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Atheistic Dilemma - How do you deal with your mortality?
Posted: 23 August 2011 04:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 106 ]
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I have come to see most of the problems in the world as defined by inequality, be it in power or wealth or both. I mean, lets look at it. In the US, we have the world’s largest prison population amounting to 25% of the world’s prison population. 70-80% of this prison population is minority and the vast majority of the prisoners are from poor backgrounds, often come from unstable homes and psychologically destructive backgrounds. Are these the deviants of our world? The ones who are psychological abnormal and therefore cannot belong among the common people? Even if there is such a thing, they are not. The vast majority of the prison population is made up petty criminals: drug dealers and vandals. Most of these people have fallen to such things because of the inequality that exists in their society, but now they are in prison (sometimes for life) because they could not compete in the regular world where all power moves upwards.


I

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Posted: 23 August 2011 04:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 107 ]
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TheodorePliske - 23 August 2011 04:06 PM

I have come to see most of the problems in the world as defined by inequality, be it in power or wealth or both. I mean, lets look at it. In the US, we have the world’s largest prison population amounting to 25% of the world’s prison population. 70-80% of this prison population is minority and the vast majority of the prisoners are from poor backgrounds, often come from unstable homes and psychologically destructive backgrounds. Are these the deviants of our world? The ones who are psychological abnormal and therefore cannot belong among the common people? Even if there is such a thing, they are not. The vast majority of the prison population is made up petty criminals: drug dealers and vandals. Most of these people have fallen to such things because of the inequality that exists in their society, but now they are in prison (sometimes for life) because they could not compete in the regular world where all power moves upwards.


I

Yes, but total equality is not possible. There will always be a few non hackers.  The prison system in the USA is disgusting though.

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Posted: 23 August 2011 05:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 108 ]
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I don’t really fear death itself. But I do have moments of concern over the manner of my death. I know I’ll die someday, I just hope it’s after a long life and more important, painlessly. smile

I think losing my mother at a young age (7) had something to do with current views of death. (I’m also pretty sure it had something to do with me not believing in some kind benevolent ‘man in the sky’. wink)

Take care,

Derek

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Posted: 24 August 2011 05:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 109 ]
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traveler - 23 August 2011 03:36 PM
shonny - 23 August 2011 01:38 PM

And no, I don’t wish anything bad for most Americans, but as a nation you are a menace to the rest of us.

Thanks for that, but hell, we are a menace to ourselves too. Ever since the religious right started effing things up, things have gone downhill.

Very true and very sad. Especially for Americans of my generation, growing up in the 60’s when we were still respected and admired by much of the world. How did the “good guys” of the world wars become the “ugly Americans” of today?

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Posted: 24 August 2011 06:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 110 ]
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FreeInKy - 24 August 2011 05:41 AM
traveler - 23 August 2011 03:36 PM
shonny - 23 August 2011 01:38 PM

And no, I don’t wish anything bad for most Americans, but as a nation you are a menace to the rest of us.

Thanks for that, but hell, we are a menace to ourselves too. Ever since the religious right started effing things up, things have gone downhill.

Very true and very sad. Especially for Americans of my generation, growing up in the 60’s when we were still respected and admired by much of the world. How did the “good guys” of the world wars become the “ugly Americans” of today?

The 60s? Yeah, I just think we were better at hiding our secrets than we are today. Today, its difficult to confuse the world about our motives whenever we “intervene” with other world affairs (whether covertly or overtly). Everything we do (or have done) is about American interests, and nothing else. But what country is different?

[ Edited: 24 August 2011 06:18 AM by Cloak ]
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Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

- Bruce Lee -

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Posted: 25 August 2011 12:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 111 ]
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Btw, to let you guys know, you are far from alone. Even major intellectuals have such attacks. This is from famed neuroscientist Christof Koch:

It is only ten years ago I finally realized, at the gut wrenching level, that death was going to come to me. This insight came to me abruptly: I wasted an entire evening playing an addictive first-person video game, running through eerily empty halls,  flooded corridors and plazas under an foreign sun, pursued by hordes of aliens shooting at me. I went to bed and fell easily asleep. But then I suddenly awoke with the knowledge that I was going to die! Not right there and then but some day. I did not have any premonition of accidents about to happen, cancer, or so on|just the sudden realization that my life was going to end, sooner or later.

I pondered the signicance of this for the next months, facing down an existentialist abyss of oblivion and meaninglessness within me. Eventually, however, I realized at some unconscious level that all is well! All would end well. There is no other way I can describe it; no mountaintop conversion nor any ash of deep intellectual insight but a sentiment that suffuses my life; I wake up each morning to and myself in a world full of mystery and beauty. And I am profoundly thankful to whatever God may be for the wonder of it all.

http://www.klab.caltech.edu/~koch/religion-06.pdf

I loved his paper…

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Posted: 01 September 2011 02:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 112 ]
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I guess this quote from Kubrik kind of sums up how I feel about death, or rather, a life without “meaning.”

Oh hey, it’s my sig!

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The most terrifying fact of the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death — however mutable man may be able to make them — our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment.

However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.

-Stanley Kubrik

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Posted: 02 September 2011 01:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 113 ]
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Although I certainly acknowledge that I will almost assuredly be a coward when death comes knocking, I try to view death through the Epicurean Epitaph: Non fui, fui, non sum, non curo (I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care). There is no awareness after death, so why should I spend my precious time alive worrying about it? After all, when I’m dead I won’t be able to care and therefore I shouldn’t fear it.

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Deaths in the Bible. God - 2,270,365 not including the victims of Noah’s flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, or the many plagues, famines, fiery serpents, etc because no specific numbers were given. Satan - 10. ~ Unkown

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Posted: 02 September 2011 09:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 114 ]
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I thought I’d note that its pointless to call this subject the “Atheistic dilemma”. Such a problem is not exclusive to any particular group, regardless of what people say. We all flee to something to comfort us from the thought of death, even if its just plain resolved acceptance. Anyone who has grown old enough to do any level of philosophical pondering has been confronted by this issue. Its not just about how an “Atheist” deals with it.

There are committed Christians who die in fear or in peace (trust me, I’ve seen both), just as there are atheists who die in fear or in peace. Its based on that individual. While we could tell you what helps us individually, none of it will ever work for you, because for you, its just cold data, nothing but information. Its an emotional problem that you must solve by taking a chosen concept and internalizing it until it puts you at peace. Whether that be a religious belief, or comfort in the contributions you have made to your society, its up to you.

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Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

- Bruce Lee -

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Posted: 02 September 2011 11:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 115 ]
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Well, I have been an Atheist since I was in the 9th grade and found a copy of Darwin’s “Origins of the Species” and it make much more sense than all this craparoo about God and going to heaven.  I’d given up going to Sunday School years before and I had my own social group on the beach in Santa Monica.  Our holidays were celebrated at my Grandmother’s home and when I married and had my kids I took over the feeding, gift exchanging for the family and continued to put up the biggest, greenist Christmas tree on the block. 

When I grew up and saw many of the preceding generation dying out, I realized that missing them was part of the death scene.  When I retired and the kids all grown up, I was trained by Hospice to be companion when terminal patients had months to live.  I asked them to talk about their families and would question their involvement in those families.  It pointed out that they lived for their children and close family ties.  We celebrated this involvement and I would write down some of the stuff we shared.  I saw my own end of days through this involvement with others. 

We are what we leave behind.  If we were kind and loving parents, then that is our legacy knowing our children would leave behind kind and loving actions too.  I instilled great books in my kids and grandkids and my being a lover of classical music, I started all the kids in collecting the great music of Mozart, Schubert and Bach.  We shared the love of Shakespeare which was good because I worked for Will Geer in his Shakespearean theater and my kids often played in when home for the weekend.  In Los Angeles we had a traveling company of pretty good Opera singers and they put on free operas in the parks all over our area of the San Fernando Valley.  We found great love for the music and the humor of the productions brought tears of laughter during the performances.  I didn’t have a television until the kids were out of school and on their own.  They still don’‘t watch television. 

I did have a couple of patients who were addicted to television and it was difficult for me as I have never been so bored during my care of these people.  They were content as long as the television was on and I soon requested a replacement so I could go where I was needed. 

I could die at any time and it doesn’t bother me at all.  I have a couple of cats that my younger daughter would be delighted to adopt.  All my belongings would go to a series of charities here in the area as my kids would have little interest in my stuff with the exception of my books.  My girls married very well and I have offered some stuff that they already took home before my last move. 

I can’t imagine worrying about going to hell.  I came from the soil and I will return to it.  I will be cremated and my ashes spread under some beautiful large tree where I will add nitrogen to their roots. 

During the Hospice Training we had to take care of our will and property assignments and then write up what we wanted done to our bodies.  My kids were visiting at the time and helped me write up my desires for my remains.  We got carried away and it came out sounding and looking like a Monty Python skit.  Even transporting of my ashes had to be done in a mayonnaise Jar….not a low fat mayo but the real fat stuff.  That was just the start.  I had to rewrite it before turning is in to Hospice.  My kids have a wicked sense of humor.  They do what they feel I would have wanted so don’t be surprised if her hear of a mayo jar being thrown out of a plane somewhere. 

If mortality really bothers anyone then get off your asses and do something well.  Leave them laughing and they will love you for it.

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Posted: 02 September 2011 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 116 ]
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I must be very odd. Not only do I not sweat the thought of dying, but the knowledge that I will die is in a way comforting. Although I don’t welcome it, the fact that no matter what happens in this life there is ultimate rest awaiting me at the end is actually more reassuring than when I used to worry about a) what if I wind up in hell or b) what if heaven is lame and boring? (Because honestly, every description of heaven I ever heard was lame and boring.) Without notions of “eternity” and your “immortal soul” hanging over me like an albatross, life is a lot more enjoyable now. And when it’s over, it’s over. Naturally, I would prefer to live a long, healthy, happy life. But if I check out 5 minutes from now, I’m never going to know the difference.

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Posted: 02 September 2011 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 117 ]
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Sandy Price - 02 September 2011 11:32 AM

I came from the soil and I will return to it. 

Actually, you came from the core of a star, just like me! We have that in common and it’s cooooool.  smile

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Posted: 02 September 2011 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 118 ]
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Sandy Price - 02 September 2011 11:32 AM

Well, I have been an Atheist since I was in the 9th grade and found a copy of Darwin’s “Origins of the Species” and it make much more sense than all this craparoo about God and going to heaven..

Hey Sandy, long time no read.

I still drop in on FMF now and than.  It’s not too interesting there though.

More fun bugging people here.

On the death thing, I figure I’ll find out the hard way.  I just presume that if there is a God He can’t be a dumb as the Christians say He is so whatever happens is probably going to be a surprise to them too.  LOL

psik

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Posted: 02 September 2011 01:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 119 ]
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I remember a long while back I was discussing with someone who believes in god. I gave a rather obtuse question that he was not prepared: What is a god of the universe exists, what does that mean? He will be the god of billions of galaxies, trillions of planets and possibly the god of hundreds if not thousands of possible varying intelligent life forms that most probably exist in the whole universe. If god exists, surely than your fate is so miniscule and insignificant that whether you exist or not is none of his concern. What if there is a god and he does not care a single bit about you? What if he never prepared an afterlife for you but is ready and willing to abandon your existence in the face of the grand scheme of things. Would you still love such a god and worship him?

Sure enough, such an apathetic personal god did not much please most. God without afterlife seems to be no god at all…

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Posted: 02 September 2011 03:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 120 ]
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Very good Theodore.,  Scare the hell of the Christians Yahoo!

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