Monday, February 28, 2022
Ye hear of wars in far countries, and you say that there will soon be great wars in far countries, but ye know not the hearts of men in your own land.
If you could hie to Kolob in the twinkling of an eyeAnd then continue onward with that same speed to fly,Do you think that you could ever, through all eternity,Find out the generation where Gods began to be?Or see the grand beginning, where space did not extend?Or view the last creation, where Gods and matter end?Methinks the Spirit whispers, "No man has found 'pure space,'Nor seen the outside curtains, where nothing has a place."
When did that thinking thing begin to be? If it did never begin to be, then have you always been a thinking thing from eternity; the absurdity whereof I need not confute, till I meet with one who is so void of understanding as to own it.
I find it very strange that (apparently) some people find it inconceivable that there should be infinite 'time' in the past leading up to now. I find the opposite impossible to imagine - i.e. that there was ever a beginning before which there was nothing.I think I have always been like this, since I was a child. Even when I accepted the recent (and constantly changing) scientific theories about the Big Bang as a certain truth, at the back of my mind I always wondered what happened before it - and assumed some kind of eternally expanding and contracting and re-exploding cyclical universe.
Sunday, February 27, 2022
Saturday, February 26, 2022
- Let us give the name "God" to the greatest being we can conceive of.
- A being which exists is greater than a being which does not exist.
- If God did not exist, then we would be able to conceive of a being greater than this non-existent God -- namely, a God who did exist.
- Therefore, "God does not exist" is logically self-contradictory and necessarily false. So God exists.
- Whatever begins to exist has a cause for its coming into being.
- The universe began to exist.
- Therefore, the universe has a cause for its coming into being.
I was very impressed with this part when I first read it, since it’s the first real argument I’ve found for the paradoxical idea of free will — of causation without determinism. If the rest of the kalam argument holds, then, yes, it would seem to follow that the universe must be the result of free will.
Mir hilft der Geist! Auf einmal seh' ich RatUnd schreibe getrost: Im Anfang war die Tat!The Spirit helps me. Boldly I proceed --And write: "In the beginning was the deed."
Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.Behold, here is the agency of man (D&C 93:29-31).
Friday, February 25, 2022
Monday, February 21, 2022
Most people believe in a Supreme Being, although they may call him by different names. We know that God lives. We want to share with you our feelings about him. God is perfect, all-wise, and all-powerful. He is also merciful, kind, and just. We know that we can have faith in him. We can love him with all our hearts.
God is perfect, all-wise, and all-powerful. He is also thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
In fact, I believe that there are billions and billions of different and complementary ways of being good, and that each of us (potentially) contributes to the Good in a way that is unique and irreplaceable. If one being could fully embody every possible type of good, why would we -- why would anyone other than God himself -- even need to exist?
Thursday, February 17, 2022
In yesterday's post "Crazy sync: Bardelys the Magnificent," I recount how I had a title randomly selected from a catalog of over 60,000 books and was given Sabatini's Bardelys the Magnificent, and then the next day ran into the name Bardelys the Magnificent again in the comments to a tongue-in-cheek post about the Illuminati. I joked that the sync fairies were trying to tell me to join the Illuminati.
After posting that last night, I listened to part of an interview with Gary Lachman on The Higherside Chats. Lachman told of a precognitive dream he had had which foretold details of the 1994 film The Shadow. Lachman mentioned in passing that a 45 was the Shadow's trademark weapon, and for some unaccountable reason when he said that number, it jumped out at me and seemed very significant. It was as if the word "FORTY-FIVE" had been shouted at ten times the volume of the rest of the conversation (subjectively, I mean; it's not as if I actually had an auditory hallucination to that effect). Afterwards, of all the things that had been discussed on the podcast, what stood out in my memory was that he had said the number 45.
This morning, curious about last night's sync, I ran a Google image search for bardelys the magnificent, and my eyes were drawn to the third and fourth results:
Later in the morning, I met with an adult English student. He has a grammar exercise book that he works on at home, and then when we meet I check his answers and explain whatever needs to be explained. This illustration from the book caught my eye:
The two movie posters in the illustration bear an obvious resemblance to the two Bardelys pictures that had caught my eye earlier. On the left, a man with a plumed hat, baldric, and sword; on the right, a man and a woman holding each other.
And the illustration is from Unit 45 of the grammar book. (We typically go through four or five units each time.)
So, I think I'm going to have to read Bardelys the Magnificent.
Update: Holy shit. So I just published these two posts about Bardelys the Magnificent syncs and, sandwiched between them, an unrelated sync post called "Visualize the devil and he doth appear" -- the title being an adaptation of the proverb "Speak of the devil . . . ."
I just now went to Gutenberg, downloaded Bardelys the Magnificent -- a title so obscure that I am only the 38th person in history to have done so -- and opened it. The first chapter is titled "The Wager" (cf. my tag "The highway is for gamblers"), and the first four words of the novel are: "Speak of the devil."
This is a spooky level of sync even by my rather jaded standards.
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Gutenberg.org has a feature that will serve up randomly selected titles from their library of over 60,000. Yesterday I had occasion, for my own inscrutable reasons, to use that feature, and the very first title on the list it produced was Bardelys the Magnificent by Rafael Sabatini — a book I’d never heard of by an author I know nothing about.
Today, I read Adam Piggott’s post “An invitation to join the Illuminati,” and one of the comments was by someone using the pseudonym Bardelys the Magnificent.
I think the sync fairies are telling me I need to join the Illuminati.
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Saturday, February 12, 2022
Gandhi's patented method:
- Be strictly non-violent.
- Defy your enemies in such a way that their only options are to let you win or to resort to violence themselves.
- Watch enemy morale evaporate and the tide of public opinion turn in your favor.
Thursday, February 10, 2022
He called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken.
To think that God is limited to the same sort of creation that is possible to us stems from a category error about God, that treats him as a being like us.
We creatures can’t create free agents. To think that we can do so is the conceit at the root of strong AI. So, none of our creations can have a jot of freedom. They all express and do only our will, and not their own – however recalcitrant they might appear now and then.
Now, it is not unusual to hear from critics of Christianity, from the New Atheists, and from apostates of various sorts, that if God created us ex nihilo, as Christians all – following Genesis 1 and John 1 – agree, then we are to him as our tools are to us: what seem to us then like our own acts are really just his acts, that we carry out the way that a computer program performs calculations we would and could perform ourselves, given time; so we have no real agency, no true freedom.
And Mormons! And Romantic Christians! But Kristor presumably classifies us as non-Christian apostates, since he states that all Christians believe that God created us ex nihilo. This doctrine is of course not in the Bible in any unambiguous form, as the proof-texts he cites demonstrate. The verb translated as create in Genesis 1 means primarily to fashion something out of existing materials, and the opening verse may also be translated, "When God began to create the heaven and the earth, the earth was without form and void" -- meaning that he created from chaos, not from nothing at all. John 1 is even more poetic and ambiguous, and it explains "all things were made by him" by adding "without him was not anything made that was made" -- leaving open the possibility that some things were never "made" at all. Of course these passages are consistent with ex nihilo creation as well, and I am not trying to use them as proof-texts of my own. My point is that the ex nihilo theory is just that, a metaphysical theory, and is very far from being a central and undeniable Christian teaching.
They point out, rightly, that the notion we are not free contradicts all our experience; and, furthermore, makes both sin and the sinner’s choice of repentance and his turn to the Lord the motions of a robot – which renders Christianity radically incoherent.
It is a telling argument, which has motivated many minds to depart from faith. But it fails, because it extrapolates the scope of our powers – in particular, our incompetence to create free agents – to God.
That extrapolation doesn’t work. If God is as men have always construed him – is not, i.e., a mere contingent being, thus himself caused by some other(s), at most a god like Apollo – then he is in an utterly different category of being than any other.
Then from the creative limitations of such beings as we, we may not infer *anything at all* about his creative power. And there is no reason whatever to think that a being who (unlike contingent beings such as we) is necessary – and as necessary thus also eternal and the ultimate, first, unmoved mover and cause of all other things, ergo infinitely greater than we, with powers categorically different from and greater than ours – could not create free agents like us, the angels, gods, and demons. Nothing we might infer from our own powers as contingent and thus limited causal agents could possibly warrant such a conclusion about a causal agent who is unlimited.
Which is fortunate, because from that conclusion much incoherence follows. To take just one of them: if our creator is a being like us, then we are beings like him, and so are Moloch, Ahriman, and Azazel. In that case, there are no categorically authoritative moral laws: reality is then rather a moral chaos, or at best a mobocracy, in which the choices and preferences of Lucifer, Adam, and Stalin are just as legitimate as those of YHWH.
To think that God is the same sort of being as we – as the king is the same sort of being as his subjects, or as the father is the same sort of being as his son – is to reduce him to our sort of being; and that is to dethrone him qua God, and make him a thing among other things. And that ruins Christianity – ruins all other religions whatever, indeed ruins religion per se; for, it is to suppose that there is no being ultimately worthy of worship, but rather only this or that godling or daimon, whose wrath we must somehow contrive to appease.
Tuesday, February 8, 2022
I'm back online and did a bit of desultory blog-browsing. Among the things I read was the Gornahoor post "The Joy of Thinking," which ends with this quotation from Descartes.
I hope that posterity will judge me kindly, not only to the things which I have explained, but also to those which I have intentionally omitted so as to leave to others the pleasure of discovery.
A few hours later, I read this in Whitley Streiber's book The Path.
There is, of course, much I am not saying about this work. I am not saying it so that I will not deny you the thrill of discovery.
Encountering two such similar formulations so close together in time was a synchronicity (though perhaps not as coincidental as it appears; Gornahoor is Gurdjieff's word, and Strieber is also a Gurdjieffian). Nevertheless, I find myself resisting the underlying sentiment. The intentional promotion of ignorance in the name of "pleasure" or "thrills" is and can be nothing but a game. The true joy of discovery comes from discovering something that could not have been communicated, either because it cannot by its nature be communicated, or because it is truly new and had never been thought of before.
Wednesday, February 2, 2022
Tuesday, February 1, 2022
A painting from the 1800’s depicts a man named Joseph Smith showing a CD case to several other individuals. The only problem is CD cases weren’t produced and distributed to public until the year 1982. So how did Joseph Smith get in possession of a CD case more than a 100 years before they were created. The only logical conclusion is time travel. This is another piece of solid evidence proving that time traveler are one of the main contributors to disrupting the timeline and causing these Mandela effect cases.
This is one of the most seamless mashups I've ever heard.
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I hadn't made this obvious connection until I watched this video by Jonathan Pageau, in which he gives an extremely insightful analysis ...