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Posts Tagged ‘moral philosophy’

 

It is said religion is the opium for the masses. In Lotos-eaters Tennyson writes the effect of the lotos:

” Eating the Lotos day by day,

To watch the crisping ripples on the beach,

And tender curving lines of creamy spray;

To lend our hearts and spirits wholly

To the influence of mild-minded melancholy;

To muse and brood and live again in memory,…”

 

Poetic fancy of the poet however does not connect with reality as we know today. This is not how religion is practised.

The Scripture teaches us God is Love; good moslems similarly declare their Allah is compassionate. In that case what is the problem? Somewhere along the line prophets and their sayings are interpreted to mean entirely false. Whether God of the Jews or Allah of moslems religion has become synonymous with hate. In short religion has become the Achilles heel of mankind.

Through human understanding what can we know of love of God; or what is mercy? At least reason ought to teach us to try our best as human beings to demonstrate what love and compassion would mean. Would it not? In what way we can show holiness by some rituals? In India those who practice Jainism cover their mouth lest they swallow some little flies by mistake while yawning. However little do they see the millions of bacteria that float in the water they drink. It is impossible to match holiness of divine Being or be perfect in observing injunctions of prophets with regards to our cleanliness and diet. For the simple reason in a world of acid rain and tainted earth with various chemicals all our idea of cleanliness come with margin of error.

In Jonathan Swift’s immortal tale the central character Gulliver is brought to the land of Brobdingnag. It is written that he was repelled by the women of that land. They were monstrous in size compared to him. Their faces when magnified so much skin pores seemed to his scrutiny as moon craters! Matter of size brought about this change naturally. If we were to see as an eagle our eyes would require the size of an orange. To sum view of our world is limited by our human-ness. As a result our sense of beauty is affected; so must our understanding. How noble or mean is your God?

When Prophet Moses gave the Children of Israel the law, was it his understanding or that of God at fault?

Under the Law it was an eye for eye, a tooth for tooth. Shall we say under the Old Covenant the law represented a certain values but it was codified according to human understanding? It is of this St Paul writes to the Hebrews thus: ‘For the law made nothing perfect…(He.7:19) Instead It erected a screen between God and them. For instance during the Feast the Jews mistook the voice from heaven as thunder. (Jn.12:29) The Jewish nation lived by the law for a millennia or so and yet when God spoke, ‘I have both glorified it (name) and will glorify it again (vs.28)’ they understood it altogether in another sense.

Moses gave the law but with Jesus came the New Covenant. For Christians this New order supercedes the Old. Jesus brought grace and truth(Jn.1:17). When Jesus came to save the world he had a clear mandate. It went thus: turn the other cheek if one smites on your right cheek. He showed it in practice as well. Luke 9:51-56

Before he was to be crucified he wanted to visit Samaria. He sent an advance party to make arrangements and the people of Samaria refused them. When they told Jesus of their refusal John and James were furious and would have brought fire from heaven as Elias did. Jesus rebuked them saying, ‘they did not know what manner spirit they were of’. He did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. Jesus quietly led them to another village.

When I hear fellows casually use ‘Jihad’ to justify their criminal actions and mask foolish notion of global domination I can only say, their understanding is far off the mark. If they are misled, how much more foolish are their imams who preach hatred and violence as though it were a religious duty?

benny

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A Shadow Play

 

In the time of Emperor Wen a minor official in the Palace, Lai Chutang having retired from his office returned to his native village. By special permission he had retained his title meaning ‘Reflected Glory” which reminded all of his closeness to the Imperial person of the Emperor. As days passed his pride also increased. Once he slapped a villager who stepped on his shadow and let it be known then and there that he shall not tolerate any impertinence to his person or his dignity.

One night a burglar broke into his house. He jumped on to the terrace from a tall tree only to land squarely at the feet of Chutang who, as bad luck would have it, was awake. It was with great difficulty that he managed to escape. Next day the burglar was asked by his wife what happened to his face, which was black and blue. The man said that he stepped into darkness, which however had a life of its own. ”What’s more it carried the voice of Reflected Glory,” he added. How did you know that?”

I knew where I was going.”

How come that you are in pain and bruised all over?”

Going into was easy. It was getting out in that darkness, that nearly did me in. O dear not a word of this to any one.”

benny

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The human body has about 1,000 kinds of receptors, structures on the surface of cells, which let the body respond to a wide variety of chemical signals, like adrenaline. Some receptors are in the nose, tongue and eyes, and let us sense smells, tastes and light.
“They work as a gateway to the cell,” Robert Lefkowitz told a news conference in Stockholm by phone. “As a result they are crucial … to regulate almost every known physiological process with humans.”
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said it was long a mystery how cells interact with their environment and adapt to new situations, such as when they react to adrenaline by increasing blood pressure and making the heart beat faster.
Scientists suspected that cell surfaces had some type of receptor for hormones.
Using radioactivity, Robert Lefkowitz managed to unveil receptors including the receptor for adrenaline, and started to understand how it works.
Brian Kobilka and his team realized that there is a whole family of receptors that look alike — a family that is now called G-protein-coupled receptors.
In 2011,Brian Kobilka achieved another breakthrough when his team captured an image of the receptor for adrenaline at the moment when it is activated by a hormone and sends a signal into the cell. The academy called the image “a molecular masterpiece.”
Mark Downs, chief executive of Britain’s Society of Biology, said the critical role receptors play is now taking for granted.
“This groundbreaking work spanning genetics and biochemistry has laid the basis for much of our understanding of modern pharmacology as well as how cells in different parts of living organisms can react differently to external stimulation, such as light and smell, or the internal systems which control our bodies such as hormones,” Downs said in a statement.(AP news of Oct,10,2012/Karl Ritter,Louise Nordstrom)
For scientists creating new drugs this breakthrough holds tremendous interest. For a moral philosopher it may be in the manner cells react to external stimulation. Think of each individual as a cell. Cannot individuals like cells react to moral imperatives of Truth which is in an abstract plane? Biological imperatives of reproduction,- propagation of one’s kind, has an abstract counterpart in love. Truth loves its own kind and would see it accepted as natural as one breathes the air or winds down after a day’s work.
Each chromosome has its genetic material and so has a moral being the requirements of truth.
benny

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Aristotle(384-322B.C;)
Aristotle by birth and circumstances was marked for being a boon companion to the royalty. His father was the physician to the king. He had access to the court of King Philip of Macedon and naturally he would be asked when the time was ripe, to undertake the education of his son who later was known as Alexander the great. When he was seventeen he approached Plato to be admitted into his famous Academy. It marked a definite break from his roistering carefree life. Soon his independent spirit and inquisitive mind impressed Plato to refer him as the “mind” of the Academy.
After a seven year stint in Macedon as the tutor he returned to Athens to found the Lyceum which later would be known as the Peripatetic School.
Next he turned his attention to piece together all the learning of the past and present, under different categories and make them available to study for the future generations. In his book Organon he set down six treatises on logic and scientific reasoning. Deductive reasoning that he advocated would later be challenged by inductive approach that was based observation from results of many experiments. In the Metaphysics Aristotle explored the fundamental nature of reality and being, which is the foundation of philosophy.
Aristotle for all his breadth of knowledge and study would espouse an aristocratic point of view naturally imbibed by circumstances of his birth and circumstances.He averred that some are marked from birth for ruling and others for obeying. One would think herein lies the paradox of intellect. Your conscious mind argues impeccably but unconscious mind slips in a few home truths where your own experience and pet peeves half buried, give it an altogether twist.
He agreed with Plato that education should be in the control of the state.
At the age of sixty-one he entered the last phase of his life that began with the news of the death of his patron Alexander the Great. The Macedonian faction at home lost the power and Aristotle by association was vulnerable. He was denounced for piety and went into exile and chose Chalcis, his mother’s homeland where he died in the following year.
Aristotle is said to have written some on thousand manuscripts during his lifetime, unfortunately only a few of them are extant.
From the fifth to the fifteenth, Aristotle was regarded as the fountainhead of all knowledge. Dante considered him as the Master of those who know.’ Reaction came with the Renaissance and Francis Bacon. In whichever case past his admirers and detractors his impact is immeasurable and his synthesis of wisdom owe to his own keen faculties but in the way he spread them as coherent whole ever since at the disposal for all to profit and furtherance of human knowledge is his unique achievement.
benny

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(Aesop is here discussing with his friend about their past and Xeno the Cynic presses the story- teller closely about the discussion they had the day before.-b)
It was evident Xeno had given much thought to the last discussion he had with Aesop. “But you did not get equal chance. Neither did I.” Xeno explained in so many words about his past. He was the second son who merely replaced the one who died before. He said, “I knew I was not loved for what I am.” Controlling himself he added, “By the time my younger brothers came my parents were cured of their folly and they got their share, alright.” Suddenly Xeno fell silent.
“Yes, my friend,” Aesop explained, “there is so much ignorance and cruelty. Those who ought to have loved and cherished us merely failed in their duty. We came into this world naked and dispossessed already. It is the law of deprivation at work. We had no choice in the matter. Did we?” Xeno shook his head.
“It is random and an accident. Why make it worse by feeling sorry? The law of deprivation entitles us to another law.”
Xeno shot up his eyebrows.
“Yes. Law of Compensation.” Aesop said, “Whatever good comes your way you have earned it. How I came into the household of Iadmon was not how I went out.”
“You are still cash strapped,” Xeno asked, “Aren’t you?” “Yes,” Aesop said, “Making riches was not how I wished to be compensated.” Aesop realized life compensated him only in directions he sought to remedy his wants.
He told him a story to llustrate it. An Argive went in search of gold after hearing of a gold rush in the neighborhood. He came to the right spot all right. But he was too late. So many had before him panned gold from the rocks and so quickly too, and had exhausted the deposit. So he went on in dismay not knowing where. He stumbled upon a field strewn with bodies of men and horses. A bloody carnage the battlefield had witnessed and he was the only living person there. The Persian army lay dead in their rich apparel and armor before him. He picked as much gold plated helmets and body armor, not to mention swords with handles studded with precious jewels. He brought home a fortune! There was gold much more than he would have ever picked from panning. Was he wrong if he treated his find as compensation for his trouble? (Selected-The Life of Aesop-Ch:8. 9 )
note: Law of Deprivation and Law of Negation denote the same.

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Georgia Rep. Paul Broun said in videotaped remarks that evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory are “lies straight from the pit of hell” meant to convince people that they do not need a savior.
The Republican lawmaker made those comments during a speech Sept. 27 at a sportsman’s banquet at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell. Broun, a medical doctor, is running for re-election in November unopposed by Democrats.
“God’s word is true,” Broun said, according to a video posted on the church’s website. “I’ve come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”
The congressman has definite views about God and His role, just as a Republican congressman he has the agenda of his party. He shall strive diligently as true Republican for the unfair distribution of wealth where the poor have none to blame but themselves that they remain poor. On the other hand the rich holds all the initiative to corner the wealth of nation for their own will and pleasure. Perhaps he also implies God has set him to keep that inequality?
ii
Why should we need to be certain God exists or that God is dead?

What are the credentials of humans to speak of a divine Being, God, after-life or creation time or Big Bang?
We are holding a middle state unable to trace the largest circle except that one can imagine ;for that matter can we see the inside of an atom with our naked eye? Recently scientists were speaking of theory of something where the energy was borrowed instead of the conventional wisdom that energy is neither created nor destroyed. There is also a shift in our concept of the Big Bang that our universe was ‘seeded’ by dark matter to give it a beginning of sorts. Science shall indeed make great strides.Consequently our ideas also shall shift.
There would not be scientific enquiry had not man felt some inner compulsion to know the truth. Look at our physical being. We are subject to wear and tear of age and dissolution at death. It is the truth. This is what law of entropy speaks and it marks specific time. But at our atomic level there is no dissolution! Would that mean we are timeless at one end of of our being?Can one be true and the other a lie?
We are foolish to think we can think our way out since thinking of one idea can only be limited by another idea and so on. Creation of the earth by God, the concept of Big Bang followed by something else. It could go on. The wisest of us who think intellect is all there is to it are as misguided as those who think their body is above all.
As humans let us not think of writing a thesis when we are in the nursery here on earth. Because of circumstances of my birth and upbringing I see the key that holds my moral universe as God. My keen interest in history, literature arts and science do not in any manner cloud or diminish my faith. Since as a morally responsible person it is the oxygen so my art, architecture( I am an architect by profession), stories, writings all permeated by moral sense. The bottom line is that I am an individual. Also morally responsible.
I consider these controversies of God as merely fool’s business to avoid from doing what is needful.
Le us show ourselves as a good human being, as father, mother daughter,son,citizen rather than wasting our lives in useless arguments.
Let us instead get back to paying our mortgages and looking what shall we set on the dinner table for the day.
benny

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Evidence from recent brain-imaging experiments indicates that blind people’s brains harness the same visual cortex for getting their way around. Naturally question arises why use it if one is blind? “When blind people read Braille using touch, the sensory data is being sent to and processed in the visual cortex,” said Morton Heller, a psychologist who studies spatial cognition and blindness at Eastern Illinois University. “Using touch, they get a sense of space” — and the relative locations of the raised dots that from Braille letters — “that’s not visual, it’s just spatial.”
For blind people who are adept at echolocation, sound information routes through the visual cortex as well. Their brains use echoes to generate spatial maps, which are sometimes so detailed that they enable mountain biking, playing basket ball etc.,
Sighted people visualize the surrounding world by detecting borders between areas rich in different wavelengths of light, which we see as different colors. Gabias who is blind from birth builds pictures using his sense of touch, and by listening to the echoes of clicks of his tongue and taps of his cane as these sounds bounce off objects in his surroundings, a technique called echolocation.
“There’s plenty of imagery that goes on all the time in blind people,” he told Life’s Little Mysteries. “It just isn’t visual.”
Gabias is an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia who conducts research on perceptual and cognitive aspects of blindness. His personal and professional experience leads him to believe that the brains of blind people work around the lack of visual information, and find other ways to achieve the same, vitally important result: a detailed 3D map of space.
The brain region neuroscientists normally think of as the “visual” cortex, rather than being left to languish, plays a key role in the blind’s mental mapping process.
In sighted people, visual information first goes to the visual cortex, which is located in the occipital lobe at the back of the brain. From there, it goes to the parietal lobe, sometimes referred to as the “where system” because it generates awareness of a sensed object’s location. Next, the information is routed to the temporal lobe, also known as the “what system” because it identifies the object.(ack:LiveScience.com/Natalie Wolchover-Oct 3,’12)
Is this a compensatory mechanism by which the loss of sight in a person is given another option to be on spatial mode?
I remember the case of Louis Pasteur who lost power of speech after a stroke. He seems to have created new speech areas in his brain. I would think there is a compensatory mechanism in the universe that gives every life form and species ways to compensate their inadequacies. Call it Natural selection or evolutionary triggering mechanism.
ii
Earlier the bottom line was that energy is neither created nor destroyed. Now we know energy is borrowed and through the entire universe there is a kind of barter system going on by which law of Negation and Law of Compensation work at tandem to give all life forms their comeuppance and rewards. We sense from our own situation what are the possibilities and if we work out our hunches lo and behold we find new grounds in spite of frustrating failures. Alfred Adler was the first to describe this. In Natural World also we see this. How dogs, eagles dolphins make sense of the world are different and if such variety has helped each species we may think such compensation is not isolated or rare.
benny

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