Archive for the ‘philosophy’ Category

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. —Buddha

This is often-seen advice and generally considered to be wisdom.  And I agree there is something to it, in the sense at least that one can fritter one’s life away dreaming of past or future, and that seems a waste.  But it’s one of those half-truths that are only complete when put together with their opposites.  Like “out of sight, out of mind” and “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”  In this case we’d need at least two other aphorisms, one about the blessing of memory, and one along the lines of “anticipation is half the fun” to express a complete truth.

But right now I want to talk about the effect of pre-retirement (and contemplating packing and moving).   (more…)

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The problem of evil—how could an omnipotent-omniscient-omnipresent-all-good god create or allow to exist a universe containing evil and arbitrary suffering—has always been a, if not the, major barrier for me to believing in any approximation of God. The following represents a way of tackling the question in non-didactic terms. The question at the end is not merely rhetorical—I’d really like to know what people think.


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I’ve been poking around on BlogHer recently, and ran across this post, which got me musing about Christianity. Most of these ponderings occurred to me many years ago, back in the day when I hadn’t yet rejected Christianity for myself. I was raised Methodist, in a small town, and around this time of year often get nostalgic for when the religious side of Christmas meant more to me. But–well, whatever. On to the ponderings. Which I decided to post here instead of in a comment on SandyHov’s blog because they will seem blasphemous, and possibly offensive, to many Christians, and I have no desire to offend her. (more…)

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(I started this one a long time ago, and browsing through old drafts decided it’s close enough to being coherent to publish. At one point I probably thought I had more to say about it–but thanks to memory loss, I no longer know what that might have been.)

People, particularly religious conservatives, often assert that truth, to be true in any meaningful sense, must be absolutely true. In keeping with my tenet that

We learn most from those who are different from us; they help us walk around our piece of reality and see it in new ways,

my discomfort with that assertion inspires me to write the following. (more…)

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(I’ve had this experience, and these thoughts, many times, but let me tell it as one, not many.)

I stop, halfway up the mountain, in a pullout made for this purpose. A ponderosa pine has inspired me to stop: the desire to say hello, to smell the sun-warmed vanilla smell of it. I turn off the engine and step out into the warm summer day.

Listening to the summer silence, the pings of the cooling engine, bird calls, hum of insects, light wind in my ears, I walk over to the tree, put my hands on it, lean close, and sniff deeply. (more…)

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Tee hee.

Found this here. Ordered the book–it looks more entertaining than the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which I’ve dipped into recently.

I’m working on a post about the recent decision by the CA State Board of Education’s decision to require ALL 8th graders to take Algebra I starting in three years*. It’s clearly going to take awhile–I have too much to say, which is making it hard to get started. And I don’t just want to rant, tempting though that is. So I figure if I publicly commit myself to doing it, it’s more likely to get done.

*Actually, the decision only mandates that they all be tested in Alg I, but given NCLB and the consequences thereof, that’s a distinction without a practical difference.

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I’ve been following, sort of, a conversation here that started out to be about meaning, delved into questions having to do with “is there anything more/other than the physical universe?”, and recently turned to the basis of morality and our sense of morality. This led me to this post, which discusses the matter of consciousness and feelings (qualia of consciousness).

I’ve posted a few comments in these other conversations, but decided to save my snippier comments for my own blog, so here goes: (more…)

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