Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Response to Comment

A sin might be seen as defining the activities that seperate the broad path from the narrow. The definition of sin, and of the path a man is seen to walk, is defined by the social group he chooses to be a part of, and of his time and upbringing which he could not choose.

That different people call different actions sin becomes clear to the student of history or the well traveled. Christians, like any other religion of man, are not all alike. No matter how hard they try they are not of a single mind. Christians vary from place to place and time to time. Even within the walls of a church you will find great diversity of opinion and understanding. Fools do not understand this, and think all men of the past and present who's lives do not agree with their own are false and not true followers of the fatih.

That a single person changes his undestanding of sin, wrong action, during the course of a life is clear to the experienced man of reflection. This same man will struggle to untangle why his undestanding changed. Was it his youth, was it his company, was it his situation? Many understand themselves to have progressed into the state they find themselves, meaning they see their history as a linear evolution of perfecting understanding. While this may be true we should never be too harsh on our past selves. We thought ourselves wise then too. And there is a good chance that we are no wiser than then even though we can find no fault with our current self and its "unified" mind.

All men change and they do not change in the same way. No single "way" may be defined for all men. Put men on the same path and it will inevitably diverge.

Why is the broad path broad? A path is grown from the soles of men's feet. It will first show to the trained eye after one or two have trod it. The untrained eye will begin to recognize a path when an entire host has walked along the same way. The broad path is broad because so many have chosen to walk in the same way.

Men choose to walk along many paths. And the ever changing minds of men lead us from path to path so that what once was narrow is quickly made broad, and soon will become narrow again as a different way is made broad by the slapping of our soles upon the way.

No path can remain narrow unless is it hidden.

The candles have been removed from the bushles, the city shines, the words spreads, and we are born and bred to sell the truth of Jesus. There is nothing hidden in Christ, he is open to all.

Gnostism, in its ancient (Mithra) and modern forms (Scientology) preach narrow ways to men by hiding the way. Denominations continue to split the coprse of Christ into smaller and smaller pieces so that a preacher can seperate his way from others and thus keep it narrow through greater division.

"The sins we share are sins no longer"

The "we" is pregnant with warning. The sentance with a promise of change. The warning is for those who can hear it; few for sure. The promise is for those who look ahead, aware of what is behind.

What do these eight words elicit? For those who can actually hear anything over the din of their dogma: Fear for many, and hope for the others. Those who have changed more than once, and can admire at least one of his former selves may find a watered wine here where some just find water or wine.

Why Fear? The fear typically comes from any mention that truth is relevant or can change. If something that is a sin today may be a sin tomorrow then it would call into question beliefs. For some a static system of beliefs that are not questioned brings a sense of comfort and stability. A challenge to the definition of sin is a challenge to their world-view and security in it. When they ask of their faith, "How should I live this life", they need a simple definitive answer even if difficult and unreasoned. A sublte or more complicated answer does not meet the needs of security and certainty. Of course there should be nothing to fear from truth, but the truth of our fathers changes no more than they do, so unless a man wants his own truth he will not allow it to change at all.

Why Hope? Hope comes from those who disagre with the herd but fear to challenge or seperate from them. This man is the least happy. Loss of their positive opinion, their estimation of his virtue, has seemed worth more than their estimation of his sin, but these eight words begin to change the balance of the scales.

Those with fear, do not want to make a decision and dread that they may have to.

Those with hope, have wanted to make a decision and have dreaded that they will not.

There is more to say, but the distractions of life pull me to the majority of life, that knows nothing of sin or virtue, but of duty it knows volumes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Where to Start

Investigation with the goal of understanding, endeavoring to know the truth of something, this is the only path I can call righteous. But I will not call it this, the word itself is too tainted. Too many people use the word with significant difference. I will be misunderstood simply because of this one word.

The understanding way to approach knowledge of life, or if you prefer, the right way to process our experience so that it may best benefit and influence the way we turn our inputs (experience) into outputs (actions).

How ever we think of life, what ever approach we take, must be judged by its impact on our decision making system and the subsequent style of life created over time.

The understanding way, at its core, will differ dramatically in detail depending on who is employing it, and what that person's position and role in life demands of them.

---

I'm concerned that at this point the reader may still be thinking of righteousness, and the religious ways they've inherited. "Inherited", yes, you did not create the religion you practice. You have received it from those before you, parents, family, community. Religions are received ways. They, generally, outline a way for all people to follow and in this they are all common denominator ways. They seek a level of truth that can fit all the minds of their respective flocks.

I will divide common denominator ways into two groups: lowest and highest. Please understand these in the mathematical way they are intended. The lowest common denominator will appeal more broadly, exclude competing ways, deal heavily with fundamental themes, and appeal to those with the most common level of education for the culture they are in. The lowest will also thrive in emotional settings and have canonized truths, rules, that are law and not open for question. The highest common denominator will appeal more narrowly, include competing ways, address abstract themes, and appeal to the generally more educated.

The LCD ways of men provide truth and the HCD ways of men point the way to truth. This is a simple but fundamental difference in religions, how they expect their members to discover truth. This effects the nature of the relationship between leaders and members. Is it teacher or guide? Is it authoritative command or authoritative reference. What extent do the leaders and members feel responsible for the ways of the others? What level of absolute conformity is required for inclusion in the group?

The LCDs and HCDs are the religions we've inherited from mankind's past.

Dynamic Nature of Sin

The sins we share, are no longer sins.

--
Example: How many decades ago would divorced individuals have been shunned from Christian church?
Exercise: Track the dynamic path of drinking in the christian church to witness the fluidity of sin.

Dynamic Nature of Virtue

The goals we share, spawn virtue.

--
Example: Two decades ago being a geek was a definite negative. Today my wife where's a t-shirt that declares "I love my geek!". Introspective personalities, long seen as something to correct, are becoming more and more encouraged and virtuous. Why? The following exercises may illustrate.

Exercise 1: Identify three dominate, realizable, goals common in your culture.
Exercise 2: Identify the vitures that these are likely to spawn over time.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Quote on Truth

My father once told me that respect for the truth comes close to being the basis for all morality. "Something cannot emerge from nothing," he said. This is profound thinking if you understand how unstable "the truth" can be.

from Conversations with Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Life After Deaths

"Teacher, if there is evil within me, does it come with me when I am born again?"

"We are all good and evil, none of us is perfect. In life we often act wrongly and this builds up like a layer of ash. When we die, that in him which is evil, the ash that covers him, dissipates into the void like the fuel of a puctured space craft. That which is good in him, that which he was born with that had not been turned to ash and that which built up when we would often act rightly, is pulled back towards the earth. Pulled by a spiritual gravity, drawing us down once again into the ancient home of humanity. Earth herself gives you a new body as you meet her again. She gives you a life that fits you. We are humans because we had enough goodness in us to fit this form and these lives. We are on our way, and this is an advanced leg our race. We are close. Some of our faith believe that there is a great sun of purity and pease burning in the heart of the earth and that is what draws us back from the void and into the embrace of life over and over. Others believe that it is the collective weight of the teaming body of life that makes this world pulse that draws us back and gives us form once again."

"What is your opinion teacher, what draws us back?"

"Either way we are drawn back, and that to me seems the superior understanding. As to what draws us back, I believe that the fire in the heart of the earth is simply chemical reactions, and that we are life drawn back to life. Clinging to each other. How would another planet have enough life in its belly to draw us back? No we are life, and ash covered as we are it is this life that draws us back and gives us form. We take life with us into space, and it is this belief that will give us the courage and faith to settle our new homes."

"When will we reach out, and add life to new planets?"

"When is in the hands of the technologists, we must put our faith in them. Who will go, is another matter. We must send our greatest souls, so that if they meet an alien form of life they will act with wisdom and consideration. Also, they must have enough goodness in them to draw back those of their numbers who will surely die in the harsh new worlds."

"Those of you who train to be an astronaut remain, all the rest are dismissed."