Category Archives: Philosophy

Don’t Believe Everything.

“Do not believe anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” 
— Buddha*

Whether the originator of this quote was actually Buddha is apparently debatable (hence the asterisk), but the truth behind each of the statements made still remains, regardless.  What’s basically being discussed in this quote is logical fallacies, and I’ve been wanting to blog on some of those for a while now.  (;

So, as for the first sentence – do not believe anything simply because you have heard it –  it isn’t (to my knowledge) a named logical fallacy, but I would hope it’s pretty self-evident that you should not believe things simply because you heard them somewhere.  That would be the definition of gullibility and would leave you believing everything, which would inevitably lead to many contradictions in your brain and probably leave you feeling pretty unhappy with yourself.

”Do not believe anything simply because it is rumored by many” is referring to the appeal of popularity, or ad populum.  Believing things just because everyone else does is a fallacy because an idea being popular does not make it somehow truer.  False ideas have, throughout the course of history, been very popular, like demon possession causing illnesses and mental disease, the earth being flat, and human sacrifices having some kind of measurable effect on our natural and physical environment.  Clearly, somebody’s opinion can not be invalid solely because it is not the same as everybody else’s.

The next two lines in the quote are essentially talking about two very similar logical fallacies that both show an over-reliance on a perceived-as-true source.  The first – believing things simply because they are in your religious books – is the fallacy of blind loyalty.  It means you are overly trusting of your sources, to the point where you believe things simply because of where they came from.  Right after that, you have the appeal to authority mentioned, which is claiming certain things as true simply because the person who originally claimed them is in a position of “authority.”  People in positions of authority are no more likely to tell the truth than anybody else, and, in fact, they are rather notorious for using their power to tell and sell lies.  The president of this country in 1998 made the statement, on-camera, that he “did not have sexual relations with that woman.”  Well, as we all know, that statement didn’t turn out to be true.

The last fallacy that thou shalt not commit according to this quote is the appeal to tradition.  We should not do things simply because that’s how it’s “always been done” or because it’s “worked best so far.”  On the other side of this fallacy, you have the appeal to novelty, which is saying that something is right or good simply because it is new.

So, how are we to come to believe things if not in the aforementioned ways?  Well, I agree with the quote that careful observation, thorough analysis and – in my words – unbiased reason are faculties that everybody would do well to practice.  What should we be striving for in doing these things?  Again, I completely agree with what Buddha* said in that we should be focused on creating a society which is conducive to our common good, but without losing sight of individual rights in the process – “the benefit of One and all,” as the quote puts it.

There are, of course, many more logical fallacies out there that could not possibly all be covered in this post, so I highly recommend looking into those if you have not done so before.  People believing in so many illogical untruths, as discussed in this post, is a large part of why the world has all the issues that it has today.  Though I am pretty adamant about the powers of love, it is good to note that in absence of truth, love can not love at all (I think the new age movement promotes a lot of this, but that’s for another post).

So, here’s to truth!  And from there on, love. 

I hope you all have a wonder-full day.  ❤

Related Posts: the Matrix., Speaking the Truth
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Sources:  Wikipedia, YourLogicalFallacyIs.com, Master List of Logical Fallacies

the Matrix.

When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it – always.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Everywhere I look I see lies.

I see magazines lying to little kids about what Real Men and Women Are.  I see the News media lying to middle-class white people about what’s going on in the world.  I see grown adults lying to little children about everything you can imagine.

I see lies about the government.  Lies about terrorism.   Lies about food, drugs and alcohol.  Lies about Muslims.  Lies about Japan.  Lies about Marijuana.

There are lies about money.  Lies about where our money comes from.  Lies about the economy.  Lies about religion, and lies about atheism.  Lies about the Left, and lies about the Right; lies about extremists, anarchists, libertarians, independents and I-don’t-give-a-fxcks.

There are lies about oil.  Lies about the environment.  And lies about the weather.  Lies about technology, and lies about nature.  Lies about animals.  Lies about knowledge.  And intelligence.  And lies like “everybody’s stupid.” 

There are lies about gender roles, and lies about sexuality.  There are lies about What Matters, and lies about Love.  There are lies about human nature.  Lies about beauty and peace and satisfaction and happiness; lies about mental illness and lies about sanity.  Lies about what is normal.  Lies about consciousness.  Lies about what we are capable of and what we aren’t capable of. 

It’s all lies, and it’s all a distraction.  YOU are the author of your story.  You ARE in charge of your life.  You CAN do great, amazing things – if only you set your mind to it.

You can change the World.  YOU can CHANGE the WORLD.  Most people don’t want to accept this, because that would mean they’d actually have to do something.  It means breaking free of the matrix that has been set up to keep our minds imprisoned, and we’ve gotten pretty comfortable there. 

But I promise you the TRUTH is so much more exciting, intriguing, and satisfying than anything could be over in that comfort zone of lies.  Our hearts are longing for truth, and once they catch a glimpse of it, the game is over.  The matrix will no longer satisfy. 

People are desperate for something more Real than this materialistic existence we’ve somehow confused with Life.  Don’t let the lies fool you!  We aren’t all happy consumers, and we’re beginning to see that we have the power to change things.  The house of lies is crumbling, and things are changing. 

Ignorance won’t always be bliss.  All these lies won’t always be “Truth.”  

We are learning.  We are opening our eyes.  

There’s a reason I put this in the title of my page — we are Evolving. (;

Love

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*P.S.:  Check out the “About EL” page for a little more insight into this post. (:

Does Anybody?


*I wrote this on a whim, to go with the above song.. Feel free to listen while you read.

Does anybody else cry over the smallest amount of spilled milk?
Does anybody else get overly angry at those slower-than-slow drivers on the highway?
Does anybody else go outside at sunset, just to take in the beauty of it?
I do.

Does anybody else love to eat chocolate ice cream straight out of the carton?
Does anybody else dance or sing their heart out in front of the mirror when nobody’s home?
Does anybody else follow current events, just so they can feel like they’re part of a bigger picture?
I do.

Does anybody else worry about what the world will look like in the next five, ten, fifty years?
Does anybody else think our one-week vacations to the beach are too few and far between?
Does anybody else see the twinkling stars at night and wish they could escape this place?
I do.

Does anybody else feel like life is eluding them, somewhere behind school, work, dating, bills, fads, TV, Facebook, movies, parties, and politics?
Does anybody else cherish every moment spent with friends, family, and lovers, because that’s when you truly feel alive?
Does anybody else want to go back to the basics, and live a simpler life?
I do.

Does anybody else see the starving children in EVERY country and wish those children could partake in the extreme excess of food we have here in America?
Does anybody else’s heart pound when they listen to a chorus of hundreds of people, all singing about the same goals and dreams?
Does anybody else wonder if they are losing it sometimes?
I do.

Does anybody else wonder where the love has gone?
Does anybody else question the current state of our world?
Does anybody else wonder what happened?
Does anybody?

..Anybody?

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Ignostic?

“I am an Ignostic – I refuse to be drawn on the question of whether God exists until somebody properly defines the terms.”  – John Lloyd in TEDtalk: Tour of the Invisible

Asking the question “Does God exist?” is kind of like trying to ask “are drugs bad?” Well, which drug are we referring to?  In what quantities and in what situation?  What does ‘bad’ mean?  Addictive?  Bad for you physically?  Mentally?  You see, the answer to a question depends on what the question actually means, and “does God exist?” is an extremely vague question with a million possible meanings.  What God do you mean?  What are his characteristics?  We’d probably be best off scrapping the word God altogether because, at this point, it’s a completely subjective term.

Even within theistic religions people’s definitions of God can vary greatly.  Not only are there typically different sects and sometimes even sub-sects within religions that debate on the nature of God, but even two people who may claim to believe in the exact same God might actually have very different personal views on who God is to them.

When you look at things that way, the terms atheist and theist seem sort of silly and irrelevant, at least to me.  Given the specific definition of God, which can be damn-near well anything the user of the term pleases, the person’s view may and probably will change.  A Muslim, for example, can refer to himself as a theist but in relation to the Hindu God, they are an atheist.  The same can go for Christians in relation to Allah.  Someone who is an ‘atheist’ in one sense might be agnostic in another (though, I think we’re technically all agnostic we just can’t admit it). 

What I’m trying to say is we’re all just playing a silly name-game here instead of just looking at things as they are, no labels involved at all, and making a claim about the validity of a statement after you have actually been confronted with it.  There’s no reason to try and reject something up-front; that is unscientific.  If someone makes a statement you don’t agree with, argue with them about that specific statement using reason and logic, but there’s no reason to be like “Oh, I’m an atheist, I reject all notions and definitions of God no matter what they are or how you came up with them, even though I know it is not actually possible to prove that God doesn’t exist any more than that he does and in making the claim that God does not exist I’m claiming to know something that is actually unknowable.”

The renowned “atheist” Sam Harris has made similar arguments regarding the use of the term atheist and I tend to agree with him.  What we need to combat the ignorance involved in religion is not just another group of people who will devolve in to group-think and get glued to their ‘pillar beliefs’ of God “not existing” – basically an anti-religion.  What we need is for people to realize that the problem in religion is not necessarily the belief in God or a higher power, but the lack of logic involved when it comes to defending one’s beliefs in said higher power, typically because of the group-think that comes into play when you decide to slap a label on yourself and say “I believe these things and that’s all there is to it.”

Labels have a place, but when it comes to making truth-claims about things that are at this point unknowable, I think we should refrain from using them as much as possible.  People get easily attached to certain identities they’ve constructed about themselves, and labels tend to only further that attachment.  They also obviously encourage sticking to one’s current beliefs – even in the face of conflicting evidence – rather than being open to changing them.

So, does God exist or not?  That is not something I can tell you.  I can tell you that I personally believe that we puny little humans know nothing, and that it is more likely that there are things ‘out there’ that we simply cannot comprehend at this stage in our evolution than not.  Are those things God?  I don’t know.  Are they something we might consider God-like?  Perhaps.  But I’d much rather go into this inquiry with an open mind, ready to accept any answers that come to me, than with a mind closed off by a label – even if the label is as well-intentioned as that of, say, an “atheist.”

Love to you all,

Related Posts: Keeping Up Appearances, Admitting that I Don’t Know

Legality vs. Morality

It’s sad that this conversation is one that even needs to be had, but alas, it does. So, what I’d like to say is this: “Legal” and “right,” as well as “illegal” and “wrong,” are not interchangeable words. Though people may use them in similar ways, they are not the same things and should not be treated as such.

In America we often do this thing where we will use the fact that something is against the law as a reason to say that it is “wrong.” For example, somewhere on most gas station doors you’ll see a sign that reads “Purchasing tobacco for minors: It’s not just wrong, it’s against the law.” It may not be in those exact words but that is what it says. Look for it next time. It’s like doing something “against the law” is the epitome of wrong-doing, and that is just plain bad logic. That kind of thinking – that breaking the law is innately immoral – is actually common to many dystopian, tyrannical societies… much like the one you see in the book 1984.

Just because something is considered illegal doesn’t mean that it is necessarily wrong. It may be illegal in some countries to voice your opinions on certain topics, but that doesn’t mean that it is wrong to voice your opinion in general. Also, just because something is “the law” doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be broken. Here in America, it is (or seems that it is, or could be?) against the law to be a whistleblower, but that doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t be exposing government crimes to the public.

On the flip side, just because something is legal doesn’t mean it is good or that it is something that should be done. When people use loopholes in the laws to get away with things like evading taxes, getting custody of children when they’re unfit to parent, and paying employees less than minimum wage, they may be doing something that is technically “legal,” but that doesn’t mean that any of those things are an example of “good conduct.”

I think the reason that people seem to confuse legality and morality so often is because many of those people don’t even understand what their own morals are. Lots of people think they understand what’s right and wrong – i.e.: don’t kill – but may have never thought about why it is that we don’t kill people. People seriously don’t take the time to think about their morals – or what they believe – very often, and many actually end up with all kinds of double-standards about things without even realizing it (much like how doublethink works in 1984).

Those who are in Power would love nothing more than for the so-often Lazy American Public to leave it up to Them to decide right and wrong for us. Please, don’t let that happen.

Try and think about why it is that you have the morals that you do. What are the principles behind the things you believe people should and should not do? Until you have thought about this – really thought about it – you honestly have no place (yet) to talk about what “is right” and what “is wrong.”

I love you all.
Keep Thinking.

P.S. If you enjoyed this, you might like this post of mine on Morality. (;

So… Morality?

”People who claim to require handbooks in which to look up right and wrong are admitting to psychopathy, or at least to sociopathy.”

Morality, what it means, and where it comes from are becoming increasingly hot topics in the melting pot of belief systems that represents the 21st century.

I have this crazy but tantalizing idea that this whole thing is a lot more simple than we’re making it out to be.  First:  it doesn’t matter where morality comes from, be it God or some part of our brain that evolved over millions of years.  We all can agree on certain things, regardless.  The only time this becomes an issue is when people want to argue that actions that have no victim are innately wrong (like homosexuality). 

Murder is pretty much accepted as wrong across the board with the exception of defending yourself or others, and even then we generally would say to kill only as a last resort.  People generally accept that you don’t just walk up and take food out of another person’s hand and start eating it yourself.  It is wrong to forcibly have sex with people.

So we can see that, for the most part, we can draw some kind of consensus as to what is generally right and wrong, without ever referring to any particular set of beliefs. Now, of course, most people will argue their convictions about right and wrong using their own belief systems, but even these people must be willing to accept the fact that there are people who believe differently than they do and yet still have the same moral stance on many issues like rape and murder.

I’m willing to argue that there is only one simple moral principle that literally the entire world could live by:  you have the right to do as you wish, so long as you don’t hinder the rights of others to do the same. 

Sound way too simple?  Murder is the perfect example.  One might be able to argue that a murderer likes murdering people and is doing as they wish, but in doing so they are taking away the victim’s right to do as they wish and so they therefore must be stopped.

Let’s see how many “wrongs” we can come up with that follow this principle:

Drunk Driving
Murder
Theft
Rape
Kidnapping
Serious Threatening
Assaulting
Forcing Anything
And even Lying (because the other person can’t really do as they please without knowing the truth)

Now, let’s see how many “wrongs” (legal, religious, social) we know of that don’t follow this principle:

Doing drugs (unless said drugs cause you to be aggressive)
Having lots of sex
Drinking
Not wearing a Seatbelt
Having sex before marriage
Having sex with the same gender
Cursing

There are some Free Speech related issues that I wouldn’t be sure how to deal with in this sense, as in: people not wanting to hear/see certain things but you wanting to speak/show them.  I don’t think anyone really has a “right” to not hear/see something… but maybe I’m incorrect.  I did say that I don’t know everything, right?

So what are your thoughts on this issue?! 

Would love to hear them.
(;

P.S. While I have your attention, just wanted to apologize to anybody who felt like I was generalizing Christians in my previous posts.  I’ve noticed my crazy ways and will try to adjust myself accordingly in the future.  Keep the feedback cominnn!

Life is Good.

“Smile, ‘cause Life is Good!”

I’ve been repeating these words to myself as often I as I can remember to lately, because I tend to, like most people in Western Society, take many things for granted that I really am Lucky to have.  A nice place to live, a comfortable bed, and nourishing food are just a few things that get taken for granted on a daily basis by people in “developed countries” who are able to afford such Luxuries.

In my past, there have been at least a few instances where I let negative thoughts, anxiety and stress really get to me for an extended period of time.  It doesn’t take too long, though, before I am a complete emotional wreck (sometimes crying multiple times a day!).  I’ve noticed that what separates those depressing times from the ecstatic, high points of my life is a lot about my attitude towards things, and not so much about what is actually happening to me on a day to day basis.  When I stop taking notice of all the little things that make me happy – the smell of coffee, the sound of birds singing, and so on – life really loses the magical charm that it has during the times when I remember to be grateful for Everything that I have the joy of Experiencing.

Something that I’ve learned to do in order to keep a positive outlook on things is to get a piece of paper, write at the top “I am Thankful for…” and complete the sentence, listing everything I can that I feel in Any Way grateful for.  I try to think outside the Box and get creative about what I write down, as this helps me to start taking joy in things I previously hadn’t even thought about – the feeling of the sun on my face, or the fact that I even have time to sit around and think about these things, for that matter.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you want to change your Life, you’ve got to change the way you Think.  I no longer have to sit down and write out a list in order to get that giddy, almost magical feeling of how Amazing life is.  I just tell myself “Smile, ‘cause Life is Good,” fifty times a day and watch my Life transform in front of my Eyes.
(;

Flow

”A good traveler has no Fixed plans, and is not Intent on Arriving.” – Lao Tzu

I find myself often striving to find a seemingly nonexistent balance between Making things Happen and Letting things Happen. On the one hand, I feel that people should recognize the amount of control we can have over our lives and take action about things that matter to Us. Too often, I see people complaining about situations in their lives that they could completely change – if they only knew their True Power.

On the other hand, learning to let go of the reigns and realizing that we Can’t Control Everything (or everyone) is an important lesson I think everyone should learn. As Buddha said, attachment is the root of all Suffering, and attachment to any specific outcome can be damaging when the inevitable happens and something doesn’t Go as Planned.

It can be easy, sometimes, to get so consumed with, or worried about what will happen in the future that you miss what’s happening right in front of you. Though taking control of your Life is extremely important, living in the moment and Letting things Flow is equally as important – if not more – because no matter how much control you think you have, the world’s still gonna throw you a curveball every now and Again.

Basically (though nothing is Basic), I think it’s a constant balancing act between the Two; things need to be taken situation by situation. As for right now, it seems as though the Universe is trying to teach me to just Go with the Flow.

So Flow it is.
(;

Admitting that I Don’t Know.

No matter what you may think; there isn’t a single person in this world that just has life completely Figured Out.  Nobody knows where we came from.  Nobody knows Why we’re here.  Nobody can prove that we aren’t in some Giant Fake Universe that is much like the programmed reality of the Matrix.  

We just.  Don’t.  Know.

And yet, we all walk around like we Do know – like we Do have life figured out.  Most people even speak in such a way that makes it seem as if they Just Know Everything, even though They Know that we all know that they Don’t.

I’m not one of those people.  I’m here to say that I do not have Life figured out; I’m not even close!  But I do search for Truth, and I try to keep an open mind in all situations.  I do my best to Consider your point of view on things, even when I might not agree.  Why?  Because I accept that at the end of the day, I don’t know the answers to many (or most) of Life’s Important Questions, and neither do you.  Everyone is raised differently and so we’re all going to have different thoughts and opinions.  At this point in time, and until the Answers to Life are written in the clouds, your Opinion is equally as important as my Own.

For me, at the ripe young age of 21, Life is just a Journey, and we’re all traveling Together, so we might as well learn to Get Along and Enjoy the Ride.

With me?
(;