A dialogue on compassion between a friend and I. Edited to make me look better. And him worse.
1988 was the year I quit the Republican Party.
On a nice spring/summer day, we walked to the Rockville City Hall and I changed my registration from…
This poem comes as close to religion for me as anything I know. It is written to a boy but applies equally to a woman. Perhaps you may find it some help, as I have, when facing life's sometimes difficult choices.
from throughout the universe
there is no better verse
than 'nature is perverse'
NPR had a piece yesterday on the idea that machines may one day be so intelligent as to become capable of designing and building even more intellingent machines, triggering a exponential growth of intelligence, an intelligence sigularity, such that human intelligence becomes negligible by comparison. Some consider this intelligence sigularity a existential threat.
Here is a link to the NPR Story:
The attached file is an article by Bill Joy on his concerns about modern technology. Read the article, but the main point seems to me that modern technology is too complex to manage and very likely presents threats to man which exceed the benefits. Possibly we can learn to manage the technology, possibly not.
I lean toward Mr. Joy's views, perhaps more so. Even if you don't share his concern you might benefit by being aware of them.
Conceding that 'Freewill' is a poorly defined concept, there is still some sense that we are free to make some choices and not so free to make others. Most would agree that we are free to choose vanilla vs. chocolate ice cream, while we are not free to choose to be invisible. Which is to say that some things appear to be impossilbe, regardless of what we wish them to be. While in other cases we are in some sense 'free' to make a choice.
Charity from those who believe in afterlife rewards must be greeted with some suspicion because such persons can never be entirely free of the idea that they will be rewarded for their actions, if not in life then in death. No one can be sure, least of all the believers themselves, if their actions, no matter how charitable, are in fact selfishly designed to improve their own lot in the afterlife.
The genuine atheist, however, at least has the possibility of performing an act they believe can do themselves no good at all.