New Thoughts Are Sometimes Old Thoughts

Well...the new idea I was trying to figure out yesterday, I actually discovered was better said by somebody else. This time by Aldous Huxley. Although to be accurate it is more likely his is just flat out a better idea and I can only hope mine was at least somehow similar.

Here is the quote,

Every fully developed religion exists simultaneously on several different levels. It exists as a set of abstract concepts about the world and its governance. It exists as a set of rites and sacraments, as a traditional method for manipulating the symbols, by means of which beliefs about the cosmic order are expressed. It exists as the feelings of love, fear and devotion evoked by this manipulation of symbols.
And finally it exists as a special kind of feeling or intuition — a sense of the oneness of all things in their divine principle, a realization (to use the language of Hindu theology) that “thou art That,” a mystical experience of what seems self-evidently to be union with God.

The ordinary waking consciousness is a very useful and, on most occasions, an indispensable state of mind; but it is by no means the only form of consciousness, nor in all circumstances the best. Insofar as he transcends his ordinary self and his ordinary mode of awareness, the mystic is able to enlarge his vision, to look more deeply into the unfathomable miracle of existence.
The mystical experience is doubly valuable; it is valuable because it gives the experiencer a better understanding of himself and the world and because it may help him to lead a less self-centered and more creative life.
 The bold section almost, a little, addresses what I was trying to say. It is a search for or recognition of a sense of "oneness" of all things, and it can develop into a religious path or a science path. And the other bit is that both science and religion have a cultural and emotional aspect that needs to be recognized and one must be sure not to confuse the two parts of each approach.

But what of the Atheist? They may very well suggest there is no yearning for connectedness, and sinse it cannot be measured, it therefore does not exist.

Sort of tweaking Wittgenstein's statement "What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence." to something like "That of which we cannot speak, does not exist"

It is already getting late, and that is about all I can come up with tonight.

"What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence." ― Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus . -- By the way, about all I know about the guy is this one quote.

The Huxley quote I found here


Thinking a New Thought

In response to a comment I was thinking people of faith had to admit that at the core it was illogical and they should accept it. Then take the next step and go beyond it, to what I can't say. Then I figured I had to counter to the atheist with something like they had ll ti

But that wasn't quite right.

I happened to glance at a book by Eric From and he was saying the problem with the modern world was it encouraged a passive approach to life. And I think that may have been what I was looking for.

Any intentional way of living is a religious approach, whether it is the atheist, christian, Buddhist or whatever. The point is it doesn’t rise the religious when it is just a passive life. Whether it is science or church or whatever it is the “active” that starts conversations, not end them.

It's a start...


OK. My friend on his tumblr has some harsh words for Creationist and religion in general.


Anyway it got my mind going and this is my riff of a reply since tumblr restricts how long a comment can be, so here goes. It is all off the top of my head so it is obviously not really thought out.


Smart religious people don’t put so much stock in myths like this. They find ways to still believe their religion while not ignoring science. Most, I think, compartmentalize the two competing world views, which I find a bit psychotic at best and intellectually weak and dishonest at worst.  The ones who are both smart and honest discard their religion, or become deists or something similarly vague.

It seems to me that your argument really means that a smart religions person an oxymoron. No? And from that I deduce there is a problem in definitions, how do you define religion and smart?

I'll set aside the smart thing because...well I ain't so smart. SOoooo...My current improvisation is that religion is not a thing but a force that is is an integral part of the human Psyche. Of course if you are a total empiricist, the human psyche is as much a phantom as religion and is another stupid human vanity. But if we accept it then the thought experiment progresses.

I posit that Religion is something important to humans and no matter what, it comes out in some form. For instance I once read that the “Beat” experience of the the 1950's was not a literary or philosophical expression but a religious one. And the same could be said of the Punk world. Both were an attempt to access life at its core. Not a concept or even an idea, but the experience life itself. Pure living.

I once heard someone say the “enlightenment was like falling in love” . The point is almost everybody has experienced falling in love, and it is something that defies logic. So if you only accept logic you deny love, religion and ultimately anything not measurable.

The deal is there are not two opposing world views, there are thousands of different world views from wildly different people trying to figure things out.

So is life more than simple calories and creature comforts? Are all metaphors for living, “just” metaphors? Are things like poetry and literature actually humans taking a stab at understanding themselves and others, or just an entertainment?

I saw the HPO show “Questioning Darwin ” and I like that one scholar said if Darwin met some creationists he would not rail at them but talk to them and try to understand. I see that as the real point. Not rating who is smart and dumb but understanding why they think that way and what they get out of it. AND perhaps are we falling into the same patterns?

But that is just an offhand riff I came up with after reading your tumblr.


I think this comes back to my  Grand Theory of Everything, so I didn't want to drop it.

Ref#...I forget


A Rorschach Test Kind of Book

Deep RiverDeep River by Shūsaku Endō
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5

Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles 1 Corinthians 1:22-25

I wonder at the faith and Christianity of Shusaku Endo a thoughtful, reflectfull Japanese Christian. Did he feel as at odds with his faith and heritage as the central character, Otso, of Deep Rivet?Did he feel himself as outcast as Otsu who identified with the lowest caste of India?

I will draw a conclusion that Endo found the essence of Christ in the suffering sacrifice rather that the victorious resurrected champion of the prosperity gospel. I think Endo saw “true” Christianity in the comfort of the poor and meek.

I think more people would NOT like this book than do. In Endo's world the avenues of success only bring a hollow happiness. In my (American) world the general feel I get is that the Christianity brings a victorious uplifting life full of prosperity. Endo would have none of that. For him you only get to the truth by embracing the poor and outcast.

So....do you think this life is a project of empirical pluses and minuses and the point is to end up with a positive when you die? And the “authentic” life is one that discounts anything that is not measurable, and religion is at best an illusion and at worst the bane of humanity?

If so, this book will be nonsense to you.

Are your religions beliefs secure and do they provide reason and stability that explains everything? If so, this book will be nonsense to you.

There are a number of “themes” involving connecting with something. First, for Otsu, is the notion that Christ is found most clearly in the rejected. Which leads him, as a Catholic priest, to be shunned by his order and end up adopting the clothes of a Hindu untouchable who's only task is to carry other discarded, poor, and dying people to the river Ganges just before they die.

And then there is this idea that our existence is actually a river of humanity and we are all trying to connect with it. I think Endo is saying we use most of our energy avoiding the very things that really do give us the connection to everything else we need.

For Miss Naruse she wants to experience actual love, not the kind that is actually a role that people adopt with enthusiasm.

For Mr Kiguchi it is honoring his fellow Japanese soldiers who suffered a burtal retreat in WWII in Burma.

For Mr Numada it is a mystical connection with nature embodied by a Myna bird.

And finally for Mr Isobe, he is only recognizing his connection with his wife after she dies after telling him to look for her to be reborn somewhere in the world.

If I was to write a high school report about it I think I would come up with something about the Deep River of the the Ganges is much like life itself. And that the road of death Mr. Kiguchi was on is also much like life itself. In that we will all die sometime.

If you are sure of yourself, in your belief or non-belief...then you will think this book is nonsense. But for those of us you inexplicably think what the world tells us about itself is most likely wrong...well, you might end up loving this book.

After living nearly five years in a foreign country, I can't help but be struck by the clarity and logic of the way Europeans think, but it seems to me as an Asian that there's something they have lost sight of with their excessive clarity and their over abundance of logic, and I just can't go along with it....in the final analysis, the faith of the Europeans is conscious and rational, and these people reject anything they cannot slice into categories with their rationality. Pg117

But an Asian like me just can't make sharp distinctions and pass judgment on everything the way they do. Pg118

Every time I look at the River Ganges, I think of my Onion (Christ). The Ganges swallows up the ashes of every personas it flows along, rejecting neither the beggar woman who stretches out her finger-less hands for the murdered prime minister Gandhi. The river of love that is my Onion flows past, accepting all, rejecting neither the ugliest of men nor the filthiest. Pg 185

The Onion had died many long years ago, but he had been reborn in the lives of other people. Even after nearly two thousand years had passed, he had been reborn in those nuns, and had been reborn in Otsu. And just as Otsu had been taken off to a hospital on a litter, the nuns likewise disappeared in the river of people. Pg 215

View all my reviews

Think about it more, I guess it really isn't A Rorschach Test Kind of Book, but my thinking is aside from how objectively good or bad the book might be, it is the reader's world view that will determine what they think of it.


iTunes es Muy Mal

Up to Lección Doce with Assimil...

Things I either never knew or forgot...

esos coches – how did I forget “esos” for those? I remembered it as aquellos.

Tanto mejor for so much the better

al contrario for on the contray (obvious, that one)

Vosotros habéis  conocido a su hermana

has ido – gone
has venido – come

Not that anybody cares, but I now officially hate Apple products. Today I wanted to listen to the lesson I was listing to earlier on my iPhone, suddenly it whipped through each “song” of that CD on the iPhone, put a red square next to it and then I could not play it.

So I tried a music album and the same thing happened. Most others worked but, well I was ticked off. It took me the better part of an hour to get all the stuff back on. So I can conclusively state Apple = BAD