Re: compassion (was: Re: [humanism-174] Aha!)

From: ken
Sent on: Tuesday, August 7, 2007 12:23 PM
Mark,

Thanks!  Yeah, I'd call that fairly conclusive evidence of human
compassion.  If you find any more, please let me know.

ken

On 08/06/[masked]:37 PM somebody named Marni Tiborsky wrote:
> Ah yes, compassion... I knew I'd miss something important in my quickie
> Atheist "bible". 
> Here's some possible evidence of compassion from WAY back.
> 
> http://en.wikiped...­
> 
> Mark
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of
> ken
> Sent: Monday, August 06,[masked]:35 PM
> To: [address removed]
> Subject: compassion (was: Re: [humanism-174] Aha!)
> 
> 
> Todd, Mark, and others,
> 
> Buddhism typically starts out at what seems to be the heart of moral
> matters: compassion.  Beginners attending first classes and/or reading
> introductory books on Buddhism are told about compassion, that this
> entails relieving suffering, compassion's effect on karma, and that we
> should have compassion for all sentient beings.  Though it's one of
> those things which would be difficult, if not impossible, to prove, it
> seems obvious that compassion for others is the origin of the more
> formalized moral codes espoused by Moses, Christ, Hammurabi and others.
>  I.e., isn't compassion for others the founding principle of all moral
> codes and what, in a more declarative fashion, they are all trying to
> counsel?
> 
> Even as a very young dude in confirmation classes I saw the deficiency
> in a rules-based morality.  For instance, since there wasn't any
> commandment against it, I could stick a wad of gum in Pamela Kowalski's
> hair and still be a good Christian.  Nor was there any commandment
> against sprinkling cayenne pepper in Beater McButtsky's jockstrap.  So
> was that cool too?  Rules, it seemed, were slippery and easy to get
> around.  Christianity would allow all kinds of mischief and so being a
> Christian and being simply a good person weren't necessarily the same
> thing.  The less rules-based principle of compassion, while it left it
> to the individual to assess particular acts, or perhaps because of this,
> includes better and more of what happens in life.
> 
> At the same time, it seemed a bit odd in intro Buddhism books and
> classes that so much emphasis was put on compassion; it was as the
> writers and speakers somehow believed people never heard of or
> experienced it before.  Sure, it was worth mentioning, but who could
> possibly not already understand and fully feel compassion, especially
> those who bothered to pick up a book or attend a lecture on Buddhism?
> Okay, maybe the intent of the extended discourses on compassion was to
> chase off the devout hedonists who'd heard from somewhere some tabloid
> headline about Tantric Buddhism and thought there'd be an excellent orgy
> at the end of the class.  If not, why were they making us suffer through
> all this talk about compassion?
> 
> There are of course people in the world who seem not to fathom
> compassion at all-- e.g., most murderers, rapists, and
> neo-conservatives, but even some college professors, Boy Scout Masters,
> and musicians.  So perhaps it's a worthy endeavor to try to wake up
> people to it, to try to help them join the community of human beings and
> by whatever means which might be effective, including Christianity,
> Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, or philosophy.  However, this isn't to say,
> nor should we delude ourselves into believing, that compassion for
> others was unknown prior to religion or philosophy.  Several months ago
> an anthropologist on NPR told of a prehistoric human's leg bone that
> showed a severe break which had mended.  The anthropologist concluded
> from this that someone had to have helped the person during the long
> time it took for the leg to heal.  I tried to find reference to this on
> the web, couldn't, but did find
> <http://dmla.clan....;­
> ,
> an anthropologist's report of a dog with a broken leg that was nursed
> back to health, the evidence dating back 6000 years ago.  In talking
> with another anthropologist, I learned that there are quite a few known
> instances indicative of compassion for others in prehistory.
> 
> The point is that compassion didn't begin with Christianity or any other
> monotheistic religion, at least there's no evidence for this, no myths
> describing this, no reference to it in ancient texts, no artifacts to
> support the supposition.  Personally, I see no reason for not believing
> that humans weren't caring creatures from the very beginning and so no
> reason to believe that organized religion is a requirement for a
> more/ethical society.
> 
> 
> On 08/04/[masked]:26 PM somebody named Marni Tiborsky wrote:
>> Hi Todd,
>>
>>  
>>
>> In answer to your question about what gives Atheists morals, if it isn't
>> written in some book written by humans for humans, I believe, and I am
>> not speaking for the group here, that my morals were taught to me by my
>> parents, who are very wise indeed. Does this mean that they received
>> their morals from a higher power, and just passed that knowledge onto
>> me? I think not. I believe that as human beings, because of our
>> intrinsic value, and our brains, which can think beyond what others tell
>> us to think, we can reason that there is right and wrong. We decide for
>> ourselves based on facts and the "doing unto others" rule, and we make
>> our own decisions on whether to do the right thing or the wrong thing.
>> Some people don't care about morals, and that is their prerogative. They
>> have chosen to think of right and wrong differently. I have never, for
>> one second, believed that some "one" is pulling my strings. To do so
>> would be giving up my mind. I do not like to be led like a sheep, and I
>> don't think other people should be led either. Since I believe in the
>> science, not the fiction, of how the Earth was formed, and the universe,
>> etc. etc., there cannot be a "lord", so therefore, there is no higher
>> power with any hold on me or my life decisions. Why should people rely
>> on books that are written basically to enslave and put fear in them? Why
>> should they rely on these books at all? Of course, I would agree that
>> the "ten commandments" per se are very good guidelines, but they were
>> part of a story, and I don't need a story to live by. Please don't get
>> me wrong, my favorite books are fiction - I enjoy Stephen King and Dean
>> Koontz primarily, but I certainly wouldn't live my life based on any
>> moral code they would put in their stories. That would be ridiculous.
>> I'm sure there might be people out there who think Stephen King is a
>> "god". More power to them. Why is it that people assume that because you
>> have no religion and you don't cling to the bible, or whatever other
>> book is out there, that you can't be a moral, upstanding citizen? I
>> don't believe in the devil either, so there goes the "devil worshipping"
>> theory right out the window as well.
>>
>>  
>>
>> I definitely agree with your point that humans have the ability to
>> either save or destroy. However, I don't believe that humans are any
>> more valuable on this planet, simply by being, than a butterfly. Without
>> the help of the butterfly and the bee, we wouldn't survive. Intrinsic
>> value or not, if a small creature like the aforementioned, can create
>> what we need to survive, doesn't that mean it has a moral code as well?
>> I mean, a bee can certainly sting you. Does that mean the bee is evil?
>> Or is it just stinging you because you caused it to defend itself
>> against attack? Do bees and butterflies have moral codes? Does any other
>> animal on this planet have a moral code besides humans? I think they do.
>> I think that by definition, any living creature on this Earth can be
>> "moral". According to the very definition of moral, it is so varied and
>> based on so many circumstances, that one could argue for any given
>> situation that an animal is presented with, that it makes moral
>> decisions based on its environment and the other animals involved. Also,
>> as far as humans go, one person's morality may be another person's sin.
>> Interesting thought. So, if that's the case, and one goes by one book to
>> shape all of his/her moral behavior, there might be a very good
>> possibility that I could call that individual amoral, simply because I
>> don't believe in that person's code of conduct, and I don't believe in
>> the book from which he/she received morality.
>>
>>  
>>
>> Ok, I guess I've talked enough. Please know that I respect the fact that
>> you have shared with us your belief system.
>>
>> Thanks for reading.
>>
>> Marni
>>
>>  
>>
>> --------------------­--------------------­--------------------­------------
>>
>> *From:* [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] *On
>> Behalf Of *Todd Maher
>> *Sent:* Saturday, August 04,[masked]:39 PM
>> *To:* [address removed]
>> *Subject:* RE: [humanism-174] Aha!
>>
>>  
>>
>> Hey, Mark,
>>
>> I'm glad you were able to look through the Mises website. I work at a
>> bank, and much like yourself, I am more driven by comfort than money. I
>> like money, but the things I can buy with it is outweighed by the time I
>> would have to invest.
>>
>> Point of interest on whether you are a good capitalist or not... I agree
>> that if you are lending out your equipment to work sound for a gig,
>> there should be something taken off of the top for equipment
>> depreciation, risk of damage, and general wear and tear to recover the
>> purchase price of the equipment. However, as long as the business can
>> maintain itself and those working in the business are happy, there is
>> nothing wrong with that. However, in order to continue operating the
>> business, money has to be made to support the lives of those working.
>>
>> And on to Religion...
>>
>> I would have to say that humans have more intrinsic value than a
>> butterfly, simply for the fact that we have the ability to help or harm
>> the world exponentially more than any other animal. Humans developed
>> nuclear weapons, nerve gas, biochemical warfare, etc. A butterfly cannot
>> do such massively destructive things. Humans have also created
>> hospitals, charities, orphanages and political action committees, which
>> are positive things that a butterfly would be unable to manifest. That
>> on its face would indicate that the fact that we have complex brains and
>> the bodies to be directed by them, would make us more intrinsically
>> valuable. I would hire a human to do the sound for my wedding, not a
>> butterfly.
>>
>> I think that your philosophy is fine if it works for you. Mine works
>> well for me. I try to be fearful of judgment of the Lord, but I often
>> make mistakes. I guess  you can say that He is my conscience. In the
>> case of atheism, what code do atheists use of what is right or wrong?
>> The Bible, the Koran, the Talmud or whatever religion you choose have
>> been the guiding morals of individuals in their respective regions.
>> Where is the root of right and wrong for atheists? I'm assuming atheism
>> has been around for a long time, but I don't know their source of morals.
>>
>>  
>>
>> Todd
>>
>>     -----Original Message-----
>>     From: Marni Tiborsky
>>     Sent: Aug 4,[masked]:32 AM
>>     To: [address removed]
>>     Subject: RE: [humanism-174] Aha!
>>
>>
>>     Todd,
>>
>>     I checked out the Mises site. fascinating and very informative. A
>>     lot of it is over my head at this point- but I intend to investigate
>>     further. A good deal of philosophy involved here- it may take awhile
>>     for me to fully digest it. I was wondering, are you a businessman? I
>>     had my own live sound business for several years- I actually was
>>     quite good at what I did, and had some great sound technicians
>>     working with me. Overall, I would say the business was a success-
>>     however, I can't say I was a good businessman; for one thing, I've
>>     never been that much of a monetarily-driven person- I've always been
>>     more comfort-driven than anything else. Secondly, I was WAY too fair
>>     with my helpers- I would usually pay them the full cut for any
>>     "gig", whereas any other "boss" in the same situation would take a
>>     cut off the top if he or she owned the equipment used, etc. Then I
>>     met Marni, and wanted to spend more time with her- so I began
>>     farming out my contracts. Soon after, Marni & I were engaged- and I
>>     desired to return to a "regular" job, so I wouldn't have to work
>>     every single weekend. By the time we were married in June of '04, my
>>     sound business had lapsed into oblivion. So I guess I'm not the
>>     world's greatest capitalist, ay?
>>
>>     Back to the matter of religion (or lack thereof),
>>
>>     I don't feel as if I was "put here" at all. I see myself as an
>>     organism inhabiting planet Earth, an organism with a complex brain.
>>     I feel that I have no more intrinsic value to the Universe than say,
>>     a butterfly. And I'm fine with that! Also, since I don't believe in
>>     souls & the afterlife, or heaven or hell for that matter, I have no
>>     fear of "judgment"- I'm fine with all that also. I'm not sure
>>     whether this is a classic atheist's view of oneself or not, but
>>     these are my "beliefs" in a nutshell.
>>
>>      
>>
>>     Mark  
>>
>>      
>>
>>      
>>
>>
> --------------------­--------------------­--------------------­------------
>>     *From:* [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] *On
>>     Behalf Of *Todd Maher
>>     *Sent:* Friday, August 03,[masked]:36 AM
>>     *To:* [address removed]
>>     *Subject:* RE: [humanism-174] Aha!
>>
>>      
>>
>>     The Corporatism in america has no place in the free markets.
>>     Government law protects Corporations from feeling any real pain.
>>     This is government protectionism that allows for this to occur. I
>>     would recommend a great thinker from the Austrian school of
>>     Economics, Ludwig Von Mises, to explain further. Going to his
>>     website www.mises.org <http://www.mises....;­, we will be able to
>>     listen to other free market capitalists like myself show how
>>     government interference, corporate welfare (government sponsored),
>>     supposed "free-trade" agreements are undermining the Constitution
>>     and Bill of Rights. Also, it'd be worthwhile to look at the role the
>>     United Nations and their treaties expel certain constitutional
>>     freedoms we have. I will debate this point, because it'll hopefully
>>     make me a sharper individual.
>>
>>     Government Religions and most organized religions are the victim of
>>     any large organizetion- power corruption, or the power attracting
>>     the corruptible. Should we trust man, a sinner, to uphold God's law
>>     and issue judgment upon us? I think not. That is His job and His job
>>     alone. However, if anyone does anything to endanger my life, liberty
>>     or property, to the gallows with them.
>>
>>
>>         -----Original Message-----
>>         From: Marni Tiborsky
>>         Sent: Aug 3,[masked]:51 AM
>>         To: [address removed]
>>         Subject: RE: [humanism-174] Aha!
>>
>>
>>
>>         Todd,
>>
>>         I must say that I agree with your politics! I think we all know,
>>         deep down, that a fundamental change is needed. The "system" is
>>         in shambles. Freedom, as the Founding Fathers had intended, has
>>         been slowly slipping away for 20+ years now.
>>
>>         I don't think that the government is the sole bad guy though- is
>>         the "free" market really free? Corporate entities are now
>>         basically writing OUR laws. It's capitalism run amok. Our
>>         despotic administration, most of congress, and most of their
>>         political cronies LOVE this. they make lots & lots of money,
>>         while the common man continues to get screwed in more and more
>>         ways. Some people who are more well-to-do might love
>>         corporate-controlled­ government too- especially the ones who
>>         have vested interests in corporations like Exxon Mobil,
>>         Halliburton, Dyncorp, big pharmacuticals, Wal-Mart, etc.....
>>
>>         I feel that your statement "religion doesn't cause wars,
>>         government uses religion to create wars" is true in SOME cases-
>>         however, I believe that religion, especially organized religion,
>>         and worse yet, religion AS government, has caused countless wars
>>         and will continue to do so, barring some sort of major "human
>>         enlightenment".
>>
>>         Sorry, can't finish this email tonight- very tired!
>>
>>         MARK T.
>>
>>          
>>
>>          
>>
>>          
>>
>>
> --------------------­--------------------­--------------------­------------
>>         *From:* [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]]
>>         *On Behalf Of *Todd Maher
>>         *Sent:* Thursday, August 02,[masked]:29 AM
>>         *To:* [address removed]
>>         *Subject:* RE: [humanism-174] Aha!
>>
>>          
>>
>>         I would not call another's views blasphemous, for I am not He
>>         who judges (or at least I'm not supposed to be). The universal
>>         truth that I've been moving toward are that we are put here as a
>>         test to see how badly we can mess up. I have probably messed up
>>         more than most, but I am optimistic that I will be prepared for
>>         death when my time comes.
>>
>>         Do you think about why we think what we do? For example, the
>>         whole political propaganda paradigm (right vs. left) and why
>>         they are so eager to get us to pick sides? Why we are driven to
>>         consume that which we don't need, those things which enslave us
>>         to earn the right to own them? I am a free-market, freedom
>>         loving individual who believes that government and individuals
>>         have been in a struggle from the beginning of time, tugging and
>>         pulling (individuals wanting freedom, government pulling us into
>>         despotism through rhetoric and propaganda.) Religion doesn't
>>         cause wars, government uses religion to create wars, because it
>>         burns at the very souls of man. (They sure know how to press our
>>         buttons.) Well, I'll respond to any questions or comments I get
>>         soon.
>>
>>         Todd
>>
>>
>>
>>             -----Original Message-----
>>             From: Marni Tiborsky
>>             Sent: Aug 2,[masked]:19 AM
>>             To: [address removed]
>>             Subject: RE: [humanism-174] Aha!
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>             Todd,
>>
>>             If you click on the "messages" tab on our group meetup site,
>>             you can see ALL the dialogue that's gone on from day one.
>>             It's a good way to see what some of our more active members
>>             are like. The majority of us are indeed Atheists &
>>             Agnostics- some of the dialogue would probably be considered
>>             blasphemy by the very religious. However, for a Freethinker,
>>             is there such a thing as blasphemy? I think not!
>>
>>             We're not looking to convert anyone. and we certainly aren't
>>             looking for anyone to try and convert us. We're all
>>             searching for answers to the universal questions, are we not?
>>
>>             We look forward to your input.
>>
>>              
>>
>>             Mark
>>
>>              
>>
>>
> --------------------­--------------------­--------------------­------------
>>             *From:* [address removed]
>>             [mailto:[address removed]] *On Behalf Of *Todd Maher
>>             *Sent:* Wednesday, August 01,[masked]:55 PM
>>             *To:* [address removed]
>>             *Subject:* RE: [humanism-174] Aha!
>>
>>              
>>
>>             That's cool. Us Libertarians believe that people should
>>             worship how they please. I think it's the point of free
>>             thinking. Also, we believe that if a group wants to be
>>             exclusive, they should be able to keep their group the way
>>             they wish.
>>
>>             Regarding your Brahman question, my wife is sleeping right
>>             now. We're expecting late December/ early January. I am only
>>             as familiar with Buddhism as she has taught me.
>>
>>             When I discuss freethinking ideas, mine are usually along my
>>             religious dialogue or my political views, which some call
>>             radical, others call extreme. Me, I call them founding
>>             father material. Ok, now that I am done being full of
>>             myself, we can move on to topic. Sorry for not adding to the
>>             conversation, but it was nice to see some of the back and
>>             forth amongst the group.
>>
>>
>>              
>>
>>              
>>
>>              
>>
>>             Chair, Lake County Libertarian Party
>>
>>             Asst. Organizer, Cleveland Ron Paul 2008 Meetup
>>
>>            [masked]
>>
>>            [masked]
>>
>>              
>>
>>             "In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and
> brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him,
> for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."   -Mark Twain, 1904
>>              
>>
>>              
>>
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>>          
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>>          
>>
>>         Chair, Lake County Libertarian Party
>>
>>         Asst. Organizer, Cleveland Ron Paul 2008 Meetup
>>
>>        [masked]
>>
>>        [masked]
>>
>>          
>>
>>         "In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and
> brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him,
> for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."   -Mark Twain, 1904
>>          
>>
>>          
>>
>>         ____________________­____________________­
>>
>>         PeoplePC Online
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>>      
>>
>>      
>>
>>     Chair, Lake County Libertarian Party
>>
>>     Asst. Organizer, Cleveland Ron Paul 2008 Meetup
>>
>>    [masked]
>>
>>    [masked]
>>
>>      
>>
>>     "In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave,
> and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then
> it costs nothing to be a patriot."   -Mark Twain, 1904
>>      
>>
>>      
>>
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>>
>>  
>>
>> Chair, Lake County Libertarian Party
>>
>> Asst. Organizer, Cleveland Ron Paul 2008 Meetup
>>
>>[masked]
>>
>>[masked]
>>
>>  
>>
>> "In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and
> hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it
> costs nothing to be a patriot."   -Mark Twain, 1904
>>  
>>
>>  
>>
>> ____________________­____________________­
>>
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