My DEATH as an Intellectual

by Terry 63 Replies latest social entertainment

  • Apognophos

    If I quit Jehovah's Organization where can I go?

    Wt policy really is be less than you can be.

    I once heard a brother say that if he wasn't a Witness, he would probably be in the army or something; that he needed a structured kind of environment. Isn't that true of all of us humans, but especially some of us? We want the security that comes from being a part of an organization, and we are willing to subsume our identity into the group in order to get the benefits that come from it.

    Perhaps for some, like Terry, the reward was more of an intellectual one, but I personally didn't view the "truth" as intellectually exciting; rather, I treasured the security it gave me. I don't mean the fact that 'only Witnesses will survive Armageddon' -- as I mentioned in another thread, I never believed that all unbelievers would be destroyed. It wasn't specifically about the fear of Armageddon. Rather, the main draw for me was the security that came with having a moral code and a structure to my life that was handed to me, readymade. I also enjoyed the feelings of superiority and specialness that it gave me ("Wow, only one out of a thousand!").

    When you think about our nature as social animals, it's not surprising that we are willing to attach ourselves to a group that harms us in some ways but brings other benefits (never mind whether they are benefits based in reality; this is not about reality but about perception). It would be remarkable if someone went through life and didn't partially subsume their identity into some group! This is how we learned to survive as a species. Unfortunately the instincts do work against us when we allow ourselves to be misled into joining, or scared out of leaving, a group that really isn't good for us.

  • Satanus

    Belonging to a group IS natural for humans.

    Apparently, the mother is the whole world for a baby. When the kid grows, the group enlarges to include the father, then perhaps bros and sises - the family unit. Going to school, the group he/she belongs to enlarges, perhaps his/her own little gang, maybe the whole school. Older, the home group enlarges some more, perhaps the city, state or country. As well, the religious group he/she belongs to. Matureing more, overcoming fears, feeling less us vss them, many people start to enlarge their home group to include a large part of the human population, maybe the whole world, or include even much of the animal life, as well.

    As the most highly evolved being on the planet, i believe we all have that potential, and thus that is the natural attainment for us. In the past, societal systems didn't allow development to that point, due to various limitations. Sadly, many of us, even today don't reach that level, and i include myself as not having reached it. It is available today, more than it ever has been, in the past.

    Many religions, while helping a person to develop for a little while, are unwilling to release them, thus attempt to keep people trapped in their limiting systems. People need to allow in the realization that there may come a time to be weaned from religion, as well. Become the uberman, as per nietzche.


    Ps, it's not that a person stops belonging, it is that a person break out of the bonds of the smaller groups and identifies w bigger, and bigger ones.

  • Apognophos

    That's a good way of putting it, Satanus. I was worried that I had gone too off-topic from Terry's point, but I think you brought it around by pointing out that, as we mature, we may leave behind a group for a bigger one.

    Not to speak for you, Terry, but perhaps what happened is that you intellectually outgrew the JWs? You described it as an intellectual "death", but death precludes any further possibility of growth. So you didn't die; you were like a plant that goes dormant in the winter :-) Eventually you realized the change in environment that you needed to make so you could keep on growing or thriving. Does that sound halfway accurate?

  • Terry

    An important aspect of an intellectual life is one's peers.

    Discussion, debate, exchange, recherche, animadversion are all sharpening processes between friends and equals.

    An intellectually honest person is committed to facts and truth where they may be found without placing loyalty above verity.

    My almost 20 years as a JW turned this upside down.

    We were committed to what the answer was supposed to be BEFORE investigation. We made sure the questions led toward the predetermined conclusions of the GB.

    When I left the Society my entire social structure was wiped out which I'd been building all the while.

    My so-called "values" were counterfeit.

    My presuppositions were suspect.

    The conceptual vault containing all the treasures of my research and lugubrations was filled with worthless scraps of nothing.

    Before you RE-build the foundation must be solid.

    It took me decades to remove the old foundation and pour a new solid one.

    Wasted years of my life.

    Doint it right the first time may be a naive ideal--but, time is one commodity completely beyond renewal!

    What were most young men doing in the 1960's when they were 20, 21, 22 years old?

    Some where fighting in Viet Nam. Some were draft dodging in Canada. Some were in the streets protesting. Some were in communes dropping acid and dropping out.

    I was in Federal Prison. I hope the majority of guys my age were in college preparing for a career with a future.

    I did not believe in the future! It had been wrested from my vision.

    I was biding time like a swimmer with cramps in a vast ocean filled with sharks.

    The only future is minute by minute water treading until rescue arrives!

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