xPrae: how I defeated you so soundly (part 4: What does Compassion Look Like?)

There are many Christians who read their Bible in an incredibly specific and generally good way. I argue this method is not Biblical, but it is good. This good method is to find Jesus’ command to “love thy neighbour” and to assume “neighbour” means “all fellow human beings”. Jesus, thus, commanded ‘universal love and compassion’, and that is often used to ignore, shun, supersede or else eschew the horror of the Old Testament. But, we can’t afford to be complacent about what universal love and compassion means just because it has the aesthetics we want, on first glance. We have to look more deeply at what it means.

I’m not going to spend much time on discussing how one makes all the jumps of favouring one quote from Jesus, quite late in the Book, as context for the whole (and large) book, except to say this: as much as I like universal love and compassion as a starting point for a very useful discussion, I am concerned about reaching that conclusion for bad reasons. I think the best things a Christian can say to defend the idea isn’t to say “it’s obvious, when you read the Bible”, because I’ve read the Bible and it isn’t obvious; there’s a lot of murder and hatred and owning people and bigotry that is not clearly condemned. Not only that, but many other Christians now and throughout history didn’t find it obvious to be universally compassionate either; there’s empirical evidence it’s not been obvious and not easy to tell if you’re getting it wrong. Instead, the Christian can say “I think the Lord gave me compassion as a gift through which to read the Bible”. Okay, I may think that’s meaningless, but it gets them to use their compassion.1

Now that we have this imperative to universal love and compassion, what does it look like? There are a lot of moral philosophies that might help us start a conversation here. Aiming for maximal wellbeing is one option (a branch of utilitarianism), and I will argue that is the Biblical/apologetic answer; the hippocratic oath―first do no harm―is another, and I suspect the one that Christians default to after concluding the merits of universal love. For the sake of word count and ease of reading, I’m not dealing with Kantian ethics, situationism or other ethical ideas. There are many more philosophical omissions here, but that’s not strictly relevant; my goal is to advocate for discussion because the answer offered  to ethics (particularly in comments here) is too vague. That I highlight this need with reference to so few of the discussion points in philosophy only exacerbates my point.

For this question, I want to address two contentious issues: war and euthanasia. These are the places that compassion will be of the utmost importance and, arguably, the hardest to envisage.

Starting with war: are you pro-war? This is a question in n practice and in principle. The airstrikes in Syria, for example, have big practical objections hanging over them: airstrikes may result in more recruitment to or the migration of Daesh; innocent people will die; there are better ways to spend the same money to look after people. But, if all the practical considerations were removed and all violent Jihadists were in a building, and you could just bomb that building, would you? (That’s the in-principle question.) We can assume, from the fact many of us are in democracies and our countries are already bombing Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan, that a majority of people would answer yes.

So, is this what compassion looks like? I want to start to address the answer to that question with the Bible or, more accurately, the theologians and the apologists who defend certain parts of the Bible: the slaughter of the Canaanites and the Midianites. Although the details don’t always add up,2 the overarching defence is that God was acting out of love and compassion. The Canaanites were so debaucherous and so contagious that their continuation was a genuine threat to the wellbeing of all people, forever on from that point. God still loved the Canaanites, unconditionally, but also loved everyone else unconditionally. God’s goal was to maximise net wellbeing.

It would have looked very different if God had taken an hippocratic oath approach, and done no harm.3 By doing no harm, God would have to have not commanded the slaughter of the Canaanites, allowed the debauchery of the Canaanites to spread, and for fear and murder to spread across the land4 and for life to be miserable for basically everyone.

I think this is important to properly think about. The Christian who has concluded that compassion is the right way to read the Bible will often5 claim that Christianity offers all the answers. But, I’ve just elucidated very serious aspersions over that, by giving reasonable defence as to how that could lead to polar opposite answers on the same question, in the same context.6

Entertaining questions of euthanasia, it’s probably not difficult to see that there’s very similar discussion to be had. Firstly, we need to make sure we’re talking about the same thing when we talk about euthanasia. We are talking about the right of a patient who is suffering from an incurable and miserable condition to ask a doctor to end their life, and to reasonably expect that the doctor will, given that two doctors independently agree that the patient is lucid enough to have capacity for such a decision, is steadfast in their conviction that death is their wish for a period of time and in severe anguish and shows no likelihood of recovering. This is most frequently an end of life question, but it is worth noticing that at least 1 young person had died by euthanasia who was physically healthy, although in psychological anguish.7

So, note what it is we’re talking about: a person’s right to die. We are not talking about another person’s right to murder. We are talking about a person making a decision to die, and in what say we can realise that right. The current answer is for two medical professionals assessing that the patient is making a reasoned decision.8 Fears that the system may be abused are not relevant to this discussion because, for the sake of understanding compassion, we are ignoring the practical implications, as we did with the war system. Fear of systemic abuse of the system is also not relevant because such systemic abuse is a symptom of a political party that already abused democracy and would be as willing to subvert the law on murder as to ‘abuse’ the euthanasia law (which is the same as subverting the murder law). If this is your objection to euthanasia, you must also ban all other things that can be abused: medication, guns, police forces, wars, GPS… It’s a very regressive view.

So, what do you do? Our Christian may feel compelled to go back to the Bible and readout “thou shalt not murder”. But, the distinction between murder and killing here is essentially one of justification. If there is a compassionate justification for killing, then it is not murder at all.9 At this point, the Christian may decide to enter into the hippocratic oath and decide to actively do no harm. The consequence of this is that a person lives in a great deal of pain and suffering, which seems very much at odds with compassion. The other problem is that if one wishes to use the hippocratic oath here, then one must also use it in issue of war and terrorism. It’s important to be consistent, else one can simply use the two philosophies as the appropriate tools to do exactly what they want, bypassing a moral conversation altogether.

So, what is the answer: what does compassion look like? I don’t know. I suspect in our day to day decisions it’s much easier to delineate. What I set out to do here was muddy the water of a specific set of Christians certainty on the ‘compassionate’ reading of the Bible. A discussion still very much needs to happen. On the big questions, there still aren’t answers here. What we need is for people to stop being certain in their ambiguity and vagueness to permit the themes of their conviction to some substance.



1 There is a much bigger conversation to be had there, but it’s not the one I want to have today.

2 Like the killing of the children and the animals

3 I’m not talking about what right God would have to kill. I’m simply talking about what it teaches us about compassion.

4 well avoided!

5 and sometimes very smugly

6 This is before I entertain the question of how a God can expect us to behave in these terms, when we don’t have access to that knowledge to hand.

7 We’re talking about suffering, therefore we are talking about the mind. Psychological anguish is just as valid, if not more so, than physical ill health.

8 If you think no reasoned person would ever wish to die, our conversation here is moot; it is vital the patient has capacity and wishes to die. It would be an abuse of euthanasia for it happen any other way.

9 That’s a necessary proposition to justify God in the Old Testament



63 thoughts on “xPrae: how I defeated you so soundly (part 4: What does Compassion Look Like?)”

  1. I’ve liked some of your thought processes in previous posts.

    But where are you headed with this one? You’ve detailed a paradox in human health and well-being. Christianity thrives in paradox. It’s built on it.

    It claims logos not only in sociology, but in psychology and physiology.

    It reconciles justice and mercy…. (both components of compassion as you’ve made clear)

    In Christianity, health and well-being is found in self-sacrifice. Laying down your life for your friends is called the greatest love.

    Suffering for the sake of others is core to a logic that redeems the health and well-being of the world… a spirit of grace.

    1. To ears never steeped in the conversations that happen in the pulpits and at the pews, that is a very difficult comment to make sense of.
      The issue I am exploring here is that some certain subset of Christians claim to have deep and divinely inspired answers to questions of ethics, and that answer is “compassion”. My point is that compassion turns out to be no answer at all, as it can both forbid and command the same actions in the same circumstances. Therefore it is no answer at all.

      Your response appears to be that completely un-actionable moral imperatives riddled with paradoxes that, when thought about at any level, lead to uncertainty and inaction, can actually be thought of as a real answer.

      Just in case I have got this very wrong, do you care to elaborate on your response?

      1. Allallt, basically you can’t have “universal love and compassion” without Christian tenets.

        It is the paradox that satisfies your questions.

        Where is compassion (mercy) without justice?

        Is it just to withhold compassion (mercy)?

        Who has the authority to make these judgements?

        What is the relationship between truth and compassion?

        What is the teleology of science?

        The ugliest idea to a modern man: repentance of personal injustice is an epistemological floodgate. Where the “blind” receive sight. (To see more pain and injustice!)

        Jesus Christ’s “Kingdom of heaven” subverts the *entire* economy. We are to act out of love for one another (sacrifice/mercy/compassion) rather than love for self (greed/pride/envy). Give undeserved gifts because that is the wellspring of life.

        Far from inactionable — the currency is love and as it turns out, is exactly what we need from a utilitarian point of view. (Break open the psycho-neuro (now genetic) literature)

        “Man shall not live on bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

        Sorry if this is still tricky language. This topic crosses all disciplines. Prefer also to have these conversations in person (which I welcome if ever in Toronto).


        1. Firstly, what is meant by “Christian tenets”? Are you suggesting that compassion did not exist before Jesus’ birth? Are you open to the idea that these “Christian tenets” are merely adopted by Christianity, but existed beforehand?
          Secondly, are you willing to accept the “Christian tenets” you refer to (whatever they are) are not ‘obvious’ tenets, and that considerable ambiguity exists in deciding exactly what the tenets are?
          I’d also appreciate if you could expand that point: how is universal compassion–however interpreted–in any way dependent on Christian tenets?

          As for your broader point, that paradoxes are acceptable answers to questions, that simply isn’t the case. There is no resolution to these paradoxes. Nothing can be just while also being compassionate. A trial is either just or is lenient and compassionate.

          In terms of “compassion” not being actionable, I challenge you, then, to actually answer the questions of war and of euthanasia, in a strictly Christian-compassionate sense. If “compassion” is, in fact, an actionable imperative, what would the Christian answer on euthanasia be?

          I haven’t been in Toronto since I was 16… but, hey, never say never.

        1. Ah, I didn’t notice that. This is adapted from what was initially a brain dump of all my thoughts relating to our conversation with xPrae and then sectioned into discrete posts.
          In the process, I didn’t notice I hadn’t actually dealt with what it is xPrae offered in this bit.

  2. I am surprised you are still on xprae and the ‘soundly defeated’ post.
    Like John, I am a bit lost with this post and xprae’s post.
    Have you still got the link? I haven’t visited for ages?

    1. I wrote these posts while we were all still arguing with xPrae over on his blog. (Around the same time the UK voted to bomb Syria.) I just scheduled them to come up as small self-contained posts. The only things I’ve written recently are my comments to him under my ‘part 1’ (and part 6 — but thanks to my decision to schedule stuff, that won’t actually post until May).
      I’ve got this link (https://praetori.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/zande-arkenaten-heres-how-i-defeated-you-so-soundly/) but I don’t think anything interesting has happened there since you left.
      What ever post all this started at, the post where xPrae claims to have defeated you, I’ve never actually seen.

      Can you let me know what it is about this post that confuses? Because that’s the only comment I’ve had so far (from 3 people) and I don’t see what is confusing. (Obviously, as I’m too close to it.)

      1. Maybe I am misreading something then, as my understanding of that Xprae post is it was primarily concerned with Exodus and evidence well, my dialogue at least.

        And it went on for so long I may have overdosed on migraine tablets afterwards! 😉

        1. I talked about so many different things with him, because he shifted teh conversation every time he felt challenged. Not a person who gets out of his echo chamber very often, I would suspect.
          But, I did argue with him that the ingratiating and smiling interpretation of Christianity he is demanding isn’t as clear cut as he thinks it is. He argued for this friendly Christianity to absolve it from responsibility in its own history. He claimed that the sermon on the mount clearly called for compassion, and that 1 or two sentences taken from late in the Book (from the Sermon on the Mount) obviously should be taken as the context through which you read the entire Bible.
          I argued that it’s not obvious, hence the God-fearing and blood-thirsty history of Christianity, and that this ingratiating excuse he’s coming at me with is both (1) a humanist interpretation (which I cover in another post) and (2) not at all clear as “compassion” is a very ambiguous term, so one cannot claim to have a meaningful answer. That’s what this post is about.

      1. No, which is a pity. If it was so ridiculous that even he thought it was retarded, and pulled it, then it must have been pure gold. Perhaps it was one of his “other” personalities who wrote it 😉

    1. Lol! My apologies! The WordPress interface, my laptop, Windows 8 and my (at the time) impatience, all added up to my having accidentally posted the essay before I’d completed it.

      I was trying only to add key words, when I inadvertently clicked on the “Post” button. Hence, I pulled it down immediately. I didn’t know that the pingback would happen immediately. I didn’t “think it was retarded,” I knew it wasn’t complete. 🙂

      I note that Ark has led with his ignorance of how the internet works. Are you sure that you, Ark and Zande aren’t the same person? After all, same or different IP addresses mean nothing, as anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of the internet knows. 😉

      Sorry ’bout that.


      — x

      1. Praetorius, now that you’ve learnt (been forced to learn) how to hide your IP doesn’t change the fact that all those little Praetorius cheerleaders were, most likely, you… all posting from the same terminal. It’s quite pathetic.

        Still, now that you think you’ve beaten the system, do understand the FBI and NRA are watching you very, very closely. They tend to take an interest in anyone who’s actively trying to conceal their online activity. Praise W’s Patriot Act!

        Just saying.

      2. Oh, I hope you don’t have any present or past unusual online activity, like reading or communicating with Christian white supremacist terrorist groups, downloading child pornography, strange pornography searches which might embarrass you if you’re ever brought in for questioning, because, do understand, all that is now being collated and reviewed by your case officer.

  3. Many of the philosophical problems that are present in Christianity are not present in Judaism. This is an important consideration when considering the words of Jesus who was a Jew. As a side note, I should that the pretty much the entirety of the old testament has never applied to gentiles, and this also didn’t change when Paul was given his marching order by the disciples, salvation for gentiles remained the same within the context of Judaism before and after Christ’s death.

    I will start with the hardest problem for Christianity and that is evil. If you have a perfectly loving God how could God create evil? Even the question whether God created evil can make many Christians. Contrast to this Judaism where they believe God is responsible for both good and evil.


    In fact they take it a step further, evil is a human illusion and objectively suffering helps drive the human race. Jewish philosophy even confront issues like the conflict between mercy and justice. According to Jewish philosophy all noble traits mercy, justice, truth, compassion are all in conflict with each other.

    Justice in Judaism was generally on a continuum between justice and mercy. This is present in the old testament by having different punishments for different crimes despite some of the punishments being absurd. Jesus himself definitely didn’t apply a one size fits all solution.

    1. The level of moral ignorance one must assume in themselves to accept that is astounding.
      One must be happy to say they have precisely no concept of morality and their aversion to suffering and evaluation of things as evil is simply an illusion: they cannot really tell good from bad.

      As for the paradoxes in mercy and justice etc, well, good for certain Jews theologians for confronting that concern. Do they resolve it? If anything, being a sprectrum makes the impossibility of occupying two places on that spectrum more blatantly intellectually troubling.

      1. It’s not about accepting evil, or letting it happen, it’s the opposite. It’s essentially ascension theory with two paths. The first path is through suffering or the will receive (because the root of all evil is want) and that is if humans do not modify their behavior, the second path is through bestowal (vaguely altruism).

        1. I apologize if this turns out to be long.

          These ideas come from traditional Jewish Kabbalah, the stuff I studied derived from a rabbi called Bnei Baruch. I point this out that it was only in 1995 that the Jewish community decided it should be taught to gentiles and the only reason this matters is because tiny pieces of it were picked up and wrapped into a bunch of new age cults. It is kind of unique in terms of belief systems.

          Their whole Philsophical framework revolves around a simple idea. You have God and the Creature, that is all there is. God being ultimate is completely selfless. God wished to create a creature and fill it with delight, so life was created and as a completely selfish entity with the sole interest of receiving God’s “light” light means pretty much everything. However, in order to feel the entire spectrum of pleasure, so to speak, the creature could not be fully aware of God and hence why we have senses that give us a limited view of the universe and don’t let us see what is actually going on (it has a lot of parrallels to plato’s allegory of the cave). There is a paradox, however, and that is the purest form of selfishness is to be like God, but God is our complete opposite.

          So it goes that the creature after hitting a certain level of evolution will want progressively more of the following sex/food>money>power/fame>knowledge>spirituality. It goes that all states except for spirituality are insantiable, and then once a human reaches that level they will recieve the ultimate desire which will be to be like God.

          God’s role can be understood as the ultimate reality and it is the mission of the creature to essentially ascend to become God. They believe this ascension is accomplished via two paths and is actually unavoidable, the only changable factor is time. The first path is through suffering, learning from mistakes etc. The second path is by what they call equivalence of form, this is by making yourself more like God. This isn’t done through altruism, per se, it is done through changing how we recieve things. This is a really rudimentary example but it is enjoying a meal someone made for you not for yourself, but for them, enjoying the fact that they are enjoying you are enjoying it. It goes that if you can do this, and “break the wall” you will then experience an extra-sensory experience of the spiritual realms.

          So essentially we are all God, all fragments that seeking to become a singularity.

        2. I’m hoping that you don’t take that video seriously.
          It’s asserting knowledge about something it is claiming is unknowable. It’s also playing weird games with language.

        3. I am cynical, but I am actually studying it like any other religion. The claim is that is ultimately knowable.

          Though I am curious what you believe the weird games with language are.

        4. In no particular order:
          (1) It is a religion. I know it says it isn’t, but it has a perfect, all-knowing entity and certain people get a magic path to knowledge. It’s a pantheism.
          (2) Secret magic knowledge. The presenter really claims to know what’s ‘out there’ and that it is good.
          (3) The presenter needs a crash course in neuropsychology. The egoism thing is a reductio ad absurdum presentation of how the brain works.
          (4) I’m really not a fan of how the presenter introduces his idea with a blend of reasonably sound philosophy and the product he’s promoting all at once. I’m not sure this is a content objection, but it bugs me.
          (5) The way the video presents altruism, self-concern/will to receive, and the word “unknown” is not at all clear, or seem to actually be wrong.

        5. 1. Ya I will agree, it has a set of beliefs.
          2. Yes, I will note however that they don’t put a price tag on obtaining this secret magic knowledge.
          3. I think the idea is that the world we see is simple a translation of sensual data and it aroused out of a desire for survival.
          4. He did a set of videos, and they were really bad, I think this product was an attempt to make him look hip and cool, and make the subject matter slightly more interesting. Which compared to the other videos he has made it was actually better.
          5. The word altruism is actually not the correct word based on what I have read, there just really isn’t a better word in the english language for the idea they are trying to express.

          In relationship to the unknowable stuff, essentially they define spiritual stuff past a certain level as impossible to define, that seems convenient but a metaphor would be trying to describe red to a blind man. I have personally had feelings and sensations that were hard to explain, which is why I don’t dismiss out right, but it does sound like it could be very much like an emperor’s new robe kind of deal.

        6. The problem with the ‘trying to explain red to a blind person’ thing is that ‘red’ has an electromagnetic wave we can detect by other means. We may never be able to explain the ‘qualia’ of ‘red’, but the energetic existence of red we can discuss. Add to that explanation that the blind person will be aware we have a sense he doesn’t, that reacts to intelligible input data that can be understood.
          By contrast, this video is using the ‘works in mysterious ways’ excuse. They define it as unknowable, and then tell you they know. And they can’t just teach you, you have to buy into their completely alien way of thinking to be a part of it.
          It’s wrapped up in the same dismissive rhetoric as most other religions.
          The video is also blamed on the rather odd idea that some state of absolute unknown can be processed through input data and made to be something intelligible, without revealing anything about the initial thing. It’s a play on the issue of absolute certainty. One cannot be absolutely certain, and therefore one should doubt absolutely. That, too, is not a reasonable way forward. (And an implicit claim it also shares with other religion.)

        7. It seems like it is massively esoteric, but I actually have talked to Jews and they confirmed that Kabbalah was taught to Rabbis once they reached a certain level, it’s pretty hefty, but there is also some interesting implications, essentially kabbalists believe the entire old testament is for lack of a better word a metaphor. Here is a link to a pdf if you’re interested in exploring this rabbit hole, if you do I would be interested in your thoughts.


        8. You just sent me an 832 page document where even the contents page looks like nonsense. The foreword has rhetoric from other nonsense…
          I’m sorry, but one has to learn to pick their battles, else I will spent my entire life lending equal credibility to everything and researching it only to find (as I normally do) it’s as nonsense as I could have judged it at first.
          I’m implementing some sort of informal ‘sniff test’ before I start giving things that much of my energy.
          I’ve articulated by problems with regard to the sniff test. It will get my attention some other time when there’s some sort of evidence for it.

        9. Sorry, I read your about and thought that this would be something you would be interested in from a purely religious perspective. It’s essentially the insight into the actual driving forces behind Judaism, but alas, it is a lot of text.

        10. I read the Wikipedia page as a primer.
          It just doesn’t mean anything to me. It doesn’t make any tangible claims that I can agree or disagree with.
          It’s not a deductive argument or meaningful claim about reality.
          It can have apologetics, but all I’ve seen is post hoc excuses where, given sufficient flexibility, it attempts to make intended sense of bliss and of abject horror — as part of the same goal, in the same way, at the same time. You just have to trust that it’s part of a greater good…? And it’s our fault!

        11. because the root of all evil is want

          A fawn burnt to death is a forest fire is due to “want”? A boy who drowns a puppy for his amusement is due to “want”? The Great Oxygen Catastrophe which killed off 90% of all species on earth was due to “want”?

        12. Uhg, so I am doing this, playing advocate for Judaism, sure, why not.

          Yes, a fawn would not exist if it wasn’t for its own selfish desire to survive. All life wouldn’t exist without the selfish desire for survival.

          There is this concept in Judaism that humans are always capable of objectively seeing benefit of bad things below us, but can never do it for ourselves. For instance if we look at forest fires, this can actually contribute to later strong growth and there are some seeds that only open under immense heat, we can look at that terrible event and say, “Ya, it was bad but I can see how it was for the greater good ultimately”. However, despite there always being benefactors of pretty much every single terrible event, since we are solely selfish it also makes us subjective and we are not capable of seeing the objective benefit of any catastrophe.

          Further, I should say that just because there are benefactors doesn’t mean this is the right way to do things, the idea is that the suffering happens because humanity is on path 1 to ascension which is suffering.

        13. Yes, because the Jewish belief is essentially system theory.

          So the idea is that the physical/spiritual realm are actually the same thing, but the physical realm is essentially a hologram of what is going on in the spiritual realms.

          Everything is connected, and everything can have an impact, it is like the butterfly effect.

        14. – A boy drowning a puppy wants power/control/amusement.
          – A thief wants money, better life, etc..
          – A rapist wants power/sex
          – War is over the want of land (usually)

          etc.. etc..

        15. Kabbalah doesn’t dismiss evolution, the belief would probably go that the oxygen catastrophe ultimately helped accelerated the evolution to humanity and intelligence.

        16. Well though they admit that if you can “cross the barrier” you could ultimately be granted instantaneous knowledge which is a pretty bold statement for a belief system, it wasn’t exactly designed to help with scientific discovery.

          I am trying to give it the proverbial college try without prejudice, but seeing that I apparently can’t get past the very first step which they call crossing the barrier, it’s not looking good so far for the gnosis. I will let you know if I do it can provide some new proper equations for quantum phenomenon.

        17. You are supposed to be made uncomfortable by these things, because if you weren’t made uncomfortable it would mean that humanity had reached it’s ultimate point. It’s not about justification that we should allow bad things to persist, it’s the justification that even bad things have purpose and benefactors and that no one dies in vain.

          It has a shared boat philosophy, that when one person dies it affects everyone negatively, and when someone is helped, it helps everyone positively.

        18. During the course of the day, you will be encouraged through a minor pain to go to the washroom, to eat, and to sleep.

          So my question is, is pleasure actually the opposite of suffering, or is pleasure merely brought on by the alleviation of suffering?

          Would you rather suffer and have the capability of pleasure, or would you rather feel nothing at all and be an automaton?

        19. Like matter and energy are interchangeable, so too is suffering and pleasure. They are the same thing simply presented at different temperatures.

        20. I don’t get it. Most gratification from food, sex, accomplishment all has preceding pain. You’re picking intense outliers of the worst type to justify the position that suffering is evil.

        21. Here’s the thing: evolution and natural processes can explain the things John is mentioning. Genes are imperfect; all of biology is competitive, and that includes parasites; human psychology has a rule-of-thumb style logic evolved which can misfire, and in quite substantial ways.
          But as soon as you say the genetically predisposed cancer, the brain parasite, and the distracting sex-drive are all intentional — and part of a plan of progress (which you have said), sudden it all cannot be made sense of.
          And the rebuttal you’ve offered is the well-rehearsed ‘you just have to have faith’: that it serves a greater purpose, that it’s not really bad. And, really, stop complaining, because you chose it! (The Fall, Path 1 — it really is the same thing.)

        22. Well Kabbalah doesn’t really blame, it is more like, “Take this drug and your suffering will stop.”

          That said in the progress of human evolution how many species of animals had to suffer and go extinct? Would you say their suffering was irrelevant, if our future selves floating in some potential singularity looked backed at us now, would we also say the suffering was irrelevant?

          I have a fundamental problem with the idea that consciousness was an evolutionary accident. This doesn’t make any sense to me because even before we existed, even before the first single cell organism emerged, the building blocks for consciousness had to exist. I am a developer and when I see things like the big bang, persistent rules etc.. it is all a microcosm of what I essentially would consider a software install. Discovering mechanics does not dismiss purpose.

        23. If you don’t imbue the world with intent, and you look at the process of evolution as the process we have on this planet, then the necessity of suffering is apparent. Nature is read in tooth and claw.
          As soon as you give it an intended purpose and direction, all the suffering becomes a real problem. Yes, it may lead to a greater good. But that is the dogma of all tyrants: let us just do this bad thing, for the greater good. It’s a farcical excuse. I am morally mature enough to know that the methods by which you get somewhere are a part of where you’ve gotten. Saying ‘it’s leading somewhere great’ is no excuse for the fact the path in lined with anguish.

          As for you thinking that the building blocks for consciousness having always been here… you’re both right and wrong. If you’re reductive enough, consciousness is built out of matter which is built out of a few of the particles of the standard model of particle physics. The building blocks of matter precede consciousness.
          But I don’t think that’s what you’re talking about.
          I’m going to let you know what I’m doing, to save us from going round is circles. The question I pose to you is this:
          What building blocks of consciousness? Are you supposing there is some special element that goes into consciousness?

          And what I’m not on guard for is ‘arguments from ignorance’: Arguments of the form ‘consciousness is complex therefore there must be something more to it’. The argument from ignorance has a dopey cousin–‘the argument from incredulity’–where you simply claim to not believe pertinent details in order to continue an argument from ignorance: “I simply don’t believe there are meaningful selective pressures or genetic contributors to consciousness…” would be a real give away here.
          I will also be on the look out for question begging: things whereby you assume Kabbalah is right in the argument somewhere before you actually your conclusion about consciousness needing to be intentionally pre-organised in some way.

          That’s the main philosophical landmines I think worth signposting. But the question remains: What building blocks of consciousness? Are you supposing there is some special element that goes into consciousness? And, I suppose, why are there special building blocks of consciousness.

        24. So I have to thank you because without this conversation I would of never discovered quantum biology. I recommend you check out this, and before I start I will show the credential of the guy who coined the theory 20 years ago.

          Quantum Microtubes were predicted and have now been proven by several institutions including MIT. Here is the info.



        25. I’m not sure what I’m looking for. Most of these ideas I have looked at before. I’m not really up enough with cell biology to follow all of it…

        26. Essentially there is a quantum element present in the mind. The reason it is controversial is it separates consciousness from biology. Here is kind of the glam video for it by Hameroff. The original theory had 20 predictions, so far 6 have been proven and none have been refuted yet. So there is still some ways to go before it fully accepted, but there is some other implications for quantum mechanics in biology as well that circumstantially help support this claim.

          Here is kind of the glam video of one of the scientists involved in this theory.

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