On manliness and leadership

By way of a quick explanation: I wrote the following post for a friend’s son’s 16th birthday. All of the principles here in apply to both men and women equally. However, the audience was a soon-to-be 16-year-old boy and the gender pronouns are chosen with that in mind.

Reflections on Leadership and Manliness
One of the key attributes of manliness is leadership. Great men are always leaders among men. 

While there are many elements that comprise manliness, the nature of leadership is the most defining characteristic. To define leadership is to define manliness. The best way to define leadership to talk about the qualities that comprise it. I will be using one of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s essays on leadership as a general topical roadmap with a few notable additions, supplemented with my own thoughts on a variety of topics and quotations from many of the great minds and leaders in history. It is important to note that this is not an exhaustive all encompassing definition or discussion of leadership or manliness. I am merely highlighting key points and parts from which further self-discovery and enlightenment can develop.

First, as a prerequisite and almost assumed set of axioms, Leadership requires a team to lead, and a cause or goal that the leader is guiding that team towards. 

1. Leadership is selfless dedication. A leader must be single-minded toward the task at hand, and value the cause and the team above one’s self. The leader is absolutely responsible for his team and should place their safety, and general well-being above his own. A Leader’s goal is always what is best for his team in spite of his own personal preferences, wants, or even needs. A leader is focused on his cause or goal and gives everything he has to accomplish it and to lead his team toward success. Doing ones best is the bare minimum allowed. Most leaders have a fair amount of pride, self-confidence, and ego yet a great leader realizes that those are secondary to the needs of the team and the cause. A great leader does not allow personal preference to color his judgment: he puts others needs first. A good leader remembers that while he is leading, he is not A person: he is a function. Therefore he does not take attacks or losses personally. He is able to respond calmly and De-escalate most situations. This is known a servant leadership. A great leader listens to his team and to his advisers and strongly considers what they are saying.

2. Leadership Requires courage and conviction in the value of the task at hand. These are derived from a clear and focused vision for the future based on reflection. They are derived from reflection on the best course of action and strategy. This clarity of vision combined with effective strategy creates a basis of intellectual authority and reason. This helps create a strong basis for your conviction. Courage is being brave in the face of fear and opposition. It is doing what’s right when no one else is looking and especially when everyone else is looking. Leadership is most effective when it sets an example of excellence. Courage flows from conviction. Courage and conviction provide certainty. Meditation and reflection on ethics and principles are the surest way to program ones instincts and native natural responses. If you know why something is right or wrong and you have already done that homework it is much easier to make quick defective decisions that are usually correct. The “what” is secondary to the “Why.”

3. Leadership requires fortitude of spirit: force of will. A man Who is convinced that he is doing the right thing must be willing to stand strong against opposition, and stay strong through reverses of fortune. He must be willing to rise from defeat and do battle again and again. He must never give up, for he knows that truth, beauty, and goodness are always worth fighting for. A leader knows that he must never compromise on principles, but compromise as much as is needed on methodologies and styles. A wise leader knows how to strike that delicate balance has the insight to tell the difference. A leader must be willing to learn from his mistakes, publicly admit when he was wrong, and then grow, discover, and explore anew. He must be willing to get back on his feet armed with this new enlightenment, and begin to fight again. Dare greatly so that if you succeed, you know the triumph of high achievement, and at worst if you fail, you failed boldly so that your place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. Ignore critics, yet pay attention to counsel. Be anti-fragile: Refuse to be crushed; Refuse to accept failure. And never make excuses. Benjamin Franklin once said that, “he who is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”

4. A Leader must be humble. He knows his worth and is proud of his accomplishments. However he also knows that he is but a man, equal to all other men. He knows that he is not God. He is willing to listen to the wise counsel of the team he has constructed around him. He places others before himself and knows their value. He treats people as ends in and of themselves, as all people are infinitely valuable. He sees his place in the universe and in society and in the organization. He sees that his responsibility as a leader is a sacred trust, not to be donned lightly. He knows that he is responsible for everything and everyone that happens in and around his purview. And he is grateful for the trust and responsibility given to him. A good leader always says thank you. A good leader takes responsibility for the mistakes and errors that he commits as well as for those of his subordinates. And he is Quick to give away the credit to his team. A good leader knows that a team’s performance reflects directly upon the leader. He knows that the reward of a thing is to have done it. He does not seek the limelight for himself except as necessary for the good of the team and the project or cause. A leader is generally gracious and polite because he values other people as equals. A leader is respectful, honest, fair, and just. A leader knows that reputation is really all that he has. And that reputation is built upon character. Honesty is the cornerstone of character. Honesty and character holds a man together in the worst of storms. Without his integrity he collapses. A Man is absolutely trustworthy. He inspires and is loyal himself. He is helpful to his colleagues, friends, betters, and subordinates. A man must be friendly and warm and open. A man must be courteous to all. Especially when it is difficult to do so. The most important quality any man or woman could possess is kindness. Kindness must be authentic and is based on empathy and a genuine care for other people. Niceness is easily forged and is inherently superficial and manipulative. Be kind. A leader knows how to follow and how to be obedient to his masters. His own obedience establishes a hierarchy of authority and a chain of command by example. Of course a leader also knows when and how to challenge his superiors when necessary. This, of course, is dictated by his principles and ethics in which he has already done much reflection. A leader sets the tone through his attitude: therefore cheerfulness is usually recommended. A good attitude covers a host of ills. A good leader is thrifty with his resources and manages his resources (both people and physical) strategically and well. He is not wasteful. A leader is also brave and reverent (respectful and humble) all of which we have already talked about at length. A leader is also clean: both physically and in integrity. He should be above reproach and without fault. If one can lead through example, one will find that the course ahead is much easier. 

5. A leader does thorough homework. He knows that knowledge is power: knowledge give him an edge and lends authority. A leader embraces lifelong learning and is curious about everything that he does not yet know. A Leader is well-rounded and commands a basic knowledge of many topics and, ideally, in depth knowledge on a few. A leader is constantly pushing himself to be better educated and engages in much self-study. You will have observed that As a Child, everyone focuses on teaching the child: Knowledge and information is handed directly to the child. However, as a man, people rarely teach or hand information and knowledge directly to the man. He is required to teach himself and to be intentional about growing his “mind-garden.”

6. A good leader attempts to persuade and enlist help whenever possible. He attempts to convince and use reason to diplomatically achieve his goals. He orders only when necessary. People work harder, give more of themselves, and feel better when they believe in a cause or in a man. morale depends upon your team’s good will and generosity. Persuasion generates these much more effectively. Leadership by persuasion and acceptance of team decisions to the contrary are the basis of democracy. A good leader asks and requests. A bad leader bosses.

7. A Good leader has a sound heart, a sound mind, a sound body, and a sound spirit. The heart is the emotions and creative self. It cares for the delicate and for others: it fights for beauty. A sound mind is the intellect and rational self. It cares and fights for ideas and truth. A sound body is the physical self: needs. The body looks out for itself and its own well-being. It provides for the physical and physiological needs and protects the rest. The spirit is one’s will: vision and courage. The will fights for goodness. The will also drives the mind, body, and soul. It is the charioteer guiding those three horses of self along the narrow Rocky Clifftop road of life. The will keeps the body mind and soul on the right track. General Patton said, “If you are going to win any battle you must do one thing: you must make the mind (will) run the body; never let the body tell the mind (will) what to do. The body is never tired unless the mind (will) is tired.”

A great leader knows that he is what he regularly does. Actions make the man. Aristotle builds upon this idea by saying that, “excellence then therefore is not an act but a habit.” Make excellence your habit. Right action and right feeling flows from right thought. If you change the thoughts you change the man. However, as artists, we know that if we change the feelings we can change the thoughts. Therefore “you must hold yourself to a higher standard than anyone else expects of you.” (Henry Ward Beecher). “Resolve to perform what you ought, perform without fail what you resolve.” Benjamin Franklin

8. Great leaders delegate. General Patton said, “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you.” Surround yourself with brilliant and talented teams of people who have many conflicting ideas: make sure they are a well-rounded and diverse group. They will provide thoughts, ideas, perspectives, and reasons that you would never think of on your own and will provide the fodder you need to rise the highest possible level. Never be afraid to be the dumbest, least talented, least connected, least wealthy, least interesting person in a room, For what an incredible room that is! Iron sharpens iron. Seek out excellence, and you will inadvertently begin to emulate the qualities that make them excellent. Excise and discard all mediocrity. Mediocrity only serves to act as an anchor and drag you down to its own level. Never tolerate mediocrity. Only settle for your best, and the best of your team. Perfection and miracles are the bare minimum. A Leader is only as good as his team: the better one’s team, the better one leads. 

9. Inspirational quotes

The supreme quality of leadership is integrity. – Eisenhower

A genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus but a molder of it. – MLK

The price of greatness is responsibility. – Churchill 

Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of being. -Goethe

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply: With greater vision; with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world. And you impoverish yourself if you forget that. – Woodrow Wilson

We will either find a way or make one. – Hannibal

Victory belongs to the most persevering. -Napoleon

In Every battle there comes a time in both sides consider themselves beaten. Then he who continues the attack wins. – Grant

Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. – Churchill

The Chief cause of failure in life is sacrificing what you want the most for what you want at the moment.

Discipline is the denial of self for future gain. – Peter Kerr
10. The secret to happiness

The secret to happiness is to ignore it entirely. Do not pursue happiness: the surest way to be miserable is to seek happiness. Happiness was never intended to be an objective. Happiness is a symptom: it is the byproduct of a well-lived life. It is the result of living a good life. Living a good life is not necessarily easy, it is not necessarily full of wealth, nor is it necessarily particular successful. Here is how one lives a good life: be kind to others and yourself. Seek and fight for truth, beauty, and goodness with excellence. Don’t strive for merely being good: be excellent. Seek perfection. Truth is honesty. It is fact. Truth is integrity. Truth is not feeling or opinion. Beauty is life, art, song, love, elegance. It is delicate, and fragile. Goodness is kind, humble, and loyal. Truth, Beauty, goodness require protection. They require men to lead the defense of them. As you seek truth, beauty, and goodness you will realize how intertwined and interconnected they are. You will begin to see them as three facets of the same universal reality: each distinct yet the same. Live your life in excellence: Grow! Strive for perfection. Live in Purity of mind, and deed. 
Vincit qui se Vincit: he conquers, who conquers himself. 
11. There are also a couple of other specific things you can do to grow as a man, as a leader, and to assist you in living a good life. You Must do these in some form every day.

There are 8. things that I attempt to do every day: 

1. Create something: paint, whistle, doodle, play an instrument. It doesn’t have to be good. Just create something that never existed before. 

2. Consume information, art, science, politics, tv, film, and anything else that strikes your fancy. 

3. Experience everything that you can. Adventure.

4. Schedule unstructured Play. 

5. Dream and Meditate or Pray, preferably in nature. Reflect. 

 6. Enjoy good food and drink, or other pleasurable non-destructive vices. 

 7. Have great conversations: connect to at least one person in a meaningful way. 

8. Exercise your body. 

9. Do something intentionally productive. Achieve something. Winning begets winning.

-JRWH, 3/16/16
 

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The Purpose and Function of Government

What is the purpose and function of Government?

The first obvious function is to help create an environment in which people can create and live a good life.

Government’s responsibility is to provide a framework and ecosystem that supports its citizens living a good life.

This necessitates a few things.

First, we must understand Human Nature to first understand what is a good life for a human.

So, what are humans? We are a being comprised of Body, Mind, Soul, and Spirit.

{I have written extensively on my theory of the Quadripartite nature of humanity before, but as a quick refresher:
1. Body – The physical and biochemical processes of matter and energy dictated by physics and biology.
2. Mind – The rational conscious thinking part of ourselves.
3. Soul – the creative and emotional part of ourselves. (Not a religious/eternal soul). Part of the subconscious.
4. Spirit – Will, desires, inner power, character, instinct. Part of the subconscious.}

(I am Not going to argue for that breakdown here, as I have done it many times before. It is here merely as a reference to my building blocks and foundation of thought.)

We are beings in relationship to the Universe: We relate to the physical world around us, to nature. We relate to the people around us: to society and our community. We relate to ourselves. We relate to our concept of the divine, be that God, the Muses, Enlightenment, etc. Our individual Relationships constitute the essential truth of ourselves. How we behave and desire to behave toward all of those elements is at the core essence of who we are.

We are Free Will beings of matter and energy living in a physical world that we impact through our choices. We be, while we become. We have physical biochemical needs that keep us alive. We have emotional/creative/psychological/intellectual needs that give us quality of life. We feel a need to have some overarching purpose. We experience time linearly and thus create narratives of our lives. We constantly develop this narrative and accept or reject pieces and parts based on how they fit. Some pieces we have forced into our narratives, and we then must adjust our story to accommodate it. We are social beings. We thrive in a society, and while we can survive completely on our own, we are much more efficient and are better able to meet our needs in a community of our choosing.

We are beings that start with some limited processing power that grow and develop through time in response to stimuli. Our early years are quite formative. Our environment (socio-economic, actual climate, rural/city, country, intellectual, worldview, memes, etc) and relationships all impact the stories we tell ourselves.
Events happen to us, and we process them, creating narratives around them, which are informed by our past experiences, and how others teach us to react to them.

We are creatures that seek pleasure, and tend to avoid pain. We seek fulfillment. We tend to be creatures of habit. We Create and build. We also destroy and ruin. We desire. We crave and need love, and to feel and be empowered in our lives. We seek happiness. We seek to live a good life, by whatever standard we have constructed/been taught. We seek to do good actions, and be good people. We usually seek to live lives of character and integrity, for a variety of reasons. Humans have traditionally been religious beings seeking answers to large questions of meaning, purpose, and living well, outside the physical universe in the realm of the metaphysical and Theological. Due to biology, the normal basic family unit consists of a father and a mother and a child. This, of course expands, and permutates in infinite complexity. Humans tend to bond and feel most strongly about those closest to them in appearance and DNA. Next, they bond through shared experience and taste. Thirdly, they bond through affiliation with tribes, clubs, teams, etc without real prior personal contact.

Humans need Food, Shelter, Protective clothing (personal and portable shelter), oxygen, water, excretion, and general homeostasis in order to merely survive. Sex is important to create and build family units, and propagate the species. These things in proper balance provide health. Proper shelter usually turns into property. The tools by which you gain these basic needs are the most important possessions toward self determination. Shelter grants physical safety for both you and your family. Security of employment means that you can have the means to secure the aforementioned needs. Being able to protect your self and your family means that you have the ability to continue to survive. When your physiological and emotional needs and security are covered, we can have a stable family life, and develop friendships and intimacy with our family and community. This in turn creates confidence and respect for ourselves and others. It allows us the ability to succeed and achieve, if we are so inclined. At this point, our lives are functioning so well, we can create and appreciate creation. We can enjoy leisure, and be spontaneous. We can see possibilities, not just actualities. We can philosophize. In short we can attain our highest personal potential. In rare cases, some people short circuit these, and go out of order, but throughout history, the vast majority of people function this way.

Speaking of Sexuality, humans generally are either male or female, and generally sexually desire the opposite. Now, there obviously are genetic aberrations and socialized differences. Humans, though we tend to be, are not only sexually binary. There are scores of other variations upon the theme. However, the binary propagation model tends to be the normal standard. There is no right or wrong here. It merely is.

We are much more than this. We explore, we discover, we go new places and seek new things. We are curious about the unknown. We also fear it. We are brave. We are courageous. We are timid. We are loyal to our groups, and fiercely protective of them. We can yet transcend our identities and our groups, though. We can see generals, and infer specifics, and vice versa. We can learn and grow. We seek to change and grow in as much as we seek stability and comfort, and to remain the same.

We are spontaneous, impulsive, and creatures of habit and routine. We are logical, based on known quantities and we are erratic and insane. We see the world as we have been taught to see it, and we can see it as we want it to be. We have vast imaginations that create new possibilities and impossibilities.

We want everything, and nothing.

We destroy. we seek conquest, power, and glory.

We seek immortality, and devise a myriad of ways to achieve it. We fear death, and the idea that there is nothing beyond what we see and feel. We are faced with our own mortality, and insignificance.

We seek to glorify ourselves. We seek to propagate our name through works or through children. We seek to provide for our future immortality lineage.

We take what doesn’t belong to us for them. We think that we deserve rewards for goodness. We do evil things. We think that the world works in certain ways, and we delight and fear the surprises that expectation brings.

Humans are complicated. We think. We feel. We act. Or not. We destroy ourselves and enjoy the destruction. We build ourselves, and love the work. Or we hate all of those things.

What are humans? What are we? We are all of these things and much more.

So, what is the purpose of Government?

Proper and healthy Government is supposed to create an environment in which we can become fully human and reach our fullest human potential, by regulating each other to prevent the unjust exploitation of each other through a system of checks and balances, and watched watchers that answers to the people, is created by the people and is comprised of the people in order to best care for each other and protect each other from each other, in a global community. It is ideal to create a government that allows maximum personal freedom to self-determine our own individual purpose and fulfillment and allow us each the freedom of self-discovery and maximum personal development and growth. This personal realization of potential is great for everyone, for it helps foster an environment of success. Our greatest potential can only be realized in a community. Our greatest potential helps the maximum amount of people in the world. Everyone has a different potential.

Thus the true purpose of Government is to help us each discover our highest potential, and to create an environment in which everyone can potentially discover their highest potential. Our highest potential might be called living “the good life.”

Our highest potential is that which helps the most people in the greatest manner, while providing a sense of fulfillment, and purpose. How can we best positively impact all of our relationships (Divine, IntraPersonal, Societal, environmental, and cosmological)?

How can we most fully create the best possible version of ourselves?

It starts by being people of our word. All character flows from commitment to honesty, and doing what we say we will do, every time. Being trustworthy is the foundation to all other character traits. Foundational in that honesty is a respect of the human dignity and the view of absolute human equality. We respect our equals. We value those equal to us, and thus honor them with our honesty. If all men and women are equal, then we must unequivocally be honest and deal with them as equals. We treat others as we want to be treated because they are equal to us. We help our equals and are kind in the way we want to be helped and have kindnesses done to us. Loyalty, friendliness, conscientiousness, patience, gentleness, discipline, courteousness, cheerfulness, bravery, cleanliness, etc all stems from treating others as equals: the way that we want to be treated. These are the basis of integrity and character. All proper morality and ethics must stem from this basis of human nature and equality. It is more than just a trite truism, it is a foundational truth that underpins all Law, Ethics, Morality, Social Contracts, and social dealings.

So, with these foundational truths as a basis, What is the purpose of Government? How does it look?

Government originated through tribal nomads. The family unit was the original basis of government. Families and small groups were able to diversify their talents and secure the basic necessities. Because strength secured the ability to breathe, get food, build shelter, choose better choices, and maximize freedom, strength was originally most prized. Strength allowed the ability to have freedom. Strength also gave the ability to take freedom away from others, and to take their resources. Wisdom quickly developed as an alternative, and soon whomever held both wisdom and strength ruled the tribe of families, and later cites, then city-states, then kingdoms, and empires. Wisdom alone is not enough to rule. Strength must necessarily be a part of it. Wisdom also governed Strength’s targets, timing, tactics, and reasons for attacking. It also countered other Strength’s attacks. Thus Government was born to lead people to safety and security, as well as to protect against outside uses of strength. It is very difficult for one man to grow food, build shelter, and care for all of his needs with any long term stability. More people meant that more tasks could be outsourced to others who were better and more productive at certain tasks. At first, all was held in common, and the Patriarch ensured that all received what they needed or at least received a fair share. As groups grew larger, it became increasingly difficult for one person to arbitrate and to ensure universal dispersion of resources to the needy. Trading the fruits of the labors became currency. Hard work creating desired resources necessary to the survival of the tribe became important. And with the burgeoning trades came people who helped the suppliers get their goods to the demanders. And relative value currency was created to help arbitrarily evaluate the relative value of one good to another, or one service to a good. Government helped ensure that this ran smoothly, and took a tax as payment for creating a safe environment in which to trade, without fear of robbery, cheating, or other hazards to livelihood. It also became necessary to create arbitration and means of recourse for wrong doing. Thus courts were born, and legal standards that were held as equal for all men. No men were above the law, not even kings or government. It created a standard of punishments as deterrents and a system of justice. Also, in primitive societies, Kings had counselors who gave recommendations to the ruler on how they thought society was best run, or on matters of immediate policy or danger. In early societies, this was a counsel of elders elected by the people to speak for them, and represent their interests around the counsel fire as matters of grave import were discussed and decided on. The king could either reject or accept their counsel, but often found that his rule was easier if he listened to the popular votes of his counselors. He found that they became his careful allies and helped convince people of long term strategy and of what was truly in the tribe’s best interest.

Thus, the basis of a democratic republic has its foundations in the earliest forms of human government. Our three branch system has existed in one form or another, with varying degrees of balance since the earliest tribal nomadic days of human history.

The King casts a vision for his people, and makes decisions with much input from the popular representatives and counselors, while a court system arbitrates disputes, and ensures that the King and Counselor’s decisions are based on precedent, and law, and are in the best interests of the country.

In the earliest tribes, people all lived as one. They all either starved, or feasted. When there was plenty, everyone succeeded. When there was famine, everyone starved. Everyone lived and died as a unit. They cared for each other, and made sure that everyone was cared for. If someone didn’t have enough, or have what they needed, their contribution was significantly diminished, so it was in everyone’s best interests to make sure that everyone was properly taken care of. As the support net has grown, the individual impact of successes and failures has diminished. It is spread out over a much larger area. It has become easy to ignore the devastation of others’ lives. It has become easy to ignore those who are starving, who are naked, who have no water, or who have no shelter or home. They have no means of contributing to society, for they are often ostracized.

What a job really is is a means to contribute to the success of the whole. Can you hunt? Can you cook? Can you farm? Can you create art? Do you build fire? Do you craft tools? DO you watch children? etc. How do you contribute? If a stranger wanders in out of the cold, and is naked, without food, and is sick, get him warm. Feed him, heal him, then figure out how he can contribute to the whole.

All that democratic socialism proposes is to help the people who cannot feed themselves, who are sick, and can’t heal themselves, and who have no homes, and cannot build one do these things. Once you care for the body, you can care for the spirit and mind and will. When these things are cared for, we can help them become a productive and contributing member to society. This is the central and core tenant. Help people survive long enough and raise themselves up to no longer worry about the basic essentials of life. Then habilitate them toward meaningful productivity and contribution.

The purpose of Government is to help people live the good life. Other people create the environment in which you live. If you help others, or empower others to help others, all of those others will help you create a better environment in which you can grow and live a good life. When the tide rises, so do all of the little boats.

Streamlining Immigration is about helping people become good citizens that can contribute to the overall well being – combining the other tribes resources into our own. Universal Healthcare is about the developing a populace that doesn’t need to fear disease and be destroyed by it. Welfare, the same purpose. Foreign Policy should be about how best to help the whole world live the good life, for that helps us life a good life.

Government is merely the extension of ourselves to help us live a good life, and to help others live a good life, and that requires that we contribute to the betterment of the government and society. It means that the way to best maximize our personal freedom and benefit is to force each other to pull our own weight and the weight of the cart. The role of government is to help get everyone off of the cart, and get everyone running toward a better tomorrow, without leaving anyone behind.

Let us help each other reach our maximum potential. We really don’t have a choice, if we want to truly be free.

On first principles to guide all else: a beginners guide to effective decision-making

If you are ever at a loss what to do, always return to the basic and most important principles of life. Build a logical case from them, and you will soon know the answer.

The first and most important axiom must be this:

1.Love people, and be kind.

All other principles flow from this.

The next principle is thus:

2. Be a man/woman of your word.

2A. Always make sure you give your word in accordance with principle #1. Be Trustworthy.

2B. Reward Trustworthy people with loyalty. This is positive reinforcement of the love principle.

2C. Your word, and your reputation is all that you have. Everything else around you flows from that. Your reputation flows from your integrity and your character.

2C1. Words have power. What you communicate and how you communicate it to others can either create or destroy whole worlds and civilizations.

2C2. Learn to speak and communicate well. Then make sure you choose the appropriate words and concepts in your communication that are most effective for communicating with your audience.

2C3. This is the foundation for high standards of educational excellence. No one will be able to communicate well if they have nothing to communicate about. Thus we must teach as many important concepts and information The high standard to everyone. A good foundation education universally held, would create an incredible, powerful, and wonderful world Full of creators shaping the universe.

3. Be helpful. People who love, and are kind will be naturally helpful.

3A. Helpful and loving people do their works with Friendly courtesy. Manners matter. One must be polite.

3A1. Proper manners and care for others means respecting authority and the hierarchy in place. People have risen to where they are thru much hard work and discipline.

3A1a. It would follow that courtesy would dictate honoring their achievements and feelings about those achievements.

3A1b. Honor your mother and father.

3A1c. Cheerful obedience to your superiors is then the right course of action and proper attitude in which to do it.

3B. People are ends in and of themselves, not merely means to an end. Respect others, and be reverent toward their beliefs and ideas.

3B1. Bravery means putting others first, above yourself, in spite of fear. This follows from love. This places an extreme value on the other person. When everyone is brave for everyone else, miracles happen, and the insurmountable obstacle becomes an ant hill.

3B2. Being wise financially cares for your family, or future family, and honors the society that crafted you and gave you the opportunity to become what you are. Being thrifty shows respect for yourself, your office, your peers, and your community.

3B2a. Proper Resource stewardship is essential for thriving and prospering. Benjamin Franklin said “Waste not, want not”. This applies to individuals, families, society, and humanity. Do universe operates in cycles. Some periods of plenty, some of lean. Stewardship allows you to always care for your responsibilities and needs.

3B2b. Proper stewardship of your own resources also instills trust in others that if they give you resources of their own to manage that you will care for them equally well. This ensures future prosperity for you or people will always need others to help them care for their own things.

3B2c. Be grateful for everything that you have, and every resource an opportunity that you can take advantage of. Approach all things with an attitude of Grace, thanks, dignity, and appropriate humility.

3C. Be clean. Take care of yourself and those around you by practicing good hygiene. It also keeps society safe from disease, and generally creates a more pleasant experience for all.

4. Part of loving others is Wanting the best for others.

4A. Hold everyone around you to a high standard.

4A1. Integrity and character matter. They are the foundation of a good relationship with yourself, others and society.

4A2. The best way to maintain integrity is through interpersonal Accountability. Others watch us and hold us to our greatness, and we must do the same for others.

5. Relationships constitute essential truth.

5A. Our first relationship is with ourself.

5A1. Our first relationship is to our conscious mind and perception of self. Maintain a healthy conception of self: proper self-worth and esteem are essential. Let them be neither too large or too small. Know your place in the world. Know your capabilities and your authentic self. Love yourself. Be self aware. Challenge and grow your intellect. A happy mind is an active mind.

5A2. Next is our subconscious mind and creativity. Make sure to stimulate your subconcious with interesting thoughts snd ideas. Meditate, enjoy and create art and music. No that what you see and experience resonates in rebounds and resounds inside you long after the experience itself fades away. Cultivate a healthy unconscious by caring for the content you consume. What goes in to your subconscious will always find its way and express itself in the conscious.

5A3. Finally, care for your sense of right and wrong. Care for your ambitions. Take care of your dreams and your ethics. This is the source of your will which in turn is what allows you to accomplish anything. This is the home to your integrity from which every other aspect of yourself flows. Mind your garden.

5A4. Next we must care for our body. You must exercise appropriately. Eat healthily. Only use drugs tobacco and alcohol in moderation. Have Quality beautiful sex as often as you ethically can. Care for your health. For your health is a slave to time, and they are your only true resources of much value.

5B. Our second relationship is with others.

5B1. Our first relationship is with our family. They are the most important relationships and the only ones bound by blood. Your bloodline matters. Your genetic connection matters. You are the result of millions of years of chance and circumstance and love. You bear your ancestors history inside of you. You carry the hopes and dreams and ambitions and achievements of thousands of people inside of you. Care for your family. Families are the basic societal unit. No one will care for you more deeply, irrationally, or more personally than your family. Your closest friends are the family that you choose. This also goes for husbands and wives. They are adopted family members which is no less significant. Sexual partners become a part of you and you become a part of them through the exchange of genetic material. Similarly so: blood pact brothers.

5B2. The next round of relationships is your connection to your immediate community. This could be virtual and online, or could be more traditional such as Townhall, or interest groups, or hobbyists. These relationships create a well-rounded and safe society.

5B3. Next, we have society as a whole. Society can do things for you that your family cannot. However it is a two Way Street: you are expected to do things for society that might not personally benefit you or your family. This ensures a longevity of the species.

5C. Finally we have a relationship to nature and the universe. It is our home. It is the future home of our children. We must care for the environment for it’s direct impact in our own lives and the lives of our children and the lives of our family friends and community society and species. Just also care for the universe as a whole as it allows us to see our true nature and true place. When we stare into the depths of the universe from the dock of our own planet, we really look at a mirror and discover our sense of the sublime. We see who we truly are.

6. The way things are is not necessarily the way things ought to be.

6A. Vision is required to dream of and see a better world that no one else can see.

6B. Leadership is required to cast that vision in front of others and capture their imagination and ensure their willingness to assist in the realization of that vision.

6B1. Leadership requires a community.

6B1A. Power is always given or granted by the community being lead. It is never self generated.

6B1B. It can be coerced or manipulated to be gotten, but if it is seized that way, as soon as the veil is lifted, the power vanishes.

6B2. Love and Integrity must be at the core of all leadership.

6C. If you are not a person of vision or leadership, do not despair. Your contribution is absolutely essential. You assist in the realization of those visions buy those men of leadership. We all play a part, and we each have a role.

7. Balance thought and action. We must of course give great thought and analysis to all matters great and small, but we must find the balance between that analysis paralysis that could result and actually achieving and accomplishing.

7A. Your instincts flow from your subconscious. If you have cared for your subconscious mind properly, when it is time to act, if you have done your basic analysis and thought, you will know what to do.

7B. Virgil said that Fortune favors the bold. What he meant by this is that we must be people of action. No one ever did anything or achieved anything nearly by merely thinking about it. However no one ever did anything Or achieved anything worth doing without thinking about it first.

7B1. When you make a decision, let the decision be final. Do not agonize over it. Be bold and adventurous with that decision. Take responsibility for every decision that you make, and every action that you take. The world around you is the way that it is because of you.

7B2. Do not cease analyzing after you act, however. Every action will cause reactions. Those reactions must be analyzed and considered. Sometimes those reactions will necessitate a course correction. Sometimes it is better to stay the course and let things work themselves out. If you are unsure which is the correct course of action, let me advise you to consider your first principles from which you were acting and put your intuition and powers of analysis and integrity to bear on this solution.

Epilogue:
I could continue expanding and unpacking these and other principles into various other permutations and applications, but I believe this is a fairly solid initial foray into a functional foundation for decision-making. It is a rather solid basis for anyone’s immediate growth. Most of these concepts are very basic, and you could write many books on each topic. But as an overview, I believe that it is fairly comprehensive.

May you have the best of luck in all your future endeavors.

On the Sublime

Loneliness…

lonely

And the fear of it.

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This is the facet of humanity that has dictated and changed the course of individual human lives and the whole course of human history. In the Garden of Eden Myth, why did Adam eat the apple? Fear of being alone and losing his love.

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What were Alexander Graham Bell’s first words on his telephone? “Mr. Watson, come here! I want you.”

Why do we romanticize love and hold love as our highest ideal? Because Love is the antithesis to loneliness. Love means that your soul must never be alone.

first_days_of_loneliness_by_Dexta_Cube

We humans live in the sublime. I define “Sublime” classically: not excellence, but the terror and recognition of our own insignificance in the face of the awe-inspiring vast and brobdingnagian universe. We feel the cold grip of our own mortality: the winds of insignificance whip at our consciousness, tattering our sanity in the biting realization that we are alone. We are born alone, and we die alone.

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We so acutely feel this pain and we run as far away as fast as we can. We stuff it down in our awareness and turn the agony into a dull throb. We stay busy, buy pets, take up hobbies, joke about awful experiences dating, or commiserate over bad online dating websites. Our holidays are the worst, because we are confronted with images of friends and families surrounding a christmas tree, or thanksgiving dinner, or on romantic dates in February. Our news feeds are congested with images of weddings, and babies, and new families growing and moving together.

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Even when you find a brief respite from the drum beat, things end, friendships decay, loved ones are snatched into the endless abyss. We commemorate graduations, and funerals, wrap parties, and weddings the same: we celebrate the times we had together, while mourning the loss of the immediacy of our close friends and new families as their life paths merrily carry them away like crisp leaves floating downstream in the gutters. All gutters lead to the dark sewers, and sewers lead to the sea.

We dance while we can, with a fervent desperation, knowing that the dance cannot help but end, and our partner will age into dust, or leave us for the next bright bobbing body.

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And so time goes on. And so we go on. We stare above into the eternal night, watching the silent flaming watchers watch us, as they stand as sentinels marking the passage of time, like a massive watch. It is a watch wound up at the dawn of time, each hand ticking away until everything dissolves into cold dissolution. Dissipation. All heat and energy expended until even the atoms and molecules no longer hold together and become a thinly eternal cloud protons and neutrons and electrons. Even they will become quarks and muons and neutrinos. And they will eventually dissolve into quanta spread so far apart and cease moving. In the end, even the fabric of the universe will be alone, without so much as a single atom fining itself bound to any other.

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We are the consciousness of the universe. That is our function in this vast body. And we are aware of our own individual insignificance. The universe is aware of its own death and demise. And it is lonely too.

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“GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he ‘s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he ‘s to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.”

Robert Herrick. 1591–1674

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Identity

Who am I?

I don’t know who I am apart from what I want and what I do…

I have always assumed that what I do defines me, and what I want gives me the trajectory.

Is there anyone behind the persona? Or am I all “Oz The Great and Powerful” with no man behind the curtain?

What if I am merely a hologram or projection?

I don’t know if there is anything underneath my ambition and will… What if I am merely a husk doll in the shape of a man? What if I am nothing more than dried leaves acting aimlessly because I have adopted a “ethos package” with a set of attitudes, actions, and thoughts, arbitrarily?

What if my life has no meaning? Merely searching for meaning is a worthless meaning.

What if I don’t matter?

What if nothing arises from my nothing?

What if all that is there is merely smoke and phantasms, and are of no substance? What if it is all magic tricks and illusions?

If the persona kills the original, and takes on a form of life, then what?

What if there is a self beneath the projection that we desire others to view us as? What is our truest nature and our truest self?

I must make a list of the things which I think that I am in an attempt to understand myself and determine my true identity. However, are preferences and taste valid things by which to determine identity?

Taste and preferences change. Now, Self-Identity is a fluid construct, and is not at all immovable. In fact, it would be accurate to say that our self-perception is always growing changing and evolving, which means that identity is a product of the is/ought dilemma and also lies in the crisis of being vs becoming.

What is the basis of identity? I would argue that it is at least partially found in relationships. These relationships are four-fold: 1. Relationship to himself – his mind, spirit, body and will; 2. Relationship to others: family, friends, community, society, world; 3. Relationship to the Natural world and universe; and 4. Relationship to God, Philosophy, the Divine, the Supernatural, ideas, Art, etc – I include anything that helps Man transcend himself and his limited potential.

For the purposes of this musing, I am going to assume that I exist, and that my general perceptions of reality more or less approximate at least a functional reality that is universally perceived by others of the human race.

1. Relationship to Self
I invest great time into myself: I read, I learn, I contemplate, I experience as much as I can. I try new foods, and I generally try to eat healthily. I exercise somewhat. I promote healthy self-talk and internal monologs. I explore new attitudes, tastes, and preferences. I do not do drugs, except for a little bourbon/scotch and the occasional cigar. I listen to music, and view art. I spend much time and energy in developing my character, my force of will, my integrity. I seek to become increasingly Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. I am a Thinker. I am a Dreamer. I am a Man. I like novelty. I like words, and have a decent vocabulary. I like Classical Music, and Opera. Art moves me and has great power, and I love creating it. I am a Creator, and a Destroyer. I like skydiving, rock climbing, and hiking. I play Cello, Ukulele, drums, and I sing. I love Early Grey tea, both sweetened and iced, or sweetened and hot. Shiny things attract my attention. I love the taste and experience of eating meat. I love how it makes me feel. I love testosterone rushes. I am fairly strong. I am also Strong willed. I have decent discipline. I have much control over my emotions, but I am seeking to let them be a bit more free in order to bolster the efficacy of my art. I am a Director. I like th way sunshine feels upon my face. I don’t generally like being wet. I love orange juice and the colors red and blue, though I don’t like them together. I love and need light. I love driving fast. I try to live according to an ethical code.

2. Relationship to Others
I am the First Born Son to a Pastor/Theologian and a Nurse/Teacher/Missionary. I am the eldest brother to an aspiring Naval officer, a U.S. Marine Corp 2nd Lt, and a College student. I am the 4th generation in the Hiatt family that has borne the name James. I am the grandson to a Coast Guard Quarter Master Master Chief Petty Officer (QMCM), and grandson to a Navy airplane Mechanic. My lineage includes Gods and Kings, Heroes and Legends, Saints and Popes. I am a fiercely loyal friend, and once who challenges others to be excellent. I am a Leader, and a terrible follower. I am intent upon changing the world for the better. I want to impact my community, society, and the world first through my art, and then through politics. I want to help everyone. I want to open minds, imaginations, and hearts.

3. Relationship to Nature.
I love nature, I recycle, I minimize my carbon footprint. I hike, backpack, camp, rock climb, etc. I leave no trace. I support environmentalists and policies which protect nature and natural resources. I support and study science which has understanding the world around us as it’s chief goal.

4. Relationship to the Unseen/Divine
I am philosophically bent. Contemplating and discussing the nature of the universe are two of my favorite activities.
I was raised Protestant (Nazarene – Wesleyan Holiness) Christian, and I suppose that While intellectually I am agnostic, by pure feeling, I sense (and hope) that there is something more out there. I can create systematic theologies or internally consistent philosophies once I assume a couple of baseline axioms from which I can build. However, all of those axioms are inherently unprovable which makes all knowledge suspect, right down to epistemology. I love ideas, and playing with them, and I hold none too dear. I am seeking Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and Excellence and wherever I find them I shall adopt. I create Art in the pursuit of Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and Excellence.

In addition to those pieces of knowledge about myself, I am human. I am subject to all of the feelings, thoughts, reactions, senses, etc that broadly define us and am a product and contributor to the greater human experience.

I suppose that generally, this is who I am.

There! I fixed it: Revamping The Doctrine of the Trinity, and thus ALL of Christianity.

i035Christianity: Your Paradoxical Mysteries are ridiculous.

I am going to muck around a bit in the theological sandbox.
For the purpose of this thought experiment, I shall make the following assumptions, so as to expedite the process:

1. There is a Creator God, who did indeed create the universe. For our purposes, he can at least be Good, All-Powerful ([omnipotent] within the Universe), All-Knowing ([omniscient] Within the Universe, that which is logically possible for him to know), and Omni-Present.
2. He revealed himself on Earth to Humanity as Jesus, the Son of God, and his Holy Spirit, or unseen presence.
3. His agents wrote the Bible at His behest -inspired (composed of selected books from the Jewish Holy Books, and Letters written by Jesus’ Followers and their Followers. This Holy Book can be taken as true enough in matters of historical fact, in so far as much as any other historical book, recording events, myths,salzburg cathedral legends, etc.
4. God Can be known, through specific revelation, general revelation, tradition, corporate/individual prayer and worship and of course through his son Jesus.

Ok. With that out of the way, let us begin.

The Trinity is simply an inane and absurd bit of sophistry. Defining the Trinity, God is One, but that three distinct “persons” constitute the one God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Also, a sub-belief is that Jesus is both God and Man. This is known as the doctrine of the Hypostatic Union where in the one person of Christ, there are two natures: God and man.

Nowhere in the Bible is the word Trinity used. In fact, it was coined by a Theologian, Tertullian in the early 200’s. 100 years later, an ecumenical council (Nicea) debated the idea when they decided to define the relationship of Jesus to God, in response to the controversial teachings of Arius. Led by bishop Athanasius, the council established the doctrine of the Trinity as orthodoxy and condemned Arius’ teaching that Christ was the first creation of God. Arius also asserted that the Son of God was a subordinate entity to painingGod the Father. The creed adopted by the council described Christ as “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance (homoousios) with the Father.” This of course spawned hundreds (and really Thousands) of years of debate. St. Augustine espoused what sounds like a “partialist” position and described the Trinity as comparable to the three parts of an individual human being: mind, spirit, and will. They are three distinct aspects, yet they are inseparable and together constitute one unified human being.

However, most Orthodox and Catholics will simply shrug their shoulders and chalk the Trinity up to one of those things that is too complicated for our feeble human minds to understand. They also claim that it is indirectly taught in the Bible (though not explicitly). It also bridges the gap between Monotheism, and explains the Holy Spirit and Jesus. However, This is ridiculous.

Many of the problems inherent in the doctrine of the trinity stem from Christological controversies. So, we might as well dive deep. Hold your breath. Hell, grab some scuba gear and a diving bell.

Here are some of the “Heresies” rejected by the Universal Church at various Ecumenical Councils:

1. Adoptionism – God granted Jesus powers and then adopted him as a Son.it denied the preexistence of Christ and, therefore, His deity. Adoptionists taught that Jesus was tested by God and after passing this test and upon His ead6af6b76de3e7910dc945826b9ca55baptism, He was granted supernatural powers by God and adopted as the Son. As a reward for His great accomplishments and perfect character Jesus was raised from the dead and adopted into the Godhead. This error arose out of an attempt to understand the two purported natures of Jesus.

2. Apollinarianism – Jesus divine will overshadowed and replaced the human. The Logos of God, which became the divine nature of Christ, took the place of the rational human soul of Jesus and that the body of Christ was a glorified form of human nature. In other words, though Jesus was a man, He did not have a human mind but that the mind of Christ was solely divine. Apollinaris taught that the two natures of Christ could not coexist within one person. His solution was to lessen the human nature of Christ. The church rejected this solution for they felt that it jeopardized the value of the atonement since Jesus needs to be both God and man to atone for the sins of the world, building off of the idea that the World is a fallen evil place, and must be cleansed. The doctrine of atonement is based off of the Jewish traditions surrounding Yom Kippur: Evil is a debt against God, and debts must be collected (so that God can remain Just) but for man to pay that debt, man would need to be killed, because another central tenet of that idea is that blood is the only way to forgive sins. This is based on the animal sacrifices enacted by Abraham and Moses. All of mankind is individually responsible for their sins, and the individuals death is the only way to atone for their lifetime of sins. Jesus needed to be God to offer a pure and holy sacrifice of sufficient value for all humanity, and He needed to be a man in order to die for men.

Hang On. It only gets deeper from here.

3. Arianism – Jesus was a lesser, created being. We have mentioned this briefly already. Based out of the Plato’s Theory of Forms, which subsequent gnostic schools of thought SAM_2925-e1364771138207latched on to, Arius taught that only God the Father was eternal and too pure and infinite to appear on the earth. Therefore, God produced Christ the Son out of nothing as the first and greatest creation. The Son is then the one who created the universe. Because the Son relationship of the Son to the Father is not one of nature, it is, therefore, adoptive. Though Christ was a creation, because of his great position and authority, he was to be worshipped and even looked upon as God. Some Arians even held that the Holy Spirit was the first and greatest creation of the Son. At Jesus’ incarnation, the Arians asserted that the divine quality of the Son, the Logos, took the place of the human and spiritual aspect of Jesus, thereby denying the full and complete incarnation of God the Son, second person of the Trinity.

In asserting that Christ the Son, as a created thing, was to be worshipped, the Arians were advocating idolatry. Also, denies the whole Homostasis thing, and destroys the atonement doctrine. So this is a no go.

4. Docetism – Jesus was divine, but only seemed to be human. Generally, it taught that Jesus only appeared to have a body. This error developed out of the (Zoroastrian and Platonic) dualistic philosophy which viewed matter as inherently evil, that God could not be associated with matter, and that God, being perfect and infinite, could not suffer. Same logic as Arianism. Condemned. Refuted… blah blah blah.

5. Kenosis – Jesus gave up some divine attributes while on earth. These attributes were omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence.st__gregory_church_2_by_citizenfresh-d6u31gx It states that Christ did this voluntarily so that He could function as a man in order to fulfill the work of redemption. Instead, Orthodoxy claims that Jesus cooperated with the limitations of humanity and voluntarily did not exercise His attribute of omniscience. He still was divine but was moving and living completely as a man. The Kenosis theory would mean that Jesus was not fully divine. If Jesus was not fully divine, then His atoning work would not be sufficient to atone for the sins of the world.

6. Modalism – God is one person in three modes. Modalism is probably the most common heresy concerning the trinity. Modalism states that God is a single person who, throughout biblical history, has revealed Himself in three modes, or forms. Thus, God is a single person who first manifested himself in the mode of the Father in Old Testament times. At the incarnation, the mode was the Son and after Jesus’ ascension, the mode is the Holy Spirit. These modes are consecutive and never simultaneous. In other words, this view states that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit never all exist at the same time, only one after another.

7. Monarchianism – God is one person (The Father). It arose as an attempt to maintain Monotheism and refute tritheism. Monarchians were divided into two main groups, the dynamic monarchians and the modal monarchians. Dynamic Monarchianism teaches that God is the Father, that Jesus is only a man, and that the Holy Spirit was a force or presence of God the Father. Modal monarchianism teaches that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are just modes of the single person who is God. In other words, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not simultaneous and separate persons, but consecutive modes of one person. This destroys the nature of atonement.

8. Monophysitism – Jesus had only one nature: divine. It teaches that Jesus was wholly God, and not Man at all. This, of course, is contrary to the notion of atonement. Monophysitism arose out of a reaction against Nestorianism which taught Jesus was two distinct persons instead of one. Its roots can even be traced back to Apollinarianism which taught that the divine nature of Christ overtook and replaced the human one.

9. Nestorianism – Jesus was two persons. Nestorius was a monk who became the Patriarch of Constantinople and he repudiated the Marian title “Mother of God.” He held that Mary was the mother of Christ only in respect to His humanity. If Jesus is two persons, then which one died on the cross? If it was the “human person” then the atonement is not of divine quality and thereby insufficient.r-CHRISTCHURCH-CATHEDRAL-large570

10. Pelagianism – Man is unaffected by the fall and can keep all of God’s laws.people had the ability to fulfill the commands of God by exercising the freedom of human will apart from the grace of God. In other words, a person’s free will is totally capable of choosing God and/or to do good or bad without the aid of Divine intervention. Pelagianism teaches that man’s nature is basically good. Thus it denies original sin, the doctrine that we have inherited a sinful nature from Adam. He said that Adam only hurt himself when he fell and all of his descendents were not affected by Adam’s sin. Pelagius taught that a person is born with the same purity and moral abilities as Adam was when he was first made by God. He taught that people can choose God by the exercise of their free will and rational thought. God’s grace, then, is merely an aid to help individuals come to Him. This negates the need for atonement, and thereby negates the need for the homeostasis and ergo the trinity. It also fits in nicely with John Locke’s Tabula Rasa though it predates Locke by 1300 years, and some of Kant’s theories on the nature of man.

11. Semi-Pelagianism – Man and God cooperate to achieve man’s salvation. Semi-Pelagianism did not deny original sin and its effects upon the human soul and will. But, it taught that God and man cooperate to achieve man’s salvation. This cooperation is not by human effort as in keeping the law, but rather in the ability of a person to make a free will choice. The semi-Pelagian teaches that man can make the first move toward God by seeking God out of his own free will and that man Slave-Angel-bycan cooperate with God’s grace even to the keeping of his faith through human effort. This would mean that God responds to the initial effort of person and that God’s grace is not absolutely necessary to maintain faith. The Churches problem with this compromise is that this is no longer grace. The doctrine of Grace states that it is the completely unmerited and freely given favor of God upon the sinner. But, if man is the one who first seeks God, then God is responding to the good effort of seeking him. This would mean that God is offering a proper response to the initial effort of man. This is not grace, but what is due the person who chooses to believe in God apart from God’s initial effort. Also, this negates the atonement.

12. Socinianism – Denial of the Trinity. Jesus is a deified man. Socinianism denies the doctrine of the Trinity claiming it denies the simplicity of God’s unity. Instead, God is a single person with the Holy Spirit as the power of God. Since it emphasizes the unity of God, there could be no divine and human union in a single person as Christ. Therefore, Socinianism denies the incarnation and deity of Christ as well as Christ’s pre-existence. It teaches that Jesus was only a man. it taught that Jesus was a deified man and was to be adored as such. Nevertheless, since Jesus is not divine by nature, His sacrifice was not efficacious; that is, it did not result in the redemption of people who would trust in it. Instead it was an example of self sacrifice. Again. Denies Atonement.

13. Subordinationism – The Son is lesser than beloved-haiti-blog-post-450x450the Father in essence and or attributes. Subordinationism (Jesus is different in nature than the Father) should not be confused with subordination (the Son submitting to the Father). the Son is not eternal and divine (Arian Subordinationism), and is, therefore, not equal to the Father in being and attributes. Another form of Subordinationism states that though the Son is divine, he is not equal to the Father in being, attributes, and rank.

14. Tritheism – the Trinity is really three separate gods. In the late 11th century a Catholic monk of Compiègne in France, Roscelin considered the three Divine Persons as three independent beings and that it could be said they were three gods. He maintained that God the Father and God the Holy Ghost would have become incarnate with God the Son unless there were three gods.

Ok, the beauty of sloughing through the various so-called heresies is that they represent a rather exhaustive and exhausting summary of most possible logical deviances. Effectively, the reason that the doctrine of the Trinity doesn’t make sense is that it is trying to fill an illogical hole: it is akin to having jig saw puzzle with a couple of extra pieces thrown in. The primary problem is one of logic:

rock_of_cashel6The Earth has Fallen and requires Redemption. Due to the Jewish Code of Atonement, Sin requires Blood Sacrifice. Traditionally this was done with pure animals. Because we are all so fallen and evil, we each deserve to die and fulfill our own sacrifice. God’s Grace and Love counter his Justice, so that in order to satisfy his Just Nature, and defend his love for us, He decides that the price must be paid and that he must pay it himself. Thus Jesus must be God in order to be pure and great enough to Atone for everyone, and he must be a Man in order to take our place. This is the logic of the millennia: this is what Theologians have come up with for the necessity of Christ’s death.

The Church’s problem with the various heresies are that they negate Christ’s dual nature which negates his grace and ability to atone for sin. At first glance, If Christ doesn’t have a dual Nature, then the Trinity doctrine falls apart. However, by stripping away Christ’s Humanity, the doctrine of the trinity becomes much easier. Monophysitism simplifies the whole thing.

Sub-note, the idea of the Trinity is not found nor supported by Judaism. Obviously, Muslims also reject it.

Ok. Now, let us try to imagine a scenario in which the Trinity does make sense and fits the requirements placed upon it.

Assuming that God exists, and assuming 7st-a-cath-gravesthat God visited earth, and assuming that people have experienced him as his “Holy Spirit”, I see one very easy way out of this: If we have no need of “atonement” because we never “fell.” What if Man Kind and the Earth are as we have always been. The human condition is as we have created it. Of course, this puts God in an awkward position: Would a perfect God create something less than perfect? Can perfection be a process of increasing perfection, like the expanding Universe? What if, like the Pelagians and Semi-Pelagians believe, we each fall, and there is no universal fall? What if we each start with a blank slate, and are only victim to our own bergama-asklepion-2actions? What if the only Grace we require is God’s willingness to forgive our sins? Then the death on the cross need only be symbolic, and Christ would only need to be God, and not Man. If the Atonement is nothing more than a ritual, and not some deep-seated blood-lust-filled command, demanded by an angry war god for transgressions against his will, then God’s Triune Nature is easily explained by a combination of Modalism, Monarchianism, and Monophysitism. Of course, denying the “Sin Nature” also negates a need for a literal hell. Assuming that there is an afterlife, hell would simply be existence after death without God’s Presence: something akin to being isolated in the darkness for all eternity, effectively “outside the Universe.”

Mystra,_veduta_rovine_08The classic Trinity is more like an Aspen tree: Genetically identical aspen trees (Populus tremuloides) grow in large stands throughout cooler regions of North America. The individual trees within these stands are interconnected by a shared root system and it is that root system that ranks as the largest on the planet. New aspen trees grow as root sprouts that grow off of a parent tree. The largest known aspen grove, nicknamed Pando, is located in Utah and covers 106 acres and is estimated to weigh 6000 tones.
God The Father is the great Aspen tree. Jesus and the Holy Spirit stances. grow out of the same root system, but come up out of the ground in different places. They are three separate trees, and yet they are one, connected by a shared root system. We experience each tree separately, yet there is no difference. They are the same. They can act independently, and communicate directly with each other. They can also act as one. It is a bit Schizophrenic.

I submit that experientially, the Aspen Treephoto-710568 might make a bit more sense than some of the other models, but it still is actually heresy, according to the classic Church.

Ok, so let us address the Resurrection. In classical Theology, the Resurrection is what proves Jesus’ claims of divinity. It is what proves his power to forgive sins, and proves his right to die for those sins in the first place. It proves his power over death, and instills hope in an afterlife. The Resurrection also assures those victims of Zoroastrian style Cosmic Dualism, that God won, and Satan lost.

Without the need of atonement, and without the need of a fall, there is no need for a Satan figure to accompany the lack of need for a hell.

So, let’s just assume that Christ went ahead and died on the cross and even rose again: this is fine, and fits with the rest of my postulation.

Effectively, by creating an ontology that rovinemakes logical sense, and building a systematic theology from there, we actually create a version of Christianity that is much closer to traditional Judaism, and makes much more solid logical sense within the Christian Universe of Axioms.

To recap: We toss Original Sin, Satan, Hell, Atonement, Dual Nature of Christ, and we actually have a Christianity that reflects our basic human experience much better: Toss in a little Pelagianism and semi-pelagianism and we are set!

We can thus redefine sin as a conscious decision to violate the relationship of a person to God.

Naturally, There are other ramifications of this train of thought, but I am too tired to express them now.???????????????????

Brilliance? Or Dark Shade?

I hate when my mind is like this…

It is a strange and uncanny state of being.

It is like my mind wants to be creative and brilliant, for no reason, but it lacks inspiration, and only thinks ordinary thoughts. Except that it is self conscious of its lack of brilliance, and of its capacity for inspiration. Yet, it cannot make sparks.

Imagine a perfectly formed campfire, pre-flame. The Perfect logs, arranged just so, around a small kindling log cabin, with hyper-dry and flammable tinder. Yet, your Sparker won’t spark, your matches won’t ignite, your lighters are out of fuel. In short, You are perfectly ready to burn if you could simply spark!

I shall leave you with this thought from Howl, by Allen Ginsberg:

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,…”

Musings on the true Nature of Porn

vikibabyHmmm… I wonder…

Legally, Prostitution is illegal. (As well it should be!)
Legally, Porn creation is legal. (Free speech vs Morality)

However, couldn’t Porn be looked at like Double (Or Triple, or…) Prostitution? The definition of Prostitution is “The act of offering one’s playboy-8-august-2013self for hire to engage in sexual relations.” Normally, Two People are paid to have sex and perform intimate acts upon each other, for money. A camera and crew are really incidental, at one level, and the footage is later exploited for Third Party Profit.

Nevada is the only state that has some (heavily regulated) legal prostitution. By my (albeit limited, non-legal-professional) understanding, that should be the only place that shooting porn is legal, as such.

Now, the distribution and consumption of porn is clearly a free speech issue, but I am not so sure that the creation of it is. The only argument that I could see would be through artistic license, and the right to create art, free from government interference, for where is the line?

imagesThe difference is a matter of degrees, I suppose, and of exploitation. We don’t want the Government deciding what films and photography are legal, and what are not. We don’t want Taste to be legislated. Art must be free. Unfortunately, we cannot adequately say if porn falls under the purview of art, because we cannot adequately and universally define art.

And some porn may be artfully done, and artistic in nature, further blurring the lines…

Faith * Hope * Love = {Dream} + [Create] + (Inspire)

Hope is the antithesis to Fate.

road_sunset-wideThere is no fate, or destiny set in stone. There is only freedom.
There are only boundless possibilities. Hope and Fate cannot coexist.

Fate is a set path, that allows no hope. Fate is a set existence that cannot be changed. It is immutable. It is as good as it is going to be, and cannot be improved, or made better. It is exactingly precise, and predetermined. Hope requires that the future is incorporeal.

particles1 jardines-con-laberintosOur Hope is that the best of all possible futures is the one we select.
Our Faith is that Humanity, in all of its greatness and in all of its tragedy, is capable of discovering the Power of the Love necessary to move us toward that best possible future.

 

Love is the engine. Faith: the vehicle. Hope: the navigation.

We dream, and we create from love and faith. Through these, We inspire hope. And Hope fuels the faith and love.

Hope. Faith. Love. Dream. Create. Inspire.

the-universe-hails-our-love-299684This is the essence of the human condition:
Our Glory is our capacity for good.
Our Tragedy is our shortcomings, that cause us to fall short of our potential.
Our Struggle is to overcome these short comings, and reach our greatest potential.

Sisyphus_by_vmulliganTo overcome our Struggles, and reign Triumphant, we need to be guided by Faith, Hope, and Love.

However, without love, our mighty automobile is merely a burnt out wreck. If We have Faith that can move mountains, but have no Love, We have nothing.

Love always Protects.
Love always Trusts.
Love always Hopes.
Love always Perseveres.

sisyphusLove always wins.

The greatest way to destroy the world is to remove the love from it. Without Love, there is no Faith. There is no Hope.

The easiest way to destroy Love, is to promote self-interest, self-indulgence, self-glorification, and cause Humanity to become inward focused. By breaking down the bonds of human society, and dissolving or at least by greatly diluting Love, so that people cease to believe in it, one can eradicate it from society.

504x_775701003_76ce8283e8Love requires being Other focused. It is Patient. Kind. It is not proud, and lacks hubris. It doesn’t envy, or boast. It puts other people first; it does not dishonor other people. It is not self-seeking. It holds no grudges: Love forgives easily and often. Love is disciplined: it is not easily angered. Discipline is the easiest path to Freedom. Love loves Truth. Love Balances Justice. Love is about other people being more important to you than yourself.

Love is the essence of the Golden Rule: Love Your Neighbor As Yourself. Who is my neighbor? Everyone. The people you meet in public, the other drivers on the freeway. The workers who made your sweater and jeans. The farmer who raised your breakfast. The scientist who created your medicine. string_dimensionsThe mechanic and engineers who designed your car. Who is my neighbor? Everyone that I am remotely connected to. We must love them as we love ourselves. We must put society first, and work together to create a society built on Love. This restores Hope. This restores Faith.

This creates a Glorious and Beautiful Humanity and a Shining World for Tomorrow.

In the end, only these three things remain: Faith, Hope, and Love. The greatest of these is Love.

Love Each Other.8472136420_38bd056520_z

A Monsanto World Domination Thought Experiment

A Thought Experiment:

What if Monsanto developed a chemical that collapsed all bee colonies in the USA, which led to widespread famine as crops could not cross pollinate. Then, they stepped in with their Genetically Modified Patent Protected seeds that did not need the Bees, but they had to be replanted every year. Then, what if regulations made it illegal for people to garden and raise their own food in their own yards/houses? What if they simultaneously were working with the manufacturing companies and oil companies to pollute and destroy the water supplies? What if they had the only way to cleanse water from certain toxic chemical compounds

Thus Monsanto controlled the food/water supply, driving up prices so that only the wealthy could afford to eat and drink, contributing to the collapse of the middle class, entirely. Then in the chaos/Civil War that ensued as the poor became increasingly desperate and their number swelled, a Monsanto savior arose from the ashes, promising food and water. Then Monsanto built an empire upon controlling the people through their food rations and water.

He who controls the food and water, controls the world.