I Think, Therefore I’m Hungry.

It’s you doing this. You’re the one reading this. It’s you who decides if it’s bullshit or if it contains anything worthwhile. You’re the one who will weigh the ideas and either incorporate them into your world view or let them slip into the ether. What’s more, you’ve been doing this all your life. In a way,  you’re the sum of all the decisions that you’ve ever made about what you’ve read, seen, heard – everything you’ve experienced.

I feel that this is an idea that needs to be kept at the forefront of our minds as we deal with the problems that are arising these days from the differences in our various religions. No matter what it is that we individually or even collectively believe, it’s essential that we keep reminding ourselves that it is US creating these beliefs. They don’t exist somewhere outside our heads, even if the tenets of the religions themselves often posit that they derive from a source (possibly supernatural) that lives outside ourselves.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you CAN’T believe in a god or a creator. I’m not even ruling out the possibility that he may author books from time to time. I’m simply saying that if you DO belong to a religion, it’s crucial that you admit to yourself that you are designing and tailoring that religion yourself, in your own mind. Even if you adhere to one of the sacred texts that abound in our world like the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, the Book of Mormon, Dianetics, whatever – you’re still running their teachings through the filter of your consciousness. Maybe you’re fasting on the Sabbath, but you’ve decided not to stone any homosexuals. Perhaps cows are sacred to you, but you inwardly complain about the smell. Part of you knows Joseph Smith was a bit of a con artist but heck, life as a Mormon is pretty darn uplifting. There are a thousand little decisions you make as you grow inside your faith, whatever it is. Some of those decisions are guided by your religious community, to be sure, but lots and lots of them are just you – or maybe you and your partner – deciding what you will accept or reject.

This isn’t a new idea. Rene Descartes, the guy who pretty much re-invented philosophy after the dark ages, said that our starting point for all of existence had to be the primacy of consciousness – I think therefore I am. If consciousness IS in fact the only starting point that can be objectively demonstrated then we can at least entertain the possibility that our morality comes from ourselves, not from an external source. If we accept this, then we no longer have to play the game of “my God’s better than your God”. That’s a shitty game anyway, because gods are immortal and unchanging, which means wars could break out. Our minds on the other hand, change all the time. I bet you can easily identify an issue that you felt strongly about ten years ago that you now feel differently about. We all remember changing our minds from time to time. Since we’re all in the process of constantly changing our minds, a much healthier game to play is “my idea’s better than your idea”. And if we accept that our faith is an IDEA, and not an external concept set in stone by some deity, we take a first step towards (dare I say it without appearing hippyish?) – peace.

Ok, that’s enough. I always write first thing in the morning, before breakfast. As soon as my tummy starts rumbling I know I’ve reached the last bit. I think, therefore I’m hungry.

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Here’s mud in your eye.

I like metaphors. I look for them everywhere. Sometimes I see things as metaphors because it’s just too depressing to think of them any other way. Take the story of Jesus healing the blind man for example. I think of it as a metaphor. You know, like the philosophy of Jesus and his followers could restore sight to the world, or maybe a metaphor about how spirituality is like a sixth sense that we’ve lost the use of, and someone like Jesus can help us use it. There’s lots of metaphors that we could come up with that would be meaningful, plus it has the added advantage that you don’t have to believe in the divinity of Jesus to get something out of it.

But what’s the alternative to hearing the story as metaphor? That an actual Jesus walked up to an actual blind guy, put mud on his eyes and healed him in front of onlookers who then went and spread the news that Jesus was the Messiah? This is much too depressing to contemplate. I mean, I wouldn’t have been convinced. If I was back there in 30 AD, and one of the onlookers came up to me and told me how two days ago, Jesus put mud on a blind man’s eyes and healed him and now we should become his followers, I would have DEFINITELY scoffed. Very loudly. And it wouldn’t have been cynical of me to do so either, I don’t think. I mean it sounds like a trick, right? And people do those tricks all the time, and we don’t go running off to follow them. Nor should we! Hell, even if I WAS one of the onlookers I wouldn’t have become a follower. I would have gone up to Jesus saying, “wow, that was great, how did you do it? You knew the guy from before right? He wasn’t really blind, right?”
You know, all the typical things you might say to a magician after a cool trick. But I wouldn’t have assumed Jesus had supernatural powers. I would have had to have been very gullible to suppose that. And I don’t like to think of Jesus as being just a trickster or a magician. So I think of the whole thing as a metaphor, and that lets me enjoy my image of Jesus as a kind of peace-loving, laid back philosopher who just may have had an insight into some kind of truth that really could set us all free. I find that infinitely more satisfying to contemplate.

I don’t like Hitler, honestly.

See the truth in everything. In every position that anyone might take, be it political or otherwise.  There’s truth in it all. There might only be a little bit of truth amidst a whole pile of nonsense, but it will be there. Religion has truth, in amongst the superstition and ignorance. Even Hitler had some truth, and he’s just about the worst guy who ever lived! (Wow, you can’t really blurt that out without going into what that truth might have been. Ok.) Just off the top of my head, let’s focus on one of the things Hitler didn’t like about the Jews – they stuck together. Now most of us think that’s a positive quality to have – folks sticking together is good, right? Well, yeah, but when you form little mini-societies that are meant to flourish at the expense of everyone around you, it’s not so cool. Although that’s capitalism, right? What’s the difference between forming a corporation that’s meant to make a profit off everyone that’s around, or having a religion that sets you apart for the betterment of your group over everyone else’s. Well, there is no difference, I suppose. The point is, even though Hitler was an evil bastard who summed up the worst qualities of humanity, you can still find little bits of truth floating around in his twisted ideology. Well, why wouldn’t you? He was still a human being, right? He, like all of us, must have had glimpses of truth from time to time. Ok, I can’t believe I’m looking for positive things about fucking HITLER, of all people. Sorry, folks. Also, I’m not slamming Jews, just a philosophy. Fuck,I should just delete this post right now.

Hungry for food but also anything else.

YOU can’t have a spiritual awakening, only the god in you can. You can’t sort of plan your day and say, “I’m going to have McDonald’s for lunch and then have a spiritual awakening this afternoon and then watch Netflix tonight.”
It doesn’t work that way. The god within you will communicate with the god above or maybe with the god inside some other person (the Trinity that we hear spoken of in some circles) and off you go. It really has nothing to do with the you that gets hungry for McDonald’s.

Disclaimer – The god inside is probably a metaphor. Although, there COULD be an actual god inside. You can’t know for sure.