Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pragmatism page at Wikipedia

Found an interesting page on Wikipedia - Pragmatism. From the page:

"Joseph Margolis, in Historied Thought, Constructed World (California, 1995), makes a distinction between "existence" and "reality". He suggests using the term "exists" only for those things which adequately exhibit Peirce's Secondness: things which offer brute physical resistance to our movements. In this way, such things which affect us, like numbers, may be said to be "real", though they do not "exist". Margolis suggests that God, in such a linguistic usage, might very well be "real", causing believers to act in such and such a way, but might not "exist"."

Check out a few more of those interesting ideas at Pragmatism.

- S

Humanist Manifesto III page

(didn't know there was a Humanist Manifesto II :)

From American Humanist Association's H.M. III page:

"Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis. Humanists find that science is the best method for determining this knowledge as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies. We also recognize the value of new departures in thought, the arts, and inner experience—each subject to analysis by critical intelligence."

More here.

- S

Saturday, July 3, 2010

fireworks at 2:56

a happy independence day goes out to the US, the inventors (as far as i know) of the separation between gov & religions. fireworks at 2:56 on this clip, from Woody Allen's Manhattan:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Couple of secularists hanging out & talking about SL & secularism

These clips may appear better (full frame vs. cropped at this blog) at YouTube.

Visit Secular Sri Lanka site for more.

Thanks goes out to Hemantha for making the discussion, recording, & upload to web happen.

- S

On Secularism, Sri Lanka, & Several Related Items

New article at Secular Sri Lanka, check it out!

Here's the 1st paragraph:

"At Secular Sri Lanka website (secularsrilanka.com), related discussion groups (including comments threads at Groundviews.org articles and other sites), and at live meetings in Sri Lanka (at the Rationalist Day event recently http://newslagnostic.blogspot.com/2010/06/report-from-rationalist-day.html & elsewhere), and in the Sri Lankan Diaspora (in US & elsewhere) a relatively old subject - secularism - is receiving a second look. Namely, can increased secularization - in the Sri Lankan context primarily the separation of the government and the religions in an actual sense (or, for example, separating the government and the temple - making Buddhism primarily the concern of the Buddhists and making the government the concern of all, and applying the same approach for all religions) be beneficial to Sri Lanka in advancing peace, national unity, development, creation of a common Sri Lankan identity, and increasing cooperation between Sri Lanka and the Diaspora? While this topic may alarm some Buddhists and some members of the other religions, let me clear the air by saying that those who are thinking about the idea of greater secularization in Sri Lanka are not against Buddhism (most are either culturally Buddhist or are, to some degree, practicing Buddhists, or are agnostics and atheists who have been heavily influenced by Sri Lankan/Therevada Buddhism), nor are they against any organized religion currently active in Sri Lanka or the concept of and practice of religions - they are merely people who love Sri Lanka and would like to see the island pull out of decades of poverty and underdevelopment, and also ethnic/religious unrest. In fact, many who are in favor of greater secularization believe that Buddhism and other religions will benefit - they will be strengthened & may become more useful to people - if practical separation between the government and religions were to occur. Thankfully, now that the 26-plus years long civil war has been ended due to the sacrifice of many, we can take a look at ideas and approaches such as secularism that may speed up positive developments in Sri Lanka. There are many items to consider when thinking about Sri Lanka and secularism. I will briefly outline several items below and point out possible positive outcomes related to greater secularization in Sri Lanka."

Read the rest of the article here/at SSL site.

- S

Saturday, June 12, 2010

$8 for a pair of shoes for a war affected student in Sri Lanka

From the project's page:

"Thousands of children we were affected by the war, do not have access to basic needs such as a pair of shoes, an exercise book or a pencil.

Sarvodaya is already providing these educational resoruces to the children.

This is a campaign to provide 1,00 kids with a pair of shoes.

It costs only $8 for a pair of shoes"

More here.

- S

Interesting ancient religious concept - Brahmavihara

From Wikipedia page for Brahmavihara:

"The four immeasurables are:

Loving-kindness (Pāli: metta, Sanskrit: maitri) towards all: the hope that a person will be well; "the wish that all sentient beings, without any exception, be happy."[9]

Compassion (Pāli and Sanskrit: karuṇā): the hope that a person's sufferings will diminish; "the wish for all sentient beings to be free from suffering."[9]

Joy (Pāli and Sanskrit: mudita): joy in the accomplishments of a person — oneself or another; sympathetic joy; "the wholesome attitude of rejoicing in the happiness and virtues of all sentient beings."[9]

Equanimity (Pāli: upekkhā, Sanskrit: upekṣā): learning to accept loss and gain, praise and blame, and success and failure, all with detachment, equally, for oneself and for others. Equanimity is "not to distinguish between friend, enemy or stranger, but regard every sentient being as equal. It is a clear-minded tranquil state of mind - not being overpowered by delusions, mental dullness or agitation."[10]

Loving-kindness and compassion are both hopes for the future (leading, where possible, to action aimed at realizing those hopes). Joy and equanimity are attitudes to what has already happened, but also with regard to consequences for future action. While these four might be delineated as attitudes to the future or past, they contain the seed of the "present" within their core (as a living embodied practice).[clarification needed] This is the essence of the spiritual laws of karma, self-responsibility, and right thoughts (samma sankkalpa, literally 'right commitments').[clarification needed] A dedicated intention[clarification needed] that all beings are in the "here and now", tranquil, happy, in touch with their gifts and accomplishments, and feeling interconnected by that synergy[clarification needed] to eschew suffering by abdication.[clarification needed]"


"Although this form of these ideas has a Buddhist origin, the ideas themselves are in no way sectarian. The Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement uses them in public meditation events in Sri Lanka bringing together Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and Christians. Rudyard Kipling's inspirational poem If refers to the idea of upekkhā in calling Triumph and Disaster impostors."

For more, check out the Wikipedia page for Brahmavihara.

- S