Spiffy thoughts

The thoughts of a recovering disappointment.

Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

Is correct information enough?

Posted by Ammon on October 1, 2015

In the world of the Christians, there has historically been a problem.  Some non-Christians, may look at the plethora of Christian denominations and wonder, why so many?  What’s the difference if they’re all Christians?

Short answer: The difference is in the doctrine – the specifics about what they believe.

Long Answer: Some Christians will claim that as long as you believe in Christ and give your life to Him it doesn’t matter which denomination you join.  For many this is truly what they believe.  I agree with them … to some extent, but that’s not the topic of this post.  I agree that the most important thing is to truly have faith in and give your life to Christ.  After that your denomination is a relatively minor thing, though not completely irrelevant.  There are some doctrines that, if misunderstood, can lead to problems in both the temporal and spiritual sense.

I attended a leadership development event a couple of years ago where Orrin Woodward spoke and he said something that has my mind spinning and wanting to share what I learned.

He taught the process of Learn -> Do -> Teach.  He taught about the importance of doing something before you teach it to others.  Too often in our credentialist society, we shortcut the process by using a piece of paper that says we know what we are talking about as evidence of genuine authority, knowledge, and experience.

Paul taught “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”  James 2: 26 (14-26)

Today, I read an article about Pope Francis’ visit to the United States and a speech he gave.  In the first few paragraphs of the article is a quote that I found profound.  Now, I’m not a catholic, but this quote really rang true to me.  He was speaking about avoiding blaming others, especially the youth or those that have been led astray from truth, for governmental action which goes contrary to the doctrine or beliefs of Christians.  He said:

“We need to invest our energies not so much in rehearsing the problems of the world around us and the merits of Christianity, but in extending a sincere invitation to young people to be brave and to opt for marriage and the family,”

Too often, I get caught up in “rehearsing the problems of the world around us” and even the merits of Christianity” but neglect the importance of extending a sincere and caring hand to other people, inviting them to stand for what I believe is right and true.  I tend to think that because, intellectually, I consider myself to be right, that is enough.  That the disparity between my prolific rants and my feeble good deeds can be swept under the rug.

The question I pose to you: Is understanding something enough, or is real world application and practice necessary?

Posted in Insights, Philosophy | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

In Defense of the “Self”

Posted by Ammon on April 28, 2011

I have a love/hate relationship with the writings of Ayn Rand.  I read her writings and can see some things that I feel are missing from what I understand as her ideal. Then I read a criticism of the heroes in her novels and I feel like they are misunderstanding and misrepresenting the reality of what her heroes demonstrate.

For example:

The hero of her novel Anthem, Equality 7-2521, at the end of the novel, now having named himself Prometheus, comes to believe that instead of living for the state, the brotherhood of mankind, or for others, the highest ideal is actually to live for oneself.  That he, as an individual, has no inherent or a priori obligation to any brotherhood of mankind, to any governmental institution, or to any other individual.  The only obligation he has is to himself.  He states:

I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms.  This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest.

I need no warrant for being, and no word of the sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction.  It is my mind which thinks, and the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth.

It is my will which chooses, and the choice of my will is the only edict I must respect.

I find this idea intriguing, but easily taken in a direction which is deception.

My own first fundamental principle is “I am.”  In other words, before everything else, before any other truth or principle, I must recognize and embrace the fact that I exist and have worth first and foremost, to myself.  Anthem played a large part in helping me develop this fundamental principle.

The second of my fundamental principles is “God is.”  By which I mean that no less important, and inseparably related to recognizing and embracing the fact that I exist and have value to myself, is that I recognize and embrace that God exists and that my happiness is of worth to him – hence “I am.”

However, today I was reading another book which is already having a transformational effect on my understanding of truth, The Student Whisperer.  I’m only about 1/3 the way through the book, but it is really inspiring me.  In it one of the two authors, Tiffany Earl, is sharing some excerpts from her study journal, written as a student at George Wythe College.  These are her criticisms of the same messages in Anthem:

Ayn Rand rejected the imitation and simultaneously refected the “real thing.”  She rejected communism with its “two-headed dragon” of terror and force and all its inherent evils, the indignity it bring upon mankind.  And like a person who rejects imitation vanilla as not quite cutting it and at the same time decides to discard all vanilla, Ayn Rand rejects the imitation brotherhood and also throws out the real brotherhood in her writings.  But in her heart of hearts she held to the real, though her words denied it.  Her whole life was dedicated to mankind, lifting them from the yoke of force, terror, Communism.  It’s ironic really.

Actually, I don’t think it’s that ironic if she had truly understood what Ayn Rand felt in her heart of hearts.  I believe Ayn Rand would argue that she did not dedicate her life to mankind, but to her own desire to have a world free from the Communism she experienced as a youth.  She would say she was not motivated by any sense of obligation to mankind, but by her, as she would likely put it, selfish desire to see “communism with its ‘two-headed dragon’ of terror and force” destroyed.

The student, Tiffany Earl makes the erroneous assumption that when Prometheus declares:

I shall call to me all the men and the women whose spirit has not been killed within them and who suffer under the yoke of their brothers.  They will follow me and I shall lead them to my fortress.

That he “actually does feel an obligation to the brotherhood.” And thus sees an apparent contradiction in the book.

However, I see an important difference between wanting others who are like minded and want the intellectual freedom he can offer to be with him and to associate with such people, and a feeling of obligation toward these same people.  He is not making a statement about what he needs, or has an obligation to perform, but a statement about what he wants and what he believes will help him achieve happiness.

The way I see it, this is no different than God.  God does not need anybody to do his work.  He is perfectly able to accomplish, on his own, anything that he wants accomplished.  Nor does he do his work out of a sense of obligation toward us.  My religious beliefs include a doctrine that God wants us to be with Him and enjoy the same things He enjoys – to be like him.  That is the motivation behind everything He does.  Not out of a sense of obligation, nor out of a need of his to have us be like him.  If it’s not immoral for God to be motivated by nothing other than the furthering of his own purposes and will, why would it be immoral for those, whom he wants to be like him, to do the same?

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a Comment »

Principles and Values

Posted by Ammon on April 2, 2011

This will be an ongoing project of mine and I will be adding to / editing / revising / etc. as I experience life and learn more about true principles.

Statement of Principles & Values

Principles vs. Values

  • Principles are true ideas expressed in complete statements — descriptions of the natural laws by which God governs the universe.
  • Values are personal attributes which I consider to have worth

Principles:

  1. I am, that I might have true and eternal happiness.
  2. God is.
  3. God is the great, eternal, intelligent creator
  4. All individual humans are children of God
  5. As His children, individuals are infinitely valuable to Him
  6. God governs the universe through principles of truth
  7. God’s work and glory (His definite major purpose) is bringing about true and eternal happiness for his children.
  8. Principles of truth, when applied correctly, lead to true and eternal happiness
  9. God is the only sure source for principles of truth
  10. Honest and productive exchange builds relationships
  11. Relationships define true prosperity and wealth
  12. Marriage is the foundational relationship, association, contract, and agreement between two individuals upon which a family is created
  13. Marriage between a man and a woman is the only marriage which leads to true and eternal happiness
  14. Society is formed when two or more individuals form a family
  15. The basic unit of society is the family
  16. The basic unit of the family is the individual.
  17. True Prosperity and wealth is the natural result of acting to achieve God’s work and glory on behalf of all of His children; and is only obtained for one individual or group of individuals by furthering the eternal happiness of other individuals.
  18. Right and wrong, righteousness and wickedness, are defined by truth and virtue, falsehood and vice (not by majority vote, might of resources, physical strength, force of argument, extent of experience, history of tradition, or skill in rationalization).
  19. Wickedness is not happiness.
  20. The privilege of individual freedom comes with the responsibility of stewardship.
  21. Freedom is the result of true faith and trust.
  22. Force is the absence of true faith and trust.
  23. Individual actions reflect individual values
  24. In creating value for (serving) others, we create value for (serve) God.
  25. Contention is counterproductive to virtue.

Values:

  1. Honesty and Trust
    • Trust is impossible without Honesty. Trust is essential to building relationships.
  2. Integrity
    • It is essential that other people are able to trust that how you act reflects what you say you value.
  3. Virtue
    • Virtue is directing your thoughts and feelings in such a way that your actionsand and the way you live your life promote God’s work and glory
      • Private Virtue is that which leads to your own eternal salvation
      • Public Virtue is that which leads to the eternal salvation of others
  4. Charity
    • Charity is the pure love of Christ
  5. Courage
    • Courage is being afraid and pursuing virtue anyway
  6. Faith/Hope/Optimism
    • Faith is confidence, leading to action, in the principles by which God governs.
  7. Divine nature and Individual worth
    • You are a child of Heavenly Father who loves you and has a unique mission for you to accomplish
  8. Knowledge/Wisdom/Education
    • The purpose of education is personal improvement
  9. Choice and Accountability
    • You are responsible for what happens to you in your life
  10. Good Works
    • True happiness comes from giving your heart, might, mind, and strength to accomplishing the work of the Lord.
  11. Prosperity

Posted in Philosophy, Prosperity | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Wealth, wants, needs, … and stewardship.

Posted by Ammon on April 16, 2009

I have recently been reading a bit of Aristotle and find some of his conclusions interesting – though dead wrong.  I really enjoy reading people with whom I disagree.  I have the highest occurrences of epiphanies when I do.  For instance, in Politics, Book I, he talks about Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Insights, Philosophy | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Anarchy, the institution of Government, and self-governance.

Posted by Ammon on March 20, 2009

I just recently listened again to a talk on the FEE podcast entitled “Self-Governance.” As I was listening the speaker, who is a self-proclaimed anarcho-capitalist, gave Somalia as an example of how anarchy can sometimes be a better option than Read the rest of this entry »

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Because god is the author of prosperity, principles govern.

Posted by Ammon on October 18, 2008

I first became enamored with the idea of principles determining everything that happens, good or bad, when I started reading Stephen Covey’s book, “Principle Centered Leadership.”  I loved the concept that if I center my life and choices on principles, I will always be happiest and the most productive possible.

Principles do indeed govern.  Because God has a perfect understanding of principles, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Philosophy, Prosperity | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

It’s amazing what a good venting session does for the psyche.

Posted by Ammon on October 10, 2008

I am a member of the Free Capitalist Project.  I am also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the LDS, or Mormon church).  The reason I choose membership in both of these organizations is because I believe the chief issues involved are moral causes.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Philosophy, Prosperity | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Foundation for Economic Education Podcast

Posted by Ammon on September 26, 2008

I have been listening to the podcast for the “Foundation for Economic Eduction” (FEE)

It has caused me to think about things that I had previously taken for granted.

Take a look for yourself.

http://www.fee.org/podcast/rss.xml

My favorites have been:
Self Governance
Does Government Need to Enforce Contracts?
and there are several about Somalia which I found fascinating.

Posted in Philosophy, Prosperity | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

The Constitution: An EULA

Posted by Ammon on September 17, 2008

http://daily.freecapitalist.com/2008/09/17/ammons-citizenship-article/402

Posted in Philosophy | Leave a Comment »

Teaching by example

Posted by Ammon on September 17, 2008

I’ve been thinking lately about the concept of a good example being the most effective teacher.

In my life there have been things that I have done simply for the purpose of “setting a good example” and I didn’t really enjoy it Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Philosophy | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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