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The Cult of Zero

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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Joined  22-02-2005
 
 
 
06 January 2017 12:19
 

Part One:

Generational turnover and cultural progress were less stressful centuries ago. A given generation could expect to see one or maybe two really quaking changes occur in their society and culture. Only occasionally would some revolution occur that created a living and potentially hostile Generation Gap.

Now, third grade students are calling sixth-graders out-of-touch old farts and laughing at their primitive Star Wars toys.

Why do we need an old and a new McGyver? It might be a sign of trouble ahead.

Consider the example of a young student raised deep in the Bible Belt but enticed by science. How many individual hurdles are there on their road to a self-critical and scientific perspective? Many of us have had to cross these as well and some later-generation secularists may have only seen a few. Like these…

The earth is really, really old and its surface is a mere pinhead in the vast cosmos. Travel to any ‘place’ beyond our solar system exceeds a human lifetime.

Mankind arrived on earth via evolution and not with a bang but a slow and blurry process that hasn’t stopped. There is no crown of creation.

When someone thinks they have ridden a flying horse, it is for some other reason than having ridden a flying horse.

Men did not proceed women nor do they have any sane reason or right to deny them an equal role in civilization. At least, not at the same time as claiming to be civilized.

The private management of sexual desire should be advised by Nature and not by religion.

The facts we live by must be always on probation or they will smother our children.


I’ll stop before Dennis gets here. This brief list (shhh) of revelations may seem as distant to us as our scout merit badges. The next set of hurdles should be more memorable.


Only 2000 or so generations separate all of mankind from a single ancestor. Racial development in mankind was so complex that present-day racial myths are beyond silly.

There is nothing supernatural or otherwise that can prevent us from causing our planet to become uninhabitable and we have nowhere to run. Survival is our responsibility.

A scientific pursuit is not likely to find within us a soul, spirit, pa, katra, afterlife applicant or astral traveler.

We have only a fading glimpse of a universe that will in time vanish from view. School is still open.

And, an oldie but goodie: The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Loosen the grip and away it will slip.


If you’ve made it this far, you can call yourself a solid secularist. Even without a full-blown declaration of atheism. Soft and squishy relgiousie views make harmless social bludgeons. Some may not agree, but one can cross all those hurdles above and still be sort of religious. Some hurdles were not faced at all until more recently.


Cloning can not only copy an original, it can also destroy its sense of identity.

We can rewrite our genetic codes and accelerate change to frightening speeds.

Primitive savagery is deeply imbedded in all the world’s cultures and will fester unless proactively addressed.

Boys will be gullible and destructive idiots unless we do something to them.


Further hurdles are mostly about how we see ourselves seeing the world. The new brain science and our long-time examination of perception have harvested some surprising facts.


We see in RGB. The rainbow of colors only represents the actual photon traffic whizzing around us. On a planet where there are no brains or EYEBALLS, there is no color and no light or darkness. The only rainbow colors distant planets have is here on earth.

Other animals demonstrate enough intelligence to challenge our notion that intelligence is what makes us humans different from them. Or each other.

Some humanish talents also belonged to our hominid relatives. We ate them anyway.

We can replicate our talents in machinery that can then exceed our own capacity to use them.


On the whole, there is a slowly shrinking space in reality for what we think we are. Some could begin to think that we are nothing at all. It’s disturbing. It’s liberating. No, it’s actually exactly what we have believed sinced the beginning. And it’s not the next hurdle. It’s the Cult of Zero. Escaping it is the next hurdle.

[ Edited: 06 January 2017 12:23 by Nhoj Morley]
 
 
bbearren
 
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bbearren
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06 January 2017 13:56
 

Good post.  I read every word, and I’m still a believer.  But that’s just me.

Nhoj Morley - 06 January 2017 12:19 PM

On the whole, there is a slowly shrinking space in reality for what we think we are. Some could begin to think that we are nothing at all. It’s disturbing. It’s liberating. No, it’s actually exactly what we have believed sinced the beginning. And it’s not the next hurdle. It’s the Cult of Zero. Escaping it is the next hurdle.

You’ve more or less re-worded my signature line.

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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06 January 2017 14:37
 

Yes, I do feel diminished as time goes on. We are all heading to our own zero. But no matter what I am or am not, there is still the wonder of the universe and whatever caused it to come into existence. Our EYEBALLS see that, and it’s FUN. Gimme that ol’ time religion.

 
jdrnd
 
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jdrnd
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06 January 2017 14:42
 
Nhoj Morley - 06 January 2017 12:19 PM

Part One:

Generational turnover and cultural progress were less stressful centuries ago. A given generation could expect to see one or maybe two really quaking changes occur in their society and culture. Only occasionally would some revolution occur that created a living and potentially hostile Generation Gap.

Now, third grade students are calling sixth-graders out-of-touch old farts and laughing at their primitive Star Wars toys.

Why do we need an old and a new McGyver? It might be a sign of trouble ahead.

Consider the example of a young student raised deep in the Bible Belt but enticed by science. How many individual hurdles are there on their road to a self-critical and scientific perspective? Many of us have had to cross these as well and some later-generation secularists may have only seen a few. Like these…

The earth is really, really old and its surface is a mere pinhead in the vast cosmos. Travel to any ‘place’ beyond our solar system exceeds a human lifetime.

Mankind arrived on earth via evolution and not with a bang but a slow and blurry process that hasn’t stopped. There is no crown of creation.

When someone thinks they have ridden a flying horse, it is for some other reason than having ridden a flying horse.

Men did not proceed women nor do they have any sane reason or right to deny them an equal role in civilization. At least, not at the same time as claiming to be civilized.

The private management of sexual desire should be advised by Nature and not by religion.

The facts we live by must be always on probation or they will smother our children.


I’ll stop before Dennis gets here. This brief list (shhh) of revelations may seem as distant to us as our scout merit badges. The next set of hurdles should be more memorable.


Only 2000 or so generations separate all of mankind from a single ancestor. Racial development in mankind was so complex that present-day racial myths are beyond silly.

There is nothing supernatural or otherwise that can prevent us from causing our planet to become uninhabitable and we have nowhere to run. Survival is our responsibility.

A scientific pursuit is not likely to find within us a soul, spirit, pa, katra, afterlife applicant or astral traveler.

We have only a fading glimpse of a universe that will in time vanish from view. School is still open.

And, an oldie but goodie: The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Loosen the grip and away it will slip.


If you’ve made it this far, you can call yourself a solid secularist. Even without a full-blown declaration of atheism. Soft and squishy relgiousie views make harmless social bludgeons. Some may not agree, but one can cross all those hurdles above and still be sort of religious. Some hurdles were not faced at all until more recently.


Cloning can not only copy an original, it can also destroy its sense of identity.

We can rewrite our genetic codes and accelerate change to frightening speeds.

Primitive savagery is deeply imbedded in all the world’s cultures and will fester unless proactively addressed.

Boys will be gullible and destructive idiots unless we do something to them.


Further hurdles are mostly about how we see ourselves seeing the world. The new brain science and our long-time examination of perception have harvested some surprising facts.


We see in RGB. The rainbow of colors only represents the actual photon traffic whizzing around us. On a planet where there are no brains or EYEBALLS, there is no color and no light or darkness. The only rainbow colors distant planets have is here on earth.

Other animals demonstrate enough intelligence to challenge our notion that intelligence is what makes us humans different from them. Or each other.

Some humanish talents also belonged to our hominid relatives. We ate them anyway.

We can replicate our talents in machinery that can then exceed our own capacity to use them.


On the whole, there is a slowly shrinking space in reality for what we think we are. Some could begin to think that we are nothing at all. It’s disturbing. It’s liberating. No, it’s actually exactly what we have believed sinced the beginning. And it’s not the next hurdle. It’s the Cult of Zero. Escaping it is the next hurdle.

Nhoj,

I am sure that this response is not going to increase our mutual endearment.

There is little in your post that I disagree with.

but what is your point?

why did you write all this?

If you are going to declare something to the world as you just did, you have to explain why,
or stated differently:

answer the question “So What?”

The “So What” factor is missing.


Jeff

 
Jb8989
 
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Jb8989
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07 January 2017 06:23
 

Nhoj,

IMO believing that one is nothing is similar to the idea that believing in something “bigger” or “higher” than your self is somehow enlightening. In school I heard a lot of smart people reiterate that a belief in something “bigger” than the mind and the body was cognitively and emotionally liberating. This obviously didn’t mean that you had to believe in faith-based stuff like religion because it could also be nature-based stuff like the family system or the earth that you committed to as “bigger” than you. In some ways, it’s humbling effect was supposed to add IQ brain points. And I think that’s true for the most part. However, I’ve always struggled to understand this. I understand empathy, compassion, cooperation, limits to control etc. What I’m asking is how is thinking that your special not better? It’s more delusional, sure, but also more positive. Forget about dualism rendering this entire stance irrelevant, I choose to believe that I’m better for being here because of how big things are. But fair isn’t always equal no matter you slice it and society has made sure of that. Behave according to the maximum amount of happiness and positivism you can exploit from it. There aren’t too many things wrong with utilitarianism, except for that it gives the increasing stupidity of groups the benefit of the doubt.

Happy hangover everyone!

[ Edited: 07 January 2017 06:26 by Jb8989]
 
 
jdrnd
 
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07 January 2017 06:39
 
Jb8989 - 07 January 2017 06:23 AM

I’m asking is how is thinking that your special not better?

Everybody is unique.

What do you mean by special?

 
jdrnd
 
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07 January 2017 06:42
 
Jb8989 - 07 January 2017 06:23 AM

  Behave according to the maximum amount of happiness and positivism you can exploit from it.

Is this attitude always good?

 
Jb8989
 
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Jb8989
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07 January 2017 06:47
 
jdrnd - 07 January 2017 06:39 AM
Jb8989 - 07 January 2017 06:23 AM

I’m asking is how is thinking that your special not better?

Everybody is unique.

What do you mean by special?

I’m sure that it varies person to person, case by case, but I would say that understanding that you’re special would require a mental inventory, so to speak, on all the objective things that make you unique and proud of it. Pride can be a bit slippery and so too is hubris, but that’s where some form of (to steal skeps language) intellectual humility should come into play. It’s all a balance that I like to tip toward believing that I’m not like most people. Do you feel like you’re like most people? And while feelings are certainly not the most objective baseline for analysis, they aren’t the worse if you know what you’re doing with your own (e.g. you should be decently self-aware of your limitations).

 
 
jdrnd
 
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07 January 2017 06:47
 
Jb8989 - 07 January 2017 06:23 AM

IMO believing that one is nothing is similar to the idea that believing in something “bigger” or “higher” than your self is somehow enlightening. In school I heard a lot of smart people reiterate that a belief in something “bigger” than the mind and the body was cognitively and emotionally liberating. This obviously didn’t mean that you had to believe in faith-based stuff like religion because it could also be nature-based stuff like the family system or the earth that you committed to as “bigger” than you. In some ways, it’s humbling effect was supposed to add IQ brain points. And I think that’s true for the most part. However, I’ve always struggled to understand this.

There is something bigger than each individual human, that would be civilization.

But I agree with you.  It’s hard to see how an individual’s recognition of that concept,  would increase IQ points or be cognitively liberating.  It may be emotionally liberating to some people.

 

[ Edited: 07 January 2017 06:59 by jdrnd]
 
Dennis Campbell
 
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Dennis Campbell
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07 January 2017 06:56
 

Damn, a superior list maker!  But without neat numbers I get confused.  Get confused anyway but then I know exactly where..  That said, agree all.

 
 
jdrnd
 
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07 January 2017 06:57
 
Jb8989 - 07 January 2017 06:47 AM
jdrnd - 07 January 2017 06:39 AM
Jb8989 - 07 January 2017 06:23 AM

I’m asking is how is thinking that your special not better?

Everybody is unique.

What do you mean by special?

Do you feel like you’re like most people?

In some ways I am unique, as are you. In more ways I am the same as everybody else.
We all feel we are special.
I find that this feeling (of being special) often gets in the way.
We are all prone to “hubris” (i.e. being proud of something that is not true).

Hubris goes like this >>>> “I am smarter than everybody else.”
The truth is that neither me (or you) are not.

 
Jb8989
 
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Jb8989
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07 January 2017 06:58
 
jdrnd - 07 January 2017 06:42 AM
Jb8989 - 07 January 2017 06:23 AM

  Behave according to the maximum amount of happiness and positivism you can exploit from it.

Is this attitude always good?

Not always. Because it’s exploitative in nature. But then again, nothing is always good.

I’m a firm believer that to be successful in life, whatever that means to you, you’ll have to learn how to violate other people’s sense of what they believe. That you’ll have to even be ready to take advantage of it, sometimes by violating social norms and customs that groups covet simply through the process of sleepwalking their way through their parent’s dreams. That being said, social theory is inescapable. Social circumstances are real barriers for a lot of people and they have real consequences. You can empathize with whoever without joining them, right? And if your circumstances are such that you can do so because of some unique way of thinking, living, having money, sexing or loving, then I gotta imagine that your best bet is to know this. Trust it and bet on it. Believe in that. Because you don’t want your best dressed days in your casket.

 
 
Jb8989
 
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07 January 2017 07:02
 
jdrnd - 07 January 2017 06:57 AM

Hubris goes like this >>>> “I am smarter than everybody else.”
The truth is that neither me (or you) are not.

You’re kidding yourself if you truly don’t believe that you’re “smarter” than most people. Philosophically, we can reduce this and you’re right. But socially, in the time that you have in this tiny little life, most people won’t have the objective situational awareness and knowledge of things that you have. Forget about being smarter, that makes you more adaptable. And resilient. Less apologetic and more fair if you want to be, too.

 
 
jdrnd
 
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07 January 2017 07:05
 
Jb8989 - 07 January 2017 06:58 AM
jdrnd - 07 January 2017 06:42 AM
Jb8989 - 07 January 2017 06:23 AM

  Behave according to the maximum amount of happiness and positivism you can exploit from it.

Is this attitude always good?


...I’m a firm believer that to be successful in life, whatever that means to you, you’ll have to learn how to violate other people’s sense of what they believe.
That you’ll have to even be ready to take advantage of it, sometimes by violating social norms and customs…

...But then again, nothing is always good

I agree; but as you say, “Nothing is always good”.

 
jdrnd
 
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07 January 2017 07:14
 
Jb8989 - 07 January 2017 07:02 AM
jdrnd - 07 January 2017 06:57 AM

Hubris goes like this >>>> “I am smarter than everybody else.”
The truth is that neither me (or you) are not.

You’re kidding yourself if you truly don’t believe that you’re “smarter” than most people. Philosophically, we can reduce this and you’re right. But socially, in the time that you have in this tiny little life, most people won’t have the objective situational awareness and knowledge of things that you have. Forget about being smarter, that makes you more adaptable. And resilient. Less apologetic and more fair if you want to be, too.

We both know a lot of things (facts, concepts, relationships, etc),
During my interactions with patients, many with less education than me, I am amazed at the things they know, and I don’t. 
Sometimes their insights exceed my own understanding of an issue.

You’re last few posts are enlightening to me…
although I need time to think about your comments.

[ Edited: 07 January 2017 07:50 by jdrnd]
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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07 January 2017 07:41
 
Nhoj Morley - 06 January 2017 12:19 PM

On the whole, there is a slowly shrinking space in reality for what we think we are. Some could begin to think that we are nothing at all. It’s disturbing. It’s liberating. No, it’s actually exactly what we have believed sinced the beginning. And it’s not the next hurdle. It’s the Cult of Zero. Escaping it is the next hurdle.

 

Jack London’s “White Logic,” on humanity:

“Dreamers and ghosts,” the White Logic chuckles.

“But surely the striving was not altogether vain,” I contend.

“It was based on illusion and is a lie.”

“A vital lie,” I retort.

“And pray what is a vital lie but a lie?” the White Logic challenges.

He thought the White Logic was a product of John Barleycorn, but it’s really science by another name. Escape it if you can.

 
 
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