Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: Bill Moyers: There is no tomorrow

Expand Messages
  • Warren Ockrassa
    ... Depressing, but not terrifying, I think. Just more evidence that America is an empire in decline, and is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the rest of
    Message 1 of 79 , Feb 1, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      On Feb 1, 2005, at 9:44 AM, Nick Arnett wrote:

      > Horn, John wrote:
      >
      >> This is one of the most terrifying things I have read in a long,
      >> long, LONG time.
      >
      > Me too. Especially coming from Bill Moyers. The statistics really
      > stopped me.

      Depressing, but not terrifying, I think. Just more evidence that
      America is an empire in decline, and is becoming increasingly
      irrelevant to the rest of the world. I'm not pleased at the thought of
      the bulk of the contiguous US becoming "Jesusland", but short of the
      magic phrase "ready, aim, fire" I don't see how it can be prevented.
      The will to rationality and intelligence simply doesn't exist in many
      Americans.

      A while back Dr. Brin put forth the idea that such individuals are
      romantics pining for a bygone era, and that's probably partially
      correct. (Even the ancient Greeks did that, pining for a time in their
      own history that they considered idyllic.) But they're also wanting a
      fantasy to come true. They're emotionally and psychologically
      infantile, still obsessed on the idea of the Infallible Parent and the
      Eden myth.

      The thinking is bizarre too. An individual who is sure there's no Santa
      Claus will say, with a straight face, that resurrection is possible and
      an historic fact.

      > I'm religious, but I know the difference (I think) between what is
      > irrational and what is non-rational. I'm deeply disturbed, even
      > frightened, by the growth and seeming acceptance of irrationality in
      > our culture. Irrationality seems increasingly confused with the
      > non-rational.

      That's a good point. I'd ask you to think about something else, though
      -- why do you consider yourself religious? I mean, if you have some
      kind of faith, *why* do you have that faith?

      > I ask myself, what provokes widespread irrational beliefs -- what are
      > these people reacting to? Some sort of vast sense of helplessness?
      > Intuition tells me that fear underlies this, but I'm not at all sure
      > what fears are playing big roles today.

      Possibly it comes, in part, from wanting the world to be a certain way,
      to fit one specific pattern of acceptability. Also, perhaps there's a
      fear of the unknown -- anarchy, chaos, unpredictability. These are
      facts of reality and many people are not comfortable with them. This
      could be one of the reasons there's so much open denial of the *fact*
      of global warming and its impending environmental impact. To deny
      global warming now is equivalent to denial of plate tectonics in the
      1970s or the K/T asteroid in the 1980s.

      There are other areas where you might see this same pattern. Wanting to
      block all research into human cloning is one.

      Maybe some of it is that we *let* sheltered attitudes persist. We don't
      do enough reality checking, not enough pimp-slapping. Maybe we need to
      stop telling our children bullshit stories about easter bunnies, tooth
      fairies and father christmases, stop telling them that some things are
      true which we KNOW are not. Maybe we need to stop telling them
      impossible stories about loaves and fishes or six-day creations or
      seventy-two eternal virgins.

      Maybe then our kids will be better at distinguishing fantasy from
      reality.


      --
      Warren Ockrassa, Publisher/Editor, nightwares Books
      http://books.nightwares.com/
      Current work in progress "The Seven-Year Mirror"
      http://www.nightwares.com/books/ockrassa/Flat_Out.pdf

      _______________________________________________
      http://www.mccmedia.com/mailman/listinfo/brin-l
    • Warren Ockrassa
      ... From the perspective of the microorganisms? Certainly from the human point of view such things are pestilence. But from a survival, life-over-all
      Message 79 of 79 , Apr 19, 2005
      • 0 Attachment
        On Apr 19, 2005, at 12:03 AM, KZK wrote:

        > Nick Arnett wrote:
        >> Warren Ockrassa wrote:
        >>> That's a good point. I'd ask you to think about something else,
        >>> though -- why do you consider yourself religious? I mean, if you
        >>> have some kind of faith, *why* do you have that faith?
        >> Well, there's the question. An honest answer has to include, "I
        >> don't know." I choose to regard it as an undeserved gift. A
        >> self-centered answer is, "I'm happier." A non-rational answer is,
        >> "It feels true."
        >
        >> A quasi-evidentiary answer is that it has survived the millenia.
        >
        > So has malaria and the clap. Are they forces of "good" too?

        From the perspective of the microorganisms?

        Certainly from the human point of view such things are pestilence. But
        from a survival, life-over-all perspective, they're working.

        I think it was Carl Sagan who commented that yeast has been very
        successful over the millennia -- it's taught the apex predators on
        Earth how to replicate itself for myriad purposes, some of which
        include intimate infections, some of which we regard as beneficent,
        some of which are of debatable value.

        Alfred Nobel was forever torn over his invention. Dynamite was -- and
        is -- good for lots of positive applications, as well as more than a
        few negative ones. Does that mean that dynamite was and is
        incontrovertibly evil, or even arguably so? Or is it safer to suggest
        that it's the human capacity for finding a cloud in virtually every
        silver lining that's really to blame?

        I can be very harsh on religion; I know that. But I also recognize that
        *faith* -- not necessarily religion -- has been a source of solace for
        untold millions, possibly billions, has given meaning to lives that
        otherwise might have seemed unnecessarily nasty, short and brutish.

        Nick and I have traded a few Buddhist ideas. I'm not officially
        Buddhist -- never taken a refuge vow -- but I do like some of the
        philosophies of the system; I like how it's non-theist and doesn't have
        a specific doctrine of a soul. One of its major adherents has said more
        than once that to the extent science uncovers new realities about the
        world, it is Buddhism that will have to change to suit itself to our
        increased understandings.

        The reason I bring it up is that a core tenet of Buddhism is that
        suffering should be reduced. If someone's faith in a deity reduces that
        person's suffering *and* does not contribute to the suffering of
        others, I find it hard to see that faith as invalid, worthy of mockery
        or something that needs to be "outgrown" or discarded.

        Scientific findings have also been used to great evil over the
        centuries. Should we argue for discarding the scientific method and its
        fruits? In order to be consistent with the message that religion is a
        source of evil and should be cast aside, that question becomes very
        important, doesn't it?


        --
        Warren Ockrassa, Publisher/Editor, nightwares Books
        http://books.nightwares.com/
        Current work in progress "The Seven-Year Mirror"
        http://www.nightwares.com/books/ockrassa/Flat_Out.pdf

        _______________________________________________
        http://www.mccmedia.com/mailman/listinfo/brin-l
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.