Catholic vs. Other - 2017-12-08 - Mitch Hyman

Author Recorded Friday December 8th, 2017

There are 41 episodes in the Versus:Other series.

Recorded September 21st, 2017

Catholic vs. Other - 2017-09-21 - Tino

Recorded September 10th, 2017

Catholic vs. Other - 2017-09-10 - Judah

Recorded September 2nd, 2017

Catholic vs. Other - 2017-09-02 - William

Recorded October 21st, 2016

Catholic vs. Other - 2016-10-21 - Ben

I met Mitch on Facebook where I was drawn to his sharp and abrasive communication style. He was raised in a secular Jewish home, and considers himself agnostic. I like to think of Mitch as a cute kitten with sharp little claws.To be my guest, email me at :

Catholic vs. Other - 2017-12-08 - Mitch Hyman

Author Recorded September 24th, 2016



These YouTube transcripts are generated automatically and are therefore unformatted and replete with errors.
hi there you like this one hi there my name is Mitch Hyman and you're listening to Catholic verses David is making me describe myself as other so tell the listeners a little bit about yourself who you are what you believe and how he came to believe it well obviously they know or they wouldn't be listening to begin with I'm from Montreal bill Sandlin all and ostensibly Jewish background parents considered themselves Jewish traditional not religious born in Canada both of them and the grandparents of course from Europe and growing up in the suburbs I did go to a Hebrew school which was the thing that respectable people did was academically considered more rigorous and I guess safer for social cultural reasons but not really just most you know a friend of mine once said that the school ran the gamut beliefs from fairly religious on the one hand to like tolerate Jews on the other end of the spectrum you know so the people weren't really religious they didn't keep the laws there was like five percent and I at some point in my tweens I hung around with the five percent and learned a little bit more about it than most people did but it was not a religious household theologically speaking was a lot of talk my dad was a businessman and a modern person and a tennis champion and my mother liked books and music and I had two sisters and one brother so it was in many ways a typical North American Canadian nominally Jewish family suburb family earlier I was telling you about my brother who's somewhat accidentally and spontaneously entered the ultra-orthodox world and is now basically a huset in jerusalem you know 50 years later but it genuinely was accidental and somewhat spontaneous it's not my parents background not even my grandparents background particularly he just changed schools at one point for social reasons and the school itself changed its character about a year later or unexpectedly and became an ultra-orthodox school and for my brother to fit in with that he worked very hard and became a scholar in their community and as I told Sean on an earlier take however his branch of Orthodoxy isn't really especially charismatic or emotional so there weren't a lot of dramatic discussions of God at home his branch is more studying the books and which are very legalistic he was only 12 years old and when he was 14 or so he moved into the dormitory so we never really saw him except on the Sabbath and it was sort of humorous because my dad had I always had a good sense of humor and whereas my brother sort of became this you know eighteenth-century fanatic all of a sudden there are these tiny regulations to observe that no one had ever heard of before what's an example the example that comes to mind is on pass you want me to talk about this satisfy the curiosity on Passover you have to eat the unleavened bread the matzah during the first 2/9 well actually during the whole holiday but especially on the first two nights oh my brother came home with a laminated plastic card with three different colored squares to indicate exactly the quantity of matzah that you had to eat like in a time limit two minutes you know and it was marked on the card and the other squares but for the horseradish and but you know and so all of a sudden there were these you know very very precise rules that belong to the ultra-orthodox community but we had never smite have been science fiction for us we had never heard any such thing and certainly not my dad and so he would find it funny he would use my brother somewhat he was respectful but how did it affect you growing up your brother's religion you know III I had my own concerns and might even say I had their just concerns somewhat they felt like religious concerns I didn't think of them in religious terms but did I fit into the world and what was my role and so yeah I suppose sometimes I would worry about my brothers take on things or the take of let's say religious people in the school that I went to maybe they were right kind of thing and now it's know somewhat oppressive you know but it wasn't uh I sort of rolled along with things until my early twenties do you believe in God well you keep asking me that and I suppose I usually answer that I you know I consider it an interesting question and I would say in some ways I do what is the main difference between my god and your conception of what God might be well what is your conception of God God is the only necessary being he is the one whose essence is existence you and I are contingent you and I depend our existence depends on many other things but God is not contingent he's necessary and he's not material he's immaterial he's pure spirit and he's not composed of parts he's absolutely simple there are logical principles that will lead us to this shocking conclusion that there's a creator god that's infinite in every perfection because an effect cannot be more perfect than its cause in there are many attributes of God that we can know with 100% certainty and even though the conclusions are counterintuitive logic forces us to accept those conclusions if we're willing to face the conclusion by asking the question honestly do you think you're contingent or do you think that your essence is existence and that you always were and always will be no I would if I was gonna answer somewhat seriously I I would say we're not really speaking the same language and I would examine your terms and you presume that they're meaningful for me and that there's they make sense to me you know necessary and being contingent and so on and that's a big presumption on your part I you know I would not that's the only way I could dialogue with you I guess you insisted is to say look I find the terms themselves problematic why do you find the problematic well to me it's it well the simple answer is it's obvious even they just feel problematic based on my experience and what I understand of you know what I feel I've learned about how reality works and what life is and so on that's not a very academic answer but I don't know she was a term B yeah this truth being so ready to cart my conversion to God was via Rene Descartes I think therefore I am so let's talk about this being what do you say these lon okay yeah what do you say to run into cart when he says that the only thing we cannot doubt is I am well you know look in fact each takes specifically and you know he says exactly like that the Dakar for example he presumes all kinds of thing who is this I it presumes that there is an I presume is there that there is such an activity is thinking I don't want to rely on someone else's arguments but you know it seems to make sense for me I mean what do you mean I what do you mean thinking you know s and and what do you mean I guess what do you mean that later but no seriously what do you mean by i what do you mean by thing how do you know that you know what thinking is now look the answer to that is are either obviously I know or it's yeah you you may have a point there now if your answer is obviously I know then you know you're within that system of thought and belief and there's no I don't know I mean there's from my point of view you you're not aware of of of your own conditioning that has led you to the point where you feel that these things are self-evident or these concepts are meaningful without and cannot be parsed or so on you know but anyways you know that's okay I don't mind you know I understand that I felt that too at times is it possible for you to deny your own existence is it possible or is it profitable well just try it try it right now and see what happens what I usually say in this kind of situation which is usually on a first date you know Nietzsche talks about again nature with the nature he talks about perspectivism or perspective estimates look we know you know we don't know exactly but we with a sense of perspective we say this seems to work it looks like this is bigger than that it might not be but this is our perspective it helps us navigate life and and so it's a shorthand for for for reality but it's not necessarily reality and I don't find any big problem or contradiction in doing that I think we all do it you know there are cases you know where we you know again you know you don't supposedly you don't actually see a car moving you just see the increments and you infer the emotion in between there's no whatever there's no perfect circle in nature and somehow we have an idea of circles because how is that that was the how is that related no I guess now I'm just trying to bludgeon you with arguments but you know forgetting about that let's just say I don't find I find that a plausible way to so there I would say that okay so you're I sense of the fact that you exist this is a perspective estimate you know I live in the world too and so in a general way I'd say yeah I believe I exist yeah I believe I exist and I tried to deny my existence yeah with that you can do that because your senses may be deceiving you right now this is retin-a de cartes entire point it's a radical skepticism and you seem to be radically skeptical so I'm just asking can you please deny your own existence now all right I do not exist so when you said those birds just now you were affirming your existence therefore you exist you must be a lot of fun at parties but you know I understand that a car's argument that's that's I understand but I still think that that day cars the whole formulation of his argument you know it depends on on prior understandings and prior decisions or prior not decisions but prior beliefs that you know he wants to make it sound that you know that he's pulling this out of a hat or he's pulling it out of nothing but IIIi don't see it that way I mean who is the you know I mean as I said it presumes that it makes sense to talk about you know it even makes sense to use the word I we don't know that and then and that it makes sense to use the word thinking as if we all understood exactly what thinking was or not and maybe we're just thinking maybe actually maybe we're just feeling what we're doing now or maybe it's you know we presume that all these words that were using make sense and I think that's buried in and and you know they car is I think basically needs you're saying that they cars a little naive and but I know it makes a certain sense to me I guess I'm not really making much impact on you we monotheists understand fully that life is a mystery love is a mystery thinking is a mystery the our our minds are supernatural they're not natural they're supernatural this is the monotheistic perspective so I mean your your argument that we're just presuming a sort of tacit understanding of these words that we're throwing around far from it if anything we're building on mystery but we were forced by logic to admit that we do exist even though existence is a mystery yeah I don't see how you reconcile the fact that you know that it's all mysterious and yet with the magic word logic the mystery vanishes the mystery remains I don't think Martians have logic when you what you call logic is a very human thing and I think it's a fallible and it's way mysterious thing fallible yeah cuz it's human logic Martians don't have logic I never met one but you're assuming that what you call logic is I don't know somehow applies for the universe do you think we live in a well-ordered universe do you believe in science well offhand I'd say no we don't know very much about the universe at all that's epistemology but I'm talking about ontology the nature of the universe is it orderly is there such a thing as law I don't think there's any law but I think there is necessity law is necessity hmm well law is something that stands apart from what is and that doesn't seem to make much sense to me there's necessity what about free will do you believe that you're free we are determined that to believe we are free we have free will so yeah so we have no choice but to believe it but if a criminal goes before a judge is the criminal guilty is he truly guilty because he truly is responsible because he truly is free or is he just a cog in a great machine doing what he had to do you know well it's I thinks but I think Spinoza said someone reported you know that if a rock falling to earth suddenly became conscious it would believe that it was free its and that it was falling of its own volition desire so I think we're sort of free in that sense we don't recognize the determinism and that being said things like courts and guilt and so on you know from our perspective they're very meaningful and you know from my perspective as as as a putative human being you know I I tend to be sympathetic to those ideas to ya know I'm not a socialist normally speaking and I it's more interesting to me ideas of personal responsibility then you know materiality and for you what is the good what is the good life what should humans be striving for happiness money pleasure power I don't know I mean I think that people should become the people they are they are is that authenticity authenticity I guess you could call it or they should become the best version of themself they should extend their capacities as much as they can you know like like like like how the computer in 2001 he just wants to be the best he can be and that works out well for everybody so uh yeah yeah I would say that that's more interesting to me than to talk about good and evil which is sort of where you're going and to me it's more interesting too I guess I'm more libertarian or more interesting I think freeing the individual is just more interesting than constraining him by some kind of external morality which in my view just represents the will to power you know priests and Catholics psychology professor and things like that it's just not very interesting and scientists do you like existentialism generally or I like existential I don't know I don't is Nietzsche considered an existentialist I think he's considered one of the precursors or found our founding voices of it he's yeah I I don't think he ever used the word and I don't think people like Sartre you know would have been possible without him but what is you know I don't I don't read Sartre you know if I read Nietzsche it's because I enjoy what he has to say and I feel he has a you know whatever I get I get a certain amount of pleasure from reading his work and some in some regard I'm not to me that's that's that's useful and I keep using the word I more interesting and having some kind of abstract question you know what is truth and who can I read to what is being and who can I read to answer this question I that just isn't you know fun for me it's just not have never been motivational for me it's like you know if I like someone that's because I like to talk I enjoy their company and I you know just to avoid using the word interesting and you know I said oh they give me energy you know something like that and but I think that's what it's all about really and so that you know exists and doesn't mean so much to me is because it's abstract and what does it mean what's the point I put myself in a category I don't think any of us hadn't really do yeah what do you think about the sort of new atheism that was popular while Hitchens was alive yeah no I think they're kind of silly you know it's said it's it's in a way it's a new religion then it fills a void for people you know they want a belief system to organize their lives and to make it fun for them and interesting and you know the Hitchens Dawkins kind of atheism does the trick because you know party you know everyone has the same belief but it's a belief system from my point of view what do you think about agnosticism well I sometimes I consider I call myself agnostic that's one of your categories categories no why not no I clump them in with the atheists yeah yeah why do you do that because they don't worship God if the Queen of England came she's our queen too if there's a protocol and you're informed ahead of time that you're gonna meet the Queen and this is what you have to do and you have to act like this and you have to speak like that and you have to dress like this when you refuse to meet the protocol and you say well I don't deny that she's the queen I'm just agnostic about the question if you're not going through the motions if you're not following the protocol that this is the Queen then there's no difference practically speaking if you believe in God you worship God and if you don't worship God you don't believe in God you know the fact that they be the belief and worship automatically go together in the way that the most perfect thing goes together with something that must exist you know perfect it's an attribute have you heard about st. Anselm's ontological argument yeah yeah yeah I did a little paper Piney paper on introduction to philosophy it played a big part in my conversion to God by the way all right all right what did you think of it though well I was 22 so yeah I know I worked really hard to independently think it through and ask what's of what I do believe might have provoked a minor intellectual crisis because you know look I just wanted to finish the paper but I don't know look you know what I'm gonna say you know his argument is premise taun you know language and concepts that everyone assumes they understand are true meaningful and mean something specific and I don't necessarily think that's the case so it's a kind of you know I would raise the possibility that it's meaningless cuz it's just language based you know I'm not asserting that but I would raise that possibility is is when you talked about something being perfect you know what examine ago there is no perfect circle in the material in material world there's always some imperfection but do we you know is you know I guess leads you would say the fact that we have a consort of the opposite of Plato like says because we have the concept that proves the transcendental world exists he says the opposite because we have the concept that proofs are something wrong with our thinking no because this thing we know this thing doesn't exist and you know we still have a concept of it it's one of the errors that makes life is a condition you know that makes us able to live life one of the many errors there are condition of our of our existence that is useful for our species and so on I want to ask just your opinion briefly about two philosophies one is pragmatism which I think you're very fond of and the other one is post-modernism which is like you're also inclined toward you know look we have to live in the world so we have to estimate you know we have to make decisions but I say it's on the basis of estimates of of what what's useful and what's what's interesting perhaps and what works in the sense so that's what you mean by pragmatism yeah so far as post-modernism goes yeah I had to study some of that and in fact I had to read that was the second time that they gave me Nietzsche to read and it was interesting because I was terrified of post-modernism I'd never read a word of Derrida or anything like that and I walked into the seminar and you know they were all talking this lingo you know it has a definite lingo and I didn't know what anyone was talking about and there was a reading list and you know first there was Nietzsche and then it progressed to bars and Derrida and so on and so the next class you know I read the teacher sort of like my brother no close reading it and the next class I you know I talked I didn't really know with confidence what I was saying that it made sense after a while I noticed everyone was listening he known all I was always the only person you know I was a star student kind of thing like you know I was a student and even I didn't know what I would sing so uh that's post-modernism for you and then later I wrote a paper sort of the same thing you know sort of you know I got like a hundred percent but ask me what it's about you know you know it's like kid you know it's like when I said he calculates I could get a very good mark but what is calculus exactly I never quite did figure figure that you were asking about post-modernism and here I'm gonna override your briefly adverbial because you're asked because I said that that on ttle that Anselm's argument the sort of text base you know the post modernists are big with that there's no reality his own texts are all sense of reality is based on the fact that we use language and we sort of construct and there's no there's nothing there it's only language that's what they say and I understand that and to a degree I believe it but I have a problem with them is you know if that's the case how do they go from that to their you know to their their politics of social justice you know where does the you know where does the language base where does the text of reality you know morph into people of color needing to be privileged more than white people and you know you know because they build it's all hierarchy of power kind of thing but somehow in you know somehow in there they go from a belief in everything is a hierarchy of power which is I guess it's random to a belief in a higher the same hierarchy of power that must become moral you know they're not supposed to believe in you know I supposed to write the right here it's supposed to be justice oh that is that is a reality that is power become something more anyway I do give my guests a chance at the end of my interviews just to ask me about Catholicism you know if there's anything that you want to ask me now would be the time if not we'll move on and wrap up no no you want to ask me my faith at the end of my interviews I always ask my guests to just talk to the audience and just give a little message of hope so what would you say to anyone that might be out there listening well I don't know I mean I look people I you know I sort of feel in a prosthetic way I think you know if you ask you is like with living I suppose I'd say you know why not you know what else are we going to do with life so again Nietzsche says what is what does conscience tell you it wants you to it commands you to become the person that you are and that's not an easy thing that all the time and in fact sometimes it's a very difficult thing but that's the thing that we all have to do there life reality is sort of constructed that way and just how we come to understand it this journey you know we all come to understand it with different words in different ways but I think that this is the thing that everyone does like it will do if you've got some questions me and I'll tell all you got to do is all you got to do you got to do is all you got to do

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