Planets

In Greek, “planet” is from Latin planetaplanetes, from Ancient Greek πλανήτης (planētēs) variant of πλάνης (planēs, “wanderer, planet”).

When the astronomers of antiquity cast their gaze upon the nights sky above, they noticed certain lights wandering about in eccentric patterns of motion, in contrast to the fixed stars in the background. These lights were thought to be gods wandering about in the heavens and were thus named “planets” and received their respective Greek god names, later translated by the Romans into our modern titles for the planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter (Uranus and Neptune were discovered later).

Heteroglossia

Let us examine some fundamental bible verses in order to extricate some understanding from the text and decipher the meaning of the passage:

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov. 9:10)

In the Original Greek,

“archē sophias phobos kuriou kai boulē agiōn sunesis to gar gnōnai nomon dianoias estin agathēs” (Prov. 9:10)

Breaking down the words:

Archē (ἀρχή): a word with primary senses ‘beginning’, ‘origin’ or ‘first cause’ and ‘power’, ‘sovereignty’, ‘domination’ as extended meanings.

Sophias (Σοφíα): meaning “skill or cleverness in carpentry, music, or other crafts” or “skill related to everyday life: sound judgment, prudence” or “knowledge of a higher kind: learning, wisdom”

Phobos (Φόβος): meaning “fear”, phobos was also the Greek god of “horror” or “terror”

Kuriou (κῦρος)translated as Lord, meaning “supremacy” or “guardian” referring to the master of the household. A woman could not enter into any contract without her Kurio. In antiquity κύριος was translated as Kuros or Cyrus from Old Persian as a denoted male name or kingly title. Kyros is a Greek boy name derived from Κύρος, meaning of the name is ‘Far Sighted’.

Kai (καί): “and, even, also, both” or “actually, apparently, a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force”

Boulē (βουλή): meaning “will, determination, decision” or “plan, project, intention” or “counsel, advice, council, senate”. A political term meaning to will (after deliberating ) referred to a council of citizens (called βουλευταί transliterated as bouleutai) appointed to run daily affairs of the city. Originally a council of nobles advising a king.

Agiōn (άγιος): “holy, saint, pious” or “devoted to the gods”

Sunesis (σύνεσις): Meaning “a putting together in the mind”, hence: “understanding, practical discernment, intellect”. From the cognate sýnesis meaning “unification, meeting, sense, conscience, insight, realization, mind, reason”. This is where the Latin word synthesis is derived, meaning “collection, set, composition (of a medication),” from Gk. synthesis “composition,” from syntithenai “put together, combine,” from syn-“together” + tithenai “put, place,” from PIE root *dhe- “to put, to do”.

to gar: Meaning “for” or “after all”

Gnōnai (γνῶσις): meaning “know” from Proto-Indo-European *ǵenə-*ǵnō- “to know”. This is where the religious word “Gnostic” originates from Gk. Gnostikos, meaning the technique of knowing, or the ability to discern.

Nomon (ὄνομα): from L. nomen meaning “name” or “fame; to make a name for oneself” or “noun” or “phrase”.

Dianoias (διάνοια):  Meaning dia- “διά” + mind “νοια”, this word was used by Plato to describe a type of thinking, or intelligence, specifically about mathematical and technical subjects. It is the capacity for, process of, or result of discursive thinking, or dialectics. Dianoias literally means “between minds” and is intended to describe the relationship of thinking across two “minds” or ideas of thought. Whereas dianoias refers to “between minds”, dialects refers to “between speech” deriving its meaning from dia- “across, between” + legein “speak”. Because dianoias involved thinking about competing ideas, it contrasted with noesis– derived from nous (νοῦς) meaning “mind”– which was characterized by immediate apprehension, like thoughts and ideas or divine reason or practical wisdom, similar to our modern understanding of intelligence.

Estin (εστιν): the present active indicative third singular of εἰμί meaning “is he”. εἰμί means “I am”, derived from the Proto-Indo-European *h₁es- (“to be, exist”)

Agathē (ἀγαθός): Meaning “good, brave, noble, moral; fortunate, lucky; useful”. Coincidentally it is a female given name, which is reflective of ancient Greek attitude towards women as useful instruments of the household.

Some Thoughts

“archē sophias phobos kuriou kai boulē agiōn sunesis to gar gnōnai nomon dianoias estin agathēs” (Prov. 9:10)

My weak translation:
“The origin of wisdom is fear of his authority and will of pious understanding for knowing the name among minds is he good use.”

The Greek word θεός  (theos) with the Phyrigian cognate δεως (deōs) meaning God in English. This is also where the Latin word for god deus is derived. It is often connected with Greek “θέω” (theō), “run” and “θεωρέω” (theoreō), “to look at, to see, to observe”. The Proto-Indo-European translation of god is *ǵʰeu̯- meaning “invoke, pour.”

Hebrew: “תְּחִלַּ֣ת חָ֭כְמָה יִרְאַ֣ת יְהוָ֑ה וְדַ֖עַת קְדֹשִׁ֣ים בִּינָֽה׃ ”
The literal translation is “Understanding of the sacred and knowledge of God fear is the beginning of wisdom”

While the Hebrew translation is helpful, historical records provide little elaboration of the meaning of the terms being employed, such as understanding or sacred or knowledge or God. They simply seem to translate directly. However, while the original meaning of the word יְהוָ֑ה or Yaweh (God) is lost, contemporary scholars assume  יְהוָ֑ה or Yaweh to mean “He Brings Into Existence Whatever Exists” or “I am that I am”.  It leads me to believe that they were preoccupied with understanding the forces and materials of nature, i.e. physics or natural causation, and it was in this understanding and the mindful observation and awareness it requires that all life’s answers reside, much in the way science fulfills this duty today.

The Stoic Epictetus coined the term for soul as hēgemonikon meaning “ruling principle or reason” (or “governing principle”).

Existential Freedom: Jean-Paul Sartre

Sartre wrote Existentialism and the Human Emotions in response to the critics who viewed the corollary of his existential philosophy to be solipsism or quietism. Whether existentialists are religious or secular, Sartre states that it is impossible for man to transcend human subjectivity. Thus, subjectivity is the necessary starting point, for “Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself.” (15)

Sartre says that man is conscious of imagining himself as being in the future and consequently is what he has planned himself to be.  Man is a plan which is aware of itself, where nothing exists prior to this plan. (16) This runs contrary to the Cartesian paradigm stemming from “I think, therefore I am” where essence precedes existence, where concepts are the genesis of operating processes (13). In this view man is dictated by and in bondage to a priori ideas and concepts as a way of existing. However, man’s existence precedes preexisting determinations. In this way existence precedes his very essence, rendering man totally free.

Freedom is the predetermined nature that establishes a commonality of human nature. Existence is a universal human predicament, a condition that precedes consciousness, a situation man finds himself in. (14) Man’s commodity is his necessity to determine, his freedom in choosing to be. With this freedom, Sartre says, comes a responsibility for determining what he is. Every act contributes to the creation of man’s image so that every choice establishes an essence of man. (17) Man is always responsible for his choice to choose what he is to be and how he is to live: he is always in the making, continually projecting himself into the world and materializing his freedom through action, through deciding. (50)

Sartre emphasizes the responsibility man has to this freedom. A dishonest man is one who believes in passion and other deterministic excuses. Man is responsible for his passions. There is no conception prior to what man has expressed through his actions. (23) Man fashions himself through his actions, by expressing himself through a series of undertakings, through an ensemble of choices, in which he is the sum of the organization and relationships contained therein. (33) This image of man forms a constitution that is continually manifested through his total involvement on the basis of the repeated acts he forms. (34) In this way, man is a destiny unto himself in which his actions enable him to live. (35)

This freedom extends not only to the individual, but to others. Because there is no a priori conception of man, what he is and should and can be, every choice and action contributes to what we believe the image of man ought to be. (17) By allowing for the understanding of self and others, intersubjectivity establishes a universality among men that is a comprehensible human condition. Sartre says his choices to pass beyond or recede from limits or deny or adapt, represent a configuration of man in a set of circumstances. (33) This configuration is perpetually made through choosing or building an understanding of other’s configuration. (39) Thus, since the creation and invention of man’s image occurs our freedom comes with a responsibility to all mankind.

Sartre says that the fundamental project of human reality is the desire to be God since God “represents the permanent limit in terms of which man makes known to himself what he is”. (63) Freedom is the choice to create itself its own possibilities. Consequently, freedom is a lack of being. By being something concrete, one is not free. Therefore, the annihilation of being is freedom. (65) Man’s project, Sartre says, is to manifest freedom through a lack of being by making itself the desire of being, that is, making “the project-for-itself of being in-itself-for-itself”. (66)

Works Cited

Sartre, Jean-Paul. Existentialism and Human Emotions. New York: Citadel Press, 1987.

Letter between friends: Regarding faith and science

First of all, I am open. As open as ever. I admit that my search has not ended, and will not end, as long as I am alive, and as long as I feverently aspire to reconcile belief and truth in my quest for knowledge and understanding. The more I know, the more I do not know- further confirming my duty to seek out understanding.

Anyone who is unwilling to shed biases, look beyond the ego, rise above the forces of conditioning, and continually start anew in the pursuit of truth is self-deceived, and unapologetically so. Also, before we begin discussing, just as you can pronounce the fault of youth and years of inexperience, so too can I pronounce the fault of age and the years of conditioning that only serve to further entrench beliefs (and leave men with the delusion that they are proficient enough in the art of their reason. But this satisfaction is limited to ones own ratiocination, and does not extend to other men).

You apply faith to the unknown (supernatural conceptions outside the sanctifications of observed reality, derived from inherited historical and cultural constructions) in exchange for an assurance that rescues from the angst of the unknown.

Continue reading “Letter between friends: Regarding faith and science”

Letter between friends

First of all, I am open. As open as ever. I admit that my search has not ended, and will not end, as long as I am alive, and as long as I feverently aspire to reconcile belief and truth in my quest for knowledge and understanding. The more I know, the more I do not know- further confirming my duty to seek out understanding.

Anyone who is unwilling to shed biases, look beyond the ego, rise above the forces of conditioning, and continually start anew in the pursuit of truth is self-deceived, and unapologetically so. Also, before we begin discussing, just as you can pronounce the fault of youth and years of inexperience, so too can I pronounce the fault of age and the years of conditioning that only serve to further entrench beliefs (and leave men with the delusion that they are proficient enough in the art of their reason. But this satisfaction is limited to ones own ratiocination, and does not extend to other men).

You apply faith to the unknown (supernatural conceptions outside the sanctifications of observed reality, derived from inherited historical and cultural constructions) in exchange for an assurance that rescues from the angst of the unknown.

Continue reading “Letter between friends”

On Spirituality.

What is spirituality?

What does that mean? Pious and impious use the word to describe a transcendental mental attitude or world view.

Because I was indoctrinated at home from an early age, I didn’t convert to Christianity on my own volition, per se.  I do remember moments in my religious walk where I renewed commitments to God and reaffirmed my belief. This caused an awakening within me which inspired my efforts to bridge the gap between ‘God’ and myself.

The process of conversion requires the displacement of ego in exchange for ‘God’s Will’. The very idea of displacing the self is a powerful and transformative experience. In Christianity, you’ll often hear the ‘testimonies’ of people coming to Christ who  refer to the exchange of self for ‘God’s will’. I remember growing up hearing that we need to ‘die to self’ in order to lead a ‘God centered’ life.

 

Continue reading “On Spirituality.”

Freedom and Spirituality

Abstract
This essay explores the phenomenon of spirituality by delineating the rise of free will as a product of a reflective consciousness synthesized from conditioned responses resulting from external demands.

Contents

  1. Reflection as a starting point for analysis and reducibility
  1. Necessity of cause
  • Freedom
    1. Predictors of Demand
    2. Rise of Ideas
    3. Free will
    4. Reflection as Action
    5. Distance Defines Knowledge
  • Spirituality
    1. God’s Nature
    2. Conversions
  • The Rise of Spirituality
  • Continue reading “Freedom and Spirituality”

    God is dead. Or?

    Hashing out thoughts…

    It is a wonder…

    Despite being armed with the deftest faculties of reason, we are wary to relinquish the comforting notions of a moral curator and universal architect and brave the cold indifference that existential freedom bestows upon meaning and truth. We hesitate to open unknown doors, seeking the shackles of delusion before the responsibility of liberty. We fear the unknown, not because it is unknown to us, but because we are unknown to ourselves. Liberty and freedom are only known to the will, the mechanism of choice. Freedom propagates only more of what we are, exposing our ability to be, which terrifies. To be known to ourselves requires the responsibility of choice, and acceptance of who we are. Contrary to our fears, we are infinite.

    Inactive freedom casts an ominous shadow, a think blanket of darkness, on potential. It bleeds the rivers of change and chokes the ground of growth. Never mind the stark realities; we are coddled by these chains, pacified by our delusions. We offer our will, our most sacred possession, as a living sacrifice for comfort and security. This is in the name of God- of truth. The irony is searing.

    Say we undertake the yoke of freedom. While freedoms brilliancy illuminates ignorance and unveils truth, we are left obligated, forced to exist and bear the responsibility for that existence. We are an end in ourselves. Existence and being is now our affair. We are the intercessors of fate, the arbiters of potential, the beginning of essence. And to whom are we accountable? I, the self, freedom incarnated. But we are unknown to ourselves, the freedom and I. For just as we wearily shirk from the unknown, we shirk from the abysmal darkness within us, unknown and unexplored. From whence did we come? From whence will we go? Must I choose?

    So the huddled masses congregate, feverishly maintaining the conception of an invisible, powerless God.

    ***************************************************************************

    Thoughts…

    Spirituality…
    What does that mean? Pious and impious use the word to describe a transcendental mental attitude or world view.

    Because I was indoctrinated at home from an early age, I didn’t convert to Christianity on my own volition, per se. I do remember moments in my religious walk where I renewed commitments to God and reaffirmed my belief. This caused an awakening within me which renewed me efforts to bridge the gap between ‘God’ and myself.

    The process of conversion requires the displacement of ego in exchange for ‘God’s Will’. The very idea of displacing the self is a powerful and transformative experience. In Christianity, you’ll often hear the ‘testimonies’ of people coming to Christ and refer to the exchange of self for ‘God’s will’. I remember growing up hearing that we need to ‘die to self’ in order to lead a ‘God centered’ life.

    But what, or who, is God? There is a spectrum of conceptions that evolve as we accrete understanding of ourselves, our world, and what/who ‘God’ might be. Generally, this evolution of mind correlates with an increased openness towards the world and a transcendent mental attitude- or spirituality- that allows us to see the interrelation of all things.

    The first conception, and most primitive, is the anthropomorphized patriarch with a long gray beard seated at his throne in heaven- presumably located somewhere between the sky and space.

    As our holistic understanding increases, we accept the irrationality of God existing as a literal being. Instead we adopt a God that can, as far as our current understanding will allow, rationally exist within the confines of reality and constraints of nature. This God is an invisible power that maintains a sentient and forcible will. This God is actively involved with the affairs of men. Actively believing and adhering to religious dogma- prayer, doing good works, following commandments, tithing, attending religious services- are all attempts to gain ‘God’s’ favor and align with his will.

    I’ll postpone the discussion of how and why religious adherence and beliefs foster self-fulfilling prophecies for God’s existence due to naturally fundamental and beneficial principles within the doctrine.*

    The next conception of God revolves around the congruency of belief and outcome. If one hopes to lay claim to being, one must familiarize with reality and the laws of nature. This inevitably exercises the powers of reason, which forces the mind to reconcile the irrefutable nature of statistical probability. Outcomes are determined through circumstance that only the actions of individuals or the mechanics of nature can induce. As a result, one comes to grips with changing outcomes by influencing or predicting God’s will. No amount of prayer will suspend gravity, solve global warming, prevent wars, or achieve any desired outcome without intervention.

    At this point, a believer could easily transition into a Deist by maintaining the existence of an impersonal, yet Supreme Being. I’ll skip this for now.

    The final conception is that God is a disassociated projection of the internal man. As self knowledge is garnered and ideals coalesce, we are left with the formation of the conscience. The conscience functions as a subliminal consciousness that reconciles actions with desired outcomes and what should be. Perhaps this is the voice of God; the Holy Spirit’s whispering convictions. Because mans thoughts and imaginings are not limited by the laws of nature and confines of reality, they are infinite. When mans ideals about what should be are misconstrued with what is, internal dissonance occurs. As a result, we must disassociate ourselves by objectifying our ideals. By projecting these ideals onto something or a figure outside of us, their value can be realized and sought after, without being tainted by our current limits. This inversion allows for the manifestation of ‘God’ as the sum of all that should be, a mere projection of the best of our, albeit limited, understandings.
    Here is a complementary quote:
    “Consciousness of God is self-consciousness, knowledge of God is self-knowledge, by his God thou knowest the man, and by the man his God; the two are identical. Whatever is God to a man, that is his heart and soul; and conversely, God is the manifested inward nature, the expressed self of a man– religion the solemn unveiling of a man’s hidden treasures, the revelation of his intimate thoughts, and the open confession of his love-secrets.” [Feuerbach]

    There are two conversions that occur relating to God. From an atheist to a believer, and a believer to an atheist. Both produce massive reversals of mind that overturn entire frameworks for world view. I mentioned that the conversion to God involves a displacement of self. This is incredibly invigorating and, seemingly, liberating.

    (Brief tangent: From my experience, most people that convert to God, especially later in age, do so in hopes of achieving a salvation. This salvation is from their pain, their emotional baggage. This is objectified as sin. People who experience conversions to God do so in order to relieve their state. Their previous beliefs in themselves, in their past, about life caused dissatisfaction. The delusion of God, however seemingly justified, is a scape goat for their suffering. It would be all the more fitting to say a lamb. What these people fail to realize is that suffering is a result of misaligned expectations. These misaligned expectations are a result of a lack or avoidance of responsibility. Freedom is terrifying. They cannot conceive who they want to be, so they remain as they are, unknown to themselves. These are the people that subscribe so desperately to various doctrines and beliefs of mainstream culture, never ‘thinking’ or willfully contemplating who they ought to be. This weakness, this ignorance, allows the will to atrophy as habituation and conditioning fully inundate.)

    Back to the conversion to God…
    The experience of conversion to God is liberating because the displacement of self with God. As we place our faith in a something outside of us, we are not left with the responsibility of changing our circumstances. Changing our circumstances requires the acknowledgment of certain limitations due to circumstance- in knowledge, emotion, or physicality. Instead, the conversion suspends choice and freedom in exchange for the belief in God (be it the manifestation of God as a projection of self-knowledge, or the interpretation of religious texts, or in between). The benefit for the conversion to God and displacement of self is baited with reward and possibility. Rewards generally concern an ideal afterlife, not tainted with earthly inadequacies. Possibility and empowerment is achieved as we align ourselves to Gods will. Of course these benefits vary precisely from religion to religion.

    Many religious assert warnings that ‘idolatry’ and idol worship is ‘evil’. Who would worship inanimate objects? Anyone who seeks to displace the self.

    Spirituality…

    My conversion from a believer in God to a non-skeptical realist (essentially agnostic), was marked by a decision to seek understanding, dispel delusions, and eliminate self-deception. The process was slow and gradual, yet I retained a certain spirituality. I find that when many people are asked if religious, they reply that they are spiritual. I responded similarly.

    As far as I was concerned, spirituality was the residue of my faith in God. God represented possibility. Recall: “In Christ all things are possible” etc. The conversion to God opens one up to possibility by suspending limited beliefs and opening the mind to possibility. Spirituality is faith in possibility. Conversion away from God can leave the faith in possibility intact.

    Spirituality exists on a wide spectrum among religious and irreligious alike.

    Some people join religions because they recognize the value in certain universal principles of good within the doctrine, while others seek the escape from responsibility of self that it brings.

    Pretty burnt out from writing. Not sure this makes sense. We’ll see when I go back to reread it later. pzz.

    ***************************************************************

    *Religious beliefs cause a variety of psychological effects: Confirmation bias (Biases influence interpretation of Positive feedback to be used as evidence for maintaining and confirming biases and reinforcing pre-existing beliefs- aka, I prayed that it wouldn’t rain, and its sunny out, therefore God answered my prayer, or I prayed that God would cure my aunt of cancer and she survived, so God is real), Hawthorne effect (Awareness that you are being observed influences your behavior- aka, knowing people look at/treat you as a Christian example causes you to maintain Christian behaviors),Pygmalion effect (Aware of higher expectations lead to high performance- aka God is watching leads to more mindfulness, better behavior), Stereotype threat (when facing a disruptive concern, we evaluate based on negative stereotypes)- aka Anyone who is not a Christian is a sinner and evil, so when bad things happen its because of non-Christians), etc., etc.

    *******************

    It is much easier to keep the ball rolling than start the ball rolling.

    Get into action… know who you are, and you will suddenly realize what you are to do.

    Boy. God. Low. High.

    I want to think pretty. I would like my mind to turn on the pretty poetic thoughts. Every once and while I feel like I’m a genius. Don’t care if it’s true, I just wanna feel that way. Be really creative and just let out my bridled passions.

    I always feel like i could do or be more…particularly when it comes to being creative and passionate. I want to produce art. I’ve been thinking about getting some paint and a canvas and just starting. Teach myself some acrylic or oil painting. I recognize its a difficult skill to pick up. I figure I can teach myself but, this probably won’t happen. I tell myself I have a pencil and paper and I should experiment with that more. That sounds more reasonable. And i have been… in my paper journal i’ve started sketching with my ink pens and graphite pencils… usually local scenery, whereever i’m journaling. I enjoy it.

    I mentally want to engage. Emotionally I could care less. I tell myself I’m exactly where I want to be, cause if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here. I know that I sometimes think I don’t like where I’m at, but I know that I chose to put myself here… and i can choose to put myself somewhere else. Unless… and this may be whats happening… I am… settling. oh no. oh…oh no. Could it be? has michael been settling all these weeks? mayhaps! Oh well tho. My priorities are as they are.

    I was looking as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I may be stuck at friendships. Dunno why. Or maybe sexual intimacy. or maybe not. Maybe i’m hung up at self esteem and confidence. Self actualization! I have ground to a halt.

    I read someones blog and they mentioned how important enthusiasm for your life. *laughter and cheering* Their words struck me. I’ve been thinking about how vital enthusiasm is. When you’re enthusiastic, you let your soul fully breath. You let yourself spread out to absorb life’s radiant beauty. Heavy, restrictive thoughts fall away and you’re left with your naked self. The whole being of you. I like that idea. I always hold myself in. I almost feel like I’m suffocating myself. This steely reserved posture. I justify and say its my reserved nature, but thats crap. My nature is a wild boy who has consumed too many sweets and has a field of flowers to run through and frogs to run after. But that person is not well received.. in my mind anyway. Or maybe not for my audience? what the hell audience am i trying to entertaining? and, if thats the case, why at my expense? hmph. well… I shouldn’t. I always feel like there is a set standard. And their is… its the worlds expectations. Moreover, its the expectations you hold youself to. Often times, for me, i derive these from what i think people think of me. more crap.

    I remember going through this a few years ago. I was strung out on alcoholic binges, sleep deprivation, and maintained an overall listlessness towards life. My friends were too. That was who I was in their eyes. I remember trying to escape their psychic pull… their judgments and subtle influence… but it was strong. I remember a time where i accepted my state… surrendering myself to who and what people thought I was, and what my past experiences indicated me to be. I also remember a time when I hit this new low… and in my youth these new lows were always new and low…. so I hit this new low… and I said… I hate myself… i hate where I am… and i hate that i’m not doing anything about it. One of the steps i took in changing who I was involved ridding myself of the majority of my friends… no one I could reference my old self to. I set out to form a new me… with new habits and a new frame of mind… new expectations for myself, what I was capable of, and where I was going. that was then.

    Well… years later… I’ve evolved to my current state, and I feel as though I’ve hit a plateau. A combination of getting to a new level and being disoriented with this new place. Possibly misology?? I always try to pin point this confusion. I’ve been thinking, or use to think, that perhaps my rejection for a resolved faith in God has tipped some internal balance. I am not sure. I also thought that this new level would look differently. I also thought that I would be different… and I am. I just thought the effort would somehow, diminish as good habits accumulated. Not the case. Achievement is a difficult, strenuous journey every leg of the way. I do need to teach myself how to enjoy this journey though.

    Holding back

    The only reason we hold back is because we think we have an endless amount of chances or that there will always be one more. But as time disappears into the past and life goes on, those chances will run out, and you’ll either live with: Eternal happiness for being brave, or eternal regret for holding back

    You cannot bring prosperity by discouraging thrift.
    You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
    You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
    You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
    You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
    You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
    You cannot further brotherhood of men by inciting class hatred.
    You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
    You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.
    You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”
    — Rev. William J. H. Boetcker

    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. -Thomas Jefferson.

    When we spend our life focused on our needs, we are never satisfied, and our deepest needs never seem to be met. But when we pour out our life and focus on how we can serve others, we find not only incredible fulfillment, but our deepest needs are met as well. Learning to serve leads to the “happily ever after” finish you’ve always dreamed of.

    Sin will take you further than you ever thought you’d go
    Keep you longer than you ever thought you’d stay
    And cost you more than you ever thought you’d pay

    Sometimes, when God doesn’t give us what we want, we say that God didn’t answer our prayer. I would say that He did, because “no” is as much an answer to prayer as “yes” is.

    The hardest thing in this life is being yourself when the world is trying its hardest, day in and day out, to make you just like everyone else.

    Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are and your reputation is merely what others think you are!

    Right. God.

    My recent thoughts:

    God is everything that is right, true, perfect, and ideal. He encompasses what is right outside of our will. We do not decide what is right. What is right exists whether we decide to seek it or not. When looking to do right, we need to seek outside our own needs and think about what is right for everyone or everything. What is right is positive and encouraging. What is right may not be the best for me as a person, but it will benefit everyone on a whole. Consider if your thought or action would help the poorest, weakest person on earth. Seeking what is right is seeking the will of God. If the world was perfect we would never have to do wrong. Because the world is imperfect, we might be forced to do wrong. Imperfect situations cause us to do wrong in order to do right. If we were held at gunpoint and forced to lie in order to save the world, and if we told the truth the world would perish, and if we didn’t say anything, our family would be tortured- we would need to lie. Granted, situations like this are extremely improbable. If it were a perfect world, there would be no reason to lie to do right. We could always do right and never have negative consequences. But we live in a world where people choose to do wrong.

    For every action there is a reaction. When you do wrong, conflict arises. It may affect you or someone else. When you do right, positive always things happen. Whether we like it or not, doing wrong causes destruction somewhere. To clarify, doing wrong is anything that is not right. There are many ways to do right, but the right solution always exists. Likewise, there are many ways to do wrong and they always leads to more wrong. Right may look different to different people, but if it is right, it will be positive to all.

    God is that he is. He is not a person. He is not fickle or confused. He is perfect and infallible. He allows and stands for everything that is right. He does not cause bad things to happen. Bad things occur because people choose to do wrong. Sometimes bad things happen because of wrongs done long ago. The earth is tainted because of people doing wrong. If everyone did what is right, there would be no destruction or suffering. (The Bible describes the death and suffering as a result of original sin. The first wrong committed.)

    God gave man free will. Free will is special. We can choose right or wrong freely. No matter what happens, we have the power of choice. If we are lost and don’t know what is right, or do not seek what is right, we will be victims of circumstance, conditioned like animals to react in order to survive. As soon as we realize that there is right, and it leads to intrinsic and extrinsic fulfillment, we can break free from reacting and we become empowered with the ability to make meaningful choices. (The Bible describes man being made in God’s image. This means man has the ability to make choices freely and create.)

    Free will allows us to make decisions freely. We can do right many different ways. We can also do wrong many different ways. God, being perfect, is everything that is right. He cannot and is not anything that is wrong. Like light, where it exists, darkness cannot. Like light, God takes on many different forms. (As I think about this, I think about light and my mind tries to draw comparisons. Light is energy. They are synonymous. Energy is exhibited as a wave through light, elementary particles as bosons or fermions, and solids as matter. In the same way- regarding how the Bible describes God- he exists as three persons (father, son, spirit), but maintains his sovereignty as being whole. In the same way that energy cannot be created or destroyed, God always is and always will be. While we can see the results of doing right, and can the trace reason why it is right by examining the factors that contributed to the results, we do not know why doing right works. Just like we do not know why there are laws that govern nature. I attribute it to God. Others attribute it to convoluted reasons and justifications that don’t lead to any definite answers.)

    Because we are born, we must learn how to make choices. Our environments affect our choices. We learn how to make good or bad choices by observing our parents and nature. If we are unaware that there is right, or fail to make the connection between doing right and its positive results, we remain largely lost and pursue meaningless endeavors.

    Doing right is a personal struggle. We must learn to accept that there is always a right. That right exists. If we do not seek what is right, we are left deciding what is right and wrong. This is where we make destructive decisions. It’s part of the learning process when seeking right to make the wrong decision. If we do not seek what is right, and only seek to benefit what needs we see fit, we are bound to hurt people and make decisions that are destructive.

    Life is rewarding when people seek right decisions. Doing right can be sought by obeying the Golden rule. Treating others how you want to be treated. This does not mean treat everyone like you, but acknowledging and being aware that every person has feelings and needs. This does not mean condoning behaviors that are destructive. It does means loving the person and hating the wrong. We should only be concerned with doing right in our own life and setting an example. Our lives will be a testament of our yearning for right.

    Just like doing right leads to lasting rewards, there are always consequences for doing wrong. For every action there is a reaction. There will be conflict somewhere if people are doing wrong. Laws are in place to protect the people who are doing right from people who do wrong. Laws are not meant for those who seek what is right. They are for those who seek what is wrong.

    “But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers…” 1 Timothy 1:8,9

    Those who do not seek what is right, but only obey the laws do not recognize that there is a right. They are lost. They see laws as simple constructs and guidelines that should be followed, but seek out their own desires and pay no attention to the wrong they do in the process to anyone else. They have the wrong intent.

    We are meant to live a fulfilling life. It does not matter how we choose to do it as long as we seek right in everything we do.

    People who say God doesn’t exist do not recognize that there is a universal right. Though they unconsciously obey the laws of nature, they fail to recognize the moral laws that promote life. If they do, they attribute them to cultural factors and matters of survival. What they fail to realize is that the very morals practiced to keep people surviving and promote lasting fulfillment work because they are right. God is everything that is right.

    People fail to see the connection between doing right and God. God is right, and they should see right. People fail to see why doing right leads to positive results. They attribute their success to their own abilities instead of attributing it to simply doing right. They swell with pride and think that they make their success. What that don’t realize is that they only followed the directions, they simply did what was right, and whats right always works. Doing right breeds lasting success, achievement, progress, and life. Its no wonder that the jargon surrounding survival of the fittest makes so much sense. The consequences of doing right leads to lasting life, stability, security and fulfillment.

    *******

    It would take people an eternity to be perfect and always do right. We learn right through observation and trial and error. We observe the consequences of certain actions and adopt them. Simply mimicking the actions and failing to grasp the true intention of doing right is futile. It’s like chasing dust in the wind. Every action should contain the intention of doing right.

    Books help illustrate what right is. We learn through books and observe consequences and situations in order to refine our understanding of what right is.

    Doing right is God. This statement is not meant to distort the nature of what right is, or what God is. God is not what we think is right. It is right for all, apart from ourselves. By observing what is right, we learn to understand God’s nature.

    The Bible is not rules to be followed. It is not stories of brutality and bloodshed. It is a depiction of God’s essence. Anything good can be seen or used for bad if the intent is not right. If you are not seeking what is right, you can take something good, and make it bad. The Bible is nothing more than stories of people learning to do right. The Jews are the people who learn what is right through trial and error. Whenever you do wrong, conflict will arise. It is not God standing on clouds instructing people to be killed. The Bible is an illustration of what happens naturally when people choose to do wrong.

    Whether you attribute natural or moral laws to God or not, they still exist. Right decisions are those that are good for everyone, even the weakest and poorest person. Acknowledging and learning that they exist is part of our life and the process of getting to know God. Why they exist is apart of accepting that there is a God.

    To deny God is to deny that there is always a right. This allows us to choose what is right. When this happens, there is disharmony. People begin choosing what they decide is right, and fail to think about what is right for everyone. This causes huge conflicts as people begin justifying wrong for right.

    There is a greater good and right. To be aware of them and seeking to follow them allows for a life of greater fulfillment and ease.

    *************
    Love

    The Bible provides a reference point, a visible standard and direction to guide people. Getting to know God, or getting to know what is right, is a personal process. It takes time and experience.

    Being a personal process, I do not believe it is anyone’s job to change peoples mind to believe in God. Each person who knows and understands there is a God needs to be an example by pursuing what is right. The desire for right should be visible to anyone who comes across it. It should not be about rules or following guidelines. It should be about love, and doing right and helping people to do right. Love is selfless.

    Love is selfless. Love is entirely about other people. Loving people means helping and encouraging them to do and be better, to improve their life. The fact that we can love people at all, that we have the ability to make others lives better is a miracle. Through words and actions, we provide people with hope and fulfillment, a better life. People can accept or reject our love. Because love is selfless, this does not matter. We realize what is right, and we continually show our love. Love makes the world better. Those who do not accept love are selfish. They do not advocate helping others. They discourage it by refusing to receive it. They deny any right, positive, encouragement people have to offer. This indicates that they are not seeking what is right.

    You cannot love by hurting people. Love is not wrong. Love is everything that is right. Loving is showering someone with everything that you know to be right and good, despite the cost to you.

    God loves us. The fact that there is always a right answer confirms this. The fact that we can seek and find right at all shows Gods love. Whether people like to attribute love as something that God intentionally did or not does not dismiss that right exists, and people can give what knowledge of right they know to others. This is Love. God does the same.

    ********

    Meaningless Existence

    Do the laws of the universe create life? Do the forces that act on all matter inevitably lead to reactions causing organization that begets more organization? And begets organization to the point where the molecules begin to question themselves and their intent? Organized states of matter drawing from the universe around them that produce something out of nothing? Ideas? Truth? Philosophical concepts and laws to live and govern by? I would rather say we are gods. If we are not, we are made in God likeness. A consciousness exists within us that is more than the resulting whole we’re composed of. If we were solely matter, we would be no more relevant in the scheme of time than dust in the wind. Our experiences would be lies. Lies would be lies. There would be no right or wrong. The evolutionary reaction would persist until it fizzles out. All of these thoughts, however personal we make them, attached with sentimental penchants to make it worth understanding, are nothing. Do not convince yourself they are more than the reality you accept them to be. You swallow lies if you think you are worth more than the ashes that construct and guide these inclinations. If there is no real meaning to life, and everything is meaningless- aside from the lie you’re convinced it to be- than knowing this is meaningless. Getting to the bottom of anything, the truth about something, knowing everything- is pointless. You will not be any better off.

    I suppose people, once they’re convinced that there is no origin, no God or purpose or real plan, they can begin to make life whatever they want it to be. They are masters of their fate. The opportunity chance has given them allows them to be a god for a brief moment in time. They infuse their decisions with the illusion of meaning, deciding and believing in a fabricated existence. They declare their own laws and morals and philosophies to be paramount to anyone around them. Even if they’re tolerant, they’ve arrived at the conclusion that everyone can believe whatever they want because there is no meaning, and they are right because they believe it to be so. This is called existentialism. This is the current state mankind has found for itself. Because there is no truth, and all is relative, everything is debatable. True meaning is vapid.

    Is there a God? If he is, why are we separated from him? If all that is can be measured and calculated before our eyes, where is this God? What is love? What is faith? What is honesty? What is truth? What is compassion? What is empathy? What is kindness? What is a will? Are they mere reactions? behaviors? patterns? How can these things be measured? Is right and wrong measurable by a definite scale? If not, why do be place faith in such things as hope?

    If God is real, why would he allow people to suffer? Is it his will we suffer or, like a father’s love for his child, does his heart break to see us struggle? Does he pain and weep when he sees us scrape by in life, accepting pathetic answers for help instead of looking to him? Does he want to know us? Does he even care? Did he make us for the insignificant novelty of it all? Little beings hurting, hurting others, suffering to survive, questioning life and existing, crawling through life on their hands and knees to spread themselves over as much material or immaterial gains as possible, only to find themselves on their deathbed with the cold reality that it was all for nothing. The suffering, the joy, the relationships, were for nothing, and they slip into oblivion. Or do they find themselves in other place, confronted with answers to the questions? Are they blinded by the radiating perfection of a just God who they’ve reserved as an afterthought? Does this God accept them to a place they never wished to seek? Does a door open to those who don’t knock? Is there a place where a relationship with a perfect God exists? A God who you never desired to look for or know? Where would a perfect justice place the blame? On God or us?

    Is Life Really What They Say It Is? Life or Bleak Beginnings.

    Ebbing and flowing. I stare off, too encumbered to think anymore than necessary. I don’t need to question why, although I spend all day thinking about the answer.

    Do I have to lie to myself to get by each day? Is life really what they say it is? Meaningless and void. My personality, my will, all a product of evolution. I am not me, I do not have free will, I am the result of unbelievable chance. Matter in the universe totally coincidentally organized to a place that is now my current condition. My thoughts are not mine. I am merely matter that has evolved. I am the result of chance reactions. I can lie to myself to instill meaning behind my actions that lead to my circumstances and the current circumstances that man has faced throughout history… but it’s a lie. Me thinking it’s a lie is meaningless. Knowing anything is meaningless. Why do I say this? If this life is how they say it is, a freak evolution in the course of time, defying all odds- but maybe not- or anything that would cause matter to stray in disarray, what is the point? Who I am? What I am doing here? Is it enough to accept that by chance we arrived to a point where we dissect the very fragments of space and time we’re composed of? We turn and pry and poke at matter and energy and calculate predictions with Godlike accuracy. If we are just matter… where is it in the laws of nature or the evolutionary scope of man that he questions what he is? Does a rock question its origins? Do we, composed of trillions of seemingly innate molecules, as more organized states of matter, have any greater place in space and time? If my thoughts are motivated by mere molecules simply happening by chance, programmed to respond from a long line of genetic codes that have been constantly victimized and molded by chance circumstances and mutations, am I void of a will? Do I even have a choice?

    Recently I’ve been trying to entertain the idea that there is no God. This concept is so foreign to my inner being that when I look for reasons to do something, apart from knowing there is a purpose and a plan and perfection behind it, everything is for nothing. Lies? What is reality? Who can prove it to me, or themselves, any more than what they are willing to accept? I cannot run from the reality I swim in every day that needs answers.

    Why does man create? It’s not for survival. You don’t need to create to survive. You need to do whatever you can, but you certainly don’t need to create. Why paint? Why build monuments? Why is man so hungry for power?

    I look around and I see meaningless. I see people who are sick of the lies they swallowed. Everyone thinks they’re going somewhere. That they have it figured out. They need to in order to move on. But is anyone any closer to substantial understanding? People accept delusions, deceive themselves by settling for cheap answers, and continue delve into this world of matter and molecules that we create as a playground for itself. We are the molecules organizing molecules. For what purpose? There is none. We are a bubbling, frothing, chance reaction of minuscule matter in the universe that’s miraculously persisted to churn on. Somehow the random and unorganized matter managed to find a way to organize, and produce more organization, and even predict patterns of organization and devise ways to see into itself and ask about the origins of itself, only to arrive at the conclusion it was all a random chance. The fact that order exists at all amazes me. Laws?

    Do the laws of the universe create life? Do the forces that act on all matter inevitably lead to reactions causing organization that begets more organization? And begets organization to the point where the molecules begin to question themselves and their intent? Organized states of matter drawing from the universe around them that produce something out of nothing?

    Do I have a soul? Is that what resides within me?

    Do the laws of the universe create life? Do the forces that act on all matter inevitably lead to reactions causing organization that begets more organization? And begets organization to the point where the molecules begin to question themselves and their intent? Organized states of matter drawing from the universe around them that produce something out of nothing? Ideas? Truth? Philosophical concepts and laws to live and govern by? I would rather say we are gods. If we are not, we are made in God likeness. A consciousness exists within us that is more than the resulting whole we’re composed of. If we were solely matter, we would be no more relevant in the scheme of time than dust in the wind. Our experiences would be lies. Lies would be lies. There would be no right or wrong. The evolutionary reaction would persist until it fizzles out. All of these thoughts, however personal we make them, attached with sentimental penchants to make it worth understanding, are nothing. Do not convince yourself they are more than the reality you accept them to be. You swallow lies if you think you are worth more than the ashes that construct and guide these inclinations. If there is no real meaning to life, and everything is meaningless- aside from the lie you’re convinced it to be- than knowing this is meaningless. Getting to the bottom of anything, the truth about something, knowing everything- is pointless. You will not be any better off.

    I suppose people, once they’re convinced that there is no origin, no God or purpose or real plan, they can begin to make life whatever they want it to be. They are masters of their fate. The opportunity chance has given them allows them to be a god for a brief moment in time. They infuse their decisions with the illusion of meaning, deciding and believing in a fabricated existence. They declare their own laws and morals and philosophies to be paramount to anyone around them. Even if they’re tolerant, they’ve arrived at the conclusion that everyone can believe whatever they want because there is no meaning, and they are right because they believe it to be so. This is called existentialism. This is the current state mankind has found for itself. Because there is no truth, and all is relative, everything is debatable. True meaning is vapid.

    Is there a God? If he is, why are we separated from him? If all that is can be measured and calculated before our eyes, where is this God? What is love? What is faith? What is honesty? What is truth? What is compassion? What is empathy? What is kindness? What is a will? Are they mere reactions? behaviors? patterns? How can these things be measured? Is right and wrong measurable by a definite scale? If not, why do be place faith in such things as hope?

    If God is real, why would he allow people to suffer? Is it his will we suffer or, like a father’s love for his child, does his heart break to see us struggle? Does he pain and weep when he sees us scrape by in life, accepting pathetic answers for help instead of looking to him? Does he want to know us? Does he even care? Did he make us for the insignificant novelty of it all? Little beings hurting, hurting others, suffering to survive, questioning life and existing, crawling through life on their hands and knees to spread themselves over as much material or immaterial gains as possible, only to find themselves on their deathbed with the cold reality that it was all for nothing. The suffering, the joy, the relationships, were for nothing, and they slip into oblivion. Or do they find themselves in other place, confronted with answers to the questions? Are they blinded by the radiating perfection of a just God who they’ve reserved as an afterthought? Does this God accept them to a place they never wished to seek? Does a door open to those who don’t knock? Is there a place where a relationship with a perfect God exists? A God who you never desired to look for or know? Where would a perfect justice place the blame? On God or us?

    belief

    When it comes down to it you believe or you don’t. This takes faith but its the only way to experience God.

    If you are not looking for God you will never find him or experience him. Its like anything in life- ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.’ If you dont ask, if you dont seek, if you dont knock, you will never ever get what you want out of life. and If you dont know what you’re looking for- how are you ever suppose to find it?

    You will find whatever it is you are looking for in this life if you know exactly what it is you want to find and apply consistent effort towards reaching it. some people dont give it much thought and they dont really know what they’re looking for- and as a result they live mediocre lives as circumstances toss them back and forth. There are others who take control of life- they are go getters and instead of life dictating to them their future- they dictate and design their life through applied effort and clear vision.

    If you see the magnificent world around us- and you explore the wonder of it- accept that there is no chance that this perfectly sustained world we live in is a fluke in time against the very laws of nature- you can begin to explore the wonders of God.

    The very opposite is true as well. If you do not believe- If you want to disprove there is a God- you can convince yourself of every conceivable flaw with his existence. You will give yourself every reason to believe otherwise. and you will mount an enormous amount of seemingly sound information to support your claim- however far from reality it may be.
    (this is funny because we’re so finite, and reality is so vast and complex we could never understand God and his design so to decide that there are flaws in his being is totally mans prideful ego)
    You see this all the time- people that lie to themselves to protect their ego. or just to escape accountability. this translates to our belief in God as a way to accept accountability or escape accountability. To do right is hard- to do wrong is easy.

    *******

    I read this and i loved it. It applies to belief and ignorance:

    “The very idea that any one creature (human) should be fortunate enough to secure some particular advantage which others, through their own indolence or indifference, have missed, is sufficient to excite the envy of the weak or the anger of the ignorant… It is impossible that an outsider should enter into a clear understanding of the mystical spiritual-nature world around him, and it follows that the teachings and tenets of that spiritual-nature world must be more or less a closed book to such a one-a book, moreover, which he seldom cares or dares to try and open. For this reason, the sages concealed much of their profound knowledge from the multitude, because they rightly recognized the limitations of narrow minds and prejudiced opinions….what the fool cannot learn, he laughs at, thinking that by his laughter he shows superiority instead of latent idiocy.” * From The Life Everlasting by Marie Corelli

    **********

    But- when it comes down to it- Reality is Reality. when we die- no amount of belief will prevent what is from happening.

    The beginning of wisdom is to know that you know nothing. Pride and the ego often prevents this. anyway. this applies to God as well. We will never wrap our minds around God. we will never have all the answers to justify our belief. But- you can believe and you can experience God- and that is empowering enough to make me die for my faith. To Clarify, The God I’m talking about is Perfect. He is all Truth, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, all loving, just, and totally righteous. Any god that is not everything good and righteous is not the god but deception- either by our ego to satisfy our fleshly desires- or some other natural force that we constantly fight against in order to seek truth. Nothing Good is easy- but the rewards are exponentially greater than the hardships when reached.

    anything good worthwhile endeavor, thought, ideal, or concept is like a plentiful harvest- that you slaved to till, sow, water, prune, and harvest in order to reap the bountiful fruit from the single seed. there are no shortcuts lest you be cheating yourself. same goes for life.