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Hitchens – The Meaning of Life

Put the words right into my mouth.

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29 Responses

  1. Very nice.

  2. I know he’s joking…wait, is he? A little sincerity would be nice…. wait, was that? Is he just another bitter, angry, disappointed, uninspired and somewhat lazy guy? Is all that brainpower just used to degrade the beliefs of others day after day? He’s certainly made it pointless to degrade HIS beliefs, he’s set the bar too low.

  3. What is the purpose of life? How about to learn, to grow, to develop, to gain responsibility for our actions, to better the world. To love! To laugh! To explore! To find out what we are capable of- to exceed what we thought were are limits! To be creative! To share joy with others!

    If Hitchens gives your answer to that question, Avu, then it’s time to start trying a little harder.

  4. Much like needing to find a “Prime Mover” behind the universe – for some reason you seem incapable of accepting that there just isn’t a benevolent and interventionist “Force” in the cosmos that takes some sort personal interest in YOUR reason for being – you also seem to have some desperate need to ascribe positive values to certain airy-fairy qualities when they carry no such value at all (until you define them in the way that suits you).
    Creativity? Like making soap out of the rendered flesh of Negroes or lamp shades from all that Jew skin that’s laying about?
    Laughter? But only when we chuckle at “appropriately” amusing things…never at someone’s loss or embarrassment.
    To explore…and bring small pox to a people with no immunity.
    To “share joy”…which, one suspects, is not a universal notion…perhaps other things would be better. I know – let’s share democracy!
    As a counterpoint to the argument that there can be NO purpose to life absent an omnipotent, omniscient creator (a bit of imbecilic foolishness taken far too seriously by far too many, yourself included), Hitchens makes EXACTLY the point you THINK you want to make: Pleasure is found in drinking, fucking, and watching morons expose themselves (philosophically rather than literally…although I know what makes ME laugh).
    What more do you need? Ya delusional fuckin’ banyan tree.

    Is he just another bitter, angry, disappointed, uninspired and somewhat lazy guy? Is all that brainpower just used to degrade the beliefs of others day after day? He’s certainly made it pointless to degrade HIS beliefs, he’s set the bar too low.

    I don’t think Hitch is bitter. He’s certainly angry at the bullshit inflicted on the world by those who claim to know what God wants, disappointed that humanity lets these lying, bullshit God freaks dictate what happens in our schools and bedrooms.
    He’s not interested in degrading your beliefs, except insofar as those beliefs are constructed on foolishness and desperation, and then righteously inflicted on those who don’t share them. As for setting the bar too low, it saddens me to learn that you consider TRUTH – that which can be asserted with the overwhelming weight of evidence behind it (trifling things like science) – to be setting the bar low.
    I know you’re convinced that there is some greater truth out there which can only be ascertained by meditating in a fucking cave and releasing caged birds back into the wild while chanting and submerging yourself in the open sewer that is the Ganjes, but until you’ve got some EVIDENCE to back that crock of shit up, you would do well to refrain from taking an opinion on whether anyone else’s bar is set low or high.

  5. Wow. That’s a lot of bluster and diversion you’ve replied with Avi. I did not mention a “prime mover” in the context of the original question “what is the purpose to life?”. Hitchins was asked this question and replied that he primarily enjoyed laughing at the misery of others. I took that at face value and suggested that there is more to life than that-

    You keep keeping this abstract but the question is personal, and a ‘prime mover’ has nothing to do with it. Religion isn’t stopping me from doing whatever I want in my bedroom, and I suspect it isn’t in yours. Religion isn’t stopping you- right now- from learning what you want to learn- is it? You’ve just set up another enemy to be enraged at so you can continue to not actually address the question “what is the purpose of my life?”, Avi.

    Clearly you want more to life than what Hitchen’s wants, or else you wouldn’t have created this blog to share your thoughts with others- clearly, and understandably, you need to share something of yourself with us. You wouldn’t have put so much passion into what you’ve been writing these past months unless you felt there was some purpose within yourself for doing it.

    “I know you’re convinced that there is some greater truth out there which can only be ascertained by meditating in a fucking cave and releasing caged birds back into the wild while chanting and submerging yourself in the open sewer that is the Ganjes,”

    , I disagree this characterization–perhaps meditating would be enough….and until you have some EXPERIENCE of that, then you would do well to refrain from taking an opinion on it.

  6. In addition, your statement

    “As for setting the bar too low, it saddens me to learn that you consider TRUTH – that which can be asserted with the overwhelming weight of evidence behind it (trifling things like science) – to be setting the bar low.” is misleading.

    I never mentioned TRUTH, and neither did Hitchens when he was asked the question “What is the meaning of life?” He could’ve answered “The search for Truth”, or the “quest for discovery” or anything else, and I would have respected that answer, the same one my father gives, a Phd. Chemistry professor and lifelong atheist, but instead Hitchens decided to be crass, strategic and self-congratulatory in his response.

  7. Pfft. You miss the point so widely, one wonders if it’s merely that you’re being intentionally obtuse.
    Hitchens had no need to mention “truth” as the meaning of life. I doubt that’s his position, or at least not more than part of it. Nevertheless, it is quite clearly the strategy he employs in debate and the value to which he quite obviously aspires in so doing.
    In a debate over the existence of God / the value of religion / whether or not life can be moral or have any value at all in the absence of an interventionist supreme being, Hitchens eschews the sort of dogmatic crap so commonly bandied about by deists and theists in favour of arguments honed with Occam’s razor on the stone of that which can be demonstrated by evidence rather than by citations from one holy book or another.
    You may, if you choose to be even more obtuse and characterize Hitchens argument as “crass…and self-congratulatory” with only the benefit of that one short clip by which to judge, dismiss him out of hand. But you don’t get to invent possible answers that suit you better and crap on him for failing to aim for what you deem to be loftier targets.
    As for YOUR personal arguments – I’ve read your book. You virtually ooze your desire to find some great sentient synchronicity / consciousness / thinking, feeling REASON to it all, which is not at all dissimilar to those who would posit the Trinity, Shiva, Odin, Zeus or any other fantasy fairy tale sky wizard who has a grand plan of which you are an infinitesimally small yet absolutely necessary part.
    And, while YOUR religion may not be keeping you from any particular form of mattress gymnastics, and my lack thereof certainly isn’t either, the fact remains that there are more than enough sputtering whackjobs on this planet who are determined to inflict what their god wants on the rest of the sinners, sodomites, fags and the otherwise doomed. the simple fact remains – despite not having had a controlling influence on YOUR life, Religion writ large has murdered. maimed, oppressed and destroyed far more “souls” than it has or might ever redeem.
    As for my reasons for this blog, you may just as well consider it a form of public venting rather less offensive than stabbing people (and with far less onerous consequences). I am under no illusions about changing anyone’s mind, “reaching out to people” or any other such thing. That I choose to shout in this semi-public space rather than either my closet or the middle of the department store is more closely related to simple curiosity than it is to any need to find an audience.
    “…More to life than that…” Please.
    You’re born. Feed, fight, flee and fuck. You die.
    I’m not at all sure why you need anything more grand than that to make your life worthwhile, but you go right on hunting for your higher being. Be creative. Love. Laugh. Share. Explore. It always comes back to getting a bite to eat and decent shag, but you go ahead and navel gaze in as grandiose a fashion as you like. Speaking of self-congratulatory, eh?
    “At least I’m looking for something greater!” PFFFT!
    What is the purpose of my life? It sure as hell isn’t sitting around in a saffron robe wondering what the purpose of my life is or following someone’s overwrought eight-fold path to enlightenment and release from samsara.
    As for your “You’ve never meditated and therefore cannot have a position on it,” crap…you KNOW what you can do with that lame-ass, weak-kneed bullshit. I’ve never blown up a school bus, protested at an abortion clinic, been baptized, eaten a kitten or had unprotected sex with a bisexual Haitian junkie prostitute either, but I have opinions about those things. Pray tell, what makes sitting about chanting yourself into a state of self-hypnosis something about which I shouldn’t have opinions?

  8. Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer.

    There is no reason to expect a purpose in life. Hitchens was very careful to say “I can only speak for myself”. The implication he was making is that you should find your own purpose.

  9. “Put the words right into my mouth.”

    Because you can’t think for yourself.

    If you only the Pope could extract such a gullible response from his encyclicals!

    Seriously, the difference between devout atheists, such as yourself, and the devout religious is neither here nor there. One claims to be a free-thinker, another to know the truth – such self-righteous, self-congratulatory nonsense.
    One claims to know God, another claims to know reason – both mythical concepts.
    One tries to add science to metaphysics (ID), another tries to add metaphysics to science (philosophical naturalism).
    Both naively accept the wisdom of authority (Hitchens, Dawkins; Pope and Pastor) with no perspectival induction.
    Both are laughably ridiculous.

  10. @ Homo

    When you figure out what you mean by thinking (or failure thereof), feel free to try again. Had a peek at your blog…
    Speaking of laughable.
    Reason is a myth? Well…perhaps in your case.
    Out of mere curiosity, on what subject is Hitchens an authority?
    Trite dismissal of anyone who doesn’t grok your shlock is not thinking, although I’m sure it soothes you to consider that it is.

  11. “As for my reasons for this blog, you may just as well consider it a form of public venting”

    This was easy to figure out. I came across this exact blog by accident in search of those that liked public venting.

    “I am under no illusions about changing anyone’s mind, “reaching out to people” or any other such thing.”

    As I’ve stated before, I too do not expect to change anyone’s mind, especially when hampered with this form of communication. Although I am interested in reaching out to people and exploration in a form that does not interfere with anyone’s immunity.

  12. Yes, reason is a myth. Look to the origin and development of the concept. The stoics – for example – thought that reason and God were synonymous. Other secular (although, once religious) myths include ‘progress’ and ‘human rights’. I understand why a dogmatic atheist such as yourself finds this difficult to discern.

    Hitchens is an authority to certain people on many subjects, primarily politics.

  13. @ Homo

    Listen, Sparky…you clearly take a great deal of rather condescending pleasure in presuming that there is no such thing as reason, and I’ve neither the time nor the inclination to debate something as silly and pointless as that proposition.
    You seem to further need to engage in petty and pathetic ad hominem by casting my atheism as “dogmatic”, despite there being little in the way of dogma on the subject.
    Your “reasoning” (and in your case, it truly being a myth, one is little surprised) is pathetic, and I’ll do you the courtesy of explaining rather simply (so even you can understand) why that is so: You conclude that reason is a myth, apparently, because one branch of ancient philosophy tied the process of clear thought to the existence of a supreme being (which is, in itself, a spurious claim…rather more something else you’ve simply hauled out of your ass). Your “reasoning” (such as it is…myth that is) seems to be that past error cannot be overcome no matter what advances in evidence or process follow. If you can’t immediately grasp the fatal flaw in that argument, you’ve no business calling yourself a thinker, mythological or otherwise. For that matter, and not to put too fine a point on it, that idea found perhaps its greatest expression in the God of Spinoza, who famously said, “I call him free who is led by REASON.”
    As between Baruch Spinoza and YOU, well…it ain’t much of a contest.
    As for the “origin and development of the concept” (the concept of reason), it certainly predates the stoics, and anyone who says otherwise is simply an idiot…but I didn’t need to wait until you strolled in with that bit of stupidity to know that.
    Now do me a favour, Junior…fuck off back to the toy box and stop being a silly pest. Mere gainsay of the very foundation of philosophy does not make you one, or interesting.

  14. So, Avi, I was away for a bit, but now I can reply to your question: “Pray tell, what makes sitting about chanting yourself into a state of self-hypnosis something about which I shouldn’t have opinions?”

    I’ll take the above as ‘meditation’, because that’s what we were talking about above in the previous entries. I’ll ask a simple question to address why your opinions, while always free to express, have no validity with regards to activities which you have no EXPERIENCE.

    Have you ever scuba-dived? Let’s assume not. You might know about neutral buoyancy, nitrogen sickness, first aid, ichthyology, pressurized gases, swimming or anything else related to scuba diving, but until you’ve had the experience of actually scuba diving, you don’t really have a valid opinion on that activity. You would have no idea how the experience changes your perception of the world, your first hand understanding of undersea biology, increases in the the range and refinement of your movements underwater, breathe control, how to share a single regulator with someone in an emergency and many other aspects which the activity introduces the practitioner to. Meditation, like scuba-diving, without your attempts to degrade it with ‘chanting’ and Ganges splashing comments, is an activity which you have no experience, have therefore no idea how it transforms the practitioner, and therefore do not have valid opinions about the benefits or detriments of it. If you are interested I would be happy to share what I know with you.

    As to just one more point about this conversation: What is the purpose to life- you’ve mentioned you only do this blog as an outlet to vent, don’t care to change people’s minds and stand by your thesis, or rather Hitchins, about the purpose of life:

    “You’re born. Feed, fight, flee and fuck. You die.
    I’m not at all sure why you need anything more grand than that to make your life worthwhile, but you go right on hunting for your higher being. Be creative. Love. Laugh. Share. Explore. It always comes back to getting a bite to eat and decent shag.”

    If that is the case, Avi, then where, as can be passionately found all over this blog, does JAZZ fit in? What’s all this jazz doing here? It sure doesn’t look like any of your aforementioned purposes to life does it? That’s pure joy they’re engaged in, Peterson, Ellington, Fitzgerald and the rest, being creative, sharing, listening…lots of great things that don’t seem to have anything to do with feed, fuck or fight. As well, you seem to be pretty passionate about sharing that incredible music with us, aren’t you? If you were just interested in venting, but otherwise felt that an individuals purpose in life is to fight, fuck and die, then why is all that jazz on your blog, Avi? That beautiful music that seems to make you pretty happy, doesn’t it? If your motives were simply as selfish as you insist they are, then why have you put this jazz here?

    You said “I’ve never blown up a school bus, protested at an abortion clinic, been baptized, eaten a kitten or had unprotected sex with a bisexual Haitian junkie prostitute either, but I have opinions about those things.”

    Can you tell me what it’s like to read music, Avi? What’s your opinion about the experience of reading music?

    I’d actually like to hear a little more on this blog from the Avi that loves and appreciates jazz more than the Avi who likes to belittle the perceptions and experience of others. Hey, Avi, I’m not a huge fan of organized religion either – but the question is, “What is the purpose of your life?”

  15. Leznoff, that’s just twaddle. Utter fucking sophistry and barely worthy of a reply.
    Enjoying jazz, or scuba diving or any other thing; feeling revulsion from the sight, smell or sound of a thing or failing to feel anything at all from said things, in no way shape or form prevents anyone from having an opinion on a goddamn thing.
    One’s opinion may be more or less informed by a greater or lesser quality of information, but opinions they are, and no less valid for having been scuba diving or being able to play an instrument.
    Can you tell me what it’s like to read music”
    What artsy, koan bullshit is that?
    My OPINION about the experience of reading music is that if one can, and one enjoys it, one ought to do it. On the other hand, if one cannot or wishes not to, then one ought not do it. It’s a good skill to have if one is a musician – not so important in times of emergency when the instructions are written in French…you doofus.
    Just because YOU choose to give immense weight to the esoteric and “cosmically relevant” delusions you ascribe to the “experience of things” and call the feeling, touching, thinking, feeling, loving, laughing perceptive whole of it all MEANING OF YOUR LIFE, does not mean that you have discovered some great insight without which the lives of others are meaningless, shallow or somehow less “lived”.
    And you call ME arrogant!
    The question is what is the PURPOSE of my life?
    It has none other than to amuse me. No greater meaning, no cosmically relevant necessity, no intrinsic value, and no need to whatsoever to delude myself into seeing myself and my irrelevant place in the cosmos as some extra-special event that gives MEANING to me.
    I am an end in and of itself. I do not require any greater weight. Why do you?

    Why is there all this jazz? What an utterly obtuse question.
    There is jazz for the same reason there is fucking for fun. It is play. Amusement. That’s meaning enough. That we have evolved socially to appreciate it, to share in the recognition of a particularly hot lick, does not imply some greater order, necessitate a search for meaning, or demonstrate that there is “something more to it all, dude!”
    Poetry is nothing more than cave painting. The extended equivalent of “Kilroy was here.”

    I don’t know how you can be so insistently myopic as to imagine that “Feed, fight, flee and fuck” in any way rules out having fun…seeking pleasure…curiosity and experience. One might expect someone attempting your argument to take a broader interpretation of the words FEED and FUCK…at least one that didn’t rule out fun. Nor, for that matter, conclude somehow that it also rules out the joy to be had in sharing that fun – being the social animal MY perspective admits that we are (without finding God writ large into every desire to communicate). But your argument is shallow and mostly indefensible (at least without severe modification), so I suppose such tactics are to be expected.
    In your view, then, no one may have an opinion on genocide unless one has experienced it. For GOD’s sake, Leznoff…think before you say such things.
    I don’t need to belittle the perceptions (or the conclusions) you keep arguing for. They couldn’t be littler.

  16. I would simply disassemble the meat grinder before cleaning it.

  17. blah blah blah,,, you’re like the little kid at the table that won’t stop yammering when the big people are talking because you’re afraid of feeling excluded and has to pretend he’s got something to say when really he should listen.

    Your correct answer to “What is your opinion of the experience of reading music?” is….”I don’t have one because I don’t know how to read music.”

    but you’d never admit to anyone that you don’t know something and open yourself up to learning something new, that would be too threatening. You might feel too vulnerable to humble yourself before someone else like that. That probably happened to you before and you got humiliated, got laughed at and it was horrible for you. You probably cried and afterwards vowed to yourself that you would never be humiliated like that again, would never let anyone get the upper hand on you again, so you closed your heart to the world and began growling and sneering at anyone who felt other than you did.

    Even dogs play. I know you love dogs. I bet some of the few moments you’d ever consider to be moments of pure happiness were sitting by a lake throwing a stick into it and having the black lab lovingly run in and swim after it again and again….Dogs would never betray your trust, or your love.

    But somehow our perceptions and our intellect are more refined and expansive than animals and we owe it to ourselves to make the most of our truly blessed capabilities. Yes, others have committed atrocities, but that doesn’t mean you have to. What will you do to challenge your boundaries, your limits? Starting from the ground up seems like a good idea…

  18. Ad hominem – proof of a weak argument if ever there were.
    In point of fact, squire, I read music…not that that has anything to do with the price of tea. My mother was a piano teacher and I was forced into clarinet lessons as a child. That I do not play, more’s the pity…but I can (rather poorly) read music.
    You may, out of appreciation for debate if nothing else, refrain from putting words in my mouth with such stumbling crap as, “Your correct answer is…” and then inserting some nonsense you wish were the case in order to prop up a shaky position with cobbled together casuistry.

    You say I “close my heart to the world” – what poofy, new age nonsense. You are those animated penguins from that stupid Pixar movie – wandering and wondering about looking for your “heart song” in the capricious flutter of every leaf.
    You say that our intellect is more refined than other animals. How utterly anthropomorphic. You cannot spin a web, fly, or communicate with squeaks and rumbles across a thousand miles of ocean, but you’re certain that you have some greater sensory / perceptive, comprehensive ability – some profound insight that all other life lacks based on what? Your experience of being you and nothing more. You put the lie to your own silly argument. Since you have never EXPERIENCED being a spider, an eagle or a whale, you can have NO OPINION about what it might be like. Your words, Buddha boy, try and be consistent with them.
    You do not see in ultra-violet or infrared, your hearing is limited to frequencies that simply bore bats and dogs. Your sense of smell, while as responsive to frying bacon as any proper Jew, cannot locate decaying carrion from miles away or distinguish prey from predator. But fuck all that…YOU have the expansive and refined perceptions and the intellect to go along with it…because, because…well, because you SAY so, and because there is something desperate in you that NEEDS that to be so regardless of the evidence. Unsubstantiated anthropomorphic twaddle.

    “We owe it to ourselves…” You just make this shit up as you go along. Why do we owe it to ourselves? Do you not see the inherently circular nature of such a statement?
    “Challenge boundaries…limits…”
    To achieve what? To become “more”. More than what? You build the presumption that there is more to become into the question. That is precisely the sort of unwarranted, silly sophistry I refuse. It is not reason, it is hope. You have no evidence, you have faith. Which is fine, just stop blithering about as if you had anything more in the way of proof for your claims than your own (and in my view rather childish) NEED for there to be something more. Your wanting something does not render it true. Your desire to find more does not prove that there IS more to be found.
    And, please…save the “Well, just because you say it isn’t true doesn’t make it not true!”
    To the claimant falls the burden.

    Me? Frankly, I’m rather quite content with the grand majesty of existence as it is. I don’t need some great significant synchronicity – some cosmic relevance to my personal being – in order to find joy in tossing a stick for a dog to fetch. I keep tossing this one…and you keep fetching it.

    Your argument is no different from the doltish blither that there can be no moral life in the absence of an omnipotent, omniscient, interventionist creator.
    How is this great understanding you’ve come to any different in quality or kind than finding Jesus, or committing yourself to any other theological ism? Your insistence that there is more to become through meditation is no different in quality or degree than the Islamic suicide bomber who believes it is God’s will that he kill the infidels and receive the martyr’s raft of virgins in paradise.
    You simply replace “God” or “Allah” with the inner journey of the exploring soul, yet you keep all the dressing and decoration – the call from the higher plane/power; that which is greater than… A bunch of silliness I dismiss along with God and Allah as being unnecessary and at least misleading if not pernicious.

    You accuse me of being incapable of happiness or joy – you drop sneering remarks about such being limited to pedestrian endeavours like tossing a stick for a dog, and in almost the same breath spit out that it is I who have some need to belittle the opinions of others. One wonders if you even see the hypocrisy.
    It is not my fault that your argument crumbles under its own weight. You would accuse the little girl in the Emperor’s New Clothes of lacking fashion sense – not being open to exploring beyond the boundaries of mere fabric and stitching.
    About one thing you’re accidentally correct: Starting from the ground up. More to the point, constructing a view that doesn’t have at its foundation a soft mix of mild desperation and some Celestine Prophecy crap you read in one or another book of puddin’ headed invention.

  19. i’m glad you see the world with a sense of ‘grand majesty’, that’s what i’ve been talking about. I am glad also to have been reminded by your very excellent observations above about the diversity of skills and perceptions of animals, however, I guess the question comes down to- do you think we humans are special, possessing intelligence which makes us distinct from dogs or spiders. Yes, dogs play with sticks, but only people play with machines that explore the nature of reality itself in giant particle accelerators or compose poems that are passed to millions of people via satellites that we put circling around the earth.. I’ve had conversations with you where you felt it was likely that humans were THE ONLY INTELLIGENT LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE! So by your own admission, we humans, unlike less developed intelligent life, are probably unique! That’s rather odd isn’t it? with 300 trillion galaxies each with a few hundred billion stars, we are the ONLY intelligent life out there! I can’t think of any other unique phenomenon in the universe. That makes us pretty special, doesn’t it? Being unique negates the general nihilism you espouse, doesn’t it? Anyway, I happen to disagree with you, and feel that we are not the only intelligent life in the universe, and that to me makes us even more special, not less so. We are ever more deeply exploring the grand majestly of the universe, and hopefully can develop our better natures with our wonderful free will, yet another quality with separates us from animals, if we exercise it.
    You mentioned that poetry is no different from cave paintings and you are right, but you’ve misunderstood their significance – cave paintings represent among our first EVIDENCE of self-awareness and, like poetry, are expressions, creative explorations, of this. We ARE different from all other animals. I’m not interested that much in the mechanisms, either cosmic or darwinian, that got us this way, but am more interested in how to make the most of the precious life I have- at every moment. Your constant descriptions of me as a wooly headed hippy monk sitting around wondering what its all about or saying ‘there must be something more, dude’, show yet more of your diversionary strategizing. Anything rather than submit to the shame of agreeing with someone on your own blog, eh?

  20. @ Mike

    “I’ve had conversations with you where you felt it was likely that humans were THE ONLY INTELLIGENT LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE! So by your own admission, we humans, unlike less developed intelligent life, are probably unique! That’s rather odd isn’t it? with 300 trillion galaxies each with a few hundred billion stars, we are the ONLY intelligent life out there! I can’t think of any other unique phenomenon in the universe. That makes us pretty special, doesn’t it?”

    Yes, it might seem to be very odd if humans really were the only intelligent life in the universe. Since we have no real evidence either way, it would be foolish to just then assume that we are and be satisfied with that.

    “Being unique negates the general nihilism you espouse, doesn’t it?”

    And why would humans being unique now give us a true purpose?

    “Anyway, I happen to disagree with you, and feel that we are not the only intelligent life in the universe, and that to me makes us even more special, not less so. We are ever more deeply exploring the grand majestly of the universe, and hopefully can develop our better natures with our wonderful free will, yet another quality with separates us from animals, if we exercise it.”

    You don’t think other animals have free will yet somehow we humans do?

    “You mentioned that poetry is no different from cave paintings and you are right, but you’ve misunderstood their significance – cave paintings represent among our first EVIDENCE of self-awareness and, like poetry, are expressions, creative explorations, of this.”

    Then would parrots imitating sounds they hear also make them self-aware?

  21. I’ve had conversations with you where you felt it was likely that humans were THE ONLY INTELLIGENT LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE! So by your own admission, we humans, unlike less developed intelligent life, are probably unique! That’s rather odd isn’t it? with 300 trillion galaxies each with a few hundred billion stars, we are the ONLY intelligent life out there! I can’t think of any other unique phenomenon in the universe. That makes us pretty special, doesn’t it? Being unique negates the general nihilism you espouse, doesn’t it? Anyway, I happen to disagree with you, and feel that we are not the only intelligent life in the universe, and that to me makes us even more special, not less so. We are ever more deeply exploring the grand majestly of the universe, and hopefully can develop our better natures with our wonderful free will, yet another quality with separates us from animals, if we exercise it.

    That’s close…and it might be the winner…but it is certainly close to the most stupid fucking thing I’ve ever witnessed expressed.
    It starts with a lie – at best a muddle brained misapprehension of something sort of similar to something you think I almost said once which you didn’t really get but think you did – and immediately descends into Shirley McLane.
    There’s nowhere to go from here…with you…you’re utterly wool headed and fucked…scattered and grasping, and frankly rather obviously desperate.
    I can longer respond reasonably to your insistent fantasy. It is pointless in the face your slapdash armour.

    I concede.

    I invite the two of you to carry on. I can no longer be blithered or bothered.

  22. There’s an expression in my family- not only do we not take no for an answer, we also don’t take yes! …anyway that’s just a joke..

    Sharon, just briefly, Cavemen painting and parrots repeating are not anything like the same thing- because the words parrots use do not MEAN anything , or at least not what they’re supposed to mean, to the parrots that are saying them (or hearing them for that matter). Cave paintings are deliberate gestures filled with crafted meanings that are communicable to others- It’s nuts that you think your comparison is reasonable.

    Anyway, Sharon, I don’t know you, but I know Avi, and Avi, since you have conceded then what it seems I get is the last word.

    Avi, you’ve said “The question is what is the PURPOSE of my life?
    It has none other than to amuse me. ”

    With that rationale you’d probably slit you mother’s throat and watch her gurgle to her death because it amused you. You’d backstab your friends cause it would be a giggle wouldn’t it? The problem with that hedonistic outlook is that as a method of achieving satisfaction it provides deminishing returns, requiring greater and greater amounts of thrill to achieve a momentarily desirable amount of amusement, or more and more rum, for example.

    As said before, this question of what one’s purpose in life is, personally speaking, has nothing to do with Science versus Religion. How are we going to make the most of who we are, of what we are capable?- how are we going to survive if we do not love all our brothers and sisters in our great human family as we ride on this fragile little ball. If we keep going, god or not, we will disappear, and everything we have learned will be lost, because of our greed, our hedonism, our selfishness. We are different from animals because they cannot so easily change their patterns of behavior, their way of seeing the world, their way of relating to it, but we do have that choice, that power, at any moment, to decide to do things differently than the day before. We can apply effort to that which we did not previously try before- and can improve. What could be more purposeful and amusing than that! How mysterious! I wonder what we will learn next? I wonder who we’ll tranform into… It feels good to become emotionally stronger- We’re different from when we were children and that process of change has not stopped- You can guide the direction of that change, if you want to, Avi, but either way it’s going to happen.

    Best wishes,

    Mike Leznoff

  23. Leznoff:

    Your reasoning is flawed, your examples are facile and foolish. There is nothing but sophistry and imbecility in your logic (which you attempt only occasionally and fail to achieve, climbing only so far as reductio ad absurdum).
    I am simply not inclined to debate such trite blithering stupidity constructed upon a foundation of jacked up premises and mystical presumptions for which there is no more evidence than for the tooth fairy.
    While I’m sure Shirley McLane and Deepak Chopra would nod knowingly and laud your desire to explore your vast inner space, it is nothing more than new age ego-stroking bullshit. I leave you to wallow in it.
    You are no more able to do things differently tomorrow than you were yesterday than any other animal – you just like to engage in the delusion that you can. I’m no longer inclined to try and convince you that the voices in your head aren’t real, and I am unqualified to prescribe medications.

  24. “Sharon, just briefly, Cavemen painting and parrots repeating are not anything like the same thing- because the words parrots use do not MEAN anything , or at least not what they’re supposed to mean, to the parrots that are saying them (or hearing them for that matter). Cave paintings are deliberate gestures filled with crafted meanings that are communicable to others- It’s nuts that you think your comparison is reasonable.”

    Mike, one can not really know entirely either way as of yet what the sounds mean to the parrots, or what the cave paintings meant to those ancient people. I see them as relative because they are both trying to mimic something of their surroundings, one of sounds, one of sights. Now that can be a small purpose of science, to maybe someday figure out why.

    Parrots are very intelligent birds that can be taught a language and some can have a surprisingly high vocabulary.

  25. Yes, clearly I can see one of them has been taught to use a keyboard.

  26. Ha, I was waiting for a play on the word parrot coming around sometime. Maybe I could get one of those, should be a better typist than I am.

  27. Is he just another bitter, angry, disappointed, uninspired and somewhat lazy guy?

    Watched it again, trying to see your fuzzy bullshit.
    Can’t believe you missed the cutting clarity of it.
    Disappointed. Most assuredly – given our potential, how could one fail to be disappointed?
    Uninspired? Pfft. Choose your words better. Not only inspired, but inspiring.
    Lazy? Not even a little bit. The sheer effort, commitment, clarity of thought and amount of studious WORK it takes to come to such an argument is, in this world, really quite remarkable. There is nothing lazy about it. Imagine, for a moment, the struggle to shuck off 5000 years of “This is what we believe”.
    Lazy is reading a book and taking it literally because someone told you to.

  28. re-looking at all this I think we were at cross purposes- I just took his statements at face value and you were looking at them (probably as contextually intended) as an argumentative tactic in a religion versus science (or atheism) debate, both valuable angles.

    I apologize for my inflammatory comments- I’m sure you’re not the type of person who would slit your mother’s throat or the like.

    Hope you have a very prosperous and happy wygwor-en New Year and have something adventurous and fun planned for the Chinese New Year. If you haven’t done it already, the SOUTHERN cross-island highway is spectacular.

    Mike

  29. Yeah…the S. cross island is awesome.
    Majestic.
    Stunningly beautiful.
    In fact, entirely sufficient to remind me why I don’t require anything greater than nature itself to be inspired.

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