Saturday, December 5, 2009

The greatest truths are natural - what's left over is a waste of time.

Pascal's Wager is as follows:
1 - We don't know whether God exists.
2 - If we chose to believe in God and God exists then when we die we will go to heaven.
3 - If we chose to believe in God and God doesn't exist then when we die we will simply cease to be.
4 - If we chose to disbelieve in God and God exists then when we die we will go to hell.
5 - If we chose to disbelieve in God and God doesn't exist then when we die we will simply cease to be.
6 - Because we can't know whether God exists we must place our bets on (2) and (3) or on (4) and (5).
7 - It is better to place our bets on (2) and (3) than on (4) and (5).
THEREFORE: We ought to place our bets on (4) and (5); we ought to believe in God.

The biggest problem with this argument seems to be that it assumes that God would reward us for believing in Him and punish us for not believing in him. And this strikes me as straightforwardly wrong when we consider what compels people to believe in God. The world is beautiful and morality is as natural a part of the world as color or geometry. So why do people go to church? It isn't to do justice to the world - if they wanted to do that they would file into forests, or simply hold the hand of their loved ones. People turn to the supernatural for one reason: to deny or reject the natural. It is only discontentment with creation, or Creation, that leads to a belief in more than the natural world. And God would reward that discontentment? It would be like putting on headphones in the middle of a concert - the Conductor wouldn't be especially pleased.

Of course, not all natural truths are beautiful. I can't imagine finding much beauty in cancer or AIDS, and so I don't blame someone the least for turning to the natural. I have been incredibly lucky, and if my luck were to turn then a denial of nature might seem pretty pleasant. And in such dire circumstances, I also can't imagine that God would look down on someone for denying, or wanting more than, the natural world. It seems clear to me that God wouldn't really care whether we believed or disbelieved, only that if we did we did so for good reason.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

You can't know that others are altruistic because you can't know the contents of other minds, but you can still know that altruism exists.

To know that a person is acting altruistically we must be able to know what is motivating them. But we cannot know what motivates others because we only have access to our own thoughts. What many conclude from this is that altruism doesn't exist. By this rationale there is also no selfishness, but this doesn't prevent altruism deniers from attributing every human behavior to self-interest. An altruism denier knows that everyone is ultimately self-interested! After all, if they weren't, then they would be forced to feel guilty about how they live their lives.

Altruism exists, and it is extremely easy to know that it is real. All you have to do is act altruistically and introspectively. It's that simple. Of course, this is assuming that introspection grants us access to our own thoughts. If you think that the subconscious prevents us from knowing what we believe then it's hopeless. Of course, if you believe that we can't know what we believe then you wouldn't be able to believe that either... or that either... or that either... or that either... ...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The hands that are murdering or raping one person are almost always feeding another.

Actions tend to be motivated by interests, and so no matter how horrible an act is it is almost always feeding someone. If someone is murdering on our behalf, should we not oppose those murders? If we are murdering on our own behalf, should we not struggle with ourselves? The answers to these questions are obvious, as is the shallowness and putridness of "don't bite the hand that feeds you."

Bite the hand that does evil if it comes within bite's reach. Bite it when it comes into reach or a minimum your actions will endorse the evil it carries out. You aren't an idiot for going against your own individual interests because morality is about more your individual self interest.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Accept it or struggle against it, but do not deny that it exists - it will always be, it is your nature.

There are certain things that are such a fundamental part of us that we will never be able to change them no matter how much we wish or will them to be different. If I do not drink, I will experience thirst no matter how much I hate thirst. If I do not eat, I will experience hunger no matter how much I wish to not be hungry. If I do not sleep, I will experience sleepiness no matter how much it interferes with my life. And if I deny that I experience such basic things, I will clearly be a fool. Yet such a denial of nature is common, and not because fools are.

Many people claim that they don't want to be in a relationship, that they are "happily single" and so they plan to stay that way. I don't think that these people are foolish to think this, but I don't believe them either. My experience has been that they are at best lonely, and at worst satisfying their romantic needs using romantic bonds that they are oblivious to and will likely defile sooner than acknowledge.

Many people claim that they are content with a sexless life. These are the people who think that sex is necessarily dirty or necessarily immoral. I also don't believe these people when they claim to be okay with never having sex, and I also don't think that they are fools. But I do think that these people are often dangerous because to have a healthy sexuality we must channel and direct our sexuality using healthy activities, and if we are in denial of the fact that we desire to have sex then our desires won't cease to influence our choices but rather will continue to do so but covertly and untempered by ethical constraints.

Then there are the many people like myself who told themselves that they didn't need the profound to be a part of their lives to be happy. I use to eat, drink, and sleep a pursuit of greater truth. It was to deny the simple truth. It was an attempt to intellectualize my problems out of existence, to reduce all of my very real problems to misunderstandings and their corrections. If I complicated it enough, I couldn't understand it - it became easier to deny, or conclude from it whatever I wanted. My motives were far from pure, but I none-the-less ate, drank, and slept a pursuit of the profound. Then, I ceased needing to hide from the simple truths in my life. The simple truth became a rewarding job and a loving girlfriend. The simple truth was that I was happy, but even so, in a deeper more complicated region of my soul there was an emptiness brewing.

I asked myself why I felt that emptiness and I realized, or remembered, how much a search for the profound was a part of my life. I thirst to drink the profound, I hunger to consume it, and I am lulled to dream it. I will no longer live in denial of my nature. The only choice I have on the matter is how my monumental drive for the profound manifests... hello.