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Showing posts with the label Philosophy

Ghosts?

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Whether or not I believe in ghosts depends on what's meant by "believe in" and "ghosts." And how I see myself, for that matter. I'll be talking about ghosts and why I think seances are a bad idea. Also, briefly, superstition and metaphysics.

I don't fear that an ancestral banshee might come to the new world and find me. Or think spirit photographers were selling pictures of ghosts.

If that's 'believing in ghosts,' then I don't. On the other hand, I'm not a materialist. I think part of me won't die, no matter what happens to my body....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Gnosticism

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Some folks act as if they think physical reality is bad and having a body is icky. The notion's 'Biblical,' sort of.

Galatians 5:19 through 21 call bad ideas like licentiousness, hatreds and idolatry "works of the flesh." With a little paraphrasing, I could claim that 1 Corinthians 3:3 says jealousy and rivalry are "of the flesh." Romans 8:3 mentions "sinful flesh."

Taking those verses, ignoring Genesis 1:31, Psalms 84:3, Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 and two millennia of Catholic teaching, and I might see loathing physical reality as an option. But not, I think, a reasonable one....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Materialism, Robots and Attitudes

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Robots are starting to look and act a lot like humans.

Wondering if robots can be people, or if humans are merely biological robots, involves assumptions about reality. I'll look at one of those assumptions in this post and why I believe there's more to me than chemicals.

Whether a robot could be a person is more of a philosophical question than a legal issue. So far. The question would be particularly interesting if a robot asked to be recognized as a person. Or disturbing, depending on how you look at it.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Spirit Photographs

God Doesn't Make Junk

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We live in a material world. I like it, a lot. Quite a few folks have felt the same way.
"You adorn the year with your bounty; your paths drip with fruitful rain.
"The meadows of the wilderness also drip; the hills are robed with joy." (Psalms 65:12-13) Some get overly impressed. Others apparently think it's icky.

Earnest folks have celebrated and condemned it. Not necessarily the same folks, and probably not at the same time. Not usually. That'd be a problem by itself.

Plato thought about the reality we live in, artists have been inspired by it.

That's given us a theory of forms, George Harrison's "Living in the Material World" and Madonna's "Like a Virgin" albums, and the "Material World" 1990s sitcom.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Space Aliens and Life's Ladder

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I'd be surprised if many folks took movies like "Earth vs. the Flying Saucers," "Invaders from Mars," and "Plan 9 from Outer Space," seriously: as something other than entertainment, anyway.

All of which has about as much to do with space exploration, astronomy, and SETI, as Keeping Up with the Kardashians does with family counseling.

I'll be talking about SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence; the Fermi paradox; and whatever else comes to mind — but first, the Copernican principle, which arguably sounds cooler than the mediocrity principle.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Christian Meditation in Contrast to "Mind-Emptying" Meditation

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My husband and I were watching the investigative reporting program 60 Minutes recently, and one of the segments had to do with Buddhist "mind-emptying" meditation. The reporting journalist told of how he'd decided to try to immerse himself in the practice as part of a week-long journalistic piece he was preparing, but that he'd not ever given it much thought and didn't expect much to come of it. 


Defying Reality

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Think about the last time you broke a rule (a big one,  not just ripping the tags off your pillows).  Were you burned, or did things turn out for the best?
 I did not simply break a rule here and there;  no, like every other human being, I continually break the most fundamental law of the universe without any conscious effort by refusing to accept reality. Instead of realizing my place in the universe, as one of God's creations, I put on masks and false personalities in a vain attempt to deny my very nature. In pride, I act like a queen at the centre my own little world.
According to Thomas Merton (Seeds ofContemplation), a frog or tree are holy simply because they are who they were created to be. On the other hand, I broke all laws of nature out of pride. Steeped in delusion, I clung to a false persona and refused to relax and accept the reality that I am not the centre of the universe.
The result? I was not simply burned. Oh no, I created an utterly miserable, guilt filled prison …