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Source: (consider it) Thread: Does the arc of history actually lead anywhere?
no prophet's flag is set so...

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The quote is "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice", attributed to Martin Luther King**


I had a troubling conversation with someone who said basically that this is nonsense, BS, and insensible. The second such conversation, not sought by me, but provoked by them. Perhaps, I think, borne of this person's desire to 'win' and deconstruct my basic Christian-based moral stance (even as I am troubled by much of orthodox Christianity).

I do realize the pedigree of this idea that we're getting better is deeply Christian: that we can face even death and all will be ultimately well: that there's a morning after, excellent and fair, dew on the grass and resurrection. The argument as put to me is that we're actually heading toward a human-caused slow-moving armageddon with climate change, poverty, over-population, oceans full of plastic, air full of carcinogens, wars and rumours of wars etc etc: all the zombie apocalypse stuff. I get the argument, but realize I'm not able to accept it in the slightest. I think there is a trend, with indeed some very great negative lurches and collapses, but see the trend of history as us understanding the common humanity in all, to apply our rationality to our treatment of each other our world.

How do we know what the direction is? This is an avowed atheist I spoke to, the biblical arguments do not carry.


**for those interested, I looked it up. It seems it is based on Theodore Parker's words, a century earlier: "Look at the facts of the world. You see a continual and progressive triumph of the right. I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice." Wikiquote - near the bottom of page

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mr cheesy
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I want to believe it is true.

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arse

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Stetson
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quote:
"Look at the facts of the world. You see a continual and progressive triumph of the right. I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice." Wikiquote - near the bottom of page
I think this is what's called the Whig Theory Of History?

Not that that helsps you much with understanding the details or implications, but just to give it a pedigree.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I want to believe it is true.

Indeed. If it's not, hope dies.

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mr cheesy
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It seems to me it is a choice: humanity is changing over time and given all the complexity of place and space whatnot, it isn't clear that it is possible to make an inarguable case in either direction.

So to me it makes more sense to believe that things will get better - and that we can participate in the project of helping things get better - than believing it is all shot and we can't really do anything to make a change, so we might as well sit on the sidelines and moan about it.

Even if we're only making tiny changes that we don't know will last.

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arse

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Crœsos
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# 238

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
The quote is "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice", attributed to Martin Luther King**

A contrary view is expressed by Ta-Nehisi Coates in this interview with Ezra Klein:

quote:
I’m a big believer in chaos. The history of this country did not necessitate a Donald Trump following a Barack Obama. But it did lay the conditions for it to be possible. You can’t be surprised that it happened.

I find it hard to say that Obama’s optimism was “wrong” in a global or moral way. But at the same time — and I think this is what you’re teasing out — I don’t think someone who looks at race and racism the way I do, or has had the experiences I’ve had, could ever be president of the United States. Or would even think to do that.

And, look, religion did not come up in our conversations [with Obama]. But I think religion undergirds a lot of this. This sort of idea that, “At the end of the day, it all works out.” Or maybe, to put it less condescendingly, that, “We’re on the right side of history, and the arc of the moral universe bends to justice.” That’s just something I don’t share. The sense of destiny that “it will,” I just don’t share it. There’s ample evidence it might not. That’s where I come down.

I don’t think you have to believe America is chained to its past and is necessarily doomed to reenact it. But when you study civilizations, it tends to be true that history has a weight, a gravity — if you’re going to go in an opposite direction, you need to consciously exercise an opposite force. And I don’t see us doing that.

Coates is coming at the question from an American political perspective, but then again so was King when he used that phrase.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Eutychus
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Well, chaos is certainly the alternative option, I think.

I would point out that the future of everything does extend beyond the current plight of the US, which while it might turn out to be a watershed moment is as yet a tiny instant in the whole span of human history.

The only thing I remember from my economics classes at school is a quote from JM Keynes: "in the long run, we are all dead". Back to discussions of the resurrection, I guess...

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
The only thing I remember from my economics classes at school is a quote from JM Keynes: "in the long run, we are all dead".

Indeed. Ultimately the arc of history leads from the big bang to the heat death of the universe, and the bit of it that contains human beings is ridiculously tiny - if universal history was an encyclopaedia then our entire species could be written within a microdot forming a single full stop on about page 42. During that tiny fraction of time there will be moments when the arc appears to be heading towards what the people alive at the time will call "justice", and other moments when the opposite is true.

But even in terms of human history, the part of the arc that contains any given life is still microscopic. The greatest evil of our days is the Ozymandias of a few millennia hence, and so is the greatest good. I tend to try not to worry about the future and just try to do as much good as I can in the here and now. That's all the meaning I need [Smile]

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Anglican_Brat
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I think the quotation needs to be understood within the context of Christian eschatological thinking.

To simplify, there are two extremes in Christian eschatology, the first seen in the Left Behind crowd is the whole "God will fix everything, we don't have to do a single thing" theology. We see it in the dismissal of Environmentalism within right-wing evangelicalism, if God is going to make a new beautiful world anyway, who cares about fixing the present world.

The second extreme, which some liberal theologians have contended is a caricature of post-millenial theology, is that we human beings through our actions, create that perfect world. I actually don't think post-millenial protestants of the 20th century actually believed that humans can make the world completely perfect. Rather the focus is on human action, not on divine activity.

All this boils down to a very bad IMHO theology, that assumes that if God does not act, humans act, and that if humans do not act, then God acts.

MLK Jr I think certainly did not believe that the world will magically get better, otherwise, why would he spend time risking his life and limb with mass demonstrations and boycotts for civil rights? I think MLK Jr would believe, that we humans work with God, to create a better, more just world. The moral universe bends towards justice, with our help, and with our actions with God. It is not to be understood that the world would magically get better.

[ 20. February 2018, 16:39: Message edited by: Anglican_Brat ]

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Caissa
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There has been much written on teleological views of history, Butterfield's 1931 The Whig Interpretation of History being but one example.
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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
our entire species could be written within a microdot forming a single full stop on about page 42 (...)

That. Explains. Everything. [Cool]

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Bishops Finger
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Marvin, you are Douglas Adams, and I claim my £5.

[Overused]

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
The quote is "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice", attributed to Martin Luther King**


I had a troubling conversation with someone who said basically that this is nonsense, BS, and insensible.

It is. We are a species evolved to living in small groups and it is the size and complexity of our civilizations which have engendered a behaviour that mimics “moral” improvement.
And it is the conflict between our evolved nature and the one shows by our growth in population that keep it from being completely stable.

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HCH
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I think an argument that can be made for long-term progress is that over time people have become aware of ways in which the world could be improved, which makes such improvement more likely. For instance, every culture in the Bible included the institution of slavery, and no one suggested that it should be abolished. In the centuries that have passed since the Bible's books were written, human beings have evolved a sensibility about slavery, that it is a bad thing, and now most cultures do not have slavery. There is still some slavery in the world, but very few people would defend the practice.

Likewise, we now have other sensibilities that barely (if at all) exist in the Bible: ethical treatment of animals, equality of the sexes, environmental awareness, the rejection of racism and government by the consent of the governed. Lots of progress remains to be made, but at least people are talking about these matters.

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Eutychus
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Marvin, you are Douglas Adams, and I claim my £5.

[Overused]

IJ

Actually my current working philosophy/theology seems to jive with that expressed in Dirk Gently Season 2 which, if not written by Adams, certainly gets his vibe well:
quote:
Fate and chance are not mutually exclusive. You do have free will
[learn how to code, idiot]

[ 20. February 2018, 17:50: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Crœsos
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# 238

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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
I would point out that the future of everything does extend beyond the current plight of the US, which while it might turn out to be a watershed moment is as yet a tiny instant in the whole span of human history.

Both King and Coates seem to be taking a much longer view than simply their contemporary historical circumstances. That's more or less the whole point of discussing "the arc of the moral universe".

quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
The only thing I remember from my economics classes at school is a quote from JM Keynes: "in the long run, we are all dead". Back to discussions of the resurrection, I guess...

That quote wasn't about the inevitability of death, it was about the platitudinous nature of long range projections, particularly as an argument against taking action to alleviate present problems. The full quote from Keynes' A Tract on Monetary Reform (1923):

quote:
But this long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if in tempestuous seasons they can only tell us that when the storm is past the ocean is flat again.
Italics from the original. To adapt the quote from Keynes to King it's a warning against taking the idea that "the arc of the moral universe* is long and it bends toward justice" as an excuse for inaction. Not that King was adopting that position, but some take inevitability as an invitation to slack off.


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*I'm pretty sure that King and Coates refer to "the arc of the moral universe" to short circuit any notion that they're talking about the much longer-lived physical universe. Given some of the comments in this thread, it seems they weren't entirely successful, despite their specificity.

[ 20. February 2018, 17:08: Message edited by: Crœsos ]

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I want to believe it is true.

Indeed. If it's not, hope dies.
This where my mind goes as well. Because it was the second time for this conversation, maybe this was detected, and my emotions - and frankly core of belief - was baited. Reading the thoughtful discussion here, it perturbs me that I may have swallowed the hook. This realization is just upon me as I read this and the rest of the discussions thus far.

[ 20. February 2018, 17:24: Message edited by: no prophet's flag is set so... ]

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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What the OP's friend needs is data. Here: Steven Pinker's book The Better Angels of Our Nature. In which he proves, with massive data and dozens of graphs, that we are indeed getting better. Slowly, over the centuries, with many a slip into barbaric violence, we are improving.
Even Ta-Neishi Coates would agree that his life, right now, is better than his great-grandfather's must have been, especially if that ancestor was a slave. Prejudice and discrimination are vile, but less shattering evils than a bullwhip or the auction block.
I'd guess that most of us reading this (all persons of ethnicity, all women, all elderly, all children, all persons with diseases, to start with) can say the same. Deny it if you can: you are in better case than you would be if you were born in 1800. I see here that Pinker has written a seequel, making this argument in his usual overwhelming detail. I'm going to keep my eye out for it.

[ 20. February 2018, 17:29: Message edited by: Brenda Clough ]

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
What the OP's friend needs is data. Here: Steven Pinker's book The Better Angels of Our Nature. In which he proves, with massive data and dozens of graphs, that we are indeed getting better. Slowly, over the centuries, with many a slip into barbaric violence, we are improving.
Even Ta-Neishi Coates would agree that his life, right now, is better than his great-grandfather's must have been, especially if that ancestor was a slave.

From Coates (same interview):

quote:
It’s very convenient to see progress from slavery to abolition finishing up in the civil rights movement and then a black president.

But you have to look at the time between abolition and the civil rights movement: a concerted, white supremacist domestic terror campaign. A 100-year shadow war waged against individuals. And that was the basis on which democracy was maintained for a big section of the country.

How do you overlook that?

Coates is making the case that despite the narrative of constant progress on addressing American racism there's no reason to regard it as irreversible, especially given a fairly lengthy period (~1877 to ~1963) where a lot of the real progress achieved during Reconstruction was deliberately reversed.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Eutychus
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# 3081

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
This where my mind goes as well. Because it was the second time for this conversation, maybe this was detected, and my emotions - and frankly core of belief - was baited.

One can turn it round, though. The fact that we hope is perhaps an inner witness to the fact that there's something to hope for - an indication that the arc of history actually does lead somewhere.

My reference to the resurrection was not really tongue in cheek.

(In fact, to respond to Croesos, as far as I'm concerned that thought spurs me to action rather than inaction).

[ 20. February 2018, 17:58: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Crœsos
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# 238

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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
One can turn it round, though. The fact that we hope is perhaps an inner witness to the fact that there's something to hope for - an indication that the arc of history actually does lead somewhere.

I'm pretty sure that 'if you hope hard enough that makes it true' is some kind of logical or causal fallacy.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Eutychus
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I'll freely admit it leaps into the subjective, but it makes theological sense to me. As Romans 5:5 has it:
quote:
hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us
There's a subjective component right at the heart of that argument, but that's where I stand.

I subscribe to an eschatalogical, linear arc of history theory on theological grounds.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
I'll freely admit it leaps into the subjective, but it makes theological sense to me. As Romans 5:5 has it:
quote:
hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us
There's a subjective component right at the heart of that argument, but that's where I stand.

I subscribe to an eschatalogical, linear arc of history theory on theological grounds.

Would you explain the last sentence a little more plainly please.

I have been reflecting on a view from a geological and biological idea of progress and cyclic nature of things both: "time's arrow" (the linear progression) and "time's cycle" (how the past rhymes with or resembles the present, and patterns of history are repeated). Are you meaning more the time's arrow view?

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
A contrary view is expressed by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Didn't Coates have an argument with Cornel West about this? West claimed that Coates' position underneath a attitude of defiance was essentially an endorsement of the neoliberal status quo.

I'm inclined to think that, much as Coates is worth listening to, King and West may have more authority.

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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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Eutychus
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# 3081

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
I have been reflecting on a view from a geological and biological idea of progress and cyclic nature of things both: "time's arrow" (the linear progression) and "time's cycle" (how the past rhymes with or resembles the present, and patterns of history are repeated). Are you meaning more the time's arrow view?

Why not both?

I commonly refer to my view as the "onion layers" or "pregnancy" view.

From a biblical perspective, I think there are cyclical elements that occur throughout history - wherever you cut the onion, much the same sort of things are going on, wars & rumours of wars etc., but there is also a progression, a bit like the contractions getting more intense as a pregnancy comes to term. Indeed Paul uses that imagery in Romans 8.

I find it very hard to understand Scripture without the idea of an eschatalogical hope, to which the Spirit bears witness in us.

I'm not a complete determinist; in addition to onions and pregnancy and my Dirk Gently theology referred to above, my working theory is Quantum sovreignty.

All of which is probably making little sense.

[ 20. February 2018, 18:45: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Dafyd
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# 5549

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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
How do we know what the direction is?

We don't know of course. That's why hope is a Christian virtue.

I suppose the argument from the one side is that believing that the arc of history bends towards justice makes one complacent. The argument from the other side is that believing the arc of history does not bend towards justice makes one defeatist.
I think the empirical evidence from the history of protest movements suggests that believing the arc of history bends towards justice is generally more of a help than a hindrance.

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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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Pangolin Guerre
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I sort of agree with Eutycus. On another thread I made reference to Hegel's impact on my thought. This is a bootlegged Hegel that helped me to resolve the problem of a loving God vs the evident slaughter bench of history. God is in a state of becoming and self-realisation. To do that s/he/it must do things. In the bounded infinity of the universe, God is conducting countless experiments in history. Our world's historical experiment is not the same as another world's, and so infinitely onward. So experiments are more benign than others. God learns from each of these, each one taking God closer to self-realisation. So, while we have any number of examples of historical disasters, they are necessary steps in the process of God becoming fully. There are a few heresies in this (God is incomplete, therefore imperfect; God is not omniscient) , but it gets me out of the all-loving God problem, and means that the grand arc of the universe leads to God's perfection.

Sorry - this was already too dense and too long.

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Albertus
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I very seldom say this but:

What Marvin said.

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simontoad
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I want to believe it is true.

Indeed. If it's not, hope dies.
I disagree with the 'without progress hope dies' idea which I think is what Eutychus means. My hope rests in my conversion experience, which I interpret as an experience of God as the embodiment of love. We have no idea what progress is. How can we? Our knowledge is limited, our perspective biased and our attitudes enculturated. We are prisoners of our time and place.

My personal response to these truths is to retreat from the macro in my working life and concentrate on seeking to improve the day to day lives of individuals who I reckon are members of 'the poor' of the Gospels. I'm greedy for smiles you see.

However, I love the macro. So when I have a free moment (often), I like to speculate about it and crack jokes and put the case for mostly progressive political positions. I do this here and on social media, as well as participating in my country's political process. I engage in these activities in the full knowledge that their benefits are possibly limited and mostly illusory from the perspective of history.

So I get my hope from God who is love. I express that love in my work, on the smallest of micro-levels. I support and participate in progressive reform because I am also a creature of this time and place, but I manage my expectations.

The Whig view of history is bogus and is likely to have pretty ugly roots, when you consider its source and the time and place in which it emerged. It is a powerful and comforting fantasy used to justify the European takeover of the world in the last few centuries. Yeah, it stinks of racism because progress for the black and brown means adopting European norms. In the wake of two world wars and the holocaust the most progressive culture in the world realised the Whig view of history wasn't so great after all and some of its thinkers tried to kill it, but its like Ivy. Even Napalm won't kill it.

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Human

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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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I view "progress" as us treating each other better and more fairly, with improved understanding. As a world. No perfection, no utopian heaven on earth, just better. Lurching there.
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Martin60
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# 368

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Simpleton that I am I see increasing homeostatic complexity operating from the instant of creation. Yer know, evolution. Physical, chemical, biological, social, psychological, spiritual. An ever growing fractal stream of three, four... dimensional oscillating, looping turbulence of more evil and more good.

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Love wins

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Martin60
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Hey no..., I feel we're saying the same thing.

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Boogie

Boogie on down!
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Simpleton that I am I see increasing homeostatic complexity operating from the instant of creation. Yer know, evolution. Physical, chemical, biological, social, psychological, spiritual. An ever growing fractal stream of three, four... dimensional oscillating, looping turbulence of more evil and more good.

I agree about the complexity, but why more evil than good? I don’t think complex cities and systems would even work without goodwill. Look at Kentucky fried chicken, it didn’t take much to stop it ‘working’ well. They took the goodwill for granted imo.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Martin60
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The potential for evil amplifies with the potential for good. The Rwandan genocide was orchestrated by 2 DJs on a radio station. The trend is net good with catastrophic fails.

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Boogie

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
The potential for evil amplifies with the potential for good. The Rwandan genocide was orchestrated by 2 DJs on a radio station. The trend is net good with catastrophic fails.

The fails are not good, but the exceptions prove the rule imo. Most people are of goodwill.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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mr cheesy
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I'm sure some thought there was human progress up to the 20 century, and then we had the horrors.

Every time there is progress, others are left behind or suffer savagery most of us thought had been stopped centuries ago.

It is not obvious that things are getting better overall - or even how to measure if it is. Even some of the improvements to some poor people's lives are so small that they're barely worth having, despite considerable effort.

So, as I said, I think this is a choice. We can choose to believe we are rearranging deckchairs, we can choose to believe that the brutality of Syria shows that we're going nowhere, we can choose to believe that the coming environmental apocalypse is just the obvious manifestation of how shit we really are.

And that's not even wrong.

But as far as I'm concerned, it is a better choice to believe that shitty things happen, but that we are on a journey of improvement and we are moving in a certain positive direction despite the massacres and despite the stupid and dangerous things we are doing to ourselves.

The first may be true. But if it is, I'd rather believe the lie.

[ 21. February 2018, 07:31: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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arse

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Boogie

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The constant availability and repetition of bad news magnifies it. It’s not the norm. When people are surveyed they overestimate the crime rate X10.

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Garden. Room. Walk

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Golden Key
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quote:
Originally posted by Boogie:
I agree about the complexity, but why more evil than good? I don’t think complex cities and systems would even work without goodwill. Look at Kentucky fried chicken, it didn’t take much to stop it ‘working’ well. They took the goodwill for granted imo.

Please explain about KFC. Thanks.

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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mr cheesy
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# 3330

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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
Please explain about KFC. Thanks.

They have chicken supply issues in the UK which has been enough to shut many of their restaurants.

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arse

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Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
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Golden Key

This is in the news here and USA.

Jengie

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"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

Back to my blog

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wabale
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# 18715

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quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:

... The Whig view of history is bogus and is likely to have pretty ugly roots, when you consider its source and the time and place in which it emerged. It is a powerful and comforting fantasy used to justify the European takeover of the world in the last few centuries. Yeah, it stinks of racism because progress for the black and brown means adopting European norms. In the wake of two world wars and the holocaust the most progressive culture in the world realised the Whig view of history wasn't so great after all and some of its thinkers tried to kill it, but its like Ivy. Even Napalm won't kill it.

I’m inclined to think most ‘over-arching’ theories of History are bogus, especially the myths we are taught about our own countries. But regarding whiggism, as an undergraduate I had the pleasure of being made to read Lewis Namier’s ‘The Structure of Politics at the Accession of George III’ which debunked the Whig view of George lll as a power-seeking tyrant. That was a long time ago - the book I mean - and as long as the writers of History books are always open about where they are coming from I see no great problem - there are always different points of view to be set against each other. There is even less of a chance of Historians coming to a common opinion than Theologians, which is perhaps why, on the whole, I get the impression that Historians are better at coming clean about where their bias is coming from than Theologians.

But it’s modern ‘Tory’ theories of History I worry about. ‘The McDonald Centre’ in Oxford University is currently conducting a study of opposition to the advance of British Imperialism called ‘Ethics and Empire’, to be based on the writings of the opposition to Empire. My immediate reaction when I heard this was that some of the most vehement opponents of British Imperialism, among the people who came up against it, were often lying dead on the battlefield before they could articulate their point of view. A more thoughtful critique of this project can be found here:
Ethics and Empire
My other worry on this matter is that people’s national bias features too much in their ethical thinking, even among Christians.

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quetzalcoatl
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Just echoing that - 'over-arching theories of history' seem suspect to me. In fact, 'arc' seems suspect to me - rather question begging, isn't it?

Directions tend to depend on where you start from, and your point of view. For example, for an Australian indigenous person, has the 'arc' been beneficial? I do have doubts about that, but lack first person experience.

Still, there's nothing wrong with some guesswork and wish fulfillment. Hope always reminds me of the John Cleese line, it's not the despair, I can take the despair, it's the hope I can't stand, (Clockwise). But it will still surge in the human breast!

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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quetzalcoatl
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My wife just said to me, it's OK not to make sense of the world. Why am I married to the oracle? Is this good fortune, or an unfortunate curse?

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
our entire species could be written within a microdot forming a single full stop on about page 42 (...)

That. Explains. Everything. [Cool]
I'm glad someone saw what I did there [Cool]

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Tortuf
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After Darwin people thought societies evolved from primitive to whatever western civilization was at the time. I suggest that people in a lot of so called primitive societies were more OK with their lives than civilized pepole. They might not have lived as long. Thinking living longer or having more stuff is more important than serenity is imposing our values on others. Imagine if a tribe in the deep Amazon imposed their values on us.

When the Mongols were conquering the steppes they might slaughter entire cities to interest other cities in not resisting. Stalin killed how many? In the timeline of history the difference between Stalins time and now is short.

We persist in two myths: That what we have is better than what was before and that things will get better still.

If you need to be better, or for things to be better, you are not going to find happiness, or serenity.

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quetzalcoatl
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# 16740

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V. good points by Tortuf. I think it's a kind of mild solipsism, that things are better and are going to get better. Having said that, mild solipsism is probably beneficial to humans, and I would say, we're getting better at it all the time! Ha ha.

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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Martin60
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Boogie & mr cheesy in particular, we're cockeyed optimists.

Yeah MtM, we saw...

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
simontoad
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# 18096

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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
My wife just said to me, it's OK not to make sense of the world. Why am I married to the oracle? Is this good fortune, or an unfortunate curse?

I choose this post to highlight, and thank quetzalcoatl for the whimsy. I refer him to the Cat Stevens song Hardheaded Woman.

I thank wabale for the link. I love that stuff. I was distracted in the 90's, and am sorry that I missed the History Wars downunder. I'm making up for my lost opportunity at the moment. My suspicion is that a present-day historian who does not disclose their bias is probably not a historian but a politician.

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Human

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Martin60
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# 368

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And thanks wabale. I agree completely on imperialism, but I would because I'm of the liberal tribe high up (or is it low down) in my hierarchical set of tribes.

Nationalist Christians - and I've been one - just have a different, more natural, set arrangement built on our SHARED pack loyalty chip.

We have to agree with them and THEN transcend that. With them. And liberals are almost totally crap at that. Socialists have some success by appealing to class above nationalism, but have to do it without dissing the nation.

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
quetzalcoatl
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# 16740

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quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
My wife just said to me, it's OK not to make sense of the world. Why am I married to the oracle? Is this good fortune, or an unfortunate curse?

I choose this post to highlight, and thank quetzalcoatl for the whimsy. I refer him to the Cat Stevens song Hardheaded Woman.

I thank wabale for the link. I love that stuff. I was distracted in the 90's, and am sorry that I missed the History Wars downunder. I'm making up for my lost opportunity at the moment. My suspicion is that a present-day historian who does not disclose their bias is probably not a historian but a politician.

Well, it's not only whimsy. I agree with her that it's OK not to make sense of the world. In fact, I'm baffled that people do. Hence, for me 'arc' is gobbledygook; I suppose it's a guess.

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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