Agnostic Conditions Reprised

Truth happens to an idea. It becomes true, is made true by events. Its verity is in fact an event, a process: the process namely of its verifying itself, its veri-fication.

When  I read what William James published in “The Meaning of Truth”  I believed he was refering to the truth of ideas proposed by a single person or group of persons, a single consciousness or a collective of consciousness within their existence(s).   One  constantly tests  his/her stream of ideas within present environmental experiences and social experiences, and then with his/her memory of experiences… to judge a notion true or  not.
Navigating this uncertain world is certainly easier  by  taking an Agnostic position in regards to knowledge, and a willing to do the work of verifying ideas:  in participation and in experience.  But that’s just my opinion.  So  to start with an Agnostic attitude, what is “Agnosticism?”

Revised posted

Agnostic Conditions ” was originally posted on May 3, 2009

Agnostic – definition: not knowing or unknowing
What, then is the definition of Agnosticism?. If the definition of the root agnostic is “not knowing, or unknowing”, it is doubtful that one can define any full intellectual system of Agnosticism.–Much in the same manner one cannot with other “-isms” such as existentialism or postmodernism.
I was thinking about Jean-François Lyotard’s phrase: ” Postmodern Condition” , which is  a loose  bundle  of observations and criticisms about Modernism. (specifically: these postmodern conditions are conditions that expose Modern ideas of “progress, “Meta-Narratives”, “cause-effect”,”objectivity” of Modernity as fallacious. ).

I wonder that if instead of an “Agnosticism”, there was  a set of Agnostic Conditions, that were a reaction to theories of knowledge.
So I came up with a few agnostic conditions of my own:

Knowledge

  • Our total knowledge of all details is limited.
  • Nothing is absolutely known. What is “known” is based upon acceptable supporting evidence and verification.
  • Knowledge is limited to the collective experience, communication means and data storage of a group or person.
  • Knowledge is inseparable from consciousness. (which includes, previous and current meanings, bias, and introjection, etc)

Reality

  • A definition of Objective Reality: “what is real is measurable” as defined by classical physics; accepted as universal.
  • A definition of Subjective Reality: what is experienced, and accept as real by a single consciousness. such as the cognation of an organism’s interactions.
  • A definition of Intersubjective Reality. the collected objects, events, structures, descriptions, meanings, principles, etc that are shared as “real” between  subjective consciousness* conscious beings (organisms)
  • A definition of Absolute Reality: the way things truly happen, whether comprehensible or not.

Meaning.

  • meaningful… description of information, that is:
    • that is formed out of background of discord
    • that is relative: relative  to a topic, study, paradigm, “game” , time-space location, happening, or world- view.
    • that is defined  in language, symbols or gesture, for clarification or communication
    • that is prioritized in importance – intellectually and emotionally.
    • that is  prioritized   compared to other meanings in the  context… social, personal, environmental contexts
  • meaninglessness:  information that is not meaningful and therefore  remains, or is relegated to the background.

Uncertainty

Uncertainty. Image from Wikipedia.org

  • I  decide that “X” is true, false, or probable. I could be wrong.
  • I do not have to decide if “X” is true, false, or probable  with out the considering the  agnostic conditions   ( of Knowledge, Reality, Meaning).
  • Uncertainty is inherent in the nature of things,  actions and decisions.

I think that agnostic conditions are an important considerations when studying epistemology and knowledge theories, and when making decisions and actions. They are a criticism and completion of such. For me, this is a definition for agnosticism: a set of conditions.

As for the repetitive question is “Does God exist”?
Well, one ,must define what he means when he ask about  “God” or gods, because there have been many definitions over time ,cultures contexts and subjective view points. How important is to know if God or gods exists or not?  Is it as meaningful  a question as to ask  “is there intelligent  life on other planets?, or knowing what goes on in other people lives in other countries?     It might be.  It might not be.

I don’t know.

* edited for clarity and grammar  11-17-2014

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Agnostic Conditions

Agnostic – definition: not knowing or unknowing

What, then is the definition of Agnosticism?. If the definition of the root agnostic is “not knowing, or unknowing”, it is doubtful that one can define any full intellectual system of Agnosticism.–Much in the same manner one cannot with other “-isms” such as existentialism or postmodernism.
I was thinking about Jean-François Lyotard’s phrase: ” Postmodern Condition” , which is  a loose  bundle  of observations and criticisms about Modernism. (specifically: these postmodern conditions are conditions that expose Modern ideas of “progress, “Meta-Narratives”, “cause-effect”,”objectivity” of Modernity as fallacious. ).

I wonder that if instead of an “Agnosticism”, there was  a set of Agnostic Conditions, that were a reaction to theories of knowledge.
So I came up with a few agnostic conditions of my own:

Knowledge

  • Our total knowledge of all details is limited.
  • Nothing is absolutely known. What is “known” is based upon acceptable supporting evidence and verification.
  • Knowledge is limited to the collective experience, communication means and data storage of a group or person.
  • Knowledge is inseparable from consciousness. (which includes, previous and current meanings, bias, and introjection, etc)

Reality

  • A definition Objective Reality: “what is real is measurable” as defined by classical physics.
  • A definition of Subjective Reality: what is experienced, and accept as real by a single consciousness. such as the cognation of an organism’s interactions.
  • A definition of Intersubjective Reality. the collected objects, events, structures, descriptions, meanings, principles, etc that are shared as “real” between  subjective consciousness.
  • A definition of Absolute Reality: the way things truly happen.

Meaning.

  • meaningful… description of information, that is:
    • that is formed out of background of discord
    • that is relative: relative  to a topic, study, paradigm, “game” , time-space location, happening, or world- view.
    • that is defined  in language, symbols or gesture,
    • that is prioritized in importance – intellectually and emotionally.
  • meaninglessness:  information that is not meaningful and therefore  remains, or is relegated to the background.

Uncertainty

Uncertainty. Image from Wikipedia.org

  • I  decide that “X” is true, false, or probable. I could be wrong.
  • I do not have to decide if “X” is true, false, or probable  with out the considering the  agnostic conditions   ( of Knowledge, Reality, Meaning).
  • Uncertainty is inherent in the nature of things,  actions and decisions.

I think that agnostic conditions are an important considerations when studying epistemology and knowledge theories, and when making decisions and actions. They are a criticism and completion of such. For me, this is a definition for agnosticism: a set of conditions.

As for the repetitive question is “Does God exist”?
Well, one ,must define what he means when he ask about  “God” or gods, because there have been many definitions over time ,cultures, and subjective view points. How important is to know if God or gods exists or not?  Is it as meaningful  a question as to ask  “is there intelligent  life on other planets?, or knowing what goes on in other people lives in other countries?     It might be.  It might not be.
I don’t know.

Agnosticism, After life, and my pet Cat.

To clearly understand my agnostic view point on death, one must understand that some questions and beliefs have different level of importances.
an example.

Many  Quantum Mathematicians have posed mathematical possibilities
of  parallel universes, universe with different rules than our universe, even a “multi-verse“.

There is little empirical proof in our living world or close proximities in the universe, that other universes truly exist…
…not enough to top all reasonable doubt.
Just the same, not enough empirical evidence to dismiss other universes outside our own.  So it remains a mathematical possibility.

with that said, I don’t know if  parallel universes or a multi-verse  exist.
Do I need to proclaim   one of the statements….

  • I  actively believe in a  multi-verse!
  • I actively do not believe in a muliti-verse!.

Well if my career was astrophysics whether I believe or not, maybe important.
For the curiosity’s sake,  the possibility is worth investigating.
However, in my   life, my world that I live in, my reality.. its not important or relevant as other belief statements…..

It is more important just to be able to say I don’t know“.

Same goes for other supernatural questions.. As an agnostic
I do not know if consciousness leaves to another supernatural place  after death. I do not know what happens after existence.
For me, it is not as important as questions pertaining to this life or existence.
Its ok to say I don’t know, whether I suspect one way or the other or neither way.
This is not a matter of belief/disbelief  that creates ambivalence in my  life, presently.
——–

My pet cat passed away this week.
I am not concerned of beliefs of where his spirit or consciousness went after existence.
I am only concerned with remembering his existence…
he had a pretty good life.
he was a good friend.
I feel the loss.

Thats far more important and meaningful to me than metaphysical statements of beliefs or disbeliefs in an afterlife.

for these questions, and many others I answer
I don’t know…
and thats ok .

The Self Autonomy Delusion

If there is nothing to us other than our known biology and physics,
other than our DNA code and reaction to circumstance,

then what willful freedom do we have? we could not even describe the universe as beautiful, miraculous, absurd, or meaningless.
we could not talk the creativity, spontaneity, self awareness or purpose..These adjectives and descriptions would be from mechanisms of the
“evolution” chain reaction… the mental formation of chemical DNA

Of course i realize that the people i see in the streets(for example) are phenomenons
I formulate in my mind these organize wholes of electromagnetic energy as people
and that they are, in my perception, a biology of the parents and family before them….
that the physics before them
around them
and within them
do determine, with my own hand me down code, biology and experience,much h of what they are in my mind.

But what is there that i cannot see
In the spaces between their mathematics
are they or we
more than a prescripted like algorithm?.
Was I predetermined to see people in the steet before I saw them?
and What am I?
if my consciousness are nothing other than the periodic table would I be nothing but a cold spark in a cold flame
The red storm of Jupiter… some Atheists such as Richard Dawkins and his disciples
say that that God and faith are a delusion….

But if there is nothing more to us than biology and physics

Then any freedom or individuality..
or any sense of you or i…
would also be a delusion.

This was an old blog entry from a quirky personal blog from 2007.
I wrote it because I was tired of all the personal blog talk of Richard Dawkins book “The God Delusion.”  (often misquoted by its fans and critics) …and wanted to provoke conversation with some of the more rigid Atheist Deterministic  bloggers who book and speaking of Rational Universe above all else and nothing else,….
and that our behaviors   have no freedom from what’s been determined  the biology and physics of our environment and dna collision.
Anything Else, including the the belief in God is a dellusion.
(I could address the other extreme: the more rigid fundamentalists of Theists but there is more middle ground between my point of view and deterministic Athiests. )

*

The Fact is that without deluding ourselves… or without making a leap of Faith without supported evidence: we couldn’t make it through our day.

I get out of bed each morning and walk to the bathroom to do my usual grooming… I don’t need to calculate the chance  that my elections and my and hall floor electrons are in a physical state that I fall through the floor and land in the TV room. Although the chance is minute… I just make the leap of faith that I will make it to the bathroom ok.

I can make assessments, whether by logic or by personal experience..The confidence to due so doesn’t need to proved materially every time I do so.

I, like most people today, have believed that World is round without actually proving it… or felt th need to prove it.

*The Notion that we are ,or can be, always Rational in our thinking is as Delusional as anything else.

We may define “meaning” in our lives, in  spirituality , Ethics,career, philanthropy, self interests, family, etc….
That drive us to do… even if we cant physically or mathematically define “meaning”.
All this is fine as long as we really Acknowledge we are deluding ourselves, and that delusions and strong beliefs are very much part of living.

My  Code   and Environment may colide and  dynamically sum who “I am”,
But I can can tell you that I have Some Self Autonomy in choosing who I am, even if it requires some dellusion.

I make choices   in a fluid state  between and including independence/dependence  with what is “me ” and not me”…
Freedom/Responsibility,  Meaningful/meaningless. positive/negative consequences .

Self, Free- will and  Choice may be dellusions… especially, if we presume they are not in fluxing interdependence  with environment (which environment is fluxing interdependent  with the rest of the universe, arbitrary to grand).

But, it  is by  my   Self Autonomy and Self Regulation (though they me Abstract descriptions) that I exist.
I: think, breath,  assess, do and choose and exist.

And it is by furthur developing Self Autonomy and Regulation, that I may gain more and more control in the interdependence of me and my environment:

  • Choices in freedom and responsibility
  • Awareness of Me and my environment
  • Assessing both with logic and experience
  • Deciding what is meaningful to meaningless in the above.

And if  developing greater relative ” Self Autonomy and Regulation”.. or” I”
are just another  dellusion or belief (with no proof existence)  than so I choose to believe.

It is Human to Believe, as it Choose and Assess and to Delude ourselves, after all. these “delusions” are ways we communicate what we are.

Christmas and the non-christian

Its Christmas season, here in Pennsylvania. Although there are many practiced religions in my home city, I live in a predominately Christian Region. I  consider myself an “Agnostic” so I do not join in in the Christian aspects of the holiday.
So I get the occasional question: Do you celebrate Christmas?
And my answers is yes. also:

  • I have a Christmas tree in my house.
  • I goto Christmas parties.
  • I receive and buy Christmas gifts (usually I am still shopping on Xmas eve)
  • I sing Christmas carols
  • I try to trap women under mistletoe toe (my favorite holiday tradition)

Christmas is wrapped up in nostalgia. I have fond memories of this time of year growing up in Pa. Its also a great diversion from the Mid Atlantic region dark days.Christmas s not my favorite cultural holiday, but its a pleasant one.(this is not the case for everyone. Many people find Christmas to be a very depressing time of year.)

I think of Christmas as a humanitarian holiday.   to  gift, to volunteer, or to donate to humanitarian causes.
This year will be the first year in a long time i am not volunteering  on Christmas. I am just to tired, this year. I will have to think of some other way to participate in this Humanitarian Holiday.

I wish  season greetings to everyone celebrating:
Christmas, Eid, Hanukkah, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice or Humanitarian Holiday.

white-christmas-tree

Happy Holidays!

I am Mine. an anthem

Pearl Jam’s Agnostic and Existential Anthem “I am Mine” of we we truly own, what we are free of, what we are responsible to. How our existence defines us and what we really have control of.

the lyrics to Pearl Jams “I am Mine” — sing along!

The selfish theyre all standing in line…
Faith in their hope and to buy themselves time.
Me, I figure as each breath goes by,
I only own my mind.

The north is to south what the clock is to time.
Theres east and theres west and there everywhere life.
I know that I was born and I know that Ill die.
The in between is mine. I am mine
.

And the feeling it gets left behind…
Oh the innocence broken with time…
Were different behind the eyes, theres no need to hide.
Were safe tonight.

The ocean is full cause everyones crying,
The full moon is looking for friends at high tide.
The sorrow grows bigger when the sorrows denied.
I only know my mind.
I am mine.

And the feeling it gets left behind…
Oh the innocence broken with time.
Were different between the lines, theres no need to hide…
Cause were safe tonight.

And the feeling it gets left behind…
Oh the innocence broken with time.
Were different behind the eyes, theres no need to hide.

And the feeling it gets left behind…
Oh the innocence broken with lies.
Were different behind the eyes.
Were safe tonight
.

The second stanza is a remarkable poem in itself. I wish I could write poetry this elegant.
Rock n roll.

why “agnostic”? — I don’t know

I studied physics in college (the first time around hehe). And I believe that the Natural Laws , Physical Laws, Mathematical Principles of the Universe work every where in the Universe.
Why then, should we in science, have to look in so many places to understand the universe? we should be able to look into any volume of air around us, the natural Laws are the same there as any other place. We shouldn’t need to peer into Black Holes or into DNA or into fossils or into Human History.

The problem is that we, as observers, have only our own experience, or the collective scientific experience to compare with our data. The volume of air around us still runs by the laws of the Universe, It the scientific observation of that volume of air that is limited at any given time.

I wonder if Isaac Newton, with the gained scientific knowledge of of the 19 century, would have understood that time is relative. Einstein had an advantage of a couple centuries. Isaac, instead, believed that God used time to move mass, to propel the Universe.
Einstein himself, had all the mathematics of the Big Bang theory, but couldn’t put it together, because he believed the the Universe could have no beginning or end.

So science is never an absolute, since it is limited to realm of human observation and experience. Science is limited at any given time, because its observation of the scientist, Man and his knowledge, is also limited.
Thus I use the term “agnostic”.
To the agnostic: Science is a powerful means of understanding our world, but never a complete one.
There IS No complete means, their is always a degree of uncertainty.
For me as an agnostic there are many means. Perhaps we can call these means :”languages”.
Rationalism, empiricism, mathematics, history, all the sciences, and perhaps mysticism they are all languages Just as art, music, mythology and other forms of communication are languages.
All these Languages are parts… integrated into a greater language: a” Meta-language”. This Meta language o be spoken, communicated and tested within our realm of human interaction which we call existence.

For the “agnostic“, he or she must come to terms with uncertainty and doubt, Subjectivity with objectivity and this greatly affects the way we think of believe and knowledge. Agnostics are often spiritual, but reject Fundamentalism in Religion. Just the same we agnostics maybe lovers of the sciences, but reject the narrow absolutism of the dubbed “evangelical” or “militant” atheism as meaningful essence in our lives.

It is a great gift — the freedom to evolve our values and beliefs with limited coercion in our lives, and to steer clear of the pitfalls of extremism.