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Showing posts from April, 2017

Nazi Scrapbooks from Hell

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A sad, sad thing has happened in this Foord household in recent weeks. We've purchased a TV license and adverts have become a thing in our lives. I detest their lies, but I'll admit that some adverts can be mildly entertaining.

For many years we subsisted on Netflix, Amazon video and a mountainous collection of DVDs that inexorably grows beyond any human capacity to ever watch them all but not beyond my unbounded desire to own all the things and know all the things. As with all areas of human endeavour, films (like books and music) present an to-all-intents-and-purposes infinite field of fun, informative and edidying, even seemingly essential, stuff that I could-and-possibly-even-should-but-never-actually-would watch.

Our lives are full enough. As I'm oh so fond of saying, the only thing worse than a busy life is all the alternatives. Years ago I decided that I had consumed enough of other people's creativity and I wanted to create myself. So we don't actually w…

Mysticism, Freedom and the Human Will

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The full key to self-actualisaton (personal growth or whatever you want to call it) is will. This is the freedom that Christianity talks of, a free will capable of making choices and effecting change. Freeing up our capacity to love.

Throughout the ages philosophers have recognised the importance of the human will. For example:
Epictetus: You may fetter my leg, but my will not even Zeus himself can overpower.
Schopenhauer: the world as will and representation
Alphonse Constance: magic is the product of will and imagination
Nietzsche: will to power
Crowley: Love is the law, love under will
Schweitzer: I am life which wills to live
Fankl: will to meaning Both Buddhism and Jungian psychology see the human psyche (soul) as being extraordinarily deep, but mostly unconscious. Most of who we are, most of our capacity to effect change, is not present in our conscious mind. So our actions are driven by forces and desires that we don't understand, whilst our conscious mind rationalises our…

Are we living in a computer simulation?

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Are we living in a computer simulation and not the "real world"?

So the argument goes, once computers become sophisticated enough to simulate entire worlds, then lots of worlds will exist. Therefore, if there are many, many worlds, the chances of you happening to exist in "the real one" and not a simulation are very small.

I actually think the best answer to the idea that we might be living in a simulation comes from Wolfram. He was talking about weather predicting but it holds just as true for world creation. He points out that to fully simulate any system (e.g. a weather system) you need to simulate the quantum level, and that requires a simulation model exactly as complex as the system being simulated, and therefore at least as physically big as the system being simulated. This is because you can't simulate quantum systems with a smaller quantum system. If you could you would be relying on more subtle interactions, that also happen in the real system (and a…

Sexuality

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It's stating the obvious, but a big part of personal development is coming to terms with (and enjoying) sexuality. This has very little to do with how often you have sex. As a general rule, if you're uncomfortable with someone else's sexuality it's a sign that you haven't fully come to terms with your own. You should be able to admire and appreciate someone else's sexuality (of whatever gender or orientation) without discomfort or a compulsion to take or to control. This is the difference between desire and lust. Desire enjoys without needing to possess (emotionally and physically), lust wants to consume.

Desire everyone, lust after no-one...

(However, as an adjunct, never go - emotionally - where you're not invited. Don't make people feel uncomfortable. However you have a right to exist and be you. If your mere existence makes people uncomfortable that's their problem.)

Lust, infatuation and sexual compulsion are actually symptoms of unmet emotional …

Evolutionary Spirituality V: A Philosophical Quest

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My personal philosophical quest is a union of science, psychology and my spiritual experiences, with a sound philosophical basis. Uncertainty is the philosophical basis, and coincidentally the basis of the scientific method plus according to the findings of science also a fundamental part of reality. Evolutionary Spirituality is how I describe my pursuit.

Psychology and science are unified (at least in theory - but a theoretical solution is sufficient) by the work of Daniel Kahneman. Jung unified religion and psychology.

Buddhism and Hinduism (etc) provide a theoretical union of religion and science (consciousness contiguous with physical reality - as espoused, for example, by Deepak Chopra), but no-one has proven it in practise.

Chaos is creative potential. If the boundary between consciousness and physical reality exists at all it is to be found in chaos.

"Imagine the best of all possible worlds. Now apply your will to making it happen. Magic is the product of will and imagina…

Evolutionary Spirituality IV: Death, Heaven & Hell

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Everything you are is expressed in everything you do. We are merely the product of history and a series of unfortunate decisions.

As much as it may feel like it, we are not isolated and walled off from the universe and people around us. In fact we exist in a continuum with the rest of the world, everything we are - all of our unconscious mind - is continually shaped and formed by our experiences and interactions. Similarly everything we do shapes and influences the world and people around us.

Even our physical being, down to our genetics, is the product of external reality - ultimately the earth and then the wider universe is the source of who we are. Our genetic makeup and our psyche is shaped completely (at least initially) by everyone who has come before. We are not self made.

Individually we are created from each other and in relation to one another. We were created out of, and in relation to, the land and society around us. We are merely a small part of everything. 
See my artic…

Analytical Philosophy and Meaning

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"First define your terms" that beguiling product of Western analytical philosophy, that would dissect the frog in search of its life. It discards the very thing it seeks.

Language is a game. It hides meaning and reveals meaning, but as you systematically unpeel the layers the meaning dances and taunts- snubbing her nose at you in the sheer delight of the game you don't want to play but cannot escape.

Instead woo her, sidle up to her and catch a glimpse of her soulful eyes. Probably she'll laugh at you and flit away, or maybe she'll tarry just a while, just long enough.

Meaning skips and dances along the words, neither contained nor constrained by them.

Meaning won't be pinned down, its as messy as your dreams and as fleeting as the moment. But it's real, like a rock, as fierce as the electron dance of the sun that would flay you alive if you got close enough. Join the dance, snub your nose at her, and if she likes the way you play maybe she will play too…

Evolutionary Spirituality III: A Natural Philosophy

We are physical beings. Our life is the operation of the physical laws of the universe, neurochemical and biological processes. From this understanding there are two possible points of view (excepting a dualistic worldview that I reject for other reasons):

1. Our life, as we experience it and perceive it, is in fact an illusion and we are merely the semi-deterministic (but chaotic) operation of physical matter and energy. "Moist pink robots" as Scott Adams calls us. We are not alive, we are in fact as dead as the rest of the universe.

2. I believe in life. My life is merely the operation of the physical laws of the universe, therefore the same life that is in me permeates everything. I am merely a small part of everything.

In fact these two statements are equivalent, it is literally a matter of which perspective on life you choose.

I do not believe in the supernatural. I merely believe the natural is more super than we give it credit for. I see infinities in the equations.

"…

Short Meditations II: The City, Desire, Community and so on and so forth

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The Scars of My Folly The scars of my own folly, the etched lines of lonely desperation, these are precious to me. The wounds I've carried, both self inflicted and those from a careless world, the memory of pain I've held and caused, I treasure. That blindness that wouldn't and couldn't think for itself, that cowed itself out of fear, I remember with compassion. This part of who I am I'm grateful for, because it has taught me. I have learned. I am not there and I will not go there again.

The Rule of Love First was the rule of force, survival of the strongest and fittest. Then came law. Law was a gift from God, more just than force. But law can only tell you when you have transgressed, it can only condemn and not redeem.

But law lays the foundation, it is the framework. Law permits the rule of love. Love is the fulfilment of the law, it does not abolish the law but transcends it and perfects it. Love is not bound by the law, but is more rigorous than law. Through …