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Thread: Why are we still in these dark times?

  1. #1 Why are we still in these dark times? 
    Forum Freshman GreatBigBore's Avatar
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    I'm sure that every five-year-old has asked the same question, but I missed my chance when I was five. I look around at all of the war and other horror going on, and I'm absolutely baffled. We are capable of so much. Why aren't we spending billions of dollars on education and health? Why aren't the myriad human psychological studies being put to good use in our education systems? Why is there still starvation all over the place?

    Seems like our education systems should be singling out the geniuses in all areas and getting them together with other geniuses, and helping to guide public policy into better waters. Why aren't we doing this sort of thing? I know that we've taken great strides since the Dark Ages, but it seems like we should be much further along by now, given everything we know about how the universe works, especially given everything we now about how our minds work.

    We should be controlling stars and galaxies, and even spacetime itself by now. What's holding us back?


    The most exciting phrase to hear in science is not “Eureka” but “That’s funny...” -- Isaac Asimov
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    My idea is to gather the smartest , wisest and most able. All the experts on their fields in the world and those with the best genetic material etc and start a nation focused on science and progress with the very elite of humanity in the seat of global power. Then proceed to kill of the "worms" and focus our love and resources on those who deserve it.

    "The means justify the end, if the end means never having to use the means again" You can quote me on that.

    This is what has to be done to survive and prosper in the long run. However humanity is to "human" to survive. Kinda ironic.

    Dont get me wrong i value good, truth, strength and all other positive virtues. But i simply believe we are way to kind against the cruel to ever do what is needed to survive.


    A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. - David Stevens
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  4. #3  
    Forum Masters Degree Twit of wit's Avatar
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    Raziell: Sounds exactly like randist pseudo-religion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatBig
    I'm sure that every five-year-old has asked the same question, but I missed my chance when I was five. I look around at all of the war and other horror going on, and I'm absolutely baffled. We are capable of so much. Why aren't we spending billions of dollars on education and health? Why aren't the myriad human psychological studies being put to good use in our education systems? Why is there still starvation all over the place?
    Your questions seem to be rooted in the assumption that humanity has advanced beyond its primal nature. The reality, in my opinion, is that we have not. All of us, intellect notwithstanding, remain slaves to our primitive, primal, and savage nature. My opinion is based on the basal nature of conscious brain function.

    Mounts of brain research show how our brain activations and activity arise through those processes and functions of the most primitive parts of our central nervious system (CNS). We inherited these primitive structures from our animal ancestors who required their basal and instinctural drives to survive a primitive and savage world. We have only recently, in our evolutionary history, developed a brain structure (cortex) giving us the capacity to override our primal nature with proper programming via input from life experience. However, we are bound by the construct of our CNS to interpret every experience through the primitive within us first. We walk a thin and fragile line tittering between civility and savagery. We are an obtuse, self-serving, short-sighted, self-destructive primitive species whose relative existence on earth, when compared to other extinct species, will be comparable to the lifespan of a mayfly should we remain on our present course--in my opinion.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twit of wit
    Raziell: Sounds exactly like randist pseudo-religion.
    I looked her up in wiki. Seem to possess some similarities i guess. What i want is a world ruled by logic and rationality and not emotion, truth and not lies, quality and not quantity. I also consider myself a moral nihilist, a libertine and a freethinker. If Ayn rand favor the same philosophy then atleast i know im not alone



    "A non-mainstream belief system or philosophy which is functionally similar to a religious movement" Is the definition from wiki on pseudo religion. I find it confusing that religion also includes philosofical beliefs with no belief in any god or theism whatsoever, because i have never considered myself religious.
    A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. - David Stevens
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  7. #6  
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    You're right in that this sounds a bit like a 5yo question, but it is a big one. The simple answer: Not all of us want this kind of world. Or rather, most of us are either too busy with our personal concerns to care about the rest and most of those in power are actually willing to sacrifice the good of the planet for personal gain. Most people who climb up high enough to make policy are either already like this or become so preoccupied with maintaining their position that they basically sell out the rest of us. Look at how hard it was to pass our healthcare bill (and it's not even that great!) Look at all the problems we have even convincing the public of Global Warming and not using oil. There are tons of people lobbying against these causes, because they prefer to make more money now or have more power now than to have a better society or planet for the masses. The projects you propose will be done only if and when they become profitable enough for the people who get to call the shots. Most people are not as empathetic or sympathetic or curious about the world as you (or I) are. This is why we think of your question as something only a child would ask...

    DrmDoc makes a good point, which is mostly in line with what I say above. (Although I'm very uncomfortable with words like "primitive" and "animal ancestors" - we are animals) Most people really are self-serving and greedy assholes, and they would likely laugh at this thread's question.

    Razi, do not become a Rand cult member. lol Her most famous book is Atlas Shrugged. I think it's like the Bible for her cult. (correct me if I'm wrong here) You can read that and see if you still like her. The thing is, she has SOME good ideas, but quite extreme.
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    corruption, corruption, curroption, greed, greed ,greed X 8 sideways and selfishness
    Once a door is opened it never truly closes
    Once a door is closed new ones are open
    Two concepts forever intwined it is you decision to make them for the better or the worse.

    Being invisble lets you run away from pain
    Being visible gives you irraplacable experiences.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Topalk
    corruption, corruption, curroption, greed, greed ,greed X 8 sideways and selfishness
    Pretty much.

    Again, overpopulation - lack of control - slaves to our nature - to short life span in humans to give a damn. These give nourishment to corruption, greed and selfishness IMO.
    A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it. - David Stevens
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    Forum Freshman GreatBigBore's Avatar
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    Strangely enough, six months ago I would have agreed with the sentiments here: by and large, we're greedy, selfish, short-sighted assholes. But lately I've begun to see something different. Greed, selfishness, etc., are corruptions of our instincts, not our true nature. Sure, we've evolved to be cunning and calculating, but we've also produced a gigantic body of written work that shows us how great we could really become. We just need a new way of thinking.

    I'm on a mission to find someone, or a group of someones, who are trying out new ways of thinking, ways that will get us to stop thinking only about the current moment, ways that will inspire us to be all that we could be as a species. What if we're the only intelligence in the entire universe? Unlikely, but possible. If so, then we are the brains of the universe: the universe for the last 14B years has been a piece of machinery, but is now poised to become a living thing, with us as the mind. If that sounds too hokey, then how about this: we could at least learn from the ants and form a peaceful civilization.

    What are we? How did we get here? Why should anything exist at all? How can we drive HIV to extinction instead of Tasmanian tigers and dodo birds? How can we eliminate starvation? We can answer these questions, I'm sure of it. We just have to find a new way of thinking, one that lifts us above our short-sightedness and shows us how amazing we could really be.

    Who's with me?
    The most exciting phrase to hear in science is not “Eureka” but “That’s funny...” -- Isaac Asimov
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatBig
    Greed, selfishness, etc., are corruptions of our instincts, not our true nature. Sure, we've evolved to be cunning and calculating, but we've also produced a gigantic body of written work that shows us how great we could really become.
    The opposite of greed and selfishness could be perceived as magnanimity, which is not our true nature. Our true nature is to survive first as an individual, second as a family, third as a race, and finally as a species in this precise order. These are all selfish pursuits of likely detriment to any and everything beyond the parameters of our survival interests. We will do whatever we have to and violate the prevailing mores of every society to satisfy our self-centric survival needs. This is the unredeemable nature of humanity. We are destined, like all other lifeforms on this planet, to follow our nature.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Masters Degree Twit of wit's Avatar
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    DrmDoc:
    You have the order reversed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twit
    DrmDoc:
    You have the order reversed.
    Do I? What do you perceive to be the initial survival instinct of a newborn? Do you believe the behavior of a newborn is driven by an interest in its species survival first and its own survival lastly? In which order do you believe a newborn experiences or learns which heirarchal survival interest has precedence above the others? I think the order I've provided is accurate.
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  14. #13  
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    Sorry, I thought you mean importance, not chronological order.
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  15. #14  
    Forum Freshman Porphyrogenita's Avatar
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    We do have these other ways of thinking. There are tons of people around the world who care about these things and are actually doing quite a bit about it. You should probably look into joining a group or two. Unless you don't believe in them, which is a different story.

    I'm with you in principle, but we just can't get enough power to turn things around. The people with actual power don't want to, and they probably face all sorts of pressures and constraints even if they do want to.

    We have to live in a society where curiosity and empathy are valued more than power and wealth. This would be pretty hard to achieve, since power and wealth work better for individuals who want to maximize their survival and reproduction chances - which is most everyone. Do you have an idea for how to achieve that society without getting too dystopian novelish?

    DrmDoc, not that I disagree with your argument, but we don't "naturally care about surviving as a race" since race is not a biological category. In fact, about 80% of variation among perceived racial groups can also be found within each of those "groups." We are one species, that's it. Race and ethnicity are political socially constructed categories, which means that they can't be a part of any survival instinct. They are related to our desire to label and categorize and divide, but not any instinct to survive separate from surviving as a species.
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  16. #15  
    Forum Freshman GreatBigBore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Porphyrogenita
    We do have these other ways of thinking. There are tons of people around the world who care about these things and are actually doing quite a bit about it. You should probably look into joining a group or two.
    Exactly, but I don't know what groups are on this frequency. Sure, there are groups that work against starvation, but I'm wondering which groups are thinking bigger than that: how can we end starvation immediately, for example, or how can we knock out HIV? Some group that is trying to pull together a lot of experts who can come up with some really good ideas about how to get this place cleaned up.
    The most exciting phrase to hear in science is not “Eureka” but “That’s funny...” -- Isaac Asimov
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prophy
    DrmDoc, not that I disagree with your argument, but we don't "naturally care about surviving as a race" since race is not a biological category. In fact, about 80% of variation among perceived racial groups can also be found within each of those "groups." We are one species, that's it. Race and ethnicity are political socially constructed categories, which means that they can't be a part of any survival instinct.
    Instinctively, self-survival is our primary nature and goal. All other heiarchal survival interests are outcomes of this primary survival pursuit. As I asked in previous comments, "In which order do you believe a newborn experiences or learns which heirarchal survival interest has precedence above the others?" Although we are a single species and race and ethnicity may be constructed categories, species, race and/or ethnicity do indeed follow a natural order of progression from our primary survival interest at birth. That progression is the order in which we first become cognizant of what may directly serve our survival interests, followed by what may serve those interests indirectly. The order I provided flows from the most direct to the most indirect interest.
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  18. #17  
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    Why don't you do something about it instead of asking these questions?

    Words NEVER, and I mean, NEVER EVER change anything! Even on the internet, NO, especially on the internet.

    But don't worry, I'll eventually change the world, NO, the universe, to it's perfection, but these are still - just words...
    Stupid is trial and error. Mostly error.
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  19. #18  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mindissilent
    Words NEVER, and I mean, NEVER EVER change anything! .
    Wrong.

    I have a dream.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by mindissilent
    Words NEVER, and I mean, NEVER EVER change anything! .
    Wrong.

    I have a dream.
    Let me make it clearer, saying that there is a problem, won't fix the problem.
    Stupid is trial and error. Mostly error.
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  21. #20  
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    Yet Martin Luther King's words contributed to the solution by generating inspiration and action in a multitude of persons and communities. The words changed the way people saw the world and each other, and the words changed the world.

    Words are more powerful than any bullet.
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Yet Martin Luther King's words contributed to the solution by generating inspiration and action in a multitude of persons and communities. The words changed the way people saw the world and each other, and the words changed the world.

    Words are more powerful than any bullet.
    Yet again, words are much easier forgotten, than a bullet.

    What you're talking about is a typical 'promising politician' situation. Changes happen only when actions are taken and orders are signed. Hitler for example had an ideology too, people listened, they shouted, and they showed all other signs of clarification. But, they began to fear, only, when the evil plan to take over the world felt into motion, how?, by using the force of the army.

    Same with Martin, he told the crowd a lot of stuff for their brains to grasp, but I bet only 10% or less remember what exactly he told them. Only what happened after - the freedom, liberty, put into action, because that's the only thing that mattered.

    Once, G. W. Bush visited my country, with his BIG SPEECH, and I don't remember anything he said. Something about protecting the country from enemies etc. etc. And it means nothing, until the enemy strikes and US shows some gut.
    Stupid is trial and error. Mostly error.
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by mindissilent
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Words are more powerful than any bullet.
    Yet again, words are much easier forgotten, than a bullet.
    No. I remember Martin Luther King's words very clearly, as do millions of others. I have no recollection of the calibre of the bullet which killed him.

    Quote Originally Posted by mindissilent
    Changes happen only when actions are taken and orders are signed.
    What promotes the actions? What leads to the signing of orders? Words. Words of passion, words of intent, sometimes words of malice, but words inspire, enthuse, motivate and - in the mouths of leaders - generate the actions you seem to think paramount.

    Quote Originally Posted by mindissilent
    Hitler for example had an ideology too, people listened, they shouted, and they showed all other signs of clarification. But, they began to fear, only, when the evil plan to take over the world felt into motion, how?, by using the force of the army..
    I imagine you meant something here, but the meaning is obscure and ambiguous.

    Quote Originally Posted by mindissilent
    Same with Martin, he told the crowd a lot of stuff for their brains to grasp, but I bet only 10% or less remember what exactly he told them.
    Bet as you will, close to 100% remember what the words meant and what they promised and what actions they would have to take to make the promise reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by mindissilent
    Only what happened after - the freedom, liberty, put into action, because that's the only thing that mattered.
    And none of the actions would have occured without the words to ignite them.

    Quote Originally Posted by mindissilent
    Once, G. W. Bush visited my country, with his BIG SPEECH, and I don't remember anything he said. .
    This tells us much more about you than about G.W.Bush or the power of words.

    midissilent, on this point you are simply wrong. I see that it will be impossible to persuade you - my arguments have failed, words have failed in this instance, but I imagine beating you senseless (a definitive action) wouldn't work either.
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  24. #23  
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    I admit it, words do make changes.
    Stupid is trial and error. Mostly error.
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by mindissilent
    I admit it, words do make changes.
    Wow. That took some courage. Props. I mean it. No sarcasm.
    The most exciting phrase to hear in science is not “Eureka” but “That’s funny...” -- Isaac Asimov
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell

    I looked her up in wiki. Seem to possess some similarities i guess. What i want is a world ruled by logic and rationality and not emotion, truth and not lies, quality and not quantity. I also consider myself a moral nihilist, a libertine and a freethinker. If Ayn rand favor the same philosophy then atleast i know im not alone
    Oh God, if Rand was still alive today I'd kick her right in the face. Not so much because of her nonsensical "Objectivism," but for writing that worthless waste of trees The Fountainhead.
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    True - The world is a cesspit of evil and corruption. Look at the USA, look at Africa to name just 2.

    To ask a couple of questions on this...

    Why the insatiable lust for power?

    What kind of person wants to be leader of a country?

    Let's look at the candidates

    Candidates up for election who use dirty tactics to DISCREDIT the opposition.
    It's not so much - why you should vote for me as much why you shouldn't vote for the others.

    They lie so much - THESE are the people WE elect to run our countries.

    It seems that in most places, the people elected to run the countries have similar character traits - maybe not as outwardly obvious as Kim Jong Il but I would put him and Dick Cheney in a similar category of mentally ill.

    They all want to be in charge. They all have this desire for power
    And once they have power in their country - the need for more (like a drug addict has to keep increasing the dose to get the same kick) takes them to wanting more power and if they can get it... they will try.

    Politicians at the top - people in charge of huge corporations... - look at Monsanto and how criminal they are.... BP... Enron... etc etc etc.


    My point is... people who want good, equality, real fairness, everyone to get along, everyone to be happy... .. people who want this are not usually the kinds of people who run for prime minister, president etc ... who - unfortunately - can start wars without the people's consent.

    The best scientists, engineers etc.... it seems to me, they do what they do because they love it... it's the politicians who seem to want to take what these geniuses do and turn everything they do into more efficient ways of killing people.

    It's our fault too...... if more people were prepared to do something for 'The common good' they would ... stop or reduce use of their cars... recycle more... use less electricity. Join societies and groups that demand fairness.. and things like REAL investment into solar energy... and so many many other things.

    Personally.. it makes me really angry.... and as the Italian saying goes.. IL POPOLO E` BUE. which is along the lines of ... people are sheep.
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  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatBigBore
    Sure, there are groups that work against starvation, but I'm wondering which groups are thinking bigger than that: how can we end starvation immediately, for example
    Ending starvation is likely to be self-defeating. Once you get more resources (food, for example), then you eventually get more people and get back to where you started with. It's called the Malthusian trap, and we (the West) will probably fall back in it sooner or later.
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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    Quote Originally Posted by GreatBigBore
    Sure, there are groups that work against starvation, but I'm wondering which groups are thinking bigger than that: how can we end starvation immediately, for example
    Ending starvation is likely to be self-defeating. Once you get more resources (food, for example), then you eventually get more people and get back to where you started with. It's called the Malthusian trap, and we (the West) will probably fall back in it sooner or later.
    Malthusian catastrophe is known to be false, the true reason is The Iron Law of Wages.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twit of wit
    Quote Originally Posted by DrNesbit
    Quote Originally Posted by GreatBigBore
    Sure, there are groups that work against starvation, but I'm wondering which groups are thinking bigger than that: how can we end starvation immediately, for example
    Ending starvation is likely to be self-defeating. Once you get more resources (food, for example), then you eventually get more people and get back to where you started with. It's called the Malthusian trap, and we (the West) will probably fall back in it sooner or later.
    Malthusian catastrophe is known to be false, the true reason is The Iron Law of Wages.
    Wow. This hypothesis is false because this hypothesis is true. I'll remember this post.
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    Yeah, I was very impressed too, especially when you consider that both Wikipedia links are roughly discussing the same concept from two different angles.
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    Code:
    We should be controlling stars and galaxies,
    and even spacetime itself by now.
    What's holding us back?
    If you follow the hitler thought it should be answered simple,
    ""the inferior ones are preventing it to happen".

    If you follow the religious thought it should be answered simple,
    ""its the lord wishes to keep it secret"".

    And what you see everyday,is a mistaken all for the business play
    for the money and experiment.
    Then everyones hiding through a bear time for raise pollution,
    seeking a freedom about what is free for a worker time and waste on disposable.

    The big clean sweep thats for all been talking about,is to clean its mess.

    Then to back at the first thought "Again",
    to prevent the inferior ones one more time.

    The humanity war circle to begin pleasure for another play.

    Thanks for the question.
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    I have difficulty understanding why so many proclaim these to be dark days and the end of times. I have a full belly. I have no fear of murder, disease or political oppression. I expect to live a long, happy life. These statements, I would be hard pressed to make at any other time in history.
    Co-producer of Red Oasis
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  34. #33  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kukhri
    I have difficulty understanding why so many proclaim these to be dark days and the end of times. I have a full belly. I have no fear of murder, disease or political oppression. I expect to live a long, happy life. These statements, I would be hard pressed to make at any other time in history.
    I'm thinking of the billions of people who can't say anything like this. I would have hoped that in this day of education, medicine, technology, etc., we would have eradicated starvation, oppression, disease, inequality, racism, war, etc.

    I'm also hoping that we can ensure that these are definitely NOT the end of times. But we need to change, and soon, or global warming will make sure that at least for humans, the end is near.
    The most exciting phrase to hear in science is not “Eureka” but “That’s funny...” -- Isaac Asimov
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  35. #34 Crucial Considerations 
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    Perhaps the problem is due to our evolutionary history--which so often seems in conflict with our intellect. We have evolved to possess a primal survival instinct, which has served us well for millions of years. It is only recently that human brains have evolved a form of consciousness that allows for compassion and introspection, and it shouldn't come as a surprise that this recent development is sometimes in conflict with our much older primal instincts.

    This is not to excuse our frequent outrageous behavior, only to possibly explain it. It seems to me that greed and self-interest are part of a more primitive survival strategy--and much as I abhor them, these base human qualities bear much of the credit for our success as a species.

    If we are to abandon our competitive, aggressive, and sometimes violent instincts, we must be sure that they are replaced by a strategy that assures our survival equally well. History is replete with examples of passive nations being conquered by more aggressive ones, which raises the following possibility: What if humans finally did learn to be kind, compassionate, and selfless beings? What if we developed an entirely passive and altruistic global society--and then aliens from another world paid us a visit and decided we were an easy target for their own aggression? In that scenario, our good will, compassion and passivity might lead to our extinction.

    My point is that a balance must be struck between generous and egocentric behavior, between altruism and selfishness.

    GreatBigBore is certainly right: we could be much further along that we are--but compared to what? We create our own human destiny as we go. One could just as easily argue that we are much more morally and technologically developed in our short history than we should be.

    The real proof of the pudding will come from what Nick Bostrom calls "crucial considerations": ideas or arguments that might plausibly reveal the need for not just some minor course adjustment in our practical endeavors, but a major change of direction or priority. As he says, "If we have overlooked even just one such consideration, then all of our best efforts might be for naught." Here Nick is talking not only about moral philosophy and values, but existential risks to our entire species on this planet such as human enhancement, the simulation hypothesis, and machine intelligence.

    Our technology is developing so rapidly that we will--possibly soon--reach a point in which we will control our own evolution directly. At that point, all bets are off.
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  36. #35  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    My idea is to gather the smartest , wisest and most able. All the experts on their fields in the world and those with the best genetic material etc and start a nation focused on science and progress with the very elite of humanity in the seat of global power. Then proceed to kill of the "worms" and focus our love and resources on those who deserve it.
    If you are one of the smartest, why are you wasting your time in this forum rather than run for some high elected office (should be easy for a genius with a vision) and start changing the world?

    If you are not one of the smartest, why don't you start the worm cull by eliminating yourself?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    "The means justify the end, if the end means never having to use the means again" You can quote me on that.
    I'll quote somebody else (and I wish I knew whom):
    Your true character is revealed in how you treat people you don't need.
    Leszek. Pronounced [LEH-sheck]. The wondering Slav.
    History teaches us that we don't learn from history.
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  37. #36  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Luchowski
    I'll quote somebody else (and I wish I knew whom):
    Your true character is revealed in how you treat people you don't need.
    I think I have read something like the above quote before but not with that exact wording.
    It is pleasant to be reminded of a saying that is very true!
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    Mankind are still bound by it's selfpresevetive nature, we are ruled by emotion ..in that greed and arrogance will make us prey on the weak, and backpad our equals or stronger friends.

    Too many are naive and sees ourselves as beings of logic and reason, but forgets greed and cynisism.
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  39. #38  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kukhri
    I have difficulty understanding why so many proclaim these to be dark days and the end of times. I have a full belly. I have no fear of murder, disease or political oppression. I expect to live a long, happy life. These statements, I would be hard pressed to make at any other time in history.
    Agreed.

    There is an ancient sample of graffiti, made by an Egyptian priest, that reads, "End times are upon us. The crops fail. The youth no longer heed their elders." I gather from history, that two constants are peoples' taking their own times too seriously, and looking for problems. Fear and struggle are human needs.

    On the other hand, if looking for trouble is in our nature, then as our environment becomes more human/civilized we'll be "fixing" each other more than nature.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  40. #39  
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    Quote Originally Posted by HexHammer
    Mankind are still bound by it's selfpresevetive nature, we are ruled by emotion ..in that greed and arrogance will make us prey on the weak, and backpad our equals or stronger friends.

    Too many are naive and sees ourselves as beings of logic and reason, but forgets greed and cynisism.
    I totally agree. We all like to classify ourselves as logical and intelligent, and our neighbour as, well ......... less so.

    It's just how we are, it's human nature, it's cynicism - and interestingly, it is also an observation that becomes less apparent to the less intelligent or less educated among us; those who by definition are; more emotional.

    The above is furthermore a definition of subjectivity – the natural human condition, which as you correctly note - is indelibly underscored by our emotions, and which I would suggest; in turn promotes the arrogance, greed and cynicism of human nature, per your worthy reference.
    sunshinewarrior: If two people are using the same word, but applying different meanings to it, then they're not communicating.
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  41. #40  
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    Would this "arrogance, greed and cynicism" be a problem if not dumping on our own species? By "nature" I meant any problem you can pick on that is not people.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  42. #41  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Would this "arrogance, greed and cynicism" be a problem if not dumping on our own species? By "nature" I meant any problem you can pick on that is not people.
    Sorry to say, but I have no idea what you are saying/asking.
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  43. #42  
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    Sorry to say, but I have no idea what you are saying/asking.
    Well, as the mongrel said to the mule - that makes two of us!
    sunshinewarrior: If two people are using the same word, but applying different meanings to it, then they're not communicating.
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    I meant that if it is human nature to exploit, get ahead, and so forth (and I think we agree it is) that is only a problem when it's directed at each other. You know the classic conflicts of "man vs. environment" or "man vs. man". You don't mind if I direct a lot of rage and ambition at the weeds in my garden, or a crossword puzzle, or a leaking skylight, do you? It's only a problem when I exercise this same energy on people.

    We're adapted to thrive in a natural environment where suitable objects of our "arrogance, greed and cynicism" surrounded us. I pointed out that our modern environment has become highly civilized, meaning our environment is human. So, as we need to find faults and attempt solutions (I think that's a basic need of all animals), it is easier to simply pick on people, society, what's on TV. The advance of civilization is making this fall easier.

    I try to keep a clear line between people and nature when I look for problems. If I'm treating people as the problem, I'm being lazy, and, ethically, I assume the role of a competing species.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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    My good Pong, you look to close and doesn't see the greater picture.

    It isn't just from person to person, it's in buisness, politics, sports ..etc, where there are power and money our bestial nature will thrive, even on greater lvl nation vs nation. Look at how USA drew the other countries into the middle east war.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HexHammer
    it's in buisness, politics, sports ... nation vs nation
    Sure, those are all within the domain of our own species. We'd better check ourselves against the ease of viewing those as environment.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  47. #46  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by HexHammer
    it's in buisness, politics, sports ... nation vs nation
    Sure, those are all within the domain of our own species. We'd better check ourselves against the ease of viewing those as environment.
    Wake up Pong. What are they, if not our environment?

    Indeed we can also add religion and our school system to the environment we all inhabit - even if we have never been to one, and ceased attending the other. And don't forget entertainment - TV, movies, radio, magazines, newspapers, books, internet - all part of our general environment.
    sunshinewarrior: If two people are using the same word, but applying different meanings to it, then they're not communicating.
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    I'm corrected. I should have typed "the natural world" not "environment".

    Meanwhile I wonder if you're fuzzing the distinction between what is human (us) and inhuman (them). Did you suggest that religion and schooling occupy the natural world, apart from (us)? Essentially I'm asking whether your attitude toward civilization is that of an outsider or a member.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  49. #48  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I wonder if you're fuzzing the distinction between what is human (us) and inhuman (them). Did you suggest that religion and schooling occupy the natural world, apart from (us)? Essentially I'm asking whether your attitude toward civilization is that of an outsider or a member.
    Well, I’m hopeful this reply will not further confuse you, or myself for that matter.

    I would personally (perhaps strangely or incorrectly) reserve the term 'inhuman' for humans who choose/have chosen to act in a manner suggesting they belong in some form of reduced category, than perhaps the more 'normal' among us. Sadistic behaviour towards children and animals - indeed in general, immediately comes to mind, as does excessive force in order to support the individual's emotional 'needs' over others.

    I'm not sure who or what you mean by '(them)', however I would suggest; whilst subsisting in society, our 'natural world' would include such institutions as school and religion and (almost) everything else around us - for such things are, essentially 'us' – whilst a part of the immediate environment we inhabit. They may not be generally regarded ‘natural’ in the same manner as a palm tree and sand, yet they have become ‘natural’ to our everyday existence.

    I furthermore understand that a school and church buildings for instance, are not generally regarded as natural portions of landscape, however when you think about it, that is not really the ‘school’ or ‘church’ as such, which rather, is constituted by the members, teachers and pupils - who indeed make up the immediate ‘environment’. And they are all, in the general sense ‘natural’ - to some extent, even though there is another argument that most of them likely have no idea whatsoever who they really are, so how ‘natural’ can they in fact be?

    I guess I’d better leave all that right there before I get myself into more trouble.

    So if I understand your final question sufficiently, my response would be that my attitude towards civilisation is that of a member. I cannot imagine how anyone could answer any other way, unless we are speaking about Tarzan, and it has been quite some time since I enjoyed that delusion.
    sunshinewarrior: If two people are using the same word, but applying different meanings to it, then they're not communicating.
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  50. #49 Re: Why are we still in these dark times? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatBigBore
    I'm sure that every five-year-old has asked the same question, but I missed my chance when I was five. I look around at all of the war and other horror going on, and I'm absolutely baffled. We are capable of so much. Why aren't we spending billions of dollars on education and health? Why aren't the myriad human psychological studies being put to good use in our education systems? Why is there still starvation all over the place?

    Seems like our education systems should be singling out the geniuses in all areas and getting them together with other geniuses, and helping to guide public policy into better waters. Why aren't we doing this sort of thing? I know that we've taken great strides since the Dark Ages, but it seems like we should be much further along by now, given everything we know about how the universe works, especially given everything we now about how our minds work.

    We should be controlling stars and galaxies, and even spacetime itself by now. What's holding us back?
    It's simple - people are stupid. As Einstein's said: "Two things are infinite: Universe and human stupidity. And I'm not sure about the universe.".
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    We are actually at a time of peace like never before have and still progressing.
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  52. #51  
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    peace? Where is there peace?
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

    - Arnaud Amalric

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  53. #52  
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    I don't agree with the peace too... Where's there peace? Racism, different religions, many opinions, Iraq, Russia and (idk how it's in English, but wel call 'em white russians)... Show me the peace in this beginning of nonsense bs of the current world.
    Sorry for my poor English skills, I've learned it by myself... Trying to improve them, feel free to criticize, hehe.
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  54. #53 Dark times 
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    Peace is not what happens when the external environment lines up with your wishes. Peace is a conscious choice, in spite of the external environment, which may be sending you 'unpeaceful' signals.

    Peace is not a paper signed by formerly warring parties. It is the absence of conflict, and turmoil.

    Peace is not an emotion. It is the absence of emotion. It is calm, awareness, emptiness.

    Peace is not something you find without. It is something you create within.

    I came to all of these realizations by studying what I term "adaptive systems", which is a school of thought formally emerging after WWII when ideas of control and homeostasis were brought to bear on semi-autonomous machines (guided missiles, etc).

    This school of thought went variously under the terms of "cybernetics", then "general systems theory", then "chaos theory" and "complex adaptive systems".

    Basically it is the idea that everything is connected, and that in order to understand something you don't look at the "thing" so much as its relations to its environment. A thing is what it does, and it "does" within the context of a larger system of which it finds itself a part.

    Atoms are systems, but part of molecules. Molecules are parts of cells; cells parts of tissues, tissues parts of organs, organs parts of systems (digestive, skeletal, nervous, endocrine, etc), systems are parts of organisms (you and me), organisms are parts of families, families are parts of societies, etc... right up to galaxies.

    Each system is at once trying to be autonomous, to be, to act, to continue its existence, and at the same time it is trying to integrate itself into the larger system.

    Our actions are constant interplays between complementary urges to be autonomous, and to be integrated. We get out of balance when one level of the system tends to be disproportionately large, and distorts the relations of the rest.

    So my "emotions", my "feelings" are parts of my inner landscape of self, along with thoughts, plans, etc. Because "I" am a larger system than "feelings", I can choose which feelings to allow to exist. If "I" allow my "feelings" to dominate (sadness, fear, anger, confusion, shame, greed) I become unbalanced and act in ways which distort the larger systems of which I belong (family, work, society).

    Peace is a choice, just like which pair of shoes to wear, or which kind of dressing you want on your salad.

    When I choose peace, then I find that my other choices become less self destructive. Less addictive and compulsive behavior, less hard words coming out of my mouth, less "buying in" to external systems of conflict around me.

    It isn't perfection, but it seems like motion in the right direction. I have written up some of my ideas in the section called "Applications" in my website

    http://adaptingsystems.com/whysystems.aspx

    and would love to hear from others about these ideas.
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  55. #54 Re: Why are we still in these dark times? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatBigBore
    I'm sure that every five-year-old has asked the same question, but I missed my chance when I was five. I look around at all of the war and other horror going on, and I'm absolutely baffled. We are capable of so much. Why aren't we spending billions of dollars on education and health? Why aren't the myriad human psychological studies being put to good use in our education systems? Why is there still starvation all over the place?

    Seems like our education systems should be singling out the geniuses in all areas and getting them together with other geniuses, and helping to guide public policy into better waters. Why aren't we doing this sort of thing? I know that we've taken great strides since the Dark Ages, but it seems like we should be much further along by now, given everything we know about how the universe works, especially given everything we now about how our minds work.

    We should be controlling stars and galaxies, and even spacetime itself by now. What's holding us back?
    You should checkout the Actual Freedom Trust home page. I recommend the writings under /richard/ part of the site: http://www.actualfreedom.com.au/richard/

    Here's a precis:

    1. There are three ways of experiencing the world of people, things and events: 1. sensate (senses); 2. cerebral (thoughts); 3. affective (feelings). The feelings include both the affectionate and desirable emotions/passions (those that are loving and trusting) and hostile and invidious emotions/passions (those that are hateful and fearful).
    2. All sentient beings are born with instinctual passions like fear and aggression and nurture and desire genetically bestowed by blind nature which give rise to a rudimentary animal ‘self’ – which is ‘being’ itself – that human beings with their ability to think and reflect upon their mortality have transformed into a ‘me’ as soul (a ‘feeler’ in the heart) and an ‘I’ as ego (a ‘thinker’ in the head).
    3. Thus there are three I’s altogether but only one is actual (sensate) and not an identity; I am this flesh and blood body being apperceptively aware. The primary cause of all the wars and murders and rapes and tortures and domestic violence and child abuse and suicides and so on is the instinctual passions which give rise to malice and sorrow and the antidotally generated pacifiers of love and compassion which, if sublimated and transcended, give rise to Love Agapé and Divine Compassion. This ‘Tried and True’ solution to all the ills of humankind lies within the ‘Human Condition’ and, as it has had 3,000 to 5,000 years to demonstrate its efficacy, can be discarded as being the ‘Tried and Failed’.
    4. I am mortal in that I was born, I live for a period of years, then I die and death is the end, finish. The material universe is infinite and eternal and was here before I was born and will be here after I die.
    5. There are three worlds altogether but only one is actual; there is nothing other than this actual, physical universe (the normal ‘reality’ as experienced by 6.0 billion human beings is an illusion and the abnormal ‘Reality’ as experienced by 0.000001 of the population is a delusion born out of the illusion because of the self-aggrandising tendency of the narcissism born of the survival instincts).
    6. Peace-on-earth can become apparent to anyone at all irregardless of gender, age or race because the perfection of the infinitude of this spatial and temporal universe is already always here at this place in infinite space ... now at this moment in eternal time.
    7. When ‘I’ as ego and ‘me’ as soul psychologically and psychically self-immolate – which is the end of ‘being’ itself – then the answer to the ‘Mystery Of Life’ becomes evident as an on-going existential experiencing; I am this physical universe experiencing itself as a reflective, sensate human being; as me, the universe is intelligent (there is no anthropomorphic ‘Intelligence’ that is creating or running existence).
    8. There is a wide and wondrous path to actual freedom: One asks oneself, each moment again, ‘how am I experiencing this moment of being alive’? This gives rise to apperception. Apperception is the outcome of the exclusive attention paid to being alive right here and now. Apperception is to be the senses as a bare awareness, a pure consciousness experience (PCE) of the world as-it-is, which happens when the mind becomes aware of itself. Apperception is an awareness of consciousness. It is not ‘I’ being aware of ‘me’ being conscious; it is the mind’s awareness of itself.
    9. The day finally dawns where the definitive moment of being here, right now, conclusively arrives; something irrevocable takes place and every thing and every body and every event is different, somehow, although the same physically; something immutable occurs and every thing and every body and every event is all-of-a-sudden undeniably actual, in and of itself, as a fact; something irreversible happens and an immaculate perfection and a pristine purity permeates every thing and every body and every event; something has changed forever, although it is as if nothing has happened, except that the entire world is a magical fairytale-like playground full of incredible gladness and a delight which is never-ending.
    Put succinctly: ‘my’ demise was as fictitious as ‘my’ apparent presence; I have always been here, in this actual world of sensorial delight, one realises, for it was that ‘I’ only imagined ‘I’ existed; ‘my’ presence had been but an emotional/ passional play in a fertile imagination; an emotional/ passional play which fuelled actual hormonal substances, however, triggered off from within the brain-stem by the instinctual emotions/ passions bestowed per favour blind nature. Thus the psyche – the entire affective faculty born of the survival instincts themselves – is wiped out forever and one is finally what one has actually been all along: a sensitive and reflective flesh-and-blood body simply brimming with sense organs revelling in this sensuous world of immediate experience. As this flesh-and-blood body only one is this infinite, eternal, and perdurable universe experiencing itself as an apperceptive human being ... as such it is stunningly aware of its own infinitude. And this is truly wonderful.
    • Thus the search for meaning amidst the debris of the much-vaunted human hopes and dreams and schemes has come to its timely end. With the end of both ‘I’ and ‘me’, the distance or separation between both ‘I’ and ‘me’ and these sense organs – and thus the external world – disappears. To be living as the senses is to live a clear and clean awareness – apperception – a pure consciousness experience of the world as-it-is. Because there is no ‘I’ as a thinker (a little person inside one’s head) or a ‘me’ as a feeler (a little person in one’s heart) – to have sensations happen to them, I am the sensations. The entire affective faculty vanishes ... blind nature’s software package of instinctual passions is deleted. There is nothing except the series of sensations which happen ... not happening to an ‘I’ or a ‘me’ but just happening ... moment by moment ... one after another. To live life as these sensations, as distinct from having them, engenders the most astonishing sense of freedom and magic. Consequently, I am living in peace and tranquillity; a meaningful peace and tranquillity. Life is intrinsically purposeful, the reason for existence lies openly all around. Being in this very air I live in, I am constantly aware of it; I breathe it in and out; I see it, I hear it, I taste it, I smell it, I touch it, all of the time. It never goes away – nor has it ever been away – it was just that ‘I’/‘me’ was standing in the way of the meaning of life being apparent.
    Life is not a vale of tears.
    If you feel that this may be a cult (and many people did), then I recommend you to visit the Dharma Overground forum a community known for honest discussions surrounding Buddhism and, now, Actualism/Actual Freedom. Particularly read this thread started by Daniel Ingram.
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  56. #55 peace? 
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    Excellent writings.

    Peace... something we create. Hmmm... In a sense.

    I have repeatedly heard, (over the last approximately 40 years), that the inner experience of peace is not something we create, but is inherent within this physical form; a part of our nature and heritage. Who is not attracted to beauty? We do prefer it. Who does not love love? Who is not attracted? Who doesn't prefer peace?


    And like obtaining gold from the earth, we need a perfect means to access it; the tools to go within. We also need the understanding... we need to develop our understanding as well and perhaps base it on our inner experience. We were experiencing and feeling and sensing long before we were writing screenplays and chatting over coffee.
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  57. #56 OP's Q... 
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    The question was: Why are we still in these dark times?

    Heritage of bad habits? Heritage of misunderstanding; not knowing who we are?

    Lack of Straightened-Out individuals capable of teaching more than rites and rituals?

    Lack of one who knows; someone with great enough determination and authority?

    Lack of widespread communication of even the possibilitiy of something different?

    Our strong determination which keep us going no matter how brutal the circumstance we may find ourselves in?

    The natural course of events? Events unfolding every day...

    Lack of input from a human source... radically different and totally unexpected, but with a message for which we have been primed to hear and potentially respond to because of how we are touched or affected in our minds and emotion
    by that source and message.

    I wonder... if yeasts and sugars could talk, but being ignorant of good beer and a for-certain invitation to a great party in a little while, would they bemoan the dark, hard times in the brewmaster's copper kettle? Probably.

    In any case, it may be darkest just before the dawn. In the physical world, it usually is, and it's cold, too. Can there be an analogy?

    More people need to decide, as individuals and for only themselves... is it dark enough, yet? Driving on a mountainous road in dark conditions... better turn on the lights.

    And then, what of the cries of the Heart? (there's a concept for us) Is there such a thing? And, like a good parent, can anyone hear and respond? In my experience, yes.
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  58. #57 Re: peace? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wallbrick
    Excellent writings.

    Peace... something we create. Hmmm... In a sense.

    I have repeatedly heard, (over the last approximately 40 years), that the inner experience of peace is not something we create, but is inherent within this physical form; a part of our nature and heritage. Who is not attracted to beauty? We do prefer it. Who does not love love? Who is not attracted? Who doesn't prefer peace?


    And like obtaining gold from the earth, we need a perfect means to access it; the tools to go within. We also need the understanding... we need to develop our understanding as well and perhaps base it on our inner experience. We were experiencing and feeling and sensing long before we were writing screenplays and chatting over coffee.
    I had an epipany, several years ago, that peace is not a condition which I acheive when the world goes my way. It is simply a choice I can make, irrespective of how the world is going.

    In that sense yes, it was there all along, but I was ignorant of it. I had "lost" my inheritance. One day I found it again.

    Now, do I always live by this realization? No, but it made an immediate and profound impact on me.

    In one sense, I realized that these times are merely dark if I see it that way. If I so choose, I can see the light.
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  59. #58 Re: peace? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde
    I had an epipany, several years ago, that peace is not a condition which I acheive when the world goes my way. It is simply a choice I can make, irrespective of how the world is going.

    In that sense yes, it was there all along, but I was ignorant of it. I had "lost" my inheritance. One day I found it again.

    Now, do I always live by this realization? No, but it made an immediate and profound impact on me.

    In one sense, I realized that these times are merely dark if I see it that way. If I so choose, I can see the light.
    It sounds more like you see, because you wants to see.

    And excatly is peace a choise?

    You thoughts seems more like philosophical thoughts than something that is actually taken from the real life.
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