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Re: To believe or not to believe (interesting)

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Posted by Ezekiel 25:17 on December 12, 2001 at 01:42:55:

Hey there,

: I am not a religious scholar but I do believe that each of the world religions recommends that peope find calm, peace and contentment. But just because the world religions teach it does not necesarrily make it a good thing.

Calm and inner peace is something far more easily sought after than obtained. It is a worthwhile goal, but I would contend it to be more a self-fulfilment as opposed to altruistic towards society as a whole. I do believe it is far easier to help others when one is at peace and balanced though :)

: You mention drive and ambition. Now those are certainly dubious assets.

I think drive and ambition is more of a double-edged sword :) Whilst many use drive and ambition to further their own goals, it is also a necessary attribute to those who wish to further humanity. Those who use ambition to make the world a better place as opposed to those who just seek calm I would argue achieve more. However, I do agree, that too many use their energy in a way detrimental to society.

Perhaps capitalism and wealth are to blame for this rush towards materialism of society today, but I'll leave that for more worthy scholars than myself.

: I think any self satisfaction that I feel from ambition and accomplishment is absolutely fleeting.

Arguably, any human sensation is fleeting. But memories and goals fulfilled are moments in our lives which help us through the more difficult times. However, one should not relish in that past moment for the rest of their lives. Its a tough balance :)
A question remains: are there any emotions we feel that are more than fleeting?

: Here's the truth -- guess what happens to spotlights -- they get moved. You're in the dark again, ultimately and then you have to have all that drive and start over from scratch.

Every person has their own goals in life. Some set their standards too low, some too high. Is it worse to reach for the stars knowing you'll never reach them, or to live life never knowing whether you fulfilled your full potential?

: All our cultures drive and ambition has created is a cloned human being and twenty four hour a day advertising on on every wall in the world. The linoleum on the floor of your local supermarket. Mess. Chaos. Distraction. Absurdity.

I agree that culturally although we are theoretically embracing individuality, an argument can be made that mass conformity is becoming more prevalent. Advertising seems to reach for the lowest common denominator, whilst the easy path to success is the most common one.

: I look at the footprint two thousand years of native American culture left on the this continent BEFORE the Europeans showed up with all their drive, ambition and success. There was a purity that we have all lost completely. That is our ultimate "achievement."

Many have sought this ultimate Nirvana, a period of ultimate fulfillment and peace. It is an idealistic goal and a worthy one. However, I don't think in the entire history of humanity, in any culture, there has even been a close resemblance to a period of peace of this nature.
Human history has been a constant struggle for survival and is filled with conflict. The human drive and ambition is inherent within us all and I would argue that these traits were with our forebears as well. Native Americans may have lived an idyllic lifestyle, but they may also have lived a harsh struggle in the elements around a nomadic hunting lifestyle. Every day I imagine would be tough in the search for food, and I doubt happiness would have been that much more prevalent.

However, assuming that type of lifestyle was the ultimate goal, the difficulty in implementing it in modern society would be immense. Would your suggestion be for us to abandon all material possessions and start all over?

: I digress. And ramble. Told you I could not stick to the topic but I guess my point in that is that I don't think that the value of calm can be questioned.

Heh, I do exactly the same thing. If you have the patience to bear with me, I'll gladly extend the same courtesy to you :)
I agree, that calm and serenity is a worthwhile goal, although not the be-all and end-all. :)

: But what does the rest of the world do with their fear and anxiety. Pills? Booze? Surely I am not the only one to admit to feeling those emotions.

I guess the rest of the world cope in their own way. We all share your feelings and especially in today's society, I would argue fears and anxiety are becoming far more common. The typical societal response is to provide medication, and many seem to seek some form of escapism. I don't consider this to be a wise course, but I don't see many worthwhile alternatives.

: This is an honest question -- have you ever surfed any porn? I really don't think that people get happiness and conentment looking at porn. I think they get their rocks off. Or they are feeding an addiction.

Yes I have, but only in times of extreme boredom :)
Assuming it is an addiction however, it is relatively harmless when compared to drug and alcohol addiction. My belief is that any activity which doesn't directly or indirectly harm society can be used as someone's own personal freedom of choice. However, I concede that most activities can indirectly harm society in some way. It could also be theoretically argued that drug and alcohol addiction only harms the individual and not society as a whole.
I guess all these activities are used to gain some form of happiness and escapism, and whilst it may be temporary, I would suggest that all happiness is transitory.

: But it's not the same contentment one feels in faith. And I think I have already shown how tenuous my own faith is. If it were perfect I would not have to live worried that I need to run faster than the guy in the maze to my left. I would feel confidant that I am being guided and taken care of in each moment of my day.

Uncertainty seems to make life all the more enjoyable. Everybody is seeking answers, where often there are none to provide. Everyone wants certainty whereas often all we can do is just make our best guess. Life may be better if it was just calm and serenity, but would it be as interesting?

: But this simple discussion seems to put me back in that place where I feel taken care of, relaxed, and calm -- simply by acknowledging that I am. It's very weird and certainly unintentional.

I believe that inside many of us are thoughts and ideas that we wish to discuss with others yet never have the opportunity to bring up in conversation. It is liberating to discuss your firm beliefs and attempt to share your wisdom with the world :)

: Well, you brought up so many point -- I am really curious about your porn notion though. Do you really think it brings a healthy contentment?

No, I don't, but I also think its part of humanity and society and does no great deal of harm comparatively speaking :) I'm not condoning it, but freedom of choice dictates that as long as it doesn't harm others, than any happiness derived from it is a reasonable pursuit.

: Can we use Practicing Believer as an agreed upon term that just means someone who is doing their best to walk a spiritual path? I make mistakes but I try to use them to guide me back into the light of the spirit, which I believe is always with me -- it's my choice in any moment to acknowledge it or not.

I think that's the best anyone can do. It is difficult to acknowledge one's own mistakes but it is far more difficult to learn from and correct them :)

I'll be heading out for a sojourn of a few weeks soon, so I won't have the opportunity to post for a while.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and will be back in 2002 :)


P.S. Sorry, I had to do some creative editing to fit in the character limit.

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