Saturday, August 7, 2010

Are You Self-Aware?

“In other living creatures the ignorance of themselves is nature, but in men it is a vice.”
-Boethius

***

This is not one of my usual posts. It's me wanting to generate a different conversation.

Other bloggers post their posts and do not seem to want to encourage lengthy conversations. For me, I prefer the resultant converstions to my own posts.

So I ask you, are you self-aware?

If you are, how can you tell? How do you know that you are?

What do you think the term means, if anything?

Do you think that a religious person can be self-aware?

Can an atheist be?

In my opinion, the beginning of self-awareness is whan a person starts to realize how incredibly fallible they are. So then, humility might be considered the beginning of self-awareness. Or not. Tell me I'm wrong.

From humility comes a lessening or perhaps better to say a contraction of the ego, which removes many blinders. With humility comes the realization that perhaps it's not a bad idea to *question one's self.*

And from there, the whole world opens up.

For as Burns said, 'O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!' *

In other words, it's a good thing.

256 comments:

  1. I don't think humility is part of the equation, although it's an important attribute to posses in the right amounts.

    So I'm not sure what "self-aware" means, but if it means sentience then I think everything is self aware to some degree.

    So it's a game of degrees.

    Am I any more self aware then an infinitely more ignorant Homo-Erectus? Probably not.

    But am I any more self aware those who willingly impose ignorance upon themselves (re: Mike. Sorry, Mike)? Probably yes.

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  2. I see it, self-awareness I mean, as the ability to see yourself *accurately.* To see yourself without your ego filtering everything and making you look rosy to yourself all the time. The 'raw' you. All the warts. Your shortcomings, even, or at least a beginning of seeing them and thus the beginning of a new desire to address them.

    It is also the point where one begins to ask themselves real questions. The point where one realizes that no question is forbidden, and indeed that one must of necessity question literally everything, especially one's self, one's beliefs, the things one takes for granted in one's life.

    There are many definitions, but that makes the most sense to me.

    Is Mike self-aware? Not in the definition that I go by, no. For one thing, he cannot ever question himself, so that way he remains completely unaware of any of his flaws or the flaws in his thinking. As pertains to his beliefs, he never, ever questions them, out of fear of course. Conditioned fear.

    Most branches of the religion intentionally stifle self-awareness, in my opinion.

    It's just too dangerous to the faith thingy.

    Am I self-aware? I don't really know. I like to think that, at least to some degree, I am. However it is also apparent to me that I am still very succeptable to the 'sin' of excessive pride and its accompanying blindnesses, at least to some degree. Just not as much as I used to be... and I do derive some comfort from that.

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  3. So I'm not sure what "self-aware" means, but if it means sentience
    ------------
    It can, but not in this context.

    In this context, by this meaning of the word, it's more qualifying than that. So not everyone is self-aware; however of course just about everyone is sentient, at least marginally.

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  4. Just not as much as I used to be... and I do derive some comfort from that.
    -Me
    ---------------
    I just realized that the above sentence is actually a statement of pride in and of itself.

    It's a very subtle 'sin.' Keeps on sneaking in there......

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  5. To me the (very common) lack of self-awareness in a person is due to excessive pride, so humility and empathy are its cure, its facilitators, its midwives if you will.

    The progression I think would be first the realization of one's own imperfection; a very big moment in one's life. This begins humility, which quite automatically causes one's pride to lessen enough to see that others are people too; this begins real empathy. The result is a great lessening of one's previous pride, and thus a lessening in one's self-blindness. Then it becomes a progression, feeding on itself, leading eventually to a 'paradigm shift.' Hopefully.

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  6. In the sense I'm talking about, I seriously doubt that any homo erectus ever acheived self-awareness, though of course I would grant them sentience.

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  7. Brian; personally, I don't think one can see one's self without the ego filter, but one can become aware that there is an ego filter exists.

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  8. Yeah Ryan, it's not about killing the ego off entirely; it's about reducing it to the point where you can see that there are other people in the world, and they're all basically just like you. It's about a balance.

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  9. If you want to call it an ego filter, that's basically the same thing. You become aware that said ego filter exists, and then you set out to modify it to 'let in' a lot more of reality, so that 'the scales fall away from your eyes.'

    I prefer to think of it as a lessening of the ego though, because the problem is, after all, that the person initially believes themselves to be much less fallible than they really are, but once they see that, their ego is 'chastened' as it were, and starts to take more of a backseat in the decision-making processes, with empathy and self-awareness taking up the slack. One starts to become more and more 'other-centered' where before one was mostly 'self-centered' in one's outlook and belief system. One also starts to see themselves better and better, by not being afraid to question themselves anymore, due to the fact that they've lost their fear of being wrong. They no longer take it as a personal insult to find out that they are in error about something. They appreciate the opportunity to learn about themselves, so they learn to not mind so much being wrong anymore. For to learn a new thing, it is usually necessary to discard the old thing that was formerly in its place in your mind. To cling to the old thing, the old idea, is to stagnate. The pain of the 'loss' of self when one is proven to be wrong is, in the best case, converted to a sense of actual pleasure at the opportunity for growth.

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  10. Of course, religious fear of self-examination is a recipe for deep ignorance. If every question you have about yourself or your faith is a sin to even ask, then no growth is possible.

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  11. Personally, I think "self-awareness" is a more fundamental condition; one that begins developing in early childhood when we begin to use forethought and will power of our own. For example, even as babies, humans have the ability to prompt reactions from others to satisfy personal needs, but this in itself isn't self awareness. It's later, when we start DECIDING things, like "I'm not going to crap in my diapers anymore, because I want to wear big boy pants", or "I want a candy bar. I can either a) ask Mom to get me one, b) go collect returnable cans and use my own money or c) steal one".

    I get what you're saying, Brian, but I think your description falls more in the category of higher psychological maturity.

    If someone suggested to me when I was seven years old that I was NOT self aware, I would not have bought into that. But also when I was seven, I was still rather selfish and immature, as are virtually ALL children.

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  12. It seems that the definitions vary. After all, self-aware is self-knowledge, so you can have a little or a lot. One can be self-aware in the barest sense of being sapient, or more self-aware, being able to get a real glimpse of who they really are. I'm choosing to define it in the narrower sense of real, deeper self-knowledge.

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  13. pboy,
    I apologize for dropping the ball in our discussion. My attention has been else where for the last few days. We can continue if you like.

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  14. So, I think one of the biggest steps towards "Self-Awareness" is realizing that the stuff that really pisses you off the most in others is the stuff you secretly don't like about yourself.

    I recalled this truism reading Vox Day's blog, what a douche....

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  15. That didn't link to where I thought it would... but you can still navigate to Clif's page and check out some of his music.

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  16. I found my word files of DD's old Newsblogger blogs, but I only have from "An Absentee God" through the first 4100 (+/-) comments on "Obama and the Reagan Doctrine".

    But I left the links active, so I can still navifgate to references that other people linked to.

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  17. Okay, so then if I really can't stand it when others choose to be ignorant due to their belief system, and even go so far as to actively demonize intellectuality and knowledge itself, if this is what's really griping me, them choosing to be dumb jerks for god, then how is that 'secretly what I don't like about myself?'

    Genuinely curious here, not being a smartass.

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  18. Ed; can you send me the file @ ryansbigwalk@aol.com?

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  19. Brian; personally, I can only speak for myself, but when Mike is willfully ignorant it simultanously amuses me and makes me sad. But it in no way makes me angry.

    But when I can tell someone is trying to speak with authority when they only have less then complete knowledge, that really enrages me.

    And I have to acknowledge that I do that from time to time.

    I can't say this is a universal thing, but you (and I) daemonize faith from time to time so maybe that's part of your anger?

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  20. I can't say this is a universal thing, but you (and I) daemonize faith from time to time so maybe that's part of your anger?
    ------------
    I don't have to demonize it Ryan, it's diabolical already.

    I feel the anger at the willful ignorance, the throwing away of one's life for a silly belief, but even more when they feel entitled to lord it over me or mine because of that silly belief.

    Still not seeing anything similar in me. Sorry. I revere knowledge. Quite the opposite. And I'm looking, too.

    Elaborate. I'm not getting it.

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  21. Ed; any and all DD files if you don't mind.

    Brian; like I said, I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I find it's almost always true. I will say if somemone's f'ing directly with me, it doesn't matter, I get pissed no matter what they are doing, but if it's indirect, it's almost always something I don't like about myself that I find truly gets me mad. Otherwise, if one is doing something stupid (such as being willfully ignorant) it doesn't effect me.

    I wonder if Jerry or Harvey would like to chime in.

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  22. Ryan,

    I sent the first part of "Obama and the Reagan Doctrine" to you, at least all that I have of it. I was away from my computer for weeks at a time in the summer of 2009 and didn't have an opportunity to copy/paste all the rest of the comments. That thread went to nearly 12,000 comments if I remember: I have the first 4,100 or so comments, and it covers 790 pages of word doc., single spaced.

    I'll send the rest in the next few days.

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  23. Ah. I see.

    They are f*ing directly with me. They vote.

    So I'm in the clear, then.

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  24. Ryan
    It happens often enough to double check one's self to see if that is the case, but there are many other reasons that can cause anger.

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  25. I was thinking on this very thing, I think.

    It's about how we think of ourselves, how we know that we're intelligent and use that to conjure God.

    Seems that they simply switch what intelligence is, which is seeing patterns, hearing patterns, figuring out patterns(I.Q. tests anyone), switch what intelligence is, to what is intelligence for?

    We could live our little lives never concerning ourselves in the slightest about any kind of ideology, and I think that we do do that most of the time. I mean you're not concerned with whichever ideology you subscribe to while you're deciding how to amuse you and your family tonight or what's for supper etc.

    But if you let someone tell you that we are intelligent SO THAT we can see the design in the Universe, then I believe that you're going to have a hard time with people who believe that pattern recognition is just what intelligence IS and IT(intelligence) ITSELF or it(intelligence) in operation(you thinking about stuff) is NOT somehow 'pointing' you towards 'the' DESIGN which is 'pointing' at a DESIGNER.

    The same kind of thing is true for the 'morality as supernatural orders' argument.

    We KNOW that we shouldn't kill, no matter how angry we get, simply because we know society won't put up with a killer in their midst.(all life long hermits are excused from MY reasoning here although we KNOW even they'll get held to societal norms.)

    I'm thinking that the old worn, "I didn't know I wasn't allowed to kill people, I've lived in a cave all my life!", isn't going to work cos no-one is going to believe you!

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  26. Guess my point is that these two things, morality and intelligence, are related in that they can be used by very self-aware people to sway others to their point of view.

    The morality argument and the design argument are very easy to set up as 'solid' ideas which quickly become undefeatable in the sense that any counter-arguments are easily sloughed off as 'missing the point' or 'not understanding the point', in other words they're solid enough for believers to anchor their beliefs on yet ethereal enough for their goalposts to be moved safely out of the way of any criticism.

    Also, I think self-awareness is situational, in that it would do as much good to be a self-aware Brazilian tribesman in Central Park, NY.NY. as it would to be a self-aware yuppy from Manhattan in the Brazilian jungle.

    Seems to me it would be so easy for any kind of Christian to say, "Well I'm very self-aware from my point of view(in my worldview), it's YOU that's not!", then proceed to explain in his terms why it's you who is missing the point.

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  27. I'm on vacation guys. Forgive me being late to the fray.

    I wonder how many confuse being aware of self with self awareness.

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  28. I wonder how many confuse being aware of self with self awareness.
    -------------
    Apparently most of them, judging from the responses here.

    That's why I asked this question. I knew most people would not see it the way that I meant it here. Thought it might be a good discussion.

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  29. One can say 'man is the first self-aware species' and that context would indicate that the phrase is being used to mean 'sapient' or 'conscious of self,' but if one says about a person 'He is a very self-aware individual' the meaning shifts to my meaning as intended here.

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  30. Seems to me it would be so easy for any kind of Christian to say, "Well I'm very self-aware from my point of view(in my worldview), it's YOU that's not!", then proceed to explain in his terms why it's you who is missing the point.
    ---------------
    Another reason that I chose this question is that I anticipate that the christians will uniformly state that they are indeed self-aware, and I relish the conversation from that point on.

    If a person cannot even consider a contrary viewpoint and reject all such out of hand, if they cannot honestly question their beliefs, if they are afraid to question them, afraid of the 'sin' of questioning them, then they are the very opposite of self-aware. They are mental slaves, like Arnie Lerma talks about in that poem on my main page.

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  31. Otherwise, if one is doing something stupid (such as being willfully ignorant) it doesn't effect me.
    -Ryan
    -------------
    It doesn't? You live in this country, right? And this country has embraced stupidity and ignorance as a preferred lifestyle choice a la Sarah Palin, and that's solely due to the prevalence of the religion. The religion that tells mankind that it's okay to be ignorant, since the intelligent people are all effete and snobs and egotists anyhow and aren't actually any smarter because common sense and gut instincts are just as good as logic and reason, that they're *better* even. And they all vote like ants at a picnic, trying to make this a completely christian dominionist country, trying to get everyone else to convert to their stupidity-embracing religion whether they want to or not.
    You got no problem with that, Ryan?

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  32. Brian; I think you are giving religion a lot more credit than it deserves. Sarah Palin would be stupid with or without religion. Now, not that I believe in prayer or god, you know that, but I always like the AA "Serenity Prayer".

    "God, grant me the serenity
    To accept the things I cannot change;
    Courage to change the things I can;
    And wisdom to know the difference."

    So, no, I don't have a problem with it.

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  33. Hey; at least we weren't born in Saudi Arabia, right!

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  34. That's where we're heading if the republicans get into power again. Saudi Christiania. It's the same poison, just a bit diluted here, by secularism. If that ever goes, it'll be a fast slide into a brutal theocracy.

    No ryan, it really is the religion that allows Sarah Palin to acheive prominence while being an utter moron, and gives her an excuse to tell herself in the mirror. Many excuses, actually. Her religion empowers her to be a moron, to not know that she is a moron and to believe that in reality she is just fine, thanks, a smart 'feminist' woman, a 'momma grizzly' or whatever she's telling herself today.
    The religion, the acceptence by the stupid religious masses, is how such an utter moron can actually believe that they should be president.

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  35. Her religion gave her permission to not care about learning, many years ago. When she was a little child. It permeates society that way. Her parents no doubt did not stress a secular education, but I'm quite sure they did stress a religious one.

    And a religious education is almost literally an oxymoron.

    In fact, a religiously educated person thinks an oxymoron is a really dumb air molecule. But that's okay, because god doesn't want smarty-pantses.

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  36. "That's where we're heading if the republicans get into power again."

    Hyperbole much? Plus, I seriously doubt that population trends that have been decades in the making will be reversed by republicans getting back into power.

    "In fact, a religiously educated person thinks an oxymoron is a really dumb air molecule. But that's okay, because god doesn't want smarty-pantses."

    Like Francis Collins?

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  37. And of course when I say that her parents stressed a religious education, that in no way means that they taught her all about her religion.

    They only taught her the programming parts, the blind faith parts, which their parents taught them, and so on all the way back. The basics. No need to get into theological or philosophical details or differing opinions within the religion when all that god really cares about it that you have faith in him and believe no matter what.

    Or perhaps they only laid the groundwork, keeping her simple and god-fearin' and keeping her ego stoked, till she ran across an even more ignerunt strain of christianity and latched onto that, where the rest of her 'christian education' took place. That's how it happens. In a simple family like that, a 'christian education' is more about programming the child to ignore their own sense of basic logic and just believe in god, period. It all revolves around that, because they believe that is the most basic requirement for salvation.

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  38. Hyperbole much? Plus, I seriously doubt that population trends that have been decades in the making will be reversed by republicans getting back into power.
    ------------------------
    Hyperbole somewhat. It would trend in that direction at the very least, and those who disagreed would have a fight on their hands. They'd certainly do a lot of damage, which would take a very long time to correct, if it ever could be. It would be horrific. And I'm dead serious. Things are different now. The republicans aren't the same party. They have no honor, no scruples, no intelligence, no caring for others, no desire to better the country. They only want revenge, to win, to get the power back, and those who are left in the party aren't the type of people that would do anything but evil with it if they did get it back. They're that craven, yes. There are no Goldwaters among them. Just McCarthys.


    Like Francis Collins?
    ------------
    No.

    Surely you can tell that I'm speaking about that specific type of person, that type of 'christian education' that Sarah Palin posesses.

    Would Francis Collins agree with Sarah Palin about science and reality in general, about the apocalypse, about witches?

    Stop trying to pick at me with details when you should know from the context precisely who and what I'm talking ahout here, my friend.

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  39. Incidentally Francis Collins did after all, actually study science. Not religious 'science' where adam rides an apatasaur, but real, actual science. The religious education of Sarah Palin was in no way connected with reality like that.

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  40. Brian; you know Sarah Palin attended public high school and FOUR (count em!) Public Universities (to get one BA! HA!), right?

    Now, I'm the first to say 1) Palin's a dimwit and 2) letting religion intrude on science education is very bad, but I don't see the two as connected.

    Or do you mean she supports letting religion intrude on science education is very bad rather than she's a product of religious education? If so I'm 100% behind you.

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  41. Yes Ryan, I know that.

    So she had a 'secular' education. Did it 'take?'

    No.

    Why not?

    Well, it was a communications program, so nothing conflicting with her belief system there.

    Now, if it'd been a science curriculum... but then she'd have walked out of it, due to her beliefs.

    I'm really referring to the conditioning they receive at home, when I say 'christian education.' Because it usurps any secular education that you might encounter later on, since your mind is already closed to it.

    The reason that Palin and so many others are dimwits IS the religion. It's been around for ages. It causes the general religious public, which is after all a LOT of the public, to not think very highly of secularity in general and a secular education in particular. Have you ever seen her father interviewed? He makes her look good. So it's passed down, the ignorance, the lack of caring about the mind, anout logic and facts and reality. It's believed that god is better than all that silliness, all that detail. They sneer at intellect and demonize secularism constantly.

    So I do emphatically see a direct connection.

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  42. My grandparents on both sides were religious. They were also very incredibly ignorant people. It goes together like peas and carrots. It gives them the excuse to be that way. More than that, they never even think of bettering themselves in any intellectual way, since all that's for snobs.

    This attitude is intentional and is fostered among the faithful for very good reasons. The religion needs that ignorance, or it perishes. That's how it's always been, right from year one, or thereabouts.

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  43. In fact, to be specific, the religious conditioning makes them think very little of anything that smacks of intelligence and reason, although they certainly aren't aware of this. Logic is spurned, or is twisted till it screams by the apologists, because NOTHING beats god in their minds. If a 'fact' seems to contraindicate their beliefs, then said fact is summarily discarded, or an apology is thought up that sort-of 'defeats' it. The fact is not true, regardless of proof, since it just *can't* be true, since it goes against the faith.

    The general attitude of shying away from self-improvement, of reluctance to better one's self intellectually, is all due to centuries of the conditioning. It's everywhere. If you can't see it, it's already fooled you.

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  44. If you read back, I never meant 'religious education' as going to a religious school. I linked the phrase to christian conditioning, usually done at a very young age. Sometimes, like in my family for instance, it's not so much that they try to drive you to be a believer, although they did that. It's that they never by example nor by word tell their children that thinking is important, that a good education is necessary, that common sense can only get one so far... If they don't knnow something, they make up the answer so they don't look bad. If they hear about something scientific they either poke fun at it or act like they're blind to it, which they are, since they havfe never developed any INTEREST in the ways of the world. They already believe that they know all those answers, so why bother?

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  45. Self-awareness, is the ability to confront your own there-ness.

    How you do that is then up for debate as to its ethical/moral/intellectual validity.

    Judge you!

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  46. In all fairness
    It's more of a rare-ness.

    When one says of another 'They're really a very self-aware person' then they're being more specific, aren't they? That makes it more than just confronting your own existence. They're usually talking about the person really knowing theirself very well. As in, knowing their own flaws. Knowing theirself, as in the inscription above the oracle at delphi. Gnothi Seuton. Know thyself. I don't think the answer that the oracle was looking for was 'Well, I'm a 49 year old man with hazel eyes and brown hair named Brian...'

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  47. "Also, I think self-awareness is situational, in that it would do as much good to be a self-aware Brazilian tribesman in Central Park, NY.NY. as it would to be a self-aware yuppy from Manhattan in the Brazilian jungle."

    Not only do I agree with this statement, but I think it gets to my "take" on self-awareness.
    Infants are not self aware. At that point in our lives we do not yet perceive that "others" (i.e. parents, caretakers) are separate entities. We react to them only inasmuch as we have needs that they can satisfy. Eventually, psychologists tell us, we begin to perceive "separateness", but it takes some time before we recognize specific "others" (mother vs any female). Eventually, as we mature, we begin to perceive not only other individuals, but groups or classes of others. Growing up/maturation/becoming civilized is, in other words, a process whereby we first recognize "self" and later recognize "others" as separate from self. As we are able to recognize classes of others (outside of immediate family) we begin to discover that we need to submerge certain "self" desires in order to get along and/or deal successfully with our "others". As a result, I agree with Pboy that "self-awareness" (in the sense I think Brian means)is entirely situational. For example, the hermit requires no "self awareness", since his/her situation requires no interaction with "others". In this construct, one can see religion as a means of interaction with the world that obviates the need for "self awareness"(questioning of self), since it provides the believer with rigid guidelines that not only insulate him/her from any need to be self-critical, but, in most cases, actually forbid such introspection.

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  48. the hermit requires no "self awareness",
    -----------
    He does if he wants to improve as a person, and many hermits are hermits for just that reason.

    I think you're still using the definition of minimal self-awareness, as in when an infant realizes that they are like other people, that they are an individual among many such. I thought I'd covered that base.

    Is the infant that has just realized the type of self-awareness to which you refer capable of answering the oracle's injunction? They may have just realized that they are a 'self' but they certainly do not know that 'self' adequately to answer it. They're aware of being a 'self' but they aren't clear what that means, and many of them will never realize it.

    I ask you, how did the oracle of delphi mean it? Because that's how I mean it.

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  49. It seems to me awareness is the main goal with self awareness being a step in the overall goal of intelligence.

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  50. And yet there are many intelligent and aware people, even brilliant people, who are not self-aware.

    Even shallow egotists can be observant and smart, you know. With a blind spot where their selves is concerned. Wall Street, for example.

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  51. "He does if he wants to improve as a person, and many hermits are hermits for just that reason."

    Brian: You are suggesting that one requires "improvement" as a person. This only seems correct if you care about what others think of you. In other words, the hermit only needs to "improve" if he/she intends to some day return to interaction with others. True "believers" ostensibly only care about God's opinion of them (although I readily admit that most of them are really interested in being "holier than thou" to their coreligionists). If one does not care/require the approval/ cooperation of others, the ideal of introspection/self awareness/self improvement becomes intellectual masturbation, in my opinion. I guess I see this as entirely related to how one will be perceived/get along in this world, rather than some sort of self awareness. Therefore, I agree with Pboy that it is all situational.

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  52. Maybe I should have said that the self-awareness of which I speak is the 'self-wisdom' kind, and not the 'self-knowledge' kind.

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  53. Brian: You are suggesting that one requires "improvement" as a person. This only seems correct if you care about what others think of you.
    --------------
    Really? That's how you see it?

    I'm stunned.

    Ascetics in India are very concerned with self-improvement, as in, spiritual self-improvement, by meditation and introspection. And you're telling me that they're wasting their time when all they have to do is be recluses and then their desire to become more elevated in their consciousnesses will just go away.

    To me that's like saying that if I never had to see anyone else for the rest of my days that it would be silly for me to continue bathing and brushing my teeth. Sure I *could.* But it would only make ME miserable, regardless.

    I don't meditate because I like how it makes others think of me, honestly I don't. I do it because it improves me. I can feel that. It isn't contingent on what others think of the process. If I were a total hermit, if I knew that I'd NEVER see another person in all the rest of my life, why, I'd meditate a lot MORE.

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  54. If one does not care/require the approval/ cooperation of others, the ideal of introspection/self awareness/self improvement becomes intellectual masturbation, in my opinion.
    ----------------
    I guess I'm more into being the best that I can be, regardless. It's like, my religion. Heh heh.

    To me, desiring to improve just for the sake of *others* would indeed be mental masturbation. If one cannot do it for the sake of one's self, then one shouldn't bother, for that would be VANITY, which itself is one of the antitheses of self-wisdom. Nothing can or would be accomplished with motivations such as that.

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  55. I should say that, before I posted this one, I thought that there'd be a lot of people that just didn't even see what I meant.

    I am not disappointed. It's that kind of thing.

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  56. For as Burns said, 'O wad some Power the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as ithers see us!'

    Perhaps I do not understand what you are looking for. As the quote from Burns says the power to see ourselves as others see us is to see ourselves through others ego filters, and for the most part all they do is reflect his/her extrinsic value of us, which for introspection is of questionable value in my opinion. True it is worth looking at but to be taken with a grain of salt.

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  57. Sure it's all from their point of view, much of it biased, 'grain of salt' etc, but when you learn to average them all out and really analyse the trends that are revealed, they become perhaps the only way to ever get a glimpse of the really bad stuff about yourself, the stuff that your friends will never tell you. The real you, unvarnished.

    It all has value. We too easily discard the criticism of others out of gut reaction when sometimes if we'd only paid attention we'd have saved ourselves years on the journey. To see ourselves as others see us is indeed a very great gift, in my opinion. I wish I could do it better.

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  58. Here's the 'plain english' translation of that stanza:

    'O would some Power the gift to give us
    To see ourselves as others see us!
    It would from many a blunder free us,
    And foolish notion:
    What airs in dress and gait would leave us,
    And even devotion!
    -----------------
    Please note that at the end of the Burns poem there is a single asterisk. It is a link, to both the poem and it's translation.

    As you can see, 'It would from many a blunder free us,
    And foolish notion...'

    Can you see what I'm saying now?

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  59. Pboy, I hope you appreciate me using your country's 'bard' to illustrate my point here. I've loved Burns since I was a very young man.

    But darn it, I also love Yeats.

    That has to sting. Sorry.

    Burns is gritty and wonderfully plainspoken and blunt, with a lot of insight in those plain words. And I love the brogue. Yeats... Well, Yeats is spiritual, if anything is. Goosebumps.
    'Turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer. Things fall apart; the center cannot hold...' Damn, that's incredible, don't you think? 'Some rough beast...' Wow.

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  60. Although I must say that his 'ode to a fieldmouse' etc. is a very cute poem with a great 'moral' to the story. 'Wee sleekit cowrin' tim'rous beastie, oh, what a panic's in thy breastie...'

    Pastoral poetry, that's what it is. Beautiful, like a painting. Like Ansel Adams.

    Hey, btw, William Butler Yeats was a member of the Golden Dawn. Ceremonial Magick, etc. I've read a lot about it. Aliester Crowley was also a member, before forming the 'religion' of Thelema that I've mentioned previously.

    Then again, so were some members of Parliament at the time, or so I've heard.

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  61. I'm having a hard time with this one Brian. I understand the perception that we have of ourselves being different and being perhaps even unreasonable compared to what everyone else thinks of us.

    I can see where Ryan is coming from there with the 'so what' if we become good at seeing ourselves in the way others see us, they're kind of biased too!

    I think the term for over-emphasizing how you think others feel about you and projecting the worst they think of you on all of them* is called being self-conscious.

    *meaning that you imagine that they ALL think the worst of YOU.
    .....................

    I had a quick look on exactly what self-awareness is supposed to be and honestly I think that it is very ill defined, something about not just 'being in the moment' all the time, but actually considering your point of view.

    To me, considering my point of view IS awareness and being a parrot for others' points of view, just 'in the moment' without actually considering it is semi-awareness.

    Sort of like when Mike says something is so 'because the Bible says', and though I'm sure he ACTUALLY believes that 'it is so because the Bible says', what he means is that it is so because his interpretation of the Bible tells him so. In other words, he deeply agrees with his own point of view, but also is likely to agree with others who couch their point of view in the same way he does.

    Not to say that Mike is a rube, no. No flies on Mike! If you tried to argue against Mike's worldview using the Bible, I'm sure he'd 'cotton on' real quick!

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  62. I should say that, before I posted this one, I thought that there'd be a lot of people that just didn't even see what I meant.

    I am not disappointed. It's that kind of thing.


    Brian; are you using the fact that we either misunderstand your idea or don't agree with you to internally support to your idea?

    That's something Mike does... See Romans 3:4, one of his favorites....

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  63. Brian:
    "I guess I'm more into being the best that I can be, regardless. It's like, my religion. Heh heh."

    This is precisely my point.
    Your definition of "the best that I can be" is the result of your previous socialization and exposure to ideals of "best" behavior promulgated over the millennia by all of the philosophers and religious apologists that have preceded you.
    Introspection/self awareness/self improvement, regardless of how one goes about it, is either an attempt to reach self approval, or that condition which others are imagined to approve. Obviously, religionists tell themselves that they are looking for God/Jesus' approval, since they are convinced that this is what they actually want to do/be themselves. As a result, it appears that you are right on in characterizing your desire to "be the best" as a sort of "religion".

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  64. I'll re-phrase the original question, since apparently the concept of using my definition for the nebulous term 'self-aware' for the sake of this discussion is not getting through here. Too many people masturbating with dictionaries in their laps.

    Ahem...

    "Are You Able To See Your Own Flaws Clearly?"

    Now, you bunch of detail oriented motherfuckers, misinterpret THAT.

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  65. Your definition of "the best that I can be" is the result of your previous socialization and exposure to ideals of "best" behavior promulgated over the millennia by all of the philosophers and religious apologists that have preceded you.
    -----------------
    Um NOPE.

    My desire to be the best that I can be comes from the previous difficult, painful, even scarring realization of how very FLAWED I am. When one realizes that, it is automatic that one strives to correct it, at least as much as is humanly possible. It becomes a life-project, if you will.

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  66. Since you're on about Burns, I think that 'A man's a man for aw that.' is his best poem, brilliantly converted into song by the Corries.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSoxa8XpJ84

    Tho' I think that Burn's meant 'cowered slave' and not 'coward slave'.

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  67. Seems funny to me that the line, "It's comin' yet for aw that, that man to man the world o'er, shall brothers be for aw that.", would be anathema to 'them'.(They know who they are.)

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  68. "Are You Able To See Your Own Flaws Clearly?"

    Yeah, I'm pretty sure my post about the ego filter and the one about seeing my own flaws in others were getting at that?

    My desire to be the best that I can be comes from the previous difficult, painful, even scarring realization of how very FLAWED I am.

    I think Harvey's point was that you are only FLAWED relative to how you see yourself or how you think others see you. How you see yourself and how you think society sees you is a function of "your previous socialization and exposure to ideals of "best" behavior promulgated over the millennia by all of the philosophers and religious apologists that have preceded you."

    Going back to what Ian said, glaring flaws in someone living in an industrialized western nation are not necessarily glaring flaws to a Amazonian tribesman.

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  69. The main flaw that I speak of is egotism, Ryan.

    Is egotism a good thing if the person lives on an island all alone and will never see another person in their life?

    If they want to be happy on that island, then getting the ego under control is a must. Sure they can survive, but the person that learns to check their ego is the happier for it. Ego-desires and related anger or frustration will cause unhappiness, even on an island with no other people. Perhaps especially on an island with no other people.

    That's how I see it, anyhow.

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  70. Egotism is a unniversal flaw. It's as bad in an amazon rainforest native as it is a New Yorker. It blinds people to themselves, and once that happens they're capable of believing most anything about themselves. After that they can do horrific evil and believe that they're doing the highest good.

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  71. Egotism is a unniversal flaw.

    To me, that's like refering to your liver as a tumor.

    The ego is necessary and it's healthy to have a well developed one.

    I think I'm not with you on this because "narcissism" might be a better word for what you mean?

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  72. Again with the terminology issues! Gosh, it's like you're trying to misinterpret. Of course it's like narcissism, because that *is* an excess or an inflation of ego.

    I'm not some apologist here trying to split terms to deceive you, I'm just trying to find the right terms so that I can convey this damned idea in my head that I can't seem to convey here.

    Now, how many times have I spoken of balance? Of course I know that the ego is necessary. Of course I speak of an excess of ego when I say 'ego,' because when ego blinds one to themselves, that is the exact and perfect definition of 'excessive ego' is it not?

    Heck, with no ego, what is one? A sack of insensate flesh, I'd say. That's not a very desirable state at all.

    I keep thinking that this is an easy thing to convey, and yet I can't seem to do it. Frustrating.

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  73. Brian; gotcha, it's just that Buddhism enjoys a popularity in the west and seeks to end suffering by destroying the ego. I happen to think that's a terrible idea and thought maybe that's where you were going.

    PS: I think self-aware is a bad term because EVERYONE thinks they are self-aware.

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  74. Egotism is a unniversal flaw.

    To me, that's like refering to your liver as a tumor.
    ------------------------
    I missed this. I said 'egotism.'

    Is 'egotism' a synonym for 'ego?'

    Are they equivalents?

    Doesn't 'egotism' actually mean 'excessive ego?'

    Do I actually have to define my terms down this far?

    Your response was actually referring to a tumor as your liver, ironically.

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  75. PS: I think self-aware is a bad term because EVERYONE thinks they are self-aware.
    ------------------
    PRECISELY why I chose it.

    They think they're self-aware, but that's not the minimal self-awareness of the homo erectus they're talking about, is it? No, what they're CLAIMING to posess is actually the definition that I'm using here, as in, more like 'enlightened' or 'aware of one's own flaws.'

    This is exactly why I thought it might provoke a good conversation. I just didn't expect you guys, the non-theists, to not get my definition. I thought most people knew it like that as well as the more basic definition. Guess not.

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  76. Brian:
    " It blinds people to themselves, and once that happens they're capable of believing most anything about themselves. After that they can do horrific evil and believe that they're doing the highest good.

    August 10, 2010 3:19 PM"

    Although I must agree heartily with your statement above, I still need to point out that evil actions essentially do not exist without some other living thing on which they may be perpetrated, or at least observed by some other sentient being that can recognize those actions as evil.
    Unless you think of "evil" thoughts or desires, any person isolated from other sentient beings seems to me incapable of being "evil", even if they wish to be so. Perhaps you see excessive or overpowering ego/selfishness as prima facie evidence of evil, even absent another entity. It seems to me that if you are all alone, lying to yourself or failing to perceive your own shortcomings cannot have any negative effects.

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  77. Unless you think of "evil" thoughts or desires, any person isolated from other sentient beings seems to me incapable of being "evil", even if they wish to be so.
    ----------------
    If it's in their hearts to be that way, what matter if they haven't the chance to display it? Plus, they still won't be happy, will they? What with no people to destroy... So it still behooves them to lose the (excessive!) ego, even on the desert island.

    And they can always torture small animals and birds on that island, harvey.

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  78. Sorry for sounding snotty Ryan.

    Yeah, I'm no buddhist.

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  79. So you're saying that young George Walker Bush sticking fireworks up frogs bums and exploding them is 'evil' then Brian?

    How about a cat toying with a mouse?

    A killer whale toying with a seal or a dolphin?

    Banking CEOs toying with the entire World economy?

    Maybe young George was not so much evil as, (what's the technical term?) fucked in the head?

    The various torturing animals thing seem to demonstrate a sadist's reverse empathy, but can we attribute evil to them?

    And the CEOs? Perhaps it's just their ideology. They're just playing monopoly for real, and we're just the 'pieces'.

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  80. So you're saying that young George Walker Bush sticking fireworks up frogs bums and exploding them is 'evil' then Brian?

    How about a cat toying with a mouse?
    ----------------
    If young GWB was actually a kid, then he didn't really know any better, since it's likely that the adults around him didn't care to teach him any better.

    Of course the cat, whale etc, is just nature. They shouldn't know better; they can't know better. For them, there is no better, since they have no self-knowledge.

    Remember, I'm not a theist, so I'm not defining a metaphysical evil here. I always mean 'harmful to others' in my definition.

    An adult *should* know better than to do the frog thing, because adult humans should have enough self-knowledge to know better. An adult doing it is what I'd call evil, yes, since he's destroying innocent life for his petty amusement.

    When one is old enough that one is capable of knowing better, and still acts like the amoral child, still is as without self-knowledge as is the child, then that is what I am calling evil.

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  81. I should mention that it appears that Boethius understood how I mean 'self-aware' so I'm not the only one on earth that's understood it that way.

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  82. And the CEOs? Perhaps it's just their ideology.
    ------------
    It is just their ideology. It's an evil ideology. It is also contrary to the progress of the human race.

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  83. Oh, and also an adult human should have enough empathy to know better than to torture and kill animals. Should have.

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  84. Brian; as an atheist, what's your definition of evil?

    Sorry for sounding snotty Ryan.

    No worries, sorry if I was being obtuse.

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  85. Remember, I'm not a theist, so I'm not defining a metaphysical evil here. I always mean 'harmful to others' in my definition.
    ---------------
    I think I just did define it. Not enough?

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  86. Oh, the Rand Paul debacle. Him kidnapping a woman and forcing her to smoke weed and worship a made-up god at a stream etc...

    Good stuff.

    Here's the part where you can really tell he's lying:

    "To produce someone anonymously, and then I'm supposed to somehow respond to an anonymous person from 27 years ago, who in the end says — whoever this person was, says — we didn't do any harm to them and it was all in fun and we didn't do anything wrong — and yet it's being characterized as kidnapping, it's kind of a craziness," Paul said.

    From an MSNBC article:

    Paul dismissed a question about whether the incident was a prank that has been mischaracterized, saying, "I'm not really going to try to go back 27 years to remember everything I did in college."

    But, he told the FOX News host, "I think I would remember kidnapping someone."

    "I absolutely deny kidnapping anyone ever," he said.

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  87. Fortunately for our country, Mr. Paul is an exceedingly bad liar.

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  88. These parts are him attempting to set up plausible deniability in case proof comes out. He plumb forgot kidnapping her.

    "and then I'm supposed to somehow respond to an anonymous person from 27 years ago"

    "I'm not really going to try to go back 27 years to remember everything I did in college."



    And why else say this, unless you'd actually done the deed?

    "who in the end says — whoever this person was, says — we didn't do any harm to them and it was all in fun and we didn't do anything wrong — and yet it's being characterized as kidnapping, it's kind of a craziness,"

    If he were innocent, if an innocent man is accused of this sort of thing, he would START with a VEHEMENT denial of everything. In fact, it makes him look foolish to even intimate that he just might have forgotten such a thing.

    Plus, where does he deny the marijuana?

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  89. Ya know, I used to sort-of admire Ron Paul. Many dumb ideas, but a smart man in general and politically. His son is an idiot.

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  90. 'harmful to others'

    I think you have to go further, people could argue that eating a burger or shopping at Target is 'harmful to others'.

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  91. I think you have to go further, people could argue that eating a burger or shopping at Target is 'harmful to others'.
    ------------
    Nope, you got it.

    Those things ARE evil. Just not as personally evil, nor as severely evil. It's all a matter of degree, really. And mitigating factors.

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  92. Brian, this is a good idea. Self awareness is subjective to each individual.

    To me, Self Awareness branches off into many avenues of ones life. Am I aware of my surroundings? Do I need to be? What are the motivations behind the people who associate with me? Are they genuine? Are they true friends? Or not?

    In the religious aspect of my self awareness: am I practicing my faith? Am I aware of my biases that contradict what's taught? Am I showing unconditional love and trust at the very moment it's called for?

    Personally, am I totally aware of my limitations? Can I improve myself to lower the amount of limitations I have? Is it necessary to do so because having limitations isn't a terrible thing to have. But do I show ignorance and act like I don't have a particular limitation when it's evident to everyone around that I do?

    Do I know my habits, and should I correct them?

    And it goes on. Self awareness to me is something we all have, but subjectively we do what we chose to do. There is no right or wrong only what we are told is right or wrong.

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  93. Brian:

    Botts says:"And it goes on. Self awareness to me is something we all have, but subjectively we do what we chose to do. There is no right or wrong only what we are told is right or wrong.

    August 11, 2010 1:01 AM"

    Unless you choose to define evil as an absolute, rather than something relative to the situation (as Pboy implied, and with which viewpoint I agree), everything is dependent upon all your previous experiences/teachings.
    If, Brian, you believe that one can be "evil" to oneself (which is an interesting thought), evil seems entirely related to its impact on others.
    "Remember, I'm not a theist, so I'm not defining a metaphysical evil here. I always mean 'harmful to others' in my definition." It appears that we generally agree on this

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  94. Brian,

    Since I'm still going to go with your bare bones articulation.

    I admit, I've only skimmed...

    Has 'self,' 'you,' or 'I' been defined? Oddly enough, any back and forth on awareness would seem less transient than the supposedly fixed terms that are being bandied about.

    Awareness is an attribute, perhaps the subjectivity of attributions should be predicated upon concrete definitions of how certain pronouns are being used here?

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  95. "Oh, and also an adult human should have enough empathy to know better than to torture and kill animals. Should have."

    I'm interested to know where you think the cut off line for empathy and reason, age-wise, is.

    Seems to me that American courts are about as unwilling to try kids as kids when it comes to heinous crimes, as they are to let someone slide on the question of their sanity.

    Seems like there is some kind of sliding scale between 'fair punishment'(you're only a kid under the law) and 'sending a message'(you little bastards aren't gonna get away with hiding behind your age), where a juror would tend to fall on the tough message side if the defendant was in an 'out group' and on the 'fair' side if he/she is part of their 'in group'.

    I think that this kind of thing has to do with self-awareness because it seems to have to do with looking at things from different perspectives but most people have a 'gut feeling' about something and hunt down a perspective to agree with it as opposed to trying to weigh the merits of differing perspectives(which might, in actual fact, be impossible for us, I don't know)

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  96. "Has 'self,' 'you,' or 'I' been defined?"

    Harry-baby, you're hilarious! (not to be confused with Hilarious, I don't imagine he was funny at all)

    When I say 'I', I mean me, but when you say 'I', you mean you, it's all very confusing really! LOL

    Now according to Locke, in his book on self-awareness, our 'self' is a mental construct and he illustrates this by imagining a prince's mind in a cobbler's body.

    As you read this, you are imagining me imagining Locke imagining a cobbler imagining himself to be a prince.

    Don't forget, this is only by way of CLARIFICATION!

    Since we've brought in mind transfer as a possibility, I don't see any reason not to bring in time travel, and have time travelling mind transfers, then we can bring in the aliens.

    That where things start to get a little complicated.

    What I wanna know is, "Where are these mind-transfering, time-travelling aliens?"

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  97. "What do you think the term means, if anything."

    Great question.

    -----

    "Every type of bigotry, every type of racism, sexism, prejudice, every dogmatic ideology that, that allows people to kill other people with a clear conscience.
    Every stupid cult, every superstition ridden religion, every kind of ignorance in the world, all results from not realizing that our perceptions are gambles.

    We believe what we see, and then we believe our interpretation of it? We don't even know we're making an interpretation most of the time.

    We think this is reality. In philosophy this is called 'naive realism.'

    -Robert Anton Wilson

    And tangential to Wilson but equally important to a conversation about self-awareness.

    Paraphrasing Nietzsche:

    Objectivity, thought of as 'contemplation without interest,' is a nonsensical absurdity.

    Moving my point forward but paraphrasing Nietzsche again:

    We are putting the 'I' in the 'this' or 'that.'

    My opinion? Self-awareness is no less or more a phenomenon than red (which is legitimately debatable) or a more complex attribution than problem solving. But since red is physical and problem solving mental we have put more stock in problem solving's 'it in of itself.'

    I reject Kant somewhat because of modern science, Science is inherently subjective and fallible, but consistently reliable more than any other speculations, so self-awareness will probably be quantified someday.

    But then we are back at the beginning, for it would have to be defined first, and here is where I agree with Kant... sort of.

    In a sense, you are asking a noumenal question of a phenomenon.

    Or to dive in a little, perhaps a turn around of Nietzsche would be in order.

    You comprehend the this, the that, then the I. Self-awareness would then simply be a possessive. You are your this or that.

    -----

    Also, I hope no one throws in that old false dichotomy of "our" phenomena vs. "animal" phenomena.

    We're animals, plain and simple. While certain things happen to 'us.' The conceptual line between human animal phenomena and 'other' animal phenomena grows wider and wider and wider, and I have confidence it will be revealed as just another spectrum.

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  101. If I tell you three times, it is true.

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  102. and I have confidence it will be revealed as just another spectrum.
    -----------------
    You mean, like 'self-awareness' is?

    Yes, it's a spectrum, not black and white. So at one end we have minimal self-awareness, and at the other we have people with a great deal of self-awareness indeed. And it seems that the minimal end people all believe that they're at the maximum end, but don't even know what that would be like, since it's one of those things that they both don't know, and don't know that they don't know.

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  103. You are your this or that.
    ------------
    You are that which comprehends it, and also it.

    Tat tvam asi.

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  104. Robert Anton Wilson?

    A mad genius.

    Illuminatus!

    A lot of fun, that. Hail Eris.

    Are you a friend of Padre Pederastia?

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  105. What about morality?
    What is morality? Is there a standard upon which we measure what is moral to one and all, or is morality subject to the eye of the beholder? What may be moral to one may be unmoral to another… who or what can say?

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  106. Mike, I assume you do not believe that morality/ethics are relative.

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  107. Well Mike, if morality is 'do not hurt others' then your religion and your god are such an utter failure that it actually becomes amusing. So I wouldn't talk, is my point.

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  108. Or 'love thy neighbor' for that matter. Same thing. Be good to others. Love strangers. Do not hurt others. Pretty simple, no?

    Fail, fail fail. You get an "F" straight across the board.

    And just look at all the hateful crap that your team is up to now in this country, Mike. Hating hispanics, muslims, blacks.. It's so obvious, too. Gays... Atheists... The list goes on, Mike. Your side loves to hate. It's how you all bond.

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  109. And let's not forget 'do unto others as you would have others do unto you...'

    Boy, do you guys screw that one up, eh?

    Unless you would really like to have other people hating your collective asses and like it when people descriminate against you and keep you down on the basis of nothing more than their myopic belief system wherein their own shit doesn't stink. Then I guess it's okay.

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  110. In fact Mike, I bet your 'concern' here about morality is all due to your own inner conviction that 'if only the world would embrace our wonderful Christian morality system then everything would be allright' isn't it, Mike?

    Which is just another one of its huge flaws, Mike.

    A part of your 'morality system' is the conditioning that it is the best and indeed the ONLY "REAL" morality in the universe. So its based in EGOTISM, right from the start.

    My morals are better than your morals, nyeah nyeah nyeah' is how I hear it. A child's attitude. A selfish, egotistical child at that.

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  111. "What may be moral to one may be unmoral to another… who or what can say?"

    Well, we can look at reality and say. In reality we can observe that morality is totally subjective and subject to the whim of whichever orator happens to be persuasive enough.

    Something which seems moral to the few may be immoral to the many.

    Basically it goes back to the perspective thing. If a religious leader or politician tells you that you are being immoral if you're not patriotic, surely that seems reasonable, for the good of the country and such.

    But, we know what they are saying is immoral, they are saying, "Our country above everyone else!"

    It's circular to pronounce 'us' moral and 'them' immoral to give us an excuse to put 'us' first and 'them' last, because by and large, 'they' are just living their lives just the same as 'we' are.

    Recently, someone pointed out that 'we'(USA) didn't want to have socialized medicine like 'them'(CANADA). YUCK!

    Who wants their population living, on average, five years longer? The horror!

    I don't get it. Is it that you'd rather your people die, on average, five years earlier than give up the 'for profit' motive?

    How 'moral' of you.(or would that be a 'value'?)

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  112. Rationalization 1.

    Guess they get to Heaven, or get their 'just deserts', on average, five years sooner!

    Rationalization 2.

    It's the last five years, so they're not productive, and they're likely poor unproductive people to begin with. We're doing them a favour, really. And there's the favour to our wonderful country, disenfranchise as many people as possible and slough them off. Win, win! Drill baby, Drill! (I'm packing my bags to come to the USA right now! This socialized medicine is disgusting!)

    Way to go Mike!

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  113. Recently, someone pointed out that 'we'(USA) didn't want to have socialized medicine like 'them'(CANADA). YUCK!
    ---------------
    That would be the press secretary Robert Gibbs, the moron.

    I really don't get it, why our democratic administration, is so 'centrist' and in love with the idea of bipartisanship with a bunch of amoral pirates, and disses its own base like that. Are they trying to look like a bunch of pussies? Because they've certainly acheived it if they were going for it.

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  114. Pboy, your health care system working better than ours isn't really true, now is it? I mean, what are you basing that on? Hard data? Pish posh... Hard data and 'facts' as it's sometimes called, is always immediately dismissable when belief is on the line. So as long as our republican retards BELIEVE that 'WE HAVE THE BEST HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IN THE WORLD' then it must necessarily be so, regardless of how young we're dying. That's how it works. In mysterious ways.

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  115. Brian 'do not hurt others'

    I still think this misses the mark. I can think of many, many situations where one would "hurt" to ultimatly help. Parenting comes to mind. Problem is the "bigger picture" is totally subjective so given your "standard", me teaching my daughter to not run into the street or Hitler ridding Europe of the Jewish threat would kinda fall into the same catagory.

    Ian Well, we can look at reality and say. In reality we can observe that morality is totally subjective and subject to the whim of whichever orator happens to be persuasive enough.

    Exactly. That's why Mike clings to the bible. I think it's fair to say that deep down, we all see the world and morality fairly similarly, like you said. But what we see as morals and ethics varying amongst different people and across cultures and times, he sees it as everyone else falling short of himself and Mike Huckabee.

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  116. I still think this misses the mark. I can think of many, many situations where one would "hurt" to ultimatly help. Parenting comes to mind.
    --------------
    Is that really hurting someone then? Is it? You're not really hurting the child when you are teaching it. Sure it feels a pain, the pain of thwarted ego, or perhaps a time-out, but in the bigger picture such pain is an absolute necessity in that scenario. Now, BEATING it into the child, is evil, because there are other, more effective ways of teaching the lesson, and much fairer ways.
    I dunno. To me it still seems that the basis for most morality systems worldwide, at least the ones that foster human growth and further us as a species, is 'do not hurt others.'

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  117. Degree also must be taken into account. Even if it can be said that a small punishment to a child in order to get it to be safer and to survive to adulthood is 'evil' because you're causing pain to another being, it's a very small amount of necessary 'pain' you're causing, especially when compared to the wholesale slaughter of millions of innocents. One could also take as an example of this the pain caused by a doctor giving a life-saving injection.

    Sometimes we have only choices open to us that cause pain to others. In those cases, when it cannot be avoided, is it not our responsibility to choose the 'lesser of two evils' and try to minimalize the overall pain impact?

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  118. Incidentally, I'm even wondering if all pain qualifies as evil, as really hurting others.

    For instance, if somehow I could get Mike to see that his ego is out of control due to his beliefs, if I could actually get him to realize that, IMAGINE how much pain he would be in!

    And yet, it would be the very best thing that I could do for him. It would be the very antithesis of evil, even if it caused him pain, for it is a false pain, the pain of the thwarted child if you will.

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  119. Brian Is that really hurting someone then? Is it? You're not really hurting the child when you are teaching it.

    Surely most Inquisitors were actually sadists, but I have to imagine at least a few thought they were really helping, teaching, providing salvation...

    For the ones that honestly thought they were doing the right thing, I do not think you can make a case that they were evil.

    For me, it all comes down to intent if you even want to posit the existance of "evil".

    Right?

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  120. For me, it all comes down to intent if you even want to posit the existance of "evil".

    Right?
    -------------
    That sounds good, but I disagree.

    Unknowingly propagating someone else's previous evil is still spreading evil, even if the evil ones that started it all have conveinced the people that they're doing good while spreading the evil.

    Also, do you really think that Hitler sat around and said to himself 'Wow, holy shit, I can't believe how incredibly fucking evil I am?'

    No way. He undoubtedly BELIEVED that he was only doing the highest good.

    And if Hitler wasn't evil, than nobody is.

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  121. In fact, I would say that the very worst evil, the most pernicious and hardest to root out, is that which is committed by people who truly believe that they are only doing the highest good, and are thus unreproachable.

    'Gott Mit Uns' means they believed that they were doing God's good work. Once they believed that, they could be made to eat babies if Hitler wanted them to.

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  122. Well, that's mainly why I don't believe there is a thing called evil.

    Plus, intent is as subjective as it gets.

    It's hard to make a case against moral relativism that doesn't involve the words "Well, scripture says...".

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  123. Well, that's mainly why I don't believe there is a thing called evil.
    ---------------
    I only use the word as shorthand for 'harmful behaviour.' It's convenient.

    Perhaps a better definition would be 'behavior that is rooted in ego which is harmful to others?'
    It does seem that the most pernicious 'evils' are those rooted in ego.

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  124. Going back to the Inquisitors...

    Some of them might have truly believed that they were helping those 'souls' on their journey to heaven, but that goes against the Bible itself. It is a self-righteous egotistical person and a pharisee that would take it upon themselves to be the arbiter and executioner of God's Law. For judge not, lest ye be judged.

    They were all evil, as much as that word can have *any* meaning.

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  125. I think Mike has a point. Morality is subjective.
    Sure there are a few absolutes - don't murder, or fuck babies. Butmost morality is part of that spectrum you guys mentioned.

    What is moral for Mike has little similarity to what Brian finds moral. Brian's morality may be drastically different than mine.
    It's subjective to an individuals experiences. That's why we cannot allow religion to dictate our laws.

    Yes. I am aware ofsome of my flaws. Some, I argue are not flaws at all, just differing morality.

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  126. I guess when 'you' were living in those times where your leadership was likely to take someone else's land for themselves in the name of God, the folks who wrote the Bible seemed reasonable, or at least it seemed reasonable what they wrote that the Hebrews did.

    That's just what GOD did, order the killing of immoral tribes for the Hebrews to take their women and their land.

    But I guess KARMA is a bitch and you 'get to' blame your own lack of devotion for the Persian, Greek and Roman war machines over-running you.

    Wonder what the Persians, Greeks and Romans thought of the Jews blaming their lack of devotion to their God for their defeat?

    "So, we only beat you 'cos you weren't devoted enough to 'He-who-shall-remain-nameless' then? Interesting theory."

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  127. Mac; I don't want to read into Mike's comments what's not there, but I don't think that was his point. I've noticed that theists will make an emotional plea to the Argument from Morality as their last ditch apologtic.

    "If you don't believe in God, how can you say Hitler was wrong..."

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  128. Ian Wonder what the Persians, Greeks and Romans thought of the Jews blaming their lack of devotion to their God for their defeat?

    I read somewhere that Christians believe the Romans overran the Jews because the God didn't approve of the Jews sacrificing animals any longer (I forget the exact argument, but I guess it's because Jesus had come and gone).

    But what I found very funny was that the Roman Legions would have been sacrificing animals while overrunning Judea.

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  129. I guess Mike just interprets the Bible as 'the thing to do'. If he is feeling that his Christian Nation isn't doing well, he can always blame someone else for it, just as the priests of yore blamed the people for not being devoted enough.

    Just like all through the middle ages the priests blamed the heretics, blasphemers and the Jews.

    Just like Hitler blamed the Jews.

    Since Hitler's simplistic notion of blaming Germany's troubles on the Jews forced that out of fashion, Mike, D'Souza and them blame the socialists and the atheists and any other 'them' that they can get away with.

    "Shiftless blacks, job stealing latinos, the non-religious, the less-than-fanatically-patriotic, the Chinese, the Muslims, the Canadians, the Mexicans. Waaa! I'm four, and it's all your fault! Our rich masters ought to have all the power and money then things will be as they ought to be!"

    No one considers the possibility that the right WANT the USA to become bankrupt? No more socialism in America. No welfare, no Medicare, no federal aid for anything. No money for teachers, firefighters, hospitals, not even mail. Lots of army and police though, someone has to protect the interests of the rich.

    Obama is so centrist that the left and right are running away from him. Instead of bringing the two sides together, he is trying to follow the 'center' as it moves further and further to the right thereby alienating the left.

    If I'm right and the right-wing want to bankrupt the country then throwing money at them in stimulus packages isn't going to work because they'll do their best to squander it. If they're the one's in control of the funds they are bound and determined to make it NOT work.

    How's the economy been since those tax cuts for the rich? Do Republicans CARE? NO!! Trickle down is bullshit, always has been bullshit, always will be bullshit, they don't CARE!

    Isn't it amazing that about half the voting population of the USA can wake up every morning and imagine that if the rich were only richer, everything would be hunky dory!

    It's mind-bogglingly stupid, is what it is.

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  130. I'm waiting for Mike to come on and say something like, "I looked through my comments here on this post and I can't see anything about my views on health care or the economy, therefore you are not ALLOWED to say anything about that!"(for all we know, apparently, Mike uses a magic eight ball to decide what he thinks each and every morning)

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  131. Pboy, do you see a relationship with the republican lack of empathy and even consciousness of the poor and the middle class, and their excessive greed and lust for power at any expense, as related at all to the christian religious belief system (which remember, even nonchristians are saturated in?)

    A belief system says that ignoring reality in favor of one's desired fantasy world is correct and valid and even blessed?

    I just see the christians as being so belief-based in their mind set that they carry it over into other beliefs, such as their conceit and feelings of entitlement.

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  132. Brian said,

    Or 'love thy neighbor' for that matter. Same thing. Be good to others. Love strangers. Do not hurt others. Pretty simple, no?

    Fail, fail fail. You get an "F" straight across the board.

    And just look at all the hateful crap that your team is up to now in this country, Mike. Hating hispanics, muslims, blacks.. It's so obvious, too. Gays... Atheists... The list goes on, Mike. Your side loves to hate. It's how you all bond.
    August 12, 2010 1:09 PM
    --------------------------------------------
    Why is it you cannot see the problem the illegal aliens are causing this country.
    First of all ,they are breaking the law by being here illegally . If you or I break the law, the first thing that will happen is we will be placed under arrest and put behind bars.
    The cost of educating and providing health care is staggering . And who foots the bill? The tax payer of course. Why can’t you see the hardship these people are causing your fellow Americans. Were is your love for your brother and sister America. You sir get an F for being a bad American.
    Why don’t you help clean up the political corruption in Mexico that is causing this exodus to America.

    Your side loves to hate Christians while in bed with socialism. YOU Brian are ANTI - AMERICAN.

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  133. Brian said,

    For instance, if somehow I could get Mike to see that his ego is out of control due to his beliefs, if I could actually get him to realize that, IMAGINE how much pain he would be in!

    And yet, it would be the very best thing that I could do for him. It would be the very antithesis of evil, even if it caused him pain, for it is a false pain, the pain of the thwarted child if you will.
    ---------------------------

    Pride will cause you to see others faults instead of your own Brian… You constantly exalt yourself even when it is unintentional.

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  134. Mac said,

    I think Mike has a point. Morality is subjective.
    Sure there are a few absolutes - don't murder, or fuck babies. Butmost morality is part of that spectrum you guys mentioned.

    What is moral for Mike has little similarity to what Brian finds moral. Brian's morality may be drastically different than mine.
    It's subjective to an individuals experiences. That's why we cannot allow religion to dictate our laws.

    Yes. I am aware ofsome of my flaws. Some, I argue are not flaws at all, just differing morality.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Morality is subject to what is right or wrong.
    Again who has the right to dictate to humanity what is right ”moral” or wrong “immoral” unless the concept itself originated from them for their purpose. I mean lets fact it we as human beings grasp only what is convenient for ourselves.
    Why would morality matter to mankind unless mankind was subject for his / her actions?

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  135. Mike And who foots the bill? The tax payer of course.

    Most illegal immigrants pay taxes.

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  136. Why is it you cannot see the problem the illegal aliens are causing this country.
    ------------------
    The problems mostly come from the mexican drug cartels and you want to punish the very poor families that are only coming here for survival and betterment. Your side, the republicans, consistantly block real immigration reform while attacking Obama for not getting it done! This is stndard for them of course. They're doing it with everything else now too. The theory is, block obama, cause him to fail, and then say to the voters 'look, see, he didn't accomplish what he said he would...' It's a cynical strategy, and can only be used by people that do not care about america failing in order for them to succeed.

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  137. Pride will cause you to see others faults instead of your own Brian… You constantly exalt yourself even when it is unintentional.
    -----------
    It never occurs to you that it's you. It never is even considered.

    It's you. Not me. You. You're thinking in your blindness that I'm the proud one, but I don't claim to have god telling me I'm right, that it's 'biblical truth' and all that rot. That my friend, takes an ego the size of an apartment building. You have no idea how very flawed you are, because you've been taught to believe that the flaws are everyone elses. It takes the pressure off you, so you can be free to believe that you poop jesus-flavored ice cream. You're so egotistical that it make a joke out of you. Silly man.

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  138. Why would morality matter to mankind unless mankind was subject for his / her actions?
    ------------
    Morality is based in evolution. Mankind is responsible for his actions... responsible to reality When mankind acts irresponsibly, immorally, reality strikes, and people die. More survive with morals in place, so morals developed. Quite naturally, I might add.

    What, you're buying the fairy-tale version?

    Of course you are.

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  139. Mike, you're a good christian. You believe what you're told to.

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  140. Pride will cause you to see others faults instead of your own Brian
    -----------
    It's ironic that you know this is how pride works, but you are only capable of looking outward, never inward, to see it.

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  141. "Why is it you cannot see the problem the illegal aliens are causing this country."

    Apparently the IRS knocks on Mike's door every Friday the 13th. demanding more taxes from him. No? What, specifically is the problem then?

    "First of all ,they are breaking the law by being here illegally ."

    But it is only because there is a law to be broken that they are breaking it.

    " If you or I break the law, the first thing that will happen is we will be placed under arrest and put behind bars."

    That's right Mike. NO ONE EVER GETS OFF WITH BREAKING THE LAW. Right?

    "The cost of educating and providing health care is staggering ."

    Do you have some figures? How much taxes are illegal aliens paying compared to how much they are a drain on government revenues?

    No, no you don't do you?

    " And who foots the bill?"

    Here you just assume that what you've said is true, because, without even attempting to get any facts or figures, you imagine that it must be true.

    " The tax payer of course."

    Yes, tax payers pay taxes. But tax payers BY DEFINITION pay taxes, just the same as illegal aliens are BY DEFINITION in the USA illegally. These two tautologies don't make your point of view TRUE though. Facts and figures, Mike.

    "Why can’t you see the hardship these people are causing your fellow Americans."

    Which 'fellow Americans' are being harmed? The businessmen who hire illegals for cheap so that they can maximize their profit and carp about their taxes?

    " Were is your love for your brother and sister America."

    Where is your love for your fellow man, Mike? You'd take 12 million people out of their homes and away from their jobs because you love your 'fellow Americans'?

    " You sir get an F for being a bad American."

    A 'good' American sings about the land of the free but imagines freedom to be a priviledge. A 'good' American reads, "All Americans are created equal..". A 'good' American blames the oppressed for being oppressed, aids in their oppression while crying that it is the oppressed who are oppressing THEM!

    What happened to the idea of a Christian Nation? You, sir, are a 'bad' Christian!

    "Why don’t you help clean up the political corruption in Mexico that is causing this exodus to America."

    .. and pop around the World cleaning up all injustice while you're at it Brian!

    "Your side loves to hate Christians while in bed with socialism. YOU Brian are ANTI - AMERICAN."

    Your 'side', Mike, loves to falsely dissociate Christianity from socialism.

    Your side would see the economy grind to a complete halt with absolutely no thought at all put into it, using spoken or unspoken truisms and catchphrases such as, "What's mine is mine!", and "I'm alright Jack!", "Taxpayers foot the bill!", "Illegal aliens are breaking the LAW!"

    I don't know how much of America you own, Mike, but I don't imagine that there ARE many illegal aliens parked on your piece of it, and your little truism story about inviting the birds to come and be fed then them crapping all over your property is bullshit! You'd never do that, would you?

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  142. http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm
    (a pie chart)

    "The Social Safety Net

    The biggest single chunk of that so-called nondiscretionary spending -- more than 20 percent of the total budget -- is used to pay Social Security benefits to existing retirees.

    Another 15 percent pays the tab for Medicare health benefits. An additional 7 percent goes for Medicaid, 3 percent for veterans benefits and 1.3 percent for supplemental security income used to assist the aged, disabled and blind.

    All types of aid to the needy -- Medicaid, housing subsidies, aid to poor families with children (welfare, which accounts for about 1 percent of the budget), food stamps, school lunches and so on, plus unemployment benefits -- account for about 16 percent of the budget."
    (http://finance.yahoo.com/taxes/article/102817/How-Your-Tax-Dollars-Are-Spent)

    There are many sites like this explaining where your(yes, YOUR MIKE'S) tax dollars go.

    While we can all imagine welfare bums picking up a huge chunk of your taxes to blow on drugs and booze, the fact is that a penny out of every dollar that the govt. takes from you is spent on welfare!

    The fact is that you grudge poor folk a penny out of each dollar you give in taxes.

    Can you not imagine a world where poor folk are thrown on the street? Can you not imagine them taking that directly off your taxes? How disappointed would you be to find out, 'cos you didn't bother to look it up, did you, that your taxes are almost exactly the same!?

    Now if you disenfranchised EVERYONE including the elderly and disabled, you'd pay 16% less.

    That means, if you pay 100,000 dollars a year in tax, you could save(if they were to reduce your taxes because they cut off all these disabled, elderly etc., you'd save 16,000 dollars.

    But what kind of country would your country be if the elderly and the disabled were all, suddenly, homeless?

    Keep in mind that you'd have to be earning a huge WHACK of money to be paying out 100,000 dollars in taxes and after the disabled and elderly were on the street you'd still have to be paying 84,000 dollars!

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  143. Pboy, I did some online research and it appears, when you dismiss the many websites that are written by obviously biased parties and concentrate on the serious scholarly ones, that the economic impact of ilegal immigration to this country, is just about a wash.

    They pay taxes but use less federal services, because they're afraid to get deported. Plus companies that use them enjoy an ecomomic advantage, the cheap labor.

    So all this disgusting hatred of illegals is about something that when considered in it's whole, is a wash.

    Why am I not surprised?

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  144. But pboy, Jesus said 'there will be poor always' so if we eliminate poverty, it would go against god! So you can see why christians are against it...

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  145. Here's one reference listing an article by George Borjas on the subject. (click through to it)
    He's not even pro-immigration.

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  146. Having re-read the comment above, I think you'd be saving more money if you cut off all the retirees from their social security cheques and their medicare and such.

    Still, you must know some older people who rely on these cheques and rely on having their medical seen to.

    What would you have done with these people? Are you personally going to foot the bill for your elderly relatives and friends?

    I mean, you already seem to imagine that you ARE personally footing the bill for everyone!

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  147. Hey Mike...

    You do realize that the people that you and your side are demonizing and trying to keep down, are all christians, don't you?

    Oh yeah, they're not 'real' ones I guess, being largely catholic.

    Okay, my bad... go back to your hatred

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  148. Oh, wait, moot point.

    Mike is friends with all HIS dollar bills and is willing to treat his human friends like them. Is that it Mike?

    What do you imagine would happen to the churches if elderly people were suddenly without this safety net that the government provides? Church attendance might very well go up since they wouldn't be able to afford televisions, but they also wouldn't be able to afford to chip in for the running of the church and stuff like that, either.

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  149. Speaking of "our tax dollars", we're all paying federal taxes which go to US farmers in the form of subsidies which are a primary cause of mexican immigration to begin with.

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  150. Great observation Ryan. Very true.

    Which reminds me, on a non-immigration tangent, don't we pay huge subsidies to the oil companies so they will drill in our waters, and then sell the oil they get there for themselves on the international market? Isn't that a little like paying a burgular to hit your house?

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  151. And then we have to buy the oil back from them, at exactly the same price as if we were buying it from the saudis...

    But of course, 'drill baby drill!'

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  152. Wouldn't it be a lot cheaper just to buy all our oil from the world market rather than even trying to drill for it here offshore? I mean, we wouldn't have to pay the $$$ubsidies, and the oil would only be a small fraction more expensive without our pittance contribution to the world supply...
    And no spills on our shores!

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  153. Hey, just came upon your post, good question :-)...I think to be self-aware" means means taking full responsibility for every single action, thought, words, our feelings (positive or negative), etc...So, therefore, We are all self aware beings.

    We are aware that we are here on the planet at this time, whether we're suffering, or happy, we are experiencing our own perceptions.

    Its nice that most people are waking up and realizing that they're more than what they have been lead to believe... and many everyday are questioning authority as they realize they have been manipulated and lied to by the elite and of course, their own ego (which only knows the reality of negativity and the like).

    I think that Either you're awake, in control and in the drivers seat, or you're out of control and asleep at the wheel.
    But its hard to see the truth when all the beliefs, images and ego-illusions from our mind form get projected onto our screen or play that we call life. That's why I have such a beef with the 5 big time religions...They suppress the true knowledge of who we really are and keep our power hidden. Time to turn the tide of them.

    Lets become aware of being self-aware...Especially those religious nut heads!



    :-)

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  154. Hi Waking up, thanks for dropping by...

    'Let's become aware of being self-aware?' Hmm.. Seems to me that if one is unaware of being self-aware, then they're not. Or am I missing something?

    ;-)

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  155. Haha, I meant that we should be conscious creators and use our free will to choose what we want to experience... Not unconscious slaves to our subconscious mind and emotions, as most of humans tend to be...maybe I can't explain what I'm trying to get at...I dunno, TGIF!

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  156. No, I understand you. Sounds good to me.

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  157. The church did an excellent job of supressing the 'divine feminine' too. They covered over the synergy between the polarities with misgynistic hogwash. It'a father, son, and (neuter) holy ghost. No girls allowed.

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  158. In the early church, yes, mary. Constantine put an end to mary worship, mostly. They didn't want the trinity to consist of god the father, the son, and the mother. Hence the holy ghost.

    Did you know that at Nicea, all the bishops were told that any doctrinal disagreement with the holy creed would be a banishing offense?

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  159. Brian; we had the opportunity to go to Italy in 2005. Mary worship is alive and well.

    Personally, I think that is a testament to something the Catholic Church has always done very well. Hijacking and assimilating other traditions. Sun worship became Easter and Christmas and the Resurrection. The Divine Feminine became Mary Worship.

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  160. Pboy said,

    Still, you must know some older people who rely on these cheques and rely on having their medical seen to.

    What would you have done with these people? Are you personally going to foot the bill for your elderly relatives and friends?

    I mean, you already seem to imagine that you ARE personally footing the bill for everyone!
    ---------------------------------

    I’m not talking about the elderly pboy and you know it.
    I’m talking about the law breaking illegal border crossing Mexicans.
    People who are in this country illegally and taking advantage of the system.
    It cost Arizona tax payers over $100,000.00 to educate illegal aliens a year, and you are wrong they do NOT pay income tax. Also, it is a known fact that many of these illegals are stealing SS # from American children. Murder and crime is at an all time high in Arizona because of these people. But that’s ok with you pboy just as long as you don’t have to contend with it. And another thing pboy If it wasn’t for the capitalist in this country investing THEIR money to create jobs there wouldn’t be any jobs…
    They took all the risk to begin with and it paid off. America, and the world has benefited from them. Just face it pboy you are a third world idealist and you suck at it…

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  161. Or, Mike would have said in 1936...

    I’m not talking about the elderly Gunter and you know it.
    I’m talking about the Jew. People who are in this country illegally and taking advantage of the system.
    It cost German tax payers over $100,000.00 to educate Jewish Children a year, and you are wrong they do NOT pay income tax. Also, it is a known fact that many of these illegals are stealing the birth right from good German children and crime is at an all time high in Germany because of these people. But that’s ok with you Gunter just as long as you don’t have to contend with it. And another thing Gunter If it wasn’t for the National Socialists in this country investing THEIR money to create jobs there wouldn’t be any jobs…
    They took all the risk to begin with and it paid off. Germany, and the world has benefited from them. Just face it Gunter you are a third world idealist and you suck at it…

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  162. Mike said ..and you are wrong they do NOT pay income tax. Also, it is a known fact that many of these illegals are stealing SS # from American children...

    Um... if they're not paying income tax, I wonder what they need SS#s for.

    You know not every illegal immigrant gets paid in cash out of the back of trucks. Most, get checks, which have withholding taken out.

    See Here...

    and here...

    and here...

    and here...

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  163. And Mike, I am aware there are a lot of problems with illegal immigration. We probably disagree on the solution but you are right there's a problem.

    What I have a problem with is you asserting opinion as fact (and being demonstratably wrong about it!).

    If you don't know something to be true, don't strongly assert that it's true. Very simple.

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  164. Illegal Immigrants are Paying a Lot More Taxes Than You Think
    Eight million illegals pay Social Security, Medicare, and income taxes
    ---------------------------------
    That’s right Ryan , eight million illegals pay taxes with eight million stolen SS# numbers.

    Does this make you feel better? Well at least they are paying taxes ,eh Ryan. I mean forget about the other two million who don’t… You liberals are so out of touch with reality…

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  165. Obervant,

    I'm highly disappointed to read your writings. It's as if you repeat "this weeks" outrage without investigating the matter. You are so gone into your ideology (false God) that you sound ridiculous.

    At one point in your family history, there was an undocumented immigrant (racists like you call them "illegal aliens")that came over here to start a better life because this is where dreams can come true. And you are here as a result of that. How ungrateful you have become.

    If you did just a little bit of objective investigating, you'd realize that undocumented workers sneaking over here has gone down in numbers every year and authorities nabbing them have gone up every year. So the outrage is unfounded.

    Secondly, why limit your frustrations to "mexicans". People from all over the world are here undocumented now. They came for school visa's or work visa's which have now expired and are still here.

    Why do they sneak in, or stay? Because their system in their country doesn't give them an organized and fair way to get here. For instance, I've been in Nigeria on and off for the last few months. The American Embassy in Nigeria gives out one visa per 5,000 applicants on a good day. And you can bet it's far worse than that in a lot of other places.

    But you fail to realize that the overwhelming majority of these undocumented immigrants come over for the same reason your ancestors did. They have zero opportunities in their countries and make absolutely no money. They come here to work and send money home to their families, and hope for the day to be legal here and bring them over.

    But finally, and this is to show how much your leaders take you for fools: The Governor in Arizona that signed that ridiculous bill into law, did it for one reason. To put money in the pockets of private Federal Prisons in her state. After, her own cheif of staff was a lobbyist for CAA before joining with her. And the architect of the bill, State Sen. Pearce is huge receipiant of donations from the Private Prison companies.

    That's the sole motivation of putting that bill into law. Money. Again, they prey on your false Christianist mentality and play you for the stupid fools all of you are.

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  166. You liberals are so out of touch with reality…
    --------------
    I never know what to say when a delusional self-important egotist tells me that I'm the one that's out of touch with reality. Which version? The one in which all the animals in the world fit on one boat and a man lived in the belly of a great fish for a while and a dead guy came back from the dead? Or the one in which physics, entropy, and thermodynamics work?

    Mike, do me a favor. If you're gonna be staggeringly ignorant, at least stop telling others how ignorant they are. It really makes you look like a fucking fool.

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  167. That's the sole motivation of putting that bill into law. Money. Again, they prey on your false Christianist mentality and play you for the stupid fools all of you are.
    -------------
    Ah, you know about CAA and all that? Good man. You pay attention. I like you, Botts. I wish all christians were as sensible.

    Unlike poor mike, whose head would fall off if he ever paid attention to REALITY. His little fantasy world makes him and his kind so easy to lead by the nose. They've become *jokes.*

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  168. Ryan, your post about gunter there was dead on the mark.

    Poor mike can't see what he's become in his pride.

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  169. Mike said That’s right Ryan , eight million illegals pay taxes with eight million stolen SS# numbers.

    But earlier, Mike said The cost of educating and providing health care is staggering . And who foots the bill? The tax payer of course.

    Just wanted those two quotes to be close together so Mike could see them.

    It's like Botts said, he just repeats the outrage du jour...

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  170. And not that federal taxes are all that much involved, it's mostly local (re: sales & property) and state taxes.

    But regardless, I honestly have no problem with some of my taxes going to help hard working people who are willing to go through hell just to get to here so they can try to have a better life for their kids.

    And if that description only applies to 25% of the immigrants, I'm still 100% ok with it!

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  171. But regardless, I honestly have no problem with some of my taxes going to help hard working people who are willing to go through hell just to get to here so they can try to have a better life for their kids.
    ----------------
    Mike isn't. He's way too entitled for that. After all, it's his counry. God said so. So let those poor people who want a better life, die. Not a problem for him. They're criminals, after all. Even their babies are criminals. No pity for little dead criminal babies. Jesus hated little babies. They're so selfish, after all...

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  172. I find it amazing that poor, struggling christians can be brainwashed to support the people that are keeping them poor and struggling.
    The tax cuts for the rich for example. I wonder how many dopes who make under sixty thousand a year are in favor of that one, are ANGRY and OUTRAGED at the very idea of people who make over 250K going back to paying their fair share.
    Religion is like having a convenient handle on your head. All it takes is one person to come along with the right keywords, and they can grab that handle and steer the people anywhere they want to.

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  173. Brian said,

    "...Incidentally, I'm even wondering if all pain qualifies as evil, as really hurting others."

    Pain cannot be evil. Evil implies intent, and pain is an effect, not a cause.

    Look at it another way: Lepers have dead nerves in their exrtremities, and therefore feel no pain when they cut themselves. Subsequent to the cut that goes unnoticed for lack of a pain marker, the wound gets infected. This leads to the traditional picture of lepers as missing limbs, etc.

    Didn't someone once say,

    "If it wasn't for pain, how would you know you were alive?"

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  174. I meant that I wonder if all pain caused in others is evil, Ed.

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  175. Kinda suffering from "Dry-Brain Syndrome" right now...

    I've been working ten-hour days for two weeks solid now, and I'm not thinking straight.

    Need some vodka...

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  176. ...but it's still not the pain that's "evil", it's the CAUSE of the pain, if it was the intentional act of some agent.

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  177. but it's still not the pain that's "evil", it's the CAUSE of the pain, if it was the intentional act of some agent.
    --------------
    Of course.

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  178. Yeah, but if "intent" is the key, that absolves all those deluded fools that thought they were doing good.

    The inquisitors intent was to save the heretic from eternal damnation. Not a bad thing, right?

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  179. The inquisitors intent was to save the heretic from eternal damnation. Not a bad thing, right?

    Nope. Only an imaginary good thing, and therefore unnecessary, and therefore evil.

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  180. Ed said Only an imaginary good thing, and therefore unnecessary, and therefore evil

    seems to me you need a metaphysical evil for that statement to make sense.

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  181. Intent to do good while doing evil is self-deception. Usually based in pride. The inquisitors believed that they were god's judges, juries, and executioners. They ignored 'love thy neighbor' and 'do unto others' which oddly enough was a part of their religion, one of the main parts. But of course, it was all political, to keep the people terrified of the inquisition. Very evil indeed.

    Even someone who truly believes that they're doing good for another can be doing evil if it is not with the consent of the other person. Just because they're not conscious of it doesn't make it good instead of evil. Propagating the old evil of the church's conditioning, is propagating evil, even if you believe that you're only doing the highest good.

    I've said this so many times here; do you really think that Hitler used to wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and say to himself 'My God, I just can't believe how incredibly fucking evil I am! Whoa!'
    No way. He definitely believed that he was doing only the highest good, even that he was doing 'god's work.' And if we can't call Hitler evil then the word has no meaning whatsoever.

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  182. I guess my point is that everything is "imagined" ultimately, it that it's all preception/subjective.

    Which is more evil, the iron fist of Rome or Hitler, or the pacifist who enables them?

    It's fairly easy to show that the premature end to WWI allowed WWII to occur. So the imagined good intentions behind the November 11th armistice actually enabled the death of 100 million people 20 years later.

    The imagined good intentions of the UN in 1991 caused all sorts of "evil" that we are still dealing with.

    And Brian, I don't believe Hitler woke up in the morning and laughed like Count Chocula and thought how evil he was, but I certainly believe that some people do, like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold or John Wayne Gasey (figurativly, they probably didn't actually laugh like Count Chocula).

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  183. One of the difficulties in being a pacifist is to realize that the nonpacifists will take advantage of you in any way possible, and to strike a balance where they can't do that.

    In a dualistic (yin-yang) philosophy this is accounted for. Too much of either extreme, either too much goodness and generosity and love, or too much limitation, severity and restriction, is considered 'evil' or an ineffective imbalance that can cause great harm. So in such a philosophy it would be considered equally evil to be a tyrant, or to be such a pushover that you allow tyrants to come to power.

    It's like the balance between anabolism and catabolism in an organism.

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  184. I certainly believe that some people do, like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold or John Wayne Gasey
    ------------
    Maybe. Not sure. I'd think it more likely that they believed that they were driven to do it, or are just so mentally imbalanced that they aren't capable of telling good from bad anyhow.

    I still think that the number of evil people that know they're evil and revel in it, is vanishingly small.

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  185. Which is more evil, the iron fist of Rome or Hitler, or the pacifist who enables them?
    ---------------
    The pacifists aren't evil, but them allowing the iron fist types to come to power, is. They are imbalanced, believing that pacifism untempered with descrimination (perception) is viable when it is not. They allow evil to be, by their inaction.

    Hey, the liberals in this country aren't out there rounding up the conservatives and killing them off, are not at war with them, but what if in twenty years those conservatives succeed in creating a theistic totalitarian society where millions are being put to death for 'heresy and such? Should we then regret not killing them off when we had the chance?
    Hindsight is always nice, but there's never a way to tell while you're in the heat of the moment, so one must adhere to their principles regardless.

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  186. Brian said,

    "...I still think that the number of evil people that know they're evil and revel in it, is vanishingly small."

    I used to think Ex #2 was evil, but I don't anymore. She WAS bad enough to the point that I seriously considered praying that there IS a God so He can send her to a richly deserved Hell after suffering a slow, painful death.

    But I knew deep down that there's no chance that there's a god and that praying is just so much noise.

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  187. There's no such thing as "closure".

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  188. I'd been so busy, I hadn't even noticed that "piece of wisdom" was posted so many times.

    WTF?

    Brian's consciousness and my consciousness must've been thinking about how great technology was at the same time.

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  189. "Plus, intent is as subjective as it gets."

    Goddamn ironic that sentence is.

    "Brian, this is a good idea. Self awareness is subjective to each individual."

    Goddamn ironic that sentence is too... yeah yeah, technically it's tautologous.

    Your post was thoughtful Botts, I'm just teasin.

    I saw a mainstreams store today called 'Motherhood Maternity.'

    I want, no I need to believe they really thought that out. You can be a mom without ever having been in a state of maternity, and just happen to need baby clothes or something?

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  190. "I used to think Ex #2 was evil, but I don't anymore. She WAS bad enough to the point that I seriously considered praying that there IS a God so He can send her to a richly deserved Hell after suffering a slow, painful death.

    But I knew deep down that there's no chance that there's a god and that praying is just so much noise."

    -----

    I think I want to hire Ed to speak at any other possible erroneous custody hearings my ex-it puts me through.

    Institutionalized misandry is a bitch (no pun intended), and it'd be nice to have a guy's guy by your side while your ship sinks only because you have a penis.

    But I'm kvetching.

    I can't even imagine having been one of the hundreds of thousands of minorities (including women) tried in United States' kangaroo courts.

    And we can't forget the ones who weren't even tried.

    Nevermind Ed. It wouldn't be fair to make wry public comments about an American tradition.

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  191. Brian,

    Hegel said a person wasn't self-aware until he/she was recognized by an other.

    Of course that was the beginning of a dialectic that ended in murder?

    I can't remember, if only he had ended with the 'recognition' thing, I could've supported that.

    Effin Germans.

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  192. Isn't it a bit early to be hitting the sauce, Harry?

    ;o)

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  193. Ed, your ex #2 sounds a lot like my ex #1.

    I used to think of her as 'the PBH.'

    Psycho Bitch from Hell...

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  194. I said to my Ex #2 once that PMS stood for "Permanent Menstrual Syndrome"...




    She was not amused.

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  195. "It cost Arizona tax payers over $100,000.00 to educate illegal aliens a year, and you are wrong they do NOT pay income tax."

    These figures seem weird. Is that per child? What is the budget for a school per child per year?

    Watching a show about the AZ prison system, seems there are three privatized prisons which are costing 11 million bucks per DAY.

    Turns out that new law would shovel prisoners into those privatized prisons making and the Governor knew this because her advisors are closely connected to that company.

    You talk about less government and/or saving government money(your taxes) but the people you vote for have no qualms about making fantastic profits off the government.(Which you pay for with your sanctified taxes)

    Now you might say that you weren't talking about the entitlements of the elderly and infirm, but those 'lesser-of-two-evils' that you vote for, THEY want to kill medicare and social security.

    Bush tried to have it privatized, shovelled into the Stock Market, then decided that if he couldn't squish it, he'd bloat it up so much that people wouldn't want it.

    Seems like he was thinking, "RIGHT! You want it SO MUCH? I'll give you a SHITLOAD of it!"

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