RANGER AGAINST WAR: Stop Making Sense <

Friday, March 23, 2012

Stop Making Sense


Two worthwhile pieces from the New York Times:

[1] "Why Won't They Listen," is a review of ‘The Righteous Mind" by Jonathan Haidt, a compelling interdisciplinary study of why and how emotions evolved to trump rational thinking, and how this affects our polities. Van der Waals, Diamond, E. O. Wilson et. al. have already covered the ground, but Haidt ties it together.

Opening graph:

"You’re smart. You’re liberal. You’re well informed. You think conservatives are narrow-minded. You can’t understand why working-class Americans vote Republican. You figure they’re being duped. You’re wrong."

An impartial review by William Saletan (a rarity!) -- go forth and read, and please share your thoughts on the topic.

[2] "Does It Matter Whether God Exists?" by Professor Gary Gutting supports Ranger's recent contention that God just might not save you. (Remember, this blog is published from South Georgia, basically, so one bumps into the topic of salvation and fetus's on billboards on a weekly basis.)

This might not be because God is a trickster or missed you in formation, but because his valuations outstrip your abilities to comprehend them: "
God may have to allow us to be deceived to prevent even greater evils." Or maybe, he's not really St. Anselm's ideal, and God is not really the greatest thing you can imagine.

Since most people believe in hopes of avoiding total annihilation, that persistence into oblivion "depends on there being a God who is good enough to desire our salvation and powerful enough to achieve it."
Oh, and the fact that you're deemed important enough that the hereafter needs your presence.

-- politico-military matters coming soon -- editrix.]

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Blogger Ron Krumpos said...

Jonathan Haidt's new book is so broad in its scope that I can only comment on one aspect: the relationship between conscience and morality. He says that political (secular) and religious views of morality frequently divide people. Many of us may have both. In my free ebook on comparative mysticism, "the greatest achievement in life," is a chapter called "Duel of the dual." Here are four paragraphs from it:

The Penguin Dictionary of Psychology defines conscience as “a reasonably coherent set of internalized moral principals that provides evaluations of right and wrong with regard to acts either performed or contemplated. Historically, theistic views aligned conscience with the voice of God and hence regarded it as innate. The contemporary view is that the prohibitions and obligations of conscience are learned."

The Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion lists some interesting historical observations on the word. Socrates said that conscience was the inner warning voice of God. Among Stoics it was a divine spark in man. Throughout the Middle Ages, conscience, synderesis in Greek, was universally binding rules of conduct. Religious interpretations later changed in psychiatry.

Sigmund Freud had coined a new term for conscience; he called it “superego.” This was self-imposed standards of behavior we learned from parents and our community, rather than from a divine source. People who transgressed those rules felt guilt. Carl Jung, Freud’s famous contemporary, said that conscience was an archetype of a “collective unconscious”; content from society is learned later. Most religions still view conscience as the foundation of morality.

Perhaps conscience can be viewed as a double-pane window, with the self in between. On one side, it looks toward ego and free will to obey community’s laws. On the other side, it is toward the soul and divine will to follow universal law. They often converge to dictate the same, or a similar, course of conduct…and sometimes not. The moral dilemma is when these two views conflict.

Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 12:48:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thank you for adding to the dialog, Ron.

The moral dilemma is when these two views conflict. As you both suggest, this is the crux of the biscuit.

Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 3:52:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ron Krumpos said...

Lisa, on your last post about being saved by God, a story:

After Hurricane Katrina hit, an elderly man was alone in his home near the levees. His neighbor pulled up in a truck and shouted "Hurry! Get in! We have to get out of here." The old man responded "Don't worry. God will save me."

The levees broke and water rushed into his house. Moving up to the second floor, the man opened his window to see a Coast Guard boat just outside. The sailor said, "Give me your hand, we will take you with us." The aged man replied "Don't worry. God will save me."

The waters continued to rise and the man had to stand on his roof. Just then a National Guard helicopter hovered overhead and dropped a rope ladder. The airman yelled, "Grab ahold. We will lift you up." Again, the oldster answered "Don't worry. God will save me."

Finally, the aged gentleman drowned. When he got to heaven he asked God, "Why didn't you save me?" God said, in a deep yet calm voice, "I sent you a truck, a boat and a helicopter. What more did you want?"

Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 7:05:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

Hi Lisa,

Going to and from work each day, I pass through a farm area where hundreds of sheep go about their business.

Having heard the sheeple insult used against humans, I thought I might gain insights into why Americans seem to choose either wearing chains or holding whips. I think either behavior is unworthy of a human.

So I watched the sheep. They weren't robbing each other, killing each other, or fucking each other over for a percentage. They seemed to be, well, just munching grass. Maybe they were thinking about other things too:

"Yo Carl, check out that wooly little number over there. I'd hit that!"


Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 7:35:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I admire your keen insight into animal thinking. They always look so placid ... you'd never know what designs were happening in their wooly little heads :)


An oldie but a goodie. Discretion is the thing, no?

Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 10:15:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Have you ever heard of a Judas goat?

Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 6:06:00 PM GMT-5  

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