Spiritual Reorientation 8: Spirituality Squandered

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posted on Jul, 4 2014 @ 05:10 PM
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a reply to: Bluesma


And lastly, the argument that religion paints this world of physicality and materiality as a challenge at best, hell at worst, looking past it to a promise of something better... for those who are LIVING a REAL physical life of suffering and powerlessness, this gives some endurance. A child, unable to change their situation of abuse, can find some flame of strength within them with the use of such visions to focus on. This is a formidable coping tool.


"This is a formidable coping tool." If i could bold that and put it next to every religious icon ever made in the last couple hundred years, I would do so in an instant. Religion can never be anything more than a coping tool. It may get you past a particular situation happening, but it will not stop that experience from occurring with other people.

Why is life so preferable for an individual facing "a real physical life of suffering and powerlessness"? If nothing else, a life of rejection of the form of punishment or suffering could do infinitely more good than turning it into a belief system. If an individual's life is "full of suffering and powerlessness" anyway, they might as well seek to destroy that form of injustice because they'll be used to the suffering and powerlessness that comes from doing it.

If you suggest that it is pointless for a person to do that because it is too big of a social issue or something of that regard, think about the last sentence in my previous paragraph.

you probably have a pretty good hint about which side of the fence on. I would take an unpleasant present moment over a delusional belief any day.




posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 01:19 AM
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a reply to: zackli


I am always surprised and confused by how many people think children, the sick; injured, handicapped, and elderly, should ideally, stand up and fight the system, or somehow obliterate whoever or whatever is currently in power over them and abusing it.

I think that is unrealistic.

Remember I refered to "temporary states of powerlessness"... not a whole long life of powerlessness. I specifically said it is a tool to be put down and left behind when the situation opens to change (that should be the goal- to graduate and leave behind the religion at some point).

A child being held under adults who are abusive is not "lazy" if they use a mental coping mechanism to get through moments of extreme torture, pain or distress at some moments. It can carry them through until there is possibility for escape.



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 01:13 PM
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a reply to: Bluesma



I am always surprised and confused by how many people think children, the sick; injured, handicapped, and elderly, should ideally, stand up and fight the system, or somehow obliterate whoever or whatever is currently in power over them and abusing it.


I've never suggested that children, the sick, injured, handicapped and elderly should stand up against the system, and I would NEVER hold a normal person, even a healthy person with billions of dollars, to that standard. That is just asking for bloodshed.


I think that is unrealistic.


You have every right to think you think that, and I would dare not question the validity of the fundamental beliefs you think you have.


A child being held under adults who are abusive is not "lazy" if they use a mental coping mechanism to get through moments of extreme torture, pain or distress at some moments. It can carry them through until there is possibility for escape.


I never said that a child under the care of adults who are abusive is lazy. To say that it is, indeed, is highly unrealistic and does nothing to solve the problem; it just rationalizes it away.


Remember I refered to "temporary states of powerlessness"... not a whole long life of powerlessness.


You're splitting hairs now. When you were born, you were not asked if you want to live. You were not given input on what your name is. No one asked if you wanted to go to school. No one asked if you wanted to "work" for a living. No one asked if you want to be able to vote. Your life, fundamentally, is just a series of constrained choices giving the appearance of complete freedom. The choices you DO make are ultimately inconsequential for the status quo, and that is why you are allowed to make them.


I specifically said it is a tool to be put down and left behind when the situation opens to change (that should be the goal- to graduate and leave behind the religion at some point).


OH, I think I missed that disclaimer in every holy book ever. They should make a fancy cover for every one that has caution tape going across it that says "Caution: Only to be used in emergencies. What is contained herein is not meant to solve problems, but merely cover them up by distracting you with pointless stories about people whose existence is ultimately inconsequential to anyone currently living or who will ever live. It is all a myth designed to comfort you and help you see that what you are suffering from is not unique to you, but is what every person has to deal with."

The illusion of certainty is the only thing that makes religion good at what it does, and in this illusion of certainty is what makes it nearly impossible to give up. I can't say no one would follow it if they didn't genuinely believe it was true, but I would say a lot of people who do follow it would be fairly shocked to hear you say that believers should only use their religion in times of crisis as a crutch rather than truly trying to follow its teachings.


if they use a mental coping mechanism to get through moments of extreme torture, pain or distress..."


What is considered a moment of extreme torture, pain or distress is so open to interpretation that it is only "meaningful" to people who HAVEN'T gone through a moment of extreme torture, pain or distress. If you were to give a child a lollipop, and then take it away before he or she had a chance to eat it, that child would cry even though he or she is in exactly the same situation as before he or she was given the lollipop. You can scream or cry about how it's different all you want, but that's exactly the point.



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 01:38 PM
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originally posted by: zackli

Religion can never be anything more than a coping tool. It may get you past a particular situation happening, but it will not stop that experience from occurring with other people.


You are referring to the psychological function of myth. There are three other functions that myth performs for a society:


First is the metaphysical function. Myth awakens and supports a sense of awe before the mystery of being. It reconciles consciousness to the preconditions of its own existence. Myth induces a realization that behind the surface phenomenology of the world, there is a transcendent mystery source. Through this vitalizing mystical function, the universe becomes a holy picture.



The second is a cosmological dimension deals with the image of the world that is the focus of science. This function shows the shape of the universe, but in such a way that the mystery still comes through. The cosmology should correspond to the actual experience, knowledge, and mentality of the culture. This interpretive function changes radically over time. It presents a map or picture of the order of the cosmos and our relationship to it.



Third is the sociological function. Myth supports and validates the specific moral order of the society out of which it arose. Particular life-customs of this social dimension, such as ethical laws and social roles, evolve dramatically. This function, and the rites by which it is rendered, establishes in members of the group concerned a system of sentiments that can be depended upon to link that person spontaneously to its ends.



The fourth function of myth is psychological. The myths show how to live a human lifetime under any circumstances. It is this pedagogical function of mythology that carries the individual through the various stages and crises of life, from childhood dependency, to the responsibilities of maturity, to the reflection of old age, and finally, to death. It helps people grasp the unfolding of life with integrity. It initiates individuals into the order of realities in their own psyches, guiding them toward enrichment and realization.


www.folkstory.com...

To the degree that science, science-fiction, and superhero comics, etc performs one or all of these functions for a person, it is their modern myth, in a manner of speaking.

If that person is offended by such usage of the word myth, then I would say that person has too much baggage connected to that word to think about it in a mindful, scholarly way.



edit on 888Saturday000000America/ChicagoJul000000SaturdayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 03:37 PM
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originally posted by: zackli
a reply to: Bluesma

I've never suggested that children, the sick, injured, handicapped and elderly should stand up against the system, and I would NEVER hold a normal person, even a healthy person with billions of dollars, to that standard. That is just asking for bloodshed.


Then I guess I do not get what you meant with this phrase:




If an individual's life is "full of suffering and powerlessness" anyway, they might as well seek to destroy that form of injustice because they'll be used to the suffering and powerlessness that comes from doing it.

I spoke of people in states of powerlessness, and you suggest a preference that they "seek to destroy that form of injustice".

I used the example, in following posts, of a young child being raped by an adult man. How do you suggest a person in that circumstance seek to destroy that injustice?

It is certainly possible to take actions at another time, when the child has grown stronger physically and mentally, but in that moment, coping is essential to avoid complete breakdown of the psyche. Beliefs and faith of various types can be a tool for detachment and endurance.




Remember I refered to "temporary states of powerlessness"... not a whole long life of powerlessness.

You're splitting hairs now. When you were born, you were not asked if you want to live. You were not given input on what your name is. No one asked if you wanted to go to school. No one asked if you wanted to "work" for a living. No one asked if you want to be able to vote. Your life, fundamentally, is just a series of constrained choices giving the appearance of complete freedom. The choices you DO make are ultimately inconsequential for the status quo, and that is why you are allowed to make them.


I am sorry, I do not understand the relevance to the comment you are responding to. I am speaking of very physical states of powerlessness- childhood, illness, handicap, old age. States of physical being in which one can be unable to fight off aggression, abuse, tyranny, torture, slavery, etc.





OH, I think I missed that disclaimer in every holy book ever. They should make a fancy cover for every one that has caution tape going across it that says "Caution: Only to be used in emergencies. What is contained herein is not meant to solve problems, but merely cover them up by distracting you with pointless stories about people whose existence is ultimately inconsequential to anyone currently living or who will ever live. It is all a myth designed to comfort you and help you see that what you are suffering from is not unique to you, but is what every person has to deal with."


I think I am too tired from a long day at work, but it seems to me that you and I are on totally different wavelengths here- I did not say anything at all about helping one see that what they are suffering is not unique to them, or anything about playing down, making someone somehow be accepting of what they are going through.

Having hope in the future, that "something better will become possible", remaining focused on that future potential
instead of embracing the moment and being completely present, can be essential aid, and help the person in that circumstance not give up, not become completely discouraged and apathetic later.

Of course, the trick of using such mental tools, is that in order for them to be effective, belief has to be real. So an awakening or rising of consciousness which unveils the tools must ideally happen- anyone on a spiritual path can tell how "truth" becomes this ever widening phenomenon. One is constantly peeling deeper and finding that what they perceived as truth yesterday is clearly not the whole story today- but usually you realize if you hadn't believed that truth back then, you would not have gotten to the bigger one!




The illusion of certainty is the only thing that makes religion good at what it does, and in this illusion of certainty is what makes it nearly impossible to give up.


Well, obviously I agree with the first half of that statement, but not the second- it is not necessarily impossible to give up. I meet people everyday who were raised with a religious education or faith of some sort, and are no longer part of that, no longer believe it. Religion and faith also has many challenges and discomforts that help to turn people off of it when it is time to do so. Mostly through limiting self expression, and independence.





What is considered a moment of extreme torture, pain or distress is so open to interpretation that it is only "meaningful" to people who HAVEN'T gone through a moment of extreme torture, pain or distress. If you were to give a child a lollipop, and then take it away before he or she had a chance to eat it, that child would cry even though he or she is in exactly the same situation as before he or she was given the lollipop. You can scream or cry about how it's different all you want, but that's exactly the point.


You lost me again. I am probably too tired to focus well, my apologies. I thought I was clear in my earlier posts and examples, that I am speaking of life threatening and physically painful circumstances, not merely emotional distress.

I had my own various coping tools provided by my imagination in such circumstances and I did not have trouble letting them go once the coast was clear to do so.



posted on Jul, 6 2014 @ 01:57 AM
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Having had a good nights sleep, I find myself turning back to this discussion, particularly because I felt confused by the direction it was going in. I feel like my perspective has not been well expressed- I am being misunderstood. That often spurs me to want to work harder on being more concise.

The subject is one that interests me, my first paper in a philosophy class when I was 16 was on the subject of religion and spirituality, I chose to focus on the possible benefits, in particular for those of a group who are in a state of vulnerability.

My point of view is apparently not common, and most often provocative precisely by people who had religious background, and have “a bone to pick” with it. I was not allowed to go to any church or be exposed to any religion as a child, so perhaps that is why I became fascinated with it (being drawn to the forbidden).

My opinion comes much from observing, as an outsider, others experiences with organized religion, mixed with my experiences having a more individualized spirituality
(for if I understood correctly, the OP refers to all the forms of spirituality and belief).

-Breaking down analytically, the first paragraph of the OP describes the benefits of hardships and challenges in life, which I agree with.

-The second asserts “The path of least resistance is the current flow of common spirituality". » Through escapism.
(which gets in the way of fully experiencing future challenges in life)

This is what I responded to in particular- prolonged cortisol secretion in response to traumatic events causes some pretty serious damage to the body. The list is long, of negative effects, (worth googling)… but in reference to the fore mentioned principle we have agreed upon (the benefits of overcoming challenges in life and those memories as part of forming our self awareness). While a bit of stress can enhance your memory…


However, long-term exposure to cortisol damages cells in the hippocampus; this damage results in impaired learning. Furthermore, it has been shown that cortisol inhibits memory retrieval of already stored information

en.wikipedia.org...

Here we find that at a certain point, the first assertion ceases to be applicable. In fact the ability to face future challenges and hardships in an intelligent way, applying memory and knowledge, and analysis, becomes impaired. You can become dependent upon your automatic survival based reflexes.

You may have climbed mountains, but you didn’t learn anything from them, did not stay highly aware as you did so, and don’t remember them.

Any sort of tool which can help the body cope through extreme stress conditions, like meditation, prayer, visualization, that can have effects upon the hormonal secretions, and things like heartbeat, blood pressure, etc. Can diminue the damage to the body and mind, for future use.

Furthermore, from the most passionate of religion opposers, usually with a past of having to escape its clutches, I often question why they can perceive the benefits of facing difficulty, opposition, challenge, and yet not appreciate the challenge they faced in religion as one of those great beneficial experiences ???


To me, as an observer, I see it like this- some people have to take Oxycontin, or morphine, after a serious injury or operation. It is addictive, and getting off it can be challenging. It entails a very strong will, and as in all challenges of that sort, the exertion of will power serves to make one conscious of that power they have.

Religion and spirituality could be seen the same way. Necessary at one point, difficult to get off of, but worth it in the end, like all challenges.

Perhaps it is just the phenomenon of grass being greener on the other side ; imagining that the pain would have been beneficial if one had never taken the Oxy at all, and deciding that others should go without.

There are other reasons I think spirituality and religion can benefit humans, like in cultural bonding of groups, but I will try to stick with the aspect I have already approached and not been able to express clearly yet.
edit on 6-7-2014 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)





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