Day 709, Avengers go to church.

Day 709-1

There is one little church in the place where I live, it is not so far from where I live in the countryside. There was another one in the main town but that one was vandalized by some kids a couple of years ago and they demolished it because it was a hazard, little late you might say. This particular church is not so special, but they are always interesting, like a tv from the fifties, they look cool but only old people use them.  But churches are often interesting structures, they stand out from the ordinary buildings and remind us that with some cooperation we humans can build some nice things together. I grew up without religion, I can’t remember anyone was religious in my mothers and fathers family. At school we learned about Jesus but also about Thor and Wodan and I still remember those stories, I loved them. There are enough religious people in Holland but it’s not something you specifically mention when you are one of them and most religious people are pretty liberal with the rules they supposed to follow. Because of this religion is not important to me in my personal life, as an object of study I find it highly interesting because for me Jesus is as real as Thor and with that in mind it is quiet amusing how serious people take there believes. Could be nice if Jesus was one of the Avengers, heling people left and right and as a special power: making wine out of water… no, that’s kind of lame…guess Jesus is not as cool as the other Gods.

Day 651, Thor is a god

Day 651-1

Some things are hard to understand for me, growing up in a secular country that has no long history and no entrenched traditions. In this case I was thinking about Israel and Palestine and their quarrel. There are lots of complicated reasons why they are still fighting with each other but at the basis stands the idea that long ago some people pointed ate a piece of dirt and proclaimed it sacred. Remember that those religions have no more significance to me than the stories of Tolkien or Harry Potter. And if you look at it like a that you can imagine that it is hard to understand that they fight, and kill, over different interpretation and gods. As a nerd I like to fantasies about who would win in a fight: Thor or Superman. But in those ridiculous countries they tell young people to kill each other because of there disagreement in who has the right to live close to Asgard or Krypton.

The sad thing is that most Israeli and Palestinians just wane live their lives and probably believe in a god out of tradition and habit.  These people don’t really believe in god or have never taken the time to question it, what in my mind is the same. But like everywhere in the world, the people with the biggest mouths, the strongest opinions and the most to lose determine the faith of all of them. And if you stretch it a little further you could say that the people that are in charge are driven by their power and the fear to lose it and that they use the religion to legitimize their rule. Religion is not what drives them, but power does. Religion is not real, and if it is used as a reason for action you will always find ulterior reasons hidden behind those actions.

If you are a believer tell me than why there are over 4000 religions?  Some of them have no problem with multiple god’s but a lot allow only one. Why do you, as a believer think you are right and all the other people (probably billions) are wrong, if your religion only allows one god?

Next time you read a text where they use the word god or an equivalent, exchange that word with Thor and you will see how stupid these man (as in a person with a penis and power) made books are.

Prov 3:5: Trust in THOR with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

Phil 4:6: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with Thurseblot, present your requests to Thor.

Acts 18:9: One night Thor spoke to Loki in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent.

Human all too human: 27. A substitute for religion.

Reading Friedrich Nietzsche’s Human all too human

Read the introduction here

You can read the aphorism I discuss here in English and German below the main article.

My take on it.

It is praised to substitute religion with philosophy as a religion for the people. When you balance your mind its sometimes good to step aside on a temperate mindset like philosophy. The transition can be dangerous. A philosophy can either satisfy or eradicate irrational Christian believes. These irrational believes are limited and contradict science. It is better to use art for the final transition because the irrational believes of the Cristian mind reacts better to art than to science. because art keeps the emotion less alive than metaphysical philosophy does. From art you can move on to a really liberating science.

 In one sentence:

To overcome irrational believes, use art to get to science.

 Synopsis, quote from the translation by Helen Zimmern and my take on it

It is believed that something good is said of philosophy when it is put forward as a substitute for religion for the people. It is praised to substitute religion with philosophy as a religion for the people. In fact, transitional zones of thought are occasionally necessary in the spiritual economy”. (Handwerk translation) 1 When you balance your mind its sometimes good to step aside on a temperate mindset like philosophy. The transition from religion to science can be dangerous. The transition can be dangerous. To this extent the recommendation is justifiable. But eventually we have to learn that the needs that religion satisfied, and that are now satisfied by philosophy can be weakened and eradicated. Think, for instance, of the Christian’s distress of soul, his sighing over inward corruption, his anxiety for salvation,—all notions which originate only in errors of reason and deserve not satisfaction but destruction. A philosophy can serve either to satisfy those needs or to set them aside A philosophy can either satisfy or eradicate irrational Christian believes. for they are acquired, temporally limited needs, and contradict science. These irrational believes are limited and contradict science. For the task of switching over to science from religion it is much better to use art to relieve the mind of emotions, It is better to use art for the final transition because the irrational believes of the Cristian mind reacts better to art than to science. for those notions receive much less support from it than from a metaphysical philosophy. because art keeps the emotion less alive that metaphysical philosophy does. From art you can move on to a really liberating science.

1The translators made a real mess out of this sentence. I think that Handwerk comes closest to the spirit of the text, judge for your self.

In der Tat bedarf es in der geistigen Ökonomie gelegentlich überleitender Gedankenkreise

In fact, in spiritual economy occasionally there is a need for a series of thought-processes (Google 2017)

In fact, transitional zones of thought are occasionally necessary in the spiritual economy. (Handwerk 2000)

The economy of the spirit does indeed occasionally require transitional orders of ideas (Hollingdale 1986)

in the spiritual economy there is need, at times, of an intermediary order of thought (Zimmern 1909)

And in fact, the training of the intellect does necessitate the convenient laying out of the track of thought. (Harvey 1908)


Human, all too human a book for free spirits Part I translated by Helen Zimmern 1909

  1. A SUBSTITUTE FOR RELIGION.—It is believed that something good is said of philosophy when it is put forward as a substitute for religion for the people. As a matter of fact, in the spiritual economy there is need, at times, of an intermediary order of thought : the transition from religion to scientific contemplation is a violent, dangerous leap, which is not to be recommended. To this extent the recommendation is justifiable. But one should eventually learn that the needs which have been satisfied by religion and are now to be satisfied by philosophy are not unchangeable ; these themselves can be weakened and eradicated. Think, for instance, of the Christian’s distress of soul, his sighing over inward corruption, his anxiety for salvation,—all notions which originate only in errors of reason and deserve not satisfaction but destruction. A philosophy can serve either to satisfy those needs or to set them aside ; for they are acquired, temporally limited needs, which are based upon suppositions contradictory to those of science. Here, in order to make a transition, art is far rather to be employed to relieve the mind over-burdened with emotions; for those notions receive much less support from it than from a metaphysical philosophy. It is easier, then, to pass over from art to a really liberating philosophical science.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

  1. Ersatz der Religion. – Man glaubt einer Philosophie etwas Gutes nachzusagen, wenn man sie als Ersatz der Religion für das Volk hinstellt. In der That bedarf es in der geistigen Oekonomie gelegentlich überleitender Gedankenkreise; so ist der Uebergang aus Religion in wissenschaftliche Betrachtung ein gewaltsamer, gefährlicher Sprung, Etwas, das zu widerrathen ist. Insofern hat man mit jener Anempfehlung Recht. Aber endlich sollte man doch auch lernen, dass die Bedürfnisse, welche die Religion befriedigt hat und nun die Philosophie befriedigen soll, nicht unwandelbar sind; diese selbst kann man schwächen und ausrotten. Man denke zum Beispiel an die christliche Seelennoth, das Seufzen über die innere Verderbtheit, die Sorge um das Heil, – alles Vorstellungen, welche nur aus Irrthümern der Vernunft herrühren und gar keine Befriedigung, sondern Vernichtung verdienen. Eine Philosophie kann entweder so nützen, dass sie jene Bedürfnisse auch befriedigt oder dass sie dieselben beseitigt; denn es sind angelernte, zeitlich begränzte Bedürfnisse, welche auf Voraussetzungen beruhen, die denen der Wissenschaft widersprechen. Hier ist, um einen Uebergang zu machen, die Kunst viel eher zu benutzen, um das mit Empfindungen überladene Gemüth zu erleichtern; denn durch sie werden jene Vorstellungen viel weniger unterhalten, als durch eine metaphysische Philosophie. Von der Kunst aus kann man dann leichter in eine wirklich befreiende philosophische Wissenschaft übergehen.

Sources:

I will read a Dutch translation that is based on the work of researchers Colli and Montinari. I also use a translation from R.J.Hollingdale and the Gary Handwerk translation from the Colli-Montinari edition. Both are more modern than the copyright free translation I use here. This is a translation from 1909 by Helen Zimmern, who knew Nietzsche personally, but there was no critical study of Nietzsche’s work done back then and this translation suffers from that. The same goes for the translation from Alexander Harvey. My German is not good enough to pretend that I can translate it better than the professionals do but I will use the original as a referee.

  1. Menselijk al te menselijk een boek voor vrije geesten, translated by Thomas Graftdijk, 2000. Buy it here
  2. Human, all too human a book for free spirits, translated by R.J.Hollingdale, 1986
  3. Human, all too human a book for free spirits I V3, translated by Gary handwerk 1997
  4. Human, all too human a book for free spirits Part I, translated by Helen Zimmern 1909. Read it  here
  5. Human, all too human a book for free spirits, translated by Alexander Harvey, 1908. Read it here
  6. Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80. Read it here

 

Human all too human: 24. The possibility of progress.

Reading Friedrich Nietzsche’s Human all too human

Read the introduction here

You can read the aphorism I discuss here in English and German below the main article.

Synopsis, quote from the translation by Helen Zimmern and my take on it.

When a wise man from an old culture swears no longer to deal with people that believe in progress, he is right. Because his great culture lies behind him and its history teaches that it will never be young again; some sort of stupidity is needed to deny this. Old cultures will not turn young again. But man can consciously decide to move on to another culture, instead of unconsciously move on like before. But you can decide to move on This way they can create better conditions for the propagation of man for their nourishment, education and instruction. They can manage the earth better economically and control the power of man. When you shoose to move on you can better manage the world This new, conscious culture kills the old, which, regarded as a whole, has led an unconscious animal and plant life; it also kills distrust in progress, —progress is possible. This new conscious culture outshines the old unconscious culture. It is off course important to know that progress not necessarily follows, but you can not deny it either. But with the old culture progress is unthinkable. Progress is not guaranteed, but also not denied like with the old culture. Even if romantic fantasy has also constantly used the word ” progress ” to denote its aims (for instance, circumscribed primitive national cultures), it borrows the picture of it in any case from the past; its thoughts and ideas on this subject are entirely without originality. The romantic ideal of old cultures is borrowed from old cultures and not original.

In one sentence:

You can choose progress but some copy the old cultures to make-up new.


Human, all too human a book for free spirits Part I translated by Helen Zimmern 1909

  1. THE POSSIBILITY OF PROGRESS.—When a scholar of the ancient culture forswears the company of men who believe in progress, he does quite right. For the greatness and goodness of ancient culture lie behind it, and historical education compels one to admit that they can never be fresh again ; an unbearable stupidity or an equally insufferable fanaticism would be necessary to deny this. But men can consciously resolve to develop themselves towards a new culture ; whilst formerly they only developed unconsciously and by chance, they can now create better conditions for the rise of human beings, for their nourishment, education and instruction ; they can administer the earth economically as a whole, and can generally weigh and restrain the powers of man. This new, conscious culture kills the old, which, regarded as a whole, has led an unconscious animal and plant life; it also kills distrust in progress,—progress is possible. I must say that it is over-hasty and almost nonsensical to believe that progress must necessarily follow ; but how could one deny that it is possible? On the other hand, progress in the sense and on the path of the old culture is not even thinkable. Even if romantic fantasy has also constantly used the word ” progress ” to denote its aims (for instance, circumscribed primitive national cultures), it borrows the picture of it in any case from the past ; its thoughts and ideas on this subject are entirely without originality.

Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80

  1. Möglichkeit des Fortschritts. – Wenn ein Gelehrter der alten Cultur es verschwört, nicht mehr mit Menschen umzugehen, welche an den Fortschritt glauben, so hat er Recht. Denn die alte Cultur hat ihre Grösse und Güte hinter sich und die historische Bildung zwingt Einen, zuzugestehen, dass sie nie wieder frisch werden kann; es ist ein unausstehlicher Stumpfsinn oder ebenso unleidliche Schwärmerei nöthig, um diess zu leugnen. Aber die Menschen können mit Bewusstsein beschliessen, sich zu einer neuen Cultur fortzuentwickeln, während sie sich früher unbewusst und zufällig entwickelten: sie können jetzt bessere Bedingungen für die Entstehung der Menschen, ihre Ernährung, Erziehung, Unterrichtung schaffen, die Erde als Ganzes ökonomisch verwalten, die Kräfte der Menschen überhaupt gegen einander abwägen und einsetzen. Diese neue bewusste Cultur tödtet die alte, welche, als Ganzes angeschaut, ein unbewusstes Thier- und Pflanzenleben geführt hat; sie tödtet auch das Misstrauen gegen den Fortschritt, -er ist möglich. Ich will sagen: es ist voreilig und fast unsinnig, zu glauben, dass der Fortschritt nothwendig erfolgen müsse; aber wie könnte man leugnen, dass er möglich sei? Dagegen ist ein Fortschritt im Sinne und auf dem Wege der alten Cultur nicht einmal denkbar. Wenn romantische Phantastik immerhin auch das Wort “Fortschritt” von ihren Zielen (z.B. abgeschlossenen originalen Volks-Culturen) gebraucht: jedenfalls entlehnt sie das Bild davon aus der Vergangenheit; ihr Denken und Vorstellen ist auf diesem Gebiete ohne jede Originalität.

Sources:

I will read a Dutch translation that is based on the work of researchers Colli and Montinari. I also use a translation from R.J.Hollingdale and the Gary Handwerk translation from the Colli-Montinari edition. Both are more modern than the copyright free translation I use here. This is a translation from 1909 by Helen Zimmern, who knew Nietzsche personally, but there was no critical study of Nietzsche’s work done back then and this translation suffers from that. The same goes for the translation from Alexander Harvey. My German is not good enough to pretend that I can translate it better than the professionals do but I will use the original as a referee.

  1. Menselijk al te menselijk een boek voor vrije geesten, translated by Thomas Graftdijk, 2000. Buy it here
  2. Human, all too human a book for free spirits, translated by R.J.Hollingdale, 1986
  3. Human, all too human a book for free spirits I V3, translated by Gary handwerk 1997
  4. Human, all too human a book for free spirits Part I, translated by Helen Zimmern 1909. Read it  here
  5. Human, all too human a book for free spirits, translated by Alexander Harvey, 1908. Read it here
  6. Menschliches allzu menschlich 1878/80. Read it here

 

Free will

Drawings from the bottom of the drawer.

I have made some drawings in the past and they all came alive because of overflowing thoughts and philosophies and the urge to visualize them. The lack of words, and listeners, to express myself put my fantasy at work and I started these drawings. I have no talent for drawing or ambition in that direction. I only judge my work, and deem it finished, in so far as it pleases my eye and sense of proportion. I will now try to describe some of these drawings and tell something about the thoughts behind it. Bear in mind that some drawings are almost 20 years old and that my thoughts about them now compared to my intentions then can differ now, but I hope only in details and nuances and not in the core meaning.

tekening -1

 

We see here a checkerboard floating through space. This checkerboard resembles your life and is part of an underlying construction. On the checkerboard stands a depiction of you. The mechanical cross stands for religion and/or a constructed governing force that holds the checkerboard in place and can tilt it, so to slide you to one side unknowingly.  In the background you see a similar contraption where the other person, like you, is consuming parts of other people’s lives or at least the places where you could go. Underneath the main checkerboard hangs a large construct that you don’t see at the other one. This constrict works like a counterweight, and is made of knowledge, and dampens the effect of the steering crosses. I made it with a pen you couldn’t erase, to simulate life, when I made a little mistake I turned it in a flower as a sign of hope.

The checkerboard

If we get born, we are “thrown” into a specific situation. You are born in a specific country, class, religion, age, political system and so on. All these situations play a great role in your life if you want it to or not. If you are born in China in 1968 you cannot pretend to be only influenced by Brazilian culture when your 4 years old. What happens around you has a strong influence on you and how you will become when you grow up. You can go along with your culture and or rebel against it, but in both cases, you react to the situation you were “thrown” in at your birth. The checkerboard represents the life you are in and all the possibilities available to you in that life. You have a limited choice in where you stand but it all depends on where you grew up. The construction where the checkerboard rest on represents the constructed nature of most of the things and situations that influence us. Your are born in a specific family, there are many different forms of family life through the ages and in all the different cultures. You can have a typical 21st century western family with a mom and dad and two kids or, a family from 300 years ago in another part of the world where you live in a big building with 10 brothers and sister, uncles, aunts, grandmother, grandfather, and your parents. Both are constructed ways of living together, life, culture and history made these groups the way they are, nature has not so much to do with it. It is not hard to imagine what an effect these two different groups would have on you when you grow up in either one of them. You as a person have no choice in that, you are formed by your circumstances. “Everyone is the other and no one is himself.” Martin Heidegger

The iron crosses.

The iron cross represents the mechanism that has a more steering role after you start making “your own” choices in where to stand on the “checkerboard” that is given to you by your birth. Let’s say you are born in a religious family, then there are only a few places on your checkerboard where you can go to, to become an atheist. If you remain in a country that is heavily controlled by religious rulers than this “iron cross” represent these rulers and will tilt you on the checkerboard to a place where you will stay religious. Let’s say that you now move to a secular country, you will still be bound by the checkerboard or possibilities given to you by birth but now the “iron cross” or authorities will not steer you away from the little secular squares you have, but steer you towards it. Another way of reaching the few secular squares you have, in this example, is by studying and gaining knowledge. This knowledge might work as a counterweight to the forces in your religious country have on the direction of your life, and thus might steer you to the secular spaces on your checkerboard. This is most likely not a conscious move on your part, if you by coincidence start reading the “wrong” books this so-called counterweight might form without you knowing it. This iron cross is not only representing religion but all man-made constructs that steer your life, like the form of government or social structures you live under. All of these, steer your life towards their wishes. Remember that these constructs are not controlled by humans, they might be invented by them, but they live a life of their own and steer you as well as the so called rulers that are proclaiming and defending that system.

The others

The others, or other people in your life, take away pieces of your checkerboard or life. We do the same thing when we are in the vicinity of others.  Let’s take the religious person from before as an example. If I, an atheist, would become a friend with a religious person and we start talking and discussing life I will slowly eat away from their religious side of their checkerboard till I potentially consume, enough religious parts that they have no choice and land on a secular square despite the pull of the “cross” or system they live under. They will also feast on my secular squares and it depends on their quality and the pull of the system where I live under to see if and when in the end I will give.

In short.

You are born in specific circumstances that will give you a limited amount of choices. Society will guide your future choices, by the way of social pressure or laws but self-education can make you more independent. Other people will take away choices like someone telling you, while growing up, what you can’t do, and this will make it harder and harder to reach that goal that you desire.

Where is the free will?

I think that our free will is encapsulated in an imaginary tiny box. In that box we have free will but just outside that the box is everything we do in the world and determent by the world. Free will is something we think, but we act deterministic. We think we made a choice, and that is the limit of our freedom, we can think.

Let’s say you agree with me that we are thrown into the world and that YOU have had no choice in that. You had no choice in the circumstances you grew up in, it is determent for you. So, you might think that you choose that school later in life, but that choice was already made by the time and place you were born. You can choose from different schools, that all belonged to that specific time and place, you were born. That you choose the technical school was probably because of an example or someone talked you into it and don’t forget your genetic makeup. It is impossible to prove that there was a single point in your life where you decided to go to that school without influences from outside. Even if you stubbornly choose the opposite of all that surrounds you it still just the opposite of what was already determined.  Like I said, it feels like a choice, but it isn’t. There are all kinds of forces steering us forward. This doesn’t mean that you than give up. If you know that life is like that you can use that little freedom in your head to prepare yourself for the movements of life. I can give you an example of that: in my training as a Marine we learned certain fighting skills whereby you use the force of your opponent to defeat him. A little guy could, by accepting the forces around him, the powerful swing going towards his face, and stepping aside and lightly guide the powerful blow in a direction where the opened my stumble by means of his own forward momentum, and thus using these forces to beat a towering hulk. Your freedom rest in excepting the forces around you and not get overwhelmed by it. Your freedom lies, encapsulated, in that little box in your mind, and only there you can be free as long as you are not overwhelmed by the forces around you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before and after Newton

“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.”. (Genesis 11:1)

“So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous”. (Exodus 9:24)

“Allah hath turned some to apes and swine,”. (5:60)

Day 273-1Why is religion still around? Most people in the world will drive a car, make a phone call or watch tv. All these activities are made possible because of science, the same science that can disprove most of the claims from the different religions. Religious people don’t except the scientific method if it disproves their beliefs but except it the moment they get in a car, made possible by science.

Everyone that bases their actions on, tradition, hearsay, voices, or old books should by now know that the “they stand on thin ice”.

  • You can see a clear evolution in religious traditions like the concept of an “eye for an eye “to a justice system or the role of the woman in the household. The strict “god given” rules are more flexible as time goes by taking away strength from their claim of divine inspiration. Claiming that something is tradition and therefore true is in this light difficult. If you claim the newest tradition/laws as true then that contradicts often the original traditions or law books.
  • Many stories and rules in the different books and religious laws are themselves based on an oral tradition wherein stories go from one to another. Our modern historians or the police use hearsay but never as the only source, and these stories are often debated as to filter out the truth. In some religions there is also a tradition to debate the origins and validity of their thousands year old books and laws, but as everybody knows that has studied ancient history the evidence for these theories are thin and surely not enough to base a whole religion on let alone prosecute people and fight wars.
  • In most religious traditions hearing voices is a big part of their (written)belief. Throughout the ages and in many cultures, people that heard voices had often a special place even if they made no sense. This changed slowly and nowadays we have a whole industry to calm these people down. But if you genuinely heard voices or not, it’s not hard to imagine that a charismatic person can pretend to hear voices and give his wishes more convincing power. There are many reason why people (claim to) hear voices but like with hearsay it should not be a basis for a religion that can be so destructive.
  • The old books are al based on the first three points and can be dismissed.

Imagine you want to put together an IKEA shelf and the book with instruction was based on tradition, hearsay, and people with voices in their head. You might think that any way with IKEA manuals, but I guaranty you that there is a lot of science involved in making these manuals and furniture.

Even the most religious person in the world has probably some modern equipment that was made with science that contradicts his belief. And if people say that they “just know that God exist” you just ask them if they would fly in a modern airplane where the engineer that designs the wing just “knows the right shape”. As modern people we should know that saying that it feels right doesn’t make it right. That’s a sentiment from a time when people believed in witches, talking snakes and a flat earth.

Science can also be used for evil like a weapon. But a weapon itself is not dangerous, it becomes dangerous if it gets used in the name of some beliefs.

I know that there are a lot of peaceful religious people that use their personal god as a guide and strength in their life but there are better ways to find a guide in this life. One is to just look around and get amazed by nature and how lucky we are to be part of it, science is the tool to see and understand even more of it.

Fill your mind with science because an empty mind can be filled with nonsense.