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Dr_Stephen_Midnight
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>"I try to live my life as best I can and not be a problem to any one else."

I always like the reason why Harry Harrison's anti-hero, The Stainless Steel Rat, avoided killing: life is already too short; taking away from someone what little time they have left is the most cruel thing you can do.

Steve
Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
Leland Stone
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Okay, life is already too short, and granted taking life from someone whose time is brief is cruel. But that doesn't address the underlying question: If there are no moral absolutes, why is it wrong to be cruel?

The Stainless Steel Rat, or anyone postulating moral formulae apart from an objective, absolute, and transcendent basis, is expressing a philosophically indefensible opinion which is -- from an evolutionary and naturalistic perspective -- absurd.

Leland
Josh Riel
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Quote:
On 2005-09-03 00:42, Leland Stone wrote:
If there are no moral absolutes, why is it wrong to be cruel?



Why can you not have moral absolutes, and still have no belief in any one or multiples of skyborn or subterranian authority? Morality is not just a stronghold of the religious. I personally was not around for the big bang thing, nor was I present when the first man was de-ribbed and as such I do not have any particular belief, because for me believe should be founded on more than what you are told, and while never knowing everything, we should always seek to see everything for what it is and not what we WISH it to be.

As for the foundation of magic, are we trying to get facts across to people with our magic? this seems rather contradictory as we are not really offering fact with the subterfuge. I think a message is fine, but use whatever you need to to to make your magic powerful, says I. And the guy's over at the "Good news" do have some good presentational ideas. Belief does not make one less or more creative.
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
Clifford the Red
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Agreed. In fact, I find often morals, which are grounded in pure ethics as opposed to religion, are more consistent in their application.
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
Payne
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Quote:
On 2005-09-03 00:42, Leland Stone wrote:

But that doesn't address the underlying question: If there are no moral absolutes, why is it wrong to be cruel?



Who says it is? And who defines that which is cruel? The Japanese used to bind the feet of their women. To us a cruel act to them a sign of rank and fashion.
Other cultures still perform rights of passage that would get you arrested for child abuse in this country. We routinely circumsize our male babies which many people feel is cruel.
There simply are no universal moral truths. Only those rules agreed upon by the particular society you live in.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Lee Darrow
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Payne? It was the Chinese who bound the feet, not the Japanese. Minor quibble.


For others:

As to why it is immoral to be cruel, well pain hurts, pain is the body's way of saying something is WRONG. Hence, to cause pain is to do wrong, by definition. Cruelty is the deliberate and intentional infliction of pain on another or ones' self. Hence, cruelty is wrong as it inflicts pain, which is a signal from the body to the mind that something is wrong. QED.

Simplistic, but it works.

Lee Darrow, C.H.
http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
Leland Stone
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Payne: Your logic is flawed. You deny the existence of universal moral truth by stating, "There simply are no universal moral truths."

If there are no universal truths, then the statement cannot be made -- because it is itself a universal claim of truth. Your statement contradicts itself, by being what it claims does not exist.

You might as well have typed, "I am incapable of typing a coherent sentence, either in English or in any other language."


Lee: No, it doesn't work. You can't derive a moral truth (such as "It's wrong to gouge people's eyes out with a pointy stick") from a physical phenomenon (like "Pain results from gouging people's eyes out with a pointy stick").

Are lions "wrong" for eating the hindquarters of still-living zebras, thereby causing incalculable pain? [And no, the zebra isn't anaesthetised by shock -- if it were, it wouldn't still be braying.] Are massive male walruses "wrong" for crushing smaller females to death during mating? Is a plague virus "wrong" for causing an excruciatingly painful death to its human host? Unless the category "wrong because it causes pain" applies to the rest of nature, it can't apply to humans -- at least, not from a materialist's perspective.

Josh: Why? Because if the cosmos is nothing more than matter and energy, then the materialist has to explain the following: What is the weight, size, mass, colour, speed, vector, taste, shape, or wavelength of "morality?" Unless and until this so-called "morality" can be defined in terms of matter and energy, it remains an unnatural attribute that is alien to this world and has no meaning here.

Leland
John Nesbit
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Quote:
On 2005-09-03 10:52, Leland Stone wrote:

Josh: Why? Because if the cosmos is nothing more than matter and energy, then the materialist has to explain the following: What is the weight, size, mass, colour, speed, vector, taste, shape, or wavelength of "morality?" Unless and until this so-called "morality" can be defined in terms of matter and energy, it remains an unnatural attribute that is alien to this world and has no meaning here.

Leland



If I may add to this.
Not only "morality", but I've often thought of what the "materialistic/skeptical" explanation on the Café was, regarding "consciousness" itself ? I have read many years ago from certain physicists on the world scene that, (consciousness) "was just the result of certain random chemical reactions occuring inside of the brain". Yes, the brain may hold "fluid", (but that last line of reasoning doesn't).
Morality and consciousness are among two of the attributes to existence that the harder you try to deny them, the more apparant and relevant they become. One always seems to arise out of, and sustain the other.

Peace

John
Josh Riel
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I am no materialist. My point is through the ages regardless of the type of worship, regardless of nation or people, there has always been a morality, not yours or mine perhaps, but "A". Morality is part of the Human person, Not so much a part of the belief system, while the belief system clearly molds it. This is just what I think from what I read, I don't know what "Is".

I am worried that these posts will disappear. Hopefully were not too close to the line here.
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
Jonathan Townsend
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Folks, we don't need to get into the particulars of the organized religions in this discussion. If the religion has a savior, fine. If the religion has one all powerful deity or a pantheon of deities is irrelevant here in this thread. The particulars of the stories associated with the worship are irrelevant in this discussion too. Whether the savior has tentacles or just two arms does not matter in this thread. Here we are not so concerned about the stories as how we tell the stories.

Whether we tell stories that parallel those that form the core of a religion or not is outside the scope of this discussion as well.

What we can safely discuss is how we reference those icons and moral tenets in our stories. Sure we can use exmaples from stories in discussion, so long as we are up front about our citations and our intended message to the audience.

As others have pointed out earlier, the notions of right, wrong, good and bad are parochial and greatly dependent upon both the species involved and the circumstances of the culture. On a world with more oxygen in its atmosphere, what we call fire would be and remain a primal fear. For those that live in and under the water, the very notion of dry land exposed to bring sunlight and only occasional rain would bring with it great fear. To those that live in the great expanse of interstellar space, the very notions of up and down would seem absurd.

What we can safely discuss is the ecological soundness of a principle as applied to the circumstance. Given our essentially localized existence, the advice to "not s**t where you eat and to get your meat in another place where you get your bread" are ecological for the individual. How we might use such themes in our performances is the topic of this discussion.

We can probably safely discuss how we anchor sentiments to objects and use the pre-existing sentimental anchors of the audience members to give emotional weight to our stories. We need not disrespect anyone's beliefs or their socialized faiths to have our discussion.

As a small caveat, I'd suggest we stay away from using known prohibitions of audience members to set up dual reality situations. Just a suggestion though.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
RandyStewart
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Leland wrote:

"Big Bang Theory merely describes what evidently took place 14.5 billion years or so ago, without explaining why it happened. And without explaining its precursor. That is, at T minus 1 second (one second before the BB), what existed as a prior and sufficient cause to explain the appearance of T?"

Agreed Leland. That's a cross road that many will struggle with. Some believe whatever was there prior (in the absence of a creator), has been there forever. The rest of us take a faithful position on a creator that got the ball rollin'.

I just can't accept that the beginning of anything i.e. Big Bang spontaneously CREATED ITSELF. My little mind just can't grasp that.

But back to Jonathan's original question. My act is a stage manipulation act that doesn't exactly fit the category of Bizarre magic. At least not to those of us who know the difference. However, I've been accused of dancin' with the devil by types I don't have flattering words for. Not everyone sees my style of magic as entertainment. A friend of mine was even bothered by the term "Stage Manipulation" when viewing the category on WGM! Said he didn't like the word "manipulation" in there. Well he's an idiot and missed the whole point not to mention had the wrong attitude towards the performance. I guess he feared he was going to be "manipulated".

More specific to this topic, I attended a séance while visiting with a friend of mine in Sacramento. I'll withhold names to protect the gullible. The performance was down right fantastic! Fooled the crap out of me as it was as bizarre as bizarre can be! Person in charge of séance invoked spirits, allowed a possession by past relatives of those present, and several other unexpected and neat effects.

I applauded the performance as I found it entertaining and clever - nothing more! I also saw a potential for abuse (assuming what we witnessed wasn't real) of those desperate for some resolve or contact with others who've past.

The other potential hazard (assuming a real connection to the spiritual is made) might be the misguided type biting off more than they can chew.

I'm not sure if this experience questioned anyone's moral boundaries or religious beliefs but it served as an example and experience of one of many facets of the bizarrist's repertoire.

I still await someone's explanation of what condition existed or who or what served as the cause of the Big Bang in the absence of a creator.

I initially thought this sort of presentation would be OK if it was introduced as a form of entertainment or the product of skill and polished presentation. But with some people's appetite for the bizarre and the unexplained, such an intro, might further convince that what they've just witnessed was REAL.
Clifford the Red
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Quote:
On 2005-09-03 20:51, RandyStewart wrote:

I still await someone's explanation of what happened or who created the cause of the Big Bang in the absence of a creator.


Ok, here is one - the big bang is a simply a longest term cycle of the universe of expansion and contraction. On a regular basis, like a pendulum, the universe contracts and all objects are pulled gravitationally to the center, it creates a massive reaction and a "Big Bang". The power of that sends the matter outward in the expansion cycle, natural forces turn that matter into planets and stars and the universe expands until it reaches the limit of the force it was propelled with, then it begins to contract again, drawing all of the objects toward the center of the universe where they are are compacted and eventually it creates a massive reaction and a "Big Bang".

Being that cycles are an inherent part of nature, this seems to be a reasonable explanation to me. As matter and energy in a system are constant, this cycle could proceed indefinitely.

Of course you could ponder if there was a beginning to the cycle or if there is something outside of our Universe, and if it is just a vast expanse of nothingness. And why. It is quite large for our comprehension, I agree. It could be our universe is simply an atom in someone's body and the infinite vastness of emptiness is simply the space between our molecule and the next - that would correlate to what we know about the structure of our own universe. At the level of atoms, the space between them is vast. How deep are we in this model, do we have similar countless universes in our own bodies....an interesting philosophy to ponder.
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
Leland Stone
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Hiya, Clifford:

You've touched on the logical fallacy inherent in the compression/expansion cycling theory of cosmology. This is just an "infinite regression" error written in cosmos-high letters. Cycle through as many compression/expansion events as one wishes, and one is still left with the problem of where did the cycle come from and why did it arise instead of not arising? This is one aspect of the materialist's dilemma that I've encountered in other, unrelated posts.

Randy: I'm with you on the inescapable, logical need for a transcendent source of the cosmos, or, as Christians call Him, God the Creator. Those who believe in the eternal existence of the universe are as unscientific as those who believe in its eternal cycling between expansion/contraction.

Leland
Clifford the Red
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Quote:
On 2005-09-03 22:34, Leland Stone wrote:

Cycle through as many compression/expansion events as one wishes, and one is still left with the problem of where did the cycle come from?


Humans are such linear thinkers.

Why does it have to have a beginning? Just because you can't understand anything but a linear event?

Perhaps it is actually the same event replayed in an endless time loop.
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
Jonathan Townsend
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Let's get back to the storytelling folks.

Whether we like, choose or believe Chtulhlu's eggs each contain potential univerese, of which ours is just one, or if our existance is just a passing thought in the Red King's dreams ...
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Clifford the Red
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What does it matter when he will just consume us all at his awakening?

Image
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
sinnead zenun
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Leland Stone
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Actually, the problem with non-linear thought lies not in the inability to understand it, but in its concomitant necessity of abandoning logic.
Jonathan Townsend
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Unfortunately logic only serves to offer rationalization to what one chooses to believe. The choices one makes as regards belief are based upon circumstances far removed from isolated pure mathematical logic. If you want food, bow to the idol. If you want to live here, do as we do.

The stories that come with the social practices are interesting of themselves, and HOW the stories are told is what can make for good entertainment.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Leland Stone
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In the hands of a craftsman, a knife is a tool; in the hands of a criminal, a knife is a felonious weapon. So too can logic be improperly subverted into rationalization, or rightly used to dismantle those hypotheses which cannot sustain credibility.

As for stories accompanying social practices, agreed. Even "made-up folklore" (cf Robert Neale's "Tricks of the Imagination") can touch a nerve. I'm not sure that anyone is immune to or apart from the human condition, whatever their beliefs, location, class, or era -- and thus, Bizarre Magic's fascination to me.
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