Re: virus: Prisoners my Derrida!

Fri, 19 Mar 1999 10:06:16 -0800

Andreas Engström wrote:

> In what way does it invalidate a principle that any number of its
> adherents didn't follow it?

In what way does it invalidate a doctrine of universal love if many people who claimed to accept to it also visit horrific violence and deprivation on their fellow human beings?

In what way does it invalidate a doctine of liberty and equality if those who have sworn to uphold it use military force to repress political expression and to subjugate neighboring states?

> And of course there is no possible way of avoiding all the wrong
> turns. I just think that following reason makes it easier to back
> up and try another path.

Does one have to embrace reason exclusively to derive this benefit? If there are benefits to faith, might it be possible to derive those benefits while also enjoying the benefits of reason?

Here's an excerpt from "How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age" by Theodore Schick, Jr. and Lewis Vaughn:

While being mystical doesn't guarantee the truth of an experience, it doesn't guarantee the falsity of it either. It's entirely possible that mystical experiences do reveal aspects of reality that are normally hidden to us. But the only way we can tell is by putting them to the test. If they are revelatory of reality, we should be able to corroborate them. The Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddism, recognizes the importance of corroboration. At a conference on neuroscience held at Newport Beach, California, he remarked, "If there's good, strong evidence from science that such and such is the case, and this is contrary to Buddhism, then we will change." Truth, as the Dalai Lama realizes, should be able to withstand the closest scrutiny, for only that which can withstand such scrutiny deserves to be called true.

> If you follow faith it's not easy to
> concede that your faith lead you wrong..

I hope the excerpt from Schick and Vaughn prompts a re-evaluation of your assertion.

> Let's just put one thing straight. I'm talking about "reason" and "faith"
> as in "keeping all things open to questioning" and "keeping some
> things not open to questioning on the grounds that they are somehow
> sacred". Capisce?

Here's an axiom of mine that is not on the table for examination. It is, for me, sacred:

It is better to live consciously than unconsciously even when, as is often the case, conscious living results in suffering that the unconscious do not experience or do not experience as accutely.

That's why I wouldn't want to live in Huxley's Brave New World. Avenues of cognitive exploration that lead to dissatisfaction and unhappiness are suppressed in that society. The citizens are healthy, have jobs that match their aptitudes and abilities, are free of the guilt and negative programming concerning sexuality that St. Augustine and his posse have managed to inflict on us, and yet they live in a largely unconsious fashion.