This is about the feeling of “falling in love” and other thrills. Let’s start with an ingenious quotation from Mr. C. S. Lewis:

“People get from books the idea that if you have married the right person you may expect to go on ‘being in love’ for ever. As a result, when they find they are not, they think this proves they have made a mistake and are entitled to change – not realizing that, when they have changed, the glamor will presently go out of the new love just as it went out of the old one. In this department of life, as in every other, thrills come at the beginning and do not last. The sort of thrill a boy has at the first idea of flying will not go on when he has joined the R.A.F. and is really learning to fly. The thrill you feel on first seeing some delightful place dies away when you really go to live there. Does this mean it would be better not to learn to fly and not to live in a beautiful place? By no means. In both cases, if you go through with it, the dying away of the first thrill will be compensated for a quieter and more lasting kind of interest. What is more (and I can hardly find words to tell you how important I think this is), it is just the people who are ready to submit to the loss of the thrill and settle down to the sober interest, who are then most likely to meet new thrills in some quite different direction. The man who has learned to fly and become a good pilot will suddenly discover music; the man who has settled down to live in a beauty spot will discover gardening.

This is, I think, one little part of what Christ meant by saying that a thing will not really live until it first dies. It is simply no good trying to keep any thrill: that is the very worst thing you can do. Let the thrill go – let it die away – go on through a period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow – and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time. But if you decide to make thrills your regular diet and try to prolong them artificially, they will all get weaker and weaker, and fewer and fewer, and you will be a bored, disillusioned old man for the rest of your life. It is because so few people understand this that you find many middle-aged men and women maundering about their lost youth, at the very age when new horizons ought to be appearing and new doors open all around them. It is much better fun to learn to swim than to go on endlessly (and hopelessly) trying to get back the feeling you had when you first went paddling as a small boy.”

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 110-111

What does that mean? It’s like in a video game: after you mastered one level, you are thrown into a new, a bit similar but harder level, to master that one too. For example, once the thrill of having falling in love went out, still there is the thrill of deep mutual understanding to be discovered.

What is a total failure, however, is if people always seek for the thrill on the same level, as they will get more and more desperate during that search. For example, people who experienced the thrill of seeing a special landscape may go on and on in that, travelling the whole world to seek the craziest landscapes, and still will not find the thrill again that they had with the first few landscapes. And all the while, they miss the thrills of the next level in travelling, which is, for example, to bond with the locals, to learn their language, to learn to understand how they think, to develop relationships with them.

So what makes life interesting? The answer is ludicrously simple: emotions. Mainly the positive ones. But not exclusively, because people maiinly want to be entertained by emotion to lead an interesting life, and just on top of that want a good life (and both interests sometimes even conflict). This desire for emotions is behind much of people’s activity to make their own life interesting:

  • starting a romantic relationship
  • starting a romantic relationship with somebody else
  • “involuntarily” creating relationship drama in ones life, with mixed joy and sadness
  • watching movies
  • reading novels; this allows to experience deep emotions (deeper and more faceted than in movies), without the danger and effort of undergoing these experiences in real life
  • extreme sports
  • meditation, prayer, church going: for many, this is just for the sake of the emotions experienced therein
  • listening to and creating music
  • travelling, which triggers emotions of surprise and curiosity etc.
  • scientific research, which feeds curiosity
  • dealing with and marveling at beautiful objects, plants, animals and people
  • engaging in flirting and courting, including dancing etc.
  • engaging in erotic and sexual activity
  • behavior and accomplishments that feed ones pride and self-esteem

The new (at least, new for me) aspect in the above rationale is: people do not do something, in the first instance, because they are motivated by emotion; instead, they are motivated by the desire to experience emotion. That is a hypothesis that has to be checked by psychological experiments of course, but let’s go a step further and for the rest of this article just assume that it is proven correct already …

From a Christian perspective, one can even argue that emotions have been created by God in order to make life interesting for us. At least we can say, God did not create human beings in a way that enables them to easily undergo emotional boredness for any non-trivial amount of time; such an experience is always a time of suffering for a human being.

To master life, everybody has to develop tools and techniques to trigger emotions which let one experience “interestingness of life”. Because, in many cases such emotions are not triggered by ones current circumstances of life on their own. In a modern world, people’s circumstances of life are mostly just plain boring, esp. for poor and otherwise restricted people.

A women lives to be a mother: you can detect that from what they care about and deal with (people, people, people …) and how they like being a mother. I respect that. It’s a very important contribution as humanity would die out without mothers; men and all of humanity is only “through the women” (which is also a Bible quote, you know).

However, here is a quite bold statement: for the next several hundred years, the foremost role of women should not be motherhood. Because, there are enough people in the world; so many that actively pursuing a motherhood role is not necessary to keep the world population even above a healthy level of 200 million to 2 billion people.

In addition, I would add that it is disrespectful and selfish to produce new people while the world is not fixed yet to prevent the new people from unnecessarily suffering in this world. New children would be born “for the joy of parenthood” only now, while it would be better to wait until the world is fixed. As it is pure chance what particular child will come out when creating one, people can create the very same people, in a statistical sense, when the world is fixed some hundred years in the future. And until then, just keep society large enough to ensure that it will live on.

This logic is (hopefully …) also acceptible for God; if he indeed wants many people to be created for “populating heaven”. It then just takes a bit longer, but the people will be of “better quality”: a fixed world produced more joyyful, less broken people.

So women need to re-define themselves, take over other tasks! This is a very difficult thing to do, given how focused most women currently are to become mothers.

What exactly was God’s purpose with the Babylonian confusion of tongues? Trying to capture it abstractly, it seems to be this: to prohibit overly synergistic / overly efficient collaboration of people in the future. Because doing this, sinful men would do something against God’s will (like building that central city with its tower instead of filling the Earth) and that something would also harm themselves (actually, dictator Nimrod ruled that city Babylon).

If we put it that generally, the effects are still there today. We have overcome the language problems partially after several thousands of years now, but the deeper problems are still there: people are not able to communicate good enough and to collaborate good enough so that something truly great (or truly terrible, if people had their will) could emerge.

Even the problem of language confusion is just a symptom of a deeper problem: if people had been determined enough, they simply could have set up a research and learning system that is about studying languages, and then could have defined a standard language that everybody would have to learn. But that did not happen, because people’s will to communicate and collaborate was broken. Thanks God, one has to say. But otherwise, if there would be “good” people, they also would lack the ability to communicate and collaborate perfectly now, which renders them unable to do something truly great and powerfully good for this world …

Perhaps you already read about my “power community” vision. One way to grasp it is: it’s avout reversing these communication and collaboration friction loss problems, but on a small scale (like 7-10 people). On a global scale, it would only do harm to reverse these problems, and God will probably keep us from doing that …

Yesterday, I discussed with a friend how God does help this world.
The alternatives were these:

  1. That God helps “only” from eternal condemnation. With respect to our life in this world this would only be a theoretical concept, as condemnation happens after this life. Christian people would just know that people are infinitely bad, which would keep them from getting disappointed again by others or themselves. But there would be no way to change this in this world.
  2. God would, at times, let good things happen in the outside world. Or they might happen because God kept the outside world from deteriorationg completely, so that a remains of glory is still in it. In any case, people should be grateful if this happens, and not think that it is their “right” to experience such good and rightful events. Because after all, we live in a fallen world.
  3. God would, probably in addition to the prior alternative, help people to deal with their defects of personality, by helping them overcome, manage or work around these on a case-by-case basis. This would keep people from thinking that they “finally learned something”, and thus keep them from pride. They would know that they cannot handle their defects in the future without the immediate help of God. This constant dependency would be a positive thing, though: experiencing God’s help frequently would be something that keeps the relationship to God warm and active.
  4. Like before, but God would mainly try to educate his children to permanently overcome their character defects, by acquiring better character. This would be in parallel to how parents educate their children and teach them new qualifications, and are happy when they get it and finally can live on their own. As children of great character, these would however also be thankful and not proud, knowing that they did not teach themselves, and could never have done so (because as evildoers, they did not want to!).

We agreed that alternative 2 is true, and discussed whether the rest is rather like 3 or 4. The difference of opinion probably is rooted in different images of humanity. If you think that you will always need God’s supernatural power to do good, you think that some supernatural part went missing in the Fall, rendering people unable to even learn  to be good again. (The supernatural part might also be thought as a male sex-linked genetic disease, as it was not present in Jesus who was born from Mary and the Holy Spirit, so not including a man …) If you, however, think that original sin is rather something like the fall of our collective mind, by learning from bad example, to a state where self-education towards the good is impossible for us humans: then you can agree with alternative 4 and think that God can teach us to be good (in principle, but not coming to an end in our lifetime).

If you agree with alternative 4, you might think that “spirit” is another word for “mind” or “brain program”, and that “receiving the Holy Spirit” is a term for the influence of God’s mind (which does not depend in matter implementation in a brain) on our mind. Which not necessarily involves changing our brain content (that would be a miracle in the physical world each time). Because, there might already be an interface prepared for the Holy Spirit, where it can connect to and add “external mind power” (motivation, love etc.) to our brain; like pushing it to an altered, higher state, not unlike the way soem drugs do it. (Note that, then, there might also be an interface for demons …).

I wonder if “Be fruitful and increase in number” (Gen 1:28) is meant as an command to individual persons or to humankind as a whole. I would rather say, to humankind as a whole, because God adds, in typical Judaic parallelism, the same content verbalized as: “fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1:28).

So it seems the command is not for everybody to have children, but for humankind to fill the Earth. And there are plenty of tasks to do that are not about having children oneself, and that contribute to humankind filling and ruling (in a positive way) the Earth: caring for orphans, caring for children medically (so that they do not die), caring for adults medically and mentally (so that they can have and educate healthy children) etc..

These are some philosophical, speculative ramblings about how the human spirit works and how the Holy Spirit interacts with it.

Knowing ones ability to do evil (like murdering someone) is not doing evil. And suffering the temptation to do evil (like murdering someone as the seemingly easiest solution) is not doing evil either. One could argue that knowing ones ability to do evil, combined with logical thinking, is a specific kind of temptation; because sometimes, an evil act seems desirable to the logical mind.

The problem is, resisting temptation needs a mental effort of “good will”, and the human abilitiy to be successful here is simply limited. Temptation consumes “positive moral energy”, and if all is used up, man starts to do evil acts. That’s why people are seen to be “good” under normal conditions, but start to be evil when under stress. See also Mk 7:20-21.

So what man needs is a constant, super-human source of positive moral energy. Jesus can be said to have possessed this source: he was tempted for 40 days under extreme physical stress, and did not give in; that’s clearly super-human.
I assume that the Holy Spirit is this external, super-human source of positive moral energy. When “having” the Holy Spirit, it should probably happen that a “good thought” pops up in ones mind without one having produced it with from ones own good will. That is, such a though would pop up without consuming good will (“positive moral energy”).

Further, we should assume that such a thought has the same physical appearance in the bran as a though created by ones own good will; because it “feels” no different. This does however not mean that a miracle is implied here that contradicts the natural laws. It’s supernatural, but the law of conservation of energy is probably intact. Because, brain activity is a statistical process, including much random activity. So to create a thought in our mind, the Holy Spirit coordinates the quantum probabilities of neurons so that this thought emerges, where otherwise would have been just noise.