Civilization peaks and valleys

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Bruno
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Re: Civilization peaks and valleys

Post by Bruno » Fri Apr 17, 2015 7:55 pm

bags123 wrote: When Rome fell, Europe was thrown into almost a 1000 year period of ignorance, and barbarity, before things started to get a little better in the Rennaisance. Look at the rate of our technological progress (?) just in the last 20 years? Can you imagine 1000 years of nothing changing, except maybe the way you were tortured, beaten, or staved to death.
You can blame good old Christianity for the hiatus of approximately 1500 years even though it would be incorrect to say that nothing by way of progress was happening. It's also kind of ironic based on what's happening now that it was the Muslims who kick started the West into thinking again. They were mainly the ones who brought the West back into the West by translating ancient texts and the old Greek philosophers.

A complicated story but as Carl Sagan wrote, in Cosmos, I believe, if it weren't for Christianity we probably have landed on the Moon by the time Dante was writing The Divine Comedy...an interesting thought!

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Re: Civilization peaks and valleys

Post by bags123 » Sat Apr 18, 2015 2:03 pm

Hi Bruno,
I'm a great admirer of Carl Sagan,...but I feel he might have been over exaggerating with the quote you referenced. No doubt Christianity is part of the blame, at least the part of Christianity that became dominant and orthodox. I don't believe Jesus had anything to do with that mess. What Christ's teachings were meant to be, and what they've become are two distinctly different things. Yes,...you're right again about the Muslims. Had it not been for them much more would have been lost. Again you have a religion (Islam) which has changed mightily over the last 1400 years or so. Just proves that good ideas sometimes don't improve over time. They deteriorate until they're barely recognizable from what they were originally. :cheers:
I prefer to keep an open mind,....but not so much that my brains fall out.- Carl Sagan
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Bruno
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Re: Civilization peaks and valleys

Post by Bruno » Sat Apr 18, 2015 3:45 pm

Hello Bags!

I think Carl was exagerating too about a moon landing happening so soon but he did over do it a couple of times, one incident was expecially - and there is no other word for it - stupid. But who knows considering the progress made just during the last 150 years how soon things may have happened. The ancients were much more advanced in their knowledge then most of the middle ages. If that would have been allowed to continue the consequences can only be imagined, both good and bad as always with humans.

When you say "Jesus had nothing to do with that mess" it's absolutely true since he wasn't even the true founder of Christianity. The honor for that belonged to Paul and the consequent history of the era. Jesus was Jewish to the core; he had no truck with gentiles and would sooner insult them than accept them. If he would have gone to one of "their" parties, he would have turned the wine to vinegar. They had no part in Judaism except as actual and potential enemies.

Don't know if you have already seen it or whether you're interested but there is an excellent PBS production called From Jesus to Christ. The filming is magnificent and it puts events in context the importance of which cannot be over emphasized.

This is the first part. There are Four in all. Though a long doc but still short based on the subject it serves admirably to highlight the major events which actually lead to Christianity as a religion distinct from Judaism. Jesus could have had no comprehension of the fallout.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZPKCDOeyMg

Nice to communicate with you again! :cheers:

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Re: Civilization peaks and valleys

Post by bags123 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 5:03 am

Hi Bruno,
Thanks for the tip on the Jesus program. I'll try and catch it. I agree that Paul is the founder of Christianity as it exists today,...but although I agree that Jesus was a Jew and lived his life within the cultural context of 1st century Judaism,....I believe his teachings and philosophy go much deeper.Bob Marley is about the only person recently, who seemed to emulate Christ's message. There have been others as well, perhaps in a lesser way,...Mandela, Gandhi, Che, Fidel,to name just a few. I see Christ in the context of being a Socialist, before that term was coined. The early Christian communities pooled their resources so that "there were no poor among them". Even Paul's first converts lived communally. Somewhere along the line Capitalism reared it's ugly head, and now Christ is imagined to be like Bill Gates, or Bono. Profiteering, Usury, Consumerism, and pollution are the new pillars of the faith. Funny thing is,....Jesus and Christianity are getting the blame. Capitalists have taken over the religion and remade it into something that's the opposite of everything Christ taught. I consider myself a Christian, I don't go to church, I pray on a regular basis, and try my best (failing often) to live my life by the original principals Christ espoused. Not by the reinterpretations which coincide with the supposedly orthodox view. If Christ were here today he'd be accompanied by the same groups of people who followed him 2000 years ago. The poor, the disenfranchised, the oppressed, etc. I doubt he'd be preaching in one of those Mega Churches, I think he'd be aghast at the Vatican. Again,....Christ ain't to blame. He was one of the good guys. It's kind of like the Republican party in the USA claiming to be the party of Abe Lincoln. Not anymore unfortunately. Thanks for your input!!
I prefer to keep an open mind,....but not so much that my brains fall out.- Carl Sagan
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Re: Civilization peaks and valleys

Post by Eternum 1 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:51 am

The latin root or original form of the word religion is religare which means to bind to or be bound to something. While I have investigated several belief systems and respect their positive contributions to the current paradigm; I cannot find a reason to 'bind' myself to any of them to the exclusion of the others.

I perceive some evidence to confirm a process of evolution not only of our species but of bicameral awareness. As such, some hidebound beliefs will always be replaced by more current models of perceived reality. Joining any of the orthodox religions is much like joining the flat earth society in terms of scientific validation. Religion is a lot more perilous to ones health in certain areas of the world, however.

A example in the irrational for me is the recent crisis involving refugees in the Mediterranean Sea. After the rescue of some survivors it was found that almost all of the non-muslim refugees had been deliberately thrown overboard and left to drown long before the boats capsized. Of course the rescued proclaim that God had chosen to save them and they were absolved of the murders they committed to their fellow refugees.

That's a problem with religare or binding oneself to any exclusive belief based on some tribal anecdotal history involving little to no scientific foundation.
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Re: Civilization peaks and valleys

Post by bags123 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:17 am

Hi ET,
I believe I can be a Christian, while still being open to concepts and ideas from other faiths. Honestly,...I think Jesus would have done the same. I'm a terrible scriptorian,...but there's a story from one of the gospels,...(not sure which at the moment, and I'm too lazy to google it) where Christ's disciples come to him complaining that others are casting out demons and blessing people in Jesus name. They were upset that people were doing this with out his authority. Christ responds to them, and I paraphrase; "No problem,...I only wish everyone had the faith to do it". Over the centuries, and with a great deal of help from the Orthodoxy, Christ has become a rather stern, authority figure, when I believe that he was anything but. As far as him hating non-jews,...I submit the parable of the Good Samaritan, as well as his acceptance and baptism of Cornelias the Roman. IMHO,...Christ was a Jew who lived in a 1st century Jewish culture, which had by that time been Hellenized by the Greeks, and Romanized by the Romans. It's not even unreasonable to think that he may have travelled to India where he was influenced by Hindu and/or Buddhist ideas. Anyway,....to date,...I haven't found a better example to try to emulate. :2cents:
I prefer to keep an open mind,....but not so much that my brains fall out.- Carl Sagan
Your brain is like an umbrella. It only works when it's open- Someone Smart


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Re: Civilization peaks and valleys

Post by Eternum 1 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:05 am

Tell me if I'm wrong but I think your avatar of Christ represents your strong pluralist views and that isn't a coincidence as many people believe if God didn't exist we would have created him in 'our image'. On a personal level I find Christ attractive as a role model. The "Messiah" rationale not so much. Yet among the sectarians there is seldom agreement as to what Christ represents. To messianic Jews he is one thing, to Muslims another prophet albeit a minor one, to Evangelicals he is a virgin with zero tolerance for gays and uppity women and to the different orthodoxies something else entirely.

Point being, your 'Christ' is like you or who you aspire to be like. In this way he is similar to the household Gods of pagan times or the avatars often used by Wiccans and Druids. When you can choose among a pantheon for the avatar you admire the most than it makes a certain sense. The problem with orthodoxy is the patriarchs want to tell you what "Christ" represents and your definition may be moot to them.

I respect your choice of religare or the avatar you choose to bind yourself to because the avatar is your better nature. That to me is sensible while the tribal totems and culture warriors version of the divine much less so.
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Re: Civilization peaks and valleys

Post by bags123 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:16 am

Point being, your 'Christ' is like you or who you aspire to be like. In this way he is similar to the household Gods of pagan times or the avatars often used by Wiccans and Druids
I think Christ must have had a great sense of humor too. He would have liked you. :mrgreen: :cheers:
I prefer to keep an open mind,....but not so much that my brains fall out.- Carl Sagan
Your brain is like an umbrella. It only works when it's open- Someone Smart


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Re: Civilization peaks and valleys

Post by bags123 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:24 am

Culture Warriors? Arn't we all? :computer:
I prefer to keep an open mind,....but not so much that my brains fall out.- Carl Sagan
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Re: Civilization peaks and valleys

Post by Eternum 1 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 6:40 pm

I suppose the counter culture that characterized our generation proved less durable or sagacious than we might have believed back in the day but it had it's moments. I agree we all present the culture warrior image to some degree; Americans more than most. Perhaps it's the corporate message of conforming individualism that presents that image.

I think or rather 'believe' that our generation was unique in many respects largely because we learned to 'question everything' including the philosophies and religions we inherited from our culture. This individualism was more than a platitude or a brand image at one time and in some respects still is; at least to those of us who lived through that period.

We were, if you will; 'counter culture' warriors favoring peace, acceptance and love over jingoism, intolerance and bigotry. That was where and when real 'individuals' formed alliances mostly without today's predatory motives. That was the only time we walked the talk, so to speak.
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Re: Civilization peaks and valleys

Post by bags123 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:50 am

What was so different back in the day? Another person I admire greatly, who's now unfortunately passed away, was Howard Zinn. The guy who wrote "A Peoples History of America". He was a professor at Boston UNiversity when I attended back in the early 70's. He always said the problem with America is not civil obedience, it's not having enough civil disobedience. I tend to agree. We've become so placated by our consumer lifestyle, that we've become drunken with apathy. Myself included. I could do more,....but much of my thought process regarding the world and what's happening in it, ring hollow to most of the younger generation. Hey,...I hope it works out for them. For now,...I"m just going to ride out the rest of my time,...fat and semi-happy. If I had my life to live over, knowing what I know now, I'd move to Jamaica after High School. Live up in the Blue Mountains eating mangos and bananas. Feeding my goats. :cheers:
I prefer to keep an open mind,....but not so much that my brains fall out.- Carl Sagan
Your brain is like an umbrella. It only works when it's open- Someone Smart


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Re: Civilization peaks and valleys

Post by Eternum 1 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:12 pm

Don't forget that we were one generation removed from a million or so emaciated Jews and Socialists rotting in lime lined pits in a little opus called the Holocaust and our challenge to change the world was a undertaking of gargantuan proportions. It was inevitable that we would naturally grew older and more disillusioned, our sanctuaries overcrowded with the mass culture of "hip". Our serene and undiscovered places in the far corners of the world become a sweltering home to more and more crowded cruise ships and hotel chains (including your Jamaica). We always destroy what we covet regardless of our motives.

Vietnam was our call to conscience and it was because of the consciousness raising of the holocaust that we rejected mass violence and it's accompanied patriotic jingoism. No one hates war more than those who live through it and no one loves it more than the posers in suits with a sweat factory made flag pin on their lapels. That much will always be the case and it's why we still matter in a age of domestic propaganda; the threat posed by the current paradigm is something that Mr Zinn often spoke of.

Everyone seeks comfort in their dotage to some degree. Facing tasers, billy clubs and tear gas to exercise our 'free speech' isn't nearly as romantic in my 60's as it may have been in my 20's. But if I'm not willing to face a little pain that means others will face a lot more for a lot longer. Basic arithmetic, that.

So I will take on the battles that I can manage while watching my children take up the struggle that started before the last great depression. I still go to Portland, Oregon and look at the name of my Grandfather on the founders wall of the Labor Temple there. A survivor of the first world war he had bones broken by the Pinkertons and off duty cops when agitating for better wages and working conditions. Another relative was a volunteer with the Mac Paps and went to fight Franco, Hitler and Mussolini while the Bush family was supporting them with arms and money.

So the torch is passed to each generation and we all do what we think is best. It's good to look in the mirror with a clear conscience and start each day with hope for the future. I still do. Maybe it's something to do with creative thinking that poets and writers all seem to share. We know that inspiration comes from a communal well not from ego. I think that's why every revolution has it's poets from Jose Marti and Pablo Neruda to Thich Naht Hahn.

Anyway I digress so that's enough from me on this topic. Cheers buddy.
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Re: Civilization peaks and valleys

Post by MJPease » Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:12 am

Hello Bruno, Bags and ET, As a group in this exchange your words never cease to amaze me. A wealth of knowledge you three have generously shared with me over the years. I sincerely thank you for it. :thumbsup: Take Care
Take me back, so far back, adjust this fate. Afeared lately of pen, in abscence of light. The fear I might stumble upon a plagiarized soul. Wipe this dark slate clean, regain my thought. Add the words that rekindle my depth of soul.

From: Summers Discontent 7-24-02

Sincerely

Michael J Pease

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bags123
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Re: Civilization peaks and valleys

Post by bags123 » Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:30 am

Always great communicating with you guys regardless of the subject. :cheers: Anything except politics and religion. :mrgreen:
I prefer to keep an open mind,....but not so much that my brains fall out.- Carl Sagan
Your brain is like an umbrella. It only works when it's open- Someone Smart


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Re: Civilization peaks and valleys

Post by MJPease » Thu Oct 01, 2015 11:23 am

Much in our World On Edge has taken place since bags started this topic, I unfortunately have not witnessed anything over the summer that says our civilization is heading in the right direction. The Popes visit seemed to be a positive and then they dropped the bomb, a secret meeting with KIm Davis and his so called encouraging message to be strong with her recent civil disobedience. The Woman is a paid civil servant with a job to administer the laws of Her state. If Ms Davis is against this law then she should punch out or resign, pick up a sign and protest in front of the building. There is this thing called the separation of church and state. This is a very dangerous precedent set that someone paid to administer to laws of the land refuse's to do so based on his or her own personal feelings. I'm sure that there was some oath or swearing in this woman under took. Also when Obama and Putin had their one on one it was stated that they found common ground I assumed that this was with Syria and ISIS. Now the news has stated that Russia is flying and dropping bombs to help Assad and we are doing the same for the Rebels. How the hell can this be common ground. We are both actively involved with military missions on opposite sides. When has this not been seen as a war against each other? What or where is the common ground? OK! Here are the rules of engagement for Syria you bomb and kill one side and we will bomb and kill the other but this will not have a negative impact on our relationship.
I'm so sorry to say that I believe we as world wide civilization are on the way to a Valley so deeply full of humanistic ineptitude that we will never find our way to another peak. In relationship to our own US ineptitude.The thought of McCarthy becoming Speaker Of The House is repulsive to me. Take Care
Take me back, so far back, adjust this fate. Afeared lately of pen, in abscence of light. The fear I might stumble upon a plagiarized soul. Wipe this dark slate clean, regain my thought. Add the words that rekindle my depth of soul.

From: Summers Discontent 7-24-02

Sincerely

Michael J Pease

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