Why don’t you appreciate Philosophy?

Philosophy is the root of all knowledge. The scientific method in itself is a philosophy. For most every subject of academia, the nth degree”  is a PhD. A PhD is a Doctorate in philosophy of _____ (insert subject). So if you have a Doctorate, or PhD in Math, you are a doctor of the philosophy of math, essentially.  Complete comprehension and demonstration of comprehension of the subject.  Without philosophy, every subject is aimless, useless. They may not have even arisen. Philosophy encompasses and controls every single subject matter in academia; it also encompasses and controls every tidbit of understanding humans have. It is in turn the root of wisdom, a means to gain understanding.

To apply philosophy you must utilize logic and reason; You must not use belief. Belief is where philosophy ends and turns into religion. With belief anyone can believe whatever they want and there is no standard.

Question everything.  Know when you don’t know.  Utilize your knowledge to go further in every facet of your life.  Think hard, think deeply, think logically.

 

 

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Musings

Some personal philosophical musings and favorite quotes:
“Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.”
–Jonathan Swift

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt

“Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for you” – KFJ

You must first master the rules in order to break them
“Nobody cares”.. . – so you know what every person in the world cares about, huh? Stunning.

My mom always noticed the stars at night. She’d just say “look at the stars, they’re beautiful tonight”. Never stopped looking at the stars since.

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

“I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” -Abraham Lincoln

“You will find rest from vain fancies if you perform every act as if it were your last” – Marcus Aurelius

The most compelling way to control the masses is to convince them that their God wants them to do it…

I have never seen an Objectivist say anything about what Ayn Rand was wrong about. A sure sign of a cult.

There’s a bunch of archaic lunatic savages out there lurking behind the facade of modern fashion & technology.

Nothing ventured, nothing risked, nothing gained.

You don’t need to travel to be an explorer. The best exploration comes from exploring new perspectives, thoughts. Go beyond your experience

Contrarians, by nature, do what we do to get rid of the onslaughts, which create nothing but madness, we push things to a fine balance.

Evolution beat us to it:

bird

Religion is comforting for the weak, the poor, the scared, the hopeless. Instead be strong, work hard, accept your death and be confident

Those who speak their mind on issues, rather than propagate meaningless trivialities are on a path of learning & put their ego on the line.

Beware anyone who claims they have the truth

Disaster breeds new opportunity, advances not previously possible, rebirth… Even if we cannot see it from a selfish.. Or selfless vantage

I’m on a never ending journey to discover my own cognitive biases

I have always learned best on my own terms, by teaching myself. There is no paid education superior to the innate thirst for knowledge.

Depression is a time for introspection and reflection, a time for growth and insight.

There’s no reason to believe anything. Either know it, know you don’t know it, or hope for it, but never believe something is true if you don’t know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ABC of Materialist Dialectics

Leon Trotsky

The ABC of
Materialist Dialectics

(December 1939)


Extract from A Petty-Bourgeois Opposition in the Socialist Workers Party.


Dialectic is neither fiction nor mysticism, but a science of the forms of our thinking insofar as it is not limited to the daily problems of life but attempts to arrive at an understanding of more complicated and drawn-out processes. The dialectic and formal logic bear a relationship similar to that between higher and lower mathematics.

I will here attempt to sketch the substance of the problem in a very concrete form. The Aristotelian logic of the simple syllogism starts from the proposition that ‘A’ is equal to ‘A’. This postulate is accepted as an axiom for a multitude of practical human actions and elementary generalisations. But in reality ‘A’ is not equal to ‘A’. This is easy to prove if we observe these two letters under a lens—they are quite different from each other. But, one can object, the question is not of the size or the form of the letters, since they are only symbols for equal quantities, for instance, a pound of sugar. The objection is beside the point; in reality a pound of sugar is never equal to a pound of sugar—a more delicate scale always discloses a difference. Again one can object: but a pound of sugar is equal to itself. Neither is this true—all bodies change uninterruptedly in size, weight, colour, etc. They are never equal to themselves. A sophist will respond that a pound of sugar is equal to itself “at any given moment”.

Aside from the extremely dubious practical value of this “axiom”, it does not withstand theoretical criticism either. How should we really conceive the word “moment”? If it is an infinitesimal interval of time, then a pound of sugar is subjected during the course of that “moment” to inevitable changes. Or is the “moment” a purely mathematical abstraction, that is, a zero of time? But everything exists in time; and existence itself is an uninterrupted process of transformation; time is consequently a fundamental element of existence. Thus the axiom ‘A’ is equal to ‘A’ signifies that a thing is equal to itself if it does not change, that is, if it does not exist.

At first glance it could seem that these “subtleties” are useless. In reality they are of decisive significance. The axiom ‘A’ is equal to ‘A’ appears on one hand to be the point of departure for all our knowledge, on the other hand the point of departure for all the errors in our knowledge. To make use of the axiom of ‘A’ is equal to ‘A’ with impunity is possible only within certain limits. When quantitative changes in ‘A’ are negligible for the task at hand then we can presume that ‘A’ is equal to ‘A’. This is, for example, the manner in which a buyer and a seller consider a pound of sugar. We consider the temperature of the sun likewise. Until recently we consider the buying power of the dollar in the same way. But quantitative changes beyond certain limits become converted into qualitative. A pound of sugar subjected to the action of water or kerosene ceases to be a pound of sugar. A dollar in the embrace of a president ceases to be a dollar. To determine at the right moment the critical point where quantity changes into quality is one of the most important and difficult tasks in all the spheres of knowledge including sociology.

Every worker knows that it is impossible to make two completely equal objects. In the elaboration of baring-brass into cone bearings, a certain deviation is allowed for the cones which should not, however, go beyond certain limits (this is called tolerance). By observing the norms of tolerance, the cones are considered as being equal. (‘A’ is equal to ‘A’). When the tolerance is exceeded the quantity goes over into quality; in other words, the cone bearings become inferior or completely worthless.

Our scientific thinking is only a part of our general practice including techniques. For concepts there also exits “tolerance” which is established not by formal logic issuing from the axiom ‘A’ is equal to ‘A’, but by the dialectical logic issuing from the axiom that everything is always changing. “Common sense” is characterized by the fact that it systematically exceeds dialectical “tolerance”.

Vulgar thought operates with such concepts as capitalism, morals, freedom, workers’ state, etc as fixed abstractions, presuming that capitalism is equal to capitalism. Morals are equal to morals, etc. Dialectical thinking analyses all things and phenomena in their continuous change, while determining in the material conditions of those changes that critical limit beyond which ‘A’ ceases to be ‘A’, a workers’ state ceases to be a workers’ state.

The fundamental flaw of vulgar thought lies in the fact that it wishes to content itself with motionless imprints of a reality which consists of eternal motion. Dialectical thinking gives to concepts, by means of closer approximations, corrections, concretisation, a richness of content and flexibility; I would even say “a succulence” which to a certain extent brings them closer to living phenomena. Not capitalism in general, but a given capitalism at a given stage of development. Not a workers’ state in general, but a given workers’ state in a backward country in an imperialist encirclement, etc.

Dialectical thinking is related to vulgar in the same way that a motion picture is related to a still photograph. The motion picture does not outlaw the still photograph but combines a series of them according to the laws of motion. Dialectics does not deny the syllogism, but teaches us to combine syllogisms in such a way as to bring our understanding closer to the eternally changing reality. Hegel in his Logic established a series of laws: change of quantity into quality, development through contradictions, conflict of content and form, interruption of continuity, change of possibility into inevitability, etc., which are just as important for theoretical thought as is the simple syllogism for more elementary tasks.

Hegel wrote before Darwin and before Marx. Thanks to the powerful impulse given to thought by the French Revolution, Hegel anticipated the general movement of science. But because it was only an anticipation, although by a genius, it received from Hegel an idealistic character. Hegel operated with ideological shadows as the ultimate reality. Marx demonstrated that the movement of these ideological shadows reflected nothing but the movement of material bodies.

We call our dialectic materialist, since its roots are neither in heaven nor in the depths of our “free will”, but in objective reality, in nature. Consciousness grew out of the unconscious, psychology out of physiology, the organic world out of the inorganic, the solar system out of the nebulae. On all the rungs of this ladder of development, the quantitative changes were transformed into qualitative. Our thought, including dialectical thought, is only one of the forms of the expression of changing matter. There is place within this system for neither God nor Devil, nor immortal soul, nor eternal norms of laws and morals. The dialectic of thinking, having grown out of the dialectic of nature, possess consequently a thoroughly materialist character.

Darwinism, which explained the evolution of species through quantitative transformations passing into qualitative, was the highest triumph of the dialectic in the whole field of organic matter. Another great triumph was the discovery of the table of atomic weights of chemical elements and further the transformation of one element into another.

With these transformations (species, elements, etc.) is closely linked the question of classification, equally important in the natural as in the social sciences. Linnaeus’ system (18th century), utilising as its starting point the immutability of species, was limited to the description and classification of plants according to their external characteristics. The infantile period of botany is analogous to the infantile period of logic, since the forms of our thought develop like everything that lives. Only decisive repudiation of the idea of fixed species, only the study of the history of the evolution of plants and their anatomy prepared the basis for a really scientific classification.

Marx, who in distinction from Darwin was a conscious dialectician, discovered a basis for the scientific classification of human societies in the development of their productive forces and the structure of the relations of ownership which constitute the anatomy of society. Marxism substituted for the vulgar descriptive classification of societies and states, which even up to now still flourishes in the universities, a materialistic dialectical classification. Only through using the method of Marx is it possible correctly to determine both the concept of a workers’ state and the moment of its downfall.

All this, as we see, contains nothing “metaphysical” or “scholastic”, as conceited ignorance affirms. Dialectic logic expresses the laws of motion in contemporary scientific thought. The struggle against materialist dialectics on the contrary expresses a distant past, conservatism of the petit-bourgeoisie, the self-conceit of university routinists and … a spark of hope for an after-life.

 

[From A Petit-bourgeois Opposition in the Socialist Workers Party, by Leon Trotsky, December 15, 1939.]

Guns and God

Now this is something I find very interesting so I’m going to challenge you, I hope, with my understanding of the matter of Guns and God. For most people who believe in God, you’ll find that guns and God go hand in hand. This seems to go along with people in the Bible Belt particularly and most, not all, of everyone else in the United States who is called or refers to themselves as “Christian”. A Christian being one who attempts to live their life as Jesus. In any case, would Jesus be one to defend himself with a gun? I don’t think so for a number of reasons, since the story goes he “allowed” himself to be crucified “unjustly” and did not strike all the Roman’s and high priests of Judaism who convicted him with lightning bolts, nor did he simply create an AR-15 Assault rifle out of thin air and start wasting all his attackers left and right.

There are more references to how Christianity would not promote self defense in any form whatsoever. Luke 6:29 says “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them”.

Matthew 5:39 says “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”

So essentially the Christian thing to do in any situation where violence is perpetrated against yourself is to allow it to happen. This is backed by Jesus’ own actions as well as “Gods word”. If you were getting raped and murdered even, the clear cut thing to do according to Christian theology is to let it happen, and maybe pray for your attacker or something good natured of that sort.

Matthew 6:20 after all says to “build your treasures in heaven”, and defending your life on earth wouldn’t seem to be conducive to that. 1Peter 5:10 says “And after you have suffered a little while, the God off all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1John 2:15-17 says “do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.”

So it would seem with all these biblical references to not love the world, follow the life of Jesus, turn your cheek, take on suffering, build your treasures in heaven, and not take vengeance or self defense because “your time on this earth is short, compared to eternity in heaven”… and the only goal of life is to follow Jesus’ commands and words to do just that.

Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird” stated in court that “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand”. Which, as a Christian that would take some serious courage to not defend yourself but apparently that is exactly what you’re supposed to do. I would expect the non Christian would be more apt to utilize guns according to everything I have ever learned in my 20 years of studying Christian theology, yet the majority of Christians in the Untied States don’t bother with it. They ignore it, or are ignorant of the matter altogether. Perhaps they don’t have the courage to go without a gun, or the courage to not defend themselves, or the courage to turn their cheek. Perhaps they really value their life on this world more than their religion and God tells them they should. Perhaps they don’t really want to do what God says, they want to make their religion out to be what they want it to be, and somehow somewhere a majority of them turn Christianity into a religion that promotes gun use and self defense. How, I will never see it, because the Bible really teaches just the opposite. I didn’t understand the majority of Christians when I was a Christian but I do seem to understand it better as an agnostic atheist. I suspect even bringing it up to some Christians, about this Guns and God issue that I just brought up might bring on some form of cognitive dissonance and get angry at me, or whatever, but that’s not my intention. I guess in bringing it up my intention is to cause people to think… as well as to ask you what you think on the matter. That goes for every Christian who promotes guns and self defense.

How do you know?

It is stunning how so many people in the world think what they believe is knowledge.  People have a tendency to believe alot of things, and with enough faith, people somehow transition from knowing what the believe is a belief, to thinking it is knowledge.  This may be indeed a byproduct of belief itself.  Once belief stands for such a long time, without self questioning and perhaps through confirmation bias this becomes the norm. Confirmation bias is the tendency to review, read, or surround yourself by things that only affirm what you want to believe, essentially staying away from contrary opinions, knowledge, or stances  Humanity is typically entrapped by this, conflating beliefs with knowledge is a dangerous at times, and ultimately an inept way to think.  This is not the way to conduct your life.

School does little to differentiate the importance of this subject.  It seems almost assumed that this little tidbit of discerning beliefs from knowledge, because it should be so obvious, yet the world runs amok with people thinking all sorts of things to be knowledge.  This creates their own version of reality that differs from everyone else’s.  With so many beliefs out there, its hard to even understand how people understand anything.  Yet if you understand the state of the world and why there are so many problems and disagreements, you can see that this is a key factor in why it is such.  The education system seems to need to focus more on this, because it is failing miserably for adults.  Yes, opinions can and ought to be shared, but opinions, or even remote probabilities are portrayed adamantly as knowledge, it creates havoc with those who disagree. Tempers flare, distortions arise, and the lying begins to attempt to save face.  All of this, because people truly don’t know how to think properly.  There is one thing that people should ponder, think about, until it becomes prevalent in there way of thinking:

Knowing when you do not know, is the root of wisdom.

From there, applying your knowledge, remembering that you may not know what you think to be true is true, questioning things, and you can go a long way in obtaining peace and understanding.  Often, most people experience grief by being confronted with something that flies in the face of what they thought they know.  Being just a little wise about your opinions, knowing when they are unknowns, can prepare you and propel you to brighter greater things, peace of mind, and ultimately happiness.

Believe it or not, there is a theory of knowledge, a subject called “epistemology”, within the realm of philosophy. Within epistemology, we learn that knowledge is indeed dynamic, flexible.  Knowledge is not necessarily truth, however it often is.  Philosophy, more broadly, is the foundation of all knowledge.  There’s a reason why all PHD’s are essentially Doctorates of the philosophy of (insert subject).  It is in everything, in everything we do, in everything we know, in everything we perceive, whether we realize it or not.  Extrapolating that philosophy, is what the greats have done, and refining it, is even what the greatest philosophers have done.  Of course, many philosophers may stray, go awry, but along the way, they bring great tidbits of enlightened thinking, that point to a path of understanding and wisdom, knowledge and the future.  A great philosophy that is highly respected, is the scientific method.  Yes, science itself, is built on a philosophy.  Science, and this philosophy of the scientific method, have become a critical aspect of the theory of knowledge (epistemology). Science, essentially, does not prove anything, it explains nature and our surroundings with the best data available.  Yes, science is self correcting, so the most recent understandings can easily be said to be a work in progress.  Yet all scientific knowledge is a work in progress. If something comes along that conflicts with say, the law of gravity, or any other commonly understood “facts” of science, there will be adaptations.  Yet it was knowledge and will be knowledge, even after adaptation to new data.  This is one aspect of the dynamic nature of knowledge… however, this is not what set itself apart from mere belief.

Belief, as I use the term, is thinking something is true, without knowing it is true.  While probability may lead us to belief, we must understand that there are levels of probability that will determine whether what we think is knowledge, or what we think is true.  Delving just a bit into epistemology can bring great understanding on knowing what knowledge is, and what discerns a belief.  There are some great resources for all available, simply, googling epistemology can help you on your path and journey to greater understanding of this universe and all you know.  But if that is too much of a studious undertaking, ask yourself and others, one question.  “How do you know?”  I say, ask that to yourself about things.  Thinking, about what you think, is half the battle.  Asking “How do you know?”, and knowing when you don’t know, will give you a leg up on a vast majority of the population.  This is the way to succeed, to put knowledge on your side and to gain perspective on all things.

It’s late here, so I’m sure this is a bit choppy and may need some editing as I rambled through this, I will be editing as I see errors or they are brought up to me.  Input or feed back on the flow of this post is much appreciated, as always.  Essentially, I see this as a rough draft, for something more meaningful, that can grab the average Joe by the mind and have him say “aha”.  Thank you, if you made it this far.  Til next time….

A message of purpose

I find it absolutely fascinating that most of the wold’s population has been indoctrinated by some sort of religion.  It is a telling sign that culture is a great predictor of religion.  Anglo Saxon culture the past 1500 years, has been dominantly Christian, after eroding away Paganism and Greek Mythology among others. In other cultures, there is the spiritual Taosim and Jainism of the far East, the Hindu and Buddhism of Asia and the Islamic religion of the Middle East.  On and on we can go, with different cultures and different eras, we have different faiths.   Mankind began as a nomadic wanderer, completely ignorant of the universe, and produced a lot of fables, legends, myths and tales and continue to do so including today.  It is typical of human nature to make up such stories and dare I say, lies, for entertainment, a grasping to explain how we exist, or even more sinister reasons, perhaps. One way or another, people end up believing them, fully.  It becomes an escape from reality, at for many, it is a very harsh reality. The product of the mind, and its distinctly human capacity for fantastical imagination can provide a way to cope with our ignorance and inability to grasp how we exist, or why we have to die. These existential questions are dealt with through beliefs. Human ingenuity is able to thrive off of this and it provides hope and a sense of purpose.  Yet this hope is all belief based. What reason, must people believe, in so many different things all throughout time and culture? Haven’t we had enough bogus religions to finally say, when is this madness going to stop? People are devoting their entire lives to bogus religions and we go about thinking its okay, or that, maybe they are right. Odds are, really, that they’re not. They are all spread the same way, through the writings of men. I hardly suspect a loving God would reveal himself in the same way as every other false religion, and sentence you to eternal hell, for not choosing the right one, or perhaps, reincarnating you as a slug, for being willfully ignorant of Hinduism, perhaps.

We have come a long ways in knowledge and understanding since our nomadic roots. It was only a few centuries ago in which philosophers such as Immanuel Kant, who produced his ground breaking work, a Critique of Pure Reason, or Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature.  Certainly other cultures have their validity in philosophy, yet none as so distinct, thorough, and clear, than these two works just mentioned.  There of course is the progression of modern science, born of the philosophy of the scientific method.  After millions of years of evolution, we are finally grasping at actual knowledge and eliminating the need for guessing, the need for myths, and beliefs.  Knowing and achieving a good understanding of human nature is still in the process of becoming, primarily with cognitive science.

Certainly there are benefits to believing in religion, fables and legends, myths and fairly tales.  They provide humanity with a purpose. A purpose that they may think they are incapable or unwilling to assign for themselves as a whole. With fervor and belief comes purposeful intent, however good or bad.  When the majority population of a culture believes in it, it multiplies through reproduction and indoctrination.  Through religion, people of a culture believe they have obtained all the answers needed for life.  We were created and Zeus, God, Buddha, Allah, wants us to do this, and this we shall.  Regardless of the multiple interpretations that exist, all the various sects, they are all one in the same… The populace finds solace in believing they know about existence and the majority goes on in not seeking further answers, or truth.  Yet there is a minority lineage, even in believers, in which curiosity is never satisfied.  These thinkers and truth seekers transcend beyond what the mainstream believers are satisfied with and end up with successful revelations, adding to the totality of human knowledge.  For them all, I am truly thankful and in debt to.  The majority has progressed on the minds and backs of an unwavering, critically thinking minority.  The majority, has an entirely different story to them, and they are subject at times to my pity and scorn, for good reason. From the brutal dictators, the liars, mystics and deceivers, the conformists, those who believed in gods or god have certainly done some atrocious things, in the name if their deity. The unthinking majority, who think they think as well as anyone, is certainly a product of the success of their constant propagation of the planet.  Of course, can I really blame them? People are obviously suspect to this time of believing, it is rampant. It’s human nature, to go with the flow, believe what your parents tell you. It’s an easy out, to believe in god, God or gods. Understanding science, not so much. Its complicated and hard to grasp at times. Knowledge isn’t the easiest thing to obtain at times.

Due to the rampant nature of beliefs, the majority of human nature can be deemed slavish, subject to rule and whim by a minority, fooled, duped.  It’s always been that way, yet it was obviously not a necessity for humanity to know of knowledge.  After all, animals do just fine, populating the earth with not even a thought of god, or conformity.  Perhaps I misjudge some of the more intelligent animals, to that I am open to criticism. But insects and plants for example are surely are lacking in mental faculties that are capable of producing such abstract thoughts, yet there are more numerous than our own kind.  The subjugation of humanity to a belief-based ideology of reality can be seen as problematic and inept to the most enlightened minds of our current society.  Knowing that we do not know, and could not know, whether God exists, is half the battle to defeat such a tyrannical liar that religion is. Perhaps it was derived to control out of fear. Fear of eternal damnation or unimaginable suffering by powerful god’s, that are simply figments of imagination.  And no matter what faith you are, or aren’t, people surely have fallen victim to this. Lightning, being sent down by Zeus, surely was a punishment to those evil doers.  Yet people did believe in Zeus, just as people believe in Buddha or Allah today. Whether the myth believers knew of the evil of those struck down by Zeus is irrelevant, because if they were struck down, the god’s certainly knew why.  It’s easy to demonize then after that, with faith on your side. Peace by fear may have some benefit in order and control over the slavish unthinking majority of populace.  Yet not all can be blamed as unthinking.  The problem of religion and human nature isn’t that thinking is foreign to believers of myths and fairy tales, it’s indoctrination from birth, years upon years of being told how it is, at a naive and very young age. This is very damaging to any intelligent mind to have to endure. There was opportunity to fully understand reality as it could have been, had indoctrination not taken place.  Knowing that beliefs are simply, just beliefs, not a means to burn at the stake, or launch a holy war. Certainly something so severe requires the believer to think they know, which this is how bigotry of non believers sets in. They think we are fools, for simply not believing… That we are evil… That we are going to hell. Simply because we don’t believe the an ancient text, written by misogynistic, slave condoning people. Surely we have reason on our side, yet let’s understand that escaping indoctrination, is extremely hard. It takes time.

To anyone who has broken free from these chains of indoctrination, I am honored to have you read the words I write. As you walk into the world among the people that believe everything you were told, hold your head up high, surely you are a rare breed, with a powerful independent mind.

While the slavish sheep like mentality of humanity walks around spouting prejudices and bigotry, I urge the rest of us to not engage in the same.  It is imperative to not treat those the same way they may have treated us, the ones who didn’t believe.  It is simply counter effective to the progress of all of humanity to engage in such ignorant, slander.  Human psychology tells us that the mind is not capable of changing its entire frame of reference when presented with logic and counter evidence to a comprehensive belief system that religion is.  Yet don’t worry, perhaps a seed may be planted, that one day will blossom into understanding that their entire perspective of reality is belief based, not knowledge based.  Fear based, not education based.  We as a species aren’t capable of such drastic change, it is damaging to our purpose, and purpose is what brought us so far, yet I can see that this future may be brighter than ever, if we proceed carefully and thoughtfully about how the education and knowledge sharing, of the totality of human knowledge can be spread, much of which is right at our fingertips. Peace by fear is ultimately an inept strategy.  Happiness through fantasy is just the same.  Education can provide knowledge based peace and knowledge based happiness.  Yes it is possible to teach values to our young, to tell them the moral ways of how to act based on key values of the progression and betterment of humanity.  The core value, is the value of life, not the eager yearning for death and the apocalypse, or the second coming, and heaven, but the preciousness of the one life we all have on this earth together.  Through education we can achieve peace through knowledge…a greater peace than the deceptive lies of religion has ever brought, with no need for the wars that religion brings with it as well.  With knowledge, even therapy, psychology and philosophy, one can achieve happiness, knowledge based happiness.  Happiness of course comes from within, but with a knowledge based contentment, instead of fantasy based happiness, we can truly achieve great things as a society.  The totality of human knowledge truly eliminates the need for believing, as our archaic ancestors once had. I ask that you all join me in learning about all things, as much as possible, so that you too may enjoy the understanding and peace that I have.  Hopefully you have already achieved it, many of us have.

The Sanctity of Belief

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Somewhere along  the lines in these United States, people got in their heads that beliefs are sacred.  “We shouldn’t make fun of other people’s beliefs”.  Yet, sure enough, if you get an unpopular belief in there, these same people will be making fun of it.  People who believe in aliens, who believe 9/11 was an inside job, who believe in all sorts of conspiracy theories, or that aliens exist, get ridiculed incessantly, or that there are multiple gods.  The problem is, when it comes to a belief in a widely accepted God, it’s sacred.  No you can’t make fun of that.  This is when the rules apply.  I contest, criticism of beliefs is exactly what is needed.

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When a believer is confronted with criticism, they might begin to shift their belief as knowledge.  Suddenly, as a defense mechanism, they “know” that god exists.  It’s no longer a claim that it is believed.  Well that’s when things get hairy and cognitive dissonance kicks in.  They begin willfully thinking that they believe God exists and know God exists at the same time.  This causes them great discomfort and while engaging in a discussion about this, you will see their emotional pain rise out of this, they will get upset, they begin to feel attacked.  These are all defense mechanisms for an ultimately inept way of thinking, conflating beliefs as knowledge.

1. Knowledge is not a belief

2. Beliefs are not knowledge

3. Religion, faith, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Greek Mythology, Jainism, Taosim, are beliefs, not knowledge.

4. I can believe anything I want, just because massive quantities of people believe the same thing, doesn’t give it anymore credibility, logically.  Yet people, not consciously, think it’s ok, I suspect.  I did.  This essentially, is a myopic thought process, which reeks of a logical fallacy, dubbed “Argumentum ad Populum”:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum

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Beliefs are in many ways not a good thing to have.  Faith on the other hand, is a lot like hope, we have faith that we will do good on a test, etc.  Faith, I would say, is a good thing to have, but lets not conflate it with a belief as well.  Belief’s in the context I am referring to, are thinking that something(s) are true, without knowing that they are true.  I content that there is nothing good that can come of this.  If you are right about your belief, you are lucky.  But why act before knowing?  Why believe you know, before you actually know? Take into account all things before hand.  Yes, probability is a factor, but know that you do not know and proceed accordingly.  Knowing that you do not know is half the battle many times.  It will not cause a need for defense mechanisms, or coping with what you thought was true, turns out to be wrong.

This is how belief’s ought to be criticized, to either solidify them, or knock them down.  If a belief can withstand criticism, then perhaps we will find merit in it.  If not, we will find nonsense, pain, and anguish, that come about as a result of defense mechanisms.  Beliefs are not sacred, anyone who things that is an enemy of rational thinking. an enemy of truth.  People believe all sorts of crazy things, yet we should  question them, criticize them, in a way that doesn’t hurt their ego, necessarily, however difficult that may be.  But in a way that helps people think, to help them understand.  When it comes to anything, don’t believe, just know that you do not know.