Follow your streams

“All my streams/fountains are found in you” Psalm 87:7

Most of our desires are like little trickling streams in massive dried up river beds. Our desire for love, success, goodness, etc are met to varying extents by trickles of water flowing into our lives. But we are made for more that the things this world has to offer. Each of our desires is designed to be fully met in God. Only His perfect unconditional love in Christ can quench  our thirst. Lasting fruitfulness is only found as we abide in Jesus, and righteousness is only obtained as a fee gift through faith in him.

The trouble is our stream are blocked up with other things that masquerade as springs. If we follow our desires up stream we may find idols damning the flow of water from God’s provision in himself. As we give ourselves to work, pleasing people, entertainment etc they hand out meagre rations, while holding back all that God has for us in himself.

Take the things you really desire, your hopes and dreams, and follow them upstream. Remove anything that is blocking your intimacy with God or try enlarging your dreams until they can no longer be met by anything this world has to offer. Following your streams will eventually lead you to God, the source of love and life.

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Jordon Peterson Quotes

A few Jordan Peterson quotes:

“evil is doing harm for the sake of harm, … evil is an atheistic, its an art form” Jordan Peterson

“work will make you free…a joke like that is satanic, there is no other way to think about it” Jordan Peterson 

“Rousseau was the first … fully articulate promoter of the idea that human beings were basically good so, you know, we had a good soul in a moral sense but we were corrupted by our social institutions… Hobbes said basically exactly the opposite that, you know, people were vicious and cruel unless you like put them in straitjackets, fundamentally, and made them obey, then everything was going to go immediately to hell you know. And when you saw what happened in Iran after the Americans waltzed in and the power structure disintegrated you know it was a hell of a lot more like Hobbes than it was like Rousseau right? You took out the tyrant at the top and it wasn’t like everybody got all peaceful and loving all of a sudden it was like absolute chaos reigned.”  Jordan Peterson

“the antidote to suffering is meaning”  Jordan Peterson

the dragon is a “fire breathing cat-snake-bird”: the three predators of pre-human ancestors + fire Jordan Peterson

“What [The story of the tower of Babel] means in part is that things that are built too large, to challenge God lets say, to reach to heaven,  are doomed to failure because they collapse within. ” Jordan Peterson 

When you are studying history, you think you are studying a record of events in the past. But that’s not right. What you are studying is the circumstances that gave rise to you as a being Jordan Perterson   

 

“great dramas are more real than real. They are hyper real.” Jordan Perterson

“what we don’t understand about consciousness and its relationship with the body would fill many many books. And you could say the same thing about our relationship with time. time. And perhaps corperability? and vulnerability and death. ” Peterson 

“I’m unwilling to rule out the existence of heaven. I am unwilling to rule out life after death. I’m unwilling to rule out universal redemption and the defeat of evil…I’m not willing to make the claim that those ideas exhaust themselves in the metaphor.” Perterson

 

 

Bight and Bong : are we just Robots?

Ok, The argument is as follows. If we look at the material world it seems to be described by fixed unchanging laws. Rocks seem to fall under gravity, and living organisms seem to adapt through random mutations over generations in order to maximise their chances of passing on their genes. That’s the idea anyway.

So if we were to look at a colony of advanced animals or even aliens we might conclude that their actions were all describable by physical laws, and one powerful one might be what we term evolution. I can see that is plausible and even persuasive.

Any language these “robots” used to communication with each other, and even us, would also be reducible, in this system, to psychical forces. They might have a concept they called “Bight” describing one set of behaviours, and another they called “Bong”, describing another set. Some of them might tells us that they as a species should do things that are “Bight” and not things that are “Bong”. We might notices that if they mostly did “Bight” then as a species they would do ok, and in fact as individuals, most of the time, they would flourish too. (We might also notice that sometimes some of them did rather well by doing some very Bong” things).

What’s the problem then with seeing ourseolves as biological robots with an evolutionaryily based preference for believing in an absolute moral “Bight” and “Bong” or “good” and “evil”.

Well here is the reason. I know I am not a biological robot! I have evidence available to me in my study of myself that is not available to me when I study the robots. What is most fundamental about me is my awareness of my own existance. Its even more fundamental to me than the existence of the phusical world around me. Decarte apparently agreed. Consiousness, or self awareness, is fundamental.  More fundamental I would argue, than the physical world. In fact the more I understand abgout the physical world the clearer it becomes that awareness is something different. Distinct.

At the very least this should cause me to be cautions before letting my understanding of the physical world render as irrelevant my conscious awareness and my rational thought.

Accepting both my conscious awareness (along with things like rational thought, the possibility of true knowledge of external reality etc), and the physical world, then leads me to wonder about the relationship between my awareness and the physical world.

Does one determine the other or are they causally interrelated in some way?

PS. A law describes, it does not determine. The problem is can we really say we have free will if we could never have chosen to do anything else.

Quotes

Some Woody Allen Quotes:

Time is nature’s way of keeping everything from happening at once.

If only God would give me some sign. If He would just speak to me once, anything, one sentence, two words. If He would just cough.

I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying.
My one regret in life is that I am not someone else.

How can I believe in God when only last week I got my tongue caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?

 

Writing tips

Writing tips from here:
“I took a master class with Billy Wilder once and he said that in the first act of a story you put your character up in a tree and the second act you set the tree on fire and then in the third you get him down.” – Gary Kurtz, producer of Star Wars Episode IV and V.

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” – Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

“I can’t write five words but that I change seven.” – Dorothy Parker, poet, short story writer, critic and satirist

From here

 “Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting.” – Jonathan Franzen

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekhov

“Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.” – Elmore Leonard

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” – Stephen King

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” – Elmore Leonard

“You can fix anything but a blank page.” – Nora Roberts

 

 

Don’t make me wrong!

A woman was wheeled in, lying on a table. Rather than clothes, she was covered in food. The reality TV guests were invited to sit down and eat. Three guys immediately walked off while the others tucked in saying “all the more for us!”

When one of the guys came back to explain himself (not wanting to be rude), he said he just didn’t feel it was right (or something like that), at which point one of the ladies eating at the table (i.e. off the young woman), said with a fierce look in her eye, “Don’t make me wrong”.

What she meant was ‘don’t you dare say that what I am doing is wrong. It can be wrong for you, ok, I’m cool with that, but don’t for one-minute start pointing the finger at me and saying that what I am doing is wrong’. “Don’t make me wrong!”.

The emotion and reaction was so on the surface. That, right there, is how we often feel when someone tells us we have done something wrong, or even when we tell ourselves we have done something wrong. It can hurt deeply, so we respond strongly to defend ourselves, and even avenge ourselves. But why does it hurt so much?

I obviously can’t comment on why that lady said what she did in the way that she did as I don’t know anything about her, but it got me thinking. Why do we respond like that at times?

Maybe it is because we are insecure in our “rightness”. When something touches our insecurities, it often provokes a big response. It’s like a needle bursting a balloon. Inside we are huffing and puffing ourselves up to be a big this or that. Perhaps it’s to be liked, or to be a good leader, or father, or mother, or good at our jobs. We know we are not, but we are wanting so much to be and putting so much effort into it. We try so hard to be good at something but often feel bad at it. When someone criticises us, it pops the balloon, and we go bang!

If I know I am a good football player and someone says I am rubbish at it, I would probably shrug it off. But if I felt and thought I was rubbish, but really wanted to be good and had tried so hard all my life to be good and was trying to persuade myself that I was good at football and someone said, “you can’t play for toffee, you let the team down every time”, I think I would end up in pieces inside.

We so want to be good, but we know we are not. We try hard to be good but feel bad about ourselves. We may even get to the point where we have built ourselves up through hard work and mental gymnastics to the point where we think we are good. The last thing we want is someone knocking down our house of cards because then we would have to deal with the truth that we have done things that are wrong and no amount of good deeds or comparisons with others, or “I did the best I could”, will ultimately change that.

There is only one person who can change it. The biblical word for “goodness” is righteousness. Jesus came to give us his righteousness as a gift so that we could be good and increasingly do good. Through faith in him, I get his goodness credited to me. If I really understand that I am freed from huffing and puffing and blowing up balloons of self-righteousness inside me, I can concentrate on doing the right thing from a place of security in who I am. If I am criticised for being bad, there should be no balloon to burst. It’s still going to cause me sorrow and grief, but hopefully not so much protective anger.

Existentialism

“Existentialism” is the belief that “existence precedes essence”. That is, we come into existence without anything defining what it is to be us, and so without any essential meaning or purpose. The “Absurd”, for the existentialist, is that we crave meaning but none can be given to us. Living an “authentic” life is recognising this absurdity, and choosing meaning for ones-self.

Sartre said “man is condemned to be free”: While on the positive side we are free to make up our own meaning and no one can force a bad meaning on us, the down side is that the true objective meaning we crave simply does not exist.

The “spirit of seriousness” is when we forget that the meaning in our lives is only that which we have created, and think of it as objectivity true rather than just a subjective view we have chosen to have. Trying to deceive ourselves that there is an intrinsic meaning to our lives is called “Bad faith”.

I now see where Krauss and Dawkins etc are coming from. They hold that there is no real meaning in the universe, and that we are therefore free to make it up as we please.

But surely all this is all nuts! Why not reason the other way? If we are so sure there must be meaning, what must be true for that to be the case? Could not our deep desire for meaning, our need for it, point us not to the absurdity of life but to the existence of  God? Could it be that we come to know our true meaning and purpose through faith in this God?

If we discount God then of course there is no meaning other than that which we make yourself. If there is a God and we eliminate God from our thinking, we should not be surprised it leads to absurdities. Biblical we could replace “absurd” for foolish.

loving these lectures: