I checked out.

As I become older and background noise interferes hearing and sound sorting, places with noisy backgrounds are less attractive. I am but one that such environment discourage. How many others are there like me out there? Overpopulation is the basic problem that lies at the root of the issue. As population grows there is always a growing group of misfits that must be supported. What can I say, now I am part of those misfits.

Rigorous honesty, truth as I know it, and what do I know?  


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Personality Modifications

Can we change our personality, how much, and should we? Our personality is used to describe our thinking, feeling and behaviors, and then there is disorders. So then, personality disorders are unacceptable ways of thinking, feeling or behaving. How do we separate these from our beliefs, as our beliefs control our personalities?

I avoid interacting with other people because so many other people are concerned with what I consider trivial shit, or that are wastes of money, or are just not interesting, but all that make me self-centered. Other people cause me stress, it is just easier to stay away from them. Being alone is more comfortable that being around those who make me uncomfortable. Sad, but it is my survival I am concerned with. Why is it me that must change? Or is there any need of change?

If we can control our personality, what kind of personality should I pick and what should be the criteria? I have always been an analytical sort of person, quiet, not high sociable gadfly that is concerned with everybody, and knows nothing. That is not likely to change much. I value knowledge, understanding, not social interaction.

Who said we have physical needs for food, sex, exercise, and perhaps companionship? Schopenhauer perhaps, but it does not matter. Our relative need may vary widely for any of these items. A person who works alone, sometimes for days at a time, or does a insular analytical job but around people needs to function well with low human contact. As a technical expert, I need time to think, to meditate, to contemplate the issues, mostly alone. Now, that I am retired with no intention of doing any more consulting or unpopular work, that does not matter.

Back when I was young and the computer was just being talked about, many predicted that we would have all this free spare time, and would need thing to do. So  what did we end up doing? Working, having excess money compared to what we had before, and we spent it on things that freed more time to work harder and longer, but we have so much more, and no time to do anything like talk to the neighbors. It is this rush that has created the demand for more, and that is the result of this computer age. We spend more time but produce less. That which we produce has less value, and we have many more comforts. There was a back to the land movement in the 60 and 70, so what happened to it? We got old working, for the man or ourselves, to fill our desires.

Hedonistic adaptation takes many forms. Our needs expand to fill either the available or the available money and time. Either way, our needs change, unless we control our needs by controlling our desires. I did not need a new pickup often, the old one would do just fine. I wanted space so that I was not hearing the neighbors, as coming from a farm, I valued my space. I am now on a acreage, and due to trees, I cannot see the neighbors houses much. I can hear industry some of the time. We need to live in a suitable location for piece of mind. When the obvious problems of our nation are not being addressed by government, and are actually being made worse by the government, what should one do? Nobody is listening. Oh well, shit happens.

And for all this, I am trying to make myself into a better person? WTF. Honesty, truth, justice ok. What do I know anyway?


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Non-Violence but

Non-violence is a concept of living in a non-violent world that would be good, where the whole population cooperated and flourished together. But how can non-violence work with four groups of people; criminals, police, terrorists including foreign invaders and the military? How can the population get rid of criminals and terrorists. Until we can determine a way, force is the only way to deal with the modern criminal and terrorists. So could non-violence work in the peaceful population?  It is essentially what we have between the crimes.

Much of the criminal element here in Canada does not think it is doing anything wrong. They are selling product and services the there customers want, or providing the need, so that others may sell the services. Drugs, sex, and the like are the first part, and those whose actions and insurance is the second part. And what about Quzi criminals, not quite criminal, but depending on the criminal element for support, aka, theft insurance, and the criminal legal system defendants. Oh well.

Non violence worked in India for a number of reasons. Nobody had much, most lived hand to mouth. The English in control were not total savages, and would not kill without reason. India was a money pit to England, and the people had a death denying  religion, reincarnation or rebirth. What have I ever lost in dying? They had no fear of death. Death was all about them and had been for there entire lives, nothing new there. There were also many ascetics, up to one third of the population by some accounts, and a cast system that most of the population were lower than cattle. Gandhi came along and offered hope, as a dream merchant, and delivered some of that dream, a free India, but with a tremendous loss of life by the time it was over, with two Pakistan's and India separated. 

To clean up this country, we cannot beat the criminals. We need to remove the profits from crime; legalize and tax all the big criminal sources of revenue. Drugs, sex are straight forward. Pawn shops and resale of stolen items must have high penalties, equal to the crime, for without them, there would be no reason to steal much, only for your own use. Things like reverse engineering would need to end, the combined lot should be treated as one, and all convicted equally, and with vigor.

So ultimately, the virtue of non-violence must be allowed to slide down the virtue priority list for now, and self-preservation, and our own peace of mind must rise above this one. In-fact, our own peace of mind may need to be on the very top always, to be part of a flourishing life.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Honesty, truth and the future

If you want a change, make a change. The future is changed in the present. There are no fairies or other supernatural occurrences. We life from birth to death; that is all there is. It is in this life that we must do our good dead's, else we will be... well what is the people based punishment... shunned? excluded? exiled? imprisoned? sent to work camps? ignored? disinherited? die off alone or with a group of other derelicts? what? 

When we look around the world, religion and those seeking power create considerable problems. Or they are pushing some religion. If they also want wealth, and choose to take land and property by force, and force a group of subjects to believe something, that is just wrong. ISIS, Syria, and the whole Islamic world is doing this, and it is just wrong. And then there is South Sudan. General depopulation of the region -- is the nice way of describing the situation, but just wrong.

We can take any religion and divide the teachings into two heaps, virtues and explanation by story. The explanations by story are just story, they are trying to explain something they do not understand or have the words to describe. These are largely irreverent to much, but are just story. Then there are the virtues which they wish to force on people. Some are good, some are bad, and then there is priority. What was relevant 1500 years ago is just irrelevant today, or has different priorities, and yet some is more relevant today. Though shalt not kill, steal, take, misappropriate, have sex with, or sexual depravity, other forms of  enslavement, force to act in specific ways, general moral behaviors, are just as important today as ever. How we think is somewhat irrelevant, just as long as we have suitable moral behaviors and values; but without reason, we cannot have knowledge, and without knowledge, we are unlikely to have peace. Peace is not as severe as non-violence, for with true non-violence, even police would not be needed. That should be the target, but knowing we can never really achieve that.

So what is needed is a universal moral code of behavior for all peoples and voluntary adherence to that code. "Do unto others as you would they do unto you", or the Confucianism contra claim of "Do not do unto others those things which you would not accept to be done to you" may be better places to start. There is considerable space between these two guidelines. Doing something to people "for there own good", even when they are opposed, must also be forbidden. They may need to hurt to see the light of a better way. Pain is changeful. 

Now the big question is how to reach people who do not want to change because they are "right", everybody else is wrong? I, being right, is the only way to have confidence. If there was wrong done, it was done by others. What I say are virtues and virtues and must be followed... ayh, sure. Non-violence must be one of the founding values, and a system of virtues that all good people can follow must be worked out, and sold to the masses. If it is complete enough, others will adopt it, this I must believe. Non-aggression, must be a founding policy. Then there is the question of how does one compel those who do not wish to adhere to the policy, and there will be the evil ones who see a greed based path forward? It must be complete enough not to need any god concept, so acceptance of doubt and living with not knowing must be part of the belief system.

We live in an overpopulated world. We need to control the population else-wise there will be much suffering. Perhaps a monk movement... the brother hood and sister hood of free thinkers.... to take ourselves out of popular society... and form the new order ... and in several generations... but wait we need to celibate... so we would need to grow by taking in people ... like the Shakers... to create a world ethics code... world moral code... virtue code...

Is anyone interested in developing fleshing out the concept...

Honesty, truth, non-violence, compassion...  What do I know anyway?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Sage, attitude and virtues

Each religion has it's sages, or ideal wise person. These seldom actually exist, but are composites of the ideal. These can be described as an ideal attitudes, virtues and world view. As we look into this breakout further, each religions sage is far different. So what should the "ideal person" look like.

First the Christian would be compassionate, to the point of giving up everything they own to help others. That would be irrational, and not good for the next generation, but early Christians were not concerned with the next generation, the messiah was coming back. They would do everything for others. Get real. They do it for themselves, because they think doing for others is a great virtue, and that generates a good feeling in them. Buddha was right, everything we do is for us first, and second for other people. Anyone who says otherwise is creating a self induced delusion.

The Buddhist ideal person is honest and truthful, peace loving, non-violent passive aggressive, doing good for himself and others around him. He is part of his community, working for his community that supports him. Note that Buddha was part of the overpopulation solution at the time, up to one third of the population were ascetics, they went off and did not reproduce, but were part of the meditative/contemplative life style. These became the depository of information, learning, and the contemplative lifestyle. Note that some did not learn, but rather created or continued superstition rituals and as such frustrated scientific development and social advancement. This is common of many of the iron age religions, Islam, Christianity as well.

The Stoics and Buddhist were very astute at psychological observation, and as a result both recognized that our delusion of what should happen, our desires, and the frustration of those desires and delusions cause mental suffering, and that freedom from suffering can be achieved by letting go of those desires and delusions and following a virtuous life, even if the virtues and different. This is essentially the same as Positive Psychology. They both realized that self change was the way to peace, and going with the flow was the easy way. The right way was always to do what was right, and then all wrong was done by others, we could rest easy in the joy of satisfaction that we were right, and take peace in that. One thing only, our thinking is up to us and thinking that makes it so.

The Stoics and Buddhist recognized impermanence, non-self, and emptiness, the importance of living in the present time, the chain of causation stretching back into essentially infinite time but in different words. They recognized evolution and heredity, the importance of reputation. They both knew the importance of contemplation and meditation, and unhurried decision often based on inadequate data, and the separation of reason and feelings or passions. They both understood the gaps between perceptions and automatic mental processes, the gap between memory and both the conscious and unconscious parts of the brain, and indeed the important gap between mind and volition. They also struggled with the link between automation memory and volition. There wise man need to understand all this as human ingrained dogma that can be modified with effort, but is always there.

Confucianism has first a set of virtues, respect, loyalty, obedience, relationships, and there wise man will live these, without question. They will never ask why, but just obey.

This blind adherence to the principals is also Islamic characteristic that creates so much problem in the world. Some political land grabbing ego-manic can convince believers to follow and away we go down some radical path in search of a conceptual heaven.

So where does all this leave us? Not confused, for I understand and separate attitudes, virtues, and world view. My world view is science, reason, and the like. My attitude is exploring the understanding, and I, like many, am still unsure as to which virtues are best to hold highest. Faith, blind compassion and hope are vices, not virtues. The future is changed in the present. Inner peace can be found in knowing that if I do virtuous acts, any fault lies elsewhere. Educating others of the right path is a virtuous act, even if the path is hazy.     

Honesty, truth, non-violence, moderate compassion, and moderation in self control may be today's virtues.... But what do I know?

Perhaps a virtue of the day?      

Friday, March 4, 2016

essence of religion

What is the "essence of religion"?

It is about control of the population, primarily control, but there is a secondary concern of guidance toward virtue, but each religion has a different set of virtues that they hold high. We could describe any religion as a list of do and do not do's. We could take the five pillars of Islam or the ten commandments as the start of those lists. That give an idea about what those two are about, maintaining the religion first, and then perhaps the people. This is just wrong. I think that our personal list of the virtues we hold high is important, while the religions are of low importance or even evil.

Buddhism and Stoicism is about virtues, and living by virtues, but Buddhism gets sidetracked into meditation practice, rather than the use of meditation or contemplation. It is through contemplation that one can select the better looking available path. Note that I did not say correct, for until we get to the end and evaluate the then past, can we really make the judgement of correctness.

The next problem arises in selecting from the better looking available paths. It must be known, be available, and practical give all of life's constraints. When I look back over all the career choices that I made, some were likely poorer choices, but I owned a house, debt free. I had a run of good fortune early on in life, and was then tied to the property, location, and similar encumbrances when the economy turned down here. Now what? Do I sell at a loss, or do I wait the economy out? Well, I decided to wait it out, and recovery took too long, and by the time it recovered, I was too old. But I did OK, just not as well as in the early years. Decisions should not come with regret.

Contemplation is great, but we must stay in the present time, not get tracked into the past as I did there. A bit of a plan for the future is fine, even necessary, but religions do not help much there. They a like positive psychology, lay out a path, but not provide a clear direction, when it is the lack of direction that creates much of the problem. Meditation, as described in the modern Buddhist literature, Surya Das or Kabat-Zinn, are lovely ways of sitting but may not produce tangible results for a long period of time. Oh well. These require faith that meditation has value. Not a good thing in such time as we live in with tremendous amount of possible concepts to choose from.

The first item on the virtue list is faith, faith that the belief system is right. Stoicism considers faith to be a vice, and that is where it belongs. So if we accept this one tenet of Stoicism, all religions are screwed. We also need to consider one virtue at a time, and we soon see that as we sort, belief in any supernatural concepts must go. Meditation as taught by the early Buddhists and some forms of Buddhism, seems like a different cat from most of the modern teachers. It is much more of quiet contemplation, and there are even writing forms, as the candle meditation, where each distracting thought is written. That quickly get to the problem. It may also be that each person has a style that best suits there personality.

So religion may serve as a distraction from life, or a subject to focus on as a group for the benefit of community. A community needs a cause that can never be realized, for as soon as it it reached, it stops being a motivator. We also see dropout rates along the way, as well as washouts, those that leave before they have seen substantial progress. We saw this same phenomena in OA, and in most service clubs, even sports clubs.

We have the responsibility to choose which virtues that should be where on our personal priority list. I think that non-violence need to move up in my personal list. Non-violence is more stringent than peace, in that peace, the current connotation is no fighting, whereas nonviolence suggests that even preparation for violence and even swatting a troublesome child would be forbidden.  This is something that a whole culture or community would need to undertake for it to work.

Food pushing is another think that is cultural and not helping the obesity situation. That alone may be one of the single largest factors in the obesity epidemic. It is everywhere. We must resist.

Respect, truth, non-violence, moderate compassion, and moderation in self control.... But what do I know?  



Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Which Virtues?

Almost every religion calls for virtuous life, and that is necessary and sufficient for a contented life. The issue arises when question which virtues are highest in prority. Here is my list of the top four virtues for a few religions, as the literature indicates.

Christianity - the religion aka faith, humility, surrender, acceptance
Islam - the religion aka faith, surrender, obedience, following
Buddhism - truth, peace, compassion/loving kindness, Reason
Jaine - Non-violence aka peace, truth, knowledge, belief
Confucianism - Respect (shown and demonstrated both ways), relationships, obedience, loyalty
Stoicism - Reason, wisdom, self-control aka moderation, persistence, courage, justice

What verity. Note the big difference that Christianity and Islam put the religion ahead of the individual. This just seems wrong, for it is we individuals who must be provide for, even Buddha puts self first, help yourself and then help others. Be happy and make others happy. That we place ourselves first is natural and reasonable, regardless of what others say.

Those that say we should serve others and thereby receive are missing the real point, that unless we enjoy what we are doing, we will be miserable. Altruism is a fine concept but it does not match with human reason. It is like photo radar for safety, not money grab. Poppy-cock. 

It is currently my thinking that respect, truth, non-violence, self-control ( mental portion only*) should be the top four. This will be difficult in the present environment.

* this eating disorder has physical and chemical components to it, that is to say it is not a mind function that we have complete control over. For many of us it is a over driven biological urge, and we may not be able to resist consistently, as much as we or others would like or think we should be able to. We may need to do things to modify the urges, that others do not need to do. It can be and is difficult. I know some who the control of food is a life controlling obsession. It is not there fault; they have survived this long. In previous generation we damaged people we just allowed to die off.

Respect, truth, peace, and moderation I hope. But what do I know?