TexasTeacherMom

Haunted by the Past

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TexasTeacherMom, as regards birth, it matters not if the baby was wanted; it matters only if the growing, developing child wants himself. When a child thinks, "My mommy did not want me" he makes the innocent error of combining "me"---the characterless, thoughtless baby, with "me"---the person into which he is making himself. Most people continue through life failing to make that distinction.

As regards the approval or disapproval of others, they know very little about who you are. Their judgments of you are like distant stars; the best of them (the most objective) may shine more brightly, and you may learn from them, but only you should be the one from whom you seek approval. You are the sun. Your radiance---your increasingly objective, truth-seeking self, and your happiness----is your own highest reward.

Regarding sin, the church says you're a sinner because of what two (alledgedly first) people did not do. But other people's choices are theirs, not yours. And what was their sin? Disobediance. Now, if there were a God, a perfect and all-powerful being, why would he want obediance? What could he hope to gain by it? (Note that for dictators obediance by their subjects serves as a type of approval, which they need for their pseudo self-esteem.) Being perfect, he already has everything, nor would a human being have the power to diminish his happiness. If you were a god, would you inflict lifelong guilt on innocent children? Would that be benevolent, or noble, or heroic, or just, or manly? No one by his nature is a sinner. To sin, or to commit a wrong, is not due to your nature. If it were, then there would be no choice, and you would not be responsible for the wrong. And therefore, you would have no reason to feel guilt. Any religion or system of ethics that damns you as evil for something beyond your control (that is, for nothing) is itself evil.

It is personally rewarding seeing you seeking fuller self-knowledge. I wish you only that which you can give yourself---perseverance.

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TexasTeacherMom, as regards birth, it matters not if the baby was wanted; it matters only if the growing, developing child wants himself. When a child thinks, "My mommy did not want me" he makes the innocent error of combining "me"---the characterless, thoughtless baby, with "me"---the person into which he is making himself. Most people continue through life failing to make that distinction.

As regards the approval or disapproval of others, they know very little about who you are. Their judgments of you are like distant stars; the best of them (the most objective) may shine more brightly, and you may learn from them, but only you should be the one from whom you seek approval. You are the sun. Your radiance---your increasingly objective, truth-seeking self, and your happiness----is your own highest reward.

Regarding sin, the church says you're a sinner because of what two (alledgedly first) people did not do. But other people's choices are theirs, not yours. And what was their sin? Disobediance. Now, if there were a God, a perfect and all-powerful being, why would he want obediance? What could he hope to gain by it? (Note that for dictators obediance by their subjects serves as a type of approval, which they need for their pseudo self-esteem.) Being perfect, he already has everything, nor would a human being have the power to diminish his happiness. If you were a god, would you inflict lifelong guilt on innocent children? Would that be benevolent, or noble, or heroic, or just, or manly? No one by his nature is a sinner. To sin, or to commit a wrong, is not due to your nature. If it were, then there would be no choice, and you would not be responsible for the wrong. And therefore, you would have no reason to feel guilt. Any religion or system of ethics that damns you as evil for something beyond your control (that is, for nothing) is itself evil.

It is personally rewarding seeing you seeking fuller self-knowledge. I wish you only that which you can give yourself---perseverance.

This is very thought provoking. Thank you. I'm going to ponder these ideas. I am seeing the truth in your saying that other people's judgements of me are irrelevant due to their lack of knowledge of me. I think one reason that I care so much about it is the feeling of simply wanting to be known and admired. It comes out of a feeling of lonliness. I think that being admired or just simply known for the things about yourself that you value seems healthy.Do you think that it is healthy to want to be admired by others, if your desire qualifies that the admiration be for things that you value? And is it part of the human condition to want admiration, or is that a construct of religion or altruistic ethics? ( Note, I am asking philosophically, and not refering to the problematic need for others' approval that I have been discussing previously.)

The reason for my question is that I am discovering a tendancy in myself to deflect deserved praise. Case in point, I recently completed a curriculum plan for the writing tutors at my school. I received several compliments on my work, and was paid supplementally. I did notice that when I was complemented, I was uncomfortable responding because I feel that I should value humility, but I really don't value humility. I think that the plans were innovative and well constructed and that they will be effective. I think that is due to my talent, expertise, and diligent work. I am working on what would be a suitable thing to say in response to praise for that type of thing. One idea that I had was to say, "Well, thanks, that's what I do."

I hate the idea of deflecting praise for my work because I value being valued. On the other hand I also value others' comfort level with me so I don't want to alientate colleagues wtih an offputting response. What does one say to not express humility, but also not portray haughtiness? Or does it matter?

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I think one reason that I care so much about it is the feeling of simply wanting to be known and admired. It comes out of a feeling of lonliness. I think that being admired or just simply known for the things about yourself that you value seems healthy.Do you think that it is healthy to want to be admired by others, if your desire qualifies that the admiration be for things that you value? And is it part of the human condition to want admiration, or is that a construct of religion or altruistic ethics? ( Note, I am asking philosophically, and not refering to the problematic need for others' approval that I have been discussing previously.)

The reason for my question is that I am discovering a tendancy in myself to deflect deserved praise. Case in point, I recently completed a curriculum plan for the writing tutors at my school. I received several compliments on my work, and was paid supplementally. I did notice that when I was complemented, I was uncomfortable responding because I feel that I should value humility, but I really don't value humility. I think that the plans were innovative and well constructed and that they will be effective. I think that is due to my talent, expertise, and diligent work. I am working on what would be a suitable thing to say in response to praise for that type of thing. One idea that I had was to say, "Well, thanks, that's what I do."

I hate the idea of deflecting praise for my work because I value being valued. On the other hand I also value others' comfort level with me so I don't want to alientate colleagues wtih an offputting response. What does one say to not express humility, but also not portray haughtiness? Or does it matter?

Of course we like to be admired for our virtues. That is the joy of companionship, shared values. People are friends because they share values, not the other way around. Dishonest people fake their virtues in order to get counterfeit approval. Ayn Rand exposed this 'second handedness' in The Fountainhead. The principle that should guide you is reality, not the approval of others. So, if you feel proud and have earned it, and others complement you, a simple "Why thank you", is all you need say as polite acknowledgment of their kindness.

It is religion that teaches us the evil of pride. My goodness, just what is one supposed to feel when he does well then?? They preach guilt for just being borne, and that you must never feel good (pride) about yourself when you do good - that is just plain anti human.

Religion controls by instilling guilt, because they have learned that proud, confident happy people are not easily corralled. Remember one thing, you were borne an atheist, and everything you 'know' about religion is second hand from other people, which they heard from others and so on. Trust yourself, not those who claim to know a truth unavailable to you. It will take longer for your subconsciousness to reject the bad ideas your intellect rejects, but it can be done. You are doing well so far.

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TexasTeacherMom, as regards birth, it matters not if the baby was wanted; it matters only if the growing, developing child wants himself. When a child thinks, "My mommy did not want me" he makes the innocent error of combining "me"---the characterless, thoughtless baby, with "me"---the person into which he is making himself. Most people continue through life failing to make that distinction.

As regards the approval or disapproval of others, they know very little about who you are. Their judgments of you are like distant stars; the best of them (the most objective) may shine more brightly, and you may learn from them, but only you should be the one from whom you seek approval. You are the sun. Your radiance---your increasingly objective, truth-seeking self, and your happiness----is your own highest reward.

Regarding sin, the church says you're a sinner because of what two (alledgedly first) people did not do. But other people's choices are theirs, not yours. And what was their sin? Disobediance. Now, if there were a God, a perfect and all-powerful being, why would he want obediance? What could he hope to gain by it? (Note that for dictators obediance by their subjects serves as a type of approval, which they need for their pseudo self-esteem.) Being perfect, he already has everything, nor would a human being have the power to diminish his happiness. If you were a god, would you inflict lifelong guilt on innocent children? Would that be benevolent, or noble, or heroic, or just, or manly? No one by his nature is a sinner. To sin, or to commit a wrong, is not due to your nature. If it were, then there would be no choice, and you would not be responsible for the wrong. And therefore, you would have no reason to feel guilt. Any religion or system of ethics that damns you as evil for something beyond your control (that is, for nothing) is itself evil.

It is personally rewarding seeing you seeking fuller self-knowledge. I wish you only that which you can give yourself---perseverance.

This is very thought provoking. Thank you. I'm going to ponder these ideas. I am seeing the truth in your saying that other people's judgements of me are irrelevant due to their lack of knowledge of me. I think one reason that I care so much about it is the feeling of simply wanting to be known and admired. It comes out of a feeling of lonliness. I think that being admired or just simply known for the things about yourself that you value seems healthy.Do you think that it is healthy to want to be admired by others, if your desire qualifies that the admiration be for things that you value? And is it part of the human condition to want admiration, or is that a construct of religion or altruistic ethics? ( Note, I am asking philosophically, and not refering to the problematic need for others' approval that I have been discussing previously.)

The reason for my question is that I am discovering a tendancy in myself to deflect deserved praise. Case in point, I recently completed a curriculum plan for the writing tutors at my school. I received several compliments on my work, and was paid supplementally. I did notice that when I was complemented, I was uncomfortable responding because I feel that I should value humility, but I really don't value humility. I think that the plans were innovative and well constructed and that they will be effective. I think that is due to my talent, expertise, and diligent work. I am working on what would be a suitable thing to say in response to praise for that type of thing. One idea that I had was to say, "Well, thanks, that's what I do."

I hate the idea of deflecting praise for my work because I value being valued. On the other hand I also value others' comfort level with me so I don't want to alientate colleagues wtih an offputting response. What does one say to not express humility, but also not portray haughtiness? Or does it matter?

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be admired by others if those "others" are themselves individuals which _you_ admire, and as long as you do not value their admiration above your own self-evaluation, or regard it as a goal.

Why should you value humility? Do you want to find people in your life who are humble? Will that stir your admiration? Or would you rather find someone who is proudly self-confident and who expresses himself honestly, as he is?

When responding to a compliment a simple "Thank you" is all that's necessary. The kind of person who wishes to find haughtiness in your response (whether in its content or in its manner) will find it anyway. If he feels alienated, that's no problem of yours, you are not the cause. In reverse, when you or I compliment someone, we may get a haughty response. We could merely think, "Well, he can be a little haughty, he's earned it". The manner of his response would not detract from our admiration for the thing(s) which he did.

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I wouldn't say that it was based on economic status. More like educational status and social status, with is usually closely tied to money, but that wasn't what I saw in it. I saw it through the lens of religion which seems to suggest that God blesses people who are "good".

(I assume some basic knowledge of the new testament and of dogmatic law in writing.)

Why would god bless people who are "good"? (Assuming material blessing, in context of the discussion. Once we stray into "non-material", this bit gets much much harder to write.) Jesus himself said "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Mark 19:23-24, but also appears in the gospels of Mark and Luke) Or what about the entire story of Job? He was a "good" man, blessed with a wealthy farm, loving wife, and many children. But he had all those things taken away as a test to prove his faith in god. What loving god kills innocent children? How is that a material blessing?

One of the things I learned as a kid was that the depiction of god in the bible is a very mixed thing. I came to the conclusion as a little girl that he was like the old pagan gods - had moodswings, prone to jealously, but generally affectionate toward his creation. It still inspires a good laugh to see how in the 21st century, we can still come to a conclusion, then pick all the evidence we want to support it and discard the stuff that doesn't. It's an utter perversion of the scientific method. Because of this, people who are jerks will be jerks regardless of religion. But in reverse, I can also pick out some nicer bits in the bible too.

"And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." (Luke 6:31) Otherwise known as the "golden rule", it's generally not bad advice. However, it isn't exactly original and appears in other writings predating the bible.

"Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." (Matthew 26:52) Nice little statement about living peacefully when you can (although the entire story is a bit different)

My biggest gripe is the "bible is word of god" bit. Not only does it raise the question of how an intangible put words to paper, but add the word "revision" to 2000 years of history and what do you get? A huge incentive to change the wording and interpretation to suit petty desires for power. To make it so that whatever wording that man wants at the time is in fact the word of god, Jesus told St. Peter "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16:19)

There is a rather nice correspondence between Augustine (later canonized) and a man named Fauste while the church was still putting together what is now known of as the gospels to illustrate this point.

"The books called the Evangelists have been composed long after the times of the apostles, by some obscure men, who, fearing that the world would not give credit to their relation of matters of which they could not be informed, have published them under the names of the apostles; and which are so full of sottishness and discordant relations that there is neither agreement nor connection between them."
(link)

So there you go, two nice bits and two not so nice bible bits. You can take anything you want out of the bible and testament to justify anything you want. However, to call it the word of god would be no more accurate than calling Wikipedia divine. Anyone can edit the word of god.

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... I am seeing the truth in your saying that other people's judgements of me are irrelevant due to their lack of knowledge of me. I think one reason that I care so much about it is the feeling of simply wanting to be known and admired. It comes out of a feeling of lonliness. I think that being admired or just simply known for the things about yourself that you value seems healthy.Do you think that it is healthy to want to be admired by others, if your desire qualifies that the admiration be for things that you value? And is it part of the human condition to want admiration, or is that a construct of religion or altruistic ethics? ( Note, I am asking philosophically, and not refering to the problematic need for others' approval that I have been discussing previously.)

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be known for the things about you that you value and to be identified and evaluated accordingly for what you are. But that is not a "part of the human condition" as something everyone automatically feels: Look at all the people who don't want to be recognized for what they are, wanting to be known for something other than that, with what they really are the last thing they want known!

If you do something exceptionally good you can expect to be acknowledged for it and feel puzzled and "lonely" if you are not, but that isn't why you do it.

For example, in World War II it was very common that people did things all the time that were heroic, but they didn't feel like "heroes" -- they did what they thought they had to (and knew a lot of others who did more and didn't come back). A radio operator, Henry Erwin was given the only Medal of Honor (the highest possible) in the Twentieth Bomber Command for what he did in a raid over Japan in 1945. A flare bomb malfunctioned and exploded at 1300 degrees inside the plane, searing Erwin's nose and ear off and otherwise burning him badly. Thick black smoke was filling the plane and the pilot lost control, quickly dropping from 1,000 to 300 feet where he was able to regain control only after Erwin, in great pain, had the presence of mind to grab the bomb in his cramped quarters and struggle to work his way forward in the plane where he yelled to the co-pilot to open the window, then threw the bomb out. They made it back, and after Erwin was brought back from near death and given the award, he responded: "They made a fuss about my being a hero. It didn't occur to me at the time. I knew the flare was burning, and I just had to get it out of there."

That summarizes how any of us feel when we do something right that is important: we do it because we automatically want to do the right thing and do what needs to be done; any "credit" for it comes later and is secondary -- what matters most is doing well what is necessary, and that is still what matters while we go on to the next step (which is what "living" is) even while others are still talking about what happened in the past. Sometimes the "loneliness" comes when people praise you for what you did without their ever recognizing what you are and why you did it, or what else it took and how much they still don't understand. That is something that can make you feel awkward about the praise -- you still aren't understood and it's the understanding and not the praise as such that you want.

The reason for my question is that I am discovering a tendancy in myself to deflect deserved praise. Case in point, I recently completed a curriculum plan for the writing tutors at my school. I received several compliments on my work, and was paid supplementally. I did notice that when I was complemented, I was uncomfortable responding because I feel that I should value humility, but I really don't value humility. I think that the plans were innovative and well constructed and that they will be effective. I think that is due to my talent, expertise, and diligent work. I am working on what would be a suitable thing to say in response to praise for that type of thing. One idea that I had was to say, "Well, thanks, that's what I do."

I hate the idea of deflecting praise for my work because I value being valued. On the other hand I also value others' comfort level with me so I don't want to alientate colleagues wtih an offputting response. What does one say to not express humility, but also not portray haughtiness? Or does it matter?

Humility vs. being a praise hound and an alienating braggart is a false alternative. You can quietly acknowledge their understanding and appreciation of what you are, perhaps telling them what your accomplishments mean to you and why.

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When responding to a compliment a simple "Thank you" is all that's necessary. The kind of person who wishes to find haughtiness in your response (whether in its content or in its manner) will find it anyway. If he feels alienated, that's no problem of yours, you are not the cause. In reverse, when you or I compliment someone, we may get a haughty response. We could merely think, "Well, he can be a little haughty, he's earned it". The manner of his response would not detract from our admiration for the thing(s) which he did.

I agree that "Thank you" is usually just fine, and even stating that you were proud of that particular accomplishment is proper if it's true. There's a difference between accepting praise or even sharing a personal value achieved, and being a praise-seeker who goes around saying "look what I did!"

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When responding to a compliment a simple "Thank you" is all that's necessary. The kind of person who wishes to find haughtiness in your response (whether in its content or in its manner) will find it anyway. If he feels alienated, that's no problem of yours, you are not the cause. In reverse, when you or I compliment someone, we may get a haughty response. We could merely think, "Well, he can be a little haughty, he's earned it". The manner of his response would not detract from our admiration for the thing(s) which he did.

I agree that "Thank you" is usually just fine, and even stating that you were proud of that particular accomplishment is proper if it's true. There's a difference between accepting praise or even sharing a personal value achieved, and being a praise-seeker who goes around saying "look what I did!"

Right, and in any case one not need be focused on the effects on others of one's honest statements and responses.

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