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The Naturalness of the Miraculous

charleslb
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6/3/2011 2:09:46 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Here beginneth my sermon on the paradoxically natural nature of "miracles"

Here's my somewhat different and unorthodox definition of the word "miracle". To give it to you straight-out, a miracle is anything that's sublimely mysterious and wondrous, and that elegantly transcends what you might expect from material substances blindly scrambling about in a completely random and disunited universe. Note that this definition does not include any reference to a supernatural deity. That's because a miracle is also very much a down-to-earth event, an act of the creative nature of reality that rather than violating the "laws of physics" reveals the natural existence we partake of to be possessed of more creativity and grandeur than previously appreciated. A miracle is simply any such outstanding revelation of the inherent ingenuity and splendiferousness of the universe.

And here's a truly uplifting bit of good news, by this naturalistic definition all reality is itself a miracle! An absolute, out-and-out miracle. Yes, by such a this-worldly definition the creativity at the core of all existence is exceedingly miraculous. No, the universe is not the freakish creation of a paranormal supreme monarch who decreed the Big Bang from a Heaven high above the physical realm. But, nonetheless, the world is a miracle, in its own right. On its own natural terms. And there is such a thing as divinity too, but it too is natural, not a mumbo jumbo sort of force or god.

Let me clarify something, when I say that the universe is not freakish what I mean is that the natural universe is not something that a ghostly god arbitrarily decided to whip up, once upon a time before time. The universe, rather, is a fundamental and inherent expression of reality, and as such has always existed. And no, the fact that the universe is an ongoing manifestation of creativity, and wasn't created at any single spectacular moment in time does not make it any less eventful. Just as the fact that no spooky sky god was involved does not make creation humdrum and unmiraculous. On the contrary, it makes the cosmos a good deal more awesome. The real miraculousness of our being is not diminished, not even slightly. You and I, everyone and everything, we're all incarnations of the basic miracle of creativity!

As for God, God is best understood as the self-consciousness and personality of creativity. If one has the chutzpah to try to define God, one could say that God is simply the sum of reality's creative aspiration to produce beauty and goodness all crystallized and concentrated into a creative cosmic consciousness. Some religions misrepresent this universal consciousness to be supernatural, but in fact it's the sentience and intelligence of nature. And no, such an all-natural divinity is not a lesser God at all. Not less crucial to the universe. Not less omniscient. Not less transcendent. And not less marvelous and miraculous.

So, the miracle of creativity and existence includes the world we all reside in, it includes a God who supports and pushes forward the whole creative process, and it includes you! The question then is do you adequately and mindfully respect your own miraculousness? Do you really? Or do you suffer from negative feelings about yourself, feelings that can only develop and exist in the absence of an awareness of your miraculousness?

Also, do you always strive to respect the miraculousness of your fellow man and woman? And of all your fellow living creatures? Being spiritual means cultivating such an enlightened respect. It means living in a sustained state of remembrance of the genuine miraculousness of life itself. Real-deal spirituality means deriving strength and joy from this remembrance. Spirituality means embracing the miracle of the world with all your mind and heart. Spirituality does not mean rejecting the world, and looking forward to departing it for Heaven. Otherworldliness is actually anti-spiritual.

Discovering the miraculousness of the universe is the true calling of anyone who calls him/herself spiritual. It's quite tragic that so many religious folks mistakenly think that the world is a mundane and "fallen" place where we have to "do time" in order to earn our way into Paradise. Their wrong belief that sacredness and supreme truth lies outside of the universe sadly prevents them from sensing the sanctity and enlightenment inside of and all around them.

When we accept that transcendence comes not from a supernatural source, but from deep within the nature of nature; when we realize that a miracle is anything that reflects the natural and intrinsic glory and grace, bountifulness and bliss of our own reality, our entire attitude toward the world and other people is profoundly transvaluated and transformed. And this inward transvlauation-transformation is, ta-da!, nothing less than the beginning of the lifelong personal revelation of the holy mystery of everything, and of your unique participation in and contribution to it. In other words, the beginning of what Christians call sanctification, what Hindus call moksha, what Japanese Buddhists call satori, and what everyone calls enlightenment.

Here endeth the sermonette, brothers and sisters. Go in a spirit of reflection and seek ye your answers within. Hosanna and hallelujah!
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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6/3/2011 3:01:44 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/3/2011 2:09:46 AM, charleslb wrote:
So, the miracle of creativity and existence includes the world we all reside in, it includes a God who supports and pushes forward the whole creative process, and it includes you! The question then is do you adequately and mindfully respect your own miraculousness? Do you really? Or do you suffer from negative feelings about yourself, feelings that can only develop and exist in the absence of an awareness of your miraculousness?

Also, do you always strive to respect the miraculousness of your fellow man and woman? And of all your fellow living creatures? Being spiritual means cultivating such an enlightened respect. It means living in a sustained state of remembrance of the genuine miraculousness of life itself. Real-deal spirituality means deriving strength and joy from this remembrance. Spirituality means embracing the miracle of the world with all your mind and heart. Spirituality does not mean rejecting the world, and looking forward to departing it for Heaven. Otherworldliness is actually anti-spiritual.

Discovering the miraculousness of the universe is the true calling of anyone who calls him/herself spiritual. It's quite tragic that so many religious folks mistakenly think that the world is a mundane and "fallen" place where we have to "do time" in order to earn our way into Paradise. Their wrong belief that sacredness and supreme truth lies outside of the universe sadly prevents them from sensing the sanctity and enlightenment inside of and all around them.

When we accept that transcendence comes not from a supernatural source, but from deep within the nature of nature; when we realize that a miracle is anything that reflects the natural and intrinsic glory and grace, bountifulness and bliss of our own reality, our entire attitude toward the world and other people is profoundly transvaluated and transformed. And this inward transvlauation-transformation is, ta-da!, nothing less than the beginning of the lifelong personal revelation of the holy mystery of everything, and of your unique participation in and contribution to it. In other words, the beginning of what Christians call sanctification, what Hindus call moksha, what Japanese Buddhists call satori, and what everyone calls enlightenment.

Here endeth the sermonette, brothers and sisters. Go in a spirit of reflection and seek ye your answers within. Hosanna and hallelujah!

This is all well and good, but the problem remains that we have no reason to accept transcendence, spirituality, ontological creativity, or any of these mystical-sounding concepts. All of your arguments in support are, as I recall, based on some fallacy or other, whether we look at an appeal to consequences, an ipse dixit, or a further appeal to "intuition", intuition being something I've given several challenges to, such as the problems of inconsistency and the problem of non-inherency.

Overall, I again fail to see any compelling reason to subscribe to your brand of metaphysics and epistemology when other models not only have better explanatory power, but are also better-supported. Rationality and empiricism are better models, as they have themselves demonstrated, than intuitionism, of which the only support is your repeated assertion that we ought to trust it.
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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6/3/2011 3:01:48 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/3/2011 2:09:46 AM, charleslb wrote:
Here beginneth my sermon on the paradoxically natural nature of "miracles"

Here's my somewhat different and unorthodox definition of the word "miracle". To give it to you straight-out, a miracle is anything that's sublimely mysterious and wondrous, and that elegantly transcends what you might expect from material substances blindly scrambling about in a completely random and disunited universe.

First, willful ignorance is necessary for the kind of mystery you're proposing. Assuming we had the necessary tools and prior knowledge to access the answer to these so-called miracles, it sounds as though you're suggesting we reject the possibility of answering these "mysterious" questions in scientific ways to avoid what you would construe as "cheapening" some transcendental ontological quality.

Second, I think very few people actually subscribe to an indeterministic account of existence, even on the fundamental level. I'll be the first to admit that I'm painfully ignorant in the realm of physics, but I think that this debate on determinism [http://www.debate.org...], which contains a sub-argument concerning microcosmic randomness, provides good analysis on alleged material randomness.

Note that this definition does not include any reference to a supernatural deity. That's because a miracle is also very much a down-to-earth event, an act of the creative nature of reality that rather than violating the "laws of physics" reveals the natural existence we partake of to be possessed of more creativity and grandeur than previously appreciated. A miracle is simply any such outstanding revelation of the inherent ingenuity and splendiferousness of the universe.

What I don't understand is how you can use transcendentalist premises to justify simultaneously anthropomorphizing the universe and rejecting the possibility of a deity. It appears that you reject one and embrace the other because one is more convenient and useful to your line of argumentation--a phenomenon which I would classify as a hazy form of confirmation bias.

Even accepting the distinction between theism and personification of existence, I have to ask how you justify the latter. Other than your basic contention that it is so, no one else has any real reason to accept that the universe has a fundamental intelligence or sense of creativity. You may find the universe to be a marvelous piece of art, but that's a subjective aesthetic judgment. You're trying to take that subjectivity and project it onto the universe itself.

And here's a truly uplifting bit of good news, by this naturalistic definition all reality is itself a miracle! An absolute, out-and-out miracle. Yes, by such a this-worldly definition the creativity at the core of all existence is exceedingly miraculous. No, the universe is not the freakish creation of a paranormal supreme monarch who decreed the Big Bang from a Heaven high above the physical realm.

How do you justify rejection of a deity?

But, nonetheless, the world is a miracle, in its own right. On its own natural terms. And there is such a thing as divinity too, but it too is natural, not a mumbo jumbo sort of force or god.

What is "divinity", then?

Let me clarify something, when I say that the universe is not freakish what I mean is that the natural universe is not something that a ghostly god arbitrarily decided to whip up, once upon a time before time. The universe, rather, is a fundamental and inherent expression of reality, and as such has always existed.

That doesn't really make sense. You're reifying the concept of "reality", as if to turn it into some conscious and separate force orchestrating the creation of different thisses and thats.

And no, the fact that the universe is an ongoing manifestation of creativity, and wasn't created at any single spectacular moment in time does not make it any less eventful. Just as the fact that no spooky sky god was involved does not make creation humdrum and unmiraculous. On the contrary, it makes the cosmos a good deal more awesome. The real miraculousness of our being is not diminished, not even slightly. You and I, everyone and everything, we're all incarnations of the basic miracle of creativity!

Again, it seems you're suggesting that we should accept your conclusion simply because it will allegedly maximize our awe and wonder over the universe (a claim which I am skeptical of anyhow). This is an appeal to consequences, and does not establish the truth of your metaphysics.

As for God, God is best understood as the self-consciousness and personality of creativity. If one has the chutzpah to try to define God, one could say that God is simply the sum of reality's creative aspiration to produce beauty and goodness all crystallized and concentrated into a creative cosmic consciousness. Some religions misrepresent this universal consciousness to be supernatural, but in fact it's the sentience and intelligence of nature. And no, such an all-natural divinity is not a lesser God at all. Not less crucial to the universe. Not less omniscient. Not less transcendent. And not less marvelous and miraculous.

Again: how do you justify personifying the universe and abstracting "creativity" as if it's some sort of separate consciousness?
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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6/3/2011 5:32:10 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/3/2011 3:02:17 AM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Posted them in the wrong order. Apologies.

That's okay, such things happen to the best of us. As for your critique of my post and the ideas it contains, well, you've provided an intelligent critique as per usual. But also, as per usual, if I begin going back and forth with you now we'll just be, as you said in a previous thread, "talking past on another". I don't wish to annoy so I'll just let your critique stand, you or others can accuse me of doing so for lack of good counterarguments, that's fine, but I really just don't wish to be exasperating to someone who's decent enough to respond to my posts in an analytical fashion.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
jat93
Posts: 1,440
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6/3/2011 7:08:28 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
I know you've heard this before, but I wish you'd cut out all the extraneous fluffy prose of your posts and speak a bit more concisely so I could actually read what it is you want to say. No offense or anything but just about everything you ever post can be said in at least half the amount of words...
charleslb
Posts: 4,740
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6/4/2011 10:26:11 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 6/3/2011 7:08:28 PM, jat93 wrote:
I know you've heard this before, but I wish you'd cut out all the extraneous fluffy prose of your posts and speak a bit more concisely so I could actually read what it is you want to say. No offense or anything but just about everything you ever post can be said in at least half the amount of words...

Sorry, but it's not ole proverbial War and Peace, it truly doesn't take all that much time or trouble to read.
Yo, all of my subliterate conservative criticasters who find perusing and processing the sesquipedalian verbiage of my posts to be such a bothersome brain-taxing chore, I have a new nickname for you. Henceforth you shall be known as Pooh Bears. No, not for the obvious apt reasons, i.e., not because you're full of pooh, and not because of your ursine irritability. Rather, you put me in mind of an A.A. Milne quote, "I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me". Love ya, Pooh Bears.
Ogan
Posts: 407
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6/5/2011 11:04:55 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Chatrlselb said
And there is such a thing as divinity too, but it too is natural, not a mumbo jumbo sort of force or god.

With reference to the above, a question for you.
What is your definition of Who or What Divinity is then, and how it creates or interacts with the natural world we all know? And if you happen to answer, can you be more concise – PLEASE?

By the way, can you PLEASE forget the rather narrow definition of supernatural and try understanding the word first. I will help you, viz.

Super- used as a prefix, means… Not in or under but above, or more accurately beyond. Observation from above or beyond. A degree beyond what is usual. Of higher kind, higher in degree, superior in quality and so on. The Ancients taught that substance vibrates or manifests on 7 levels, similar to the natural laws of light, say in a rainbow, or sound in its natural scale. The next plane of vibrations above us is formed of superior natural atoms to ours, and also forms the bodies of those who dwell there – including ours while here in the physical, but veiled by the dense material which operates on a lower wavelength, yet withal, unseen while occupying the same space.