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Thread: The Wisdom of the Ancients/ Ancestor Worship

  1. #11
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    Default Re: The Wisdom of the Ancients/ Ancestor Worship

    My experience of traditional ancestor worship is that it is primarily the idea that the spirits of your ancestors watch over the living.

    Large, old trees are often seen as the places where those spirits are to be found. People from a background of ancestor worship are likely to have known those trees as great living things their whole lives and those trees must seem almost eternal, so it kind of makes sense. Big old trees are often treated with the same sort of reverence that a devout Catholic might treat a cathedral. My wife’s parents were the first generation in their community converted to Christianity, my wife remembers how when she was small she thought it strange that her grandmother didn’t go to church but would go outside and pray to trees. Even among people from my wife's generation, Christianity is only a relatively small part of their beliefs. My wife wavers on whether Christianity is real or just a bunch of old, made-up stories, and she really doesn't mind if I joke about Christianity being "pretend". But there is no question to her that her traditional beliefs are 100% real, and I'm not allowed to joke about it.

    It’s a little different in the context of monotheistic religions, where God is the one who watches over you and you pray to God (or a saint) for the same sort of guidance and help that people from traditional societies would look to their ancestors for. Religious figures from a long time ago are seen as being closer to the creator, having lived in the time of miracles. The creation myth of Adam and Eve teaches us that the acquisition of knowledge makes us further from God.

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  3. #12
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    Default Re: The Wisdom of the Ancients/ Ancestor Worship

    Not in answer to any thing in particular, just musings.
    I was always of the impression that the after life was meant to be awesome, whatever your idea of awesome is. But then theres all this ancients worship, with the ancients looming over us. I hear it all the time.
    I was sad, and I saw a butterfly and I know it was mum watching over me
    I was confused and the wind blew and I know it was dad watching over me
    So those that go before us spent eternity watching over us.
    How sweet.
    Except for the poor fuckers doing the watching. Imagine spending eternity having to watch over everyone in your family.
    Fuck that shit. Sounds like hell to me.


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  5. #13
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    Default Re: The Wisdom of the Ancients/ Ancestor Worship

    Quote Mjt said View Post
    Not in answer to any thing in particular, just musings.
    I was always of the impression that the after life was meant to be awesome, whatever your idea of awesome is. But then theres all this ancients worship, with the ancients looming over us. I hear it all the time.
    I was sad, and I saw a butterfly and I know it was mum watching over me
    I was confused and the wind blew and I know it was dad watching over me
    So those that go before us spent eternity watching over us.
    How sweet.
    Except for the poor fuckers doing the watching. Imagine spending eternity having to watch over everyone in your family.
    Fuck that shit. Sounds like hell to me.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Well, presumably one does not need to eat, sleep, go to the loo, feel pain etc. But our involvement in the natural world helps define who we are. With that gone, except for a voyeur capability, would inevitably change who we are.

    Maybe that is why god is such a dick. He has lost or never had, the ability to feel, so pogroms, and other horrible shit happening to folks does not effect him.At best, he would be watching real lives as some sort of soap opera, utterly unconcerned at our troubles.

    So praying to this emotionless sociopath is futile.
    Just stick to the idea that science tests falsifiable hypotheses to destruction.

  6. #14
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    Default Re: The Wisdom of the Ancients/ Ancestor Worship

    Ancestor worship gives us two public holidays here in Hong Kong. On those days, a 20-minute journey home can take well over an hour if I travel via the nearby Catholic cemetery. The police do their best, but there's just so many people visiting it. The second one takes places in autumn when it's drier. Every year there are hill fires from people burning paper on graves. These fires spread and do terrible damage to the countryside, as well as risking the lives of firemen and helicopter crews.

    There is also the Hungry Ghosts' Festival, which lasts for the duration of the seventh month of the lunar calendar (no public holidays). You can't get away from the burning of incense and hell notes. One place I lived, the neighbourhood would bring in a portable incinerator, which was the size of a small garden shed, and someone would stuff sacks of hell notes and other paper offerings into it day after day.

    There is no wisdom in any of it.
    ...
    What, indeed, is an atheist? He is one who destroys delusions which are harmful to humanity in order to lead men back to nature, to reality, to reason. Baron d'Holbach

    _____

    If we go back to the beginnings of things, we shall always find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that imagination, rapture and deception embellished them; that weakness worships them; that custom spares them; and that tyranny favours them in order to profit from the blindness of men. Baron d'Holbach

  7. #15
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    Default Re: The Wisdom of the Ancients/ Ancestor Worship

    Quote Darwinsbulldog said View Post
    Maybe that is why god is such a dick. He has lost or never had, the ability to feel, so pogroms, and other horrible shit happening to folks does not effect him.At best, he would be watching real lives as some sort of soap opera, utterly unconcerned at our troubles.

    So praying to this emotionless sociopath is futile.
    @DBD: I used to do a theological party trick, in which I proved that the ol' dick-obsessed sky-fairy:
    * Loved BBQs,
    * Didn't like veges,
    * Preferred his steak fatty, salted, and well-done*,
    * Was into KFC,
    * Didn't need Tom Cruise or Sam Kekovich to be up for a lamb roast,
    * Had a kink for burnt poo,
    * Didn't mind a lamb parmigiana,
    * Used buns for his barby stuff,
    * Was into popcorn.....

    And a whole lot more.

    *Also, the Aw-matey Gawd is a prime risk for heart disease.
    EJB

    Im not one of the dead ones yet. - Ms Fishie.


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  9. #16
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    Default Re: The Wisdom of the Ancients/ Ancestor Worship

    Quote Voltairine said View Post
    Ancestor worship gives us two public holidays here in Hong Kong. On those days, a 20-minute journey home can take well over an hour if I travel via the nearby Catholic cemetery. The police do their best, but there's just so many people visiting it. The second one takes places in autumn when it's drier. Every year there are hill fires from people burning paper on graves. These fires spread and do terrible damage to the countryside, as well as risking the lives of firemen and helicopter crews.

    There is also the Hungry Ghosts' Festival, which lasts for the duration of the seventh month of the lunar calendar (no public holidays). You can't get away from the burning of incense and hell notes. One place I lived, the neighbourhood would bring in a portable incinerator, which was the size of a small garden shed, and someone would stuff sacks of hell notes and other paper offerings into it day after day.

    There is no wisdom in any of it.
    Quote Mjt said View Post
    Not in answer to any thing in particular, just musings.
    I was always of the impression that the after life was meant to be awesome, whatever your idea of awesome is. But then theres all this ancients worship, with the ancients looming over us. I hear it all the time.
    I was sad, and I saw a butterfly and I know it was mum watching over me
    I was confused and the wind blew and I know it was dad watching over me
    So those that go before us spent eternity watching over us.
    How sweet.
    Except for the poor fuckers doing the watching. Imagine spending eternity having to watch over everyone in your family.
    Fuck that shit. Sounds like hell to me.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    It seems to me we are wired to imagine our departed ancestors looking on, or down (though the Greeks had them below in Hades), assessing how we are living or applying ourselves. We are suggestible to the thought of it, when we first hear it.

    Superstitious and religious people can thus get spooked into behaving according to the moral code inculcated into them. A bloke told me of the ghost of his recently deceased mother.

    The Mafia guy would be convicted differently to a law abider, thinking of his father's opinion of his life.

    If this prompt for doing introspection were a universal sensibility, there must be an evolutionary explanation, it was selected for.

    Or perhaps this is a by-product from the evolution of human consciousness.

    I dispel such thoughts if they ever arise.

    The body has a remarkable ability to heal itself. Is this some kind of ancestral memory?
    Wars begin in the minds of men.
    The UNESCO motto, in Enlightenment Now, the Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress, Steven Pinker, 2018.

  10. #17
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    Default Re: The Wisdom of the Ancients/ Ancestor Worship

    I was thinking about ancestor worship, and how it seems fairly benign compared to the Abrahamic religions.

    Then I recalled showing a very old YouTube video of a funeral ceremony to my wife, from her ethnic group around the time that my wife's mother was a child.

    This was the time when the magic was still strong, when someone who knew the traditional magic could tell a long-dead corpse to get up and walk, and the corpse would do exactly that. Don't go trying to tell my wife that it might have been some kind of switcheroo, I made that mistake already.....

    There were posts where they tied the buffalo up prior to sacrifice. A deceased person is considered to be sleeping until the end of their ceremony, still residing in their body waiting to be released over the course of several days. The more buffalo and pigs that are sacrificed during the ceremony, the higher the status in the afterlife. My wife's grandfather was a king so his ceremony was a very big deal, and he had more than 100 buffaloes sacrificed. I attended my wife's father's ceremony about 6 years ago where they sacrificed 16 buffaloes and about 40 pigs.

    There were other posts which weren't for tying buffalo or pigs to be sacrificed. Which my wife recognized from stories that her grandfather had told her, about the days before the missionaries arrived. People of very high status did not only have buffalo and pigs sacrificed at their funeral, some of the sacrifices walked on 2 legs. By the time the video was taken they weren't sacrificing humans, but they were still setting up the ceremony in the traditional way which included places to tie up the human sacrifices.

    And then I thought.... maybe it's not always such a great idea to romanticise those traditional beliefs.

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  12. #18
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    Default Re: The Wisdom of the Ancients/ Ancestor Worship

    I was looking for some death dates in my family.

    Communications being as they are since my defection from the faith, I was asking Google, which still talks to me.

    And thus I came across some interesting life stories of the two male ancestors before me in line, written by another family member.

    Gee, I thought, wouldn't it have been a great thing to have known these wonderful men while they were alive?
    EJB

    Im not one of the dead ones yet. - Ms Fishie.


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  14. #19
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    Default Re: The Wisdom of the Ancients/ Ancestor Worship

    Quote The Irreverent Mr Black said View Post
    I was looking for some death dates in my family.

    Communications being as they are since my defection from the faith, I was asking Google, which still talks to me.

    And thus I came across some interesting life stories of the two male ancestors before me in line, written by another family member.

    Gee, I thought, wouldn't it have been a great thing to have known these wonderful men while they were alive?
    Clarification (just in case it was needed): I knew these two men, and they were not the men in the story.

    I suspect this is how ancestors become worthy of adoration.
    EJB

    Im not one of the dead ones yet. - Ms Fishie.


  15. #20
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    Default Re: The Wisdom of the Ancients/ Ancestor Worship

    Quote The Irreverent Mr Black said View Post
    I was looking for some death dates in my family.

    Communications being as they are since my defection from the faith, I was asking Google, which still talks to me.

    And thus I came across some interesting life stories of the two male ancestors before me in line, written by another family member.

    Gee, I thought, wouldn't it have been a great thing to have known these wonderful men while they were alive?
    You'd be like them.

    So you have incurred moral indignation and are the outcast for dissenting against, betraying the beliefs. Can't be trusted.

    That's very sad. I think we would know you far better than they would.

    Are they Christians Mr. Black, perhaps descendants of converts?

    The colonisers were rivals. So were their missionary societies.

    Now during the centenary of WW1 is not really the time to voice the folly of it all, the Great War. But the rulers of Europe were related and as brats with too much power, loyal subjects to conscript and their fierce colonial and industrial rivalries, they were squabbling, over glory.
    Wars begin in the minds of men.
    The UNESCO motto, in Enlightenment Now, the Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress, Steven Pinker, 2018.

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