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[sl] Re: Reason

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  • Chris
    Thanks Mark. I have been waiting for a moment to read your post. I am between homes at the moment (found work and moved cities; now officially have my MLIS but
    Message 1 of 13 , Aug 31, 2006
      Thanks Mark. I have been waiting for a moment to read your post. I am between homes at
      the moment (found work and moved cities; now officially have my MLIS but working in the
      field of freedom of information, protection of privacy and records management). Will take
      possession this upcoming weekend. So net time is limited for the moment (mainly because
      my computer is in one place while I sleep in the other).

      I hope to respond at a not-so-later time.

      Cheers,

      -Chris

      --- In sacredlandscapelist@yahoogroups.com, "Swaney Mark" <mswaney@...> wrote:
      >
      > Chris and the folks on the list,
      >
      >
      >
      > You wrote,
      >
      >
      >
      > "I would still like to hear how Mark, a self-proclaimed materialist,
      > qualifies space as being sacred."
      >
      >
      >
      > Now maybe it takes more than a short sentence or two to do this - and if
      > you don't want to read more than that - OK. Skip on over this post, and
      > no harm done.
      >
      >
      >
      > Well, here goes. I am interested in the truth far more than I am
      > interested in nice fantasies. Not that I have any special problem with
      > nice fantasies, I enjoy reading fiction and have a nice collection of
      > Sci-Fi and other fictional writing. A person can learn a lot from
      > fiction in that it can tell us things in such a way as to illustrate an
      > idea that might be hard to see otherwise - and of course for sheer
      > entertainment, which I also enjoy.
      >
      >
      >
      > But when we read a fictional work we are quite sure that it is fictional
      > - and that is the difference for me. I hate stuff that is actually fake
      > but parades as true.
      >
      >
      >
      > I have a problem with statements like "I saw a beautiful sunset and so I
      > know there really is a God". Horsefeathers. Because someone saw a
      > pretty rainbow doesn't mean anything except that the someone was A.
      > alive, B. not blind, and C. can appreciate beauty.
      >
      >
      >
      > And now we can talk about the sacred as something real and genuine and
      > therefore worthwhile.
      >
      >
      >
      > Those things that I listed, A, B, and C are real. They are the result
      > of your (or someone's) existence that is not doubted by anyone and is
      > the most crucial and important fact about the experience of seeing a
      > nice sunset. Your existence as a real, MATERIAL, flesh and blood human
      > being with thoughts and emotions is not in question, and there is in
      > fact nothing more profound and important - COSMIC if you wish, than your
      > own existence, your reality as a living person.
      >
      >
      >
      > And notice that the existence (or not) of "god" has absolutely nothing
      > to do with any of the preceding statements.
      >
      >
      >
      > There is no need to bring a hypothetical, problematical, doubtful and
      > ultimately UNECESSARY god into the picture or the experience.
      >
      >
      >
      > Chris has tagged me as a self proclaimed materialist. He has it right -
      > but I would caution that what others may assume that means about me may
      > not at all be the case. I reject the notion of the "spirit" as a
      > "different" kind of reality. There is no god, no soul, no heaven, no
      > hell, no angels, no devils, no ghosts, or anything that does not have a
      > PHYSICAL existence. Which is not to say that there is ABSOLUTELY no
      > god, no soul, etc. Only that if these things exist, then they are
      > physical. And so far, I don't think that we have any evidence of
      > physical souls, physical spirits, etc. And I don't think that we have
      > any evidence of a single example of a violation of physical law - no
      > miracles in other words.
      >
      >
      >
      > Which is not to say that we know everything. We absolutely do not know
      > everything which is why we can wonder about the unlimited possibilities
      > - but we screw up massively when we translate the actually UNKNOWN into
      > a fairy tale that we then convince ourselves is TRUE in the same way
      > that it is true that we are here now, are alive now, and that we have
      > thoughts and feelings and that we have a range of experiences that we
      > have called beauty, awe, wonder, and SACRED.
      >
      >
      >
      > So to get to the point and the original issue - I define a sacred space
      > as a place - a physical place - that engenders in human beings thoughts,
      > feelings, emotions, and experiences that collectively we have named
      > SACRED.
      >
      >
      >
      > Because I have defined it in terms of human experience, such a space is
      > not necessarily sacred to everyone, although we humans have so many
      > things in common with each other that it is frequently the case that a
      > place that has the effect of producing an experience of sacredness in
      > one person will also have the same effect on others.
      >
      >
      >
      > What is especially interesting is to study the various elements of what
      > makes a space sacred. That is what we have spent a lot of time
      > exploring and researching on the list. These elements have been the
      > object of study and conjecture for thousands of years, and knowledge of
      > these elements have been the principal object of research of persons who
      > desire to create sacred spaces both for themselves and also for other
      > people.
      >
      >
      >
      > Thus our common interest in gardens as personal sacred space, in
      > historical sacred spaces, in sacred places that are buildings and
      > monuments, etc.
      >
      >
      >
      > Mark
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ________________________________
      >
      > From: sacredlandscapelist@yahoogroups.com
      > [mailto:sacredlandscapelist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Chris
      > Sent: Friday, August 25, 2006 3:45 AM
      > To: sacredlandscapelist@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [sl] Re: Reason
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > > And you folks all seem to me to be Abstract
      > > -Sequential thinking types and i am a Concrete-Random.
      >
      > Well put Einar. In my own terms, I would just say you have more the soul
      > of a poet than
      > the mind of a scientist. But I think most members of the list share this
      > quality, just some
      > more than others. You might be interested to read one of Mike's most
      > beautiful posts (in
      > my opinion) here:
      >
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sacredlandscapelist/message/5200
      > <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sacredlandscapelist/message/5200>
      >
      > or Dan:
      >
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sacredlandscapelist/message/5358
      > <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sacredlandscapelist/message/5358>
      >
      > For me that helped see his point of view clearly. I would still like to
      > hear how Mark,a self-
      > proclaimed materialist, qualifies space as being sacred. Perhaps his
      > closest post was here
      > (mainly in the first couple paras):
      >
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sacredlandscapelist/message/6368
      > <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sacredlandscapelist/message/6368>
      >
      > So you see we are all coming at the issues from different angles. I like
      > interesting
      > perspectives. My greatest fear is the "blind spot"--you know that one
      > moment while
      > driving when we cannot see the car behind us? A lot of my mental power
      > is spent
      > minmizing that metaphorical blind spot from my life. Rational thought
      > builds itself like the
      > rear and side mirrors in a car allowing us to see what is behind us as
      > we look with our own
      > eyes ahead. But it is the random, the intuitive, and the poetic that
      > allows us to see beyond
      > that small window and encompass the blind spot that naturally occurs in
      > any rational
      > artifice.
      >
      > All the best,
      >
      > -Chris
      >
    • Chris
      ... Okay, so I think what you mean to do here is this: before we can talk about material space in relation to the sacred, let s first dispell false notions of
      Message 2 of 13 , Sep 9, 2006
        >
        > I have a problem with statements like "I saw a beautiful sunset and so I
        > know there really is a God". Horsefeathers. Because someone saw a
        > pretty rainbow doesn't mean anything except that the someone was A.
        > alive, B. not blind, and C. can appreciate beauty.

        Okay, so I think what you mean to do here is this: before we can talk
        about material space in relation to the sacred, let's first dispell
        false notions of the sacred, correct? Fair point.

        Therefore, your position at this point is that the sacred is a
        subjective/cognitive experience. No objective reality, in other
        words--can't be measured, can't be tested, can't be demonstrated,
        proven, etc. Probably I am stretching it: you might not have meant
        that by your example but it does seem implied. Agreed?


        >
        > Those things that I listed, A, B, and C are real. They are the result
        > of your (or someone's) existence that is not doubted by anyone and is
        > the most crucial and important fact about the experience of seeing a
        > nice sunset. Your existence as a real, MATERIAL, flesh and blood human
        > being with thoughts and emotions is not in question, and there is in
        > fact nothing more profound and important - COSMIC if you wish, than your
        > own existence, your reality as a living person.

        The bit about "cosmic" threw me a bit but I think I see what you mean:
        to paraphrase, no one tries to convinces you the sun will rise
        tomorrow. You never see fanatics like that on the street corner, huh?
        On the other hand, fanatics of all persuasions will try to get you to
        believe any range of other things that most often stem from what they
        doubt--or rather, what they have doubts about. in convincing others,
        we convince ourselves. you know what they say: if you wanna learn
        something, teach it to someone else. well, I think the same is true of
        faith: if you wanna believe something, try converting somebody. sheesh.

        At any rate, what you seem to be saying is that the question of
        material existence is not an issue here at all--much like my point
        about not trying to convince others that the sun will rise tomorrow.
        >
        >
        >
        > And notice that the existence (or not) of "god" has absolutely nothing
        > to do with any of the preceding statements.

        Okay. But just so we're clear: I don't believe in god, and I don't
        don't believe in god. I think atheists are more rational, generally
        speaking, but that's not saying much: much of life is about learning
        how to deal with all that is irrational. so I think ultimately they
        are just as fanatical as the rest of the loonies out there. "belief
        pushers" are the new "pusher man". to which I reply, JUST SAY NO,
        baby. no thank you ma'am: go sell crazy someplace else. we're all
        stocked up here. lol.

        sorry, it is 4:22 in the AM and my mind is kind of wondering.


        >
        >
        >
        > There is no need to bring a hypothetical, problematical, doubtful and
        > ultimately UNECESSARY god into the picture or the experience.

        but if we are talking about sublime experiences such as
        sunsets/sunrises, how can you reconcile powerful feelings if not as
        something stemming from that which is "bigger than us"? I would not
        name it god. but I have called it the "process", "the blind spot",
        "the great ventriloquist", and doubtless some other pet names that
        escape me at the moment.

        to recap: I am not bringing a doubtful anthropromorphized projection
        into the equation. but logically does it follow that those unearthly
        feelings I experience stem or at least correlate to an unearthly
        knowledge and/or intuition?

        in an earlier email I was probably too cryptic with Mike and Dan. I
        said something like the only structure that exists lies with the form
        of perception. but if I unpack that a little, it is difficult to deny:
        all forms of perception contain some level of "truth". the fact that
        you perceive them is, at bottom, true. what it means may not be but
        the perception can hardly be denied. hypnosis, suggestion, influence,
        indoctrination, you name it, it is true in some capacity: that which
        is believed is an image of truth.

        the keyword, however, is "image": not truth in entirety and not truth
        itself. do not mistake the map for the landscape or the postcard for
        the canyon vista itself.

        much like questions can resolve themselves not so much by being
        answered as being left behind, grown beyond, so can truth, so can god,
        and so I believe can the "sacred". we are seekers here on this board,
        believe it or not.

        but i digress.


        >
        >
        >
        > Chris has tagged me as a self proclaimed materialist. He has it right -
        > but I would caution that what others may assume that means about me may
        > not at all be the case. I reject the notion of the "spirit" as a
        > "different" kind of reality. There is no god, no soul, no heaven, no
        > hell, no angels, no devils, no ghosts, or anything that does not have a
        > PHYSICAL existence. Which is not to say that there is ABSOLUTELY no
        > god, no soul, etc. Only that if these things exist, then they are
        > physical. And so far, I don't think that we have any evidence of
        > physical souls, physical spirits, etc. And I don't think that we have
        > any evidence of a single example of a violation of physical law - no
        > miracles in other words.

        based on my position described above, I do not agree with this. it is
        a view that is tactical but in the end weak. there are more than one
        way to describe reality and, should we choose to partake in
        mind-altering drugs and continue this discussion (to illustrate my
        point that the form of perception determines the perceived structure),
        i find it hard to believe that on some level "everything" would be
        material. this is the blind spot that i refer to. you can't see what
        you can't know. and what we don't know is, really, what hurts us in
        the end. but such is life.

        put differently: on a literal level, who really believes good ol'
        jesus is going to come walking out of jerusalem, or utah, or the
        friggin' antarctic some time in the future? gimme a break. on the
        other hand, I firmly firmly firmly believe that that doctrine only
        exists in a certain frame of mind. get past that frame and you are
        past the problem. transcend the perception and--poof!--the
        expectations are gone as well.

        so too science. or at least all statements of science that go beyond
        the purely scientific. which is mostly what we do here when we discuss
        the philosophy of it.
        >
        >
        >
        > Which is not to say that we know everything. We absolutely do not know
        > everything which is why we can wonder about the unlimited possibilities
        > - but we screw up massively when we translate the actually UNKNOWN into
        > a fairy tale that we then convince ourselves is TRUE in the same way
        > that it is true that we are here now, are alive now, and that we have
        > thoughts and feelings and that we have a range of experiences that we
        > have called beauty, awe, wonder, and SACRED.
        >
        >
        >
        > So to get to the point and the original issue - I define a sacred space
        > as a place - a physical place - that engenders in human beings thoughts,
        > feelings, emotions, and experiences that collectively we have named
        > SACRED.
        >
        >
        >
        > Because I have defined it in terms of human experience, such a space is
        > not necessarily sacred to everyone, although we humans have so many
        > things in common with each other that it is frequently the case that a
        > place that has the effect of producing an experience of sacredness in
        > one person will also have the same effect on others.
        >
        >
        >
        > What is especially interesting is to study the various elements of what
        > makes a space sacred. That is what we have spent a lot of time
        > exploring and researching on the list. These elements have been the
        > object of study and conjecture for thousands of years, and knowledge of
        > these elements have been the principal object of research of persons who
        > desire to create sacred spaces both for themselves and also for other
        > people.
        >
        >
        >
        > Thus our common interest in gardens as personal sacred space, in
        > historical sacred spaces, in sacred places that are buildings and
        > monuments, etc.

        based on the above paras. it seems that you have a quite similar take
        on the notion of the sacred as most others here. it is just that you
        do not extend that notion to point in the direction of a god. in other
        words, you accept that some places are sacred but reject the idea that
        this stems from a deity or is indicative of a deity. am i correct in
        assuming that you would say such experiences ultimately stem from
        within us, from our own minds and bodies and, as such, we are the
        "god", we are the "it", i.e. tat tvam asi?

        =Chris


        >
        >
        >
        > Mark
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ________________________________
        >
        > From: sacredlandscapelist@yahoogroups.com
        > [mailto:sacredlandscapelist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Chris
        > Sent: Friday, August 25, 2006 3:45 AM
        > To: sacredlandscapelist@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [sl] Re: Reason
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > > And you folks all seem to me to be Abstract
        > > -Sequential thinking types and i am a Concrete-Random.
        >
        > Well put Einar. In my own terms, I would just say you have more the soul
        > of a poet than
        > the mind of a scientist. But I think most members of the list share this
        > quality, just some
        > more than others. You might be interested to read one of Mike's most
        > beautiful posts (in
        > my opinion) here:
        >
        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sacredlandscapelist/message/5200
        > <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sacredlandscapelist/message/5200>
        >
        > or Dan:
        >
        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sacredlandscapelist/message/5358
        > <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sacredlandscapelist/message/5358>
        >
        > For me that helped see his point of view clearly. I would still like to
        > hear how Mark,a self-
        > proclaimed materialist, qualifies space as being sacred. Perhaps his
        > closest post was here
        > (mainly in the first couple paras):
        >
        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sacredlandscapelist/message/6368
        > <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sacredlandscapelist/message/6368>
        >
        > So you see we are all coming at the issues from different angles. I like
        > interesting
        > perspectives. My greatest fear is the "blind spot"--you know that one
        > moment while
        > driving when we cannot see the car behind us? A lot of my mental power
        > is spent
        > minmizing that metaphorical blind spot from my life. Rational thought
        > builds itself like the
        > rear and side mirrors in a car allowing us to see what is behind us as
        > we look with our own
        > eyes ahead. But it is the random, the intuitive, and the poetic that
        > allows us to see beyond
        > that small window and encompass the blind spot that naturally occurs in
        > any rational
        > artifice.
        >
        > All the best,
        >
        > -Chris
        >
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