X-Message-Number: 10299
Date: Fri, 21 Aug 1998 08:11:22 -0700
From: Peter Merel <>
Subject: Rationalizin'

Timur Rozenfeld writes,

[on sex, eating, and skiing naked]

>Excuse me, but the activities are above are *very* rational as they add 
>value to your life. 

Ah, I understand; you define as rational whatever whim enters your head.
If skiing naked is rational, then so must be prayer and whatever religious
ritual that takes your fancy.

>What would be irrational is to neglect your human needs, desires and
>requirements for happiness. 

I'm hard pressed to imagine any activity that is irrational under this
definition. Love, war, faith, apostasy, really anything you like you may
define as your need, desire, or requirement for happiness.

[not certain I'm replying entirely to Timur in the next bit; either he
or his software has left out some quote marks. More care please.]

>A judgement can still be personal and objective. Otherwise anything anybody 
>judges is equal as its all "subjective". If you have a train 
>heading toward you, the objectively valid judgement, if you wish to enhance 
>or save your life, would be to get out of the way.

I may be suicidal and still rational under your definition above; or I may 
be racing to rescue the love of my life who some fiend has tied to the tracks.

>I agree. The unprovable assumptions are called axioms. They are axioms 
>because they are directly perceivable from reality and attempt to 
>disprove them presupposes them. Existence is an axiom, because before 
>anyone opens their mouth or think a thought to argue against it, they 
>already know they exist. It would be invalid to call that faith.

To paraphrase Chuang Tse, I dreamed I was a butterfly; am I an existing
man who dreamed I was a butterfly, or an existing butterfly dreaming I am
a man?

>I am saying that reality is composed of entities, attributes, actions and 
>relationships, not only entities as you suggest.

Then why do you say dance does not exist, but only dancers? Or have you
changed your mind on this?

>I don't understand what you mean by reality. What do you mean by nonsense 

Show it to me. Tie it in a knot. Build a sandcastle with it. Reality
means less than nothing - it's like talking about "up" or "left" as if
they were tangible. Reality means whatever you want it to mean.

>If its a nonsense word that has no meaning, then why denote anything with it?

That's just what I'm asking you. There is a mystery beneath abstraction,
Silent, depthless, alone, unchanging, ubiquitous and liquid, the mother 
of nature. It has no name, but I've called it "reality"; It has no limit, 
but I call it "limitless". Looked at but cannot be seen - it is beneath 
form; listened to but cannot be heard - it is beneath sound; held but cannot 
be touched - it is beneath feeling. These depthless things evade definition
and blend into a single mystery.

In its rising there is no light; in its falling, no darkness. A 
continuous thread beyond description, lining what can not occur,
its form formless, its image nothing, its name silence. Follow it, 
it has no back. Meet it, and it has no face.

Reality isn't only this; how can anyone say what it is? If you can't say
what it is, then it's a nonsense word.

>The rest of your description is too vague for me to comment on.

Do more words make it easier to grasp?

Peter Merel.

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