virus: Re: Why religious?

Hakeeb A. Nandalal (
Sat, 19 Oct 1996 23:03:30 +0000

Ken Pantheists wrote :-

> The post did remind me of the discussions I've had with artists and
> performers who talk about their lives in training and their lives as
> artists. Eventually there is a liberation from the techniques that you
> learn to survive in the classroom/studio, to a level where you are
> creating your own work and gaining recognition for it. However, it may
> be years, or a lifetime before you reach a point where you are working
> from *your* sources, without comparing your work to others, without
> judging yourself based on your critic's value system. It is a clearer,
> less impeded way of working. It is hard to obtain because cynicism,
> guilt and fear do their best to hold you down.
> The post isn't about a power structure, where level three people smirk
> and berate those who are "under" them...
> There is no power structure, because you can't be given level three by
> anyone but yourself.
> The power relationship exists between a person and his/her cynicism.

Two artists whose work I've only recently started to appreciate are Van
Gogh and Picasso. Their early work to my untrained eye was better than
their later work because both men painted "standard" images before going
on to more abstract forms. I would have to agree with you about the

When I debated people on the Time Pathfinder boards about religion,
there was always the polite attitude of "you just don't get it" and now
I'm getting that impression here with atheists! Maybe by "not getting
it" I'm actually proving my point which I can sum up by quoting the Mike
Brady character from the Brady Bunch movie : "Wherever you go - there
you are". I suppose my biggest problem with this whole line of argument
is the definition of "levels" and the attempt to apply them to human
psyche. At some point it feels like religious meme and I'm too rabid an
atheist to take the bait.

People have varying degrees of intelligence and self-awareness which can
be considered attributes in the same manner as sexual orientation or
left-handedness. These are not easily quantifiable attributes as some
I.Q. tests attempt to do. The ability to achieve certain intellectual
goals is directly dependent on this attribute. What people do with their
intelligence is obviously a personal decision but this is limited by
their intellectual resources. How far someone goes up the "self-esteem"
ladder would be governed by what rung they started out on in the first

> May I suggest that there is an incredibly tyrannical meme at work here.
> Common sense is the most cynical, judgment ridden, manipulative
> concept around. (hyperbole is a close second)

OK, I blew it here. Is it too late to substitute "the individual's
ability to discern for himself as compared with the general population's
average level of this capability"?

> Second meme: and no amount of _______ (fill in blanks) and _________ is
> going to bring them (replace with group of your choice) around.
> Both are effective in shutting people up.

Does this invalidate the meme? All I'm saying is if a person cannot
grasp certain "basic" concepts then reading a book called "How to grasp
basic concepts" isn't going to help. I believe this conforms with
classic memetics : our resident memes govern our absorption of new memes
therefore my argument is our level of intelligence governs the
complexity of those memes to begin with. To put it in the most offensive
terms : you can't bombard a simple mind with complex concepts and hope
they stick. Look at me, two guys brighter than me so far have pointed
out the errors of my arguments, yet I resist.

* *
* Hakeeb A. Nandalal *
* *
* *