Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Tag

Philosophy   Leave a comment

When I try to ponder philosophy
I ask myself, “why does this all matter?”
Is it important to understand me
If I’d rather live mad as a hatter?

Do we need to grasp all the universe
In order to till and plant the soil?
Should we now carry this forever curse;
Spend all of our thoughts in this turmoil?

Existence exists, and A equals A.
Or, I’m nothing but a brain in a jar.
A thousand schools of thought all just to say
We think we think, and think we know we are.

These questions are things I feel I must ask,
Although my life’s work won’t fill up the task.

– Shaman Romney 2018

Posted 01/11/2018 by Shaman in Poetry

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Faith   Leave a comment

I have no faith in faith,
No belief in unfounded belief.
Such things can make us feel safe,
Provide us a sense of relief.

But it doesn’t make them right
To anyone but you.
Even if it helps you sleep at night,
It doesn’t mean it’s true.

I try to find comfort
In the chaos of uncertainty.
Instead of trying to comport
With a lie; a false reality.

We can’t know all there is to know,
There’s beauty in vast knowledge uncapped.
I get to enjoy a part of the show.
Missing the end doesn’t make me feel trapped.

So keep your gods and your proselytizing
For they offer me no recompense.
I’ll keep my hypotheses and theorizing
And base my beliefs on evidence.

-Shaman Romney 2015

Posted 12/17/2015 by Shaman in Poetry

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Change The World   Leave a comment

Prompt, prompt, prompt I summon thee!

Today, write about any topic you feel like — but you must reuse your opening line (at least) two more times in the course of your post.

I want to change the world.

I have not clue how. I don’t even know where to begin. Large, small, for better or worse; I have no clue.

But still that rings through my head: I want to change the world.

I didn’t really realize it until my last blog post. I went with taking the chip, for what I thought were very good reasons. Add to human knowledge, revolutionize psychology as we know it. Help people. Sure, it wouldn’t be a very fun life for me. Being isolated from my friends. My family. My daughter. Not completely gone from their lives, but it wouldn’t be the same. It would be lonely. But at some level, it would be worth it if I could leave my mark.

A lot of people didn’t think so. They may have had respect for my reasons, saw them as nice; as noble. The typical response was that the sacrifice would be too hard, the downsides too great. Some people even thought it was wrong that the losses I would want to do it.

I can’t say they are wrong. Is the willingness to toss my self aside for the “greater good” really good? Do I even know what good is? Am I even able to perform the good that I keep proposing to do?

I want to change the world. But I don’t know if I can?

But then I start to take a different angle. Have I been looking at things wrong?  I am so focused on changing the world at large. At leaving a grand mark. There is no way I have done that, right?

Wrong. I already have changed the world. Just by living my life. Just by being human.

If I didn’t exist, millions of things would be different. My daughter would be gone, some of my friends would be much worse off, and some may be better. But the world would be an entirely changed for my absence.

Even by writing this now, I am changing things. I can’t know right now how things will change. If it will be big or small. Good or bad. But it will be a different outcome than if I did nothing.

I want to change the world. I guess I’ll get started.

-Shaman

God Prefers An Atheist   6 comments

Would God prefer someone who is ever faithful, but who only does good things because he is afraid of eternal damnation?

Or would he prefer some who does good acts and betters the world, but does not worship or even believe in him?

I’m not the first person to ask this, but it amazes me how many people get thrown off when I bring this up to them.  Usually it is Christians that get thrown, because one of the main tenets of their religion is to seek forgiveness from Christ. As long as one seeks Christs forgiveness, no matter how late in life or how heinous their actions, they will be forgiven.

They always seem to glance over the other part of that: if you are a good person and you do nothing but good in your life, but never seek forgiveness from Christ, your soul is hell-bound.

Thus, the do good things and seek to do Christ’s work because they don’t want to go to hell.

I this that is disgusting. I hate the idea of original sin, especially when it is implied that people are wrong, awful, and need to be saved.

I find the idea of a god who does this to people, and then wants them to worship him to keep him from harming them.

I don’t believe that any god worth believing in would need someone like me to believe in him. Further more, a god worth believing in would never punish someone who doesn’t believe in him, solely for that lack of belief.

Now, the idea of an all forgiving and loving god does not bother me. In fact, it gives me comfort. Two of my best friends believe in such a god, and I have large amounts of respect for them, and they for me. If more people truly believed in God like they do, I think the world would be a better place.

Because an all loving god wouldn’t care what you do in his name. He wouldn’t care that you prayed to him day and night. He would only care about the good you tried to bring to the world.

Now, why do I stay an agnostic atheist? Marcus Aurelius put it best:

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

I’m not saying that you can’t live a good life if you are religious. There is plenty of evidence to prove you can. But doing good, to be good, is what everyone should strive for. Were I God, I would prefer someone who has pure motivations for being nice, not the ulterior motives of heavenly reward or eternal damnation.

If I were God, I would prefer an atheist.

Parallel Universes   Leave a comment

I was recently reading a web fiction blog/novel called Mehpi. If you are a fan of HP Lovecraft, horror, Slenderman/ The Fear Mythos, Doctor Who, or just a good story in general, it is worth checking out. The author is currently editing it, and then they will take it down when they get a publishing deal. So there’s a time limit too. Check it out and come back here when you are done.

There was a part of the story that sparked a thought in my head, and so I wrote about it below. Spoiler free of course.

In the story, the main character is asked about parallel universes. For those who don’t know, the idea behind parallel universes is that for every decision a human makes, there are two or more possibilities. Lets use a fork in the road as an example. There is a left path and a right path, or two possibilities. At that moment, two universes are created. One where you decided to go left, and one where you went right instead.

According to the theory, that happens for every single decision made for every single person, in every part of the world, through all parts of time. Effectively there would be infinite universes, some only varying slightly from our universe here. Others completely different in every way. As any sci-fi nerd knows, it creates some fun thoughts.

So the main character is asked about them, and she starts to use a coin flip as an example. (One universe for heads, and one for tails.) She is interrupted, and the thing she is talking to tells her this (paraphrasing of course):

A coin flip is not an example of a breaking point in universes. A single coin flip is irrelevant. It is predetermined by the force applied to it, the spin imparted on it, the strength of the person flipping it, the wind in the room, etc. Nothing the coin has or does changes anything, and neither does the person. People are much more irrelevant to time than they’d like to pretend.

That got me thinking about free will again. As in, do we really have any? Removing the idea of a higher power, a soul ,or anything else like that, could things just be predetermined?

Our thoughts are electrical impulses. When those impulses fire, they stimulate different parts of our brains, and make us think and feel certain ways. We make decisions based on those thoughts and feelings, which affect others, and cause their electrical impulses to fire in specific ways. This chain goes on throughout human experience, until the end of time.

With that in mind, everything I did I was supposed to do, because my brain was shaped in the right way to make my impulses travel in the exact way they needed to in order to make me react that way. Hitler would have always been Hitler. Lincoln would have always been president, and was destined to always die by John Wilkes Booth. Our descendent’s lives are predetermined before they are even conceived.

The really creepy thing is that parallel universe theory still works, but in a much darker way. Electrons still follow the uncertainty principle, and as the character in the story points out, an electron could take a different path, and then the sun would never come to existence. In a more personal sense, the electrons causing my impulses could spark along a different path, causing me to act in a different way. Same amount of universes, but without any control on my part, or any real way to stop it. We are all predestined to choose the left path, yell at that person, steal that gum, etc. But at the same time, we are just one electron away from not existing, or becoming an axe murder.

Really makes you think, doesn’t it?

-Shaman

What Ever Will Be Will Be (If We Will It To Be)   14 comments

Normally I don’t really do the daily prompts offered by WordPress, but this one actually caught my attention, so I here’s what I think.

Do you believe in fate or do you believe you can control your own destiny?

I’d like to believe in fate, I really would. The idea of being predestined to do something great, to find your one true love, to know that some day somehow you will achieve your life’s meaning, is comforting and warm. That is, until you really think about it.

Not everyone is destined to be an Einstein or a Mozart. If you look back at the billions of people who have lived and died on this planet, how many achieved anything more than just taking up space. Working themselves to the bone, to maybe achieve their own personal happiness, and the happiness of those around them. I’d think that would be a good life, but is that what you would want to be destined for? For happy mediocrity?

Plus, who’s to say you’d only be destined for good things? Just as you could be the next Gandhi, you could also be the next Saddam, or Stalin, or Hitler? Plus, if small good things can be predestined, who’s to say that your destiny isn’t to steal, cheat, gamble and rob? Having your life predestined, if you truly believed it, would rid you of all real resposibiltiy. You do anything wrong, its not your fault. It was just your destiny.

Scary thought, right?

I believe we choose our own fate. We are in charge of our own destiny. Our mistakes are ours to own, but so are all our accomplishments. Nobody controls you. Nothing can stop you from trying to acheive what you want. Nothing stands in the way of your happiness except you. Now, the circumstances you are born into, the twists and turns you take through out life can and will limit your choices. You aren’t completely in control, but you are in control of what you do about it.

I like to view life, destiny, fate, all of this, as a river. Everyone has a direction they are flowing towards. That is determined by where you were born, genetics, environment, and all the other things that you don’t really have any control over in the beginning. But even though you flow in a general direction, you get to choose the ebb and flow, where it branches and where it bends.. With enough gradual changes, you can even choose a whole new direction to flow towards. Then, when you reach the end, your “river” becomes a new starting point for others.

So in a sense you may have somewhat of a predestined path. But it was predestined by the ones who came before you, not some mystical power. You can challenge your path, and change it. All it takes is wanting and work.

But, everything could totally be predestined. I could just be predestined to disagree with the notion. Just like you could be predestined to agree/disagree with me. 🙂

Platinum Rule: Because gold isn’t good enough?   Leave a comment

At my work, we have a set of core values: things that as an organization we are supposed to embody as lowly paid employees. Not that it’s wrong to have core ideal for your organization, in fact I think it’s a requirement of any successful one. But my work place, at times, takes it to the level of World War 2 propaganda. They talk in long flowing speeches, making it a point to try to build you up and motive you to be ideal. Well, their ideal. Although group visions and goals are great, I don’t think you need to make your employees march lock-step in order to have a successful company, and individuality should be encouraged. But alas, being skilled at most jobs nowadays is measured by how well you can sit down, shut up, and do as you’re told.

I bring all that up because our core value that they selected for the month was selfless and supportive. Most of the time, we just end up reading lines off a pre-prepared training sheet, all while putting on a smile and pretending to care. It was a pretty boring training, and I wouldn’t even write about it, except for one of the things they talked about during the training bugged me.

They said, “Now, everyone has heard of the golden rule: Treat others as you would want to be treated. But I want everyone here to apply a new rule above that one. The platinum rule: Treat others how they want to be treated.”

Now, I know my co-worker obviously (well not obviously, but hopefully) doesn’t actually believe in that. I’m also pretty sure that the trainer who created it probably felt that they we being creative more than anything else, and just hadn’t given it much thought. Had they done so, they’d have figured out how colossally stupid the very idea of that rule is.
First of all, you’d be completely missing the point of the golden rule. Treat others as you want to be treated is treating people how they want to be treated. You can be nice to the people you help as part of your job because we all hate the crappy people who are jerks to us when we need to be served. It amazes me how many people just don’t get that.
Secondly, the new rule itself is stupid. At worst it’s telling you to be subservient to other people’s desires, and at best it’s telling you to do the same thing as the golden rule, but a little bit nicer. There is a difference between saying, “the customer is always right,” “give them the pickle!” and all that other stuff. But telling people to “go above and beyond the golden rule” just rubs me wrong.

For example, I want to be treated like royalty. I want to be handed money for doing no work, and get beautiful women to jump all over me and attend to my every whim. According to my work, all my attractive co-workers should be making me dinner and giving me money. That would not make me a good person. That would make me a jerk.

But hold on, you say. You your self aren’t following the platinum rule, and therefore you missed the point. You should rethink your premise and your life you say. To you I say firstly, I’m royalty and therefore you shouldn’t question what I say, peasant. Secondly, and more importantly, you shouldn’t let jerks push you around. The rule is not designed around the idea that everyone will use it, but that everyone should use it. Thus, if you follow the platinum rule, you become a door mat. But if you follow the golden rule, you can still decline them, because even though part of you would really want to have people not do it, another part of you knows that being told off is how you would want to be treated.

Either that, or you are just an egotistical ass. 🙂

-Shaman

Posted 03/14/2014 by Shaman in Personal Thoughts

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