Saturday, December 30, 2017

Reflection: "Can an atheistic worldview support the...sacred?"

Can an atheistic worldview support the concept of the holy or sacred?
by Professor Randal Rauser

MY REFLECTION on that short article:
Baptist professor Randal Rauser gave this quote by Dworkin: “religion is deeper than God. Religion is a deep, distinct, and comprehensive worldview: it holds that inherent, objective
value permeates everything, that the universe and its creatures are awe-inspiring,
that human life has purpose and the universe order.”

Huh?! This conundrum seems to show that a HUGE amount of discussion of theism versus atheism is semantic and based on differing definitions.

For Dworkin's definition would appear to be the very definition, not of religion, but of God!

Rauser wrote, "For this discussion, I will define “God” as a personal being who is the ultimate explanation for everything else that exists."

The first general definition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary is somewhat different:
God "1 capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality:"

Those definitions don't necessarily disagree, but the M-W C. D. one would seem to make Drwokin a theist, not an atheist.

For Drwokin wrote, "...inherent, objective value permeates everything, that the universe and its creatures are awe-inspiring, that human life has purpose and the universe order."

Such a statement is so incredibly different from what most famous atheists claim.

The latter atheists emphasize that existence-cosmos has no value,
that everything is "meaningless," "purposeless," and "pointless,"
that human primates are without worth,
that humans have no choice,
that everything is fully determined from the Big Bang,
that ethics are "subjective," "relative," and only personal "preferences," "likes or dislikes,"
and that liberty, equality, and human rights are all "myths."

That atheists can so completely disagree about the very nature of the reality astounds me.

Though I guess I shouldn't be that surprised. Heck, theists do this as well. John Wesley once wrote he would rather be an atheist than believe one version of Christianity.

A few central reasons why I am a theist is that I think that ethics are real, that creativity is possible for humans, and that the cosmos and life are amazing, that the ultimate nature of reality is full of meaning. (I do speculate about whether or not panentheism or some form of Enlightenment description might be true, BUT I know that is only educated guessing.)

So I am curious, would you characterize me as an atheist or a theist?

In the Light of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful,

Daniel Wilcox

Whose Is Jerusalem? THIS LAND IS MINE by Nina Paley

This Land Is Mine from Nina Paley on Vimeo.

This Land Is Mine from Nina Paley on Vimeo.


JERUSALEM: This Land Is Mine...says various human groups, all demanding it go their way. It's called selfishness. How about a little kindness and sharing and generosity?

An excellent satire
by Nina Paley

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Reflection on "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"


by Walt Whitman

FLOOD-TIDE below me! I see you face to face!
Clouds of the west—sun there half an hour high—I see you
also face to face.

Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes, how
curious you are to me!

On the ferry-boats the hundreds and hundreds that cross,
returning home, are more curious to me than you suppose,

And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence are
more to me, and more in my meditations, than you might

The impalpable sustenance of me from all things at all hours of
the day,
The simple, compact, well-join'd scheme, myself disintegrated,
every one disintegrated yet part of the scheme,
The similitudes of the past and those of the future,

The glories strung like beads on my smallest sights and hearings,
on the walk in the street and the passage over the river,
The current rushing so swiftly and swimming with me far away,

The others that are to follow me, the ties between me and them,
The certainty of others, the life, love, sight, hearing of others.

Others will enter the gates of the ferry and cross from shore to

Others will watch the run of the flood-tide,
Others will see the shipping of Manhattan north and west, and
the heights of Brooklyn to the south and east,
Others will see the islands large and small;

Fifty years hence, others will see them as they cross, the sun half
an hour high,
A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence,
others will see them,
Will enjoy the sunset, the pouring-in of the flood- tide,
the falling-
back to the sea of the ebb-tide.

It avails not, time nor place—distance avails not,

I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so
many generations hence,
Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt,
Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd,

Just as you are refresh'd by the gladness of the river and the
bright flow, I was refresh'd,
Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with the swift
current, I stood yet was hurried,
Just as you look on the numberless masts of ships and the thick-
stemm'd pipes of steamboats, I look'd.

I too many and many a time cross'd the river of old,
Watched the Twelfth-month sea-gulls, saw them high in the air
floating with motionless wings, oscillating their bodies,

Saw how the glistening yellow lit up parts of their bodies and left
the rest in strong shadow,
Saw the slow-wheeling circles and the gradual edging toward the
Saw the reflection of the summer sky in the water,

Had my eyes dazzled by the shimmering track of beams,
Look'd at the fine centrifugal spokes of light round the shape of
my head in the sunlit water,
Look'd on the haze on the hills southward and south-westward,
Look'd on the vapor as it flew in fleeces tinged with violet,
Look'd toward the lower bay to notice the vessels arriving,

Saw their approach, saw aboard those that were near me,
Saw the white sails of schooners and sloops, saw the ships at anchor,
The sailors at work in the rigging or out astride the spars,
The round masts, the swinging motion of the hulls, the slender
serpentine pennants,
The large and small steamers in motion, the pilots in their pilot-

The white wake left by the passage, the quick tremulous whirl of
the wheels,
The flags of all nations, the falling of them at sunset,
The scallop-edged waves in the twilight, the ladled cups, the
frolicsome crests and glistening,
The stretch afar growing dimmer and dimmer, the gray walls of
the granite storehouses by the docks,

On the river the shadowy group, the big steam-tug closely flank'd
on each side by the barges, the hay-boat, the belated
On the neighboring shore the fires from the foundry chimneys
burning high and glaringly into the night,

Casting their flicker of black contrasted with wild red and yellow
light over the tops of houses, and down into the clefts of

These and all else were to me the same as they are to you,

I loved well those cities, loved well the stately and rapid river,
The men and women I saw were all near to me,
Others the same—others who look back on me because I look'd
forward to them,
(The time will come, though I stop here to-day and to-night.)


What is it then between us?

What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us?

Whatever it is, it avails not—distance avails not, and place avails

First portion of "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"
by Walt Whitman


Not sure when I first encountered this powerful poetic meditation on Life, time, place, travel, and death...

The first time I remember was when I introduced it to recalcitrant students at Westminster High School in the fall of 1979 during my student teaching...
and strangely there I encountered one of those transcendent ALIVE moments that sometime occur in our life, and shock us awake! But then shortly afterward--a few several weeks--one of the first "deaths" of hope struck my life. I was still an idealistic, naive individual, though I was 32 years of age, traveling late into my career because of the wanderings and wonderings of my 20's.

Somehow, someway, the day I stood amidst the desks, orally interpreting Whitman's prescient awareness of the relationship between him and the people of his day and those of future times who read his poem...
for some students, and especially myself, I encountered one of those deeply alive times when I experienced that wide consciousness which Whitman refers,
a vivid awareness which explodes out from our usual unaware, hum-drum daily life--

A moment in which suddenly we are so aware that place and time even "...hundreds of years...avails not"...

That moment in the midst of the stress of student teaching to earn my credential, dealing with some intractable teens, in the midst of more world political crises, in the midst of personal troubles, in the midst of long hours,
there came
a moment of mystical clarity
that has stayed with me
and which
often leads me
to re-read
poem of transcendence,
of being,

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

John Adams: "You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket.”

This is such a catchy maxim, one written by President John Adams
to his son, John Quincy Adams: "You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket.”

However, quickly, deeply, key questions arise:

1. Is this true, that you will never be alone?

2. Which poets ought one to include, without so stuffing your pocket it begins to look
like you have a huge wart on your leg?

3. Besides, Adams, spoke of only one poet at a time. So that leads to the more difficult question,
what poet ought one to put in his/her pocket first?

4. And most of all, what poem deserves to be hugged closely to yourself, bleeding deep into you--
one that you read with shock, powerful reaction,
sometimes in delight or in horror,
and eventually with deep reflection
that gets down into the marrow of your bones and heart?

You--with that pocketed poet in your soul and gut--then like the proverbial camel who chews his cud,
you chew on it for years.

The camel goes incredible distances through difficult terrain and inhospitable weather, and can survive without water and other things that most animals must have.

Does any poem do that for you?

Here's one powerful poem, a stunner:

in time’s a noble mercy of proportion
with generosities beyond believing
(though flesh and blood accuse him of coercion
or mind and soul convict him of deceiving)

whose ways are neither reasoned nor unreasoned
his wisdom cancels conflict and agreement
– saharas have their centuries; ten thousand
of which are smaller than a rose’s moment

there’s time for laughing and there’s time for crying –
for hoping for despair for peace for longing
– a time for growing and a time for dying:
a night for silence and a day for singing

but more than all (as all your more than eyes
tell me) there is a time for timelessness

by e.e. cummings

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Sunday, December 24, 2017

On this Eve, Please Write for Those Suffering in Eastern Ghouta, Syria

Rescue the perishing!

from Amnesty International URGENT ACTION:

"14 individuals have died since July in Eastern Ghouta, as the Syrian government blocks their medical evacuation and those of another 572 other severely injured and ill people. More deaths are expected if authorities do not approve their immediate evacuation to hospitals in Damascus...and cases of acute malnutrition." Damascus is "just 10 kilometres away..."
Sahar died of malnutrition in besieged Eastern Ghouta, Syria, on 22 October 2017.

"According to medical personnel in Eastern Ghouta, an area near Damascus where government forces have been holding around 400,000 civilians under siege, 14 people have died while awaiting medical evacuation. The medical evacuation of 572 people suffering from severe injuries and chronic diseases has been pending approval from the Syrian government since July."

"According to the testimonies, a majority of patients can be saved with basic medical supplies that are available in Damascus, just 10 kilometres from Eastern Ghouta. No medical evacuation has been allowed so far."

"Doctors and medical workers are unable to provide adequate medical care to the injured and ill due to lack of adequate surgical supplies, medical equipment and medicine, particularly for treatment of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes."

"As a result, doctors are using expired medicine from destroyed hospitals. There has additionally been a rise in cases of acute malnutrition, especially in children, exacerbated by the lack of access to food, humanitarian aid, and other life-saving necessities."

Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
 Calling on the Syrian government to immediately lift the siege on Eastern Ghouta;
 Urging it to unconditionally allow medical evacuations to Damascus;
 Calling on it to provide unfettered access to UN humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners.

Contact these two officials by 30 January, 2018:

Bashar al-Assad
Fax: +963 11 332 3410 (keep trying, if it does not go through, include your message to the president in an e-mail to the Ambassador, asking for it to be forwarded)
Salutation: Your Excellency

Permanent Representative to the UN Bashar Ja’afari
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
820 Second Avenue, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10017, USA
Fax: +1 212 983 4439
Salutation: Your Excellency

In the LIGHT,

Daniel Wilcox

Friday, December 22, 2017

Beautiful Vistas

from our cameras

Sculpture by Oglala-Sicangu Lakota artist Colleen Cutschall
at Last Bighorn Battlefield, Montana

In the Light of Beauty,

Photos by Daniel and Betsy Wilcox

Friday, December 15, 2017

3 Sons of Abraham

For Hanukkah and Christmas:

Three Sons No Longer Fight

Disking the rock strewn
Objected earth near Bet Shean,
Underneath the Middle Eastern sky
Rows of mean earth riven by the blades,
We cut away our anger, hate, and pride,
Stopping to drink, not from the liquor

Of fanatic corruption but from
The precious water welling up,
Our oasis of Jacob'd sharing,
In this Hanukkah season
Of Christ's mass after


We three sons of Abraham,
Muslim, Jew, and Christian,
Fight the true battle
Not each other but
To be found worthy
In compassion
And purity--
The true
To God


--Daniel Wilcox

First pub. in

In the LIGHT,

Daniel Wilcox

Sunday, December 10, 2017

REGARDING JERUSALEM: Missing Star and Cradle

Missing Star and Cradle

Weird Christmas Eve 40 times past
With no holly, blinking red or green lights,

No 'holy' decorations, only the gaudy glare
Of cold Jerusalem's neon theater sign;

We watched Catch 22 with our kibbutz bunch
After being frisked for bombs at the entrance.

Years explode by while politicians yet pitch
Uncradled in the maze of their doctrinal hype;

The sacred cave's still dark and unstable,
For more unwise men, so starless, misrule.

--Daniel Wilcox

First pub. in Danse Macabre
and in poetry collection,
Psalms, Yawps, and Howls



Every human "I" experiences at least 3 experiential senses of self, sometimes called "ego states."


For instance, notice how the 3 senses of self exist in a juvenile delinquent's statement:

"I knew we were harming the old woman; (THOUGHT)

we shouldn't have hurt her; (TAUGHT)

but I felt like it."* (FELT)

Or another way of describing our 3 ego states of TAUGHT/FELT/THOUGHT:




Or in more abstract terms:


This is adapted from Dr. Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis. His creative, life-changing theory of the human psyche
was transformational for millions of people in the last 60 years. Dr. Berne demonstrated keen insight into human nature
in his books such as Games People Play.

Sometimes his terms got misapplied or misunderstood however.

For instance, in his effort to get away from psychoanalytical abstract terms--and displaying a sense of playfullness--Berne defined
the inner realities of the
Human Psyche as

“PARENT” (implanted instructions from adults)

"CHILD" (creative, how we felt as a child, and feel experientially now)

"ADULT" (fact-checking now)

Berne wrote that these senses of "I" were real and experiential, not abstract descriptions such as earlier psychologists and psychiatrists had termed
3 divisions of the human psyche.

For examples, Sigmund Freud's abstract terms:
ID (BERNE’S “Little Fascist”)

The most misunderstood aspect of Berne's theory was his statement of "I'M OKAY; YOU"RE OKAY." This view of positive psychology was popularized by other psychologists including Thomas Harris in his famous book, I'M OK, YOU'RE OK.

Too often, people in general, and scoffers thought that "okay" meant that TA leaders were stating, every human is fine just as he is.


Obviously, based on the wars of the 20th century which slaughtered multi-millions of humans, the millions of rapes and enslavements, constant abuse of children, and unending domestic violence,
this wasn't Berne's key point at all.

Rather Berne was giving the Enlightenment, humanistic ethical truth of "inherent human value/worth" a new-face-over uplift into popular user-friendly words.

The central key of Transactional Analysis was that every single human is of inherent worth, is "ok."

That ALL of human miscommunication, intolerance, abuse, and destruction come from distortions and denials of each human being inherently valuable.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

*Adapted from Games People Play by Berne, I'M OK, You're OK by Harris, Introduce Yourself to T.A. by Paul McCormick and Leonard Campos, etc.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

True Ethics in the Midst of Left and Right Hypocrisy

Seeking true ethics is one of the most difficult tasks any of us human primates can do.

And it becomes much more difficult when human leaders display hypocrisy and contradictions when speaking of ethics.

Consider that so many Christian leaders are now avidly supporting leaders (such as Roy Moore and Donald Trump) who have allegedly committed gross unethical actions...

And that so many secularists are claiming that all ethics are “subjective,” “relative,” only “personal” or cultural “preferences,” only a matter of “like or dislike,” that slavery, rape, slaughter, dishonesty aren’t objectively wrong. And that there are no human rights. According to these atheists, rights, equality, liberty, etc. are “myths.”

Is it any wonder that millions humans are confused when it comes to the questions of "ought"?

Or consider the strange anomaly of so many religious leaders in 2017 claiming that various immoral or unjust actions are only wrong because such actions contradict what God has commanded, Divine Command Theory. If God changes his commands (as the Deity often did in the past), then true ethics change.

Worst of all many Christian, Muslim, and Hindu leaders claim God--before the universe began--pre-planned every murder, every rape, every molestation, every natural evil disaster for God's-self! And if you question such a gargantuan horror, they ask who do you think God is?!

God can do whatever he wills because God is God!

Forget such horrific beliefs.

Eliminating those majority views at least narrows the multi-pronged choices staring at us at every moment when we need to choose.

Now for coming the New Year of 2018, Let's seek the Light, seek the Life, seek the Good, seek the Just.

But how does one do so? The difficulty, the Good, is in the details.

One online commentator challenged me to provide a better method.

First, it would appear to most people who study history that neither religion nor atheism hasn't provided a good code of ethics. On the contrary such ideolgoies have committed mass slaughter and supported everything from slavery and dishonesty to theft and torture, to discrimination and persecution. No, Christianity hasn't provided a reliable ethical guide. Check out books such as Jesus Wars and The Great and Holy War: How W.W. l became a Religious Crusade by Phillip Jenkins. And read the critical commentaries on Islam and its horrific history.

Second, the human conscience (except in sociopaths) declares we are to do right, to do the good, but doesn't usually clarify what or how. In fact in history, the most evil actions were committed not by immoral choosers, but by conscientious, dutiful humans!

Let's get an eagle's overview of the mountainous region of ethics:

#1 Probably, the spiritual side of the Enlightenment has achieved the most ethically.
Since then a majority of humans have come to give, at least give lip service, to the ideals of human rights, equality, justice and to condemn the slaughter of innocent humans, poverty, prejudice, torture, slavery, and so forth.

Reason has shown to be more true, more effective, more real than any religious dogma ever was.

However, even in reason and transcendent claims there are doubts and problems and dilemmas. Fortunately, most humans seldom have to deal with the extremes such as the trolley car dilemma and other difficult choices.

Indeed, I wonder why so many ethical skeptics immediately jump to the most extreme difficult examples when the subject of morality is brought up.
In general, for instance, it would seem that honesty and justice are reliable goals, even if in a few severe situations, one might choose an action of dishonesty or injustice in order to save human lives.

But if I moved back to the Middle East and soon was faced with a dire threat by HAMAS or Hezbollah, and chose to lie to protect innocent Jewish civilians,
my lie still wouldn't be true.

Later after human rights organizations got the innocent individuals safely out of the clutches of "Godly" religious organizations, I ought to then print an acknowledgment of my dishonest statement, explaining that I know all lying is wrong, and that I had only told the lie to protect innocent lives.

Too often humans quickly jump to the immoral choice--declaring it good--when encountering a difficult trial. For example Americans constantly condemn Muslims in the Middle East for using torture and terrorism, but quickly defend the U.S. government when it tortures and slaughters.

Let's take non-religious leaders' most extreme example: Ought a good human--if there are no other possible options--murder or rape to defend innocent people?


When making ethical choices, the means is part of the end. When you pick up the immoral ethical stick on one end you get the other, too, even if your intentions are good.

Just for the sake of illustration, what if a U.S. Seal could only save a young Syrian or Afghan girl from being tortured and murdered by Muslim jihadists by pretending to attack and rape her?

Such an undercover individual might choose to rape the girl because he thinks raping her isn't as evil as letting the Islamic State thugs behead or stone her.

HOWEVER, his act of rape--even though done with good intentions--still will harm the girl and is very wrong.

One evil in response to another evil doesn't make a good.


In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Lean In Toward The Light - By Carrie Newcomer

The Nature of Doubt and Experience

Since there are so many fallacious, illusionary, and destructive views among humans, it seems that the OTF* is a great idea. However, I spent most of my life doubting so it's unlikely that John Loftus' book would be of much use for a natural skeptic such as I. On the other hand, I enjoy reading John's lucid prose, even though I strongly disagree with his central assertions.

Two important factors led to my own life-long skepticism and movement away from my religious background and upbringing.

1. My sister and I grew up in virtually the same environment, were close, talked all the time in depth, BUT our temperaments were entirely different. She, basically, accepted the religion she grew up in, and hasn't changed, other than increasing her knowledge within that religion.

In contrast, I was never satisfied. Never. It's like I was born with a WHY in my throat and mouth:-)
My parents regularly wondered why I constantly asked questions from age 3-4 on, never ceasing. Danny, why don't you just accept it (whatever the 'it' was that hour or day)?

2. Secondly, when I was 16, I encountered a new Christian leader at a teen Bible study who so shocked us
that I still get upset about what he said, and the horrific ethics and theology he espoused as the true
Christianity (which TOTALLY contradicted everything that we believed).

Two 'also ran's' were factors, too, in my own unofficial OTF experiences:

3. Unlike the current sort of Christians, such as the leaders who support Trump and Moore, my parents weren't harsh fundamentalists. On the contrary my dad, a Baptist minister also had a degree in history. And both of my parents were practical.

During my early teen years such as when I came home from church camp, on religious fire, they told me to tone it down:-) When I went around putting tracts on all of the cars' window shields in our small downtown village, they gave me a serious talking to, about how, I was over-doing it.

4. Unlike my sister, I attended 2 secular universities, first the University of Nebraska, then transferred to and graduated from Long Beach State. Most of our professors were outspoken agnostics or atheists, one a hard Marxist, etc. I majored in Creative Writing, and for a while in anthropology.

Nothing like being drop-kicked into an 'alien' environment to get a why-caught-in-the-throat Baptist teen to question everything:-)

Along the way, beginning when I was drafted and served as a conscientious objector, I got involved with the Quakers in 1966.
Photo: Live Oak Friends Meeting, Houston by Turrell

At Back Bench Friends Fellowship in downtown Philly. And have been a Friend to one degree or another ever since.

What if I had been born a regular guy;-), not an obsessive questioner?

How different my life would have been.

*The Outsider Test of Faith by John Loftus

In the LIGHT,

Daniel Wilcox

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Queries: Growing Old into Questions

“Friends, these…we do not lay upon you as a rule or form…but that with the measure of light…may be guided: and so in the light walking and abiding…”
From Meeting of Balby, England, 1656

Personal Living
1. Do we center our lives in awareness of the Light—
ultimate/inherent reality--so that all our thoughts
and actions flow from the Center?*

2. Do we advance in our receding, hope despite our loss of many long-held dreams and aspirations?

3. Do we live above, beyond our ill health, trials and tribulations (deeper than our fading physical selves), remembering to live in the true, the good, the beautiful, even when we fade and all that is wrong stridently shouts?

4. Do we focus on the positive, negate the negative, sparking as small lights in this darkness?

5. Do we work creatively, using our talents to encourage others, bringing our best to each moment, here and now?

6. Do we remember that the preparation of war begins in each heart and one's negative voice, not only with physical weapons?

7. In the midst of the denial of the inherent value of all humans by so many secular and religious leaders at present, do we speak up and emphasize that every single human has inherent worth?

8. Do we speak to and answer that of the Light in all individuals? In all of our relations with others, do we treat them as equals?*

9. Do we let heartache, disappointment, and discouragement constrict our daily life because 2 more Friends Yearly Meetings have split down?

10. Do we take time each day to quiet the rat-race in our busy minds, and be open to the Transcendent?

11. Are we avidly writing and speaking for human rights, equality, and justice in the midst of the crowding instances of wrong, harm, and slaughter?

12.Do we not lose communion though we are no longer part of a local meeting? Where might we find community since we so miss the open meditation, sharing and caring?

13.In older age, how can we still make a difference in others' lives and the world at large, given our own loss of energy, and weakened abilities?

"For age is opportunity no less than youth evening twilight fades away, the sky is filled with stars, invisible by day."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

*Adapted from Faith and Practice, Pacific Yearly Meeting, 1973, 2001

In the LIGHT,

Daniel Wilcox

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Revisiting Death Boat Ethics

At times, doesn’t much of religion and politics seem like a lot of crock? Yes, and so it did through most of history, though few humans realized it. And, even now, not much has changed. Billions still rush pell-mell into religious and political debacles and horrors. Abyss after abyss.

The current slaughter, such as the one in an Egyptian mosque 2 days ago, usually involves devout Muslims killing devout Muslims, a very delusionary, destructive life-stance Speaking historically, however, most worldviews have engaged in destruction, including the killing of children.

And then there are the modern views which also justify killing for the good.
A prominent one is Integral Theory, a secular version of Hindu philosophy.
Consider the books of its religious thinker Ken Wilber. At first, Wilbur's
modern synthesis sounds positive. His writing is lucid, and he makes plenty
of insightful points in the Vision and his other books.

Wilbur shows the fusion of a vast amount of learning and much creativity, and has a light-hearted sense of humor as well.
His Integral Theory seeks to combine modern psychology, spirituality, and science into an integrated whole. No small undertaking!

BUT Integral Theory is a modern re-envisioning of "death boat ethics."

What of stopping massacres? According to Wilber, killing is necessary that the nations of the world stop tyrants if they are killing unarmed civilians. Yet at the same time, Wilbur claims that it is really God, in the Hindu sense, who is using the tyrants to do the slaughtering. Furthermore, Wilbur emphasizes that war is necessary.

According to Integral Theory, it is God who brought about 9/11, slaughtering the helpless civilians in the Twin Towers.
See, God, is playing both sides of the fence. See, God is both good guy and bad guy.
From Wilbur: "Totally insignificant, infinitely significant--no difference, truly. Atoms and Gods are all the same, here in the world of One Taste; the smallest insult is equal to the greatest; I am happy beyond description with every act of torture, I am sad beyond compare with every act of goodness."
No, I don’t get it. I don’t see that at all.

But, of course, this is only another horrific version of the hard determinism of Augustinianism, Reformed Christianity, Islamic theology, and modern Atheistic determinism.

The only difference is Wilbur promotes his philosophy with vivid secular prose and throws a few sacred bones to spiritually inclined humans.

Then Wilbur begins to argue for his “Life Boat ethics.” According to him, NOT all humans can live on this earth; so we higher ones must decide which lesser humans—people of less value--
to cast over the sides to their deaths.

This is according to his “depth and span” ethical system. We should/must throw out lesser people from the Life Boat to their deaths! (from Wilber’s Kosmic Consciousness Interview tapes)

Here we have the fallacious view that the “end justifies the means.” It is from such ethical systems that so much of the horrific tragedies and mass slaughters of the 19th and 20th centuries came about.

Haven’t you noticed that when the “end justifies the means," it is always to the advantage of the killing nation or ideology, never for the enemies?

If other countries torture, that is horribly wrong, but if we do it, well, it’s not really torture, and, besides, the end justifies the means for us.

If someone else lies, how wrong, but, of course, if we lie, it is necessary. Yes, Wilber defends some forms of lying! As do most religious and nontheistic humans.

And then, his views get really weird, definitely not of the puritanical Gandhi sort: For Wilber says that it’s okay for husbands and wives to have sex with individual outside of their marriage in an "open marriage”!
(Ken Wilber website)

Furthermore, he seems to agree with another author that Jesus may have had sex with Mary Magdalene.
(“The Meaning of Mary Magdalene” by Cynthia Bourgeault and Ken Wiber,

These “Life Boat” ethics are really anti-life. They go against the moral views of Jesus and Gandhi and Thich Nhat Hanh and Abdul Ghaffar Khan and many other ethical leaders.

It’s time to realize that all such “Life Boat” ethical systems are really moral death boats.

Of course, according to Wilber most of the humans who oppose his system are lowly “oranges” on his rating scale of human development. What is an “orange”? Don’t ask; it’s not good; a large number of stages down below Wilber’s own advanced spiritual trans-human stage.

Well, at least it’s better for us to be “orange” rather than being “red.” Reds are even worse.

Later, Wilber points out that we do need to include the lesser valued humans, up to a point, (unless we have already bombed/executed them, of course).

And besides, according to him, they will be reincarnated.

Doesn’t this sound a bit like the designations of humans in the highly satiric novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley? Or George Orwell's very bitter fable, Animal Farm?

What about Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, Thich Nhat Hanh, Kurt Vonnegut, and others who emphasize that humans ought to learn to show benevolence their enemies?

No, Wilber emphasizes. On the contrary, he thinks that even in a thousand years humankind probably won't overcome the need to war.

In his novel, he has one character say “turning the other cheek is exactly what you don’t want to do with pre-orange memes.”

But Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi, in contrast, reached out to the marginalized “less integral” humans, to their political enemies, even to terrorists.

But as mentioned above, Wilber emphasizes that it is all humans’ duty to kill.
Like in the Hindu religious classic, the Bhagavad Gita, where Arjuna doesn’t want to kill his relatives in war, but the God Krishna tells him it is his duty to go into battle and kill his relatives.

So the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Syria are justified and so are other wars which our particular nation thinks we ought to fight out of duty.

Again, the end justifies the means.

Are we to forget about the nonviolent ethics of Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, and Palestinian Eli Chacour?

Jesus dealt with the powerful immoral Roman Empire, with ruthless Roman soldiers who crucified thousands of Jewish individuals, yet Jesus didn't become a zealot and slit Roman throats saying they hadn’t reached his level of spiritual development.

So have many other spiritual leaders down through history, going against the dominant human way of slaughter.

In contrast, Ken Wilber’s view (as expressed by his characters at and in an extended interview in Kosmic Consciousness by Sounds True) is that nonviolence only works when your nation’s enemies are, basically, nice people.

Also, Wilber emphasizes that humans shouldn’t live by nonviolence because, not only does peace-living not work, but “your death doesn’t even buy you good karma, but the karma of the coward”!!! (

Wilber claims if we don’t kill in war, then we are responsible for what the enemy does! So were the Jewish people of Europe responsible for what the Nazis did? Etc.?

And what makes this all the more confusing is that Wilber has one of his characters later say that God is actually ‘behind’ all such human evil:

"Precisely because I am not this, not that, I am fully this, fully that. Beyond nature, I am nature; beyond God, I am God; beyond the Kosmos altogether, I am the Kosmos in its every gesture. Where there is pain, I am there; where there is love, I am present; where there is death, I breathe easily; where there is suffering, I move unconstrained."

"On September 11, 2001, I attacked me in a distant part of the galaxy on an unremarkable planet in a speck of dust in the corner of manifestation, all of which are wrinkles in the fold of what I am. And none of which affects me in the slightest, and therefore I am totally undone, I cry endlessly, the sadness is infinite, the despair dwarfs galaxies, my heart weeps monsoons, I can't breathe in this torture."

"Totally insignificant, infinitely significant--no difference, truly. Atoms and Gods are all the same, here in the world of One Taste; the smallest insult is equal to the greatest; I am happy beyond description with every act of torture, I am sad beyond compare with every act of goodness."

"I delight in seeing pain, I despise seeing love. Do those words confuse you? Are you still caught in those opposites? Must I believe the dualistic nonsense that the world takes as real? Victims and murderers, good and evil, innocence and guilt, love and hatred? What dream walkers we all are!”
(Ken Wilber Website)

Wilber’s God is the One behind all the evil (as well as the good)!

Yet Ken Wilber thinks the “God” of Christian Fundamentalism is a “nightmare”!
(Page 155)


Think about it: Somehow in Wilber’s philosophy humans need to be executed and bombed, but
behind all those horrendous evil actions is really Ultimate Reality playing:-(!

“until I decided to play this round of hide and seek, and get lost in the objects of my own creation.” (Page 204)

Finally, Wilber states, "Well, it does if you use the W-C Lattice...
Begin using IOS and suddenly it all starts to make sense, at least enough to climb out of the nightmare of fundamentalism…”
from The Integral Vision by philosopher Ken Wilber (pages 147 and 155)

The devil in the “Integral Vision” is hidden in the ethical details. Wilber’s worldview turns out to be much worse than the fundamentalist Christianity he thinks is a “nightmare.” His own philosophical dream makes even less compassionate sense.

How can such a brilliant, knowledgeable, insightful individual be so deceived?

Some ethical issues are so difficult, so ambiguous that morally concerned individuals may disagree.
For example, I could agree to disagree with Wilber’s strong support for execution.

His adamant support for capital punishment doesn’t seem to square with his own spiritual philosophy, but every ethical system has its conundrums. And, besides, capital punishment is a tough, ambiguous issue.

However, Wilber’s attitude is very troubling. When asked if he thought that criminals guilty of murder should be helped to turn from their actions, to change ethically, he said that he didn’t think it was worth society’s effort to help them.

And besides, with reincarnation, the criminals would be reincarnated anyway, so it’s time to “recycle” them. (Ken Wilber’s answer in Kosmic Consciousness tapes)

Again, here is displayed a tragic, uncaring attitude that has often clung like dung to the belief of reincarnation in the past, where the doctrine contributes to the problem of human evil rather than encourages humans to try and solve unjust systems and to help those who do wrong.

Wilbur's view is, Why help the low class, low caste? Why help criminals? Why help the poor? They are all paying for bad karma!

Those humans did something wrong in their past lives. Or since ‘they’ do evil now; why help them? They’ll be back soon with another life.

That’s definitely not the way of the Light. Jesus showed compassion for all the lost, even for criminals and terrorists. While no one should be excused for murder, (like often happens in U.S. courts today, where intentional murderers sometimes get off with only serving as little as 4 years in prison), mercy to help is vital.

All of us need to keep in mind that something like 80% of criminals in prison were abused as children. As Thich Nhat Hanh so wisely pointed out, how do we know that we wouldn't be like the individuals we condemn if we had grown up in their abusive environment?

Though their evil actions as adults are inexcusable, and they do need to be separated from society to prevent harm to others, surely these morally deformed individuals (some of whom had their arms burned by their mother’s cigarettes or were bashed in the face, or sexually abused, etc.)--surely, they do deserve to be rescued.

Hopefully, they will choose to change. At least that is the philosophy of psychologist Eric Berne's Transactional Analysis and other forms of human hope and creative change.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

"Good without God," "Colorful without Color"?

A very popular phrase of late, among many, is "Good without God." It's even the title of a secular humanist book by Greg Epstein.

It would seem based on history that many, probably most, theists think that God is Good. That doesn't mean that they don't contradict themselves. They do that in spades. Because most of them also claim that God creates, foreordains, wills, causes, (etc.) all evil. Just take a look at the Bhagavad Gita, the Hebrew Bible, Quran, and so forth. But, at least, in general belief, most religious humans do think that God is Good in some sort of way or to one degree or another.

In contrast, secularists of various sorts and types claim that God isn't,
but that yet humans can be Good.

However, doesn't that sound like thinkers asserting that Color doesn't exist,
but that yet humans can be Colorful?

If there is no God, how can there be Good?

And if there is no Color, how can there be Colorful?

Ah, semantics, again...

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thompson Square: Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not Lyrics

Beauty of Romantic Innocence

a few of my very favorite romantic poems of innocence:

from the poet, Gary Soto--


The first time I walked
With a girl, I was twelve,
Cold, and weighted down
With two oranges in my jacket.
December. Frost cracking
Beneath my steps, my breath
Before me, then gone,
As I walked toward
Her house, the one whose
Porch light burned yellow
Night and day, in any weather.

A dog barked at me, until
She came out pulling
At her gloves, face bright
With rouge. I smiled,
Touched her shoulder, and led
Her down the street, across
A used car lot and a line
Of newly planted trees,
Until we were breathing
Before a drugstore. We

Entered, the tiny bell
Bringing a saleslady
Down a narrow aisle of goods.
I turned to the candies
Tiered like bleachers,
And asked what she wanted -
Light in her eyes, a smile
Starting at the corners
Of her mouth. I fingered
A nickle in my pocket,
And when she lifted a chocolate
That cost a dime,
I didn’t say anything.

I took the nickle from
My pocket, then an orange,
And set them quietly on
The counter. When I looked up,
The lady’s eyes met mine,
And held them, knowing
Very well what it was all

A few cars hissing past,
Fog hanging like old
Coats between the trees.
I took my girl’s hand
In mine for two blocks,
Then released it to let
Her unwrap the chocolate.
I peeled my orange
That was so bright against
The gray of December
That, from some distance,
Someone might have thought
I was making a fire in my hands.

--Gary Soto,
retired professor at U.C. Berkeley;
Grew up poor in Fresno.


from songwriters David Lee Murphy and Jim Collins--

Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?

We were sittin' up there on your momma's roof
Talkin' 'bout everything under the moon
With the smell of honeysuckle and your perfume
All I could think about was my next move

Oh, but you were so shy, so was I
Maybe that's why it was so hard to believe
When you smiled and said to me
Are you gonna kiss me or not?

Are we gonna do this or what?
I think you know I like you a lot
But you're 'bout to miss your shot
Are you gonna kiss me or not?

It was the best dang kiss that I ever had
Except for that long one after that
And I knew if I wanted this thing to last
Sooner or later I'd have to ask for your hand

So I took a chance
Bought a wedding band and I got down on one knee
And you smiled and said to me
Are you gonna kiss me or not?

Are we gonna do this or what?
I think you know I love you a lot
I think we've got a real good shot
Are you gonna kiss me or not?

So, we planned it all out for the middle of June
From the wedding cake to the honeymoon
And your momma cried
When you walked down the aisle

When the preacher man said, "Say I do"
I did and you did too, then I lifted that veil
And saw your pretty smile and I said
Are you gonna kiss me or not?

Are we gonna do this or what?
Look at all the love that we got
It ain't never gonna stop
Are you gonna kiss me or not?

Yeah baby, I love you a lot
I really think we've got a shot
Are you gonna kiss me or not?

Songwriters: David Lee Murphy / Jim Collins
Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not lyrics © Spirit Music Group, Carol Vincent & Assoc LLC


And romantic innocence when faced with problems and trials:

from the songwriters Jon Nite and Ross Copperman--


Trying to live and love,
With a heart that can't be broken,
Is like trying to see the light with eyes that can't be opened.
Yeah, we both carry baggage,
We picked up on our way, so if you love me do it gently,
And I will do the same.

We may shine, we may shatter,
We may be picking up the pieces here on after,
We are fragile, we are human,
We are shaped by the light we let through us,
We break fast, cause we are glass.
'Cause we are glass.

I'll let you look inside me, through the stains and through the cracks,
And in the darkness of this moment,
You see the good and bad.
But try not to judge me, 'cause we've walked down different paths,
But it brought us here together, so I won't take that back.

We may shine, we may shatter,
We may be picking up the pieces here on after,
We are fragile, we are human,
We are shaped by the light we let through us,
We break fast, cause we are glass.

We might be oil and water, this could be a big mistake,
We might burn like gasoline and fire,
It's a chance we'll have to take.

We may shine, we may shatter,
We may be picking up the pieces here on after,
We are fragile, we are human,
And we are shaped by the light we let through us,
We break fast, cause we are glass.
We are glass.

Songwriters: Jon Nite / Ross Copperman
Glass lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Jon Nite grew up in Amarilo, Texas, married his sweetheart,
and they had an infant while still in high school; then they
moved to Nashville.

In this time of twisted views, lurid obscenities, and sexual assault,
let us turn away from such ethical darkness!

Turn to the Light of Romantic Innocence and Beauty,

Daniel Wilcox

Monday, November 20, 2017

Please Write for Lee Su-jun, NOT to be forced back to North Korea


"Lee Su-jung (name being used in China, aged 24) and her son (aged 4) are currently in detention in Shenyang, China, along with 8 other North Koreans. If forcibly returned, they are at risk of persecution or other serious human rights violations, such as arbitrary detention, torture or other ill-treatment and possibly execution.


Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:

Stop the forced return of any person to North Korea, including Lee Su-jung and her son;
Grant refugee status to those North Koreans who are entitled to it, give them immediate access to UNHCR or allow them to travel to South Korea or other countries to seek asylum;
Ensure Lee Su-jung, her son and the other eight North Koreans in the group are protected from torture and other ill-treatment while in detention and have prompt access to legal counsel of their choosing and any necessary medical treatment.
Contact these two officials by 27 December, 2017:

Xi Jinping
The State Council General Office
2 Fuyoujie
Xichengqu, Beijing Shi 100017,
People’s Republic of China
Fax: +86 10 6238 1025
Salutation: Dear President

Ambassador Cui Tiankai, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 1 202 495 2266 I Fax: 1 202 495 2138
Email: OR
(If you receive an error message, please try calling instead!)
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

In the LIGHT,

Daniel Wilcox

Friday, November 17, 2017

Light and Rearranging Chairs in the Midst of Multiple Hurricanes

Again, and again...rearranging deck chairs in the midst of multiple hurricanes...
one discouraging image that comes to mind when reflecting-ruminating-contemplating
on the recent breakups of two more Friends Yearly Meetings (NCYM and NWYM)
while the world suffers endless severe crises,
millions are destitute,
many persecuted, abused, and slaughtered.

And on the current absurd political wranglings--leftovers and rightwrongs...

Been there:

Was a member and leader in California Yearly Meeting shortly before it broke from Friends United Meeting, back when the Yearly Meeting opposed freezing nuclear weapons. In fact, many members defended nuclear weapons, though their Faith and Practice clearly condemned ALL war.

Instead most time was focused on lesser doctrinal points and the danger of possible uncontrolled behavior during open worship...

Attended a local Arizona meeting of Intermountain Yearly Meeting with my wife, where to our bafflement and shock, some Friends followed forms closely, yet defended killing...

Was a member of Pacific Yearly Meeting where some members opposed support and involvement in peacemaking in Iraq because the word "Christian" was part of the name, even though Friend Tom Fox, as a member of Christian Peacemaker Teams, had already been died witnessing for and working for peace in Iraq.

Instead, we spent considerable time on plans to get a peace pole erected....:-(

And worse...

Since I'm an extremely liberal Friend far out on the edge and have plenty of my own shortcomings and failures,
no doubt, other Friends could point out many ways that I, too, don't live up to the Light.


Think about this: What is the Friends/Quakers beyond an empty form?

Even back in the 19th century, social activist Friends were opposed by their meetings because of their abolition work.
Most Friends instead focused on their religious forms.

Modern Friends insert totally contrary, contradictory views,
advocate opposing ethics,
even deny that the Light exists,
or insist that only a doctrinaire understanding of God is the Light.

At times, as a UU-leaning Friend, I'm tempted to jump ship.

Only the Unitarian-Universalists are also rearranging chairs, still order their services like traditional churches! And are caught down in a severe controversy right now, too (including opposition to their UU president).

And, strangely, like some Friends, many UU's claim the lifestance of Pagan!

Huh? How could any rational, contemplative members of Quakers and UU ever think that the cosmos is polytheistic?

Furthermore, such a worldview--Paganism--is completely contrary to everything that is essential to being a Friend (and a UU).

If you think differently, please comment on why you believe my observation is incorrect.

What if instead of inserting almost any and all contrary ethics and philosophies into the empty-bucket called Quakers...

What if instead of acting like lawyers arguing over minutia and forms...

What if all of us, instead, centered,
stood up against all war, inequality, injustice
and focused on seeking
the True, the Good, the Just, the Beautiful?

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Despairingly UN-funny: MOORE and LESS

Probably no one needs more sordid details about 32-year-old Alabama district attorney Roy Moore's alleged molestation of a 14-year-old girl. Or that Moore told the young teen's mother that he would watch out for her!

So, let's skip to some very Kurt-Vonnegut sort of commentary on this moral debacle, neither moore nor less:

Infidel753 already has made a number of very strong points on his web blog. For instance, he wrote, "What's striking to me is how closely the divide over Moore on the right correlates with the religious/secular divide. The very people who generally exhibit an outright obsession with Christianity's sexual taboos are going all out to defend a man plausibly accused of sexual misbehavior..."

It's even more absurd than that. Because in the past Christian leaders obsessed on Bill Clinton (and others) "sexual misbehavior" BUT
all of those ethical choices were
with adults.

Even Christian leaders' past defense of Newt Gingrich (who twice committed adultery, once when his wife at the time was dying of cancer!:-( isn't as bad as this current hypocrisy.

This Christian defense of Moore is much more like the Roman Catholic leaders' responses to priests having sexual relations with young teens.

How could anyone defend such immoral, unjust actions against innocent young teens?!

How can so many Christian defend a famous Christian leader, former Alabama Supreme Court Judge who in the past, when a 32 district attorney, committed alleged sexual relations with a 14-year-old and made unethical advances to other teen girls.
(Of course, his legal 'out' is that he, Moore, didn't go all the way. BUT
that was also true of the priests who molested young teens.)

So really nothing new here.

Christian leaders have been defending fellow Christians who engage in serious sexual misconduct for many years.

BUT WHAT DOES surprise me is the nearly complete condemnation of Ray Moore's actions by secularists (after you ferret out their hostility to right-wing politics).

Heck, many secularists claim that sexual misconduct--even rape!--isn't really wrong.

Instead they assert that all ethics are "subjective," even raping, enslaving, slaughtering!! All ethics are only "personal preference" or opinion.

Some even claim that various unethical actions are only about "like" or "dislike."

According to these secularists, enslavement,
little girl mutilation, etc.
are no different than liking (or not liking) coffee or tea or soda.

All humans need to promote the view of the Humanist Manifesto III, the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the Enlightenment view of thinkers such as Thomas Paine--
that humans have "inherent value."

THAT ethics are real!

THAT molestation, sexual misconduct, statutory rape and adult rape are ALWAYS wrong.

Deeply troubled in this "ocean of darkness" that corrupts and poisons the religious and secular world today.

Daniel Wilcox

Friday, November 3, 2017

Guest Post: "Why I am a Free-Speech Fundamentalist"

from Secular Outpost on Free Speech by Keith Parsons:
"I am a free-speech fundamentalist. That is, I hold that public forums, including public universities, should be open to the free expression of opinion. Period. Even when the opinion is offensive and obnoxious. Especially when the opinion is offensive and obnoxious. There can be no free speech if it is required that the speech not offend anyone.

There can be no free speech if only certain viewpoints or ideologies are permitted. There can be no free speech if certain topics are sacrosanct and not allowed to be touched. Does that mean that white supremacist Richard Spencer should be allowed a platform? Yes.

Does it mean that professional provocateurs such as Ann Coulter and Milos Yiannopoulos should be allowed to do their odious act? Yes.

But what about those whose feelings would be deeply hurt by the mindless effusions of such trolls?

Tough. You have no right not to be offended.

You also have no right to shout down such speakers or prevent their audience from hearing them. If you do so, you should be forcibly ejected from the premises."
Why I am a Free-Speech Fundamentalist


Thank you, Keith Parsons!!

Though I never thought you would describe yourself as a 'fundamentalist;-) of any sort. (Though, of course, I get your humorous hyperbole:-)

It is so scary, so irrational, so undemocratic, so aberrational that these many humans now want to deny for others what they claim for themselves.

And the strange current view that you mention, "But what about those whose feelings would be deeply hurt by the mindless effusions of such trolls? Tough. You have no right not to be offended."

When did civilization, democracy, progress come to mean not being "offended"?!

Also, during the many years that I taught literature to high school students including basic debate (on the most controversial topics from abortion to same sexuality to war), our school never had a problem, nothing like the current upsets at some universities from New England to Berkeley. By my insisting on a few courtesy rules and that they present their views with reasoning and evidence, 9th graders and 11th graders, for years, were able to espouse ANY view they wanted to, without censure.

During all of those debates, students learned much. Never once, though they were immature teens, especially some of the 9th graders:-), did I ever have to send any one out for discipline problems. NOT once.

What is wrong that so many now demand that the free speech of others with whom they disagree, be restricted?!

In the Light of Freedom--freedom of speech, freedom of religion or non-religion, freedom of the press, freedom, freedom, freedom!

Daniel Wilcox