Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Jobicus Stupidus

Urgh... Me Tarzan, you Jane. Me work, work, work... and ... uh... no use head much besides breaking cocunut! Haha! Me no get to thinky-thinky about skies, whales, and big powerful flying guys, as me work, work, work... Job make me dumb.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

God and Religious Experience: Misrepresentation Allowed?

Mormons like myself may have to consider a broader understanding of religious experience. Consider: if God revealed the doctrine of heaven and hell, even in its Book of Mormon form, and then revealed the degrees of glory concept, is it possible that God could misrepresent reality to teach certain principles? In this case, to teach people that we are responsible for our actions and they will influence our state in the next life. However, if this is the case... is it therefore possible that God has "misrepresented" or "reduced" reality to several different religions and faiths to teach incomplete principles? Could many mystics religious experience be from God/Gods? Just curious. Some could say no, and claim heaven and hell was just some theological idea prophets came up with to justify how God could be righteous and reward the good and punish the wicked. Others may say heaven and hell was always understood to be spirit prison and paradise (I beg to differ). Nevertheless, this pushes us to consider the broader spectrum of God's communications with man. Furthermore, it may be true that certain doctrines are yet "misrepresented" to teach principles. Thoughts?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The World of Objects (Macrocosm) and the World of Symbols (Microcosm)

Eric, you might remember those silly drawings I made during philosophy of food where I would draw two worlds with a window pane in between them. The first world represented external reality, the window the senses, and the second world the internal reality. Initially I thought the senses could affect and shape both realities: and that there is a constant relationship between the two of them. For instance, the senses' communications to an entity about the nature of reality could encourage an entity to act a certain way, and use its sensory utilities (say touch) to influence reality by say, breaking the branch off a tree. Sorry if that was convoluted. I've adjusted some of these thoughts. First, I think I have neglected largely the will, which interprets the sensory data and with it builds the internal reality. This internal reality largely consists of symbols, a sort of terrain that is largely more flexible than the external reality. What I mean by symbols as that we group items from the World of Objects into categorical entities. For instance, if you ask someone to draw you a tree, most of the time they'll draw you a long, straight trunk with a green puff on top (resembling Ronald McDonald's hair). No tree honestly looks like that, but they've equated or reduced all trees into this symbol. They can't really think back into their mind of a tree to draw. You may experience this while driving on a road trip and you may have seen some grassy hills. Now, you can't probably remember this hill, but you've grouped it together with what you equate to be the typical "grassy hill." I think generally we take snapshots of the external reality and translate it in easier to digest symbols. But then there are those things that are more important to us, that we "pay attention to," and they are more unique both at the present or in our memory. These may be because of an imperative issue, say a cannonball whizzing towards my head and my need to truly concentrate, or a personal choice to use one's senses to not reduce the external object down to a symbol because one appreciates it or wishes to understand it enough. I think this may be why some memories are very fuzzy and others more vivid. Interestingly, I think some are less reduced than others--human faces, especially those of one's race that one is familiar with. Blacks and Asians look the same to me more than other Whites. You may notice this especially on how easily you can recall the faces of actors in movies you saw when you were six years old. Now this conglomerate of more concrete and symbolic engage our mind... but what influences the mind more? And with dreams, most dream theorists reduce dreams down to symbols, when if what is concrete exists in the mind and also if the concrete is more important, isn't this a huge mistake? Anyone, probably a confusing post but something to think about. I'll have to edit this and think about it more later.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Merrily we roll along...

Why is it that people are so fixated on answers? I've talked to several people lately who will retreat into absurdity rather than admit that they simply don't know the answers to any of their questions. What is it about people that instills such a morbid fear of ignorance? Why can't we say "Gee, I haven't got the foggiest idea and yet I'll keep exploring in order to learn more". I don't know if it a social thing or more primordial to the human condition but people are absolute cowards in the face of the unknown. Someone was complaining about how if we accept certain propositions it leaves us without a base to stand on. What's the big deal with that? If we really are riding about on an uncertain universe shouldn't we learn to stand on our own?

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Reduced Libertarianism and the Effects of the Other on Free Will

I've been thinking a lot about the claims of libertarian free will that one can choose to do what one wants when they want to. Although this view of human freedom appeals to me, I don't think we're able to do as it claims. First, I believe our bodies automatically do things we are hardly aware of and choose to do on a constant basis--breathe, digest, and so forth. If I concentrate on the action, I can stop breathing and defacating, but overall I do not think I consciously make a decision to breathe each time. Besides this, there are many habits that we form that may originally have been established through free will, but afterwards lack decision. For instance, I lick my tongue and say "ahh" (sounds dirty, but it isn't), after taking a gulp of any drink, but I don't consciously make this decision. These sorts of habits seem to make it more difficult to apply one's free will. The same would occur with addictions. I'm not quite sure what the difference is between a habit and an addiction, but I will have to think about it. It seems that a habit is an unconscious action one is familiar with doing, while an addiction arises in the forefront of one's mind and one struggles with its occurrence, but one is also familiar with doing it. Hence, it seems we're only able to choose what we concentrate on. Next, life is full of distractions that demand our attention and our thoughts. This could refer to television broadcasts, media, conversations and relationship with others and so forth. It seems that many of the decisions and choices that we make are often given by our interactions with the Other. This could involve one person's ability to consider and think of the salvific mission of Jesus Christ, what ethics are and how we should treat others, what is appropriate for one to eat, and so forth. Now, we do have the opportunity to turn down the others. But they seem to construct what decisions we will make in our lives. If different others in our lives than those we experience, we might have very different characters and lives. Of course, without any world or others, we could not make any decisions at all. So it seems that the more we know and experience the more decisions we are able to make, and what are able to be more free in choosing them also. Moses says something like this in Moses 1, that after experiencing what he does with Jehovah, he thinks about things he never before had supposed. Perhaps God is greatly and growingly free because he experiences and knows much and more and more than others. Of course, the veil then is seen as hugely distorting our original agency, giving a bit of a clean slate as Locke (the empiricist) said. Anyway, those are my thoughts. And I think therefore that knowledge and free will have a larger connection than we give them connection and libertarianism claims are a little too great. I promote more of a reduced libertarianism.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Udderly wasted

D&C 2:3 - Why will the world be utterly wasted at the coming of the Lord without the keys of Elijah? I've read the explanation in Doctrines of Salvation but I don't really remember it. Where is the causal relationship between the powers that Elijah brings and the non-wastage of the world?

D&C 3:1-2 - These verses suggest that God's infrustrationialism is because he doesn't walk in crooked paths. So...does he follow laws so perfectly that noone can stop him? This transfers the power of God over to the laws, doesn't it?

(Funny sidenote: "his paths are straight and his course is one eternal round")

Verse 4 seems to return the power to God. If a man incurs the vengeance of a just God, God is not just a judge in a preset law situation but the dispenser of the law itself. Ooch. Sure we can say he's both but that's like saying nothing at all.

Ok, in verses 5 and 6 it becomes apparent that God is talking to people with which he has entered into a specific contract/covenant, making the whole situation easier. When one is in a contractual situation the other party is given rights both as an originator and executor.

Verse 20: "be glorified through faith in his name, and that through their repentance they might be saved". VERY interesting. Most places in the scriptures it talks of exaltation (glorified) coming through repentance and sanctification and salvation (saved) through faith. This one gives them the other way! Weirdness.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Job rants

So is anyone else sick of this crap you see in job posts and interviews?

1. Every post seems to have these "power" adjectives to define who they want for their position. They're always using words like "dynamic," "synergy," and "charismatic." What the heck does dynamic mean? Do they even know what they want? They've really got to stop quoting terms from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I think Covey's book has become the business Bible from Hell. They try to quote all these fancy terms and I don't think they know what they're talking about.

2. What's with all of the umbrella companies? Why is every office of theirs composed of about 50 people all around the age of 23? They always have this policy of whoever joins the company has to start from the ground up regardless of their background. And then they mask their company's work; they call it "marketing" or "advertising," when it's all door-to-door canvassing of office supplies like Quill. They respond to your e-mails a 1000 times faster than any other company because they want to milk you. Dang multi-level marketing crap.

3. Why is they always want you to have 1-2 years experience for an entry level job? Isn't the point of an entry level job to give you 1-2 years of experience? It's like trying to apply at a college as a Freshman, and for them to list as a requirement to be a Junior. No schooling required in one phrase, but have some schooling being said in the next.

4. What's with getting a job with a temp agency that pays you 13/hour? You work for that company and they say if you weren't with the agency they'd pay you 18. They say you should have looked on Craig's List, but when you look there, no one's offering it!


Doctrine and Covenants 1:9 - "to the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure"

This seems like awful strong language to me. Where does this idea of wrath and fury fit into mormon doctrine of our God? How is this constructive in the god-making process that God is engaged in? It seems like God is a bit pissy, frankly. Why is he so blasted angry? Why does he choose to use anabashed rage to vent his obviously powerful emotion? (kiss it, most unmoved mover!)

Perhaps it's merely a figure of speech to bring us to repentance. This raises huge issues. God is scaring us into being good? Wha..? Maybe it's just the millenarianism of the early saints peeking through in what Jospeh wrote. But we are to see this chapter as the word of the Lord, yes? Is there some type of prophetic quotational liberty at work?

The footnote takes us to Revelation 18:6 - "Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works;"

Why is the Lord doubling it? Does everything get magnified? Are we blessed more and cursed more in the next life for our current choices and actions? Although the idea of greater blessing seems tempting, how is it fair in a more universal sense? Is "she" being rewarded double because she rewarded the saints double or is it a general rule of thumb for the Lord's recompense?

In D&C 1:3 it seems to suggest that the sorrow the sinners feel is the open declaration of their sin, showing their corruption to the world and destroying any facade they've so carefully developed. Is this the "wrath of God"? Seems a ill-advised metaphor, they don't really connect in my mind.

Verses 13-16: What's with the "my way or the highway" attitude? Is the Lord so stuck on His plan that he can't allow others to choose alternatively? One cannot argue that the cursing is simply a natural consequence of the sin as the Lord seems to go to great lengths describing the fact that he is very active in dishing out the pain. A regular pain-train. The celestial punisher. These are not passive punishments that are unavoidable. The Lord is giving a smackdown. Why does he need to do that? It seems to imply weak character.

Verse 17: Total 180. All of a sudden it's a "calamity that shall come upon the earth", a very passive construction. It suggests that the Lord is simply trying to protect his children from the imminent and unavoidable destruction. However, he very emphatically declared that he's the one doing the punishing. Now he steps in a delivers? Weird setup for a growing process...