A Bit (More) About Me #9

Gee whiz, look what happens when I take a break from blogging: I haven’t done one of Mel’s Share Your World posts in 7 months! Oh me, oh my!  Allow me to rectify…

Q1.  Can we ever experience anything objectively?  Why or why not?  (Now for the people who may not understand that idea, this is what objective means (definition wise):  Something that is not influenced by personal feelings or opinions).
A1.  Yes.  Because we are complicated, observant organisms with infinitely complex brains capable of, among other things involved in objectivity, detachment, bifurcation, & logical analysis.  The phenomenon referred to by some as an “out-of-body experience” is an example of a purely objective experience.  (Also see A2)

Q2.  Do humans have a soul? Do animals have a soul?
A2.  I doubt it.  I have no idea.  I was raised in the Catholic church then spent the next 20 years attending Baptist churches.  Only recently, after a grueling, exhaustive, decades-long personal quest for answers involving countless hours of research, study, prayer, reflection, and tireless observation of human behavior did I finally give up all forms of spiritual & supernatural belief.  I personally believe that there are not any gods and that we don’t have souls.  But I don’t claim to know.  I certainly do not consider near-death experiences or out-of-body experiences (see A1) to be proof of the existence of a human soul.

Q3.  Why are people told to respect the dead? (example: “Don’t speak ill of the dead.”)
A3.  I haven’t done any recent research on the subject, but I suspect it dates back to ancient cultures that believed the living could invoke, through speech, the intervention of the dead and that, if proper respect were shown instead of disrespect, such intervention would be beneficial.  Clearly, such belief yet holds sway in many religious cultures across the world today.  Even if there are souls and they do linger after death; hear our thoughts, words, or prayers/intentions; and have any interest in us whatsoever, I don’t believe they have the ability to affect the physical world.

Q4.   Without using the names of specific people, discuss “the ideal” President or other world leader.  Saying ‘anyone who is the exact opposite of a certain orange skinned creature’ is cheating.  While (to me) that’s a true statement, there’s more depth to the question than to reduce it to one sentence.
A4.  The ideal leader would have to possess immense wisdom and a profound sense of justice, be capable of purely objective consideration of every problem brought before him or her, the willingness in every situation to apply the solution that brings the greatest amount of relief to the largest number of sufferers while minimizing the harm done to those at whose expense the solution comes, and the charisma necessary to impart the sincere conviction to all parties that the judgment pronounced in every case is in the best interest of all.  In short: they’d have to be really good at convincing the wealthy and powerful that acting frequently against their own selfish interests is actually, in the long term, in their best interests.  Or: They’d have to be both beneficent and an extremely powerful telepath capable of mass mind control; a god.  Since none of the above actually exist in the real world, we might as well all just admit we’re fucked, laugh at the absurdity of it all, sit back, and enjoy the ride as long as it lasts.  Right?

Gratitude:  I am always grateful for Mel’s thoughtful, inspiring Share Your World posts.  I am endlessly grateful for The Boss, The Girl, The Boy, and all the family members whose support allows us to live a life of relative ease and comfort.  Last but certainly not least, I am grateful for the loving, supportive, creative, entertaining community of Bloggers here on WordPress and elsewhere.  Y’all make life worth living blogging!

Take care, be well, and happy sharing!

Love,

Denny

Via Melanie B Cee’s Share Your World for Mon., 11/18/19

11 thoughts on “A Bit (More) About Me #9

  1. Deep… I had the moment where I had to decide about the existence of God. I decided it was better for me to believe in God than not. I discovered I was completely content with that even with its inherent contradiction. Maybe I just need someone to talk to who doesn’t chime in with THEIR similar experience (sometimes that’s interesting but sometimes it comes across as if the person isn’t listening, just waiting their turn to talk — something I do, too) I discovered I like God quite a bit and I’m sticking with him/it. Fundamentally I believe the universe and everything in it IS God and the word for that is panentheism. I’m happy that I don’t understand it and I’m happy that when I’m in nature I feel all of the things that to me mean God.

    For me, religion is something else all together and where THAT’S concerned, I take each person as he/she comes. Some people have authentic personal and spiritual relations with their concept of God/religion. Those people are fine by me. Other people just recite a lot of cant and dogma. Those people aren’t going to “get” me anyway.

    As for a soul? I believe that’s the important part of who we are. I don’t know (or care) about the immortality angle or the salvation angle, but I believe there is an inner spirit that must fight for itself against those forces that would destroy it. As for animals, Bear tells me she has a soul, too. Teddy, however, she’s not sure about. I, however, am sure animals have souls.

    I know you didn’t ask, but…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You never need an invitation to speak, Martha. I’m always glad to hear from my first blogging mentor, especially when it briefly brings you out of a temporary blogging break. I was a believer for much longer than I’ve been agnostic. I don’t claim to have any special knowledge or exclusive claim to truth. I certainly believe we each have an inexplicable, inner something similar to what you seem to believe, and I think animals have the same or something very like it. I just hesitate to call either ‘soul’ given the accumulation of connotations that word has acquired.

      I look forward to hearing from you again soon. ‘ Til then, take care, be well, and happy Thanksgiving.

      Love,

      Denny

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting answer about our soul… I don’t know either with a slight inclination towards maybe we have a higher self. Maybe not. Who knows. Maybe a bit of mystery is good.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know if you’ve ever read The Brothers Karamazov, Denny? Your last answer reminds me of how much religion should play a role in state affairs, however given there are secular countries, it would be difficult to do so. I know there are Muslim countries who aren’t being just and fair in their treatment of citizens. It’s a difficult question and the solution is even more difficult to find. Power corrupts. In Islam, we believe that life is a test. I hope I pass and I’m finally able to enter heaven where I know, for the first time, I’m finally safe. In the meantime, we can only strive to do as much good as we can and encourage others to do so – but that in itself can be difficult to do. Ah, it’s such a tricky question and my comment is so muddled… as I can only expect.

    Like

  4. Oh no, I wrote quite a long comment, but it didn’t register. *sigh* terrible internet connection these past few days.

    I don’t know if we’ll ever have an ideal leader. I’m currently reading The Brothers Karamazov which is a brilliant exploration of the role religion plays in law and order. And while it makes fantastic points, I cannot dany that there are some countries, even within my own religion, where it’s distorted to such an extent that it becomes a terrifying oppressive force. The more I learn about the signs of Judgement Day, the more inclined I am to believe that things are going to get a lot worse before they get good, but until then, we have to keep fighting and keep using our collectives voices to create change – a lot of oppression is reliant on our silence. We cannot be silent. I’m so glad to see you play your part, and I hope we can continue to keep fighting. We cannot do this divided.

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