AGNOSTISICM 2.0

The first time I heard of the word agnosticism I was mostly confused and took no note, I was still on the fence as to whether I was an atheist or a selective catholic. The only two options that had framed most of my religious life until then since Catholicism was my root and atheism the only other alternative I knew at the time with a certain shock value I enjoyed.

I hopped from one to the other occasionally which seemed rather obnoxious to everyone who met me. My parents thinking I was just too curious for my own good and my peers wondering why I bothered to be so critical of such a boring, adult topic. It didn’t occur to me to ever stop in any case, the curiosity like a black hole I had to be sucked into, choiceless in the matter.

I was a catholic when I saw the good deeds done by the church, watched nuns and sisters offer themselves to their admirable life of poverty, enjoyed a perfectly toned, and logical sermon or when I realized the uncertainty of life and my precarious position in all of it, needing that extra blanket of divine providence. I was an atheist when I discovered the underlying hypocrisy of the church that itself had committed atrocities in droves, when unassailable reasoning from atheist advocates shattered the bible’s own, when I saw the myriads of injustices inherent within the Christian structure, discriminations against women and non-Christians. For me religion was a revolving door and it was exhausting. All prior to the idea that has somewhat calmed me, agnosticism.

I doubt that I have the perfect definition of it even now that I am a kind of staunch agnostic. All I can say is that the neutrality of it all is what got me. The use of the term ‘ a higher order of being’ instead of a definitive God or Noo God is what I was attracted to, the humility in that statement.

A humility that I had not encountered in my previous posts. In Catholicism in the murmur of goodness, love and humanity there is always an underlying echo of righteousness, being better than others in the only way that matters, morally. I have never been fond of that and it was a relief to finally escape. A different kind of pomposity exists in atheism, directed mostly at religions. The atheist will think himself of superior reasoning since they have arduously combed through religious logic and decided that it is all worthless and not worth following. A subtractive, tasteless kind of pride.

For one, this is not at all true since there are is as much good as there is bad in religion and the monolith principle of atheism, that there is no God. I have always found rather ignorant, only because I was exposed to the argument of order early on as a proof of the existence of God, and though I refuse to declare and describe ‘God’ with such detail as a theist would, I undoubtedly see the truth of it evident in my life every single day.

It is just inconceivable to me that you will see all the intricate landscapes of reality, hidden within them equations of nature whose surface we have only began to scratch at with our ever changing sciences and explanations and not think that there is a superior being at work there, much like ourselves in some ways that left it there for us, precisely so that we can find it and ask these kinds of questions. There is no God almost sounds like a hoax, I prefer the attenuated ‘we cannot truly know that there is a God and vice versa.’

And yet with the submissive view of pride from agnosticism, I have still felt it quite incomplete. I find it one of the more lazy religions if I may say. The agnostic seems to halt the conversation of God in an instant with their indifference and thus be freed from the conundrum only endeavoring now to be ‘good.’ This is the part of the 2.0 which I am talking about.

Agnosticism should not just sit and wait. It should now construct its own religion but not necessarily from scratch, ploughing back to the notable beliefs of theists and atheists, all with a lot of good to add and build a scripture free from the need to describe a God that we cannot but nevertheless not renouncing him just because we cannot. A labour that each one must undertake for themselves with regard to their own context because I do believe though the principles of an agnostic religion for many may converge in similitude, the rituals, the history, the context which are all key pillars to any religion will differ significantly for each and every agnostic. With agnosticism, the size never fits all even though the designs resemble each other.

Many at times I have referred to this as ‘polytheistic agnosticism’ which I now amend to simply mean agnosticism 2.0. An idea I got from a modern day philosopher Alain De Botton who founded Atheism 2.0 whereby the belief that there is no God is not the end of discussion, but the beginning, and instead of in true atheist fashion studying religion with the sole purpose to disprove it. He suggested atheists should study religion to salvage the good reasoning and effective rituals within it they can use in their own atheism. Religion for atheists, he called it, a real paradox some may say and yet it fits perfectly to me because in truth we are solving the same problems theism tried to solve with religion. Therefore it is not enough as an atheist to just disprove the dubitable parts of theism and leave the problems it wanted to solve in the first place unsolved. You might as well gather from it what you feel was not erroneous and use it as a scaffold for your new system.

Agnosticism 2.0 I feel, has the same purpose in a different direction, reconciling the goodness in theism and atheism with the neutrality of agnosticism. Or maybe I am simply just tired of new categories of religion springing up whenever someone disagrees with another. I believe already have all we need to solve the part of this problem of religion that is solvable, through a unique kind of collaboration and reorganization.

After all, there is nothing new under the sun.

 

 

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Sexy?

It was rather odd how I had never thought to ever examine this very commonplace term that has so dominated my life and will continue to in many ways.
The process of examination and analysis started only after I watched one of my very beloved modern day philosophers Alain De Botton and heard his view on the colloquialism found here  .
He termed it a truly deep category involving a lot of human psychology which was jarring to say the very least. And I suppose not only to me. Not to mean that the term is a shallow one or pejorative in any way I just never thought it had much depth to it, a view which he too discusses.
In my life I have encountered the term to mean something akin to lustful and even in recent times the lust aspect of it has been re-appropriated to mean attractiveness and wholesomeness not simply a curvature of the neck or slinky dress rather a holistic adjective to describe a person. Although even with much re-appropriation ‘sexy’ may still very well mean something rather dirty or obscene. As was in Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story titled ‘sexy’, in that context it was a term used to define a woman so attractive that she leads men into adultery, a sort of siren, and so you can see that the stain on the term may never fully be washed off.
Regardless, I rather liked De Botton’s approach or if I may say so, answer to what the term truly meant, he started by mentioning that indeed on our very surface there really is much insight into who we are, who we really are inside. And it is when this insight aligns with another’s needs do we find them ‘sexy’ and apparently this insight or traits are usually things we do not possess ourselves. Say if we see that another is very patient where we are not that can make them sexier, at least in our eyes.
I found this very well-reasoned but only a little bit specious, mainly because of two points it looks at ‘sexy’ in only one instance. When it is said to another whom we admire for whatever reason.
The solution ironically rather ignores a lot of human psychology at play and other instances of the word in use.
Firstly, we don’t only ever use this term with regards to another. Sometimes we ourselves feel ‘sexy’ and in that case what does the word mean? Does it mean that we have gone a little way in achieving some of the traits we admire in others, does it mean we are satisfied with ourselves? Or is it simply just a thank you to ourselves for maintaining ourselves? What does it mean exactly?
Secondly, the earlier view seems to assert the assumption that has rolled around for many years, probably even centuries. The view that ‘opposites attract’ that we admire those who are not like us. But this isn’t the only cause for admiration now is it? We’ve seen before how we can admire something in another simply because we possess it as well? And in that case what does ‘sexy’ mean? When it is an inclination to a quality we already possess. Do we want an addition to our own quota or is it just admiration for admiration’s sake?
And finally I find myself in horrible disagreement with the view that perception and reality are one and the same. An assumption underlying the view that we find someone ‘sexy’ or ‘they turn us on’ by the deeply coded physical traits we see on them. And my reason for disagreement is simple, just because you see something doesn’t mean it is there and at times it has been placed there just to distract or misconstrue your perception of the true reality, sleight of hand, like a magician. Haven’t we all had the perception of a certain trait on someone only to later learn that it may very well have been a figment of our imagination? We hardly ever perceive reality as it is, in fact we mold the reality as we perceive it that’s why two people can read the same book, watch the same movie even go through the exact same experience and carry out of each two very differing accounts.
What I did agree on though was that ‘sexiness’ is not a totally superficial or shallow category. It has its depth that I will say. But with humans as with any pool there is always the shallow and the deep end, I do believe there is a bit of that term ‘sexy’ that may have a lot to do with just hormones and genitals and no more. But as usual that isn’t the whole story, in the same breath there is a lot about being ‘sexy’ that has to do with deep identification of positives in another and self-actualization. The issue remains I suppose in the determination of what the term means in certain contexts which may well be a question we may never truly answer or one I may not be well suited for.
The unfortunate part of this article is that it seems it has left us with more questions than answers but maybe at times the solution comes to you in the way of a question so I ask. What does the word ‘sexy’ mean to you?

Faith; a paradox which no thought can master, because faith begins precisely where thinking leaves off.

Kierkegaard

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.”
– Jim Rohn

Quote unquote

A mathematician learns more and more about less and
less, until he knows everything about nothing; whereas a
philosopher learns less and less about more and more,
until he knows nothing about everything

Anonymous