Friday, October 28, 2016

Aphorism

You don't know how good you have it until you see how much better the alternative could be and how little you want that instead.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

On Losing My Faith in The American People

There is not a single person I hate, not one that I would wish anything bad upon.  However, I have lost my faith in the body politic of this nation.  Of course, some would say I'm naive to have ever trusted people to make the right decision in important matters, but if that's the case I don't really see it as a fault--an impediment to seeing things the way they are it might be, but it isn't a moral shortcoming.  Naivety, like gullibility, can lead one into thorns and thistles, but in itself it isn't really wrong.

But consider that the people have given us--themselves--this awful dichotomy: Hillary vs. Trump.  I will be voting for Hillary, because I don't think Trump has his head screwed on right.  Yes, Hillary is a cold, calculating criminal, but I think she has a better sense of boundaries than Trump.  In the primary I voted for Ted Cruz, the other Republican contender, because I thought it was the best way of combating Trump.  Oh well.  At least I wasn't part of the problem.

But what about me losing my faith in the people?  I haven't lost my love for them.  But at this point I simply don't trust them to even make the most obvious choices.  That's scary.  What about when I get old?  How will I be treated by society then?  Those are big questions, but as is often the case, things are not going to be in my hands.  Hospitals can be painful places.  I know.  I've endured some very painful moments in hospitals.  So what can I trust?  I'm a theist, but I don't trust God.  Maybe I have nothing to trust but myself, but he's let me down plenty of times.  I have no choice but to trust myself.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Change

Despite what the Buddha taught, all change is permanent, at least on the macro level (and, to a certain extent, on the micro--quantum?-- level). Throw a stone into a pond and you change the pond. This change files into the order of events that follow it, so that the change may not be reversed without further change which also alters future occurrences. Also, the chain of events that follow any change is infinite.  To say that all component things are impermanent does not go far enough. All change affects the future forever even if the change is minimized over time to the point of being miniscule. We should keep this in mind as we live our lives.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Consciousness of a Slug

In an attempt to finish a thought from yesterday: Imagine you were born a genius. You live the life of a genius. It is the only reality you know. Now imagine you came into this world a slug. It is the only life you know. I can fathom the life of the former, but not the latter. Which has the deeper mind? Which mind is more opaque?
This brings to mind Buddhism. My inability to fathom the consciousness of a slug, which probably has only three senses: touch, taste, and some rudimentary sight which only senses light but not color (I'm guessing)--allows me to have more compassion on the slug. The reason for this is deeply intuitive and not something I can explain in rational terms. Anyway, the Buddha would not have taught this, because the desired effect (increased compassion) depends on my ignorance of the slug's internal state of mind--which seems to be purely sensory. This dependence on ignorance runs counter to the ethos of Buddhism.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Creation

I'm currently reading A History of God by Karen Armstrong.  One of the things that struck me right away was the story of how the Babylonian gods emerged from a divine pool.  A question arises from this: Did the gods emerge on their own or did the divine pool eject them from itself?  In a sense this is like the mind.  To what extent does a thought emerge from the mind vs. To what extent does the mind expel thoughts into being from itself?

I have read the chapters on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and I am now on the chapter entitled God of The Philosophers.  One of the things discussed is creation ex nihilo vs. emanation.  It seems unlikely that God would suddenly create the universe.  Yet ex nihilo creation also seems impossible.  If a cube of ice of ice has been eternally frozen and had never begun to be frozen it could never thaw because it could never reach a point at which it could thaw.  And yet, if a man had been seated for all of eternity he could get up at any time.  So God could suddenly create the universe, but why he would choose one moment over another is a mystery.  This all assumes that God always existed in time, which is not true.  Before the Big Bang there was no time.  And with that I stop.