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» Ship of Fools   » Community discussion   » Purgatory   » Is there no spiritual significance to the earth? Is that why we're killing it?

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Source: (consider it) Thread: Is there no spiritual significance to the earth? Is that why we're killing it?
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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The Black Friday topic in Hell added my unease and dismay about the lack of snow because of unseasonable melting, and the temperature here to go to -20°C without snow in a few days then back up to melting, has me thinking about the earth dying, our ridiculous and sad focus on buying things we don't need, spending a buck to make a buck, and not giving a flying fuck about the effect on the impoverished people of the world, and the natural world being destroyed for mere gain. As if humans are divorcing themselves from the world.

It is a moral and ethics problem? In answer to my own question, I would say it is. As we expand civilization and modern consumerism, our historical ideas and mythology been replaced by ideologies that support this, so much so, we fail to even question it. Christianity's focus on humanity's salvation and divorcing us from the planet and natural world is a problem. We have to stop doing this, and revert.

I find most people I meet object to the idea that there's spiritual significance in mountains, forests, plains and oceans. Once sacred places are industrial resources or tourist attractions, to be subjugated and stripped of their living essence for financial gain, because they exist for us, and have no reason to exist, except for us. We only preserve natural environments if it suits us, so we can enjoy it them, not because they have any right to exist. We extend this more and more all the time to each other. It's okay to have killed millions directly or indirectly around the world if we feel we need oil or consumer goods, i.e. economic gain.

My thinking isn't fully developed about this, but I am more troubled by it all them time. Spending lots of time outside, in freaking barefeet in December, spending time thinking of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Canada's beginning acknowledgement of the evils of cultural, religious, linguistic, environmental extermination of the peoples who first lived here is a major influence. Last Sunday, before anything started, there was an announcement that "we are worshipping in Treaty 6 territory, the ancestral lands of the Cree and Métis people" - which is a wee start - at least we're agreeing there's something other than us.

-- A current focus or news here is oil and tar sand pipelines. We hear of this in the USA with the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is within a long day's drive, and two Canadian pipeline approvals last week*.

What can be done? How do we change? How do we reform the economic, social and moral structures of our world? Is our Christianity not failing us? (if you're not Christian, how is your belief system not failing us?)


*Kinder-Morgan Trans-Mountain Pipeline from Alberta to the BC coast and the Enbridge Line 3 from northern Alberta to Wisconsin

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

Posts: 10286 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
Anglican_Brat
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quote:
I find most people I meet object to the idea that there's spiritual significance in mountains, forests, plains and oceans. Once sacred places are industrial resources or tourist attractions, to be subjugated and stripped of their living essence for financial gain, because they exist for us, and have no reason to exist, except for us. We only preserve natural environments if it suits us, so we can enjoy it them, not because they have any right to exist. We extend this more and more all the time to each other. It's okay to have killed millions directly or indirectly around the world if we feel we need oil or consumer goods, i.e. economic gain.
Human beings are fundamentally creatures that desire and seek to meet their needs. Suppressing and guilting people for their desires doesn't work, (see the Church's experience in imposing abstinence on people).

To make people more ecologically aware and conscious, requires a reordering of their desire, so that they do desire a healthy and sustainable planet while pastorally addressing other desires mixed in with the desire to exploit and extract (people who work in the fossil fuel industry who cling to their jobs for financial and familial well-being).

It includes, praying and figuring out why to reorder the desires of some rich people who feel the need to make millions of dollars despite the cost to the planet.

Problem is, to change another's desire requires IMHO, the intervention or the activity of the Holy Spirit.

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It's Reformation Day! Do your part to promote Christian unity and brotherly love and hug a schismatic.

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SusanDoris

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Hmmm, very interesting. I've read the OP several times and tried drafting a detailed reply, but it didn't work!

No there is no 'spiritual significance' to any natural feature anywhere in the universe, since the idea of spirituality is an entirely subjective, human one. I thinkit must have been an idea that developed very eary on in human evolution; and then, of course, humans couldn't help but add multiple and complex layers to that idea.

The likelihood of the world becoming so damaged by humans that there is a danger of our species' extinction is vanishingly small I think, because the most basic instinct for survival would mean that those who could see a very real disaster coming would band together to stop those causing it by violent force if necessary.

That's not much of a post, but as always it will be interesting to read others' views..

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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rolyn
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If ever I impose my darkest cynicism on the most ardent secularist, (i.e. Earth is a freak, inconsequential nothing that could disappear tomorrow without any thing or one in the Cosmos either knowing or caring), they usually look at me in a rather worried manner.

From this I conclude that humans, if not all flaura and fauna does indeed have a spiritual connection to the life systems that support it. All the denial anyone can muster cannot alter that.

Even disregarding all spirituality altogether and setting up a basic model of human stupidity, like living on a desert island and pissing in the water supply, there does come this point where the survival mechanism of 'The Group' kicks in. As above Posters have said.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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Curiosity killed ...

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There is a Christian group called A Rocha that hopes to build the environmental movement through churches, the way the fairtrade movement was.

I heard someone from A Rocha preach at a service at some other Shipmates' church and tried to introduce it to the church I was attending, but failed. I had previously introduced fair trade.

eta - spellink

[ 04. December 2016, 11:15: Message edited by: Curiosity killed ... ]

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Mugs - Keep the Ship afloat

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Dafyd
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The world is God's creation (for a rational non-ID interpretation of creation) and God saw that it was good. There are also Psalms that extend God's providence to the natural world. That ought to be enough to give a spiritual foundation for concern for the natural world quite apart from its necessity to human survival.

I don't think cultures whose spirituality allegedly gives a better foundation are notably better at caring for the natural world. India doesn't seem to show the alleged beneficial effects of Hinduism. The Japanese are as happy as the Norwegians to hunt whales.

The problem we have to deal with is that short term economic advantage is a great motive to keep hold of power and influence whatever your culture's spiritual beliefs.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Boogie

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We're not killing the planet, the planet will be just fine. We are making in uninhabitable - or very uncomfortable for us to inhabit, but that's a different thing.

The planet will still be here long after we are all mere dust.

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Garden. Room. Walk

Posts: 12177 | From: Boogie Wonderland | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

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Of course the planet will go on without us. If the mass extinction and dramatic changes reach a climax, and 95-98% of species die like in the Permian extinction, in 100 million years new life will adapt. But is that what we want?

As for no spiritual meaning, perhaps simple enjoyment of natural aesthetic beauty is beyond some of us, never having been developed.

India is a bad example. Over populated, large areas destroyed over centuries, very polluted, great poverty. It may be more religious, but the culture suffers from the same ills that I am talking about.

The Holy Spirit is absent from most of this. People are rejecting of such things these days - as nonsense. As they buy something else.

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

Posts: 10286 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
quetzalcoatl
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The whole thing is a nightmare. I work in bird conservation, as a volunteer, and one is always poised between hopelessness and hope. The first, because the world seems committed to more economic growth, thus ensuring that many species, habitats, and wild places, will be destroyed.

But also hope, as there are many conservation groups, green groups, fighting against the developers, the drillers, the loggers, and so on.

Every week there is something to celebrate, and something to mourn. We help one species to recover from near extinction, then learn that another is now Red listed.

I'm not sure about spiritual significance. Certainly, economic progress often seems to lead to disenchantment.

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hell isn't punishment, it's training.

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Anglican_Brat
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quote:
No there is no 'spiritual significance' to any natural feature anywhere in the universe, since the idea of spirituality is an entirely subjective, human one. I thinkit must have been an idea that developed very eary on in human evolution; and then, of course, humans couldn't help but add multiple and complex layers to that idea.
The identification of the Earth as Mother is a spiritual deduction on a fact. That fact is that we need the earth, the earth doesn't need us. We need oxygen to survive, we need water to drink, we need plants from the earth to be food, i.e

Early peoples probably identified that the best analogy is to the Mother-child relationship to express our relationship to the earth, the child needs the mother in much the same way that we need the earth.

Because Freud is so fun, we can say that in our disenchantment with the earth is analogous to the child expressing its necessary separation from the mother for its autonomy and independence. The challenge right now, however (in Freudian terms), is that the child needs to rethink its relationship with the parent so that both mutually benefit in a post-separation reality. [Razz]

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It's Reformation Day! Do your part to promote Christian unity and brotherly love and hug a schismatic.

Posts: 4171 | From: Vancouver | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged
quetzalcoatl
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Interesting stuff about Freud. It reminds me of the old saw, that the Reformation led to Protestantism, which masculinized religion, cutting us off from Mother Earth, and this led to atheism. Hence, the resurgence of paganism today represents a reclaiming of Mother Earth and the Goddess. Well, maybe. But I don't think that is enough to fight the developers, who want to drain the salt-marsh and build on the meadows. But then all hands to the pump.

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hell isn't punishment, it's training.

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mdijon
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Examining attitudes in the Philippines, China, Japan and India doesn't give me confidence in Catholic Christianity, Buddhism, Shintoism or Hinduism as a basis for enhanced discovery of the spiritual significance of the earth.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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quetzalcoatl
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Religion is useless in this regard, although it may inspire some individuals. Greening the earth, or regreening, is going to take a massive coalition of interests.

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hell isn't punishment, it's training.

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Anglican_Brat
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Religion is useless in this regard, although it may inspire some individuals. Greening the earth, or regreening, is going to take a massive coalition of interests.

And what do we propose to counter the attitude:

"Look, I'm only here for 80 to 90 years, the earth is ok right now for my consumption, why should I care what happens after I die?"

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It's Reformation Day! Do your part to promote Christian unity and brotherly love and hug a schismatic.

Posts: 4171 | From: Vancouver | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged
quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Religion is useless in this regard, although it may inspire some individuals. Greening the earth, or regreening, is going to take a massive coalition of interests.

And what do we propose to counter the attitude:

"Look, I'm only here for 80 to 90 years, the earth is ok right now for my consumption, why should I care what happens after I die?"

I think that's a tough one. It's going to take a big catastrophe, to waken up some people. And I mean big. A few tornados and some desertification is not it.

Even then, of course, some people will stick their head in the sand, and cite their own interests. It's quite possible that they will dominate, but at least, I can say that I tried to stem the destruction. I helped to bring the bittern back to the fens, for example.

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hell isn't punishment, it's training.

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Of course the planet will go on without us. If the mass extinction and dramatic changes reach a climax, and 95-98% of species die like in the Permian extinction, in 100 million years new life will adapt. But is that what we want?

I think our wants or possible influence on such far-distant events
will be infinitesimal. The chances of all lines of evolution which could result in a species of ape which just might have an off-shoot evolving into an animal like us is, I imagine, trillions to one against.
quote:
As for no spiritual meaning, perhaps simple enjoyment of natural aesthetic beauty is beyond some of us, never having been developed.
I think a complete lack of any aesthetic sense at all in a human would apply only to those with such severe problems of the brain that they are almost unique. Any sight or sound which causes an emotional reaction and a feeling of happiness of some sort can be called spiritual, can't it?
quote:
[The Holy Spirit is absent from most of this. People are rejecting of such things these days - as nonsense. As they buy something else.
Not rejecting it (whatever it is believed to be) but simply not giving it any thinking space at all.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

Posts: 2845 | From: UK | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged
SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
The identification of the Earth as Mother is a spiritual deduction on a fact. That fact is that we need the earth, the earth doesn't need us. We need oxygen to survive, we need water to drink, we need plants from the earth to be food, i.e

Early peoples probably identified that the best analogy is to the Mother-child relationship to express our relationship to the earth, the child needs the mother in much the same way that we need the earth.

Yes, you are most probably right about that.

]

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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So we are killing the mother earth. Is the sky father the problem? Mother earth runs through local indigenous culture but they haven't much of a male, king god, Ju/Deus pater. I have heard feminist arguments, under-developed within my hearing and reading. Though maybe that is a cultural reading into cultures rather than a reading of.

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

Posts: 10286 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Religion is useless in this regard, although it may inspire some individuals. Greening the earth, or regreening, is going to take a massive coalition of interests.

quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
And what do we propose to counter the attitude:

"Look, I'm only here for 80 to 90 years, the earth is ok right now for my consumption, why should I care what happens after I die?"

That fate of one's children? When it was couched in terms of one's grandchildren's grandchildren, that is sufficiently remote to not be a threat. But most people are worried about the lives their children and grandchildren will lead.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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quetzalcoatl
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(No prophet)

Patriarchal culture seems to be a connection. This can be said to dominate women, and their bodies, and dominates the earth and exploits it.

Now patriarchy and capitalism have joined together in a suicidal mission. Will fascism kill us, or will climate change? Of course, fascists tend to dismiss this, well, they would.

Old fascist slogan - down with intelligence, long live death!

[ 04. December 2016, 15:25: Message edited by: quetzalcoatl ]

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hell isn't punishment, it's training.

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
We're not killing the planet, the planet will be just fine. We are making in uninhabitable - or very uncomfortable for us to inhabit, but that's a different thing.

The planet will still be here long after we are all mere dust.

Exactly. Which is why I have to keep telling the false-dichotomy people that without the environment, there won't be an economy. Drives me bonkers. Regardless of whether one ascribes spiritual value to the earth, anyone who claims to value human life should recognize the life-giving value of the earth.

(I had an amusing conversation with a Christian colleague about the end of the world. I explained that current science predicts that the sun will become larger and larger, eventually engulfing our planet. She seemed almost disappointed when I told her it wouldn't be for millions of years and that humans would be all gone long before it happened.)

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

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rolyn
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quote:
Originally posted by Soror Magna:
I had an amusing conversation with a Christian colleague about the end of the world. I explained that current science predicts that the sun will become larger and larger, eventually engulfing our planet. She seemed almost disappointed when I told her it wouldn't be for millions of years and that humans would be all gone long before it happened.

Assuming we are all gone at that point at least no one will be around to try and take credit for destroying the Planet
I often think we flatter ourselves a little in that regard. It seemed to come about with the invention of the A-bomb and a succession of low budget sci-fi films that suggested we humans had become so powerful we could destroy Everything.

Whilst not disputing the OP suggestion that we have a spiritual connection to Earth, it strikes me that the macho 'we', and only we, can smash the place does indeed have it's origins in religion.
Maybe the realisation that the once mighty Dinos were rubbed out by a small piece of stray Space rubble has put things into a different, and more sobering perspective.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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Anglican_Brat
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Much of the conversation on environmental stewardship and how perfect we have to be, is similar to a Christian pastoral approach to sin which is, we make mistakes, we screw up, we shouldn't justify or excuse them, but life means that we'll never be perfect.

To be frank, our entire philosophical conception in our western society is that human beings are special and wonderful in a way that other creatures are not. To use a crass example, compare salmon with human beings. The vast majority of salmon eggs will not live to full spawning adulthood, I believe in elementary school, I learned it was 1 in 10,000. I felt sad as a kid for all the poor baby salmon who died, but ecologically, it would be a disaster if all the salmon eggs did indeed live to full spawning adulthood, the eco-system would be out of whack in balance.

What occurred in the last century at least in western industrialized countries was the near elimination of infant mortality. As in a child born today in Canada would, in all likelihood live to adulthood. The near elimination of infant mortality is heralded as a great moral success, but it means, ecologically, increased strain on the resources of the earth. Add to that the increased consumption habits of western standards of living, which drive demand for increased natural resources, and of course, the earth is being stretched to her limits.

Understood it this way, it's more complex that what I find is often assumed in environmental quarters that it's about bad, bad, evil human beings out to screw the planet over. Not necessarily, our human advancement as a species in decreasing mortality and extending our life spans, all driven by compassionate ends, leads to a strain on the earth's resources.

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It's Reformation Day! Do your part to promote Christian unity and brotherly love and hug a schismatic.

Posts: 4171 | From: Vancouver | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged
Boogie

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Compassionate in that we have maximised the survival chances of our own species, bypassing many of the natural checks and balances in an ecosystem - illness, predation etc.

We are rather like a plague of locusts with no brakes on our voracious appetites.

We are anything but compassionate to other species. We exploit them ruthlessly. Look at pigs - one of the most intelligent, social animals after humans. We shut them in tiny cages for life so that we can enjoy their bacon. Not unlike the wasp which ties down a caterpillar and the wasp larvae slowly eat it alive from the inside.

Some of us (I am one) care deeply about nature and animals - but we are few, sadly. Most care a bit but turn a blind eye, or can't afford to care and have to buy the cheapest food available.

[ 05. December 2016, 07:01: Message edited by: Boogie ]

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Trudy Scrumptious

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I think, actually, most people love nature and animals (some at more of a distance than others, of course) and many, from all religious and non-religious backgrounds, find that being "in nature" is a deeply spiritual experience.

However, the issue of "saving the environment" is such a big question and requires such long-term thinking, that it's quite difficult for people to make the leap from their own appreciation for nature, to doing practical things that are better for the earth. People are short-sighted -- we look at what's good for us right now rather than long-term -- and we get overwhelmed by problems that seem too big to solve. It's not about not loving the earth, nor is it about any religious or spiritual system being more or less likely to respect the earth -- it's about priorities. Yes, I love nature, BUT I also love having my house heated, my car running, my consumer goods, and the links from one to the other are too abstract for most of us to think about on the level of daily decision-making.

Thus you get the phenomenon (of which I have been as guilty as anyone) of people driving long distances in their gas-guzzling vehicles to hike a beautiful mountain trail, because they love being in the natural world so much. Whereas obviously the far better thing for the natural world would be for me to stay in my city home and burn less gas, and let the mountain get on without me.

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Books and things.

I lied. There are no things. Just books.

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Boogie

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Yes, you are right Trudy, we are not few at all - and I am just as guilty of driving (and flying) to beautiful places.

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Garden. Room. Walk

Posts: 12177 | From: Boogie Wonderland | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged
quetzalcoatl
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Good points above about people who live comfortably; I think this shows that rational argument and moral exhortations will not work.

We always say in therapy that few people do it out of rational considerations; they tend to be desperate, backs against the wall, and so on.

So with this. Since mass extinctions probably won't change people's minds, or enough people anyway, then I suppose that climate disasters might.

But maybe not. I suppose we might all be drowning, or fleeing huge fires, or huge deserts, and still some people will say, 'my air-conditioning/central heating isn't working, do something about it, and fuck the environment!'

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hell isn't punishment, it's training.

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rolyn
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I suppose we might all be drowning, or fleeing huge fires, or huge deserts, and still some people will say, 'my air-conditioning/central heating isn't working, do something about it, and fuck the environment!'

Doubtless.

Particularly as this is what we said in the past when ripping the place up with industry and war. It is what we were saying when the beard and sandal brigade started to annoy us with their prophesies of doom.
So it's what we'll continue to say, even with the knowledge it's happening, because we always convince ourselves that someone else doing worse environmental damage than us.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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Raptor Eye
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If God created the world, and everything in it, then it is all sacred - God can be found in it. If we human beings think that we are more important than the rest of creation, this is vanity and arrogance.

If we have the will to live in a way which puts more in to the world than we take out, it can be done. Many people could pay more to ensure that we do this, but would rather not pay more. Many could turn heating down and put on more clothes, but would rather not…. could reduce consumption of water, electricity, gas, petrol, food, etc etc or buy only free range, but would rather not.

When I see people throw away meat, as if it is nothing, I wonder how far we are from respecting the earth and all that is in it. Many people do try to make a difference. It's our choice, as with everything.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:

When I see people throw away meat, as if it is nothing, I wonder how far we are from respecting the earth and all that is in it. Many people do try to make a difference. It's our choice, as with everything.

I went fishing and caught enough for family and friends to have a meal. I was fine catching, killing, cooking, serving and eating the fish. But we had quite a lot left over. I felt terrible, really terrible. Killing (humanely) to eat is fine, but killing and wasting that life is worse than criminal in my view. I also feel that farming should ensure that the animals live as comfortably and 'naturally' as is possible.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
Understood it this way, it's more complex that what I find is often assumed in environmental quarters that it's about bad, bad, evil human beings out to screw the planet over. Not necessarily, our human advancement as a species in decreasing mortality and extending our life spans, all driven by compassionate ends, leads to a strain on the earth's resources.

And since we recognize this, one of the most important things we can do, especially in developed nations that are slurping up so much of the earth's resources, is have fewer children.

quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Religion is useless in this regard, although it may inspire some individuals. Greening the earth, or regreening, is going to take a massive coalition of interests.

quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
And what do we propose to counter the attitude:

"Look, I'm only here for 80 to 90 years, the earth is ok right now for my consumption, why should I care what happens after I die?"

That fate of one's children? When it was couched in terms of one's grandchildren's grandchildren, that is sufficiently remote to not be a threat. But most people are worried about the lives their children and grandchildren will lead.

I don't have children, but nevertheless I do care about what happens to the environment after I'm gone. It is quite possible to care about humanity without having children. It is quite possible to care about humanity and the fate of the planet without reference to religion as well.
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ThunderBunk

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The word that seems to have gone out of circulation, but which is critical to this debate, is ecosystem. The point is not that the planet won't be here, or there won't be a climate of any kind, but that it won't support our current ecosystem, i.e. the set of conditions and interdependencies between species which supports life in its current form. We are an integral part of that ecosystem and rely on its current state: if we destroy this, we saw off the branch on which we are sitting.

Talk of climate change/global warming - when it's actually climate chaos/destabilisation, and saving the planet, when the planet won't go anywhere but we might disappear from it- none of this helps to convey the fragility of the status quo, and the level of our dependence on it.

If we can't take the plunge of looking that fragility and dependence in the eye, no wonder we handwave our way into indifference.

--------------------
Currently mostly furious, and occasionally foolish. Normal service may resume eventually. Or it may not. And remember children, "feiern ist wichtig".

Foolish, potentially deranged witterings

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Barnabas62
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This conversation always reminds me of a couple of lines from Mark Knofler's classic song, "Brothers in Arms".

"We have just one world
But we live in different ones".

I think there are two fragilities, two vulnerabilities, in play.

The first is ours to the potentially massive changes which can occur to the ecosystem without human intervention. The risks are small, but not zero, of the earth being hit by a massive lump of interplanetary rock, causing an extinction event. The risks are small, but not zero, of some internal disturbance below the earth's surface causing some massive sequence of volcanic/earthquake events (Krakatoa double plus plus) which could mess up the ecosystem for decades with catastrophic effects.

I am a climate change acceptor, not denier. But even if you are a denier, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that in the history of the earth there have been massive ecosystem changes brought about by gradual variations in climate and atmosphere.

So the ecosystem is indeed vulnerable to natural events and we are foolish to be complacent about those. In this context, I think we are wise to regard, for example, the biblical promise that the earth will remain a place of seedtime and harvest, as the hopes of people of faith that the harvest will not fail. And keep our eyes open to both the risks and any contingency plans which we may be able to form. Is that respect, or reverence? I think it may be a bit of both and it seems at least possible for people with or without faith to agree that, so far as these contingencies are concerned, complacency isn't very wise.

But it is only in the last couple of centuries that we have developed an awareness that the ecosystem may indeed by vulnerable to what we do. It has been argued, for example, by a Rocha and other Christian ecology movements, that the Genesis phrase "fill the earth and subdue it", as commonly understood, has discounted the God-given responsibility of human beings for responsible stewardship of the earth, rather than treating it as a kind of magic porridge pot of resources. The concept of responsible stewardship also seems to me to be something that folks of faith and no faith may be able to agree on, as a better approach to the potential fragility of the ecosystem as a result of human indifference to consequences.

Personally, I don't mind whether folks use the language of respect or reverence, provided we open our eyes to the real risks, and avoid the stupidity of complacency about these fragilities.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
It is quite possible to care about humanity without having children. It is quite possible to care about humanity and the fate of the planet without reference to religion as well.

You are quite right of course. I was, rather sloppily, looking for reasons to convince that were related to self-interest. Or enlightened self-interest perhaps.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

Posts: 11889 | From: UK | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

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So here I am. -26°C (-15°F) this morning, and we have absolutely no snow. Because it all melted. By next week, the forecast is for above freezing again. So even if it snows, it will be gone. I'm nightmaring of a brown Christmas. Which will be the third one in my lifetime, all within the past 12 years. The warmest November on record.

Africa is drying and heating, and the climate refugees will make the political and war refugees to Europe look like a drop in the bucket.

The USA between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains is drying and exhausting their rivers. They will force Canada to build pipelines to ship water south that is currently flowing east. 100 million will want to move north as the central USA is a parched desert.

The boreal forest in flames from Siberia to the NWT. The oceans' corals all dead and bleached. And some 90 m rise in sea levels.

Today's pessimism has me thinking of the 1996 Star Trek movie "First Contact" where they discuss World War III. 600 million dead. Just from the nuclear bombs.

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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rolyn
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If the USA is feeling the the early effects of climate change, yet continues to ignore it by electing someone who apparently doesn't give a monkey's toss, then what really is the point in any of us wringing our hands over it.

If tomorrow we have a war, contagion or other calamity that claims 600 million lives it will reduce the population by approximately one fourteenth. Not nearly enough to reverse the effect of human activity on the planet.
All a bit of a poser when we think about it. The only way is forward, even if it is into the abyss.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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What pertcentage of the world's population died with the Black Death?

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

Posts: 10286 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
Jane R
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no prophet:
quote:
What percentage of the world's population died with the Black Death?

Nobody knows for sure, because censuses were rare or nonexistent back then. Estimates of mortality rates in England and Wales are usually somewhere between 30-50%, but deaths were not evenly spread: some villages were wiped out completely, some had no deaths at all.

I wouldn't pin my hopes on a global pandemic thinning out the population, if I were you. The Spanish flu epidemic of 1918-19 is estimated to have killed more people than the First World War, but fifty years later the world population was higher than ever.

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rolyn
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I suppose there is some spiritual significance, (or even comfort for the Dark Greenie), to be gleaned from the fact that it will be the Cosmos, one way or another, which decides when and how we, the humble Homo Sap, is to be eradicated .

As is was with those hapless Dinosaurs munching away for a million years, no doubt thinking they were here forever, until.... Kaa-Boom ! ... Game over.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Trudy Scrumptious:
... it's quite difficult for people to make the leap from their own appreciation for nature, to doing practical things that are better for the earth. ... I also love having my house heated, my car running, my consumer goods, and the links from one to the other are too abstract for most of us to think about on the level of daily decision-making.
...

This is why we cannot, as individuals, shop our way to sustainability. The only way this will work is if all of our houses, cars, consumer goods and so forth are produced in a sustainable manner. That would probably mean fewer choices that we have today in our shops. And lifestyle changes. And higher prices and less stuff. And getting things fixed instead of throwing them away. And trading more fairly. And walking more. And many other sacrifices. That's the mathematical reality of our ecological footprints.


The barriers to collective action, however, are massive, not just because we're all selfish, but because our world is fragmented in so many ways. Imagine trying to set up a world-wide recycling system for aluminum cans. Trying to negotiate with myriad producers, vendors & consumers in hundreds of countries, provinces, states, towns, with their own tastes and habits and entrenched interests and infrastructure and values and priorities and rich and poor. And the inevitable "no foreigner / colonizer / corporation / tree-hugger / infidel / fascist / communist is gonna tell me what to do with my pop cans" resistance.


I just can't see wealthy folks anywhere giving up goodies and pleasures and fashions in order to e.g. minimize our usage of aluminum. I can see wealthy people creating enclaves - whether it's a part of a town or an entire country - where they can enjoy life while drawing or stealing everything they need from outside. Kinda like what lots of us are doing already.

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"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

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Raptor Eye
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Or 'trade' carbon emissions, which completely defeats the point. [brick wall]

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

Posts: 4224 | From: The United Kingdom | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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On a happy note, temp dropped enough that ice crystals precipitated out of the air overnight. It looks like therefore that it tried to snow. And the sun dogs are pretty. I am living in a -40°F/C desert. Until next Tuesday. [Hot and Hormonal]

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

Posts: 10286 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
rolyn
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We had a little Global Warming *happy item* on this morning's radio News.
Experts have noticed a sharp increase in the Squid population in warming seas around Britain. So it seems the traditional Brit contribution to world cuisine -- cod an chips, may have to be replaced by squid an chips. O the horror of it.

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Change is the only certainty of existence

Posts: 2870 | From: U.K. | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged
Russ
Old salt
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quote:
Originally posted by Raptor Eye:
Or 'trade' carbon emissions, which completely defeats the point. [brick wall]

Don't think you can actually trade emissions. Trading permits to emit carbon is, if I have it right, a way of allocating the reductions between industries so as to minimize the overall cost of those reductions. By basically putting the price up until those industries that have the best alternatives available are incentivized to switch to those alternatives (priced out of the market).

It's a logical extension of capitalism to incorporate environmental constraints. But relies on an impartial body to set the limuts (and transparency in enforcement so that everyone can see that no-one is cheating the system).

Clearly if you think capitalism is a Bad Thing then you won't be comfortable with this approach to solving the problem.

But solving it in this way seems better than not solving it at all.

We don't seem to be seeing much progress in implementation though. But that's nothing to do with religion. More to do with the absence of a well-functioning supra-national governmental framework.

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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# 15560

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Hearing about Beijing today and yesterday. I found a twitter video, time lapse of the pollution rolling in. I found myself holding my breath while watching. Mostly coal from factories, heating and electric production apparently. No one should be able to trade emissions to do something like this, though I guess they do it for free. Probably would require the legal structure to sue to prevent such awfulness?

Beijing smog rolls in, 20 min time lapse in 13 seconds.

--------------------
Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

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Mudfrog
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I don't think we are killing it. The earth is cursed anyway - it's dying and will be redeemed / recreated at the second coming. What we are doing with all our so-called remedial projects is as useless as putting moisturising cream on a dying man in the hope of saving him.

But before you all jump on me, that doesn't mean we should treat the earth with disregard and disrespect. We MUST cut pollution, we NEED to save water, we SHOULD share what we have with others, etc, etc, These things will make life better for ourselves and make the planet sustainable for the future because the second coming (if one believes in it literally) might not happen for centuries.

We are caretakers of the planet, investors in it and guardians of it for the future.
No, I don't think we can 'save' the planet but we can certainly do our best not to make thongs worse and keep it in its natural state for as long as possible.

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Soror Magna
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I don't think we are killing it. The earth is cursed anyway - it's dying and will be redeemed / recreated at the second coming. What we are doing with all our so-called remedial projects is as useless as putting moisturising cream on a dying man in the hope of saving him.

Whatever.
quote:
But before you all jump on me, that doesn't mean we should treat the earth with disregard and disrespect. We MUST cut pollution, we NEED to save water, we SHOULD share what we have with others, etc, etc, These things will make life better for ourselves and make the planet sustainable for the future ...
On that, however, I hope we can all agree, because our survival as a species and a civilization depends on it.

--------------------
"You come with me to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean." -- Tony Kushner, "Angels in America"

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I don't think we are killing it. The earth is cursed anyway - it's dying and will be redeemed / recreated at the second coming. What we are doing with all our so-called remedial projects is as useless as putting moisturising cream on a dying man in the hope of saving him.

But before you all jump on me, that doesn't mean we should treat the earth with disregard and disrespect. We MUST cut pollution, we NEED to save water, we SHOULD share what we have with others, etc, etc, These things will make life better for ourselves and make the planet sustainable for the future because the second coming (if one believes in it literally) might not happen for centuries.

We are caretakers of the planet, investors in it and guardians of it for the future.
No, I don't think we can 'save' the planet but we can certainly do our best not to make thongs worse and keep it in its natural state for as long as possible.

Isn't hubris one of the seven deadly sins? That we are living out a biblically-derived narrative that puts humans in the caretaker and command role of the planet seems to me to be the towering heights of this sin of pride. Which like all sins, is ultimately foolish, after it is destructive.

The earth has survived 5 mass extinctions before, which are listed here. The most famous is the K-T event (the first one listed) which extinguished the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Though my personal favourite is the Permian-Triassic 250 million years ago because we know that it took nearly 30 million years for vertebrates to recover. Thus isn't the Permian-Triassic extinction recover is the Second Coming? (of vertebrates at least) Or maybe we can say each of these provided for a second coming.

The difference today is that the extinction of the life and the functioning of the planet is our doing, we are responsible, and we're doing it very fast. Maybe life must spend another 40 million years in a desert? recover after a flood over millions of generations of non-human presence? as a Prince Edward Island size piece of Antarctic ice is coming closer to falling into the ocean.

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Mudfrog
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I think the opposite.
To be given stewardship of the planet is a servant role, not a cause of pride and arrogance.

I think the hubris is the arrogance of modern man who looks at the changing and in some cases supposed deterioration of the planet and feels that he is so important to life on earth that any change must be down to him!

It's like the man who turns the light out in his room because it's too bright but forgets that there is the sun shining through his window

[ 10. January 2017, 09:22: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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