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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:05 am 
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Kishkumen wrote:
krose wrote:
My response to the ‘throwing out baby with bath water’ accusation is that there was never any baby — just a lot of dirty, murky water.

In my own case, I dumped Mormonism because I had come to the conclusion that there was nothing out there that cared, listened to prayers, or helpfully arranged things for us.


When I read this, I think, well, yes, for you, and that is OK. There is room in this world for symbolic systems that stimulate and provide some framework for our search for meaning. Not everyone is going to respond to the same stimuli or the same system. If you saw nothing of value in Mormonism, then, sure, you would be highly motivated to move on from it. Some people see a great deal of value in it. I am not saying one side of this is right and the other is wrong. I am saying to each her or his own, really. I am not a huge fan of Mormonism as it is commonly understood and practiced, but I can see how some find meaning and a life's path in it. Certainly I would not criticize anyone for choosing against it.

There is nothing here with which I disagree. I hope my comment, about losing god belief first, didn’t convey a message of disdain for those who still believe. It was not intended that way.

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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:39 pm 
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I like this thread. And I believe strongly that so many issues would be resolved if people would be aware of and correct cognitive distortions.

I’m by no means perfect at it, I still struggle. But I’ve come a long way & just being aware of polarized illogical beliefs like “you’re either on the Lord’s side or you’re not” & “the church is either true or not” has helped me through my faith crisis, without crashing & burning. It’s helped me not give up on my marriage and other relationships. I take the best & leave the rest - which before I didn’t even think was an option.

Sigh... I need to keep it in mind when I feel like I don’t belong with ex-Mormon Atheists, but I don’t fit in with TBMs either - all in the Mormonest part of Utah.


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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:28 am 
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Amore wrote:
I like this thread. And I believe strongly that so many issues would be resolved if people would be aware of and correct cognitive distortions.

I’m by no means perfect at it, I still struggle. But I’ve come a long way & just being aware of polarized illogical beliefs like “you’re either on the Lord’s side or you’re not” & “the church is either true or not” has helped me through my faith crisis, without crashing & burning. It’s helped me not give up on my marriage and other relationships. I take the best & leave the rest - which before I didn’t even think was an option.

Sigh... I need to keep it in mind when I feel like I don’t belong with ex-Mormon Atheists, but I don’t fit in with TBMs either - all in the Mormonest part of Utah.

I lived in that Mormonest part of Utah for 7 years. It’s not an easy place to live. North Carolina is a lot easier place to be a NOM. Being able to accept the good parts of the Church and simply walk away from the bad parts has allowed me to receive very needed community support for my son during my divorce, as well as support for my disabled parents who moved in with me last year.

I feel for you experiencing the NOM or middle way part of Mormonism in Utah. It’s a very difficult area to maneuver in.

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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 8:45 am 
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Jesse Pinkman wrote:
I lived in that Mormonest part of Utah for 7 years. It’s not an easy place to live. North Carolina is a lot easier place to be a NOM. Being able to accept the good parts of the Church and simply walk away from the bad parts has allowed me to receive very needed community support for my son during my divorce, as well as support for my disabled parents who moved in with me last year.

I feel for you experiencing the NOM or middle way part of Mormonism in Utah. It’s a very difficult area to maneuver in.

Thanks, Jesse. I appreciate your understanding and empathy. I recently went to CA (where I grew up) & in some ways, I did feel like it’d be easier to take the middle way, than it is in Utah. Utah is unique.

Bless your heart for taking care of your parents while being a single mom. I hope you find plenty of support.

There are some good meet-up groups that I may look into again.


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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 1:40 pm 
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Amore wrote:
Jesse Pinkman wrote:
I lived in that Mormonest part of Utah for 7 years. It’s not an easy place to live. North Carolina is a lot easier place to be a NOM. Being able to accept the good parts of the Church and simply walk away from the bad parts has allowed me to receive very needed community support for my son during my divorce, as well as support for my disabled parents who moved in with me last year.

I feel for you experiencing the NOM or middle way part of Mormonism in Utah. It’s a very difficult area to maneuver in.

Thanks, Jesse. I appreciate your understanding and empathy. I recently went to CA (where I grew up) & in some ways, I did feel like it’d be easier to take the middle way, than it is in Utah. Utah is unique.

Bless your heart for taking care of your parents while being a single mom. I hope you find plenty of support.

There are some good meet-up groups that I may look into again.

I grew up in CA as well!

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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:41 pm 
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I think that most of the tools I use now were developing throughout a lifetime. It is possible, for example, to develop a strong sense of logic and rationality even when starting with the premise of the True Church. So for me, once that premise was destroyed, my own rationality quickly came to certain conclusions.

To put it the most simply: If god does exist, there's no reason for me to allow another person to stand between God and myself. This has so many ramifications. It does allow for the possibility of God, but results in all religions being speculations at best.


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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:50 pm 
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Sanctorian wrote:
It’s really not all that hard. Completely remove god from your life and see what happens. Here’s a hint, nothing happens. You still have to go to work in the morning. You still have Sickness and health. You still have joys and struggles. The only difference is god gets none of the credit and none of the wasted energy. It’s like reverse engineering faith. Put faith in yourself and you’ll be amazed you don’t need faith in god.

It's a great point here! John W. Loftus, one of my very most favorite authors, noted that if all Christians everywhere just quit doing the work of God, and let Him take over, he wonders what would happen? Christianity would blink out in a couple years. If it's God's work, let him do it while we live our lives, what's wrong with that? His own very Christian professor was profoundly shocked by this suggestion and actually agreed with it.

It does give one pause, to be sure.

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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:52 pm 
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Amore wrote:
has helped me through my faith crisis, without crashing & burning.

The metaphor here is all skewed. It is not crashing and burning that occurs, it's liberating and enlightening once you realize the useless utility of faith, and begin to recognize probabilistic reality, and go with what evidences may be recurring.

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"Being and nonbeing arise mutually. Thus not to see the unity of self and other is the fear of life, and not to see the unity of being and nonbeing is the fear of death." Alan Watts

"The problem is most religions proceed to try and explain the truth and then insist that you agree with their explanation." Brad Warner


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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 2:54 pm 
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Philo Sofee wrote:
It's a great point here! John W. Loftus, one of my very most favorite authors, noted that if all Christians everywhere just quit doing the work of God, and let Him take over, he wonders what would happen? Christianity would blink out in a couple years. If it's God's work, let him do it while we live our lives, what's wrong with that? His own very Christian professor was profoundly shocked by this suggestion and actually agreed with it.

It does give one pause, to be sure.

When you say "God's work" what are you thinking about?

I'm asking because I don't think you know what you're talking about. I think you're more like saying stuff.

So let's have a conversation about that if you're willing.

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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:15 pm 
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Philo Sofee listen, I know I'm supposed to be all good and kind and compassionate and that sort of thing but the truth is I'm a Jersey Girl and sometimes stuff irritates me so here goes.

I have spent over 18 years of my life researching Mormonism, reading whatever I could get my hands on online, wading through my own copies of the Book of Mormon, finally ending up online where I could read first hand accounts and ask questions of your people. I have done my utmost to understand the inner workings of Mormonism, LDS belief in practice and the LDS mind, if you will. I have attended the local Ward and Stake for various activities, events, baptism, etc.

So tell me, when was the last time you devoted yourself to learning first hand about mainstream Christianity when you weren't there for the purpose of defending Mormonism against it? When was the last time you jumped into the real life and experience of mainstream Christianity on the ground or is what you think you know based on online interactions and reading books?

I guess my main question is did you ever really know what you were defending Mormonism against and how did you know it? Did you make an effort to experience the other side and how?

Have you ever tried walking with Christians as I have LDS?

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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 6:18 pm 
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Jersey Girl wrote:
Have you ever tried walking with Christians as I have LDS?


I have. I've attended various Catholic masses, and also attended Methodist services. My fiance's grandfather was a Methodist preacher. My fiance isn't that religious, but when he attends church, he prefers to attend the denomination he grew up in. Since we are going to be married, I feel like it's important to learn about his faith.

It has been interesting for me to see things from a new perspective.

I have forgotten, Jersey Girl. Which denomination of Christianity do you belong to?

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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 6:57 pm 
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Jesse Pinkman wrote:
Jersey Girl wrote:
Have you ever tried walking with Christians as I have LDS?


I have. I've attended various Catholic masses, and also attended Methodist services. My fiance's grandfather was a Methodist preacher. My fiance isn't that religious, but when he attends church, he prefers to attend the denomination he grew up in. Since we are going to be married, I feel like it's important to learn about his faith.

It has been interesting for me to see things from a new perspective.

I have forgotten, Jersey Girl. Which denomination of Christianity do you belong to?


None.

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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:11 pm 
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Philo Sofee wrote:
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Amore
has helped me through my faith crisis, without crashing & burning.


The metaphor here is all skewed. It is not crashing and burning that occurs, it's liberating and enlightening once you realize the useless utility of faith, and begin to recognize probabilistic reality, and go with what evidences may be recurring.


Some people do crash and burn as the result of a faith crisis. What works for you doesn’t work for everyone.

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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:46 am 
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Sophocles wrote:
Suppose you find out that Jesus was not the Christ. Either he was just a man, or else he never existed all. Regardless, he was never your Lord, God, and Savior. The New Testament is a hoax, Christianity is a fraud.

Would you revert to Judaism? Would you still believe in Abraham and Moses and the rest of the Old Testament?


It may surprise you to learn that a small but significant number of people do precisely that, or at least consider the idea. Others turn to Islam, which purports to offer a purer form of monotheism without Jesus as divine. Interestingly, in my own knowledge and experience, most of these people tend to be women (I don't know why).


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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:37 am 
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My impression from some fundamentalist evangelical Christians I've known is that demanding faiths tend to preach all-or-nothing, and preach it hard. It's a go-to tactic for them to tell you flatly that if you don't swallow every last little thing, then you can't have anything. Unbundling is a much worse threat to the preachers' control over their flocks than total apostasy. So more is done to reinforce the bundled, all-or-nothing mentality than is done to defend the core principles of the religion.

This means that, whatever parts of your faith are of actual value to you, they become hostages. If the amount of extra crap that gets bundled with the valuable parts becomes too intolerable, you may have to just let those hostages go. The alternative of ditching the bundled crapware, and keeping the parts you actually want, is too much harder. It would be hard enough in any case, to look carefully at your faith and try to decide how much of it is really worthwhile—and how much of the parts that you do like may just be the wishful thinking of a frightened child with a powerful imaginary friend. Sorting wheat from chaff like that is made much harder still by the consistent efforts of peers and preachers to make that kind of thinking unthinkable.

In fact, the tightly bundled all-or-nothing attitude is sheer nonsense, of course. You don't have to keep everything. If having to keep everything is one of the basic rules, then you can just reject that rule first of all. It's that simple.

You don't even have to be all-or-nothing about unbundling. You can keep some things fully and sincerely, reject some things totally, and keep a bunch of other things as maybes and could-bes that you kind of go along with some of the time.

You can even keep some things with complete sincerity but zero seriousness. What I mean by that is that you can keep some beliefs and practices as placeholders, like the "artist's impression" pictures that you often see in astronomy books.

I loved those glossy pictures when I was a kid. Some artist was commissioned to paint a scene on the surface of some hypothetical distant planet. They based their picture as much as possible on the best scientific guesses available at the time, but nobody really believes that a planet in a double star system is going to have mountains that look just like that, or yellow cactus-moss-trees, or a planetary ring visible by day as a golden arch in the sky, or whatever. And even as a kid I realized that the book wasn't really telling me that there was definitely an exoplanet out there that looked just like that picture.

The book wasn't lying to me either, though. It was good to have those cool pictures, and it was good to stare at them and marvel at how weirdly different but vividly real other planets could be. Through its made-up fake details, the artist's impression conveys a truth that is more important than any particular details could be: exoplanets are real. We don't know how they look, but they do look like something in particular. The details in the artist's impression are only placeholders, but keeping those placeholders in your mind, as a concrete example of how things could be, is a good way to express the serious belief that those bizarre distant objects in space really do exist as concrete things.

A lot of details in religious belief can be like that as well: placeholders, entertained for the sake of having something concrete to imagine, without serious commitment to the details actually being correct. There's nothing foolish about that kind of thinking, and nothing dishonest. The true range of options is a lot wider than all-or-nothing, and a lot more forgiving.


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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:19 am 
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Jesse Pinkman wrote:
I grew up in CA as well!

Nice! I grew up in So. Ca.


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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:21 am 
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Meadowchik wrote:
If god does exist, there's no reason for me to allow another person to stand between God and myself. This has so many ramifications. It does allow for the possibility of God, but results in all religions being speculations at best.

I've similarly come to see religion ironically as kind of damning - or holding me back from God.

Philo Sofee wrote:
Quote:
Amore
has helped me through my faith crisis, without crashing & burning.


The metaphor here is all skewed. It is not crashing and burning that occurs, it's liberating and enlightening once you realize the useless utility of faith, and begin to recognize probabilistic reality, and go with what evidences may be recurring.

It's not all-or-nothing, PhiloSofee. ;) I saw many people and I almost made drastic life changes (like divorcing, splitting up family, getting back into partying etc), once it was discovered the church wasn't all perfect.

I agree that it's liberating and enlightening, but there was also a type of grief process - shock, anger, sadness, etc.

Res Ipsa wrote:
Some people do crash and burn as the result of a faith crisis. What works for you doesn’t work for everyone.

Glad we agree, ResIspa!
It could be that getting to the point of feeling liberated and enlightened comes at different times and circumstances for each.


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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:37 am 
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Physics Guy wrote:
...In fact, the tightly bundled all-or-nothing attitude is sheer nonsense, of course. You don't have to keep everything. If having to keep everything is one of the basic rules, then you can just reject that rule first of all. It's that simple.

You don't even have to be all-or-nothing about unbundling. You can keep some things fully and sincerely, reject some things totally, and keep a bunch of other things as maybes and could-bes that you kind of go along with some of the time.

You can even keep some things with complete sincerity but zero seriousness. What I mean by that is that you can keep some beliefs and practices as placeholders, like the "artist's impression" pictures that you often see in astronomy books.

I loved those glossy pictures when I was a kid. Some artist was commissioned to paint a scene on the surface of some hypothetical distant planet. They based their picture as much as possible on the best scientific guesses available at the time, but nobody really believes that a planet in a double star system is going to have mountains that look just like that, or yellow cactus-moss-trees, or a planetary ring visible by day as a golden arch in the sky, or whatever. And even as a kid I realized that the book wasn't really telling me that there was definitely an exoplanet out there that looked just like that picture.

The book wasn't lying to me either, though. It was good to have those cool pictures, and it was good to stare at them and marvel at how weirdly different but vividly real other planets could be. Through its made-up fake details, the artist's impression conveys a truth that is more important than any particular details could be: exoplanets are real. We don't know how they look, but they do look like something in particular. The details in the artist's impression are only placeholders, but keeping those placeholders in your mind, as a concrete example of how things could be, is a good way to express the serious belief that those bizarre distant objects in space really do exist as concrete things.

A lot of details in religious belief can be like that as well: placeholders, entertained for the sake of having something concrete to imagine, without serious commitment to the details actually being correct. There's nothing foolish about that kind of thinking, and nothing dishonest. The true range of options is a lot wider than all-or-nothing, and a lot more forgiving.

I really like that idea of mental or imaginative placeholders. To some, it may seem heretical to have the nerve to imagine your own idea of God or spirituality. I took my kids to a Hindu Temple and was talking with one of the leaders there about different possibilities of God. She said, "You can't just make up God however you want!" I thought, "Why not!?" We do anyway - to some extent. No 2 people really think exactly alike on anything. Might as well really invest some thought, feeling and enthusiasm into it!

I imagine and pray to God as Heavenly Father and Mother... but I've also considered that polytheistic ideas of God are basically ways of organizing and explaining different elements of God. God really is just a 3-letter word that symbolizes so much. Islam lists like 100 definitions of God (many of them paradoxical), one being that there are not enough or sufficient words to explain God. My favorite approach to God/Truth is Taoist idea (which I think Joseph Smith once said similarly) to embrace truth wherever it's found - in each religion and especially in nature.


“The Taoists realized that no single concept or value could be considered absolute or superior. If being useful is beneficial, the being useless is also beneficial. The ease with which such opposites may change places is depicted in a Taoist story about a farmer whose horse ran away.

His neighbor commiserated only to be told, "Who knows what's good or bad?" It was true. The next day the horse returned, bringing with it a drove of wild horses it had befriended in its wanderings. The neighbor came over again, this time to congratulate the farmer on his windfall. He was met with the same observation: "Who knows what is good or bad?" True this time too; the next day the farmer's son tried to mount one of the wild horses and fell off, breaking his leg. Back came the neighbor, this time with more commiserations, only to encounter for the third time the same response, "Who knows what is good or bad?" And once again the farmer's point was well taken, for the following day soldiers came by commandeering for the army and because of his injury, the son was not drafted.

According to the Taoists, yang and yin, light and shadow, useful and useless are all different aspects of the whole, and the minute we choose one side and block out the other, we upset nature's balance. If we are to be whole and follow the way of nature, we must pursue the difficult process of embracing the opposites.”

― Connie Zweig, Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Dark Side of Human Nature


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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:46 am 
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According to the Taoists, yang and yin, light and shadow, useful and useless are all different aspects of the whole, and the minute we choose one side and block out the other, we upset nature's balance. If we are to be whole and follow the way of nature, we must pursue the difficult process of embracing the opposites.”


This resonates, thanks for sharing...

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"The problem is most religions proceed to try and explain the truth and then insist that you agree with their explanation." Brad Warner


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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:50 am 
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Johannes wrote:
Sophocles wrote:
Suppose you find out that Jesus was not the Christ. Either he was just a man, or else he never existed all. Regardless, he was never your Lord, God, and Savior. The New Testament is a hoax, Christianity is a fraud.

Would you revert to Judaism? Would you still believe in Abraham and Moses and the rest of the Old Testament?


It may surprise you to learn that a small but significant number of people do precisely that, or at least consider the idea. Others turn to Islam, which purports to offer a purer form of monotheism without Jesus as divine. Interestingly, in my own knowledge and experience, most of these people tend to be women (I don't know why).

I became very interested in Buddhism around the time my views about Jesus as divine came apart. There was something very appealing to me in the fuzzy, unassuming form it took when presented to Westerners in the mainstream writings of the Dalai Lama, the various source scriptures detached from the core theologies seem so virtue-oriented. It took some time to really get into the underlying theology (if theology is the right word in a religion without a theos) but once I did it was clear I couldn't buy in to the essential aspects that underlay all the fuzzy feel-good marketing. Buddhism requires authentic belief in metaphysical concepts that are essential to its teaching that extend beyond reincarnation and karma though those are two broadly known examples.

As I noted in my first post in this thread, I don't know how many people really leave Mormonism like flipping a switch but that wasn't my experience at all. The most important aspect of leaving for me was the change in how I approached belief with skepticism, and while the results are what they are, it wasn't a matter of "all or nothing" so much as the views that survive relentless scrutiny best are what's left from which to rebuild (and continue to tear down, rebuild,...) one's worldview.

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 Post subject: Re: All or Nothing Mentality
PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:00 am 
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Philo Sofee wrote:
Quote:
According to the Taoists, yang and yin, light and shadow, useful and useless are all different aspects of the whole, and the minute we choose one side and block out the other, we upset nature's balance. If we are to be whole and follow the way of nature, we must pursue the difficult process of embracing the opposites.”


This resonates, thanks for sharing...

Taoism...have fun! Also, be aware that the many, many, many English interpretations (because they are this more than just translations) of the Tao Te Ching probably exceed the issues with those the board has discussed around the Bible. That said, I love reading the Tao Te Ching, comparing translations/interpretations.

From a different angle, The Analects of Confucius are some of the least esoteric, but IMO quite applicable and profound forms of eastern wisdom literature available. It's focus on a historic, cultural understanding of duty and right living demands some investigation of the political culture of the time to really contextualize and understand, but the virtues of Jen and Li appeal to my post-Mormonism in ways few things have despite my general existentialist/absurdist post-Nietzsche view of the universe now.

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