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Offline Babdah

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desire for the transcendent
« on: September 27, 2011, 09:57:43 PM »
If there is no God, we don’t make sense, so how do we explain human longings and desire for the transcendent?  How do we even explain human questions for meaning and purpose, or inner thoughts like, why do I feel unfulfilled or empty?  Why do we hunger for the spiritual, and how do we explain these longings if nothing can exist beyond the material world?
“We live in an age disturbed, confused, bewildered, afraid of its own forces, in search not merely of its road but even of its direction

Online JeffPT

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2011, 10:18:49 PM »
First of all, without God, the universe actually makes a lot more sense.  Second, I don't believe in God, and I feel great.  No emptiness here.

As for the rest of it; there are lots of great answers.  Some of them will include such things as wishful thinking, a desire for ultimate justice, the human ego, a fear of death (more so, a fear of no longer existing), etc.  But the most important thing to remember is this....

The truth doesn't give a shit about how you feel about it.  It doesn't care if you feel empty inside.  It doesn't care if you long for the transcendent.  It doesn't care if you hunger for the spiritual.  It doesn't care if you don't like it.  The truth just IS. And regardless of how it makes you feel, an adult response would be to acknowledge it and move forward in the manner that suits you best. 

Just because you long for something to be true, doesn't make it true.  Acknowledging that is a grown up thing to do.   
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline superfly

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2011, 11:23:40 PM »
If there is no God, we don’t make sense


maybe you feel this way, i do not.

so how do we explain human longings and desire for the transcendent?

i do not long or desire for the transcendent (what ever that may be). I'm sure there are others who share this lack of longing/desire as well.

How do we even explain human questions for meaning and purpose, or inner thoughts like, why do I feel unfulfilled or empty?

i have plenty of meaning and purpose in my life, thanks.
i'm an agnostic atheist and i do not feel unfulfilled or empty. how do you explain that?


Why do we hunger for the spiritual, and how do we explain these longings if nothing can exist beyond the material world?

who is this "we" you keep speaking of?

i have none of these longings, and i suppose there might be stuff that exists beyond the material world. so what?
Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile!
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Offline Noman Peopled

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2011, 02:20:18 AM »
If there is no God, we don’t make sense, so how do we explain human longings and desire for the transcendent?  How do we even explain human questions for meaning and purpose, or inner thoughts like, why do I feel unfulfilled or empty?  Why do we hunger for the spiritual, and how do we explain these longings if nothing can exist beyond the material world?
Well, without some sort of direction - sense - people would do nothing and quickly die out. Easy to see why evolution would "build in" motivators.
Longing for the transcendent and spiritual is easily explained too; people like to think that everything is in some (cosmic) order, or if it isn't, it will be - precisely because it doesn't appear to be. What better to combat fear of death than to claim it doesn't exist, for instance?
Note that human longings are hardly limited to spirituality. History shows that basically anything can fill that human demand under the right circumstances, from war to mathematics - people also long for, say, sex. If there is no Aphrodite, does that make any less sense?
« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 02:21:57 AM by Noman Peopled »
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Offline rickymooston

Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2011, 03:09:41 AM »
Don't think you tried hard to answer your question.

If there is no God, we don’t make sense, so how do we explain human longings and desire for the transcendent?

Off the top of my head, without the benefit of actual psychological research on the subject?  :police:
- humans are social species we look to belong to cliches.
- we have brains that look for patterns

The above might offer some theories. Now obviously, psycologists may have tons of other theories explaining why religious beliefs capture the human mind.

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How do we even explain human questions for meaning and purpose, or inner thoughts like, why do I feel unfulfilled or empty?

Again, I'd want to actually look into what reasons feeling fullfilled might serve. As social animasls belonging the group offers benefits.

Meaning can be seen in the social context of wanting to belong to a group.

Another aspect of meaning is related perhaos to understanding how things work.

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  Why do we hunger for the spiritual, and how do we explain these longings if nothing can exist beyond the material world?

What is the spiritual? If you listen to nice music, is that spiritual?

Is the meanng in poetry spiritual?

Why do you think material and spiritual are mutually exclusive?
"i had learn to focus i what i could do rather what i couldn't do", Rick Hansen when asked about getting a disabling spinal cord injury at 15. He continues to raise money for spinal cord research and inspire peoople to "make a difference". He doesnt preach any religion.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2011, 06:36:01 AM »
If there is no God, we don’t make sense, so how do we explain human longings and desire for the transcendent? 

There are no dragons.  I wish I had one.  Therefore dragons must exist?   :o
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline One Above All

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2011, 06:41:58 AM »
If there is no God, we don’t make sense, so how do we explain human longings and desire for the transcendent? 

There are no dragons.  I wish I had one.  Therefore dragons must exist?   :o

Exactly. This is not "desire for the transcendent", this is good (metaphorically speaking) old-fashioned anthropocentrism. Humans want to believe that they can influence the universe because of our egos. That's all there is to it. We want to believe we're "special"

Note: The "we" used throughout my post only refers to people who actually believe such nonsense
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline gonegolfing

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2011, 07:16:56 AM »
If there is no God, we don’t make sense, so how do we explain human longings and desire for the transcendent?  How do we even explain human questions for meaning and purpose, or inner thoughts like, why do I feel unfulfilled or empty?  Why do we hunger for the spiritual, and how do we explain these longings if nothing can exist beyond the material world?

Well, if you're a theist and truly serious about those questions, there's plenty of solid answers to them at bookstores and your local libraries.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you more than likely already have your mind set and think you know the answers to those questions and just want to argue about our answers or preach with yours ?

Again, if you're serious, then I'd suggest you get off your ass and go do some serious reading and study, like the rest of us did, before asking questions that have been answered centuries ago.

And by the way, just because we're not knuckle dragging and eating grasses and living in trees anymore, like the rest of our primate relatives, doesn't mean you have to go and get all gaa gaa and think we're truly unique or special just because we can contemplate things. Evidence clearly shows we're still prone to savagery and stupidity and delusions if we're not careful and still fight basically over the same things that our smaller brained hairier cousins do.

You're feeling unfulfilled and empty because your an uninformed selfish brat. Read lots, think lots, and then get over yourself and accept the fact that you're the primate that you truly are, and all will be much better  ;)

Cheers
"I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism"....Penn Jillette.

Offline plethora

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2011, 07:46:33 AM »
You're feeling unfulfilled and empty because your an uninformed selfish brat. Read lots, think lots, and then get over yourself and accept the fact that you're the primate that you truly are, and all will be much better  ;)

Nice bitch slap!  8)
The truth doesn't give a shit about our feelings.

Offline screwtape

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2011, 07:55:06 AM »
If there is no God, we don’t make sense,

I do not accept this premise.  Please explain. 

I find we make less sense with god.  The omnipotent creator of all being created the universe to display his glory to us?  It is all there for us.  Really?  In xianity, we are the center of the universe.  Without god, we are insignificant, barely existant specks of mostly water that the universe does not notice.  I find the former to be the height of ego, while the latter more accurate.

He created two prototypes in a paradise garden and left in it a tree from which he did not want them to eat and a serpent which may or may not have been god's sworn enemy?  Really?  Sounds like a bumbling "omnipotent" being set them up for failure.

According to xian theology, people are the most awful, disgusting, horrible creatures worthy only of destruction while simultaneously being the most precious, important things god loves infinitely and above all else.  Really?  T

We are supposed to be "above" animals, different from them, better than them.  Yet, by any definition of the word, we are animals.  There is nothing not animal-like about us.  We follow every rule of biology and natural law that every other animal does.  We may have more developed brains, but so what?  Every animal has its specialty.  It seems to me that this would make perfect sense in light of evolution. 

Maybe if we were made out of stainless steel and actually broke laws of the universe I would find it convincing that some magical power were behind it all.

so how do we explain human longings and desire for the transcendent?

It produces chemicals in our brain that feel good.

How do we even explain human questions for meaning and purpose, or inner thoughts like, why do I feel unfulfilled or empty?  Why do we hunger for the spiritual, and how do we explain these longings if nothing can exist beyond the material world?

brain chemistry.
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Offline plethora

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2011, 07:59:36 AM »
If there is no God, we don’t make sense,

The universe exists. Humans exist. What part of that doesn't make sense to you?
It's plugging a god in there that makes no sense.

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so how do we explain human longings and desire for the transcendent?

People have brains capable of abstract thought. People also have emotions. Some people will feel that way. So what?

It's very arrogant of you to assume every human has longings and desire for the 'transcendent'. I certainly don't have any such longing or desire.

... and desiring something doesn't make it real.

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How do we even explain human questions for meaning and purpose,

Like I said, people have brains capable of abstract thought and people have emotions. Everybody assigns meaning a purpose to their lives. Some people assign it rationally and others believe in fictional deities.

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or inner thoughts like, why do I feel unfulfilled or empty?

I don't feel unfulfilled or empty. I have myself, my loved ones, my music, my work ... my life fulfills me. Not some fictional daddy in the sky.

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Why do we hunger for the spiritual, and how do we explain these longings if nothing can exist beyond the material world?

Again, the arrogance of assuming everyone hungers for such things. I have absolutely no 'hunger for the 'spiritual' (whatever that means). Reality is good enough for me thank you very much.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 08:01:18 AM by plethora »
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Offline violatedsmurf80

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2011, 09:38:16 AM »
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If there is no God, we don’t make sense[/quot]

That is such a sweeping statment, to assume every body thinks this that what seperaterates us from other aminal that we can reson and figure it out.

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How do we even explain human questions for meaning and purpose, or inner thoughts

it is easy, you have to figure out meaning and purpose it for yourself. 

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Why do we hunger for the spiritual

because you dont know anything else in life, figure it for your self and then you will learn that hunger for spiritual will demish and a thurst for knowledge will sumcomb you which will never be fill
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Offline Babdah

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2011, 11:47:52 AM »
I understand all the points made in this thread but to say that the only thing that separates us from animals is consciousness (from what i understand), if this is the case whose to say that when animals develop one (chimps for example)and they wont become the dominant species.     
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Offline One Above All

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2011, 11:50:16 AM »
I understand all the points made in this thread but to say that the only thing that separates us from animals is consciousness (from what i understand), if this is the case whose to say that when animals develop one (chimps for example)and they wont become the dominant species.     

What is "consciousness" to you?[1]
 1. This is a serious question. As far as I know, "consciousness" has not been defined
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline Omen

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2011, 11:53:16 AM »
If there is no God, we don’t make sense,

Non-sequitur, how do you arrive to the conclusion that 'sense' means anything related to 'us', much less the existence or non-existence of a god?

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so how do we explain human longings and desire for the transcendent?

What human longing for the transcendent?  What is the transcendent?

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  How do we even explain human questions for meaning and purpose, or inner thoughts like, why do I feel unfulfilled or empty?

Psychological studies and subjective emotional dependencies.

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  Why do we hunger for the spiritual

What hunger for spirituality? What is spiritual?

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and how do we explain these longings if nothing can exist beyond the material world?

What does the explanation of these 'longings' have anything to do with existing or not existing?

Your entire post is filled with nonsensical non-sequiturs and loaded terminology, literally not a single thing is relevant to explaining anything to do with reality or even if we gave you the benefit of the doubt of a god existing.  The implication that the only 'purpose' or 'meaning' that exists can only exist with the existence of a god is as meaningless as implying that no 'purpose' or 'meaning' can exist without a god.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2011, 12:26:22 PM »
if this is the case whose to say that when animals develop one (chimps for example)and they wont become the dominant species.     

no one.  It is entirely possible. 
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Offline Omen

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2011, 12:29:52 PM »
I understand all the points made in this thread but to say that the only thing that separates us from animals is consciousness

Your first statement is not necessarily true because consciousness is not defined and no one made that statement in this thread except you.

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if this is the case whose to say that when animals develop one (chimps for example)and they wont become the dominant species.     

What does that have to do with anything?
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Offline albeto

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2011, 02:36:21 PM »
I understand all the points made in this thread but to say that the only thing that separates us from animals is consciousness (from what i understand), if this is the case whose to say that when animals develop one (chimps for example)and they wont become the dominant species.     
We know chimps have consciousness.  So do elephants and dogs and a variety of other animals, birds and...well, fish?  I dunno, they seem pretty clueless to me.  If you define consciousness even in a very vague way, you refer simply to the relationship between the mind and the understanding of it and its place in nature.  The character of god need not apply to this equation. 

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2011, 04:18:10 AM »
if this is the case whose to say that when animals develop one (chimps for example)and they wont become the dominant species.     

no one.  It is entirely possible.

Well quite.  Or machines, for that matter.  It seems that Babdah wants to hold humans as something apart, something special, so that it would be literally unthinkable that any OTHER species might overtake us.

In practice, of course, its grossly unlikely (assuming we don't wipe ourselves out).  But I CAN see a point not too many generations away where a primate or computer is granted at least some of the rights that we currently grant only to homo sapiens.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline plethora

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2011, 04:52:23 AM »
I understand all the points made in this thread but to say that the only thing that separates us from animals is consciousness (from what i understand), if this is the case whose to say that when animals develop one (chimps for example)and they wont become the dominant species.     

I certainly don't think 'consciousness' is the one thing that separates us from other animals.

Many animals experience 'consciousness' in the sense that they are self-aware. All of the great apes, dolphins, killer whales and elephants can recognize themselves in the mirror. So I do not think 'consciousness' is exclusive to humans.

What separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom is our intelligence. We have been the only species capable of complex speech (spoken and written) and highly technological advancement.

There is nothing that prevents another species from evolving into a similarly intelligent species or eventually becoming the dominant species if circumstances lead to that.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2011, 06:08:48 AM »
We have been the only species capable of complex speech (spoken and written) .....

Heh - so far as we know.  Certainly by reference to what we describe as intelligence (which I've always suspected is somewhat circular), but can we KNOW that a dog's barking and sniffing and body posture does not transmit a similiar amount of information to that in a human interaction? 

A dog's concerns will be quite different to those of a human when "conversing"......preparedness to mate, general health, where the food is.....

...hang on......   ;D
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Offline screwtape

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2011, 07:15:35 AM »
But I CAN see a point not too many generations away where a primate or computer is granted at least some of the rights that we currently grant only to homo sapiens.

I think the goddamn squid or goddamn octopi are smarter.  And they creep me the heck out.
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Offline plethora

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2011, 07:17:03 AM »
We have been the only species capable of complex speech (spoken and written) .....

Heh - so far as we know.  Certainly by reference to what we describe as intelligence (which I've always suspected is somewhat circular), but can we KNOW that a dog's barking and sniffing and body posture does not transmit a similiar amount of information to that in a human interaction? 

A dog's concerns will be quite different to those of a human when "conversing"......preparedness to mate, general health, where the food is.....

...hang on......   ;D

^^ ha! :D

There is 'complex' communication between animals for sure. Certain apes are quite organized in large groups when it comes to attack strategies (i.e. ambush techniques). Dolphins are quite organized when it comes to feeding off a school of fish too.

However, none of this can compare to the complexity of language of humans. Walk into a book store or a library and really contemplate how much information is there.

We also win at complex abstract thought and even musical creativity. I've never seen a group of bonobos or dolphins make complex music with complex time signatures.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2011, 08:25:19 AM »
We also win at complex abstract thought and even musical creativity. I've never seen a group of bonobos or dolphins make complex music with complex time signatures.

Oh, I absolutely agree with that - how could I not? - my disquiet is in the conclusions drawn from it.  Take whalesong, for example.  We have no idea what it communicates, so how can we be positive that it does not contain the same degree of abstraction or creativity? 

I suppose....say an Englishman of the 18th century came across a Russian from the 21st.  He would not understand the language, and the Russian waving his flash drive (that contained all the knowledge of the world) at him would mean nothing.  Dress that Russian in a gorilla suit and how would he tell it was intelligent? 

My point - if I have one  ;) - is that we can only really measure intelligence by comparison to our own particular type of intelligence: and then only where we are able to communicate effectively. 

I read a funny piece once about trying to test the imtelligence of penguins - they gave a verbal reasoning test (on pen & paper) to a penguin and a researcher.  The penguin scored zero, the researcher 100.  Someone pointed out that the penguin couldn't read English and so the test was flawed.  So, they translated the test into Serbo-Croat....and both penguin and researcher scored zero.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline plethora

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2011, 08:39:04 AM »
^^^ I see your point.

It was Ludwig Wittgenstein who said "If a lion could speak, we would not be able to understand him." The lion's frame of reference for thought processing is so far removed from the human that even if it spoke English it wouldn't make any sense.

But we are still the species that exceeds by far in a collection of intelligent abilities.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2011, 11:06:34 AM »
I bet the first thing chimps would use an internet and a camera for is to send photos of their genitals to other chimps.
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Offline Noman Peopled

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2011, 01:04:06 PM »
I bet the first thing chimps would use an internet and a camera for is to send photos of their genitals to other chimps.
Isn't that what people do? If not, it's pretty damn close ...
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Online Azdgari

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2011, 01:33:28 PM »
I believe that was his point. :P
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Offline Babdah

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Re: desire for the transcendent
« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2011, 07:04:09 PM »
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but you more than likely already have your mind set and think you know the answers to those questions and just want to argue about our answers or preach with yours ?

No i sure dont know them or want to preach!!!!   If i knew the answers i would not of ask them in here!!!! 

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If a lion could speak, we would not be able to understand him." The lion's frame of reference for thought processing is so far removed from the human that even if it spoke English it wouldn't make any sense.


Much like me!!!

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What is "consciousness" to you?

something that thinks before it acts

If animals had a "consciousness"  they would not act out of pure instinct, therefore would not kill a person that feed them
“We live in an age disturbed, confused, bewildered, afraid of its own forces, in search not merely of its road but even of its direction