To walk in the dark is a frightening thing, and man is unaccustomed to such powerlessness. With a desperate and enduring ferocity he reaches out the length of his palms, cursing his eyes as he searches for an anchor. This was not of his choice. And he grows ever bitter at the thought.
“I have been blinded against my will! I have been denied a means of sight! In this darkness my heart has cause to wail but no one answers.”
Left to his own devices he begins to see no worth in his plea. For he is alone. Selflessness his only saving grace.
In defeat he calls out.
“My words bring me no peace and I have been too quick in cursing my eyes. For a time I have used my hands but to no avail. Surely they have become my prison. And in it I found a comfort less unsettling than the dark that haunts me. From this I will learn.”
And learn he did.
And so man gains back his control. No longer content with his weaning. Even in the dark his eyes are his light.
Taking him where his hands cannot reach.
This post is going to be about fear and its going to be really really long. What I’m going to do is establish the terms and concepts I plan on using and then I will apply them to a very important and controversial topic and trend. Let’s start (remember I’m long winded).
Okay. When most try to objectively define fear it usually looks something like this:
“- a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus which is perceived as a risk of significant loss-“
And they’d be right. These are the bare bones of fear. It is still a response whether learned or instinctive. And for the major part of human history it has been used as a signal to let its host know that it is either in danger or in the way of some form of immediate or prolonged harm. Fear has mostly been painted in a negative light as it has the capability of impeding our actions and thoughts, seizing us in place. In this manner it is usually viewed as a type of wall that is meant to be climbed or torn down in order to act clearly without any sense of dread. When considered within a fight response instead of flight response, fear is not a good thing. But in the preemptive sense fear is everything. This is what I’ll be talking about. In this case fear can be related to classical conditioning. Being shot causes pain. Pain hurts. Whenever we see a gun being aimed at us we anticipate the pain that goes along with being shot. That anticipation is either fear itself or causes fear in us. That same anticipation, that same cause of fear can move us to either run or attempt to dodge. The act of running and dodging has the potential to save our life. In a sense fear moves us to take actions which can keep us from experiencing pain. Fear helps to protect us from pain. This is one of the major principles in this post. But not all pain is physical. There are far more frightening things than bullets entering our flesh (for instance the person who shot us). And for all those non-physical things there is still need for a protector. Fear still works in the same way.
In this picture we can say that the castle represents fear and that the enemy soldiers represent the unknown. If there were no castle then it would be much easier for the unknown to consume us beforehand without a second thought. The castle in this case serves as a protective barrier giving us the chance to avoid harm. It may not fully protect us but it still gives us the chance. This can be likened to old horror movies where there is a dark and ominous set of steps leading into the cellar. Our fear is a protector in that it gives us the chance to tell us that “something is wrong”, “we shouldn’t go down there” or “just turn around and leave”. Bravery on the other hand is what the knights above are doing. Going outside of their castle in order to confront the unknown despite still having fear.
I’m going to proceed with this using multiple ‘pairs’ of concepts and acronyms. We already illustrated the first to some extent but the upcoming concept is where the meat is:
Fear as a protector from dangers of the body.
Fear as a protector from dangers of the heart.
Now when I say dangers of the heart I don’t just mean feeling pain after someone has died or had a break up. I mean the anticipation of all the types of pain that exist within the mind and have a heartfelt sense, instead of a physical “ouch that hurts” sense. Fear as a mental and emotional protector comes into play in a range of instances.
- Fear of going to school and not doing so in order to avoid getting bullied.
- Fear of being rejected and not talking to someone in order to avoid the potential “failure outcome”.
- Fear of public speaking and withdrawing in order to not be judged by the audience.
- Fear of being critiqued and not allowing for user comments on a personal work or post.
The list goes on. Acting on our fear of such things can protect us from the things themselves. But we can always end up growing too reliant on our protector. Becoming too comfortable in our feelings of being emotionally safe. A dependency then builds on our relationship with our protector and in this case our protector is fear. Soon we grow too comfortable in avoiding the dangers of the heart. We then make a type of home within our fears, not wanting to deal with the troubles of the outside. An good example of this can be illustrated in an analysis written by Hylian Dan for Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. In it he describes how the themes and structure of the world illustrates how people deal with both their fears, and senses of comfort. It is just like the castle example above but instead of going out to fight what if the knights just stayed inside and relaxed, assuming that the unknown couldn’t get in? This same point can be illustrated with islands.
‘Tis a peaceful place, this here island…
The people here would never even dream of leavin’ their little paradise and settin’ sail on a voyage at sea, know what I mean?
Why, this town is full of faces that don’t even show the slightest interest in the sails of a ship. Are we sailors the only ones? Has no one else set out on the Great Sea?
—Kane, the Sailor
One of the most memorable features of The Wind Waker is the design of the game world: small islands and vast oceans. This design does more than simply set up the gameplay and story, however. It conveys a certain way of seeing the world. Sometimes we have solid ground beneath our feet. At other times we are on our own, and nothing but our own resilience is there to keep us afloat.
We live in relation to islands and oceans. This is one of the key philosophical points of The Wind Waker. Islands represent comfort while oceans represent hardship. Many of the people who populate the Great Sea spend all their years within the confines of a single island, clinging to a personal little paradise. To them, the sea is too vast and dangerous and it is better and easier to remain at home.
Nevertheless, there are others who do not feel any need to step past their limited comfort areas. They are happy with life the way it is, and they do not want it to change.
Minenco was dubbed Miss Windfall forty years ago, and she relishes that status every day. She refuses to believe that her physical beauty will ever fade.
My skin will always be beautiful! Hoo hoo hoo! Not even the younger girls look prettier than me!
There is also Manny, a fan boy who is content to wander the Nintendo Gallery in awe. The Nintendo Gallery is a series of rooms that Link and a sculptor named Carlov gradually fill with figurines.
Listen… Please try not to interrupt me as I gaze upon my figurines…in supreme bliss. All I want out of life is just the chance to hang out and gaze at my figurines… My life is soooo good.
The allegorical content here is thinly veiled. Manny is happy to live life in a bubble, a world of hand-made figurines in place of real people. It is a world not unlike the Zelda universe: an artificial escape from reality. Manny wants to stay in this paradise forever.
Islands tempt people with their beauty, with their safe familiarity, with the easy life that they promise.
But beneath the illusion of paradise, there is a cage.
Missy the elderly lady is a prisoner of Windfall Island. She is unable to perceive any crack in the wall leading to freedom. As the years of her life slip away, she gazes past the bars of her cage and says, “If only…”
Paradises are places of beauty, but those who live in paradise must be able to let go of it lest it become a prison cell. It is a shame to spend all one’s time in a small, confined space when there is a great wide world out there, waiting to be experienced.
“Ahh, do you not feel the grand romance of the wide open skies? The roaring invitation of the wind? The soft call of the clouds?
You are a boring, boring creature.”
—Willi, the Bird-Man
Can you see the relation? There’s a reason why I’ve posted so much of the article. Many of the points will be shown in depth later on. But for now we can see that growing too relaxed for whatever reasons (be us afraid or content) can be dominating. It even has the potential to clash with those who long for independence and are not tied down to their islands or comforts in fear. Looking at things this way however should not give the idea that everyone needs to be brave in the absolute sense and have no fear or need for protection. Our protectors are vital and important. Dismissal of a protector could easily mean the abandonment of our lives. Just as someone with no fear whatsoever can walk into a minefield without feeling any impeding sense of dread or need to leave. In truth there are different ways of being dependent. Let’s separate these ways into 2 types of dependency on a protector. There’s:
Dependent Dependency (DD)
Independent Dependency (ID)
Dependent Dependency is much like what was described in the Zelda examples and can be alluded to Dependency Need but is illustrated within the emotional sense and in regards to protection from the dangers of the heart:
Dependency need is “The vital, originally infantile needs for mothering, love, affection, shelter, protection, security, food, and warmth.” (Segen, 1992) A dependency need is thought to be characterized by two components: (1) It is a real need of an organism, something that must be present in order for the organism to be able to thrive, (2) It is something that an individual cannot provide for him or herself.
The “It is a real need of an organism, something that must be present in order for the organism to be able to thrive” part is what is being depicted here by the term above but it is meant to be aimed in the direction of the state of the organism instead of the need itself. For example; A mother provides warmth for her child because the child needs it and can’t provide it for themselves. Thus the child has a dependent need on their mother. Which is fine because they are a child. The fact that the child exists in a manner in which it can’t provide for itself means that they are in a state of dependent dependency (DD). Dependency need is the need for the child’s mother while Dependent Dependency is the fact that the child can’t do it themselves (* There are better words and concepts for DD but this is just my flawed way of making it fit in with the rest of the topic). DD is fine when discussing the relationship between a mother and child because we all have to start out somewhere. But outside of that context the state of that child is simply a type of parasite with a mother for a host/protector (in the most stoic of senses). Before I dive into Independent Dependency I need to stress that I am still talking within an individual’s mental framework with regards to fear. A DD has a complete parasitic type need for its protector in order to survive (Just like the old lady and her island). A DD will never be shown stepping outside of the bounds of its protector and will never make any displays of courage to circumvent the protection that it gives.
On its own, the flood from the Halo series could not exist and would ultimately die out if there were no other lifeforms around on which to feed. This induced the fore runners and 343 Guilty Spark’s compliance of complete annihilation as a solution to the floods destruction. The flood’s “protector” is its insatiable, unconscious and desperate/innate need for survival. That is what keeps it alive. Thus the flood itself could be considered to exist within a physical state of DD. A literal parasite plain and simple.
Kagari Izuriha (Chariot) from the animated version of Black Rock Shooter had a psychosomatic need for Yomi’s (Dead Master’s) attention and care. Her state of “helplessness” is depicted with a wheelchair (while in the real world) that she no longer needs and only uses to draw guilt from Yomi in order to keep her near. The attention Yomi gives is her “protector” and she fears being alone. Opposite from the flood she is an example of someone existing within a mental/emotional state of DD. This aspect is what I’m focusing on for now.
For the DD its protector serves as its island
Islands represent comfort while oceans represent hardship. Many of the people who populate the Great Sea spend all their years within the confines of a single island, clinging to a personal little paradise.
Islands tempt people with their beauty, with their safe familiarity, with the easy life that they promise.
The protector/island in this case has the potential to be idolized by the DD. And the DD does this to the point of always placing its own worth and value within the perspective of its protector (“our castle is so strong that they can’t get in” or “this ship will never sink” type thinking). Because it always exists behind the shield of its protector it can’t imagine anything beyond that. In a sense it willingly makes itself a slave to its own protector out of fear. Things then start to get confusing. Because a DD clings to its own protective fear out of fear of being outside of its own comfortable state. Fear then turns into a regressive cycle depending on which perspective one is speaking from.
An ID or Independent Dependency type is much different. Instead of assuming an active and parasitic relationship with its protector, it assumes a passive and balanced one. An ID isn’t hopelessly reliant on its sense of comfort and has no problem abandoning it and sidestepping its protector in order to do so. However because it is still dependent it still has its needs, but only when there exists an actual need.
An ID is exactly like a cell phone. A cell phone will always have a need for its charger but it doesn’t have to be constantly hooked up to one in order to work. It is dependent on its charger when it is has a need for it but it is still fully functional when it is on its own. Thus the term independent dependency (ID).
Could you imagine a new phone that could only be used if it were hooked up to a charger at all times? This is what a DD is like. If the capacitance on a battery is extremely low it will have a parasitic and completely dependent need on its charger in order to function. This is Dependent Dependency (DD) and this is how some people behave with the comfort their fears give them.
To get the point across more evenly a DD is a DD because they abuse their relationship with their protector. And an ID is an ID because it respects its relationship with its protector.
This same concept is true of the protectors themselves. Let’s do the same as before and separate the 2 types of protectors. There is:
Overly Protective (OP)
Respectfully Protective (RP)
In most ways it mirrors but is also the same as DD & ID.
But before explain any further you must be asking; “I thought fear was the protector? How can fear, which isn’t a person, be deemed to have qualities like being respectful or overly protective?”. And you’d be right. Fear itself can’t have these qualities, but in this OP & RP example we’ve transitioned from the mental protector within our own mind to an external protector that looks after us. This could be a parent, teacher, guardian, friend, sibling whatever. Any person other than ourselves who we have a “they look after me” relationship with. Before when we were talking about fear being the protector we were staying inside the mental framework of a single individual. Now while we’re talking about DD & ID and OP & RP we are still including that individual but are now talking about that same individual’s relationship with both an internal and external protector. Everything still applies but the concept is different. This becomes more important later on.
So let’s go on. An overly protective (OP) protector is also motivated by it’s own fear. It could be a fear of not wanting to see a loved one get hurt, not wanting to see a student fail , or not wanting to see a friend get depressed. On their own these are normal things, but just as with the DD the OP abuses it fears. The OP has usually experienced and or seen a lot of bad things in its life. It may even have a deeply damaged heart and doesn’t want the things it felt to happen to the people it cares about.
The Greek film Dogtooth paints a vivid and otherworldly picture of the lengths an OP type can go when it comes to being powered by fear when “protecting the ones it loves”. The OP can become so deluded in its fear that it can even destroy what it’s protecting without knowing it. In this case the OP’s own personal fear goes from balanced to irrational to an extreme degree.
Black from Tekkonkinkreet had an imbalanced protective view in his relationship with White, which eventually leads him towards a equally imbalanced and reckless,violent depravity upon their separation.
Excluding the extreme cases, this mainly does not pertain to the selfishness of not wanting to feel hurt by seeing another hurt. It is usually a case of selflessness in that the person is using their own individual fear/protector for the sake of another (Giving the person you care about your castle). This is all well and good and can be beneficial if done with a proper sense of balance. But the problem is that each individual has their own fear/protector and it may not be the same or it may not agree with the one being given. Everyone personally has something they’re afraid of. That something may not be in common with everyone else.
An RP is just the Protector version of an ID. Just like the ID it only protects when there is a need. It also knows its dependent (whomever its protecting) very well and it can tell, even without using words, whether its help is needed or not. It also has a developed sense of trust with its dependent. This trust allows mutual knowledge of each others limits and prevents the overstepping of boundaries. Ideally the perfect relationship that can be had between a protector and a dependent is between an ID type and an RP type. There is no abuse of power or respect in this type and it allows mutual freedom, growth, and communication without bias between the two parties. “I need you and you need me.”
A good relationship between an RP type and an ID type can be shown in the summoner class from the Final Fantasy series. When threatened, the summoner is dependent on and relies on the summoned spirits power. However he/she does not need them at all times in order to stay alive and function properly. Likewise the summoned spirit only helps when called and isn’t constantly around attempting to protect the summoner from each and every thing out of fear of harm coming to him/her. There is a respect of balance despite the mutual responsibility contained in each individuals role. The RP&ID type makes use of that balance. The summoned is dependent on the summoners call while the summoner is dependent on the summoned’s power.
Now that we’ve set up the terms and concepts lets hop into the relationships between them and kick things into a higher gear (it gets heavy and it gets confusing but it’ll make sense if you take it slow and think about all the terms. I’ll refine it to a more comprehensive form later).
Remember when I said:
“But the problem is that each individual has their own fear/protector and it may not be the same or it may not agree with the one [protection] being given. Everyone personally has something they’re afraid of. That something may not be in common with everyone else.”
This is very important. This has been the spark that has destroyed many Protector/Dependent relationships. It can be seen in lots of places. In a monarchy a princess might be afraid of being put into a relationship without love while her father may be worried about the future of the bloodline. A leader might be afraid of potential conflict while his subordinates might be afraid of being silenced or loosing their freedoms. The list goes on and on throughout the ages on many different personal and national scales. If a dependent is not afraid of the same things the protector is afraid of it will begin to feel constricted. It will then long for its own independence and it will try to break free of the protector’s fears at the expense of the protector itself (rebellions, revolutions, uprisings, etc.). This case only happens if the relationship is at first unbalanced and the protector has taken on the traits of an OP like I explained above. The dependent’s personal sense of fear and need of protection doesn’t fit with the OP’s offering of protection. This lack of cohesion and “I want to break away” reaction from the dependent can easily cause the protector to view the dependents actions as a lack of love/understanding when in fact it is just an incompatibility due to its own overprotective nature. The two parties are not fearful of the same things. In order to avoid this there needs to be a communication between the two. An understanding. Actual love, in place of fear, helps with this. When love is there it does not break away from the OP’s grip in a self concerned manner despite its discomfort. Instead it attempts to communicate its lack of compatibility with the OP. But the dependent can only communicate its own fears just as OP can only do the same (“One can only speak what they know.”). How well each party understands itself in the end is determined by how well each party does when presenting its own case to the other. But know that the OP is attempting to argue something the dependent isn’t concerned with, or has a good understanding of (This is why there is tension in the first place. Because their fears/protectors are different). The eventual split between them then becomes inevitable. However the OP just used it own protector for another who now has no need for them. This is why it hurts more in the protector’s case. The OP had made itself vulnerable for the sake of another so it is definitely at the most risk while the dependent had two protectors (its own personal one and the one the OP had given. Which results in OP being left without a “castle”). If the dependent doesn’t see value in trying to understand OP’s actions (no matter how well OP can communicate those actions), then they will either leave out of disappointment or spite or whatever other feeling was used in the exchange if it wasn’t love.
Why then is the love aspect so important? Love helps us know the heart of an individual and helps them to communicate their abilities, limits, fears and dreams. When the protector knows these things it can properly judge and or trust that its dependent’s fear/protector can either work for itself, or isn’t ready for what is actually out there (the difference between rearing a child and rearing a teenager). That understanding is the glue that can keep an RP&ID type together for so long. Surprisingly enough, love in the way I just described can act as the main conversion factor between both D&I and OP&RP’s. And it works in the exact same way for each of them. Anything other than love however can contaminate it which leads to the bitter aftertaste after having an argument or split.
But there is always the point of the protector’s protector. The ‘Who watches the watchmen?’ bit. Where does all this crap begin?
This is the easier part. At the start of everything the protector’s protector is its environment and how well it observes it and understands it.
“Any time one isn’t familiar with something, it all looks the same. Knowledge and education are required to properly judge a thing.”
The more we understand the less we fear. And the more we understand our environment the better it can serve as our protector. The Native Americans obviously had a pretty awesome application for this concept and understanding. Once we understand we can decide how to act based upon the judgement we made (enter the scientific method). Our own personal protective fears of the unknown can still keep us from making a proper judgement, but reaching for that understanding out of love can help us brave this and exit our castles, islands, and comfort zones. Lack of understanding means lack of communication. Each individual has their own protector. That protection is independent and forms itself out of personal experiences or personal hurt. It is a protector that is custom made for each of us. We all fear different things. We may fear the same things but for different reasons. Being brave in spite of those things helps us to work around those barriers. But letting those pains and experiences dwell on us is the difference between becoming an OP or an RP when it comes to our own fears.
Well that’s it for all that. Confusing as hell I’m sure. “If you can’t explain it simply, then you don’t understand it well enough” keeps playing on repeat in my mind right now. But let’s just get the thoughts formulated and written down first.
By now you’re probably wondering about the controversial thing I mentioned at the beginning. Let’s get to that right quick. What I’m going to do is apply all the terms, concepts, and relationships above and run them along side the atheism vs. theism fiasco. HOWEVER all of the following is specifically addressing the difference between the gnostics and agnostics of both sides (it is very important to not get confused between the two).
As it is, I do not view agnosticism as a viable stance on it’s own. I view agnosticism as an accessory to both theism and atheism. Much like this:
People have heard this being said before many times over, just as people have seen that pic many times over. But no matter what’s said, each side that feels absolute in itself (claims proof exists) also has difficulty in being critical of itself. What I mean by this is that neither of the two gnostic stances by themselves are wholly capable of developing an unbiased yet observant perspective. You can ultimately hold either (belief/non-belief) stance at your core. Either one is fine. But when attempting to grasp reality for what it is you need skepticism of your own position in both cases (this is actual open mindedness). “I have an idea about the way things are but I also know that I have the potential to be wrong”. Thus the accessory of agnosticism.
The purpose of this part of the writing is to at least cause a spark that allows one to become more critical of their personal positions. A segment (but not all) of gnostic theists take their fuel from fear based teachings without knowing it. When fear is at the root then there is no room for reason or any sense of practicality no matter how logical the appeal, just like confronting the OP and DD types. Likewise a segment (but not all) of gnostic atheists are just a reactionary by product of the fear based teachings that the gnostic theists had taught. When a position is based on a reaction it has the potential to retain a bitterness towards what it has separated itself from and amplifies the ‘guilt’ of that other side within its own mind.
The difference between the two absolutes is balance in how each feels about the observations it has made about its own environment (its personal protector from that which it feels has the potential to harm it).
Keep in mind this my train of thought on digital paper. Not my arguing for a certain side. Me explaining why I’m on the side I’m on is for part 2 of this post. Anyways, let’s get started.
Gnostic Theism first. Let’s take a look at a speculative situation:
> A church is made after someone finds a book that says bad things will happen if other people don’t believe it or take some form of specific action (This is attempted understanding of ones environment as a protector. It is the origin of this cycle just like from before.)
> The church takes to heart what the book says and becomes fearful of the eventual outcome it describes (this can be a conscious reaction or an unconscious one)
> This fear then serves as a protective tool to move it to act in a way that keeps it from experiencing the bad things the book talked about (This is fear as a protector. Some would call this or mislabel it as Fear of God. In this case it is the same as seeing a gun and becoming fearful of the anticipation of being shot. Most equate the power God is said to have with his potential ability in punishing them for whatever they think they’ve done.)
> But the church sees the protective actions it takes as noble and cares for other people. It then turns the prospect of everyone avoiding a bad fate into a movement, a cause, and a dream (exactly like the Vanguards for Equality from my previous post) and it gets comfortable in its stance (castles and islands example). It then passes down and teaches to each generation the art of dodging and running from a disastrous fate (which is like the bullet in the gun example). But because the churches initial understanding was based upon a fear, that fear translates into the ways it tries to help other people (Obey God or burn forever type thinking). Thus the church itself ultimately becomes an OP type organization (Overly Protective) whether it meant to originally or not. This can be shown in what the people take away from the teachings or how they view others who don’t share their beliefs.
> Since the arts of dodging and running themselves are based on fear within a flight response, they have the potential to reach any radical measures necessary by whatever extreme means in order to protect itself (this is where we get ‘Don’t watch Superman he represents Jesus, Don’t watch Star Wars, the force mocks holy spirit” all the way to ‘Let’s go start a crusade’. It’s all the same and comes from the same response type). And so you get parents who believe in the church’s methods (because its all that this church may have or maybe its what the church places priority on) and then attempt to instill those OP type methods within their children (even amplifying them in some cases).
> As a result there is a reaction when it comes to the children. And this happens:
“But the problem is that each individual has their own fear/protector and it may not be the same or it may not agree with the one [protection] being given [by the OP]. Everyone personally has something they’re afraid of. That something may not be in common with everyone else.”
> And after that happens, this happens:
“If a dependent is not afraid of the same things the protector is afraid of it will begin to feel constricted [islands have the potential to turn into prisons]. It will then long for its own independence and it will try to break free of the protector’s fears at the expense of the protector itself (rebellions, revolutions, uprisings, etc.). This case only happens if the relationship is at first unbalanced and the protector has taken on the traits of an OP like I explained above. The dependent’s personal sense of fear and need of protection doesn’t fit with the OP’s offering of protection. This lack of cohesion and “I want to break away” reaction from the dependent can easily cause the protector to view the dependents actions as a lack of love/understanding when in fact it is just an incompatibility due to its own overprotective nature.”
> And after all this has happened the offspring of the OP will either accept the methods presented or refuse them. One who believes and one who doesn’t. Which then brings us to this:
*I’ll address the actual questions posed in part 2. Note I’ve seen his other vids and even though he isn’t the perfect poster child for what I’m getting at here (I was looking for a gnostic), I had a hard time finding ones that put stances side by side in this way.
*If he reads this, sorry ahead of time for using you as an example
Now, you must be saying to yourself that the break away case isn’t because of the OP’s once overprotective nature but because of an incompatibility of beliefs. However note that one can still “not believe” and continue to reside within a congregation. One does don’t cause the other but the first (OP’s nature) is what makes the dependent uncomfortable enough to the point where it can act or break away in the first place.
This is where many ex-dependents are at today. Since the kid in the video is an atheist (not sure which one but I’m going to assume agnostic) he is asking these questions from outside of the incompatible over protection of his previous “spiritual protectors”. He, just like many others, have asked these questions once before while still inside of the OP’s relationship. But what usually happens (I’m breaking away from the kid in the video now) is that the OP couldn’t answer because the OP originally made its own protection based on fear which inhibits its ability to relate to others who don’t feel how it feels. This just means that he/she can’t communicate with what it didn’t have in the first place. This however is in no way saying that the OP type parent doesn’t have love for their child. This is saying that the love the OP attempts to communicate for its child is separate from the feelings it has for the teachings of the church. In this instance the parent can’t love the child through the church’s teachings but can only appeal to the child with how it feels about the church’s teachings. As a result the OP can only try to communicate its own reasoning through the fear that was passed down. These reasoning’s then seek fear based justifications. In a sense both the justifications and the reasoning’s themselves are just forms of cowardice in light of objective understandings (I’m talking about the extreme end of things here).
You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep seated need to believe. [Dr. Arroway in Carl Sagan’s Contact (New York: Pocket Books, 1985]
In the quote above, what Carl Sagan is describing is an OP type gnostic theist. Fear is at the core of this. The quote can help sum up why the OP type parent can’t explain anything to its child in regards to the churches teaching without the influence fear has had on it. I’m sure everyone can come up with their own example of this be it their own or someone else.
Now let’s look at gnostic atheism. This is going to be a lot more in depth because the reasoning it is based on is contingent upon observable reality, which as we know is very reliable when dealing with real time cases. The gnostic atheist feels that taking the absolute stance of “There is no God” is the only true objective way of gaining an unbiased view of ones environment and circumventing the overprotective fear that is so readily associated with religion and belief.
The question [Do you believe in God?] has a peculiar structure. If I say no, do I mean I’m convinced God doesn’t exist, or do I mean I’m not convinced he does exist? Those are two very different questions. [Dr. Arroway in Carl Sagan’s Contact (New York: Pocket Books, 1985), p. 168.]
This quote is just an examination of the difference between gnostic and agnostic atheists. One professes an absolute while the other can still retain skepticism of its own belief (thus the convincing bit). Let’s explain this more then attempt to illustrate it. [*Note that this is just a continuation of the previous example. not an assumption that all gnostic atheists are ex-theists]
> After a dependent has refused an OP’s protection and chosen to become a non-believer, he/she then has to step outside of the OP’s jurisdiction before it can relieve itself of restriction
> Once outside of the OP’s protection it can then see what the OP couldn’t: It’s ex-protectors fear of the unknown. The once dependent now turned Independent Independent (II). Takes on a new sense of freedom upon tasting absolute independence for the first time, something it couldn’t do when behind the OP’s shield. (Though not in all cases, this carries potential for condescension)
> This freedom can be euphoric in its appeal. However this same feeling can cloud the way the II views those who still base their personal protection within spiritual teachings. (Very few can look back favorably upon time spent in prison)
> When this happens we get this:
What we’re currently seeing more of in regards to disbelief is not a movement of awakening based upon a new found sense of reasoning, but a movement based upon the retaliation of the formerly oppressed. The so called new found reasoning has existed for as long as man has. But now that reasoning serves a purpose in becoming a fuel source for the bitter and neglected. Those who felt they were lied to, or betrayed. Those left behind to fend for their own answers in regards to the spiritual dream that the church had bestowed upon them without their consent. What was once a simple stance has now become a weapon in the hands of the dismissed.
> When thinking like this is used the goal no longer becomes one of reaching an objective understanding of what’s around us and the way the world works, but an attack and criticism on those who still retain belief. The stance becomes a tool.
If I am a human on Earth limited only to examining the observable universe, and another human (who’s just as limited as I) comes up to me and says there are stars outside of our observable universe then I would have no choice but to take his claim as a belief because there is no way to examine it. Even if there are a legion of stars in our visible area, we have no way of knowing what lies beyond that point without seeing it for ourselves. The so called burden of proof would then rely on him to provide only if I were to challenge his claim with respect to the claim itself. I would be putting him and his claim on trial and not the actual state of reality.
But if I pursue his claim with respect to the actual state of reality, then there is no burden on anyone. What was once a challenge and trial simply turns into each of us seeking the true nature of things from a neutral stand point. Most would agree that science is neutral. It doesn’t exist to purposefully disprove someone. This is obvious.
What’s the first step of the scientific method? Make an observation or formulation of a question? Something along those lines. In any case, only the one using this process can determine if its implied use is; for something, or against something, or void of any pro/con stance but aiming at prediction. Most often such stances are reserved for the hypothesis step.
Step1: Why does the sky appear to be blue?
Step2: I don’t believe the sky is actually blue, but is really x.
I believe the sky is blue because x.
This is a very simplified and crude example but the point remains the same. If you are simply putting to the test a stated observation or claim, then it’s not about believing whether something someone else said is or isn’t true. The whole point of going through the process in the first place is so that actual observed reality and not belief can be used in taking a stance when coming to a conclusion.
Stuff like refusing to believe a claim stems from and exists to fuel arguments. Of course people can disagree about a claim or observation, but the actions one takes afterwards determines ones true motives. The whole way this ties into the first example is that the claim made, whether about Outer Stars or God, is unable to be tested or observed (even if at the moment). When this is the case, the scientific method is of no use when forming an absolute conclusion. This means that every argument, used for and against, is simply the tossing about of evidence and likelihoods. But proof forms conclusions, not evidence and likelihoods. No matter how weighty they may be. And so in our current situation mental justification reigns as king for both sides.
The fact that many fail to see how this makes sense illustrates how personal bias interferes with mutual understanding.
Many people’s reasoning for gnostic atheism stems from current observable reality. Lack of evidence for miracles, lack of evidence for deities, the vast multitude of prescribed deities, etc. This approach is based in how we see things now and how we’ve seen them to be in the past. The problem with this is that we can grow expectant and comfortable of a constant normalcy. Observational reality then becomes an island and those more entrenched have a much more difficult time escaping it.
For the first time in 100 years Cairo had snowfall. Let’s build off of this. Let’s say there’s a fictional local who has lived there for 40 years. They are completely isolated and have known nothing else but the lay of that land their whole lives. One day a weather meteorologist comes up to this person and says: “Next week clouds will fill these skies and frozen crystallized water droplets will fall from them.” Of course the local feels the weather man’s claim is ridiculous but the weather man tries his best to explain as logically as he is able to. “All your gadgets and graphs are too confusing!” the local says. “I’ll just believe it when I see it.”
This is blindness when it comes to our observational reality. Skepticism is important when it comes to both the seen and unseen. It opens us up to doubting the comfort of our own islands of visual understanding.
But you must be asking how this can be a bad thing considering that everything we do is based within observational reality? Well that’s exactly the problem. Everything we do is based within observational reality but everything we use that basis for may not exist within that reality. In fact some of the most important things to us, like our future, can only be guessed about or predicted with what we know now and have known. The best we can do when addressing that which we cannot observe (like the weather) revolves solely around educated speculation and predictability. The checks and balances system of gaining a level headed understanding resides in our ability to equalize:
- What we can see (awareness in observation)
- How we feel (awareness in emotional relation to what we’ve observed )
- And how we think (awareness of own our own thought process when doing the former)
Absolute reasoning with the first step alone upsets this balance. Things get out of wack when more weight is placed on only one of the steps. Observable normalcy becomes our protector. And everything that violates this normalcy can’t even be entertained as being true unless it crosses within our observable vision and bears proof of itself (the exact same is true of gnostic theists who refuse scientific evidence. The importance is the dependent dependency concept that allows this to occur in the first place). When the situation of judging the skeptical cannot come about, we can get frustrated in our lack of a definite and testable answer and we can default back into our perceived certainties.
We then have to mentally justify any violations of this in order to stay safe within our castles. Current reality then becomes an island just like fear became the churches island. This is mirror image of the theists extreme case. Another side to this is seeing potential violations, but dismissing the importance of those violations ability to cohere with actual reality in a way that makes sense. When this is ability is dismissed anything can be viewed as viable no matter how crazy. This is yet another extreme. The key is balance in how we treat our Islands/protectors. Here is an illustration I wrote to symbolize that balance:
“When a soldier is in battle, his life is at stake and he needs to consider every possibility of a threat in order to preserve it.
When coming up to a hill to which he cannot see the other side of, in order to prepare himself, he simultaneously exercises belief in observation and belief in faith.
In effect he says to himself;
“Based upon past observable experience, I will put belief in my past observations that there is a high and likely possibility that the enemy is on the other side of this hill. However in this particular situation, because I cannot prove or disprove this, I have no choice but to use belief in faith in order to ASSUME that the enemy is in fact there. That way once I reach the top of the hill I am prepared for whatever comes. Even if my assumption and belief in faith turns out to be incorrect my life is still better preserved because of it.”
Mankind is on that hill. However, at the same time mankind also hasn’t been given proper and stable reasoning to rely on belief through faith. So it approaches the peak with what it feels safest with and with what it can agree with. And that is with what it can observe.
Yes. Belief through observation. Which is the most fundamental and basics statutes to physics, and from the start of life till now. When living in a physical world whose existence itself is completely dependent on what our body can feel, touch, smell etc. Choosing belief through observation is safe and logical, especially when your life and the life of others is at stake. Not only does it make sense, but it also works every time. To some this is enough. It avoids constructive dogmas and allows freedom in the ultimate sense. It side steps interpretation and instead replaces it with the definite and concrete sensations that we all can agree on and have known to be true since our births. When using belief through observation, it is possible that you can get most everyone in the world with properly functioning bodies to agree that getting hit in the head with a large rock hurts (whether they’ve been hit or not). However when using belief through faith, convincing everyone that the same rock has the potential to grow legs, get up, and walk away is practically impossible. We can’t prove or disprove its impossibility with or without belief through observation, but we can apply our common sense that we’ve known for all our time here on earth and reason that it cannot happen. In a sense it is the perfect sanctuary for the troubled mind. When belief through faith grows shaky and starts to dissolve, mankind sensibly leans on what it knows. After some length of time it cannot see things any other way and it then grows complacent.
So what did I mean by belief in observation and belief in faith? All that we have right now is all that is around us. Unfortunately this alone isn’t very reliable. We need belief in being sure that what I can see and touch is what it actually appears to be. Both in the visible and invisible sense. Whether it be the words on the pages of a book or the light entering a telescope. True blindness is having unequivocal and unchallenged trust in both our senses and the feelings in our heart. Nothing is what it seems. Question everything. Trading gnostic theism for gnostic atheism is simply the switching of cells within the same prison. Both stances place blind trust in the seen and or the unseen. True balance is much smarter than that.
I’m going to end part one with yet another illustration. When it comes to how I see things this is my bread and butter and it’ll serve as the segway into part two:
You and a loved one are out and about enjoying time with one another. All of a sudden your loved one falls ill and becomes incapacitated, then drifts into unconsciousness. Immediately you start to perform CPR. While doing so, a stranger comes up to you and asks if you need assistance. You say yes and the stranger then proceeds to call 911. However all reception in the area is dead or down for one reason or another.
When the stranger relays the status of the situation to you, a sense of worry falls across your face. However after seeing this the stranger then informs you that he has a relative in the army who is supposed to be heading this way on foot.
You nod your head in agreement and continue to perform CPR in order to resuscitate your loved one. While doing so another stranger approaches after seeing the events unfold from afar. When the new stranger is let in on the state of the phone reception he proceeds to try and comfort you by informing everyone that he too has a relative in the military who is a Marine and who is supposed to be headed this way in a Humvee.
By now these relatives are seeming more and more skeptical. But you shake it from your mind. Nod. And continue with the CPR.
As you continue more and more strangers appear. And more and more relatives of military background are said to be on approach. Helicopter. Fighter jet. Even a submarine! Pretty soon the strangers begin arguing among themselves over which method is best, growing louder and louder in the confidence of their relatives.
But by now you have had enough. You are not even sure if your loved one is in mortal danger or not. Whether all these suggestions are worth it or not. But there is one thing you are sure of. The person you care about needs help and they need it now.
Did you get some of the symbols? In this illustration the reader is the one performing CPR. Mankind is our loved one that is in need of help. The strangers represent the religious. Their relatives represent their Gods and 911 represents absolute truth.
There is much more to this but this is all I’m pointing out for now. What all this has to do with my own personal viewpoint and stance will get addressed in part 2.
[To Be Continued]