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Interesting. And no derision from me, though I do not hold the same views.

Art is a subject that comes up occasionally at ET, but of course it is fairly opaque to scientific analysis and reasoning, except to the extent that knowledge of human information processing and the quirks of our physiology can inform it. An artwork is how a discrete object impinges on the unique neural networks of an individual experiencing it.

Thus your mention of Bauhaus and its influence on your pragmatic leftiness is interesting. So let's have that diary please ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 30th, 2009 at 06:29:16 AM EST
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Yes I find the Bauhaus philosophy fascinating as they materially built the environment around the human being, just as Marx started with the worker and built his economic theory around the worker.

Art is a strange thing.  We could actually substitute the subject of religion for the subject of art and still would not be able to qualify or quantify the subject with the scientific method.

This tells me that certain aspects of the human condition cannot be explained scientifically (at least not yet), although people like Horkheimer, Adorno and Benjamin certainly tried.

I am only a pragmatic lefty because I realize that convincing people on the other side will not be done through dogmatic conviction.  It has to be done gradually through experience and argument.

As a tangent, this is why I feel the FDP neo-liberals are more of a threat than the NDP.  Europe has already done fascism, I really do not believe it is a serious threat due to common memory except for the very small percentage of loonies out there.

But "free markets" I think are a greater threat to society.  Not that I wish to ignore the National Democrats, but the Free Democrats are much more positioned to wreak mischief and much more credible in the political sphere.

We certainly need a campaign on the Left to educate the populace of the unseen dangers of neo-liberalism, and that is why I take a pragmatic stance on that question.

"Schiller sprach zu Goethe, Steck in dem Arsch die Fl÷te! Goethe sagte zu Schiller, Mein Arsch ist kein Triller!"

by Jeffersonian Democrat (rzg6f@virginia.edu) on Sat May 30th, 2009 at 07:36:11 AM EST
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There are some similarities between art and religion, but in one fundamental way they are very different. The latter is to try to make sense and the former to use senses.

I see religion as preceding science as a social emergence and thus w*st*rn religion had outgrown its usefulness by the time of, or because of, the Enlightenment. But art continues alongside science because they do not supplant each other - rather they feed each other (a somewhat heretical view for ET imo, but I may be wrong).

The supersticiousness of religion is not the same as the symbology of art. The symbology of art is internal, not external. It's what it means to you.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 30th, 2009 at 08:08:30 AM EST
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The superstitiousness part holds rather for uneducated catholics, I guess. I wonder if Buddhists can be categorized as superstitious - or even mystical: I've met people who contest Buddhism being called a religion. Also christianism has a entire rhetorics on the interiorisation of faith; alas, it will take someone more capable than myself to speak of this with the required intellectual level.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Sat May 30th, 2009 at 08:39:09 AM EST
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but I have to navigate back further for the common denominator.  I have to break it down that way, as it is the way I think.

I always refer to the Enlightenment, hence my screen name.  At the same time, I view religion and art in a Kantian sense.  These things are very neumenal for me rather than phenomenal.

Subjective rather than objective.

I can not defend them either because of their subjective nature.  I cannot make an argument for them.  What I experience, in my consciousness, is an irrational belief in religion or superstition as well as an unexplainable and irrational appreciation in art and the aesthetic.

The closest analysis I've been able to come up with is my own fear of death.  Not that death itself is the object of fear, but rather if there is no afterlife, then my entire life doesn't make any difference what-so-ever.

I am then no different than an ant in a colony carrying on in a biological sense.  One person in billions does not make a difference.  This may be the root of my irrational beliefs.

But the irrational faith keeps me from falling into abject nihilism.  If there was no God or afterlife, then I may as well put a bullet into my brain and end the needless suffering of life.  It would be logical to do so.

But I find my subjective reaction to aesthetic and art to be very similar to my irrational belief in religion or deity.  I do believe they are closely related, but again, that is a subjective belief.

"Schiller sprach zu Goethe, Steck in dem Arsch die Fl÷te! Goethe sagte zu Schiller, Mein Arsch ist kein Triller!"

by Jeffersonian Democrat (rzg6f@virginia.edu) on Sat May 30th, 2009 at 08:47:21 AM EST
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It would not be logical to put a bullet through your brain just because there is no afterlife. 'Carrying on in a biological sense' is, according to me, all that we're here for. And quite a challenge it is. The bullet would deny you that challenge.

The only experience I have had (repeatedly), that could in your terms be called 'religious', is to sit out on one of the outermost islands in the Turku archipelago - an island that hasn't really changed in 14000 years. It's 3 am, it's light, the sky grading up from misty lemon to deep blue above, the sea is dead calm, a couple of swans drift in the distance, and up on my right, a flock of gulls are squawking on the cliff. They and their ancestors have been doing the same thing for 14000 years with never a thought of a bullet.

And I realize, once again, how insignificant I am in the whole picture. A flash in the pan. A blip, an errant pixel, in the Tellurian stop-motion movie of time. And yet it gives an enormous sense of belonging. Everything just is and you are part of it. It is more than enough for me.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 30th, 2009 at 09:16:48 AM EST
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"The bullet would deny you that challenge."

But then what is the purpose of that challenge?  What is there to be gained by winning or overcoming that challenge if there is nothing afterwards?

What is the purpose of witnessing so many beautiful birds in Turku if the memory is to be obliterated when one fades into the abyss at death?

What does 14,000 years mean to an organism that perishes in a probable life-span of 70-80 years?

Again, I admit this is irrational and subjective/personal.  But without belief or faith I could easily fall into nihilism and just friggin end it here and now

"Schiller sprach zu Goethe, Steck in dem Arsch die Fl÷te! Goethe sagte zu Schiller, Mein Arsch ist kein Triller!"

by Jeffersonian Democrat (rzg6f@virginia.edu) on Sat May 30th, 2009 at 09:52:48 AM EST
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is to inform what you give to other people - some of them not yet alive.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 30th, 2009 at 10:14:04 AM EST
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It is possible to 'rewire' yourself - it takes a long time though ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat May 30th, 2009 at 02:29:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jeffersonian Democrat:
But then what is the purpose of that challenge?

isn't this what they invented the word 'teleological' for?

there were cloud patterns yeaterday that seemed like they meant something, like it was an exquisite puzzle to contemplate, fraught with import. i thought of meaning in general then, and wondered about man's search for it. was i 'going teleological', and why was it so seductively pleasant a meditation?

serotonin?

there was a kind of scientific narrative going on that a meteorologist could explain, a procession of causes and concatenations concerning wind, humidity etc etc, all fascinating...

but what i felt was noumenal, an ancient sense of skrying nature for a glimpse of something existing behind its phenomena, beyond its appearance, a message, inchoate, but none the weaker for that.

so difficult to language this mindstuff.

especially as the message seemed incomprehensible! lol.

lovely envelope though...

today it rained, long and soaking, after 2 weeks of dry, unseasonably warm weather.

maybe the message was 'the weather's about to change, so get your tools in!'

the 60 tomato plants i planted yesterday are stoked.

"To be able to love the mystery surrounding us is the final and only sanction of human existence".-- R.W. Dickson .

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun May 31st, 2009 at 10:04:28 AM EST
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I have an almost completely cynical view of religion, which I don't apologise for. Looking at it from the outside too often the real purpose seems to be to make it possible for irrelevant nobodies to become loud self-important somebodies. Dogma and creed are largely irrelevant - persistent social dynamics are the giveaway.

Religion is strewn with gurus, high priests and priestesses, so-called leaders and so-called authorities whose only real talents are egotism, authoritarianism, exploitation and hucksterism.

It's not unlike politics from that point of view. As I'm sure I've said before, I find it bizarre that most jobs are rationed on the basis of ability, but the handful that offer real leadership power are rationed on the basis of popularity, superficial meanspirited charm, and demagoguery.

Sadly, this is only true because people remain desperate to buy what the hucksters are selling. So it goes. But it remains true that anyone who lacks scruples and has an unrealistically high opinion of themselves can do exceptionally well selling religion, and will reliably accumulate political, social and financial capital if their sales talents are good enough.

Which isn't to say that some religious types aren't modest and truly moral. There is a Christian Left which includes people whose views I'd guess would fit in comfortably here, and which has had a positive effect, especially in South America.

But many secular types are also modest and truly moral. And the Christian Left isn't exactly in the Catholic mainstream - Darth Pope notoriously doesn't approve. Elsewhere the links between authoritarianism, violence, and religious extremism are so established and so hard to ignore that the Christian Left remains a rare approachable exception rather than a golden rule.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat May 30th, 2009 at 06:11:45 PM EST
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You're making a sociological analysis, discussing religion as a phenomenon of the society. Or the mystical part of religions is usually revealed to only a few, and then the gurus and their equivalents put into place the philosophy, which can reach complexities far beyond the scope of the ordinary individual. It does ressemble politics, in that there is political philosophy and there is also populism. Neither religion nor politics can exist without the two sides.
That said, buddhism (despite being associated with the term theocracy by some) can hardly be said to have a hierarchy and influence people the way the catholic church did/does here.
Finally, peoples need frameworks in their lives and in spite of all abuses, of all religions, present, past or to come, they seem to never fail to provide that. Is it because on some basic, fundamental human level they do respond to spiritualbiological needs? Is it because people are weak, naive and gullible? I guess we'll know that the moment our romulan ancestors will descend from the sky and finally reveal themselves.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Sat May 30th, 2009 at 07:31:44 PM EST
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Neither religion nor politics can exist without the two sides.

I beg to differ.

Finally, peoples need frameworks in their lives and in spite of all abuses, of all religions, present, past or to come, they seem to never fail to provide that.

But then again, so does many other social constructs with rather less onerous side effects.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun May 31st, 2009 at 12:14:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would you mind giving us some point making real life examples, for both of your statements. Thanks.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 02:45:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For the first, I must confess to having misread you. I took you to imply the necessity of a mystical quality to political theory when in fact you spoke of the distinction between ideology and populism. That you need both a coherent ideology and a broad support base to do effective politics is not something I want to question.

For the second? Friendship, family, the local club/pub/neighbourhood garden party, hobbies, art, scholarship, political activism and literally a thousand other things can and do serve the same social role as religion does in some communities.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 1st, 2009 at 06:23:38 PM EST
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You want to replace religion with the local club and hobbies ? Oh boy. I suspect there were absconse things in the second sentence as well.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot franša) on Tue Jun 2nd, 2009 at 03:16:00 PM EST
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No. I don't want to "replace" religion with them. I merely note that they also provide a structure and framework in life, which is what you claimed religion had a monopoly on.

Whether you create structure and framework in life around your religious in-group or around your local chess club is none of my business, as long as you don't attempt to enforce the rules of that club on the rest of society.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jun 2nd, 2009 at 05:37:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Would the two of you please end the sub-thread here?

One of this diary's original point was whether religion should be allowed to enter the political debate. It had been said that this was not desirable.

Well, this sub-thread here demonstrates that religion in politics does also dominate the political discourse here which may not be desired but a natural process that can reflect world affairs on all levels, depending on the issue discussed.

The underlying, 'When does life begin?'-question is an existential one to which different people find different answers.

At this point, many arguments have been heard. It may be best to agree to differ.

 

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Tue Jun 2nd, 2009 at 06:03:58 PM EST
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may have derailed my thoughts.

Whatever this deep and irrational neumenal experience or belief is, I did not mean that it had to do with heiarchal structures of organized religions, frauds, charlatans, or superstitions conjured up not only to explain it but also give people power over others.

I also object to organized religion hijacking morality and ethics, especially at the expense of those on the secular side of the spectrum.

Bottom line, though, I think this thread proves my main point that I think the religious/non-religious argument is overblown and needlessly divisive.  I mean, no one has attacked me here for these beliefs that I admit are irrational and I have not insisted that I am correct or that others should believe as I do or hold these beliefs.  I think that is the key and this thread supports that in my opinion.

"Schiller sprach zu Goethe, Steck in dem Arsch die Fl÷te! Goethe sagte zu Schiller, Mein Arsch ist kein Triller!"

by Jeffersonian Democrat (rzg6f@virginia.edu) on Sun May 31st, 2009 at 11:38:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As a tangent, this is why I feel the FDP neo-liberals are more of a threat than the NDP.  Europe has already done fascism, I really do not believe it is a serious threat due to common memory except for the very small percentage of loonies out there.

For the general population, the NPD may well be a lesser threat than the FDP, or neolibs in general (given that other parties are influenced by them too). For people identified as members of minorities, the NPD sure as hell is the bigger threat.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jun 3rd, 2009 at 01:37:59 AM EST
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