Actual Freedom – Mailing List ‘B’ Correspondence

Richard’s Correspondence on Mailing List ‘B’

with Respondent No. 30

Some Of The Topics Covered

Altered State of Consciousness – division between the observer and the observed in quantum mechanics – Mr Brian Pippard – etymologically – ‘belief’ means ‘fervently wish to be true’ – I do find it so cute that being happy and harmless is considered a severe psychotic disorder – the Born-Again Christian ploy – skills as a wordsmith

March 24 1998:

RICHARD: For those who are ‘that’, punctuating this pithy aphorism should be a breeze. For those who are not ‘that’, punctuating the witty doggerel should be an eye opener. For those who are not interested in ‘that’ at all, clicking the delete button should bring great satisfaction. Vis.: ‘I am that that is I am that that is that that is is and is not simultaneously I am that that is and is not and that is it it is it really is it’.

RESPONDENT: ‘I am that. That is, I am that that is. That that is is and is not simultaneously. I am that that is and is not and that is it. It is, it really is it’. Is that it?

RICHARD: Near enough: (‘I am that. That is, I am that that is. That that is, is and is not simultaneously. I am that that is and is not – and that is it. It is. It really is it!’)

RESPONDENT: Is that all there is to it?

RICHARD: That is not ‘all there is to it’ for those who believe in this eastern mystical thought ... it is their whole ground of being. It is their passion, their very core identity.

RESPONDENT: What’s it to you?

RICHARD: It is one of the main causes of the promotion and perpetuation of all the anguish and animosity that has beset this fair planet since time immemorial.

Many years ago – nearly a quarter of a century ago – back in my ‘hippy’ days when I lived in and travelled around this country in a psychedelic bus for five years, I had that painted along the sides. Not many passer’s-by could work it out ... eastern mystical thought had not infiltrated into the West so thoroughly then as now. Anyway, I believed in it through and through ... so much so that I lived it as a reality for eleven years.

I was situated in a living nightmare of what I came to see was nothing short of institutionalised insanity. Any altered state of consciousness was a delusion born out of the illusion of self ... but only because of humankind’s ignorance. It is truly dreadful to be trapped in a massive delusion for eleven years, unable to find any way out and knowing that no other human being can help, for the altered state has been held up for millennia as being the Summum Bonum of human existence. All the literature on the subject praised the state of consciousness I was in (Enlightenment, Illumination, Moksha, Samadhi, Satori, Nirvana, Sunyata and so on) and yet I just knew it was a mirage that I was living.

I am simply sharing my experience for others to do what they will with. Is that not what this List is here for?

RESPONDENT: Do you really want to go at it with me? Let’s have a go at it, what do you say?

RICHARD: Have a go at what? A self-centred (and therefore selfish) belief system devised by our stupefied ancestors? Is it really worth fighting over?

RESPONDENT: Seriously, isn’t the above little exercise a waste of time?

RICHARD: I think not.

RESPONDENT: What are you trying to prove with such statements, how witty one can be?

RICHARD: Oh ... wit. Yes, that comes next. You have only solved the ‘pithy aphorism’ part. (For those who are ‘that’, punctuating the pithy aphorism should be a breeze)

The ‘wit’ lies in the second solution. (For those who are not ‘that’, punctuating the witty doggerel should be an eye opener: ‘I am that. That is, I am that that is. That that is, is and is not. Simultaneously, I am that that is – and is not – and that is ‘It’. It is? ‘It’ really is ‘It’?’

Seeing that you appear a trifle disappointed, maybe you should have followed the sensible advice: ‘For those who are not interested in ‘that’, clicking the delete button should bring great satisfaction’.

You still can, you know.

March 25 1998:

RESPONDENT: Is that all there is to it?

RICHARD: That is not ‘all there is to it’ for those who believe in this eastern mystical thought ... it is their whole ground of being. It is their passion, their very being. It is one of the main causes of the promotion and perpetuation of all the anguish and animosity that has beset this fair planet since time immemorial. Many years ago – nearly a quarter of a century ago – back in my ‘hippy’ days when I lived in and travelled around this country in a psychedelic ‘bus for five years, I had that painted along the sides. Not many passer’s-by could work it out ... eastern mystical thought had not infiltrated into the West so thoroughly then as now. Anyway, I believed in it through and through ... so much so that I lived it as a reality for eleven years. I was situated in a living nightmare of what I came to see was nothing short of institutionalised insanity. Any altered state of consciousness was a delusion born out of the illusion of self ... but only because of humankind’s ignorance. It is truly dreadful to be trapped in a massive delusion for eleven years, unable to find any way out and knowing that no other human being can help, for the altered state has been held up for millennia as being the Summum Bonum of human existence. All the literature on the subject praised the state of consciousness I was in (Enlightenment, Illumination, Moksha, Samadhi, Satori, Nirvana, Sunyata and so on) and yet I just knew it was a mirage that I was living. I am simply sharing my experience for others to do what they will with. Is not that what this List is here for?

RESPONDENT: Very interesting story. Thanks for talking about it with us. I don’t quite understand why you insist it was such a waste of time, and yet have repeated it here on this list as if it is for our edification.

RICHARD: I am insisting because unitary perception is a delusion born out of the illusion of self. All the Great Thinkers of the past and present – and the future too, the way things are going – are spell-bound by the insidious seduction of the glamour and the glory and the glitz of the altered states of consciousness. The most beguiling of them all is spiritual enlightenment (Moksha, Samadhi, Satori, Nirvana, Sunyata and so on).

You are not the only one to wonder at my perseverance ... No. 5 has noted persistence and determination and queries my disavowal of passion. It is just that unitary perception is a solution that has been hawked around for thousands of years ... realising oneness. Those peoples who have realised this have lead a gullible humankind, that is desperately searching for answers, astray. All the wars, murders, tortures, rapes and destruction that has eventually followed the emergence of any specially hallowed master attests to this. All the sadness, loneliness, grief, depression and suicide that has ensued as a result of following any specifically revered master’s teaching offers its mute testimony.

All the Saints and the Sages; all the Masters and the Messiahs; all the Saviours and the Avatars; all the Gurus and the God-men have not been able to bring about their much-touted global Peace On Earth. This has been the sorry lot of humankind since time immemorial. Over 160,000,000 million people have been killed in wars alone this century. Nigh on 200 wars have occurred since the dropping of the atom bomb in 1945.

RESPONDENT: Thanks just the same. Sorry if I kicked you when you were down.

RICHARD: No problem at all ... kick away to your heart’s content. I have no feelings – no emotions and passions – so I am not at all hurt by anyone’s comments.

I am enjoying myself immensely.

November 28 1999:

RESPONDENT: Is there a division between the observer and the observed, fundamentally? I think what quantum physics points to is the lack of any real division between the two: there is none.

RESPONDENT No 33: I don’t know what your educational background is, but it appears that you don’t have much understanding of quantum mechanics. I will suggest that you pick up some elementary reader on quantum mechanics and educate yourself before you make statements concerning quantum mechanics and draw inferences there from. Nowhere does quantum mechanics says that there is no real division between the observer and the observed. Despite the uncertainty principle and the wave-particle duality, quantum physics is an exact science and umpteen number of dedicated observers after making many, many observations of the behaviour of matter, fitted to rigorous mathematical models, have arrived at the principles of quantum mechanics which you seem to be referring to here, somewhat casually, in my opinion. It may take a while for you to come up to speed, but do spend some time reading some elementary high-school/college level books on quantum mechanics.

RESPONDENT: The illusion of separation is a self-propagated image of thought that creates a false sense of division between itself and the thing, between ‘me’ and the ‘other’. The existence of the illusion does prevent immediate relationship with anything because thought is acting as interference, as an interpreter of reality, instead of allowing for insight into actual existence.

RESPONDENT No 33: This is NOT quantum mechanics and none of the conclusions that you draw above can even remotely be drawn from quantum mechanics. So, back to the basics: pick up some good college-level introductory text and educate yourself.

RESPONDENT: It is easy to mistake one’s own limited understanding for the whole picture, to mistake opinion for fact. To the mind versed in opinion, fact seems foreign.

RICHARD: I would ask whether this ‘the observer and the observed’ relationship in quantum mechanics (which relationship seems to carry more than just a little weight on this Mailing List) has any validity at all. Mr. Victor Stenger, for example, is very clear on the subject in regards to ‘conventional quantum mechanics’. Vis.:

[quote]: ‘The seemingly profound association between quantum and mind is an artefact, the consequence of unfortunate language used by Bohr, Heisenberg and the others who originally formulated quantum mechanics. In describing the necessary interaction between the observer and what is being observed, and how the state of a system is determined by the act of its measurement, they inadvertently left the impression that human consciousness enters the picture to cause that state come into being. This led many who did not understand the physics, but liked the sound of the words used to describe it, to infer a fundamental human role in what was previously a universe that seemed to have need for neither gods nor humanity. If Bohr and Heisenberg had spoken of measurements made by inanimate instruments rather than ‘observers’, perhaps this strained relationship between quantum and mind would not have been drawn. For, nothing in quantum mechanics requires human involvement. Quantum mechanics does not violate the Copernican principle that the universe cares not a whit about the human race. Long after humanity has disappeared from the scene, matter will still undergo the transitions that we call quantum events. The atoms in stars will radiate photons, and these photons will be absorbed by materials that react to them. Perhaps, after we are gone, some of our machines will remain to analyse these photons. If so, they will do so under the same rules of quantum mechanics that operate today. (...) The overwhelming weight of evidence, from seven decades of experimentation, shows not a hint of a violation of reductionist, local, discrete, non-super-luminal, non-holistic relativity and quantum mechanics, with no fundamental involvement of human consciousness other than in our own subjective perception of whatever reality is out there. (... ...) The fact that the world rarely is what we want it to be is the best evidence that we have little to say about it. The myth of quantum consciousness should take its place along with gods, unicorns, and dragons as yet another product of the fantasies of people unwilling to accept what science, reason, and their own eyes tell them about the world’. [endquote]. ‘The Myth of Quantum Consciousness’; Victor J. Stenger (Professor of Physics); Published in ‘The Humanist’, May/June 1992, Vol. 53, Number 3, pp. 13-15. www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/qmyth.txt

I am no physicist, and I am not particularly enamoured of quantum physics anyway, but the little I do understand of this – mostly mathematical and theoretical – physics tells me that it is the instruments which measure the sub-atomic ‘thingamajigs’ that affects these ‘thingamajigs’ being thus investigated ... not the human being (aka ‘the observer’). Mr. Victor Stenger writes about the ‘holistic quantum mechanics’ advocates in rather mordant terms:

[quote]: ‘Physicist David Bohm had proposed an alternative to the ‘Copenhagen Interpretation’ of quantum mechanics in which invisible ‘hidden variables’ were responsible for the wave-like behaviour of particles. John S. Bell showed the way to experimentally decide the issue. Now, after a series of precise experiments, the issue has been decided: the Copenhagen Interpretation quantum mechanics has been convincingly confirmed, while the most important class of hidden variables is ruled out. David Bohm, who died in October, 1992, had been the foremost proponent of a new holistic paradigm to take the place of reductionist quantum physics. The failure of his related hidden variable theory did not cause the proponents of the new continuity to loose faith. Rather they have turned the experimental confirmation of conventional quantum mechanics on its head by arguing that a basis has been found for super-luminal signals needed in a holistic universe. (...) The interpretation of quantum mechanics to which Einstein objected, and which Bohm sought to replace, still reigns supreme after being subjected to a similar period of rigorous experimental test, including the tests of Bell’s theorem. (...) Before the experimental results confirming conventional quantum mechanics came in, Bohm and his supporters had argued that conventional quantum mechanics should be discarded. Now that the results are in, the new holists argue that relativity must yield, since quantum mechanics provides a mechanism by which signals can move faster than light. Quantum mechanics is indeed ‘spooky’. So, bring out the spooks! An ethereal, universal field that allows for the simultaneous connection between events everywhere in the universe must exist after all’. [endquote]. ‘The Myth of Quantum Consciousness’; Victor J. Stenger (Professor of Physics); Published in ‘The Humanist’, May/June 1992, Vol. 53, Number 3, pp. 13-15. www.phys.hawaii.edu/vjs/www/qmyth.txt

I submit these quotes purely in the spirit of questioning whether quantum mechanics even remotely supports Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti’s ‘the observer is the observed’ proposal ... and not because I claim any proficiency in quantum physics whatsoever. I do note, however, that more than a few mystically inclined peoples have enthusiastically jumped upon the quantum band wagon by claiming that science now supports and proves what mystics have been saying for centuries. I also note that the recent probes to the planet Mars – and to all other destinations for that matter – were predicated upon and guided by the very ‘Copernican Principles’ and ‘Newtonian Mechanics’ and ‘Euclidean Geometries’ so scorned by the latter day ‘popular-press’ pseudo-scientists posing as quantum experts.

Although I am more than willing to be advised otherwise on the matter.

November 30 1999:

RESPONDENT: Is there a division between the observer and the observed, fundamentally? I think what quantum physics points to is the lack of any real division between the two: there is none.

<SNIP>

RICHARD: I would ask whether this ‘the observer and the observed’ relationship in quantum mechanics (which relationship seems to carry more than just a little weight on this Mailing List) has any validity at all. Mr. Victor Stenger, for example, is very clear on the subject in regards to ‘conventional quantum mechanics’. Vis.: <SNIP> I am no physicist, and I am not particularly enamoured of quantum physics anyway, but the little I do understand of this – mostly mathematical and theoretical – physics tells me that it is the instruments which measure the sub-atomic ‘thingamajigs’ that affects these ‘thingamajigs’ being thus investigated ... not the human being (aka ‘the observer’).

RESPONDENT: The human being is behind the instrument, behind the measurement: as such, the instrument represents the observer.

RICHARD: Are you saying that, even if the imamate instrument is set up to measure and all the human beings then moved away – went home to bed even and slept through it all – and the inanimate instrument measured as automata in the empty laboratory, that the sub-atomic ‘thingamajigs’ would somehow suss out that ‘behind the instrument, behind the measurement’ there is a human being and somehow intuit that ‘as such, the instrument represents the observer’ ... and therefore be affected by the ‘observer’?

RESPONDENT: I don’t think science has found an independent means of observation free from this intrusion of the observer, as has been pointed out.

RICHARD: When I look at the inanimate instruments measuring ‘the observed’ on the planet Mars – and places even further removed – I do wonder how the ‘intrusion of the observer’ (the human being) can travel that far.

RESPONDENT: So some of us are saying that there is a limitation inherent to scientific observation.

RICHARD: What I am asking, then, is this: what is the nature of this limitation? What is it that the ‘observer’ does to the ‘observed’ in scientific measurements done with inanimate instruments when there are no human beings present while the measuring is going on?

RESPONDENT: Notwithstanding this fact, the individual must still ascertain the truth of the matter between the observer and the observed for himself, without the imposition of any ‘instrument’ to do so.

RICHARD: The ‘truth of the matter between the observer and the observed’ when measuring sub-atomic ‘thingamajigs’ is that, as the sub-atomic ‘thingamajigs’ exist only in the imagination of the ‘observer’ (the human being), then anything imaginable can happen ... and does. Mr Brian Pippard explains what the basic premise behind quantum mechanics is:

• [quote]: ‘the world of experience and observation is not the world of electrons and nuclei. The world of experience is in terms of visible objects, occupying definite positions at definite instants of time – in a word, the world of classical mechanics. When the atom is pictured as a nucleus surrounded by electrons ... there is no sense in which one can say that, if only a good enough microscope were available, this picture would be revealed as genuine reality. It is not that such a microscope has not been made; it is actually impossible to make one that will reveal this detail. (...) Whether electrons and nuclei have an objective existence in reality is a metaphysical question to which no definite answer can be given’. [endquote]. (Sir A. Brian Pippard. Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Cambridge; Cavendish Professor, 1971-82: © 1994-1998 Encyclopaedia Britannica).

Once the ‘no form’ and ‘no time’ and ‘no space’ basis of quantum mechanics is established, the mathematical processes involved unfold further mysteries accordingly. Vis.:

• [quote]: ‘The process of transformation from a classical description to an equation of quantum mechanics, and from the solution of this equation to the probability that a specified experiment will yield a specified observation, is not to be thought of as a temporary expedient pending the development of a better theory. It is better to accept this process as a technique for predicting the observations that are likely to follow from an earlier set of observations. There is, however, no doubt that to postulate their [electrons and nuclei] existence is, in the present state of physics, an inescapable necessity if a consistent theory is to be constructed to describe economically and exactly the enormous variety of observations on the behaviour of matter’. [endquote]. (Sir A. Brian Pippard. Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Cambridge; Cavendish Professor, 1971-82: © 1994-1998 Encyclopaedia Britannica).

Needless to say, once this ‘postulation’ is ‘accepted’ – and as ‘an inescapable necessity’ at that – then it is all to easy to predict what will happen. Vis.:

• [quote]: ‘The habitual use of the language of particles by physicists induces and reflects the conviction that, even if the particles elude direct observation, they are as real as any everyday object’. [endquote]. (Sir A. Brian Pippard. Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Cambridge; Cavendish Professor, 1971-82: © 1994-1998 Encyclopaedia Britannica).

Thus the sub-atomic ‘thingamajigs’ have become ‘as real as any everyday object’ ... and to a child Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny are ‘as real as any everyday object’ too. Also for a person who believes ardently in their god; for them their god is real – not actual, mind you – but real. Usually they say that their god is more real than ‘everyday reality’ ... that is how real their fervency makes of their belief.

Etymologically, ‘belief’ means ‘fervently wish to be true’.

*

RICHARD: Mr. Victor Stenger writes about the ‘holistic quantum mechanics’ advocates in rather mordant terms: <SNIP> I submit these quotes purely in the spirit of questioning whether quantum mechanics even remotely supports Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti’s ‘the observer is the observed’ proposal ... and not because I claim any proficiency in quantum physics whatsoever. I do note, however, that more than a few mystically inclined peoples have enthusiastically jumped upon the quantum band wagon by claiming that science now supports and proves what mystics have been saying for centuries. I also note that the recent probes to the planet Mars – and to all other destinations for that matter – were predicated upon and guided by the very ‘Copernican Principles’ and ‘Newtonian Mechanics’ and ‘Euclidean Geometries’ so scorned by the latter day ‘popular-press’ pseudo-scientists posing as quantum experts.

RESPONDENT: I don’t think ‘quantum mechanics’ is trying to deny the validity of knowledge, only the misplaced importance science tends to give knowledge – which has proven very unfortunate indeed.

RICHARD: In what way has the ‘importance science tends to give knowledge’ been ‘misplaced’ ? What else can science give importance to except knowledge? How is it ‘very unfortunate indeed’ that knowledge be given precedence over ... um ... fantasy?

RESPONDENT: I think ‘quantum mechanics’ ties the proper place of knowledge, of matter, to a much broader spectrum of the universe, one which we have yet to fully realize.

RICHARD: Okay ... what is the nature of this ‘much broader spectrum of the universe’ (such that ‘knowledge’ and ‘matter’ must be tied to a ‘proper place’ in relation to it)? What could possibly have primacy over ‘knowledge’ and ‘matter’?

RESPONDENT: I also think it is a gross mistake for anyone to discount wholesale the work that such people as David Bohm have done in this area, work which may well prove to hold the keys to enriching our scientific understanding about how everything is interrelated.

RICHARD: Are you referring to his ‘implicit order’ wherein ‘information unfolds’ (from the region of ‘no form’ and ‘no time’ and ‘no space’) and manifests as ‘explicit order’ (into the region of time and space as form)?

It all sounds very, very familiar to me ... how will this re-hash of the ‘ancient wisdom’ possibly ‘enrich scientific understanding about how everything is interrelated’ and still remain science?

*

RICHARD: Although I am more than willing to be advised otherwise on the matter.

RESPONDENT: Let us see how one ignoramus can take it from another!

RICHARD: Oh, I am taking it very well indeed. I am also interested to find out in what way my thinking is ‘second-hand thinking’ and why my questions about the validity of ‘the observer and the observed’ relationship in quantum mechanics vis a vis Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti’s ‘the observer is the observed’ proposal is a ‘quasi-intellectual rehashing of someone else’s words’ ... as explained by yourself in another post? Also, what is this ‘predilection’ I have for ‘running off at the mouth’? Vis.:

• [Respondent]: I would call [Richard’s post] a quasi-intellectual rehashing of someone else’s words to fit one’s own predilection for running off at the mouth! Not that there isn’t some truth to it. But the way [Richard] slung those quotes around to include areas where they did not belong, to me, indicates second-hand thinking’. [endquote].

What are these ‘areas’ where these quotes ‘do not belong’ ... is it an area somewhat akin to the ‘wonderland’ that one enters into when one steps through the looking-glass, perchance?

June 28 2000:

RICHARD: I am currently the ‘other person’ that No. 4 has chosen to energetically write to ... I made the mistake of taking his words at face value when writing to another instead of listening to his energy.

RESPONDENT: A good laugh with that perfect coup de grace.

RICHARD: Ha ... very droll, No. 30, very droll indeed.

RESPONDENT: Am I next???

RICHARD: Not unless the confounding of coup d’œil and coup de grâce is more than merely a temporary aberration.

*

RICHARD: 1. Depersonalisation: which is an apt description of being bereft of any identity whatsoever ... there is no one at all (neither ‘I’ as ego nor ‘me’ as soul) to answer back when I ask that time-honoured question: ‘Who am I?’ ... not even a silence that ‘speaks louder than words’.

RESPONDENT: You are one hilarious s.o.b.!

RICHARD: Aye, it is such fun being a human being ... I do find it so cute that being happy and harmless is considered a severe psychotic disorder.

August 12 2000:

RICHARD: Many, many years ago, when I was but a tyro, a fledgling beginner in talking with my fellow human beings about being happy and harmless through the elimination of malice and sorrow, I was accosted by a self-professed ‘Born-Again Christian’ in a small town main street:

• [Born-Again Christian]: ‘Jesus Loves you’.
• [Richard]: ‘Thank you, but I do not believe in Mr. Yeshua the Nazarene’.
• [Born-Again Christian]: ‘Do you believe in God, then?’
• [Richard]: ‘No ... I have no beliefs whatsoever’.
• [Born-Again Christian]: ‘So, you believe that God does not exist?’
• [Richard]: ‘Yes, there are no gods or goddesses outside of passionate imagination’ (this is a tyro’s basic error No. 1a; subsection: b.).
• [Born-Again Christian]: ‘Ah hah! So you do have beliefs after all!’
• [Richard]: ‘No, I have no beliefs whatsoever ... there are no gods or goddesses outside of passionate imagination’.
• [Born-Again Christian]: ‘But you just agreed you believe that there are no gods or goddesses outside of passionate imagination’.
• [Richard]: (shocked into silence as the enormity of why mayhem and misery abounds in the religious/spiritual world started to sink home).

I have been talking about these matters for twenty-odd years now, and I have had to hone my skills as a wordsmith so as to pre-empt such sophistry ... these days I am not at all shocked into silence at the enormity of why mayhem and misery abounds in the religious/spiritual world. The enormity of why sunk home long ago ... which is why I write as I do.

RESPONDENT: It is true that you agreed with the statement that you believe there are no gods ... so why are you troubled by the attention to that statement?

RICHARD: I later discovered that this is ploy No. 3 on page 10 of their manual ‘How To Debate With Atheists’ ... but at that moment I was unaware that this was an engineered discussion. I was standing there, in the brilliant early spring sunshine, sharing a moment with a fellow human being and a certain glint in her eye; a certain tweak at the corner of her mouth; a certain lean to her stance; a certain attitude or demeanour she had all pointed to one irrefutable implication ... I was being toyed with; being played for a sucker; being manipulated. There was no honesty; no sincerity; no genuineness; no authenticity; no unaffectedness; no truthfulness; no frankness; no candour; no openness ... no integrity whatsoever. In my eagerness to share, to communicate, to explain, I rushed past the ‘yes’ (a throwaway word) so as to get to the clarification, the elucidation, the amplification of what I had discovered.

RESPONDENT: If everything boils down to belief one way or the other, why is your belief any better than the other guys?

RICHARD: No, it was not a belief ... in my rush to explain (I was very full of myself) that throwaway ‘yes’ was my error (the tyro’s basic error No. 1a; subsection: b.). I was, at the time, gullibly naïve ... but I came to discover that one does not have to be gullible to be naïve.

RESPONDENT: Do I believe that God does not exist? No, because the belief that God does not exist is still a belief.

RICHARD: Precisely.

RESPONDENT: Actually it is disbelief, but it is a form of belief just the same. If one has no beliefs about anything, how can you say you believe that God does not exist?

RICHARD: Quite so ... the example of Santa Claus is always useful (for westerners) when it comes to understanding atheism: as a toddler I believed in Santa Claus; as a child I disbelieved in Santa Claus; as an adult I know. No mature adult believes that Santa Claus does not exist ... they know such a phantasm does not exist as a fact.

RESPONDENT: I’m not sure it is possible to believe in the non-existence of something anyway!

RICHARD: Exactly ... however this kind of sophistry is still going on in lieu of genuine discussions in all manner of places. There are Christian versus Rationalist debates on the internet where this ploy – and variations of this ploy – still get dragged out over and again. That something so puerile would crop up yet again on this mailing list, set up under the auspices of the teachings of Mr. Jiddu Krishnamurti, speaks volumes about the future of humankind.

C’est la vie, I guess.


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