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How to end the 4th turning while word 'sin' is losing meaning?
#1
I started this thread as an spin-off from this thread, that is more characterized by history and evolution talk: http://generational-theory.com/forum/thread-5120.html
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Why has the word 'sin' lost its meaning & why is word 'sin' not used anymore?

The word 'sin' has lost its power & the usage of the word is low. I fear that this lack of common language will lead the 4h turning tide to get even higher than in previous 4th turnings. Without the word 'sin' it is much harder to even try to unite citizens, as there is no moral code to follow. 'Sin' is a very interesting word that has multiple dimensions and huge historical meaning. I think of sin as something that people do, but it is forbidden on some level depending on the gravity of bad behavior. Humans do mistakes, that is inevitable. But if there is not a word that defines that line between good and bad behavior, how can societies unite under one moral code?

"The limits of my language are the limits of my world." - Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosopher (1889-1951).

'Sin' has lost its power gradually over the last 500 years. In the 15th century the church took a huge blow to its credibility with money scandals, and from this point on church started to lose its grip over people, both spiritually and financially. This is in my view the biggest reason why the 80-year cycle became visible so clearly in the USA, as indoctrination lost its power and people started to behave more like their nature tells them to. 'Sin' has been used to point out immoral and bad behavior, but in the 20th century science took much of the responsibility of determining and shaping  the boundaries of civil behavior. (Law is still there to determine the ultimate boundaries for human behavior, as it has been there for thousands of years, which is why I'm going to leave it aside. I'm a last year law student, so I might start another thread on that subject one day...) Secularism and atheism are on the rise, and this was accelerated during the 20th century so much, that the usage of word sin has decreased.

Here is a good text why the word 'sin' is hugely important:
[Image: sintext.jpg]

I agree with everything on that page. I'm an atheist, my world view is that I don't know what created and drives life forward. But nonetheless, the erosion of 'sin' is very worrying to me, because even though the word sin has religious roots, there is no alternative, no good synonyms to be found. How can USA and other western nations come together if we don't have a basic set of moral boundaries to enforce? Like I stated before, I fear that the dam of bad behavior will be filled even more than before before it blows wide open, possibly in a conflict of some kind.

But what proof is there of the declining usage of the word 'sin'? I used Google Ngram to view the usage of word 'sin', and it formed the graph below. Every red circle O represents the approximate start  of a fourth turning and every X represents the end.

[Image: sin.jpg]
We see a highly regular peaks of 160 years (80+80) going back from the year 1940, which was near the end of the last 4th turning. And the other points are closely following the 160 year cycle. I still haven't found proof from history why there is such a strong correlation with the generational theory. Or maybe this graph is a coincidence and there is a reasonable reason for this. But the important point is that the usage of the word 'sin' is presented here as a percentage of all words used, so it's an accurate representation of the peaks and lows.
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#2
Probably because 'sin' encompasses everything from eating more than one's share of cinnamon rolls one time or shouting "God Damn!" when getting a paper cut and regretting it to casting live Jewish children into a roaring crematorium because the camp ran out of Zyklon-B for the night.. and praising oneself for such a 'practical' solution.

"Sin" is simply a portmanteau for behavior inconsistent with one's religious teachings. We are all flawed. Do we recover from our flaws and try to improve ourselves, or do we simply get proud of our own wickedness and wallow in it?
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#3
(10-01-2018, 07:50 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: We are all flawed. Do we recover from our flaws and try to improve ourselves, or do we simply get proud of our own wickedness and wallow in it?

Without the word to point out this inconsistent behavior, how can we even discuss about what is right and what is wrong? How can there be a common understanding of what is wrong, if we don't have a common word for it? If sin as a concept is not available to use, how can we communicate that something is bad behavior? Laws do have moral implications, but they're very strict and leave many moral decisions outside. Laws follow the moral uprisings with a lag of several years, and fourth turnings are anyways hard times to pass new laws...

How do we replace the word 'sin'? The word 'immoral' is too vague and doesn't convey the same thought as 'sin'.

And do others agree that without the word 'sin' available for common use, so everyone has a basic understanding of what sinful behavior is, it becomes even harder to galvanize a nation?
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#4
In this jaded time, the secularists are not going to employ the language of the evangelicals, no matter how far it's disassociated from religion. On the other hand, evangelicals, and other devout Christians, have a poor track record of being sinful themselves. So, it's a case of speak no evil all around.
Intelligence is not knowledge and knowledge is not wisdom, but they all play well together.
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#5
(10-01-2018, 08:27 AM)Theojm Wrote:
(10-01-2018, 07:50 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: We are all flawed. Do we recover from our flaws and try to improve ourselves, or do we simply get proud of our own wickedness and wallow in it?

Without the word to point out this inconsistent behavior, how can we even discuss about what is right and what is wrong? How can there be a common understanding of what is wrong, if we don't have a common word for it? If sin as a concept is not available to use, how can we communicate that something is bad behavior? Laws do have moral implications, but they're very strict and leave many moral decisions outside. Laws follow the moral uprisings with a lag of several years, and fourth turnings are anyways hard times to pass new laws...

How do we replace the word 'sin'? The word 'immoral' is too vague and doesn't convey the same thought as 'sin'.

And do others agree that without the word 'sin' available for common use, so everyone has a basic understanding of what sinful behavior is, it becomes even harder to galvanize a nation?

Farting in public is bad, offensive behavior, but it doesn't really hurt anyone. Ripping people off with a Madoff scheme while seeming a pillar of society is far, far worse.

There is much more controversy on what constitutes 'sin' than on what is horrifically wrong. One interpretation holds that heresy is a grave sin so evil that it is acceptable to take children of pagans, baptize them, and kill them so that their souls can be saved instead of returning them to the parents who might later offer them as human sacrifices to some horrible god. I'm not going to define what the 'right' religion is for winning a spot in Heaven and what will send one to Hell. I happen to like the Jewish one that says that the righteous of all nations will go to the Jewish Heaven (there is no other Heaven, so because one is righteous, one naturally converts to Judaism as it will be easy and obvious).

People have done horrible deeds with very good intentions. The infamous Inquisition operated on the assumption that it was saving people from eternal damnation by deterring heresy and converting people who believed in the wrong religion. Burning a converted Jew who returned to Jewish practices was a way of deterring others who might do much the same. The Nazis thought that they were doing a great service to Humanity by exterminating Jews who posed a threat to dominate the world through some conspiracy inherent in their 'blood'... never mind any further explanation. The Khmer Rouge may have killed a huge portion of the Cambodian people, but only in an effort to recreate some agrarian paradise (that may not have been so wonderful to begin with).

OK... thou shalt not kill. Maybe one has excuses for war, lawful executions (both becoming suspect), or self-defense (which is often as brutal as outright murder)... but war and self-defense have always had a defense. Capital punishment is rightly done rarely if at all, so someone who kills off his family for the proceeds of a life-insurance policy, manages the Holocaust, or arranges 9/11 deserves to die. If one is stupid enough to break into a house that has four 120-pound Rottweilers... then that is stupidity on the scale of jumping into a tiger cage with a tiger in it because dogs can combine to be as effective a killing unit as one tiger.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#6
pbrower2a, I'm not really that interested in discussing what is sinful and what is not. That is an endless discussion related to different cultures and subcultures and nations and times of history and whatever.....  it's a swamp, let's not go there... in the end we'd probably agree on most of the stuff anyways...

But what I am interested in talking about is how the virtual absence of the word from public debate and our current western common culture affects the fourth turning. That is an important discussion in my mind. Many nations are starting to divide from the inside, and if there aren't even common words to describe bad behavior, how could it be identified and banned? If there is not even a common concept of what everyone (or a vast majority) deems as wrong, how can there be a common concept of what is good and cherishable? (I'm not talking about human rights, I'm talking about everyday behavior.)

Unless a foreign threat emerges, what can unify a people if even the communication is poor between each side? And communication is something we see deteriorating during fourth turnings anyways, the absence of the word 'sin' makes things even worse, does it not?
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#7
We have a range of objectionable behavior ranging from minor offenses to horrific crimes. Such an expression as the Seven Deadly Sins (anger, lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, envy, and vainglory) is still valid because those activities remain harmful to some extent. To be sure, it is eminently reasonable to be angry about the 9/11 attacks... but that could also be a high level of disgust. Some of those deadly sins are less harmful than they used to be, and may even be useful to society. Lust while using a condom is more unlikely to lead to unwelcome pregnancies or to the spread of venereal diseases than it used to be. Gluttony used to imply that some people indulged themselves while others starved, which was horrible in a time in which food security was non-existent. Envy and greed are essential to getting people to participate as fully as they once did. Sloth might at times be recognized as either needful rest or enriching leisure.

I have my idea of three other deadly sins: cruelty, cowardice, and deceit.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#8
On the whole I think pathology and recovery are better words than sin and salvation. It is better if we look upon ourselves in a better light than the religious despots and hypocritical preachers imposed upon us. Buddha had a better language than that which was translated from The Christ's words for political effect. "Salvation" has usually meant surrender of your mind to the Church and its teachings. That no longer works for us. Buddha spoke of the four noble truths and the eight-fold path. On the whole, it had a better result on the people than the language of Christianity and Islam. Siddartha Gautama, The Buddha, was the world's greatest psychologist, and today The West is discovering that his language works better. It is basically a therapeutic language; a diagnosis and a cure. That's what we need.

In our time, it is not The West that must come together, it is The World, and our culture must be world culture. We are no longer separated--- from each other, from other cultures, or from our environment and our God. We need to learn from teachers like the Buddha that are not Western, as well as from teachers from The West. In general I think physicalism, materialism and atheism are the wrong path and wrong prescriptions, even though they have their place in human understandings.

It's a stretch to be an atheist, and then to say we need the language of religion. It is not God that does not exist and is false, it is the institutions and language of the Christian Church that is false. Morality in the new age must be grounded in the experience of God 2.0. Deepak Chopra is a better teacher and prophet than most others today.

I disagree with materialist philosophers like Wittgenstein. "The limits of my language are the limits of my world" is false, and I disagree. As Eastern teachers informed us, and all on the spiritual path discover, language itself limits our world. To find reality, we must go beyond language. Words are not what they represent. Reality needs to be recovered amongst the confusions, paradoxes, dualities and inaccuracies of our words. Labels are what we fight over; reality brings us together.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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#9
The divide in my society, the USA, has sources that are quite clear. I don't think the decline of the word "sin" is the relevant source of the divide. Why we are divided, and why there are divisions in other societies today, is a good question. And in a fourth turning they become severe, and a fight ensues, and the victor establishes a new more-unified consensus, at least for a while.

So, looking at the USA, this is what I see, at this moment.

#1 is Race. The USA is the first society that has really been multi-racial to a large degree. Until now, ethnic groups existed within society, but they were mostly uni-racial. But it has been difficult for the USA to integrate this multi-racial makeup. For a long time, one race was subjugated to another, and then one region became dependent on that subjugation. When this was challenged, the nation split, and a civil war followed to re-impose unification. But that did not end the division of races within our society. Black African and White European races is the first divide, and the white race itself divided over whether to allow the black race to be free. As society globalizes everywhere, other races have migrated here: Asians came, and another group that is a mixture of people who preceded whites here and another European society (Spain) that conquered and interbred with them. We call them hispanics. And the original native americans were also violently and unfairly conquered and separated too, and still exist as yet another group.

#2 is Economics. Of course, race is part of this too. This division arose as a result of the first two phases in the great Revolution within humanity that started with our own and the French Revolution. The birth of our nation was part of this first phase, and individual liberty and the free market was its philosophy. The second phase arose in response to the inequities and inadequate liberation achieved by the first: socialism. Though born in Europe sometime after the French Revolution (emerging fully in Marx's Manifesto of 1848), this philosophy came to prominence in America in the 1890s as populism, and was instituted in progressivism in the 1900s, the New Deal in the 1930s, and the Great Society of the 1960s. Socialism in America is watered-down; it is not a state ownership of the entire economy, but of some aspects of it, and regulations and taxes that relieve the burden capitalism and the so-called free market imposes on all but the richest owners within capitalism. Nevertheless, the capitalist elite has succeeded, with the help of America's Cold War with more intensive socialist societies, in convincing half the people that watered-down socialism is the problem, and that going back fully to the free market is the solution. Race-baiting and dog whistles are used to promote this free market philosophy, based on resentment for economic problems directed at those whom social programs help, rather than directed at the elite whose policies actually create their problems. Thus, the principle divide in our politics today, and the divide between red and blue states.

#3 is Religion. Not having a state religion, in the USA it has grown even more powerful because of the freedom it has been granted here, and is still held to with greater fervour today than in Europe where it had been imposed on people for centuries. It fills a vaccuum in a materialist society unleashed by the "free market." The same people who resent other races, and who also believe in the free market and oppose socialism as immoral, are also often evangelicals. Their ironic program is to end religious freedom by advocating it (which is a disguised attempt to repress non-traditional culture), and by advocating state prohibitions against behavior opposed by their churches. Free market white politicians adopt this program in order to appeal to the fundamentalists to get their votes and continue the white free market reign. Meanwhile, in the blue states and regions, secularism and alternative religions have thrived and unleashed a permissive culture that fundamentalists and those who grew up in traditional religious culture fears and resents (and calls "sinful"). This permissive culture is further exacerbated by its commercialization in the very free market which the traditionalists nurture. Thus the culture war.

#4 is Militarism and Gun Violence. These same right wing factions are also super-patriots, and gun toters. The fears aroused by race, free-market competition and resentment of freeloaders (again, often race-determined), and the culture war, lead to a desire to defend the traditional culture with violence, uphold our nation and its dominant religion, and repress protests against its policies, out of the same need for authority that our free society has largely taken away. Opposition to feminism and male privilege is part of this divide as well. So, defense of the "second amendment" defined as the right of anyone to bear any kind of weapon is upheld as necessary in a society where government is the problem, where free market ideology touts individual solutions, and where threats are everywhere seen to the security of their culture and property. Meanwhile, the violent result of this gun culture expands and gets ever-more deadly, so the battle over gun control has become a matchstick for the break-up of our society. The peace movement continues too, and lingering resentment among those who support war and patriotism instead continues as well.

I think a large common aspect to these 4 divisions is the Revolution of our times. It is always hard to break away from the past. Our nation was founded on this Revolution, from its very beginning. But we tore ourselves away from a homogenous European society with well-defined authority from Church and King/Aristocracy. The mostly-white people from the more parochial, provincial parts of our country still feel adrift without this external support, and have a need to fill the vaccuum created by the overthrow of authority, and they find it again in the business leaders, the church, and patriotism and its weapons. Meanwhile, the more-diverse blue and academically-advanced areas of the USA are connected to the world. The people there are willing and eager to embrace the future in which we can find real authority within ourselves, and in the free discovery of truth and wisdom through the free quest of ideas and truth/facts and through free religion, and in the exchange with other world cultures and peoples.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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#10
(10-02-2018, 12:07 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: On the whole I think pathology and recovery are better words than sin and salvation.

Unfortunately they're not. Pathology and recovery have nothing to do with morality. That is my point, they're 2 dimensional words, they hold almost no historical or cultural values. They only point to biological behavior, one which we still are so far from truly understanding. As an atheist I have reservations against the word 'sin', but there is no alternative at least yet. No word for a unifying moral code, an understanding of basic common values.

What is good and what is bad? You can never ever in a gazillion years get Homo sapiens to agree about those, not for one second! That is why there is the word 'sin' in the first place. It is good & bad at the same time in many instances! Think about pride. Reasonable amount is good, too much is bad. Were all greedy at some level, but too much is once again bad. 'Sin' is in constant motion, it's a relative norm, a flexible word containing a moral code, much like DNA is ever changing from the inside as our world changes around us.

I'll paste this picture here again, since it's such a good representation of the whole situation. You can't take words out of common language unless you have something to replace them with. If you do you diminish the effect of your communication. It's like removing genres of music. You can do it with censorship, but you will lose methods of communication in the process.
[Image: sintext.jpg]

(10-02-2018, 12:07 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: In our time, it is not The West that must come together, it is The World, and our culture must be world culture.

Ain't gonna happen during this fourth turning  Tongue and this fourth turning is what this thread is about.


(10-02-2018, 12:07 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: It's a stretch to be an atheist, and then to say we need the language of religion.

There is no alternative word for 'sin'. My world view has nothing to do with this lingquistic and cultural fact. Our thoughts are our world. As long as there is no real widely usable alternative for the word 'sin', I fear that a consensus on common moral code is quickly fading and a recovery is even more difficult if we lack a common language to even try to unite people together.


(10-02-2018, 12:07 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: I disagree with materialist philosophers like Wittgenstein. "The limits of my language are the limits of my world" is false, and I disagree. As Eastern teachers informed us, and all on the spiritual path discover, language itself limits our world.

That's a bit paradoxical. You say that the limits of language are not the limits of your world, and then you say that the language is the limit of your world. Big Grin But I get you point nonetheless... This is why languages must still evolve, so we can better express the limitless potential of our human nature. This is why Homo sapiens has conquered the world, we have the gift of advanced language. We can't stop here, now, and think that all words have been discovered. Like you said, philosophers and spiritual people understand this, the languages must always evolve. They might lag behind, but that is not to say they're only limiting us. They've got us this far, this is not the last stop.


(10-02-2018, 12:07 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: To find reality, we must go beyond language. Words are not what they represent. Reality needs to be recovered amongst the confusions, paradoxes, dualities and inaccuracies of our words. Labels are what we fight over; reality brings us together.

We are going beyond language already. We have music and visual arts of all kinds. This is communication. We communicate through movies, paintings and jazz. We express ourselves in a variety of different ways. This is communication, it is what helps us forward, this is evolution. Every new genre is a new step in evolution, a new way of expression = communication.
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#11
(10-02-2018, 02:05 AM)Theojm Wrote:
(10-02-2018, 12:07 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: On the whole I think pathology and recovery are better words than sin and salvation.

Unfortunately they're not. Pathology and recovery have nothing to do with morality. That is my point, they're 2 dimensional words, they hold almost no historical or cultural values. They only point to biological behavior, one which we still are so far from truly understanding. As an atheist I have reservations against the word 'sin', but there is no alternative at least yet. No word for a unifying moral code, an understanding of basic common values.

What is good and what is bad? You can never ever in a gazillion years get Homo sapiens to agree about those, not for one second! That is why there is the word 'sin' in the first place. It is good & bad at the same time in many instances! Think about pride. Reasonable amount is good, too much is bad. Were all greedy at some level, but too much is once again bad. 'Sin' is in constant motion, it's a relative norm, a flexible word containing a moral code, much like DNA is ever changing from the inside as our world changes around us.

You can't take words out of common language unless you have something to replace them with. If you do you diminish the effect of your communication. It's like removing genres of music. You can do it with censorship, but you will lose methods of communication in the process.
Well, the word sin is still in our common language. I don't think you can turn back the clock and make it the go-to moral word again. We are a divided people; we are not going to reach an understanding of common values anytime soon. One side has to win; that's what happens in 4Ts. The blue side needs to win. Nice try though. Ethics is important. Maybe if society moves back toward seeing that ethics are important again, that would be a good trend. I don't know if it's happening; maybe. I don't think the label means that much, although ethics is less tainted a word than morals. But whatever works.

Buddhism works. Since that is psychology, you miss the point if you say it doesn't work or has no deep history. Being cured is the essence of salvation. Christ was first of all a healer. There's plenty of history there.

Here's a song fer ya. Puts it in a splendid historic context.




Quote:Ain't gonna happen during this fourth turning  Tongue and this fourth turning is what this thread is about.

World unification is a longer term need, and I'm sure every turning from now on will play a role in the development of our world culture. It can't be escaped, in spite of the Steve Bannons, Donald Trumps and Marie LePens of the world. We can't go back. The world wars and the global reach of technology have seen to that. It's a different world now.

Quote:There is no alternative word for 'sin'. My world view has nothing to do with this linguistic and cultural fact. Our thoughts are our world. As long as there is no real widely usable alternative for the word 'sin', I fear that a consensus on common moral code is quickly fading and a recovery is even more difficult if we lack a common language to even try to unite people together.

Our thoughts are a tiny part of our world.

Quote:... This is why languages must still evolve, so we can better express the limitless potential of our human nature. This is why Homo sapiens has conquered the world, we have the gift of advanced language. We can't stop here, now, and think that all words have been discovered. Like you said, philosophers and spiritual people understand this, the languages must always evolve. They might lag behind, but that is not to say they're only limiting us. They've got us this far, this is not the last stop.

We must evolve beyond being slaves to language. The greatest problem humans have is the noisy talk in our heads; bar none.

Quote:
(10-02-2018, 12:07 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: To find reality, we must go beyond language. Words are not what they represent. Reality needs to be recovered amongst the confusions, paradoxes, dualities and inaccuracies of our words. Labels are what we fight over; reality brings us together.

We are going beyond language already. We have music and visual arts of all kinds. This is communication. We communicate through movies, paintings and jazz. We express ourselves in a variety of different ways. This is communication, it is what helps us forward, this is evolution. Every new genre is a new step in evolution, a new way of expression = communication.

You're right there. So there is hope that new genres of communication may be found to express moral values and sensitivity. Some of our new 3T-born music genres are epic failures in this, while rediscovery of some older artistic languages would be more valuable. Maybe that's what we need to recover from our past; not the word sin, but the great classic arts. For sure! But it's true, there's always hope that new ways to communicate will come. At its best, the arts and especially music express moral dignity. That's what the great composers expressed. Some of the new music on the new age fringes express it.

Does the millennial generation and its allies have the moral cure in our fourth turning?


"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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#12
(10-02-2018, 04:00 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: Well, the word sin is still in our common language. I don't think you can turn back the clock and make it the go-to moral word again.

Yep, it is probably unusable. But what to replace it with? How can you talk about moral limits without words that have no tight boundaries? I'm repeating myself, but you can't use words like good or bad to bring a nation together. They are too strict, they don't bend, you can't unite a whole nation under the word 'good' and say what is 'bad'. They're not flexible words. They cause division more than unity in communications.


(10-02-2018, 04:00 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: We are a divided people; we are not going to reach an understanding of common values anytime soon. One side has to win; that's what happens in 4Ts. The blue side needs to win. Nice try though. Ethics is important. Maybe if society moves back toward seeing that ethics are important again, that would be a good trend. I don't know if it's happening; maybe. I don't think the label means that much, although ethics is less tainted a word than morals. But whatever works.

You can't talk about ethics to masses, few understand that word or what it consists of. You can try to talk about morality, but the word 'moral' holds almost no common values, it's way too vague to make people to think about their own choices. It's a word philosophers use, it's too difficult to grasp for most.


(10-02-2018, 12:07 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: We must evolve beyond being slaves to language.

Without a language there is no advanced communication. We will be free once our language is so developed that we all understand each other perfectly. That will take hundreds or thousands of years to happen. I'm not so interested in the far future when we have a possibly extremely dire situation at our hands and Homo sapiens has weapons of mass destruction. Your thoughts and visions are nice, but they hold little value today if they don't offer help to this 4th turning we're in.


Btw, the march for lives was a symptom of a pessimistic society and the first showing that the Hero-generation is rising. The 4th turning is going on strong.
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#13
(10-02-2018, 12:07 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: On the whole I think pathology and recovery are better words than sin and salvation. It is better if we look upon ourselves in a better light than the religious despots and hypocritical preachers imposed upon us. Buddha had a better language than that which was translated from The Christ's words for political effect. "Salvation" has usually meant surrender of your mind to the Church and its teachings. That no longer works for us. Buddha spoke of the four noble truths and the eight-fold path. On the whole, it had a better result on the people than the language of Christianity and Islam. Siddartha Gautama, The Buddha, was the world's greatest psychologist, and today The West is discovering that his language works better. It is basically a therapeutic language; a diagnosis and a cure. That's what we need.

Individuality in thought is a consequence of the Enlightenment, and it will be tough to put that genie back in the lamp. Where people do not have the right to express individuality in thought, tyranny and corruption entrench themselves. The Enlightenment gave us experimental science as a method of discerning truth from falsehood as well as a means to discover technologies that support individual expression. It is telling that such humble devices as the mimeograph and the typewriter were under tight control under such tyrants as Josef Stalin and Saddam Hussein, and that Sophie Scholl and associates were beheaded in Nazi Germany for distributing flyers that suggested that Nazi Germany was doomed to defeat and that the German people would be better off suing for peace than resisting to an end of destruction to protect an amoral tyrant and those who murdered on his behalf.

The Enlightenment and the technology that it made possible have compelled most people to contemplate whether God would damn people to Hell for being of a 'wrong' religion while endorsing Crusades of consummate ruthlessness and brutality. Yes, it is possible for evil people to use technologies of mass communication, record keeping, transportation, and above all military force to promote evil causes, but the Other Side often has the advantage of empathy. The more decent side can divest the other side of any cause to resist. The Nazis left conquered people cause to resist them. the British and Americans didn't.  It is far easier to be a soldier if one does not need to watch one's back

Quote:In our time, it is not The West that must come together, it is The World, and our culture must be world culture. We are no longer separated--- from each other, from other cultures, or from our environment and our God. We need to learn from teachers like the Buddha that are not Western, as well as from teachers from The West. In general I think physicalism, materialism and atheism are the wrong path and wrong prescriptions, even though they have their place in human understandings.

I am tempted to believe that our system is already under extreme stress from technological advances that make poverty unnecessary and that allow easy access to information often free of cost. Significantly it can make the more pathetic sorts of status symbols irrelevant. The manufactured goods that we now have are far better in output and more technologically reliable than what would be tawdry surrogates today. Consider the one-time miracle of color television in the 1950s; the color TV sets of the time were about as costly as the low-end automobiles of the day, were mechanically unreliable enough that TV repairmen made a good living, and got only one channel of color television. The primary manufacturer of color TV was RCA, which owned NBC.  ABC and CBS did not go to color broadcasting until the 1960s. Today the real cost of television is largely cable TV. A contemporary television is in the range of cost of kids' toys.

Crass materialism is obsolescent. Many of the old status symbols are becoming irrelevant -- except for real estate and antiques. Formal education might be a status symbol where people do not deride it; it is not so much the level of the degree as what it is in. "Art history" is fine for people whose families can afford to hold artworks with mega-buck price tags, but it is utterly impractical for someone who will be fortunate to get a job as a checker-cashier at a pharmacy. Something more practical, like software engineering, isn't so exalted. Someone with an advanced degree will be a laughing stock in a store or a factory.


Such poverty as Americans endure results from elites grabbing everything that they can in interest, rents, monopolistic profiteering, and sweetheart deals. Ask the middle-income family that has a mortgage whether he needs a landlord. Ask someone who has a solid income whether he needs a subprime lender to allow some simulacrum of the Good Life.



Quote:It's a stretch to be an atheist, and then to say we need the language of religion. It is not God that does not exist and is false, it is the institutions and language of the Christian Church that is false. Morality in the new age must be grounded in the experience of God 2.0. Deepak Chopra is a better teacher and prophet than most others today.

"God" may not exist, but ultimate reality does, and if one defines ultimate reality as "God", one precludes atheism. Change something so basic as the binding curve of energy so that iron is not at the low point of nuclear synthesis, and the world is very different. All life needs iron, but not great quantities of it -- but put the low point of energy at calcium, and blood, let alone technology (which depends upon copper just for battle axes, let alone electric wire) is impossible. Put the low point at krypton or a heavier element, and highly-toxic arsenic and selenium become commonplace.... and krypton floods planetary atmospheres, making photosynthesis and respiration impossible.

Change the periodic law by allowing four electrons in the s-shell, and the universe is very different. Hydrogen becomes a metal and makes small planets impossible or unlivable.

If I were to give my best argument for God, it is that the universe makes sense to an extent that life can evolve to contemplate it.


Quote:I disagree with materialist philosophers like Wittgenstein. "The limits of my language are the limits of my world" is false, and I disagree. As Eastern teachers informed us, and all on the spiritual path discover, language itself limits our world. To find reality, we must go beyond language. Words are not what they represent. Reality needs to be recovered amongst the confusions, paradoxes, dualities and inaccuracies of our words. Labels are what we fight over; reality brings us together.

Language is the clothing of thought, and as Orwell teaches us, we can so debase language that we can only obey and never dissent. We know its limits, and differences of linguistic patterns differentiate ways of thought. Even with the same religion, Iranian and Iraqi Shiites live in a very different world. I am tempted to believe that had Alexander gone farther into India, he would have opened the door to Buddhism to Europe. Greek thinkers were able to adapt Greek philosophy to Buddhism in India, and they would have done much the same to Buddhism had Alexander's armies brought it back with them to Europe. The world would be very different; there might be no opening for Christianity or Islam.

Namaste.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#14
My favourite thinker, Olaf Stapledon (Missionary generation), was a physicalist, but still used a lot of Christian vocabulary. He was quite fond of the phrase "sin against the spirit". For him, the spirit was the essence of civilized life: the faculty of reason, kindness and creativity. Every civilized person should live according to the spirit. If he doesn't - he commits a sin.

Pathology is not a good way of conceptualizing not living according to the spirit. It can become an excuse. An alcoholic will say: I get drunk because I'm ill. A paedophile will say: I molest children because I'm ill. One can be born with a disease, and thus not responsible for it. The word "sin" is correct because it is all about moral responsibility.

Today's secular humanists talk a lot about ethics, but they still avoid talking about sin. This is a serious problem. The Christian conservatives have different problems. The only hope is the Left and the Right learning from each other. Unfortunately, thinkers like Stapledon, able to learn from both sources, are too rare today.
Reply
#15
(10-02-2018, 07:51 AM)Bill the Piper Wrote: Today's secular humanists talk a lot about ethics, but they still avoid talking about sin. This is a serious problem.

It is, it break one more bridge towards the religious people.

I hope this thread isn't anymore used to discuss about religious or spiritual things, not even sinfulness. Confused The point is communication and the erosion of the word 'sin', not faith, spirituality or . There are other threads for those topics. I hope there would be some suggestions on how to replace word 'sin' with other words.

Or the possibility of a new concept that would combine sin+moral+ethics and it should be something flexible. What kind of word would be appealing if the 4th turning manifests info something that totally divides citizens in the US and EU? If people at the same time need security, both physical and mental. What would soothe the minds of people, what could be something we could get all behind?

Or just wait for the grey champion who comes up with a slogan and that's it?
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#16
(10-01-2018, 08:27 AM)Theojm Wrote:
(10-01-2018, 07:50 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: We are all flawed. Do we recover from our flaws and try to improve ourselves, or do we simply get proud of our own wickedness and wallow in it?

Without the word to point out this inconsistent behavior, how can we even discuss about what is right and what is wrong? How can there be a common understanding of what is wrong, if we don't have a common word for it? If sin as a concept is not available to use, how can we communicate that something is bad behavior? Laws do have moral implications, but they're very strict and leave many moral decisions outside. Laws follow the moral uprisings with a lag of several years, and fourth turnings are anyways hard times to pass new laws...

...or as W.C. Fields put it, "Everything I like is either illegal, immoral, or fattening".

Most illegal deeds imply some sort of offense. Immoral? Enough said. Fattening? Getting fat is self-destructive.

I am more troubled with crime than with 'sin". To call murder, rape, armed robbery, child molestation, and slave-trafficking 'sin' instead of 'crime' is to trivialize them. There was the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial -- not the Nuremberg War Sins Trial. I am reminded of a fast-food bakery that calls ists cinnamon rolls "Sinnamon Rolls", and I have seen the argument for benign products "sinfully delightful".

Almost anything that anyone does can bring about some sort of disapproval.

Quote:How do we replace the word 'sin'? The word 'immoral' is too vague and doesn't convey the same thought as 'sin'.

Forgetting to say a prayer is not in the same league as burning a witch at the stake.

Quote:And do others agree that without the word 'sin' available for common use, so everyone has a basic understanding of what sinful behavior is, it becomes even harder to galvanize a nation?

Sin? The word encompasses everything from minor lapses of courtesy to perpetrating the Holocaust.  People can recover from a self-destructive or socially-harmful behavior -- let us say addiction. Repentance is wholly inadequate for dealing with something so locked into a character as addiction.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


Reply
#17
(10-02-2018, 07:51 AM)Bill the Piper Wrote: My favourite thinker, Olaf Stapledon (Missionary generation), was a physicalist, but still used a lot of Christian vocabulary. He was quite fond of the phrase "sin against the spirit". For him, the spirit was the essence of civilized life: the faculty of reason, kindness and creativity. Every civilized person should live according to the spirit. If he doesn't - he commits a sin.

Pathology is not a good way of conceptualizing not living according to the spirit. It can become an excuse. An alcoholic will say: I get drunk because I'm ill. A pedophile will say: I molest children because I'm ill. One can be born with a disease, and thus not responsible for it. The word "sin" is correct because it is all about moral responsibility.

Today's secular humanists talk a lot about ethics, but they still avoid talking about sin. This is a serious problem. The Christian conservatives have different problems. The only hope is the Left and the Right learning from each other. Unfortunately, thinkers like Stapledon, able to learn from both sources, are too rare today.

Thanks for your thoughts. 

I wonder how a physicalist can say that every civilized person should live according to the spirit. Physicalism precludes spirit.

Some say what we need is for the Left and Right in the USA to learn from each other. I tend to think that what is needed is mostly for the Left to defeat the Right. It is a matter of more people in the middle to realize which side is the better path forward. Or just to see, that going forward is better than continued regression. But there is the aspect of how the Left can better communicate with those further toward the Right-wing who can actually be reached. That is a minority today, but we shouldn't give up on anybody. From that point of view, better communication happens when we are open to what the other person has to say as well.

I would say pathology and recovery has the advantage of not putting the person down. If we commit sins, somehow we are subject to original sin, which says we are inherently bad. To say someone has sinned, might be to say someone is evil. If understood differently, "sin" might be workable; it's original meaning is to make a mistake, to miss the mark. John Bradshaw, who I see has passed away in 2016, was a good prophet for the human potential movement, which is still the key to human advancement, although it is being neglected now by our current younger generations, which is a great loss. He said there's a difference between saying "I made a mistake" and "I am a mistake." We have internalized the latter to a great extent, so that when we make mistakes, we see ourselves as therefore inherently evil or bad people. So, to avoid the word "sin" may not be a problem, because using that word tends to call up that problem which Christian civilization has instilled into us.

If people can be redeemed, then they can be cured. One still has responsibility, because it is your responsibility to know if you have made a mistake or have a problem, and to be humble and seek correction and acquire the ability to do better. Since mistakes are the result of behavior that needs correcting, and awareness that needs expanding, then the cure is to follow a path of learning. That's the meaning of pathology, and is why Buddhism is a superior language to Christianity. And Buddhism requires much more self-responsibility than Christianity, which claims that you can save yourself of all sin just by accepting Jesus as your savior. (I'm not saying I'm a Buddhist and not a Christian; I am a universalist)

And it's also true that others also have responsibility for what we do. Others mistreat us or reject us for no reason, in many cases. So we need to take responsibility, but part of that is to free ourselves from what others have done. Forgiveness is part of that, including forgiving ourselves, and re-experiencing the hurt can heal it. The resentment and fear we have because of what others have done, can lead to ourselves mistreating others. So it's important to heal our bad experiences. And of course, others can help us if they admit their wrongs to us and seek our forgiveness. Unfortunately, that is relatively rare, but it's good when it happens.

Socrates said that the cause of evildoing is ignorance. Christ said to remove the mite in your own eye before you judge and condemn others. Judging others is held by many true Christians as a greater sin than the evil itself that we judge. If we point a finger at another and call him or her a sinner, then we have 3 fingers pointed back at ourselves. Someone who has "sinned" can be condemned; someone who has a problem can be cured and the problem solved. The cure for evil is not condemning it; it is acquiring greater wisdom and the knowledge of solutions.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply
#18
(10-02-2018, 07:50 PM)Eric the Green Wrote:
(10-02-2018, 07:51 AM)Bill the Piper Wrote: My favourite thinker, Olaf Stapledon (Missionary generation), was a physicalist, but still used a lot of Christian vocabulary. He was quite fond of the phrase "sin against the spirit". For him, the spirit was the essence of civilized life: the faculty of reason, kindness and creativity. Every civilized person should live according to the spirit. If he doesn't - he commits a sin.

Pathology is not a good way of conceptualizing not living according to the spirit. It can become an excuse. An alcoholic will say: I get drunk because I'm ill. A pedophile will say: I molest children because I'm ill. One can be born with a disease, and thus not responsible for it. The word "sin" is correct because it is all about moral responsibility.

Today's secular humanists talk a lot about ethics, but they still avoid talking about sin. This is a serious problem. The Christian conservatives have different problems. The only hope is the Left and the Right learning from each other. Unfortunately, thinkers like Stapledon, able to learn from both sources, are too rare today.

Thanks for your thoughts. 

I wonder how a physicalist can say that every civilized person should live according to the spirit. Physicalism precludes spirit.

'Physicalism' sounds much like materialist ontology -- the idea that reality reduces to interactions of subatomic particles and quasi-particles. Thus a photon strikes a sub-atomic particle, and the world changes. The problem is that we cannot so understand the world because the mathematics and physics  cannot so reduce reality to such -- too many variables for too few equations..


Quote:Some say what we need is for the Left and Right in the USA to learn from each other. I tend to think that what is needed is mostly for the Left to defeat the Right. It is a matter of more people in the middle to realize which side is the better path forward. Or just to see, that going forward is better than continued regression. But there is the aspect of how the Left can better communicate with those further toward the Right-wing who can actually be reached. That is a minority today, but we shouldn't give up on anybody. From that point of view, better communication happens when we are open to what the other person has to say as well.

The 'Soft Right' is practically in hibernation, and the Hard Right is just completely wrong in deciding that ideology overpowers any physical reality or human experience. It's as if one is arguing with young-Earth creationists: pseudoscience has nothing to offer. Even if biological evolution has unpleasant moral consequences, it is up to us to find moral solutions that defy 'natural' tendencies. We must find ways to resist the temptation to do evil.


Quote:I would say pathology and recovery has the advantage of not putting the person down. If we commit sins, somehow we are subject to original sin, which says we are inherently bad. To say someone has sinned, might be to say someone is evil. If understood differently, "sin" might be workable; it's original meaning is to make a mistake, to miss the mark. John Bradshaw, who I see has passed away in 2016, was a good prophet for the human potential movement, which is still the key to human advancement, although it is being neglected now by our current younger generations, which is a great loss. He said there's a difference between saying "I made a mistake" and "I am a mistake." We have internalized the latter to a great extent, so that when we make mistakes, we see ourselves as therefore inherently evil or bad people. So, to avoid the word "sin" may not be a problem, because using that word tends to call up that problem which Christian civilization has instilled into us.

Original sin
creates the rationale that only the Right Faith (one's specific sect of Christianity, usually) can save one from damnation. People are born depraved and vicious, and are damned for that. But there are troublesome realities in human existence, including a tendency toward alcoholism in some people. Some people just cannot take even one sip of alcohol without it leading to personal ruin.

So take away the alcoholic consequences by removing the drink and retraining an alcoholic who does not drink, and one saves the alcoholic from further harm from alcoholism.  Alcoholism is a consequence of metabolism. Well, some people have allergies to peanuts, clams, strawberries, etc. ...


Quote:If people can be redeemed, then they can be cured. One still has responsibility, because it is your responsibility to know if you have made a mistake or have a problem, and to be humble and seek correction and acquire the ability to do better. Since mistakes are the result of behavior that needs correcting, and awareness that needs expanding, then the cure is to follow a path of learning. That's the meaning of pathology, and is why Buddhism is a superior language to Christianity. And Buddhism requires much more self-responsibility than Christianity, which claims that you can save yourself of all sin just by accepting Jesus as your savior. (I'm not saying I'm a Buddhist and not a Christian; I am a universalist)

People with problems must seek redemption, or if the problem is largely benign but troublesome, find ways to live with the problem and escape unwelcome consequences. Finding out that I had Asperger's and that there is no reliable treatment, I could only ask the psychologist how I could get away with it. Someone with Asperger's could make better choices in educational choices and careers -- to avoid trouble-makers as persons, to avoid job choices futile for people with it, and to change some stereotypical behaviors. What is most potentially dangerous is that one has no natural empathy -- but one can develop habits that make one develop a reputation as a good and caring person, and stick with such.

Quote:And it's also true that others also have responsibility for what we do. Others mistreat us or reject us for no reason, in many cases. So we need to take responsibility, but part of that is to free ourselves from what others have done. Forgiveness is part of that, including forgiving ourselves, and re-experiencing the hurt can heal it. The resentment and fear we have because of what others have done, can lead to ourselves mistreating others. So it's important to heal our bad experiences. And of course, others can help us if they admit their wrongs to us and seek our forgiveness. Unfortunately, that is relatively rare, but it's good when it happens.

In law, someone who gets hurt or killed as the result of self-defense bears the legal responsibility for provoking the violent and often brutal response. Basically, pull a gun on a cop -- and die.

We may not choose our nature, but we can certainly choose to influence the behavior of others to our favor and to the general good.

Healing our bad experiences? One cannot divest oneself of the consequences of rape. There is no way to 'un-rape' a victim of rape. One can deal with some consequences, but some are exceedingly difficult. One might seek redress against a rapist or advocate for the rights of victims to get appropriate (if inadequate) care. One can promote sexual decency in men and take away their idea that 'she really wants it' because it isn't rape if he does it. Good people know enough to stop before doing such a crime.

Quote:Socrates said that the cause of evildoing is ignorance. Christ said to remove the mite in your own eye before you judge and condemn others. Judging others is held by many true Christians as a greater sin than the evil itself that we judge. If we point a finger at another and call him or her a sinner, then we have 3 fingers pointed back at ourselves. Someone who has "sinned" can be condemned; someone who has a problem can be cured and the problem solved. The cure for evil is not condemning it; it is acquiring greater wisdom and the knowledge of solutions.


Socrates is usually right, but I am satisfied that most offenders know that society disapproves of what they do. They conceal evidence and intimidate victims and witnesses. They flee prosecution. If I point to an image of Saddam Hussein and say 'that man is evil personified' then to the extent that I am unlike Saddam Hussein I do not point at myself.

People must beware of projection in which they say things about those that they hate that are true about themselves. Everything that Hitler said about the Jews was true -- about himself!
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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#19
Eric the Green Wrote:I wonder how a physicalist can say that every civilized person should live according to the spirit. Physicalism precludes spirit.

We cannot ask Stapledon, because he's dead Sad For me, spirit is a metaphor. Stapledon supported emergence theory, according to which higher levels of complexity require new concepts, and it seems he found Christian concepts useful to talk about human behaviour.

Perhaps the word "spirit" could be replaced with "mind", and living according to the spirit means living in such a way that makes the best use of your mental potential. But "mind" and "mental" make us think of purely intellectual abilities, excluding emotions, which was definitely not Stapledon's intention. Even today, we talk can about "the spirit of rock music" without believing in any non-physical substance.
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#20
We need to recover a more literal meaning of spirit as something non-physical and transcending what is known merely to the senses. What we call physical is nothing more than how things feel to our senses. If anything is a metaphor, it is likely that. We call something material because it obstructs our own body, and scientists tend to assume this sensation as the basis of their theories.

Physicalism is a belief. Understanding of spirit is needed as the basis of any understanding of reality or any theories about turnings or anything else. To clarify assumptions and beliefs is the work of philosophy. This must be the foundation of knowledge.

Spirit is our consciousness. Without consciousness, nothing can be presumed to exist. We only know anything because we are conscious on some level. Too many eager beaver inquirers among millennials today have forgotten this lesson from the Awakening, or assumed it can be shoved under the rug. This deprives them of the basis for any knowledge. Consciousness studies is basic to any understanding.

Buddhist concepts are more useful than Christian ones in talking about human behavior. They may not be perfect either, but we'd be wise to expand our language beyond religions of The West.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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