Poll: Would you change now to avoid a difficult judgement?
No, I don't believe in survival
No, I will worry about the judgement later
Yes!
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If you woke up after dying, would you want a do-over?
#1
If you knew with reasonable certainty that,
upon the moment of your physical death
you would wake up in some kind of heaven
and have to face who you have become in this lifetime,
would you change your behavior now?
Tom Butler
Co-director ATransC
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#2
I believe that there is an afterlife and have believed for years. I try to do what I think is the right thing in my life but the question I must ask myself in order to answer this question is "What exactly leads me to do the right thing?" Is it because I believe I will be held accountable after I die or have to face who I have become? Is it because I was raised in a healthy environment where socially acceptable morals and behaviors were instilled in me by my parents? Is it partly a genetic trait to behave in a socially acceptable manner? It seems that when I do the right thing I do not have to think about what is the right thing to do or why I should do it. I just do it.
It is when I do not do the right thing that I think about the displeasure I likely caused the universe and my Maker. Though I believe there is a Creator and know why I believe this, I also believe that whenever harm, evil or bad is done, it negatively affects the entire universe. Whenever good is done, it affects the universe positively. For every action there is a reaction. Usually when I felt I did the wrong thing it was done without forethought...a reaction to an action.
Even though I believe in a heaven and/or a God and/or an afterlife with potential negative and positive consequences due to what I have become in this life and make every attempt to do good, I still cannot change my "inner self" as is evident when I react emotionally without thought to situations that strike a nerve.
My answer to the poll is "I think people behave because of who they are, where they came from, what they were exposed to, and many other factors too extensive to list here but not because of potential future consequences in the afterlife even if they believe that to be the case."
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#3
Well-considered answer.

What you are taught by your family is an important foundation for daily decisions. An idea that is growing in popularity amongst scientists is that survival of the gene pool is enhanced by protecting our family as much as protecting our self. Since some family members inherit our genes, keeping them alive and prosperous satisfies the survival imperative as well as keeping ourselves alive. As humans evolved in this world, we would have the instinct to respond to that imperative.

Being good to our neighbor tends to enhance the survival of our family. So, "doing the right thing" would have at least some element of instinct shaping what that is. The "right thing" would be based on social norms. I am not sure if they apply on the other side of the "Pearly Gates" but intent is a powerful thing.

I know what you mean about reacting to something. There is a "warrior" in me that occasionally makes itself known with the urge to strike back. Dealing with people can be both rewarding and very frustrating. I have tried to balance that urge with the idea of not being attached to the outcome of a process. For instance, I visualize how I want my next book to be received, but when the time comes, I will seek to understand how it is received while knowing that people do what they think is best and not to bother me. Understanding is a process, not an event.

So lets try the question a different way. As you try to do the right thing as you understand it, do you ever attempt to modify your understanding to produce a different outcome next time?
Tom Butler
Co-director ATransC
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#4
People that I have established friendships with share my understanding of what the "right thing" is. Perhaps that is why we connected well to begin with. Our basic understanding of what is "right" and what is "wrong" are very similar with small differences that allow us to learn and discover new approaches from each other.

I found myself in a bit of a struggle this past year with a new acquaintance with whom I was spending time with. We go shopping together, out to eat once in a while or go out for ice cream. Though we have fun together in that we laugh and enjoy each other's company, we are so very different and found ourselves in a disagreement that resulted in a period of time where we stayed away from one another. Truth be told...her "right" is my "wrong" and we do not see eye to eye on too much in the lower to mid moral level. When it comes to the higher moral levels we do agree, i.e. we agree that murder is wrong, that beheading another person is wrong, etc but we find ourselves at odds with the value of honesty in relationships, with fidelity and faithfulness to those we care about, and our values on enriching the lives of our pets and in the protection of wildlife.(all very important matters to me)

Since our disagreement that resulted in a loss of friendship for a time, I had to rethink my understanding of what is right and wrong and try to understand where my friend was coming from and what I could do differently next time to produce a different outcome. During this soul search, I realized that I made a friend with someone who had a very different life than I had growing up, very different experiences and negative experiences that I never had. I tried to see her side of "right" but I still cannot agree with it and will likely always see it as somewhat "wrong" if not completely wrong. I have come to see that I cannot change her behavior because she is who she is.  Either I must accept that as part of our friendship and modify my reactions to produce a different outcome or dissolve the friendship. Now we are speaking and enjoying each other's company on occasion. We obviously have things in common and we compliment what is missing in each other's personality or life. I have learned or am learning to be more understanding of the reasons for her actions and behavior and instead of telling her what I think she should do and not do I just ask questions and hope she figures it out herself.
I hope I understood your question correctly by providing this example.
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#5
Growing up in a sawmill town, I have always been a moderate because, while I rejected many of the social norms for my town, there was nothing to be done about it. Now that I am all grown up, I find the only thing that has really changed is more variety in the things I need to be philosophical about. From my point of view, guns are for people who are afraid, oversize pickups are for people who seem to be acting out a sense of inadequacy, politically opinionated people tend to occupy the extremes of social thought, the rule of law is treated like it is okay for everyone else, faith in religious teaching is okay as long as it does not interfere with what personal desire. My little sawmill town turned out to be just a microcosm representing the global social norm.

Since I began working on the cosmology, I have found a name for my moderate point of view. While I am not all that good at practicing what I think is true,--it is a lifelong process--I have found that the core concept in mindfulness is asking myself how what I do affect others. Jane Robert's Seth proposed that there is just one sin (paraphrasing), that is, imposing our will on others. This does not mean becoming a "doormat." It means accepting that others travel their own path while being true to my own. If someone offends me, I tell them, but with the acceptance that they have the right to react as they see fit. Each of us learns through interaction with others, so social exchanges are needed for our progression, but interactions need to be candid and we need to mindful about how our words affect others.

Mindfulness is not any easier than other ways of living. It can even be more complicated. But in the long run, the idea of doing right becomes a little less abstract when it is natural to pay attention to how your actions affect others.
Tom Butler
Co-director ATransC
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#6
I enjoyed your analysis of how you have tried to see where your friend comes from in her reactions/actions in this life. I am curious though if you do not see that we all determine what is right or wrong in this physical world based on how we or someone we know is affected. For instance, you mention that murder is wrong and I would whole heartedly agree with that belief. But then we make exceptions to that belief by executing people who have killed others or who have committed serious crimes or who fight against us in wars. That is somehow ok? I wonder. If someone allows a family member to die (or helps them to) to release them from some terrible debilitating illness and/or pain, is that so easily a candidate for being wrong...or right?  I think personally that there is almost northing that is absolutely "wrong" or "right" in this physical world. I think it is all shades of gray. And with knowing through trans communication that we survive intact and it appears can even be made whole again (in the cases of those with illnesses e.g.) then it appears that there are few things that cannot corrected. But, it does appear that there is one constant in this physical existence and in the post physical world....that of understanding and helping others. It sounds like you are making a great effort with that here.


(01-04-2015, 08:04 AM)Jayne Thompson Wrote:  
People that I have established friendships with share my understanding of what the "right thing" is. Perhaps that is why we connected well to begin with. Our basic understanding of what is "right" and what is "wrong" are very similar with small differences that allow us to learn and discover new approaches from each other.

I found myself in a bit of a struggle this past year with a new acquaintance with whom I was spending time with. We go shopping together, out to eat once in a while or go out for ice cream. Though we have fun together in that we laugh and enjoy each other's company, we are so very different and found ourselves in a disagreement that resulted in a period of time where we stayed away from one another. Truth be told...her "right" is my "wrong" and we do not see eye to eye on too much in the lower to mid moral level. When it comes to the higher moral levels we do agree, i.e. we agree that murder is wrong, that beheading another person is wrong, etc but we find ourselves at odds with the value of honesty in relationships, with fidelity and faithfulness to those we care about, and our values on enriching the lives of our pets and in the protection of wildlife.(all very important matters to me)

Since our disagreement that resulted in a loss of friendship for a time, I had to rethink my understanding of what is right and wrong and try to understand where my friend was coming from and what I could do differently next time to produce a different outcome. During this soul search, I realized that I made a friend with someone who had a very different life than I had growing up, very different experiences and negative experiences that I never had. I tried to see her side of "right" but I still cannot agree with it and will likely always see it as somewhat "wrong" if not completely wrong. I have come to see that I cannot change her behavior because she is who she is.  Either I must accept that as part of our friendship and modify my reactions to produce a different outcome or dissolve the friendship. Now we are speaking and enjoying each other's company on occasion. We obviously have things in common and we compliment what is missing in each other's personality or life. I have learned or am learning to be more understanding of the reasons for her actions and behavior and instead of telling her what I think she should do and not do I just ask questions and hope she figures it out herself.
I hope I understood your question correctly by providing this example.
Reply
#7
Hi Stephen
I just saw your post here. You make good points and offer more for thought. The effect of authorizing euthanasia on a beloved pet nearly killed me. Though I felt it was the kindest thing I could do for him, when it was over I suffered extreme guilt and pain for having authorized death..an act that I always believed only belonged to the Supreme Being. I still have not come to any real acceptance that what I did was morally right or even grey for that matter.

(04-25-2015, 12:35 AM)Stephen Smith Wrote:  I enjoyed your analysis of how you have tried to see where your friend comes from in her reactions/actions in this life. I am curious though if you do not see that we all determine what is right or wrong in this physical world based on how we or someone we know is affected. For instance, you mention that murder is wrong and I would whole heartedly agree with that belief. But then we make exceptions to that belief by executing people who have killed others or who have committed serious crimes or who fight against us in wars. That is somehow ok? I wonder. If someone allows a family member to die (or helps them to) to release them from some terrible debilitating illness and/or pain, is that so easily a candidate for being wrong...or right?  I think personally that there is almost northing that is absolutely "wrong" or "right" in this physical world. I think it is all shades of gray. And with knowing through trans communication that we survive intact and it appears can even be made whole again (in the cases of those with illnesses e.g.) then it appears that there are few things that cannot corrected. But, it does appear that there is one constant in this physical existence and in the post physical world....that of understanding and helping others. It sounds like you are making a great effort with that here.


(01-04-2015, 08:04 AM)Jayne Thompson Wrote:  
People that I have established friendships with share my understanding of what the "right thing" is. Perhaps that is why we connected well to begin with. Our basic understanding of what is "right" and what is "wrong" are very similar with small differences that allow us to learn and discover new approaches from each other.

I found myself in a bit of a struggle this past year with a new acquaintance with whom I was spending time with. We go shopping together, out to eat once in a while or go out for ice cream. Though we have fun together in that we laugh and enjoy each other's company, we are so very different and found ourselves in a disagreement that resulted in a period of time where we stayed away from one another. Truth be told...her "right" is my "wrong" and we do not see eye to eye on too much in the lower to mid moral level. When it comes to the higher moral levels we do agree, i.e. we agree that murder is wrong, that beheading another person is wrong, etc but we find ourselves at odds with the value of honesty in relationships, with fidelity and faithfulness to those we care about, and our values on enriching the lives of our pets and in the protection of wildlife.(all very important matters to me)

Since our disagreement that resulted in a loss of friendship for a time, I had to rethink my understanding of what is right and wrong and try to understand where my friend was coming from and what I could do differently next time to produce a different outcome. During this soul search, I realized that I made a friend with someone who had a very different life than I had growing up, very different experiences and negative experiences that I never had. I tried to see her side of "right" but I still cannot agree with it and will likely always see it as somewhat "wrong" if not completely wrong. I have come to see that I cannot change her behavior because she is who she is.  Either I must accept that as part of our friendship and modify my reactions to produce a different outcome or dissolve the friendship. Now we are speaking and enjoying each other's company on occasion. We obviously have things in common and we compliment what is missing in each other's personality or life. I have learned or am learning to be more understanding of the reasons for her actions and behavior and instead of telling her what I think she should do and not do I just ask questions and hope she figures it out herself.
I hope I understood your question correctly by providing this example.
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