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Switch to Forum Live View Mysticism -vs- cynicism (small "c")
2 years ago  ::  Jun 29, 2012 - 3:42AM #11
Namchuck
Posts: 11,266

Jun 28, 2012 -- 2:32PM, Seefan wrote:


BB, I appreciate your topic!  If written about in such places as the Baha’i Faith it must be a widespread problem.  I’m sure most do not see themselves that way or they’d probably change, or at least one would hope.  However it is a way of controlling the conversation!  I try not to be skeptical and especially not cynical, and at times go out of my way to avoid such.  I hope it is out of respect for their feelings.  But sometimes we slip and don’t realize it.   So thanks for bringing it up ...


What, Seefan, you "try not to be skeptical"!? Or is it, really, that your skepticism is highly selective? I'd hate to think that you are simply being disingenuous.


I don't want to sound carmudgeonly, but do you actually understand what skepticism is? It seems to me that you are guilty of what I wrote about in a previous post where I explained how some mistakenly conflate cynicism and skepticism despite the fact that the two approaches are worlds apart. Without a degree of skepticism in our lives we would be the victims of every scam-artist, false-belief system, self-serving politician and government, etc, abroad on the land. You just can't be serious. 


And in bringing it up I’m reminded that it is very hard to discuss and broaden one’s thinking when always being bombarded with such characteristics as the above!  I think all we can do at that point is to realize that every poster is an example – some good examples and are of help to others, while others bad examples, and lack basic spiritual skills which need to be developed.


There you go again promulgating your elitist view that anyone who happens to disagree with your insupportable beliefs is somehow lacking "basic spiritual skills"!


Have you ever stopped to consider the possibility - and I bet you haven't - that the individual who loves truth and applies reason (the thing that makes us uniquely human and differentiates us from all the other animals) robustly in an attempt to realise truth might be far more 'spiritual' than the individual who's chief characteristic is an intense credulity borne out of fear and informed only by the need for some form of psychology comfort?


  I guess it’s up to the individual to chose how to conduct one’s self when conversing with another.  The skeptics and cynics (faultfinder) will always be there to browbeat others and cause chaos.  I guess how I conduct myself says a lot about my character.  So I’ll attempt to show respect to all .



And here is a perfect example of the sort of conflation by one patently ignorant of either the meaning of cynicism or of skepticism!


How dare you accuse skeptics of being "faultfinders"!? Is it "faultfinding" to recognise and expose unjustified and parlous beliefs that have divided and torn families and societies apart? Is it "faultfinding" to identify notions and ideas that are not only unsupported by a grain of evidence, but actually go against the great weight of the evidence?   


I'll say it again, the reason I am a skeptic rather than a religionist is because I think the idea of skepticism is immeasurably healthier and closer to the truth than the ideas proposed by any religion, regardless of human fallibility in both camps.


You are functioning under, Seefan, for one hinting at his own superiority of character (two last lines of your paragraph above) an astonishing misapprehension. I could name mystic after so-called mystic throughout history - including the Buddha, Jesus, Vardu ManaMahavira, Loa Tzu, J Krishnamurti, and a host of others - who took the practice of skepticism to astonishing heights without ever becoming cynical. It was not for them to "respect" what they could clearly see were false views and beliefs.


Your post above is one of the most disappointing posts I have read in a long while.



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2 years ago  ::  Jun 29, 2012 - 3:44PM #12
Seefan
Posts: 3,875

Jun 29, 2012 -- 3:42AM, Namchuck wrote:

 

Jun 28, 2012 -- 2:32PM, Seefan wrote:


BB, I appreciate your topic!  If written about in such places as the Baha’i Faith it must be a widespread problem.  I’m sure most do not see themselves that way or they’d probably change, or at least one would hope.  However it is a way of controlling the conversation!  I try not to be skeptical and especially not cynical, and at times go out of my way to avoid such.  I hope it is out of respect for their feelings.  But sometimes we slip and don’t realize it.   So thanks for bringing it up ...


What, Seefan, you "try not to be skeptical"!? Or is it, really, that your skepticism is highly selective? I'd hate to think that you are simply being disingenuous.


I don't want to sound carmudgeonly, but do you actually understand what skepticism is? It seems to me that you are guilty of what I wrote about in a previous post where I explained how some mistakenly conflate cynicism and skepticism despite the fact that the two approaches are worlds apart. Without a degree of skepticism in our lives we would be the victims of every scam-artist, false-belief system, self-serving politician and government, etc, abroad on the land. You just can't be serious. 


And in bringing it up I’m reminded that it is very hard to discuss and broaden one’s thinking when always being bombarded with such characteristics as the above!  I think all we can do at that point is to realize that every poster is an example – some good examples and are of help to others, while others bad examples, and lack basic spiritual skills which need to be developed.


There you go again promulgating your elitist view that anyone who happens to disagree with your insupportable beliefs is somehow lacking "basic spiritual skills"!


Have you ever stopped to consider the possibility - and I bet you haven't - that the individual who loves truth and applies reason (the thing that makes us uniquely human and differentiates us from all the other animals) robustly in an attempt to realise truth might be far more 'spiritual' than the individual who's chief characteristic is an intense credulity borne out of fear and informed only by the need for some form of psychology comfort?


  I guess it’s up to the individual to chose how to conduct one’s self when conversing with another.  The skeptics and cynics (faultfinder) will always be there to browbeat others and cause chaos.  I guess how I conduct myself says a lot about my character.  So I’ll attempt to show respect to all .



And here is a perfect example of the sort of conflation by one patently ignorant of either the meaning of cynicism or of skepticism!


How dare you accuse skeptics of being "faultfinders"!? Is it "faultfinding" to recognise and expose unjustified and parlous beliefs that have divided and torn families and societies apart? Is it "faultfinding" to identify notions and ideas that are not only unsupported by a grain of evidence, but actually go against the great weight of the evidence?   


I'll say it again, the reason I am a skeptic rather than a religionist is because I think the idea of skepticism is immeasurably healthier and closer to the truth than the ideas proposed by any religion, regardless of human fallibility in both camps.


You are functioning under, Seefan, for one hinting at his own superiority of character (two last lines of your paragraph above) an astonishing misapprehension. I could name mystic after so-called mystic throughout history - including the Buddha, Jesus, Vardu ManaMahavira, Loa Tzu, J Krishnamurti, and a host of others - who took the practice of skepticism to astonishing heights without ever becoming cynical. It was not for them to "respect" what they could clearly see were false views and beliefs.


Your post above is one of the most disappointing posts I have read in a long while.




Thanks for your reply to my post to BBarton!  I've read what you've said and I'm not sure how to respond but will do some serious thinking about it.  For the most part the post was about me and my need to watch that I'm not 'too' skeptical (doubting the sincerity, attitudes and beliefs of others) and definitely I hope I'm not being cynical (distrusting people and their sincerity).  If I have the definitions wrong let me know ...


Oh and by the way I hope you don't think that in any way I believe myself to be a mystic!  I certainly have opinions on some of what is said but for the most part I know little about it.  That's why I come to the mystic board to talk to those who claim to be on that journey.  


 

Today the one overriding need is unity and harmony among the beloved of the Lord, for they should have among them but one heart and soul and should, so far as in them lieth, unitedly withstand the hostility of all the peoples of the world ... (Baha'i Writings)
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2 years ago  ::  Jun 30, 2012 - 2:32AM #13
Namchuck
Posts: 11,266

Jun 29, 2012 -- 3:44PM, Seefan wrote:



Thanks for your reply to my post to BBarton!


You're welcome, Seefan.


  I've read what you've said and I'm not sure how to respond but will do some serious thinking about it. 


"Serious thinking" is essentially what skepticism is all about.


For the most part the post was about me and my need to watch that I'm not 'too' skeptical (doubting the sincerity, attitudes and beliefs of others) and definitely I hope I'm not being cynical (distrusting people and their sincerity).


I don't think skepticism has anything to do with whether people are sincere or not, but, rather, whether their claims hold up under scrutiny. Some of the sincerest people can be dead wrong, and one should be just as skeptical about ones own beliefs.


This will be the case if one values truth over mere belief.


If I have the definitions wrong let me know ...


The mere fact that you have conflated cynicism and skepticism might suggest that you misapprehend both. One really ought to be careful about using terms if your grasp of them is superficial, don't you think? 


Moreover, and if you don't mind me saying so, you seem to suffer that blight almost exclusive to the religious mind of making claims that you simply cannot defend with even a grain of compelling evidence. This always has the effect, at least upon any reasonable mind, of making such assertions appear shallow and vacuous. And while I certainly don't think for a moment that you are a shallow and vacuous person (I would have given up talking to you a long time ago if I thought that), Seefan, your beliefs seem to be.


Oh and by the way I hope you don't think that in any way I believe myself to be a mystic!


I don't think anyone would refer to themselves as such, Seefan. 


I certainly have opinions on some of what is said but for the most part I know little about it.  That's why I come to the mystic board to talk to those who claim to be on that journey. 


I have looked at it myself both academically and experientially. I also come here to talk to those who "claim" to be on that journey.


 


 




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2 years ago  ::  Jul 02, 2012 - 2:56PM #14
Erey
Posts: 18,388

I think there is a ballance.  There is much that is mystical in this world and to refuse to see that is to close yourself off from alot of beauty and joy, not to mention your own purpose.


However, not everything is a sign from God or has spiritual significance.  Maybe that is my own cynicism talking?  Sometimes a rainbow is just the sunlight reflecting off the water particles. 


So skepticism is good and important but just because there is skepticism does not and can not dismiss the truth in mysticism.  But it sure can try.... 


 

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2 years ago  ::  Jul 02, 2012 - 5:03PM #15
Namchuck
Posts: 11,266

Jul 2, 2012 -- 2:56PM, Erey wrote:


I think there is a ballance.  There is much that is mystical in this world and to refuse to see that is to close yourself off from alot of beauty and joy, not to mention your own purpose.


I would demur from what you say above, Erey, and suggest that, while there is much about this world that is still mysterious, there is nothing 'mystical' about it. Mysticism implies, as I've said before, the acceptance of allegations without evidence or proof.


However, not everything is a sign from God or has spiritual significance.  Maybe that is my own cynicism talking?  Sometimes a rainbow is just the sunlight reflecting off the water particles.


Most of the things or phenomena we still consider mysterious falls into this category. The mere fact that we cannot currently (or even ever) explain something does not constitute positive evidence for a mystical explanation. 


So skepticism is good and important but just because there is skepticism does not and can not dismiss the truth in mysticism.  But it sure can try.... 


And what is the "truth in mysticism"? I'm looking forward to your answer given that vaguery and nebulousness seems to be its chief characteristic.


 




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2 years ago  ::  Jul 02, 2012 - 6:54PM #16
Erey
Posts: 18,388

Jul 2, 2012 -- 5:03PM, Namchuck wrote:


Jul 2, 2012 -- 2:56PM, Erey wrote:


I think there is a ballance.  There is much that is mystical in this world and to refuse to see that is to close yourself off from alot of beauty and joy, not to mention your own purpose.


I would demur from what you say above, Erey, and suggest that, while there is much about this world that is still mysterious, there is nothing 'mystical' about it. Mysticism implies, as I've said before, the acceptance of allegations without evidence or proof.


However, not everything is a sign from God or has spiritual significance.  Maybe that is my own cynicism talking?  Sometimes a rainbow is just the sunlight reflecting off the water particles.


Most of the things or phenomena we still consider mysterious falls into this category. The mere fact that we cannot currently (or even ever) explain something does not constitute positive evidence for a mystical explanation. 


So skepticism is good and important but just because there is skepticism does not and can not dismiss the truth in mysticism.  But it sure can try.... 


And what is the "truth in mysticism"? I'm looking forward to your answer given that vaguery and nebulousness seems to be its chief characteristic.


 







For me the truth in mysticism is that I believe God exists.  I don't think I can do a very good job of describing what God is and how God works, etc.  And if you want you can think more generality and say higher power- that is fine with me.  I believe in God and I believe God reaches out to us, speaks to us in a fashion, and has things to tell us.  When we can experience God or hear from God that is mysticism. 



 

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2 years ago  ::  Jul 02, 2012 - 11:55PM #17
Namchuck
Posts: 11,266

Jul 2, 2012 -- 6:54PM, Erey wrote:


For me the truth in mysticism is that I believe God exists.


You're conflating 'belief' with 'truth', Erey. You may, by virtue of mystical propensities, believe that God exists but that isn't a 'truth' in mysticism. It's an assumption of mysticism, and a baroque one at that.


I don't think I can do a very good job of describing what God is and how God works, etc.


Perhaps not, but you don't seem to have any trouble making the assumption of God.


And if you want you can think more generality and say higher power- that is fine with me.


I wouldn't be at all inclined to think "more generality and say higher power"(sic) because I know of no compelling reason why I, or anyone else, should think that. If there is good evidence for some 'higher power', then I'd like to hear it.


 


I believe in God and I believe God reaches out to us, speaks to us in a fashion, and has things to tell us. 


Yes, and millions of others think that, too. But what God is apparently saying to them, according to their reports, is both inconsistent and even contradictory. It would lead one to think that they're simply putting words in their imaginary God's mouth.


When we can experience God or hear from God that is mysticism.


As I've just pointed out, given the the inconsistent reports of the 'experience of God', the division and bloodshed that it often leads to, there is no good reason to think that such experiences point to anything outside of human imagination. It certainly doesn't point to much else.


 



 




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2 years ago  ::  Jul 08, 2012 - 2:07PM #18
Erey
Posts: 18,388

Jul 2, 2012 -- 11:55PM, Namchuck wrote:


Jul 2, 2012 -- 6:54PM, Erey wrote:


For me the truth in mysticism is that I believe God exists.


You're conflating 'belief' with 'truth', Erey. You may, by virtue of mystical propensities, believe that God exists but that isn't a 'truth' in mysticism. It's an assumption of mysticism, and a baroque one at that.


I don't think I can do a very good job of describing what God is and how God works, etc.


Perhaps not, but you don't seem to have any trouble making the assumption of God.


And if you want you can think more generality and say higher power- that is fine with me.


I wouldn't be at all inclined to think "more generality and say higher power"(sic) because I know of no compelling reason why I, or anyone else, should think that. If there is good evidence for some 'higher power', then I'd like to hear it.


 


I believe in God and I believe God reaches out to us, speaks to us in a fashion, and has things to tell us. 


Yes, and millions of others think that, too. But what God is apparently saying to them, according to their reports, is both inconsistent and even contradictory. It would lead one to think that they're simply putting words in their imaginary God's mouth.


When we can experience God or hear from God that is mysticism.


As I've just pointed out, given the the inconsistent reports of the 'experience of God', the division and bloodshed that it often leads to, there is no good reason to think that such experiences point to anything outside of human imagination. It certainly doesn't point to much else.


 



 







I am probably not going to be a very interesting debator with you on this thread.  Clearly, I believe in God and it seems to me that you don't believe in God.  I can live with that, best of luck to you.

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2 years ago  ::  Jul 08, 2012 - 7:33PM #19
Namchuck
Posts: 11,266

Jul 8, 2012 -- 2:07PM, Erey wrote:



I am probably not going to be a very interesting debator with you on this thread.  Clearly, I believe in God and it seems to me that you don't believe in God.


I have no God belief, Erey, simply because there is enough evidence to justify disbelieving in God, gods, or any other form of supernatural entity.


I can live with that, best of luck to you.


I bet you can. Wink




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2 years ago  ::  Jul 08, 2012 - 11:05PM #20
Erey
Posts: 18,388

Jul 8, 2012 -- 7:33PM, Namchuck wrote:


Jul 8, 2012 -- 2:07PM, Erey wrote:



I am probably not going to be a very interesting debator with you on this thread.  Clearly, I believe in God and it seems to me that you don't believe in God.


I have no God belief, Erey, simply because there is enough evidence to justify disbelieving in God, gods, or any other form of supernatural entity.


I can live with that, best of luck to you.


I bet you can. Wink







Namchuck,  kind of a smarty-pants close there to your last post.  Which is fine with me, only it is a close that begs a response. 


I feel compelled to state that I think you are searching for God or a proof of God. I expect you will deny this, but I have no interest in laboriously debating your purpose.  I would like to suggest that a message board is an akward and clunky place to scratch that particular kind of itch.  I hope you perhaps look outside of the diologue here and to other resources.  I am very sure you spent some time in the past doing just that yet despite the time invested in the past you are clearly still unsatisfied.  So it seems to me you have unfinished business in that department.    I am a lousy mind-reader but I don't think I need any special skills to understand this situation.


There are very bright people that find the proof they need of God.  Honestly, I don't believe it is ever done through a "debate, show me proof" kind of diologue.  It is a more personal diologue where reality as you experience it is considered against what you know to be hard facts.  It just seems to me every time I hear of a atheist becoming a believer it is never because he or she lost an argument.  That is the only reason I am suggesting going outside of the message board. 


I have been on these boards here at Bnet since 2001 and I don't believe anyone has ever discovered God here or lost God here or converted to another religion.  There are certainly people here that have found or lost God and people who have converted but the actuall realization or change of mind never actually happened here.  It happened in real life and it was discussed here but it was never won or lost here. 

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