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OfflinePed
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No Such Thing as Prophecy?
    #3557162 - 12/29/04 02:02 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

Whether or not prophecies such as those in the Bible should be taken seriously seems to be a bit of an issue here at S&P. There are those who enjoy speculating, those who hold feverent belief in prophecy, and those who hold feverent beliefs against prophecy. The differences between these views can be reduced by taking prophecy out of the ethereal context and looking at it rationally. It's not so hocus pocus as it might seem.

Everyone is capable of some degree of foresight. For example, if a glass of wine is placed on the edge of a table at a crowded dinner party, sooner or later there will be a wine stain on the carpet. Anyone with an inkling of foresight is able to anticipate that eventuality. We wouldn't call them a prophet, but a prophecy is the same essential insight carried out over a longer period.

Our capacity for foresight is determined by the depth of our awareness of the surrounding world. A domestic dog's awareness of it's surrounding world is significantly less than our own. In the way a dog moves from object to object, place to place, it is clear that their awareness of the passage of time is quite small. In the way that a dog takes such time and such repitition to learn a new behavior, it is clear that a dog's capacity for understanding the relationship between events is less than our own. Because that is so, a dog is incapable of anticipating the outcome of certain events which we would find easy to predict. A dog does not anticipate that an object precariously balanced may fall. To dogs, human beings might seem like prophets, like gods, able to predict the unpredictable.

Now, in our arrogance, each of us supposes that the depth of our own awareness is the most profound and the most accurate awareness possible in the universe. Since there is no evidence to support this assumption, we can safely discard it so that we might be able to consider another idea: that there have been living beings on this earth whose awareness of the surrounding world was so profound that in fact they were able to anticipate with some accuracy a chain of causality thousans of years long. We might look upon such individuals and see that they are able to predict what we believe is unpredictable. We might call them divine, and celebrate them as gods, or those akin to gods. Is this so implausible, so difficult to entertain?

Essentially, prophecy is foresight; it is insight into the effects of causes over a period of time. Prophets possess a capacity for this insight which is many times greater than that of the average person. By the same token, an average person's capacity for this insight is many times greater than that of a house pet. Since it's true that the capacity for this insight differs between different creatures with different scopes of awareness, why is it so unreasonable to suppose that some special individuals have possessed greater awareness, and therefore greater precognitive power, than our own?

Prophets such as Paul and Isaiah are timeless figures whose impact during their lifetime was so immense that their influence can still be felt today. It is difficult to accept that this is the result of mere charisma, mere pizazz. That these figures were so celebrated in their time is reason enough to consider what their capabilities may have been.


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InvisibleMoonshoe
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Re: No Such Thing as Prophecy? [Re: Ped]
    #3557661 - 12/29/04 04:36 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

like all of your posts, this one brought a little happy juice into my day


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Everything I post is fiction.


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OfflineGomp
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Re: No Such Thing as Prophecy? [Re: Moonshoe]
    #3557717 - 12/29/04 04:54 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

"A Prophecy can not be a Prophecy. by anyone."
-inkonw:P

http://www.archives.nd.edu/cgi-bin/lookit.pl?latin=inkonw


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Edited by Gomp (12/29/04 04:57 PM)


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InvisibleLunarEclipse
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Re: No Such Thing as Prophecy? [Re: Ped]
    #3558232 - 12/29/04 07:06 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

"if a glass of wine is placed on the edge of a table at a crowded dinner party, sooner or later there will be a wine stain on the carpet"

Probably. Or, someone with foresight (or the owner of the carpet) moves the glass before it gets knocked over.

Who would you, Ped, consider to be a modern day prophet?

Would Alan Greenspan be considered a prophet when he predicts inflation will rise?


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Anxiety is what you make it.


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OfflinePed
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Re: No Such Thing as Prophecy? [Re: LunarEclipse]
    #3558464 - 12/29/04 08:13 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

>> Who would you, Ped, consider to be a modern day prophet?

Can't think of anyone off hand.


>> Would Alan Greenspan be considered a prophet when he predicts inflation will rise?

A prophet of a different sort, I suppose. The kind of prophecy I'm speaking about is somewhat extraordinary, it comes from a sort of spontaneous ballooning of one's entire scope of things. When someone such as Alan Greenspan is able to predict the rise of inflation, that is probably the result of his interest and his education on the matter, and not necessarily indicative of something inherent in his nature.

"Prophet" and "Prophecy" are words that have all sorts of divine implications associated with them, and as such they tend to become the subject of hype, or the target of materialists. When we cut all this away, we are able to explore the idea of a rare, suprahuman perceptive faculty.


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Gyroscope full album available SoundCloud or MySpace


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Invisibleredgreenvines
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Re: No Such Thing as Prophecy? [Re: Ped]
    #3558947 - 12/29/04 10:37 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

my wife keeps asking me what is going to happen
she is not paying attention to what is happenning.
(as if I knew - and if I did would I say?)


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InvisibleLunarEclipse
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Re: No Such Thing as Prophecy? [Re: Ped]
    #3559451 - 12/30/04 12:28 AM (12 years, 6 months ago)

I used the Alan Greenspan example as a self-fulfilling prophecy created by one in power. When Greenspan talks, people listen. If he says inflation will rise, people may raise their prices or spend more for a car or house, thereby creating inflation. When Greenspan says recession, people get nervous and may spend less, and this creates a recession.

Religious "prophets" also affect people's lives with their words and their power over the people. Thus the religion becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because of the power of their words.

As for seeing into the future, some have clearer vision and better predictive skills. But, to say when the world will end, or to say what the world will be in 5,000 years is just a guess. IF someone could ACTUALLY somehow see the future in the future, and come back to the present, then yes. That's science fiction time machine stuff...


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OfflinePed
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Re: No Such Thing as Prophecy? [Re: LunarEclipse]
    #3560797 - 12/30/04 11:36 AM (12 years, 6 months ago)

>> But, to say when the world will end, or to say what the world will be in 5,000 years is just a guess

So you're saying that there is no possible temporal awareness greater than what's most common in human beings right now? Why?


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InvisibleLunarEclipse
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Re: No Such Thing as Prophecy? [Re: Ped]
    #3560908 - 12/30/04 12:30 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

I actually said that some people have clearer vision and greater predictive skills. 

Now, the question is, for that rare individual you described, just how much greater?  5,000 years or the end of the world is a long time to be pinning things down.  If you could BE in the future and return to the present, then yea.  But, if that were the case if you were at the end of the world you would be dead too.  :confused:  And to my knowledge time travel isn't possible.  Or have I missed something?

What exactly do you mean by "temporal awareness" in terms of seeing into the future?  What mechanism or sense or skill would one need to do this? The glass on the table involved seeing the present more clearly to predict the immediate future, so that's a little easier than 5,000 years from now.


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OfflinePed
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Re: No Such Thing as Prophecy? [Re: LunarEclipse]
    #3561226 - 12/30/04 02:03 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

>> What exactly do you mean by "temporal awareness" in terms of seeing into the future? What mechanism or sense or skill would one need to do this? The glass on the table involved seeing the present more clearly to predict the immediate future, so that's a little easier than 5,000 years from now.


With the wine glass example, I meant to illustrate that there can be vast differences between different creatures and their ability to anticipate the effects of causes. While the ability to anticipate the eventuality of a wine stain on the carpet, and the expensive bill to have it cleaned or replaced, might seem obvious to us, to a dog this is an unfathomably complex prediction. By the same token, we as normal human beings have looked upon prophets with the same awe: it seems that what they are capable of doing is magic, supernatural.

Now, magic and the supernatural are two things generally considered to be outside the realm of real-life, of science (that these two are synonymous is also debatable, but that's another discussion entirely). With my original post, I'm attempting to extract the notion of prophetic power out of the foggy mist that is the ethereal context so that it can be examined rationally, instead the usual extremes of pedestalization or outright dismissal. That's how I arrived at the dry-sounding term "temporal awareness." Temporal awareness, in the way that I'm using the term, refers to a living being's entire scope of time.

Time is a continuum of cause and effect, with many small-scale causes giving rise to many small-scale effects. When we combine all of these small-scale effects together, they serve as a larger-scale cause, which in turn produces a larger-scale effect. The sum of these larger-scale effects again give rise to an even larger cause, which produces a proportionately larger effect, and so on and so forth through time. The larger the cause, the larger the effect, and the more time is occupied for the sequence to unfold.

In this way, cause and effect operate on many different levels, from millisecond to millisecond, hour to hour, year to year, millenia to millenia. Those causes and effects which occur over the smallest period of time typically operate on the smallest scale objects, such as atoms and molecules. The causes and effects which occur over a larger period of time typically operate on a larger scale objects, such as planets and stars, and the rest of those objects found here in the macroscopic realm. The causes and effects which occur over a still larger period of time operate on still larger scale objects, such as the human condition, culture, and civilization. (It should be noted that "large" and "small" scale in this context refers to the complexity of the objects in question, and not necessarily to their physical size.)

At present, us average human beings have a firm grasp on a certain scope of cause and effect. Our ability to anticipate the effects of causes is confined to this scope. The scale at which this operates, that is to say, the width of our scope on cause and effect, is directly proportionate to our awareness of time and space. It's from this observation that I coined the term "temporal awareness" as means of referring to our capacity to predict events.

Now, it's easy to see that the width of one's scope on cause and effect varies enormously from creature to creature. If such variance exists, it stands to reason that it's at least possible for certain living beings to possess a temporal awareness so wide that they are able to anticipate the effects of causes which have culminated over decades, centuries or millenia. The mechanism by which this operates is nothing unfamiliar to us, in fact it is the same mechanism which grants us the ability to anticipate that a precariously balanced wine glass will lead to an expensive carpet cleaning bill (this is assuming that we are unable to reach the wine glass to prevent it from falling, and that nobody else is aware of it's position).

Having considered all of this, we must ask the question: why have there been so many prophets, so many prophecies, but so many unfulfilled predictions? If they are indeed prophets, why can't they make accurate prophecies? Well, one must consider the ramifications of possessing such an enormously dialted scope on cause and effect. An individual possessing such awesome awareness is confronted with the near impossible task of squishing it all down into normal comprehension, so that his or her insight can be conveyed to the average individual. For the prophet, the only tools at his disposal for accomplishing this task are the languages of the region, and the culture under which he and his audience were raised. Furthermore, what he has communicated is subject to the interpretation of those who will eventually write it down, those who will read it in the future, and the ever-fluctuating cultural context under which the prophecy will be observed. Clearly there is the enormous potential for error between the actual prophetic insight and it's arrival on our 21st century bookshelf. Is this reason enough to conclude that prophetic power simply does not exist?

So, from this point of view, it's not reasonable to throw out the notion of prophetic power simply because there has been no fulfillment of prophecy satisfactory to our own discriminating framework. While it would be foolish to become swept up in the words of prophets, the events they foretold are at least worthy of consideration if one is so inclined.


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:poison: Dark Triangles - New Psychedelic Techno Single - Listen on Soundcloud :poison:
Gyroscope full album available SoundCloud or MySpace


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Invisibleredgreenvines
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Re: No Such Thing as Prophecy? [Re: Ped]
    #3561247 - 12/30/04 02:12 PM (12 years, 6 months ago)

I sure hope they get those tsunami detectors installed


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