Saturday, June 18, 2011

Discussion on Jesus as Sacrifice For Our Original Sin

so Mirrizin says:

Nachum Braverman, a Jewish Rabbi, describes the process

"You rest your hands on its head and you confess the mistake you made. Then you slaughter the cow. It's butchered in front of you. The blood is poured on the altar. The fat is put on the altar to burn. How do you feel? (Don't say disgusted.) I'll tell you how you feel. You feel overwhelmed with emotion, jarred by the confrontation you've just had with death, and grateful to be alive. You've had a catharsis. The cow on the altar was a vicarious offering of yourself"


Christ took the guilt with him. The point of a Jewish sacrifice, I think as I've recently read (check with blackskimmer, perhaps? or davidmordichai? Prefect?) would be not to appease God by giving something away, but to project your guilt onto a living thing and then symbolically slaughter it to remind yourself of what you had done, and then to shock yourself back onto the right path.

Jesus wasn't killed because God likes killing. Jesus was killed because he was trying to get his (God's) point across. Christ took it all with him so that we could see the way to go.

and I said:
jesus was all about shock! his message: get out of the slumber of your everyday family life, political life, religious life and WAKE UP, drop everything and follow me and examine your life.

were's my thoughts on why god committed seppuku?

why jesus died for our sins < blackskimmer > 05/25 13:23:37

the formulation i came up with back when i lived some christianity was this:

life for humans in this universe inherently involves sinning. no way to avoid it, not hard thought nor technology. there are always mysteriously unavoidable dilemmas. i.e. abortion, saving lives, hell even just to die at your appointed time seems like a sin against such a splendid being.... that's how life is for organisms as complex as us. Sometimes we even blame ourselves for our own deaths. Certainly this is a biblical take on the situation, that human failing is responsible for the introduction of death in the world.

Even birth, to conceive a child, an act of love, of creativity, of hope, creates the possibility of danger, to the mother and the child.

so what do you do? recall Arjuna's dilemma in the baghavad gita. he was a warrior in charge of an army in a major battle. he was up on the hill watching the two sides and started to imagine all the suffering and destruction that would occur if he sent his side into battle. also all the suffering and destruction that would occur if he didn't fight and the other army attacked...

so he froze! it took the whole book for krishna to convince him there was no way possible for finite humans to understand which way to act brings less suffering in many cases, but we cant just crawl under a rock and NOT enter the fray.

what i take jesus dying on the cross to mean is that our life involves sinning, that's a given, not quite we 'inheritted it from an act of adam' but that's just how it is to be human, even to be interesting.

We are not perfect robots, but creative beings, and beings born into the act of creative evolution. all creation involves risk, involves invention of ideas and choosing between them. to be able to take part of this creative act of evolution requires that we be vulnerable. to congenital illnesses, to cancers. to death. we find this horrifying, but the alternative is to be perfect, eternally fixed.

but who can love a perfect robot? we love each other because we can identify with the other's frailties.

i figured there are two levels of responsibility? if you think YOU are responsible for getting yourself into one of these impossible dilemmas where either choice is a sin, if you think you are responsible for your own death, then you are in anguish and freeze. and even if you freeze something bad will happen anyway because you didn't act...

the message of jesus dying is: 'you are NOT responsible for being in that situation, it is the common human condition. I, God, put you there by creating you that way. i'm the only one who could forgive you for being human! so now go and choose one of the choices that you think is best, and act on it. and even if you think it is not the perfect choice, go ahead and bumble through it anyway (no perfect choice may be possible) TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for that choice and live with the consequences, but don't be burdened by thinking you put yourself into the position to make that choice.'

and then we are called to emulate god in his forgiveness, to forgive each other for not being perfect.

Hitting Your Thumb While Trying To Hammer In Your Life

expect cursing
when you attempt to dive
into the tumultuous waters
of religion.

don't you curse
when trying to hammer in a nail
and you hit your thumb instead?

how much deeper the pain must be
when trying to drive in straight
a whole human life
and miss...

Friday, June 17, 2011

How An Animal Grows From a Single Egg Cell: It's Like a City Growing From One Colonist Stranded On a Lush Tropical Island

An animal is a society of tiny single celled organisms, that is growing by way of these living cells giving birth to more and more cells and informing each other and rearranging each other.

To what kind of human venture is it most like? The founding of a city? So pretend one person washes up on a beach a lush tropical island beach and for the hell of it, pretend people are unisex and reproduce by splitting in half. (quite odd, eh?) so this person eats all the cocounts and mangos and gets fat and splits. At first the fellow is doing everything, finding food, chasing away monkeys, building fire, foraging for supplies, building shelter... then the twins split and they split...

Now at first they are identical twins. But soon the colonists begin specializing in different tasks, and the more each twin specializes and perfects his craft he interacts differently with his other twins, and forces them to change their habits too. now, all the while they are still splitting so guilds form and specialization within guilds happens. A village starts to form, with twins building huts around themselves and some roads to make it easy to move resources and materials around. And then some guilds start specializing on building and roadmaking... Since they are all clones of each other, they form a very closeknit and well coordinated society.

As the village grows, more specialization happens, different groups start forcing each other to reorganize, rerouting roads etc.. More structure forms, more organization, more complex interactions, materials are processed in more elaborate chains of production. As storms come, seasons change, land gets used up, visitors come, possible invaders... the village begins behaving in more complex ways, forms complex governments, diplomatic missions, armies, traders, politicians...

In essence, the city is built from within by its 'cells'. That's how animals form. Now to make our city more like an animal, imagine the city structure build like a giant robot like one of those transformer toys. Instead of being built on the ground, the whole structure is being built in 3 dimensions, the whole city structure is flexible capable of walking about, or even flying. A giant honeybee robot!

To get closer to being like an organism, lets add one more layer of complexity. Most of the scaffolding and mechanisms of an animal are made of the cells themselves, (with some nonliving bone and fiber built in for strength...). Now, a honeybee is a million cells. That's how many people in a fairly big human city, say just manhattan. The reason that the organs and tissues of an animal are so much more flexible and responsive than human city structures is that the animal organs and tissues are build out of the living cells themselves. So all the structures are dynamic, responsive to each other.

So imagine the roads are lined with these ... ok, so imagine these colonists as not QUITE humans, a little dumber, a little more able to settle for performing very simple roles. As indeed some animals are, like oysters, and various simplified parasites... which start off as flexible swimming sensing larvae and then settle down to become basically, sessile, eating tubes producing eggs.

So imagine these colonists, making buildings out of themselsves, holding onto each other. Imagine the elevators are groups of people some holding each other making a basket for other people to ride in while the others do the climbing up and down. Some are the windows opening and closing because the 'people' that form them can sense the environment and respond the the people inside. The scaffolding is people holding onto each other so it can respond to changing loads , the building can shift over if it needs to. Cars and busses are simply bunches of people holding onto each other walking with their legs letting riders sit on them, some of them use their eyes to see, steer, communicate with other cars, some collect food and distribute it to the other 'people' that make up the car.

So all the structures and machines in the city are alive, are made of 'people' that can communicate with each other, allowing the structures to respond to each other and even think how to respond.

So that's what animals are. Cities made mostly out of societies of simpler single celled organisms. You and I are stupendous cities made of a trillion cells. that's like one hundred thousand new york cities full of people. One step in realizing that life is not a shear magical mystery is realizing the numbers involved, the complexity capable of those numbers.

If you wonder how a brain can think, realize that it is made of a hundred billion neurons. A society of one hundred billion simple critters capable of making simple decisions, inventing tiny snippets of ideas, memorizing a word or two at a time, all having conversations with each other. Typical neurons are connected to a thousand others at a time, and synthesizes information from all of them while then sending out signals to hundreds of others in the network. This society takes over 30 generations to form (typically a cell takes about a day to divide into two cells) Over the time of these 30 generations the cells form all kinds of social bonds and rearrangements and habits of communication...

And, if these cells that build the organism-city out of themselves, are themselves organisms too, simpler ones, what are THEY made of? If they are like animals, do THEY have organs and parts? Are THEY cities of even SIMPLER sub-cellular organisms?

Kind of...This living world is made of quite a few levels nested in deeper and deeper... Very strange universe! In the next chapter we will explore the world of those subcellular parts - molecules, what are they and What can they do?