Is any purported work of sacred scripture the word of God?

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R2D2
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Is any purported work of sacred scripture the word of God?

Post by R2D2 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:46 pm

Is there a reliable test for determining whether any purported work of sacred scripture is truly the word of God? What is it? Does any work of scripture pass that test? Would members of other religions agree?

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Re: Is any purported work of sacred scripture the word of Go

Post by thedoc » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:07 pm

R2D2 wrote:Is there a reliable test for determining whether any purported work of sacred scripture is truly the word of God? What is it? Does any work of scripture pass that test? Would members of other religions agree?
You could ask God to see what God says. BTW, Please let me know what God tells you.

My personal opinion is that all religions have a part of the message from God, but none have it all. And not all of what they teach is from God.

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Re: Is any purported work of sacred scripture the word of Go

Post by Hjarloprillar » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:33 am

R2D2 wrote:Is there a reliable test for determining whether any purported work of sacred scripture is truly the word of God? What is it? Does any work of scripture pass that test? Would members of other religions agree?
No

What could 'reliable' possibly mean in this question?

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Re: Is any purported work of sacred scripture the word of Go

Post by Skip » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:39 am

God is that omniscient, omnipotent who can devise a puzzle so abstruse even he himself can't solve it.
Therefore, the only reliable test of a scripture is: it's written by God if no mortal can ever possibly understand it. Anything people can read and interpret was written by people.

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Re: Is any purported work of sacred scripture the word of Go

Post by Hjarloprillar » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:52 am

Skip wrote:God is that omniscient, omnipotent who can devise a puzzle so abstruse even he himself can't solve it.
Therefore, the only reliable test of a scripture is: it's written by God if no mortal can ever possibly understand it. Anything people can read and interpret was written by people.
exactly

[tune in at 1420.405 mhz...Greetings from heaven]
[where λ is the wavelength of the absorbed or emitted light and RH is the Rydberg constant. Balmer's formula was corroborated by the discovery of additional spectral lines, but for thirty years, no one could explain why it worked. In the first paper of his trilogy, Bohr was able to derive it from his model:
R_Z = { 2\pi^2 m_e Z^2 e^4 \over h^3 }
where me is the electron's mass, e is its charge, h is Planck's constant and Z is the atom's atomic number (1 for hydrogen)

Greylorn Ell
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Re: Is any purported work of sacred scripture the word of Go

Post by Greylorn Ell » Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:02 pm

R2D2 wrote:Is there a reliable test for determining whether any purported work of sacred scripture is truly the word of God? What is it? Does any work of scripture pass that test? Would members of other religions agree?
There is no such test that can somehow morph words written by remarkably ignorant men into insights or words from God. However it is easy to invalidate "sacred" scriptures. If they contain logical contradictions, they are invalid. If they describe events that cannot happen and declare them to be miracles (e.g. turning water into wine), they are simply man-invented nonsense.

Humans are masters at deceiving one another, and conning the gullible into believing something that they want to believe, whether it be free money, wealth without contribution, the government is your friend, politicians are trustworthy, or that after death you will live happily forever.

However there is one bible that is absolutely certain to speak of the actions and nature of God, if such a being or consortium of beings exist. That bible is the entire physical universe.

Its laws and principles are wonderfully coherent and appear to be consistent over vast tracts of space and eons of time. It can be described by the only universal language known to man-- the language of mathematics. Math is also the only language that is independent of linguistic forms and dialects, and which therefore retains its logic when translated into common language.

Open up most any basic physics book and you will find the true and certain teachings of any God responsible for creation. To master truth, study logic and math. If you are interested in secondary stories, these are described in various branches of hard science-- astronomy, biology, chemistry, microbiology, etc. To bring these studies into a wider perspective, simply change the mental lens through which you view them. Take the perspective that the many elements of the universe were deliberately engineered-- not created from nothing in a cosmic fingersnap by an omnipotent and omniscient entity, but fashioned from available materials by an extremely intelligent and highly capable entity.

When your mind has been stretched by the heady experience of viewing creation in the context of intelligence, you might be ready for the notion that many intelligent creators were involved, and that they did it for a very serious purpose.

Then you will be ready to make sense of any human purpose that might objectively exist. Begin with a study of animal behavior, then human psychology. Again change your perspective. Ignore the bunk taught in universities that the mind is a function of brain, and try this alternative perspective:

There actually is an entity that kind of corresponds to the "soul" as conceived of by religionists, except that it is closer in nature to Descartes' view of "mind." Then forget the idea that God created this "soul" in favor of the notion that it always existed and is brought into consciousness, often kicking and whining throughout much of the process, by virtue of its forced integration with a human brain.

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Re: Is any purported work of sacred scripture the word of Go

Post by uwot » Sun Feb 09, 2014 7:23 pm

Greylorn Ell wrote:Math is also the only language that is independent of linguistic forms and dialects,

I'm not convinced that's true. What's your reasoning?
Greylorn Ell wrote:and which therefore retains its logic when translated into common language.
Definitely not convinced by that. If a natural language doesn't have the same logical structure, how can you tell that something translated from mathematics retains the same logic?
Greylorn Ell wrote:When your mind has been stretched by the heady experience of viewing creation in the context of intelligence, you might be ready for the notion that many intelligent creators were involved, and that they did it for a very serious purpose.
Ready? How is 'many intelligent creators' different from ancient polytheism of, just for example, Egypt or Mesopotamia?
Greylorn Ell wrote:... try this alternative perspective:

There actually is an entity that kind of corresponds to the "soul" as conceived of by religionists, except that it is closer in nature to Descartes' view of "mind." Then forget the idea that God created this "soul" in favor of the notion that it always existed and is brought into consciousness, often kicking and whining throughout much of the process, by virtue of its forced integration with a human brain.
Let me guess; it's all in the book. I'm sure it's a coherent narrative, that doesn't make it true. What is the key piece of evidence you think might persuade sceptics?

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Re: Is any purported work of sacred scripture the word of Go

Post by HexHammer » Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:15 pm

Dear R2D2, please stop asking stupid questions, the question posed shold be well selfexplanatory.

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Re: Is any purported work of sacred scripture the word of Go

Post by Greylorn Ell » Mon Feb 10, 2014 1:33 am

uwot wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote:Math is also the only language that is independent of linguistic forms and dialects,

I'm not convinced that's true. What's your reasoning?
In younger days I occasionally visited a remarkable theoretical physicist (John Schulenberger) who I met because I was trying to get lucky with his girlfriend. Look him up if you wish; about five years ago a fellow mathematician had put some of his biography on the internet, omitting the most interesting parts like the gunfight in the Chilean whorehouse where John lived while teaching at a nearby university.

John's workday consisted of getting up about 2am and going for a 5 mile run, then drinking whiskey and working on classical physics problems that he felt were unresolved. (My favorite: showing mathematically that the classical Michelson-Morley experiment that proved the falsehood of the aether concept by failing to detect it, could not possibly have detected it. Yes, I quote his paper and explain the problem in my book. That's what books and scientific journals are for, after all.)

(And there are a lot of ignorant pinheads who regard themselves smart enough to challenge snippets of ideas without perusing the paper or book in which they were presented. That's what blogs and forums are for-- to give those who have chosen to remain ignorant their right to challenge ideas contrary to their programmed beliefs.)

On occasions I would show up at John's house about 4pm with 4 Cuban cigars and a six-pack of good beer, essentially meeting him for breakfast and hanging out in his desert backyard until late sundown, maybe with a break for more beer and some food. John was a brilliant and deservedly arrogant man. His first university degree was a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, which he obtained by spending a few months reading EE books and then passing tests to obtain the formal credentials. He had at least 40 I.Q. ticks on me, but under the aforementioned circumstances would give me a few hours of his conversational time, during which I learned more about physics and math than from the university courses that prepared me for these conversations.

In addition to being a brilliant theoretical physicist, John was a natural linguist. He had learned enough Spanish to teach advanced math to Chilean students after a week at the foothills whorehouse, and read Solzenitsyn in the vernacular during free time. Upon returning to Tucson he made a few bucks translating (i.e. explaining) esoteric Russian math/physics papers for scientists at the U. of Arizona.

My insights about math and language were provided by John Schulengerber, a man who knew and loved both, and who has taught advanced math in the most trivial and complex of languages.

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Re: Is any purported work of sacred scripture the word of Go

Post by Greylorn Ell » Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:07 am

uwot wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote:When your mind has been stretched by the heady experience of viewing creation in the context of intelligence, you might be ready for the notion that many intelligent creators were involved, and that they did it for a very serious purpose.
Ready? How is 'many intelligent creators' different from ancient polytheism of, just for example, Egypt or Mesopotamia?
The only difference that I can determine is that, from my readings of the relevant material, the gods of polytheism were regarded as controllers, rather than creators. Apollo didn't create the sun-- he escorted it across the sky. This is not always the case. Thor actually created the vile weather that he used to smite his enemies, but the generalization seems fairly accurate.

Moreover, the activities of the polytheistic gods were never brought together in a metaphysical scheme. These confused and emotionally-run nits were portrayed like actors in shitty soap-opera plots, not as expert physicists or microbiologists who actually created the universe that they so incompetently controlled. Neither Egyptian nor Greek polytheism provided an answer to the creation of mankind that lived up to the stupifying standards of the Baltimore Catechism.

Irrespective of that, is it important, or even relevant, that my concepts be different from polytheism? They differ from monotheism, and given that monotheism is at the core of virtually all major theologies, Big Bang theory included. That seems to me to be a fair start. Bright human beings have invented a lot of interesting concepts. Must mine differ from all of them in order to be interesting?

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Re: Is any purported work of sacred scripture the word of Go

Post by Greylorn Ell » Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:26 am

uwot wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote:... try this alternative perspective:

There actually is an entity that kind of corresponds to the "soul" as conceived of by religionists, except that it is closer in nature to Descartes' view of "mind." Then forget the idea that God created this "soul" in favor of the notion that it always existed and is brought into consciousness, often kicking and whining throughout much of the process, by virtue of its forced integration with a human brain.
Let me guess; it's all in the book. I'm sure it's a coherent narrative, that doesn't make it true. What is the key piece of evidence you think might persuade sceptics?
What a clever guess! It is in the book!

The book includes multiple pieces of evidence, and the science behind the evidence is well explained. Where else would you anticipate finding scientific evidence-- on a philosophy forum populated mostly by a individuals who learned their science in high school?

Yet, how can you be sure that my narrative is coherent, having studied none of it?

You can find the evidence that you seek if you perused and understood my book. You will understand even more if you follow up the internet links (my version of footnotes) offered in the book, via my website. Digital Universe -- Analog Soul is written for non-scientists. My editor had not taken so much as a high-school algebra class, yet made perfect sense of my material and now subscribes to pop-science magazines.

Now a question for you. Why do you imagine that you are qualified to bitch about trivial aspects of larger ideas that you have consciously chosen not to study?

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Re: Is any purported work of sacred scripture the word of Go

Post by Arising_uk » Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:54 am

R2D2 wrote:Is there a reliable test for determining whether any purported work of sacred scripture is truly the word of God? What is it? Does any work of scripture pass that test? Would members of other religions agree?
Be nice if you actually stated your opinion. As so far all your posts sound like you want others to do your homework.

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Re: Is any purported work of sacred scripture the word of Go

Post by uwot » Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:32 am

Greylorn Ell wrote:Math is also the only language that is independent of linguistic forms and dialects,
uwot wrote:I'm not convinced that's true. What's your reasoning?
Greylorn Ell wrote:Upon returning to Tucson he made a few bucks translating (i.e. explaining) esoteric Russian math/physics papers for scientists at the U. of Arizona.

Doesn't that suggest there are linguistic forms and dialects in mathematics?
Greylorn Ell wrote:My insights about math and language were provided by John Schulengerber, a man who knew and loved both, and who has taught advanced math in the most trivial and complex of languages.
I have no reason to doubt anything you say about him, but google drew a blank on John Schulengerber.
Greylorn Ell wrote:Moreover, the activities of the polytheistic gods were never brought together in a metaphysical scheme.

Certainly Mesopotamian and Egyptian polytheism had a metaphysical scheme. Both were premised on the belief in transmutation of elements. The original 'gods' in both traditions were water; Apsu and Tiamat in Mesopotamia, Nun in Egypt. These are two of the oldest civilizations, they were founded on flood plains where agriculture is relatively easy. The film of fresh soil left by the receding waters was interpreted as water turning into soil, the gods Lahmu and Lahamu in Mesopotamia, Geb in Egypt. These then created air gods, the 'marriage' of soil and water producing methane, which bubbles up wherever vegetation decays at the bottom of water, and methane, of course is flammable. What are usually called the Greek elements are much older, the transmutation was attributed to nature being imbued with 'life force'. The story is slightly different in Greece, where the standard creation myth, the Theogeny was, according to Hesiod's own account, written on the slopes of the sacred Mount Helicon, where water is more likely to be seen springing from the hillside; so it is that Gaia, Earth, is the first god to emerge from Chaos.
Greylorn Ell wrote:These confused and emotionally-run nits were portrayed like actors in shitty soap-opera plots,

Bit harsh, but the different stories all had the same metaphysical backbone. They all conformed with 'science' as it was understood. Now as then, it is possible to write any story to account for the scientific understanding.
Greylorn Ell wrote:Bright human beings have invented a lot of interesting concepts. Must mine differ from all of them in order to be interesting?
Not at all, but there are a lot of stories in the bookshop; why should I pick yours?
Greylorn Ell wrote:The book includes multiple pieces of evidence, and the science behind the evidence is well explained. Where else would you anticipate finding scientific evidence-- on a philosophy forum populated mostly by a individuals who learned their science in high school?

Is this part of your marketing strategy? You have written a book, presumably you wish people to read it, yet you cannot provide any compelling reason to do so and insult your potential audience.
Greylorn Ell wrote:Yet, how can you be sure that my narrative is coherent, having studied none of it?
So it might not even be coherent. You really are not selling it to me.
Greylorn Ell wrote:Now a question for you. Why do you imagine that you are qualified to bitch about trivial aspects of larger ideas that you have consciously chosen not to study?
Well, for one thing, I didn't do my research by drinking whisky and smoking cigars with someone that nobody else has heard of. But you are right, I am not qualified to comment on things I haven't read; if you'd care to post non-trivial aspects of your larger ideas, I'll bitch about those, but I can only treat as I find. It is not the case that I have 'consciously chosen not to study' your book; you spin a good yarn, and I'm sure it's very entertaining, but I'm not persuaded that I will discover any great insight to reality.

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Re: Is any purported work of sacred scripture the word of Go

Post by 3Sum » Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:18 pm

You could ask God to see what God says. BTW, Please let me know what God tells you.
God told me that he really did write all the scriptures, but as a joke and a test, and you pass the test by realizing they're all bullshit. If you believe them you're the butt of the joke.

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Re: Is any purported work of sacred scripture the word of Go

Post by Greylorn Ell » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:28 am

uwot wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote:Upon returning to Tucson he made a few bucks translating (i.e. explaining) esoteric Russian math/physics papers for scientists at the U. of Arizona.

Doesn't that suggest there are linguistic forms and dialects in mathematics?
Actually, no. If you pick up a calculus or physics textbook, or peruse a math or physics paper, you'll find that it is not just lines of mathematics. There is always some explanatory text involved. Even the people who read these things can use some assistance following the author's line of thought, and these are always expressed in some language, often with lots of jargon developed within the book or paper, or, for advanced material, jargon that was taught in the educational process.

Perhaps you noticed that Newton's "Principia Mathematica" was a more difficult read than a modern calculus book because 17th century British English does not translate directly into American English? Leibnitz' version of calculus was essentially the same as Newton's, but was written in German and used different symbolisms, and so was not immediately recognized as being the same thing. I tried reading Newton's book after graduating with a physics degree, and had considerable difficulty making sense of it. Had I been transported back to Newton's time, I'd have had a difficult time understanding him.

You are correct in a sense that there are, or have been, different mathematical dialects, but this is a matter of symbolism. The use of symbols such as + - / and a raised "x" or dot for multiply are fairly standard. Often, the multiplication symbol is implied, as in E=mcc. Other symbols are used for different mathematical operations, such as the Greek lower-case delta in differential calculus, and the integral symbol. Notice that I cannot even display these symbols in the language allowed here, not even c-squared.

But in mathematics, when all is written and translated, the core mathematical principles are what they are. Were you or I to try to compare Newton's expression of calculus to Leibnitz, we would have trouble perceiving that they are the same. Mathematicians who knew both languages had no difficulty recognizing that the math is the same.
uwot wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote:My insights about math and language were provided by John Schulengerber, a man who knew and loved both, and who has taught advanced math in the most trivial and complex of languages.
I have no reason to doubt anything you say about him, but google drew a blank on John Schulengerber.
I screwed up. The correct spelling is Schulenberger. Google can deal with the misspellings of common words, but this is not one of them. I apologize for the error, and appreciate your feedback. You really are paying attention, aren't you?
uwot wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote:Moreover, the activities of the polytheistic gods were never brought together in a metaphysical scheme.

Certainly Mesopotamian and Egyptian polytheism had a metaphysical scheme. Both were premised on the belief in transmutation of elements. The original 'gods' in both traditions were water; Apsu and Tiamat in Mesopotamia, Nun in Egypt. These are two of the oldest civilizations, they were founded on flood plains where agriculture is relatively easy. The film of fresh soil left by the receding waters was interpreted as water turning into soil, the gods Lahmu and Lahamu in Mesopotamia, Geb in Egypt. These then created air gods, the 'marriage' of soil and water producing methane, which bubbles up wherever vegetation decays at the bottom of water, and methane, of course is flammable. What are usually called the Greek elements are much older, the transmutation was attributed to nature being imbued with 'life force'. The story is slightly different in Greece, where the standard creation myth, the Theogeny was, according to Hesiod's own account, written on the slopes of the sacred Mount Helicon, where water is more likely to be seen springing from the hillside; so it is that Gaia, Earth, is the first god to emerge from Chaos.
Cowabunga! You either know of what you write, or are a brilliant bullshit artist, and I prefer the more favorable interpretation. My superficial interpretation stands corrected by someone who knows better and differently. Thanks for the thorough explanation.
uwot wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote:These confused and emotionally-run nits were portrayed like actors in shitty soap-opera plots,

Bit harsh, but the different stories all had the same metaphysical backbone. They all conformed with 'science' as it was understood. Now as then, it is possible to write any story to account for the scientific understanding.
Not only harsh, but tacky, as is consistent with my late night personality.

Your comment about stories is perceptive. You seem to have paid attention to the inventions of cosmologists. Perhaps you are an honest skeptic?

I love stories, provided that they are credible. For me, that requires both logical consistency, and a consistent connection with human nature. My first book, written under my real name, was a metaphysical story that did rather well, especially in foreign language translations, and remains a popular internet cult classic. Two of its chapters have been filmed, republished, excerpted by a respected philosopher, and used in philosophy courses about the nature of consciousness.

Looking down to your subsequent comments, because my book proposes a created universe, I had to include a motivational scheme, on the grounds that neither humans nor gods cooperate to undertake complex and difficult large scale projects without a serious purpose. Conventional versions of "God's purpose" proposed by religions are, to me, illogical. So I invented three, perhaps four different stories to explain why my hypothetical creators would have taken the effort and trouble to make a universe with scattered nodes of biological life. Two of them are unique (I think).
uwot wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote:Bright human beings have invented a lot of interesting concepts. Must mine differ from all of them in order to be interesting?
Not at all, but there are a lot of stories in the bookshop; why should I pick yours?
Mine is the best story yet devised. Its plot is consistent with the known principles of physics, and with the primary force known to motivate the microscopic brains of insects and elephants, as well as the minds of thoughtful men-- survival.
uwot wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote:The book includes multiple pieces of evidence, and the science behind the evidence is well explained. Where else would you anticipate finding scientific evidence-- on a philosophy forum populated mostly by a individuals who learned their science in high school?

Is this part of your marketing strategy? You have written a book, presumably you wish people to read it, yet you cannot provide any compelling reason to do so and insult your potential audience.
Greylorn Ell wrote:Yet, how can you be sure that my narrative is coherent, having studied none of it?
So it might not even be coherent. You really are not selling it to me.
Perhaps not-- but I have succeed in engaging your curiosity, and for me that is a good start.

Whereas logic and imagination are my strengths, salesmanship is my Waterloo. Looking for a summer job between semesters I tried selling, failed miserably, and found that swinging a shovel full of wet concrete on a road crew was more fun and definitely more remunerative.

I've come up with several inventions, but could not convince the executives who could have profited from them that they were worth patenting. My favorite was a method of measuring micro-liter quantities of fluids, irrespective of density, within a device that required high speed fluid flows. Virtual memory was another. Had I been able to convince my penultimate employer of the value of my ideas, they'd have been a million bucks richer. Instead, they fired me. My selling skills are so bad that I could not sell a cord of firewood and a box of matches to an Eskimo in the dead of an arctic winter.

I'm working on salesmanship. My only successful practice vehicle is the country dance floor, where young women who would not have given me the time of day 40 years ago will happily dance with me. Perhaps next lifetime I'll expand these skills. For the moment, you are stuck with me as I am, learning to dance with words.
uwot wrote:
Greylorn Ell wrote:Now a question for you. Why do you imagine that you are qualified to bitch about trivial aspects of larger ideas that you have consciously chosen not to study?
Well, for one thing, I didn't do my research by drinking whisky and smoking cigars with someone that nobody else has heard of. But you are right, I am not qualified to comment on things I haven't read; if you'd care to post non-trivial aspects of your larger ideas, I'll bitch about those, but I can only treat as I find. It is not the case that I have 'consciously chosen not to study' your book; you spin a good yarn, and I'm sure it's very entertaining, but I'm not persuaded that I will discover any great insight to reality.
John drank the whiskey, not me. I wasn't old enough then, and have since discovered that I must drink hard liquor only in very friendly environments. For his breakfast, we drank beer. I'd have preferred brandy or port with cigars, but John's preferences ruled my choices.

Don't write off the value of ethanol as part of the inspirational process. The human brain is naturally full of programming-- beliefs, opinions, and various entanglements. These interfere with divergent thought. Ethanol inhibits the brain's beliefs, freeing mental space for the entry of better ideas.

I cannot promise that if you read my book you will learn squat about "reality." I can only promise that you will find ideas that you've not studied elsewhere and have not previously considered, about the nature of your own mind, plus the causes behind, and purposes of your existence as a conscious entity.

I've just this moment realized why selling this shit is so difficult. It is easy to sell variations on existing themes-- for example, a new and improved soap, a car engine that gets better performance, or a new vacuum cleaner. I can sell myself on the dance floor, to people who want to dance and know how a dance is supposed to look, because my skills are obvious. But selling ideas that are entirely different from anything with which people are familiar is damned near impossible.

I've tried presenting them piecemeal on this and other forums, but that doesn't work. Before writing I tried to explain them verbally, and that doesn't work. The full context of a book does work, for those few who have read it.

Imagine if I was to try to express the depth and richness of "War and Peace" in forum posts. Suppose that I tried to explain General Relativity, here. Suppose that Descartes had tried to present his philosophy on such a platform. Who'd be qualified enough to be impressed?

I hope that you will read the book. If you get it, let me know. I'll offer some helpful reading instructions, based upon comments from previous readers. We might have a few interesting conversations out of it.

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