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pantodragon

A manifesto for a good life?

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Recently I offered someone with ADD some advice: if you want to alleviate your symptoms, mix as much as you can with people who have GOOD concentration. Similarly, if one wants advice on how to be healthy, mix with people who are healthy etc, etc. This wisdom is blindingly obvious, yet it always surprises me how few people take it on board.

Philosopher Alain de Boton has been let out of his box and was heard pontificating on the Radio 4 this morning. Aided and abetted by the presenters, he was discussing/advertising his latest book: An Athiest’s Manifesto. Basically this book is de Boton’s advice to atheists about how to live a Good Life. My reaction to the discussion was, to paraphrase Churchill: never in the field of human endeavour has so much bunkum been spoken by so few to so many.

In the first instance, on what basis is de Boton offering the world this advice? He is an atheist. OK. Fine. But, and this is the sixty thousand dollar question, does he himself live a Good Life? Judging by the complete and utter nonsense being spouted on the radio this morning, I very much doubt it.

Basically de Boton has mined the world’s religions for his recipe for living a Good Life. Inspired by the Jewish Day of Atonement, one desirable ingredient he dug up is having a, preferably public, Forgiveness Fest. That is, people can confer forgiveness, or seek forgiveness, for wrong doings. All very lovey-dovey. That’ll sure sort out the world’s problems, then, won’t it?

Forgiveness my a**e! Want to know about forgiveness? I’ll tell you about forgiveness. I once had a line-manager with whom I “fell out”. He was playing idiotic power games making my work really difficult and over the years a great deal of bad blood built up. I never took William Blake’s advice from his poem The Poison Tree:

I was angry with my friend,

I told my wrath, my wrath did end.

I was angry with my foe,

I told it not, my wrath did grow.

I didn’t tell my wrath and, yes, it did grow. (Well, I ask you? How DOES one tell one’s wrath to one’s boss without loosing one’s job? And as to criticising my boss’s behaviour by conferring upon him my forgiveness for his “sins”? Oh, p-lease! What planet is de Boton living on??!!!) Anyway, the situation finally came to a head (this line-manager withheld from me vital information that I needed to do my job). Our mutual boss somehow got wind of this and called us to a meeting to “resolve” the issues. Boy did I take that opportunity to tell my wrath. Boy did I “resolve” the issues –- with a vengeance: I wiped the floor with my line-manager. He left the meeting shell-shocked. And I felt great. My self-confidence was boosted. The poisons were leeched. The air was well and truly cleared.

Another gem of Good Life advice that de Boton mined was the benefits accrued from people getting together and sharing their emotions. Examples he instanced were singing the hymn “Bread of Heaven” (heard at Welsh rugby matches), Robbie William’s song “Angel”, and the London Olympics. Oh yeah? Want to know what is REALLY being advocated here? “Sharing emotions” is the psychological equivalent of sharing bodily fluids and contracting AIDS. So, another piece of sterling advice from Mr de Boton there, then, eh?

Another key to a Good Life, according to de Boton, is to exercise empathy. Now, empathy is a word I’m hearing a lot just now. It’s very fashionable. It’s gaining currency at the moment. Anybody who’s anybody has to be empathetic. It’s like they’ve all watched Star Trek: The Next Generation when they were kiddies and grew up wanting to be an Empath like Deanna Troi. Advocating empathy is no more than childish claptrap.

Alain de Boton didn’t say what he mined from Buddhism, but I hope it wasn’t this jewel: Buddhism advocates “compassion” and this can manifest in the practice of “being forgiving” of, and “smiling at”, people who are angry with you. Those of you who have not completely lost your marbles will, of course, realise that if you go around smiling at people who are expressing anger, then you are just asking to get your lights punched out.

The bottom line with de Boton is that he doesn’t have a clue about human nature. By his own admission, did he but realise it, he said the very same: he said that his book was putting into practice “intellectual” ideas. In other words, he has no idea of what it means to be human – if he did, he wouldn’t be talking such rubbish.

Finally, a quote by Elrond from the film Lord of the Rings: “Who will you look to when we’re gone? The Dwarves? The hide in their mountains seeking riches. They care nothing for the troubles of others.”

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“Sharing emotions” is the psychological equivalent of sharing bodily fluids and contracting AIDS. Really? Understanding someone at an emotional level tells me all kinds of important things I need to know about a person. Not the emotions themselves, but what drives them, and that's where I find commonality, where I find my compassion, and often, forgivenss. Last night I was talking to my niece about a mean old woman who lived across the alley from my mom. One morning the woman came out, started yelling at my mom, calling her names and using foul language. My mom smiled at her, said, isn't it a beautiful day. Would you like to come over for coffee? The woman silently stomped back to her house & slammed the door. So maybe forgiveness & compassion do work. My mom was a master at turning the other cheek, and no harm came from her by doing so.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah, humans are animals, in case you didn't notice. We have all kinds of similiar drives, leader & authoritarianism, sexual, control, violence.. you know, he's right about us needing those things he lists, those are good things. Everyone knows that. But the magic thing is, it's not so easy to reach them, that why people go to all kinds of mental & psychological therapeutics and try to balance their lives as best they can.

People are good at dealing with others, but seeing your own shortcomings, let alone facing them, isn't the easiest thing to do. And greater the shortcoming, greater the step to face it in general. And being a jerk when you're in a boss-position is a shortcoming. There's a difference between being a jerk and a normally-hard boss. Just the steps to face shortcomings.. you can't carry other people there, not really. They can keep hiding under pretenses and reflect their own shortcomings on others.

I think it's us in general who have issues if we have to react like you do when you're not sure about being able to keep your job. Job has become more important than life, as in living a good life. It's not like that couldn't be changed, nor wasn't being changed already all over the world, but it's still all over there, the job dominating us more than what's necessary.

pantodragon, you dont seem to hold emotions in high value. I can understand what you mean about empathy being filthy, it can feel like that too, a feeling that setting yourself to another's position emotionally would be perverse. It's because you dont want your identity stolen by them. But the identity you so dear hold on to with that thought, is not your innermost true identity no matter what you say, because there's something in us that can't be taken away by empathy. You can sink low as a human being or reach much love and enlightment and riches and all things and pass them all on, but the base of how you do it, the innermost "my way" won't change whether you become a Hannibal Lecter or Buddha. You obviously dont want to feel empathy to people who you seem to have a "perverted, sick, dirty" and so on.. mind. Everyone can have a person like that they dont wanna connect with. But the world is full of other people, and ultimately you're always free to change the environment, just have to suffer the consequences of doing so. It's a trade.

Edited by Mikko-kun

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One morning the woman came out, started yelling at my mom, calling her names and using foul language. My mom smiled at her, said, isn't it a beautiful day. Would you like to come over for coffee? The woman silently stomped back to her house & slammed the door. So maybe forgiveness & compassion do work. My mom was a master at turning the other cheek, and no harm came from her by doing so.

The woman silently stomped back to her house & slammed the door.: so you think all was then sweetness and light? You sensed, experienced, feelings of new found happiness wafting from the woman as she slammed the door? I don't suppose your cat happened to die next day, did it?

No, I think your mother was a master at the Wind Up. That old woman was exasperated and angered to the point that she turned and walked off. Your mother was using a well known, tried and tested technique for winding people up where wearing a smile on one's face and pretending to be Mrs Nice Person.

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pantodragon, you dont seem to hold emotions in high value. I can understand what you mean about empathy being filthy, it can feel like that too, a feeling that setting yourself to another's position emotionally would be perverse. It's because you dont want your identity stolen by them. But the identity you so dear hold on to with that thought, is not your innermost true identity no matter what you say, because there's something in us that can't be taken away by empathy. You can sink low as a human being or reach much love and enlightment and riches and all things and pass them all on, but the base of how you do it, the innermost "my way" won't change whether you become a Hannibal Lecter or Buddha. You obviously dont want to feel empathy to people who you seem to have a "perverted, sick, dirty" and so on.. mind. Everyone can have a person like that they dont wanna connect with. But the world is full of other people, and ultimately you're always free to change the environment, just have to suffer the consequences of doing so. It's a trade.

There are ways of empathising, or rather, of understanding, other people --- indulging in "sharing of emotions" is not the way to do it. You do it by paying attention to your own feelings and intuition and so on. If I allow myself to "share" the emotions of a rapist who is getting excited at the thought of what he is going to do to me in the next few minutes, then I will think he is a nice person and will cooperate. If I listen to my onw emotions and intuition, I will feel repelled, fearful and will certainly wish to get as far away from him as soon as I can.

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Posted (edited)

Recently I offered someone with ADD some advice: if you want to alleviate your symptoms, mix as much as you can with people who have GOOD concentration. Similarly, if one wants advice on how to be healthy, mix with people who are healthy etc, etc. This wisdom is blindingly obvious, yet it always surprises me how few people take it on board.

Philosopher Alain de Boton has been let out of his box and was heard pontificating on the Radio 4 this morning. Aided and abetted by the presenters, he was discussing/advertising his latest book: An Athiest’s Manifesto. Basically this book is de Boton’s advice to atheists about how to live a Good Life. My reaction to the discussion was, to paraphrase Churchill: never in the field of human endeavour has so much bunkum been spoken by so few to so many.

In the first instance, on what basis is de Boton offering the world this advice? He is an atheist. OK. Fine. But, and this is the sixty thousand dollar question, does he himself live a Good Life? Judging by the complete and utter nonsense being spouted on the radio this morning, I very much doubt it.

Basically de Boton has mined the world’s religions for his recipe for living a Good Life. Inspired by the Jewish Day of Atonement, one desirable ingredient he dug up is having a, preferably public, Forgiveness Fest. That is, people can confer forgiveness, or seek forgiveness, for wrong doings. All very lovey-dovey. That’ll sure sort out the world’s problems, then, won’t it?

Forgiveness my a**e! Want to know about forgiveness? I’ll tell you about forgiveness. I once had a line-manager with whom I “fell out”. He was playing idiotic power games making my work really difficult and over the years a great deal of bad blood built up. I never took William Blake’s advice from his poem The Poison Tree:

I was angry with my friend,

I told my wrath, my wrath did end.

I was angry with my foe,

I told it not, my wrath did grow.

I didn’t tell my wrath and, yes, it did grow. (Well, I ask you? How DOES one tell one’s wrath to one’s boss without loosing one’s job? And as to criticising my boss’s behaviour by conferring upon him my forgiveness for his “sins”? Oh, p-lease! What planet is de Boton living on??!!!) Anyway, the situation finally came to a head (this line-manager withheld from me vital information that I needed to do my job). Our mutual boss somehow got wind of this and called us to a meeting to “resolve” the issues. Boy did I take that opportunity to tell my wrath. Boy did I “resolve” the issues –- with a vengeance: I wiped the floor with my line-manager. He left the meeting shell-shocked. And I felt great. My self-confidence was boosted. The poisons were leeched. The air was well and truly cleared.

Another gem of Good Life advice that de Boton mined was the benefits accrued from people getting together and sharing their emotions. Examples he instanced were singing the hymn “Bread of Heaven” (heard at Welsh rugby matches), Robbie William’s song “Angel”, and the London Olympics. Oh yeah? Want to know what is REALLY being advocated here? “Sharing emotions” is the psychological equivalent of sharing bodily fluids and contracting AIDS. So, another piece of sterling advice from Mr de Boton there, then, eh?

Another key to a Good Life, according to de Boton, is to exercise empathy. Now, empathy is a word I’m hearing a lot just now. It’s very fashionable. It’s gaining currency at the moment. Anybody who’s anybody has to be empathetic. It’s like they’ve all watched Star Trek: The Next Generation when they were kiddies and grew up wanting to be an Empath like Deanna Troi. Advocating empathy is no more than childish claptrap.

Alain de Boton didn’t say what he mined from Buddhism, but I hope it wasn’t this jewel: Buddhism advocates “compassion” and this can manifest in the practice of “being forgiving” of, and “smiling at”, people who are angry with you. Those of you who have not completely lost your marbles will, of course, realise that if you go around smiling at people who are expressing anger, then you are just asking to get your lights punched out.

The bottom line with de Boton is that he doesn’t have a clue about human nature. By his own admission, did he but realise it, he said the very same: he said that his book was putting into practice “intellectual” ideas. In other words, he has no idea of what it means to be human – if he did, he wouldn’t be talking such rubbish.

Finally, a quote by Elrond from the film Lord of the Rings: “Who will you look to when we’re gone? The Dwarves? The hide in their mountains seeking riches. They care nothing for the troubles of others.”

Sorry, but you will have a very hard, sad, lonely and miserable life if you continue to see people and life in this way.

Humans are both material and spiritual beings, but in terms of happiness and important outcomes in life, "spiritualism" is more significant than material possessions and life style. Australia has one of the highest standards of living in the western world yet the main cause of death in men under 40 and women under about 30 is suicide.

If you dont like western religions look at how american indians lived or many other people without a lot of material comforts. They had a place and a space in their world. A sense of belonging purpose and connectivity whic was complex and deep and which sustained them and kept them psychologically positive and happy. .

For example anger is a destructive emotion which causes physical and psychological harm. Forgiveness and letting go, on the other hand, encourage both physical and psychological comfort and happiness.

I dont smile at angry people but i do talk to them and try to help them with the actual anger and its causes. No one has to get angry. It is a choice we all make. No one can make a person angry unless we let them, and are complicit in their efforts to anger us.

Empathy grows from a psychological understanding of the nature of self and selfs relation to non -self. Love yourself, respect your self; plus realise that all humans are naturally equal and the same as you are, and you will naturally love and respect other humans, even those you disagree with .

Ps humans are intellectual beings. We all have a high level of self aware sapience, and many many abilities which go with that. Hate and love in humans are intellectual constructs, not physical emotions for example Thus, we can ALL control those more atavistic biological impulses, by acts of conscious or intellectual will. If we can't we wont survive in a modern society..

I mean do you rush out, strip naked and rape the first attractive woman you see? Would you do so if she didnt have a male protector ? is it only the laws of the land which stop you?

Of course not. You exercise a self aware intellectual control over your biological impulses, based on ethics and ability to know consequences. You then use things like delayed gratification and alternative strategies to get what you need.

To be entirely personal, you sound like a typical, type A male personality, with anger issues, who woke up cranky and was further irritated by this broadcast. Take care. If this is the case you are prone to many physical illnesses, from stroke to cardiac problems and will always have problems with authority figures and the modern woman. You will struggle to achieve the dominance you require for happiness, and even if you become top dog you will find it unsatisfying.

Edited by Mr Walker
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Sorry, but you will have a very hard, sad, lonely and miserable life if you continue to see people and life in this way.

Humans are both material and spiritual beings, but in terms of happiness and important outcomes in life, "spiritualism" is more significant than material possessions and life style. Australia has one of the highest standards of living in the western world yet the main cause of death in men under 40 and women under about 30 is suicide.

You have so completely failed to even begin to understand what I have been writing about that there is no point in my replying to your comment point by point. It seems to me that you are completely spaced o0ut, away in cloud cuckoo land like some religious nut.

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Posted (edited)

You have so completely failed to even begin to understand what I have been writing about that there is no point in my replying to your comment point by point. It seems to me that you are completely spaced o0ut, away in cloud cuckoo land like some religious nut.

I believe that Mr Walker has made many valid points. Calling anyone a spaced out religious nut just because you can't see just proves that you can't handle learning about other ways besides what you read in a book. It also proves that you are close minded and have to lash out at any answers that aren't your own. I suggest trying to open your mind. There are more ways than one for this manifesto of life, and you'd be surprised if you had an inch of acceptance.

Edited by AliveInDeath7
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Interesting notion... Since my husband has ADD and his son has ADHD.. His feeling empathy for his sons situation is a nasty psychological infection, it's wrong for him to feel for his kid enough to want to help him... Yet at the same time it's the obvious wisdom that he should share his concentration skills with his child- and not give a rat's butt about doing so.

I guess as well since my hubby and I deeply love each other, and share those emotions freely, that's a nasty psychological infection too. When we invite people to our wedding to share in our happiness, we are then spreading the love disease to others if they are foolish enough to feel happy from our happiness.

And at the same time, not sharing negative emotions is a bad thing, and we should make sure we spew all of those emotions out on others, because it makes us feel better. So though sharing my love is an infection, sharing my loathing or misery is a good idea.

Yeah, interesting notion.

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You have so completely failed to even begin to understand what I have been writing about that there is no point in my replying to your comment point by point. It seems to me that you are completely spaced o0ut, away in cloud cuckoo land like some religious nut.

Actually I am a very down to earth, grounded, and successful human being, with excellent relationships with every one i know from young chldren to people in their nineties. Every aspect of my life is positive because I work hard to make it so and i cultivate the discipline of mind that enables it. And i am not religious at all and belong to no religious group. I haven't entered a church except for weddings and funerals for years.

I am loved and loving, do a job I am well paid for good at, and love doing, and have a wife of nearly 40 years who loves me and whom i love completely.I dont drink, smoke, or do drugs, and have compete control of my emotional responses, hence I am a very fortunate human. In over 60 years I have never had trouble with police, neighbours, family, friends or workmates. I dont have to worry about infidelity, violence, unemployment, loneliness, boredom, depression, envy, hate, jealousy, or any of the modern negative elements of life. I am trusted and given jobs requiring complete honesty and integrity.

. Any one can live that well if they wish to, and work at it. This is how humans are meant to live. Not lost, alienated, disconnected, depressed, angry, frustrated, and prone to anger/ violence against themselves and others. Not requiring drugs or alcohol to overcome deaden or displace these emotional and psychological problems. Not requiring sex to replace love and emotional closeness, and so on. I live how humans should all be able to live, because i am no different to any other human being

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Recently I offered someone with ADD some advice: if you want to alleviate your symptoms, mix as much as you can with people who have GOOD concentration. Similarly, if one wants advice on how to be healthy, mix with people who are healthy etc, etc. This wisdom is blindingly obvious, yet it..............

Your opinion of De Boton is accurate (if you're going to be an theist, be an atheist. Not some vaccilating religious apologist) the rest of your post is just a rant. Your rage will only hurt you and continue to isolate you from the society you appear to despise. All I can say is........good luck.

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Posted (edited)

Your opinion of De Boton is accurate (if you're going to be an theist, be an atheist. Not some vaccilating religious apologist) the rest of your post is just a rant. Your rage will only hurt you and continue to isolate you from the society you appear to despise. All I can say is........good luck.

Some religious and spiritual practices arose from human recognition and understanding, via observation over time, of the practical value of these beliefs and practices.

Modern science shows us that sometimes the practices can have just as positive an effect as the belief which codifies them.

I think what de boton was saying (and i have read similar findings in many journals and articles) is that the nature of humanity finds its most successful and positive expression in certain social/individal practices and rituals. Over timethese become mystified into religions, but they can often be applied with success by non religious people and groups, because they relate to the way all humans think and feel, and our basic needs and desires.

So, an atheist might want to consider that, if it is proven that going to church once a week for an hour lengthens your life by 10 years, and considerably improves your health in old age; then attending church, despite not believing in religion, is worth while. it would be a logical and rational thing to do, based on proven outcomes for yourself. (This is an example based on some real statistics but deliberately simplified to make my point )

if evidence proved that going to a social club for an hour each week had the same effect, then an atheist could also chose that alternative, but so far the statistical evidence does not demonstrate the same effect. There appears to be something unique about church attendance.

Now if a million atheists started going to church, but made no other changes in their way of life, this might weaken the statistical correlation but atm the results are conclusive. Go to church once a week, no matter what your rchurch is and you add at least 4 years and up to 10 years to your life in statistical terms. Go to a church which also promotes certain other health benefits in diet, lifestyle, etc., and the length is longer, both within that time frame and beyond it.

Edited by Mr Walker

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I totally agree with you here, Mr. Walker.

Church attendance has been shown to have positive effects on health and wellbeing; and is completely independent of belief. It could point to something unique to church attendance, it could also be something about being positively connected to your community. Churches have always provided the focal point of communities and it is a loss to society that falling church attendances have not been replaced with something equally beneficial.

I think a good many atheists appreciate this point. It's interesting that when a group of atheists did get together for "church" (there was thread about it here, but I can't be bothered looking for it at the moment) the general reaction from many was ridicule.

It's no surprise (indeed should be expected) that many facets of religion are drawn from positive aspects of humanity that predate them. There are many people that reject church but still hold belief in a deity. As Greta Christina said - this is the equivalent of throwing out the baby and keeping the bathwater.

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Posted (edited)

I totally agree with you here, Mr. Walker.

Church attendance has been shown to have positive effects on health and wellbeing; and is completely independent of belief. It could point to something unique to church attendance, it could also be something about being positively connected to your community. Churches have always provided the focal point of communities and it is a loss to society that falling church attendances have not been replaced with something equally beneficial.

I think a good many atheists appreciate this point. It's interesting that when a group of atheists did get together for "church" (there was thread about it here, but I can't be bothered looking for it at the moment) the general reaction from many was ridicule.

It's no surprise (indeed should be expected) that many facets of religion are drawn from positive aspects of humanity that predate them. There are many people that reject church but still hold belief in a deity. As Greta Christina said - this is the equivalent of throwing out the baby and keeping the bathwater.

Yes it does suprise me that, as rationalists and logical thinkers, whose rationality and logic leads them (often very understandably) to disbelieve in god, some atheists deny the rationality of religious practice and its demonstrable good for individuals and for society. As I've said before, if humanity didn't have a religion it would pay us to invent one, in order to have more "beneficial" lives from the practice of it. Some atheists have an emotional/visceral response to god and theism which prejudices all their other views on the topic. Others do not. This is true for theists as well.

Edited by Mr Walker

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Yes it does suprise me that, as rationalists and logical thinkers, whose rationality and logic leads them (often very understandably) to disbelieve in god, some atheists deny the rationality of religious practice and its demonstrable good for individuals and for society. As I've said before, if humanity didn't have a religion it would pay us to invent one, in order to have more "beneficial" lives from the practice of it. Some atheists have an emotional/visceral response to god and theism which prejudices all their other views on the topic. Others do not. This is true for theists as well.

True. But many atheists, whilst not denying that religion has conferred benefits, cannot ignore the great harm that has been done (and still is done) in it's name. Like any ideology, uncritical and unthinking adherence to religious dogma is a huge black mark against it.

Now if only we could distill the good from the unnecessary belief in the supernatural :whistle:

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True. But many atheists, whilst not denying that religion has conferred benefits, cannot ignore the great harm that has been done (and still is done) in it's name. Like any ideology, uncritical and unthinking adherence to religious dogma is a huge black mark against it.

Now if only we could distill the good from the unnecessary belief in the supernatural :whistle:

I can appreciate this, but i do not think that most modern persons understand or appreciate the great power for good which religion/spiritual expression has been for humanity, from cromagnon man to the modern age.

Prior to a couple of centuries ago, science and knowledge had almost nothing to offer humans for comfort or betterment of life, but religion has offered hope, release from pain and suffering, a sense of purpose and belonging, etc., to humans for at least 50,000 years. It has given us an essential ingredient for human security; IE a rational explanation for all that was inexplicable given the knowledge of the time. Sure the rational explanation was incorrect because it lacked sufficient knowledge /data, but still it gave people a sense of safety, security and order, when science could not.

Only in the last few generations (At least in my family time frame. My grandmother was born in about 1880.) has scientific knowledge and understanding been able to offer anything equivalent. So we cannot judge past religious significance or value from within a modern perspective.

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The woman silently stomped back to her house & slammed the door.: so you think all was then sweetness and light? You sensed, experienced, feelings of new found happiness wafting from the woman as she slammed the door? I don't suppose your cat happened to die next day, did it?

No, I think your mother was a master at the Wind Up. That old woman was exasperated and angered to the point that she turned and walked off. Your mother was using a well known, tried and tested technique for winding people up where wearing a smile on one's face and pretending to be Mrs Nice Person.

You miss the point, I think. My mom wasn't trying to change the neighbor, she just refused to let the woman have power over her & her life, and acted in a way that was consistent with her life's philosophy. Had the woman excepted, I have no doubt my mom would have poured a couple of cups of coffee and sat down & had a good visit. One day a stranger knocked on our door, asking for $20 for gas, saying he was trying to get to his family and ran out of money for gas. She gave him the money, he promised he'd pay it back. My dad was mad at her for giving money away, but about 4 months later the same stranger knocked on our door and gave my mom $20 and a lot of gratitude. That was also my mom living her words & beliefs. She never wound people up, at least not by design. She was kind by nature, and kind by intention.

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And at the same time, not sharing negative emotions is a bad thing, and we should make sure we spew all of those emotions out on others, because it makes us feel better. So though sharing my love is an infection, sharing my loathing or misery is a good idea.

Yeah, interesting notion.

There's a difference between sharing emotions and TELLING people what you think and feel.

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I am loved and loving, do a job I am well paid for good at, and love doing, and have a wife of nearly 40 years who loves me and whom i love completely.I dont drink, smoke, or do drugs, and have compete control of my emotional responses, hence I am a very fortunate human. In over 60 years I have never had trouble with police, neighbours, family, friends or workmates. I dont have to worry about infidelity, violence, unemployment, loneliness, boredom, depression, envy, hate, jealousy, or any of the modern negative elements of life. I am trusted and given jobs requiring complete honesty and integrity.

. Any one can live that well if they wish to, and work at it.

It sounds to me that rather than live well, you have stayed very carefully in your "comfort zone" all of your life.

I have never had trouble with police, neighbours, family, friends or workmates: this is all experience of life. If you have not had these experiences, you have not lived, and not learned to live. You have been shut away. You have put yourself behind bars. Life is bad in our society. You have to experience it to know it and learn how to deal with it.

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Your opinion of De Boton is accurate (if you're going to be an theist, be an atheist. Not some vaccilating religious apologist) the rest of your post is just a rant. Your rage will only hurt you and continue to isolate you from the society you appear to despise. All I can say is........good luck.

Just shows how much you know then! You have more need of your luck than I do, so keep it. Fortunately I do not need to depend on luck. I have resources that are far more reliable.

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You miss the point, I think. My mom wasn't trying to change the neighbor, she just refused to let the woman have power over her & her life, and acted in a way that was consistent with her life's philosophy. Had the woman excepted, I have no doubt my mom would have poured a couple of cups of coffee and sat down & had a good visit. One day a stranger knocked on our door, asking for $20 for gas, saying he was trying to get to his family and ran out of money for gas. She gave him the money, he promised he'd pay it back. My dad was mad at her for giving money away, but about 4 months later the same stranger knocked on our door and gave my mom $20 and a lot of gratitude. That was also my mom living her words & beliefs. She never wound people up, at least not by design. She was kind by nature, and kind by intention.

I stick to what I said: your mother was a wind-up artist. There's nothing inherently noble about dishing out $20 to someone who asks. There are all sorts of reasons for being "charitable" and precious few of them are kind in intention.

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pantodragon

Well, without being ironic, I do thank you for the pointer to de Boton. I watched his TED video, which when there is one, is often an efficient way to get to know an unfamiliar thinker in 15 minutes or so,

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It sounds to me that rather than live well, you have stayed very carefully in your "comfort zone" all of your life.

I have never had trouble with police, neighbours, family, friends or workmates: this is all experience of life. If you have not had these experiences, you have not lived, and not learned to live. You have been shut away. You have put yourself behind bars. Life is bad in our society. You have to experience it to know it and learn how to deal with it.

Dont be silly No logical and rational person would deliberately expose them selves to danger without some form of reward. I work hard to make my life safe happy and productive and to help others achieve the same, but i have learned to water ski barefoot, snow ski, parachute, abseil, hanglide, surf, race motorbikes and horses.

I even "invented" the first skate board inmy state as a teenager in the early 60s. Risk taking is a natural part of living and of course growing up but taking risks without evaluating the dangers and rewards is just dumb. And many rewards are not worth the certain outcomes involved in them.

Life is NOT bad Not even when you are cold hungry and alone. It is what you make it. I help many people inmy neighbourhood and hundreds more around the world. When we lost everything in a bushfire, people from all over australia helped us out, donating about 30000 dollars in cash offering houses and other accomodation and repalcing most of our lost possesions This was despite us being fully insured and me saking peole to give to more needy peole They wanted to give somethng to us and to deny them would have hurt them. They even made hand made quilts for us and sent letters to us. People are good, life is good, but you have to work at it.

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I stick to what I said: your mother was a wind-up artist. There's nothing inherently noble about dishing out $20 to someone who asks. There are all sorts of reasons for being "charitable" and precious few of them are kind in intention.

Stick to what you've said, sure, but realize you've made a judgment about someone who you've never met, never heard of, based on almost no information, wrapped up a lifetime of about 75 years in a couple of sentences, without ever bothering to ask questions or inform yourself. Your arrogance is breath-taking, really.

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I do not need to depend on luck. I have resources that are far more reliable.

Your posts suggest differently.

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