Do we need faith?

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.
Khalil Gibran

Notice that I did not say “do we need religion?” before you get your panties all wadded up; but I might touch on that too. So before you go any further let me explain something about faith.

Many words have tons of meanings that can be defined and interpreted differently. Take for example a color, while it is something that can be defined and classified it is a lot more than that. Blue can be your favorite t-shirt, team, car. Words carry a lot of meaning and faith, like the word love is one of the heavy ones.

How necessary is faith though? Do we need it in our lives? Is it an innate thing or something we learn?

I respect and often times admire people of faith. Some of the happiest people are those with strong faith. Then there are those that make me want to give up on faith as an idea, see “Tim Tebow” sport antics and wanting to push his agenda for Christianity and God helping him score 316 touchdowns!

Our society is losing the sense of honor and heroes. We call lots of people’s heroes, but who do we really follow or put our faith into?

Celebrity culture is yet another form of worship that some even find a mental disease associated with compulsive behavior. Yet you look at the definition for it and in some ways believing in a Kardashian (no I am not looking up if that is the correct spelling) seems no different than believing in Jesus. Same infatuation with a fabricated thing.

Yet I love Christianity in so many ways, I still feel comforted by praying “our father.”

Faith helps people get through life. It gives them energy to keep going, it gives them that sense of companionship when we feel all alone. Some would not be able to get up every day without it. So is there something wrong with those that don’t have it all?

Do we always need someone or something to worship? is it just part of the human makeup?

This topic does have more questions than answer I am afraid. One of the most important lessons I have come across in life is that to really learn you have to question. If you have faith in something, it is ok to question it… if you don’t it might not be that strong after all.

Audience

Most of my blog career I have not written for an audience. The blog has been personal and more of a brain dump than a cohesive piece of work. It goes all over the place, but this year I am trying to spark ideas, both inside of my head and others using quotes.

I tend to ramble a lot, I tend to write on run on sentences, I am no Hemingway by any stretch of the imagination but I think that he was right when he thought the audience should be smart enough to figure stuff out.

That is how I view my audience. If I use guilt, or emotion to make you feel something when I write it… I want people to say, whatever, I don’t feel that way… or I really don’t care… or that is not for me. Even if they never comment on what I write, most of the time what I want to do is to have people consider that thought for even just a second. I don’t want to change minds, I just want to kind of record and share a little of what mine goes to when I read a quote, react to an event or watch a movie.

I have started to use twitter again @logtar and some of my recent posts could have been simple tweets.

Understanding – I think people don’t really understand situations until they or someone close to them experience them.

Why the American dream is a lie that only Americans believe – The middle class in America is dying or already dead.

But I wanted to go further than that, not just create conversation around the topic but write what my mind came up with. Passion is just one of the things that drives me, and even though I am an engineer by trait and work a lot with computers I am still driven by emotions… a lot, for some of my friends maybe too much.

I can understand pure logic, and trying to achieve Logos (in the sense that true persuasion is more likely to be achieved by pure logic means) is one of my personal goals. Planting an idea on the ground of emotion only works for so long, people eventually wake up and realize that emotions while real can change. Hopefully most logic arguments don’t change. Now that is a discussion for another day.

I value my audience, and I also value and think all humans are capable of anything they put their mind to. I don’t think that what I write goes over peoples heads (it might end up confusing, wrong and very convoluted but I never think it will not be understood.) I list two editors here because when I write something that I think might only make sense to me, I check with them… and they help steer me a bit.

I am having a lot of fun exploring this new way direction I am taking here. I hope you guys are too.

Logos

When people hear the term Philosophy they often think of either a course they didn’t ever want to take, or that blow-off subject about a bunch of old dudes. What most don’t realize is that they are being fed philosophy in many ways, even by pop culture.

I hope I can safely assume that everyone has heard the word Logic. That word comes from another one, Logos, which has many meanings through history but the one that I want to discuss today is the one that Aristotle gave it.

Before I lose you, did you know that the film The Matrix models Plato’s Allegory of the cave? Aristotle was Plato’s student, and The Republic has given a lot to pop culture, from dystopias to utopias. If you read The Hunger Games, the idea of a society divided by what their people produce or do for a living is right out of The Republic.

Rhetoric has become even a bad word in modern politics. I think a lot of the people that use the word don’t even understand where it came from.

Aristotle wrote the treatise on rhetoric. So before I am accused of using long words that I don’t understand, treatise is like an essay but more in depth; think of writing a thesis. So Aristotle is the dude who wrote the handbook on how to bullshit!

Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations.

While all of this has in some ways been tainted by our negative connotation of politics, it is not just about that. You can pretty much argue about anything, and the ancient philosophers used to. We don’t do that enough. We almost sit complacent on the thought that everything has been figured out for us. But, logos is what puts humans above the other animals.

So what the heck is Logos?

Well, on his bullshit handbook, Aristotle talked about the modes of persuasion: Logos, pathos and ethos.

Every single time you are trying to convince someone of something using language you are using logos. When you tell your spouse that you should eat at closest and cheapest restaurant you are using speech laced with logic.

When you try to convince someone that you have high moral character (or know more than they do, LOL) you are using ethos. So this is kind of what preachers or a college professor. We listen to them because they should know better than us, that is how they persuade us.

Pathos is when you try to appeal to someone’s emotions. Trying to put someone in an specific state of mind. I think this one is the one that has given politics a bad name, because you can use fear to drive your point home. Any human emotion really, so even a comedian is using a form of persuasion.

I often use pathos and metaphors when talking about a subject. Being able to relate is something that makes others able to understand the message you are trying to convey. That said, nothing beats logic. I don’t think that until you have an argument and simmer it down to pure logic is it really resolved or put to rest.

A lot of my conversations with my friends lately have been all about the logos. And there is a post about faith and worship coming up thanks to one of those conversations. Hopefully this post can help frame some things to come. Maybe it just shows to my teacher that at least I was not sleeping during my entire philosophy class.

Blame the Zombie

One peculiar thing about this topic in my head is that is in interconnected in what might seem logical to me, but not to others. Modern society is full of zombies and it is almost doomed to turn us all into them as well.

The news right now is buzzing with the Penn State scandal. I myself have joked about it, not to be insensitive to the victims but to gauge how people react to it. It seems that most people are so numb to the word “rape” that it is seldom truly understood. Play any online video game and you will hear the word thrown around like candy.

My feelings about the whole mess; besides pity for the victims, is that today everyone is more worried about letting someone else take care of the mess. The more people you tell, the less responsible you are.. right? someone else will do the right thing.

The bystander effect might be in full effect in the modern world (don’t click the link unless you potentially want to cry RIP Wang Yue), however I think that needs to change.

Sure, there are plenty of excuses (someone might get sued for trying to help someone) but humans need to go back to helping one another.

Are we really all becoming zombies that care only about wealth acquisition and people around us don’t matter all that much?

That might be a bit harsh, but I think it gets the point across. It looks to me like most people in today’s world think responsibility is about finding who it is to blame other than me, not about taking action when action should be taken. Some people assume responsibility simply for the benefits it brings, and whatever it is that they need to perform is secondary.

I joke all the time that left in the middle of the jungle I could survive. Also that if the zombie apocalypse happen I would also be a good ally. What about the real world, right now though. I am not CPR certified, and while I could perform it if I had to, I think it is something that we all should practice.

I hope I am never tested, but I do hope that if I am ever in a situation that requires me to assist another human being I can. I don’t want to be one of the zombies, so please don’t bite me.

Is Commitment a thing of the past?

I enjoy reading a blog called Satisfying Retirement, it is written quite well and it has a lot of great information, not just about retirement but also offering a great point of view of the world from a retiree’s perspective. The blog is both honest and candid about a lot of topics.

One of the articles that I enjoyed reading quite a bit was about commitment. With the economy the way it is looking, not just in the US but globally, it really makes you want to look for causes. I don’t want to look for someone or something to blame, but more of what behaviors can really affect the overall way we live.

I found that one of the biggest culprits is the lack of commitment in everything from relationships to people doing what they say they are going to do.

It was eye opening the first time I found out that there are people that will tell you that they will do something just so that they can get you off their back. Even though the have no intention of doing what it is that you are asking or suggesting, they just agree. The funny thing is that this culture is a lot more strict about communication in this sense. For example, in India, a yes means, I will try and you hardly ever hear a no to reply to a request. In this society, when you say yes it means I will do it. At least I thought it was supposed to.

Is this a value that has been eroded? Is bending the rules also part of the general consensus?

Follow my train of thought for a minute or two. The moment that the individual thinks of a commitment as something that can be broken, it is the moment that a system fails. Systems function based on rules. When you say something you are supposed to mean it, if not, then there is no accountability.

The post in Satisfying Retirement was more about how inconvenient it can be when business and people don’t respect a schedule, but this same thing permeates everything that we do. I have watched some documentaries about the economy recently and they all seem to have the common theme of not rule breaking, but lets see how much we can bend the rules. Eventually the rules just don’t apply and it turns into, lets see how much we can get away with.

I have also had interactions with people that love to see how far they can push others. They find it interesting to find others breaking points. To me this behaviors shows a lack of respect and it affects everything else in life. How about you, do you trust people’s word anymore? is that someone you value?

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