A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, January 1, 2023

A Life of Learning.......

 After 75 plus years of life learning on this planet we call Earth the last 40 or so with a computer of one kind or another on my desk, almost 20 of those with the ability to share my thoughts on that newfangled thing call the 'internet', I thought it was time to take stock of my life. I suspect that given the necessary reduction of interaction with others outside of close family over the last year or more during the Covid thing that many folks much younger than I are rethinking their place in this world.

Some folks who have deeply religious or political convictions may have retreated into those polarizing beliefs, certainly many of our neighbors south of the border seem to be heading in that direction and demonstrating the danger of not thinking for ones self and following the heard. Personally I have never had strong political or religious beliefs except to think that perhaps a blind belief in either one (or both) may do more harm than good. This is not to say that we do not need a stable governing system and our democratic one is IMO about the best, but when it becomes too polarised and confrontational it defeats its purpose.

Much the same can be said of religion, although I can hardly speak authoritatively about it only recently having found that there is a definition of my 'beliefs' (or lack thereof), not that I am much for 'labels' the following sums up my thoughts fairly accurately

Humanists believe that human experience and rational thinking provide the only source of both knowledge and a moral code to live by, they reject the idea of knowledge 'revealed' to human beings by gods.

Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities.

Most humanists would agree with the ideas below:

  • There are no supernatural beings.

  • The material universe is the only thing that exists.

  • Science provides the only reliable source of knowledge about this universe.

  • We only live this life - there is no after-life, and no such thing as reincarnation.

  • Human beings can live ethical and fulfilling lives without religious beliefs.

  • Human beings derive their moral code from the lessons of history, personal experience, and thought.

Humanists reject the idea or belief in a supernatural being such as God. This means that humanists class themselves as agnostic or atheist. Humanists have no belief in an afterlife, and so they focus on seeking happiness in this life.

Apparently I may be an atheist but not an agnostic (damn labels again eh).......

An atheist doesn't believe in a god or divine being. ... However, an agnostic neither believes nor disbelieves in a god or religious doctrine. Agnostics assert that it's impossible for human beings to know anything about how the universe was created and whether or not divine beings exist.

I am not sure about that last bit for we learn more and more about the universe around us as our scientific and technical ability evolves, will we ever know all there is to know ...not a chance, but lets keep looking and sharing our finds with all of mankind. I don't know about 'divine beings' whatever the definition of those are, but I am totally convinced that other intelligent beings exist in the universe both less evolved than us and much greater. The question remains whether we manage to evolve much more before we destroy the ability of our world to support the life that developed from space dust over millions of years. Intelligent human beings, there are days when I start to wonder!

What may you ask brought on this introspective, my small handful of regular readers will know I have had very little to say on these pages in the past year or so, its not that I have nothing to say, for even if our situation federally is reasonably stable (for just a short while longer by the look of things) there is more than enough disasters building provincially in various governments across our country to comment upon. Its more that as I gradually move into my dotage I find that my mind outruns my ability to get my thoughts down on paper (actually on computer, my expressions are as old as my body) before have forgotten what I was going to say. I suspect this happens to most 'old' folks sooner or later and we know that for some folk it deteriorates into a total loss of memory and thinking skills, I sure hope I am not headed there and don't think I am but am acutely aware that I am not as 'sharp' as I was 5 years ago. I am sure my major stroke back then, from which I had 'a miraculous recovery' over the following year, has quite a bit to do with both my current thinking and what I view as my gradual inability to 'find' the right words at times.

I will leave you with this thought which sums things up quite nicely......

There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know.
Donald Rumsfeld:

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lungta said...

Welcome aboard
You're in a big boat.
Gaining knowledge is like expanding a balloon, the big the known ,the bigger the border on the unknown.
I like the "It is foolishness for the finite to pursue the infinite"
...oh those old chinese.
My 2022 take on humans is
Who would have guessed that intelligence ,cleverness and inventiveness were not survival skills?

Lorne said...

Very good to read your thoughts here, Rural. In terms of mental acuity, I think we all find gaps and shortcomings as we get older. I know that my ability to retain information from my wide reading is not nearly what it was years ago, for example. Nonetheless, I make a practice of reading daily and posting regularly on my blog; it helps to clarify my thinking and keeps my organizational skills fairly proficient. It is one of the ways I try to slow down any inevitable diminishment of faculties.

My own worldview is a little different from yours. I think the universe is so vast, and our own understanding of it so miniscule, that I can hold some kind of ultimate transcendence as a real possibility, one that has little to do with traditional religion and more to do with a sense of something beyond the mere material worlds that we can perceive.

In any event, all the best to you and your family for 2023, Rural!

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you might feel comfortable in a “religious community” known as Unitarian Universalist. They are a very liberal community of various backgrounds. Most would say they are Humanists.


Rural said...

I just fear our collective boat here on this world is heading for rocky shores Lunga

Rural said...

And all the best to you Lorne, I will try and be a little more active on these pages in order to keep the 'diminishment of faculties ' to a minimum!

Rural said...

I would NOT be comfortable with any organized Religious Community UU, or go on a 'spiritual journey. Lifes everyday 'journey' has been quite enlightening all by itself over the last 3 / 4 century!