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Dialogue Room

March 12, 2016   (To the class of 1958 at Menlo-Atherton High School) 

"Life without music might not be worth living. Schopenhauer thought music to be the language of the gods, but then he did not have a god. Music condenses things. Here is my life today in a song. But, again, since Classmates does not allow links, we have to cheat a bit. Put the "w's" and "com" around "badgerhillbooks", and when you reach the website click on the "Contact" page. There I am, perhaps there we all are, in a song."     --Robert 

 (We, however, are linked to the website):

New pages

Additional pages have been added to Resonance   (58-77)

        (click on picture to open) 


"More matter (material) never gets there, always begging the same question “what caused the cause”. The only reasonable answer appears to be spirit. And the only useful spirit is a conscious one. All roads do not lead to Rome, for Rome is just a halfway house to God. This is not just idle thinking. It is sound reason, which people fail to see the need for because they presume reason under common sense. But quite simply, we cannot have an explanation of the universe that begins with “Once upon a time . . .”

**Note: Our visitor count has now reached 243,000. That probably means something. 

Overdosing on Facts

The following post in traversing the internet. While I did not think of it, I wish I had. 

"I am trying to make friends outside of Facebook while applying the same principles. Therefore, every day I walk down the street and tell passers by what I have eaten, how I feel at the moment, what I have done the night before, what I will do later and with whom.

 I give them pictures of my family, my dog, and of me gardening, taking things apart in the garage, watering the lawn, standing in front of landmarks, driving around town, having lunch and doing what anybody and everybody does every day.  I also listen to their conversations, give them the “thumbs up” and tell them I like them.

And it works just like Facebook. I already have four people following me: two police officers, a private investigator, and a psychiatrist." 

On a personal note, as youngsters we used to walk the Dumbarton mudflats with our dogs. Today that is Facebook Headquarters. I used to repair gas lines down the main street of Menlo Park, California--birthplace to Google. It certainly is a different world today. Some of the changes have been good. Overdosing on facts is not one of them.


Moving inexorably through my life I find myself returning to my roots—basically my adoption (black market) and its effects. This surprises me because little of my thought in recent years had gone in that direction. But this was perhaps because I had come to think with adoption rather than about it. Adoption had become too close to notice. In any event, here it is again, hopefully not so that I can revisit the past in an attempt to replace missing pieces, but instead to gather lessons. If life is more of a battle than a beach, then insight, skills, and experience beats contentment. So bring it on, I say—hopefully not just whistling in the dark.

Thus today I look again at my adoption experience, realizing the enormity of its depth and hopefully mining its insights. While my roots are specific, everyone has roots and in abstracting from them the issues are similar. We can generalize the roots of individuals. In fact we  can even abstract to the level of the roots of groups, such as cities and countries. Countries themselves can lose their way, Germany did so, and we might be on a similar path. Periodic reflexion is not merely good, it is essential.  

Pursuant to that I wrote this correspondence:


The group appears to be useful to me, especially in the fact that all suffered the same situation. So that is nice, but where to go with it remains uncertain. I think (hope) I become wiser about it all with continued focus. But this places me always on the edge of goodbye, because the more convinced I am about my intuition, the more fixed becomes the color of my feathers. A bird of a different feather remains a bird, but not always part of the flock. 

The unity of people who were adopted is genuine and perhaps at the level of family. What is not general is their response to this experience. And to the degree that one response type or another demands subservience, the unity is gone. We, of all people, should be able to recognize the need for individuality. That is precisely what is lost in adoption. On the other hand we also need to find our commonality or we fracture again into alone.

There is work to be done. But that is what life is about. Heaven is not eternal rest. Heaven is individual will applied to that which we care about in an effort to help insure its existence. Plato called this love. That works. And it is blood, sweat, and tears—not indolence; today, not tomorrow. 


New website

We have a new website. It began as a backup and ends as a boutique. It will not replace this site, but places the books and videos on four easy pages. 

<-----Click on picture to go there

Reflection on Year End Thoughts

The short version is in the previous post. That is what the behaviorist could see of my thinking on new years eve. The long version goes as follows, a subjectivist view

Salmon swim down a river after they are born and then go out in the ocean to do whatever salmon do. Then they return to where they were born, as the only place they will spawn—and die. Salmon do not carry maps or discuss among themselves where they should go. It is programmed into them somehow,  the most significant part of their lives carried inside. 

If salmon, then us. Two germ cells produce the whole body, but apparently much of our disposition as well. Knowing our family history gives us hints as to what we might become. 
Not knowing that family history we lack the ideas under which important experience is filed. That experience becomes lost in a cyber cloud somewhere in mind-space. 

Since we are all about purpose, knowing our proclivities becomes relevant to uncovering the bedrock of our lives. Normal people do not get what a gap this is for those not privy to ancestry, as they have never been without that information. Explaining this is like trying to describe to them the taste of a banana. I do not recommend spending much time on that. 

I know nothing about my family history. The last thing my adoptive father said to me was that whatever happened to me before they bought me was none of my business. So it was game over with him. My options today are to run in place or jump, meaning flying on a prayer toward a purpose. The gap described in the previous post is not comprehensible because purpose, the essence of our lives, is on the other side of it. The issue is too big. Without purpose, life has no meaning; it is truly only neurons in a black box. Most people will not be able to help here, or even see the problem. For me at this point it is either God or nothing. So I jump, and cling to my hope while airborne. 

Yet no one can prove me wrong here, or right, for that matter. Perhaps this is a quantum issue, but that awaits  another day. My whole professional life was spent as a dialogue (to be generous) between subjectivity and science. Humanity has been struggling with this issue for at least five centuries. We have gotten nowhere. Perhaps this will be our year. It certainly will be my project during that time. Someone has to do it. And it carries its own warrant for satisfaction, so it does not feel like work. Happy is the man who’s job is his passion--not fun exactly, but satisfying. 

Getting back to the main point, it appears that we, like salmon, resonate with our heritage. However, we have to listen and know how to do so. Voices do not come from outside. They are carried within. The voices are us.

Robert Andersen, M.D.

Year end thoughts

There is something about a gap, a gulf between some ideas, that is unthinkable. Death is one of these; not knowing one's history is another—issues up with which one cannot put. 

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men fall short here. We have yet to find a salve. God’s apothecary is probably the final place to look; where, if a solution exists at all, it likely involves soul rather than space. 


Letter to a friend

Here are Ernest Hocking's words on instincts as he tries to solve the mind/body dichotomy. I think this is excellent, but then he is my favorite philosopher. (There is a quote inside his quote.)
Hocking's quote:
"To a sound instinct it is never a particular stimulus alone, it is reality that commands. The living instinct of man has in it an element of the mystical: it is responding to the world in its invisible unity.
It is not human instinct alone that looks thus beyond its physical stimulus. Throughout the animal kingdom, the maternal instinct shows this sense of being. A correspondent sends me a plea for retaining the word “divine” as descriptive of this quality in the animal world, while abolishing the idea of God as its subject.
'To change the name of the abysmal mystery one need not abolish mysticism. It might almost seem to plunge the mind into deeper mystery, and an added sense of the tragic sublimity of the principle in the hen, the monkey, the tigress, which in order that the race may go on at all has been stuffed into animal life by nature. The reference to God only obscures what we can see clearly enough, that this element is sacrificial and pure, that is, goodness.'  
I agree with my correspondent that the maternal instinct in animals, as in the little monkey that Darwin tells about, frequently shows the genuine beauty of devotion. I am willing to say that in the animal response to the total demand of life we can see the germ of religion. But in man, instinct becomes self-conscious and self-critical, and can survive only if, with all his science, he can still approve its object. It is man’s business to know what his impulses mean: and hence if there is any impulse in animal or man that deserves the name “divine,” it is because the reality to which his instinct is responding is a reasonable object of loyalty."
                                                                        *   *   *   *   *
For adoptees, the issue is where do we fit as reasonable objects of loyalty. Having been abandoned, neither of the main choices look good--deficient child or lack of maternal goodness. Yet I cannot turn away from this issue; society will not be looking away. Failing to address this problem is like continuing to believe in Santa Claus—and waiting for the presents. It's called clueless, and constitutes the least attractive position of all. Perhaps that is why adoptees are always referred to as adoptive children, regardless of age.


Time Travel

Another Classmates post: 

December 17, 2015.  Xmas Cheer

I reside in St. Louis, Missouri, but my experience feels less grounded—more like everywhere and nowhere. Personal reality for me today is both a blessing and a curse. It also carries an analogy to an earlier experience.

I took physics late in my college career, having switched majors several times before deciding to apply to medical school. I rarely grasped answers to physics questions without effort, but blindly following intuitive hunches usually proved effective, if not reassuring. I ended up with the top score out of 325 students. Essentially, I was highly focused on getting into medical school and did nothing except study all day long.  If not fun, it certainly was compelling. 

The analogy today is with philosophy, psychology having shot itself in the foot as behavioral science. The program I am trying to get into is Eternity 101. We appear to have a blind spot in our souls, the understanding of which feels analogous to grasping a physics problem. Reason alone tells us clearly that the world is spiritual rather than material. Reality exists, but no substance backs it up. Also, time, space, and cause are conceptual—when is the last time you caught a glimpse of any of these?  The Idealists, Plato, Spinoza, Berkeley, Kant, Fitche, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Royce, and Hocking, all saw the world as fundamentally spiritual. But viewing it that way today appears so counter-intuitive that common sense laughs it out of court. The truth of this debate becomes of utmost importance to the human race, since it determines what we are and what we may become. And like a physics problem, I do not yet get it but am aware of that deficit. Socrates would be proud of me. I, however, am not so thrilled. 

Yet perhaps we can understand ourselves, and trying to do so becomes a must. Ernest Hocking had an important aphorism that has become a part of my thinking: "Ask not whether something is impossible, but whether it needs to be done and if the finger of responsibility points to you". Few in my environment are working on the spirit/matter controversy, and about as many are interested in it. Responsibility seems to be pointing at me, and I cannot wriggle off this hook. 

However, alone with a compelling purpose, even at Christmas, is not a bad place to be. My life may yet have a final act, perhaps its most important one. So I am not bored, even though I do little else besides work on this problem and care for my dogs. Life is full of meaning, and hope appears to be more than an illusion. The essence of hope, by the way, appears to be placing “will” rather than “perception” as the basis of truth. That is a quantum concept. Hopefully, it will grow on us. 

                       ---Go Bears. 

Christmas 2015

See our Christmas greeting at Bill's Corner. 
Real poetry for real Christmas, even if a
paler shade of green. 


Here is a soundtrack for Chapter Two, Cast Away


Chapter Two

Here is part (loosely edited) of Chapter Two. This is becoming even more a book of a different quill. (click on picture for pdf) 
updated 12/8/15

Better late than never

My post on

       €"The past is not dead, it is not even past". I keep reliving that precept today, which relates to my experience of having a judge ask me at age twelve if I wanted to be adopted by the Andersens or go to a boy'™s home. (I was a black-market placement with them as an infant.) It seemed a simple issue of security back then. Today I cannot stop dramatizing it as a choice between disingenuous in heaven or reality in hell.  
         I chose heaven back then and ended with empty. Fortunately the past is not dead yet, and I get a chance today to choose reality. But, as expected, hell follows with it--”just look at the content of this post. Pain, loss, suffering and stress exists in hell, but so does hope. Empty, however, leads nowhere. Purpose and hope might be as good as it gets, even in hell. 

The take home message here is to pay cash for your hope. Do not buy it on credit. 

So off I go to do real--and fend off the bats. 

Coming Home

Coming Home is now a completed work. I shall post this notice and then move on. This is not a brief work, nor is it conceptually easy. But rather than apologize for these factors, I shall simply quote Baruch Spinoza: "All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare." 

In quoting Spinoza I appreciate that I face hubris from one perspective, yet lack of responsibility from another. Responsibility wins.   

                                                        The book is just a click away. 

New Stuff

Anatomy of an even newer book. Click on wagon wheel. (updated 11/25/15)