Is heaven whatever you want it to be?

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18 Nov 2013 17:31 #125323 by Gisteron
I don't think there can be a place of eternal bliss. Given eternity, everything that can be achieved, will be achieved. Why would you read a book now, when you can lie down and wait another 70k years? And interestingly, even when you have achieved all that can be achieved and repeated it a billion times, you would still have an eternity left to spend on something. At some point you'll be suffering boredom so badly, you'd wish you were still mortal for that'd be one way to escape.

On the other hand, if you simultaneously had hell, just how evil of a human being would you need to be to be truly in bliss while there is even one person anywhere suffering eternal agony? So either the person in heaven is suffering thus falsifying the idea that heaven is a place of bliss and bliss only, or the person in heaven isn't really the same that used to be on earth and to have compassion and consideration for others.
Heck, I'd not even be happy with people like Hitler in hell. Let's imagine every life he and his followers have terminated, crippled and every soul they have tortured and let's imagine all the people who's lives were ruined or at least affected by that. Let's imagine all those people and three generations of their descendants, how many would we be having? A billion people? Two? Let's be barbaric and repay Hitler all the suffering he caused not just once but a trillion times. Two billion trillion lifetimes of the worst imaginable torture. And he has yet eternity of the same ahead of him. When is enough ever enough? And who else will be down there with him, suffering the same punishment for... I don't know, raping a dozen children? Even if we were so monstrous as to grant the worst of our fellow primates this kind of afterlife and say it was fair, how much worse do we have to be to grant it to the second worst or the third worst in exactly the same amount? Would it really be us who are in heaven meanwhile knowing it and being happy about it? Or would our morals be changed so much that we'd hardly qualify as 'us' in that sense?

If there is no hell, the prospect of a heaven is obsolete. Why would there be a heaven for all people to go to and be happy despite some humans still living and suffering in the real world or for all people but not for all their favourite animals or for all people including an eternity of coexistence with those they hate most? That, too, renders heaven a place of as much bliss and suffering as our reality is, except it never ends. And if hell exists and we're okay with it, then whatever it is that gets to go to heaven isn't really us and we might as well not try getting there because we never will.

Of course no one of us knows wether it exists or not or how it is, but you only need to consider so few details to understand that its not worth wasting time on striving for.

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18 Nov 2013 17:42 #125325 by Desolous
Replied by Desolous on topic Is heaven whatever you want it to be?
yeah theres some b side aqua teen episode where master shake and frylock get tired of the endless free pizza and virgins and try to re animate back on earth. endless bliss sounds kinda ...

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18 Nov 2013 17:44 #125327 by Kohadre

Gisteron wrote: I don't think there can be a place of eternal bliss. Given eternity, everything that can be achieved, will be achieved. Why would you read a book now, when you can lie down and wait another 70k years? And interestingly, even when you have achieved all that can be achieved and repeated it a billion times, you would still have an eternity left to spend on something. At some point you'll be suffering boredom so badly, you'd wish you were still mortal for that'd be one way to escape.

On the other hand, if you simultaneously had hell, just how evil of a human being would you need to be to be truly in bliss while there is even one person anywhere suffering eternal agony? So either the person in heaven is suffering thus falsifying the idea that heaven is a place of bliss and bliss only, or the person in heaven isn't really the same that used to be on earth and to have compassion and consideration for others.
Heck, I'd not even be happy with people like Hitler in hell. Let's imagine every life he and his followers have terminated, crippled and every soul they have tortured and let's imagine all the people who's lives were ruined or at least affected by that. Let's imagine all those people and three generations of their descendants, how many would we be having? A billion people? Two? Let's be barbaric and repay Hitler all the suffering he caused not just once but a trillion times. Two billion trillion lifetimes of the worst imaginable torture. And he has yet eternity of the same ahead of him. When is enough ever enough? And who else will be down there with him, suffering the same punishment for... I don't know, raping a dozen children? Even if we were so monstrous as to grant the worst of our fellow primates this kind of afterlife and say it was fair, how much worse do we have to be to grant it to the second worst or the third worst in exactly the same amount? Would it really be us who are in heaven meanwhile knowing it and being happy about it? Or would our morals be changed so much that we'd hardly qualify as 'us' in that sense?

If there is no hell, the prospect of a heaven is obsolete. Why would there be a heaven for all people to go to and be happy despite some humans still living and suffering in the real world or for all people but not for all their favourite animals or for all people including an eternity of coexistence with those they hate most? That, too, renders heaven a place of as much bliss and suffering as our reality is, except it never ends. And if hell exists and we're okay with it, then whatever it is that gets to go to heaven isn't really us and we might as well not try getting there because we never will.

Of course no one of us knows wether it exists or not or how it is, but you only need to consider so few details to understand that its not worth wasting time on striving for.


Very true.

I by no means actually believe in heaven or any of the major religious belief systems, this was more of a hypothetical, self indulgent question that I wanted to get others thoughts on.

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Honor your vows.

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02 Dec 2013 13:27 #127011 by Streen
Replied by Streen on topic Is heaven whatever you want it to be?
I believe that the Art of Peace contains an interesting concept: "Heaven is where you stand" :)

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02 Dec 2013 13:55 - 02 Dec 2013 13:57 #127015 by Proteus
The idea of "heaven", "hell", and "eternity" can be translated into very easy terms of our reality...

What time is it at ALL times no matter what?

Right now. Right now never started and it never ends. It's an endless circle.

Right now therefore = Eternity.

Heaven and Hell are actually metaphorical states of being. Heaven being bliss (however you would like to personally define bliss for you, in terms that can reasonably apply to you), and Hell being misery (applied on the same terms for you as heaven).

Therefore, to be in heaven for eternity, easily means to be happy and at peace right here right now, while being in hell means being utterly miserable right here and right now. Sometimes we are in heaven, and sometimes we are in hell... both POTENTIALS exist within us at the same time. If we "do right by God", meaning if we "are accepting, loving, and honest with ourselves and our reality", then we may "go to heaven" so to speak. When we do not, then we may find ourselves in "hell".

I find no need to complicate things beyond that. The whole concept speaks for itself. :)

It seems that I know that I know.
What I would like to see is the 'I' that knows me when I know that I know that I know.
- Alan Watts
Last edit: 02 Dec 2013 13:57 by Proteus.

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02 Dec 2013 16:17 #127027 by Gisteron
You see, Proteus, most depictions of heaven and hell are not metaphorical but indeed described as to be of actual places with certain properties and certain conditions to join or leave. Eternity is also defined as an infinite amount of time rather than any sort of "now". By stretching the words to mean something they don't mean one can of course make any point and entertain any idea about those words, but one is leaving the realms of meaningful communication by doing so. If eternally means "now", then I'll stick with calling it "now" for that is what most of us learned to call "now". If heaven means "having a good time" then I'll stick with "having a good time" and if hell is "having a bad time", then that is what I'll stick with, too. We have quite enough labels for most real things (often more than one, indeed) and we are only confusing each other by redefining words to mean something other than what they mean, even more so if that something else already has a name of its own.
Now, if those are the meanings you assign to these labels, that's fine but for the purpose of conducting messages, please, just use the words all the rest of us uses to describe them (this is a general proposition, not adressed at you specifically, Pro, nor meant to sound the little bit condescending that it kind of turned out sounding...). After all, communication is the sole purpose of language, so let's try and make sure we say things in the way they are easiest to understand.

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02 Dec 2013 16:35 - 02 Dec 2013 16:39 #127029 by Proteus
Gis, what there is to understand here, is its metaphorical implication... this is an example of how mythology works, especially in religion and especially when it comes to ideas as far out there as heaven and hell. Of course they are described as literal "places"... In mythology, there are many things that are spoken of as if it is literall something else, but when understood through the lense of how mythology works at its core, it is still representative of elements of real life that we do experience, but something one would like to give a more poetic or encrypted explanation of, or even an homage to, with a story that surrounds the idea metaphorically. I know you are a person of science, proof, and direct interpretation, but that is not a taste that everyone should require or even enjoy... reality becomes quite dry, 2 dimensional and cold to many who see things through such lenses.

Of course when having a typical conversation, we say "being happy in the moment". That has nothing to do with the mythological storytelling that was created around such an idea, which, by the way, in those days, and in that context, are regarded as far deeper of a contemplation of its nature than that very simple term can express.

Edit: Also, keep in mind... "now" IS infinite. Just as I pointed out. ;)

It seems that I know that I know.
What I would like to see is the 'I' that knows me when I know that I know that I know.
- Alan Watts
Last edit: 02 Dec 2013 16:39 by Proteus.

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02 Dec 2013 18:44 - 02 Dec 2013 18:48 #127045 by Gisteron
The problem is that whenever the stories were told, neither by the teller nor the listener were they ever understood as being merely metaphorical. For the better portion of human history they were believed as literally true and that is also the way they were designed to be read. Nowhere was it said that these were just stories to illustrate aspects of our lives or to have a meaning any bit beyond the words that were being said. Granted, these words are reflective of our hopes and fears and they are essentially extrapolations of their real and earthly versions, but artistic or metaphorical is not what they were designed to be. They were actual answers to the questions of where the dead go. Heaven and hell were never means of lecturing about the aspects of life and both happiness and unhappiness as parts of life as well as the continuity of the moment can be taught entirely without heaven, hell or eternal afterlives.

Which brings me to the actual point I was making and you ignoring: We do have labels for happiness and unhappiness. We do have labels for time periods and time continuity. "I am in heaven" is, nowadays, a rather poetic expression of a feeling of bliss but if that is all heaven means, why bother keeping the word if we already have happiness, bliss and the like for it? Should we redefine words just so we can keep them at the cost of losing their initial meaning? I see every day how college girls all over the internet cry just how many things they hate oh-so-much, and sadly it totally mutes the strong meaning the word actually has. So why not use "happiness" in the sense that you mean, and "heaven" in the sense it was designed to mean? It all comes down to proper communication of ideas. In the meantime, we can leave exaggerations and fuzzy meanings to the poets, for they need them. If we take their strong words and reduce them to casual meanings, they'll have trouble doing their beautiful art, sooner or later.

On a side note: Actually seeing the world for what it is and keeping its description appropriate and, most of all, trying to grasp as much of it as we can in the short time we spend in it, reveals an experience of the world much more beautiful although mind-boggling, much more impressive although disturbing, much more tender although often cruel, much more marvelous although simple and much more fulfilling and poetic than any fantasy or poeticness anyone ever tried to make up to fill that genuine love-shaped hole in our hearts.

Last edit: 02 Dec 2013 18:48 by Gisteron.

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02 Dec 2013 19:21 #127049 by Proteus

The problem is that whenever the stories were told, neither by the teller nor the listener were they ever understood as being merely metaphorical.


Can you link me to somewhere that can determine this for sure? If you could, unless I understood his position incorrectly, it would probably render the philosophies of Campbell mute.

why bother keeping the word if we already have happiness, bliss and the like for it?


Why only use those words? Why can't "heaven" describe its own level of happiness, as associated with its mythological origins? What's so wrong with using it?

In the meantime, we can leave exaggerations and fuzzy meanings to the poets, for they need them. If we take their strong words and reduce them to casual meanings, they'll have trouble doing their beautiful art, sooner or later.


I am a poet. There are many others here. You might learn some things from us that you never considered before about language that exists outside of the confines of your typical perception. ;)



As Alan Watts put it... there are two kinds of people... those who are prickly and those who are gooey...

Those who are prickly insist on defining the world much like you do... very definite, mathematical, scientific, physical, etc. Those who are gooey, insist on defining the world more exclusively on artistic, indirect, spiritual, etc characteristics.

But what both don't understand is that the world is not only prickles... and it is not only goo.... The universe as a whole is gooey prickles and prickly goo...

And because of this, it seems to me, that it could be healthy for someone who is a prickle to allow themselves to learn something about goo, while those who are goo learn something about prickles. Why not?

I have always dealt in both, because excluding one's self to only one or the other shuts out at least half of the whole reality that you are attempting to "grasp" as you put it.

It seems that I know that I know.
What I would like to see is the 'I' that knows me when I know that I know that I know.
- Alan Watts
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