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Paul Edward Snyder

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Member since: Mon Jun 30, 2014, 03:21 PM
Number of posts: 15

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The Problem with Manifestos

Karl Marx was not in the late 19th century the monster he is today portrayed as being. He was more of what might be seen today as a particularly gifted union activist concerned with the powerlessness of the working poor, and who had apparently read Thomas Mores’ book, Utopia, about a fictional country whose society was pretty much based on Christian values. Being intellectually inclined and idealistically motivated, he researched the possibility that such a state might be attained and, based on his research and his background in Hegelian philosophical logic, he concluded that such a state was inevitable and proceeded to explain why it was inevitable and how it would come to be.

Unfortunately, though a Communist State sounds wonderful, it is fictional. It cannot possibly work beyond a relatively small community and even then in a world of ever expanding community it would be short lived. Marx speculated that it could only work under a benevolent dictator (much as Democracy has worked so far under an American Republic and similar government institutions), but he assumed the dictatorship would wither and die as the populace became accustomed to mutual cooperation.

Two problems (probably more) were not considered; number one, a benevolent dictator will not live forever and there is no assurance that a benevolent dictator will be followed by another benevolent dictator – in fact, history suggests just the opposite – and number two, though evolution is not the survival of the fittest, life does survive by feasting on other life (we are combative and personal advantage is inborn, part of who we are and may be suppressed for a time, but probably not eliminated altogether (even if it could be, we would be at a serious disadvantage if a situation should arise that threatens our life or the lives of our loved ones and we are unable or unwilling to fight back effectively).

Even if the above were not true and a successful Communist State were possible, all visionaries become the victims of their disciples. I am pretty sure that the authors of our Holy Books would be horrified and mortified if they could see what their followers have done with their message. The same is true of a lesser book, “Das Kapital” and its related pamphlet, “The Communist Manifesto”.
Posted by Paul Edward Snyder | Mon Jul 21, 2014, 11:49 AM (0 replies)

The Question of Existence

I have never really found a good definition of existence. If it means that which can be affirmed by our senses, then there are a great many things that our senses cannot directly affirm, but that do impact our awareness – electricity and magnetism, for example. Do they exist? If not, then if they do not exist what are they, or does only whatever it is that causes them to happen exist (much like a collision between two cars)? Does the collision exist? If so, where does it go when the cars are immobilized?

This is the problem with words. They confuse us as much as they enlighten us. A good argument could be made that existence does not exist. It is a consequence, not an object or even a collection of objects.

To my mind God does not exist. It/He/She created existence

In fact, I believe historically we have come to view God from at least three different angles (perspectives that cannot possibly be reconciled with one another) simultaneously if our view is even close to being accurate. I call these perspectives “God Without Us”, “God With Us”, and “God Within Us”.

“God Without Us” doesn't care. It/He/She is Brahman in concept, not something we could possibly imagine, much less understand. This would be the creator God. This would be the God that created existence, whatever that is. This is the awesome God; the one that strikes fear into our hearts This is the God who would send us to Heaven or Hell arbitrarily (should Heaven or Hell exist) just on a whim

“God With Us” is the companion (compassionate) God. This is the God we talk to; the one we confide in (confess to). It/He/She is the one who forgives us for anything we feel we have done wrong. This is the personal God who cares for us so much It/She/He would give Its/Her/His life (if She/He/It were alive) to protect us from harm

“God Within Us” is a kind of spark, a kind of perfect (or perfectible) us. It/She/He is what we perceive as an inborn awareness of what is right and what is wrong, a kind of depersonalizing of ourselves to the extent that we interpret it as not us, but something within us guiding us; a kind of very personal mentor always with us and very judgmental though not necessarily vindictive.

All this speculation is, of course, ridiculous but it gets me through the day and it does confuse those who would convert me to their just as ridiculous delusions (God Fearing and Atheist Aggressive Evangelicals alike).
Posted by Paul Edward Snyder | Tue Jul 15, 2014, 02:00 PM (0 replies)

Gods the Atheists Worship

The idea of godly entities has always intrigued me. I am deeply religious and strongly drawn to the Christian concept of the Jewish God, Yahweh. No one seems to know exactly what the word Yahweh means, except that it means something like “I am I am”, which seems redundant. I suspect its actually a startled response, something like, “It’s me!,” or “I am who I am,” suggesting the idea of a god without the company of other gods.

But, going back to the idea of gods and where it came from. Being an Evolutionist as well as being deeply religious, I suspect it had something to do with the evolution of human speech. Evolution is seldom sudden and it must have taken thousands of years for articulation to attain some semblance of coherence, but there must have been some survival value to the articulation of sound without words for it to be an advantage strong enough to develop into speech.

I suspect that the manipulation of sound became an advantage when it was used to lure prey close enough to make it the next meal. As manipulating sound became physically more precise, there may have been an attempt to call to the invisible spirits that moved the leaves of trees and whispered from the treetops. An awareness of the power of these invisible creatures may have occurred later when powerful winds (storms and tornadoes) hit and hurt.

The next step would be to try to placate (“Please do not kill me!”) these entities by attempting to figure out the sounds that would summon the murmur of seemingly benevolent entities for comfort and advantage, and other sounds to placate or divert the more powerful and destructive ones. When the sounds developed into actual words in a societal context, an attempt may have been made to discover what these invisible creatures were and how not only to understand why they did what they did, but how to communicate with them and, being human, how to manipulate them.

Worship, putting ourselves in a position of absolute submission (rolling over on our backs or prostrating ourselves on our bellies as the natural sign of submission), was an obvious response to overwhelming power, and flattery an obvious attempt to manipulate. Thus we had the power of sound to summon gods and the power of words to negotiate with these invisible beings.

The irony is that the words we created to protect us from something that does not exist have seduced us into creating other entities that do not exist, but nevertheless control our behavior so much that they could in themselves be considered deities. The words that can have such an overpowering control over our lives are societal words when they cease to be tools, and become living (though non-existent) entities.

Friendship, when it becomes more important than our friends, is one. Marriage, when it becomes more important than our spouse, is another. When Family is more important than the members of our families, Community, city, state, even country can take control of us at the expense of family, friends and countrymen, justifying even their extermination and even our own.

We, of course, can exercise our freedom, our expression of ourselves, in walking away from a friend, a spouse, a family, a community, a city, a state, a country, but to do so because a word requires it is worship just as much as the worship of Greek gods, the gods of other more recent religions, or the one god of the Judaic/Christian/ Islamic religion,

Interestingly enough, we seem powerless in their clutches, as if some inner compulsion draws us into their machinations. The only avenue to a clear view of the control words have over our attitudes and our actions, I would suggest, would be an entity with which we struggle (much as a child wrestles a parent or dances with a trusted partner); an entity that guides rather than controls us; an entity that does not encumber us with dogma or literal translations of some Sacred Text that could otherwise be helpful in guiding us in our decision making. The problem we create in this relationship is when we wrestle to win, to hurt, to bend our opponent to our will or when we draw away from our dance partner and seek to impress it/he/she with our devotion to the dance and our enthusiasm to perform perfectly (to purify), what was a shared experience.

And finally, in my opinion, it doesn't make any difference if such an entity exists or not. I can’t imagine why any deity worth worshiping would care if we believed it existed or not.

Let Atheists pretend they have no gods. It is just my opinion, of course, but I would maintain that they have lots of them.
Posted by Paul Edward Snyder | Sun Jul 13, 2014, 04:56 PM (0 replies)

Exploitation

Having recognized Corporations as people and money as speech, it does seem logical that Governments be given that status also and exploitation an exercise in free speech.

I am not sure how governments profit from exporting their children to the United States. Perhaps you could clarify that for me. On the contrary, I would guess the governments are somewhat embarrassed by the exposure of their inept governance so serious that hordes of children are fleeing their county.

Drug cartels might profit, but I’m not quite sure I understand how. Surely they realize that such a rapid and large influx of refugees would force the United States to pretty much shut down the border making it more difficult for them to do business.

If a country is so badly governed or so poor it cannot support its children and keep them safe (in fairness I probably should point out that our putting guns in the hands of the psychologically impaired is not keeping our children safe either), further impoverishing that government doesn't seem like a very good solution. Our country is seen world-wide as extraordinarily prosperous and unbelievably generous. Even in a moderately affluent country parents surely see better opportunities for their children here. In countries pretty much overwhelmed by drug wars, indiscriminate killing, and a repressive (often by necessity) government, sending their children into the unknown with even a small chance of reaching such a promising land must be overwhelming.

The choice with which we are faced determines our character. To send these children back is heartless, but to allow them to stay would encourage more and more refugees until our resources would be strained to the breaking point. We can’t shelter everyone in the world, be they the very young or the very poor or (less emotionally acceptable) those vaguely dissatisfied with their government or their way of life. Nor do we resolve the problem by demonizing their governments or its citizens.
Posted by Paul Edward Snyder | Wed Jul 9, 2014, 12:40 PM (1 replies)

The Consequences of Identity

As the scum (Conservative Democrat) of whom you speak, I feel a need to respond to your rant. In spite of my limited IQ, I will try to formulate a coherent retort.

Seriously, you make some really good points once the strong emotion is separated from the insight, but you share some common misconceptions. Very few members of the GOP today are actually Conservatives in spite of claims to the contrary.

The word Conservative (conserve) is the key to its definition. We are wary of fixing things that are not broken. Obsessive Conservatives want no change at all as long as society can limp along, just as obsessive Liberals want radical change immediately without considering the consequences. I myself and most real Conservatives I know just want things to work.

The philosophy of the GOP today, it appears to me, is Anarchy. They seem dead set on bringing down the government. If it weren't for Obama, of whom I am not a great fan, they could very well have succeeded by now; first by freeing corporations of legal restrictions (setting loose the Hounds of Hell) and second by declaring these Corporations to be human, with human rights but without human responsibility for their actions and their money, words deserving the status of freedom of speech. In effect they (with the support of the Supreme Court) have created a sort of Pagan Pantheon of Gods.

The fact that you seem to be invalidating your justified outrage and frustration by trying to fight hate (which the GOP is using quite effectively) is unfortunate. And your suggestion (that those of us with limited intelligence and a demonic image forced upon us by those using our identity and past reputation of balance and fair leadership to hide their attacks on the very foundations of our American ideals be exterminated like the inferior despicable infestation that we are in your mind) is kind of scary.

In fact it sounds a lot like today’s GOP. If you are serious, Anarchy (the society these fake Conservatives seem to be preaching) has won.
Posted by Paul Edward Snyder | Mon Jul 7, 2014, 05:18 PM (1 replies)

Age Related

The title of your response to my reply to kjones’ post “On moderation and the middle (wo)man” seems to suggest that because of my advanced age I should not interfere in the activities of those less advanced inasmuch as the world has left me behind.

I have read your most recent post and found it well thought out and convincing. It verifies, I would argue, that Democrats (I assume you are a Democrat) are today what Conservatives were in the distant past (the time of my prime). I find that I agree wholeheartedly with your reasoning.

I, therefore, find it difficult to believe that you are biased against age. Just because I find it difficult to believe, of course, does not mean you aren’t, Very intelligent people in the past have proven to be racist, so age-bias is still a possibility.

Could you, perhaps, explain the title a little more clearly?
Posted by Paul Edward Snyder | Thu Jul 3, 2014, 05:53 PM (0 replies)

The Male Conservative Democrat and the Liberal Female

I was born Conservative in a Liberal family. There was no animosity, and though we disagreed on just about everything, we respected one another, listened, responded with carefully thought out facts and interpretation of those facts. My interpretation was accepted and modified to fit their perspective and I also modified mine. They did not become Conservative, nor did I become Liberal, but they did become more reasonable as did I.

I should mention at this point that at the time, though the Roosevelt Administration had toned down the rhetoric of the most fanatical Liberals, many were still obsessed with immediate change

My family, of course, were Democrats, having a basically Liberal (Moral) perspective . I became a Republican, which at that time was a bastion of Conservative (Ethical) behavior. However, when Richard Nixon (who I still consider one of our best presidents) displayed some serious character defects (definitely not ethical), it became evident that Republicans, strongly influenced by the John Birch Society, were straying from the Conservative path.

Democrats, I noticed, had, over the years, moved towards a more ordered and well thought out (Conservative [more correctly perhaps Progressive]) attitude.

I therefore joined the Democratic Party since it appeared more Conservative than the Republican Party, though not nearly as Conservative as I. Over the ensuing years my evaluation of the two parties appears to have been proven correct as Democrats have become, for the most part, more reasonable (Ethical) and the Republican Party has become more fanatical (adopting some really strange moral [evangelical] standards).

For the most part, I have found the Democratic Party remarkably accepting, though argumentative even when I agree with them when I identify myself as a conservative.

Not a problem, but amusing.

I think there may be pretty much the same problem between genders. It seems to me that there is a much more serious communication problem between men and women than we are comfortable with recognizing.
Posted by Paul Edward Snyder | Wed Jul 2, 2014, 11:45 AM (3 replies)
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