Comments

  • Why do people need religious beliefs and ideas?

    It is interesting that one of your ancestors was an archbishop who was friendly with Madame Blavatsky. I have read some of her writings and also, another writer called Alice Bailey. I did attend a few lectures at The Theosophy Society centre near Baker Street in London.

    I am interested to know how you think the discussion between you relative and Blavatsky may have been focused in relation to Christianity. I have often wondered whether the basic understanding of reality of early Christianity may have been more in line with Eastern metaphysics. This does appear to be particularly true of the ideas in the Gnostic gospels, which were excluded. However, I have wondered many times if part of the way ideas about Christianity don't work for many is because they are being viewed through a Western picture of metaphysics.
  • Why do people need religious beliefs and ideas?

    One aspect which I think is important to consider is the whole way in which Christianity developed as a mainstream religion and may have, at many times, have not really expressed the whole message which Christ taught. I am speaking of the whole ideal of compassion for the downtrodden and poor. In addition, so much of what Christ taught may have been lost in the way the Bible was put together. A lot of the teachings which were established were based on the ideas developed by Paul. Another underlying tension in the development of the Christian tradition was the conflicts over Gnostic thinking, and the role of teachers, especially Origen, in deciding what writings were put into the New Testament, and this is critical for thinking about how the way Christian thought developed.
  • Do We Need Therapy? Psychology and the Problem of Human Suffering: What Works and What Doesn't?

    I think that part of the problem is that many people have not been socialised to see the importance of getting an act together as an individual task. For many, ideas of how one can achieve a fulfilled life is connected to belonging and being immersed in a family or group. It is such a strong idea perpetuate in religion and education. Being a loner is often seen as odd, whereas now many have no choice to follow that path. Personally, I grew up as an only child, so I was always used to my own company but for people who have always been with others at most times, if they are forced to spend so much time in lockdown alone it is likely to be an extreme challenge. I have definitely heard that telephone support lines have been almost bombarded and, I am not surprised.
  • On Having A Particular Physical Body? The Implications for Our Philosophical Understanding.

    You speak of behaviour traits as being inherited, and one idea which I came across in biology is that generally it has been maintained that only 2 strands of DNA are active and the rest is junk DNA, but now it is thought that this 'junk' may contain potential for understanding psychological characteristics. I do think that it is mainly speculation by some biologists, but if it shown to be true through evidence it would have profound implications for the biological basis of behavioural characteristics.
  • On Having A Particular Physical Body? The Implications for Our Philosophical Understanding.

    I think that many, including Jung, have interpreted the resurrection in this way, although most people who adhere to mainstream Christianity believe firmly that the physical body of Jesus was resurrected. Related to this, is the whole idea of the eucharist as the body of Christ in communion. For some Christians, this is seen as symbolic but I know that in Catholicism it is seen as literal, as the mystery of transubstantiation. In other words, when taking the bread and wine, it is believed that one is really eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ.
  • On Having A Particular Physical Body? The Implications for Our Philosophical Understanding.

    It is hard to know to what extent we are determined and how much of a role we have in determining our lives. It seems to me that some people get a better chance than others, because they experience more advantages physically and socially.
  • On Having A Particular Physical Body? The Implications for Our Philosophical Understanding.

    What you are saying is interesting. I am wondering how you see the physical and intellectual intertwined? What role does body play, and where does mind and thought come into this, especially the wish to have certain things demonstrated?
  • Refutational Literary Historical Evidence of the Virgin Conception of Jesus Christ

    I do think that there is a difference between the psychology of the elite and the mass of humanity, in terms of experience and the wish to preserve certain ideas, and to use these ideas politically. However, even that is a blurry continuum, and it is hard to know how this is distinguished, or on what basis. Is it about power, wealth or education?

    I am not sure who benefits from certain religious beliefs now. It may be so different from the structure from which those from which the ideas protected in the days of early Christianity. Do those ideas protect those who are in power, or those who are comforted by those beliefs? With such ideas as the virgin birth, I do think that such ideas probably comfort a whole variety of people, probably those who are so caught up in the web of belief and faith, that they would probably not dare to question. Many have not been taught such ideas because they have not been brought up with such beliefs but it is not a clear distinction between the mass acceptance of such ideas and a minority rejecting. We are in a very complicated time of a whole spectrum of thoughts throughout the world.
  • What got you into this?

    I would say that it was the whole struggle with life on a daily basis. Even now, I even struggle sometimes with even replying to the comments. Life seems to be so difficult, with so many complex questions and conflicts. It may be that others don't struggle with angst as I do, and even though I do enjoy philosophy, the starting point is pain and conflict.
  • Why do people need religious beliefs and ideas?

    I do believe that philosophy is the absolute adventure, beyond material and all other gains. We may stand back in trepidation, clinging on to what we have, for better or worse, but it brings us to the abyss of all possibilities. It can be seen as the cliff edge in front of us, looking out into the precipice below.
  • Do We Need Therapy? Psychology and the Problem of Human Suffering: What Works and What Doesn't?

    I do hold onto what's inside, and I do keep in touch with friends, even though I have not been able to meet up with people for a year. I do wonder how some people are coping. I have experience of working in mental health care before the pandemic started, and I do wonder how some of the people who were the service users are coping.

    I think that this is a critical time for many, but perhaps it was an inevitable consequence of the way society was heading. I probably can cope with time alone more than many others can. It is a challenge for myself, and I cannot even begin to imagine how much of a challenge this can be for some who are not used to being alone at all. So, we might be speaking about the whole therapy of knowing oneself, as isolated individuals and perhaps that is the quest we must face. It is the time of knowing oneself as an individual being, in the full existential sense.

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  • Do We Need Therapy? Psychology and the Problem of Human Suffering: What Works and What Doesn't?

    I think that social conditions are also important. Personally, I live with about 10 to 12 people in one house, in London, so that all the rules of social distancing are absurd. There are so many people living in the house in which I am renting, and I don't even know all of their names. I do think that social and sociological questions are an underlying factor. I also think that we are living in such a way that we are almost considered as mere numbers and it is so difficult to find any cohesive sense of personal identity as we become part of the mass. Perhaps, my biggest sense of identity is having a voice on this site because in the world at large, I feel that I count for absolutely nothing.
  • On Having A Particular Physical Body? The Implications for Our Philosophical Understanding.


    To some extent we are stuck with our bodies and their changing nature. We can clothe them and modify them to some extent. They can enable us to achieve a certain amount of identity and style.Personally, I am rather attracted to punk, but in the original shabby sense of fashion rather than designer punk. But I do believe in a way, our bodies give us so much limitation in expressing who we are and how we would like to be perceived, sexually and artistically.
  • Why do people need religious beliefs and ideas?

    I think that you are pointing to an important question in asking what it means to be human. The whole question of conformism, mysticism and the whole question of truth emerge in this context.
  • Do We Need Therapy? Psychology and the Problem of Human Suffering: What Works and What Doesn't?

    I do think that our problems probably stem from our parents. Certainly, when I have been in therapy I have felt that I was dealing with a whole spectrum of problems in my own parents' thinking and philosophy. I have worked on these issues, but as it is, most of our parents still remain oblivious, and perhaps the views and thinking of our parents and past generations impact on our lives so much. I am not saying that we are in the position of supreme truth, but we are left to try to pick up the pieces, in deconstructing pictures of reality and demystifying ethical and social values.
  • Refutational Literary Historical Evidence of the Virgin Conception of Jesus Christ

    One aspect which I think is worth you considering is how this connects to your whole philosophy of egoism. The needs of those in power over others is probably different from those of the individual. It is hard to know the awareness of the individuals, even the elite. How much was conscious? Perhaps we are going beyond the mythical at this point. But, sometimes the intention or motivations may need to be disentangled from mythic understanding of reality.
  • Refutational Literary Historical Evidence of the Virgin Conception of Jesus Christ

    I do not have any problems with the idea of Jesus being born through a sexual act. What I wonder about is why is this so significant for people? If Jesus's message is the main aspect of Christianity, I do not see why it has to be based on belief in magic. Of course, there is so much more to this, such as miracles and the resurrection. These are much more complex than the idea of the virgin birth of Jesus, but it does seem that for some people they all come together in a whole perspective on reality.
  • Is being attracted to a certain race Racism?
    I just read the article you referred to in the Metro, but it is more complex than this. Obviously, how we speak about preference matters. Language about stereotypes, women, men and bodies can be obnoxious, especially in popular culture.

    It may be the case that to say that one prefers black women can be construed as racist, depending on the way it is said or in the context.But, of course, there was a whole history of white people, mostly, objecting to mixed marriage, which was problematic, especially for two people in love. I do believe that we need to be mindful of language, but of course we are only responsible for what we say individually, and to try to outlaw certain expression could almost be seen as going back to the the idea of the moral right, except from a different angle.
  • Refutational Literary Historical Evidence of the Virgin Conception of Jesus Christ

    I was going to respond to your previous thread but as this is your more revised thinking I am doing it here. Also, I can also say that I was brought to to believe in the virgin birth as a concrete fact. I don't believe it now, but I am aware that if was to say that to some people they would be deeply offended or angry as if I was committing blasphemy. I would be perceived as extremely sinful.

    But going back to the whole question of research on early Christianity, it is so difficult to find the most reliable thinking as so much has been written. For some Christians, the Gospels are taken as the main source. I see that as problematic, because of the factors within the Church contribution to that. Also, there are so many people from the last century and this one coming up with certain ideas which may not based on that much evidence. Personally, I try to look at texts and their sources, and even the background of the author. When information is on the internet, I am not sure that can be done so well. I have read a fair amount but don't have access to various books I have read because libraries are not open and, I had books which I don't have any longer because I have moved a few times.

    Saying that, I have read on the topic of early Christianity mainly in connection with research on Carl Jung, who was extremely interested in Gnostic ideas. I was familiar with the name of Valentinus you referred to. I was also familiar with the idea of Sophia, representing wisdom.One particular aspect arising within Christianity is the whole way in which the writer known as 'Paul' seems to have played a key role in the development of Christianity. In Paul's writings there was a whole emphasis on the idea of striving for perfection. This is important in connection with Gnostic beliefs, because the Gnostics were world rejecting. They had negative beliefs about the body and sexuality.

    The idea of the virgin birth probably needs to be seen in connection with a worldview which sees sexuality and the body in a negative way. Apart from that, when you look at symbolism in the Bible, it does seem that so much of this may be derived from other traditions, especially Egyptian ideas.
  • Is being attracted to a certain race Racism?

    I think that seeing who one is sexually attracted to in terms as being race and as possible racism would be taking political correctness to the ridiculous.We have seen centuries of people being criticised for whether they are attracted to the opposite sex or their own. If people began criticising on the basis of attraction in such a way and making it political it would be like a form of thought policing, because taken to the extreme it could create a new taboo of unacceptably.
  • Do We Need Therapy? Psychology and the Problem of Human Suffering: What Works and What Doesn't?

    Do you think that the reason why people have such an extended adolescence is because they never reach adulthood? Also, we could ask what does adulthood mean, and is about being independent responsibility?
  • Time and Deeds

    My understanding is that there is so much uncertainty about the person known as Jesus because the Gospels were written a long time after Jesus's death. There is also so much lack of clarity about the authors themselves.

    In addition, we have to consider the whole process of what was selected to be put into the Bible and what was excluded. There was so much tension surrounding the Gnostics and, we now know of the Gnostic gospels after they were discovered. One figure who I believe was of central importance was Origen. I haven't read that much about him, but I did come across the idea that even though he was part of the mainstream Church, he may have had some affiliation with Gnostic thinking.
  • On Having A Particular Physical Body? The Implications for Our Philosophical Understanding.

    I think that could explain why I have poor self esteem in groups. I am only about 5 ft. When I was 18 people used to often think I was about 12 or 13. I am also very poorly coordinated and atrocious at sport, although I am not interested in sports, even watching them. Perhaps that is why I became so interested in philosophy, art and literature. It is interesting to think about how the way we look affects the paths we follow in life.

    Of course, we do have choices about how we present ourselves, especially clothes, and one book which I have read is Erving Goffman's, ' The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life,' and that looks at the whole social management of personal identity. I also read quite a lot on the sociology of deviance, which looks at the way the way the construction of deviant identities are created. Howard Becker's book, 'Outsiders' looks at the whole process of labelling and how people are viewed as deviant, and thereby, become deviants.
  • On Having A Particular Physical Body? The Implications for Our Philosophical Understanding.

    I do believe that our whole experience of the body affects the whole question of whether we are happy or not. The way we are perceived, as well as our health affects our quality of life, and I think that they are probably bound up together, as evident in depression. But, of course, it is complex because in some cases it goes in the opposite direction and people can go into manic flight, including feelings of elation, when facing negative experiences. This just shows how complicated mind and body are.
  • On Having A Particular Physical Body? The Implications for Our Philosophical Understanding.

    Thanks for clarifying Levinas's idea of face to face. It sounds interesting, the whole relationship with vulnerability, and the enemy.

    The whole experience of having a particular body in daily life is one which is interesting, especially your own reflection of the experience of being a black, large and athletic. It is so different from my own as I am rather short, white and not the slightest bit athletic. People push their way past me in queues and I often have to ask people to reach items for me on the top shelves in shops. I do think that the whole experience of our size does affect our identity.

    When I was working, I was aware of the way in which race affects interaction. Most of the staff I have was working with in mental health care care were black. I am also aware of the way that you are not religious and I can imagine that must affect you because I had the experience of many black Christians preaching their Christian beliefs to me, rather forcefully sometimes. Of course, I am sure that there are many black people who are not religious at all, but I am sure that you meet a lot of extremely religious individuals from your own culture.

    I like the idea of 'bodies entwined ecologically', because it does seem grounding.
  • On Having A Particular Physical Body? The Implications for Our Philosophical Understanding.

    The whole way in which images in the media affect us is a fascinating one.The whole way we perceive ourselves as ugly or attractive does affect us so deeply. It is becoming an increasing area for men too, not just women. One associated aspect is the one of weight, especially in the development of eating disorders.
  • Why do people need religious beliefs and ideas?

    It seems awful that you had a philosophy tutor who wished you to 'parrot' what was taught. It seems to defeat the whole purpose of studying philosophy. I don't think I ever had a tutor say that to me in any subject I studied.

    I have read both Alan Watts and Krishnamurti and find them both inspirational. Krishnamurti is particularly interesting in the way so much was projected upon him as an expectation that he was to become a world spiritual teacher. He had to deconstruct that myth in itself and then he did become a renouned spiritual writer, but on his own terms.
  • On Having A Particular Physical Body? The Implications for Our Philosophical Understanding.

    I just read your links and found the one about Julia Kristeva"s ideas on horror very interesting because I could relate to that based on my experience of working in nursing care. I have worked in mental health but while training in nursing I did placements in a general nursing and in some settings involving physical health problems. I found these extremely difficult and I think that this was probably due to coping with the gore and horror. I can cope with these in fiction but being expected to see them in reality are two separate matters.

    I did a placement in a ward of deep wound surgery and I struggled to get up and face going each day. I have seen a fair amount in psychiatric care as well, including a lot of the physical wounds of self harm. Surprisingly, I never actually saw a corpse, and I am thankful for at the present time I have not. However, a few settings I have been in there has been a whole sense that death which seemed to pervade the whole atmosphere.

    The mention of the whole boundary of self and other developing in childhood is one that I find fascinating. The idea of narcissism is a whole complex one, and one which is discussed within the psychoanalytic literature on personality disorders. One idea is the whole idea 'thick and thin skin narcissism' in which the person might have little concern for others perception of him or her in some respects, but in certain respects have heightened sensitivity and capacity to become offended or wounded so easily. The whole issue of sensitivity is, of course, one that affects all of us in ways and it is this is so relevant to the topic because we can become wounded by others to the extent of it affecting self esteem and self image.
  • Why do people need religious beliefs and ideas?

    I am still reading 'The Zhuangzi'. I can see why it is considered as a literary classic. I might have finished it by now if it wasn't in such tiny print on my phone, but it is perhaps best to absorb a book like this slowly, giving time for reflection.

    Regarding your post, I do agree that questions about religion are connected to being human. I have always wondered about religious and philosophical ideas. I was brought up as a Catholic but have, as you may have come across in my posts, questioned those beliefs. It became so intense at one stage and I used to even take caffeine tablets to try to gain the greatest clarity of thought. I was really wrestling with the whole question of understanding how to view reality. This was partly to try to understand my own precognitive experiences initially, but it ended up with me questioning the whole basis of my Catholic faith.

    However, I do think about questions of religious beliefs a lot and do have affinity with esoteric philosophy. It does seem that there is so much time for thinking and reflection on the deep questions in the time of lockdowns.
  • Why do people need religious beliefs and ideas?

    You referred to some interesting ideas in your recent posts. You spoke of St John of the Cross, but I did read his book, 'The Dark Night of the Soul' a couple of years ago. One book which I have, but haven't got around to reading is, 'My Imitation of Christ,' by TA Kempis. I became interested that after reading about it in an interview with Richard Butler of The Psychedelic Furs, because it inspired a track they wrote called, 'The Imitation of Christ'. Also, The Temenous Academy looks interesting. I am familiar with the writings of Kathleen Raine on William Blake, but had not heard of this academy.

    One idea you mentioned was the whole idea of the lower and higher aspect of the self and this is something I have wondered about, partly in relation to Jung's idea of the shadow. However, he was a bit ambiguous about this in his writings. In some places he talks about the distinction but he also says that we should try to integrate parts which have been relegated to the shadow. However, I do find the idea of a division between the lower and higher self useful, although it is probably not absolute. One other idea, probably linked to the higher self is the idea of the daimon, which I believe has a history going back to the Greeks. I find this concept very useful and perhaps it can be developed through meditative practice.
  • On Having A Particular Physical Body? The Implications for Our Philosophical Understanding.

    It appears that you have done a lot in this area, so thank you for pointing me in the direction of important writers on this topic. I am aware, to some extent, of Shopenhauer and Nietzsche's perspective but I will try to read these in a bit more detail. I have a copy of Simone de Beauvoir's 'The Second Sex', so I can read some of it.

    It seems to me that part of the question is connected with bodies in relation to others. You mentioned about face to face communication and this involves a direct impact of awareness of the body in communication. The sense of sameness or otherness arises in connection with awareness of gender, race, age and other aspects of the body which are apparent through appearances.

    Definitely, the whole area of phenomenology comes into play because one's physiology affects perception and consciousness. @Bitter Crank referred to the whole way in which eyesight difficulties play. Personally, I am a bit of an insomniac and this affects me in the day, because it often means that I my brain feels tired to cloudy which has an impact on my thinking. Also, when I am lying in bed unable to sleep, I am aware of how I go into overdrive of thinking, and sometimes in a negative way. Here, there is probably some kind of feedback loop between physiology and thought processes. Also, mindfulness comes into the whole picture because we are able to observe our own physical sensations, emotions and thoughts.
  • On Having A Particular Physical Body? The Implications for Our Philosophical Understanding.

    Thanks for the link. I will explore further tomorrow, to postpone any real headaches, before bedtime. The philosophical headache could even become a topic.
  • On Having A Particular Physical Body? The Implications for Our Philosophical Understanding.

    I think that the idea of intimacy and disclosure is becoming an increasingly unusual idea, as we move into the information age. We are becoming used to being able to access personal details as aspects of statistics. I do believe that something is being lost, and this is connected to the way we exist as persons. All the data collected does not add up to the meaning of personal identity. We can look at the facts, but that tells us nothing about what it means to be that person. Doctors may measure, weigh, check the body mass and do other physical tests, but none of this tells us anything about the human being, which reaches out to experience and explore meaning and ask philosophical questions.
  • On Having A Particular Physical Body? The Implications for Our Philosophical Understanding.

    I have looked at your link on DH Lawrence , and thank you for providing this. I do think that novelists and other creative writers can provide us with insights. These may become lost in philosophy, in the attempt to credit reason above all other ways of understanding human experiences.
  • Why do people need religious beliefs and ideas?

    Perhaps that sums up the situation. When I tell friends that I am spending time reading and writing on a philosophy forum, some of the responses suggest that such an interest is ridiculous. I have even had people suggest to me that philosophy is a complete waste of time and that practical matters, such as cleaning, are far more important, but I haven't given up the philosophical quest.
  • On Having A Particular Physical Body? The Implications for Our Philosophical Understanding.

    I think that you are correct to identify the idea of masks, as most of us function on the level of personas. Socially, we may put ourselves in grave danger if we did otherwise. However, on a personal level, we know ourselves so much more intimately. I think that this level of knowing is important, and perhaps, in our most intimate relationships this can be explored further.
  • Beautiful Things

    I might be a bit of a romantic philosopher but I feel positive about what has been lost. Perhaps I grew up listening to too much music by INXS and the Doors, but I came to the conclusion that instincts are best sublimated in the form of artistic creativity. I am unsure of ideas such as hate and honour, having some experience of them, but trying to go beyond attachments. Ultimately, I see creativity as the main point which stands out beyond instincts and social goals, but I am not sure if I could justify this philosophically.
  • Beautiful Things

    Yes, I think that you have a point. We can perceive beauty and admire it but perhaps stand back in awe. Perhaps the idea of desire, especially in the realm of sexuality, creates a problem in the way we can see it as addressing our own physical pleasures. A detached sense of beauty may exist as a form of inspiration.
  • The problem of evil

    Perhaps I am the wrong person to be responding to your post, but I am writing from the perspective of being brought up to believe as a theist. I am outside of this, but not to the point of being a complete atheist, but as one trying to view from the widest panorama.

    As far as I can see, people who believe fall into two main categories. There are those who see evil as a force against evil, as Satan. Alternatively, you have those who see evil as an absence of good.

    These conflicting perspectives seem to be apparent within Christianity, incorporated with an emphasis on forgiving, as expressed in the teachings of Jesus. As far as I can see, this emphasis seems to be a way of casting following the way of evil into the past, or of not casting the blame upon the people who have gone in that direction. The moral evil referred to here seems to be connected to the lower aspects of human nature and the emphasis on self over others.

    I am aware that my answer is only a snapshot, and that many others may go forward to more detailed analysis.
  • On Having A Particular Physical Body? The Implications for Our Philosophical Understanding.
    I definitely agree that the body comes with a whole load of limitations and I do wish for a whole philosophy of the body to be created. Perhaps this is the most essential area for philosophical exploration as it is the one we face daily and individually.