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  1. #521
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.J.Woolf View Post
    (Emphasis mine.) The way you describe it here, atheism is not so much anti-religious as anti-authoritarian. There are spiritual people who don't belong to an organized religion. You could say they construct meaning themselves too.

    Sartre said, "Man is condemned to be free." I believe that if there is any meaning to life, we must construct it for ourselves, and hope that we're up to doing it. I also believe that every religious person chooses their own meanings, whether they know it or not. If they don't know it then they've chosen passively by accepting an authority's word for it.
    I would argue, just based on personal evidence, that to be truly independent, we have to construct meaning for ourselves. Otherwise, we end up being subject to the will of politicians and other authorities. It's better to make an informed choice on who to support, and know why you're making that choice.

    Of course, there are the people who find that prospect terrifying, and that complicates all of this.
    [Trump's] rhetoric is not an abuse of power. In the same way that it's also not against the law to do a backflip off of the roof of your house onto your concrete driveway. It's just mind-numbingly stupid and, to say the least, counterproductive. - Bush did 9-11


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  2. #522
    Senior Member Frosty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.J.Woolf View Post
    (Emphasis mine.) The way you describe it here, atheism is not so much anti-religious as anti-authoritarian. There are spiritual people who don't belong to an organized religion. You could say they construct meaning themselves too.

    Sartre said, "Man is condemned to be free." I believe that if there is any meaning to life, we must construct it for ourselves, and hope that we're up to doing it. I also believe that every religious person chooses their own meanings, whether they know it or not. If they don't know it then they've chosen passively by accepting an authority's word for it.
    There is no viewpoint-'religion' that is derived out of total nonsense. That is why relgion is just not an absolute concept, it is too individualized. People take what they are given, reinterpret their own meanings, and then use that to structure their own particular understanding.

    Any sort of interpretation of the meaning of everything ends up using the same sort of checks and rejects as any other 'religion'. Sure paths are different, but the destination of 'understanding' is the same.

    I think that while most people do take large portions of their interpretations off of what is handed to them-or what is taken away-(both unfortunate), it is hard for that to be the totallity of their understanding.

    It is near impossible IMO (so fun to use now that I know what it means), for someone to never ever step out of the rigid concrete unbending constructs of a traditional religion. People will vary it a bit, but yes-maybe it would be best to just eliminate religion all together (not sure if I am serious about this), and have people start from scratch.

    But at the end of the day I suppose there are more followers than leaders so while words may change plots will stay the same. (A few will create religions, the people will gravitate in hordes towards the one they find most 'appealing, and religions will just reshuffle.)

  3. #523
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vulcan View Post
    I would argue, just based on personal evidence, that to be truly independent, we have to construct meaning for ourselves. Otherwise, we end up being subject to the will of politicians and other authorities. It's better to make an informed choice on who to support, and know why you're making that choice.
    Confused on your word choice, since "argue" sounds like you're arguing with him, but I read you both as saying essentially the same things.

    I think we all actually choose our meanings whether we realize it or not; it's just that some appeal to an authority that they have decided is an authority, although it really cannot be shown to be such. So it's more a difference between acknowledging you have determined your own meaning versus pretending you haven't by investing arbitrary authority in a particular meaning, and I think the latter contributes to the inevitable problems.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft
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  4. #524
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Confused on your word choice, since "argue" sounds like you're arguing with him, but I read you both as saying essentially the same things.
    I'm not arguing with him, but with imaginary opponents.

    Uh, I swear I'm not crazy.

    I think we all actually choose our meanings whether we realize it or not; it's just that some appeal to an authority that they have decided is an authority, although it really cannot be shown to be such. So it's
    more a difference between acknowledging you have determined your own meaning versus pretending you haven't by investing arbitrary authority in a particular meaning, and I think the latter contributes to the inevitable problems.
    Do you think that in the latter case, this translates into a demand that everyone else adopt the meanings that have been selected? Is this one of the inevitable problems you speak of, or are you referring to something else?
    [Trump's] rhetoric is not an abuse of power. In the same way that it's also not against the law to do a backflip off of the roof of your house onto your concrete driveway. It's just mind-numbingly stupid and, to say the least, counterproductive. - Bush did 9-11


    This is not going to go the way you think....

    Visit my Johari:
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  5. #525
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vulcan View Post
    I'm not arguing with him, but with imaginary opponents.
    Uh, I swear I'm not crazy.
    That's too bad.
    I only talk to crazy people.



    Quote Originally Posted by Vulcan View Post
    Do you think that in the latter case, this translates into a demand that everyone else adopt the meanings that have been selected? Is this one of the inevitable problems you speak of, or are you referring to something else?
    Yes.

    By casting it as an "external reality" that you can then invest authority in, it necessarily becomes a perceived authority over others as well.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  6. #526
    Senior Member Frosty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Confused on your word choice, since "argue" sounds like you're arguing with him, but I read you both as saying essentially the same things.

    I think we all actually choose our meanings whether we realize it or not; it's just that some appeal to an authority that they have decided is an authority, although it really cannot be shown to be such. So it's more a difference between acknowledging you have determined your own meaning versus pretending you haven't by investing arbitrary authority in a particular meaning, and I think the latter contributes to the inevitable problems.
    Seems like they are 'arguing' to further and develop. Yes, I think it is all about creating a belief system to kind of explain what cannot be explained. As long as you remember that that your viewpoint/system is not absolute- and that it is more of just a way to define things as closely to absolutes as possible, you are able to move away from the bandwagon and define something more instinctual.

  7. #527
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    I would say "a description of one's personal values" versus "absolutes".

    i.e., it describes what you're willing to commit your life to pursuing regardless of whether you can show it to be true.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  8. #528
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starcrash View Post
    What is this business about them wanting to be "masters of their universes?" This statement could apply to people of various religions and beliefs. It isn't exclusive to atheists and not all atheists wish to be masters of their universe.

    Quote Originally Posted by C.J.Woolf View Post
    (Emphasis mine.) The way you describe it here, atheism is not so much anti-religious as anti-authoritarian. There are spiritual people who don't belong to an organized religion. You could say they construct meaning themselves too.

    Sartre said, "Man is condemned to be free." I believe that if there is any meaning to life, we must construct it for ourselves, and hope that we're up to doing it. I also believe that every religious person chooses their own meanings, whether they know it or not. If they don't know it then they've chosen passively by accepting an authority's word for it.

    When you construct your own meaning you necessarily become master of your own universe. It isn't unique to atheism, but you can't be an atheist without doing this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I think we all actually choose our meanings whether we realize it or not; it's just that some appeal to an authority that they have decided is an authority, although it really cannot be shown to be such. So it's more a difference between acknowledging you have determined your own meaning versus pretending you haven't by investing arbitrary authority in a particular meaning, and I think the latter contributes to the inevitable problems.
    Have you never encountered someone who was constrained by their own religion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Yes.

    By casting it as an "external reality" that you can then invest authority in, it necessarily becomes a perceived authority over others as well.
    Everyone does this regardless of belief in perceived authority. The difference is that Christianity developed different spheres of sovereignty in which the church, state, and individual can operate independently.

    ...

    On the argument about determining meaning for yourself. It's important to note the historical shift. People did not always determine their own meaning in life, but rather they believed in an enchanted world that could encroach on the individual.

    I think Charles Taylor is helpful here:

    Consider melancholy: black bile was not the cause of melancholy, it embodied, it was melancholy. The emotional life was porous here; it didn’t simply exist in an inner, mental space. Our vulnerability to the evil, the inwardly destructive, extended to more than just spirits that are malevolent. It went beyond them to things that have no wills, but are nevertheless redolent with the evil meanings.
    Today it is true that in some sense everybody believes they construct their own meaning. However, that is not natural, but rather is a result of culture. There are people (like me) who actively seek to be constrained by external forces and of course everyone is constrained to some extent by what is socially acceptable.
    Take the weakest thing in you
    And then beat the bastards with it
    And always hold on when you get love
    So you can let go when you give it

  9. #529
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beorn View Post
    Today it is true that in some sense everybody believes they construct their own meaning. However, that is not natural, but rather is a result of culture. There are people (like me) who actively seek to be constrained by external forces and of course everyone is constrained to some extent by what is socially acceptable.
    What is socially acceptable changes over time. Certain individuals have cropped up throughout history who have resulted in a sea change in what is socially acceptable. To be sure, norms are constraints, but the individuals within the community are really the ones who decide on the norms (and whether or not to continue to support the functioning of an institution). I think looking at norms as "static" is a mistake. To be sure, though, they exist, and it is prudent to at least be cognizant of them.

    As an illustrative example, if you read the Iliad, for instance, you come across a society with a very different set of norms than our own.
    [Trump's] rhetoric is not an abuse of power. In the same way that it's also not against the law to do a backflip off of the roof of your house onto your concrete driveway. It's just mind-numbingly stupid and, to say the least, counterproductive. - Bush did 9-11


    This is not going to go the way you think....

    Visit my Johari:
    http://kevan.org/johari?name=Birddude78

  10. #530
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vulcan View Post
    I'd argue that what is socially acceptable changes over time. Certain individuals have cropped up throughout history who have resulted in a sea change in what is socially acceptable. To be sure, norms are constraints, but the individuals within the community are really the ones who decide on the norms (and whether or not to continue to support the functioning of an institution). I think looking at norms as "static" is a mistake.

    As an illustrative example, if you read the Iliad, for instance, you come across a society with a very different set of norms than our own.
    I believe in a consistent moral order, but I don't have a problem with recognizing that societal norms shift.
    Take the weakest thing in you
    And then beat the bastards with it
    And always hold on when you get love
    So you can let go when you give it

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