Re: MEMES: superstitions

Joel 'Twisty' Nye (
Fri, 24 Jan 1997 14:08:00 -0800

Re: MEMES: superstitions
Lee Daniel Crocker ( replied:
>Superstition, myth, aphorisms, dogma, and the like /are/ successful.
>Even as an unwavering advocate of reason, I can see their value in a
>few contexts:
>* Teaching children how to behave in terms they can understand
> and use while they're in the process of learning why;
>* To supply shortcuts, rules of thumb, that can be used to make timely
> decisions about newly-encountered situations when there isn't time
> for rigorous analysis;
>* To provide examples (in the form of myths) to explain principles.

The focus on effect is good, but a 'deceptive' causal explanation
could be counter-productive down the road. It's a gamble that
sometimes 'pays' and sometimes doesn't. Such memes have high value of
effectiveness, but not as high a value of rendering understanding.

>So why not create extropian myths, aphorisms, holidays, idioms? In
>fact, the resistance to do so might give us the false impression that
>those we create inadvertantly have more meaning than they do.

On one hand, there is much gained by solidifying vision through symbols
and abstractions of cause and effect. On the other hand, the
'competing gods' syndrome is what creates the greatest faults in
the Christ legend. (Jesus/Y'shua himself said 'Why do you call me
good? None is good but the Father.' Yet, people EQUATED him to the
Father, against his intentions.)

Perhaps we're already on the right path there... We villify Entropy,
even though it can have some place outside of Extropy. We deify
Spontaneous Order, even though it might allow for harmful complexity
or stiffling stability. Singularity sounds remarkably adventist.

>I must say, though, that I find not a single thing worthwhile about
>Jesus's teachings at all. He is the classic self-sacrificial altruist,

Altruism is a mixed bag. It is the ultimate discipline to have the
self control over one's choices to execute perfect actions while
overriding mortal fear. The judgemental Church still doesn't
understand just how great it is that he didn't 'take personal' his
own murderous execution. On the other hand, it seems to me that few
extropians would have respect of a decission to let principle permit
such a death, if that was ever his intent.
(Read on about his so-called 'death.')

>mindlessly vengeful (e.g., the fig tree),

...a 'competing gods' legend borrowed from Hinduism...

>praising "faith" (mysticism and uncritical acceptance of dogma),

There's another Church-perverted term... The word "Faith" never meant
"blind belief" but rather "Commitment." (Faithful to marriage, faithful
to contracts...) It was recognized that such faith prerequired a certain
amount of trust, but when trust was questioned, the Church later
oversimplified it down to belief.

The extropian counterpart would be 'Self-Confidence,' which is just
as easy to criticize, yet no less valued. It too can move mountains.

>"hope" (begging for supernatural favors instead of working
>to better yourself),

Hope is much better than Hopelessness as long as it's not misplaced.
Ironically, the only two things that Jesus would pray about were
natural providence (daily bread), and self-fulfilling matters (forgiveness,
praise, and workers for the field...)

>and "charity" (self-sacrifice and self-loathing).

True, one of his most misplaced (or misinterperated?) instructions was to
take up one's cross. Could it be that people misunderstood the irony with
which he spoke that?: In seeking one's life they lose it, but in giving
one's life they find it?

>He was anti-capitalist ("camel through the needle's eye..."),
>pro-government ("render unto Caesar...").

If he says to pay your dues to Caesar and teaches the value of coins,
he can hardly be called "anti-capitalist." Non-capitalist perhaps,
he indicates that there are many greater values in a human economy.
He said 'it is *greater* to give than to recieve,' but not 'worthless
to receive.'

As for the Caesar bit, I thought this exhibits genius:
It's a funny punchline to a bitter issue of taxation.
It is the most simple and eliquent solution as to the issues of
justice that divided a people.
"Give Caesar what is Caesar's, Give God what is God's."
It is one of history's first documented lessons in Appropriate Scale vs.
Totalitarianism... a lesson we are only now gaining in firm grasp as
we move from a bigger-is-better industrial era to the information age.

>To hell with him, I'll pick my own heroes. "And yea, Feynmann
>said unto his students..."

Yes we will all value different role models... It will be difficult
to find one that would be undebatable until someone *really* comes
along who can put an end to death.

The Church has covered up much evidence that Jesus NEVER REALLY DIED on
the cross. This is spoken of in the Quran, that 'he was never killed,
but the Jews merely *thought* that they had killed him.' The Shroud
of Turin, if found authentic, corroberates this as well. The most damning
evidence is in the Bible itself: That the spear caused blood and water to
come pouring out his side. This would not be the case of a man whose heart
had supposedly stopped moments before. (For those who have an interest
in this, check out the book "The Jesus Conspiracy.") He may have even gone
into his fate with the assurance of resuscitation.

This is a unique century that will uncover a great number of historic
discrepancies regarding the Bible. Just over fifty years ago were the
Dead Sea Scrolls uncovered, and they don't corroberate everthing they
were expected to. Post-King-James revisions omit entire chapters that
are not true to earlier manuscripts. 'Apocryphal' books and gospels
show a side to Jesus never seen before. (I for one love 'The Gospel of
Thomas,' most likely omitted for its equality of sexes.)

I will not worship a Christ legend, but I do find many praiseworthy
characteristics to the historic Y'shua. A humorist and healer,
he was 'deified' without his wishes. His fellow jews prefered the
judgemental vigilance of his cousin John the Baptist. But Jesus
was a party-loving contrast to John:
"For John the Baptist came neither eating bread
nor drinking wine, and you say, `He has a demon.'
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you
say, `Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a
friend of tax collectors and "sinners."'
But wisdom is proved right by all her children." Luke 7:33-35

I don't have totalitarian views of forcing the world to worship him.
(Neither did Jesus... When he said to go baptizing into all the world,
he was talking about purifying people through bathing, not building
Synagogs of indoctrination!) But if Wisdom is proved right by all
her children, then I will likely share in the admiration of your heroes,
whether or not you value mine.

I for one gotta admire a guy who teaches his fellow Jews to be more
accepting and tollerant of each other, working to bring humor and healing
to everyone around him. (Whew! That was some load off my chest!)

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