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“I personally think the liklihood that there is a "god" to be pretty slim.”

It depends on one’s definition of the concept of God.

“That's it - I'm just a big believer that a God worth believing in - as someone smarter than me once said - has a bit more going for him or her than the arguments that we make in her defense.”

I know every time I use the words her or him as a reference to God I get this feeling that I am doing what mark twain stated and that was God made man in his image and then man returned the favor.

“through the little chess pieces that are you and I seem to me,”

The Buddhists would say we are like a goose in a bottle. I.e. trapped in a bottle? We do have choices but we do not have the choice not to express ourselves. The closer those choices reflect love and divine intelligence the more we become a beneficial presence to the world and of course ourselves.

“a FAR more illustrative example of overthinking something to give it a significance, or meaning....when in fact it may have none at all.”

Dante’s portrait of a man with his head leaning on the palm of his hand is sitting in front of the gates of hell. The intellect is a double edge sword as it can be a great asset or a great liability. I suspect knowing the difference is one of the great challenges in life.

At one time in my life I did not believe in a god or an after life or any meaning to life. Religious dogma had almost made an atheist of me. When I started my research I fully expected to find this physical life is it. Period.

“when you consider the 50 people who were blown to bits in Iraq this morning”

Look at the variables involved in that incident and you will find variables that lack love and divine intelligence such as tribal loyalty, religious dogma, self-righteousness, selfishness, greed, arrogance, a god made in man’s image, and etc by all parties involved in that country foreign and domestic.

That is the journey of the soul replacing that unawareness with awareness of our infinite reality. I write these words not from any type of enlightenment but from my research.

Have any of you arm chair quarterbacks face death? I have three times. Survival after death can mean a great deal to those who have felt their motility slip away and lived to contemplate it's meaning. I am sorry that most people, including myself, have to find out this almost too late. Life after death to me is a wonderful frightening adventure almost like life itself. Those who say survival doesn't matter have never been in the trenches.
Joe Capp
ufomm

"Have any of you arm chair quarterbacks face death? Those who say survival doesn't matter have never been in the trenches."

I don't doubt that the ego wants to persist. But imagine a person - say, a Zen master - who has transcended the ego. Would he still want his ego to survive? Or would he find egoic survival unnecessary or even distasteful?

Admittedly, very few people achieve this state of enlightenment (and I'm certainly not one of them). But if we try to look at it from this perspective, survival of the ego perhaps seems less urgent.

“Would he still want his ego to survive? Or would he find egoic survival unnecessary or even distasteful?”

I believe at this time that enlightenment is just one realization of many that the soul has on its journey back to oneness. Enlightenment is not the end of the road but it is a signpost on the path to perfect love and divine intelligence.

If you mean rebirth then yes a Zen master would indeed I suspect find human survival distasteful. To most Buddhists rebirth is very distasteful.

Ask most confirmed Buddhists who or what is communicating through a medium years after they left this earth? You get some interesting responses.

Possibly relevant here is this well-known quote from Albert Einstein:

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us, "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest -- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.

This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.

When I say that sometimes I'm tired of being myself, I mean it in the sense suggested above - that this feeling of (egoic) separation can be "a kind of prison."

I don't recall experiencing this feeling when I was younger, so perhaps it has something to do with growing older.

“I don't recall experiencing this feeling when I was younger, so perhaps it has something to do with growing older.”

It appears to me that most men around the age of 50 begin to seek deeper into the meaning of life as materialism has played its hand and left most wanting.

As far as the Einstein quote I also used this quote in my rough indeed very rough manuscript. We all suffer to some degree or some depth of inner loneliness due to our perceived separation from this oneness, which is our true home.

Surely one can see even with technology we seek this oneness with all others with our cell phones, facebook, internet, and emails. Of course many seek it during meditation.

I was 49 when I started my search for a deeper meaning in life. It takes men a bit longer to begin the search, as the male ego is very powerful.

“Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”

Not sure I agree with this completely (compassion for all) but I suspect it is very rare. Jesus and Buddha appear to have attained this compassion for all living creatures.

Now the striving for such achievement is the journey of the soul. Without that striving or law of progress there is no journey. Now a phase of that journey is a very strong self-centered ego that lives in fear of losing its identity and often attempts to find this inner peace with selfish misguided desires.

I question those that have stated on here they are satisfied with their existing identity and could live in the infinite with this completely static identity. Consciousness is dynamic not static. What could pure awareness be aware of without a dynamic consciousness?

Ego as persona, persona as a tool, a measuring device to comparatively derive relationships was not in err, the same dualism can be made to divide transpersonal reality from the personal subjective which is a quantitative and critical assumption of valuation. In order to measure you need to pose a question and the context of the question is more important than the answer.
It is not replacing one illusion with another, perfection as an invariable, an authoritarian monarchy of reality,a passive force without struggle, heat... but rather an opportunity, a gift...the idea of transformation, not discarding the foundational basis of evolution toward greater complexity rather than simplicity, although they may be facets of a singularity, all have their place. How to balance and make use of the vehicle we are given may be a more practical use of it rather than wishful thinking by throwing it away....in a wistful contemplation of something we are not ready for but can strive for...

“Ego as persona, persona as a tool, a measuring device to comparatively derive relationships was not in err, the same dualism can be made to divide transpersonal reality from the personal subjective which is a quantitative and critical assumption of valuation”

And your point is?

Everyone have a break from existential theory and quantative thingymajig and go to you tube...The amazing Lyre bird of Australia- unseen footage. What a performer...can't decide if it's a hoax, though? Any ideas anyone?

It seems to be real. The bird and its vocal talents are mentioned on the PBS website.

I love the chainsaw and electric camera shutter imitations.

I'll try this again. The amazing bird seems to be real. He's mentioned on this PBS site:

http://www.pbs.org/lifeofbirds/songs/

TypePad's sudden refusal to allow HTML formatting in comments is starting to really tick me off. How many glitches can one system have?

Glad you enjoyed it , Michael. Really enjoy your blog. A lot of very interesting subjects and contributers.

Apparently, one of the lyre birds videos in youtube are fake, but this seems to be real (it was part of a BBC documentary):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjE0Kdfos4Y

I wonder how such foolish thoughts as this can continue to persist. The notion of personality as being constructs of events and external programming is rubbish. Only Van Gogh could paint a Van Gogh painting. Only Mozart could invent a Mozart symphony. Everybody has something to offer to the universe, and only people who are fully realized can begin to enjoy that process. If you have low self-esteem, the idea of personality deletion seems appealing because you don't understand what you're capable of (likewise, only Michael Prescott can write a Michael Prescott novel. Without the Michael Prescott aspect of the universe's personality, there shall be no more of his writing).

Only Van Gogh could paint a Van Gogh painting. Only Mozart could invent a Mozart symphony.... Likewise, only Michael Prescott can write a Michael Prescott novel.

I'd better enjoy this moment. This is the first time I have ever been mentioned in the same breath as Van Gogh and Mozart!

(It is also surely the last time.)

I wonder, though, if it's necessary for even Van Gogh or Mozart to persist in creating. Maybe it's enough simply to have created, or to have experienced, or to have existed.

I'm not saying the personality doesn't endure; there's a lot of evidence that it does. It's next to impossible to explain the cross correspondences, the R-101 case, the Bobby Newlove case, and many, many other examples without positing the continuation of the individual personality after death. (Those who want more info on any of those cases can use the Google search box in the left-hand margin of this blog.)

So yes, I think the personality does, in all likelihood, continue. And if it continues, there is probably a need for it to do so. And maybe, as Cyrus suggests, the need is simply to preserve a unique point of view. It may be just as simple as that.

William may be right in saying that sometimes we make this stuff too complicated by overthinking it.

If you have low self-esteem, the idea of personality deletion seems appealing

I'm not sure I agree with this particular observation. Einstein, for instance, seemed to find the idea of personality deletion appealing (see the quote in one of my earlier comments), and I don't think he had low self-esteem.

I think personality persists,whether we like it or not. When I was a child I stood up to the school bully(even though I was terrified)because I very definitely felt that 'last time here', so to speak, I chickened out... this impulse to go against the grain was very strong. Also, I have a vague memory of dying 'last time' lying on my back waiting to 'go' and thinking this very odd thought..."Why didn't I remember that I wasn't the body, I could have been so much braver, and now I'm going to discard it anyway. I know this simply sounds like an overactive imagination but to this day I can't understand where I got the courage (this time) to fight this guy who subsequently beat me..but I won respect. Subsequently, many times later in life, unfortunately the monkey has shown it's backside and hightailed it ! My true (yellow) personality has persisted...Damn ! next time I'll do it.

That's a great comment, Steve. Thanks.

I like the Confucian version of the Golden Rule:

Do not do to others things you wouldn't like done to you.

That makes much more sense to me than:
Do to others what you want done to you.


Example: Suppose I want strangers to come up to me and give me wet, sloppy kisses. The first form of the Golden Rule doesn't comment much; the second form suggests that I should give strangers wet, sloppy kisses.

Ergo I like the first form better.

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