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Church of Tez:-)
September 13, 2000
2:25 pm
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Frieda
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Tez! I miss you and your "logic"!!! I got lost in your and Hazza's quest for truth, but I trust you set it all straight. Here's a question I've pondered: If you are only completely confident that neither you nor anyone else can actually KNOW anything about God, aren't you always going to be looking for what wrong belief someone has? You cannot inspire faith, only doubt. Doesn't seem helpful. I like to be shaken up in what I believe, test and try it up against someone else's "truth." But adopting your beliefs as my own, which I know you don't condone, would leave me full of fear. (I guess because of the "I can't know")

How did we start talking about all this anyway?:-)

PS. I bet you hate the thread name, but I bet it makes you read this, and I hope, respond. Forgive me, please, if it offends...

September 13, 2000
6:16 pm
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Frieda.

You sure do know how to get a response. 🙂

Offended? No. I had a good belly laugh.

But I must say that if such a church existed, I would be the first person to be excommunicated, for attacking its beliefs and doctrines.

You asked, "If you are only completely confident that neither you nor anyone else can actually KNOW anything about God, aren't you always going to be looking for what wrong belief someone has?"

Yes, when another's belief system is offered as truth, I will analyse it for coherence. But this does not imply that I will find a logical fault in every belief system. Nor does it imply that if I find a faultless belief system, then that belief system is absolutely true.

So far, according to my limited logic, my belief system seems to hold up. But I am very far from believing that I possess 'absolute truth'. I possess only my own very subjective and relative truth.

You said, "You cannot inspire faith, only doubt. Doesn't seem helpful." Well I do have a strong faith. 🙂 I have the faith that everyone has the ability to rise above and over throw the indoctrinations of their childhood and discover anew what is their 'reason d'etre' without recourse to pat answers from others. I have faith in my belief that both ignorance and our perceived vulnerability is part and parcel of our earthly existence. I have faith in my belief that is is intended - by whatever 'Force' that brought about my 'awareness' of self and my environment - that I am in this state of perception of vulnerability and ignorance.

I can then make an assumption, based on logic, that such a 'Force' is altruistic and that consequently everything is in our best interests. Faith in this logically derived belief allows me the freedom to not have to know anything beyond doubt. It allows me to have an open mind to look at all belief systems; and there are many. My belief allows me to easily challenge my own beliefs, as well as others, without fear of being proven wrong. My belief allowed me to shed the heavy load of 'guilt' that was heaped on me as a child growing up in the Irish catholic church of the 50's. My belief frees me from the tyranny of social pressures to adhere and conform to another's way of thinking. My belief instills confidence in myself in that I believe that I have just as much or as little chance of being 'right' as the pope, his holiness, the Dalai Lama, Joseph Krishnamurti, or any other supposed holder of the truth.

Years of study of any one particular tradition or another guarantees nothing. The NDE experiences of Professor John Wren Lewis make fascinating reading. He experienced near death and lived to tell about it. He remembers nothing about it, but the "dazzling dark" that changed his life profoundly. He lives in the ever present 'now'. He has a profound sense of the creation of every instant independent of the previous one with each emanating from the "dazzling dark". He has attained, he claims without merit, that which monks, gurus, lamas and rishis strive for over decades of meditation practices. It seems that we all have the potential to discover our 'true natures' at any instant. Yet we don't!

This is a great starting point, is a long journey of discovering who it is that we think we really are. In the end there seem to me to be no absolutes in this existence; only faith in beliefs. Beliefs are just that; beliefs.

You also said, "But adopting your beliefs as my own, which I know you don't condone, would leave me full of fear." Yes!!!!
You are at the essence of why we feel that we have to know the truth. We fear the harm that might come to us from being on the 'wrong' track! As if there is a 'right' track! There are only 'tracks', and there are as many as there are people.

You asked, "How did we start talking about all this anyway?" The thread was started by 'whatshisname' called, "Does anyone has the answers" 🙂 We, who suffer insecurity, seem to seek the mythological golden engraved tablets handed down by that 'grey bearded old man in the sky' and containing absolute truth in order that we can preserve this thing called the 'self'. 🙂 Does the 'self', as we think we know it, really exist at all???

September 19, 2000
6:06 am
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Ha Ha frieda!!!
you know what - I can totally see your point! I have been taken to the edge and back in my life through anxiety disorder. Maybe what you are saying is true, I know for a part of my life it was.
Only doubting things, being able to "see through" things and people did make me feel very isolated.
BUT, and I think this may be along the lines of what Tez was saying.
The fear and anguish came ultimately from doubting not other people, but doubting myself. That was where the fear and pain came from.

Actually the realisation that you can not believe 100 per cent in anyone one or anything else is not really a negative thing. IF you come to a point where you can (like tez said)
a) have faith in yourself and b) have faith that ALL people CAN grow and things can always change just as much for good as bad, the that not being able to believe in anything totally ceases to be a fearful experience. It can give as much comfort as a devout believe in one resolute faith. You can have comfort from that fact that things are NOT concrete, NOT determined - the way that life is fluid and can go either way becomes a comfort.

For me, being agnosticly minded (?!) comforts me thus: When all is good, I keep the humility knowing that in the blink of an eye things can change, I know that the random nature of life has caused my place in life - strongly guided of course by my own actions. I Know that I can only control so much, the rest is t be accepted philosophically. In the bad times, I know that anything could happen to turn things around, I know that I must and can only focus on myself and I must take as much action as I can to change my circumstances. I will not be left there feeling forsaken! for there is no one that attribute fortune to, just an existentialist continuim of life that has no emotions regarding me whatsoever - probably!! So I can be proactive rather than reactive.
that to me has become a comfort - the acceptance part that we do not know.

it is very different to "not know" and be phased or scared by that. that is the wilderness.
but to "not know" and be accepting of that, I think is when angosticism ceases to be a fearful place and becomes just as comforting in way as a strong faith could be to others.

Yes to be "alone" and not likeit is scary - I was that way myself once - scared because I could not logically believe in anything yet not understanding or liking that conclusion.

Then I got a point where my mind still doubted, still questions, still was unable to believe in any omnipotence really, YET that was okay. that was beautiful in its ability to be potentially so much MORE than any limited faith could offer. It changed from "shit, I don't know how trees and butterflies even exist- where does this leave me?" to "shit, I don;t know how trees and butterflies exist, but that must be amazing whatever the answer, thank god (sic) I am part of it all"

maybe it is a "sit back and enjoy the ride" kind of lazy philosophy! I don't know.
But nothing really fits to me. I mean I look at evolution and I believe in that -YET it seems to be only part of the answer if you know what I mean. Afterall, some species seem to have "evolved" beyond what they would have needed to just to survive, almost like they CHOSE a certain direction rather than just happened to end up there!

Surely some of these wonderful creature, with camoflage, simbiotic relationships, etc etc etc, could have gotten by with less! where too are all the leftovers?

the only thing I guess that can be an antidote for the fear of "not knowing" is a hinger for infomation.
During the worst times of my panic attack and so on, I would watch Nature documentaries - just seeing the beauty of the natural kingdom gave me comfort.
I worshipped the end result, I guess, without presumming to find a source for all that and worship that instead.
the creation to me is paramount, the creator is a curious aside that I do not presume to be privy to!

So please, don't waste your time feeling any pathos for me on that score! I LOVE my view of the world, just being an observer can give great wonder and comfort. I get strength from knowing IT HAPPENED, I dont feel the need anymore to have a faith to tell me why. Sure I would love to know all things - I would LOVE to know the answer, but I will not manufacture it to fill a void, I won't back ANYTHING without good evidence - even then, you would have to proove the validity of the evidence - you are right the questioning means that you could NEVER belive in ANYTHING! but you can still have a feeling of peace. You don't have to have all the answers to feel at peace with it all.
I don't know how, when, why or what..but that is okay. It is beautiful anyway, it gets my grey matter excited and that is a great feeling!
peace all
Hazza

September 24, 2000
8:31 pm
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Hazza.

I can see where you are coming from and it's great.

It's sort of like being a fish swimming in the ocean talking by telepathic means to a fish in a fish tank in some person's home. The fish in the tank says to the fish in the ocean, " I am safe from predators. I have a guaranteed feed each day. I know my environment backwards. I know my boundaries. I am safe and secure. Come and join me."

But the fish in the sea says. " Hey! I can never know my boundaries. Isn't the vastness of my almost unlimited domain wonderful. I am not safe from my predators, for there are so many; but that's OK. The game of hide and seek is so exciting. My food is not guaranteed; but not knowing what, when and where I will eat, makes each experience so rewarding. I am part of nature's food chain and I accept my position within that great game. The price of my great freedom, to experience everything that I can, is the insecurity of 'not knowing' the limits of my perceived world. Why would I give up what I have for the security of the limited, second hand 'knowledge' of your safe but artificial prison. How about you taking the plunge into the toilet and then taking a short and unpleasant journey through sewers of illusory fear to the freedom of this great ocean, with all the unknowns that it contains. See yah soon - your fellow swimmer."

Hazza, is this the story an accurate analogy of the message that you are conveying in your response? Are not those who prefer the security of established religions, not like the Jews during the Exodus from Pharoah's Egypt complaining to Moses that imprisonment in Egypt was preferable to the unknowns of the desert wilderness through which they had to travel to the promised land?

Do we fear the responsibilities of freedom as Erich Fromm claimed? Do we prefer the freedom from responsibilities - in not thinking for ourselves - that authority figures, within established religions, offer?

September 25, 2000
5:04 am
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Tez,
you little fishy you!
yes, I guess that is a good analogy!

I have a GREAT deal of anxiety from being in the big ocean and not the small tank. My anxiety disorder craves taht small tank and it is an uphill battle for me to accept the ocean.
BUT intellectually, talking about ideas and philosophies I am in the ocean. I would never crave the tank of a certain doctrine to give me peace in life.
My anxieties come through in the fears of all the predators etc, but no theism would ever be enough to bluff my mind to those facts, my path in life is to try to accept the nature of the ocean.
I believe I am an acoean fish rather than a tank fish - It scares the shit out of me in everyday terms - that is the deal with agoraphobia I gues, but Intellectually - no problem.
I wonder if I can explain myself there well enough - the idea that there is the ocean of philosophies as to the WHYs about life, and also the ocean as to the ability to take risks in the REAl world / society?
maybe I am afraid of being mugged, but I cannot and choose not to lose that fear by telling myself some god will protect me?
but with the creationof the universe, I have no fear there taht I do not know the answers, a beeutiful abyss of questions holds no fear for me ont hat count.
so panic attacks aside, i love the ocean of ideology. the only things that cause me to crave the tank are mundane issues like will I have a panic attack if I go down to the town! never any fear at all about "Is there a god"
but it all becomes to come full circle, when as my confidence in MYSELF grows, I know I can cope with the anxiety disorders, just as I can cope and enjoy the not knowing of the more esoteric wonders.
pretty soon, I hope to enjoy every type of vast ocean, both the mortal, mundane, citizen of planet earth type and the wonderous citizen pf the universe type.
I wonder if any of that makes sense to anyone but me?!
Hazza

September 25, 2000
9:02 pm
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What is the difference between faith and belief?

September 26, 2000
3:17 pm
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Hazza, thanks for your great comments on agnosticism :-). I think I'm whith you all the way. And like you I have good faith in life in general and never seem to run out of confidence in the nature of our world - but I often find little (sometimes large) odd situations that stand in my way. I don't have panic attacs - but if something makes me uneasy, I often find a lot of ways to make my life miserable in that area by avoiding, postponing, negating the problem. Of course all this behaviour is only nuturing the problem - and drawing energy from me. Once I'm ready to look at where it hurts I'm on the way to a solution. This is often pretty easy - and almost always I learn something really valuable out of it. Take care! eve

September 27, 2000
5:31 am
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Hi eve,
I too have the nature to avoid - it is that aspect of myself I guess that avials me to anxiety disorder! However, in learning to push those boundaries we grow.
like you say, by facing things we learn to ovecome them.
take care
Hazza

September 27, 2000
5:54 pm
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Hazza.

By continuing to use the ‘fishy’ analogy, I’ll see if I can indicate that I understand what you are saying.

So… our tank bound fishy has taken the plunge into the sewers, faced the fear of the pollution, and made it to the ocean. Panic then sets in. So our tank bred fishy seeks out the security of an underwater cavern. Now our fishy can feel secure in, at least, knowing the limits of its immediate environment. The ocean is still ‘out there’ and our fishy has found the safe limitations of another ‘fish tank’. Along comes our liberated ocean bred fish and yells into the cave. "Hello in there. Come out of the darkness of that very restrictive cave and have some fun." Just then a big groper comes hurtling at our liberated ocean fishy, swallowing it whole. "There!" said the safe, secure ‘tank’ fishy. "I knew that I was right to stay in this restricted cave. Look what happens when you take risks." After a while a wise old catfish swims up to the cave. He hears the reasons why the ‘tank’ fish is huddled in the cave and says to it. "Look, I know that the end of the life of that ocean fish looked terrible to you. But, you must realise that, for the ocean fish, all the terror of its final drama lasted but a fraction of a second. That ocean fish had a great ‘risk taking’ life. It had learnt to see that fear is naught but the output of an emotional warning system that mostly gives off false alarms. The ocean fish refused to let the false alarms - set off by every shadow on the ocean floor - stop it from enjoying all the ocean beauty. Sure… it ended up eaten as a consequence of its carefree life style. But…is it better to have a great short life, or a long miserable one that is riddled with and constrained by fear." Just then a sister of the deceased ocean fish swam bye. "Come with me" she said. "I’ve found that swimming in a school of fish is a good compromise. Get yourself into the middle of the school and you are safe from the gropers." "Hmmm" said the wise old catfish. "Don’t listen. This school is just another prison like your fish tank. Sure, you’ll be safe. But someone else will choose where you go and what you see. From the middle of the school, you’ll never be able to get close to things and see them for yourself. And … remember that those nasty humans catch whole schools of fish in their blasted nets." The little tank fishy said, "Maybe I should go it alone and huddle close to the ocean floor. I can swim between one cave and the next." "Hah." Said the catfish. "And what about the crabs and giant eels that inhabit some of those dark caves. Just because you found an empty cave, it doesn’t mean that caves are any safer than any where else. Cave security is an illusion." The tank fishy felt trapped. "So there really is no such thing as security? Is all security an illusion?" The wise old catfish thought about how he would answer this question. "Look…" the catfish said, "constant feelings of insecurity are nothing more than signals from an overly sensitive emotional alarm system in a state of ongoing activation. It is your lack of understanding that emotions are not a guarantee of the existence or otherwise of a ‘real’ threat. Take our liberated ocean fish, he never knew what hit him. You have to think about the situation to see where fact starts and fantasy leaves off. Your feelings of insecurity are being falsely triggered by every harmless bit of ocean flotsam and jetsam not by ‘real’ threats." The tank fishy thought for a while and said, "Yes… true, but what if the piece of ‘drift wood’ turns out to be a hungry lobster patiently waiting for me to swim carelessly bye." "Hah", said the catfish, "Did I tell you to be careless? There is a huge difference between being careless and carefree. Being ‘carefree’ as opposed to ‘careless’ comes from accepting responsibilities for one’s ‘actions’ and ‘motivations’ but not the ‘outcomes’." The little tank fishy thought about that for a while and said, "Yesss… but what if I get eaten! That’s an outcome , I do not like. Even if there are a million false alarms in one lifetime, isn’t it better to react to every one in case it’s a real threat" The catfish retorted impatiently, "Do you want to live in constant fear of shadows? Is this how you choose to live?" "NO!", the little tank fishy said, angrily and somewhat hurt that the catfish didn’t seem to understand what it was like being small and vulnerable. "It’s all right for you to talk. You are big and strong." The catfish, now realising that he had a tank fish here who hadn’t an appreciation of the bigger picture beyond its own short life. "Look. I’m sorry that I upset you. But you have not yet seen that you are not a single entity. You are an integral part of a whole infinite cosmic process that probably had no beginning and will in all probability never end." "Nice idea for an intellectual wank!" said the little tank fishy, really irritated by now. "But I don’t want to suffer, hurt and die!!!" Now the catfish saw clearly the little tank fishy’s dilemma. "So… you fear death?", the catfish said. "Not only the pain of dying!" said the little tank fishy, "But I also fear what comes after that." Now the catfish had to face the eternally asked, existential question himself. "Well… we are now faced with the unknown… We are in the realm of faith not knowledge. Little fishy, you yourself acknowledged that fear is your problem. Living with fear in the here and now and seeking to dissipate its arousal is all one can do. There is very little with which we cannot cope in the present. Its fear of not being able to cope with future events or with memories of the past as they relate to the future, that stops us enjoying the present. If you can learn to live in the ‘now’ then your future death will take care of itself." OK, thought the little tank fishy, but… "How do I deal with fear in the now?" it blurted out. "You have to clearly understand the nature of your emotions and their interaction with your thinking self that takes place in your conscious mind in what is called your working memory." said the catfish. "Oh. oh…, that’s all too complicated for me!" said the little tank fish. "I’d rather join the local fish school church and know that I’m saved." The catfish now felt exasperated. "Well.. if you choose to hand responsibility for what you believe about your world over to others in order to feel good, that’s your choice. But remember that you are choosing a pathway that requires constant self deception in overcoming the obvious flaws in that belief system. Cracks will continue to open, remember that" "But what other choice do I have? I can’t think for myself!" said the little fishy. "There’s your low self esteem showing up again. Start small and reflect on life’s questions at every instant that they are asked of you. Find your own meaning in life and the jigsaw puzzle that is your life will slowly come together over a lifetime. There are no short cuts." said the catfish, as he swam away to try to practice what he preached. J "So there are no pat answers…" thought the little tank fishy, "…only life’s questions that each must answer for themselves. How marvelous. There are are no ‘wrong’ answers either, only different ones." With that the little tank fishy burst out of the cave and joined the ranks of the liberated fish who live - instant by instant - a carefree life. Some time later the little tank fishy saw the catfish lying motionless upside down on the sea floor. It seemed that he had passed through death’s portals and was now swimming in an ocean beyond need. And the sun rose to shine its light on the water, indifferent yet again to all that had gone before.

September 28, 2000
12:37 pm
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Tez!!!!!!
2 things, first off, just for chuckle value!
firstly - I am actually afriad of fishes! I don't swim in the sea cos I dont like the idea of all the fishes and seaweed! Once I was in the sea at hastings and I ran out bloody quick because I saw a jelly fish by my leg! EXCEPT, when I looked actually, it was a clear plastic sandwich bag LOL!
secondly, a couple of weeks back I bought a fish tank with a view to buying a fish - specifically a CATFISH - which I totally love! when I get that little fishy finally, it shall mean so much more now!

Well, I loved your fishy tale (tail)
I think I am spliting this whole idea into 2 parts.
there is the exitential fears -life after death, god, etc... that one doesn't worry me one iota! I think, I have explained already my agnotically minded views on that one.
secondly there is the mundane fears of everyday life and anxiety disorders which I have suffered greatly from.
Just as your catfish was trying to teach, it is only by taking RISKS that I am starting to recover from that - which means I am going out more, have started driving again etc.
a slow process but I am getting there.

Each time I try to practice and do my "exposure" work to progress in my recovery, I am constantly reminding myself of how life MUST be risky as that is what makes it LIFE as opposed to just being alive.

I personally for my own existence find the two different levels of fear unconnected. My views on the cosmos are not connected to my anxiety problems, although for some people I could see that those two ideas COULD be interconnected - for example, the priest who is in crisis questioning his faith - may well end up with a very stressful job (mundane stresses) because of his existentialist dilema! or in the case that some people feel very fearful of death in the sense of "what next" those that fear the afterlife, or lack of it. etc

Me, I fear death - who doesn't! but to me, I really worry - will it hurt! not really that bothered about what happens afterwards, to me either SOMETHING will happen, and I will know then, or it is just nothing and then therefore I wont be concious to appreciate that it is nothing!

So my fishness is really now jsut stuck in the realms of the mundane, agoraphobia, panics etc. which is just a case of taking my little fishy butt out there and taking the small steps to increase my confidence in my abilities and increase my own percieved saftey zone again.

I have leaned a great deal about anxiety disoders through all this, and for the most part, they are very mundane! an after effect of some of the close calls we can experience in life - the times the shark nearly gets us! Very rarely anything other than life and out own abilities to cope with fear, be that genetically set, taught by our raisers, or a combo of both.

but like I said, I am getting there! I am probably in the ocean cavern most of the time on the mundane! theology wise, I think I am in the big old ocean proper! I have never felt the need for any comfort about the REASONS for life, intellectual curiousity yes, but comfort orprotection from it all? Nope - it is not that kind of thing that scares me! I get scared by the idea of crowds, or going out driving in traffic, but whether there is an afterlife or not has not really worried me - I also stay remarkably untraumatised from finding out the Father Xmas conspiricy!

So really religion in any guise has never entranced me - it offered nothing for me - its salve on the big questions in life, would have been an ointment on flesh that wasn't wounded and didn't even hurt.

the more mundane fears in my life? well I know enough about the mind now to see how they all got there, and I figure that it is down to me to unravel them again, which I am proud of my progress so far. No doctor EVER helped in that, so I don't really think a CONCEPT personified into a religious god could either.
but I struggle,as we all do, to anylyse my own fish, to see what makes it hide int he cavern and focus on that. that is all any of us can do. for me it is the mundane, for others ? who knows? that is their bag, the main thing to keep challenging oneself for those questions and answers and not hand it all carte blanche over to some organisation or idea, whilst ignoring the problem, thinking that somehow THAT action would have solved it, or at least ONE day will - if only you keep waiting and hoping.
well, I am pooped from writing that lot, my brain REALLy wants to watch cartoons now!
see ya !
Hazza

September 29, 2000
9:22 pm
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Hazza.

I agree.

As our focus seems to have shifted from that of the theme originally intended by Frieda, I've started a new thread that is focused more on the mundane existential fears of every day living. I hope you find this new thread called "How do we live a happy, carefree life?" more suitably focused to the trend in our responses.

If you like, and only on that condition, we can continue there.

We can leave this thread for those who want to discuss the dogma of the dying Church of Tez, what ever those tenets are. 🙂 It would have to be the shortest lived church in history. 🙂

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