For every act of evil, there is an act of beauty. You Can't Change the World, Only Your Attitude Towards It.

Absolute disproof of Free Will.

Correct me if I'm wrong as I've heard this is not possible to disprove the existence. I am though convinced this disproof is water tight.

Firstly, while it may be deemed difficult or impossible to disprove of free will, it is certainly impossible to prove there is free will. There is simply no experimental way for a person to follow a set of instructions and prove to themselves that there is a free will. Free will can only be "proved" to exist by unsubstantiated claims or references. It can be disproved though by simple reasoning.

Disproof of something that is in itself unprovable is not so much a necessity so this disproof is only to allow people who believe there is free will to systematically learn otherwise. - Feeling like you have free will is not proof!

Unless one can travel in time then one can not prove that they could perform any act in any other way than the way they did. One can not do an act and claim they could have done it otherwise. Please try if you will.

You may say "In 3 seconds time I will lift my tea cup or I wont."

1, 2, 3. Action.

Now prove that was free will. I don't believe you can unless you travel back in time to the exact situation and re-enact the opposite situation. You can not form an experiment by repeatedly counting to 3 and noting down whether you lift the cup or not. This experiment is not demonstrating free will it is only demonstrating the only possible way things could be.

There is no repeatable experiment to display free will. There is no one-off experiment to prove free will as a one-off experiment can not be proven without then being able to rewind time and demonstrate the opposite result.

The strongest case for free will in compatibility with determinism is the modern compatibilist approach of Dan Dennett and it is almost convincing. While I can never respond to a scholar such as him in the way he deserves I can state that the most valid claim made by him is in-fact unprovable. His case is so;

[paraphrased, I leave the research to you] "Evolution has favoured the ability to move out of the way of a moving car. So then evolution would favour the species which would plan to not be in the way of the car in the first place." [not his words, just a simple approximation of his point] The idea being that free will is a natural creation of evolution and due to its effectiveness in producing longer living beings it has been favoured by natural selection.

There is though no way to prove that this action is the entities free will or a determined response to a given situation. Evolution has certainly favoured reproduction and death avoidance but to say that we "therefore" have free will is no more valid a claim than the opposite claim that free will is an illusion. The latter claim though is further backed up by the very sticky and impossible to disprove point that you can not prove free will without also being able to travel in time. Also, if one could travel in time to prove free will, then there is no way in that experiment to prove that prior action has not influenced the repeated action.

Evolution is a genuine, amazing and proven fact and evolution could well have favoured, and it is very likely it would have, species with large brains which plan to avoid trouble. Great point and very likely true. There is though no proof, even given this, that the entity is exercising free will. It is far more likely that the action it makes are determined. Why should humans be exempt to the determinism on display in the universe? This claim of free will seems to me to be yet another false claim by humankind that it is special.

Tao Wow | Daily Cup of Tao

Absolute disproof of God.

Correct me if I'm wrong as I've heard this is not possible to disprove the possible existence. I am though convinced this disproof is water tight.

Firstly, while it may be deemed difficult or impossible to disprove of God, it is certainly impossible to prove there is a God. There is simply no experimental way for a person to follow a set of instructions and prove to themselves that there is a God. God can only be "proved" to exist by unsubstantiated claims or references. It can be disproved though by simple reasoning.

Disproof of something that is in itself unprovable is not so much a necessity so this disproof is only to allow people who believe there is a God to systematically learn otherwise.

A widely claimed feature of God is omnipresence. 'One can not hide from or be absent of God.' Due to this God must be everything we know and do not know, entirely infinite, beyond any limit one could possibly place. God is then as much the rapist as the AIDS virus, as the cute puppy, as the smell of a flower. God is as much the meal as it is the turd.

Being omnipresent, the totality, all extremes and their balance, results in a bland nothingness. Any statement to move God from this state must then discredit the claim of omnipresence thus;

"God is not bland and nor is God as much the evil as it is the good."

"So then, God can not be omnipresent."

This may well encourage the following response;

"God is beyond your reasoning."

This though moves God to something indefinable and if indefinable it is not a thing with any qualities so is null and void. If God is given qualities then God is no longer omnipresent and so the so called 'Proof of God' has broken down into a circular failure.

To escape this God may have the attribute of omnipresence removed and to then be redefined as Good or some other set of qualities. I am though clear in my resolve that once God is defined as a set of features but not omnipresence then the initial infinite nature begins to deflate to the finite. Once this deflation is under way there is nowhere to go besides annihilation.

A God that is not omnipresent is then smaller than the infinite, subject to external forces and so not 'all great' or worthy of the name God. Such a thing must have come into being and so then must go. A God that is omnipresent is featureless and valueless as it is as much the good as the bad. There is no escaping this argument that I can see.

So then, not only must this disproof be disproven, so also a valid proof of God's existence must be made. I'll bet my life it never will be.

Tao Wow | Daily Cup of Tao

Spiritual Atheism 3.0

Solving the spiritual/atheist paradox

First a fact: We all have a natural quest for meaning in our lives.

Second an assumption: You, being an intelligent and rational person, will look towards science for explanations.

If you look towards ancient scripture, then please move on.

If you're still reading, then you are the modern Spiritual/Atheist. You live in a paradoxical place, but you don't fall down here as the truth of the matter is no such paradox.  We just don't explain the situation well enough normally to see that it is actually quite a sane position.

It is natural -- even given our innate desire for answers to our biggest questions -- to discount a "spiritual" approach as fallible and something that will be proven as fanciful once science furthers its goals. Yet, as said, we all naturally have a tendency to wish to know where, why and how we fit into the mystery of life. We perhaps feel that the inner desire is in our evolutionary baggage or excuse it in some other way. If we strongly embrace it, then we may feel it contradicts our scientifically-obtained knowledge and we may indeed feel a split in our Spiritual/Atheist persona.

Spirit, as first defined by the Greeks, was breath and so, no breath, no life. Spirit then evolved as a term to become a thing separate to the living organism, something that may even outlive the body. This most people would agree now is untrue given modern science and so spirituality in this discussion is not a spirit that is a thing in any way but a label. The term Spirituality can be tinged a little and placed alongside Religion as something thinkers should be steering clear of.

As said though there is an inner drive in us all to for answers and many people cannot even get by in life at all without some ad-hoc solutions to theses 'Spiritual' questions. Whether 'Spiritual' is the right word then is in the semantics and how one interprets the word. I'm using the word to point to that part of us all that wishes to know. In this way, I perhaps unfairly include even the most rational scientists in this group as they are driven by this same inner wish for fulfillment. As we progress though, you'll see that in the end I see no genuine divide between all of the groups I've mentioned.

I suppose the greatest perceived split between the Scientific and the Spiritual approaches are of Science's apparent wish to find bits within bits and Spirituality's apparent wish to unite all. Science has been seen to be occasionally unholistic as in its method of wishing to find the bits that make the things, or the cause of the things as in these quests it is seen to be blind to the infinite regress of such an approach. Spirituality, on the other hand, can often be seen to be too wishy-washy as it so easily embraces all into a wholeness, while not processing so called real knowledge or making real testable claims.

Science does though have a well accepted goal of unification and spirituality does care for the parts, the most obvious 'bit' it cares for is the very individual entity doing the inquiring, the one seeking answers. A true Spiritual/Atheist cannot accept things that science has no way of proving or if they do then they should have left this conversation earlier with those folk who look toward ancient scripture for comfort. They can though hold some views that grate with science and seem on the surface unprovable. Let's take some glaring cases that in being so outstanding save us the effort of talking through smaller points.

Let's look at these seemingly unscientific and very mumbo-jumbo-esque statements: "There is no self, All is One, There is no Death."

That should stir the more scientific folk to rise to defence, if not attack. These statements are though quite scientific and our explaining this leads to the unification of the seeming paradox. If I make such bold claims as these though, I must state quite clearly how they are scientific or my last few minutes have been a waste of time.

Scientific claims are "falsifiable" that is, given the description of the method used, anyone with sufficient apparatus can follow the experiment and either agree with the claimed results or disagree. So then: 

"All is One" = the scientifically accepted idea of the Universe. Uni being One and Verse being anything from turning, to song to motion. So then, any scientific person who accepts a universe fully agrees with a spiritual person who sees Oneness. 

"There is no self" = the scientifically provable case that there is no precise place where a person is. There is no one place in the brain, no one organ, no chance of a body surviving without a suitable environment (such as Earth), no ongoing air supply, food source or so on. The apparent self is an ongoing and ever shifting process and not a fixed thing. Self then is either non-existent or ill-defined. Science should have no problem with this and so there is agreement again here with the Spiritual perspective.

"There is no death" = the scientifically provable case of the previously mentioned flow of life, that all is an ever shifting process and not fixed. We could very well say that a self comes to life at a time in space, as science and even common convention may incline us to, but we may also say that the universe, moved, shifted and changed and, for a time, we seemed to be, and for a time, we seemed to no longer be. While science is the sticking point here, it is the very exactness of science which brings for the agreement in the end. It is impossible to define a fixed moment where a fixed person came to be or where one ceased to be. Take the case of the medical coma for such a grey area.

This may sound flowery and unscientific, but if you follow my message rather than the literal wording which, I admit, rubs up against the social norms, then the idea portrayed here is that:

There is a valid stance which accepts all of science, but still fulfills our natural desire for a spiritual explanation. There is a view that fully accepts the findings of science and waits for more to come with no fear of it overturning presupposed unproven claims. There is a view of wholeness that loves the bits, the technology, the medicine, the intellectual wonder that science brings, but is also already complete and validated. A place that is fully content, ever complete in an ocean of change and apparent uncertainty.

There is a person called a Spiritual/Atheist who is not living in contradiction of anything, is not trapped by dogma, is not unfulfilled by life and so left ever seeking. This person is here as much as the next person, lives life, enjoys, learns, suffers, thrills and will die, but is not drawn to the unprovable, in need of the yet-to-be proven, but is simple and takes what their mind creates as life but is free of complex explanation or mystical unprovables.

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Your life in the flow of Dao. To the fundamentals.

The unknown days:
Maybe you cry, maybe you smile.
The first days:
You believe that you were born to a world and you are in the world.
You have consciousness, you are conscious, and you can navigate the world of things and make your own way.
Certain things are good, certain things are bad.
You have the urge to pursue pleasure.
Happiness does not exist without maintained pleasure.
The early days:
We understand the world to a point.
We see forms, we label forms, we know roughly how these come together to form a world and universe.
Our understanding is though incomplete. And we know this.
In time:
We have a desire to understand well enough to be content.
In this pursuit we think that with just a little more knowledge than we have now, we'd be happy.
We feel that we are separate to the world. We can then feel alone, anxious or incomplete.
We can also feel confident, happy, content.
We aim to only have the good side of life.
We have an urge to cultivate a sense of self which is always well.
We feel we can influence ourselves or the world. Pursue pleasure. Develop a high understanding.
We seek for or think we have a technique. But there is frustration here as pleasure like anything, fades.
We are left feeling that we just need the one thing that will provide this lasting clarity, lasting fulfilment.
So we are ever left confused as we never find this lasting method.
In later days:
We can feel great, but it fades. Why can't we maintain?
This suffering pushes the wheel.
Nothing to date has provided the lasting perfection and completion, the fulfilment we seek. So we seek.
There must be something wrong with us! Others seem happy.
We may ask "Why not me?
I don't have lasting fulfilment."
So we look, we try all methods available. Buy books. Get educated. Earn money. Gather possessions. Cast possessions aside. Enter relationships.
We follow methods of those who seem to offer what we need.
Looking for that resting point, that completion. Seeking to end seeking.
As time goes on:
No method seems to bring completion. From modern views to ancient spirituality, nothing fully fits the bill to provide that final completion.
Trying what is on offer may bring some peace. Many ideas may make great sense. There may be excitement or pleasure, there may be rest. But nothing lasts.
Having done all that we see others before us have done, all that was on offer. From the standard education, relationships, money possessions, to the less common methods of say meditation or philosophical investigation we search on.
Ageing days:
From seeking down all paths we may find one common reoccurring message. "All is one". Ideas of the Non-Dual. This can be brought to our attention from any path and we see it is not linked to any method or exclusive to any one teaching but common to all.
Seen through the mind though we see this as a method just as any other so we see this as a way to meet our old desire of seeking to be happy and content always.
Until a sharp bolt: This is not what is on offer!
Non Duality does not put forward a method, a goal. It does not promise endless happiness, but a different view.
Investigated, this new view is challenging. It has you question whether you are separate to the world. It asks you not to just believe and take on ideas but see world from your own view. Just see the world as it is and be honest.
You see from this honest approach that in a world with only happiness that happiness could not exist! Honestly you see that the only thing with genuine fixedness throughout your life has been change.
Moods change, breath is not unidirectional. The world spins, weather changes.
Merging days:
We need not believe anything, only what we see to be real. Change. This is our genuine experience.
Then is holding onto anything or aiming for only one state sane?
Things rise, change and fade. This is true. Isn't it? This is for you to say. Don't just take it. Ask, wait and answer.
Thoughts, moods, ideas, change.
Your body appeared to come and it will appear to go. It has certainly changed. True?
Rhythms, flows, weather, the solar system, universe, is anything fixed and eternal?
Life is movement. Isn't it?
All is moving to become something new.
Holding on does not stop change.
This is your own experience. Isn't it?
A giant rock will be gone one day. It does not disappear in a second, it does it very gradually.
Even the most apparently fixed thing is changing. Nothing is fixed. True?
Labels for things are not the things. True? Your experience? Your truth?
Things are made in the mind by labels. True?
Things do not exist but for the mind. True? Too deep? Not important!
There is a flow. When you came here you had no labels, you learned the labels that the people around you as a child used.
Born elsewhere you'd use different labels. True?
Labels help you get by. True?
As everything changes though labels are not for fixed things but mind made parts of the changing flow.
Questioning Being:
Once the labels are seen to be for parts of a oneness that flows, this is relieving and restful. For me it is. Is it for you?
Not labelled the world still functions just right.
Unlabelled as left, right, over and down. The stream still flows. Right?
Did you plan the best thing that ever happened to you?
Without choosing birth you were born.
Having not made your body or your mind. Seeing that your nature came about before you knew you had one. Can you have navigated life in any other way than the way you did?
Did you even make a single choice? Was it just change and nature in flow and you labelled things in the afterward?
There is only an inexplicable flow. True?
The oneness presents itself.
A world of just happiness would not contain happiness. Does this make sense?
The universe is change, it is a flow. Happiness, sadness, suffering and contentment will all happen. You see?
Simply acknowledging this is wisdom.
You knew this already though. Yes?
This happening came, it was not understood. It was right as it was.
In attempts to describe and understand it became tricky.
Making no effort we see that all happens. Change happens, flow flows, life is.
In our trying and seeking we found difficulties and non arriving. True?
If ice tried with earnest could it flow?
In our not trying, just as we were when we were in the womb, we grew, we changed, we flowed. We got that right. In just that way we see that life is presented without our influence, understanding or effort.
When we say to ourselves that life should not be doing what it is doing. We suffer. But that is normality.
See the fine thread separating wisdom from ignorance?
See that wisdom does not bring eternal pleasure as in eternal pleasure there is no pleasure.
End of seeking:
There is no promise of completion. A complete person simply sees the rise and fall of each thing knowing that things are moving parts of a changing whole.
Wholeness, changes and flows.
Tag! You're it!

Tao Wow | Daily Cup of Tao

The hidden magic

Mike our local medicine man has never suffered a cold.

Each time the symptoms stir he mixes; Ginger, garlic, tumeric, cinnamon, cardamon, lemon, black pepper, and honey in hot water and washes down two paracetamol.

He tells us that the ingredients are each so potent that if he misses any one of them out the paracetamol are just as effective.

Malcolm our local councilor has 48 lucky charms and he always selects one at random and hands it to his body guard.

He tells us that each lucky charm is just as good because no matter which he chooses he has never once been attacked by a vampire.

Our local priest, scientist and philosopher all have views on consciousness and they are all fascinating. Each one of them can make a full, clear and convincing case while appearing quite lucid and conscious as they do so. 

There is always at least one dead body a week in our area awaiting burial. I've never heard one's words on the subject. Although I'm convinced they are the only ones making a true case.

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Centered Dao

The mind is relative and dualistic.
The universe is entirely at one.
The mind thinks it sits dead center in the middle of the universe.
All the way to the left is left, and so the rest is to the right.
Up is up and the rest down.
So too with good and bad.
The mind places itself as center and creates flip/flop, to/fro, this/that dualities.
In a universe which is only ever one.

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Alone I walk and who am I, crossing over gates and stiles. I am the freedom all persons seek, I do not know a working week.

If my eyelids rise I'm happily here, if they close I sleep no fear. I am the comfort people desire, no home have I my warmth a fire.

When I'm needing sleep, my bed I meet. When hunger arrives, I'm ready sat to eat.

So this may have sounds of greatness, how then can we emulate this? The answer is simplicity itself, united in oneness there is no me myself.

Suffering is a relative term, your life so far will confirm. Oneness can not be so split, it's all so simple when this is it.

Tao Wow | Daily Cup of Tao