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Paul Anthony



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PostSubject: Re: New to Panendeism   Sun Mar 08, 2009 3:20 pm

Gnomon wrote:
Like your radio metaphor, the orchestra image implies that some mysterious external organizing force is at work. I doubt that Gazzaniga was thinking of a spiritual organist or conductor, but rather something more like Adam Smith's "invisible hand" which spontaneously emerges from collective activity. And Smith did not intend to imply a god-like hand reaching down from heaven to impose harmony upon cacophany, but instead a natural effect arising from interacting blind forces, and resulting in what we perceive as order.

Yes, many people throughout Mankind's brief history have grappled with the effort to explain similar concepts. We may all be talking about the same thing, but lacking the words to describe the impressions we know to be the truth. One analogy is no better or worse than another, yet none can produce a clear understanding or result in a consensus of opinion.

Rosicrucian teachings speak of everything - material and non-material - as having various "vibrations". These vibratory rates are what allow us to perceive an apple as an apple and a rock as a rock, despite the fact that everything in our material world is composed of essentially the same matter and energy. In this sense, "reality" is only defined by our perception of varying rates of vibration.

If each of us are receiving and interpreting these vibrations through our own filters - the result of our personal experiences - it is no wonder that we can't agree on what "is". Reality is different for each of us! We may agree to label apples as apples, but how can we know if each of us experiences the same taste when biting into one?

And, in our efforts to explain phenomena that we experience but don't quite understand, some will believe in a supernatural force as the cause while others will see it as "natural". Nothing we experience can prove or disprove the existence of a "God", let alone define what a God might be. "Supernatural" IMO is a term used to identify the unknown. Once we understand a thing, it ceases to be supernatural and becomes natural. Everything is natural, it is only our ignorance that makes it less so.
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Gnomon
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PostSubject: Re: New to Panendeism   Sun Mar 08, 2009 5:08 pm

Quote :
"Supernatural" IMO is a term used to identify the unknown. Once we understand a thing, it ceases to be supernatural and becomes natural. Everything is natural, it is only our ignorance that makes it less so.
Exactly! I have difficulty explaining to people that meta-physics is not super-natural in the old spooky sense. It's just a part of Nature that has been beyond our understanding until recently.

Hence philosophers and scientists were forced to either hide Mind-Soul-Spirit in a transcendent supernatural realm, or carelessly lump it into the same natural category with the physical Brain. But Mind, defined as the "function" of a brain, is still referring to something other than the material substance of the brain---but what that non-physical "substance" might be is hard to say. So I just call it by the common name, Information.

We tend to take mundane information for granted, but if asked what it's made of, our ignorance becomes apparent. Obviously it's not a material substance, because I can give you some information and still have it myself. Physical Matter can't exist in two places at the same time, but Meta-physical Mind can.

Fortunately, Information Science is a new, but fast-growing field. So our understanding of the old "super-natural" mysteries should be improving as we explore that heretofore unknown territory. Some of the classical intuitions about Spiritual stuff may be proven to be close to the mark, but some of those ancient inferences may have to be discarded in favor of new metaphors and analogies.
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PostSubject: Re: New to Panendeism   Sun Mar 08, 2009 6:07 pm

Quote :
With all of our disparate ideas, the one thing that Deists have in common is the persistent habit of filtering all theories with Reason and Logic, separating the wheat from the chaff, and accepting - tentatively - those theories that have merit and rejecting those that don't.
Not to belabor the same point, I was this very morning reminded again of the common "appeal to Reason" on religious topics. In Philosophy Now magazine, "Charles Natoli considers whether St. Augustine had any better reason to convert to Christianity than remain a Manichean".

In his discussion of the brilliant Pagan's conversion to Christianity, the author raises a pertinent question : "But in the clash of reason with reason, what if either side can avail itself of essentially the same arguments?" Apparently, Augustine was inherently a rationalist, "because the Manichees promised him reasons in lieu of faith" But later he rejected the dualistic---good god, bad god---worldview of Manicheanism, in favor of the tripartite---Father, Son, Holy Ghost---deity of Christianity.

In his book, On the Usefulness of Believing, Augustine gave his logical reasons for winnowing the chaff of Mani, and gathering-in the chaff of Christ. Yet the article's author logically asks, "why could not the offending passages in the Manichee scriptures have been intellectually rehabilitated in the same way as their fellows in the Old Testament". He noted that even the impeccable Reason of a towering genius could be enslaved to the petty passions of the heart. "For our reason, like the rest of our humanity, is part and parcel not of an Ideal world . . ." but of a dispiriting Real world full of reasons to doubt.

Therefore the author concluded that a paragon of reasoning was ultimately ruled by a human heart, which "hath reasons that reason does not know". And that was just one of many reasons why the saint was motivated to reject a doctrine (supposedly) based on Reason, and accept one based on Faith. "The former always left his heart with doubts, and the latter conferred a certainty which left his heart nothing more to desire".

Reason alone is not sufficient to winnow the wheat from the chaff. In the struggle between heart and head, Certainty is a sign that the heart has won. Yet Doubt is a sign that Reason is still in charge. Like physical pain relative to Life, the discomfort of doubt performs a necessary service to Mind. When the internal "clash of reasons" causes Cognitive Dissonance, pangs of doubt warn us of impending false beliefs. Tentative doubt doesn't feel as good as absolute certainty, but it's necessary to avoid permanent damage to the belief system.
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