Issue 23, November 2002
This newsletter is unashamedly devoted to truth, genius and wisdom, which, of course, makes it totally anachronistic and out-of-fashion. Some people even go so far as to call it "medieval" in nature. The truths that it points to are subtle, profound and hard to discern. They aren't the sort of truths that you can hold out in front of everyone, as you can a scientific result or a mathematical proof. Rather, they are like beautiful diamonds that are buried deep within the mind. Much personal digging is required if you want to cash in on this wonderful treasure. But sadly, most people are too afraid to dig, lest their whole minds cave in. And so this newsletter is really only for the courageous few. Let the morons endlessly prattle on about how these inner diamonds don't exist. It is their loss, not yours. Let them revel in their poverty. What does it matter to you? You are a fine young explorer of the spirit! May you go all the way with your explorations. May you succeed where others fear to tread!
Welcome to Genius News.
The -[- symbol will return you to this contents table from each major section.
Orlando: I can't believe this.
There is no such truth as the Ultimate Truth. It's a figment of
your imagination. A chimera that some philosophers are bored and
vain enough to pursue. You want the ultimate truth? Here it is, I
give it to you :You are a multicellular organism that exist
because on this planet it looks like matter was able to organize
itself into what we call life. It's probably a freak accident in
the whole universe, it's insignificant, it might not happen again
here or in another world. Even what you call consciousness might
not be what you think it is. You're just a particular arrangement
of molecules according to a particular blueprint.
David Quinn: The obvious problem with this is that, having just dismissed the notion that Ultimate Truth exists, you then proceed to give your own version of it.
Phillippe Orlando: No, it's not absolute truth. It's 2002 human knowledge.
David Quinn: Regardless of whether it is 2002 knowledge or not, you're still trying to make an absolute case out of it. Your treatment of the concept of Ultimate Truth lacks tentativeness and open-mindedness.
In the end, you are wanting it both ways. On the one hand, you want the human intellect to be too limited and insignificant to comprehend anything, and then suddenly, you want this limitation to be temporarily by-passed so that you can peer into the very fabric of Reality and determine the precise place of human consciousness! The contradiction here is an absolute doozy. A Christian would be proud of it.
I actually agree with the idea that we are an insignificent organism on an insignificent planet, and that our coming into existence was nothing more than an accident of circumstances. We came into existence in the same way that a cloud in the sky comes into existence - as a result of causal circumstances. There was no rhyme or reason for it. We were just caused.
But this doesn't automatically mean that we cannot comprehend Ultimate Truth. As a result of the accidental causes that brought us into being, we developed, among other things, a highly-abstract consciousness and an ability to reason - which are basically the only tools we need to become enlightened.
Phillippe Orlando: Still I have no idea what you're pursuing when you talk about ultimate truth. Sound very much like looking for God to me or looking for a meaning in what's out there. I'd say, a christian could be proud of it.
David Quinn: It has nothing to do with God or meaning. In fact, they are amongst the many delusions that one has to discard before one can understand Truth. Whereas you see me as some sort of religious person, religious people themselves tend to see me as an atheist or a nihilist. However, in reality, I am none of these things.
The term "Ultimate Truth" simply stands for what Nature really is, as opposed to what ignorant people deludedly imagine it to be. It is what the mind sees when its perception is no longer being distorted by delusions. It is the very fruition of a rational existence.
Phillippe Orlando: Absolute truth can't exist and is unattainable simply because, as you formulated it, it is what the mind could see after all the " trash" has been discarded. Why do you suppose your mind and/or the human mind in general is the ultimate tool to perceive an hypothetical ultimate truth? You're still going to see and perceive through that imperfect tool. It's not going to be absolute truth, but some kind, another kind of human truth.
David Quinn: If it truly wase the case that the mind is an inherently imperfect tool, then what are we to make of your questions here? Are they not trash as well? Shouldn't we just ignore them?
Again, you are wanting it both ways. You want the mind to be an imperfect tool at all times, and yet, at the same time, you want to temporarily bypass this imperfection in order to formulate (what you believe are) clear-sighted questions.
To be honest, I don't think you've thought about this issue very deeply. You seem to have just swallowed the garbage of post-modernism wholesale.
Stone: In Quinn I truly sense a
person who is slowly tapping into memories of who and what he was
before he came into this world. It is indeed like seeing through
a thick fog of thought and latching onto whatever is most clear.
David Quinn: It is true that an enlightened person regains his memory of his entire infinite past - although he sometimes forgets the odd detail.
"Concentrate your thoughts for a moment and avoid thinking in terms of good and evil. While you are not thinking of good, and not thinking of evil, just at this very moment, return to what you were before your father and mother were born. " - Zen teaching
Joshua Stone: There are those within Zen circles who would state that unless they personally qualify a person as having passed the stage of being enlightened they are not officially enlightened. Must we all be in agreement that Quinn is officially functioning within the state of enlightened genius for it to be true? Must I have your official approval in order to actually be enlightened?
David Quinn: What would it matter if I gave you my official approval or not? You would have to be enlightened yourself in order to discern whether my approval was worth anything to begin with - in which case, you wouldn't need my approval.
This is the fundamental flaw of the entire system of Zen certification.
- Beyond Empirical Uncertainty -
By Dan Rowden
It's been said many a time - even
by me - that empirical matters are always contingent and
uncertain, but is this always the case? As useful an idea as it
can be in terms of breaking down attachments to false thinking,
it is, itself, not entirely true. There is always uncertainty
when we draw inferences as to what a certain thing we're
experiencing actually is - for example, I may perceive a haze in
the distance which I deem to be water, only to find that it is
something else, or the girl I see crossing the street, whom I
presume to be flesh and blood, may in fact be a hologram of some
kind. That element of uncertainty exists in any given situation
when we draw an inference as to what any given thing is.
However, we tend to extent this notion of empirical uncertainty
to all of our empirical models (models of causal relation) but
this is not ultimately valid. These models of causation are, in
fact, never uncertain. Why? Because like the definitions we
create, they too are something we create. How can there
be uncertainty in what we have created?
The reason we ascribe uncertainty to our empirical models of causation is because we can always say there could be factors that we are not taking into account in building our model. Whilst this seems reasonable it actually rests on the unstated assumption, a false assumption, that a complete model can exist. But this just isn't so. No complete model of causation with respect to any thing or state can exist. The only sufficient cause of any given thing is Reality itself and Reality is not something that can be modeled. No model can be complete because any such model has to have causes for itself, which are necessarily factors in why a thing or state is what it is (another way of saying that no finite thing can be its own cause or explanation). When we create an empirical theory we always place arbitrary boundaries around it and pretend that the model is whole in itself. But naturally, it isn't; we're just shutting our minds off to related factors because those related factors may not be necessary to the functionality of the model, to its utility in some practical context. Philosophically, however, we can come to understand that no empirical model whatsoever can or should be thought of as a contingent version of a full and complete model of Reality. To refer to any empirical modeling of the world as uncertain is to imply the possibility of a certain and complete model, which is something we can never have. Therefore, applying the term "uncertain" to such things is to commit an error of thought. What would certainty in relation to an empirical model mean? That we had included all possible factors? But that idea is laughable, for not only can we say that we can never know that we have done so, we can, more significantly, say that we can never do so. The reason for that, again, is that no finite thing can exist of itself - it requires that which demarcates it to give it identity and existence (form), and this is a dynamical fact of Reality that is necessarily infinite in scope (and is the reason we may rightly say that existence is infinite).
Since certainty is not a notion
that can be meaningfully attributed to such empirical
perspectives, neither is uncertainty.
Certainty and uncertainty are no more applicable to empirical models than the terms true and false are applicable to the definitions we create. Like definitions, the empirical models we create are either useful or not; they either have utility for some purpose or other or they do not; if not, we can categorise them as bad models, but they are never true or false, certain or uncertain. When we grant these creations of the mind the quality of uncertainty, we imply the existence of an objective reality, one which we are attempting to accurately model or reflect, but no such objective reality exists. We are merely creatively carving up an infinitely carvable Reality according to the whims of the qualities of our consciousness. That's the real problem: the belief that such an objective reality exists and that we are somehow reflecting it more and more accurately with our theories and models of causal relation. We think we are discovering the world, when all we are really doing is creating it; what we are doing is modeling our own consciousness - projecting it out into the cosmos and deluding ourselves that we are unraveling the mysteries of existence.
How much more utility would our scientific endeavours have if we adopted a more creative rather than interpretive approach? If we started to look forward instead of constantly looking back? If we resolved to build a future for ourselves instead of constantly attempting to invent a history for ourselves? Globally, we spend billions of dollars on cosmology, archeology, the various fields of evolution and so forth and yet we spend a veritable pittance on disease research, sustainable forms of power and resource production, not to mention trivial incidentals like the pursuit of wisdom - all because we are obsessed with the false belief that we can model the world accurately, on the basis of the delusion of an objective reality and that if a model "works" it must reflect that reality faithfully. We vainly attempt to "find" ourselves in Nature all the while oblivious to the irony that our "selves" are actually there in everything we find - creating it!
Both our understanding of ourselves and the utility of science would gain a great boost if we could get our minds around the difference between discovery and invention.
Greg Shantz: Can someone explain this?: I think I may have
experienced it for a few moments a couple of times during the
past month. It's very difficult to maintain, but it seems like
you're not really thinking about anything, but you're sort of
hyper-conscious and I dunno...everything you see seems ...ahhh...I
can't explain it properly. There's a feeling that everything is
'one,' but it's not a feeling, it's more a 'knowing.' Can anyone
who's experienced this state give their own description of it,
David Quinn: What you experienced sounds more like an altered state of consciousness to me, or what is sometimes called a "peak experience". This is a powerful state of consciousness in which the mind gains temporary insight into the nature of Reality. These experiences do not constitute enlightenment itself, but are part of the path to enlightenment. They occur when ordinary consciousness suddenly opens up towards enlightenment, but doesn't quite reach it as there is still too much ego weighing the mind down. But these experiences can be truly amazing at times and people often mistake them for the highest there is.
To use Buddhist language, they either fall into the general category of "samadhi" (which stands for any altered state of consciousness that appears to have a spiritual dimension to it) or the more specific category of "satori" (altered states that have a high intellectual component to them and thus provide insight into the nature of Emptiness).
Although enlightenment has a connection to satori, it is on another level entirely. It is something that literally transcends all states of consciousness and yet is experienced by the enlightened person in all forms of consciousness. It is also unmistakable. You'll know it when you've become enlightened because your reasoning and clarity of mind will be at their peak. There will be no need to seek advice or confirmation from others.
Also, in reference to your asking for other people's descriptions of their experiences, keep in mind that no two altered states are exactly alike. Each has its own particular characteristics and form which are determined by all sorts of things - e.g. the very structure of the brain, the way it constructs concepts and memories, what books one has been recently reading, one's mood prior to going into the experience, the level of one's overall philosophic development, etc. They all combine together to produce an infinite variety of altered states.
Some of my most memorable experiences involved the perception of the complete unreality of the universe as it dissolved into a sea of inward unity. These were powerful experiences because the unreality of the world was so utterly convincing. It seemed as though my entire life as a human being here on earth was nothing more than momentary distraction from the real business of existence - which was to frolick in God's timelessness. I don't know if this resonates with you in any way, Greg. It matters little if doesn't.
Greg Shantz: No, I know what you mean. It's like this profound sense of having discovered something true, and then wondering how to sustain it in everyday affairs, which seem filled with false meaning, and how to go back into the world like that. Do you look the same to people? Or do you look like an alien? Will they want to lock you up? These were the things I wondered about.
David Quinn: If you truly behaved under the perception that utterly everything was unreal, including your own life, then your behaviour will certainly seem strange to others. For it will no longer be constricted by the same fears and anxieties that constrict everyone else's behaviour. And should you be persecuted and locked up for your behaviour, it wouldn't really matter to you - due to the fact that you are perceiving the unreality of everything.
However, I want to emphasize again that enlightenment isn't directly linked to altered states of consciousness, and that it is the sign of a truly enlightened person when he is able to perceive the nature of God in ordinary, everyday consciousness.
Quinn: The most interesting
ultimate truth is Ultimate Truth - that is, the core truth about
all existence. This is a truth which lies beyond science and
religion, and can only be understood by the individual mind in a
state of heightened rationality. It is something that can only be
experienced and understood when one explores the logical
implications of the fact that all things lack inherent existence.
Such exploration, of course, is absolutely devastating to one's existence as a human being, which is why the human race avoids it like the plague.
Gary McCullough: Earlier you said that it's obvious we can have certainty about all sorts of things. Now it sounds like the hardest thing imaginable. So, the ultimate truth is that there is ultimate truth? No kidding? And this is devastating?
David Quinn: No, the actual content of Ultimate truth is devastating - at least for those who have a conscience.
As I mentioned above, it is only uncovered when one comprehends the fact that all things lack inherent existence and pushes the logical implications of this all the way. This is devastating because it brings your entire being into the equation. The realization that one's existence isn't ultimately real is not only earth-shattering and profound, but it is also pregnant with lethal implications. The more these implications are taken on board, the more drastically one's life changes.
Rhett: This sounds very Zen. What are the 'lethal' implications?
David Quinn: The erosion of the basis of what humans normally call "life". When a person realizes with enlightened insight that nothing really exists, he finds that he can no longer partake in the roller-coaster ride of gain and loss, success and failure, victory and defeat, love and hate, etc - that is, in the things that form the backbone of ordinary human life. From the conventional point of view, he enters a kind of living death.
Rhett: What have been the drastic changes in your life?
David Quinn: The changes are too numerous to mention, but they can be summed up in one sentence: I've been fatally wounded by God.
"There are forms of logic I can't think."
Stone: I found out from my near-death
experiences that there is indeed a God who created everything.
David Quinn: I once knew someone who had a near-death experience in which he realized, with the utmost clarity, that God didn't exist. No joke. Because of the experience, he literally became a born-again atheist.
Since you both can't be right, it follows that at least one of you must have hallucinated badly during the experience. Which one? Maybe both?
Either way, it re-affirms the basic truth that insights garnered in near-death experiences are unreliable.
Joshua Stone: I own and have studied many books on near-death experiences and never remember reading any near-death experience where the person having the near-death experience became convinced that there is no God. Search into the matter and see for yourself.
David Quinn: The fellow that I was talking about was someone I knew in my personal life. He went into a powerful altered state of consciousness during the course of a car accident. Time slowed down and everything suddenly seemed extremely vivid and distinct. As the car crash unfolded, his mind reflected upon the chain of events that led him to the precise moment of where he was - about to die in the middle of a car crash - and in that instance he realized with the utmost clarity that there was no room for a God in the Universe. He saw that everything unfolded naturally in accordance with cause and effect, and that was all there was. From that moment forward, he never believed in God again.
Joshua Stone: If you are wise, Quinn, you will weigh what happened to that one person against the incredible multitude of others who have had near-death experiences before you conclude there is no God. The bulk of the near-death evidence weighs against your friend and the final conclusions he came to based upon what he experienced in his car crash and that is a fact.
David Quinn: This disparity can be easily explained. You touched on it yourself when you wrote:
"So far it generally seems that what a person experiences during the near-death experience depends largely upon what deep-seated inner beliefs that person holds as true within the subconscious."
Most people are very shallow in their outlook and rarely philosophize with any skill or depth. They just absorb the myths of their culture like a sponge and never bother to challenge them deeply and thoroughly eliminate their influence from their minds. Even staunch atheists in a Christian culture rarely succeed in removing all Christain influence from the depths of their being.
When a person enters a near-death experience, or a powereful altered state of cosnciousness, they bring with them all the baggage of their unchallenged beliefs. The power and mystery of the altered state overwhelms them and, in an effort to cope with the situation, their Christian baggage kicks in and they immediately start interpreting the experience as an experience of God. It is just their ego's way of trying to slot the experience into a category so that it can feel in control of it to some degree.
Add to this the fact that most people want to believe in a God in order to make their lives more special and meaningful, and you have the perfect recipe for the mass delusion that you describe in your posts.
Joshua Stone: How about we turn this scenario around. Lets say that the bulk of all combined near-death experiences reveal the same basic conclusion that your friend came to. Then you come across a friend who says he had a near-death experience and it was revealed to him that there is a God. Would you disregard everything in the bulk of all the other near-death experiences where people come to the unanimous conclusion that there is no God in favor of that one singular experience? Well, that is what you are doing, Quinn, whether you realize it or not!
David Quinn: Yes, I would, for the simple reason that insights gained in altered states are unreliable. In the end, I only accept something as true if it can be 100% validated by reason.
Dan Rowden: Bottom line: it is pure supposition (and probably wishful thinking) that so-called NDEs have anything to do with death. At best they have something to do with near death (which is by definition an experience within life) - but that is not death and I see no reason whatever to extrapolate from such experiences to suppositions about what death is like.
But most importantly they have no real philosophic significance whatever. They are yet one more playground for New Age types who appear to have all sorts of better things to do than actually think.
|If time is
the less you work the
more wealthy you are.
Why234: It is quite absurd to expunge emotion completely
considering that we are mere mortals, innately gifted with
David Quinn: Yes, emotions have certainly been given to us by evolution and they have been useful for our survival in the past. It helps to be emotional when you want to wipe out the competition. But I contend that not only are the emotions no longer useful, but that they can be eliminated via a process of philosophical development. In fact, I contend that we are morally obligated towards future generations to eliminate them.
Leyla: Yes, we are. But then, nobody would be having sex and there would be no future generations. Is that the ultimate goal for others from the sages perspective?
David Quinn: If their primary goal is the survival of wisdom (and it is highly likely that it would be), then the survival of abstract consciousness would automatically become an important goal, which means they would have a vested interest in seeing the human race continue.
Leyla: Friends, Romans, countrymen; lend me your fears: I say again, albeit somewhat differently, that there are positive emotional states and uses of emotion--especially toward the goal of enlightenment--just as there are negative ones.
David Quinn: I agree that, in the beginning stages at least, emotion can be an important driving force towards enlightenment. A beginner certainly cannot get anywhere if he isn't consumed by a passion for Truth. But as I've mentioned elsewhere, there comes a point in a thinker's development where he begins to pierce the very illusions which trigger the emotions - namely, the illusions of self-existence.
If you remove all the flammable material from a certain area, then fire can no longer arise in that area. Similarly, if you remove the illusions of self-existence from your mind, then emotion can no longer arise - which is a very liberating experience. It's a bit like the murkiness of an overcast morning breaking up and clearing to reveal a glorious sunny afternoon.
Leyla: Is there no emotion involved with the experience of this revelation? Perhaps...elation? Serenity? Exhiliration?
David Quinn: In the earlier stages of the path, there is. When a person gains genuine insight into the Reality for the first time there is exhilaration, astonishment and fantastic joy. And sometimes, when the insight is not quite perfect and the ego's concern for its own security has been aroused, there can be the reverse - namely, great anxiety and fear. But all of these emotions begin to fade away over time as the individual gradually discards the conceptual framework which embeds the ego.
Logothing: Please explain what the illusions of self-existance are.. I am intrigued.
David Quinn: The belief that one's self ultimately or independently exists, that it possesses inherent significance and value, that it possesses free will, that it is anything other than an intangible conceptual construct of the moment.
This creates other kinds of illusions such as the belief that one came into existence at some point in the past and will one day disappear again, that there is life and death, that there are things in the world to overcome and things to be feared, that fortresses have to be created in order to protect the self, and so on - which in turn gives rise to the deluded emotions of anger, pride, guilt, happiness, etc.
JoshuaStone: I am inspired to view it as quite curious the way you flippantly use the term perfect. In order for you to use that term the way you do it would seem that you are privy to what actually is perfect. So tell us all, just exactly what in this three-dimensional world is perfect?
David Quinn: The word "perfect" can be used in different ways. For example, we can say that all things are "perfect" in that they are direct manifestions of Reality. Even flaws in objects are direct manifestations of Reality and therefore perfect.
In a psychological sense, a person reaches "perfection" when he no longer experiences delusion. That is to say, all imperfections of thought have vanished from his mind. Such a person is able to dwell in enlightenment effortlessly, permanently and without interruption.
- Teen arrested after pulling a starter gun in attempted porn rental -
870/1470 AM and 106.7 FM
WATERBORO -- State police say a 14-year-old wearing a Halloween mask pulled a gun -- a starter gun -- on a store clerk who refused to rent him X-rated movies.
It happened Monday at action video on Route 202 in Waterboro. Police say the clerk thought the gun was real and ran out of the building in a panic. So did the boy, who was arrested a short time later. He now faces a felony charge of attempted robbery.
Comment: If this story is not indicative of the decadence and decay of American culture I don't know what is. Then again, it may be no more than indicative of American culture - now as ever. The American ethos seems to be that of: "I'm entitled to have whatever I want and I'm equally entitled to use a gun to get it. What's the point of having a constitutionally enshrined right to bear arms if you can't use them?" What does a society expect will be the consequence of that other than teenagers robbing video stores with firearms?
loss of virginity 'leads to less stress' -
By Roger Dobson
27 October 2002
The earlier a woman has sex, the less stressed she is as an adult, scientists have discovered.
When they questioned women about their sexual history and tested them for levels of a stress hormone, they found that the lowest levels were among those who had sex the earliest. A similar but smaller effect was found for men.
In the research, carried out at the University of Tübingen in Germany, volunteers completed questionnaires, and had their saliva tested for levels of cortisol before and after they were exposed to the stresses of preparing to speak in public to strangers for five minutes and perform mental arithmetic aloud. The body secretes increased amounts of cortisol in response to stress.
Stress levels were up to 60 per cent lower in women who lost their virginity before their 18th birthday.
The scientists, who report their findings in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology this week, say an early age for first sex might be a marker for a genetic predisposition to react less to stress.
Another theory is that a woman who has sex early in life is likely to have more frequent intercourse which itself results in a reduced response to stress.
Another Theory: Sex, like marriage, works to "complete" a woman. It signifies her acceptance and entry into the realm of "woman" - her rightful destiny. Women who have sex at a later age must suffer the stress of having their womanhood go unconsummated for what may be an extended period. She may well become embittered and insecure over this. And whilst the first sexual encounter is also a right of passage for males, a man does not find himself in it in the way a woman finds herself. The man is not "completed" by sex and relationship; he has to prove his manhood over and over again for the entirety of his life. A woman is all but completed - for all time - with her first sexual encounter, the final nail in the coffin of hope being a white flowing dress and a little ditty by Mendelson.
Atheist Scout fights decision to boot him -
By Marsha King
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
19, an Eagle Scout being threatened with dismissal by the Chief
Seattle Council, lobbies his troops adult Scout committee.
The Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts has given Eagle Scout Darrell Lambert about a week to decide "in his heart" if he's truly an atheist. If he insists on sticking to his belief that there is no God, the Council will terminate his membership. "No way" is he going to change his beliefs, says Lambert, who has been in scouting since he was 9 years old. "It'd be like me asking them to change their belief. It's not going to happen."
His beliefs, if unchanged, give the Scouts no choice, says Brad Farmer, council's Scout executive in Seattle.
In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Boy Scouts' right as a private organization to ban certain members. The Scouts exclude atheists and gays.
The 19-year-old has earned 37 merit badges, been a quartermaster and three-time senior patrol leader, and now he's an assistant Scoutmaster and a field leader in training as part of the Search and Rescue Program. In his senior year in high school, he racked up more than 1,000 hours of community service.
He doesn't believe in smoking or taking illegal drugs. His mom offered to take him out for a drink when he turns 21. But he doesn't believe in drinking alcohol.
And he doesn't believe in God not since the ninth grade. And even before then he was unsure.
"You need to have a recognition of a supreme being," said Farmer. "We as the Boy Scouts do not define what that is, but you need to have a recognition."
Every Boy Scout and adult leader must attest to that belief on an application in order to join. It can be part of subscribing to a structured religion such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam or Hinduism or a more amorphous faith in some presence greater than ourselves, Farmer explained.
The issue has garnered national attention over the years. In 1998, 16-year-old twins Michael and William Randall, who refused to take an oath to God, won a seven-year legal battle with the council in Orange County, Calif., and were awarded Eagle badges, Scouting's top award.
Whether Lambert will be allowed to stay remains in doubt, but last night he explained his predicament to the parents of the kids in his Port Orchard troop, Troop 1531. He laid out the choices and asked for their support.
His mom, who is Scoutmaster, and his dad stood by his side. He told the parents that the troop could watch him get kicked out, which he said he would regret because "I couldn't teach merit badges, which is something I absolutely love to do." Or, he said, they could stand up to the Boy Scout Council and say, "It's wrong."
But, he told them, the troop's charter could be at stake.
The parents were crowded into a back room in the basement of a chapel at the Washington Veterans' Home in Retsil, Kitsap County, while their children celebrated Halloween. They asked him questions and came to his defense.
"Did your belief change some time when you were going up?" asked one mom.
"I don't see where religious beliefs come into play when we teach them to camp" said another.
In a down-to-earth way, they brought up God and country and standing up for what's right.
Lambert said, "The way I want to see the Boy Scouts change is to take membership laws away from national and return them back to the individual units."
One parent said, "He's willing to take care of our boys, our land, he goes and rescues our people. What more could the Boy Scouts want."
If worst came to worst, they could join Campfire Boys and Girls, Lambert said.
In the end, the parents decided to draft a letter that each of them could sign if they wanted. In addition, they can send their individual thoughts to the council. Their sentiments seemed to be overwhelmingly in support of Lambert.
At least one parent voiced serious concern about not following Boy Scout law.
But others spoke strongly in support of his cause.
If it comes down to losing their charter, one mother said, "Loyalty is one of the oaths of the Scouts, and we've known Darrell for a long time, so it comes down to loyalty to Darrell."
Said parent Joanne Warren, "Darryl walks the walk of Christ; whether he professes it or not, he walks it."
"I think the only power higher than myself is the power of all of us combined," Lambert said. "The interactions we do affect each others' lives. We're all in symbiosis with each other. But other than that, there's no higher power governing what I do."
Lambert's mom, Trish, believes in God, but doesn't go to church. It was hard at first when her son told her about his atheism. But ultimately, "I didn't see where that changed the way he was as a person. It's his choice. I've never pushed anything on my kids."
Lambert's atheism came to light earlier this month at a training session on Scouting's outdoor skills. The talk turned to the kind of faith service a Scout might conduct privately while in the woods.
Lambert, who's learning to be a leader, pronounced himself an atheist, and those comments were relayed up the ranks.
"It's his choice. We certainly respect his opinion and his right to choose to believe as he believes," Farmer said. "We only ask those who disagree with the Boy Scouts to show us the same respect."
Comment: I found this story utterly amazing. In reading it I wavered between the desire to throw up and to laugh out load. And we think we're more sophisticated than "backward" Muslim nations!
Anna: My current thoughts on reincarnation may be a little
different - that is, most people imagine their emotional soul-self
as having immortality, going from life to life. I think most of
what we consider to be "I" is chaff.
David Quinn: Which part of the "I" do you consider to be not chaff?
Anna: This is the spirit that is nonmaterial and has essential existence. It is tied to the person and the person has the components of body, mind, emotion and soul. the soul receives the impressions of those three. That is the path of reincarnation. When a person dies, all that is probably lost as not having any real value. But when a person becomes fully conscious, the soul may then be capable of uniting with the spirit in a permanent way. The spirit, meanwhile, is impersonal. This would be the only meaning to "saving" the soul. Thus you end up with a real soul, a real individual. That is what I was referring to earlier when I said my ideal is for mankind to become a terrestrial angel.
David Quinn: I tend to think of reincarnation in a very mundane way. Reincarnation simply refers to what is created in each moment from what has gone on before. That is to say, it refers to the endless process of cause and effect.
Everything we do has consequences which, like ripples in a pond, spill out from us and affects countless other things in the Universe. Every time we breathe out, for example, we are creating endless effects - mostly within the local atmosphere, of course, but sometimes spilling out into the larger world beyond. Added to this, our every thought and action has endless consequences in human society and beyond - through the example we set, the things we say, our reponses to situations, etc. Even our lack of thought and action - in the sense of our not doing the right and noble thing - has endless consequences. These endless effects and conseqences are our "future lives". Even after our deaths, we are still busily creating future lives - even if it's only to push up the daisies from six feet under. Only in this sense is there life after death.
Anna: How do you know this?
David Quinn: What about clouds? Do you think clouds experience life after death? Is there some part of a cloud that lives on after it disappears?
Anna: Do clouds have consciousness?
David Quinn: Can humans float in the sky?
Anna: Physical attributes are a fundamentally different question from one of consciousness.
David Quinn: Is it really? Or is that just your ego speaking? What exactly is the difference been consciousness appearing in the brain and a cloud appearing in the sky? They have different attributes, sure. But aren't they identical in that they both merely arise when the causal circumstances are ripe? One needs the right air temperature, pressue, and humidity, while the other needs the right chemical processes and neuronal firings.
Anna: So you are saying a human is only neuronal firings.
David Quinn: Not really. Just as a cloud isn't only air temperature or pressure, a human isn't only chemical processes or neuronal firings.
Anna: Do you suppose that clouds are either enlightened, or seeking enlightenment?
David Quinn: No.
Anna: Would that not be a qualitative difference?
David Quinn: I'm not sure what you mean by "qualitative difference". Although I can seek enlightement, I can't float around in the sky, send rain to the earth, constantly shange shape and merge into other humans. Our behaviour might be different, but we're both just puppets of Nature.
Quotes of Quality from Genius-L and Genius Forum
Russell: I'm not sure that I agree with your premise that wisdom
is a state of consciousness - surely wisdom is knowledge...ie.
knowing 'ultimate truths'.....surely these should be independent
of your state of conciousness. The truth is the truth.
Dan Rowden: Wisdom includes knowledge [of ultimate truth] but is more than that; it is the incorporation of intellectual understandings into every fibre of one's being; it is a transformation of one's psychological relationship to the "world" as a consequence of what one has come to understand. Wisdom isn't just snippets of information one holds out at the distance of the intellect, which have little or no effect on things like one's emotional make-up. Wisdom is a major transformation of one's psychological nature and therefore it is accurate and appropriate to describe it as a state of consciousness. I mean, insanity is a state of consciousness, is it not? So too is sanity; so too is wisdom.
It's like the difference between "knowing" what it means to be a rational human being, and actually being a rational human being.
Dan Rowden: I cannot give a person understanding. They have to work
for it, earn it."
Russell: Why 'earn it'? Is it a prize that you hold? I hope I have misread this statement Dan. It sounds egotistical. If you have knowledge worth preserving why not pass it on.....why do people have to earn it?
Dan Rowden: It's the difference between a person having me tell them all about the nature of love, and their being in love themselves. What I tell them, whilst it might help ignite and drive their own motivation, will nevertheless be contingent, uncertain, just potentially meaningful and valid data from their perspective - until such time as they experience love for themselves (I'm not sure why I used the example of love here - you can substitute whatever works for you). Wisdom is something one must earn in the sense that it is an utterly personal goal; it isn't something you can get from reading books about it. Wisdom is not merely "information". This ought be obvious from what I said about wisdom being a personal transformation. I can give you "data" to work with all day long, and that may well prove very useful, but I can't give you - or anybody - wisdom.
A crude analogy would be that of knowing what it feels like to stand on top of Mount Everest. I can relate my feelings and experience of it to you till the cows come home, but that doesn't give you that personal, subjective experience. If you want it, you have to earn it by climbing Mount Everest. I can give you advice, point to possible paths you can follow and you can examine them and make your best judgments about their efficacy. That dynamic may prove mutually beneficial, but ultimately there is no substitute whatsoever for an abiding and powerful desire on your (or anybody's) part to achieve that end. In Buddhism this drive is known as Bodhicitta (uncompromising will to Truth). Without Bodhicitta there is no real hope for the attainment of wisdom. To what degree one will have it comes down to one's karma.
Life may lack an objective point, but it also lacks an objective pointlessness. The notion of the "point" of something is an artifact of consciousness and brought into the world via our consciousness. Our subjective "point", whatever that happens to be, is perfectly legitimate because that's the only kind of point there can be. It speaks to an egotistical attachment to the idea of an objective reality that we "bemoan" the lack of a point to existence and start talking of life as pointless. The only pointless thing is engaging in that kind of thinking. "Our" point (or your point) is the only point there can or need be; that is the real point. Dan Rowden
To my mind, an ethical life cannot be divorced from the valuing of truth. In other words, it is only those who value truth who are in a position to lead an ethical life. The valuing of truth implies an attachment to things like principles, ideals, honesty, consistency of behaviour, a fear of being in error, an overcoming of one's baser desires, etc - all of them pillars of the ethical life. David Quinn
What meaning could ethics have if it is not
intimately tied to consciousness? To be ethical is to be
conscious (or to be striving for greater consciousness). I don't
think it means much to speak of ethics in terms of things like
emotions and feelings and sensation, as all creatures act
according to such stimuli. It'd be kind of daft to refer to cows
as living ethically because they are always doing what cows do:
"She was a truly ethical cow since she chewed her cud the
way a cow is supposed to."
Similarly, it doesn't make much sense, to me, to refer to a person who has no real conscious grasp of their psychological nature, their motivations, their values etc as having an ethical dimension. In instances such as this we actually descend into cowdom by judging such an individual as ethical according to how well his/her behaviour conforms to social convention (i.e. the conventions of the herd): "She is ethical because she behaves in the way women are supposed to behave; she is a credit to her type."
One is ethical to the degree that one's consciousness is attuned to Reality. This is why, for example, I see no reason to ever even apply the category "ethical" to women. Dan Rowden
I agree that few people genuinely
care about truth to the point where they consciously base their
lives around it. But the few who do are usually men. Also, women
tend to place a lot more value on the happiness and well-being of
people, the correction of social
injustices, relationships, etc, than they do on truth. Truth is too abstract and impersonal for most women to get excited about. Men tend to have a far greater affinity with it and an appreciation of its value. David Quinn
Tristan: It is ridiculous to question A=A. You
are putting an "if" on the most basic component of all
we know. The day when A is not A is the day when all we know of
the universe ceases to exist. Yes, it is possible that A may not
be A; but, this is not possible in the universe we know--nor in
any part of our universe that we have yet to discover: if the
most fundamental of all laws in our "universe" was
incongruent with another portion of the universe, therein lies
the end of our universe.
David Quinn: I agree with this, but with the added qualifier that it is impossible for A not to be A in any time or place - not just in this universe, but in all universes. The reason? If a thing isn't what it is, then it is necessarily something else - which means that it is still confoming to A=A.
In other words, A=A remains valid regardless of whether things are different or identical.
Tristan: Okay, David, you've got it--but, take into account that what we know nothing beyond our universe. That is why I type such things. I think that A not being A is suitable grounds for a separate plane. Who knows if such things exist? Not I, not you, not anyone can provide any proof for or against such a possibility.
David Quinn: I don't know about this. The very idea of existence hangs on the notion of A=A. As soon as we posit the existence of something which doesn't conform to A=A, we are effectively saying that it has the identity of a thing that doesn't conform to A=A. Which is to say, we would be saying that it conforms to A=A.
In other words, a non-A=A object is a contradiction in terms and cannot possibly exist.
Moreover, we can no more devise a non-A=A system of thought than we can escape our own consciousness and peek at what lies beyond.
Tristan: This is very well-put. I agree entirely--we do not know what lies beyond our reach, which is why I typed the statement about A not being A making a good argument for an alternative plane, if it is possible (who knows.)
David Quinn: We do know some things about what lies beyond our reach. For example, we know that it doesn't extend into the realm that is within our reach. We also know that it doesn't comprise the totality of all there is. Furthermore, we know that its identity and existence as a "realm beyond our reach" is dependent upon the existence and identity of the "realm that is within our reach" - which means that it doesn't have any kind of independent existence. We can then reach the further conclusion that the realm and everything within it is an illusion of duality. And so on and so forth.
Tristan: Yes, agreed--I never challenged that notion or axiom. However, I was merely adding to it, as I stated. We know nothing of conditions aside from those in our universe. I know that I have seen enough diversity in abstract and infinite systems like singularities; thus, I believe that there is infinite possibility and our universe is simply a verse of laws for a grand system. I think that this creates a good hypothesis for the conceptual limit to our supposedly infinite universe. We've all seen the stupid movies, like "The One," that use the foundation of parallel universes. Let us consider that a parallel universe were possible--who is to say that the dimensions would not be such that A could not be A?
Yes, by our definition of "existence" (based on our limited knowledge of "stuff") A must always be A. Which is why I propose that the limit to our universe is the point where the laws that pertain to our universe no longer apply--even that, most basic of all. What do you think of that?
David Quinn: The trouble I have with it is that you are postulating a possible realm of existence which somehow doesn't conform to your defined notion of existence. In other words, you want this realm to both exist and not exist at the same time, which collapses the reasoning underpinning your argument.
"Stages of the spiritual path"
Kevin Solway: C. The formless realms
You may attain these highest of
heavens only with a complete one-pointed concentration on a
virtually perfect intellectual understanding of the nature of
Reality. However, for all one's great achievement in meditation,
and vast knowledge of philosophy, one remains firmly rooted in
ignorance, and will not escape eventual suffering. This is
because an unchallenged love of existence and ego remain. One
must drop everything to escape the cycle of birth and death, even
one's visions of the Infinite.
This is a more advanced level, but still the ego may be escaping virtually untouched - in which case one will still be a million miles from enlightenment. This experience is easily mistaken for enlightenment because it is accompanied by an actual knowledge of nonduality.
Shardrol: How could the ego still be there if there was true knowledge of nonduality? I don't mean nonduality as a concept, but nonduality as an experience, with no separation between perceiver & that which is perceived.
Kevin Solway: In the above case the person has ego because their knowledge of nonduality is not perfect. Even in the case of a bodhisattva, who has directly experienced nonduality, and also has a perfect intellectual understanding of nonduality, the ego remains. The tendency towards habitual patterns of thinking are not entirely removed just because one intellectually understands nonduality, or even if one directly experiences it - just as DDT, while killing a great many mosquitoes, didn't kill anywhere near all of them. Gross forms of egotism may be gotten rid of relatively easily (for an exceptional person), but subtle ego is very difficult to weed out.
It is important to consider the similarities and differences between intellectual knowledge of nonduality and direct experience of it. It is impossible to have genuine intellectual knowledge of reality without directly experiencing it to some degree, for the same reason as a thief will flee as soon as he is found out. There are two reason why I say that direct experience of nonduality follows intellectual knowledge. Firstly, experience is always dependent on reason to verify and validate it. Secondly, one eventually reaches a threshold of understanding at which point a major experiential breakthrough is made - but it is necessarily an intellectual breakthrough as well. The person who will make advances on the spiritual path does nothing without both intellect and direct perception.
MellifluousMavin: What you fellows are trying to tell us is that if we looked in your dictionary, your definition of a genius would be: gen·ius (plural gen·ius·es)
obese, lethargic, slow-witted, dull-thinking, humorless,
uneducated misogynist who cant spell simple monosyllabic
words or the names of people they are calling names, apparently
cant name a good piece of music and whose only real chance
of getting laid - given their paunchy, oatmeal-like looks, their
tedious and trite personalities and their obvious lack of social
skills or means of support would be to crawl up a chickens
ass and wait.
David Quinn: There is an ancient Chinese saying which calls a man most blessed when others consider him to be useless. I agree with this and would even take it a step further. A man is a genius to the degree that women find no value in him.
MellifluousMavin: You keep telling yourself that... it is truly all you have...
MagicMoves: You, I'm sure, have succeeded beyond measure.
David Quinn: I haven't fully succeeded yet, but I'm working on it. There are still times when women mistake me for what I am not and smile warmly at me.
Magic Moves: I'm not too sure this is a sign of being a genius as so much it is the result of a little boy sitting in the corner of a playground being mocked by the very subject of his admiration who never moved from that stage in his life.
Quinn: Either that or a little boy who
sees something far more interesting and precious than women, and
who therefore no longer devotes his life to titillating and
WolfsonJakk: I still do not understand the purpose or practicality of declaring "women" substandard. I know that you really mean the feminine mindset and I also know that a huge majority of females exist with this mindset (and a huge number of males, for that matter).
Other than stirring the pot a bit, what is the rational purpose of continually taking shots specifically at the female gender? You are aware of the psychological blockages exhibited by most of the individuals that read that, and the resultant defensive mode it creates in them. In martial arts terms, it is best to attack your opponent when they are not in a defensive stance. It does not seem to serve your ultimate purpose.
David Quinn: I understand and appreciate what you are saying. But let me ask you this, are you sure that you have identified my opponent correctly? It isn't these witty girls, or women in general, I can assure you.
All images in this publication are taken/adapted from "The Devil's Gallery"
Disclaimer: editorial opinions expressed in this publication are those of its authors and do not, necessarily, reflect the views of subscribers to Genius-L or Genius Forum. Dialogues adapted from Genius-L and Genius Forum have been edited for the purpose of brevity and clarity. Certain spelling mistakes and typographical errors have been corrected to preserve meaning.
Index Issue 1 Issue 2 Issue 3 Issue 4 Sex and the Sage Issue 5 Issue 6 Issue 7 Issue 8 Issue 9 Issue 10 Issue 11
Issue 12 Issue13 Issue 14 Issue 15 Issue 16 Issue 17 Issue 18 Issue 19 Issue 20 Issue 21 Issue 22 Issue 24
Copyright © 2000 - 2007 David Quinn & Dan Rowden