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Re: [stoics] Logic vs. Magic

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  • Dave Kelly
    Hi Steve, ... For my own purposes, I ve decided that character disorder is the right term to define this universal viciousness. Psychoanalysts (perhaps
    Message 1 of 53 , Jun 1, 2004
      Hi Steve,

      > My answer is we're all psychotic. Every one of us, no exceptions. Except
      > for the few sages, if any. We are all vicious until completely virtuous.

      For my own purposes, I've decided that "character disorder" is the
      right term to define this universal viciousness.

      Psychoanalysts (perhaps Wilhelm Reich was the first) used the term
      character neurosis to define a more characteristic and longer-standing
      disorder than a neurosis. This use evolved to character disorder, at
      least in American psychiatry, and now the term personality disorder is
      used. I like the older term, character disorder, because it connotes a
      moral, or ethical, problem.

      "character disorder

      "(character neurosis)

      " 1. A personality disorder manifested by a chronic, habitual,
      maladaptive pattern of reaction that is relatively inflexible, limits
      the optimal use of potentialities, and often provokes the responses
      from the environment that the person wants to avoid. In contrast to
      symptoms of neurosis, character traits are typically ego-syntonic.

      " 2. The old term for personality disorder."

      "Source: Davidson, Gerald C. and John M. Neale. 1994. Abnormal
      Psychology, 6th Edition. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons"


      My own view is that everyone (except the Sage) is somewhat character
      disordered, though most are not disordered enough to be justifiably
      diagnosed with a personality disorder.

      Best wishes,
    • Rick Bamford
      ... suicide *explicitly*. The Apostles didn t accept suicide: they just stuck to their guns even when *others* were ready to kill them. Well, a couple of
      Message 53 of 53 , Jun 5, 2004
        > Adam said: "the examples you are giving are all of people who committed
        suicide *explicitly*. The Apostles didn't accept suicide: they just stuck
        to their guns even when *others* were ready to kill them."

        Well, a couple of points...

        Firstly, from where do you get your information with regard to the Apostles
        and their sacrifice/martyrdom? Is it only from the bible and other overtly
        biased Christian sources? Or are there objective sources external to
        Christianity? If there are no impartial non-Christian sources to back up
        the claims of the Apostles martyrdom, then it would be prudent for any
        objective person to view such claims with suspicion, especially given their
        extreme unconventionality.

        Secondly, even if the Apostles sacrifice can be objectively verified, I
        don't see how it proves anything with regard to the veracity of Christian
        dogma. I would think it highly likely that, because Jim Jones's followers
        and the 9/11 hijackers were willing to kill themselves for their beliefs,
        they would have most certainly also 'stuck to their guns' with regard to
        their beliefs even if others were ready to kill them first. If nothing
        else, they proved their belief was unshakable just as much as the Apostles
        did. Please understand that I not endorsing or approving of the actions of
        either the Jones followers or the hijackers. I judge them both irrational
        to the extreme. I am only saying that they have proved the sincerity of
        their beliefs as much as anyone can, by making the ultimate sacrifice.
        However, this does nothing to convince me that there is anything objectively
        true about their beliefs. It only tells me that THEY believed them. The
        same holds true of the Apostles.

        > A: "Therefore, the sanity of the 9/11 Hijackers was in greater doubt than
        those of the Apostles."

        I concur that the sanity of the 9/11 Hijackers was... less than optimal. I
        think they were, at the very least, very credulous people who were duped by
        malevolent others, and probably had at least a touch of malevolency

        > A: "if the whole thing of Christ's death and resurrection were a scam,
        then the Apostles would have been in on it, the Ground Floor as a matter of

        Maybe they were. Both individuals and groups of people make up stuff all
        the time to further their causes and beliefs. This would not necessarily
        make them bad people, but perhaps merely overzealous with the best of
        intentions. The Apostles believed deeply in Jesus, and they would have
        surely wanted to keep spreading his teachings even after he was executed.
        They could have figured his teachings would carry more weight if people were
        told he rose from the dead to 'prove' his link with the divine.

        However, for what it's worth, I don't have any reason to believe that the
        initial impulse of Christianity (i.e., the life and untimely death of Christ
        himself) was a deliberate scam. It is quite possible that a dozen men could
        have really believed that they saw what they reported they saw. In addition
        to sometimes deliberately falsifying accounts to bolster a cause,
        individuals and even groups can sometimes trick themselves into seeing
        fantastic things, because they want to see them so badly. Again, the 9/11
        hijackers believed deeply enough in their collective version of Islam to
        make the ultimate sacrifice, and they were a larger group than the Apostles.

        It is carelessly credulous to accept only the word of human beings,
        especially BIASED human beings, about purported fantastic events unless they
        have very good evidence.

        > A: "the only lives that the people in the Bush Administration are willing
        to sacrifice for this are the lives of *other* people."

        In this matter, we are quite fully agreed. But let us not digress into a
        political discussion. We have wandered too far from Stoicism as it is.

        > A: "So the 9/11 hijackers were actively committing *suicide*, thus
        different from the Apostles."

        I don't see how the method and details of the sacrifice matter. Whether one
        dies for one's belief at one's own hand, or by the hand of others while
        defending one's belief, it still proves the sincerity of that belief, but
        ONLY the sincerity of the belief. It does absolutely nothing to prove the
        veracity of the belief itself. Only objective, impartial, empirical
        evidence can be relied upon for that.

        > A: "Now, this does not definitely *prove* that Christianity is true."

        Agreed. Not in the least.

        > A: "But it provides me with a *heck* of a lot more evidence for that than
        I have for the existence of your prized pet Pinky."

        Hey! You hurt Pinky's feelings! ;)

        So the purported observations of a dozen predisposed men, two thousand years
        ago, is enough evidence to believe in fantastic magical phenomenon in your
        eyes? Overriding volumes of scientific evidence and just plain common sense
        that such things are improbable to the extreme? I still don't understand
        how you think this to be reasonable. I doubt I ever will.

        > A: "Hey! It's been over 2 years! Do you think there all *still*

        Why not? Once you let go of logic, reason and evidence, and start believing
        in magic, anything is possible. Those darn laws of physics can be such a
        wet blanket sometimes.

        > A: "He could have a perfectly good reason for not wanting to appear on 60
        minutes that is just way beyond the ability of us limited beings to grasp."

        As I have found typical of theists, you fall back on the "He works in
        mysterious ways, who are we to question him" position. Can't you just say
        you don't know? I'd at least give you points for guilelessness.

        We should probably end this thread. I've been down this road before, and
        the potholes are starting to have a familiar feel. It has gone on too long,
        and we are straying too far from this list's intent anyway. Thank you for
        making the effort to help me understand why you believe what you do. Even
        though you did not succeed, I do appreciate the effort.

        Best regards,

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