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The Magnificent Eight

I am awake for sixteen hours a day and spend eight hours more-or-less working on The Big Bang Theory. That leaves eight hours otherwise unaccounted for. They are The Magnificent Eight. I can use them for:

strengthening relationships with family and friends
personal grooming
caring for or manipulating physical objects
working on my dissertation (right now this is reading Aristotle on the Principle of Non-Contradiction)
reading
meditation and prayer
exercise
hobbies.

If I do not use the Magnificent Eight wisely they will come in their Wrathful Forms and upbraid me and mock me.

“You wasted time and now does Time Waste You!”

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23 thoughts on “The Magnificent Eight

  1. Eric, I’m interested in knowing (if you would be so kind to share) what/who is it exactly that you pray to?

    Not what you pray for or even why you pray but to who/what is it that you pray.

    Thanks in advance.

      • Is “The ultimate source and purpose of the world” conscious?

        I stopped when I couldn’t wrap my head around a conscious “ultimate source”… Would love to have the conviction to start again…

      • Because that’s a human faculty, and it goes together with feelings (a whole gamut of them), and I can’t warp my head around the words: The Infinite Indescribable Being, Source and Creator of the Universe is feeling sad today and Wants you too… He Listened to you… He changes His mind because…

        And, I should add, to me besides not being to grasp how that can make any sense in the slightest, the alternative is much simpler and makes much more sense: Humans knew almost nothing about the world a fairly short while ago, so obviously a conscious Gods existed, “who else moves the moon?!”, add to that our need to feel purpose, answer the Big Questions etc etc, so we evolved to feel that “Someone” out there is listening and caring.

        Faction of our imagination? Sure. Reality as in real listening and caring, at least enough that you’d feel “listened to” and your case “considered” and maybe “acted upon”, I don’t think so. Do you?

      • well I thought your argument was that it is invalid to believe that ultimate reality cares about you because religious belief was a human faculty with an evolutionary history. It seems that on this argument you should not believe in a universe that does not care either, because belief in an uncaring universe is also a human phenomenon with an evolutionary history (perhaps belief in an uncaring environment makes it easier for us to hunt mammoths or whatever). Am I missing a piece in your argument? I think it is a good question.

      • My argument is that believing in a Conscious and Caring Creature is an instinctive belief cultivated through millennia of extremely ignorant people at a time when “God of the gaps” is the best explanation the were able to come up with to about every question. Today we know better on many fronts. As to a Conscious and Caring Creature re prayer, we obviously can’t prove otherwise but it just sounds incomprehensible to me, in fact maybe even childish and “needy”… How do you see it?

      • What’s wrong with being childish and needy? At least sometimes? I think the approach of a child has minuses – lack of autonomy — but also has plusses — emotional openness, creativity and honesty. The approach of an adult has complementary minuses — hardened ego defenses — and pluses — autonomy and pragmatism. I don’t see the need to pick, or the advisability. I certainly don’t think the idea that the universe has a source in consciousness is “incomprehensible” — it seems possibly more comprehensible than that it comes from brute matter and just happens to be intelligible.

      • Sorry for the long pause. Was traveling…

        If we agree that science has a pretty convincing account of what went on during the past 13.7 billion years, then I see no need for an outside Conscious Creature to explain consciousness on this planet. I think evolutionary biology does a pretty good job at explaining that.

        As to how the Big Bang came to be, it’s a great question and really one that makes me wonder many times (and no, Lawrence Krauss doesn’t have the answer) and fills me with awe, wonder, inspiration and many other things, but to take the jump from that to a human-like Conscious Creator, to me seems like a huge and not necessary jump. But most importantly, as I said, it’s just so clear and obvious how it’s a man-made “idea” (god) that it really needs no further explanation.

        Maybe think about it this way, imagine that us humans landed on Earth for the first time in 2014 and we were handed all the knowledge we now know about the world, how many people do you think would look at the science (and even philosophy books) and think, “hey, there’s a Conscious God (that feels, cares, communicates etc) that got this whole thing going!”? I would imagine that although some would say that, most won’t. What do you think?

        Regarding prayer let me ask you this, and again this is not to challenge but to understand because it interest me how someone like you justifies these things intellectually: to pray to God one has to believe that He listens and replies, one way or another, and at least some of the time positively, so, do you really feel that your prayer helps? it changes anything? certain things happen or don’t happen to you because you prayed and if you wouldn’t have the the opposite would’ve been true?

        As to the virtues of children over adults in “emotional openness, creativity and honesty”, I agree and think that’s great, but when we are talking about knowledge about how things work (the world, the mind) I think the more informed and mature one is the more one has authority to an opinion. Same way you wouldn’t ask your child for instructions on how to do a root-canal on your tooth. Talk about World-God-Mind involves complicated philosophical and scientific arguments for and against, most of which at most a child can have an intuitive hunch but not much more than that.

      • According to the traditional account God is not a Creature — he is the explanation of everything. It is not clear to me that he’s conscious in the sense you are using the term either. IF he is his consciousness is very different from human consciousness because it is supposed to be simple, while human consciousness takes parts. And he is not supposed to be human-like either, at least not according to Maimonides. The notion of God is of an unexplained explainer of such things as the existence of anything at all, the fact that anything matters, the fact that anything at all is intelligible and so on. It’s not obvious that you can prove an explained explainer exists — some people believe you could just have an infinite chain of explanations that don’t end anywhere. What do you think?
        As for prayer I’m not sure what the problem is exactly. Does trying change anything? If I try to run do I believe that if I hadn’t tried to run that I wouldn’t have run? That’s not necessarily the case, I might have run anyway or run without trying. But it doesn’t follow that I shouldn’t try. Does it?
        I don’t think that discussions of God and the source of everything are exactly aiming at “knowledge of how things work”. Maybe more like “appreciation of the fact that anything works at all”. It seems to me it’s closer to artistic appreciation than to engineering.

      • Hi Eric and thanks again for your reply.

        Indeed some very interesting points. I know Maimonides’ take on “God” and I think you explained it well, and I also think it’s the most sensible way to understand “it”. What I don’t get is how “that” starts feeling or, in essence, interacting with the world. In short, I really don’t get the Tzimtzum (does anyone? or is it just hundreds of books explaining something no-one really gets?).

        Which brings me to the second half of your comments re prayer (which is what my original question was about): I’m not sure I understand your running analogy, how can someone run without trying? You want to (or have to) run, then you try/do it. As to prayer, if you meant that you can “try” praying and that by trying it (already) means that it “works” (a la Santa existing. Did I get it right, is that what you meant?) then I don’t get it/agree. Isn’t prayer the belief that you’re communicating with something/one which in your belief is 1- listening to you 2- considering what your asking for 3- will potentially change stuff based on your prayer?

        Is that so?

        I like your art vs engineering analogy, and it rings true but again, I don’t see how that would translate into making sense out of prayer. Unless your definition of prayer is different from the obove-mentioned…

      • I think the point that we disagree on is whether God is something outside us. I think we are a part of Him since he is infinite. So I think about prayer slightly differently — it is one part of a complex whole taking an action that can influence the whole. A couple of analogies. One is suppose I want to convince myself to run every morning. I could resolve and repeat to myself “I will run!” That is like a prayer one part of my consciousness addresses to the whole of my consciousness. It might work, it might not work, and I might end up running even though I forget to make the “prayer”. But that doesn’t mean if I do make the “prayer” and I do end up running that it was useless. On this analogy my whole life is God and the impulse to get physically fit is the human consciousness. Or you can imagine a bunch of people on a team. One of them gives a rousing speech that everybody should commit themselves to the project. That causes everybody to apply themselves to the project with renewed vigor. Here the individual is the individual on the team and God is the whole team. Does that work for you?

      • Not really, because at some point you have to say “this is me, and that’s Him, and I’m asking Him for something”, which brings us back to my original question…

        So again, I get it if you that it’s all God. Pantheism makes lots of sense. A God that gave us individuality and autonomy (one of the basis of Judaism, free choice, punishment and reward) and that “relates” to us is what’s complicated and supposedly the Tzimtzum is coming to explain…

        So to you first line “I think the point that we disagree on is whether God is something outside us.”, I would say, yes he is outside (read: there is individuation, there is human autonomy/choice). Maybe we are 99% one with Him but that 1%…

      • Saw my second comment posted today starting with the sentence “Sorry, just re-read that and I see it has lots of typos. I also added a paragraph. Here:”?

        The last paragraph of that comment I think has a pretty strong question on the philosophy you’re proposing…

      • Sorry, just re-read that and I see it has lots of typos. I also added a paragraph. Here:

        Not really, because at some point you have to say “this is me, and that’s Him, and I’m asking Him for something”, which brings us back to my original question…

        So again, I get it if you say that it’s all God. Pantheism makes lots of sense. On the other hand, a God that gave us individuality and autonomy (one of the basis of Judaism, free choice, punishment and reward) and that “relates” to us is what’s complicated and supposedly the Tzimtzum is coming to explain…

        So to your first line “I think the point that we disagree on is whether God is something outside us.”, I would say, yes he is outside (read: there is individuation, there is human autonomy/choice). Maybe we are 99% one with Him but that 1%…

        And btw, if ” I think we are a part of Him since he is infinite.” and really the whole gist of your comment, then why isn’t everything I want to do godly/goodly? I think that’s my key point here. At a certain “point” it’s me here and Him/It “there”.

  2. What would be the Wrathful Form of personal grooming? An unkempt beard woven into a gigantic cilice?

    I imagine that potentially some of these eight could be conflated to both save time and boost potency/efficacy.

    One might choose a hobby that involves exercise, or groom your family and friends, thus involving both strengthening your relationships, and the manipulation of physical objects, such as grooming implements. Possibly this could even become your hobby.

    Personally I spend about eight hours a day more-or-less editing my book, which, once nightmare-riddled sleep is deducted, leaves eight hours for;

    Brooding about the past unalterable
    Fretting about the future unpredictable
    Ignoring the current important
    Postponing the eternal inevitable
    Arguing about the pointless ephemeral (Usually on the internet)
    Leaving my keys in the fridge (which I did yesterday)
    Going out to shop for groceries but ending up at the pub, gambling on horses (every other day)
    Ablutions, gastronomy, humanity etc.

    A lot of mine can also be conflated, such as shoehorning ‘Arguing’ in with ‘Ignoring’.

    Most of the previous eight years was spent getting lost in tiny European villages with a cigarette effectively apoxy-resined to my face.

    Suffice to say this is a topic which interests me deeply. I’m inclined to believe that if not Time itself, then one’s Vision will hound its host until made manifest. If the Vision is neglected, it will rot the man from within.

    On other more woeful matters; You rarely mention the show here, so neither do I, but now you have…As certain as I am that your own televisual writing continues to be splendid, witty and erudite, ye who are Thalia’s humble amanuensis, and whilst I have no particular beef or axe to grind with the plots devised for the other characters, I must regretfully inform that I shall be watching no further, as the destruction of Sheldon is breaking my embittered little heart. I retain my deep devotion to the brilliance of the early seasons, and to all of you who are the creators of Vintage Sheldon, and shall persist in scribbling slightly bombastic metaphor-mangling paeans on his original, marvellous, solitary, dignified self, but no new episode will cross my jaundiced eyeballs until his sense of purpose is returned to him.

    As it appears he is doomed to be shackled to either a bedpost or an alter – a fate which he was once heralded as unique and wonderful for avoiding, unlike every other character on television – whilst simultaneously being broken on the quotidian horns of convention, and losing his innocence through being made to hypocritically persist in a prosaic and mawkish relationship, the like of which his early self would shudder at, and is currently shambling around an imbecilic mockery of his former genius, an obnoxious beige humanoid, rather than a whimsical luminous alien, I presume this will be never.

    I realise his future does not lie within your purview, hence my grievances are merely being aired out of despair, rather than any sort of practical intent or hope of change. You can be assured I shan’t air them thusly again. Not on your wise and intricate blog at any rate…

    I look forward to reading your book immensely. Good fortune with your dissertation sir. You remain my favourite surrealist philosopher.

    I hope I remain your vaguely annoying allegorist.
    Highest of possible regards and respect,
    Valliard

  3. What exciting comments …
    I would like to add my own thoughts:
    1 – @Bentzysu – I think there is “eternal intelligence” that designed this Universe, and all its physical aspects — AND added in the design feature of humans having a Conscious Mind, which, along with self awareness, provides the potential for choice. A person, like the rest of creation’s beings, can get along fine without truly exercising choice — we just experience and cope with our patterns (our Life Algorithms). However, by using CHOICE, we can also (a) add in more good-feeling-life-energy, which gives us more resource to deal with life circumstances and (b) potentially transform the initial conditions of our Life Algorithms that kick us in the butt too frequently — and then experience more degrees of freedom.

    2 – @Valliard – I appreciated your statement “if not Time itself, then one’s Vision will hound its host until made manifest. If the Vision is neglected, it will rot the man from within.” And, I also love the old Sheldon — always running his innate Life Algorithms where we could trust his reaction — and laugh. One of my long-term boyfriends used to avidly watch Ally McBeal, saying “This show makes me feel so much better about my life!” Maybe that’s why people buy tabloids, too. The newer almost-soul-searching Sheldon … will he be as funny? Maybe not. Maybe he will be searching for the newer ideas about Big Bang … and there will be those who follow him for other reasons than just laughing at the super smart guy being so socially obtuse.

    3 – Thanks to you Eric … for using words I look up! And for the separation of “work” and the “magnificent 8.” Those of us who are self-employed can benefit from that!

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