Friday, June 26, 2015

Enhancing the education system for all

I don’t think one school should try to provide everything for students but, rather, having a multitude of schools may provide the best learning experience.  For example: schools of creative arts and design, schools of music, schools of language, schools of mathematics and technical study, schools of philosophy, schools of the sciences, schools of history, schools of building and the trades, schools of sport science, etc.  These schools wouldn’t have to all be in separate locations making travel between them difficult, but rather organised as a university is, with sections and buildings for each separate field of study and staffed both those with knowledge and passion for that speciality.

I think it’s asking too much to have one school (e.g. high school or elementary school) to do all these things well and yet I think all young (and not so young) people should have access to a wide choice of learning experiences.  The best way to do this would be for each school to have a variety of introductory classes to the various specialties it teaches and then have more advanced classes for those with a sustained interest in the subject matter.  In this way students could get a taste of those things that interest them and then pursue their studies further if their interest is sustained and enhanced by their introductory experience.

Choices between the various subjects on offer should be freely made by the student although there could be a stipulation that certain classes be taken by a certain age- such as introductory classes to spoken and written language, mathematics and social behaviour- where such learning is deemed essential.

As the student matures it is likely they will gravitate to a certain specialty that suits their interests and that area could become their career choice.  When a change in direction is desired then once again a person could return to the process of trying out new areas of interest and making their way towards gaining greater knowledge that they could then use to further the horizons of humanity.

This style of education exists to some extent at the University or College level for older students but I believe it would be advantageous to introduce this style of learning at a much younger age when the student doesn't feel pressured into studying subjects that will result in a practical, safe career choice.  At a younger age there is more freedom to explore areas of interest without feeling the weight of worrying about earning a living.  Also, by introducing the child to a wider variety of learning options at a younger age it means education will prove far more exciting for the child and they can choose those things they have a real passion for rather that wasting time with subjects that bore them.  This would no doubt have a positive impact on childhood and youth happiness which would be good for society as a whole.  It would also mean people found their true passions earlier in life rather then later  (if at all) after they have been through some kind of mid-life crises!

Sharka Todd

To be viewed a failure by society and still feel good about yourself-

 is what true spirituality is all about!

Sharka Todd

Without self-realization, all knowledge-

Ramana Maharshi
 is vanity!

We need to know ourselves separate from the condition (the world) we inhabit.  Without this knowledge we are truly blind!

Sharka Todd

Would a God of love pass judgement?

If we accept that human judgement of others comes from fear, as I do, then it follows that a being without fear would not judge.  He may discern but he will not judge.  The difference in these two terms being that discernment sees clearly what works and what doesn't in any given situation, but feels no compulsion to pass judgement about what is believed to be morally right or wrong.

If we believe God is love (1 John 4:8), then this means there is no fear in him, as love and fear are incompatible energies.  Therefore, without fear, God would not judge another.  Instead, he may discern that a given action or tendency in us is unhealthy or even dangerous, but he would not judge it as "wrong" and deemed worthy of punishment.  After all, we have free will to experience life in our own way and life, through its mirroring action returning to us what we have metered out, allows us to learn from our mistakes without the need for punishment from God.

Those who have experienced the after-death realm are united in saying that the only judgement that occurs after death is judgment of ourselves by ourselves, upon experiencing our past life review.  Beings who have advanced spiritually have no need of judging others as they realize we are all learning and that when we know better we will do better.  The important thing is that we self-correct when we discover that there are better ways to do things!  That is the purpose of seeing errors in ourselves: to self-correct.  It is of no use that someone else see our faults if we can't see them ourselves.  And, of course, a God of love would forgive us our sins and only hope that when we see the results of our errors we endeavor to d better next time!

Sharka Todd

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Comment on God and eternal punishment

There are still people whose view of God is so low that they think he would punish non-believers eternally for their lack of faith.  Interestingly, according to knowledgeable accounts, God punishes no-one, we only punish ourselves, in this life and the next, and freedom from suffering is ours if we wish to claim it!

Sharka Todd

Still living large in Oz land

Photo by Sharka Todd

A southern Australian coastal town called Devonport.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The self, the presence, the I

The presence that animates all things that is called the "I" could also be called “That that is”  or just “Is”.

Sharka Todd

Forces seeking to limit the power of the I

There are many forces in the world that seek to limit the power of the I.
These forces use religion and scientific materialism to achieve this goal.
One says the I is sinful and that it must be saved by a non-I, and the other says the I is an insignificant speck in an uncaring universe over which it has little real power.
But apart from the I, what could have any real power?

Sharka Todd

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Peace comes when...

Peace comes when we can forgive everyone for everything, including ourselves!

Sharka Todd

Freedom from identification with the body

One can never be free when identified with the body and its history-
But only by identifying with the free ranging consciousness
Which one is-
Can one truly be free!

Sharka Todd

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Is Jesus God?

Many Christians believe that the historical Jesus was not only a great realized man and spiritual teacher but that he was in fact, God, the creator of all.  This belief seems to stem from the biblical quote attributed to Jesus: "I and the Father are One" (John 10:30).  By "the father" it is believed Jesus was talking about God, although there are other interpretations.

A key point to make about this quote is that saying you are one with something or someone (is this case, God) is not the same as saying you are that thing.  Instead, this oneness could refer to a shared purpose or mind-set such as saying "I am one with communism" or "I am one with Obama", for example.

If Jesus thought he was God he could simply have said "I am God".  Instead he chose to say "I and the Father are one" which clearly reflects his sense of oneness with "the Father" rather than his claim that he was "The Father".

The idea that it is possible for the creator of the universe to be able to contain himself to one human body seems strange to me.  Surely such a being would not fit into the small confines of a single human life.  Also, if He did, what would his life as a man mean?  For he could not serve as an example to mankind if he was of a different order and magnitude to the rest of us.

Only if Jesus was a man and not a God could his life be an example to the rest of us.  If Jesus was not truly a man but God himself then what would his life mean?  That God lowered himself to our level, to achieve what?  Show us he cared?  Forgive us of our sins?  This interpretation makes no sense to me but I understand many do hold onto this view and it seems to mean something to them.  But to me the idea of Jesus being a spiritual being, as we each are, and not the God of all, makes more sense and shows what's possible when we follow the universal spiritual path through to its conclusion.  This is what makes Jesus a way-shower and the spiritual light of mankind, not him being some kind of super-natural being who condescended to our level for a short while.

See also: Was Jesus God? by Kim Michaels and friends.

Sharka Todd

Monday, June 15, 2015

Free will = God is not in control!

Many people who belong to the theistic religions say that God is in control of what happens on earth.  I disagree, but not because I don't believe in God, but rather, because I believe in free will!

Free will means the ability to do as we choose and to shape the world in our own way.  If free will truly exists then it means that conditions on earth will reflect the desires of the people that live on it, rather than the desires of a God (or gods) who may have created it.

Many people try to combine a belief in human free will with a belief in a God that is in control of our lives, but this makes no logical sense to me.  For example, if we allow someone to live their own life free of our interference then we cannot be said to be in control of their life.  This is the same for the situation on earth.  God could only be in control of everything if he overrode our individual free will.  This would mean God had no respect for our free will and, if so, why would he create beings with free will in the first place?  It's all in or all out.  Free will cuts both ways and if we can't accept that a free will being may do harm and allow to happen, then we shouldn't allow free will in the first place!

See also Should God fix everything?, God, free will and creating positive change

Sharka Todd

Godly music: the heightening of the divine atmosphere

My understanding is that "godly music" is music that, when played, flows along with the harmony of the natural world and is not jarring to it.  I don't see it as particularly related to any particular lyrical content.  In fact, I find that lyrics, particularly in one's own tongue, tend to engage the analytical side of the mind and is not conducive to flowing with the melodic content of the music.

Most modern music does not flow with the harmony of nature and so could be said to be ungodly in nature.  Classical music, in contrast, does tend to flow with natural rhythms rather than representing a jarring interruption to it and could be said to be Godly.

A modern example of Godly music is that of Phillip Glass, whose album "Glassworks" contains music that flows beautifully with natural rhythms and when played in a natural settings will tend to heighten the feeling of divinity experienced and may receive a positive response from singing birds contributing to the music and the general atmosphere.  I have experienced this myself when camping in a isolated spot and playing his track Opening, from Glassworks, and experiencing a real heightening of the divine atmosphere which swept up the bird song in the area and resulted in a crescendo of bliss!

Sharka Todd

Atheism, fundamentalist Christianity and the origin of the universe

Atheism is the disbelief in any creator God, not just the one believed in by fundamentalist Christians.  Clearly, there are an infinite number of possible beliefs on human and universal origins, with fundamentalist Christianity representing one of them.  Atheism, itself, makes no statement about origins, except to say they believe no living being created the universe, which suggests it was some kind of mindless, mechanical process.  At least that is my understanding of atheism.  It is agnostics that keep an open mind on the matter.

Originally written in response to a comment here.

Sharka Todd

Friday, June 12, 2015

Respecting the free will of others

I respect the free will of others- therefore I don't attempt to control or force them in any way.  This is part of loving others and treating them as I wish to be treated and is obeying God's law of love.

Sharka Todd

What is the primary reality? Philosophy v science

To a philosopher the primary reality is consciousness, which is clearly necessary before any experience can be had or any object observed.  To the scientist the primary reality is matter which is assumed to be the origin of consciousness and which is the focus of the scientific method as it can easily be studied "objectively" whereas consciousness is an unobservable private matter.

Some "philosophers" claim to be materialists believing unconscious matter is the primary reality but I would say these people are not really philosophers but rather science-oriented thinkers.

True philosophers understand that without mind (consciousness) there would be no universe, as there would be no presence there to observe it.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Natural places being "loved to death"

Photo: Sharka Todd

It is often said that some natural places are in danger of being “loved to death” but I can say that many natural places are in far greater danger of not being loved enough and therefore exploited for monetary gain without any significant public outcry.   The more people that love an area, the more difficult it becomes for those who seek only to profit financially from exploiting the area, through mining or logging, for example, to achieve their aims!

I discovered this the hard way when one of my favourite natural places was recently logged to such an extent that most of the natural value of the area was lost.  I loved the fact that I could visit the area and be alone in nature there, with trees that were over 70 years old.  However, the fact that few people knew about the area and enjoyed it (which I liked because it meant I could find solitude there) also meant that it was easier for the organisations that managed the area to come in and log it mercilessly.  The name of the area is Stoodley Arboretum (located near Sheffield, Tasmania) and it has lost over half its usable area thanks to intervention by the careless and loveless machine men of the logging industry.

Stoodley Forest by Sharka Todd

Places such as the Stoodley Forest need to be managed by the people who use it on a regular basis and care for it rather than by a faceless organisation located hundreds of miles away who are staffed by people who have no real knowledge or care for the place.  This holds true for all natural resource management decisions- they belong to the people who care, not faceless bureaucrats.  Locals who care for the area should be making the final decision on what happens there, not those whose only interest in the area is financial or in meeting "quotas"!

Sharka Todd

Once were homes, now a wasteland!

Allepo, Syria.

The trade-off of destruction for money...

is not one I buy!

Sharka Todd

In God there are no rules-

but you may find you are moved to help creation, rather than to harm it!

Sharka Todd

Footy crowd enjoying Adam Goodes' war dance