Allan Kurzberg And The Paradox Of Organized Religion, Part 2.

“I stepped into the abyss and felt something in my chest.  Stars were on the left and right, above and below.  I was among the stars, and I understood that I was a small part of this giant world, where the human was just a grain of sand.”–Alexei Leonov, Russian cosmonaut 



In the last post, we proved the Paradox of Organized Religion by using certain parts of Allan Kurzberg’s system.  In this post, we will try to define religion as opposed to organized religion.  However, before we do that, we might examine a more vivid example of the Paradox of Organized Religion, the Example of the Knife.    Briefly, it states that a visitor has come into our home brandishing a knife.  S/he then tells us we have nothing to fear since s/he is a member of a specific OR.  Does that statement ensure our safety?  Of course, the person could be lying, but we will assume the person is telling the truth.  Does the stranger’s belonging to an OR give us definite assurance that no harm will come to us?  And the answer is: certainly not.  The proof lies in the definition of an OR and the application of a few of Allan’s postulates.  I leave the proof to the reader.

As we have stated in previous posts, Kurzberg was quite disturbed by misleading or, as in the case of a human being, downright false definitions.  He attributed the falseness of definition to P 2, that lying is a major part of a human’s existence.  And this is not surprising, because wherever we look, we see the perpetuation of lies.  And with new technology, lies can spread at a faster rate than ever before.  They not only come from the mouths of demagogues, but often from scientists and mathematicians, supposedly paradigms of rational thought.  Indeed, Allan reminded us that a mathematician and mathematics are two different entities.  A mathematician, according to our new definition of human being is an irrational being that is mostly capable of rational thought, while mathematics is a purely rational creation, constructed of precise definitions, postulates, theorems, corollaries, and lemmas.  And with each discovery brought on by the above, mathematics moves forward along a rational axis, using pure reason to achieve truths.  In a similar manner, Kurzberg felt there was an essential difference between organized religion, steeped in the human world of unpredictable motivational forces, creating “Others”, steeped in complex, misleading symbols, and manifesting hierarchy by P 4, often resulting in the torturing and wholesale slaughter of human beings. ORs, according to Allan, have perpetrated meaningless distinctions such as “secularity” and “religious fanaticism”.  Allan would insist that all ORs are secular, and that it is this fact that is the most disturbing.  If God exists and is pure reason, it should be the function of all ORs to strive for pure reason.  In that way, they would be a more accurate reflection of the grandeur of God, rather than holding on to outmoded and sometimes completely wrong ideas of the universe.  “Religious fanaticism” would then be a contradiction in terms, because religion would be an emanation of pure reason and fanaticism is just the opposite.

Allan Kurzberg often said that what bothered him was not that a human being was made in God’s image(whatever importance that has, because all things in the universe have been made by God.  Although, Allan admitted that such a concept needed explanation).  But what disturbed him was the idea that God is being made in a human being’s image.  That is, God is a projection of all of the human being’s failings listed above.  Kurzberg sought to clarify the difference between an OR and pure religion or just religion.  He said that first you need to know that all ORs are fundamentally unstable and this led him to the Bifurcation Principle of Organized Religion:  At some point in time, any organized religion will split up into at least one other branch of the original OR.  Kurzberg thought this was not surprising since by P 3, humans are “Other” creating beings and by P 4, create inclusive and exclusive relationships.  But, he said, a pure religion is a manifestation or reflection of a permanent system of order that does not accept any fragmentation or rupture.  Therefore, an OR is the more true the more it minimizes OE-, and, in particular, the creation of the “Other”, and seeks for an all-inclusive relationship, eliminating the barrier created by P 4.

Allan felt he needed to elucidate the differences between organized religion and religion further through the stories of The Three Children : Laura, Robert, and Bill.  Subsequent posts will contain excerpts from these three stories, followed by a discussion of the principles they represent.

Something To Think About: The Death Of Jose I. Tsup

Hindi Wala speaks about the death of Jose I. Tsup in Manila:  “This is KKRO reporter, Hindi Wala, bringing you world news from Los Angeles California.  While we endured some brutal wind gusts, in the Philippines, Friday the 13th proved its worth when thousands of Filipino women took to the streets, lamenting the death of their “hero”, Jose I. Tsup.  To be sure, Tsup’s death was not unexpected since he had been ailing for months.  However, the finality of it was more than many a female Filipino heart could bear.  After all, it was Tsup who had invented Tsup Tsup, a novel form of osculation that often seems to the uninformed more like an off-center collision between two unequal masses moving in opposite directions than an act of intimacy.  Story has it that one day Tsup was experimenting with his wife, Isabel, and that both of them were in a hurry to go to work.  Their lips bounced quickly off each other and the rest is history.

Donations may be made to the Philippine Society for the Promotion of Tsup Tsuping.

You heard it first on KKRO where we keep You in the Know!”

KKRO Reporter, Hindi Wala, Speaks About An Intergalactic Connection


The Philosophy Of Allan Kurzberg: A Brief Summary, Part 2.

Allan Kurzberg was suspicious of philosophies that seemed to utilize ad hoc neologisms and undue complexity.  “To be sure, mathematics may become highly abstract and complex.  However, such complexity has a specific purpose:  to try to gain as precise an understanding  of a particular concept.  In philosophy, complexity often masks a lack of understanding of fundamental concepts”.  He would shake his head when he thought of the writing of F.S.C. Northrop, “This writer seems to list a string of adjectives that make his ideas well-nigh incomprehensible!  I defy anyone to tell me what the following statement means:  “The economic-political socio-historical physical-analytical process of Italy evolved in artistic and scientific conceptualizing, while maintaining its unique global outlook.”  Allan would remind me of Stuart Chase’s book, The Tyranny of Words.  “Robert!  If you ever get the chance, read Stuart’s book and think about some of his criticism!  Words are fine in their own way.  As a character in a Samuel Beckett novel stated, “Words are no shoddier than what they peddle.”  “However, in philosophy we should attempt to elucidate and explain rather than bewilder and confuse.  I might add Piet Hein’s Grook:  “To make a name in learning when other paths are barred, take something very simple and make it very hard!”

Allan liked to ponder on free will and determinism.  He would tell me that to prove there is no free will all one had to do was to take an event, say t7, and show that one had no choice but to act as one did.  If you could do that, then for all events after t7 and preceding it the same conclusion must be true, because you can’t say that you did not have free will for t7, but you did for t11, or t4.  Kurzberg himself did not believe in free will.  He thought that once you were placed in an environment, a host of influences arising from that environment would begin to serve as forces that you would sway you in a particular direction when making any decision.  He would say, ” The philosophical belief that at birth the mind is”tabula rasa” is not tenable, because we know by definition that humans come into the world with motivational forces that I call: E+, E-, OE+, OE-, and r.  That is, humans are irrational beings that are mostly capable of rational thought.  The belief of Rousseau in “the noble savage” is equally false.  And the overemphasis on the role of rational thought from The Age of Enlightenment is also not supportable.  It has taken two world wars and a host of smaller ones to show what motivational forces influence the human mind…”

In the next segment I will show what event what brought Allan and I together and how we shared some important experiences.

The Philosophy of Allan Kurzberg: A Brief Summary, Part 1.

Before summarizing some of Allan Kurzberg’s fundamental philosophical ideas it is well to note what Allan’s concept of philosophy was.  Kurzberg  used to take issue with philosophies, which he called those that “stopped the car”.  He meant philosophies that never got beyond a defined point A to a defined point B.  The problem with such philosophies, he asserted, was that they are based on undefinable terms.  Consequently, advocates of these philosophies have unlimited opportunities of interpreting these terms freely, since no precise definition impedes the pathways of their thoughts.  Certainly, to think about what constitutes the beautiful, for instance, does add to our perception and appreciation of the aesthetic.  However, aesthetics as a philosophy can never state that as a consequence of a conceived definition of beauty, the following must occur, because “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”.  In other words, aesthetics is a philosophy that “stops the car”.  Kurzberg was not opposed to the study of aesthetics or other “immovable” philosophies, but he maintained that the study of philosophy should include philosophies that provide movement from one defined point to another.  And that is what Allan tried to do through his four postulates and two corollaries in The Theory of Us.  He tried to reassert the universal power of mathematical reasoning into a theory of human interactions.

Personal Note:  When I was a student at USC, I was quite interested in the ideas of historian and literary scholar, Erich Kahler.(I still have a stack of typed notes from his work, Man the Measure, which covers man’s early history to 1943.  He didn’t know how WWII would turn out!).  Kahler had written an intriguing essay based on an Ohio State lecture, “The True, the Good, and the Beautiful”.  His ideas focused on some of the more important points of Greek philosophy.  Impressed with his concepts, I decided to give this pamphlet to a Taiwanese girl that I knew from the comparative literature program.  After a few days she returned it, and I asked her what she thought of it, expecting effusive praise.  However, she looked at me critically and said,”Robert!  This is not the only way of defining these concepts!  In China, we have entirely different ways of understanding these ideas, and, in my opinion, they are just as valid!  So I learned that my reliance on Greek thought had blinded me to philosophical schools in other parts of the world!