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> Letter to a Christian Nation - by Sam Harris, read this book
lucid_dream
post Feb 25, 2007, 04:49 PM
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I'm currently reading this book and recommend it as it discusses the great danger posed by the religious right in America today.

Instead of being tolerant of faith-based irrationality (i.e., Christianity and Islam), we should clearly recognize that these religions and their dogmas pose a grave danger to our society and should not be tolerated at all. It is time to take an active role in stamping out this ignorance masquerading as knowledge, that calls itself religion. The religious experience itself is a valuable thing, but the religious dogma must be terminated, or we may all suffer the consequences of our inaction.
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Joesus
post Feb 25, 2007, 07:54 PM
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There are natural poisons which have existed within our midst from the beginning. Some poisons are useful when mixed with other poisons to perform functions to make our lives better, tho in concentrated form may damage the body if in constant close proximity.
If we removed them or tried to remove them rather than understanding them to make them work for us, a great amount of energy would be focused on the fear of the element rather than expanding awareness of its natural tendency to be as a result of the nature of things.

Free will allows the mind to wander into dark thoughts, depression, fear, hatred and violence.
There have been attempts to lobotomize these tendencies in the human brain but they exist within the best of minds. They exist because the nature of thought is open and the ability to make choices exists as part of the human nature.

History has shown that when one extremist attacks another extremist to become the dominant extreme neither wins or loses. The Spanish inquisition and the Crusades are examples of the mind in extreme prejudice. The current war on Terrorism is another extreme in that it is supported by fear on both sides.
These things we fear to be a threat to our sense of being are self created. Fear is a disease of the mind. A disease caused by the lack of awareness in union with the essence of creation and its perceived components.

The things grown from fear are but symptoms of a deeper issue. One that is propogated within the teachings and examples of all leaders of all nations.
Sovereignty, and the threat of loss of freedom.

Action or inaction must come from something other than extremism or from fear.
Dogma/belief or any kind of ignorance is a condition that may or may not be removed.
You cannot make someone follow an idea if it threatens their freedom to make a choice based on their current experience and their belief.
You could surgically remove a cancer from the body but if the cause is not removed it will reappear.

Does the author of your book have a universal understanding of the nature of reality and a natural solution to unnatural occurances, or does it just identify a problem and propose a gloomy ending?
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lucid_dream
post Feb 25, 2007, 09:21 PM
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Hi Joesus. I do not believe the author of the book has had deep religious experiences or a universal understanding of the nature of reality. He is an atheist, and a relatively young one, albeit an eloquent writer, and he may have a point that our tolerance of various religious dogmas which preach intolerance and hate may very well be detrimental to our society and may lead to a dire situation, particularly in light of the fact that many of these religions are predicting an apocalypse, with the followers believing in this and actually trying to make it a reality. The question is whether the minds of those comprising society can triumph over their fears, insecurities, and ignorance, or whether there will be an increasing majority that turn to violence and self-destructive tendencies that are so detrimental to society as to effect a catastrophe. If this is the case, then it behooves us to take a more active stance, and not necessarily remain tolerant of religious dogma which is self-destructive and detrimental to society as a whole.

I do not believe my response is born of fear but of something deeper. of a heartfelt desire for the universal mind to fully realize itself, unimpeded, in all its forms.
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maximus242
post Feb 25, 2007, 09:34 PM
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QUOTE(Joesus @ Feb 25, 2007, 08:54 PM) *

There are natural poisons which have existed within our midst from the beginning. Some poisons are useful when mixed with other poisons to perform functions to make our lives better, tho in concentrated form may damage the body if in constant close proximity.
If we removed them or tried to remove them rather than understanding them to make them work for us, a great amount of energy would be focused on the fear of the element rather than expanding awareness of its natural tendency to be as a result of the nature of things.

Free will allows the mind to wander into dark thoughts, depression, fear, hatred and violence.
There have been attempts to lobotomize these tendencies in the human brain but they exist within the best of minds. They exist because the nature of thought is open and the ability to make choices exists as part of the human nature.

History has shown that when one extremist attacks another extremist to become the dominant extreme neither wins or loses. The Spanish inquisition and the Crusades are examples of the mind in extreme prejudice. The current war on Terrorism is another extreme in that it is supported by fear on both sides.
These things we fear to be a threat to our sense of being are self created. Fear is a disease of the mind. A disease caused by the lack of awareness in union with the essence of creation and its perceived components.

The things grown from fear are but symptoms of a deeper issue. One that is propogated within the teachings and examples of all leaders of all nations.
Sovereignty, and the threat of loss of freedom.

Action or inaction must come from something other than extremism or from fear.
Dogma/belief or any kind of ignorance is a condition that may or may not be removed.
You cannot make someone follow an idea if it threatens their freedom to make a choice based on their current experience and their belief.
You could surgically remove a cancer from the body but if the cause is not removed it will reappear.

Does the author of your book have a universal understanding of the nature of reality and a natural solution to unnatural occurances, or does it just identify a problem and propose a gloomy ending?


I do not think that changing or eliminating religion would end the worlds problems, some religions give people hope and help them to be less fearful. Though these people might be sheep, they were raised to be sheep by their government, religion just protects the sheep from worrying.

What we need is a change in human thinking, a way of inner peace and open communication. So many problems in this world are caused by not effectivly communicating with people. When I say inner peace I mean a state of mind in which an individual is at peace with themselves. How many people do you know who are happy and can do terrible things to people? This is only possible for psychotics to do, for everyone else, when they are happy, they are nice to people, when they are unhappy they are mean. Happiness will bring peace. Bullies do not become bullies out of thin air, they most likely are abused and neglected at home and take it out on someone else.
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Joesus
post Feb 25, 2007, 09:38 PM
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The idea in this thread was not eliminating religion, but dogma.
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lucid_dream
post Feb 25, 2007, 09:39 PM
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another problem is that religious dogma largely attracts individuals from the lower end of the intelligence spectrum. It is one thing to reason amongst ourselves of the utility or lack thereof of religious dogma, and the dangers it presents to society. But try reasoning with your average field worker with an IQ of 85, who unfortunately is oblivious to reason and only understands the dogma he's been indoctrinated in. I'm not trying to be elitist, but am pointing out that the problem may be largely due to low IQ people, since more intelligent people are open to reason.
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Joesus
post Feb 25, 2007, 09:42 PM
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God loves stupid people too.
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lucid_dream
post Feb 25, 2007, 09:44 PM
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If Spinoza's Ethics substituted for the Bible and Koran, we would be living in a very different society, a much more enlightened one.
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maximus242
post Feb 25, 2007, 09:49 PM
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HAHAHAHA

I think the reason for the low IQ thing is that A. They may not believe in a scientific explanation where as higher IQ people may be more prone to believe science. B. There may be a relation between how people are raised, so that high IQ people are raised less on religion and more on intellectual subjects C. They may be more fearful of the things religion address' and more prone to what it offers?

Lets look at it this way, if they are raised to be sheep then they will not try to think for themselves. If they do not think for themselves they will not have a high IQ.

Naturally not all people who have a religion are stupid, in general I think religion just appeals more to the average joe. Men like Aristotle believed in many things that were quite out there, yet he was a brilliant philosopher.

Besides, this could just be a collective consciousness dream and when we die, we just wake up. Or prehaps go to another dream...
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Joesus
post Feb 25, 2007, 10:05 PM
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QUOTE
Besides, this could just be a collective consciousness dream and when we die, we just wake up. Or prehaps go to another dream...

That would mean you would be more than the collective rememberings of this life experience and be influenced by much more than what you achieved as a result of this life and its experiences. This life experience would possibly be a result of other dreams or life experiences.

It could be that we share the same school yet are enrolled in different classes to suit our growth.

If you wanted to make fun of the underclassmen you could stand in front of the bathroom and charge them a dollar to use it or make them seem inferior because they don't know what you know. Or you could be like a parent and by example live your life the best you can allowing them to do the same.

My Dad was a short tempered bigot/political extremist with a drinking problem. I got to hear his suggestions of how I should live my life.
Now if you take that example and multiply it by a few humdred million you might find a society seeking to find a higher truth and a better example. The idea of universal love can be appealing and if it has to be taken because that is the way it has been done in the past, the idea of using violence to achieve love and peace seems in a twisted way, acceptable.

Any one see the NRA bumper sticker that says, "They can have my gun when they pry it from my cold dead fingers."?
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lucid_dream
post Feb 25, 2007, 10:13 PM
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QUOTE(Joesus @ Feb 25, 2007, 09:42 PM) *

God loves stupid people too.


You might enjoy this!
http://whydoesgodhateamputees.com

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maximus242
post Feb 25, 2007, 10:20 PM
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Violence only brings more violence. I used to think the way you do, but what you think on grows. If you feed violence then more violence will occur as a result of that, maybe not today, maybe not tommorow but eventually it will come.

If you try to be nice to people, you will find people are nicer to you, if you are mean to people, they will be meaner to you. What you think on grows, what you nurture is what will occur. You are not defined by who you are but by what you do.

As an example, Terrorist attacks have increased since the war began not decreased.
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lucid_dream
post Feb 25, 2007, 10:32 PM
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QUOTE(maximus242 @ Feb 25, 2007, 10:20 PM) *

Violence only brings more violence. I used to think the way you do, but what you think on grows. If you feed violence then more violence will occur as a result of that, maybe not today, maybe not tommorow but eventually it will come.

Maximus, are you talking to me? I didn't suggest violence. I suggested taking action, and action takes many forms. Violence is self-defeating. What I would suggest is more subtle.
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Joesus
post Feb 25, 2007, 10:34 PM
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QUOTE
I used to think the way you do

who?
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maximus242
post Feb 25, 2007, 10:46 PM
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Talking to Joesus. I know you didnt mean violence Lucid.

I stopped getting upset or angry at people, it is self defeating, being angry hurts yourself more than anyone else.
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lucid_dream
post Feb 25, 2007, 11:09 PM
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People often react to adversity by getting angry or sad. If caught between the two, the former is superior. I prefer a third way, of getting aroused towards action, a combination of rajas and sattva.
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Joesus
post Feb 26, 2007, 12:18 AM
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QUOTE(maximus242 @ Feb 26, 2007, 06:46 AM) *

Talking to Joesus. I know you didnt mean violence Lucid.

I stopped getting upset or angry at people, it is self defeating, being angry hurts yourself more than anyone else.

I don't advocate violence. I made a reference to violence.
Violence is within everyone who does not see God in everything.
As such those who are violent to themselves and to the world project separation and react accordingly in thought, feeling or action.
One does not have to be physically active to be violent.

QUOTE
People often react to adversity by getting angry or sad. If caught between the two, the former is superior. I prefer a third way, of getting aroused towards action, a combination of rajas and sattva.

Surrender is superior. Surrendering to that which creates everything not to the object/action of perception. From there any action/non-action is taken/given in accord to the evolution of creation.

For example Jesus knew there was an advantage to allow himself to be crucified rather than to sidestep the event.
The repercussions activated a direction in thought feeling and action that was toward expanding spiritual awareness inside of ones self rather than to continue to put it outside of ones self.
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maximus242
post Feb 26, 2007, 08:59 AM
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I have the never give up approach. I dont surrender but I dont use violence either, I do other things and simply remain persistent.
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Joesus
post Feb 26, 2007, 11:09 AM
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Violence is everywhere. We use chemicals to kill microbes.
We dump toxic chemicals into our air and water creating conditions that are not friendly to the earth or our bodies.
Even the sweet little old lady down the street is pouring bug killers on her roses, spreading slug and snail killer in her gardens and toxic ferilizers onto her lawn which leeches into the ground water.

Every step we take we are crushing countless living micro-organisms underfoot.

When using vaccines we introduce bacteria creating a small war in the body to build future armies in the body for the impending possibilities of attack.

In a similar way we interject small amounts of drama into our sense of perception to prepare ourselves for the impending possibilites of destruction.
Books are written, local news is prepared, to sell a dramatic insight into worst case scenarios.

Humanity on a wide scale injects its consciousness with vaccines of intellectual insight into the realms of evil so that we will prepare ourselves for what is real and a threat to love, health life and liberty.

If you drive a car which burns gasoline and dumps carbon monoxide into your environment you are being violent.

Surrender to God on the outside or in Sanskrit "Isvara Pranidhana" is the surrender to the activity that is most beneficial to stabilizing the experience of God in action inside and outside.

If the direction, we as a conscious collective are taking, serves humanity best with its wars, poisons, and dramas, then it is surrendered to with the knowledge that it is raising conscious awareness of the mind to its spirituality. If it isn't then to intervene would be beneficial.

In the past, to serve humanity those who are on a righteous path would give their lives freely for the good of conscious awareness. Once one has achieved conscious awareness the only service left is to live life for others to gain the same status. This could include immersing ones self in the midst of violence to help direct it back to stillness.

The story of Shukradev, the God of Love comes to mind. In the midst of a raging battle Shukradev walks into the middle of the war and sits, radiating love in all directions causing both sides to forget what they were fighting about. Both sides drop their weapons and go home.

Kowing what is serving humanity, one has a clear direction to intervene or not intervene. to take action or not take action.
Persistence is good if it is persistence for the right thing.
The persistence some have to live their lives the way they want to by using harmful chemicals to make life easier for them or to suit their needs, to drive their car even if they know it throws toxins in the air is often not in surrender to their highest good but surrender/capitulation to exasperation and fear that there is no way to make a change or take control because of the conditions the world has in its control over them.
This is not intelligence in action but fear in action. This is a mind on fear and victim consciousness.

Surrender to God cannot come without the experience of God.
Until then any surrender can only be to the mind and its ideas.
Each one, each individual having the individual perspective of what is righteous, and each believing in their own perception, in the persistent pursuit of life as they see fit, will continue to show its signs of its pursuit of personal happiiness at the cost of the earths and our brothers and sisters health.

Surrender is superior because it can only come from the highest state of human conscious awareness.
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maximus242
post Feb 26, 2007, 12:56 PM
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This poses the question of what is violence?
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Joesus
post Feb 26, 2007, 01:23 PM
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QUOTE
I dont surrender but I dont use violence either

If you don't know, then how could you be against it or sure you don't use it?
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maximus242
post Feb 26, 2007, 01:25 PM
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I have my own definition via means of my perception of what violence is, I was posing the question, is mine or anyones interpretation of what violence is, an accurate description? or can we go deeper into the nature and definition of violence?
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Flex
post Feb 26, 2007, 02:09 PM
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QUOTE(maximus242 @ Feb 26, 2007, 01:25 PM) *

I have my own definition via means of my perception of what violence is, I was posing the question, is mine or anyones interpretation of what violence is, an accurate description? or can we go deeper into the nature and definition of violence?


Selfishness and nature are one in the same. With selfishness comes violence.
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Joesus
post Feb 26, 2007, 02:22 PM
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QUOTE(maximus242 @ Feb 26, 2007, 09:25 PM) *

I have my own definition via means of my perception of what violence is, I was posing the question, is mine or anyones interpretation of what violence is, an accurate description? or can we go deeper into the nature and definition of violence?

Would you be so humble as to surrender your perceptions of meaning to something greater than your ego?
To What would that be?

QUOTE
Selfishness and nature are one in the same.

Are they? Nature is constantly giving.
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maximus242
post Feb 26, 2007, 03:43 PM
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Would you be so humble as to surrender your perceptions of meaning to something greater than your ego?
To What would that be?


That would be, understanding. When we let go of our own perception to better understand someone elses, we gain understanding and insight. If one just sticks to how they view the world and cares nothing of learning from others, they will aquire much knowlege but have no understanding of it.
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post Feb 26, 2007, 04:45 PM
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QUOTE(maximus242 @ Feb 26, 2007, 12:56 PM) *

This poses the question of what is violence?

Violence is forceful action that does harm. Examples include smashing, breaking, cutting, and burning. Poisoning is a gray area: the poisoner does harm, but it's not forceful.
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post Feb 26, 2007, 05:39 PM
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QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Feb 25, 2007, 11:39 PM) *

religious dogma largely attracts individuals from the lower end of the intelligence spectrum.


Somebody had to say it - glad it wasn't me.

This is the exact reason I believe religion contributes to society as a whole. Religion is not the cause of our woes - human nature is. It is human nature, after all, that invented religion.

Thus, I submit to you:
Those individuals who follow religious dogma are inclined to mindlessly submit to others in general. (Was Hitler's movement a 'religion'?)

And, as we know, religions often confer psychologically protective benefits to those who follow them. (As stated by Karl Marx: "Religion is the opiate of the masses.") As I see it, disadvantaged individuals have found a way to compensate for the difficulties of life and the associated, unexplained phenomena. It seems to be a sort of social evolution. Can we ethically take that away from them?

(And yes, I use religion and dogma interchangeably because I believe one follows the other)

EDIT - please don't be offended by my personal beliefs.
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Flex
post Feb 26, 2007, 06:04 PM
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QUOTE(Joesus @ Feb 26, 2007, 02:22 PM) *

QUOTE(maximus242 @ Feb 26, 2007, 09:25 PM) *

I have my own definition via means of my perception of what violence is, I was posing the question, is mine or anyones interpretation of what violence is, an accurate description? or can we go deeper into the nature and definition of violence?

Would you be so humble as to surrender your perceptions of meaning to something greater than your ego?
To What would that be?

QUOTE
Selfishness and nature are one in the same.

Are they? Nature is constantly giving.


Nature is constantly taking.
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Flex
post Feb 26, 2007, 06:09 PM
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QUOTE(lucid_dream @ Feb 25, 2007, 11:39 PM) *

religious dogma largely attracts individuals from the lower end of the intelligence spectrum.


I have found religion also attracts the other end of the spectrum as well. I know many very intelligent people who have fallen victim to religious dogma. I do not believe they are truely victims persay, as they use religion as a tool to justify their own immoral acts (particularly Christians). The fact that Jesus "died for our sins" and that God holds our ultimate judgement can be used to justify almost any act, or at the very least relieve any guilt associated with said act.
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Joesus
post Feb 26, 2007, 06:26 PM
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QUOTE
When we let go of our own perception to better understand someone elses, we gain understanding and insight.
We might gain some insight to anothers perception and beliefs but not necessarily the nature of our lives and reality if comparisons are made on a level that is still inadequately approaching Truth as nothing more than a changing belief or an opinion.
QUOTE
If one just sticks to how they view the world and cares nothing of learning from others, they will aquire much knowlege but have no understanding of it.

If one learns from others from the foundation of how they view the world according to their previous mental construct and habit of observation, any comparison is subject to the ability to comprehend according to belief and experience. Making knowledge available is not a guarantee that it is assimilated and understood.

No one is obliged or necessarily inspired to change their way of thinking by observing others or their point of view. They are more likely to compare themselves to another to justify their lives accordingly, possibly integrating what is meaningful according to already established value systems and patterns of identity.

The topic of discussion is critical of dogma, not necessarily an openness to join one who lives by it to learn from it and experience what another thinks and feels while believing in it.

The fear that one might have made a mistake in perception is not something many are willing to admit. If one was to indeed find their perception was incomplete they would most likely doubt any modified perception if there is no authority to base truth on other than personal opinion.
Personal opinions grouped together to strengthen the will and sense of self worth is the same as creating a religion. Something that doesn't stand in its own merit is bound to change.

Truth never changes, if it does, it isn't truth, it's only a thought.

The human spirit is capable of standing clear in and amongst the descending chaos that comes from surrendering ones insight to the crowds in a democratic process of authority if it continues to produce violence and selfishness.

Everytime a great sage inspires us with the presence of Truth all lesser perceptions of reality are easily dropped and the mind opens to receive through innocense and love.
A true sage carries a sword that cuts through ignorance like a hot knife thru butter, but there is no guarantee that God in its infinite light can awaken anyone who will be stubborn for a lesser path than unconditional love and selflessness. Free will allows all ideas of choice to remain without restriction in their own natural conditions.
The ego will never ask for higher guidance or help. Only the heart will see thru ignorance and the heart is often clouded by perceptions of reality that define freedom and love by the material possesions and attachments to objects of change.

Truth is much more than individual perception, It is something that can be percieved equally by any individual and remains stable regardless of the changing mind and beliefs.

Those that experience less than that do not know Truth, they only know their changing thoughts and beliefs.
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