George: Of course you can’t tell the difference between Deepak Chopra, the Dalai Lama, me and no doubt many others. They all sound the same to you because you don’t draw any distinctions around the related subjects of meaning and emotion, rejecting as you do the entire subject matter. But in point of fact, you’ve named three different people who have different views on these subjects, Chopra being the odd man out on most issues of this nature. You’re making a completely unsubstantiated comparison.
When challenged on your previous claim, you shift your position and of course you don’t provide any evidence to support it because you don’t have any. You claim to be a disciple of reason but you are not. All you do is react to anything that sounds to you like it might involve emotion. How many times do you need to hear it: washing emotion and a sense of meaning out of life is not a reasoned position. In fact it isn’t even rational. Homo sapiens is an emotional creature. We have an active hypothalamus and mid-brain, which processes what we call emotion; we derive a sense of meaning from that. All of us do, including you; you just don’t admit it. Ignoring all of that is no better than the theistic fundamentalist ignoring all the evidence that tells us that the earth is more than 6,000 years old. Unthinking fundamentalism is no better coming from an atheist than from a theist; and it isn’t humanistic.
Take the orgasm, for example. You can reduce it to its mechanics all you want. But go ahead, tell us it doesn’t mean anything to you. If it was all just mechanics and nothing more, you wouldn’t bother with it. And maybe you don’t: after all, I don’t know you. But most people value their sex lives, love their kids and find beauty in the world. To disparage all of that is as pointless an endeavor as anyone could imagine: after all, if nothing has any meaning, then why do you claim to care about being rational?
Admitting that you can’t tell the difference between Chopra and the Dalai Lama is like someone who only listens to Top 40 saying that Bach, Mozart and Stravinsky all sound the same; or more aptly, that Schubert’s lieder sound just like Barry Manilow’s pop songs. Such a person doesn’t understand music, and doesn’t appreciate that he’s admitting his ignorance. I’m not exaggerating George: that’s the category you’re putting yourself into with your radical and unsubstantiated position on this subject. What will it take to get you to take another look?