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Re: Depression, Evolution...E.

Posted by Adam on November 13, 1999, at 0:05:22

In reply to Re: Depression, Evolution..., posted by Elizabeth on November 12, 1999, at 13:39:41

> I think the flaw (well, a flaw) in Pascal's wager is that it assumes that faith is something you can just switch on or off. I honestly don't think I could believe in the supernatural even if I wanted to.
This is, in essence, the primary critique against P.'s wager, but I do not think that he would have put it that way. Rather,
faith is something that can be aquired through religious practice, even if does not at first posess faith. This is not so
farfetched, but there are no guarantees, to be sure.

My critique has probably been thought of before, but I've often wondered why it never occurred to Pascal, who obviously wanted
to use a "mathematical" concept (go for infinity over finite value n as the safest bet) without figuring out that n over infinity
is the way God must have to weigh these things on His scales of justice, rendering any such reward or punishment arbitrary. This
should have been very disturbing. The Judeo/Christian concept of justice gives God the latitude, it would seem, to be a total
hardass, but to evoke an arbitrary God is anathema.
> Also - I had a discussion with my roommate about this recently - I'm not afraid of death. I think this might be the one thing that depression has given me: I have thought of death (obsessively, almost) so much that the idea just doesn't scare me anymore. (I think this is a home-grown variation of what they call "systematic desensitization," yes?)

Interesting. I have thought myself that I didn't fear death until it came to the sticking point, so to speak. Then I felt about as
afraid as I ever have. Instinct strikes again, I guess. In some ways, I think I actually envy your sangfroid, but if I posessed it,
I would not be here.

> > It is impossible
> > for me to imagine a state of being nothing at all, and this inspires
> > more awe and fear and wonder in me than any concept of an afterlife ever
> > could.
> Why do you need to be able to imagine it?

I don't, but I found deep contemplation of the concept at the point where I
was preparing to take the next step strangely life-affirming instead of nihilistic.
I can't explain why, and can think of no good reason, but there it is.




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