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H Auditor | joined 05 February 2005 | 87 posts


Is Education the Magic Bullet? posted 05 February 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionIs Education the Magic Bullet? by H, Auditor

I can't see how education can help social problems. The problem lies cuturally, not educationally. People are usually hateful not out of ignorance, but out of a feeling of cultural (or racial) superiority.

How does education overcome the situation we are in?

For example the problem of educating people that all people are equal. How does education change what is culturally reinforced in every facet of life? Our society is based upon the fact that people are not equal. The person who bags your groceries is not as important as the President. The McDonalds worker is not as important as your surgeon. Movie stars, musicians, athletes, politcal figures, the rich, are all vaunted above others. Western culture is all about reinforcing how unequal people are. If you think that the US and other western countries are classless, i belive yoiu are mistaken. I don't see education overcoming the huge weight of cultural perception of inequality.

People only do what their upbringings and cultural forces compell them to do. If we want education to fix this, we must educate people that their culture is wrong. Simply put, this will not happen. I don't know of anyone who would subscribe to this type of education, which would be viewed as indoctrination. Only those who are unhappy with the system seek to change it. Those who believe themselves superior don't want to change a system which reinforces and rewards this.

Education will never be able to overcome culture, as culture is active 100% of the time, it shapes how we percieve everything (including education). If we want to exact a social change, it must be brought culturally, not educationally.

This post is already long enough, i digress for now. view post


Is Education the Magic Bullet? posted 07 February 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionIs Education the Magic Bullet? by H, Auditor

Argued well.

Sorry, i should have defined my use of both culture and education at the onset.

Allow me now to clarify.

Culture: The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought. (From Dictionary.com) This is the sense in which i use culture, in the social transmission sense. Yes, it is a form of education, but i believed that we were referring to education as institutionalized education.

I agree in your point that culture is dynamic. No, i do not believe the same things as my parents, but they were (and are) not the sole transmiters of culture to me. Peers, others, TV, radio, art are also transmitors of culture. Sure, the culture of my upbringing is not the same as the cultrure of my parents day. Hell, i can barely relate to my step-brother and sister, and they only about 8 years younger than me. But why am i more liberal than my parents? It certainly was not education in my case. My school didn't say, "Gay people should have equal rights." My teachers didn't say, "Pro-choice is the way to go!" My liberal values were created socially, culturally. I didn't read a book on the "evil's of conservatism" to arrive at my decision to be liberal. What i experianced socially, however, did change my mind about how to shape my own morality and ethics. Meeting new people, understanding thier points of view, and amalgamating them into my own understanding of the world. I don't belive it was the education i recieved at college that changed me, but the social understanding it fostered within me.

Don't get me wrong, i think education can have a profound impact, if it can be uses to reap a cultural (social) change. All the intellectualism and knowledge in the world does not make someone a more understanding person. I know plenty of well educated people who are still racist, sexist, or just generally hateful. The problem of hate, violence, and such is not an intellectual problem. It's not that violent or hateful people are stupid. Take Charles Manson for example. It rather scary to me to see how smart that guy is. All the education in the world isn't going to make that man anymore peaceful. In fact, i think its his intellectualism that makes him dangerous in the first place. The problem of hate is a social one, and it must be delt with socially in my opinion.

For example, let us pretend that we are children, and we go to school and our teachers tell us that men and women are equals, and should be treated as such, no discrimination. But the second we exit that classroom, we are thrust into a world that culturally (again socially) does not support or reinforce this view at all. For the most part boys play with the boys, girls play with the girls (yes, by thier own volition). In every facet of life, we are reinforced that the 'equality' we are supposed to believe in does not exist. Those who have a sister or brother, are your parents expectations of your oposite sex sibling different that those for you? In most cases they will be. We hold females to different cultural standards than males. All the education will not remove this social conditioning in the vast majority of people. Imagine trying to change this. Look at how those who grow up in an abusive environment tend to become abusive themselves. Culture is hard to shake with just education, just saying "hitting is bad" and showing a film about it is not enough. This is not to say that abused people will become abusers. That is a blanket generalization with no merit. But statistics prove that alot of people who were abused at some point relapse back in that culture of violence, becasue they were never socially educated to anything different. Some things cannot be learned from books or films.

But those of us who can look at things in a (relatively) objective way in regards to social issues are not the majority. We intellectualites are the tail attempting to wag the dog here. Most people will follow their culture, not thier intellectualism. Why do you think most people follow the religion of thier parents? It takes much strength to shake off the hands of where we have been socially driven.

I believe that you are also correct in stating that the true 'power' lies with the working class, as Marx said it did. But this post is a beast already! Let me just adress that by saying that while the bag boy does have the power, he neither knows this, nor belives this, not itellectually but socailly. He has been indoctrinated by western culture, and he can read all the Marx he wants, but he can not and does not see how he can make a social change. Not to mention he probably culturally identifies with the upperclass anyway, just as the working class did in 1831 when DeTocqueville wrote Democracy in America about why democracy hadn't failed in the US as Marx had predicted it would.

OK, i'm sorry this post is waaaaay too long, and its 1 AM. I look forward to your replies though. And i pre-apologize for my atrocious spelling, and for any typos i missed. view post


Is Education the Magic Bullet? posted 07 February 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionIs Education the Magic Bullet? by H, Auditor

I sincerly believe that people do not make the culture, the culture makes the people. Those like Ghandi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. do not rise out of nothing to make a change. Just like Einstein did not rise out of nothing and come to a theory of Relativity. These were people who, yes, through their intelligence and social abilities were about to exact a change. But really, they were just figureheads of the greater cultural movement. They were simply symbols of the culture that was changing. There was already an air of change about when Dr. King began preaching, or else how would he have ever been listened to in teh first place? People were ready to hear his message, his message was their message. The movement rose him up, not the other way around as i see it. He was assassinated as we all know. Did the movement end? The movement was made by the millions in it, not by one man.

Ghandi, like Dr. King, while an intellectual, did not preach for the need for intellectualism. He learned a great ammount from spending time in South Africa (and elsewhere), seeing with his own eyes the injustice, not from reading a book. His message was of understanding and openmindedness, not the neccessity for stoic intellectualism, or of universal knowledge. These two men spoke with the voice of millions. That is why their message was so compelling, so powerful. No one wags the dog. They win over the dog's heart and mind, and compell it to wag.

The use of information is to justify and reinforce the social (cultural) view we want. Look at the creation of racial distinctions. For hundreds of years, the social (cultural) view that people were of distinct races was reinforced by 'science' of the day, in order the justify the cultural paradigm. Now, with the change in the social view of the issue, we now have tons of information about the incredable similarity of all humans. Appeal to the hearts, and the minds to win them all. Look at the Nazi movement in Germany. Take the feeling, reinforce it with information, justify it with results.

Additiionally history paints certain pictures of cultural change which are not neccessarily true. For example, salvery did not end becasue people sundenly realized that it was inhuman. Uncle Tom's Cabin did not make people moral all of a sudden. They realized it was far too expensive to keep slaves and thier entire families, 24 hours a day. Clothe them, feed them, provide shelter for them, their children. People realized it was far cheaper to just pay workers a minimal wage and let them take care of themselves. After all, what are most workers, but slaves with the idea that they are free. Just like the grocery bagger who thinks he's free. Free from what though? He's free to hop from slave-master to slave-master, thats all in the hope that he'll ascend to the lofty heights of the rich. But the justice of the free market is not the issue here.

Sure, it could be argued that it is the reverse. That the information exacted the social change, but i can't belive this at all. Even today, with the incredable ammount of information readily available, even faced with informational evidence, people choose to believe things which are not 'true' but are simply cultural perceptions. The social changes we reap are related to, but not caused by, education.

Books don't make people moral or ethical. Only experiance does. view post


Is Education the Magic Bullet? posted 19 February 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionIs Education the Magic Bullet? by H, Auditor

Quote: "Echoex":za3b9twl
"Culture and people are entwined. You cannot have culture without people and you cannot have culture without people. Culture does not make people, and people do not make culture, they are dependent on each other to exist. One cannot exist without the other."

I disagree with your statement. People create culture, and culture is typically manufactured from the excesses of society.[/quote:za3b9twl]

Well i disagree with your critique. I belive Wil is corrrect in stating that "people and culture are entwined." Of cource they are entwined, i know of no people who exist without culture and no culture which exists without people.

However, to fact that culture and people change each other, my point above was to say that great figures within cultural changes were "raised up" not solely through their own will, but by the will of the changing cluture.

But lets try to stay on track here.

Quote: "Wil":za3b9twl
Just because "information is readily available" does not mean that someone is educated on a subject. Yes, there is a lot of information available on the mating habits of weevils, but I have no education on the subject. I feel it is wrong to say that education has little effect on social change because a "look, the literature is there and nothing's changing" argument. It takes people to learn the information and process it to cause social change. [/quote:za3b9twl]

This is very true. But lets realize that the mating habits of weevils and topics of social justice are two rather separate topics. So separate that i don't feel that either has anything to do with the other. One is useless information that will not be useful unless you are a.) a weevil, or b.) someone who encounters weevils on a common basis, or c.) someone who just really likes weevils. With regards to social justice, most of us encounter other people daily, in fact in large numbers. We all like to be social. We are all like humans (in some sort of way). Why then are we not interested in these issues? Since we do nothing but socialize with each other, shouldn't this be the most important topic for all people? But its not. Not at all. Why? Becasue culture already gave most of us the answers we were looking for. Unless we are questioning itellectualites, we are not going to probe further, we just listen to culture and go about our day, content that we have the answer, and with our minds lighted from the load of complex social issues.

Again, i cannot think of any example where social change was brought about by an intellectual movement, and propigated by education. Again, the action of information in these movements was to justify the social movement already begun.

But this arguement is silly unless we rigidly define what we mean by education. If we loosely define education, one that encompasses all learning one could possibly undergo, than natually all behavior would be resultant from education. Your culture would be education, even classical conditioning would be education. I don't think this is what Annabel had in mind when begining this thread. My objective here has been to paint a picture which would show that institutionalized education has a minimal effect upon social behavior. If this was not true, then everyone who went to the same schools as me should be the same as me, which is absolutlely not true, both socially and intellectually.

Sure, if we'd like to put all learning under the term education, than yes, education is the most powerful factor in human existance.

Let me ask this, if education played a major role in changing culture, why is there still racism? We've all been educated about how races are false distinctions, and that all people are equal. We've all been educated that women are equal to men. We learned it in school, we hear it on TV, we read it in books. There's no more segregation, women have equal rights to men. So why is there still sexism, racism? Whats going on? Perhaps this institutional indoctrination is not working as well as we'd like it to? Perhaps thats becasue education does not effect a social change, it reinforces it.

I can see how some will say, "yes, but i read a book, found out about an issue, and made an informed decision about something." And i say, you are the distinct minority. You are an intellectual. The intellectual is a separate case from what is discussed above. The intellectual questions, forms their own opinions consciously. Most people do not do this with regards to social issues, at all. They simply follow what culture and biology (two completely non-conscious faculties) have set for them.

To sum this all up, it is my point that social change is minimally effected by institutional education. Information does not make people any more socially conscious. Only changing the culture makes (most) people better social creatures. As long as western culture is completely ethno-centric in it's view of other cultures, races, and sexes, we will not have a cure to social ills. I dont care how much education you give some one, if they are cultural told that women are not equal, they will never believe the opposite is true, even for a moment. As long as American culture is degrating to women, there will be sexism. As long as American culture continues to paint a distinction between 'black' and 'white' culture, there will be racism. Read all the books you like, but its culture which has the say in the lives of the vast majority of people, not abstract information. We intellecuals are the tail attempting to wag the dog. view post


the emperor Ikurai Xerius III posted 19 February 2005 in The Warrior Prophetthe emperor Ikurai Xerius III by H, Auditor

I can think of two reasons why Kellhus might want to keep some skin-spies within the Holy War.

1.) Since he can see them, he can keep them away from any sesative imformation. Thus, he could keep them on the 'fringe' and feed them false information, confusing the Consult as to what is really happening.

2.) Keeping some skin-spies within the Holy War could keep the Consult thinking they can still infiltrate the Holy War, and still use it. If they realize they can't, they might attempt to destory it outright, fearing its usefullness is over. Or they might find new ways, harder ways to detect, to infiltrate the Holy War, creating a whole new problem.

Eliminating the skin-spies all together will simply force the Consult to new tactics, which may be harder to contain. Better the enemy you know, and can counter, than one you don't and may not be able to. view post


Feast for Crows due this Summer posted 19 February 2005 in Literature DiscussionFeast for Crows due this Summer by H, Auditor

Fankly, I'll believe when i see it.

But this is some positive news. view post


AMERICAN POLITICS... posted 01 March 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionAMERICAN POLITICS... by H, Auditor

Quote: "amadah":338fv4hk
Do you know anything about the Bush family? W has been helped in every stage of his life. And I will say that he is so much less a "man of the peolpe" than most candidates, including Kerry.


I know quite a bit about the Bush family, as a matter of fact. Much more so than MANY people. Has W been helped? Sure he has. But he's still got a lot more in common with the "common man" than does Kerry.[/quote:338fv4hk]

Provided this is true (which i'm in no way convinced it is), how does that make him fit to run the country? I'm sure he's got alot in common with me, 10 finders and toes, 2 eyes and so on. However, i don't want to know what he's got in common with me, i want to know what he's going to do for me. What he has in common with everyone doesn't change his policy nor his attitude toward the rest of the world, the two issues i have trouble accepting as 'just'.

Besides being disturbed by his Born Again attitude, i also don't support his agenda. Somehow knowing that someone is in office looking to, first, provide breaks for big bussiness (i.e. not me) and, secondly, to subvert the constitution by bringing religion into the government. I can't see how either of these things will bring this country closer to freedom and democracy, ideals which seem to be so all important to Mr. Bush.

Honestly, i thought Kerry was a crappy candidate, and although i voted for him, i only did so out of desperation. I'd honestly would have voted for a Islamic Fundamentalist candidate too, if it was my only other option besides Bush.

Realistically, i'm supposed to feel safe with a leader who asked the troops in Iraq to pray for him? Wait a minute, shouldn't that be the opposite way arround? Aren't the soldiers out there, fighting, dying, missing their families and loved ones to defend Mr. Bush's (possibly justified, possibly not) decission?

And i'm supposed to say that Mr. Bush is looking out for me and my interests? If it were up to him, i'm sure i'd be in Iraq right now, drafted to go kill some people who may not have done anything more wrong than wanting their own country for themselves, not to be exploited by foriegn powers. Sound familiar? I seem to remember some other country wanting the same, around 1776.

As for people 'on the coast' being 'more intelligent', that is strictly a farce. Come to New York, and walk around a bit, and let me know what you find. Becasue there are certainly no short supply of ignorant people abound. There is pretty much the same ammount of ignorance everywhere, it's just in regard to what issues that is any different. view post


Orson Scott Card and Homosexual Marriage posted 04 April 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionOrson Scott Card and Homosexual Marriage by H, Auditor

I remember reading that atricle way back when it was new. His arguement is actually fairly well reasoned but fails on a few points:

Quote: "Card":kcacmpao
And we all know the course this thing will follow. Anyone who opposes this edict will be branded a bigot; any schoolchild who questions the legitimacy of homosexual marriage will be expelled for "hate speech." The fanatical Left will insist that anyone who upholds the fundamental meaning that marriage has always had, everywhere, until this generation, is a "homophobe" and therefore mentally ill.[/quote:kcacmpao]

Actually, while i don't agree much with Card's final stance, i do agree that one cannot oppose the issue of same-sex marriage without being accused of being a homophobe. For most, there is no ablity to actually discuss the issue at all.

Quote: "Card":kcacmpao
In the first place, no law in any state in the United States now or ever has forbidden homosexuals to marry. The law has never asked that a man prove his heterosexuality in order to marry a woman, or a woman hers in order to marry a man.[/quote:kcacmpao]

What a clever misrepresentation of the problem, to discredit any attempt to solve a real issue. The topic is not homosexuals being married, its same-sex marriage.

While i agree with Card on the detrimental effects the colapse of the institution of marriage (i.e. with regard to divorce and so on) has had upon our society, his retort that same-sex marriage will usher in a full colapse is ludicris. The fact is that a child raised in a same-sex household is most probably better off, and more well adjusted, than one raised in a broken home. So, by the same token, shouldn't divorce be illegal?

As i first quoted, it is difficult to oppose the issue without smacking of homophobia. And Mr. Card does well to show he's quite affraid that "state sponsored" homosexuality:

Quote: "Card":kcacmpao
They will make it harder for us to raise children with any confidence that they, in turn, will take their place in the reproductive cycle. They will use all the forces of our society to try to encourage our children that it is desirable to be like them.

Most kids won't be swayed, because the message of the hormones is clear for them. But for those parents who have kids who hover in confusion, their lives complicated by painful experiences, conflicting desires, and many fears, the P.C. elite will now demand that the full machinery of the state be employed to draw them away from the cycle of life. [/quote:kcacmpao]

In other's Mr. Card believes that it will become difficult to raise heterosexual kids, becasue the government is actively trying to draw them into homosexuality. Wow, paraniod much? Is that also saying that by making smoking legal, or drinking legal, or abortion legal, the government is actively trying to give us all lung cancer, cerosis of the liver, and make us into wonton babby murderers?

Well, i'm not quite sure when Mr. Card recieved his degree in Human Sexuality, or in Psychological Development, or in fact, where he's been informed about mate selection in humans, or for that matter in sexuality in general, but the fact is that seeing homosexuals does not make one homosexual. Children of homosexual parents do not invariably become homosexual. In fact, they are less likely to become homosexuals, if i do remember correctly.

I wonder if Mr. Card would say we should torture and kill homosexuals, to 'teach the kids a lesson', that homosexuality is not the way to go. How about instead, you let people do what they want, because, here's a fact, you don't run everyone's life. Neither does the government, so while Mr. Card muses about how the liberal elite is attempting to make us all homosexuals, the fact is he's missing the point that minority groups should not be oppressed by democracy, simply becasue there are less of them.

Mr. Card loves to discuss democracy, but in the end, he's saying 'why can't we opress minorities (like homosexuals) under the gusies of democracy?'

By Mr. Card's logic, the government is trying to make us all into homosexuals. I can see how legal same-sex marriage will turn all of our children into homosexuals, it's all so clear, i can't believe i didn't see it before.

Quote: "Card":kcacmpao
Would-be parents take part in civilization only when they trust society to enhance their chances of raising children who will, in turn, reproduce. Societies that create that trust survive; societies that lose it, disappear, one way or another.[/quote:kcacmpao]

Really? Lets go down on the street and find out if that's what is on people's minds when they reproduce. Let's hop on down into the projects of Brooklyn, and ask parents if they "trust society to enhance their chances of raising children who will, in turn, reproduce." Mr. Card, honestly, get real. There are vast ammounts of reason why people reproduce, and while you have found an intellectual answer to why you did, that does not extend to the entire world for certain.


For the record i'm for allowing same-sex marriages, under the simple pretense that i have no right to disallow anyone living in an absolutly nonharmful way. I may not want to live that way, but that does not give me the right to say no one should be able to.

And on that note, it's 2 AM, i'm getting some sleep. I preapologize for any spelling errors. view post


Will the Fanim finally get a break? posted 12 April 2005 in Author Q & AWill the Fanim finally get a break? by H, Auditor

I'm sure that once Zeum rises, as has been alluded too, the Fanim will get their 'revenge.'

Scott, this has me wondering, i can't remember if you've commented on this before, but i seached and didn't find anything on this. As of the begining of the PoN series (4110 YotT) the Fanim are only about 400 years removed from whatever faith they had before the coming of the prophet Fane. This has me wonder, what was their faith (if any) before this?

Also, as we see in TWP, the Fanim are quite comfortable in the desert, and for some reason i have an idea that they were nomadic before the comming of Fane (i might have just made this up). I'm not sure if you had said this before or not, my second question is, if they were nomadic before the coming of Fane, what proportion of their population still lives in this tradtional way? And if it is a significant proportion, what is their views of those who do live in the cities?

Lastly, i've been wondering about one fact for a while. From what i understood from TWP, Kian is basically all desert (there is never any sort of forrests described from what i remember). But if this is true, how could the Fanim field such a massive mounted army? I'm not sure, but i think they ride horses predominantly, not camels, i can't find a reference in the book right now. A horse eats and drinks quite alot, and i can see how the Fanim could water them (there's always water in a desert, finding it is the hard part), but all that fodder? I'm not expert, but most large scale cavelry opperations were only feasable in areas where the horses could graze. I found this:

Quote: "stablewise.com":1727db1g
A maintenance diet for a 1000 pound horse is typically recommended to be about 16 - 17 pounds of hay and 3 pounds of grain per day . As a horse's workload increases, moderate these recommendations by changing to 25 pounds of hay with 6 - 7 pounds of grain per day.[/quote:1727db1g]

Say there were only 1000 horses, that is at least 31,000 pounds of fodder per day, and the riders need to eat too. I think it'd be more, as that estimate is not for a war horse, but for a horse who maybe trots all day at best (and not wearing any armor plating, or carrying much). From the way i remember the battles being described, the Kianese are almost always depicted as being mounted, i was thinking that half their army consisted of cavelry. I also remember somewhere the Fanim army being estimated at 50,000 troops (again, i may have imagined this). That mens there would be 25,000 horses, and 25,000*31 pounds of fodder=775,000 pounds of fodder a day, just for the horses. From my limited knowledge, having that many horses in one area was not even possible during the American Civil War, when they had trains and alot of rivers to aid in suppling.

Additionally, it seems that they are quite fond of the use of archery, which i would imagine would use alot of wood to keep supplied with a constant source of ammunition. Again i was under the impression that most of that would need to be scrounged up while the army marched, as carrying all that with you would be a logistic nightmare.Then again i'm not a military expert at all.

Or am i just wrong about the geographical make up of most of Kian? Or perhaps i'm just way overestimating the Fanim use of archery/cavelry because it is distorted way in which the Inrithi would see them (being so foriegn)? Or should i just shut up and susped disbelief? I'm not critiquing, just asking if there is some aspect of this i'm missing. view post


The Destruction of the Dunyain posted 14 April 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe Destruction of the Dunyain by H, Auditor

But if the Dunyain haven't been found in the preceeding 2,000 years, what makes everyone think that they'd be found now?

I doubt if the Consult has not tried to find them before, in fact, they probably have been looking for at least 1,500 years, and still haven't succeeded. I doubt if a school would have the resources to find them, i mean, the Consult would presumable have far more resources at their disposal in the North than any school, so if anyone is going to find them, i'd bet on the Consult. Although i still doubt they could be found at all... view post


Will the Fanim finally get a break? posted 15 April 2005 in Author Q & AWill the Fanim finally get a break? by H, Auditor

Quote: "Fanim":xjx8eek4
Quote: "Cu'jara Cinmoi":xjx8eek4
But the fact is that logistics don't make for much drama, so I follow the 'manna from heaven' tradition of military historical narrative.[/quote:xjx8eek4]
You, sir, have clearly not watched Jerry Bruckheimer's reality TV production "Saving private Jessica Lynch"...[/quote:xjx8eek4]

LOL

I hope it didn't seem like i was criticizing, i was just wondering if i wasn't seeing something, which was the maps (i'm an idiot). I actually like the fact that the Fanim are shown without regards to logistics, its makes them seem much cooler, and incredably more scarey in that they can fade into and out of the deserts at will.

Its funny you mentioned Dune in another thread, i think that the 'deep desert' people of Kian will play some kind of role with the rise of Zeum in the coming books. As shown in TWP, they are perfect warriors out in the open desert, i'm not worried for the Fanim, in fact i think that they are glad the Intrithi are removing some of the 'softies' who live in the cities (and they probably think they 'deserve' it).

As for Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army, that really does look like a great resource, definitely going into my next Amazon order. Any other good historical resource you recommend? view post


The Destruction of the Dunyain posted 16 April 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe Destruction of the Dunyain by H, Auditor

Well, the fact that they are removing the wards means they want to be found, maybe not right now, but they are obviously making it so they are not so well hidden. Whom they want to find them is another question. My thought is they want the Consult to find them, because they will be prepared for them, or have something prepared for them.

The scene where we see part of Kellhus' training, where they have created a way to control the muscles of faces, has me thinking that the Dunyain have science that is at least equal to the science of the Consult (technic? i can't remember the exact name). This has me thinking that the Dunyain want the Consult to find them soon, so that they can fight them around and within Ishual, where they probably have some devestating weapons, and can control the fighting better.

If the Dunyain field an army of Conditioned, within confined space, i don't think that even a force of 10 times as many Sranc could break them. Conditioned supported by high science and/or natural defences would make them almost impenetrable. And if somehow Andrew's theory in the other thread is right, and the Dunyain gain access to the Gnosis, i don't think 100x their numbers in Sranc could hope to defeat them. view post


Chorae bowmen posted 01 May 2005 in Author Q & AChorae bowmen by H, Auditor

I was thinking the same sort of thing, but in regards to losing any Chorae, i don't think they could ever actually lose any, unless they lost the battle. Remember that any one of the Few can 'feel' and 'sense' the presence of any Chorae in the area. So once the battle is over, they would pretty easily be able to find them, even amongst many dead, or in wreckage of some sort. All of this is assuming they win the battle of cource, but if they lost, well they are screwed anyway, at least they'd have picked off a few sorcerors along the way (there are more Chorae than the Few, so loses are worse for the sorcerors). Plus both sides are probably shooting Chorae at each other, so i'd imagine over the long haul, loses of arrows would balance out for both sides (unless one side never loses, of cource). view post


Do you believe a God exists? posted 05 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? by H, Auditor

I think that we have a problem here in the fact that human beings do not tolerate ambiguity well at all, both cognitively and perceptually. If you are presented with a thoroughly ambiguous visual or auditory stimulus, you will attempt to order it, forcing an order to it which is probably not present at all, but is necessary for you to be able to comprehend the stimulus.

This applies to cognition as well. If you've ever heard of Capgraw Syndrome it is where, due to damage in certain areas of the brain, there is a lack of emotional attachment to visual stimulus. Thus, you would lose the 'feeling' that comes with seeing someone you love, for example. An excellent example of the effect of this is a man who, following a head trauma, believed his parents were imposters. Sure, he said, they look like my parents but i know they aren't. Now, someone actually impersonating his parents is highly illogical, but in being presented with ambiguity (in that he knew these people looked exactly like his parents, but that he had no emotional attachments to them) he created an entire cognitive complex of how they were really imposters in order for himself to understand his situation.

So what’s my point? My point is that in perceiving the world, and assimilating it into our psyche's, we can place order, meaning, and patterns onto that which does not actually have those qualities.

Because we cannot know the entire content of psyche (the darkness that comes before, anyone?) how can we not be faced with the fact that when we perceive or cognate anything we are doing so through the triple lens of cognition, the unconscious, and perceptual senses all of which seek to remove ambiguity in and of themselves without conscious intention.

We seek to eliminate ambiguity, because it is not tolerated by those three lenses. But the universe is greatly ambiguous. Light is both a particle and a wave. How can that be true though? How can there be cause and effect without a first cause, which would consequently need to be an effect of some pervious cause? How can God be good, if there is evil in the world He created? We don't think about these dualities endlessly, we seek to explain how they can be resolved. We seek to explain them away. Why? Because we have little tolerance for abiguity. We want definite answers, no flip-floping. We want 'the Truth', and nothing less. We don't want to accept that there can be meaning in the meaningless, good within the bad, becuse dualities are meaningless to us. We are convinced that there is one right way for everything, one right way to see things, think about things, because it makes living alot easier. Have you ever tried to think of all the possible different ways you could live, or things you could do? And in the end, you have to stop, give yourself one direction, less you travel in a circle endlessly. Humans need the definite to survive, why do many people have nervous breakdowns under the stress of facing ambiguous aspects of their own lives? Under the weight of uncertainty, of meaninglessness, of loss of all purpose, we break, and rather easily for the most part.

Both science and traditional religions seek the removal of ambiguity. Science provides its answers though perception, verifiable perceptions. Religion provides answers through belief and validation of feelings. The problem is that both are inherently flawed in that perceptions and feelings do not always equal reality.

Science has a great history of finding exactly what it was looking for in the first place. For example, in the times of slavery, science looked for the reason that the 'darker' 'races' were less 'intelligent' and more 'primitive'. And low and behold, they found their 'answers' empirically. Once again, in a toughly ambiguous world, you can find anything if you look hard enough, and find that which you can string together to make (nearly) any conclusion appear plausible.

Religion has the exact same ability to find exactly what it looks for. Want an example of God's work in the world? It is fairly simple to find an ambiguous event, and attribute to it any meaning, purpose, or cause you'd like. The great allure of religion is that, as opposed to science, whose bias can be in any number of different directions, the religion attribution will always be positive. No one follows a religion which preaches that everything is meaningless, that you are no one, that life is pointless. Religion seeks to view the world in a way that makes cognitive life more bearable. Why do people all of a sudden pick up a religion in a time of crisis? Perhaps to give themselves the order they so desperately need to make sense of the ambiguity of the world?

Science makes the claim that it gets closer to 'the Truth' because it is objective. But once again, as i said before, how can any person be objective when everything is viewed though the triple lens of perception, cognition, and the unconscious. How can you place yourself outside yourself? As the quote at the beginning of tDtCB, asks where does the thought come from, before i think of it? And so consequently how may i be objective when i cannot remove that which i don’t know where it comes from. In other words, if i am unconsciously biased, how may i remove that if i don't even know it is there, or if i don't know where it comes from?

To conclude, it is my position that deep questions of the nature of the universe are beyond our understanding, due to our lack of understanding of that which we understand with, that is, ourselves and our minds.

So in the end, we take the ambiguities of the universe and make them make sense to ourselves. This is not truth, or 'The Truth', no more than they are 'Our Truth' in so far as they are what we perceive and what we can comprehend. We can never be objective, any more than i can be you, or you me, or me a star, or a planet, or an atom of Hydrogen. Sure, we can figure out that if i jump up, i fall down, and even find out how i fall, but exactly what gravity is, and why it exists, i believe are beyond out perceptual ability to comprehend and will forever be speculated upon, and never proven. In the end, can we really comprehend the universe, if it is infinitly complex, or nearly so? view post


Do you believe a God exists? posted 06 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? by H, Auditor

I want to be clear though, that i am not religious at all, and i am a staunch empiricist. But i do recogize the limitations such a stand has and what it can explain. Plus i'm not one to say that there is one right way to think about the world.

My 'problems' with Christianity comes from the historical verfiability and formation its of dogma.

Suppose someone wrote a book in 5 years claiming that when Martin Luther King was shot, Memphis was plunged into a 3 hour darkness... difficult to refute? likely to gain a following? not really!


But, this is assuming two things. Written today, such a book would probably be viewed as an historical account, unless portrayed differently. People would object to its integrity as a true portrayal of real events. What if the author instead decided to write a parable based of the events of the assassination? Then, some would take the rhetorical devices used (such as metaphor, or illusion for the sake of effect) as exactly that. The darkness which felt could easily be a 'spiritual' darkness, not neccessarily a physcical one. Second, what if poeple really want to believe in what the book is saying? What if its spiritual message is deep enough, that it moves people to want to be a part of it? Would the then suspend disbelief, and act on Faith? I think this is a definite possibility.

Also, there were (as you point out) two great historical societies in Jerusalem at the time. Jews and Roman were two societies for whom we possess great records from, due to their diligence in recording the events of their time. What puts doubt in my mind, is why none of these ‘miracles’ were recorded by either sources? No Roman sources speak of any of these great events. Additionally, no Jewish historian i know of tells of such miracles as well. This puts doubt into my mind, as to why nether source would include such momentous events, even if to further condemn the Christians? Sure the Jew's possibly could have had 'an axe to grind' with Jesus, and could have portrayed him as a false Prophet, then why not record the event, if then to condemn him with? This is the first trouble i have, leading me to doubt the accounts as being litterary in nature.

If one examines the miracles Christ and the disciples and apostles performed, one can clearly see that there is no ambiguity. Jesus being crucified, dying and then rising from the dead 3 days later is not a curious natural phenomenon which the mind plays tricks with. Feeding 5000 people with 7 loaves of bread, healing the blind, lame, birth defects, deaf, lepors, mentally infirm, raising the dead, walking on water, speaking in multiple languages, turning water into wine - these are the things which it is claimed Jesus (and the disciples to a lesser extent) did. This is far different from "i prayed for rain and three days later it rained, ergo the rainfall was miraculous". Either these events happened or they didn't. If they did, there can be no conclusion but that there was divine intervention of some kind. If they didn't happen, then one must examine why the disciples were willing to die horribly rather than admit they made it all up.


Given that the society of the time was not a media saturated one like ours, how many people do you believe would still, one, be alive, two, have enough of a voice to refute any claim written in a Gospel (probably written in Greek, which would have been rare for a common Jerusalemite to know)? Additionally anyone who was present at such an event would presumably be a follower, who would for their own reasons want to see a miracle. You ask, why would they die rather than admit they made it all up. The fact is, even if the events didn't happen as they said, they believed they did. Perhaps my post above didn't point at the unconscious motives behind interpreting events. The disciples believed that the events happened as they said. They had Faith. Faith that what they saw had a purpose. Do i know what they saw? No. Will anyone know what they saw? No. Do we know that they really believed what they saw? Yes. We also know that there are plenty of eye witnesses who will testify to thief dying day that they saw someone who later evidence will say could not have physically been there. Eyewitness testimony is not irrefutable. And this is now, in a age of empiricism, of scientific thought. How could uneducated masses (who were in need a faith) refute educated, passionate men, willing to die to deliver their message? Even to me today, if someone is willing to die to tell me something, i at least know that they believe its true and important. There were many willing to die fighting Pagans because they believed they were evil devil worshiping heathens, does that make it so? Hardly, we know pagans were nothing of the sort. People will believe exactly what they want, for reasons of their own.

Even if the Gospels were written 10 years following the events they depict, again, how could anyone refute them? The Gospels were never written as a history book, and wasn't taken as one then, nor should it be now. The Gospels are literary works, and as such, use literary devices to portray a certain point. Again, there is no reason to assume that they are a definite history. Would we refute a parable as being false, because it is fantastical? Doubtful, and i doubt ancient peoples would either. The people of then would not be caught up in the denotation, but would have known that it was the connotation which was the message.

Additionally, why would the Jews not refute Jesus? Because that would give him, and his followers more power. It would attract attention to him, give his cause credence, in persecution (which the Romans would up finding out soon enough). The Jew's were far smarter in religion than the Romans, plus the Romans had no strong central faith with which to resist the tide of Christianity (and plagues, and religiously inactive, yes there are numerous reasons, but those are the main points).

In fact, in looking at the circumstances surrounding the selection of Gospels which would make up what we call the New Testament, one wonders why other Gospels were not included. In the findings of the Dead Sea Scrolls, we may have a slightly better idea of why they were not included. The could have provided more historical data on Jesus' life which was desired to not be known. We do know that the Nicene Council voted upon the Divinity of Jesus. This begs the question, why vote, if it was already known? Additionally, why exclude certain Gospels, why not offer us the entire story of Jesus' life, the life of God, so we may better learn how to live like Him? Censorship always smacks of fear, just what message did they fear though?

The Dogma established by what becomes the Catholic Church has always been what bothers me about the religion. I have no problems with scripture. Most scripture is great literary work. Most scripture is amazing philosophical work. Most dogma is impractical attempts to create a hierarchy of control based off the great works of scripture. The dogma of Christianity is what i have trouble with, not the words of Jesus, or Mohammed, or Buddha. In fact, i think (as an atheist) the words of these prophets are particularly salient. However, the way in which organizations attempt to create a political dogma based off them, is troublesome for me. This is due to the fact that dogma is arbitrary. Like the Catholic position on Homosexuality, or Contraception, whih Jesus had nothing to say about, this dogma is arbitrarily based off out of context quotes from scripture. The position is establish or arbitrary reasons, and reinforced with selected sections of scripture.

Like fundamentalist Islam, which uses selective scripture to paint the idea that violence is acceptable, strong dogma is dangerous. Dogma is not interpretable. Scripture is. Dogma says that there is only one right way to see the world, one right way to read scripture, one right way to be. This is what makes dogma so dangerous. I have no qualms with those i know who are religious, as long as they are not blind adherents to a dogma. If someone i know has read scripture, and understood it for themselves, then i say 'Mad props to you." But to blindly say, "i hate homosexuals, because the Pope told me to" (which isn't true, they disliked them already for other reasons, but use the voice of authority to justify their irrational position), or some such, angers me greatly, because that is not your religion, it you taking someone else’s as your own.

I go a bit a field here.

As to the point about Human design, i think there are different streams of Christian thought on why people are the way they are. Some people hold that humans arose pretty much by evolution but that God interefered at crucial points - to blow the breath of life in so to speak, and create awareness, soul, intelligence etc. Others say that we were orginally made perfect but that disease etc., was allowed to enter in after the Fall. Others would suggest that defects and irregularities serve a certain purpose - for one, it keeps the person humble before God.


This gets to the heart of the matter i discussed above. The question here is, does the Bible need to be taken literally, or is it allegorical?

Genesis says that we were made in and of ourselves, in God's image. No evolution. If we've evolved, Genesis then is wrong. The Bible is God's word, how can God's word be wrong?

But that is only if the Bible is to be taken literally. Again, is it the denotation which is most salient, or the connotation which is the point of Genesis?

It's as the apostle Paul wrote in one of his letters - if Jesus didn't live as we have been taught, if he didn't die, and rise from the dead, then Christians are surely the sorryest bunch in the world. We're laughed at in this life and deny ourselves this and that, and all for nothing. It is a religion that is necessarily tied up in history.


I don't believe your fist sentence at all. That is to say, that all that the Christian message of 'love thy neighbor' (and so on) is worthless if Jesus was not the Son God? Wow, that’s incredibly cynical. No deed worth doing if there is no pay off of eternal salvation at the end? All for nothing? How about all for making the world a better place to live? But, Andrew you must admit that there is some possibility that Jesus could not be the Son of God. So does that make everything meaningless? No, it just means that your being a good Christian for the sake of the fact that you believe it's how people should live. Lastly, i don't think it's the religion tied up in history, but the Dogma tied up in history. The words of Jesus are beyond history. The dogma surround his life and times are tied to history, and only obfuscate his message. Read scripture and make His message yours, not take a dogma as fact.

But all of this is to the ultimate fact that Faith does not make something any more really than wishing it was so. There will not be, and never will be solid evidence of the transcendental. The question is then, do you fill the whole in knowledge with that which you can verify (empirical evidence) or with Faith (in what you feel is right)?

Maybe if i were convinced somehow that existence is meaningless.


Existence is bereft of all meaning except the meaning you give it. Existence doesn't come with a built in meaning. It's not written in the sky, it is not to be found on the Moon. It's nowhere except in your own mind. Even if you believe there is a God, His meaning, your meaning, everything is in your mind (where else could it be?). It is the only place you have to have anything. You can climb a mountain to find meaning, but the meaning you found wasn't there, it was in you the whole time, just waiting for you to be in the right frame of mind to find it.

Problem is, i've studied the existentialists, and i think they were all half baked. entertaining but not convincing - more full of themselves then anything else.


But if your mind is everything (which it is, because you may not be outside your own mind), how can you not be full of yourself? <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: -->

But seriously this message is gigantic! I'm done for now!

Mind you Andrew, i'm not trying to convince you to not be Christian, i'm just hoping that you take some hesitance in believing all your scripture as litteral, and dogma as fact. view post


Do you believe a God exists? posted 06 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? by H, Auditor

Sciborg, you snuck in two posts to my one! <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: -->

None of this, though, determines whether Christianity is real, I just don't think a psychology of martyrdom is adequate proof now or 2000 years ago.


Word. For example those crazy bastards in the 'Army of God' kill people to stop abortions, are not making convincing me that abortion is evil by killing others (along with themselves).

Though as one priest thought, Christianity's acceptance into the modern world is a sign of its failure. The revolutionary aspects are discarded for the orthodoxy.


Double word. Again i'm facinated by the formation of the dogma of Christiantity. Look at the extermination of Gnosticism or various types of Manichaeanism within early Christian sects once the Catholic Church became established. Facinating, the psychological factors that both went into such, and resulted. view post


Do you believe a God exists? posted 07 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? by H, Auditor

Quote: &quot;tellner&quot;:91x8z22o
2) Almost everyone here equates "Religion" with "Post-Constantine Trinitarian Christianity". The two are most assuredly not synonymous.[/quote:91x8z22o]

Well, i think that we are mostly using Christianity as an example here, or at least i am, because it is the religion i am most familiar with. I would love to discouce on Hinduism or some such, but sadly i have no solid knowledge on the subject (Eastern individualistic religion has always facinated me). It's not that i think that religion==Christiantity, but that it's the one i know best, and so i use examples from it to make my points.

Quote: &quot;tellner&quot;:91x8z22o
1) Science, as several great scientists have said, is basically a way of keeping us honest with ourselves and each other. It's not perfect and doesn't claim to be, but it includes many useful methods for self correction. [/quote:91x8z22o]

I agree that science doesn't claim to be perfect, but it does claim the ablity to be objective, which i believe is misleading. I agree about the self-correction, but how might we self-correct if we don't realize we are making an error, or the error is so systemic that we are unable to isolate the nature and cause, so subsequently the effect of such an error?

For example, what if our brain's phycical make up leads us to perceive a conclusion as true, when in fact it is false? How would anyone know there was any error due to the fact that our brains are all fundamentally the same, and percieve in the same way? We are subjective in so far as we are human, we cannot escape human biases. We would have to trancend ourselves to be objective. However, I don't see that as being at all possible. view post


Do you believe a God exists? posted 08 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? by H, Auditor

Quote: &quot;sciborg2&quot;:2kzq7not
not sure what you mean here H, Hinduism is far from individualistic as practiced in India. If anything, its the opposite as far as most Indians are concerned.[/quote:2kzq7not]

My fault, a case of thinking one thing and typing another. I meant Buddhism, and typed Hinduism, sorry for the confusion. I usually wind up thinking too far ahead of what i'm typing at a given moment... view post


How does the Consult fit? posted 09 May 2005 in Author Q &amp; AHow does the Consult fit? by H, Auditor

Well, i've actually been rhuminating on the exact same question for a while.

But, knowing that Scott is an exceptional writer, he must have protrayed the Consult as the 'typical evil' for a reason.

As to what that reason is, i'm not sure we'll know, at least until we learn more about the Consult.

My first theory however, is that he is portraying them as so 'evil' to temper us and make all the characters seem subjectively, less 'evil'.

Also, it could be that the No-God is actually the 'good guy' in the story. This may be a stretch though. Unfortunatly i'm not 100% versed on the ancient history of the North, but could it be that the Consult is fighting for what they would consider the 'greater good'? Also, perhaps this is why there is such little detail about their objectives?

Lastly, could it be that Scott is making the Consult seem so evil, just so that he can send us all realing back the other direction when we learn more about them?

All of this is idle speculation, but i think is obvious that Scott has painted them so for a reason...

EDIT: WL, you beat me in, i think your right about the intentions of some who may have joined the Consult... view post


How does the Consult fit? posted 09 May 2005 in Author Q &amp; AHow does the Consult fit? by H, Auditor

Hmmm, i still think that the nature of the No-God is central to the whole problem.

WL, you've got me thinking, could the fault they speak of be the inherent flaws within Man and Nonman make up, I.E. the Nonman weakness of need for memories, and Man's need for religion (and use of sorcery)? Hence the name of thier leader, the No-God (the negation of religion?). The Consult doesn't use magic seemingly just the Tekne. Or am i mistaken in this? I can't think right now, it's too late at night. Has Scott said if the Wracu (and such) were made via magic or 'science'?

And this just came to me, could the Consult thus be seen as a sort of allusion to Nazism? In so far as an attempt at selective breeding to eliminate 'atavisms' and establish a New Order of 'rationality' as opposed to faith and magic? Of cource it could just be that i'm all wrong, it is 1 am here... view post


Susanna Clarke posted 09 May 2005 in Literature DiscussionSusanna Clarke by H, Auditor

Quote: &quot;Andrew&quot;:1zmo6qle
wow, i'm surprised by these comments. I was majorly disappointed by the book. I too was totally stoked to get it but unlike other reviewers, i was tragically disappointed. The magic was entirely boring and written about without any sense of awe or that something incredible was happening. It's like: "Strange decided to move the city by magic. so he did." ohh!! ahh!![/quote:1zmo6qle]

Wow, here i thought i was the only one who didn't like this book! I completely agree, anytime the story got interesting, as if you were going to whitness somehting amazing happening, it came down to a drab descrition of the effect.

Quote: &quot;Andrew&quot;:1zmo6qle
There was practically no plot at all. ohhhhh norrell and strange are mad at each other! whatever shall become of English Magic?? who shall shape the future of English Magic?? my toes are tingling in wonder!! Should the new magicians follow in the footsteps of the Raven King?????!!!!? OR NOT????? which will it be???

Everything that could have been interesting was glossed over and barely discussed! eg. raven king appearing again; Strange's journey's/experiences after seeing his wife in lost hope; the war etc. The thistle-down hair fairy seemed continously poised to do something interesting and then he gets offed in the stupidest most implausible way (mainly because of the timing issue).[/quote:1zmo6qle]

And the two most interesting chacters Childermas and the homeless magician (i can't recall his name) recieved almost no development and played second fiddle ot the drap chacters in the forefront.

Quote: &quot;Andrew&quot;:1zmo6qle
anyway, i could go on but there's no point. i'm glad some people liked it, but i just want people to know it is not universally loved.[/quote:1zmo6qle]

Indeed. I seriosuly contemplated putting it down at least 5 or 6 times. All that saved it however was that i really had nothing else left to read at the time. view post


Do you believe a God exists? posted 10 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? by H, Auditor

I was preparing to write a huge reply, but then it dawned on me that it would really just be silly.

Fact is, Andrew, you start from the premise that what the Bible talks about is true, and move to support that stance with evidence.

I start from the premise that it is not nessessarily true, and move to find evidence that supports that stance.

This is the definition of faith. You have it. I have no faith for anything. I doubt all but my ability to doubt. I doubt science, i doubt religion, i doubt my perception of everything and my ablity to comprehend and understand the nature of the universe. I have no faith for any system of thought, because for every 'Truth' any system proports, there are a myriad of unTruths which contradict.

Allow me to quote C.G. Jung:

...Religous experience is absolute. It is indisputable. You can only say that you say that that you have never had such an experience, and your opponent will say: "Sorry, I have." And there your discussion will come to an end. No matter what the world thinks about religious experience, the one who has it possesses the great treasure of a thing that has provided him with a source of life, meaning and beauty and that has given a new splendor to the world and to mankind. He has pistis and peace. Where is the criterium by which you could say that such a life is not legitimate, that such experience is not valid and that such pistis is mere illusion? Is there, as a matter of fact, any better truth about ultimate things than the one that helps you to live? This is the reason I take carefully into account the symbols produced by the unconscious mind. They are the only things about to convince the critical mind of modern people. They are convincing for very old-fashioned reasons. They are simply overwhelming, which is an English rendering of the Latin word "convincere." The thing that cures a neurosis must be as convincing as the neurosis; and since the latter is only too real, the helpful experience must be of equal reality. It must be a very real illusion, if you want to put it pessimistically. But what is the difference between a real illusion and a healing religious experience? It is merely a difference in words. You can say, for instance, that life is a disease with a very bad prognosis, it lingers on for years to end with death; or that normality is a generally prevailing constitutional defect or that man is an animal with a fatally overgrown brain. This kind of thinking is the prerogative of habitual grumblers with bad digestions. Nobody can know what the ultimate things are. We must, therefore, take them as we experience them. And if such an experience helps to make your life healthier, more beautiful, more complete and more satisfactory to yourself and to those you love, you may safely say: "This was the grace of God."

Taken from Psychology and Religion.

This is basically where i stand. It doesn't matter if what is written in the Bible is true. It only matters if you see it as real. What happened way back then only exists in the minds of those who remember it, or what is captured in the litterature of the time. This makes it real.

I wonder though, Andrew, would you renounce your faith if it was somehow proven that the acts of Jesus never happened? Does faith lay in the inablity to disprove the scripture? I hope this is not true. I hope that you have faith in that what is said in the Bible, what is preeched is what you genuinely belive should be, how you truely have found life should be lived, not accepted due to a lack of evidence to the disexistance of any god, or of God or simply as the voice of authority.

This all comes back to experiance. In my experiance, the idea that God made the universe, and left it all alone to it's own devices, and one day decided to send His Son to earth to bring his message, and left only somewhat cursury evidence of his coming, doesn't make any sense. This is not to say that it is not true. Who, or what am I to understand the nature and will of God? This only proves that it is not my truth. Religion is very real within the mind, and that is the only place of which i care to substantiate it. How can one substantiate the trancendental? By its very definition, this is impossible. I instead like to look at why people believe various things, not if what they believe is the 'Truth.'

My objection is to the dogmatization of scripture, because that forces an arbitrary agenda onto the work. I'm not saying this is universal, there are many great works which are religious in origions, and many great deeds done in religious names. However, unquestioning belief is dangerous. It allows the subversion of one's will to another. It removes one's ability to find one's own truth, and supplants it with the 'Truth' of another. A quote from Nietzsche to point you to my feeling on this:
By many ways, in many ways, I reached my truth: it was not one ladder that I climbed to the height where my eye roams over the distance. And it was only reluctantly that I ever inquired about the way: that always offended my taste. I perferred to question and try out the ways themselves.

A trying and questioning was my every move; and verily, one must also learn to answer such questioning. That, however, is my taste-not good, not bad, but my taste of which I am no longer ashamed and which I have no wish to hide.

"This is my way; where is yours?"-thus I answered those who asked me "the way." For the way-that does not exist.

Thus spoke Zarathustra.

Obviously from Thus Spake Zarathustra. I find little comfort in being told what is. In being told what to think and feel. In beeing told how to live. This is why i follow no religion. I object to any philosophy which claims to have the 'one right way to live.' I will never accept any idea that says there can be only one proper way to conduct existance. In all my experiance, i've seen that different things work for different people, and that existance is viable in many different ways. Honestly i find most religion's claim to have 'The Truth' to be as much hyperbole as science's claim to be 'Objective.' Both simply look to place a certain meaning upon a completely ambiguous world, and neither, in my opinion, can ever find 'The Ultimate Truth.' That i feel, is beyond all human comprension. I may not discern the nature of the Universe anymore than i can calculate infinity, or know the exact value of Pi.

However, as the Jung quote says, if it provides you with a meaning for life, then by all means, faith is an amazing thing, for your faith is as real as anything else in this world. It is simply blind faith which i question, as i see that as very dangerous. view post


Do you believe a God exists? posted 11 May 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionDo you believe a God exists? by H, Auditor

Quote: &quot;Echoex&quot;:23bej0ga
I was preparing to write a huge reply, but then it dawned on me that it would really just be silly.


Uhh....so what is your definition of a 'huge reply'?[/quote:23bej0ga]

The limit that phpBB allows per post. I've done it before, i can be very long winded... view post


Like father like son? posted 26 May 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtLike father like son? by H, Auditor

Quote: &quot;Tattooed Hand&quot;:2uqbviyk
I want to say he seems Dunyain trained because he's rooted out all outside human spies. He could have left the skin spies in place because it wasn't time to reveal their existence to the world... which would mean he is part of a greater plan. (I still think he is working with Moenghus). Or, he could be just a more awesome man because of some Nonman heritage and be able to sniff out spies, but not read faces and thus root out skin spies. [/quote:2uqbviyk]

Hmm, other's have theorized that Maithanet could have been driven to stat the Holy War because of some interaction he had with Moenghus, either driving him to want to destroy Moenghus, or help him.

Although, what strikes me about your post Tattooed, is that it could be the case that Maithanet was under Moenghus tutalage at some point in time, learning to read faces, and possibly to find Skin Spies. This makes sense for my theory that Moenghus manipulated Maithanet to start the Holy War. I'll lay it out like this:

1.) Moenghus needs to find a way to start a Holy War (for various reasosn). He cannot do this himself, he'll need someone ambitious enough, and obscure enough that no one will see the his mechanations behind his assent.

2.) He finds Maithanet, and trains him in the skills he will need to become the Sharia, and be powerful enough to consolidate the power needed to start a Holy War. This would include being able to read faces, and see skin spies.

3.) I don't think Moenghus could persuade Maithanet to start the Holy War, so he mainipulates him, either by betraying him, or some such, into desiring to destroy him and the Cishurum.

4.) Given the tools, the position, and the power, Maithanet does exactly what Moenghus wants (and knew he would do), and sends the holy war to Shimeh, and to Moenghus.

This could explain why Maithanet wants to protect Akka? Possibly knowing that Gnosis may be the only thing powerful enough to bring down Moenghus?

It could also be the case that Maithanet is working with Moenghus and wants Akka to be safe to deliver the Gnosis to Shimeh (for Kellhus?). But i doubt Maithanet would do this, unless he was duped, or misled by Moenghus. view post


Serwe/Esmenet as Mary Magdalen? posted 27 May 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtSerwe/Esmenet as Mary Magdalen? by H, Auditor

Quote: &quot;Tattooed Hand&quot;:2w47e8a0
I think elements of the Jesus story are mixed in with parts of the history of the first Crusade. Kelhus's age, his relationship with Esmi (which especially jives with the Mary Magdalene of the Gnostic Gospels more than the gospels that made it into the New Testament) all point to the Jesus story, but a kind of second Jesus. But I think Shimeh is Jersusalem... and the Emporer is the ruler of what is suppose to be Byzantium. The stories are layered and edited and melded together so that the resemblance is loose.[/quote:2w47e8a0]

I can see the parallel bewteen Esmenet and MM, but obviously the archetype is changed to fit the story and the plot more. That doesn't mean the comparision isn't valid, in fact i think that makes the comparision more valid is how the archetype is differs. Since Scott is a very competant writer, and presumable knows of MM, the parallel must be purposeful, and for a good reason. This could be to further paint Kellhus as a true Prophet, or for some reason we have yet to learn.

And you are right, the Holy War is a direct parallel of the First Crusade. The mainpulation by an Emperor (Alexius I), the Vulgar Holy War (the people's Crusade lead by Peter the Hermit), the indenture (Alexius seeking to reclaim former Byzantine territory in Asia Minor), the lack of strong central leadership, and so on. Of cource it is all flavored with the culture and politics of Earwa, but the compasions are still very valid to me, and are in fact not really hidden much. Not that this is a bad thing at all, i'm not criticizing here, i find stories which rework real history is almost always far more compelling than 'pure' fantasy. view post


The agenda of the skin spies and the Consult posted 31 May 2005 in The Thousandfold ThoughtThe agenda of the skin spies and the Consult by H, Auditor

I think it might mean that they are more than just 'normal people', they are those whose actions will have world shaking importance and will shape those events to come. I don't know that there is a meaning of predestination, or of rebirth though, just seems more a term of being the center, and the guiding force, of events.

Interesting though, that Scott would use a term so similar in meaning to ta'veren in a sentance with "great wheel of great events." Scott has said he read WoT, maybe a little priming there? <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: --> view post


Holy war: the ultimate blasphemy posted 09 June 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionHoly war: the ultimate blasphemy by H, Auditor

Like Marx (i'm pretty sure it was Marx) said, I've found that usually, the 'religious' or 'holy' or even 'moral' reasons for a war, in the end the reasons are economical, or some other 'mundane' reasons.

The fact that violence winds up being condoned by some religions is a testament to, human desire to engage in violence because it is perceived as a solution, and human ability to justify almost any atrocity. Bin Laden has a personal grudge with the United States government. He has used Islam to further his persoanl vandetta. Even the First Crusade was begun for less than 'holy' reasons.

When taken out of context, almost any scripture can condone almost anything. For example, St. Augustine (and subsequent Christian theologians) use of the fact that Jesus told Peter to stay his sword, not discard it, as proof that Jesus would have wanted him to use it for a Just Cause, or Just War.

Simply put, religion has been used, many times, to further an individual's agenda, under the guises of divine right. The fact is, most people will be violent if put in the right situation, and given the proper justification. view post


Favourite Sorcerous School? posted 15 June 2005 in Author Q &amp; AFavourite Sorcerous School? by H, Auditor

I like the Cishaurim. Of cource, this is probably because the little we've seen of them paints them in an exotic and powerful way. Hell, anyone who rips out their own eyes, carries snakes around their necks, and is brazen enough to freely fight a couple of Schools at once, is pretty kick ass in my estimation.

Not to mention i'm partial to the Fanim anyway... view post


Holy war: the ultimate blasphemy posted 15 June 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionHoly war: the ultimate blasphemy by H, Auditor

Harrol, you are correct in stating the the First Crusade was not 'unprevoked' in the sense that there had never been hostility between Islam and Christianity. However, most of the propaganda of the day was painting a picture of Islam persecuting pilgims journeying to Jerusalem, and those who were under their territorial control. While there were documented instances of each of these two things, none were as widespread nor as brutal as they were portayed by Urban II.

Additionally, there was little 'immediate' threat presented in the East (at Constantinople), or in the West (in Iberia). In fact, by the 11th century, the Nothern Spaniards were reluctant to oust the Mulsims becasue they were extorting huge ammounts of money from them, in return for 'protection'. And also, by 1097 Sicaly was in the hands of Southern Italian Normans (although i'm not sure if they had retaken Malta). You are correct that Byzantium had lost territory (Antioch and Nicaea, being the most important of them, as keep to Asia Minor), but there was no army marching upon Constantinople that would ever have been able to break the city (at that time) which was still nearly the largest ancient city ever. The Byzantine Navy was still quite intact, making an amphibeous assault accross the Bosphorous Straits sheer sucide.

Alexius I Comnenus did request aid from the West, but he neither expected, nor wanted such a huge force. Plus, the internal turmoil of the area further meant that Constantinople was in little danger at the time. In fact, this turmoil was the main reason why the First Crusade was even remotely as successful as it was.

It's really not that Alexius didn't want the Crusade to be successful, it's that he wanted former Byzantine territory back. The Franks nor the Normans (in their lust for booty) didn't exactly like the idea of giving back the cites to the Greeks who (under Taticius) had left the siege of Antioch long before it fell. And the same Greeks who didn't reinforce them after Antioch fell (thinking they would be wiped out by the Muslim reinforcements marching on the city).

That being said, i don't see how that makes war any more excusable. Christiandom was not 'under siege' by 1097, in fact, Muslims were quite busy killing each other (remember, Jerusalem changed hands to the Fatimads just before it was conquered by the Crusaders). Real Politik is really not a good reason why one should try to spiritually justify war. Especially when there is little to no threat actually being posed. A 'relief force' of 1,000 knights could have held Constantinople for years.

I'm not even going to touch the anti-Semetic acts undertaken by the 'People's Crusade' or by the other Crusaders, before they even got out of Europe proper, becasue those are simply unjustified under any pretenses. view post


Orson Scott Card and Homosexual Marriage posted 17 June 2005 in Philosophy DiscussionOrson Scott Card and Homosexual Marriage by H, Auditor

No offence meant to anyone of any sexual orientation, but i still regard sexual attraction as being a predominantly psychological process.

Of cource, does biology influence psychology? Yes. But does psychology influence biology? Yes.

In the end, sexual attraction can take numerous forms, not all neccessarily biologically driven. What is the genetic advantage for people with foot fetishes, or who enjoy latex, or bondange? Is thre a bilogical determanism that will have me be more attracted to brunettes over blondes? This seem unlikely to me, as i have seen my own preferences change over time. Sure, i have not changed my gender preferences, but then again, i have been indoctrinated to prefer women, early on in life. As Freud speculated, sexuality is polymorpheous perverse, in that it can accept numerous 'outlets' and symbols for its expression. You can see my psychoanalytic orientation coming through here....

Now, this can easily be twisted to see homosexuality as being a pschological problem. I do not agree with this. There is no problem if the person has no trouble with it. But i do believe that there is a strong psychological component which goes into developing sexually. This is not to downplay the complex interplay between biology and psychology. However, I really don't believe in biological determanism with regards to mate selection. There is too much of the mind in play in such selection, be it hetero or homosexual, for me to believe that biology determines whom i will be attracted to.

Now, i'm not trying to say that all homosexuality can be traced to experiances in childhood, or in psychological processes, but i belive that the strongest component in mate selection is still fundamentally psychological. view post


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