Video Games – our very human desire for escapism

 

2011-09-19-01-19-46.jpg Video Games – our very human desire for escapism

 

I love video games. Ever since playing DUCK HUNT on the (NES) Nintendo 8-bit, I’ve been sold on them with a vengeance. Despite still enjoying them now, as I’ve gotten older I’m starting to see video games with a new perspective. If video games have proven anything to so many people it’s that the fantasy of new experiences trumps reality. Experience demands freedom, and this is a powerful thing, and what a varied and crazy mix of experiences offered in a video game (ones of sufficient decent depth.)

Anyone who knows me, knows I grew up as an avid gamer, and truth games that offer compelling and immersive stories (or huge worlds) compel me the most. Sorry to disappoint anyone, but this won’t be a specific video game review, but perhaps something a bit deeper, so stick with it! As of late I’ve been trying to focus more on increasing my experience points and level with a very important game; the game of EXISTING, I’m giving more credence every day on the idea that REALITY actually trumps FANTASY…but I’ll admit it’s been a hard sell, because the sort of freedom found in so many games is intoxicating; not only the freedom of action, skill and movement, but most intriguing, the freedom from consequence. Most of all, these open-world design games grant us the ability to be totally reckless (even “evil” for a time) – Stealing from and killing people, committing all manner of crimes (think: Watchdogs, Grand Theft Auto, etc.), and we don’t think twice about doing it in these games…well, many of us don’t. (I usually have somewhat of a moral qualm, even though I’ll suppress it often to “experience” what happens next.)

The truth is, if we dig deeper into these video games and their characters, we realize that there is no way (most of us) would choose be those characters at all, even if we were somehow afforded divine power and could make it happen. It’s a fun thought on the surface as we sit there holding a controller, but most people would shy away (and many run away screaming) from so many of the events that occur in games like Watchdogs, Halo, Gears of War, Grand Theft Auto and so many others. We wouldn’t be the heroes featured and controlled on the screen; we would more likely be the innocent passerby being gunned down or ran over by some crazed sociopath collecting “points” or “credits”.

Video Games – our very human desire for escapism

As humans, we are overwhelmingly attracted to what we don’t already have. We want to escape from the common things and try something else…even people who profess to have everything they need, still want something. This is true even in the short term…If it’s too hot, we want it cold. If it’s too cold, we want it hot. If it’s perfectly temperate, we’d like to drink something hot or cold…so these feelings of satisfaction are ALWAYS temporal, and this appears to be ingrained into us. Guilty as charged!

In my own life, being older now, at 37, I’ve come to realize that it’s new experience most people lack in life that leaves discontentment and a longing in the heart; the experience of meeting new people, the experience of going to new places (this is a huge one), and these all creates a deep emptiness in us, demanding to be filled. Some video games fill this void in a very artificial way (for a brief time), but they can’t give a person the long term satisfaction that a life; one better LIVED with REAL EXPERIENCE can provide.

I want to encourage you to start doing exactly this. Find more time to do the things you love, and when possible with the people you care about (yes, even if that’s playing video games), but above all, mix it up and experience new things, force yourself out of habits and patterns of a “typical day”, because we all have a temporary amount of time in this world, and we should make the most of it.

For me, I do this with the dream of granting myself more time to cherish my life by broadening my experience and skills. To grow where otherwise I would stagnate. One way to do this for many of us is to contribute in what small way we can toward others and THEIR experience…always remembering that we have the potential to leave a legacy behind for those we love when it’s time to check out…

Do you also want more time to do the things that matter to you “out there” IN REALITY, or are you content mostly living mostly in fantasies created by other minds? Do you live your life doing the things you hate while only dreaming of what you love? Share your thoughts below.

ME – Personality Analysis – Psychology – Being an INFP

Personality Analysis - Psychology - Being an INFP - graphic chart from http://www.typefinder.com/infp
thanks for typefinder.com for the image

ME – Personality Analysis – Psychology – being an INFP

My Personality is: (According to various online test, utilizing Carl Jung’s & Isabel Briggs-Myers system)

INFP  “The Dreamer” / “The Idealist”  (introversion, intuition, feeling, perception) ex: ‘Jung Typology Test’ if you want to take it yourself (Free)
http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes1.htm

More about this process here

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Despite my natural inclination to defy a rigid method that would aim to “box in” (anybody least of all myself) inside of a neat category of definitions. (similar to how I refuse to limit my understanding in what I might constitute as“art”), I can’t deny the uncanny accuracy that such a study has yielded about myself and others.  Although it has not yielded 100% accurate behavioral examples/traits from what I’ve studied, the conclusions are conclusive enough for me that it’s still very convincing. (There is quite a bit of flexibility concerning if you are “healthy” vs. “unhealthy” in your traits, environmental factors, etc…it’s not a hard science, but more so a soft science in how to determine “proofs”) and also has been overwhelmingly accurate for what I’ve seen applied to some family members who have taken the test as well, aka: my brother (Also INFP, but less introverted) and my mother (ISTJ).

This has all been a rather involved (and fascinating) study for me in the last few weeks, with many postings by me and others, inquiries into the data, etc… and long readings/comparisons about me and how others handle various things and I’m not 100% confident with it by any means, which may further validate that I may be an INFP; because one trait of the INFP’s personality is its sheer adaptability and willingness (almost subconsciously) to identify and relate with other TYPES so easily…we tend to blur distinctions that would be more readily apparent by other TYPES, and so it takes us longer to narrow down what we are actually  like “at the core.”

But there are many observations that can be made I believe, generally speaking:

Some signs that a person is probably an INFP:

1. Overly quiet and reserved.  (Note: not necessarily a social-reject, it just may mean: too much social interaction “wears us out”)
2. Emotional and “deep” in thoughts/interests.
3. Avoids conflict (usually through avoidance)
4. Internalizes anger (negative aspect: sometimes self-destructively), unless it’s a direct attack on their most cherished values/principles (or someone they love), then we can be rather explosive. (Otherwise tends to be more passive-aggressive in responding.)
5. Artistic/Fantasy-type interests and thoughts usually “re-energize” us, most of all after experiencing stress/conflict.  It’s how we rationalize/cope with reality being so dramatically up-rooted.
6. We tend to have an idealistic view of reality, “our should-be universe that exists in our head.”

This is how I understand the breakdown of I.N.F.P:

I. – Introverted dominates Extroverted:  Again not a socially detrimental fact to be Introverted necessarily (although it can often be the case). Introverts need to seek time to them-self and spend most social time with a smaller group of close friends vs. crowds/strangers, because that is how we “re-energize”, not socially among many other “less valuable” (to us) people.  This is how we gain peace of mind and recharge, as Jung puts it “The direction (I vs. E) points to the source of energy that feeds the dominant mental function. An Extrovert’s source of energy is mainly found in the outside world, whereas an Introvert’s source of energy is mainly found in his or her inner world.”

Another description on this Introspect mechanism I found online and agree strongly with: “Having a naturally high level of arousal which causes the individual to seek lower than normal levels of stimulation in order to not feel overwhelmed. Over a period of years, this need to not be overwhelmed by external stimulation develops into an internally focused thinking style which may seem withdrawn, meditative, quiet, or even reclusive to more extroverted person. Typical ways in which the introvert seeks to control the level of stimulation include: spending time reading, reflecting, or otherwise alone; avoiding or being accommodating to others; competing mostly with oneself or self-image; going to small parties or out of the way places.”

From what I’ve been able to determine, I’m 95% “Introverted”, which is a “Strong” preference.

N. – Intuition dominates Sensing:  According to Jung, S for Sensing and N – for intuition, represents the way in which an individual receives information. To people who fall into the Sensing category, information they receive through their senses directly is most important. People falling into the Intuition category mostly rely upon their conception about things, based on their perception of the world. 

From what I’ve been able to determine, I’m about 25% “Intuition”, which is a “moderate” preference.

F. – Feeling dominates Thinking: According to Jung, this refers to how an individual processes the information. Thinking means the individual is less affected by emotions and makes decisions based on an unbiased reasoning. Feeling means that the individual’s base for decisions is mainly feelings and emotions.  Note how “feelings” are made distinct from “emotions”, it’s a higher-level process in the brain, where cognition than can certainly involve base-emotions, but they get filtered through a deeper core system of “values, principles, ethics”, etc.

From what I’ve been able to determine, I’m about 25% “Feeling”, which is “moderate” preference.

P. – Perceiving dominates Judging: As described on another site “This fourth preference pair describes how you like to live your outer life–what are the behaviors others tend to see? Do you prefer a more structured and decided lifestyle (Judging) or a more flexible and adaptable lifestyle (Perceiving)? This preference may also be thought of as your orientation to the outer world.” And “Don’t confuse Judging and Perceiving with a person’s level of organization. Either preference can be organized.”

This entire page is worthwhile of a read: http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/judging-or-perceiving.asp

From what I’ve been able to determine, this is my closest value to swinging opposite of the four, with only an 11%”Perceiving”, which is a “slight” preference.

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Being an INFP – more examination

Snippets from various websites, I agree with the following as they do seem to apply to be EXACTLY:

“INFPs are open to listening first without processing it all right away.”

“INFPs are have very passionately held feelings about some things, but are less likely to have strong feelings immediately about whether something is good or bad.”  (Vs. INFJ’s in particular)

Regarding the behaviors of others: “INFPs are more likely to let them learn for themselves and not want to influence the process as much”

“INFPs have a goofier and very imaginative sense of humor.”

“INFPs are often less practical in every day matters and sometimes have a tendency to avoid dealing with problems.”

INFP’s focus on the “big picture” rather than the details.

INFPs tend to be very creative, artistic and spiritual. They are often skilled with language, but may prefer to express their thoughts and feelings through writing. Because they have strong ethics and values, they also become passionate about advocating or defending their beliefs. While they feel strongly about their own values, INFPs are also interested in learning more about others and are willing to listen and consider many sides of an issue.

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Unfortunately it’s not all positive sun-beams being a INFP as any impartial self-analysis must reveal, and I think it’s really useful to have a guide of negative aspects/traits to be aware of, so personally you can grow/change them:

INFP’s can be (in various degrees) lazy and procrastinate.

We can be absent-minded/forgetful.

Clarity can be really crucial to us, and so a mis-representation of our character can be mortifying to an INFP, in fact we tend to take things too personal in a conflict (as an attack against our deepest values that we cherish) when in reality that’s simply rarely the case.

Our need to shut people out for a while, can be misinterpreted by others as lack of concern or thought.

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A lot more to say here, but a lot more studying to do first. I’m really enjoying exploring the various personality types and how they correlate with one another too, I think there is a TON of insight to be gained by it.

I have to say, overall, I’m very happy that I’m an INFP!

I welcome feedback on your own thoughts about the various things I’ve posted about INFP’s, and good luck in your own soul searching for understanding!

Music Tracks – Some of my favorite songs using the metaphor of: FIRE

Some of my favorite songs using the metaphor of:

 

Some of my favorite songs using the metaphor of fire, image from confluencecapitalpartners.com

 

FIRE

The primal natural force that is at the heart of our very existence. From the sun above us, to the many billions of stars that we can see and never touch; forever to be used as a symbolic representation of love (“‘I’d give the stars to you”) and it’s the reason we conquered the darkness of ancient nights,long before we reached the level of technological advancement to flip a light switch or a heater on (avoiding real flames), fire’s warmth kept us alive to survive the most bitter nights; as a fireplace at home, a campfire during the respite of our travels, or a torch lit to show us the path through the most treacherous paths. it’s power is undeniable and its necessity for life, inescapable.

Fire’s red signature color is the color of passion, and it’s no mistake that our lips and tongue are faded imitations of it’s true deepness.  A depth we struggle to embrace with our love and passions.

The following songs represent my personal favorite songs that use fire, and similar expressions (‘flames’, ‘fiery’, ‘burning’, ‘heat’, etc…) so well. The songs here are each worthy of full reviews as I’ve done for other tracks on my page, and a couple already have such reviews (they are noted)…and most of these will have such a treatment done, later at some point.

For me, these are fantastic songs that capture both the scope of fire’s awesome destructive power, but also it’s more subtle ability (as a metaphor) to leave a profound mark on those so afflicted by the touch of it’s flame.

(not ranked in any particular order of personal fondness, except for what I think works well as a playlist.)

Enjoy these Music Tracks and lyrics!

1.  Song: Song Reckless Burning
Artist: Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter

Lyrics:

Pretty thing, I’ve got you
Right where I used to be
We ride across this city
Starting fires recklessly

And everything is closing
But tonight, we’ll stay awhile
And if this darkness lingers
I’ll fall to you just like a child

Pretty thing, I’ve got you
Right where this trouble lands
With reckless burning
I have been charged again

Goodnight, Irene

2.  Song: Set Fire to the Rain
Artist: Adele

Lyrics:

I let it fall, my heart,
And as it fell you rose to claim it
It was dark and I was over
Until you kissed my lips and you saved me

My hands, they’re strong
But my knees were far too weak,
To stand in your arms
Without falling to your feet

But there’s a side to you
That I never knew, never knew.
All the things you’d say
They were never true, never true,
And the games you play
You would always win, always win.

But I set fire to the rain,
Watched it pour as I touched your face,
Well, it burned while I cried
‘Cause I heard it screaming out your name, your name!

When I lay with you
I could stay there
Close my eyes
Feel you here forever
You and me together
Nothing is better

‘Cause there’s a side to you
That I never knew, never knew,
All the things you’d say,
They were never true, never true,
And the games you’d play
You would always win, always win.

But I set fire to the rain,
Watched it pour as I touched your face,
Well, it burned while I cried
‘Cause I heard it screaming out your name, your name!

I set fire to the rain
And I threw us into the flames
When it fell, something died
‘Cause I knew that that was the last time, the last time!

Sometimes I wake up by the door,
That heart you caught must be waiting for you
Even now when we’re already over
I can’t help myself from looking for you.

I set fire to the rain,
Watched it pour as I touched your face,
Well, it burned while I cried
‘Cause I heard it screaming out your name, your name

I set fire to the rain,
And I threw us into the flames
When it fell, something died
‘Cause I knew that that was the last time, the last time, ohhhh!

Oh noooo
Let it burn, oh
Let it burn
Let it burn

3.  Song: Burnin’ for you
Artist: Blue Oyster Cult

Lyrics: 

Home in the valley
Home in the city
Home isn’t pretty
Ain’t no home for me

Home in the darkness
Home on the highway
Home isn’t my way
Home will never be

Burn out the day
Burn out the night
I can’t see no reason to put up a fight
I’m living for giving the devil his due

And I’m burning, I’m burning, I’m burning for you
I’m burning, I’m burning, I’m burning for you

Time is the essence
Time is the season
Time ain’t no reason
Got no time to slow

Time everlasting
Time to play b-sides
Time ain’t on my side
Time I’ll never know

Burn out the day
Burn out the night
I’m not the one to tell you what’s wrong or what’s right
I’ve seen suns that were freezing and lives that were through

Well I’m burning, I’m burning, I’m burning for you
I’m burning, I’m burning, I’m burning for you

Burn out the day
Burn out the night
I can’t see no reason to put up a fight
I’m living for giving the devil his due

And I’m burning, I’m burning, I’m burning for you
I’m burning, I’m burning, I’m burning for you

4.  Song: Grapevine Fires
Artist: Death Cab for Cutie

Lyrics:

When the wind picked up
And the fire spread
And the grapevines seemed left for dead.
And the northern sky, looked like the end of day,
The end of days.

The wake up call to a rented room
Sounded like an alarm of impending doom.
To warn us it’s only a matter of time.
Before we all burn
Before we all burn
Before we all burn
Before we all burn.

We bought some wine and some paper cups
Near your daughter’s school when we picked her up
And drove to a cemetery on a hill,
On a hill.

Watched the plumes paint the sky gray
As she laughed and danced through the field of graves
There I knew it would be alright
That everything would be alright,
Would be alright
Would be alright
Would be alright
Would be alright.

And the news reports on the radio
Said it was getting worse
As the ocean air fanned the flames.
But I couldn’t think of anywhere I would have rather been
To watch it all burn away,
To burn away.

The firemen worked in double shifts,
With prayers for rain on their lips,
And they knew it was only a matter of time.

5.  Song: In Your Room
Artist: Depeche Mode

Lyrics:

In your room
Where time stands still
Or moves at your will
Will you let the morning come soon
Or will you leave me lying here
In your favourite darkness
Your favourite half-light
Your favourite consciousness
Your favourite slave

In your room
Where souls disappear
Only you exist here
Will you lead me to your armchair
Or leave me lying here
Your favourite innocence
Your favourite prize
Your favourite smile
Your favourite slave

I’m hanging on your words
Living on your breath
Feeling with your skin
Will I always be here
In your room
Your burning eyes
Cause flames to arise
Will you let the fire die down soon
Or will I always be here
Your favourite passion
Your favourite game
Your favourite mirror
Your favourite slave

I’m hanging on your words
Living on your breath
Feeling with your skin
Will I always be here

6.  Song: Sol Solis
Artist: Moving Mountains

My review of this track is here
My full review of this incredible album is here:

Lyrics:

take your hands away from your face
so i can see everything you are
and everything you used to be
you used to be to me
something you dont wanna be, i know.

you, you’re like the sun
and i am earth
together we’re one
but someday
your fire will die
and i’ll grow cold
without sunlight.
and i will freeze, baby
i will die, i’d freeze, i’d die for you.

things, they always die
just give it time.
but we, someday we’ll see
our love will shine,
our love will shine.

your love wont fade, darling.
lover, i cannot do this alone
things like this are better off untold
someday the sun will die and i’ll grow cold
i hope someday your love finds it’s way home.

(cause you are the sun and i am the earth)

7.  Song: Your Heart is an Empty Room
Artist: Death Cab for Cutie

Lyrics:

Burn it down ’til the embers smoke on the ground
And start new when your heart is an empty room
With walls of the deepest blue

Home’s face
How it ages when you’re away
And spring blooms and you find a love that’s true
But you don’t know what now to do
‘Cause the chase is all you know and she stopped running months ago

And all you see is where else you could be when you’re at home
And out on the street are so many possibilities to not be alone

The flames and smoke climbed out of every window
And disappeared with everything that you held dear
But you shed not a single tear
For the things that you didn’t need
‘Cause you knew you were finally free

‘Cause all you see is where else you could be when you’re at home
And there on the street are so many possibilities to not be alone

8.  Song: Salvation Army
Artist: The Gloria Record

[No Video Version is Available, please click link below to play the MP3 audio file)

Note:  Amazing Eargasm(soulgasm) at the 4:45 mark and beyond, so please let it build up and get to that point (it takes awhile)…and enjoy.

Lyrics:

got a job for the salvation
army come and find my
come and save my soul
i got a job for the salvation
army come and find my
come and save
my soul got lost along the way
my soul got lost i cannot say
‘may be down, but never out’
i got a job for the salvation
army come and find my
come and save my
got a statue of my heart inside my chest
got a statue of my heart inside my
dropped it just to see if it would break
but im picking up the pieces
and im saving everyone
im saving everyone
‘may be down, but never out
my sould got lost along the way
my soul got lost i cannot say
‘may be down, but never out’
got a statue of my heart inside my chest
got a statue of my heart inside my
dropped it just to see if it would break
i got a job for the salvation army
ringin a bell   [Note:  EARGASM starts!]
the worlds attached to strings
that pull us to the sun
where we’ll burn for what we’ve done
where we’ll burn for what we’ve done
im saving everyone
im saving everyone
ringin a bell
ringin a bell

9.  Song: Slow Dancing in the Burning Room
Artist: John Mayer

Lyrics:

It’s not a silly little moment
It’s not the storm before the calm
This is the deep and dyin’ breath of
This love we’ve been workin’ on

Can’t seem to hold you like I want to
So I can feel you in my arms
Nobody’s gonna come and save you
We pulled too many false alarms

We’re goin’ down
And you can see it too
We’re goin’ down
And you know that we’re doomed
My dear
We’re slow dancing in a burnin’ room

I was the one you always dreamed of
You were the one I tried to draw
How dare you say it’s nothing to me
Baby, you’re the only light I ever saw

I’ll make the most of all the sadness
You’ll be a bitch because you can
You try to hit me, just hurt me
So you leave me feeling dirty
‘Cause you can’t understand

Go cry about it, why don’t you
Go cry about it, why don’t you
Go cry about it, why don’t you

My dear, we’re slow dancin’ in a burnin’ room
Burnin’ room, burnin’ room

Don’t you think we outta know by now?
Don’t you think we shoulda learned somehow?
Don’t you think we outta know by now?
Don’t you think we shoulda learned somehow?
Don’t you think we outta know by now?
Don’t you think we shoulda learned somehow?

10.  Song: the Earth and the Sun
Artist: Moving Mountains

My full review of this incredible album is here:

Lyrics:

Take your hands away from your face
So I can see everything you are
And everything you’ve been to me
Something you don’t wanna be
Something you don’t wanna be

You, you’re like the sun
And I am earth
Together we’re one
But someday your fire will die
And I’ll grow cold without sunlight
And I will die, baby
And I will freeze

Science: Response to ‘A is for Atheist’ web blog, to an article supposedly refuting the Intelligent Design argument

Response to ‘A is for Atheist’ web blog

Response to 'A is for Atheist' web blog post supposedly refuting intelligent design

Response to ‘A is for Atheist’ web blog post supposedly refuting intelligent design

The article responded to is on the: a is for atheist5760 blogspot.com site  (had to remove the link because now it attempts to install a malware/flash installer when accessing it)

I posted my response as a comment on this article, but as you can see there are almost NO comments on the site on the bottom, and this article has been posted for a couple years now; so I thought I’d put this, fleshed out more, on my blog.

Here was my reply to the above “refutation”:

—————–

“I reject both premises as false as neither are necessary, hence Stephen C. Meyer’s ID theory as an explanation of origins doesn’t fail. There is no scientific need to explain more than what is “possible” [edit: or probable] to be a valid explanation in science.

I reject the notion that a theory leading to a supposed infinite regress = FALSEHOOD. The logic simply doesn’t follow that something is false because more data is not forthcoming at the moment. Such reasoning would invalidate many of the sciences that study past phenomenon. If we are seeing signs of intelligence in the biological facts we do currently have, then that’s enough to conclude it as a best explanation (as per current scientific knowledge, but the testing, the theorizing, the experiments, etc. aka: THE SCIENCE doesn’t STOP there and that is KEY)

…but we can still INFER and conclude one theory makes more sense vs. another given the available data, but one thing a person should NOT do is refuse to allow intelligence as an explanation (in order to conform to some materialist bias) because ultimately the TRUTH (facts) of the matter is what IS important.

If a person rejects intelligence primo de facto as a cause, it certainly should not be done solely because a person WANTS to A.) Avoid an infinite regress or because B.) They don’t have the full rap-sheet on the designer in question…in the first objection, how do you propose to resolve such an infinite regress as the multiple-world hypothesis which is the leading materialist explanation of the origin of the universe?

Let’s face it, no matter what we do, concerning discussions of ‘origins’, it ALWAYS comes back around to either an infinite regress  or an “unmoved mover” (something not suspect to an infinite regress) as a starting foundation, and so it seems clear to me at least that this is a philosophical (not scientific) argument at its root of whether mind or matter is being primary, and then we go on arguing what else we accept/reject from that bedrock, so I say to all:  Take your pick I guess.

Thank you for the interesting article.”

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Refuting the Intelligent Design argument? – I think not.

Refuting the Intelligent Design argument? – I think not.

To further clarify (both generally and concerning my point B above.) I mentioned above anyone can come up with a premise they feel will negate someone’s position if they can prove or disprove that premise (note: the premise only).  In reality such a tactic does no such thing IF that premise can be logically rejected. (Of course doing so doesn’t prove the counter position either, but that’s not the point)

ID Theory is clearly based on a study of causality and the inference (from observation) of the FACT that intelligence does in everyday life reveal for us a solid uniformity of experience (in being responsible for the creation of many things that cannot arise through “natural means”) as an example of this:  imagine a computer evolving if given enough time….never needing a mind etc..now stick with me, this is NOT an argument by ‘false analogy’, just an idea to get a basic point across. The truth of the matter (as far as all human experience and science tells us) is that complex specified information has one “known” cause in the universe, and that cause is IS intelligence, but in this article the author is attempting to refute the ID position on the grounds that the conclusion “intelligence most likely did it” must ALSO somehow necessarily (absolutely) provide additional explanations before it can be taken seriously. (for EX: “what” intelligence is it exactly? Is it God? Which one? or is it Aliens, or a powerful sentient floating teapot, etc..?)

The fact of the matter is we don’t know & likely cannot know according to the limitations of ID (not to mention the scientific method itself, the assumption that science MUST explain all of reality alone is NOT a scientific claim, it’s a philosophical claim and that’s a whole different argument…) , but this isn’t good enough for this militant atheist web blogger and his “hidden premise” argument,  so many people like this aren’t happy with the missing answers they wish were not the case, so they assert boldly that ID cannot be science.  This is an ABSURD perspective (and quite corrupting to the very nature of science) I would argue.  Charles Darwin himself employed the same foundational form of reasoning that ID does when speculating evolution; he didn’t have all the answers (he had no clue as to the level of sophistication in biochemical system either), yet now as time progresses we see clear signs of evolution occurring at the micro-cellular level of organisms all the time. Claiming victory against a theory because you don’t have ALL the answers you would WISH you had that naturally follow from questions that reasonably arise from a theory is tantamount to invalidating most of the historical sciences we consider worthwhile (Archeology, Historians), not to mention scientific fields that deal with intelligence as the foundation of their study. (Cryptography, Detectives).

The same objection swings both ways, and is equally true for ID as well, by understanding that just because a materialistic explanation doesn’t exist, it doesn’t follow IT CANNOT…but ID isn’t the one claiming a monopoly on the truth of the subject and dismissing the opponent due to semantics & adding burdens of proof that it doesn’t (shouldn’t) need to bear, it’s merely asserting itself as the best casual explanation. (currently)

While it would be nice to know all these details of WHAT this intelligence is from the science itself, and where it is, and even what it’s favorite salad dressing is, it’s purely optional and is not incumbent upon ID to provide any more than the most generic indicator that an origin (in its case, specifically that the origin of complex specific information) can only arise as the product of a creative intelligence.  Lacking any materialistic explanation (as we do currently), this is the most rational position to hold, even in the absence of a robust step by step process (filter) available to determine a positive process of which to find such an intelligence in a system vs. it’s absence when discussing anything beyond absolute origins.  Why? Because given what we DO observe as the products of intelligence, that these all have complex specified information, Ex: your software, your computer, writing on a notepad, Mount Rushmore, etc.. and in all of the world the only natural phenomenon that literally contains the same type of information, is the “digital code” at the very foundation of biological life itself. (DNA) which has yet to be explained through any naturalistic pathway for its origination.  They are not even close to explaining it.

Present day attempts are being made to use RNA as an materialistic evolutionary explanation in the ‘RNA world hypothesis’ but they aren’t even close…the problem is more severe than many realize because chance isn’t going to do it alone (not once, least of all trillions of times, and they admit as much), so it’s commonly accepted that it must be chance acted upon by natural selection, but that isn’t even feasible in this case, we aren’t talking about macro or even micro evolution (modification of a preexisting system at this point… This is WAY earlier…Natural Selection cannot even be in operation at this point (DNA’s creation) because Natural selection REQUIRES a self-replicating molecule to even function as a starting point, which comes along long after DNA!!  This is the most foundational chicken or the egg argument that has ever existed.  Complex specified information is not MATTER, it’s not Energy, it’s wholly different and yet it exists, contradicting the entire Materialism/Physicalism worldview.  The best (most rational) explanation (given what we DO KNOW) even though being admittedly incomplete at this time, is that this complex specified information IS the product of  “an” intelligence. (Only, at least until something NEW comes along in reality to explain it in naturalistic terms.)

Just to address this, concerning a common objection to ID: this is NOT a “God of the Gaps argument”, and don’t believe that for one second if you hear such nonsense.  The easiest way to dismiss a position you vehemently disagree with it, is to be intellectually lazy by dismissing it out of hand, claiming some fallacy of reasoning you can’t even explain by itself…all this so you you don’t have to address the specific arguments that position makes, and so obfuscating details is preferred.  Why is it NOT a Gaps argument?  because the gap IS clearly already there and IT MUST BE FILLED WITH SOMETHING, the question is…filled with what? (in much the same way an archeologist may find an artifact and WISH he knew WHO the man was that shaped it, but all he can conclude is that was shaped by the activities of a conscious mind and nothing more.)

Imagine for a moment that this archeologist doesn’t know who exactly created the artifact, perhaps it’s too unique or even damaged, and so he changes his mind and concludes that an intelligence was not involved and did NOT create it. He instead resolutely states that it must have been formed by wind erosion, all by an unguided, unintelligent natural process…because he didn’t learn about the inventor, and doesn’t want to commit an “archeologist of the gap fallacy.”… So silly, and yet according to the logic of many who are so antagonistic toward ID, this is their logic when taken to its natural (pun intended) conclusion.

Philosophy: The absolute virtue of admitting that you are an intellectual coward.

The absolute virtue of admitting that you are an intellectual coward.

Philosophy - admitting that you are an intellectual coward - switch the light

Philosophy – admitting that you are an intellectual coward – switch the light

A sign of intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy is the total unwillingness to engage in debate because of how it “emotionally” irks you (or hurts your haughty pride.) – It is this sort of “intellectual featherweight” who has the gull to ask a question (as if purely teaching anything of value in the asking alone), and then refuse to hear possible true answers/correction. (by blocking you, or running away for example) – This level of extreme mental cowardice is a sign that virtually everything that person clings to is subject to the most grievous of error.  Because of this, most people who engage in a debate with someone of this attitude can conclude with a high degree of confidence, that the discussion being ducked and avoided is MOSTLY untested by the opponent, and they are therefore more likely to be false.

How much more honest( toward the lofty aim of acquiring unbiased facts) is it to respond with, “I simply don’t know.”

When a person won’t even consider (at length) an opposing viewpoint, it is in fact a strong indicator (not absolute proof, but very little of that exists anyways) that such a person is embracing a FALSEHOOD. Why? Because their conviction is shown to be founded on little more than the sand of their shifting feelings and desires, and if not deserving of being considered on grounds greater than the emotional musings and wish-embracing of a person’s thoughts, why consider their view to be based on anything more objective?  Subjectivity is VITAL to the experience of every human life, but you CANNOT expect me to accept that your subjectivity carries more weight than my own does when discussing matters of metaphysical or epistemological truth claims.

For those of us with faith for example, if you cannot communicate with others actively about your beliefs and always feel you cannot DEFEND them (with some rigor), then perhaps cling to honesty as a virtue and accept that you may be blinded; please don’t try to lead others with your sightless and impotent faith, and your superstitious dogma that rejects the entire edifice of logic and reason; not because faith is intrinsically devoid of a valid rational process (it absolutely isn’t, despite what “new atheism” proponents try very hard to claim), but because you CANNOT or WILL not bother to even try to defend it on intellectual grounds. (Hint: for fear of revealing how weak your own position is?) – This may be a complete shock to many, but faith can be defended outside of quoting something from a “Holy Book” or how your family member experienced this or that, it’s possible by those who aren’t devoid of a strong understanding in Philosophy and the various philosophical systems that support the scientific process.   For starters, through  a grasp of objective truth, abductive reasoning, and the important ways that induction, inference and intuition contribute to human knowledge, etc…faith CAN BE (but admittedly, very more often is not) defensible as a rationally justified tool of cognition.

But let’s face something here head on: Your beliefs are of NO value to anybody if they crumble at the smallest challenge and you tuck-tail and flee. This goes equally for a person of faith with God as the focal point, or the sheer materialist and his faith in the ability of man to reason and understand the world as a focal point.  A belief is not intrinsic to truth, to conflate them is incredibly dangerous, and more often than not, beliefs espoused as such become mere tautology‘s being championed as absolutes; but I submit that if you can’t also defend your conclusions, of what possible enduring VALUE are your premises?  They make you feel happy; I suppose that’s a decent value…well, for you.

Philosophy: The absolute virtue of admitting that you are an intellectual coward, head in the sand

Don’t be like this, an intellectual coward with your head in the sand. Admit your lack of knowledge and you will grow.

Stop being an intellectual coward.  It’s okay to not know everything, but it’s NOT okay to give up trying and try to force others to do the same. Anything that is TRUE should illuminate ALL (to the greatest degree possible), just as a light flipped on strives to fill every corner of a darkened room, and such a position, a belief, a conclusion and the premises of it’s arguments should overcome (or at least meet squarely against, with force) ALL coherent objections.  It’s not always easy, sometimes it takes really hard work and intense study, sometimes you may even find yourself changing…but one should never flee like a frightened baby lion once a challenge is put forth against your claims, certainly not the most cherished beliefs you have (the moment you see a shadow blocking the candle that you opted to carry around is the time to lift it up a bit higher, or accept it’s light is dying and you need to replace it with a different one.)

I say, do yourself (and others) an immeasurable favor and increase your overall virtue in the process; stop believing in anything you won’t (or simply cannot) defend.  Understand that philosophy, faith, doubt, logic, reason, science, all exist to enrich your life, they shouldn’t be there to tear it down. Start embracing things you CAN not only believe in, but that you can live for (and even die for) , such as striving to be a better person,  for yourself and others! That’s something worth believing in, and I don’t care who you are, or what you think you know!

MUSIC TRACK REVIEW – Songs I love, and why – This Place is a Prison by The Postal Service.

MUSIC TRACK REVIEW

Artist: The Postal Service

Song: This place is a prison

This is my favorite song by the Postal Service.  I love the general dystopian feel of it, and how it eventually climaxes into a driving and masterfully precice drum rhythm.

This Place is a Prison by The Postal Service for me captures the powerful struggle we all endure, simply living on this earth. We rebel against any higher callings in life that is possible for almost any person to answer, even ones we have real cause to believe and hope in; grounded and proved during the course of history and the great actions of heroes and heroines recording in it, as if done to inspire us. We would rather not adhere to any real cause on a regular basis, because it’s just too damn hard, and we are too preoccupied with “everyday life” to change ourself in such a profound way – so we very often retreat from what is truly important, and embrace the distractions instead, clinging to the most basic and instantly satisfying things in life that feed our selfish ego and our addictions, and these immediate attractions pull our strings mightily; wether it be food, drugs, sex, dancing, partying, etc… – we deny ourselves…and it’s not that these things are intrinsically evil (but rather in a proper context of a well-lived life they CAN be good things to integrate into our existence) but we deny ourselves on a deeper level, because we refuse to accept that our decisions and our activities in life are subject to real error.  Consider that these same activities in life can reveal profound truth and to know the difference we need to accept an objective standard to judge them properly) OR the error is that we deny objective standards all-together (at the same time objectively deciding this is so…just think about that for a moment…) – or we just choose to ONLY integrate these sorts of things into our life, evaluated or not, and we call it a day. We stop right there.

Why don’t more of us strive to grow every day, learn something new, do something kindhearted, experience something creative and positive? it’s so easy to put ourself into a prison, at the same time pretending we are free, and we imprison others around us under the same illusion that we are exercising some greater freedom by rebuking any judgement or evaluation of ourselves by others; but we are anything but free…these “things” consume our minds, our hearts, until we are changed into something else; someone else who we no longer recognize in both our will and our deeds as the years go by…still waiting to be rescued, “How long must I wait?” we bemoan.

Yet sometimes, some of us caught in this seductive and egotistical circle of self-destruction and pettiness catches a glimpse of the ‘outside’ (those of us who are not wholly lost, being bound as captives in a mad cycle of repetitiously self-destroying habits) we perceive something wondrous out there, “almost too bright to see” – visions that perhaps we lost when when we were very young, something we remember now in only a fleeting way, things like a children’s naivety (before it’s crushed by the spiteful callousness of other more “mature” people), or that heart aching crescendo during your first kiss; feelings you are convinced you can never experience again…

Perhaps we waste too much time perceiving (or ignoring) the kindness of others, the power of genuine grace and mercy in someone’s more developed heart, how they act in a manner we can only envy, but can’t find ourselves trying to actually replicate. Not that many of us would exclaim aloud that feeling any envy for compassion is a strength, it’s not something that lends itself to the braggart, but how many of us would NOT embrace it AS a strength when being recipients of such virtue? Very little I imagine.

Out of this joy, this desire to help others, this need to live for others as much as for ourselves (careful to never sacrifice yourself in the process, and this is KEY, as any extreme altruism is indistinguishable from suicide) comes what it means to BE ALIVE in my humble opinion; it sets us human beings apart from all living things. That is what it means to set free from any prison; to be human. Then why not strive, even struggle, to be a very GOOD human?

LYRICS:

This place is a prison*
And these people aren’t your friends
Inhaling thrills through $20 bills
And the tumblers are drained
And then flooded again and again

There are guards at the on-ramps
Armed to the teeth
And you may case the grounds
From the Cascades to Puget Sound
But you are not permitted to leave

I know there’s a big world out there
Like the one I saw on the screen
In my living room late last night
It was almost too bright to see*

And I know that it’s not a party
If it happens every night
Pretending there’s glamour and candelabra
When you’re drinking by candlelight

What does it take to get a drink in this place?
What does it take, how long must I wait?

MISC – “I wish…I wish…I wish” but do I know better?

A discussion happened with a client of mine today (details on that farther below), on the job, and it made me think of something I posted something awhile ago on my Facebook, a small great interview from an music artist (The Singer of Mewithoutyou) that I have a ton of respect for, not only for his music (in particular their album “Brother/Sister”, which will be reviewed on this site (very soon) as all albums I love will eventually be…), but also his philosophy/attitude toward charity/life, etc…

In this brief interview, after some very amusing introductory comments and a great little story by him to illustrate the main point coming, its clear to me that this is a person who has been blessed with a great deal of understanding, concerning major human factors in life; suffering, evil, hope, love etc…and a pretty darn capable gift of sharing his opinion on those difficult subjects.  I can really respect his concluding remarks, about how to focus on the person next to you and not only some ideological “wish it could be” sort of compassion and his willingness to admit the potential for evil in himself, the same as any other person.  It’s rare to find such an honest confession from someone and I think it’s pretty awesome.

The interview is here:

The discussion with my client resolved around the fact that he is a veteran (a paratrooper I believe) and we got on the subject of the sad mental and physical condition that some people come back from war in.  He spoke of how many young people he sees at the local VA, people from the Iraq war, and how in some cases, they are completely broken/aged far beyond their years.  I personally cannot understand the depth of this trauma although it’s easy for me to conceptualize how it might feel, just really meditate of shocking things before me, being forced to commit those same terrible deeds, etc…but I can’t truly KNOW how it feels.  Then he mentioned a guy there, with no arms and no legs, someone for all I would assume has all the reason in the world to embrace despair and bitterness at a level I could never know (or at least don’t at this time [knock on wood]) and yet this person I was told is full of joy, humor, a real inspiration to people around him.

My initial thought during this conversation was ‘how can I ever be glum, sad, moody, depressed (at times), when this guy is happy, and in a state of existence that couldn’t imagine having any joy in, and then I thought, ‘how much better to be the young traumatized man with all of his limbs still intact, facing some inner demons, but still bodily ‘WHOLE”, – it seemed a sensible conclusion, but then it hit me how completely backwards my thinking on this was…

…If the young man doesn’t recover, never embraces the life before him again, doesn’t find a path to happiness that he can travel, and do so for the most part; and the limbless individual, remains happy, hilarious and a real inspiration to people, and does so for the most part – how can I prefer to be the young man? Surely I’m projecting my own mind (thankfully I don’t have a damaged mind (this is of course debatable) 😛 into the good body and not having the mind of the traumatized person at all, well DOH…the choice would be clear if that was the case.

But it wouldn’t be my mind; in these examples/scenarios it would broken, and I submit how much better it is to live a life where you can express and feel joy, humor, etc… and touch the lives of those around you, despite your obvious physical difficulties, then to be a walking, seemingly whole to the eye, but in greater deed and heart, already dead.

NOTE:  (believe it or not I do actually work most of the time when I’m working…it’s just I get some down-time occasionally; in this case I was waiting for a few minutes for something to charge its batteries that I needed to test.)