Wednesday is the day we think about the process of expanding our sense of self to include the entire world. If you love yourself (step #1) and forgive yourself, knowing you’ve done the best you can with the resources you have…and then expand that to include one other person (step #2), seeing how your ability to enjoy the greatest pleasure in life is based on your capacity to forgive and accept human flaws as the flip-side of human beauty and power.
Keep expanding. I do NOT in any way expect people to accept my view of life. What I hope is that they will develop a theory of humanity that allows them to understand human nature with the same sense of clarity, love, and centeredness that they use in evaluating themselves, and their family. That they are as clear in THEIR beliefs as I am in mine, such that they know precisely why they believe what they believe, and can defend those beliefs without fear. Because if you have a belief, and express it, you WILL be challenged. And the more insecure people are in their beliefs, the more violently they will attack you.
(That is not to say that you can’t be attacked by people VERY certain in their beliefs, but who believe your positions are dangerous. You will!)
Writers and artists would be well served to have a world view grounded in both their emotions and a theory of how the world works. Preferably, ground this in psychology, history, possibly even biology. Physics, if you can push that far. Then, when you express yourself, you aren’t blown this way and that by persuasive arguments, you can say: “when X or Y objective measurement changes, I will change my mind.” People will rail at you.
How DARE you suggest an objective measure! I know what I’m talking about! Listen to me!
Of course, you can walk down the road and meet a hundred people a day who say this, every one of them with a different opinion about the same subject. If you don’t have BOTH an opinion AND an understanding of how you came to that opinion, you are vulnerable.
- A clear position on reality. That is the “What is true?” question. Always go deeper, understanding that you must ground this BOTH in your own perceptions and some non-subjective measurement. And understand that that “objective” measure was decided upon using subjective criteria, your values, and perceptual tunnels. You cannot escape that completely. All you can do, IMO is constantly test your beliefs and positions: “If X is true, then Y would be true as well” you might think, and then research to see if your assumptions are correct. Or: “If X is true, then Z will happen next” then wait to see if Z occurs. If it does, your position has a predictive capacity, and your belief in it has been strengthened. You’ll never get to 100%, but if you can BOTH understand the past, feel safe in the present, and predict enough future events to make a pattern…that’s not bad.
- A clear position on who YOU are. And once found, ask if that explains the world around you. You are looking for the aspect of your own being that is universal. If the world is peopled with people like you, how does that explain history? Of course, the observant reader will see the problem here: I”m making a pre-assumption that people are basically alike. Yup. So…if that is NOT your belief, then you need to be as clear on what you DO believe as I am in what I believe in order to make rapid decisions and evaluations. Of course, there are pre-assumptions in that statement as well: that clarity is better than confusion, knowing better than mystery, rapid action and decision better than delayed, even that there is a “better” and “worse” to be discussed.
Back to “what is true?” Ah, its a maze, and all of it can be deconstructed endlessly. I’ve made a choice to operate in the world of action, take my stand there, although maintaining awareness that that is an illusion as well. I can deal with the duality.
The point is this: If I say “model successful people” you can fall down a rabbit hole asking which traits to model, which values are worthwhile, whether external results affect internal states, on and on. Spend your whole life doing that. And my belief is that people who do this are not deeper in some way. They are just afraid to commit.
Of course, that’s a belief and an evaluation as well.
You will NEVER make everyone happy. There will ALWAYS be people who disagree. That’s fine. That’s step #4, remember? FIND YOUR TRIBE. Don’t try to convince everyone–that way lies paralysis and madness.
Choose. Decide to create an accurate map of reality that describes you, your beloved, and the history of humanity. Create it as you choose. And then? Then I will assume that you, like all living things, wish to avoid pain and gain pleasure. And then? Assume that the greater accuracy your map, the better you will be at reaching your destination (all things being equal…which they never are. So you have to average the map results across as many people as possible who hold a given position, IMO). So if you feel more joy and less pain, I’m going to be more interested in your view. And if you have better results in all four arenas, I’ll be REALLY interested.
And if, on analyzing your journey, you seemed to start where I started, with equal or fewer resources, and STILL got better results? I’m going to switch to your path, take your opinions and test them in my life to see what happens.
That’s MY epistemology. My way of asking “how do I know what I know?” Which relates to “who am I?” and “what is true?”
Have yourse. Go deep. Understand yourself, your family, and human history without a mass of kludgy patchwork beliefs that allow you to navigate pre-selected political, religious or philosophical positions, or social rules, or the things your friends want you to believe, or what your lovers tell you you have to believe to be sexually acceptable.
THINK FOR YOURSELF. Then test. Then share your thoughts and let people criticize them, while you watch to see what is said, relating all of it to those basic views of life.
Mine, for instance, says that the core of the universe is love and connection. Therefore, the deeper the reality someone sees, the more they are connected to that source of creation. Therefore, a person who believes they see more deeply, but that perception leaves them shaken and insecure, fearful and doubting…that person is using a very different map of reality. They would need extraordinary proof to shake a map I’ve been working on for many decades, and has served me well. It happens. People DO and HAVE shaken my map, torn it up, made me start over. But it isn’t easy, and some get frustrated and say “you think you know it all” “you won’t listen” “it is impossible to get you to open your eyes” and so forth.
Not realizing, of course, that they’re really saying “why won’t you admit I know better than you?” Or, “how dare you think your opinion is equal to mine!” And I smile.
I don’t try to change people’s minds. That’s a pointless activity. I merely state what I see, and allow others to decide if they like the view. If they don’t, they are welcome to take another path.
But I promise you: I WILL watch to see what results you get. And if we meet years later, I’ll ask: “how’s that working out for you?”
And seriously, what I always hope to hear is: just fine.
Because I’m always trying to refine that damned map.