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Old 08-02-2006, 06:14 AM
  # 15 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: The Big Woods
Posts: 521
Naturalistic Spirituality

Expectations! Preconceptions! Convictions! Beliefs! All be damned. They're so destructive, restrictive, constricting, misleading. Ignis fatuus!

Thrown off/ not thinking straight inside my head last night I set about reading.
Thank you kindly for the links at the top of this forum, Don S. and Five.
They keep me thinking on track. On WHY poring over IDEAS is important. Necessary. From the links I found this:

On naturalism..
By seeing that you are indeed caused to be who you are and a fully physical creature, you discover yourself fully connected to nature and to the physical and social world around you. You discover yourself to be completely at home in the universe, on the planet, and in your community. This is the basis for a naturalistic spirituality, an approach to your ultimate personal concerns that celebrates the grandeur of the cosmos and the beauty and wonder of nature.

Naturalism shows that since you didnít create yourself, you canít take ultimate credit for who you are in the way traditional supernatural views of the self make possible. You, a natural creature, have to give ďcreditĒ for your successes and good deeds to all those conditions - people, places, things, and genetics - that made you a good person. There are no longer grounds for feeling morally superior, prideful, self-important, arrogant, or for holding any other ego-laden attitude or belief about yourself. Just be grateful for your good fortune.

For the same reasons, you canít take ultimate blame for being nasty, selfish, lazy, fearful, shy, or for any other personal defect. Those characteristics too are fully caused and owe their existence to a host of environmental and perhaps genetic conditions. Seeing that you donít have contra-causal free will reduces unnecessary and counter-productive guilt and shame aimed at the self, permitting more productive efforts to change. Seeing that being nasty or selfish are fully caused doesnít mean you shouldn't want to stop being nasty or selfish. We donít lose our moral compass in accepting naturalism.

By understanding that you are caused and just how you are caused to be and to act, you gain control and power over yourself. Instead of supposing you can just will yourself to be other than you are (stronger, smarter, more altruistic), you understand that self-change is a matter of particular conditions. Create the conditions first, and then the change will follow. Even the desire to change has its causes in conditions, so if you want to want to change, we can arrange for that as well. Of course itís not always easy to discover what the right conditions are and how to create them, but itís a better bet than counting on willpower. By giving up the freely willing soul, you discover your real source of power : understanding your causality, through and through.

In sum, higher power is not God or anything supernatural. All is completely the product of natural order. Cause and effect-- the appreciation of causality. Choosing to understand how it works is up to the mind of the individual. Contemplation of interconnectedness and how everything works together. 'Dependent origination' ((Equus))

...from Naturalism: "Naturalism permits us to be wiser in setting up conditions in which we behave well toward each other in the first place. After all, since actions always result from causes, we can learn to control those causes to our benefit, and the benefit of others we interact with." ((Minnie))

Anything that's possible within the realm of possible. ((Five))

Thank you all so much for helping me to keep thinking straight.
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