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Wow, I missed the emoticon hugs and smiles in John: 14 on my first read through... (Not to mention "New Age"...) Instead of all the non-quotes and hate filled opinions, wouldn't it be nice in a t

1.8 Billion people take exception to that claim... https://www.learnreligions.com/worlds-muslim-population-2004480

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2 hours ago, Gatogateau said:

I was informed that yoga, because it came from India, and Hindus, was a devil worship practice, etc. etc.

Aiyo 😄  I never took to yoga personally, though my auntie was a practitioner and instructor. I did learn some meditation techniques. I go to temple but seldom, but they are peaceful in a noisy way, if that makes sense. Here is a pic of one I visited in Malacca many years ago, that was under construction. From every angle the images peek down at you (easier to see before they are painted). It's very much the same feeling as walking into a church with the vaulted ceilings and light streaming through the stained glass windows. Different boat, same river. 

temple2.jpg.8aee06f7e2e642ce003a02c41bf3e882.jpg

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3 hours ago, Gatogateau said:

I'm "spiritual" always sounded like a weasel word cop out, and oddly, so did agnostic. I labelled myself "atheist" for a long time, but that didn't feel right either. I put together a hodgepodge of "what I believe" things together based on my own studies (much like other people have described as their own experiences here in this thread). I figured, no one really knows and we all find out if we guessed right when we die. Maybe. :)  Recent turns of events have seen me take yet another fork in the road.

I suppose I'm similarly unsatisfied with any of the standard labels for myself. I have too much skepticism to be an agnostic and not enough certainty to be an atheist.

Unlike trying to understand people who contradict themselves, either out of ignorance or hypocrisy (I can do both), I get great joy from unraveling nature's mysteries, or watching others do so. I know many of those mysteries will remain so forever, but that's fine. The journey is the reward.

I presume love is a neurochemical process, like every other thought I have. I find that idea wonderful beyond words. I don't need to shovel it off onto some supernatural being or cosmic connection. It's the result of eons of evolution, during which creatures who accidentally possessed the progenitors of abilities I enjoy today were just a little more fit to survive. I might feel like there is more to it than that, but thats a feeling, and a wonderful one to contemplate. I find it over-the-top exciting to think that the complexity of human existence evolved via what is, in a way, a broken photocopier. That a perfect photocopier would have produced nothing of interest, and certainly no love, is a delicious irony.

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26 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

I have too much skepticism to be an agnostic and not enough certainty to be an atheist.

So well put. Again, my position is we'll all find out after death, maybe. :) 

(urgh, I can't get the multi-quote thing to work, so the old-fashioned way)

" I know many of those mysteries will remain so forever, but that's fine. The journey is the reward." 

Right! I'm perfectly happy in not being absolutely certain about all the whys and wherefores of how things came to be, how things work, what is and what isn't. We have all run across people who have no doubt, and frankly, those people worry me. (Back to the Havel quote again.)

I presume love is a neurochemical process, like every other thought I have. I find that idea wonderful beyond words. I don't need to shovel it off onto some supernatural being or cosmic connection. It's the result of eons of evolution, during which creatures who accidentally possessed the progenitors of abilities I enjoy today were just a little more fit to survive. I might feel like there is more to it than that, but thats a feeling, and a wonderful one to contemplate. I find it over-the-top exciting to think that the complexity of human existence evolved via what is, in a way, a broken photocopier. That a perfect photocopier would have produced nothing of interest, and certainly no love, is a delicious irony.

I just got through reading about the neurochemicals involved in heartbreak, and how much they relate to the mix that is associated with addiction. That was a bit sobering (pun!) and also a comforting bit of eye-opening. Science upholds your presumption of love being a neurochemical process. (Funny, I remember an old, old thread by some then current mild troll, who was positing just that, that love is just a mix of chemicals, and the proverbial poo hit the proverbial fan in the forums over that one. :) ) However, I do want to believe there is more to it than that, and it is one of the reasons that "atheist" never quite fit even while the "religion" was equally as itchy. 

One of the most annoying questions I heard posed was, "Where do thoughts come from." The easy answer is, "the brain!" but that really isn't correct. So you start digging around to explain that, so that "brain" comes out to be the answer after all and, well, it doesn't work. The brain can process the bits and pieces, and mush them together, but that doesn't really explain where some of the thoughts come from.

I have no idea if I'm making sense right now because I had to take some strong pain meds not too long ago, so I could revisit this post tomorrow and find out I was waxing about the joys of baked Cheetos. (They are better than the original.) 

Write erase write erase... Guess I'll stop here. :) But I do find it fun to think about.

 

Edited by Gatogateau
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1 hour ago, Akane Nacht said:

Aiyo 😄  I never took to yoga personally, though my auntie was a practitioner and instructor. I did learn some meditation techniques. I go to temple but seldom, but they are peaceful in a noisy way, if that makes sense. Here is a pic of one I visited in Malacca many years ago, that was under construction. From every angle the images peek down at you (easier to see before they are painted). It's very much the same feeling as walking into a church with the vaulted ceilings and light streaming through the stained glass windows. Different boat, same river. 

temple2.jpg.8aee06f7e2e642ce003a02c41bf3e882.jpg

My ex-hubby and I toured Europe for our belated honeymoon. We had no itinerary, just backpacks and a one month Eurail pass. We very quickly found ourselves marveling at cathedrals. I well know the feeling you described seeing that temple in Malacca. We felt it in every cathedral.

I also felt it atop Mauna Loa, looking out over the clouds at bits of Maui off in the distance, and I feel it when I lay in the yard and look up at the night sky, particularly in winter when I see an aurora.

So many boats.

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7 hours ago, Gatogateau said:

I'm sorry I hurt your feelings so much, that you felt compelled to lash out.

It is clear I hit a nerve, and I'm sincerely apologetic that it affected you so.

Funny how consistently wrong you are.  Know it or not, I've been helping you.  You appear to be someone who just labels what they don't understand.  It's not going to serve you well going forward. 

Edited by Lancewae Barrowstone
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2 hours ago, Gatogateau said:

I just got through reading about the neurochemicals involved in heartbreak, and how much they relate to the mix that is associated with addiction. That was a bit sobering (pun!) and also a comforting bit of eye-opening. Science upholds your presumption of love being a neurochemical process. (Funny, I remember an old, old thread by some then current mild troll, who was positing just that, that love is just a mix of chemicals, and the proverbial poo hit the proverbial fan in the forums over that one. :) ) However, I do want to believe there is more to it than that, and it is one of the reasons that "atheist" never quite fit even while the "religion" was equally as itchy. 

I've wanted to "believe" in things ever since reading about some large survey of believers and non-believers that showed a positive correlation between belief and health/happiness/longevity. I just can't get there from here.

2 hours ago, Gatogateau said:

One of the most annoying questions I heard posed was, "Where do thoughts come from." The easy answer is, "the brain!" but that really isn't correct. So you start digging around to explain that, so that "brain" comes out to be the answer after all and, well, it doesn't work. The brain can process the bits and pieces, and mush them together, but that doesn't really explain where some of the thoughts come from.

I'm not terribly well read in the area of consciousness and self awareness, but it seems that a billion years of evolution might be all that's necessary for creatures to have them. And that's hardly the easy answer. For me, the easy answer is "there must be some magic to explain this". Given that humans have created 10,000 religions with 2,500 gods, all in search of "meaning", I've got reason to think that believing there must be something more than "the brain" to explain thought is just more of the same. I also have reason to think I could be completely wrong.

2 hours ago, Gatogateau said:

I do find it fun to think about.

Thinking is my favorite thing to do.

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16 hours ago, Gatogateau said:

Not being in love as in a romantic relationship, although that could be part of the expression. Is it divine? Can atheists practice it? Do they want to? Is it even possible, for anyone, to live totally in a state of love?  Can it be practiced, or is it just a manner of being? Can it just be a manner of being or does it have to be practiced?

   That's really difficult to answer without first determining what is the correct definition of 'love'. Personally I think that the English language is behind in this regard as 'love' is the only word for it - to compare, in Swedish we have several terms; kärlek = the play/game of being in love, kär = to be in love, älska = to love. It's fine to say 'jag älskar ost!' ('I love cheese'), but if you say 'jag är kär i ost!' ('I'm in love with cheese!') you'll be frowned upon and regarded as a young, emotional bimbo who fails to understand their own language. 

   As for whether love is divine though, and whether atheists can practice it, well, that depends on the type of atheist. Atheism isn't binary, and many use it to describe themselves because they don't attend church and don't pray, or commit to any other religious rituals - but a whole lot of those are more agnostic, and will admit to simply 'not knowing' whether there is a divine entity, and if so, whether that is the Abrahamic concept of 'God'. Others have created a confusing mix of Eastern religious philosophy, seeing themselves as part of a universe where everything is somehow connected, but seldom do such people appear to have reflected on this very much and come off as some vague-minded hippie types.
   If we use the word 'love' as the expression of a connection between two people that is stronger than common friendship or even blood, then certainly, atheists can practice it. 

   Again, do 'they' want to is a rather generalising term. There are atheists who are obsessed with the idea of romantic love, and there are atheists who aren't, just as there are religious types who believe love to be an expression of purity and a connection to the divine, and those who regard it as an evil, the temptation to keep our kind locked in an eternal cycle of reproduction (such as Cathars - although to be fair, I don't think there's a whole lot of those around these days. Which is a shame, them and Judas-is-the-one-true-disciple-of-Christ kind of gnostics are the only Christians I feel I could get behind!). Yet again we have to ask for the definition of love, though, and how precisely we want to regard the terminology we use. 

   Now, looking back at the original quote by the silly man with a PhD, it appears that his description is one of those vague sorts which is difficult to say it is factually wrong because the use of words is just so abhorrently lucid that it's hard to pin down exactly where he's being wrong; I strongly disagree with his concept though, and I find that sort of mindset downright despicable. Mind, I'm an existential nihilist who perceive nothing divine and no purpose, who believe life is a brief and random thing which has much too many very real things to explore, to shut one's eyes for the callousness of reality and project love onto everything and weaken the meaning of the word until it's pliable enough to fit in whichever application one wants to use it in. And yes, I find such people provocative; they make me want to smack them over the head and scream at them to wake up and feel the entropy that even now is working to break down their bodies, the process which will one day grow stronger than your ability to reinvigorate yourself, where life begins to decline and the likelihood of suffering begins to outweigh the likelihood of pleasure. That is one of the few truths that I believe in, the inevitability of our demise both as individuals and as a species and, thus, as a community - be it in fifty years or fifty million years. 

ru1223-memento-mori-front-detail__45887.

   It's also one of my big pet peeves when it comes to our modern view of romantic love and our generally irrational expectations thereof. People often find pain and suffering in their search thereof, losing their sense of self-value because they don't receive enough affirmation. That's plain idiocy and counter-intuitive to the concept of harmony. It's the cause of a lot of people getting together with those who do them more harm than good, because 'love' is more important than anything; more important than your health, your mentality, or your economy. I know it's a bit cliché to say that 'you first need to work on yourself' (and goodness knows I abhor 'self-help' philosophers and bloggers), but if one loses oneself in the search for another, what's the bloody point anyway? It's just self-destructive and downright pathetic.

   "Be glad and strong,
be glad and strong.
For who needs someone,
that needs someone?"
   - DLK, a Swedish trallpunk (punk pathetique-ish) band.

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@Orwar  I enjoyed reading your comment, but to avoid being plonked over the head and screamed at to "wake up" I did have to read it while wearing my existential nihilist glasses. I have several pair, as I drag them about from place to place and time to time. Then, damnit, just when I'm feeling all nice and cozy in my there is no point, I will accidentally pick up my Eastern philosophy (not religion) tinted glasses, and so I still believe there to be no point but also see a universe that is interconnected. That's a bother because then I have to get out the patchouli incense and all. 

Thanks for the inclusion of the Swedish, that is interesting, and yes, I agree, English is lacking in this instance. And yes, definitions and context are vital in a discussion on such a nebulous topic as this. 

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19 hours ago, Gatogateau said:

Is it even possible, for anyone, to live totally in a state of love?  Can it be practiced, or is it just a manner of being? Can it just be a manner of being or does it have to be practiced?

Both of your questions here intrigue me, and the 2nd one I've tried to understand. I experience meditation as a kind of practice, a way to increase unconditional love during the practice, but then the benefits transfer to everyday life. Much like strengthening muscles through exercise transfers to everyday life too as we enjoy the benefits of stronger muscles.  How this actually happens, through meditation, I can't say for sure except that meditation does include our unconscious processes in ways everyday consciousness has difficulty accessing.

What practices are involved in the monotheistic practice you mentioned earlier?  Prayer?  Intense contemplation similar to meditation?  Or?

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Rumi has some lovely quotes on 'love':

 

rumi let yourself be drawn by.png

One day I will actually research whether Rumi said "stronger pull" or "stranger pull".  No real need however, as both work for me...

Edited by Luna Bliss
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On ‎9‎/‎11‎/‎2020 at 5:34 PM, Lancewae Barrowstone said:

Well, I guess if you had to read it (the book by Andrews).... not your fault.... 

LOVE, is a monumental pinnacle, embodied in only 4 letters.  What a cruel joke that is. 

Makes the subject wide open for bland gibberish of all kinds, like spitting on your windshield to think you might buff up a better sheen on what you don't comprehend.

Animals understand love in minds that lack words. Ponder that.   

Like any pinnacle, those 4 letters have a pyramidal base of a zillion other words to describe, create it, up-build it from the rubbish, and uphold it in the high airs, and all the while after a millennia of hominid travail, hopes, losses, enlightenment and darkness. 

By now, you either got it; or you ain't. It's inbred, encoded, dna encrypted.

LOVE, becomes a subject over coffee in the afternoon.  Oh look, here is a book by author, So-and-So.  How nice; let us look.  Cream? 

Like anything of supreme value, un-prepossessed by many (SO many) a field of hubris lies surrounding it, pages of books scattering.  Words about something so generic, while unique, as if something simple, existing out there all on its own, and like a stray butterfly wing blown across your vision on a soft breeze, you think, what mystical creature was that!? 

It was not. It was more.  And yet it was less.  When you can box that, and pour it into your empty pickle jar, then you have a life and don't need the gibberish, the interpretations that can never describe what you are. 

Words that take pride in denoting acts of doing. Ho-hum, pardon as I yawn.

There is a difference between doing, and being

You don't even have to talk about the latter one. 

In other words, love is not something you do. 

It is something you be. 

It is something are.

I agree with most of what you've said here -- basically that the notion of 'love' is often trivialized.

But, I liked the book, and parts of it increased a deeper sense of love for me, and I imagine others could find value pondering the deeper aspects of love mentioned within its pages.

What would be your method of knowing a deeper kind of love?

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13 hours ago, Orwar said:

Others have created a confusing mix of Eastern religious philosophy, seeing themselves as part of a universe where everything is somehow connected, but seldom do such people appear to have reflected on this very much and come off as some vague-minded hippie types.

That's probably because it's rather complicated to follow, and the average person doesn't sit down to read the Upanishads all that often (if ever) and even then usually in translation. The conversation between Yajnavalkya and Maitreyi in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad delves deeply into perception, and love as a search for/recognition of your own self. 

 

"The love that you feel in respect of an object is in fact the love that you feel towards that which is called perfection and completeness. It is not really a love for the object [...] The mind does not want an object; it wants completeness of being. That is what it is searching for."

"For the desire of the Infinite, which is the Self, everything appears to be desirable. Here, the word ātman [ie. Self, soul] is to be understood in the sense of the Totality of Being."

"Things which are outside you do not belong to you; therefore it is no use crying over them.[...] If they become 'you' they cannot leave you, because you cannot be dispossessed of yourself. You are dispossessed of only those things which are not yours."

I lifted these quotes from here: https://www.swami-krishnananda.org/brdup/brhad_II-04.html


It's heavy going to read all that and unpack it, but it's also something we already (instinctively?) know, once we realise it. If searching for ourselves is the great journey, then love in that context is easy to understand. My take on it anyway, I'm no scholar.

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On ‎9‎/‎14‎/‎2020 at 10:09 AM, Orwar said:

Others have created a confusing mix of Eastern religious philosophy, seeing themselves as part of a universe where everything is somehow connected, but seldom do such people appear to have reflected on this very much and come off as some vague-minded hippie types.

Everything is connected....you are made of stars...

https://www.livescience.com/32828-humans-really-made-stars.html#:~:text=We're made of star stuff%2C" Sagan famously stated,generations of stars over 4.5 billion years ago.

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10 minutes ago, Luna Bliss said:

Everything is connected....you are made of stars...

Nonsense. We contain elements from our Sun, the only star we obtained those elements from. Wether that 'connects' us to everything else in the universe remains to be seen.

What we see beyond our solar system is not what or who we are.

Edited by TDD123
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1 minute ago, TDD123 said:
11 minutes ago, Luna Bliss said:

Everything is connected....you are made of stars...

Nonsense. We contain elements from our Sun, the only star we obtained those elements from. Wether that 'connects' us to everything else in the universe remains to be seen.

What we see beyond our solar system is not what or who we are.

Forgive me, but I believe Carl Sagan over you.

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2 minutes ago, Luna Bliss said:

Forgive me, but I believe Carl Sagan over you.

Sure. But there's nothing scientific about your preference whom to believe.

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5 minutes ago, TDD123 said:

Nonsense. We contain elements from our Sun, the only star we obtained those elements from. Wether that 'connects' us to everything else in the universe remains to be seen.

What we see beyond our solar system is not what or who we are.

Where did the sun come from?

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1 minute ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

And where did our Sun come from?

The singularity of the Big Bang.

Physics for the win!

*sighs* 'The singularity of the Big Bang ? Really ? Aren't you contaminating facts too quickly ?

I know you can do a lot better than that, Maddy.

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2 minutes ago, Luna Bliss said:

Where did the sun come from?

It still doesn't connect us to the rest of the universe. It;s vast, hostile and only hospitable to us on the pale blue dot ( according to dr. Sagan ) so far as we know.

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