Happiness – We Don’t Need “God”

These posts talking about god, religion, and happiness, of which there may be a few, are me attempting to articulate something I’ve been thinking about and meditating on for a while. I’ve got jottings in my Moleskine and a collection of post-its which are in no particular order and which I will be drawing on for the content of these posts. As a result, I may end up rambling a little but will certainly try and stay roughly on topic within the bounds of each post. This post develops my thoughts on the nature of what we call “God” and why the concept should be discarded.

A lot of my thinking along these lines was prompted by the work of Karen Armstrong, particularly The Great Transformation, and The Case for God. She articulates some of the ideas that I’m building on with far greater skill that I could, but then she’s been thinking along these lines for longer ;D I only have ebooks of these works at the moment, so it’s tricky to provide references. I’ll be looking into getting dead-tree versions and annotating them at some point. This may eventually lead to a little more coherence.

PLEASE, do comment, question, and critique this. As with everything in life, it is a work in progress.

(…)

Happiness – First Steps

A big topic, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot.

At first I didn’t realise that it’s what I was thinking about. I thought I was thinking about making the world better, about making myself and everyone else better human beings.

I was thinking, specifically, about developing a rationale for morality which didn’t involve any necessity for a personalised deity, an atheistic religious life if you will (Don’t worry we’ll get to that ;D). This was prompted by Karen Armstrong’s book, The Great Transformation. It’s subject is the development, at about the same time in our history and independently, of the moral and ethical frameworks of the world’s great religions. The point at which we moved from the supplication of nature spirits as a matter of survival, to wondering what our purpose was. That purpose, according to every world religion was, and is, to become better people. To become closer to “God”.

Better is such a subjective term though, and “God” has all sorts of issues, but any language we have can’t get across what we’re really aiming for. The idea of  “God”, is just another term for something we can never comprehend or understand. Whatever picture we have in our minds of what “God” is, it can never be sufficient. It is not something we can truly comprehend, but all the major world religions agree, there exists something of it within us. We are part of the universe, and the universe is part of us. What  we’re really talking about, some theologians came to think (mainly those in the eastern traditions of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism), was The Ultimate Reality. The thing that allows everything that exists, to exist. From the tiniest subatomic particle, to the ideas that swim through our minds. It isn’t something that can be personalised, measured, described, and codified at all, let alone easily. And the misinterpretation of historical attempts to do so have caused us to traumatise ourselves.

This is how I have started healing my spiritual trauma. I gave up the apparently pointless rituals of church on Sunday morning as a teenager, but have not found a good enough rationale for morality in pure reason and objectivity. I abandoned the idea of a personalised deity because I couldn’t understand how a benevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient creature could allow us to keep on being so bad at being human. So I went looking for my own rationale, and my own idea of what we really might be talking about when we talk about “God”. This isn’t me finding my way back to anyone’s idea of “God”, this is me figuring out my own, subjective, rationale for an atheistic morality. I found something I think is interesting, but we’ll get to that. I still haven’t explained why the title of the post is “Happiness”, we’ll get to that as well. ;D

Seriously, read the book. There will be more along with more recommended reading as well.

M out

My New Home

I have found my dream home:

 

mandrill shed

M out

OK, Two Books Then…

I said in the first post after the redesign (available here) that I had the shape of a book in my head and it was going to be non-fiction. I’m not sure if this announcement is a good idea or not but I have the foundations of another possible book forming and this one is fiction.

The fiction work is more daunting as I’m going to have to do some pretty serious research so that it doesn’t clash with the existing canon of the setting. This is going to be interesting. Hopefully I can compartmentalise them so that I don’t end up with bits of one appearing in the other.

Will be posting progress updates and thoughts around the process or writing books so stay tuned. Maybe I’ll see at least one of them to completion this time…

M out

EVE VR: A concept (Not Valkyrie)

Let me tell you a story. A story of how things could be. CCP are making a lot of noise about their VR baby Valkyrie but aren’t really talking about how the tech could be applied to EVE. Now, I’m not a programmer or game designer, so have absolutely no clue as to how difficult this would be to do, if it would require rebuilding the entire engine or simply something that will sit between the interface devices and the client, but I still think that something like this should at least be attempted. If not by CCP then by someone with the ability to do so. So, let me tell you a story…

(…)

And There It Is…

And that is the new look.

Let me know what you think.

The layout is based on the Papaver theme, which you can get here. There are three, two and one column versions.

The design on the left is one of mine, as you may have guessed if you are familiar with my previous work. I plan to get this design tattooed on my left inner forearm. I’ve been quoted £140.  I will be asking about UV ink for the inner knot, so it may well be more than that.

I was tempted, briefly, to expunge the archive of this blog. Deliberately this time. But I would be doing myself a disservice. What there is of it is fragmentory but it is a history of sorts. I recently lost most of the artistic and design work I had on my HDD (I know, don’t even start) What exists now is scattered across the ether of the internet and, thankfully, in my head.

I’m pretty sure I can ressurect everything that I feel is worth saving, and most of my writing is on my Google Drive anyway so I still have that at least. I use Google Drive as a bit of a scratchpad since I stopped using OneNote. I may sometimes offer sneak previews to valued commenters; those I value and admire the taste, ability and opinion of.

I am taking the opportunity presented by my loss to start again. I will rebuild, reforge and renew. In the process igniting the fire under something new.

Just so you know, I haven’t been idle the last three years. I have three and a bit Moleskines full of writing (and still growing, I’ll need a new one in a month or two at this rate) which I am now in the process of archiving, cross-referencing, and collating. There is a book there I feel. I have a lot more reading, thinking, and scribbling to do before that see’s the light of day though. I’m aiming for NaNoWriMo.

The shape of it is in my head. It is not, oddly, fiction. It is… something… from the mind of a mandrill.

M

PS: Yes I know that technically it won’t be a novel and so not within the strictest interpretation of the rules of NaNoWriMo. But I don’t care, I can be a rebel :P

Redesign incoming…

I have a redesign and refocus of this blog incoming in the next few days. Cutting right back on the bells and whistles and simply having somewhere I can publish stuff.

Watch this space.

This Is Not Who I Am.

just a little experiment, no deeper meaning to be divined…

 

This is not who I am.
I am not this.
Who I am is not this.
Who am I?

Who is this?
This is who.
I am not.
This am I.

I am this.
Not who.
This.
I am.
I am who this is not.
I am this, who is not?

M

Blog Banter 50 – Ch-ch-changes.

Well, here we are. I thought I should drag myself out of semi-retirement to pen something for this auspicious Blog Banter.

The topic, loose as it was and as I choose to interpret it, is change and our response to it.

I have no vested interest in the changes that are coming to EVE, I haven’t played in more than a year, I am however an interested observer, and the changes I see beginning in Rubicon are, in my estimation, only the tip of the iceberg. Add that to further deepening of the universe with Dust and Valkyrie (I will be playing Dust now that I have an HDMI monitor) and the possibilities are fathomless. Let’s look at some bullet points (pure speculation, off the cuff and with only the briefest of thought given to them, well some of them.):

  • Player owned customs stations in hi-sec, the beginning of the breakdown of NPC empire control?
  • Player owned customs stations in hi-sec and everywhere else combined with the new deployable structures, the beginning of orbital shanties? (an idea I’ve been kicking around in my skull for a while)
  • Dust is kicking up as much of it’s namesake as was hoped and the incessant combat will drive civilians off the surfaces of planets and into orbit providing an orbital labour force for the factories and structures that the shanties become.
  • The hint of building stargates…. I’ll just leave that to your imagination shall I?

My response to change is one of optimism and excitement, simply because the universe of EVE is spectacular, unique, rich, and contsantly evolving. There is no denying that EVE today is better than it was, CCP today are better than they were, and New Eden is the best it’s ever been. This is not to say that it’s been easy, change never is, but if the mistakes are learned from and used to guide future change then things can only improve.

EVE is not dying, EVE will never die, and it is change that will keep it alive. Whatever you think of each specific tiny tweak or monumental adjustment of mechanics, if change never happened, and the continuing evolution of New Eden was halted, then EVE would die. And none of us want that.

These are all long term prognostications, and make no comment on the mechanics or political fallout involved, mainly because I’ve been out of the game for too long. Whether I’m anywhere near the mark is yet to be seen of course, who knows what those crazy Icelanders have planned? Frankly I’m having fun just watching New Eden grow and the community expand to welcome all comers. I’m still around, and as I said I’ll be joining the battlefields of Dust in the near future. Maybe one day I’ll come back to EVE. She is however, a harsh mistress and demanding of more time, energy and inclination than I have.

So congrats to all participating in this milestone Banter. I look forward to reading your contributions,the next 50 banters, and the next decade of EVE and New Eden.

M out

Ennui

What is this Ennui?

Nothing excites.

Nothing Stimulates.

Nothing engages.

I can’t focus my attention and don’t know why. Everything is “meh”.

I can summon no enthusiasm and have nothing to strive for.

Music fails to capture me, either in experience or creation.

Everything is hard and requires an effort I can’t seem to summon.

I go on through lack of any other sensible option rather than a quest for some goal.

My will to act is drained and I let the world happen around me.

I feel that I merely exist in the world.

Apart from it instead of a part of it.

Disconnected.

Distracted.

Disenfranchised from my own life, unable to influence its path or or my experience of it.

What is this?

It’s not dark, but neither is it light.

There are no extreme emotional shades, just a grey fog of incapacity.

 
 
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