blunt essays with sharp points
Apr 26, 2012 6:45 AM–It is strange to me that anyone believes life is meaningless unless some supernatural being has his own plan for us. That seems to unfairly and pointlessly demean our own plans for ourselves and for our families and community. Why should a supernatural plan give meaning but a natural plan be incapable of giving meaning to life? (go to complete article)
Apr 10, 2012 6:48 AM–CBS MoneyWatch commentary by Suzanne Lucas
Discrimination is a hard nut to crack. It is the result of two natural, healthy thinking processes.
Prejudgment is a natural, healthy human trait: “The human mind must think with the aid of categories … Once formed, categories are the basis for normal prejudgment. We cannot possibly avoid this process.” (Allport) And that's the first part of discrimination: prejudgment of an individual based on a category.
Partiality to our own family is also a natural, healthy human trait. It is built in to us to consider members of “our” tribe to be most deserving. And that's the second part of discrimination: once we identify a person as a member of a different tribe (whether by blood, or religion, or any physical characteristic), they automatically become less deserving than “our” people.
I don't attach shame to either of these thinking processes. They are part of what it means to be human. There is no shame in being human.
It's when we continue to discriminate, even though we know better, that it becomes shameful. Once we use our capacity for reason, and discover that our intuition is wrong (people outside our family are really not any less deserving than “our” people), then we ought to stop acting on our faulty intuition and start acting as if everyone and everything deserves our love.
This to me is the truth that bears up the worldwide religious teaching of universal love:
- Love your enemy, give everyone, not just members of your tribe, mercy and help, and you will be rewarded. (Jesus)
- Allah will not give mercy to anyone except those who give mercy to others. (Muhammad)
- The cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is not part of our practice. It is all of our practice. (Buddha)
- There are plenty of witnesses of the unsurpassable kindness of the man to everybody, his gratitude towards his parents, and his kindness to his brothers, his gentleness to his servants, and his universal philanthropy towards all men. (Diogenes Laertius, Life of Epicurus)
- Practice compassion, conquering callous, cruel and insensitive feelings toward all beings. See god everywhere. (Sivaya Subramuniyaswami)
Labels: Allah, bias, Buddha, compassion, Diogenes Laertius, discrimination, Epicurus, family, human nature, intuition, Jesus, love, mercy, Muhammad, obesity, prejudice, reason, religion, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, universalism(go to complete article)
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sometimes they fool you by walking upright.
What part of “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn” don’t you understand?
Build a man a fire, and he’ll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he’ll be warm for the rest of his life. —Terry Pratchett
Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig. —Robert Heinlein
Do not ask why the past was better than the present, for this is not a question prompted by wisdom. —Ecclesiastes 7:10
Power lines abruptly stopped causing cancer in 1997 after the U.S. National Cancer Institute conducted a better study. —Robert Parks
Встретимся под столом! (Vstretimsja pod stolom: To meeting you under the table!)
The more you cry, the less you’ll pee.
Relish the love of a good woman.
It’ll never get better if you keep picking at it. —advice from Judge “Maximum” Bob Gibbs