Why are a lot of left-winger into new-age religions?

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g.pavlikian

All mainstream religions and their political theocracies (e.g. Jewish: Israel's Zionism, Islamic: IRI, and Christian: Vatican) are businesses!  As a Christian left-winger I used to identify myself with "Liberation Theology", however, at the moment I just believe in a higher power but not any of mainstream religions.  If I have to follow a religion it would be Zoroastrianism.  A Universal Religion based on real spiritualism (Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds).  It has been religion of ancient Iran and Armenia for thousands of years.

http://www.zoroastrianism.cc/universal_religion.html

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

I can identify with gp's attraction to Zoroastrianism. I dated a young lady of Parsi background for years, and became quite fascinated with it. I think there is a remarkable purity to it due to its ancient roots; much as I feel Judaism more sensible and pure than its Christian and Islamic offspring.

Slumberjack

 Evangelical Leaders Promote New Age and Eastern Spiritual Practices

"In what appears to be a sweeping phenomenon, Christian leaders are embracing practices and a new spirituality that borrows from Eastern mysticism and New Age philosophy."

I think we need to keep an eye on those crafty 'left wing' evangelicals.  They'll stoop to any level to maintain their market share, regardless of the concerns of the 'pure' of mind.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Terry Eagleton is somewhat of a critical theory comedian, but he can write, and the passage quoted by Michael Nenonen (@14) is brilliant, and I think addresses Cueball's just criticism of who consititues the 'left' (Do mealy mouthed liberals really stand-in for robust leftist critique?) and Apples' mostly anecdotal observation (supported, admittedly, from a poll) that people who define themselves as 'left' but not outside the framework of a coercive capitalism, drift towards bullshit.

In case you missed it:

Quote:
One place where so-called spiritual values, driven from the face of a brutally pragmatic capitalism, have taken refuge is New Ageism, which is just the sort of caricature of the spiritual one would expect a materialistic civilization to produce. Rather as those with hearts of stone tend to weep at schmaltzy music, so those who would not recognize a genuine spiritual value if it fell into their laps tend to see the spiritual as spooky, ethereal, and esoteric. This, incidentally, is what Marx had in mind when he wrote of religion as 'the heart of a heartless world, the soul of soulless conditions.' He meant that conventional religion is the only kind of heart that a heartless world can imagine, rather as embarrassingly broad humor is the only kind of comedy the humorless can appreciate. The religion Marx attacks betrays just the kind of sentimental, disembodied understanding of the spiritual that one would expect from hard-headed materialists.

[...]

Romanticism, as Marx himself pointed out, is among other things the flip side of utilitarianism. Those who are in every other way worldly, cynical, and hard-boiled (Hollywood superstars and the like) reveal a truly bottomless gullibility when it comes to spirituality. Nobody is more otherworldly than the worldly, nobody more soft-centered than the hard-nosed. Spiritual matters must naturally be as remote from their lawyers, minders, agents, and hairstylists as one could imagine, in order to provide some fantasy alternative to them. This is why people who are in every other respect urbane and streetwise believe that affairs on earth are being controlled from an alien spaceship behind a cloud. They would probably not believe this if they had $38 in the bank. Money is a great breeder of unreality. The idea that spirituality is about visiting the sick and fighting injustice would no doubt strike these Kabbalists, necromancers, and chiropractors of the psyche as intolerably prosaic. Even their minders and hairstylists can do that.

Thanks for that, Michael!

 

500_Apples

Cueball wrote:

So much for pure "science" based on reason and logic. Heh.

You lose an argument, so what do you do in frustration?

You attack my entire profession and denigrate those I work with.

I'm sure you'll find some other non-sequitur minutia to comment on. Perhaps I neglected a comma somewhere. I have read that you generally irrational on religious issues.

Cueball wrote:
It's one thing for young scientist are taught nothing of political science, but you really have to wonder when those students start constructing formulas where "infinity" is treated as a hard numeric value.

My knowledge of political science exceeds your knowledge of mathematics many times over.

Judging from this thread, where you imply "left" has an objective definition universal in time and space, I question whether you know much at all.

If I'm wrong, I eagerly await your objective definition which is universal in time and space.

Cueball wrote:
As far as I know they were the party that was opposed the emancipation of the slaves,

???

That was 150 years ago. Different party, different people, different issues on the ground, different philosophy, different demographics. Do you even know what an anachronism is? What do you think of Tommy Douglas supporting eugenics on that matter?

What next? Are you going to ask me if Alexander the Great was on the objective left which is identical everywhere in time and space?

What about Hammurabi?

Are you one of those people who cared when the old PCs brought out the great grandaughter of John A McDonald to oppose the merger?

martin dufresne

...this thread, where you imply "left" has an objective definition universal in time and space...

One "Martin point" for 500 Apples! Or should that be called a "straw-berry"?

 

500_Apples

martin dufresne wrote:

...this thread, where you imply "left" has an objective definition universal in time and space...

One "Martin point" for 500 Apples! Or should that be called a "straw-berry"?

 

I'm sorry, I don't get the joke ...

500_Apples

Cueball,

I'm curious about your sociological definitions which are independent of culture, geography, etc.

Would you describe ant colonies as being left-wing or right-wing?

Fidel

500_Apples wrote:
What do you think of Tommy Douglas supporting eugenics on that matter?

[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Douglas]Wikipedia[/url] says:

Quote:
His thesis entitled The Problems of the Subnormal Family was on eugenics, a way to "solve the problems of the Subnormal Family" by sterilizing mentally and physically disabled Canadians, and sending them to camps.[2] He briefly continued his graduate work at the University of Chicago but rejected this theory after his experiences of encountering the poor in Chicago and after a trip to Nazi Germany in 1938. He rarely mentioned his thesis later in his life, and his government never enacted eugenics policies (it may be noted that two Canadian provinces, Alberta and British Columbia, had eugenics legislation in the 1930s, and that the philosophy was not discredited in North America prior to World War II).

And to his credit, Tommy was the first western politician to denounce Hitler and the Nazis. Other western politicians met with Hitler and Nazis in the 1930's and found very little wrong with the master race. The US ambassador to Berlin said some of North America's captains of industry were tripping over one another in Berlin then while economic recovery from the depression in the US and Canada progressed at a snail's pace.

In the US, political conservatives like Prescott Bush maintained racist views on eugenics well into the 1950s.

jas

I feel sorry for people who can only trust the reality that they perceive through the five bodily senses, and who toss out other experience that can't be explained. As if the five human senses, and some human-contrived measuring apparatus are all you need to understand and verify all phenomena in this universe, and where consciousness comes from. Not only is it arrogant, it's amusing. It's like a fruit fly or a mole declaring itself omniscient.

Science is a human construct. It will only show you what is perceivable by the human senses (and prosthetically), not what's beyond our physical perceptual capabilities. Not only that, it will only show you what it is designed to show you. Like any tool, it is not equipped to show you or produce anything beyond its own constructs. This should be self-evident to people who consider themselves intelligent, but apparently it isn't.

I also find it interesting the number of threads started here designed solely to discuss the idiocy of religion or spirituality. What is it exactly that's bothering you, that you need to keep bashing and picking at it? You might want to look at that.

I have a religious or spiritual practice that I do because it works for me, and because it provides direct insight and perception into, not some esoteric world or supreme being, but the everyday reality that is right in front of us in every moment. A reality that comprises not just us and our self-identity, but what we are in relationship to everything else. A reality that we seem to want to shun, over and over, in favour of our constantly churning thoughts, opinions and behavioural habits, keeping ourselves separate from things.

I find the insights of science to complement this practice rather than contradict it. But science is still behind. I don't know if it will ever catch up, bound as it is by dualistic thought. However, scientists on the cutting edge of their fields are beginning to understand and to write about it.

 

martin dufresne

500, a "Martin point" is an attack against what one says one opponent implies, rather than what he writes. (I used to get that a lot.) A variant of the strawman argument trick. In other words, I think you exaggerated Cueball's contention for effect.

500_Apples

Fidel wrote:

500_Apples wrote:
What do you think of Tommy Douglas supporting eugenics on that matter?

[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Douglas]Wikipedia[/url] says:

Quote:
His thesis entitled The Problems of the Subnormal Family was on eugenics, a way to "solve the problems of the Subnormal Family" by sterilizing mentally and physically disabled Canadians, and sending them to camps.[2] He briefly continued his graduate work at the University of Chicago but rejected this theory after his experiences of encountering the poor in Chicago and after a trip to Nazi Germany in 1938. He rarely mentioned his thesis later in his life, and his government never enacted eugenics policies (it may be noted that two Canadian provinces, Alberta and British Columbia, had eugenics legislation in the 1930s, and that the philosophy was not discredited in North America prior to World War II).

And to his credit, Tommy was the first western politician to denounce Hitler and the Nazis. Other western politicians met with Hitler and Nazis in the 1930's and found very little wrong with the master race. The US ambassador to Berlin said some of North America's captains of industry were tripping over one another in Berlin then while economic recovery from the depression in the US and Canada progressed at a snail's pace.

In the US, political conservatives like Prescott Bush maintained racist views on eugenics well into the 1950s.

Thanks for the trip down history lane. That was interesting to read.

I was aware his views evolved with time, and my suggestion we reject him due to him having unfashionable views (relative to today's standards) at one point was a sarcastic one. The information available to people, and the cultural norms which influenced people's views both evolved.

500_Apples

Thanks for the post jas. I have a couple of objections.

jas wrote:

Science is a human construct.


That's just not true. The relationships and rules we find exist independently of us. In history, a lot of different cultures independently arrived at the same ideas, for example pyramids (civil engineering) and the heliocentric solar system (ancient greece, ancient india).

I'm confident an intelligent species elsewhere in the galaxy would be able to independently derive the inverse square law of gravity, for example.

Truth is not so much a human construct as it has the potential to be a human discovery.

jas wrote:
Not only that, it will only show you what it is designed to show you.

That's also just not true.
Lots of experiments yield surprises and end up being used in ways nobody anticipated. Have you kept up with the medical isotopes issue? I don't think the people mapping the theory of the atom in the 30s and 40s had medical applications in mind.

jas wrote:
What is it exactly that's bothering you, that you need to keep bashing and picking at it? You might want to look at that.


In this specific case, there's a phenomenon I could not understand, so I wanted an explanation for it to make sense.

In general, what I object to are more "active" religious mindsets, where people want to delegate social norms and policies to archaic belief systems. For example, teaching young earth creationism in school, discouraging kids from marrying outside their religion.

I also have a problem with people being conned. A few years ago I was a stock clerk in a pharmacy, and the cashier was studying astrology in some sort of "school". We played a game, she got to ask me one question at a time, I'd answer truthfully, and then guess my sign. 11 questions, 11 answers, and what do you know only Scorpio was left. Her reaction was that now that she was thinking about, I am kind of like a scorpio. It's a bit sad she was spending her money on this. I hope she never bases life decisions on it. If people genuinely believe in this stuff then they are sometimes morally obliged to deny me employment, as scorpios are apparently demanding, rough and poor at communication.

A friend of mine, told me his roommate went to a school for tarrot cards and tea leaves and that sort of thing, and the first thing they learn about is quantum mechanics. That's fraud.

We're in a very technologically advanced world and there are a lot of issues of public policy that require an educated public if we are to have a functioning democracy, for example global warming. These issues will be more numerous as we move forward.

Trevormkidd

500_Apples wrote:
A friend of mine, told me his roommate went to a school for tarrot cards and tea leaves and that sort of thing, and the first thing they learn about is quantum mechanics. That's fraud.

Maybe I should check out attending that school.  At the university I attend quantum mechanics is a fourth year course for physics majors.   

jas

500_Apples wrote:
Thanks for the post jas. I have a couple of objections.
jas wrote:

Science is a human construct.

That's just not true. The relationships and rules we find exist independently of us.

Relationships and behaviour of matter and energy may exist independently of us (some physicists suggest that this may not always be the case). The practice and use of science as a tool for discovery is a human construct. The scope of what is discovered is also limited by the tools and methods used, as well as limited by our biology, our five sense organs. That is self-evident.

500_Apples

jas wrote:

500_Apples wrote:
Thanks for the post jas. I have a couple of objections.
jas wrote:

Science is a human construct.

That's just not true. The relationships and rules we find exist independently of us.

Relationships and behaviour of matter and energy may exist independently of us (some physicists suggest that this may not always be the case). The practice and use of science as a tool for discovery is a human construct. The scope of what is discovered is also limited by the tools and methods used, as well as limited by our biology, our five sense organs. That is self-evident.

Yup, if something doesn't interact with human beings or interact with anything we interact with, we can't discover it. I don't know if such things exist, I'm pretty sure they don't matter. Why would they?

There's been a big controversy among physicists about whether parallel universe research counts as science, see here for example: http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/ . I personally think not.

I think the scientific method is a social construct, and so yes science is partly social construct, but saying it's a social construct point blank sounds to me like saying apple pie is a fruit as opposed to saying apple pie is part fruit. It's not a full picture, and it can't be unless you're a special cook.

jas

I didn't say social construct. I said it is a human construct and, as such, is limited by the limits of human faculties of perception and knowing. It is prosthetic.

And if things exist outside of this biologically limited perception, they may or may not matter to humans, but they do exist. My objection was to the scientistic attitude that nothing exists that can't be observed and verifiable. That is simply not true.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

500_Apples wrote:
Cueball, I'm curious about your sociological definitions which are independent of culture, geography, etc. Would you describe ant colonies as being left-wing or right-wing?

1) That all persons are essentially equal.

2) That all persons have an equal social responsibility toward one another.

Using these basic principles it is possible to easily identify if a persons beliefs support those views, and if so how much, in comparison to others.

It is not a sociological definition. It is philosophic, from which various political and sociological conclusions can be drawn. In relationship to the issue of religion, I think it is interesting to note that Fredrick Engels, once noted that the Christian concept that all persons are born into original sin, is the "frist equality". Not suprisingly this concept also found its way into the constitution of the United States, where its first political postulate is an echo of the biblical view: "All men are created equal".

Notably, most "new age" religious philosophies that I have encountered, are centered on individualist conceptions of human interaction morality, and not social conceptions of human interaction and morality. They are focussed on the "self", "self" motivation and "self" fulfillment, not on the social responsibility of persons, except in the most mundane and pragmatic way, where other persons are useful in achieving the aim of self fulfillment, which is most often identified with self-gratification.  The solutions to lifes dilemas are to be found in self examination, rather than outward looking positive solutions whithin mutually supporting social relationships, when they do acknowledge the existance of the world, it is only ever evoked in terms of family, and immdiate friends, never the grander scheme of society as a whole.

Of course, self-fulfillment is not a bad things, per se. Nor is introspect self-examination. But when these concepts of morality are applied with a corrolary focus on the social, and one social repsonsibility, these kinds of philisophies are easily asserted in the defence of egoism, at the expense of the greater whole. And that is essentially anti-left, whatever pretenesions some practioners might have to being "progressive" simply because they have picked up on an alternative world view.

Of the modern "religions" I would say that "scientology" is probably the most clear example of this moral framework being evoked as a "positive".

To touch upon my earlier point, they indeed have arisen as a reflection of the new social order which accentuates the individual over the social, and act as a means of embedding individual achievement in a personal morality more or less free of social responsibility. A view of the world which fits hand in glove with "free market" capitalism, and indeed neo-liberalism. What is notable in the Judeao/Christian/Muslim theological landscape, is that they all clealy identify social responsibility as an essential part of morality. In the case of Islam charity is indeed asserted as a fundamental moral act that all persons must engage in.

Indeed. The connection between Engels and other humanist scholars, like the authors of the US constitution, who identify or even echo essential equality as a fundamental principle sprining from biblical tradition is no accident at all. In fact, the social-humanist "leftist" tradition is not a clear break from Christian morality at all, except in the rejection of god, but indeed an application of the "social" aspects of those traditions in the realm of human governance.

 

 

Slumberjack

In fairness though, some non-western, or even some of the new age belief systems have at their core the concept of being in harmony with ones surroundings, either through direct outward manifestation or indirectly through personal contemplation first.  In those cases, attempting to perfect oneself in isolation while ignoring the periphery wouldn't necessarily be conducive with harmony, unless of course they are just as hypocritical as the others.

Fidel

500_Apples wrote:

I'm confident an intelligent species elsewhere in the galaxy would be able to independently derive the inverse square law of gravity, for example.

Truth is not so much a human construct as it has the potential to be a human discovery.

At least two SETI astronomers think there is something to the UFO phenomenon. And those people tend to be somewhat more conservative in their views than most. I've never seen one myself, but at the same time, I think it's possible that [url=http://estimateofthesituation.blogspot.com/2008/09/something-is-here.htm... is here[/url]

Quote:
There's been a big controversy among physicists about whether parallel universe research counts as science, see here for example: http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/ . I personally think not.

And I'm guessing that there could be at least 10^500 universes out there.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Slumberjack wrote:

In fairness though, some non-western, or even some of the new age belief systems have at their core the concept of being in harmony with ones surroundings, either through direct outward manifestation or indirectly through personal contemplation first.  In those cases, attempting to perfect oneself in isolation while ignoring the periphery wouldn't necessarily be conducive with harmony, unless of course they are just as hypocritical as the others.

I wasn't really talking about "non-western" religions. I was talking about the various amalgams, often based in non-western relgions that appear in mainstream western society, and those are the ones I identify as "new age". They have more often than not cherry=picked certain concepts from non-western relgions to create a new form, without social content. But Non-Wesern religions, appear as non-western religions, when they are taught in their tradtional forms. Taoism and Confusiun relligions have a whole bunch of "social content", as do most of th rest.

Religions are an essential part of hegemony, in my view. And have always played the role of institutionalizing the personal moral responsiblities that a person should pursue in relationship to state and society.

AfroHealer

Thank you !! Thank you Thank you Jas.

one it ws the western beleife in the supremacyof thier Church beliefs, tha lead some to destroy and disrespect those who did nto beleife in thier Religion.

Now it has morphed into the beleife in teh supremacyof western Scientifc beliefs, that are leading to a similar disrespect.

jas wrote:

I didn't say social construct. I said it is a human construct and, as such, is limited by the limits of human faculties of perception and knowing. It is prosthetic.

And if things exist outside of this biologically limited perception, they may or may not matter to humans, but they do exist. My objection was to the scientistic attitude that nothing exists that can't be observed and verifiable. That is simply not true.

I could not have said it better Jas.

There is definately a strong irrational belief in this newage religion, called Science.

 

Let me proove to you scientifically that frogs hear with thier ears.

Hypothesis "Frogs hear with thier legs"

Test of Hypothesis"
1) get a statisticaly relivant colelction of frogs form all over the globe.

2) Repeat the following with each of the sample of frogs in a controled environment.

-Make a loud noise. and obbserve as they hear you and then jump.

-Cut thier legs off, and repeat make loud noice, while observing that their loss of hearing, has cuased them not to jump.

3) End of proof and now go get yoru PHD (Permanent Head Damage)

 

Nuff said.

 

jas

Thanks, Afro-Healer.

I also enjoyed Cueball's analysis of new-ageism, which I find pretty accurate.

I would point out to anyone though, that that's what you get when you kill God. If you don't like it, tough biscuits. Before Christianity there was paganism. And every other society that we know about has also had some kind of belief system designed to make sense out of things, designed to explain apparently impossible instances of order and organization against a backdrop of apparent randomness. Furthermore, trying to replace God with science will probably not get you the results you want. And if the objection to new-ageism is to the absence of a collectivist morality and social responsibility, science is hardly the great collectivizer (to use a made-up word), imo.

 

 

Unionist

jas wrote:

 Furthermore, trying to replace God with science will probably not get you the results you want. And if the objection to new-ageism is to the absence of a collectivist morality and social responsibility, science is hardly the great collectivizer (to use a made-up word), imo.

 

Religion is powerful - monopolistic, even. It makes people see every system of thought and activity in religious terms. They can't imagine science without "belief in science", which to them is just another kind of "belief" or "faith" - my faith vs. your faith, it's just a difference of taste or choice or upbringing. Likewise, they can't imagine morality or social responsibility without a religious foundation - so if it's not Christianity or Buddhism, it must be "science". It's a totalitarian and tautological outlook, which helps account for its durability.

 

500_Apples

Cueball wrote:

500_Apples wrote:
Cueball, I'm curious about your sociological definitions which are independent of culture, geography, etc. Would you describe ant colonies as being left-wing or right-wing?

1) That all persons are essentially equal.

2) That all persons have an equal social responsibility toward one another.

Using these basic principles it is possible to easily identify if a persons beliefs support those views, and if so how much, in comparison to others.

It is not a sociological definition. It is philosophic, from which various political and sociological conclusions can be drawn. In relationship to the issue of religion, I think it is interesting to note that Fredrick Engels, once noted that the Christian concept that all persons are born into original sin, is the "frist equality". Not suprisingly this concept also found its way into the constitution of the United States, where its first political postulate is an echo of the biblical view: "All men are created equal".

Notably, most "new age" religious philosophies that I have encountered, are centered on individualist conceptions of human interaction morality, and not social conceptions of human interaction and morality. They are focussed on the "self", "self" motivation and "self" fulfillment, not on the social responsibility of persons, except in the most mundane and pragmatic way, where other persons are useful in achieving the aim of self fulfillment, which is most often identified with self-gratification.  The solutions to lifes dilemas are to be found in self examination, rather than outward looking positive solutions whithin mutually supporting social relationships, when they do acknowledge the existance of the world, it is only ever evoked in terms of family, and immdiate friends, never the grander scheme of society as a whole.

Of course, self-fulfillment is not a bad things, per se. Nor is introspect self-examination. But when these concepts of morality are applied with a corrolary focus on the social, and one social repsonsibility, these kinds of philisophies are easily asserted in the defence of egoism, at the expense of the greater whole. And that is essentially anti-left, whatever pretenesions some practioners might have to being "progressive" simply because they have picked up on an alternative world view.

Of the modern "religions" I would say that "scientology" is probably the most clear example of this moral framework being evoked as a "positive".

To touch upon my earlier point, they indeed have arisen as a reflection of the new social order which accentuates the individual over the social, and act as a means of embedding individual achievement in a personal morality more or less free of social responsibility. A view of the world which fits hand in glove with "free market" capitalism, and indeed neo-liberalism. What is notable in the Judeao/Christian/Muslim theological landscape, is that they all clealy identify social responsibility as an essential part of morality. In the case of Islam charity is indeed asserted as a fundamental moral act that all persons must engage in.

Indeed. The connection between Engels and other humanist scholars, like the authors of the US constitution, who identify or even echo essential equality as a fundamental principle sprining from biblical tradition is no accident at all. In fact, the social-humanist "leftist" tradition is not a clear break from Christian morality at all, except in the rejection of god, but indeed an application of the "social" aspects of those traditions in the realm of human governance.

 

 

That was great!

Someone woke up in a better mood today.

I guess I'm not part of your left, I think "That all persons are essentially equal" is a phrase that does not really make a lot of sense. If people are different then they cannot be equal. Humans are multidimensional creatures, and our variety is part of our strength.

I'm not sure what the second sentence means either. A parent has more social responsibility to their child than to a stranger.

As I don't consider that nor any previous definition "objective", I prefer to use left and right as they are used in geometry.

Noise

Apples - I haven't read other responses yet (I'll get to them, it's an interesting thread)...but in regards to the OP (specifically christianity), I reject the patriarchial overtones imbedded within so-called 'familiy values',  I reject anything that puts 'Gods word' before human rights and equality (homophobia fits in there), and I reject anything that seperates man from nature itself.   It's the perpetuation of these values that are at the core of any religion spawned in pre-industrial times that will pit anyone who considers themselves a humaniterian against them.

If you consider yourself part of the left and reject older religions for any of my reasons above, but still wish to persue a spiritual path, you're kinda left with no other option than 'new-age' religions. 

I should also echo Cueballs response that you quoted above...New-Age does heavily trend towards expressions of self instead of social level of morality.

Fidel

I think the proliferation of new age religion is a sign that people are discontented with the old order. They want something more and aspire to something greater than this, what we have now. Hundreds of millions of people in this world arent living in paradise, and people are catching on that our world leaders and captains of industry and finance are something less than divine. For hundreds of millions of human beings, their lives are a living hell.

Noise

In support of that Fidel...I find the line 'a restlessness growing within us all that will soon reach a breaking point' is within the foundation of alot of these New-Age movements...Without God's purpose, what purpose do we have?

Tommy_Paine

My objection was to the scientistic attitude that nothing exists that can't be observed and verifiable. That is simply not true.

 

I don't think you will find a scientist today that will say, definitively, that Bigfoot (for example) does not exist. What science says is that it's yet to be proved, and might venture an opinion, based on the evidence, towards the likelyhood of Bigfoot existing, but no one would say "Bigfoot does not exist."

It is difficult to prove a negative.  We could, for example, prove that Bigfoot does not exist by clear cutting all the forests in North America, and exploring, then sealing, every cave, hollow and sizeable burrow.  But, it's probably not worth it.

And besides, Bigfoot advocates would just adjust their claim that Bigfoot is invisible, except when he or she isn't.

Wink

If you consider yourself part of the left and reject older religions for any of my reasons above, but still wish to persue a spiritual path, you're kinda left with no other option than 'new-age' religions.

 

That's incorrect, Noise, but it does go a long way in proving a point I made above, thanks.

Laughing

 

 

Fidel

Noise wrote:

In support of that Fidel...I find the line 'a restlessness growing within us all that will soon reach a breaking point' is within the foundation of alot of these New-Age movements...Without God's purpose, what purpose do we have?

I think there is a divine spark in all of us waiting to burst out and realize all our potentials - and to turf these pretenders to world governments and leaders of supranational big business out on the curb where they belong. The evil empire's war on democracy and humanity continues.

Noise

;)   I assume you mean I'm perpetuating the spiritual / religion association...which I agree with.  I'm bulking spirituality thats not linked to religion in the 'new age religion' category when i posted that.

 

Quote:

My objection was to the scientistic attitude that nothing exists that can't be observed and verifiable. That is simply not true.

 

I don't think you will find a scientist today that will say, definitively, that Bigfoot (for example) does not exist. What science says is that it's yet to be proved, and might venture an opinion, based on the evidence, towards the likelyhood of Bigfoot existing, but no one would say "Bigfoot does not exist.

 

I think the reference is not towards proving a negative, but instead that science for the most case likes to ignore that the interpretted exists (all things are equal regardless of the observer or that we can isolate the observer from the observed).  I might be wrong in what Jas ment, but thats what I take that comment to mean.

 

Incidentally, I beleive we are all the same nothingness experiencing itself...Had I been given all your experiences through your interpretation I would be you (or I am you, you are me...however yu want to phraise that).  Does this count as spirituality void of religion?...when you see another person, you see yourself living a different set of experiences (human-centric mind you...when you can see a tree as an equal method of experiencing nothingness then you advance beyond humancentric...assuming thats something to aim for).  Is that considered New-Age or otherwise?

Fidel

Noise wrote:
Incidentally, I beleive we are all the same nothingness experiencing itself...Had I been given all your experiences through your interpretation I would be you (or I am you, you are me...however yu want to phraise that).  

 

[url=http://www.qubit.org/people/david/]David Deutsch[/url] is an atheist. But unlike many atheists, Deutsch believes in the many worlds theory of physics combined with Darwin's theory of evolution will, some day, be the theoretical framework for explaining what he refers to as the 'fabric of reality' And Deutsch is considered to hold some of the more conservative views on theoretical physics.

Michio Kaku is a leading string theorist and speculates that this unverse is like a soap bubble, with light unable to escape farthest boundaries. And the soap bubbles touch and are expanding, growing in number always. Kaku says it might be comparable to fish in a pond unaware of an alternate world above the water line. For the fish, only the pond is real. "In my father's house are many mansions" - John 14:2

Everything we are able to see and detect with our eyes and other instruments represents atomic matter, and said to be about 4% of this universe. There are phenomenon in deep space and all around us that havent even been categorized by our science.

 

Noise

Interesting, I might have to get that a read.   I follow superstring theory myself...hard to express a view of reality as a curtain blowing in the wind where we are the warps and wefts of breeze, unable to experience the fabric of the curtain itself.

Have you seen any (semi-serious) discussions of matter existing as everything simoultaneously, with our (collective) consciousness reducing it to whatever we see at that moment (puts time as an interpretted attribute and permanently links the observed and observer as non-seperable entities)?

 

 

Fidel

I think youre talking about Newtonian physics. It still rules our world, but scientists say it stops working at the sub-atomic level. Quantum physics since Bohr, Einstein, Heisenberg etc suggests that our's is a participatory universe, or one in which the scientist as unobserved observer doesnt make sense. Quantum physics is said to represent about a third of our modern economies and is actually more precise than Newtonian.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Oh well.

Trevormkidd

AfroHealer wrote:
Let me proove to you scientifically that frogs hear with thier ears.

Hypothesis "Frogs hear with thier legs"

Test of Hypothesis"
1) get a statisticaly relivant colelction of frogs form all over the globe.

2) Repeat the following with each of the sample of frogs in a controled environment.

-Make a loud noise. and obbserve as they hear you and then jump.

-Cut thier legs off, and repeat make loud noice, while observing that their loss of hearing, has cuased them not to jump.

3) End of proof and now go get yoru PHD (Permanent Head Damage)

Nuff said.

I never thought I would be able to find a poorer understanding of the scientific method then I find on young earth creationism sites...

1) No scientific body would ever publish such a hypothesis, yet alone award anyone a PHD as it does not fit with existing recognized knowledge systems.  It also violates the "simplicity" tenet of a scientific hypothesis (Occam's Razor) as we already know how animals hear and frogs have ears.  In fact the only thing scientific about the hypothesis is that it is testible, however even there....

2) It is dead wrong and would not provide the results you imply as frogs actually DON'T JUMP in response to loud noises.

From the book "Frogs" by David Badger and John Netherton on page 38 - "A sudden loud noise will startle a human being into action, but the same noise merely puts the amphibian on guard and ready to flee......Laboratory experiments indeed suggest that frogs require a visual stimulus before their motor response kicks in."

3) You also never attempted to falsify your "scientific experiment" and it would be falsified in a fraction of a second.

4) "Proofs" are in math.

 

martin dufresne

Frogs all over the place are breathing a great sigh of relief. Male understanding progresses in infininitesimal steps, but it does.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Frogs - Archibald Lampman (1888)

Quote:
Breathers of wisdom won without a quest,
Quaint uncouth dreamers, voices high and strange;
Flutists of lands where beauty hath no change,
And wintry grief is a forgotten guest,
Sweet murmurers of everlasting rest,
For whom glad days have ever yet to run,
And moments are as aeons, and the sun
But ever sunken half-way toward the west.

Often to me who heard you in your day,
With close rapt ears, it could not choose but seem
That earth, our mother, searching in what way
Men's hearts might know her spirit's inmost-dream;
Ever at rest beneath life's change and stir,
Made you her soul, and bade you pipe for her.

II
In those mute days when spring was in her glee,
And hope was strong, we knew not why or how,
And earth, the mother, dreamed with brooding brow,
Musing on life, and what the hours might be,
Then like high flutes in silvery interchange
Ye piped with voices still and sweet and strange,
And ever as ye piped, on every tree

The great buds swelled; among the pensive woods
The spirits of first flowers awoke and flung
From buried faces the close-fitting hoods,
And listened to your piping till they fell,
The frail spring-beauty with her perfumed bell,
The wind-flower, and the spotted adder-tongue.

III
All the day long, wherever pools might be
Among the golden meadows, where the air
Stood in a dream, as it were moorèd there
For ever in a noon-tide reverie,
Or where the birds made riot of their glee
In the still woods, and the hot sun shone down,
Crossed with warm lucent shadows on the brown
Leaf-paven pools, that bubbled dreamily,

Or far away in whispering river meads
And watery marshes where the brooding noon,
Full with the wonder of its own sweet boon,
Nestled and slept among the noiseless reeds,
Ye sat and murmured, motionless as they,
With eyes that dreamed beyond the night and day.

IV
And when day passed and over heaven's height,
Thin with the many stars and cool with dew,
The fingers of the deep hours slowly drew
The wonder of the ever-healing night,
No grief or loneliness or rapt delight
Or weight of silence ever brought to you
Slumber or rest; only your voices grew
More high and solemn; slowly with hushed flight

Ye saw the echoing hours go by, long-drawn,
Nor ever stirred, watching with fathomless eyes,
And with your countless clear antiphonies
Filling the earth and heaven, even till dawn,
Last-risen, found you with its first pale gleam,
Still with soft throats unaltered in your dream.

V
And slowly as we heard you, day by day,
The stillness of enchanted reveries
Bound brain and spirit and half-closèd eyes,
In some divine sweet wonder-dream astray;
To us no sorrow or upreared dismay
Nor any discord came, but evermore
The voices of mankind, the outer roar,
Grew strange and murmurous, faint and far away.

Morning and noon and midnight exquisitely,
Rapt with your voices, this alone we knew,
Cities might change and fall, and men might die,
Secure were we, content to dream with you
That change and pain are shadows faint and fleet,
And dreams are real, and life is only sweet.

jas

Noise wrote:

I think the reference is not towards proving a negative, but instead that science for the most case likes to ignore that the interpretted exists (all things are equal regardless of the observer or that we can isolate the observer from the observed).  I might be wrong in what Jas ment, but thats what I take that comment to mean.

Actually, what I meant was, as human creatures with certain bodies and specific sensory organs adapted to the world in which we live, just like other critters on this planet, we are limited to a specific spectrum of things perceivable within our world and within this universe of matter and energy, and probably cannot perceive other things that exist outside of that spectrum, even with our technology. Science is a kind of mapping system; it does not show us the complete territory, and moreover, it only shows us a territory understandable and perceivable within human intellectual and sensory capability.

And then further, it is defined by the dominant social, political and philosophical understandings of whatever particular era the discovery is made in, which is where social construction comes in.

Fidel

Noise wrote:
Have you seen any (semi-serious) discussions of matter existing as everything simoultaneously, with our (collective) consciousness reducing it to whatever we see at that moment (puts time as an interpretted attribute and permanently links the observed and observer as non-seperable entities)?

 

Quote:
Deutsch's FAQ on Everett's theory says:

Q3 What are the alternatives to many-worlds?

 

There is no other quantum theory, besides many-worlds, that is scientific, in the sense of providing a reductionist model of reality, and free of internal inconsistencies, that I am aware of. Briefly here are the defects of the most popular alternatives:...

Q30 What are the problems with quantum theory?

Quantum theory is the most successful description of microscopic systems like atoms and molecules ever, yet often it is not applied to larger, classical systems, like observers or the entire universe. Many scientists and philosophers are unhappy with the theory because it seems to require a fundamental quantum-classical divide. Einstein, for example, despite his early contributions to the subject, was never reconciled with assigning to the act of observation a physical significance, which most interpretations of QM require. This contradicts the reductionist ethos that, amongst other things, observations should emerge only as a consequence of an underlying physical theory and not be present at the axiomatic level, as they are in the Copenhagen interpretation. Yet the Copenhagen interpretation remains the most popular interpretation of quantum mechanics amongst the broad scientific community. (See "What is the Copenhagen interpretation?")...

A2 Quantum theory is the most successful theory of physics and chemistry ever. It accounts for a wide range of phenomena from black body radiation, atomic structure and chemistry, which were very puzzling before quantum mechanics was first developed (c1926) in its modern form. All theories of physics are quantum physics, with whole new fields, like the semiconductor and microchip technology, based upon the quantum effects ...

Noise

Unable to differentiate the observer from the observed is based on Quantum Mechanics (kinda the principal behind the book 'the quantum enigma')...you're somewhat preaching to the choir Fidel (I love using that expression for these conversations).  What are your thoughts on [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Implicate_and_Explicate_Order_according_to_... Bohms[/url] implicate order?  Heh, or Quantum entanglement.

Oh, and thanks for that link...I'm not new to some of the info there,  but it's a good read.

 

Jas - understood.  We might have said the same thing to some degree...observer cannot be seperated from the observed can be taken to imply that it's bound to our ability to observe and our senses, but I didn't word it like that in my post.  The observer effects the observed in 3 ways...physical  (limited to our physical senses), the individual (our perceptions formed by individual experience), and the social structures that you describe (everything has 3 components in this manner, I We It.  Science is only valid in reference to the it).  Heh, so ya...we are talking about the same thing I think :)

I remember reading a piece on humans being sensitive to each others magnetic fields since we're so 'electrically' active.  It then went on to try to legitimize chakras using it...up until that point is was kinda an interesting read.  Actually, I found the holographic reality an interesting read as well until they attempt to link it to health using anecdotal evidence for an entire book.

Fidel

I'm no theoretical physicist and too late in the game for me to become an authority on leading edge scientific theory. But [url=http://www.kurzweilai.net/articles/art0268.html?printable=1]Deutsch[/url] said that Bohm's singular universe occupies one groove in a very complicated multi-dimensional wave function:

 

Quote:
"The question that pilot-wave theorists must address is: what are the unoccupied grooves?"... "It is no good saying they are merely theoretical and do not exist physically, for they continually jostle each other and the occupied groove, affecting its trajectory. What's really being talked about here is parallel universes. Pilot-wave theories are parallel-universe theories in a state of chronic denial."

 

RosaL

There are some excellent posts in this thread Smile 

Anyway, I think the thread title should have been, "why are a lot of liberals into new age religions?" A certain type of liberal certainly is into new-ageism and it's an interesting phenomenon. (Terry Eagleton makes some good points.) But I have not observed people left of liberal to be prone to new-ageism. 

edited to add:

Quote:
Seriously, is it really true that young scientists are being produced in universities in this country without even rudimentary knowledge of fundaments of basic political philosophy?

In my experience, yes. I found it quite striking. 

Fidel

Quote:
Humans are multidimensional creatures, and our variety is part of our strength

 

I thought Linda McQuaig made some interesting comments about this with respect to how the new liberal capitalism is an attempt to make the economy our universal reason for being, and as a result, to embed man in his own economy. Socialists realize that throughout human history, the economy was never this important in people's lives, except, perhaps, when slavery was the main economic driver and two social classes existed: the rich property owning class and slaves with nothing in between.

 

But as a socialist I believe that human individuality need not be sacrificed to the individualism that capitalism produces. And McQuaig cited Polanyi when she described how the first economists decided economics should be made scientific study in universities. Yes we are capable of exhibiting more than one characteristic at a time, and she mentioned Adam Smith's self-interested baker and butcher as actors within the economy to put food on all our tables, because it's in their self-interested economic interests to do so. But to base whole economies on a single human characterstic will, as socialists pointed out, surely produce one-dimensional people in distorting not just human nature but the overall economic results as well. McQuaig said, we are more than one-dimensional prisoners of our own greed. Not even Smith would recognize this new homo economicus of neoliberal capitalism today.

 

Individualism, environmentalists are saying today, is not good for sustainable economies and the future of the environment. I think individuality can be rewarded in less extravagant ways than excessive remuneration and obscene bonuses and perks. Nobody is worth what some of these CEO's and CFO's have made for basically presiding over failing and failed corporations and banks. It's a terrible irony that those people are paid what they are, and all the while hundreds of millions of human beings are hungry every day and 25 to 30 thousand  dying in agony each and every day as a result. It's a terrible insult to human dignity everywhere. A threat to human dignity and decency anywhere should be considered a threat to every one everywhere.

Cueball Cueball's picture

500_Apples wrote:
Cueball wrote:

500_Apples wrote:
Cueball, I'm curious about your sociological definitions which are independent of culture, geography, etc. Would you describe ant colonies as being left-wing or right-wing?

1) That all persons are essentially equal.

2) That all persons have an equal social responsibility toward one another.

Using these basic principles it is possible to easily identify if a persons beliefs support those views, and if so how much, in comparison to others.

That was great! Someone woke up in a better mood today. I guess I'm not part of your left, I think "That all persons are essentially equal" is a phrase that does not really make a lot of sense. If people are different then they cannot be equal. Humans are multidimensional creatures, and our variety is part of our strength. I'm not sure what the second sentence means either. A parent has more social responsibility to their child than to a stranger. As I don't consider that nor any previous definition "objective", I prefer to use left and right as they are used in geometry.

I never thought you were on the left. I always thought you were on the right. In fact, your airy-fairy hippy notions about social relativism are something that you and new agers seem to agree on. These notions are very convenient for someone who wants to avoid social responsibility in favour of self-gratification. Don't get me wrong, I am no saint. But I don't convenience my own personal ego and ambition by asserting social relativism and "naturalism" as a justification for my own teripitude.

Strangely, you consider yourself a scientist. I never thought this would be a fair interogation, right from the get go, and as I see, once I offered a definition you immediatly started trying to "game" the system, by prevaricating on the point "equality" and "sameness". Is this point not so obvious that one would have to think a the person speaking was ridiculously stupid to the extent where they believed that when they said "equal" they meant they were the "same".

George Washington, a dullard. Who knew?

I notice you have not yet inconvenienced yourself with the making the effort of attempting a definition of what constitutes "left" on your own, even when you were repeatedly asked, and indeed when it was you who original posited the term as qualifier in your question. Now it is completely clear that my originial interrogation was entirely on point .

Or do you actually think observing that all people are not the same, serves as intelligent commentary? If so, god help you. Or are you blandly stating that your life has a greater or lesser value than any other human life?

Parlour tricks and bullshit semantics. Geometry? Ok, but you have yet to define a meter, or even a formula which creates a standard upon which you can calculate a meter that allows for you to make measurements along the X axis.

Sven Sven's picture

I don't know if "spiritualism" is necessarily tied to the Left.  But, for those on the Left (presumably that portion of the political spectrum that uses brains) who do believe in "spiritualism", the question that I have is this: How do intelligent people believe in anything that is spiritual?  What evidence is there for believing that there is a "higher power" (of any sort)?  Or that there is an afterlife?  Or that anyone (or anything) has a "spirit" or a "soul"?

Sven Sven's picture

Oh, the one thing that I'll give "spiritualism" is that most people who are "spiritual" don't have an need impose their beliefs on others, unlike much of Christianity and Islam.  In that sense, I think "spiritualism" is harmless: If someone wants to believe that they have a spirit or a soul, have at it, I guess.  But, "spiritualism" doesn't seem to be intellectually grounded in any way.

Fidel

I think the old view of science and reality will slowly give way to an understanding that acknowledges conscious will trumps fate and chance across multiverses of reality. And each plane of reality will be discovered to exist by its own organizing principle. And I think Heisenberg's undertainty principle will be at work tonight at Mellon Arena where the refs will call more penalties against the Wings, because the fans' quantum intentions will influence refs to banish more Wings to the sin bin than would be the case otherwise.

RosaL

Sven wrote:

I don't know if "spiritualism" is necessarily tied to the Left.  

I do. It's not.

Sven wrote:

But, for those on the Left (presumably that portion of the political spectrum that uses brains) who do believe in "spiritualism", the question that I have is this: How do intelligent people believe in anything that is spiritual?  What evidence is there for believing that there is a "higher power" (of any sort)?  Or that there is an afterlife?  Or that anyone (or anything) has a "spirit" or a "soul"?

1) It's not a question of people on the "other end" of the spectrum not using their brains. Where did you get that idea? 

2) Why ask this only of leftists? Why not ask "spiritualists" (a misnomer, I believe) in general?

500_Apples

Fidel wrote:
And I think Heisenberg's undertainty principle will be at work tonight at Mellon Arena where the refs will call more penalties against the Wings,

lol !

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