Religion

  • Circe –– Madeline Miller
    • "The are each different, the only thing they share is death."
    • "That is one thing gods and mortals share: when we are young, we think ourselves the first to have each feeling in the world."
    • "This is the grief that makes our kind choose to be stones and trees rather than flesh."
    • "Then I learned that I could bend the world to my will, as a bow is bent for an arrow."
    • "I would come to know this type of man, jealous of his little power, to whom I was only a woman."
    • "Most gods and mortals have lives that are tied to nothing; they tangle and wend now here, now there, according to no set plan. But then there are those who wear their destinies like nooses, whose lives run straight as planks, however they try to twist. It is there that our prophets may see."
    • "Artist, creator, inventor, the greatest the world had known. Timidity creates nothing." #creativity
    • "But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me."
    • "A golden cage is still a cage."
    • "A bitter #paradox: to keep his son, he had to lose him."
    • "A door that did not open at his knock was a novelty in its own right, and a kind of relief as well. All the world confessed to him, he confessed to me."
    • "I touched the thought like a bruise, testing its ache." [[mind-body]]
    • "He showed me his scars, and in return he let me pretend that I had none."
    • "I thought once that gods are the opposite of death, but I see now they are more dead than anything, for they are unchanging, and can hold nothing in their hands." #religion
  • Critique of Religious Belief –– Karl Marx
  • Homo Deus –– Yuval Harari

    Other [[religion]]s, particularly Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism, have demonstrated even greater empathy towards animals. They empathize the connection between humans and the rest of the ecosystem, and their foremost ethical commandment has been to avoid killing any living being. Whereas the biblical 'thou shalt not kill' covered only humans, the ancient Indian principle of ahimsa extends to every sentient being.

  • Homo Deus –– Yuval Harari
  • Homo Deus –– Yuval Harari
    • Shared mythologies and a culture of [[religion]]s allowed us to conquer the world, and live in a world dominated by Sapiens.
      • "Such self absorption characterizes all humans in their childhood. Children of all religions and cultures think they are the centre of the world, and therefore show little genuine interest in the conditions and feelings of other people. Most people grow out of this infantile delusion. Monotheists hold on to it until the day they die."
      • It is much easier for animists and polytheists to accept that mane events are unrelated to me or my favourite deity, and they are neither punishments nor rewards for my good deeds.
  • Homo Deus –– Yuval Harari

    Moreover, [[religion]] asserts that humans are subject to a system of moral laws that we did not invent and cannot change. It offers us a well-defined contract with predetermined goals.

  • Homo Deus –– Yuval Harari

    [[religion]]s seek to cement the worldly order, whereas spirituality seeks to escape it. Often enough, the most important demand from spiritual wanderers is to challenge the beliefs and conventions of dominant [[religion]]s.

  • Homo Deus –– Yuval Harari

    [[religion]]s seek to cement the worldly order, whereas spirituality seeks to escape it. Often enough, the most important demand from spiritual wanderers is to challenge the beliefs and conventions of dominant [[religion]]s.

  • Homo Deus –– Yuval Harari

    Both [[religion]] and science are interested in the "truth" - but each upholds a different truth and therefore are destined to clash.

  • Homo Deus –– Yuval Harari

    [[religion]] has nothing to say about scientific facts, and science should keep its mouth shut concerning religious convictions. If the Pope believes that human life is sacred, and abortion is therefore a sin, biologists can neither prove nor refute this claim.

  • Homo Deus –– Yuval Harari

    "Economic growth has thus become the crucial juncture where almost all modern [[religion]]s, ideologies and movements meet."

  • Homo Deus –– Yuval Harari

    Islam, Christianity and other traditional [[religion]]s are still important players in the world. Yet their role now is largely reactive. In the past, they were a creative force. Christianity, for example, spread the heretical idea that humans are equal before God, thereby changing human political structures and even gender relations.

  • Homo Deus –– Yuval Harari
    • What might inherit humankind, and what new [[religion]] might replace humanism?
  • Homo Deus –– Yuval Harari
    • Key Questions:
      • What kind of world did humans create?
      • How did we become convinced that we not only control the world, but also give meaning to it?
      • How did humanism become the most important religion of all?
    • "Writing also made it easier for humans to believe in the existence of such fictional entities, because it habituated people to experiencing reality through the meditation of abstract symbols."
      • Written language may have been conceived as a modest way of describing reality, but it gradually became a powerful way to reshape reality. When official reports collided with objective reality, it was often reality that had to give way. The truth hardly matters, what's written down is far more important.
      • In practice, the power of human cooperation of networks rests on a delicate balance between truth and fiction.
    • #religion
      • Shared mythologies and a culture of [[religion]]s allowed us to conquer the world, and live in a world dominated by Sapiens.
        • "Such self absorption characterizes all humans in their childhood. Children of all religions and cultures think they are the centre of the world, and therefore show little genuine interest in the conditions and feelings of other people. Most people grow out of this infantile delusion. Monotheists hold on to it until the day they die."
        • It is much easier for animists and polytheists to accept that mane events are unrelated to me or my favourite deity, and they are neither punishments nor rewards for my good deeds.
      • "Fiction enables us to cooperate better. The price we pay is that some fictions also determine the goals of our cooperation. So we may have very elaborate systems of cooperation, which are harnessed to serve fictional aims and interests. Consequently the system may seem to be working well, but only if we adopt the system's own criteria."
        • Blind faith in these stories meant that human efforts frequently focused on increasing the glory of fictional entities such as gods and nations, instead of bettering the lives of real sentient beings.
      • Human cooperative networks usually judge themselves by yardsticks of their own invention and, not surprisingly, they often give themselves high marks.
        • In particular, human networks built in the name of imaginary entities such as gods, nations and corporations, normally judge their success from the viewpoint of the imaginary entity.
        • A religion is successful if it follows divine commandments to the letter; a nation is glorious if it promotes the national interest; and a cooperation thrives when it makes a lot of money.
      • Religion is created by humans, rather than gods. And it is defined by its social function rather than by the existence of deities.
        • Moreover, [[religion]] asserts that humans are subject to a system of moral laws that we did not invent and cannot change. It offers us a well-defined contract with predetermined goals.
      • #religion is interested above all in order. It aims to create and maintain the social structure. Science is interested above all in power. Through research, it aims to acquire the power to cure diseases, fight wars and produce food. As individuals, scientists and priests may give immense importance to the truth; but as collective institutions, science and religion prefer order and power over truth.
      • [[religion]]s seek to cement the worldly order, whereas spirituality seeks to escape it. Often enough, the most important demand from spiritual wanderers is to challenge the beliefs and conventions of dominant [[religion]]s.
        • From a historical perspective, the spiritual journey is always tragic, for it is a lonely one fit for individuals rather than for societies. Human cooperation requires firm answers rather than just questions, and those who foam against religious structures end up forging new structures in their place.
    • [[Religion and science]] religion provides the ethical justification for scientific research and in exchange gets to influence the scientific agenda and the uses of scientific discoveries.
      • Both [[religion]] and science are interested in the "truth" - but each upholds a different truth and therefore are destined to clash.
      • #religion is interested above all in order. It aims to create and maintain the social structure. Science is interested above all in power. Through research, it aims to acquire the power to cure diseases, fight wars and produce food. As individuals, scientists and priests may give immense importance to the truth; but as collective institutions, science and religion prefer order and power over truth.
      • [[religion]] has nothing to say about scientific facts, and science should keep its mouth shut concerning religious convictions. If the Pope believes that human life is sacred, and abortion is therefore a sin, biologists can neither prove nor refute this claim.
    • The entire contract can be summarised in a single phrase: humans agree to give up meaning in exchange for power.
    • #meaning
      • Meaning and authority always go hand in hand, whoever determines the meanings of our actions - whether they are good or evil, right or wrong, etc - also gains the authority to tell us what to do, how to think and how to behave.
      • To the best of our scientific understanding, the universe is a blind and purposeless process, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing. During our infinitesimally brief stay on our tiny speck of a planet, we fret and strut this way and that, and then are heard of no more.
      • Since there is no script, and since humans fulfill no role in any great drama, terrible things might befall us and no power will come to save us, or give meaning to our suffering. There won't be a happy ending, or a bad ending, or any ending at all. Things just happen one after the other. the modern world does not believe in purpose, only cause.
      • We are constrained by nothing except our own ignorance. Plagues and droughts have no cosmic meaning, but we can eradicate them. Wars are not a way for a better future - but we can make peace. No paradise awaits us after death, but we can create paradise here on earth, if we manage to overcome a few technical difficulties.
      • [[Modern Manifestation of Religion]]: the modern deal thus offers humans an enormous temptation, coupled with a colossal threat. Omnipotence is in front of us, almost within our reach, but below us yawns the abyss of complete nothingness. On the practical level, modern life consists of a constant pursuit of power within a universe devoid of meaning. Modern culture is the most powerful in history, and it is ceaselessly researching, inventing, discovering and growing. At the same time, it is plagued by more existential angst
    • "Economic growth has thus become the crucial juncture where almost all modern [[religion]]s, ideologies and movements meet."
      • It may not be wrong to call the belief in economic growth a religion, because it now purports to solve many, if not most of our ethical dilemmas.
    • Nowadays it is generally accepted that some version of free market capitalism is a much more efficient way of ensuring long-term growth, hence rich farmers and freedom of expression are protected, but ecological habits, social structures and traditional values that stand in the way of [[free market capitalism]] are destroyed and dismantled.
    • [[free market capitalism]] dares to make ethical judgements, too - which makes it cross the border from the land of science to that of religion.
      • It did however make an important contribution to global harmony by encouraging to view the world as not a zero-sum game but a win-win situation in which one's profit is also another's._"Technology gives us a good chance of overcoming resource scarcity. The real nemesis of the modern economy is ecological collapse. Both scientific
    • "Technology gives us a good chance of overcoming resource scarcity. The real nemesis of the modern economy is ecological collapse. Both scientific progress and economic growth take place within a brittle biosphere, and as they gather steam, so the shockwaves destabilize the ecology."
      • #comment How much of this do I believe? If there aren't enough resources for everyone now, how will there be when demand skyrockets and the population grows with technology? Even if only distribution is the problem right now, how will technology solve this problem of [[resource scarcity]] if people aren't willing to?
    • [[climate change]] We're locked into a double-race. One one hand, we feel compelled to speed up the pace of scientific progress and economic growth, and on the other hand, we still want to stat ahead of ecological collapse. Managing this double race becomes more difficult by the year, because every little stride that brings Delhi slum dwellers closer to the American Dream also brings the planet closer to the brink.
      • If and when this happens, the poor are the ones who will bear the brunt of it. However, they will also be the first ones to bear the brunt of economic stagnation. In a capitalist world, the lives of the poor improves only when the economy grows - if the rich win, so do the poor. Hence, they are unlikely to support any future steps to reduce ecological threats that are based on slowing down present-day growth. Protecting the environment is a very nice idea, but those who cannot protect their present are worried more about paying rent than about melting ice caps.
    • Capitalism has repeatedly comforted us - as the economy grows, The invisible hand of the market will take care of everything. Capitalism has thus sanctified a voracious and chaotic system that grows by leaps and bounds, without anyone understanding what is happening and where we are rushing.
    • Yet the fact remains that human kind is far more peaceful than ever. How did we manage that? How did morality, beauty and even compassion survive and flourish in a world devoid of Gods?
    • [[The Humanist Revolution]]
      • In exchange for power, we can find meaning. However, there seems to be an escape clause: if humans somehow manage to find meaning without deriving from a great cosmic plan, this is not a breach of the contract.
      • It is impossible to sustain order without meaning - so the great political, artistic and religious project has been to find a meaning to life that's not rooted in a great cosmic plan. We are not actors in a great cosmic plan, and nobody cares about us or our deeds, yet we are convinced that our lives have meaning.
      • What prevents social collapse if we are not subject to the laws of God or nature?
      • Whereas traditionally the great cosmic plan gave #meaning to the life of humans, [[humanism]] reverses the roles and expects the experiences of humans to give meaning to the great cosmos. According to humanism, humans must draw from their inner experiences, not only the meaning of their own lives, but also the meaning of the entire universe. this is the primary commandment: create meaning for a meaningless world.
        • Humanism thus sees life as a gradual process of inner change, leading from ignorance to enlightenment by means of experiences. The highest aim of humanist life is to fully develop your knowledge through a large variety of intellectual, emotional and physical experiences.
      • The humanist revolution caused modern Western culture to lose faith and interest in superior mental states, and the sanctify the mundane experiences of the average Joe.
    • Democratic elections usually work only within populations that have some prior common bond, such as shared religious belief and national myths. How much of this applies to India?
    • [[Global Peace]] will be achieved not be celebrating the distinctiveness of each nation, but by unifying all the workers of the world; and social harmony wont be achieved by each person narcissistically exploring their own inner depths, but rather by each person prioritizing the needs and experiences of others over their own desires.
    • The rich are taught to disregard the poor, while the poor are taught to disregard their true interests. No amount of self-reflection or psychotherapy will help because the psychotherapists are also working for the capitalist system.
      • In exchange for such devoted counseling services, we will just have to give up the idea that humans are individuals, and that each human has a [[free will]] determining what's good, what's beautiful and what is the meaning of life. Humans will no longer be autonomous entities directed by the stories their narrating self invents. Instead they will be integrated parts of a huge global network.
    • Self-reflection is likely only to distance me even further from understanding the truth about myself, because it gives too much credit to personal decisions and too little credit to social conditions.
    • Whereas liberalism merged with the milder versions of nationalism to protect the unique experiences of each human community, evolutionary humanists such as Hitler identified particular nations as the entities of human progress, and concluded that these nations ought to bludgeon or even exterminate anyone standing in their way.
    • The trend towards Liberalism is a natural consequence of technological evolution.
      • What happens when we begin this phase of transcendence? Many social developments seem to be sons of the current economic forces.
      • Slavery ended and women gained the right to vote because it was better for the overall economy, not because of a genuine interest of their lives.
    • Islam, Christianity and other traditional [[religion]]s are still important players in the world. Yet their role now is largely reactive. In the past, they were a creative force. Christianity, for example, spread the heretical idea that humans are equal before God, thereby changing human political structures and even gender relations.
      • The Bible is kept as a source of authority, even though it is no longer a true source of inspiration.
    • The humanist belief in feelings allowed us to benefit from the fruits of the modern covenant without paying its price. We don't need any gods to limit our power and give us meaning - free choices of customers and voters supply us with all the meaning we require.
      • What, then, will happen once we realize that customers and voters never make free choices and we have the technology to calculate, design or outsmart their feelings? If the whole universe is pegged to the human experience, what will happen once the human experience becomes just another designable product, no different in essence from any other item in the supermarket?
  • Homo Deus –– Yuval Harari
  • Initial Notes on Veganism
    • Topic: [[Veganism]], [[Atheism]] and [[Morality]]

    • People "know" they should be a vegan, especially for morality's sake but they still choose not to be.

    • [[Animal Liberation - Peter Singer]]

    • Veganism is a philosophical position for him

      • So if he's given an animal product by mistake - he doesn't have an aversion to it. The animal has already suffered and it'll go to waste if he doesn't eat it. The purpose for him is to reduce suffering, and once the suffering has already happens, at-least it can be used to fuel your pain.
    • If you're interested in philosophy, when you have an argument presented to you, it can change the way that you think and will affect. This is more important than seeing a video of an animal being treated badly.

      • However, ethics doesn't work unless it has a grounding in your emotions.
      • Most vegans have an emotional response, rather than via a philosophical argument.
    • Most people are looking towards veganism in an attempt to save the environment.

      • If you know how important the agricultural industry is to the rise of climate change, you will know that veganism is the best way to save the environment.
    • Arguments for veganism

      • If you're going to do something that causes suffering, you have to be able to justify. The arguments in favour of eating meat disappear.
      • We already know it's not okay to torture animals and make them suffer. Torturing a dog is not different from torturing a pig.
        • Present a meta-ethical position about suffering.
        • If you're against racism and sexism, you should also be against speciesism too.
          • This doesn't mean seeing or treating people as "equal", it means reducing the suffering each group has to go through. [[Peter Singer]].
          • Being anti-racist doesn't mean all races are equal, it means despite the difference, we recognize that we're all worth the same morally.
          • In the case of animals, we wan't to include them morally as well. "You don't have to give men abortion rights to avoid being a sexist."
      • What is it about an animal that allows you to kill them or torture them and put them through factory farms? What do humans have that animals lack?
        • Is it intelligence? Can we throw people with a lower IQ into factory farms?
        • Self-awareness? Is a dog self-aware, then a pig probably is too to a certain extent.
        • People who think that people with lower intelligence or self-awareness can be thrown into factory farms are at-least consistent. But the conversation shifts to being a good person, rather than the case for veganism.
        • Most atheists consider suffering as the basis for their morality. Understanding that animals can feel suffering just as much as people can, can make the case for veganism.
          • Holocaust: 12 million were killed.
          • The same number of animals are tortured and killed in one hour every day. Not for social progression, but because "they taste nice".
          • Our suffering is analogous to the suffering of animals.
            • Suffering is bad no matter who is suffering - this is why we are activists for racism and sexism. And therefore, it applies to animals as well.
      • Do consciousness and suffering go hand in hand?
        • The ability to feel pain/pleasure: if a creature has "preference", then they have some kind of moral worth. Preferences motivate action, desire motivates action - all these depend on pleasure and pain.
        • "There isn't such a thing as pleasure chasing, there is only pain avoidance."
          • All pleasure is about negating pain. Pleasure is not the absolute, but the search for the lack of pain is.
        • There must be a line where animals are no longer animals and become vegetables or plants.
      • We have to figure out the calculation that minimizes the most suffering.
      • [[Veil of Ignorance]] - John Rules
        • Build a system to help you even If you didn't know if you were going to be born black or white, or upper class, middle class, where you would live, etc.
        • Design society before you know where you're going to be in it.
        • Apply it to the same thing - design a society where you don't know what species you're going to be. Would you still have an agricultural industry?
          • Ofcourse you wouldn't. In fact the odds are against you - chickens outnumber humans 3:1. Would you run the risk of being a chicken and getting slaughtered against the risk of not having a KFC?
      • Let's say that plants can feel pain
        • The vast majority of plants that are destroyed are not fed to humans, but to livestock. Where does the protein get its protein from?
        • If you think that plants can feel pain, the best way to minimize their suffering or pain is to go vegan, and not feeding them to the livestock.
      • No suffering, no problem. is a simple motto. Not universal to all vegans, though.
        • A lot of vegans give a lot of weight to preference. Because animals want to live, they have a preference to live, so we should just intrinsically support that preference.
        • This isn't the best argument because "potential pleasure" isn't a good enough argument.
        • Collateral damage - other animals around the animals that get killed also suffering.
      • How do animals that kill other animals fit into this paradigm?
        • Why do lions not get judged for dining on the gazelle?
          • Lions also murder other lion populations and impregnate other females to propagate their genes. Should we also do that?
          • Just because we don't hold children morally responsible for hitting us, doesn't mean that we are not held morally responsible when we hit them.
          • Moral system - rational thought processes, not mimicking the animal world.
          • You'd be APPALLED if you found out that a farmer was raping his pigs, but you wouldn't mind if he tortured, skinned, and put bolts through their brains?
      • The problem is people pick and chose morals whenever it's convenient for them, and aren't consistent about them.
      • Not everyone wants to live in accordance with their moral principles.
        • "I accept that it's the moral thing to do but I'm an immoral person."
          • All I can tell you is what I believe what I think the moral thing to do is. I can't really tell you why you should be moral.
      • This is probably one of the most moral/ethical problem of our time. And our biggest ethical blindspot.
      • People know that if you think about it, there is a right answer. People know that being vegan is the right option.
        • Eating animals: should we stop? The title of a book, and people assume that the conclusion is yes. Why is that? Because we know it's wrong, and anyone who gives enough thought to it will conclude that it is the wrong thing to do. People just don't want to give it enough thought.
      • Meatless mondays
        • It might be reducing animal suffering, but it isn't enough. (The case against vegetarianism)
        • Would you want to put your name behind "giving up your slaves over the weekends"? No, because you're against the idea as a whole, even though it might reduce individual suffering.
        • It is wrong and needs to stop. If you want to be ethically consistent, you have to put your foot down. Even if it is absolutist or fundamentalist.
          • You wouldn't accept compromises when it comes to slavery or apartheid for example.
    • [[Philosophy in theology]] #religion

      • What is it like studying theology as an atheist?
        • There is a bit of detachment when it comes to studying religion.
        • It is just writing - it can be engaged with in the same way philosophical texts.
        • It's just like studying history while being an atheist. Yes, history is influenced by religion, but they are still independent.
      • Religious morality is the problem, not religion.
        • You wouldn't assume an atheist is less moral. You may think that they have less grounding for the morality.
        • If you think that you need religion to be moral, why is that the case? Why should you listen to God?
          • Commands can't have truth value.
          • The same problems that you get trying to ground morality in God, the same problems you get trying to do it without God.
        • The only people who are convincing people that if you are an atheist you can go around without being a moral person/morality are the religious. That's because of the way religious people are branding atheists. Atheists can ground morality almost better than those with religion, because they have actually thought about it, and don't blindly believe in God.
      • People who are atheists are some times more theocratic or "religious" in their atheism. [[Richard Dawkins]]. People just look for religion in other aspects of the world trying to "fill" that space religion was in.
        • That just goes to show that religion has monopolized the idea of social cohesion. People aren't striving for religion, they're looking for connection with their creatures, and to do something productive for the world. Some people believe that's trying to go vegan, or throwing yourself into a football team. You've been brainwashed into thinking that as soon as someone tries to find support in a community and do good for the society is religion.
          • If that's what religion is, then any social becomes religious. And if everything is religious, then nothing is religious. That's watering down the meaning of religion then.
      • What is the essence of religion? What makes a religion a religion?
        • Scholars too find this hard to figure out and define.
      • If you grow up in a society that makes you think that your worth or meaning comes from God or religion, then when you give up that belief, of course you're going to be looking to fill that gap.
      • You can find moral worth grounded in what is reality.
  • Made You Think –– Homo Deus
    • Shared mythologies and a culture of [[religion]]s allowed us to conquer the world, and live in a world dominated by Sapiens.
  • Made You Think –– Homo Deus
    • Mind or [[consciousness]] for modern [[religion]] is the equivalent of the soul for ancient ones.
      • What we call consciousness is just observing what the body is doing. (Who is observing? Strange loops)
      • Brain vs Mind - we don't have a good grasp on the mind or what it is, or whether it is even there at all.
      • The concept of mind doesn't square with anything scientific.
  • Made You Think –– Homo Deus

    [[religion]] has nothing to say about scientific facts, and science should keep its mouth shut concerning religious convictions. If the Pope believes that human life is sacred, and abortion is therefore a sin, biologists can neither prove nor refute this claim.

  • Made You Think –– Homo Deus
  • Made You Think –– The Qur'an
    • Is this a good way to appeal to people of other [[religion]]s?
  • Made You Think –– The Qur'an

    People of the Book, do not go to excess in your [[religion]], and do not say anything about God except the truth: the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was nothing more than a messenger of God, His word, directed to Mary, a spirit from Him. So believe in God and His messengers and do not speak of a ‘Trinity’—stop [this], that is better for you—God is only one God, He is far above having a son, everything in the heavens and earth belongs to Him and He is the best one to trust.

  • Made You Think –– The Qur'an
    • Was nobody thinking about what it meant for the [[religion]] in the future?
  • Made You Think –– The Qur'an
  • Meditations –– Marcus Aurelius
    • It keeps coming up in the book, over and over again in different words but essentially with the same meaning. But I guess this is what he wanted to do - not just accept it but remind himself time after time of these facts. Perhaps it's not enough knowing it once but meditating on it that makes the difference.
    • #religion How can you appeal to people's morality without bringing up their faith? Is replacing the word God with nature enough? Spirituality + religion? Giving the same power to something external (maybe internal) only using different words/names.
      • People just need something to hold on to - to pour their "faith" into - whether that's this book, the Bible, the Quran, etc. And maybe that's what I'm doing too?
    • #comment It takes a certain kind of humility to accept that you (or anyone else) don't know what's on the other side. I think he's telling us to value the mind and the spirit more –– because that's the one that will potentially last longer/transcend the physical? But is this true?
    • [[Ryan Holiday]] really wasn't kidding when he says "Memento mori" is the motto of the stoics. It comes up everywhere. Everything is about remembering the impermanence of life and honoring what's important because of the short life we have. Quotes, again, and explanations stemming from those quotes.
    • In any case, why is the fear of death such an important topic? Is the monotheistic world that inculcates the fear of hell the reason people are afraid to die? Or have people just not thought about it enough?
      • Perhaps its some deep internal psychology that everyone has to come to terms with - a product of #evolution
  • Mortality –– Christopher Hitchens
    • Author: Christopher Hitchens

    • Date Started: [[December 31st, 2021]]

    • Date Finished: [[March 8th, 2022]]

    • Type: Kindle

    • To the dumb question "Why me?", the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: Why not?

    • It is not for the mere human to be presuming that he or she can advise the divine. And this, sad to say, opens #religion to the additional charge of corruption

    • It made me wonder if perhaps there was a room for a short handbook of cancer etiquette. This would apply to sufferers as well as sympathizers. [[Maybe You Should Talk To Someone - Lori Gottlieb]]

    • One almost develops a kind of elitism about the uniqueness of one's own personal disorder. [[pain]]

    • It's no fun to appreciate to the full the truth of the materialist proposition that I don't have a body, I am a body. #mind-body

    • If something is worth hearing or listening to, it's very probably worth reading. So this above all: Find your own voice

      • The most satisfying compliment a reader can pay is to tell me that he or she feels personally addressed #reading
    • "He gave three reasons. Another agonizing stroke could hit him, forcing him to suffer it all over again. His family was being put through a hellish experience. Medical resources were being pointlessly expended."

      • In his essay, he used a potent phrase to describe the position of others who suffer like this, referring to them as lying on "mattress graves".
    • I wondered if things looked as red and inflamed within as they did without.

    • It's probably a merciful thing that pain is impossible to describe from memory. It's also impossible to warn against.

    • But, as with the normal life, one finds that every passing day represents more and more relentlessly subtracted from less and less.

    • Whatever view one takes of the outcome being affected by morale, it seems certain that the realm of illusion must be escaped before anything else.

    • If I convert it's because it's better that a believer dies than that an atheist does.

    • Reference to [[Einsein's Dreams - Alan Lightman]]

  • Mortality –– Christopher Hitchens
  • Outgrowing God –– Richard Dawkins
  • Three Islamic Truths
  • What Does It All Mean –– Thomas Nagel
    • But if someone just doesn't care about other people, what reason does he have to refrain from doing any of the things usually thought to be wrong, if he can get away with it: what reason does he have not to kill, steal, lie or hurt others? [[religion]]
      • Plenty of people who don't believe in God still make judgements of right and wrong, and think no one should kill another for his wallet even if he can be sure to get away with it.
      • If God exists, and forbids what's wrong, that still isn't what makes it wrong.
      • Fear of punishment and hope of reward, and even love of God, seem not to be the right motives for morality.
  • What Does It All Mean –– Thomas Nagel
    • The idea that our lives fulfill God's purpose is supposed to give them their point, in a way that doesn't require or admit any further point. One isn't support to ask "What is the point of God?" any more than one is supposed to ask "What is the explanation of God?" #religion #Atheism [[Outgrowing God - Richard Dawkins]]
  • Highlights from Homo Deus

    _Despite all the talk of radical Islam and Christian fundamentalism, the most interesting place in the world from a religious perspective is the Silicon Valley. That's where the high-tech gurus are brewing for us new [[religion]]s that have little to do with God, and everything to do with technology. They promise all the old prizes - happiness, peace, prosperity and even eternal life - but here on earth with the help of tech, rather than after death with the help of celestial beings. _

  • Highlights from Homo Deus
  • Thoughts on the connection between stoicism and religion
  • Sum: Forty Tales From The Afterlives –– David Eagleman
    • In this afterlife, all the moments that share a quality are grouped together.
      • "In this part of the afterlife, you imagine something analogous to your Earthly life, and the thought is blissful: a life where episodes are split into tiny swallowable pieces, where one experiences the joy of jumping from one event to the next like a child hopping from spot to spot on the burning sand."
    • God understands the complexities of the afterlife. "She sits on the edge of her bed and weeps at night because the only thing everyone can agree on is that they're all in Hell."
    • "The missing crowds make you lonely. You begin to complain about all the people you could be meeting. But no one listens or sympathizes with you, because this is precisely what you chose when you were alive."
    • "Your concern about human affairs begins to slip away, your cynicism about human behavior melts, and even your human way of thinking begins to drift away from you."
      • "You cannot appreciate the destination without knowing the starting point; you cannot revel in the simplicity unless you remember the alternatives."
      • "You realize that the next time you return here, with your thick horse brain, you won't have the capacity to ask to be a human again. You won't understand what a human is. Your choice to slide down the intelligence ladder is irreversible. And just before you lose your final human faculties, you painfully ponder what magnificent extraterrestrial creature, enthralled with the idea of finding a simpler life, chose in the last round to become a human."
    • #meaning varies with spatial scale. So we have concluded that communicating with her is not impossible, but pointless.
    • "And God consoles Himself with the thought that all creation necessarily ends in this: Creators, powerless, fleeing from the things they have wrought."
    • This appears to be a time-sharing plan devised by some efficient deity; in this way, we're not all populating the Earth at the same time.
      • Answers, or more questions, to some questions I've always had about how everyone can share the afterlife, and how immortality would drain the Earth's resources. [[Homo Deus - Yuval Harari]]
    • "There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time."
      • And that is the curse of the room: since we live in the heads of those who remember us, we lose control of our lives and become who they want us to be.
    • "They don't guess that our main priority is to answer these questions for ourselves. They don't guess that we are unable, and that we build machines of increasing sophistication to address our own mysteries."
      • To build a machine smarter than you, it has to be more complex than you - and the ability to understand the machine begins to slip away.
      • **What is "answer"? **
    • "Everything that creates itself upon the backs of smaller scales will by those same scales be consumed."
    • "When we're forced to leave by the wearing out of those delicate little bodies, it is not uncommon to see us lying prostrate in the breeze of solar winds, tolls in hand, looking out into the cosmos, wet-eyed, searching for meaninglessness" #meaning
    • "It is not the brave who can handle the big face, it is the brave who can handle its absence."
    • "One of His best gifts - the ability to have faith in an unseen hereafter - has backfired."
    • "Much of your existence took place in the eyes, ears and fingertips of others. And now that you've left the Earth, you are stored in the scattered heads around the globe."
      • You were much better at seeing the truth about others than you ever were at seeing yourself. So you navigated your life with the help of others who held up mirrors for you. People praised your good qualities and criticized your bad habits, and these perspectives - often surprising to you - helped you to guide your life.
      • "Here in this purgatory, all the people with whom you've ever come in contact are gathered. The scattered bits of you are collected, pooled and unified. The mirrors are held up in front of you. Without the benefit of filtration, you see yourself clearly for the first time. And that is what finally kills you."
    • "Over the millennia, God has grown bitter. Nothing continues to satisfy. Time drowns Him. He envies man his brief twinkling of a life and those He dislikes are condemned to suffer immortality with him."
    • "The end of death is the death of motivation. Too much life, it turns out, is the opiate of the masses. There is a noticeable decline in accomplishment. People take more naps. There is no great rush."
    • "It's simply that He doesn't know we exist. He is unaware of us because he is of the wrong spatial scale - he is the size of a bacterium. He is not something outside and above us, but on the surface and in the cells of us."
      • "They look to God for answers. God attributes these events to statistical fluctuations over which he has no control and no understanding."
    • "You could blow their cover, but the Directors are confident that you won't; they know you will sink to any depth of infidelity to preserve the lie for your eventual return to it."
    • By the time we die, and our death switch is triggered, there will be nothing left but a sophisticated network of transactions with no one to read them: a society of emails, zipping back and forth under silent satellites orbiting a soundless planet.
      • **So an afterlife doesn't exist for us per se, but instead an afterlife occurs for that which exists between us. **
      • And we are quite satisfied with this arrangement, because reminiscing about our glory days of existence is perhaps all that would have happened in the afterlife anyway.
    • Your Creators are talented at just that: creation - but they're not involved with the observation and judgment of our actions, as we had previously supposed them to be. The Creators watch none of the details as our lives unfold. They could not care less.
      • "It feels so much like the real thing that in the afterlife you only rarely wonder whether you've lived all this before, haunted occasionally by deja vu, holding a book in your hand and not knowing whether this is the first time or a replay from aeons past."
    • "They come to understand with awe, the complexity of the compound identity that existed on Earth. The conclude with a shudder that the Earthly you is utterly lost, unpreserved in the after life. You were all these ages, they concede, and you were none."
      • "Beyond the name, the yous have little else in common."
    • When you die, you are grieved by all the atoms of which you were composed. They hung together for years, whether in sheets of skin or communities of spleen. With your death they do not die. Instead, they part ways, moving off in their separate directions, mourning the loss of a special time they shared together, haunted by the feeling that they were once playing parts in something larger than themselves, something that had its own life, something they can hardly put a finger on.
    • It is the interaction within this substantial administration that determines the random walk of the world: everything interesting happens at the borders between domains of power.
      • There is bitter competition among the gods. Jealous rivalries abound because the stakes are so low; the gods are not large and powerful and they know it. So they try their best to stand out and to be heard.
      • Among all the creatures of creation, the gods favor us: we are the only ones who can empathize with their problems.
    • The human race is a gargantuan network of signals passed from node to node; a calculation of celestial significance running on the vast grid of the human substrate.
      • Love was not specified in the design of your brain; it is merely endearing [[Algorithms]] the freeload on the leftover processing cycles. ([[Made You Think - Homo Deus]])
      • Genes unwrap, proteins blossom, synapses rearrange. All this is well below your awareness - you are merely carrying the brain-box with no acquaintance with what happens inside it.
    • Here, in the afterlife, everything exists in all possible states at once, even states that are mutually exclusive. You can enjoy all the possibilities at once, living multiple lives in parallel.
      • The dangers of "having the cake and eating it too" - the reason we are forced to make decisions, and the reason everything in life revolves around choices.
      • "You are simultaneously engaged in her conversation and thinking about something else; she both gives herself to you and does not give herself to you; you find her objectionable and you deeply love her; she worships you and wonders what she might have missed with someone else. “Thank you,” you tell the angel. “This I'm used to.”
    • It feels to you that we're connected by a larger whole, but you're mistaken. We're connected by a smaller particle. Every atom in your body is the same quark in different places at the same moment in time. Our little quark sweeps like a frenetic four-dimensional phosphor gun.
      • Here it takes its time, catching its breath. It will wait several thousand millennia until it regains the stamina and optimism to try again. So there is no afterlife, but instead a long intermission: all of us exist inside the memory of the particle; like a fertilized egg waiting to unpack.
    • Everyone is knocking over dominos willy-nilly; no one knows where it leads.
      • Although we credit God with designing man, it turns out He's not sufficiently skilled to have done so. In point of fact, He unintentionally knocked over the first domino
    • Loyals have an imperturbable capacity to hold the beliefs with which they arrived, a deep reluctance to consider evidence that separates them from their lifelong context. #religion
      • So she finds herself unappreciated and lonely, wandering in solitude among the infinite cloudscapes of non-believing believers.
    • [[Dataism]] But we also come to understand that the network of numbers is so dense that it transcends simple notions of cause and effect. We become open to the wisdom of the flow of the patterns.
      • The secret codes of life - whether presented as a gift or a burden - go totally unappreciated.
      • You think: this is totally deterministic, is love simply an operation of math?
      • The Rewarders originally thought to offer it as a gift, but the Punishers quickly decided they could leverage it as a kind of affliction, drying up life's pleasures by revealing their bloodlessly mechanical nature.
      • The Rewarder and the Punisher skulk off, struggling to understand why knowing the code behind the wine does not diminish its pleasure on your tongue, why knowing the incapability of heartache does not reduce its sting, why glimpsing the mechanics of love does not alter its intoxicating appeal.
        • Being let into the secrets behind the scenes has little effect on our experience.
    • The more you fall short of your potential, the more of these annoying selves you are forced to deal with.
    • The reunion is warm and heartening for a while, but it isn't long before the begin to miss their freedom. In the form of a human, we are the moment of least facility for the atoms, and in this form, they find themselves longing to ascend mountains, wander the seas and conquer the air, seeking to recapture the limitlessness they once knew.
    • You discover that your memory has spent a lifetime manufacturing small myths to keep your life consistent with who you thought you were. You have committed to a coherent narrative, misremembering the details and decisions and the sequence of events. On the way back, the cloth of that story unravels. Reversing through the corridors of your life,** you are battered and bruised in the collisions between reminiscence and reality**. By the time you enter the womb again, you understand as little about yourself as you did your first time here.
    • How does [[The Denial of Death]] play into all of this?
  • Sum: Forty Tales From The Afterlives –– David Eagleman