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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Down with Big Government, Up with Unbridled Free Market!

Spring in Moab has been gorgeous, naturally.  I've been mostly living in the canyon caves, with a couple short house-sits thrown in.

Phil

Another "apprentice" has come to try the moneyless life with me for an indefinite time.  His name is Phil, from Indiana.  He came on the Greyhound to Grand Junction, Colorado, at the same time I went to visit my parents near there.  

Phil is a 21-year-old wiser than his years and easy-going, and he's teaching me Qigong.  It's been good to get back into such practice, since I got out of practice since James started teaching me Tai Chi a couple years ago.  It is truly empowering for me.  

Phil and I have been camping in a large cave but just move to a smaller one, and we're psyched about our new home.

Towny Goins Ons

After having acquired and shown the film "The Power of Community" mentioned in the last post, Carolyn then was able to get the new movie about Heidemarie Schwermer, "Living Without Money", and show it at Moab's library.  We had a nice discussion afterward.  


Discussing the movie about Heidemarie Schwermer, "Living Without Money"


Mark Sundeen, the guy writing my bio, also came to Moab about the same time as Phil.  The second draft of the book is done, but it looks like it won't be out until March 2012.  He came and camped at the big cave with me and Phil, and did a little filming for the book promo.  With the camera going, it made it feel, for both Mark and me, like the book was now becoming a reality.  A strange feeling.  There's something about Mark's personality that is strangely and uniquely similar to mine that makes this whole thing feel like another of the universe's synchronicities.  

I just passed the half-century mark last Sunday (May Day).  My friends Damian and Dorina hosted a party for me at their house.  Carolyn provided the music, most of which was a fabulous mix of new dance music.

Carolyn just left Moab today and I'm missing her.  She has been here over a year and has been going through here own gradual transformation to a simpler life.  Now she is going on solitary journey with her dog, hitching to the west coast to walk the Pacific Coast Trail.  She plans to go for maybe a month, then probably coming back to Moab.  

What Are My Political Views?

Maybe this can be another FAQ.


Okay, people often try to get me to talk politics, but I shy away from it.  I like to concentrate on the individual state of the heart, and feel that if we all did this, politics would work itself out.  By working itself out, I mean working itself out the door, becoming obsolete.  I guess I'm going to talk politics now, or it seems that way.  But, really, I'm going to talk about faith and the state of the heart.

I've been reading several books and thinking more about the economic and social system again.  I read most of the Anthropologist Colin Turnbull's The Forest People when I was in Phoenix, and I'm presently reading another book about the Kalahari Bushmen, The Harmless People, by Anthropologist Elizabeth Marshal Thomas, and thinking about other primitive peoples.  

Milton Friedman
Ayn Rand
I've also been reading two very different views of capitalism: Niall Fergusen's The Ascent of Money as well as Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism.  Both those books talk about Milton Friedman, the first in his praise, the second not.  The first talks about the glories of a Free Market system, with little or no government control.  This Free Market system is an ideology that drives modern "Republicanism" and right-wing "Libertarianism."  Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman were its biggest and most popular prophets.  (See My Answer to Ayn Rand) 






Let There Be Unbridled Free Market!

The ideas of Republicans and Right-Wing Libertarians, and the greatest of their prophets, Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman, appeal to our human instinctual sense of faith, which is why a great majority of religious people lap them up.  This is despite the fact that Rand and Friedman were avowed atheists.  


Karl Marx
Joseph Stalin
When I read the philosophies of the Free Market Capitalists, their ideas start making so much sense to me, it kind of frightens me.  Then, when I read the philosophies of the Socialists, their ideas also make so much sense to me.  But the Socialist ideas don't frighten me so much, simply because I am more biased toward "socialism", since I have seen with my own ideas the disaster caused by the unbridled capitalism espoused by the likes of Friedman and Rand.  As for religious people, the religious right loves the ideas of Rand and Friedman, avowed atheists, and the religious left loves the ideas of Marx, an avowed atheist.  Kind of funny, huh?  But notice how people like Ayn Rand, who had grown up in a "Socialist" state, saw how disastrous "socialism" was.  Perhaps I would have felt as strongly against "socialism" as I do about "capitalism" had I also been raise in the USSR.  After all, Joseph Stalin had more people massacred than any other person in history, including Adolph Hitler.


I've always felt that every ideology and every religion is based on profound truth, and somehow that truth gets lost when the ideology gets institutionalized.  I totally get it why Republicans believe as they do when I learn Republican ideology.  I also get it when I learn Democratic ideology.  Same with Communists, Socialists, Libertarians, and Anarchists.  The same goes for religion.  If you care to pick most any religion and delve into it, you will start seeing why people believe it is the Greatest Religion of All.  


There is a strange Law of the Universe going on here.  To practice the Golden Rule is to put yourself into another's shoes so thoroughly you can see exactly how two "opposing" views can believe they are right.  Then you can hypothesize:  Maybe both sides aren't really opposing!  Maybe at their deepest core they are saying the same thing? We often devalue and deny our feelings, but, really, feelings are the deepest core of what drives us, and feelings are our point of agreement.    

So, then, here's what I feel:  I don't like to be controlled.  Often throughout my life, I got angry when I felt controlled or when I saw others being controlled.  It was a yearning for freedom.  One thing that both sides of the political spectrum feel is a yearning for freedom, to not be controlled.  My moneyless philosophy is based on this feeling, and I use logic to communicate it.  And, yes, I grew up in a Republican household, so I can safely say I understand the Republican yearning.  I have both embraced it, reacted against it, and then re-examined it.  

When I feel what right-wingers are saying, I get it.  I feel that a Free Market makes sense.  But then I see that jargon gets in the way of truth, as it also does, equally, with left-wingers.  

No government control.  I like that idea.  The word "free".  I like that.  Free Market.  Don't control business and money flow.  Let everybody do their own thing, and everything will work out.  "Let everybody do their own thing" sounds totally liberal, not conservative.  Hmm.  This appeals to that childhood yearning to not be controlled.  Amen, preach it!  When "conservatives" say "let everybody do their own thing", that applies to public morality (don't inhibit greed and war, business, and property).  When "liberals" say "let everybody do their own thing", that applies to private morality, personal conduct.  Both are reacting against a feeling of control, seeking a freedom.

But I like the idea of Free Market and No Government Control, but only if we apply it to all levels.  What is a Free Market?  If you understand the very nature of money (see the What Money Is and What Money Is Not) you find that the very nature of money, why it was invented, is control, manipulation of the free-flow of nature's economy, lack of faith that credit and debt will work itself out if we just let it be.  Let it be!  

A Free Market is utterly impossible with money or conscious barter involved.  The only Free Market possible is Pay-It-Forward, with no thought of credit and debt.  The Great Banker in the Sky controls all pay-back, all vengeance, all "punishment" and "reward".  There can be no other just banker: no banker on earth can be just.  Nature is in balance, with its hardships and pleasures, while you can't find a trade economy on earth that can balance its budget.  Nature is the only Free Market.  This is the principle that appeals to both the liberal and conservative, our deepest nature, our deepest yearning.


Big Corporations Are Big Government!

Excuse me if I point out common sense:  Corporations are governments.  Governments are corporations.  Whoever has the money and stuff rules.  If you believe in corporations, you believe in Big Government.  If you believe in unbridled business you believe in unbridled Big Government.  Property owners are called lords for a reason.  If you possess, you rule, you control.  If all land goes private, all land is owned, not free.  This is not a free land if the land is owned, by anybody.  No land is free if it can be bought and sold.  A person bought and sold is a slave.  I'm not saying anything genius or novel.  This is simple seeing.

If you use money, you agree to control.  If you accumulate possessions, you agree to control.  Possession and Control are synonyms, are they not?  If you agree to money and possessions, you agree to law.  You must have law, you must have government, if you have money and possessions.  Law is nothing more than money-management, possession-management.  We invented barter and money (thought of credit and debt) out of our lack of faith in Natural Process.  We accumulated possessions out of our lack of faith in Natural Provision.  We ceased believing in the Banker in the Sky.

All our world ideologies, political and religious, are based on profound truth.  I dare say our ideologies don't work because we don't really believe them, we only pretend to.  

Lao Tzu
Jesus
If you want to be a true Libertarian or Republican, you must truly believe the Free Market you espouse, which can only exist apart from money and possession.  If you want to be a Christian, you must truly believe in the teachings of your own Jesus (You have them right there in your own Bibles, most likely printed in red letters so you can't miss them).  If you want to be a Buddhist, you must truly believe in the teachings of your own Buddha.  I say the same for Taoists, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Bahais  (See Here's the One Thing the World's Religions Agree Upon (In Word) 






Truly Free Market Populations

As far as Free Market happening in human populations, I use true hunter-gatherers as an example.  I discuss this in the website (A Culture Living Abundantly Without Money Today and Our Fall From Grace: Our Departure From Gratis:The Beginning of Money), though I left out talking about the Pygmies.  Colin Turnbull's The Forest People, is a beautiful work of art about the Pygmies, and it shows the contrast between the mentality of the Hunting/Gathering Pygmies with the surrounding Trade/Agricultural tribes.


Yes, when I talk hunting and gathering societies, I'm talking societies that don't even consciously barter.  (When you have only what you need, you can't afford to barter, because in barter, you usually have to take something you don't need off hand, because the needs are not simultaneous, as in freely giving and freely receiving).  People sometimes argue that many primitive societies are violent and far from balance, like the Yanomamo or Papua New Guinea tribes.  However, both those, too, are not true hunter-gatherers, but agricultural and trade societies.  Both those societies even have a calculated system of war trade.  In Papua New Guinea tribes, for example, if one person is killed by another tribe, the other tribe must either kill a person of that tribe, or seek trade retribution (such as pigs or other goods).  I like using these primitive tribes as examples of the transformation that happens when people take on thought of credit and debt (knowledge of good and evil), manifesting in the form of agriculture, war, domestic violence, and barter/money.  These non-hunter-gatherer primitive tribes are the seeds of modern civilization.  I'm not necessarily a primitivist, as I discuss in the essays above.

121 comments:

  1. I would say ideologies don't work because they only exist in our minds, not reality. Ayn Rand and Marx are both dead ends, but can be useful for understanding some aspect of reality.

    We need to mix different methods and ideas to create something that works in the real world. Suelo is as deluded as most people in my view.

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  2. Always great food for thought. Thanks for the words.

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  3. There are a lot of dualities in the world. Pain/pleasure, male/female, good/evil, anger/joy, love/hate, socialism/capitalism. I feel there are aspects of extreme sides that can be beneficial in different applications. I think the 'middle way' is really talking about a flexibility to go between extremes and find a right application rather than a right method or rigid ideology (legalistic religion). Sometimes people say that religions contradict each other, maybe they do, but sometimes I also feel that two opposite truths and be true at the same time. Why not? Quantum physics and general physics contradict. At least, we think they contradict, but like Suelo is saying, maybe at their core they don't.

    Antonio said that he thinks Suelo is deluded as most people. Deluded means to have a false belief. I am not sure which belief he's talking about, but whatever.

    It's great that Phil made it out. I remember seeing his comments here. Good work Phil!! Love and blessings.

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  4. If all beliefs are true, as Suelo says, that's the same to say all beliefs are false. It's an impossibility to say one thing, without noticing the other one.

    If Suelo's philosophy were true, then all other points of view would be false. It can't be true then, because it would make life impossible. Diversity is the nature of life.

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  5. Oh, I understand Antonio. I guess I would agree with you, in that I don't believe that all beliefs can be true! If they were then my own belief about that would be true too! I understood what Suelo was saying to mean that many of the major ideologies *at their core* are the same, and that all ideologies have different aspects of the truth. I would agree that there is a lot of truth in most popular ideologies that I've ever heard, but I wouldn't say they're all the same at their core. But anyhow, I think it's good for us to appreciate the truths in world views that are totally opposed to our own. I think that's how you find the middle way.

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  6. The Bible says if a man doesn't work he should'nt eat. The word of God doesn't lie. I don't care what Buddha,Krishna, or any other false idol. These religions are evil and of the devil. This is why I believe in the free market. A man works for what he earns. If he becomes rich then more power to him. If another man doesn't strive as hard and winds up poor and homeless then he can only blame himself. Lazy and slothful people will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

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  7. "Socialism collapsed because it did not allow the market to tell the economic truth. Capitalism may collapse because it does not allow the market to tell the ecological truth." -Oystein Dahle, former vice president of Exxon Norway

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  8. Many witnesses are still waiting for Fred to take the dare.

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  9. I have just been talking to Mr Mark Boyle, your UK counterpart. Keep up the good work guys!

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  10. I read this interesting blog post today that expands on some of your ideas. I sense a confluence of these ideas happening out there.

    http://mythodrome.net/summary-overview-of-the-civ-bubble-bible-grid-version

    I, too, am waiting for Fred to take the Dare. I'm also curious if he considers it to be work only if you are doing it in a subservient manner with a boss and a paycheck? Is it not work to gather the firewood, prepare the chicken, wash the dishes, tend the garden?

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  11. Dear Fred,
    You seem Like such a nice man, why are you wasting your time reading this blog. No matter what you say, you are never going to convince Suelo to get a job and earn some money. He is doing what he wants to. You should focus your efforts on someone who has the same the point of view you do.

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  12. Daniel Suelo,
    What do you think about people with the gift of intellect who think they are or can be god ?

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  13. Nice link Piper, some very insightful comments there. Kind of a way to make biblical history and prophecy more tangible for the non-religious and also a great way to incorporate the kinds of things that Suelo also says about agriculture.

    I thought it was a good point you made about work being work even if you don't get paid. Fred always seems to use it in the context of working for money. What about those that stay home to take care of their children while their spouses go for wages. Aren't they worthy of eating even though they're not working for money? Their task is to care for others. I think anyone who is working for the benefit of others deserves to eat, *especially* if they don't get paid. Jesus wasn't working a job during his preaching years.

    "Look at the birds in the air, they neither sow nor reap, yet their heavenly father feeds them. Aren't you more valuable then they?" -Jesus

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  14. People like Suelo, with their anarchistic ideas, encourage laziness and sloth (many times with the best of intentions)... Not to mention terrorism, violence and theft (indirectly and many times against their will).

    Working for money is the most elocuent example of being responsible for your own well being. But obviously, most people know it's not the only way to care for yourself of the community you live in.

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  15. Antonio, can you tell me specifically how Suelo encourages terrorism? That's a serious allegation, please be specific. If you don't think Suelo encourages terrorism, then you shouldn't make such associations saying "People like Suelo..."

    You're making Suelo "guilty by association" to something I don't think he even claims (meaning anarchism).

    I am certain Suelo heavily discourages violence as well. Can you be specific as to how Suelo encourages violence given that he is against such a thing?

    Antonio, how does it feel when people say things like this:

    "People like Antonio, with their materialistic ideas, encourage greed and wastefulness (many times with the best of intentions)... Not to mention terrorism, violence and theft (indirectly and many times against their will by occupying third world lands for their own personal luxury).

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  16. I was thinking, everytime Suelo posts something new here, it's like a new battle! LOL. Anyway, I tend to engage because I really don't feel the people who make negative comments here really have any rationale behind their statements. And I like to point that out.

    I just wanted to point out how dirty it is what Antonio just did by using this "People like Suelo..." It's a way to say "I didn't call Suelo a terrorist, I said people *like* him". That's all bullshit. It's a way to smear someone while pretending you didn't.

    You can basically say anything about anyone as long as they have something in common with someone else who does horrible things. It's like saying "people like Antonio, who use money, sell drugs, are involved in sex trafficking, and genocide." They need to only have something minimal and abstract in common in order to effectively slander someone.

    What, I never said Antonio did any of those things, I just said people *like* him do it!-I'm not being serious here, I take full responsibility for what I said.

    Anyway, please don't let these comments take away from the positive ones. I thought Piper had a good post a few lines up! I recommend the link.

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  17. Well, Raj, that's what Suelo has been saying. That anyone who doesn't agree with his extremist ideas, is from Babylon, Mammon or something along those lines.

    You only get what you give, nothing else.

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  18. Antonio, just a couple of posts ago you were saying Suelo is wrong for believing that *everyone's* ideology is right and now you are claiming that he's an extreme exclusivist and thinks everyone should conform to his beliefs (which are universalist). Which one is it?

    You're very openly contradicting yourself here.

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  19. Suelo is contradicting himself, not me. I am only stating the evident and logical.

    There is no contradiction in stating the logical absurdity of considering all ideologies as "true". While mentioning the extreme views of Suelo...

    It's no coincidence terrorists tend to hold those types of extreme ideas.

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  20. @ Antonio: You might want to read the blog post before commenting. You don't have to read it, but it gives you credibility if you want to comment here.

    Food for Fred thought re: work:

    "No servant can work for two masters,
    for either he will hate the one and love the other,
    or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.
    You cannot work for God and money."
    The Pharisees, who were lovers of money,
    heard all these things, and they ridiculed Jesus.
    (Luke 16:13-14)

    I couldn't help it: I took part of the dare for Fred & quoted one of his own Jesus' sayings. There are lots more sayings of Jesus about work, money, the poor and rich. Come on Fred, I dare you to quote them, before many witnesses.

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  21. What about good ole' anarchism? People like Peter Kropotkin, Emma Goldman, Leo Tolstoy, Dorothy Day - they all articulated their vision of a non-government non-capitalist world beautifully. I urge you to check them out.

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  22. Does it really say in the Bible that if a man doesn't work he should starve? Does it really say a man must work for money, that only money constitutes "earning" and only money exchanged for food earns you the right to eat?

    What about women's work? Domestic work, caring for children and the elderly, cleaning the house, cooking, are typically unpaid. What if a man chooses to do this work? Should he starve? Does it mean he is not earning a living? Does it mean he's sinful, slothful and lazy? Is it okay if a woman does these things? Why?

    What about someone who works in his own fields growing his own food, and works in his own woods, cutting the lumber to build his own house? Is he sinful, slothful and lazy because he didn't insert a boss, a paycheck and a loan into the equation?

    I'm going to meet with someone in a few days to provide a service. This service requires the skills I have developed over the last 10 years working at job and paying for classes. I am not going to ask for money to provide this service. Am I being slothful and lazy because the work I'm going to do won't be compensated with money? Is the person receiving my services being slothful and lazy for not paying me? Is what I'm doing work? Why not?

    After toiling at my job for two weeks my boss handed me my paycheck and told me there was no money in the bank to cover it. Did I work for the last two weeks or was I being slothful and lazy? I'm sure you don't think so. Why not? Because I was subservient to someone else? Is that what makes it work? Is women's work okay because it's done in subservience to her husband? Is unpaid work for my boss okay because it was done in subservience to him?

    It seems to me that Suelo is absolutely right. If you use money you agree to control. If you work in subservience to another, somehow that is considered "earning" because you've agreed to control by another.

    Can someone tell me in the Bible where it says we should strive for subservience to another person instead of turning to God or working directly for the things we need? Where does it say that inserting a paycheck between you and obtaining food makes that food somehow earned, whereas obtaining the food directly by planting a garden means that it wasn't? If you are thinking, well, Suelo doesn't farm any fields, he takes out of Dumpsters, well, how is that different from gleaning? Doesn't the Bible say that gleaning is a good thing?

    Where does it say in the Bible that work must be for the benefit, for the profit, of another person? And what about the person at the top of the whole pyramid who is subservient to no one? Is he condemned?

    So many questions. I'm trying to wrap my mind around how working for a paycheck is somehow more noble than working for nothing. Suelo writes this blog, organizes events in his community, directly works to obtain the food and shelter he needs. But people disapprove because his actions weren't for the benefit of another person, weren't done in subservience to another person, didn't have a paycheck inserted between the work and the reward. I'm trying to understand how all that isn't idolatry and isn't exactly what Jesus would have been opposed to.

    Please please give me the Bible quotes that explain this. I'm waiting.

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  23. @ Piper: yeah, I'm waiting too.

    @ Ian: good seeing you here, friend! Yeah, I love the anarchists. But I like to start with what people are comfortable with - their own political persuasions & religions. I propose that if you take Republican & Libertarian ideals to their core, you find they jive with anarchism as well as the other seemingly contradictory political persuasions (socialism, etc). People are afraid of Anarchism because it seems it would become chaos, but nature shows us that giving up control instead becomes pristine order: "Consider the ant... who has no overseer or ruler..." Natural leadership and order arises in tribal societies, without conscious elections, no imposed rulership. This is unlike *modern* society, where people rule because of possessions or force, not because they have natural leadership qualities. I see the only true democracy, concensus state, republic, socialist state, free market state, exists at the tribal level - where all these philosophies meld into one.

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  24. Interesting comments, Suelo. I prefer talking about this kind of thing. I think it's true that all the different political schemes can live at the tribal level in pure form, but I also believe that all of the abuses of the above mentioned political levels exist in tribalism as well, though probably to a lesser degree.

    There is no perfect system, or at least there is no perfect system in reality. They are all perfect in theory (ideology) but when applied by imperfect humans, there will always be abuses. To me, it's not about finding the perfect political or religious system, but rather about being aware of our motivation so we can learn to better manage whatever system we find ourselves in.

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  25. I agree, Raj. There were conflicts and abuses within non-possessive, non-trade societies like Pygmies & Bushmen, and you can read about such abuses from anthropologists who lived among them, just as you can learn about conflicts & abuses among wild animal groups. However, at the point of simplicity, of no-possession, such conflicts & abuses are immediately worked out, weeded out by natural selection. In this way, the "imperfections" balance with "perfections", thus all becoming just. At the level of simplicity, we are forced by nature to be "aware of our motivation" as you say. But conflicts and abuses within a money society (whose goal is to avoid natural selection) are not worked out, but are in fact cultivated from generation to generation. and are actually praised as honorable. This is why I say I agree with the core premise of Rand & Friedman, that the "market" must be free, to be thrown to the forces of competition (natural selection) and it will work itself out. But their theory doesn't go deep enough, for the "market" of money is not a free market. Wealth and possession, which are control, are the very factors that keep us from "being aware of our motivation." This is why Jesus, Buddha, and Lao Tzu emphatically stressed giving up possessions and not working for future reward.

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  26. I agree that it's easier to not be greedy, or to not abuse power, if you have neither possessions or any system in which to abuse that power. However, I think very few people live in that kind of world. Even in the hunter gatherer societies certain hunters probably have a favorite spear, or a trusty skinning knife. Humans use tools in order to live, whether it's warm clothing or something in order help us eat. So it's nearly impossible to get rid of all possessions, although I know some Sadu's do that (though we could go so far as to say our bodies are a type of possession). But again, I feel this is looking at the system (the possessions) and not at the cause (the greed/fear).

    You said that natural selection weeds out the imperfections at the point of no-possession, but do humans live in that world? Should we live in that world? I feel the biggest possession we have is our life/body.

    Many of the major religions teach a shedding of material possessions, a renouncing of wealth. However, this is often just the start of a spiritual journey. I don't see that possessions and wealth are control, but rather that our own greed is control. Greed (fear) is what causes us to not let go of that wealth or those possessions. However, I do completely agree that we should rid ourselves of our possessions so we can redistribute our wealth to those that need it more than us. However, I also feel it's honest to recognize that we still do "own" things, we just try not to be attached to them, and at least in theory (ideologically) that we do not "own" them.

    Sorry if this is confusing. I'm trying to say this: possessions are control only because they represent our true control (greed/fear). To be free means to be free of control, but what controls us most is fear of losing our own life (which causes us to accumulate more wealth in the hopes of benefiting our life, or extending it in someway). Love to all.

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  27. Correct. Greed is actually a problem when you want to improve your financial standing. It clouds your mind and doesn't allow you to make good business choices.

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  28. Antonio, I agree with you. Greed clouds good business choices. The most important investment we can make is in the future of our children. So maybe we should start living more sustainably.

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  30. Neuroscience and technology will point us towards a better way of governance. Some fear this concept of Transhumanism, but I think it's natural and inevitable. Although we may overpopulate the planet and destroy our chance to reach Transhumanism.

    If we do make it to this next level, we'll clearly see how our internal cognition patterns are one in the same with external natural patterns that we see in nature. We humans and all things around us are information processing systems heading towards more complexity and more integration of that complexity. So we're heading towards an integrated complexity. "Multiplicities are flat", a phrase from a book review of "A Thousand Plateaus" keeps coming to mind.

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  31. It seems Suelo and other religious teachings are trying to show us how to use the limited time and resources we've been given to get to the next level.

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  32. I agree, Raj and Antonio, that the problem begins with our inner hearts, our greed. I'm not necessarily saying we must become hunter-gatherer-primitivists, but to recognize and take on their instinctual wisdom. Our technology would serve us and not deplete our environment if we shared it non-possessively, giving and taking freely, having "all things in common."

    Now I'm thinking out loud, not giving answers: I often question myself: what really is possession? I can say "my" car and "my" land. But then what about "my" food, "my" blanket, "my" shelter, "my" head, "my" hand or "my" liver? Should I remove those things in the name of non-possession, should I kill "my" body in order not to possess it, become a body-less ghost? Or should I simply realize everything, including "my" body and mind, are not *mine* but borrowed, under "my" stewardship? Whether I'm talking "my" skin or "my" house, if I need it I need it, for now! On the flip side, I could abuse this "stewardship" idea to amass wealth and claim I "own" none of it, to justify myself, which is a common mentality among many religious folks today.

    All I know is for myself: if I take more than I know I need, I am possessive, gripped by worry, greed, mentally imbalanced. If I give up a boat I need to reach the other shore, thinking I'm being "non-possessive", before arriving to the other shore, I'm a fool. Conversely, if I load the boat with gold so it sinks, I'm also a fool. Again, if I drag the boat behind me after I reach the shore, I'm a fool. This body and mind I sometimes call "mine" are a borrowed vehicle I must eventually give up. If I can't accept wrinkling skin, greying hair, failing eyes, I am under possession, like a plastic tree whose leaves don't turn color and fall. But right now this body and mind shelter me and guide me along and I relish them.

    No, I can't judge what anybody else needs and doesn't need, but I will denounce them if their amassing possessions is obviously harming others. And I can take only what I need and hope the resulting inner abundance and joy inspires others to recognize what they need and don't need, and take only what they need.

    And I can recognize and state that hunter-gatherers have lived in the greatest balance with themselves and their world of all the cultures I've thus examined, and this must tell us something about ourselves.

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  33. Suelo:

    I find it interesting that you aren't against technology, but aren't you contradicting yourself there?. Technology is turning us away from nature and what you call "balance".

    Commerce has made possible the advance of technology and also turned it into mindless consumerism.

    It seems you can't have one without the other, unless you are talking about some esoteric type of technology I am not aware of.

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  34. Technology is like money. It's neither good nor evil. It just is. It's another tool. How we use it makes all the difference. It's because of our overconsumption that technology has become a problem, meaning we've marketed it so that everyone feels they need the latest gadgets every financial quarter.

    I view science and religion very similarly. They're both tools. You can save a life with either, but they have both been used to kill millions of people worldwide (science through technological warfare and religion to ideologically justify that warfare).

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  35. @ Antonio - check out the website FAQ. It's tempting and easy to search for contradictions in somebody we disagree with. It's hard to spend time actually finding out what they actually think. I know, I've done the same.

    Yes, Raj. Nothing is evil in itself, including money and meth. But I choose not to use money as I choose not to use meth.

    Like digging sticks or arrowheads, fire-control is technology, used for evil or good. Imagine the stir when the first human controlled fire, probably causing more alarm than computer invention. It has evolved into nuclear warfare as well as hot muffins.

    Human creativity is our nature, the same creativity of all nature.

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  36. Thank you. As a "recovering" Libertarian I can understand your point of view

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  37. Hi Daniel

    Thanks for your perspective. It certainly rings true.

    Antonio - why do you spend so much time on this blog arguing if you disagree with Suelo so strongly ? I guess deep down you are stongly attracted to his wisdom but at the same time it challenges your fixed worldview.

    Brian

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  38. Wisdom?. No.

    Originality?. Yes.

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  39. Daniel Suelo ,
    Im still waiting for an answer .What do you think about people with the gift of intellect who think they are or can be god ? I dare you to answer this question . Take the dare ? ....... JESUS.
    .
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    .

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  40. Yeah, our own intellect can deceive us. If I think I am a Christian (Christ One, God One) I am not. Our fruit, our deeds, not thoughts or words (intellect) bear witness to who we are. This is why Jesus himself does not say whether or not he is Christ when the Pharisees try to pin him down in his words, simply letting his fruit bear witness (Mark 14:61).

    Maybe I open a can of worms quoting Jesus, who keeps drawing attention away from his intellect toward his deeds, his being:
    "'Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?' They answered Him, saying, 'For a good work we do not stone you, but for blasphemy, and because you, being a man, make yourself God.' Jesus answered them, 'Is it not written in your law, "I said, 'You are gods'?'" (John 10:32-34, Jesus quoting Psalm 82:6 - "You are elohim")
    Again:
    "Holy Father, keep through your own name those whom you have given me, that they may be One as We." (John 17:11).
    Again, Jesus quoting Torah:
    "Hear, Oh Israel, Yahweh our elohim is Yahweh One." (Matt. 12:29, Deut 6:4) [יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָֽד]
    אֱלֹהֵינוּ = elohim = gods)

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  41. I like what you're doing Mr.Suelo. Apparently a lot of other people do too. It seems this might become a growing trend in the not too distant future. I kinda hope so. It sounds a lot like what Buddha and Jesus taught - to just live simply and all would be provided.

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  42. What you're promoting sounds the same as what Buddha and Jesus promoted. Just live and let live and nature will provide all our wants and needs as it does for every other creature. Chasing after money and fame may seem fun but it's another form of bondage. Non-attachment is where it's at.

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  43. I agree with you Rachelle. Non-attachment is true freedom.

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  44. How do you know you're not attached to non-attachment? LOL! =)

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  45. Being attached to not being attached is one of the best forms of attachment out there. lol

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  46. There's only one way to God and that's through Jesus the Christ. He's our savior. I'm sorry to inform everyone of this but Buddhists,Atheists,and anyone else that rejects Jesus as savior will go to Hell. You don't want that. Become a Christian and you're free from all that. It's simple. You should also attend church regularly as Christ instructed us not to reject the assembly of fellow believers.

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  47. Let me see if I heard this right - my parents are going to Hell because they're atheist? That also includes my best friend from Korea too because she's Buddhist. You're Jesus is a real jerk ya know that Alife?

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  48. Don't get your panties all in a wad missy. I didn't make the rules. Stop worrying about your family and your friend and do something about it. If they go to Hell that's their problem. You don't have to follow in their footsteps. Join the winning team and accept Jesus as your personal savior. It's easy and it's fun.

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  49. Alfie, you're psychotic. I would never want to bow down and worship anyone that would torture or kill the people I love most in life. I can't believe we're already in the 21st century and people still subscribe to religious elitism. Once I'm finished with college I'm moving to the far east. Western culture disgusts me more each day.

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  50. Yes, I agree that there is only one way to God (Reality), and that is through Love. Love is God (Reality) incarnate. Love is universal. Universal means Omnipresent. Love cares not what you call it. If it did, it wouldn't be love, because Love is the name above every name that can be uttered. If Jesus is not Love, then Jesus is not universal, not Omnipresent, not found in every religion and culture, and I can't stomach such a "Jesus", and I would gladly accept hell for the sake of Love than follow such a "Jesus".

    I'm talking faith so simple even an infant gets it. If it's not that simple, it's not for me. You don't even have to know language or be human to know love. This is why Jesus himself implores us to preach it to every creature.

    Over and over and over I keep challenging those who harp on Jesus being the only way to actually practice his teachings, and without fail they avoid and distract attention away from Jesus' practical teachings. Just read through the comments for the past years and see what I mean.

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  51. Alfie,

    I understand your frustation with Suelo, but that's not the way to go... Suelo is just a human, not God. His ideas are just that, his ideas.

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  52. Alfie,

    Are you Fred Finklestein under a new name? It doesn't matter, anyway. We've heard your repent or die message before. Why won't you take Suelo's dare?

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  53. I'm just me. Why are you calling yourself anonymous for? Got something to hide?

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  54. Anonymous:

    Why people have to identify with a particular name or label?. Isn't Suelo's message about dropping all labels?.

    Why the double standard then?.

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  55. To be is to do. -Socrates

    To do is to be. -Plato

    Do be, do be doo. -Sinatra

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  56. It is interesting that the personal concept of identity is really what people tend to utilize as a moral base to put others down with. I found many years ago that everyone thinks they are right. So in doing so who is to say who is wrong? Well all those people I suppose. But with that said there is no actual method outside of partisan sentiments to disprove anyone's beliefs. Thus they are either all wrong(to those who oppose them) or all right(to those who agree with them). Since there are more than six and a half billions ego's on the planet we best just learn a little respect for the other.

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  57. This is a really good post, Suelo! You've articulated some things that I've been thinking about conservatives and liberals for a while.

    I also see hypocrisy on the part of both of these philosophies. It seems odd that people who idolize the free market don't want to see people have individual freedoms to do what they want with there bodies (sexually, chemically, or reproductively). Similarly, I met someone last week who thinks that the US should be a Christian nation, and uses the Mayflower Covenant as an example of why this should be so, even though the Pilgrims came to North America seeking religious freedom. So, is the message that Americans should be free to practice whatever religion they want as long is it's Christianity?

    It definitely seems like a sham to have free enterprise while curbing personal freedom!

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  58. Hi Suelo, I like your website and it is interesting to read about your philosophy of life!

    I wonder, since you brought up what appeals to you in different political ideologies - if you are familiar with the Catholic social teaching, that somehow brings them together?

    http://www.uscatholic.org/busy_christians_guide_catholic_social_teaching

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_social_teaching

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  59. Ken:

    Have you heard of Ron Paul (or about libertarianism)?. He cares about civil liberties, respect for other nations, but also has a strong belief in free markets.

    He wants to legalize freedom, including drugs such as marijuana or heroin.

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  60. Even Ayn Rand herself was against goverment regulating the private lifes of individuals...

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  61. Ayn Rand was a hypocrite. In her last days she was living on welfare. If the free market economy that she advocated was so great then how come it didn't work too well for her?

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  62. Again, I agree with the core philosophy of Ayn Rand, Republicans, Libertarians and fundamentalist Christians. Even Jesus said to listen to the Pharisees, who sit in Moses' seat, but don't do as they do (Matt 23). Listen to the good, leave the bad, in your "enemy", (love your "enemy") and nobody can have power over you.

    Yeah, Ayn Rand was a hypocrite at times, as I am and everybody is, and this could be my excuse to not listen to her, and people can use my own hypocrisy to stop their ears to me. On one hand she's my nemesis, but she dared speak profound truths - otherwise her message wouldn't have touched so many, spreading like wildfire. I loathe much of what she said and did, but dirty ore shouldn't prevent us from finding the gold. I admire Ron Paul, too, closest to a true Republican I've seen; but it's disappointing his own son (named after Rand) and the Tea Partiers have hijacked his message, pretending to be "populists" yet schmoozing to Corporate Greed (Big Government).

    @ Michelle - I'm enamored with much Catholic social teaching. I'm mostly familiar with Catholic Worker, have worked a bit with them, and who have have influenced me lots.

    I only wish we could evolve beyond sect/organization/party names, not own truth, so it can be shared freely with all the world. Imagine no sects, political parties, no labels to hide behind. No possession. We don't need a multi-party system, we need a no party world. As soon as you call yourself "Christian", "Republican", "Democrate", "Libertarian", "Anarchist", you are no longer that: you are no longer your own mind. Think about it: it's absurd, for example, to say, "I'm universalist".

    Paradoxically, if we were each not afraid to be our own mind, sincerely ourselves, not a group mind, not a label, we'd wake up to find we're all One Mind, the One and Only Divine Image. As Jesus says in Luke, "Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right?"

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  63. Antonio:

    I like the idea of libertarianism except that I don't trust individuals to make choices that are good in the long run. Individuals, doing as they please (which often entails consuming lots of fossil fuels) don't have a very good track record when it comes to environmental sustainability. I'm more interested in my descendants having the freedom from sickness and poverty that comes from a healthy planet than I am in owning a monster truck or flying all over the world at the drop of a hat.

    Suelo has the right idea in the above comment about avoiding labeling ourselves. Labels are only useful for talking about ideas. Once we start to identify ourselves as "libertarians" or "Christians" or whatever else we lose sight of the fact that we're all beings with the same basic needs.

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  64. @Ken -
    Yeah, I agree with you. But on the other hand, people who take more than they need, damaging others and the environment aren't truly doing what they please, damaging themselves. A heroin addict isn't really doing what he pleases. Just the fact that somebody amasses wealth shows they aren't content with their lives, that they aren't doing what they truly want, trying to fill a hole.

    So this is what we must do: be healthy examples, living simply, and people begin to see that they aren't really doing what they want and become discontent with their toys. Often they can't admit this, so they lash out with criticism from jealousy. But this shows they are being affected, which is good.

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  65. I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers.
    -Khalil Gibran

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  66. I think Ken made a great point about how individual "freedom" eventually starts to impose lack of freedom on others. No man is an island. It's similar with happiness. Often times we live as though our happiness is what's most important, but if others around us aren't "happy" then eventually that unhappiness will begin to effect our own well being. I illustrate this using the same illustration Ken used. Many have assumed that by amassing more wealth, and as a result more products which consume lots of fossil fuels, we'll be happier as individuals. In the long run, however, we'll begin to become less happy, simply because the effects of our own actions on the environment around us will begin to effect our own well being.

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  67. I agree with much of what you say. There are good things and good people in every walk of life.

    However, being familiar with the background of for example the New Age movement (the spiritual side of the New World Order) where one of its most famous proponents nicely sums it´s agenda up in a few lines...

    "No one will enter the New World Order
    unless he or she will make a pledge
    to worship Lucifer.
    No one will enter the New Age
    unless he will take
    a Luciferian Initiation."

    David Spangler
    Director of Planetary Initiative
    United Nations

    ...I know that relativism (everything goes...) -as it is taught in the New Age movement that has a huge influence on our society - sounds nice,
    but is part of paving the way for something completely different (see quote above).

    I too like to go to the core of every movement/ideology to find universal truth, but the more one digs, the more one finds that the reason why a particular movement starts, and the agenda of the driving people in that movement, isn´t unimportant.

    By the way, speaking of "universalist" that you mentioned...the greek word for that is katholikos (Catholic)...;-)

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  68. The above was addressed to Suelo.

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  69. Hi, Suelo

    I think I read something about this on your blog a while back, but I don't remember now: how does making commitments about the future relate to your thoughts about credit and debt?

    Is it worth entering the debt of making commitments? Nature makes no commitments.

    Sincerely,
    Brother G

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  70. Hi BG!
    Yes! Nature makes no commitments, thus Nature is trustworthy and committed! A dog, who doesn't talk, is committed to you through good and bad. Simply doing is better than making promises (commitments), which are bound to be broken. No vows means no divorces. It's nice when people are of their word, not flakes. But it's better to make no vow: not talk, just do. The truest *yes, yes* and *no, no* are in the Present Moment, with zero delay between making the "vow" and keeping it. Now we realized the cleverness of the Torah's injunction to not *delay* in paying your vow (debt)!

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  71. @ Michelle -
    If I were Lucifer and Lucifer is the Devil and you believe what Jesus stated, that "there is no truth in the Devil", then I couldn't be the devil if I said "I am Lucifer", for I'd be telling the truth. If I were the father of lies and "anti-Christ", I would say, "I am a Christian" and harp on Jesus being the Only way, and proceed to do everything contrary to what Jesus taught. This we see is the dominant religion of the world, doing the greatest damage in the world. The "Luciferians" don't trouble me so much. The devil wouldn't be so stupid to call himself Luciferian. He calls himself Christian, and his actions say who he really is.

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  72. Suelo,

    What do you make of God in the Christian tradition making covenants with his people? After the Flood, he said he would never destroy the Earth by water again. God promises Abraham that he will be the father of a great nation. Jesus' blood is shed and enacts the new covenant reconciling God with his people through belief in Jesus' sacrifice.

    What I make of all this is that it may be worth making commitments (going into debt) out of compassion.

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  73. Okay, hard-core theology y'all can ignore if it's not your cup of tea...

    @ Geronimo: If you believe scripture that God is unchanging, then God's covenants have ever been and ever will be, Now, before Time, beyond Time. Covenants in time are old covenant: debts, doomed to fail. All of us can see there is no less sin, no more joy or peace, no more enlightenment, after any holy book written or after Joshua and the Jews entered Canaan, or after the physical Jesus, than before! Seems like broken covenants, huh? You can say the same for Buddha, Lao Tzu and Muhammad. Just look at these religions' fruits: Israel, India, China, Arabia, & USA. Need I say more?

    But maybe we can read scripture more closely: the True Messiah is Begotten This Day, Ever Now, ever come in the flesh. Now is the only thing reliable, ever Here, the only thing that can never be argued. You can fight over prophets and messiahs, as all religions do. But the New Covenant is ever Now, always a Refuge, beyond Time, beyond words, thought and letter, beyond holy books, written on the heart.

    There is no delay (time) between the Vow and Vow paid in the Present, in the Now Testament. Why does God promise in Genesis, after the flood, he will never destroy or curse the earth again? Or why does he promise there will always be a King on David's throne? Or why is it appointed to man to die only once? After all, all the prophets promise coming destruction. Israel's throne and kingdom collapse. And we die daily. Maybe scripture is mistaken, or maybe it is speaking of events beyond Time?

    Ecclesiastes has the key, saying "there is nothing new under the sun": what happens has happened and will perpetually happen. Why then does scripture say that happenings (like Moses' plagues, the Flood, Solomon, etc) were never before and never will be again?

    Everything in time repeats, and yet no promise *in time*, in this world, can ever be reliable, which is why we can't boast for tomorrow or make real vows in time or really foretell any day in time, even if we are Isaiah or Jesus or Nostradamus. Nobody can ever know the Day and Hour when Time ends, because it is not in the future or past, it is beyond Mind, beyond Time, Ever Now.

    This is why loans and insurance and securities turn out nothing but failure.

    An acorn can make no promise. Its DNA is its word stating there might be an oak tree, but no guarantee there will be an oak tree.

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  74. The covenant to the Jews was somewhat like a contract. "I'll follow through on my end, if you follow through on your." The covenants were broken time and time again because the people broke their side of the deal. I guess it's sort of like marriage where Jesus talks about you can't divorce except for adultery. Don't break the deal unless the other side breaks it first.

    I strongly disagree with Suelo here, I don't understand what's wrong with predictions for the future, or trying to understand the past. Suelo, you talk about Israel, China, India, Arabia etc. not being any better after their prophets came. How can you know that? We don't live in a world where they didn't come. Simply given the fact we know the names of these prophets indicates that they've permeated the conciousness of their society. Just because they haven't brought peace on earth doesn't mean they haven't positively influenced the world in a significant way. Even though I hate hypocrisy, the reason why we have hypocrisy in a place like the U.S.A. is largely because a large percentage of Americans claim to be Christians. They know they are *supposed* to be a certain way (which is Christ-like) even though they don't want to be. These prophets have been "the salt of the earth" preserving what good they could.

    As far as "there is nothing knew under the sun" but why does the prophecy talk about the end as "like nothing that have ever happened before or will ever happen". Well, you left out the key word "suffering." There has always been suffering, but that prophecy is just saying there will be greater suffering than ever before. Saying "there is nothing new" doesn't say to what degree it's happened. To me this is not a contradiction. It's like saying "murders have always happened, but this recent string 1,000,000 murders a day is unprecedented".

    Suelo, I think you are trying too hard to justify a theology that doesn't make sense. That's how I honestly feel. Future and past are just as important as today. We can't change the past, but we certainly can learn from it. We can't control the future, but we live today as though we want a tomorrow for our kids.

    This theology of "only the present is real" is basically hedonistic. Live for the moment, 'cause that's all that matters. Forget the past, we can't be bothered, screw the future I want to do what I want now and I don't care about my kids. Here's an interesting video about this: http://youtu.be/A3oIiH7BLmg

    Past, Present, and Future. There's not one that's exclusively better than the other, rather we need to get a balanced perspective on all three so they can be in harmony. This harmony is what will lead to eternity, infinity. At infinity, time is warped and doesn't exist. You can say only the present if real, but you can also say only the future is real, or only the past, because at infinity they are all one.

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  75. @ Raj -
    Have I ever said to forget the past or not plan for the future? Why do I use past records: scripture and history and DNA? But the logical fact we all know is we are never in the future and never in the past, *except in our minds*! If we think we are in the future and past, we're lost in fantasy! Most humans, especially hedonists, are lost in fantasy! This is why I say only the present is real. All I'm saying is to not make promises. We must plan for a future, yet not make promises. We learn from the past that making promises creates failure. This is why both the Bible (James) and the Quran tell us never to say we *will* do anything except "God willing" (Insh'Allah), and there should never be time delay in making a vow and fulfilling it.

    Again, the acorn plans to be an oak tree, DNA is its nature, but it can't promise it will be an oak tree. It can only Be. "Not my will but Yours" means just that. The only way to plan and commit to a just future is to live fully now, which is called Faith. Again, a dog, who doesn't talk, is committed to you through good and bad, and you trust the dog because of this. A child trusts his mother to be committed to him, not because she promises or signs a contract, but because she is with him now. If she has to sign a contract, she is showing she is not trustworthy, lacking mother instinct. What does Jesus say about vows in the Sermon on the Mount? What does James say?

    The Salt of the Earth is here now. By living fully with your neighbor, in the present, your mind not gone somewhere else, is what keeps the world in check. By loving your neighbor as your own self you love the entire world. The only Trustworthy Word is written on your heart.

    A hedonist thinks how to get something he doesn't have now. This wandering mind is called lust. If you want somebody other than who you have, you are an adulterer. But I get what you are saying: Paradoxically, the hedonist doesn't care about the future consequences of not living fully now! A person of equanimity is with you here and now, content with what he or she has and knows the future will work out, outside of his or her own will. By not worrying for the future, the future plans itself out. Isn't this Sermon on the Mount 101?

    What does Jesus in the Gospels say about this?:

    'Then he also said to the multitudes, "Whenever a cloud rises out of the west, immediately you say, 'A shower is coming'; and so it is. And when the south wind blows, you say, 'There will be hot weather'; and there is. Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this present moment?"' (Luke 12:54-56)

    This can be difficult to accept, because it goes contrary to everything our society and religions teach.

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  76. by "religions" above I mean organized "religions" (sects), not true religion

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  77. Luke 12:54-56

    great verse suelo! i like it. these are the verses that fundie christians try and avoid. so where's ole pastor fred when ya need him. lol

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  78. Luke 12 is talking about prophecy, the future. Jesus taught plenty about the future/prophecy, all throughout that passage Jesus is making promises, commitments that are yet to be fulfilled. For example Luke 12:2 "There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known." Obviously, that wasn't fulfilled that very moment.

    You say: "This is why I say only the present is real." Present, past, AND future are all real. Why put emphasis on one over the other and say only one is real?

    You said "We must plan for a future, yet not make promises." I completely agree with you here. To this degree we are saying the same thing. I also agree largely when you say: "and there should never be time delay in making a vow and fulfilling it."

    Jesus said: "Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest."

    However, there will be times when we say we're going to do something and then there's a delay (like the example I gave above). I see somewhat what you're saying but I find it very confusing when you say "only the present is real." Like I said, I disagree. All three are real, the trinity of time.

    But anyway, I *do* agree, that we need to live now the same for the future. Meaning, if I say, "I'm going to eat dinner tonight," I live as though I'm not going to eat so much now that I'll be too full for dinner. So in that sense, both are real. You live for the future as you live today, and you live today as you do for the future. We can't live for the past, as that is what we are living from. If we start focusing on one more than the other then we become unbalanced. Living totally for the present neglects our future. And plus, nobody truly lives that way.

    How do you define the present anyway? The present is always changing, every millisecond, every microsecond. If I'm in the middle of a conversation each word I speak I'm planning for the future and then that future becomes the present. What happens when we extend that gap to a couple of minutes, or hours or days? 1,000 years as as 1 day to the Lord. At what point does the the present become future?

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  79. BTW, I should mention that the reason I bring this up is because this is a big pet peeve I have with Western society. Western society is very *very* flakey, never sticking to their word. Even though many attribute this philosophy of being the present to Eastern philosophy, people in the Eastern world are much more of their word. This is one of those philosophies which I feel gets very much lost in translation, and really has a lot of negative consequences to the Western world.

    That's why I say future, past, and present are all real. Living exclusively in any of the three causes problems.

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  80. @ Ben - yeah, it's kind of fun pointing out verses that the "fundamentalists" won't touch with a 10-foot pole.

    @ Raj - I think we mostly agree. We may be at a point when it loses us all to discuss it more, it being a matter of what our definitions of illusion are. Trying to define the present is exactly the point, because the mind can never enter the present, much less describe it. The very nature of thought and words is images of past and future, never present. It can only be known by giving up thought, giving up ideas, self.

    I am with you on flakiness - a pet peeve of mine (and I fall into flakiness too).

    The flaky mind is a reaction to a society that worships contracts. But the contract mind is also flaky. For example, does anybody know of a single instance when our people and government kept a treaty with the natives on this continent? If you do, let me know.

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  81. So if only the present is real, and what is real cannot be described, only experienced, and if what is real can only be experienced if you stop thinking, then even thinking that "only the present is real" is also an illusion i.e. an expression of thought which is not in the present, only illusion.

    I agree that this discussion would just go round and round in circles, but I think the reason for that is that I feel it's poor theology to say only the present is real. Time is infinite, so there is no "now". Maybe Eastern philosophers were trying to describe infinity when they said present. Anyway, on a practical level, all three time perceptions matter.

    I think it's important for us to understand what we're calling illusion, after all what we believe and how we choose to live is based on what we chose to not believe in as well (meaning what we call illusion).

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  82. "So if only the present is real, and what is real cannot be described, only experienced, and if what is real can only be experienced if you stop thinking, then even thinking that "only the present is real" is also an illusion i.e. an expression of thought which is not in the present, only illusion. "

    Yes!!

    "The Son of Man comes at a Time when you
    Do Not Think."

    Now we're getting No Where ;-) ...
    because Messiah is nowhere but here and now, so there is nowhere to go to find Messiah but here, no time to find Messiah but now.

    "Now is the accepted time, Now is the Day of Salvation."

    Bad theology?

    Ponder this, please. You can't ever leave now, except in your mind.

    Tell me yourself, can you ever go back to the past, can you ever arrive in the future? Well, yeah, you can arrive in the future when the future becomes now, when it is no longer the future! When the future becomes now, the future becomes Real. Until then, the future is not real!

    I define illusion as that which passes away. You might define it otherwise, which is okay. Heaven and Earth pass away. Ultimately, I'm only interested in trusting in what is Real, Here Always, never passes away, the same yesterday, today, forever. Illusion becomes suffering when we attach to it (possess it), which is why we are implored to give up all possessions. The World is passing away. World is translated as both kosmos (space) and eon (time) in scripture.

    Am I just making up clever theology? Do I speak from experience if I say I know I suffer when I live in the past or future or trust in the past or future?

    Yeah, even these words must pass away, be given up, and what remains is I Am Who I Am. Even the one we *thought* was our Messiah must be crucified, so we can Know What is Real, Who Remains Always Here and Now.

    "The Son of Man comes at a time when we take no thought."
    "There is no other."

    The only Reality is pointed to by these words:
    "I Am Who I Am"
    Never changing
    "Before Abraham was, I Am."
    "All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers,
    but the sheep did not hear them."
    "Today, if you will hear His Voice..."

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  83. Imma try and make this as short as I can.

    Suelo, you said: "The Son of Man comes at a Time when you
    Do Not Think."

    This is a gross misreprentation of what Jesus was saying. This very passage is pointing toward something that was *yet* to come, in future, not supporting the philosophy of only the present being real. In the very same passage Jesus says: "For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man." (Matt 24) So *will* be the coming.

    You said: "Ponder this, please. You can't ever leave now, except in your mind."

    The future is constantly becoming now, and now the past. You can't ever arrive at "now" because now is infinite. The timescale is infinite.

    You said: "Tell me yourself, can you ever go back to the past, can you ever arrive in the future?...When the future becomes now, the future becomes Real. Until then, the future is not real!"

    Again, this negates the concept of eternity, infinity. This perception that "only the present is real" is autistic. "Now" is the only thing that is "real" to our senses, and to our perception. But the cosmos doesn't start and end with us. It's like saying the only thing that is real is only that which we experience. It's like saying only, cars, apples, and only that in the material realm is real. Even then, we only experience a tiny tiny fraction of this material realm, in which we hardly understand anything beyond ourselves, like the galactic universe or the subamtomic realm.

    Suelo you said: "I define illusion as that which passes away...Heaven and Earth pass away."

    Again, you are only partially quoting something from Jesus, and you leave out the most essential part of what he said. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but *my words will never* pass away." In other words, the truth, which can be expressed verbally, is eternal. Forever. Past, present and future. *This* is reality.

    You said: "Ultimately, I'm only interested in trusting in what is Real, Here Always, never passes away, the same yesterday, today, forever. Illusion becomes suffering when we attach to it (possess it), which is why we are implored to give up all possessions. The World is passing away. World is translated as both kosmos (space) and eon (time) in scripture. "

    Exactly, time, now, is passing away. If you are only interested in what is eternal, then you must let go of now, because now is passing away. Now has *already* passed away! In order to appreciate now, we must appreciate where we're headed, the future.

    I'll post serparately as to why this is important to me and how our opposing sides are somewhat the same.

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  84. Suelo said: "Am I just making up clever theology? Do I speak from experience if I say I know I suffer when I live in the past or future or trust in the past or future?"

    I also speak from experience when I say that when I neglect my future, only living exclusively in the present, I also suffer. Everything is moving, constantly moving. The earth is moving, stars are moving, atoms are moving, our blood is moving, concrete is moving, time is moving.

    Everything is headed in a direction. I've heard that "successful" people are successful because they plan for the future. In societies where most people are poor, like in my culture, the focus is on the present. Live for today, because tomorrow may never come. However, this tends to lead to poor planning, and often times severe consequences, like AIDs due to people not caring about using condoms because they'd rather not consider any consequences of having unprotected sex.

    Anyhow, this concept about planning for the future is an important one financially. However, the problem with financial planning is that it just doesn't plan far enough ahead. Many ask young people "what will you do in 10 years or 20 years?" To me, this is the wrong question for learning how to live sustainably and thus for deciding on which actions to take now. Far better would it be to say, "what actions should I take today for the future I want in 100 years, or 1,000 years?" As a society, few humans have planned beyond their own lives, maybe possibly far enough into their children's lives. This poor planning has resulted in an extremely unsustainable way of life, overconsumption, deteriorating cultures, environmentally harmful practices etc. So, the general concept is that the further you plan ahead the better that future may be, the more in tune with natural principles will that future be. Okay, please hold that thought.

    You used the example of an acorn making no promises. This is true, no promises, yet this same acron does make a *comittment* to either becoming a tree (via it's DNA) or decomposing into the earth which will continue the cycle of life. The acorn is flexibe, having inherently and meticulously well planned for today, tomorrow, and millennia because of it's sustainable nature. An acorn will not soon become a car because it has not planned for that. In faith, it's taken upon all the necessary ingredients for becoming a tree, and then left the rest to fate. "People do not pick figs from thorn-bushes, or grapes from briers. You will know a tree by it's fruit" What we do today, effects tomorrow and all around us. In nature, we constantly see commitments to the future in the actions and nature of today.

    Because our future is constantly becoming now, then the future is just as much a part of now as is this hour. But how do these thoughts correlate?

    Plan ahead. Yet, everything is passing away. Even the earth is passing away, so even the acorn has not planned well enough ahead. Well, it seems we need to plan even further and futher until we can no longer plan ahead: to eternity (now, tomorrow, yesterday, forever). Eternity is the only reality. If you definine the present as infinite, then maybe our philosophies can agree. Because tomorrow is constantly becoming today, forever, the future is also infinite.

    Only when the present considers eternity will the present become reality. Only when the present considers eternity, will the present become eternal. Therefore, our thoughts, actions, our everything, if not attached to the eternal, will also pass away.

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  85. What I'm saying is that the present is also an illusion. Impermanent, transient, fleeting, gone...

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  86. I think the concept of duality has been run into the ground already. Just live your life to the fullest and don't deliberately cause harm to another and don't sweat the small stuff.

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  87. I agree. Give it a break already. Let Suelo be who is and stop trying to convert him to your fundie version of Christianity. It's nasty. We get it already. Jeez. Enough is enough.

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  88. Again, when have I said not to plan for the future? Haven't I said planning is our nature, in our very DNA! But it's not wise to make make promises (vows)! Make plans, not promises. Debt and Sin are synonyms.

    Example: Whatever contradicts loving my neighbor (who lives here and now) as my self is treachery. We live in a culture where we love everybody but our neighbor. We put our plans above our neighbor. We walk by people because we have "more important" things to do. Those with "important" plans pass by the wounded man while the Samaritan helps him. The Royal dinner invitees have important plans, so the poor, who without "important" plans, not even marriage vows, are invited instead. I'll just leave it at that, simple. The rest has turned into misunderstanding and confusion, useless argument.

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  89. @Rickster - thanks for bringing it all back to the only important thing - simple love. My apologies for getting side-tracked.

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  90. Hi Suelo, I just posted this, but it seems keeps not going through, so I've broken it up. Anyway, just writing to say that I completely agree that we shouldn't make promises for the future, but what I was trying to do was articulate why I don't agree with the specific idea that "only the present is real" and the rest "illusion." I don't think you are saying that we should not plan for the future.

    As for what Rachelle was saying. I'm sorry that you're offended by this discussion. I was under the impression that both Suelo and I were dialoging about issues that were important to us, "where two or more are gathered." This, I understood to be free speech.

    The most important kind of free speech we have, is allowing people with dissenting views to our own express themselves. As long as people aren't hurtful, or hateful, I believe people should be free to dialogue, argue, debate, speak about whatever they please in a polite fashion. It's especially important for me to hear people's views other than my own, because it keeps my own views honest and in check.

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  91. @Rachelle I find it offensive that you are referring to me, or at least to my thoughts, as "fundie". I have not been trying to "convert" Suelo to anything, neither have I felt he has been trying to "convert" me to anything via his repeated references to his ideology. Numerous times have I defended Suelo's right to continue expressing himself here, and also numerous times have I shared how inspired I am by his lifestlye and ideas. However, this is one point where we disagree, and I thought it was a liberty I have to express that.

    I don't even know what a "fundie" is. I guess I would define "fundie" as someone who is unwilling to hear or consider opposing views to their own. I have not done that. Therefore I find your comment a needless attack on my person by using a derogatory term which does not relate to me. How do you define "fundie"?

    All I have been doing is expressing an idea which is readily accepted by science: infinity. Please look up "present" and "now" in your science textbooks and tell me whether what I have been saying contradicts.

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  92. About this discussion: it's nice for my ego when everybody agrees with me. But a rare few challenge my ideas without attacking my person or resorting to labels. Raj is one of the few who can agree with me on one hand and disagree on the other, challenging my ideas rather than attacking my person. That's called critical thinking, and it's good for me, though my ego might not always think so.

    There's no "appropriate" or "not appropriate" subjects here. Such discussions might turn many folks off, but I already started this one by saying if it is not your cup of tea, ignore it. I only discourage name-calling and personal attacks, whether toward my "enemies" or my "friends."

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  93. Qigong = another parlor game for dumbed-out Westerners.

    And Raj is right, "What I'm saying is that the present is also an illusion."

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  94. Thanks Suelo, for allowing freedom of speech on this board and for being non-judgmental about it. Some people think "Christians" are the only "fundies" but there are fundies from every ideology, including atheists and universalists. People are people, their espoused ideology has little to do with their character. I believe this is what the blog entry you made above is dealing with: espoused ideologies have some truth but can all be abused as well.

    Anyway, I think I've said enough on the topic of the present to state my position.

    @Ananda I didn't understand the reference to Qigong or what that has to do with anything.

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  95. @Raj
    Qigong as well as Tai Chi, mentioned in Suelo's second paragraph. Both parlor games for the mentally paralyzed.

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  96. Ananda, what you said is the perfect example of what I don't support: an insulting comment without any rational basis.

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  97. Yeah, looks like we've exhausted discussion of what really can't be discussed, because I agree the *idea* of the "present" is illusion. Check out "present" on wikipedia. Compare Buddhist and Christian perspectives (which I see as the same, with different lingo) and scientific perspectives. Though science normally bases itself on experience, this is an exception where conventional science can only speak of ideas, not experience, while spiritual contemplitives can speak of direct experience of the Present. I'm ultimately only concerned with what can be directly proven by every person in the world, and what makes us better humans.

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  98. It's the carefree mentality that tell us to focus on the present while ignoring everything else, that is leaving America in this economic and political mess.

    However, I would not say Suelo is mentally paralized, but that instead he seems to live in the clouds, so to speak. It would be funny to do see some parodies of him, to allow us to laugh at his impractical mindset.

    He should not be talking about economic or political issues, but we all know that stupidity knows no boundaries indeed. Besides, he seems to care more about his particular version of ethics, than anything more pragmatic.

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  99. Hey Suelo, I looked up the Wikipedia reference. I also am in agreement with what I read about the Buddhist and Christian perspective of the present. I pretty much agree with your philosophy of focusing on the present, not worrying about the future, and not dwelling on the past (though I believe all three are important). I just don't agree that everything but the present is an illusion. To me, that's illusion.

    Antonio, it's easy to say someone's way of life is not pragmatic, but it's more difficult to offer a solution. Antonio, how do you contribute to society? You know if you consume fossil fuels you are also contributing to the fall of human civilization and the more you consume the more quickly you're helping to aid that (note: I know I too am contributing to the collapse of civilisation).

    I don't see how Suelo's life is any less pragmatic than an accountants, or a cashier, but I see that his life is a lot *less destructive* than most.

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  100. Raj, The Christian and the Muslim fundies tend to be much worse than other types of fundies. Why? because these two groups are the only people who subscribe to the notion that they're the only people going to heaven and the need to forcibly convert everyone to their beliefs. Only psychopaths burn people for not worshiping and praising their egos. Hinduism,Buddhism,and any other belief doesn't come near the idiocy and the closed mindedness that's found in the Abrahamic religions.

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  101. Raj, much of what you said resonates with me. Suelo isn't harming anyone with his lifestyle so why anyone would have a problem with what he's doing is beyond me.

    Anyways, we make due with best way we can in this life. I think we're way too hard on ourselves. Life is both short and precious. As the Rickster would say - don't sweat the small stuff. by the way, it's ALL small stuff in the larger scheme of things. We're barely above the animal status ourselves. Our minds are limited. We don't have it all figured out so why get too worked over life? Just try to be good for the sake of being good and not because of fear of some sort of punishment in an after life. That's silly. We're living in the now. That's all we have.

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  102. @Raj -
    yeah, at this point it seem to be definitions of "present." No 2 humans have the same definition for any word existing. I can see how this philosophy of the present only being real can be bastardized to a kind of hedonism. For example, those we know by proven evidence who have left "America in this economic and political mess", bankers, brokers and corporations, only think of profit in the "present", with no concern for future consequences of their actions. They practice hedonism on an overwhelmingly massive scale, completely unsustainable and destructive to our economy, our environment, and our mental health. In this way I can see what you mean about not thinking the future real. So I have to be careful with my mystical musings. However, it's the mentality of faithless hoarding and worry for the future that is the root cause of such self-centered hedonism.

    @Ben - yeah, I know what you mean about Abrahamic religions. But they are my roots and I decided I must take the good treasure from them and leave the bad. It did make me feel not so bad about my own roots, seeing intense fanaticism in Hinduism (that persecutes Muslims & Christians & killed Gandhi) and even a bit in Buddhist monasteries I visited, though still going nowhere as deep as the Abrahamic sects.
    And, then, looking at the old USSR and present China, both of whom tried to erase religion, you see fanaticism beyond insane. It seems to be the nature of "civilized" humanity.

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  103. Thanks for your words, Ben. However, I must say that I don't agree that Abrahamic religions are more violent than the others. I think Americans who aren't "Christian" tend to think this way because they're American. They grew in a society where the religious institution of Christianity is the used by the state. You don't hear about Buddhists killing non-Buddhists because you don't live in Sri Lanka or Myanmar.

    Stalin, Mao, and Paul Pots (all fundamentalist atheists) massacred over 50 million people, so again, I don't care what anyone's espoused ideology/religion is (or lack thereof) I think the state will use whatever ideology is at hand in order to maintain control and to attain more wealth.

    I don't think any of these war mongers, whether Christian, Muslim, Atheist, or Buddhist actually lived up to their own professed beliefs. I'm just saying any and all "beliefs" are abused for self-gain.

    At the moment "Christians" (USA and it's allies) and "Atheists" (China and it's allies) have the most power and they use it to violently oppress dissidents. The "Muslims" are somewhere caught in the middle.

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  104. I just wanted to say one more thing about this whole abuse of ideology issue.

    *The most abusive ideology/religion is the one that's in the majority.*

    That's because they can get away with more. I find that anywhere you go, those in the minority tend to be more willing to listen to others simply because they have to work harder at getting along with others who believe differently than themselves. This can be a Universalist in Alabama, a Buddhist in Iraq, or a Christian China. But again, people are people, and most of us tend to think we have it more figured out than the next person. We all tend to be prejudiced against those who are different than ourselves. I know I have this tendency within myself.

    When will we learn?!

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  105. Ignorance is as common as nitrogen or carbon in the universe.

    Daoism or Taoism offers much if a person is seeking harmony with the world.

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  106. “I despise the kind of book which tells you how to live, how to make yourself happy! Philosophers have no good news for you at this level! I believe the first duty of philosophy is making you understand what deep shit you are in!”
    -Slavoj Žižek, interview of 5 July 2010

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  107. I don't believe there is such a thing as "self" in Buddhism. So, if one wants to be happy, but millions in the world are suffering of hunger etc. then we can't be happy if they're not happy. That means that if we want to be happy, we should help them become happy. In that sense, I don't see how a book on happiness and the role of a philosopher is any different. It's only the books which tell us to ignore all the problems and they'll magically go away that I don't like.

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  108. I think respect of the discussion between Suelo and Raj, for their own point of view both are right in their own right, Suelo talking about a total fulfill of spiritual life at this moment, Raj is concerned more with this human life(when he mentions the children) because of this dualism (spiritual and human dimensions)we many times get confused. I'm more inclined to support Suelo view of "the here and now" because when you act good only good can follow, we got the freedom to choose the right path so the future that follow can only be good (sounds like good buddhist principle to me).

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  109. "I don't believe there is such a thing as "self" in Buddhism. So, if one wants to be happy, but millions in the world are suffering of hunger etc. then we can't be happy if they're not happy. That means that if we want to be happy, we should help them become happy. In that sense, I don't see how a book on happiness and the role of a philosopher is any different. It's only the books which tell us to ignore all the problems and they'll magically go away that I don't like." - Raj

    While I tend to agree more with Suelo on philosophical and spiritual matters I can't deny this statement that Raj said. I feel the same way. I don't want to be the only one happy and content in life. If it doesn't include everyone then it's not real.

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  110. I agree, Raj & Ben. Makes me think of the epic paradox test of choosing heaven or hell. How can anyone with a spark of love want to go to heaven if anybody has to go to hell? Our Epic Choice is between love and heaven. I can't imagine a greater hell than being in heaven without love. We get a temporal taste of this hell in our Suburbias of Anonymous Neighbors. And we've seen it since the dawn of commercial civilization: wealth at the price of mass poverty. This is the entire theme of this blog & website. There can't be anything greater than Love, not religious creeds, not even our ideas of "God," or it's a sham.

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  111. I just want to say that the recent comments on here have been really great to read, and seem very fair overall. Thanks for that! It's nice to see some positive discussion on here.

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  112. Heaven and Hell. My Heaven: a place where everyone worked together in harmony, and for the benefit of each others' welfare, and not because they were obligated or because it made them money. My Hell: A place where everyone is just seeking after their own desires.

    I suppose my heaven would be someone else's hell, and visa versa. So how can we all go to heaven if it would be hell to some?

    Suelo, you say we get a temporal taste of this hell in Suburbias or Anonymous Neighbors. But some people *love* that. Personally, and I know this sounds "unloving", but I do wish more suffering upon those who aren't. By suffering, I really just mean less indulgence in luxuries, which to many they would consider suffering, but to me: Liberation! Like I said, my heaven is someone else's hell.

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  113. I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit.
    Khalil Gibran

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  114. Suelo,

    Looks like you and your readers have beaten religion into the ground.

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  115. Yup, we have. Honestly, I get really tired of talking religion, too. It's a fascinating subject in small sprinklings at proper times.

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  116. What ever floats your boat. I didn't mind the discussion, I wouldn't call it running it into the ground, but rather thoroughly discussing differing points of view. I wish there was more of that in this world, but only if those discussions result in practical lessons or applications. I guess that makes all the difference. Democracy only works if the public is well informed, but I meet many people who would rather not think through the issues, whether religious, political, economic, social, whatever...It's true though, that a well informed citizen can just end up being a well informed bigot. Knowledge doesn't seem to effect our character much.

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  117. Hey Suelo...not sure if you remember me. My name is Bodhi...i was with my friends in Slab City and we picked you up in an old yellow Ford...we had a couple of dogs and we went back to camp under a tree and had fresh fried chicken for dinner and you gave us some of the tastiest dates i have ever eaten. That was a nice night brother.
    Be safe our there.

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  118. Bodhi! Yeah, of course I remember!... I felt a connection with you. I didn't know you knew of this blog. I got whisked away from the Slabs unexpectedly though I felt I wanted to stay the winter & get to know you guys & others more. But what is is. Hope we can hook up again.

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