Anyone in Brisbane, checkout QuIHN. Highly recommended :)
The book Conscious Loving touches on “telling the microscopic truth” which provides a lot of tactics for telling messy, complicated feelings. It’s a wonderful read and will improve your relationships.
They had this segment called 'minor confessions' where people would confess things that were pretty inconsequential, but still honest.
Around that time I was on a road trip with some friends and I thought it'd be fun to play the game. I figured it'd be goofy and kill a few minutes while we waited for a 'Q'. It didn't take long before the game turned into one of the most genuine and honest experiences of our relationship together. It was surprising how quickly we skipped past the minor and got into some pretty heavy stuff.
Years later I found myself in a booth at a pub with a bunch of dudes from church essentially having a doubt-group. A friend started out with questioning the divinity of Jesus -- and it carried from there.
Only a few years ago I was in a depression group therapy program provided by my local hospital --- and the same raw honestly and openness prevailed.
For me it was clear that early on I wanted this openness and honesty in my everyday life and not just a few times every few years and I've made a concerted effort to make it so. At first it was tough to overcome the fear or fear of shame, but once I got into the habit of it, I discovered that people value vulnerability and will often mirror this in the relationship.
There is also a line between being honest about struggles and stuff and being a whiner or a chronic complainer. I think it all boils down to your intention --- are you being open and honest for the attention or purely for the sake of something free and beautiful.
I truly hope that 'Authentic relating' catches on... but maybe without a formal title or 'movement.'
Can you imagine what would happen if people of different races or cultures did this? Or if a mix of Republicans and Democrats did this? I guess it might be harder to find common experiences, but there would still be some.
However, I find the demographic very surprising. The relating groups I frequent had more women than men, and very few people under 30.
Do you seriously believe all human needs are just weakness? What will someone's life be like if all that 'weakness' was removed? To my mind, it'd be incredibly dull.
The creators of Chatroulette originally wanted an app that could connect people around the world, it just turned out become a platform for people exposing themselves over webcam. If you could avoid that, and build a platform that nudges people into building these intimate conversations across the world, you might bring huge value to a world where people are increasingly lonely.
God's purpose is not to make us comfortable or to make life easy. It is to make us better, and happier. As part of that setup and goal, there are a couple of ways we can experience hard times. It can be from our own actions, and even the actions of others. Other times, it can be because we are doing things right, and are ready to grow and push our limits.
My point is this: experiencing a hard time doesn't mean you are doing anything wrong - it can come just as easily to someone doing everything right as to someone doing everything wrong. And in both cases, it can feel much the same
When searching for the absolute maxima in a 3d plane, you can be at low point for one of two reasons - either you're not doing it right and aren't actually heading uphill, or you reached a local maxima, and need to go lower in order to reach higher heights.
Corollary: We don't get to judge others for their hard times :)
There's no consensus in the group of atheists except that they reject the idea of a god.
Trying to frame it like there are more common assumptions ("Atheist interpretation: <your assumptions what you and other atheists think>") seems generalizing to me.
Speak for yourself. I'm an atheist and I see how people have purpose and I also find meaning in life (although I struggle with it all the time like many other people including theists).
I think this is pretty universal POV among atheists, but if you disagree - whatever. I never even claimed it's the only possible interpretation.
Avoiding pain and seeking pleasure seems to be a built in goal to almost all living beings.
No living thing creates that goal for themselves, it comes built in.
One of the easiest way to find meaning then, is to strive to reduce other sentient beings sufferings, and to increase their happiness.
There is no need for a god, or an idea of a god to promote this point of view.
The only goal that all livings things share is the drive to reproduce. Anything without that drive dies out, which explains why it's essential to life.
This is basically https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilitarianism and the simple counterexample to that is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utility_monster
At any rate - it's clear to me that these goals are self-created, and different between different people, so claiming them to be universal seems wrong.
They come with that built into their neurochemistry, and so do we.
It's the closest thing to a universal moral system I could think of.
And I don't see it as utilitarianism, I was thinking of Buddhist ethics which also contains other precepts to counteract some of the pathological cases in utilitarianism.
 Does it do so perfectly? Probably not, but it attempts to be a practical set of precepts, you still have to use your brain.
Atheism by definition has "no theology". You are free to experience life as you see fit.
Kant would say that this is indeed God.
Another corollary: When searching for an absolute maximum in a population of individuals with the ability to communicate with each other, it may be helpful to compare notes with those who appear to be at higher levels on the dimension whose maximum you are seeking.
Also, choose the right dimension (or projection).
Someone tell that to the millions of children who have died of AIDS.
I'm not a religious person, but I see how people see meaning in their belief systems. I don't see any underlying beliefs in your comment that have a positive attitude, it has a rather negative focus (without trying to neglect it).
I just happen to wonder what your goals are. What are you fighting for with this statement, what is the underlying belief system that leads you to this statement?
It's about as deep as is necessary. The answer is really that simple, people just don't like it.
> Modern theology isn't that ignorant of suffering and its origin as you might imagine.
Theology is (and has been for many centuries) expending a lot of effort to handwaving away the answer people don't like, that much is true.
I'm not religious and I don't think life has a purpose, but this sounds like a contradiction. How can life be good if it's not comfortable and easy ? You're basically saying she's making life better by making it worse. That makes no sense.
> My point is this: experiencing a hard time doesn't mean you are doing anything wrong - it can come just as easily to someone doing everything right as to someone doing everything wrong
Of course it doesn't, but that doesn't mean there is some higher power guiding it. Life is just random, bad stuff happens for no reason, so does good stuff.
Do you have fun playing tic-tac-toe? The harder a game is the more rewarding it is to succeed at it. Some games are so hard they can crush you but if you manage to rise up again and eventually succeed then you will be stronger for the experience and happier.
One example of this is the game of regular jobs vs the game of startups. A regular job is easy and comfortable but few people are content and the ceiling of achievement is not that high.
A startup can make you have mental breakdowns but if you manage to eventually win you'll be much richer /respected than someone who played it safe.
No it's not. I hate games that are too hard. Back in the day when cheat codes were still a thing I used to play most games in 'god mode' all the time.
Also, what do you define as 'success'. For me a comfortable and easy life is success.
Even if you're not ambitious you still don't play the simplest games possible, you still try to play games that are somewhat difficult.
The analogy for computer games cheats in real life are drugs / wireheading. If your goal is to just feel good regardless why not do heroin?
Not really. I mainly play games for the story.
> If your goal is to just feel good regardless why not do heroin?
Because that also has negative consequences. If all it did was make you feel good, then sure.
> Because that also has negative consequences
Well that's just your perspective, maybe someone might believe that 10 years of pure bliss is more worthwhile than 60 years of playing tic tac toe.
Everyone chooses which games they want to play and at which difficulty. I choose to play hard life games because my goal in life is to maximize my fitness and that of everyone around me. You might choose otherwise but you must make that choice consciously.
Really? As soon as you encounter discomfort or difficulty, life's no longer good? That philosophy will be wearying over the years.
Yes. I'm also of the opinion that the good doesn't compensate for the bad. Life is suffering, and being born is the worst thing that can happen to a person (I'm an anti-natalist and supporter of the voluntary human extinction movement).
I'm amazed, humbled, and grateful to be alive (not to any sentience, mind you, just grateful). To be the universe experiencing itself.
Life includes suffering, yes, but also the opportunity to ease the suffering of self and others.
I interpret your point of antinatalism that you see humanity as the fluke of the probability. Personally, I think we give ourselves meaning, and I can think of no better long-term mission for existence than beating heat death of the universe, even if it's simply to give a middle-finger to the universe for the suffering people endure.
What kind of energy are hedonistic people taking ? Electric ? Kinetic ? Thermal ? Magnetic ?
But even so, if you're partying all the time then somebody has to pay to keep the lights on. Somebody has to clean up after you and somebody has to constantly buoy your emotional state and protect you from the negative thoughts that might otherwise threaten your party.
I would contend that all of this takes "energy" as defined in the canon of physics.
Sure, but that's not what I would call and 'easy and comfortable' life. If I live alone on an island with enough food growing around me to feed me, that would be an easy life. What would that take of other people ?
Sounds lovely though. Sounds like a very nice holiday.
Wouldn't want to get sick.
Also, being a westerner it's one of those concepts I've heard a lot about but almost certainly don't completely grasp, so I wouldn't feel comfortable using it for any kind of rigorous analysis.
It's bollocks, of course, and often pacifies folks from working to improve their own personal situations. Nietzche's religious critiques come to mind in this type of situation.
It doesn't need to because it doesn't face hardship.
Good question. Nietzsche talked alot about this issue, this was his very main concern when he talked about "becoming oneself" as one of many desirable (subjective) goals in life that can give us meaning. You don't even need religion to endure suffering with meaning.
It depends on your definition of a good life. I hope you see that it's not a objective truth that life is good when it's comfortable and easy. It can be that you see it as your goal, but e.g. I don't want that - but this isn't even relevant. Important is to understand that all truths that we believe in are assumptions (some of them called "facts" which are assumptions commonly shared by many people or in a group) and that they can differ between individuals which means that we perceive reality differently. Objectively describing what reality is is not possible - this is one key aspect of epistemology.
"Bad stuff" and "good stuff" has also subjective and normative aspects. What do we perceive as good or bad? It's based on values and a belief system. For a nihilist there's not even "good" or "bad" because those can only be defined with a belief system. Nihilists have a collapsed belief system which says that nothing has inherent value. But the question is: What is the motivation for an individual to become a nihilist? (pro: you don't have to take responsibility and fight for your beliefs, con: it can suck alot to have a meaningless life)
Does your belief system enables you to be happy and fulfilled (in your terms)?
This is the relevant question I would personally use to assess if a belief system is enabling or hindering you.
For me it's simple: an easy, comfortable life with as little contact with human beings as possible.
> Objectively describing what reality is is not possible
I disagree. I believe there is such a thing as absolute, objective truth. A 'fact' is not a shared assumption, a fact is any statement to which a truth value can be assigned.
for example a belief system can look like this:
belief_system("earth is flat") -> false
belief_system("life is meaningless") -> true
Where is the truth value coming from? For a flat earther: They can e.g. use a emotional and individual belief system to determine truth values. For a scientific-minded person: They assign truth values based on scientific evidence (which is a type of assumption).
btw: saying there is absolute and objective truth is highly unscientific - science is based on the premise that you can replace theories with another theory if the evidence suggests it. The problem of induction shows the limit of empiric evidence and I hope that most scientists are aligned with this scientific principles (otherwise they aren't scientists by definition). IMHO there is no absolute truth that can be identified as such (I'm not assuming that there isn't objective truth, but merely that we couldn't identify it if there is such a thing).
It's like IT security, it is a relative measurement and the relations (in this case) are made by belief systems. There is a consensus that there is no "absolute security" in the security sector. If you accept that there is no absolute security in IT systems and only "reasonable security" (I do not assume that you do assume this), why do you have problems to accept that there might not be a way to recognize the "true truth values"? If you see absolute security as a given you don't have to solve this conflict.
I'm merely exercising logic here using my assumptions (and yes, some of them I call "facts", but I see them as something which gets defined by my belief system).
belief_system("there is such a thing as absolute, objective truth")
belief_system("truth as we use it in our daily lives is defined by our belief systems")
btw, would love to see discussions using assumptions and then logically deriving conclusions. Especially funny when somebody has conflicting assumptions (logic of explosion).
Where is the evidence coming from if there is no underlying absolute and objective truth (a.k.a. 'the real world') to generate that evidence ?
> There is a consensus that there is no "absolute security" in the security sector. If you accept that there is no absolute security in IT systems and only "reasonable security" (I do not assume that you do assume this)
To use your analogy, of course there is such a thing as absolute security. As in, it is theoretically possible for a system to be 100% secure. The difficulty lies in designing one and proving it. It's not fundamentally impossible.
Just because it's very hard or even impossible to discover the objective truth, that doesn't in any way mean there isn't one.
Subjective idealism states that there don't has to be objective reality to get truth values from it. Trying to understand this from a materialistic point of view is not easy because those philosophies are basically in contradiction to each other.
It's just important to realize that the belief that objective reality exists is one of many points of view.
> As in, it is theoretically possible for a system to be 100% secure. The difficulty lies in designing one and proving it.
> It's not fundamentally impossible.
How is "100% secure" defined in this context if you can't prove it?
In a sufficient complex logical system Gödel's incompleteness theorems are turning relevant. It might not be possible to prove some aspects of it if the system is logically consistent. This may also apply if you model reality in a logically consistent way. Logics has its limits.
Although I agree with you, I think it's important to realize that our positions are and can't exceed to be beliefs or even strong beliefs called facts.
I wonder if most of these people have kids or not, or plan on it.
When I was a young man, I served as counselor to a wise district president in the Church. He tried to teach me. One of the things I remember wondering about was this advice he gave: "When you meet someone, treat them as if they were in serious trouble, and you will be right more than half the time."
I thought then that he was pessimistic. Now, more than 40 years later, I can see how well he understood the world and life.
Humans need connection. Some more than others. Imagine how tightly-knit human societies had to be for the bulk of human history. Whether this is the right answer, I have no idea, but it seems like people are grasping for something like connection.
While EST has the reputation of having been abusive, its descendant The Landmark Forum is not. A lot of The Forum consists of people opening up about their lives, their fears and emotions, events that have shaped them, and their inner life.
Of course the attendees are a self-selecting group, but my #1 take-away from The Forum was the discovery that everyone else in the room was insecure, too. The stories they shared were fascinating and worth the price of admission.
Also, I'm sure that many found est programs abusive. It was certainly much harder. Rather like military boot camp. Long sessions that didn't end until everyone "got it". The "Six Day", for example. I doubt that it could be done today. Just four hours sleep, at most. Running uphill for maybe one km every morning at dawn. A being-with exercise in swimming suits, in a pattern that had everyone eventually face everyone else. No coffee, tea, tobacco, or other drugs. A ropes course. What a trip :)
The Forum also has mentions in the literature about cults.
There is a building backlash and this is just seems like a stop gap, therapeutic measure.
You can not create deep meaningful human connection quickly. It's just a game with emotions. A game plenty of organizations and cult gurus abuse for money and power.
If a person feels safe he might talk about things he would not otherwise. Yes. But deep meaningful connection requires both people knowing each other for a long time, spending a lot of time together and living through a lot of different situations, both hard and easy, dead serious and playful.
Anyway I've thought this for years, is there a name for it, or some other deeper meaning? Familiarity breeds contempt, maybe?
People, for many reasons, automate other people in their minds. They define them, and aren’t willing to adapt their definition. They want the world to remain as they think it is, so they continue to treat it, and you, like it was.
Sounds like they’re clinging to a sense of superiority in an effort to delude themselves that you aren’t all that.
So it's easier to be open, it all may feel great, but has its own challenges.
Based on what I understand the author is talking about I specifically think the term "create" in particular might be inexact. "create" implies making something from scratch but I don't think that's what's intended.
"establish" might be better since what is sought is to bring to life the deep and meaningful human connection that is already there.
What I mean is, is that as humans we all share the human experience and we all have more in common than we differ. The purpose of this school of thought seems to be to help build on that and open our minds to that.
Reading the opening paragraph again, the author basically claims the training aims at improving curiosity and empathy and that these are necessary (not sufficient) to create a deep and meaningful connection, but leaves how that happens to the reader.
I tried to find more information about AR and found AR international training website, where they (do not really) describe their approach. They seem to be inspired by Fritz Perls and his Gestalt therapy, but that's itself a complicated view of human psychology. It's not clear what parts of Gestalt psychology they accept.
It's all just too vague. I wouldn't call it a school of thought. Gestalt certainly is though!
They also seem to overpromise a bit, to say the least, in introductions to their trainings. It's ridiculous actually for a weekend workshop.
It depends on your definition of quickly. With authentic relating games, I've had some deep, impactful experiences with people I'd only known for a couple days.
There is a theory that you have to slowly take emotional steps with people over a long period of time before you get to the "good stuff", but in my experience that isn't the only way.
If the two people are open, vulnerable and conscious in their intentions you can take some pretty big leaps instead of all those small steps.
In circling you just talk about how you're feeling in the moment. So a newcomer might share that they're anxious. Someone might ask them how that feels physically in their body (butterflies in the stomach etc). Someone else might share their reaction (I'm feeling protective of the new person).
So what do I get out of it? When people share their feelings I generally feel a lot of empathy for them. It's also interesting when people have different reactions to what's going on in the circle. They share those reactions much more openly than people normally would.
I leave feeling like I understand the other people at some deep level. But I don't know where they work, what their hobbies are, if they're in a relationship, etc. I trust that in circling I can be vulnerable with them and they won't hurt me. But I haven't built up trust with them in other areas (loaning money, etc.).
Compare that to meeting a stranger (we both read the same blog) for a beer. I know his hobbies, his career aspirations, what he thinks about politics, etc. The feeling of connection is very different compared to someone I met circling.
When it comes to me, I learnt about the positive aspect of vulnerability from Mark Manson's "Models". It's one of the two key points of this book, after "non-neediness".
I have a tainted view of vulnerability as I saw it preached for years by someone who turned out to be a world class opportunist and manipulator. Some youtube personality I'll not mention the name of, because he seems to thrive on negative publicity these days.
It's one of those human ideas that a zebra would not understand as Sapolsky would say. Try explaining to a zebra benefits of being vulnerable. :)
Can only be that Canadian guy ...
Try explaining to a zebra
As pack animals, intra-zebra emotional intelligence is essential for maintaining the cohesion of the herd. Looking from the outside it's hard to see this as all we see is the daily struggle for survival.
You're a world class guesser. :)
You're likely correct, but it takes more than time to make deep meaningful connections. It also requires skills like empathy, which can be taught.
In your experience, perhaps.
Other people have different experiences, and some of these experiences you might find surprising! :-)