I want all the readers of this blog to understand why I have chosen to share all of these thoughts with the public. My object is clear. My father was taken from me at the age of 19 in a very unorthodox manner. While sitting at a stoplight at a busy intersection, a school bus went out of control and took his life, along with another man's. This event has propelled me into a spiritual journey that probably doesn't resemble that of most 24 year old men. My father was a VERY wise man and a spiritual man, always thinking of how he could help the less fortunate and cognizant of the amazing miracle that is life. From a very young age I was introduced to as much information as he could expose me to. He was not biased or judgmental in any of his teachings nor did he encourage that behavior. He grew up in a strict Nazarene family. Upon growing older, he had many unanswered questions. Straying from the dogma of his childhood religion, he began exploring the universe from as many angles as he could. Knowledge became his religion and drove him. He was incessantly pursuing ways to better himself and to relate to less fortunate individuals. I'm the luckiest boy in the world to have had him as a father, which is why I never want his life to have been in vain. I believe in his philosophy and I am dedicated to sharpening the essence of it so that I can one day clearly present it to the world. For now, this blog is a collection of previously written reflections, essays and sentiments of mine regarding education, philosophy, religion and the pursuit of self improvement. Please read with an open mind and feel free to post ANY comments... Thank you.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Are we believing correctly? 5-1-07 with a 3/18/09 reflection


It seems so late right now, in the time for humans at least. 2007 is the furthest point in the history of Homo sapiens. No humans have ever carried this race as far as we have. At this point in time, we are the most advanced animals to have ever occupied this planet. Our minds are the most advanced that this race has ever seen.
For any given year, a person can say each one of these statements and they would all be true. These are powerful statements when you think about the veracity of them. My mind knows now more about the history of thought than Socrates did. I have lived a few thousand years later and been open to thousands of years of knowledge, all served to me in a little bowl for me to digest in my youth alone. It didn’t take me half as long to know what I know as it took a man in the year 1800 because how fast the rate of learning has been able to increase. Society stresses education more than anything and will not stop at anything to make learning a little easier. Are we teaching our youth all the right things though? It is one thing to advance in the use of technology, but to advance in the application of moral principles is another. The latter is of the utmost importance, yet are we stressing it enough and in the right ways? Have our brains advanced enough?
Although my brain might not be much more advanced than a brain in 1800, it is surely much more advanced than a brain in 2000 B.C. I understand so many more things about the world in general than an old wise man (perhaps in the time of Descartes), and I am 21 years old. It makes sense to claim that I have thought about more advanced ideas at age 21 than Descartes did at 21. If I can make his ideas understood to me, it can follow that I have mastered the technique of meditating, as Descartes calls it, at a much younger age than he, for he was an older man when he wrote the meditations. Even if my brain wasn’t more advanced in philosophy at a younger age than Descartes, it surely is in modern science. Humans have achieved so many remarkable things that Descartes could have never imagined. These ideas are omnipresent in the environment that I live in. They are made custom to me—almost second nature. This is a learned second nature.
Perhaps this learned second nature is imprinted overtime somehow on DNA, or it is just such that toddlers learn at such a faster rate than adults that complex actions are learned entirely by the child. Perhaps our limitations for learning at a young age are endless. It is hard getting what I am thinking on paper. It just seems so simple that it becomes hard to identify with words, more simple than words can explain if that’s possible. But of course its possible. Humans are always coming up with words to make explaining situations more simple.
In the year 2,000 A.D. there was no word for heliocentric, because a heliocentric model of the universe didn’t even exist, (model which shows that the sun is at the center of the universe rather than the Earth as Aristotle believed). Of course the idea of the earth being the center of the universe was impossible to explain at one point in the history of humans. At one point, there weren’t even any concepts of planets. Now that concept is imbedded in us from the moment we are toddlers. This is why it is apparent that the rate of learning has increased exponentially from rate that humans have learned at for any given time in history. Maybe it would be better to describe it as the quality of learning. What children learn today and take for common knowledge is of better “quality” than what humans took for common knowledge in the not so distant past. Common knowledge is always changing.
My brain understands now at age 21 more than what a master of philosophy understood in, (well, so not to be presumptuous), at least 2,000 B.C., and quite possibly even much later than that, say, 1800 A.D.. For even if I do not know as much as now at age 21 in 2007 than a scholar of philosophy in the year 1800, what I do know now didn’t take me as long to learn. And still there are things that I know more about than that man because what he knew was all that was available for him to know.
My brain hurts. It’s like I have an idea I am trying to get out and can only get it out bit by bit. I am afraid to check over what I have written for fear that it doesn’t make sense. For all I really want is to make sense of this world. It seems to be an innate desire in me. I cannot live with an explanation if I think there might possibly be a better one. It is the driver of my inquisitiveness. It is why when I read Descartes and Socrates that it is spiritual to me, like the Bible appears to be spiritual to Christians. I can learn much from the Bible and be moved spiritually, but I believe it is that way for all knowledge that allows me to gain a better understanding of life. I feel as if I am gaining actual knowledge when I open my mind up to all different schools of thought, not just knowledge about my beliefs. This gaining of knowledge of beliefs appears to be actual knowledge because it has provided a comfortable way of living for a couple thousand years at least now, but religion has existed since the beginning of man. At each stage in our race it seems that we have had a different set of religious values. At each stage they were considered to be just as true as and evil to go against as people believe modern values to be now. It is merely a pattern in human history and fairly easy to define once a person thinks about it.
Socrates was killed for believing something that the majority of the people around him didn’t believe. His beliefs had not become apparent to the rest of society yet. They hadn’t thought about it. So people, just like cells, have a natural tendency to eliminate organisms that go against what we know. The human body attacks foreign cells unconditionally, even in cases such as transplants where the foreign cells are there to help the person live. The cells do not care though, they were programmed to eliminate anything that is unrecognizable. They do not know better; cells do not have the capacity to understand that they should not attack other cells that are transplanted into the body, and that doing so would essentially lead to their own demise.
This was the case for Jesus, I believe. It is ignorant for humans to kill our most fearless leaders, but throughout history we have found many ways to do so. Jesus was necessary in the development of the human race. However, so are for people of today such as Martin Luther King. Racism is now looked upon negatively, as it should, but it took a man like him to help us all realize that. All throughout the timeline of our race we have had those who figured something out that was essential for the furthering of our race, and almost systematically some person or group of people have found ways to kill that person. People become so threatened when something they have believed for so long and based their lives around becomes questioned. Why do we let ourselves behave like cells, which have no brain? Even the most outrageous of beliefs, such as racism, are enough to cause a person to kill another person. The Civil War is the perfect example.
These important people in history are all people who have not been given sufficient enough answers as to how we can get along, either with each other or independently. They have been compelled to find answers at any cost. It is what is essential to our race, and any race really. We need people like Christ, King, Washington, Lincoln, etc., to influence those of us who are not fortunate enough to have figured out life’s most important lessons. It is people like this that are why we have come as far as we have. The majority of society doesn’t concern themselves with these issues, so it makes sense that we need leaders to help us understand. It seems to me that a majority of people are concerned with satisfying the senses—what Plato would refer to as “lovers of sights and sounds”—and this mentality lends our minds to seek eternal sensual satisfaction, or heaven. This motive is so often why people are driven to succumb to a certain doctrine: eternal salvation. When this desire is so strong that it leads one to cause harm to another, it has gone too far. What can we do to facilitate an environment where people can satisfy that hunger without the expense of other human souls? The most effective leaders are those that make concepts seem easy for the rest of us to understand.
Galileo was a genius for his time. He took the idea of the Earth being the center of the universe, and in the face of the Catholic church, brought down more logic and common sense on the notion than Aristotelian believers could bear. It was too much for the Catholic church; they were so threatened by an idea that directly contradicted what they took to be “the word of God” that they stopped at nothing to conceal Galileo’s work. The Vatican actually made Galileo confess that his writings on a heliocentric universe were heresy and made him publicly announce his research to be nonsense. I cannot understand the level of ignorance it must take for any person or group of people to have to treat a person like Galileo the way that he was treated. He was a modern genius and is responsible for the knowledge we know have of the universe. It is not to say that if the Catholic religion succeeded in killing Galileo and burning all his books, (which they failed to do so, his work leaked out for other seekers of knowledge to discover), that no other man would have done so. It is important to realize though that at some point, someone would have introduced the idea that the sun was the center of our solar system and I don’t doubt that he/she would have been treated with the same disrespect as Galileo. It must take a very small person, or someone very deeply insecure with their beliefs, (although they might exhibit a strong sense of faith prima facie), to try and rid the world of such a man like Galileo, or Socrates, or Jesus.
When will people catch on? For there are certainly people like that today who are so threatened by others yearn for the purest form of truth who would stop at nothing to keep such “truth” from being introduced into the rest of the world, no matter how revolutionary it may be. The most revolutionary ideas have no doubt, more often than not, gone against popular belief. The problem is that these beliefs are the foundation on which many people’s whole lives rest, so naturally they will defend it. I am not saying I don’t understand literally why people act in such a way; I don’t understand how they don’t see what they are doing and the problems that way of thinking causes. Prime example of today: the war in the Middle East. The Muslims are so brain washed that they will stop at nothing to kill people in the name of Allah. Christians are not better in a sense. For thousands of years they have killed people in the name of Jesus. Do we really think we are wise enough to know enough about our creator and the purpose of our lives that we can justify killing other human beings in the name of it? I cannot think of a single more ignorant act. YES, strive to behave like Jesus perhaps, he was no doubt a great man, but is it really relevant that you have to believe he was the son of God and rose again? What difference does it make? Those two prerequisites to becoming a “Christian” are however the most important.
To me, it seems to be intuitively irrelevant. Why does one need to believe such things out of this world to know that acting like a Christian is the way to live? Or at least a good enough way to live that it deserves examining. It seems like those at the top of the religion, the leaders, would see that many more people might be attracted to the teachings of Jesus, in the same way that people are attracted to the teachings of any leader in our past, scientific or theological. There are not prerequisites for learning about any other subject matter except the matter that is most important. Why does one have to have beliefs going into the religion in order for others to accept them and want to teach him more? And if a person does not possess these beliefs, how can anyone rightly claim to know that this specific person is going to hell? Or that when the “Judgment Day” comes all those who don’t believe will perish?
I would say that religious beliefs, or spiritual beliefs, are those that are most central to the core of anyone, assuming a person possesses such beliefs, (those who do not are probably turned off by the short-comings of those who have so valiantly tried). So why would those beliefs, the most important beliefs a human can have, require the most amount of faith? Why would we let ourselves believe something so important, yet based on the least amount of knowledge available? And for that matter, why should we choose or have chosen for us our religion as a child? For a subject of that importance, why shouldn’t we wait until the end of our life to choose what we believe to make the most sense, after we have experienced many situations and analyzed our emotions and perceptions to the fullest? When we are children, we are the most ignorant. How can we possibly be expected to follow a religious doctrine in that state? That seems to be a terrible injustice to our youth. Any single other aspect of our lives requires us to have the MOST amount of information possible. In fact, those who act before they possess certain knowledge are considered by society to be buffoons. Even something as simple as buying a car requires a person to have hard knowledge—we just can’t have faith that the car will run properly or that the salesman will treat us fairly. If we had faith in everything, that is require minimal amounts of knowledge, our species would not be here today.
At some point in time there was the first deer to have ever recognized the smell of a hunter and associated it with danger. Either it came from within, or because it had seen another of its kind taken by this other animal, the hunter. If it came from within, it was created by something. For it had to have been created by something to exist prior to a sensory experience that had taken place that resulted in the learning of the habit. In other words, the deer would not have snorted at the humans because it was another mammal. There are plenty of other mammals a deer are around that it smells and is not afraid of.
So either this “instinct” to avoid humans existed before the first deer in the history of the universe saw a human, or it was learned by one deer at one point and every deer from that moment caught on… Deer could no longer afford to have faith that whatever it was it smelled was not going to hurt them. If I was to just have faith that everyone drove safely I would be dead a hundred times over. Having more faith than fact is detrimental to every species in every single situation I can think of. So why would we incorporate it so heavily into our religious beliefs? Look how detrimental it has been historically. I don’t need to be a historian to know that millions of people have been terminated because someone or some group of people thought they knew the right way to worship God. NO ONE KNOWS! The sooner we all accept that, the sooner our world will come to rest and allow this species to take things to a level no one has even began to comprehend yet. If all of us were working together, in unison, the limits of our species would be unfathomable.

3/18/09 Reflection
As I have skimmed over this, I have had some additional thoughts. Most of the time I just write as directed by my flow of consciousness, and often times I do not read over what I have written for quite sometime. I think it is important to reflect on the views of oneself because they should most certainly be changing with time. As life goes on, one experiences an enormous amount of sensual stimulation. This information should always be retained and learned as lessons. Any sense we experience that does not give us information is in essence useless. Our mind is trained to learn from the physical experiences our bodies go through. If we don’t, what information can our lives add to the soul of humanity? Our lives should be lived to experience the events that will allow our posterity to more easily tackle the imminent challenges of the future. If for generations our race were facing the same problems, we would have become extinct centuries ago.
So as I read my thoughts from a couple years ago, my views on faith should have at least some new perspectives. If my motive was not to improve upon the structure of those beliefs, there would be no reason to take on any new challenges—which are so crucial to the overall development of a species. If our goal is not to develop, then why do we care to exist at all? Who wants to live in a life where there is no improvement? Maybe heaven became too boring for god and he needed to challenge himself. Maybe before any physical matter existed, God’s mind was dreaming constantly, perfectly manipulating every situation to satisfy every desire. It could be possible heaven existed before we did and that our ideas of heaven are actually the opposite of God’s intentions. God could have dreamt up the idea to create physical matter to embody his mind in. In doing so, he forfeited the luxury of being able to will away his problems. Our current life is the outcome of those events, which would render our current beliefs of heaven antiquated. If that were true, then we would not want to go to heaven when we died. Instead we would want to live a life of sensual experiences in a corporeal state. We should just be lucky we are hear experiencing any of this life when the alternative would be to experience a constant dream state where nothing ever made sense. If life was a constant dream, there would never have to be a reason for anything that happened to us. The only stipulation that it has is that your mind can conceive it. Would be care what happened to us then? Would we ever feel like we were moving towards something that made more sense? Without any boundaries or base such as the laws in physics, we couldn’t ever really dream how it would feel to walk perfectly because no person ever existed to know what true walking felt like. In order for us to imagine something, it has to have happened in some way or another to us. If nothing ever happened physically, our dreams would be vague and uninteresting. The price we pay to have gravity is heavy, but with it our care-free mentality is vanquished and we must face real problems. It is a trade off.
The point is, we all need a little faith. I might have seemed in the piece above to believe no faith is necessary. However, some is critical. Too much can lead to a belief system based on too little facts or experiences. When our neighbor tells us an unbelievable story, often times we have to “see it to believe it”. For some reason, however, millions of people are willing to believe and literally interpret fables from millennia ago. Doesn’t this seem counter-intuitive? Shouldn’t we try to have the “best” faith possible? That is, the type of faith that is produced from a never-ending search for wisdom and self-efficacy. This search alone generates a feeling of awe from within our minds and an appreciation for the life we have. Upon truly taking this journey we become aware that it truly is impossible to fully understand the meaning of life. This awareness, this acknowledgment elicits on its own a sense of faith. For knowing that so much is still to be learned by our race, one should have faith that we will move forward with each generation; one should have faith that if he or she is truly devoted to the pursuit of a better model of living, that the universe will conspire to aid us in our journey and grant us that which will act as a catalyst in our mission. That is a faith where utility is concerned, what is best for all, where as other doctrines aim to satisfy the individual's desire to exist peacefully after death. Since God exists in all of us, wouldn't it be best for Him to do what is best for every human soul? I don't see how one could argue that point.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi there! This is your uncle Joseph Gleason. I just found your blog. I noticed something in your post which you may want to rethink.

    You said that Jesus "was no doubt a great man". But if you have read C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity", then you should know that it is not possible for Jesus to have merely been a "great man".

    There are only 3 options:

    Option #1) Jesus was Lunatic. He thought He was God, but He was mistaken. This is a mental error on the same level as believing you are a poached egg. Jesus was good-hearted, but He was certifiably insane.

    Option #2) Jesus was a Liar. He knew He wasn't God, but He claimed to be God anyway. This is such a monstrous lie that it makes Him more wicked than most people who have ever lived.

    Option #3) Jesus is Lord. Jesus is God, and He knows that He is God. When Jesus claimed to be God, He was telling the Truth.

    Jesus was Lord, or Lunatic, or Liar. Those are the only three options.

    Since Jesus was presented as the Lord of the entire Universe, it is not possible that Jesus was merely some "great man". Jesus did not leave that option available to us. He did not intend to.

  3. There is another thing in your post which you may want to consider revising. You said, "we would not want to go to heaven when we died. Instead we would want to live a life of sensual experiences in a corporeal state."

    You apparently are not considering the Christian view of Heaven. According to Scripture, Heaven *is* a place full of "sensual experiences in a corporeal state." For those of us who spend eternity with God in Heaven, we will have physical bodies, and we will be able to see, hear, smell, feel, and taste.

    Incorporeal ghosts floating around in the sky may be a common view of Heaven. But it is not the Christian view of Heaven.