Thursday, October 20, 2005

As I Might Have Guessed . . .

You fit in with:

Your ideals are mostly spiritual, but in an individualistic way. While spirituality is very important in your life, organized religion itself may not be for you. It is best for you to seek these things on your own terms.

80% spiritual.
80% reason-oriented.

Take this quiz at


Blogger JJisafool said...

Y'know, I like quizzes like this, and took it, and came quite close to you score, well inside Spiritual but tending toward the center.

But, I expected to before I submitted, because the thing about these quizzes is they are far more illuminating into the writer of the quiz than any taker. The questions rely on certain preconceived suppositions.

I tinkered with the questions to see how they affected outcome. If the only answer you change is from believing in the Easter Bunny until 9 to until 10, you gain 20% on the reason-based scale. The longer I believe in a big rabbit that delivers egg, the more rational I am?

But, the gullible question really got me, because it added 20% to your reason score if you said you were not gullible. Huh? Uncertainty is part of quantum thought, a core ideal in current composition pedagogy studies. W would answer that he isn't gullible, and I can't say he is the poster child for reason. It is harder to fool the person that believes they can be fooled than the one that believes they can't be.

And that doesn't get into the reductive dichotomy of whether redemption is in your hands or a higher power. If I choose to seek God through Jesus Christ, and am as a result redeemed, was it my choice or God's power that redeems me? If I choose to seek the path to Buddhahood within, is it that choice or the Mystic Law that redeems?

Anyway, thanks for sharing it. I've been reading deep into religion of late while working on a play, and this tickled me. Just seems obvious what kind of answers the writer wanted, and I imagine generally gets.

"Do you plan to recant on your deathbed?" If one does, why would they admit it. Sheesh.

8:16 PM  
Blogger Stine said...

So I see you really do read my other blog as I didn't post this test on blogger. Funny we scored almost the same exact place.

JJ - You make very many good points, and think too much. But that's not really fair to say because well, my hound here, thinks too much too.

As to this:

"If I choose to seek the path to Buddhahood within, is it that choice or the Mystic Law that redeems?"

- In my experience, it is the Mystic Law that shows me that my choice to look for the Buddhahood within is what will redeem. I could be wrong as I'm still new to this Buddhism. Beige might be able to clarify further.

8:29 AM  
Blogger thelyamhound said...

And so I establish dialogue with the dirty jester!

Agreed on the questions. Also, I wonder if it makes any difference that I probably stopped believing in Santa Clause/The Easter Bunny et al before 10, but continued to maintain belief (as I did in an anthropomorphic deity) because it pleased me to believe (and because believing was, in a sense, a contrarian act in the hard-nosed world of Helena, MT).

The redemption question is an interesting one, and a more specific test could have spent 5 or 6 questions on that matter. Gnostics and Taoists posit that there is no difference between the self and God, that the one is a reflection--or, more accurately, projection--of the other (in most gnostic traditions, the resurrection is taken as a metaphor for rebirth into spiritual awareness). So the question is nearly moot . . . but I assumed that, believing that (insofar as I believe in anything--and I think you and I could get into a long and interesting discussion of faith, if you've the time or interest), I'm clearly more inclined towards the intuitive than I am towards the dogmatic. Hence my reply.

I don't plan to recant on my deathbed, but who knows what I'll learn between now and then.

9:24 AM  
Blogger JJisafool said...

You know which question has been kicking around in my head and bugging me since taking this? That damn afterlife question.

If I believe in the eternity of the soul, but the dissolution of ego, do I believe in an afterlife? Or is this just the Judeo-Chrsitian heaven, the Muslim paradise? For it to be an afterLIFE, wouldn't ego be necessary to experience it?

Shit, I do think too much, and only in short bursts.

Hmmm, faith, God, quantum DADDY WILL YOU PLAY DORA HOUSE WITH ME nature of Truth, collective conciousness DADDY I POOPED MY PANTS DADDYDADDYDADDYDADDY

1:00 PM  
Blogger thelyamhound said...

Have you read "The Great Divorce" by C.S. Lewis? It theorizes about the afterlife (rather whimsically, in the form of a dream) from a Christian perspective. Not being Christian--or any kind of anthropomorphic monotheist, for that matter--I have questions about where it goes, but I still find it a fairly delightful read; moreover, it's views on the afterlife are easily reconcilable with Taoist or Buddhist (i.e., impersonalist) principles . . .

But it does still bump into the ego question. The weight of "sin", the work of "redemption", is on the ego, the self.

Is the ego a function of the flesh or the soul? Is sin function of the ego? Is sin is of the ego, and ego is of the flesh, can our souls really be held accountable for our earthly actions? Is consciousness a function of the ego or of the spirit (assuming that the spirit is, indeed, something separate from the ego)? If ego is a function of flesh, and consciousness of ego, is some part of our consciousness engaged in and through the degeneration of the "lifeless" body, through decay, consumption by animals, re-entry into the biological cycles of the earth itself? Maybe consciousness exists both in the ego and separate from it, in the flesh and in the soul, so the "afterlife" is really the disbursal of our consciousness, so that it exists simultaneously in the spiritual and material world . . . but of course, most eastern systems postulate that the human spirit already straddles these two worlds.

To Christians and other monotheists, because man is created in God's image, man alone possesses a soul. To the pantheists and animists, of course, this idea is ludicrous (hell, some "skins" hold that rocks have souls . . . which sort of makes sense from a gnostic perspective, since rocks, mountains, humans, animals, thoughts and dreams are all projections of the divine, of "God", of the poetic imagination).

So by now, you're surely going, "Yeah, but what do YOU believe, hound dog?"

I don't know.

I've doubted in the past that there is a soul; I think I've made some peace on that matter, and decided that there has to be, if only because I can't seem to imagine any purpose without it. And whatever my doubts about various assertions by the various theists, the one argument they all make that abolutely compels me is that you can't really accept the notion of the soul without accepting the notion of a god--not necessarily a "God", an anthropomorphic, morally preoccupied, interventionist deity, but some "whole" from which the "part" must deviate, and to which it must eventually return.

It's difficult to function as an artist without having some investment in ego, in its potential for accomplishment, its individuation, its vision. I'm tempted to credit it with the capacity for reason and the ability to impose artistic form . . . though I may be inclined to argue that artistic inspiration may come from elsewhere. As such, imagination may or may not be a function of the ego, but is surely--as according to William Blake--a function of the soul. In some way, we suffer for the wrongs we do others and reap reward for our good (hopefully); we can call that karma, or retribution, heaven/hell, what-have-you. The character of this balance, and its relation to the afterlife, is strictly speculation to me. I have trouble with defining "sin", particularly as it applies to actions which have no apparent "victim", but may imply internal mechanisms of malice or selfishness, and I'm even more uncomfortable with the relationship between sin and pleasure, sin and sex, the definition of "morality" when it deviates from the greater clarity of "ethics".

So, as such, my notion of faith is radically underdevelopped. Having rejected the Catholicism under which I was raised, being too skeptical of many of Buddhism's tenets to fully embrace it and without an intellectual/spiritual community to support my pursuit of gnosticism or guide me through further study of Taoism, I shamble on, continuing to stitch my patchwork theology until I find something warm enough, functional enough to justify wrapping myself up in it.

12:06 PM  
Blogger the beige one said...

I think I'm going to change your link to "he also thinks too much."

5:18 PM  
Blogger the beige one said...

I kid, I kid...

5:20 PM  
Blogger amandak said...

Since you asked (that was a question mark, I think), personally, I believe the ego is a function of the consciousness, not the other way around. That's just me though.

2:02 PM  
Blogger thelyamhound said...

Interesting. Plausible . . . I have a hard time with it because I tend to believe that existence precedes essence (per Sartre, Camus) . . . or do I? I imagine that existence certainly give form to essence, but I suppose that, deep down, I also believe that once given form, that essence can carry some element of that form into later incarnations.

Our problem, of course, is that a) ego and consciousness are both highly abstract, subjective concepts that are often used interchangeably and b) hypotheses on the matter are, by definition, untestable.

I don't think that consciousness and ego are interchangeable, but I think they're mutually reliant. Consciousness would have no way of expressing itself in the temporal realm without the ego creating action, or of growing from temporal information without the ego organizing the senses. I don't know if either consciousness or ego follow us into whatever life comes next, but I wonder whether, if consciousness moves on but ego doesn't, does the consciousness still carry with it the effects of the ego? And if not, does that mean that we exit the world in more or less the same spiritual condition in which we entered it (which is what the Taoists maintain)?

3:46 PM  
Blogger Stine said...

I would have to chime in with the fact that I too believe the ego to be a fucntion of consciousness. Maybe it's the psyche degrees Mandy.

It is from this, that I personally have come to the conclusion that ego is a temporal construct. I most definitely believe in an afterlife of some sort or another, and I think that the ego (as it has been subjectively defined by psychology and science), has far too many limitations to exist in an ethereal realm. Therefore, for me, my ego can stay the fuck on this plane after I die.

4:30 PM  
Blogger thelyamhound said...

Ah, but here we hit on the trouble: With ego taken as defined in psychology and/or philosophy, and consciousness taken as defined by many generations of spiritual thinkers, philosophers and medical professionals, we're in the unenviable position of placing aspects of "self" under one heading or the other, in order to determine which is following us into the next life. That's where things get tricky. Is honesty--or the lack thereof--a function of consciousness or ego? Loyalty? Iconoclasm (we could argue that this last is a social construct, since iconoclasm requires icons; but certainly oppositional energy or tendency to affect violent change is something that occurs in nature without any help from us)? Appreciation of beauty (granting that, in most cultural contexts, beauty is a defined value)? Love?

And we bump into the concept of sin again. If the ego isn't part of what follows us into the next life, is our "soul" accountable for sins that can be laid entirely at the feet of the ego? Or are there also "sins of consciousness"?

4:44 PM  
Blogger Stine said...

Oh darling, I understand your questions and postulate the same things, however, sometimes you just need to take a deep breath and say, "fuck me..."

I call those Tuesdays.

1:44 PM  
Blogger JJisafool said...

Agreed. Tuesdays suck. They are rarely paydays, and the weekend is both too recent a bittersweet memory and too far a wondrous dream.

And every November, we elect assholes on that day.

4:56 PM  
Blogger the beige one said...

New entry please!

4:56 PM  

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