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 PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:15 am Reply with quote  
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  Darth Skuldren
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@Dance: I'm not really sure how I came by my faith, but I'd have to say it has a lot to do with my upbringing since neither of my parents are atheists, coupled with the fact that I'm optimistic, and that my life has been fairly good to me. All these things seem to have come together in a way that make me happy with life and lead me to believe that there is a creator who made all of this and was kind enough to give me happiness. I can't point at any one thing and I can't ever remember not believing in God. In my household it was just common sense that God existed. However, religion was never very strict and my parents were very laid back about it so that also heavily influenced my own beliefs.

@Rogue: Pure curiosity here, I've always wondered how a person who doesn't believe in God keeps themselves within the laws our society creates? Is it some moral code you hold yourself to? And what keeps you bound to it? For instance, what keeps you from stealing things?
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"I believe toys resonate with us as humans, we can hold them them, it's tactile, real! They are totems for our extended beliefs and imaginations. A fetish for ideas that hold as much interest and passion as old religious relics for some. We display them in our homes. They show who we are. They are signals for similar thinking people. A way we connect with each other...and I guess thats why I do toys. That connection." -Ashley Wood


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 PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:28 pm Reply with quote  
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  Rouge77
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Darth Skuldren wrote:
@Rogue: Pure curiosity here, I've always wondered how a person who doesn't believe in God keeps themselves within the laws our society creates? Is it some moral code you hold yourself to? And what keeps you bound to it? For instance, what keeps you from stealing things?


Laws are not made by gods, but men. Same with morals. I doubt that a moral code of an atheist, agnostic, theist, "average" believer or a "reborn" religious believer have that much difference, although some might give religious reasons for their moral code (although I believe that it's just the result of them seeing things through their own world view, which religious context dominates).

Some of our moral decisions might be innate, based on inherited behaviour traits shaped by evolution, but as the possible biological basis for human morality is a question very much in the air apparently even among people who study and know about such things,I don't touch that.

Religions don't tend to make people good, often they don't make them bad either. Wink I don't think that most religious believers really stop from doing bad things because they would fear divine punishment or would be afraid of losing heavenly rewards, but because they too, like rest of us, have grown up, been brought up, in societies whose values we have gotten in that process to differing extent, and often accept them still with little questioning of them, and whose disapproval and very earthly punishments we might fear. The most potent punishment a society has is to push those who break it's rules - good or bad - outside it. A terrible punishment for a human being, as we humans are very social animals.

Why won't I steal? Why would I steal? It's wrong except in dire circumstances - I certainly approve doing it if you need to do so to keep yourself or someone else alive without any other options at hand - and it harms other people who have, assumedly, done nothing to deserve it, and the end result more often that not is a double punishment by law and by becoming seen as an outcast in society. An untrustworthy person. And of course, by doing so, one would let down and disappoint those closest to us. These all things that control our behaviour, and I think they do so beyond most cultural and ideological lines.


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 PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:33 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Rouge77 wrote:

Laws are not made by gods, but men. Same with morals. I doubt that a moral code of an atheist, agnostic, theist, "average" believer or a "reborn" religious believer have that much difference, although some might give religious reasons for their moral code (although I believe that it's just the result of them seeing things through their own world view, which religious context dominates).

It's funny how cultures (even isolated ones) have similar values though...
Rouge77 wrote:


Some of our moral decisions might be innate, based on inherited behaviour traits shaped by evolution, but as the possible biological basis for human morality is a question very much in the air apparently even among people who study and know about such things,I don't touch that.

Doesn't that bother you just slightly?
Rouge77 wrote:


Simply put, we humans tend to try to explain the events in the world around us by making stories about it, stories that to us seem to make the most sense of events and give meaning to them. And to human lifes.

Personally I tend to think that much just happens randomly, good or bad, emerging from an almost infinite number of human actions (and occasionally act by of nature etc) so that it is hard to say which were the most important reasons that led to the event.



Dude, how do you live? I'm not just trying to be snarky I'm honestly wondering. If I believed there was no purpose in life and that love's only use is to carry on the species and that the highest goal in life is to survive and that morality and God are delusion, I'd probably kill myself.


Rouge77 wrote:

I don't believe in supernatural deities because I don't think we need them to explain anything - nor do I think we can show that they don't exist, because after all, how to be able to prove that which supposedly isn't bound by laws of nature, doesn't exist? - and because I prefer that they don't exist, because if they do exist, then because of the suffering and evil in the world we either we live in a universe where there a omnipotent god or gods that are not good - or otherwise they could have made human beings good too; if we would be images of some deity, then that deity would have to be flawed too to create us - or in a universe where there might be good god or gods, but they aren't omnipotent.

I'd highly reccomend you read The Problem of Pain to challenge this argument. Here's the thing. If God designed us as 'perfect', we'd be robots but instead He gave us free will. If you think about it, God would be evil if he mad us infallibly good. We would not be living and we could never love Him because it would be forced.
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Where sky and water meet,
Where the waves grow sweet,
Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter east.


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 PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 4:52 pm Reply with quote  
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  Rouge77
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Reepicheep wrote:
It's funny how cultures (even isolated ones) have similar values though...


Probably because some of those values have deep roots in human history and because those values play a part in keeping cultures stable and helping them to survive in the long term. Values that work against this get removed in the process of cultural evolution.

Reepicheep wrote:
Doesn't that bother you just slightly?


No, why would it? What we are when it comes to our bodies is inherited, so why wouldn't some of the basic building blocks of our mind, our behaviour be too? It's after all the same with other animals.

Reepicheep wrote:
Dude, how do you live? I'm not just trying to be snarky I'm honestly wondering. If I believed there was no purpose in life and that love's only use is to carry on the species and that the highest goal in life is to survive and that morality and God are delusion, I'd probably kill myself.


I suggest you don't do that, because if I am right, this brief existence is all that we have. Beyond the biological purpose of life, to survive and to continue it, there are of course other purposes. Some of them our society tries to instill in us, like acting in ways that help to prolong it's existence beyond our own lifetime. We can always choose to be part of something bigger, to work for the benefit of our fellow human beings and rest of the living world in various ways, perhaps just making the happiness of some special human being the main purpose of our own life.

So, I do think that there are lot of possible purposes for our life, it's just that I don't think that there is any that would exist and matter also on some other level of existence. It's not just that I don't believe in deities, I don't think that it would matter to an omnipotent god what we would do and what would happen to us. I remember reading that Albert Einstein said something along these lines when asked about suffering and god, saying that his god was Spinoza's - who was claimed to be an atheist by his contemporaries - god, the god of the vast, cold spaces, a cosmic god that was basically the final unifying theory of physics in itself, and that such a god simply wouldn't care what would happen to us.

Not only would such a god be utterly self-sufficient, it would also know all possible outcomes. A kind of Augustinian god existing beyond time and space could see everything in a multiverse as a whole, all the possible outcomes that there is. What need would such a god have for it's creations to strife for some goal, to give them eternal life as a reward? It would know everything, see everything, everything we could be in good and evil. Our lives in all their possible variations could be enough for it.

"Reepicheep" wrote:
I'd highly reccomend you read The Problem of Pain to challenge this argument. Here's the thing. If God designed us as 'perfect', we'd be robots but instead He gave us free will. If you think about it, God would be evil if he mad us infallibly good. We would not be living and we could never love Him because it would be forced.


If one would assume that to be the truth, I wouldn't still follow such a god, because the price paid for free will - for giving us the chance to perfect ourselves - would have been paid in human suffering and it has been too great a price to be paid. A god would then just be yet another sentient who beliefs that the good end result justifies the means, however awful they might be.


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 PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:59 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Rouge77 wrote:

Probably because some of those values have deep roots in human history and because those values play a part in keeping cultures stable and helping them to survive in the long term. Values that work against this get removed in the process of cultural evolution.

Not all of them. Most, if not all, cultures that I'm aware of consider rape to be a heinous act, but it brings about reproduction. If morality is only a 'herd instinct', we wouldn't care two lumps of sugar about it.


Rouge77 wrote:


No, why would it? What we are when it comes to our bodies is inherited, so why wouldn't some of the basic building blocks of our mind, our behaviour be too? It's after all the same with other animals.

My emphasis was on the latter of your statement, about how atheists just shrug off morality as 'unanswerable and move on to easier things.



Rouge77 wrote:


I suggest you don't do that, because if I am right, this brief existence is all that we have. Beyond the biological purpose of life, to survive and to continue it, there are of course other purposes. Some of them our society tries to instill in us, like acting in ways that help to prolong it's existence beyond our own lifetime. We can always choose to be part of something bigger, to work for the benefit of our fellow human beings and rest of the living world in various ways, perhaps just making the happiness of some special human being the main purpose of our own life.

No worries. I ain't ever gonna kill myself, because I believe in God, Purpose, Fate and all that good stuff. Razz I find it amusing when atheists say they can still live meaningfull lives by prolonging the survuval of their species. I'm sorry, but if what you're saying is true we're all going to be swallowed by blackholes and there will be Nothing for eternity. I really don't see the point of prolonging the inevitable. Similarly, how can you purposefully give people happiness if all happiness is is a chemical reaction. If atheists are true, life has no meaning.


Rouge77 wrote:

If one would assume that to be the truth, I wouldn't still follow such a god, because the price paid for free will - for giving us the chance to perfect ourselves - would have been paid in human suffering and it has been too great a price to be paid. A god would then just be yet another sentient who beliefs that the good end result justifies the means, however awful they might be.

So it would've been better if God had never created life? God hasn't caused the crap in the world, we have. It's our fault. That said, I'm still gratefull I was given life and a free will, even if it means there's some suffering along the way.
_________________

Where sky and water meet,
Where the waves grow sweet,
Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter east.


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 PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:23 pm Reply with quote  
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  Rouge77
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Reepicheep wrote:
My emphasis was on the latter of your statement, about how atheists just shrug off morality as 'unanswerable and move on to easier things.


It's not unanswerable, I've given some examples here, but also much of our understanding is still a work in progress even to those who study it, not just plain commoners like me. So, the question how much of our morality is based on inherited traits is to me a case of walking on brittle ice.

I did read just today a news story about such a study:

www.newscientist.com/article/mg20827821.800-morality-beyond-intuition.html

A few things from that article:

Greene interprets the results as indicating that we have evolved automatic negative responses to hands-on violence... When our decisions are freed from automatic responses, we are more likely to base them on the consequences of our actions.

So let's assume that we have instinctive moral responses to a variety of situations of the kind encountered by our ancestors throughout our history, though modified by our culture and upbringing. What would follow from this about what we ought to do?

It certainly doesn't follow that we ought to do what our instincts prompt us to do. That might have enhanced our survival and reproductive fitness in an earlier period, but may not do so now; even if it did, it could still be the wrong thing to do.


Reepicheep wrote:
I find it amusing when atheists say they can still live meaningfull lives by prolonging the survuval of their species. I'm sorry, but if what you're saying is true we're all going to be swallowed by blackholes and there will be Nothing for eternity. I really don't see the point of prolonging the inevitable. Similarly, how can you purposefully give people happiness if all happiness is is a chemical reaction. If atheists are true, life has no meaning.


I don't think it matters that much why we feel an emotion like happiness or love, because as good as it is to know scientific facts behind those feelings, is much better to feel them. They are good in themselves and I don't think the scientific explanation for them takes anything away from them.

Personally I have hope that humanity can survive the problems it now faces, expand to space, evolve and gain new technological levels and perhaps - at least I hope so - humanity's descendants in the far future will develop technology that will make it possible to reach or create other universes or other ways to escape the inevitable vision of a future where there are just few odd particles scattered in an area the size of our current visible universe when even the black holes have evaporated, as temperature reaches ever closer to the absolute zero without ever reaching it, and everything has basically come to an end even when there is no real end for the universe in that form. (It might give birth to new universes through those random vacuum fluctuations.)

If humanity could escape that future into other universes, then there would be no end for humanity nor to our own legacy. Everything that humanity has ever done would have a meaning for forever.

Reepicheep wrote:
So it would've been better if God had never created life? God hasn't caused the crap in the world, we have. It's our fault. That said, I'm still gratefull I was given life and a free will, even if it means there's some suffering along the way.


If that would be the case, then it would have been better if such a god would not have created intelligence, consciousness.


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 PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:54 pm Reply with quote  
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  Cerrinea
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Quote:
Not all of them. Most, if not all, cultures that I'm aware of consider rape to be a heinous act, but it brings about reproduction. If morality is only a 'herd instinct', we wouldn't care two lumps of sugar about it.


I suggest you do more research into the crime of rape. It has nothing to do with sexual appetite and reproduction. It is a crime of domination, humiliation and control. Rape is the tool used to achieve that. It's an insult to every victim of rape to lessen the seriousness of the crime by labeling it anything other than what it is.


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 PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:28 pm Reply with quote  
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  Old Master Ben
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Cerrinea wrote:
Quote:
Not all of them. Most, if not all, cultures that I'm aware of consider rape to be a heinous act, but it brings about reproduction. If morality is only a 'herd instinct', we wouldn't care two lumps of sugar about it.


I suggest you do more research into the crime of rape. It has nothing to do with sexual appetite and reproduction. It is a crime of domination, humiliation and control. Rape is the tool used to achieve that. It's an insult to every victim of rape to lessen the seriousness of the crime by labeling it anything other than what it is.


I think you missed Reep's point. I believe what he was trying to say was, if we were all just animals, and our morality was nothing more than a herd instinct, why would we find any sexual act wrong? I don't think he was trying to say that rape was not a crime - in fact, if you look in the Gripe of the Day thread, you'll find he was sickened by the very thought.


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 PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:45 pm Reply with quote  
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  Rouge77
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Old Master Ben wrote:
I think you missed Reep's point. I believe what he was trying to say was, if we were all just animals, and our morality was nothing more than a herd instinct, why would we find any sexual act wrong?


Because such acts weaken the group (whether it's just a herd, tribe or a society) and destroy the unity we need to survive. Social animals which don't find any sexual act wrong would quickly end up destroying those groups that them being a member of keeps them alive.

Also, it's quite possible that monogamy goes back millions of years, and anything that goes against it, if it's assumed an important part of the species' way of living, our adaptation to nature, would then be limited by cultural evolution.

Evil acts like rape would not be totally weeded out because of the fragmented nature of humanity into small bands and tribes, which attacks against members of other groups being more tolerated, like we see in today's wars where mass rapes have been used as weapons against civilian populations. What is seen as wrong thing to do against a person you identify as "one of us" is still seen as acceptable when the victim is seen as "Other".


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 PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:11 am Reply with quote  
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  Darth Skuldren
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I'm going back to theft...

Quote:
Religions don't tend to make people good, often they don't make them bad either. Wink I don't think that most religious believers really stop from doing bad things because they would fear divine punishment or would be afraid of losing heavenly rewards


The point I was after is just this. I, personally, find it interesting that you, as an atheist, find yourself in a moral or socially restrained situation where you would not be a thief, unless of course it was a dire circumstance. I find this interesting because the one major thing that keeps me from stealing items is that I actually do fear divine punishment in the afterlife. There is no reason for me to fear the laws of society because there are a lot of things that can be stolen with minimum risk. Thus in my situation, religion does make me a good person.

Now if I didn't believe in God I would still have a code of ethics. I wouldn't steal from people I liked, and I'd probably target people wealthier than me, which makes some sense since they'd have more valuable items anyway and would have an easier time doing without. But seriously, I know I can't be alone in such thinking. There are a lot of thieves out there and I can't help but wonder if a belief in God would prevent them from stealing. I know it wouldn't stop all of them, but it would be interesting to know just how much of an effect if any it would have.

Now I'm not sure how well thought out of an idea this is, but I've at times wondered why an atheist would limit their freedom when by casting off religion and gods they have an increased amount of freedom enjoyed by very few.
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"I believe toys resonate with us as humans, we can hold them them, it's tactile, real! They are totems for our extended beliefs and imaginations. A fetish for ideas that hold as much interest and passion as old religious relics for some. We display them in our homes. They show who we are. They are signals for similar thinking people. A way we connect with each other...and I guess thats why I do toys. That connection." -Ashley Wood


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 PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:22 am Reply with quote  
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  Cerrinea
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Quote:
Now I'm not sure how well thought out of an idea this is, but I've at times wondered why an atheist would limit their freedom when by casting off religion and gods they have an increased amount of freedom enjoyed by very few.


That's because you're equating atheism with a lack of a moral code. Being an atheist doesn't automatically mean you're an immoral person. It means you're a secular person with a set of values. True self-awareness and personal autonomy means being guided by your enlightened POV; not because you fear retribution from a Higher Authority.

Btw, I did not misunderstand Reep's statement. The human issue aside, animals do not rape. Females (especially mammals) choose the male they mate with. They do this to ensure optimum survivability of their offspring.

It was a bad (and false) analogy all the way around. Now if he'd used killing that would have been better. Humans and animals both kill for a variety of reasons. Cats (big and small) for instance routinely kill the offspring of another male. They do this because it causes the female to go into estrus so they can mate with her. Often the females allow this. Why? Because again it means the odds of her future offspring's survival have just gone up. There's absolutely no evil intent involved in any of this. It's all about survival of the species which is the singular most basic drive of any species, including humans.


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 PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:39 am Reply with quote  
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  Old Master Ben
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Cerrinea wrote:


Btw, I did not misunderstand Reep's statement. The human issue aside, animals do not rape. Females (especially mammals) choose the male they mate with. They do this to ensure optimum survivability of their offspring.

It was a bad (and false) analogy all the way around. Now if he'd used killing that would have been better. Humans and animals both kill for a variety of reasons. Cats (big and small) for instance routinely kill the offspring of another male. They do this because it causes the female to go into estrus so they can mate with her. Often the females allow this. Why? Because again it means the odds of her future offspring's survival have just gone up. There's absolutely no evil intent involved in any of this. It's all about survival of the species which is the singular most basic drive of any species, including humans.


Very well, it was probably a poor example. But I wouldn't accuse Reep of belittling rape as a disgusting thing. His example may not have worked, but I am positive he was not trying to make rape any small deal at all. But, I guess I'll let him defend himself.


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 PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:38 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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I wasn't belittling rape, I find it disgusting.

@Rouge77. Your glimpse of the future frightens me. Shocked

I realize I'm not a very good debator, so think I'll just back out of here slowly. Embarassed Wink Maybe I should invite a NarniaWeb moderator, they'd have some nifty answers...
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Where sky and water meet,
Where the waves grow sweet,
Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter east.


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 PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:16 pm Reply with quote  
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  Rouge77
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It's what the future holds, and "thanks" to the effect of dark energy, our universe as we see it now is coming to an accelerated end - although we almost certainly won't face the so-called Big Rip, where even atoms would be torn apart. In our likely future, galaxies will just become "island universes", so that in 150 billion years the elliptical galaxy (now faint, because with star birth having almost come to an end, mostly only red dwarf stars remain burning) formed from the merging of Milky Way and Andromeda will be the only one in the observational universe, all others having disappeared from humanity's point of view beyond the cosmic horizon.

Sadly we live in a universe where Hoyle&etc's Steady State Theory (eternal universe with no end and no beginning, with new matter created at a steady rate) is not correct.


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 PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:51 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Actually I wasn't referring to the idea of galaxies seperating and/or ending as frightening, rather the idea of humans going from one planet/galaxy/universe to another, creating universes and turning themselves into mini-gods. Makes me shudder.
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Where sky and water meet,
Where the waves grow sweet,
Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter east.


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