May 2014



—the basis of Practical Gaian Hedonism

by Lloyd Harrison Whitling

Question: This philosophy, hedonism, sounds like something too dangerous to be practiced around children. What do you say about that?

Without an understanding of it, anything stays dangerous to all involved. Buried under centuries of misinformation  and indoctrinated avoidance of knowledge, the danger becomes a plague. That makes hedonism no different from anything else that, correctly understood and applied, proves important to all of humanity and, above all else, to the world we live in.

Children stand to benefit most from widespread practice of well-developed Gaian hedonism in the form I have named Equatarianism.

Question My dictionary, and my preacher, tell me that hedonism is the self-centered pursuit of pleasure. How can you argue against that?

I can imagine those sources gained great pleasure from misinforming you like that, and commercial interests gain great wealth by taking advantage of the widespread ignorance that such misinformation instills in those who become duped by it. While what they say may be true of commercial hedonism, ethical forms of hedonism can expect to gain little recognition  and acknowledgement in a commercial society.

Question:

Question:

Do you have questions about ethical forms of hedonism? Post them in the comments below this page, and I will be glad to update it with a response. Be aware that comments are monitored, and that frivolous attacks will be trashed.

 

Copyright ©2014 by Lloyd H. Whitling. Permission to excerpt is granted if accompanied with credit to the author. Permission to reuse unchanged is granted only if accompanied with this notice and proper credit. All other rights reserved.

 


Atheism is no religion, but atheists are religious.

Preference induced by most modern references requires definitions of religion to include worship of a god. Support for an honored ideal is not enough to suit modern dictionaries. It matters not if everything expressed in a definition—including a potential for disastrous effects— is the same but for the absence of a god or indicator of something called ‘spirituality’ in one of them. Please, people, beware of what such contrary wordplay can cost you.

I have attended enough sermons about idolatry in my lifetime to know that religion includes subservience to an ideal, and to also know a person’s ideals can be recognized from what he or she uses to defend against this idea. The memeplex containing that set of ideals uses the person’s own intellect in its attempts to remain hidden. Ideals plus beliefs make religion for each of us. You have no ideals, you say? You do. They are found in what you will defend as right and true.

Should politics be a part of this? Of course. What else is politics but the practice of religion applied to societal channels, belief systems at play against each other for dominance over inhabitants of some area of land? Belief systems are what constitute religion—systems of belief so strongly held that one’s life— one’s thoughts and aspirations— are held in accord with them. Definitions made official have gained their sacrosanct positions by their (so far) successful refusal to acknowledge that fact. Atheists can convince themselves that ‘unbelief’ pertains only to what goes on in churches, cathedrals, temples and mosques, while the people inside such edifices can go on blithely condemning them for, on one hand, practicing their unbelief while, on the other hand, condemning atheists for supposed practice of things they believe in order to not believe. It’s not complicated. To acknowledge the full gamut that belongs to religion removes the kinks and perverse attempts at thought control. I acknowledge that. Let’s see how it looks.

What is Religion? http://www.darc.org/connelly/religion1.html

The link defines religion as follows:

“Religion originates in an attempt to represent and order beliefs, feelings, imaginings and actions that arise in response to direct experience of the sacred and the spiritual. As this attempt expands in its formulation and elaboration, it becomes a process that creates meaning for itself on a sustaining basis, in terms of both its originating experiences and its own continuing responses.”

As true of most attempts, the definition gets complicated and fails to acknowledge characteristics of thought that ring true in every way that goes beyond the “sacred and the spiritual” to encompass ideas and practices often honored as dearly and regarded as equally sacred as anything generally acknowledged as ‘religion’.

Most of what gets recognized as ‘religion’ was originally acquired though indoctrination, proselytizing by others, or manipulation by applied force. Conversion, beyond that, generally occurs between organized religions similar in nature or structure. Aposytaytizing abandonment of organized religion, while rare, appears to be on the rise in recent decades.

In an essay posted at  https://hedonix.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/why-does-science-work/ I introduced a conception of ‘temporal religion’ that fits with whatever else gets regarded as

‘temporal’:

“b : of or relating to earthly life c : lay or secular rather than clerical or sacred.” [Merriam-Webster]. I generally propose that against ‘ecclesiastical’:

Etymology: 15th century Middle English, from Late Latin ecclesiasticus, from Late Greek ekklesiastikos, from Greek, of an assembly of citizens [per Merriam-Webster]            

“1 : of or relating to a church especially as an established institution

“2: suitable for use in a church.”

The word ‘church’, of course, limits usage to one religion, whereas “an assembly of citizens” must apply to every locale. The Sage offers, for ‘ecclesiastic’:

“A clergyman or other person in religious orders.”

It seems apparent the refusal to recognize temporal religions could stem from several origins:

  1. To deny atheists from demanding illicit benefits granted to ecclesiastical religions by various governmental bodies.
  2. To insulate against religions denounced as “cults” from also demanding equal recognition and treatment.
  3. To elevate ecclesiastical bodies to a higher perceived elevation from wherein they can be viewed as authorities without a need for continual justification.

Studying just those three items makes apparent that the problems encountered by would-be definers of ‘religion’ are more of a political nature than one of semantics or linguistics. As my post at http://todayssigns.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/a-truth-about-atheism/ details, atheists express a variety of philosophies in their discussions. Rather than belief or certainty, argumentative atheists argue to defend their various positions more than to proselytize. Most feel disgusted by the amount of misinformation heaped upon them by people who ought to know better but remain oblivious, uncaring, and unconcerned that their rabble-rousing endangers harmless, innocent fellow citizens.

The so-called “new” atheists are only the “old” atheists waking up to those dangers. Armed with verifiably factual information, irked by lies promulgated at high levels, goaded by arrogant visitors who come at meal times to demand we listen to uninteresting arguments we’ve already heard, rankled by judgmental attitudes that don’t bother to be hidden, stymied by fast-talking agents of canned arguments plainly uninterested in whatever you might say, no longer waiting for the truth to defend itself, these old “new” atheists use each other to hone their wits.

The important lesson we all must learn is not to fear getting tagged “religious”. Rather, welcome that, knowing that what you accept as true makes the ingredients of a temporal religion, not held as faith, but as confidence in how things work, why they work that way, that can be shown or explained to anyone who dares to listen. Accept that to insure how obvious it is that secular opinions are at least as deserving of recognition and protection as the most respected ecclesiastical religion.

 

Copyright ©2014 by Lloyd H. Whitling. Permission to excerpt is granted if accompanied with credit to the author. Permission to reuse whole and unchanged is granted only if accompanied with this notice and proper credit. All other rights reserved.

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