Saturday, August 30, 2014

Natural Agents

"Pragmatic naturalism offers a promising via media between 'reductive naturalism' and 'normatively oriented accounts of social practice'. It can do so because the incorporation of the vocabulary of agency into naturalism makes possible a much richer and more sophisticated picture of ourselves as 'natural agents': animals who are inescapably committed to the process of triangulating between the subjective, objective, and intersubjective aspects of knowledge and experience, and in that process engendering, as Rorty has done more than most to emphasize, ever more interesting and exciting forms of science, philosophy, and poetry."

Contemporary Pragmatism
Vol. 6, No. 1 (June 2009), 15–37
Natural Agents: A Transcendental Argument for Pragmatic Naturalism
Carl Sachs

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Acts Of The Holy Ghost ~ parts one through four

      draft version 2013-09-02    (PDF: 20 pages)


H.G. Taylor: H.G. could be Holy Ghost, but isn't.
Harold B.D. Lord: "Hallowed be the Lord" (when you say it)
Lord & Taylor: a famous department store chain
K.A. Fuss: Caiaphas (the leader of the Sanhedrin)
The Council: The Sanhedrin
Governor Pyle Ott: (Pontius) Pilate, governor of Judea
L.Z. Bubb: Beelzebub

These are all names as H.G. hears them (via NT = Noodle Translator) in his own language (whatever that is ... Heavenish?) and then written into English (which isn't Hebrew, which was the source).

Why did Harold and H.G. want to pick a surrogate mother on Earth rather than one on their own planet, Heaven? Maybe it's just their scientific curiosity that kicked in.

Close-ended strings, however, are like tiny rings, unattached to their brane, able to “leak” away from it.

© Copyright 2012, 2013 Philip Thrift

The Acts Of The Holy Ghost ~ part four

       continued from Sunday, August 25, 2013

~ Act 10 ~

Gabriel, Michael, and I took Jesse to a nearby house that was abandoned, out of sight. I said, "The two of you keep Jesse here for a while. I want to go back and check on the soldiers we knocked out and see what they do."

I went back to the building where the two soldiers were just coming to. Again, I was unobserved.

"Hey, the prisoner is gone. What happened?" one said.

"Look. If we show up without Jesse, Governor Ott will have us nailed on crosses," the other figured.

"You know that crazy panhandler down on that corner we passed the other day, the one that babbles on? He looks a lot like that Jesse guy. Lets go grab him and take him to be crucified. No will will know!

"Great idea!"

I followed the soldiers as they went to the corner they were talking about. They grab this guy, ranting about the end of the world or something, who did look a lot like Jesse! I followed them as they took this poor fellow (whose name I never found out) to a room where beams of wood were being made into crosses to hang men on for execution. (Whoever thought of such a thing?) I didn't need to see what happened next, so I returned to where we had Jesse hidden.

"I can't believe it all worked out like this," Jesse said after I told them all that happened. I was assuming that the other guy was being crucified as I was speaking. "Tomorrow, we we'll find out where they buried that unfortunate guy, steal the body and secretly bury him somewhere else. We don't want the Council to find out later they got the the wrong man executed. People will probably even begin to think you rose from the dead somehow. But I will need to take you back with us to Heaven. Otherwise you will be killed for sure."

"What do I do now?"

"We'll just lay low."

"Can I tell my disciples I'm going away? They should know."

I thought for a bit. "OK, but just say you are going to another country. They won't do anything."

~ Act 11 ~

The next day, Gabriel and Michael did as I told them: They found the tomb where Jesse was buried — it turned out to be owned by a rich man who liked what Jesse had to say. They stole the body from tomb and disposed of it somewhere else. After they returned from that mission, I told them to transfer back to Heaven and wait for me and Jesse. The two of us had one more thing to do.

On the day following that, I noticed a commotion outside. People were talking about a tombstone that had once closed a tomb being rolled away and a missing body. I assumed they were talking about Jesse. Good thing the other guy's body was not discovered or the Council might be on search for the real Jesse. Jesse and I waited until that evening to leave (with Jesse disguised) and we made our way to a room where Jesse's disciples were meeting. I waited outside unobserved.

"Holy shit!" Peter shrieked.

"Jesse! What the fuck?" John beamed.

"It's me," Jesse said.

"I doubted you were really dead." Thomas was consistent.

"Where's Judah?" Jesse asked.

Philip filled him in. "He's the one who led the Council guards to arrest you. I haven't seen him since. What happened to you?"

"I don't have much time, and I don't understand much of anything, but here's what I can say. I was being led off to be executed on the Sabbath and I was rescued. I won't get into the details of by whom. Anyway, from what I was told, the soldiers who lost custody of me were afraid of getting into trouble, so they went out and found this crazy guy who looks like me — well, looked like me — and took him to be crucified. The poor guy. So then, two of my rescuers late the next day took his body from the tomb and buried him God knows where. When people went back to the tomb today they saw it was empty."

"What are you going to do?" Matthew asked.

"I'm going to leave Judea and never be seen or heard of again. I can't tell you where I'm going."

"Please take me with you, Jesse," Maggie pleaded. John, the disciple in love with Jesse, looked down, saddened. He knew Jesse would never be for him.

Jesse and Maggie left the room and they joined with me. The three of us transferred back to Heaven after a brief introduction between me and Maggie. Needless to say, Jessie and Maggie didn't have a clue what had happened to them.

~ Act 12 ~

All of us were back on Heaven: Harold and I, with Michael and Gabriel, and now with Jesse and Maggie. "This is your father, Harold," I said.

"Just as I imagined." Jesse responded.

"There's a lot to explain to you."

"Uh, OK."

"This is Heaven, a planet very much like the one you have come from, but it's in a different universe. You and Maggie are the last material beings we can transfer between Earth and Heaven, due to the Interuniverse Commerce Conservation Principle. Our time dimensions are different though: one year on your planet is equivalent to a week on ours, or one day on Earth is about thirty minutes here in Heaven. We can watch what's going on on Judea on e-tablets, or on our big screen TV."

Harold showed Jesse the big screen. Jesse fainted. Maggie, along with the rest of us, revived him.

Latter that day (about two weeks had passed on Earth), Jesse, Maggie, Harold, and I were watching Earth events.

"I'm glad my disciples are staying out it and are keeping their mouths shut," Jesse opined. "The Council will seek them out too, I'm sure." But others are starting to make up all kinds of stories about me!"

"People have gone nuts," Maggie chimed in.

I put my hand on Jesse's shoulder." I'm glad you are with us now. I thought maybe you could help them out there, but looks like there is no hope. Maybe in a couple of thousand years they will wise up."

So that's basically how all this happened, and all I have to tell for now. Jesse and Maggie are here with us on Heaven and Earth is going to Hell.

Update 2013/09/01: parts one through four combined

© Copyright 2012, 2013 Philip Thrift

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Acts Of The Holy Ghost ~ part three

       continued from Sunday, August 18, 2013

~ Act 7 ~

After Jesse saved John from death by The Council, he went off on his own, wandering and thinking. I approached him, seen this time.

"Dad! What are you doing here?"

"I think you need a boost to your ratings. I have some things up my sleeve I think could help you."

"Like what?"

"Just some stuff your Father and I came up with. Here's some salve that can restore sight to the blind. You just rub in on their eyes and ... voilà!" I didn't go into the details of the nanobiotics at work in the salve.

"I can't make it on my own, eh?"

"Just a little help. People will flock to you after this."

I walked along with Jesse and by pure chance we came across a blind beggar. Jesse rubbed his eyes with the salve I gave him and within a few seconds the blind guy's sight was restored. "I can see! I'm going to tell everyone what you did!"

I returned to Heaven, but later went back. Not to observe Jesse, but to observe what was going on in The Council. I listened to a meeting going on.

"There are stories going around that this Jesse guy is practicing sorcery. As if his teaching isn't enough ..." That was the one I had assumed to be the leader. I learned his name next.

"I think we need to find out more about this, K.A. Fuss. We need an insider within his little group to tell us what is going on."

"I hear there's this follower, Judah, who can be bought for the right price. He seems the most distant," K.A. Fuss suggested.

"I'll see what I can do ..."

~ Act 8 ~

I was back in Heaven. Harold and I were in bed.

"I see our son is running into problems, H.G."

"I've been helping out here and there: some blind-healing salve, a walking-on-water illusion I taught Jesse, ..."

"But it seems the religious leaders there are getting ready to get rid of him. It's going to happen eventually. What can we do?"

"Gabriel, Michael, and I will go down and look after him. If they take action, we'll protect him."

"Good idea."

The three of us transfered to Judea and went to The Council room. We followed a group of them as they left, led by K.A. Fuss, as they approached Judah. We observed them as they give him a bag of coins. Judah led the group to where Jesse was meeting with his disciples.

"Arrest that man!" K.A. commands.

"Who the hell are you?" Jesse asked.

"K.A. Fuss, president of The Council. You are charged with punditry and blasphemy!"

Jesse was led away as his disciples scattered.

~ Act 9 ~

Gabriel, Michael, and I followed the group as they led Jesse back to the Council chamber. The "trial" they put him through didn't take much time.

"Is it true that you say you are the one and only son of God? I have a witness," K.A. challenged Jesse.

"Well, I didn't pick my father. Or my dad."

"And is it true you teach that the Laws of Moses are obsolete?"

"Well, ..."

"Well, I'll have none of that. I vote we turn him over to Governor Pyle Ott to be executed. He's always looking for someone to execute to boost his poll standings! Let's give him Jesse! Who votes 'Aye'?"

All raised their hands, and Jesse is led away. They take him to a government building where a soldier escorts them to a somewhat regally dressed man. Gabriel, Michael, and I blend in with the small mob that joined in with other Council members.

"Your own preachers have turned you over to me to be executed. What did you do?" Pyle asked.

"I just spoke the truth, I think."

"What is truth? What am I going to do with you?"

"I can't help what I believe."

The Council shouted at Pyle Ott, "Crucify him, or we'll get Caesar to replace you!"

"I wash my hands of this ... Take him away!"

As Jesse was being taken away by two soldiers, this is when the three of us decided to take action. As the two soldiers are leading Jesse down a hallway, we stun them with zappers and get Jesse safely away.

       continued in part four

Update 2013/09/01: parts one through four combined

© Copyright 2012, 2013 Philip Thrift

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Acts Of The Holy Ghost ~ part two

       continued from Sunday, August 11, 2013

~ Act 4 ~

I transferred back and forth between Heaven and Earth several times to chat with our son, Jesse. Sometimes I would talk a bit about Heaven, a few bits about our science. He seemed to absorb some of that. Other times I would just go there and remain hidden, even from him. Here is one episode of what I observed incognito.

Jesse was teaching a group in a small room. With him were Peter, John, Thomas, Matthew, Philip, Judah, and Maggie. (I learned their names based on observing their conversation.)

"I've been working on a new speech," Jesse said as he picked up a parchment. "Here's the thing."

"Here's the thing?" Thomas was doubting that that could be the opening line. "I don't think you can begin a speech to thousands with "Here's the thing."

"OK." Jesse scratched off that line.

John touched Jesse on the arm with curiously loving eyes. "I think your ministry is going great, Jesse."

"Thanks, John."

Peter, a rather butch fellow, asserted himself. "I think we need to move to the next step, m'Lord."

"What did you have in mind, Peter?"

"A rousing speech from a mountaintop. The thoughts you shared with us last week."

Thomas was questioning. "What's the final scene in all this. I'm inspired, but what does this all lead to?"

"Always the doubter, Thomas. But I feel this world is all screwed up. It needs to shake off the old and modernize. A new testament, if I should be so bold. What do you think, Maggie?"

"You're going to listen to a woman?" Peter was like a rock.

"In the new world I envision, women have an equal role."

"Well, I don't cast my pearls before swine," Maggie scolded Peter.

"Hey, that's a great line!" Jesse said. He wrote something down with his stylus.

"Hey, don't fight. Blessed are the peacemakers," Philip chimed in.

"Another great line!"

This went on for some time. After a while, Jesse left the meeting room and went out walking alone on a hillside, looking down and mumbling to himself. I was following him out of sight when this professional-looking (in Judean terms) man approached Jesse.

Jesse looked up. "And who would you be?"

"L.Z. Bubb."

"L.Z.?" OK.

"I was at one of talks last week. Interesting."

"Think so?"

"You're going to mess things up with the establishment you know. And you know what happens to those who do that."

"All I want is equality and treating everyone the same. And for there to be a little justice and mercy. I just believe it gets better." Jesse sounded almost believable.

"Why don't you come work for me? You would be great in marketing. I can make you rich. This philosophical work is nonsense."

"Temping, I don't know ..."

"Think about it." L.Z. Bubb walked away.

~ Act 5 ~

I transferred back to Heaven. The next time I visited Earth I watched Jesse as he was speaking to a pretty large crowd. I just mixed in, so he didn't notice me.

"You're blessed when you think life sucks. Let go and let the One inside you rule.

"You're blessed when you aren't in the top 1%. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.

"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for Knowledge. It's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.

"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full', you find yourselves cared for.

"You're blessed when you can show nations how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. Otherwise you are just a war monger.

"You're blessed when your commitment to Truth provokes attacks. Persecution drives you even deeper into Enlightenment.

"Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then take the first step and do it for them. Add up the Torah and Prophets and this is what you get, more or less, minus the bullshit.

"Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don't be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.

"You've may have been taught to retaliate against your enemies. But I say to turn away from retribution.

"You've heard it was written, 'In the beginning God created Heaven and the Earth'. But I tell you our whole universe was in a hot dense state, then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion starts — Wait! Scratch that.

"I did not come here to you to tell you to ignore the Law. I tell you I'm here to fulfill it. Don't disobey the Law until that happens.

"There is far more at stake here than religion. This Son of Man is no lackey to the Sabbath; he's in charge.

"But if you just use my words in Scripture studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards."

With that, he walked away.

Two men right beside me started talking to each other. "I see trouble brewing," one said. "He's saying on one hand to obey Scripture, but then he's saying it's garbage and that he's replacing it. He makes no sense. He's some kind of a nut." The other responded, "We'll have to keep our eye on him. He is another one of those educated elite snobs who thinks he knows better than God's Word. If he gets a bigger following, The Council must take action."

That was the first time I heard of an organization called 'The Council'. After that, I returned to Heaven.

~ Act 6 ~

A later time I went back to Earth hidden from Jesse's view. Jesse and some of his followers were out walking and came across a disturbance. A group of men (one of whom I recognized to be a member of the Council) was holding John and another man (both barely dressed) in their possession.

"What are you doing with John?" Jesse asked without fear.

"These two have conducted themselves in the way of Sodom. We found them fooling around in the olive garden. They were sampling each other's pits. They must be put to death!" said one.

By the context, I figured out what 'way of Sodom' meant. Then I was surprised by what Jesse said and did next. "The old law is dead. Let them go!" Jesse and his men grab John and his companion away from the men from the Council. "Let's scram!"

With that Jesse and his group of followers ran away with John and companion, safe from the Council.

continued in part three

Update 2013/09/01: parts one through four combined

© Copyright 2012, 2013 Philip Thrift