THE NEWSLETTER FOR DANGEROUS THINKERS
(Issue 3 March 2001)
Welcome to the latest edition of Genius News, a monthly newsletter based on the world's liveliest email forum: Genius-L. Genius-L is a discussion list dedicated to the nature of genius, wisdom and Ultimate Reality and to the total annihilation of false values. That is to say, it is a list intended solely for men - of either sex.
Each edition of Genius News features some of the most inspired passages, dialogues and quotes from the previous month's postings to Genius-L, plus editorials, list archival material, cartoons, and other assorted witticisms.
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The true Genius has no connection to or interest in the "isms" of the world other than where, by them, he may gain practical advantage in the cause of the promulgation and survival of wisdom. The Genius is, for example, both theist and atheist, and yet neither. He is not constrained by arbitrary categories and does not partake in the insipid idolatry of finite ideologies. His is a consciousness that revels in the freedom of infinite thought and judgment. His very nature is that of the boundlessness of reality.
The true Genius is not some messenger of hope, a harbinger of purpose and meaning , a foreshadower or antecedent of happier, more secure times, a vehicle through which the mediocre of spirit may find vicarious pleasure; he is no comfort. The true Genius, even when no more than superficially understood, is a terrifying prospect for those who desire such things; he is a living expression of the empty nature of existence; he is the mortal enemy of the ego and everything it represents; he is, in every sense, a man of the infinite.
Who among us dares be such a man?
The symbol will return you to this contents table from each section.
Dialogue:"A Question of Faith"
The question of God's existence rests entirely on what "God" is defined to be. Of primary concern is whether God is defined to be anything at all. To the average Christian, God is undefined, and therefore their God cannot be proven to either exist or not exist . . . because it is nothing at all - not even a thought!
Only conscious ideas can be investigated, yet ordinary Christianity (probably all contemporary Christianity) is unconscious, and thus nothing at all. This is the hardest thing to understand and is a stumbling-block for atheists, rationalists and free-thinkers (as they call themselves) the world over, who continue to attack Christians for thinking things they have never once thought. Their own blindness prevents them from being aware of blindness in others.
Faith, what it is, what might be its locus and whether it might reasonably be said to be a sane activity of the mind was a significant theme in the past month's discussions on Genius-L. It is an astonishingly common event to witness those who profess "faith" to deny, in one breath, its blindness, then in the next to declare ignorance as to exactly what it is that such faith is directed toward.
Over the last few weeks a number of list contributors tried desperately to make some sense of this matter, but, alas, as you might expect, to no avail, because where the notion of religious faith exists, reason is utterly absent. Indeed, those who speak of possessing such a thing, otherwise intelligent, highly erudite individuals, seem either reticent to examine faith closely, or are simply incapable of putting it into any coherent notional framework. That doesn't seem to say a great deal for its significance as a concept. In the following discussion, distilled from somewhat divergent sources, we see the essence of this problem unfold...........
Jim Downey: Do I have personal experience with God (aka faith)? Yes. Will I deny this experience to be real? No. Can I fully articulate the nature of God? No, especially to those that do not want to even discuss the possibility that such a being could exist.
Leo: Do you worship and praise the unknown God?
Jim: I know God. I don't understand all there is to knowing God. I can't always articulate my understanding of God, but I do have a personal knowledge of Him. It is my faith that allows me to continue to explore that understanding. It is my reasoning that allows me to test my faith. It is my understanding of science that allows me to explore the laws of the universe and glimpse into the order of creation. So, I do not worship an unknown God. That indeed would be unreasonable.
I accept on faith that Jesus is the only begotten son of God, shares in the person of God, and presents a flawless sense of order and meaning to all that is... but that is my faith and it unseen, unproven, unprovable, and meaningful to me in my relationship with God... and even if that were to be proven to not exist within the realm of science, logic, philosophy or some other discipline, I accept it on the basis of knowing it to be a "truth" within me, not subject to extrinsic proof or measurement.
It's a simple question... Does God exist? One doesn't have to define God to answer it.
David Hodges: No, really, you have to define it first. If I say unicorns exist, but it turns out I include cows when I say unicorns.... well, maybe we should have started out by defining what I meant by unicorns. How can you say whether something exists, unless you know what it is? If you already have a name for something, that suggests that you have some idea of what it is and what it's like; either you've already seen one, or you have defined what it is on a theoretical basis. Otherwise, why would you have a name for it? Do you mean, for instance, some non-corporeal entity?
Jim Downey: Undetermined.
David Hodges: Do you expect it to have certain properties, such as omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience or omnibenevolence?
Jim Downey: Undetermined.
David Hodges: Does this entity have an interest in human affairs?
Jim Downey: Let's see... Jim is human. Jim and God are in a meaningful relationship (a human affair, n'est pas?), so therefor the answer would have to be: Yes.
David Hodges: Did it create the universe?
Jim Downey: Undetermined.
David Hodges: Is there more than one?
Jim Downey: Not that I am aware of... but His exact nature remains undetermined.
David Hodges: Does it have a personality, or is it an abstract force of nature?
Jim Downey: Christian tradition indicates 3 personas... Islamic and Hebrew tradition says one. Scripture would indicate at least a plurality, but essentially the question remains undetermined. If God has not been fully defined, and/or his exact nature remains undetermined, then I would have to say, God is an abstract force... but of nature? God is usually understood to be supernatural.
If there is evidence to present that God is an impossibility, present away.
Dan Rowden: This whole discussion has been pretty silly. How does one begin to demonstrate the impossibility of something if that something remains indefinite? It is absurd to even suggest it. And "God" is not a simple and conventionally well understood notion because most notions of God are utterly incoherent, nebulous or just plain dumb. Do we mean a creator God separate from his Creation or one bound to his creation? A purposeful, conscious being or an unconscious force or principle? Or do we mean a corporeal being that inhabits a planet somewhere "out there" as the Mormons assert?
Anyway, Kevin Solway, as an example of someone who purports to have proven God's non-existence, wrote a concise little essay some years ago which pretty much covers all possible bases regarding this issue: Unfortunately I couldn't find the essay itself, but I did find a letter the Atheist Society of Australia wrote to scientist David Suzuki after he declined honorary membership; the letter contains the gist of the essay:
Well, it's been an age since I received your postcard turning down our offer of honorary membership in our Atheist Society, and I've finally decided to respond. To jog your memory, you said "I believe that my position is based on an act of faith, just as a theist's is. I don't believe you can prove or disprove the existence of God." Your statement indicates to me that your belief (that you can't prove or disprove the existence of God) is not merely a belief, as one would believe, say, in evolution for example, but is in fact something you hold to be a certainty. One "believes" in evolution until such time as the evidence favours another understanding. But your belief that you can't prove or disprove the existence of God is something you hold to be an absolute truth, impervious to anything. You claim to know with certainty that all knowledge is uncertain, but are seemingly blind to the obvious meaninglessness of this notion. You should know there are two kinds of knowledge. Firstly there is scientific knowledge, which is any knowledge based on observation and measurement, and is obviously an uncertain knowledge. Then there is philosophic or purely reasoned knowledge, which has nothing to do with observation and measurement, but is based on definitions, and provides certain knowledge.
Our modern, feminine age of philistines has completely ignored the certainty of philosophic knowledge and has thus turned its back on the most essential and beautiful knowledge of all. My knowledge of the nonexistence of God is certain. To repeat what I explained to you on a previous occasion, I can say with absolute certainty that God does not exist, based on what God and existence are commonly defined to be. God is defined to be all-powerful and infinite . . . but existence is finite and limited. So, to say that God exists is to say "the infinite is finite" which I reject as absurd, just as I reject the nonsensical or mad notion of a "black white". Thus do I know with certainty that God does not exist.
You may object that many people do not share my narrow definitions of "God" and "existence" and therefore my argument is of little or no value. So let me promptly put this objection to rest.
Let's look at alternative definitions to an all-powerful, infinite God. Notably, any alternative to an infinite God must be a finite God. Well, we could define God to be "a very powerful being" or even "the most powerful being". Such a God would be firmly in the domain of uncertain scientific knowledge, and would be infinitely removed (literally) from the traditional God who is supposed to be infinite and all-powerful. He would be only a shabbily hypothesized powerful alien of questionable morals.
That's why people prefer the infinite God to the finite one, and shows why my assumption that God is commonly defined as "all- powerful and infinite" is valid. For good reason I have excluded the possible alternative definitions of God that I would call "completely mad" (as opposed to just mad), such as defining God to be my pet budgie, or to be anything that I can't possibly think of. That leaves my assumption about the common definition of existence. Is it valid? Am I barking at the wind?
Then let's ask if there are possible alternative definitions of existence - at least, ones that aren't overly mad. I have said that existence is finite and limited. This is because something is said to exist if it relates to something else (like an observer). So, if something appears to us (in whatever way) we say it exists. Any alternative definition of existence would have to define things as existing that don't appear to us in any way at all (whether through our senses, intellect, or imagination). This is overly mad.
Ah, then what about Nature you ask? If Nature is defined to be "everything" (a sensible definition), then does it exist or not? Nature is by definition infinite (not limited) so it cannot relate to anything and therefore doesn't fit my definition of existence. So am I saying that Nature doesn't exist and am therefore a raving lunatic? No, Nature neither exists nor does it not exist. The distinction "existence/nonexistence" is inappropriate when applied to the infinite, which is beyond distinctions.
So I am not a raving lunatic, and my proof of the nonexistence of God based on the common definitions of both God and existence is perfectly valid. This is very significant.
There is more than faith, David Suzuki!
"Sense and Sensibility"
by Dan Rowden
"We here at genius-l are quick on the attack, quick on the assumption, and quick on the judgement. It is, for the most part, a hostile environment, not one where all ideas are welcomed for the purpose of discourse. It is one thing to discuss something and dismiss it for lack of merit. It is another to attack it on the assumptions and prejudices we hold." Jim Downey 8/02/01
Genius-L is most assuredly a challenging, uncompromising and intolerant environment. It is not, however, openly hostile. How people respond to the environment of the list is an indicator of the workings of society in general, and how in that society, private sensibilities constantly get in the way of open, no-nonsense discussion. There is always the most extraordinary arrogance at work in anyone who seeks to exercise control over the tenor of a discussion on the basis of their egotistical sensibilities. It happens all the time. It is inconceivable to me that all but a rare few of those reading this editorial could not be occasionally or regularly guilty of this behaviour.
When a person becomes defensive and indignant over the way their views are being addressed one can be sure that behind that defensiveness is insecurity and an unwillingness to scrutinise those views without prejudice. It is one thing to speak of the prejudice others express towards us and our beliefs, but another to recognise the prejudice we hold towards our own position. It is this particular prejudice that ignites our indignation and causes us to feel as though we are being wrongly forced to validate ourselves, when, all the while, we are asking that very thing of others.
How often do we witness accusations of prejudice, based on nothing more than one's inability to see any reason that such prejudice is justified. It does not follow that because we can see no reason to be generally dismissive of, for example, the religious mentality, that others are likewise limited in their vision. The projection of one's perceived limitations onto others, either in the quality and capacity of reason or in one's level of knowledge, is painfully common.
Clearly, the quest for truth is undermined by the existence of groundless prejudice in us, but whilst we continue to paranoically see it only in those who disagree with us, our own prejudice will do its damage quietly in the background of our conscousness. If we are remotely serious in our quest for understanding, for wisdom, we cannot afford to wear our sensibilities on our sleeve, we cannot afford to heed them or demand that others do so. We cannot afford to allow reason to be dictated to by our egos.
Philosophy is rendered impotent if there is one single thing that is left untouched, unexamined, that is not stripped bare and its true nature exposed to the light of reason. Nothing is or can be sacred in the face of such a goal, including our belief in our right to keep some part of us separate from the process of philosophic discourse; some aspect of our selves that we wish to protect from the harsh scrutiny of intellectual critique and discrimination. Philosophy cannot proceed where there is the slightest will to keep hidden away in the dark caverns of our ego, either our most precious attachments, or even the most fleeting and seemingly insignificant of them.
Philosophy is not simply about ideas and how they relate; it is, at all times and in all ways, about..........YOU.
|FROM THE TWILIGHT ZONE:|
"I don't have any evidence for it or against it. But I have faith that it is there."
|Dialogue: "The Pen is Mightier..........."|
One denies the importance of language and its use at his peril. Words, at bottom, are merely symbols of ideas, but ideas have power. There isn't a single soul in the history of man worthy of the title "thinker" who did not make careful and deliberate use of language. Everyone knows the power of language; it is a power that the wise and the foolish alike, wield........
Jim Downey: Words can be weapons. They can also be medicine. They can also be affirming, nurturing, revealing, humanitarian, healing, etc.
Marsha Faizi: Words are always weapons. I don't care how you use them or with what intent. Words inflict. They are purposeful. Nurturing is inflicting. Healing is inflicting. Revelation is inflicting. If I touch you or anyone with my words, I have used them as a means to reach an end. Words are tools; weapons. They penetrate. Words are not just empty things to be tossed back and forth; as occurs with most discussions on this list and elsewhere; banter; intellectual volley. They are meant to go under the skin. How else can the words of a writer have effect? A well turned phrase is like a bullet to the brain. Realization is an explosion. It's a hit.
Any asshole can come here to recite. That is not a big deal. It is the creative mind that is the mind of a thinker. It is the mind that oversteps conventional bounds that thinks.
It is mildly interesting that scientific/religious heretics from the Middle Ages or early Renaissance are discussed here as examples of genius at the same time that nonconformity is decried and denounced as ranting or ad hominem. Copernicus is cited and Galileo.
Genius is not a spectator sport. It is not a hobby. The intellectual life -- the life of the philosopher -- is demanding; grueling. One pays for one's thought with his soul. Introspection takes a heavy toll on the person. Some are led to it and never arrive; some are born to it and retaliate. Some seek it and never find it.
I was born to it; and I have fought against it every step of the way. It is difficult to accept that one is meant for life inside the mind. The world sometimes looks good to an outsider. One can long to take part. There is this physical appeal. It looks comforting. The easy life. The mindless journey. How good it could seem to lock oneself inside a box and stay there. It is tempting to forget that such boxes are inherently devoid of air.
For a free animal, the cage is death. Death can assume attractive guises. Sex is bait. Human intimacy is often the most difficult thing to resist. Warmth is desirable. Breath is desirable. Intellectual rapport is desirable. Life inside the mind is cold. There is no solace; no validation. One makes his way on his own.
Jim Downey: It's not the words that are important; rather it is the way in which they are wielded that matters most.
Marsha: Words are important. If this was not so, then, there would be no books; no documents. The way in which they are wielded is meaning and intent. Words are conveyors of meaning and intent. Therefore, it is words that are important. Skill lies in one's choice of tools. The ways that words are used are in words. Words are weapons utilized to inflict intent and meaning upon a listener or reader. Words, used skillfully, move minions. If not, then, they are as useless as a limp dick. Why speak or write at all? Words without impact are empty words; shells. Please, don't tell me that words are not weapons. It is language that has ignited civilization for a couple thousand years; propelled it -- often against its collective will. Progress is, more often than not, an unwilling adventure. It is language that violently persuades one toward it; and, if one, then, thousands.
Moving pictures dazzle and mesmerize. But it is the word that penetrates and explodes.
|"What Atheists will deny to appear irreligious...."|
One of the things that prevents most atheists from breaking through into a more solid intellectual understanding of existence is their emotional need to be seen as irreligious in every possible way. All they manage to achieve by this reactive stubbornness is to exclude themselves from perfectly legitimate modes of thinking. Atheists have an unfortunate habit of generating hypocrisy as a result of their desire to be seen to be on an altogether different intellectual plane than the religionists they so openly criticise. Of course, there's nothing wrong with such a desire - one ought desire to be more sane than sundry believers in the impossible - but one should ensure that such a position of superiority is actually held and not just assumed to exist......
James: You speak as if an atheist was "for" something, but I, at least, am an atheist by refutation, not affirmation.
Dan Rowden: This isn't really true, though, is it, James. You cannot refute something without affirming something else. It just isn't logically possible. When an atheist says he is not affirming anything by his atheism, he is speaking drivel. At the very least he is affirming "truth" and his model of how such a thing is to be established. Nietzsche expressed this dynamic well when he said: "The great scorners are the great reverers."
James: <shrug>. Then I guess my affirmation is of religions' untruthfulness.
Dan Rowden: If atheists insist on taking the intellectual high ground, then it behoves them to actually be occupying it. Your affirmation is not of religious untruthfulness, but of your own valuing of truthfulness. I'm not having a shot at you here, necessarily, but I have encountered too many atheists who seem to have a phobia about being honest about the nature of their values and those things which they clearly affirm. It's as if they automatically associate affirmation of any kind with a religious mentality. Many atheists, humanists, rationalists and associated trumped-up braggarts, who consider themselves to be the intellectual superiors of religionists are all too often guilty of speaking the most insipid shit. Their worst crime is that of denying that they have any dogma of their own. That claim is quite galling when they, almost to a man, demand things like: "empirical observation (science) is the only means of gaining knowledge of the world that we recognise." They deny that this is dogma, yet, in that denial, they are denying life and vigour to reason itself.
James: Ok, yeah, that I can get behind, yes, I value truth, my dogma is that of he who asks "Is it true?" and then "How is it true?".
Dan Rowden: Sure, but one might then ask who among us doesn't value truth? Does our disagreement on fact and methodology demand that the other does not thereby value truth, or is it simply that they (those with whom you disagree) are blind to the unsuitability of their chosen methodology? And, if you haven't discovered any real truths yourself, how do you know your methodology is in fact the better?
Genius-L at a glance....
Also, things have causes, not reasons. Asking why something is the way it is doesn't really make sense, other than by way of an acknowledgement that it is caused. It suggests purposeful design where there is none. And, if you're looking for an explanation for something, an ultimate explanation, you'll never find one. No finite thing can be explained in a complete sense and asking for an explanation for Reality itself is meaningless. Dan Rowden
It is one thing to conceive of all finite things to be God, but to conceive of God to be one single finite thing (only) at one minute, and then Infinite in the next minute, would be madness. Kevin Solway
Boundaries exist because we experience them i.e. consciousness is present, but ultimately one cannot say that they exist in any way other than mere appearance. The mind creates them and it is not possible to link them to some sort of direct perception, or some substantial "real" thing behind perception. That is, things are empty of real essence. Bob Willis
Words are most often used as symbols of experience. A way to represent something. To say that something is "beyond words", "indefineable" etc is really only referring to the inability to communicate that experience to another person. EVERY experience we have can be referenced or linked to a word or symbol, even if the word is one of our own creation for a yet as unsymbolised experienced. The "beyond words" experiences are actually the result of having an experience that is hard or impossible to compare to other common experiences that other humans share in. Thus beyond words experiences are actually more correctly beyond communcation. Jason
...we arent inherently valuable, and it seems to me that only a person still questing to validate his own "inherent worth" would think or promote such an idea. David Schnur
Also, when people emphasize their lack of significance, it is usually for the sole purpose of preserving their egos and protecting it from future harm. That is to say, they secretly think they are so significant that they are willing to engage in the lies and dishonesty of humility simply in order to preserve themselves. Their humility is literally a fortress designed to stop the threat of Reality from seeping into their lives. David Quinn
Self-esteem is based on a two-fold fantasy - (a) that there is a self to begin with, and (b) that this self is inherently wonderful or inherently worthless, or indeed inherently anything at all. Those who believe in a self have to pamper and stroke it a good deal, or else they start becoming very insecure and paranoid. That is essentially what "building self-esteem" is all about. To stop one feeling insecure and paranoid.
The wise person, on the other hand, goes beyond all this and burrows to the very root. He sees through the illusory nature of the self and becomes fully aware of the role Nature plays in all of his actions. He knows that it is Nature (the process of cause and effect) which does everything and that his own personal achievements and failures aren't really his at all. As such, the basis upon which self-esteem can be built or destroyed is entirely absent in him. He never feels guilt or pride.
So why is self-esteem more illusory than wisdom? Because self-esteem is based on the chimera of self, while wisdom is based on the secure knowledge of what is ultimately real. David Quinn
Genuine truths remain true in any possible world and in any possible state of consciousness. If one can figure out what remains true of "things" in what is called "dreaming" and "wakeful consciousness", one has discovered something truly significant. Dan Rowden
I don't believe in self-esteem; I believe in wisdom. Dan Rowden
Philosophy is the art of thinking wisely and uncovering what is absolutely true. David Quinn
FROM THE GENIUS ARCHIVES....
Wed, 15 Mar 2000
David Quinn: Like in a chain-gang, millions of leashed men go off to
work each day and grind away at some soulless job, just because
that's what women expect from them.
Jason: I agree that some men work simply because women expect them to, but I'd say that the majority of men don't work for that reason. Some men have to work to survive, others simply desire money, others work because society expects it from them and because other men expect it from them. Many men equate there identity, worth and meaning of life to their job. One of the main reasons men(people) like work is because they need long periods of time to block their minds from any deep introspection.
David Quinn: Yes, I've probably been overstating my case. Or have I? Let's look at each of your points above more closely:
Reasons why men work like slaves:
(a) Survival. This may or may not be connected to woman.
(b) Desire money. In most cases, men desire money in order to make themselves more attractive to women. It's similar to the way a male peacock likes to flash its large colourful tail in front of the female. The human male, by flashing his porsche and his designer clothing and his cool shoes, does a sort of mating dance to the ogling females. The females are interested, of course, because they know that men with lots of money usually make excellent slaves.
(c) Societal expectations. A major reason why men slave away at work is because they want to be praised and honoured by those around them. Here it's a case of society taking on the form of a woman. Generally speaking, if a woman praises something, it automatically means that society praises it as well, For society and women are usually are of one mind. Men are always on the outer, as it were, always struggling to win the approval of society/woman and gain entry into the "inner circle". It's why they are always building things and trying to advance the cause of civilization and so on - to impress "woman".
(The "inner circle" is just a vague construction in the male mind, although it's vagueness doesn't prevent it from wielding a lot of power over the male. It probably arose in response to his being "rejected" by his mother - i.e. when he realized at a very young age that he wasn't a female like his mother and had to separate himself from her and travel along a masculine path.)
(d) Other men's expectations. Since most men are little more than pussy-whipped creatures who mindlessly babble feminine platitudes, a man seeks the approval of men for the same reason that he seeks the approval of society in general - i.e. he wants woman's approval. What men fear most in their relations to other men is appearing cowardly, foolish or incompetent - exactly what women despise in men as well. In short, men seek the approval of the "woman" inside other men.
(e) Identity. A man automatically gains identity from his actions, no matter what he does. Even if he just sat around all day doing nothing, he would still have an identity - as a bum. Obviously, what most men look for is an identity which will give them lots of praise and honour from society, and lots of rewards. In other words, most men try to form an identity that is pleasing to women.
(f) Blocking out thought. Yes, I think this is a big reason why men immerse themselves in their work - to block out the fact that their lives are thoughtless and meaningless and centered around the mindless whims of women. It's a bit like the alcoholic who needs to keep on drinking in order to block out the fact that he is an alcoholic. Work is an excellent distraction, which is why the "work ethic" is so highly praised in modern society.
So in conclusion, I have my doubts that my case was overstated after all. For it's fairly obvious that nearly everything that men do nowadays is either directly or indirectly connected to women.
All images in this publication are taken from "The Devil's Gallery" http://www.theabsolute.net
Disclaimer: editorial opinions expressed in this publication are those of its authors and do not, necessarily, reflect the views of subscribers to Genius-L. 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.
Copyright © 2000 - 2007 David Quinn & Dan Rowden
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