Author Topic: Secular faith  (Read 636 times)

Secular faith
« on: January 26, 2021, 09:40:44 AM »
I just finished reading This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom by Martin Hägglund, who is a Swedish philosopher and Professor of Comparative Literature and Humanities at Yale University. The book was very thought-provoking. One of Hägglund's primary arguments is that the sense of finitude—the sense of the ultimate fragility of everything we care about—is at the heart of what he calls secular faith. To have secular faith is to be devoted to a life that will end and to be dedicated to projects that can fail or break down. From a religious perspective, our finitude is seen as a lamentable condition that ideally should be overcome. What religion offers is something eternal, but he argues convincingly that eternal existence is incompatible with human welfare. If nothing ends, nothing matters.

A religious faith in eternity cannot add anything to the dignity and pathos of mourning; it can only subtract from the mourning by diminishing the sense of loss. This is not to say that avowedly religious people do not mourn. But insofar as they do mourn, their mourning is animated by a secular faith in the irreplaceable value of a finite life rather than by a religious faith in eternity. If you truly believed in the existence of eternity—and in the superior value of eternal life—there would be no reason to mourn the loss of a finite life. Thus, Buddhism teaches that a fully enlightened person is beyond the pain of mourning and loss, having extinguished the desire to hold on to any life that is passing away. The same logic is articulated by the founding figures of Christianity. Saint Augustine forcefully argues against mourning the loss of mortal lives and upon the death of his mother—when he cannot hold back his tears—he condemns his weeping as an act of sin. Martin Luther in his turn declares, upon the death of his daughter Magdalena in 1542, that “I rejoice in the spirit, but sorrow in the flesh,” emphasizing to the congregation after her funeral that “we Christians ought not to mourn.” ...

He goes on to make a point about Christianity that explains why the resurrection of Jesus Christ has never made sense to me on an emotional level.

What the Crucifixion reveals, then, is the emptiness of divine love. The reason God has abandoned his son is that he could never care about him in the first place. It makes no difference to God that his beloved son is tortured and put to death. Curiously enough, he is eternally just the same. Yet the emptiness and meaninglessness of divine love should not lead us to despair. Rather, it should recall us to finitude as the condition for any sense of responsibility and love. Only someone who is finite—only someone who understands what loss means—can care for the beloved. Only someone who is finite can allow the world to matter and only someone who is finite can take responsibility for anyone else. ...

An endless existence would have no horizon of death and could therefore never be the life of a person. The same problem is even more obvious in the case of a timeless eternity. “Even if we can make sense of the idea of a timeless consciousness, such a prospect clearly will not be me,” Collins writes. He continues: No action, no thought, no intentions, aspirations, or memories can be possible without time. With no time to remember anything, let alone to have new experiences, it would be impossible to have any sense of personality, any sense of “who one is.” For this reason such a prospect, although certainly a possible aim for me now, cannot be said to be a form of survival—rather, for me now it is indistinguishable from death.  Buddhism is remarkably honest about this implication of eternal life. Rather than promising that your life will continue, or that you will see your loved ones again, the goal of nirvana is to extinguish your life and your attachments. The aim is not to lead a free life, with the risk of suffering that such a life entails, but to reach the “insight” that personal agency is an illusion and to dissolve in the timelessness of nirvana.

Secular faith embraces finitude.

The most fundamental form of secular faith is the faith that life is worth living, which is intrinsic to all forms of care. In caring about our own lives and the lives of others, we necessarily believe that life is worth living. This is a matter of faith because we cannot prove that life is worth living despite all the suffering it entails. That life is worth living cannot be demonstrated through a logical deduction or rational calculation. Rather, the faith that life is worth living sustains us even when our lives seem to be unbearable or intolerable. Moreover, it is because we believe that life is worth living that our lives can appear as unbearable or intolerable in the first place. If we did not believe that life is worth living, we could not experience our lives either as fulfilling or as unbearable, since we would be indifferent to the quality of our lives and unmoved by anything that happens. ...

The idea that we can be utterly finite and still of ultimate value—an end in ourselves—is unthinkable in Christianity. Yet that is precisely the idea at the heart of liberal thought. The liberal commitment to the ultimate worth of each individual is not dependent on any assumption about the immortality of our souls or the inherent goodness of our nature. Liberalism can acknowledge our finitude, our fallibility, and our corruptibility without regarding these traits as testifying to an original sin or a fallen condition. Rather, our corruptibility and our perfectibility go together. This is why everything is at stake—for better and for worse—in how we lead our lives individually and collectively. Our lives are of ultimate worth not because we are immortal or destined to do good, but because we are capable of leading our lives, which always comes with the risk of doing harm or failing in our pursuits. These risks cannot and should not be eliminated, since they are part of what it means to lead a free life.

Hägglund argues that secular faith has three interrelated aspects, which are inseparable in the dynamic of care but can be distinguished analytically.

First, secular faith is an existential commitment. The faith that life is worth living is not caused by some vital force but is constituted by the commitment to a fragile form of life. ... Second, secular faith is a necessary uncertainty. In being committed to someone or something, I must have faith in the future and in those on whom I depend. I cannot be certain of what others will do, so I have to relate to them on the basis of faith. ... Third, the precariousness of secular faith is a motivational force. In keeping faith with a form of life—whether expressed through the commitment to a person, a project, or a principle—I have to believe that the object of faith is precarious. My commitment to the continued life of someone or something is inseparable from my sense that it cannot be taken for granted.

The argument for secular faith is only one part of this book. He goes on with a detailed critique of religion and capitalism, how they restrict our freedom and fail to sustain our democratic values. He then proposes a form of democratic socialism, one that doesn't merely focus on the redistribution of wealth.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2021, 01:33:29 PM by GSOgymrat »
"Religions are like fireflies. They require darkness in order to shine." - Arthur Schopenhauer

Re: Secular faith
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2021, 10:18:01 AM »
That's a hell of a book!  Great stuff!
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Offline SGOS

Re: Secular faith
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2021, 12:02:57 PM »
What the Crucifixion reveals, then, is the emptiness of divine love. The reason God has abandoned his son is that he could never care about him in the first place. It makes no difference to God that his beloved son is tortured and put to death. Curiously enough, he is eternally just the same.
Wow, this resonates.  I know this misses the point of all his other heady thoughts, but divine love is empty to me, just nada, zip, zero, and it's not just because of my atheism.  Ever since I can remember since I was maybe three years old, the crucifixion and resurrection never meant anything to me, partly because none of it made sense to me (because it actually makes no sense), and it never raised the slightest bit of emotion.  It was just a story from my childhood and was repeated over and over so often that it just became a meaningless drone in my brain.

There was a time in my late teens when I puzzled over the logic of killing your own son to save the world's population from its sins. How does that work?  It seems pointless (empty if you will).  So I asked this old Church Lady, who was almost exactly like the one on SNL years ago, and she explained it to me.  You see, before Christ was born, the ancients would make sacrificial slaughters to the gods.  It could be goats or sheep, or as directed by the Lord in the Old Testament, it could be your first born child.  Virgins were also appropriate.  She explained that God changed his mind and to rid the world of such brutality, he would make the ultimate and final sacrifice of his own flesh and blood that would save the world, and make ritual slaughter obsolete.

I remember being satisfied with that, because it made sense... for about 10 seconds, when I had one of those, "Hey wait a minute" moments and I realized her explanation didn't make any more sense than the ancient sacrifices did in the first place.  It was just a stupid act to replace the stupid acts of the ancients.  The ancients were scientifically ignorant.  Sacrifices were done because they were ill informed.  God didn't have to kill his only son.  He could have told the ancients, "Look, Guys, I don't want you to do that anymore.  It's stupid and accomplishes nothing.  What the fuck would I do with a dead goat anyway?  Do you people even have a brain in your collective heads?" 

It's like God thought the only way to stop the brutality was to play to idiocy of the ancients.  The only way that makes sense is when I later accepted that the whole god narrative wasn't God speaking to stupid people.  It was stupid people designing a god that made sense to them.  And that became the god of the Bible.

Sorry, I don't want to derail the thread.  There's plenty of reasonable thoughts to chew on in the OP.  But every once in a while, something comes along that just gets me going.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2021, 01:56:13 PM by SGOS »

Re: Secular faith
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2021, 01:01:30 PM »
Wow, this resonates.  I know this misses the point of all his other heady thoughts, but divine love is empty to me, just nada, zip, zero, and it's not just because of my atheism.  Ever since I can remember since I was maybe three years old, the crucifixion and resurrection never meant anything to me, partly because none of it made sense to me (because it actually makes no sense), and it never raised the slightest bit emotion.  It was just a story from my childhood and was repeated over and over so often that it just became a meaningless drone in my brain.

If God was real, the death of Jesus Christ would be similar to the death of your avatar in a videogame that you designed yourself. There is nothing at stake in such a situation.

Ironically, the death of Jesus Christ only matters if he wasn't actually divine.

Rather than celebrate his death as a pathway to heaven, we should recognize that Jesus died, as every beloved has always died, with no afterlife apart from those who cared to remember him. To behold the death of Jesus in this way is to acknowledge that every life, even the life of the most beloved, ends in death. The death of the beloved is irrevocable—it is a loss that cannot be recuperated—since there is no life other than this life. From a Christian perspective, this is the most devastating scenario. “If there is no resurrection of the dead,” Paul writes in his First Letter to the Corinthians, “and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain” (1 Cor. 15:13–14). Indeed, Paul emphasizes that “if for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:19). If there is no life other than this life—a life that ends in death—then life is vain and futile, according to Paul. All that is left is to “eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Cor. 15:32).

Yet Paul’s conclusion is the wrong one. That life ends in death does not entail that our long-term commitments are futile, leaving us only with the physical pleasures of eating and drinking in the time that remains. On the contrary, the peril of death is an intrinsic part of why it matters what we do and why it matters that we devote ourselves to someone or something living on beyond ourselves. We have to take care of one another because we can die, we have to fight for what we believe in because it lives only through our sustained effort, and we have to be concerned with what will be passed on to coming generations because the future is not certain. This is the double movement of secular faith. You run ahead into the risk of irrevocable death—you acknowledge that everything will be lost—and yet you are resolved to make the most of the time that is given. You see that even the most beloved will die—that he actually can perish, that his life irrevocably can come apart—and yet you maintain your love for him. You see that death is utter darkness and yet you seek to maintain the light that will be extinguished.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2021, 01:04:07 PM by GSOgymrat »
"Religions are like fireflies. They require darkness in order to shine." - Arthur Schopenhauer

Re: Secular faith
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2021, 02:16:14 PM »
Exactly when during our evolution did we graduate to be heaven worthy?

Some sort of demarcation. Unless a believer thinks all living things qualify. Nah.

Re: Secular faith
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2021, 02:51:52 PM »
Exactly when during our evolution did we graduate to be heaven worthy?

You lost them at "our evolution".
"Religions are like fireflies. They require darkness in order to shine." - Arthur Schopenhauer

Offline drunkenshoe

Re: Secular faith
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2021, 08:28:34 AM »
I have been taken to a small conference given by a moritician in Brooklyn Death Museum 5-6 years ago. She has trained as a traditional moritician, she explored many different cultural funeral rites and she illustrates this problem of not being able to mourn, the fake sense of 'immortality' related to capitalism in American culture from the perspective of very elaborated preparation of the dead body to be buried. It was very interesting esp. because she has been in the business.

Well, this idea presented in the book is ancient, and the message is good. However, I don't think it is related to philosophy or some spiritual understanding within. He is describing the ultimate enlightenment a human being can achieve. Theory is fine, is it doable? Under what circumstances?

As I have expressed before, I have strong prejudices against Buddhist teachings. Because first of all the whole system works fine and all this becomes doable as an 'import' culture in high Western communities in contrast with Abrahamic religions and their capitalist base. Because buddhist teachings are treated as some sort of high concept rehabilitation or self help programs for people who actually live in relatively free-developed environments. Having said that I wouldn't be surprised if somebody living in India, found a path to the same enlightenment and peace through some imported form of Christianity because, again in contrast with the main culture it would provide him some different space of balance. You get where I'm going with this?

The second thing is, all the things counted above, inlcuding our perception of time change according to our physical environment, the region of the world, the culture we grow up and live in.

I have just looked in Martin Hägglund's wiki page. Did you see his picture? Looking like that, this man is born in Sweeden, he is a professor in Yale and also has Harvard fellowship and has won awards. I'm in no way trying to put him or his contributions down. It's not my place anyay. It's beautiful, makes sense...etc. But that's the fucking problem. I'm pointing these things about him, because pulled down to reality, a man or a woman born and living in far corners in Asia under buddhist teaching is facing abhorrent form of lives regardless of the accumulation of ancient knowledge. And if one day, all the world becomes 'buddhist' in enlightenment, the same problem would remain and people would try to inject some Abrahamic notions to the system to create the same space.

The reason why people feel safe and happy with organised religons is becaue our economical and political system is based on it. And only an individual living in that system reaching to a point develops the need to embrace these teachings. That's why I'm saying it gets treated like a rehabilitation program. And suddenly it becomes like a remedy after an illness. The worst part is the indivdual almost always has some sort of a self developed consciousness, elightenment beforehand. The rest finds the same 'peace' in organised religions. The made up infinite as opposed to the undeniable finitude, in this case just at the other side of the circle, a step away.

Going back to the moritician lady, the value you put on your posessions you have, the way you see yourself, your life, your identity... is hidden in how you treat your dead. In the old world, dead is layed out in the open so people would be sure the person is dead, mourn. In modern times, dressing and making up a corpse, embalming, in some cases mumfying, putting it in an expensive coffin is about denying death. The process delayes decompsoition to begin with. It's trying to be immortal.

If you live with the belief that you are entitled to have everything you can that is the place you end up with. But then going back to some buddhist teaching works because of this. So I have difficulty to tie the main point to some philosophical thought and some 'spiritual' enlightenment that comes with it. We, humans, don't work that way.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2021, 08:52:24 AM by drunkenshoe »
"I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are good people and bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides." Havelock Vetinari

Re: Secular faith
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2021, 08:51:08 AM »
Look at it like my sweetheart does. After you die here, maybe there is someone moving fast enough and in the right direction to whom you are still alive.

Offline drunkenshoe

Re: Secular faith
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2021, 08:57:10 AM »
:lol: Is he/she a quantum physicist?
"I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are good people and bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides." Havelock Vetinari

Offline SGOS

Re: Secular faith
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2021, 09:03:06 AM »
Well, this idea presented in the book is ancient, and the message is good. However, I don't think it is related philosophy or some spiritual understanding within. He is describing the ultimate enlightenment a human being can achieve. Theory is fine, is it doable? Under what circumstances?

As I have expressed before, I have strong prejudices against Buddhist teachings. Because first of all the whole system works fine and all this becomes doable as an 'import' culture in high Western communities
One of the passions I've had in life is introspection and self learning, and this requires some concentration and meditation like processes.  I guess I could describe it as one path to self fulfillment, but I hate that description because it sounds new age and hip.  It's also somewhat meaningless because "meditation" has so many different meanings to different people and usually evokes some kind of spiritual sounding endeavor, but learning about your inner self is not spiritual.  Well it's not to me because I reject any concept of spirituality, and when someone says they are spiritual but not religious, I'm about ready to thrown in the towel on further discussion, because I don't have a clue what they are trying to say.

That being said, I have a vague interest in the meditation aspects of Buddhist teachings.  I think there might be something of value there, but if it starts to imply this is a spiritual process, I'm out.  But I would like to know more about what it is they do.

In hoping to get some insight, I read a book by Sam Harris called "Waking Up: A guide to Spirituality Without Religion."  Turns out Harris has gone "Eastern" on us and went to someplace in the far east to hob nob with the gurus, and he came back all excited and on a pink cloud.  But frankly, I thought the book was Harris at his worst.  I was well past 3/4 of the book, and couldn't take any more.  It seemed flaky because like most spirituality, it was too vague for a nuts and bolts person to sink his teeth in.  Yeah, I get that Harris was turned on and wound up in something, but he really couldn't describe it any differently than the newly saved Christian or Muslim who visits this forum and wants to express his deep love of the supernatural.

And that was Sam Harris, who should be my guy, discussing my professional field.

Re: Secular faith
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2021, 09:07:12 AM »
Well, this idea presented in the book is ancient, and the message is good. However, I don't think it is related philosophy or some spiritual understanding within. He is describing the ultimate enlightenment a human being can achieve. Theory is fine, is it doable? Under what circumstances?

I can't convey everything he explains in the book but I think he is arguing against ultimate enlightenment. He is explicitly against utopian thinking. The spiritual faith that he concedes is the belief that human life is worth living and that the continuation of humanity as a species is of intrinsical value. This belief can't be reached through logical deduction, it's an act of faith. He believes the human experience will always involve suffering, conflicts, achievements, and setbacks. Behaving as if this life were merely a stepping stone to something eternal causes more problems than it solves.

As I have expressed before, I have strong prejudices against Buddhist teachings. Because first of all the whole system works fine and all this becomes doable as an 'import' culture in high Western communities in contrast with Abrahamic religions and their capitalist base. Because buddhist teachings are treated as some sort of high concept rehabilitation or self help programs for people who actually live in relatively free-developed environments. Having said that I wouldn't be surprised if somebody living in India, found a path to the same enlightenment and peace through some imported form of Christianity because, again in contrast with the main culture it would provide him some different space of balance. You get where I'm going with this?

The second thing is, all the things counted above, inlcuding our perception of time change according to our physical environment, the region of the world, the culture we grow up and live in.

My issue with Buddism is the same as Martin Hägglund's: While meditation and learning the nature of one's mind through introspection is valuable, Buddhist religion's ultimate goal is to remove oneself from the world and embrace total apathy.

The Dalai Lama summed it up perfectly when asked how a Buddhist—for whom the finite world is an illusion and who seeks to be detached from everything that passes away—can be worried about our current ecological crisis. “A Buddhist would say it doesn’t matter,” the Dalai Lama replied. This may seem surprising, since Buddhist ethics famously advocates a peaceful relation to nature and all living beings. Yet Buddhist ethics is not motivated by a concern for nature or living beings as ends in themselves. Rather, the motivation is to be released from karma, with the aim of being released from life altogether and helping others to reach the same end. The goal of Buddhism is not for anyone to live on—or for the Earth itself to live on—but to attain the state of nirvana, where nothing matters.
"Religions are like fireflies. They require darkness in order to shine." - Arthur Schopenhauer

Re: Secular faith
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2021, 09:28:21 AM »
One of the passions I've had in life is introspection and self learning, and this requires some concentration and meditation like processes.  I guess I could describe it as one path to self fulfillment, but I hate that description because it sounds new age and hip.  It's also somewhat meaningless because "meditation" has so many different meanings to different people and usually evokes some kind of spiritual sounding endeavor, but learning about your inner self is not spiritual.  Well it's not to me because I reject any concept of spirituality, and when someone says they are spiritual but not religious, I'm about ready to thrown in the towel on further discussion, because I don't have a clue what they are trying to say.

I find meditation valuable and extract the practice from its Buddhist roots. I look at everything as ideas and if I find the idea valuable I appropriate it and if I don't I reject it-- like a Borg! I think Christianity is wrong but I enjoy Christmas carols.

"Spiritual" is a word that I have prejudices against but I've learned that I miss out on some good ideas if I dismiss things described as spiritual out of hand. So I listen and determine what the person means by spiritual because sometimes it has nothing to do with the supernatural or woo. There was a time when I wouldn't have read This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom simply because of the title.
"Religions are like fireflies. They require darkness in order to shine." - Arthur Schopenhauer

Re: Secular faith
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2021, 10:10:21 AM »
I really do like the message of this book.  I'll have to read it.  It reminds me a bit of this quote from Joseph Campbell:

“If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”
In hindsight I see how this works in my life.  For most of the first half of my life I was trying to figure out how to get people to like me.  I finally realized that that wasn't working.  So I began a search for how to get me to like me.  I slowly learned how to get me, myself, and I on the same page and on what I wanted; I now find I am happy being with just me, myself and I.  And I also slowly got in touch with what my 'bliss' was, and slowly found the courage to attempt to follow it. 

I also learned from Unity (a form of individual christianity) to accept the terms 'divinity' and 'spirituality'.  Divinity, to me, has not a thing to do with religion, god, or any other form of woo.  It is simply a code word that suggests we all have a divine spark--or bliss--that is unique to you; your job is to find it and then follow it.  If painting feeds your 'soul', another code word for what is inside you and what drives you, then paint.  Or draw, or read, or walk or ...............whatever most deeply satisfies you and gives you energy and strength.  I understand 'spirituality' and 'bliss' to be almost the same.  It is totally unique to you and it takes time and effort to tap into it.  Finding your bliss is not about just one thing; bliss can be, and is for me, not one thing or activity.  It is a range of things, and my ongoing task is to simply find what gives me energy to go forward; it takes courage and it takes being able to break whatever mold one has cast for oneself. 
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Offline drunkenshoe

Re: Secular faith
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2021, 10:32:55 AM »
One of the passions I've had in life is introspection and self learning, and this requires some concentration and meditation like processes.  I guess I could describe it as one path to self fulfillment, but I hate that description because it sounds new age and hip.  It's also somewhat meaningless because "meditation" has so many different meanings to different people and usually evokes some kind of spiritual sounding endeavor, but learning about your inner self is not spiritual.  Well it's not to me because I reject any concept of spirituality, and when someone says they are spiritual but not religious, I'm about ready to thrown in the towel on further discussion, because I don't have a clue what they are trying to say.

That being said, I have a vague interest in the meditation aspects of Buddhist teachings.  I think there might be something of value there, but if it starts to imply this is a spiritual process, I'm out.  But I would like to know more about what it is they do.

Pretty much what I feel. To be honest the word 'spiritual' triggers me sometimes like all the other vague, joker terms. We have the same problem with a similar word in my mother language. People keep throwing it the way like they like it, and then when you cap it, you are accused of semantics and even linguistic determinism. :lol:

Meditation is probably older than any religion. Actually, I dare say if we could go back in time I think we would find it in poetry in the purest form instead of some belief.

[I don't care for Sam Harris. That man is the perfect example of celebration of mediocrity in the US for me. (It doesn't surprise me he had a Eastern Wisdom phase, :lol: ) I feel similar about Hitchens, but overall he has more value. But bottom line, besides that they haven't contributed anything to my personal growth, both of them are ultimately right wing and these figures being treated as some sort of 'prophets' and  'genius' figures by the young masses pains me.

Frankly, their greatest contribution to my thought process was helping me realise that British and American cultures are severaly cut off from the main world cultures, how closed they are, how easily manipulated they are in mass scale compared to other cultures (language, they do not pay attention to anything but their own because of their overestimated identity), how pushed out of the basic concepts; the partisan dynamics, and ironically enough, how New Atheism actually, really worked but ended up reducing these figures into a couple of right wing atheist prophets and aided events like Brexit and someone like Trump to be elected as president. Everybody is looking at this picture, it is all in the open with all its nakedness, but nobody wants to see it. The autocensorship attached to American identity is fascinating to me. I think Dawkins is the only figure I respect from that lot. I know there is a lot to unpack here but this is giving me a headache, just wanted to take it off my chest.]
« Last Edit: January 27, 2021, 10:48:17 AM by drunkenshoe »
"I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are good people and bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides." Havelock Vetinari

Offline drunkenshoe

Re: Secular faith
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2021, 10:43:57 AM »
I can't convey everything he explains in the book but I think he is arguing against ultimate enlightenment. He is explicitly against utopian thinking. The spiritual faith that he concedes is the belief that human life is worth living and that the continuation of humanity as a species is of intrinsical value. This belief can't be reached through logical deduction, it's an act of faith. He believes the human experience will always involve suffering, conflicts, achievements, and setbacks. Behaving as if this life were merely a stepping stone to something eternal causes more problems than it solves.

OK. But if you offer an understanding in universal terms as a solution as opposed to another in symmetry (finitude as opposed to the eternal soul), you are pointing out some sort of a possible utopia. That's why I am saying it is doable? The bolded part is exactly how religions define the existance and neccessity of evil and so 'sin'. Because 'without evil there is no good'. I mean it automatically falls down to that category, because it is a stipulation.

Quote
My issue with Buddism is the same as Martin Hägglund's: While meditation and learning the nature of one's mind through introspection is valuable, Buddhist religion's ultimate goal is to remove oneself from the world and embrace total apathy.

Agreed. It's actually like rejecting all emotions which in the end the most emotional reaction you could give. And it is not possible in positive terms. Apathy is one of those terms paradoxical in itself. Everyday, the scientist in the field adds more on how emotion and empathy are closely related to human intelligence.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2021, 10:50:24 AM by drunkenshoe »
"I believe you find life such a problem because you think there are good people and bad people. You're wrong, of course. There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides." Havelock Vetinari