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Dialogue Room


Intelligent Design is the method of creation in theism. Theism is the position that postulates a higher power in the world, a God.  Physical law determines the process in atheism. Atheism, by its name, excludes a god. All is matter and motion. The picture below reveals intelligent design, human style. It can take a picture sharp enough to read an automobile license plate from 80, 000 feet, flying by at 2500 mph. We should be proud, or maybe not.

Brilliant in technology, we are brain dead in self reflection. It is a spy plane. Does the world need better spy planes? Will that make everyone safer? Might we not aim a bit higher?  Good fences might make good neighbors, but I doubt that better espionage will increase our popularity.

Our problem seems to be that everywhere we go, there we are. We fail to see our part in personal experience. Experience is a two way street, not just a collection of perceptions. Aristotle postulated four causal perspectives: 1) material, 2) formal, 3) efficient, and 4) final. To connect abstract to reality let’s consider the construction of a Boeing 747. First, it is made of matter (material). Second it is put together by some sort of design (formal). Third, something puts it all together, the production line (efficient). And finally, it was constructed in the first place for a purpose, i.e. to fly a lot of people a long way (final). 

Science can deal only with causes one and three. It usurps the second method although it has no warrant to do so. This is because it entails purpose (human) and science defines the world as entirely causal. We cannot intentionally do anything, but rather are simply driven by neuronal discharge. There is no consciousness in nerve cells, and purpose disappears along with consciousness. Pool balls and quarks do not think. Their happenings are called chance, and their language becomes empty. 

My point here is that while this airplane is technically brilliant, it is subjectively inane. It’s fourth Aristotelean cause presumes that more power directed at others will improve the world. If the ultimate abstraction in the question of human survival lies in the issue of friend or foe, then we have opted for foe and need secure our future through violence. If the essence of stupidity is continuing the same course and expecting different results, then the dunce cap fits us. Human history is largely the story of conflict. Maybe we need a new paradigm. How about cooperation, something that is not viewed as second best, or something we have to force ourselves to feel, but rather some genuine understanding of ourselves as subjective beings that carries its own battery pack. 

My professional experience was as a psychiatrist; let’s call the field Psychology. After forty years of experience I am entitled to an opinion. My opinion is that psychology, as it is generally practiced today, is no better than it was before the scientific revolution. “Behavioral Science” is an oxymoron. To throw away mind in favor of reflections off of body makes no sense at all. It is pretend science. We cannot view our minds. We experience ourselves, but not through a “mind’s eye”. There is nothing to see, hence nothing for science to work with. So we make great airplanes in order to spy better on our possible friends and think this is as good as it gets. Force will never work, and the clock is running. Our technology to deliver weapons will outrun our ability to eliminate the need to use them.  We need to aim higher than 80,000 feet, and I am not talking altitude; I am talking in terms of consciousness. This is a big picture problem, not one in the colloquial world of pool balls. Dare I say we might live in a world of consciousness and matter, rather than consciousness from matter? That might sound effete, like philosophers hurling epithets at each other. But smart might not be impotent. It brought us to nuclear energy. Perhaps it can save us from it as well. 


I have hopped books in a quantum leap, although attention goes to both. There is a synergy, and intuition leads me to work with both at the same time. So I have gone from Hocking, who wrote at the beginning of the 20th century to contemporaries, largely at Oxford, who write at the beginning of the 21st.  Content-wise this means a shift from seeking communication with God to questioning the being of God. But belief and faith are not independent, and what the world needs is “a God people can believe in.” So it all goes together. 

I have two bedrock convictions from which reason itself probably cannot pry me: 1) There is a God; 2) Jesus was not God. So while it is pleasant to have company in these inquires, I have to part ways with my colleagues at Oxford. Once again, out to the back porch for me. But then this mental sequence transpired: 

Jesus was the son of God. So God has a family. I am used to being outside of family, the story of my life, and I know how that works. Kinship always wins. If God has to circle the wagons, I know who will get left out. “Nothing at all” is more real to me than “just like real”. Then I came across the comment that Jesus was God incarnate. This means God in a physical sense. But God in a physical sense is spirit as object, and spirit does not exist in time/space. Swinburne, one of my heroes from Oxford, says, from a position of logic, that the only way people can describe non material entities is through metaphors. Enter Jesus. 

If Jesus is not really God’s son, but rather a metaphorical representation of spirit as matter, then I am back to Hocking and myself, and perfectly happy. In the latter system, God, as spirit, becomes matter, which functions as Spirit in its communicative form. The writers of the Bible could have used a stone tablet, or a special wine, or thunderstorms, or any other thing as God, but they chose a human being. Jesus chose himself, as a prophet, and he was essentially correct. God has to somehow become material for us to understand him. Inanimate objects look too much like idols (we drop the reality of spirit in favor of stuff), and God as both spirit and matter offers no mental pattern to grasp. The truth might be that matter is God in his communicative form, which turns Jesus into a metaphor for God in a manner we can grasp through experience. 

Hocking’s whole idea of God is that He must be a personal God and must show himself somehow in experience, which turns out to be subjectivity. So I can take the truth of Jesus, that he is a communicative form of God, and not have to add the anthropomorphic qualities of son and person. We can skip the the immaculate conception, feeding the thousands, and rising from the dead, and also we have no need of the Holy Ghost. What is the Holy Ghost anyway? What does it do, where does it go, how does one pray to it? The Holy Ghost does one, albeit very special thing; it connects God to spirit. But we no longer need a Trinity. Ontologically we need God, who is spirit, and we need substance, which is His communicative form. He is both, at least for as long as He wants to communicate with us. 

Where does this all go?:  

1. Jesus becomes a prophet, rather than God. 

2.The essence of Jesus coming to earth, so that we could commune with God,  becomes established without having to anthropomorphize it.  Remember, metaphors are not literal. They are the antithesis of literal. 

3. The Holy Trinity gets reduced to a duality. There is God and there is God in his communicative form, which is reality. Simpler is better. 

4. We do not have to deal with the dust kicked up by metaphors. 

There is a broader picture which this construction requires. The universe becomes a work in progress, rather than an accomplished fact. Thank God for that, because if it was a finished work, then giving us purpose becomes a meaningless act. What purpose could we have with nothing left to do? We need real purpose, real work, that really needs to be done, to employ our capacities to the fullest. And lucky for us, purpose is the most satisfying component of life. We fit. We are needed. We can be appreciated. I will take that any day over a 20,000 square foot house. 

The End

“To everything—turn, turn, turn
There is a season—turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven.” 

This book has reached its time. A relatively brief summary near the end  and editing, editing, editing are all that remain.  But the closing comments are finished, and the last two  pictures speak for themselves. I am horrified (albeit pleased) how quickly this effort concluded.  Work is not finished,  just this work.    I feel it, and the next step has already begun. 

“A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate.
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late!”

Click on the picture for the last four pages of Coming Home (previously called Quantum Psychology and Republic) 

Beginnng of the End

Blogs and books have a different life span. Since this site is more book than blog, we try to graft an offshoot. Here is a blog-sized bite of the latest book, almost the end.  Click picture for pdf file. 
(some unedited) 

New Material

New material. Electrons are free. Click on picture below for pages 520-613
(update 2/13/15) (update 2/17/15)  (update  2/28/15)  (update  3/3/15)  (update 3/9/15)
(update 3/24/15)  (update 3/27/15, needs some editing)  (update 3/29/15)

Recent Work

The book is getting fatter; perhaps that is necessary. The blog lies relatively fallow. Here is the latest compromise, recent pages that hang togethere. Click on cover below to open a pdf  for pages 410-519.


Such knowledge as we could desire:

I feel like Sisyphus with this chapter, pushing my knowledge up a hill, only to have it roll back down again. Probably we do not make scores of different mistakes in our understandng of the world; more likely we continue to repeat just one or two of them. Each chapter of Hocking’s book becomes a challenge, but this one seems particularly difficult. It is not entirely new material, actually, each chapter shades into the others, so nothing begins again at zero. But the world appear to get turned upside down and back, several times, probably because the truth is counter-intuitive. 

Like Berkeley, Hocking seems to remove the ground floor of our understanding, but then comments that we will hardly notice. Yes, pragmatically we have it all wrong, but we can just treat it as if and carry on as usual. Yet as if is not real, and this must show up somewhere in the universe, maybe not on our way to the store, but certainly on our way to eternity. Meaning appears to be ultimately determined by the whole picture of how we conceive the universe. If rocks rule the world we can play along by pretending to not noticie or worry about little things, like how purpose can exist in a causal world; but that is not the same world as one with purpose. We see the blinders we put on to get by, which moves us at least one step away from complete commitment. My tail wags or does not wag on what I believe, not on what I tell it to do. (Using tail wagging as my guide for subjectivity, i.e, intuition, i.e. God.) I have a God supporting me when my tail wags and nothing at all when it does not. These are not the same; nor can I play them the same. I could try, but going into battle with God on one’s side is not the same as with a hypothesis in one’s pocket, nor is acting as if I love someone the same as actually loving someone—the engine is not in that car. 

Hocking dispels solipsism (gets us out of our black boxes) by somehow making reality a part of our minds. The big move under all the guises here seems related to our tendency to view spirit as matter and to see mind and body as separate. This works just fine for everyday business. No one except philosophers have to run through this exercise about the reality of matter, but ignoring truth does not address the big questions about the universe. We can get to the store whether we have front wheel or back wheel drive (a metaphor), but whether we go to the store or not is not thereby determined. If god-particles rule the world, then let us simply huddle together in our humanity to face the fading of the sun. But if God runs the world, then it is probably simply built into us to want to communicate with him. Schopenhauer balked at that conclusion, but only because he ruled out God. He saw the organizing factor of the universe as a mindless force that pushes us around like toys, and our finest move is to refuse to follow. This seems foolish to me. To stop looking for something better than cosmic indifference seems like quitting, and hope will surely follow with it. Abject indifference as the nature of things appears to be an invitation to protest, but what proof does one have that for indifference is there instead of concern?

 Hocking spares us from being self-conained worlds by viewing reality as one side of the coin of consciousness. Consciousness is not just out there basking in itself. Consciousness only comes into being in relation to something of which it is conscious. We are conscious of a bee, or a flower, or a group of protesters in the driveway, but not just conscious of nothing in particular. Even if we are trying to think of nothing, we are conscious of the concept of nothing, which is not the same as abject nothingness. Thus in knowing another mind, the thing we value the most, we do not have to “descend to meet”, as Emerson put it, but rather the descent is the meeting. Translated, this means that objects in the world are also objects in the minds of others and their minds are thus for real both a process in and a reality in some unknown way, both outside of ourselves. Mind means nothing without something real which with it forms a unit, as a husband needs a wife to be married, so a wife needs a husband. (Recent legislation notwithstanding.) In a similar fashion, mind cannot function without matter, and matter cannot be managed without mind. There is a mind/matter complex that we apparently do not know how to file correctly yet. At least I seem to have trouble doing so. But basically, Hocking says we meet each other, directly, outside of ourselves, and not merely imaginatively in lonely little black boxes. Our bodies are not just things we have to drag around, keeping us from the joy of spiritual connection. They are the contact, in metaphorical form, perhaps designed explicitly for communication, without which we would not just be trapped in boxes; rather, we would be merely empty concepts existing no where in reality. 

 If this all sounds difficult, that is my Sisyphus problem. It gets easier if we view God, as Berkeley viewed Him, in that reality is a part of God’s mind. Then as spirit we do not just cease to exist without matter, we exist through God, and better than alone, we have matter with which to communicate. I am sorry here, but the whole pictures seems to collapse into one solution without even thinking about it. I am referring to the reason that God bothered with to create reality at all. And it seems to be for communication. I do not think God would be upset for us to speculate on His nature, and it seems that maybe God got tired of being e alone. Joan Osborne’s song, “What if God was One of Us?” talks about God “having no one on the phone, ‘cept the Pope maybe in Rome”. Leave out the Pope, and why does this not make sense? Did Moses come down from the mountain with information that God is just fine all the time, thank you very much? Why should the world be static. Nothing else about it seems to be. Maybe the Universe is a work in progress. This is called speculation, not dogma. 

What is a library? Looking closely (a dangerous occupation), it is a place that houses books. Is it a library before books arrive? Practically, it is not, but it has to be something before the books arrive. And the books are not exactly the issue, rather, it is the words in the books that matter, or even more specifically, it is the ideas contained in the words, stored in the books. When does it become a library? It exists conceptually as soon as a government agency votes it into existence. And does it remain in existence after the building has worn down and the books removed, standing there proudly as to testimony of its contribution to the community? For those who remember it, the answer might be yes. It will likely be called the library until it is torn down for a Starbucks or turned into public housing. 

A mind is something like a library. It is not really a place, although we think it is in our heads, and without ideas it does not even function. The Board has simply approved a library, some day to arrive. It arrives when it gets its first idea. Ideas come from outside of us. We can generate abstract ideas, but they work entirely off of specifics. One can see a right shoe, then a left shoe, and then a pair of shoes, but the term “pair” is an absraction. There are not three items out there, only two. Our ability to abstract creates the third (the pair), but only out of the actual shoes. Are we born with ideas? I do not know if anyone has bothered to consider that issue. Probably we hear our mother’s heart in utero, and maybe hard rock if she is into that kind of stuff. But no matter; the library is not useful until it has books, and minds bide their time until they receive impressions. Then they start to construct quadratic equations that allow us to intercept comets and such, although that comes much later.  

Hocking begins with the idea that we are interested in the minds of others only in relation to the ideas they contain. An empty mind is a poor conversationalist. He tosses out insights here like he is feeding ducks. One is the very idea that a mind is of interest to us only after it has created ideas from perceptions. Another is that the value of other beings to us is in relation to their ability to negotiate reality. No one wants to get lost in the day dreams of a spoiled child. We have fruit and nuts to gather, and ideas not connected to reality just chase their tails. Our purpose on this planet appears to be two-fold. First, we try to stay alive. That is simply self-evident. It is not worth arguing that point with anyone. Just smile and walk away. The second is probably that we are programed to create. We appear to make real, lasting, meaningful changes in reality. And somehow satisfaction follows on that path. It is what we do. 

 So we become better in units than alone, and the social world is where we find our wingmen. It is the other mind as knowing and mastering Nature that we first care about. Nature is not in the way here. There is no abstract soul wanting to relate to another abstract soul. There are no souls at all without “stuff” in them, any more than there are libraries which have only been voted upon. A third insight is that beauty relates to the ease with which one moves through the resistence of reality. It is not some abstract standard decided by someone at Time Magazine publishing their list of whatever they make lists about. Beauty is what beauty does. The rest is simply what kind of outfit it wears. 

 I, for one, upon reflection, realize that there always appeared to be some barrier between me and another being I valued. This is not an adoption issue; it is existential. Physically, no matter what they intend two physical beings cannot occupy the same space. Mentally, we can imagine doing so, but in a physical world that is just imagination—trapped as the idealist philosophers describe in our own insufferably individual minds. Something was supposed to happen to creatures that love each other; they should somehow be able to become one, rather than forever remain on separate ships in the harbor. Telepathy would seem to be the preferred form of interaction. That is quite what Emerson was talking about when he said that friends have to descend to meet—we have to leave our minds, travel down into words, sends the words out over sound waves, and then reverse the process at the other end. A whole lot of work that appears to be obviated by some type of mental to mental connection. 

But Hocking debunks telepathy. He does it quick and painlessly: Telepathy has to be either imagination of what the other is thinking, or some sense of our own thoughts moving under the impressiiopn of arising elsewhere. The problem with either of these avenues is that they come with no certificate of authenticity. One has to verify them, and this is done by direct physical contact. In other words, to prove that the videotape is accurate, we have to observe the videotape of that other recorder. In other words, our verification reverts to what we started with in the first place, physical perceptions and their accompanying imputations. Yikes. 

But the “upside down and back” issue referred to above is exactly this. My life long quest for something more direct between my mind and that of others has been dismissed; but in its place Hocking promotes what we actually have. What we actually have is literally true—and this is precisely the difficult concept here, which I can best categorize as quantum, and describe as mind, being both mental and physical at the same time. In Hocking’s words:

“Nature and the natural body must belong with the experience of Other Mind, even in its ideal condition. Of myself, I seem to have only mind; of the Other, only body: and yet, as I think it through, there seems to be nothing about that body which conceals the spirit—body seems to do no more in separating than to fix and define the simple other-ness of that Other from myself; in all other respects it does but give me that Other Mind in more tangible form than by experience of its inner life on its own grounds alone, I could have it.”
Subjectivity is persona non grata in scientific publications. Just the facts are what they want. Kant excluded the author’s perspective in The Critique of Pure Reason, a philosophical study many consider the greatest of all time. I find him unintelligible. Everything I know about Kant was learned from what others said of his work. Perhaps trail blazers have to shut everything else out, so their writing style might be excusable, but still it remains unreadable. Kant said he had to leave out metaphors because the book would then have been too long. His best friend said that he had to stop reading half-way through the book, lest he kill himself.  Hocking is incredible incisive, and yet equally as real. One can feel the kind of person he was, and to me this is decisive as to whether I wish to follow someone or not. Nowhere is Hocking more personal than at the end of this chapter. I suspect he is talking about his wife here. They had a fullfilling marriage just like they vowed, ending . . . . “until death do us part”.

“Let me pursue my reflection a step further. I have sometimes sat looking at a comrade, speculating on this mysterious isolation of self from self. Why are we so made that I gaze and see of thee only thy Wall, and never Thee? This Wall of thee is but a movable part of the Wall of my world; and I also am a Wall to thee: we look out at one another from behind masks. How would it seem if my mind could but one be within thing; and we could meet and without barrier be with each other? And then it has fallen upon me like a shock—as when one thinking himself alone has felt a presence—that I am in thy soul. These things around me are in thy experience. They are thy own; when I touch them and move them I change thee. When I look on them I see what thou seest; when I listen, I hear what thou hearest. I am in the great Room of thy soul; and I experience thy very experience. For where art thou? Not there, behind those eyes, within that head, in darkness, fraternizing with chemical processes. Of these in my own case, I know nothing, and will known nothing; for my existence is spent not behind my Wall, but in front of it .I am there, where I have treasures. And there art thou, also. This world in which I live, is the world of thy soul: and being within that, I am within thee. I can imagine no contact more real and thrilling than this; that we should meet and share identity, not through ineffable inner depths (alone), but here through the foregrounds of common experience; and that thou should be—not behind that mask—but here, pressing with all thy consciousness upon me, containing me, and these things of mine. This is reality: and having seen it thus, I can never again be frightened into monadism by reflections which have strayed from their guiding insight.”

This is poetry as well as truth. I fail to see what one would hope to gain by reducing it to biochemical reactions; and I fear for what we would lose. Yes, reality has its durability; but also subjectivity has its love. These are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are probably not even separable.

I overlooked one other issue on the upside down turns earlier in this the chapter. We presume that the sequence of activity goes from thought to action, which also would be from inside to outside. Hocking inverts this. In doing so he is consistent with the concept of mind being physical on the outside of us, as well as abstract. We do not just generate ideas out of ineffable depths and move them outside through some sort of conveyor belt. He feels ideas have to gestate, and we take posession of them much as we do perceptions when we express them in the external world. Our minds, just like those of others, are out there in the world. And that is where we take possession of our ideas. Chalk talk is what we do with pure introspection; on field practice is where we get our ideas into shape. No expression; no possession.

 The take home message from this chapter, however, remains the concept of body being a metaphor for the mind. Sit with this awhile and it gathers credibility. The native tongue of our mind is perceptual. We are not usually looking at the apparatus of our perception. This is a perpetual human problem, expressed throughout history as our predilection for tangible things (idols) over spiritual beings. We can see one and cannot see the other. So the body functions as a perpetual interpreter, translating conceptual into physical. We all read this quite well. But we understand it very little. So we write about it here.

“The body is an incredibly intricate and exact metaphor of every inner movement of that Other Mind. To every shade of thought and motive there corresponds some change in the body, reflecting in its own different sphere each type of variation to which the inner state is subject. Man still “looketh on the outward appearance” only, even though he were able to examine the living brain; but remarkable it is that there is nothing in “the heart” not faithfully displayed in this appearance, and at the moment of its occurrence.”

Quantum Psychology

The main purpose of this site was for people to read our new books (pdf files). But blogs are now, whereas books are then, and then is not especially soon. For awhile I was trying to write for both book and blog, but the book is the more important, and that is where the effort is going now. So I try to add pages of the new book to the blog as they become written. 

Well, pages have turned into chapters and focus has gone from socio/economics to metaphysics. The first book, Requiem, is done and posted for viewing. Republic is becoming plump and still just getting started. It's name no longer works. I am changing the title from  Republic to Quantum Psychology. The cover is below and clicking it will bring you 487 pages. As Bill said, "It was as if you were writing a book supposedly about baseball, but it was all about fishing.   We will get it right.   No more fish.      Click away.
(update 12/16/14)   (update  12/20/14)  (update  12/27/14)  (update 1/10/15)

Quantum (Republic) Soundtrack

You need Flash Player in order to view this.
Republic Sountrack
music for book

I put together a soundtrack for the new book. It is a fun activity; one can get lost for hours doing it. Check it out on Youtube.  

In review (6/9/15) this video only takes on more meaning. Consider it a metaphor for my intuition on the coming world crisis. It could be a theme song for that crisis. If body is a metaphor for mind, then this video is a presentation of a perspective that only gains in intensity. I call it resonance, which we can add to perception and reaction as valid experience. Hocking says the subjective mode is our communication with God, not airy ideation but grounded affect--experience, intuition, subjectivity. Experience of this kind cannot be counterfeited. The video shows my concern for animals, which is a bit idiosyncratic, but its portent of world events is perhaps prophetic. Intuition is for action, not for intellectual contemplation. And action only happens now, not tomorrow morning. 

Macarthur Park

New work in the new book. Click on cake for pages 344-361

The Latest

This site started out as a place to access books online. That seems to be a safe process now, as it is not necessary to download anything. One can just read the pdf which is probably like viewing something on Youtube. 

It has reverted to its roots, as all of my effort lately is going into the second book. That has its own issues, but all pretty interesting; and for whatever its worth, the process moves along consistently. For the latest work, click on the picture below. Pages 238-344 are now all dressed up for the dance. 


This article from three years ago has a particular relevance today with the National Football League problems: 

DemographicsPosted on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 7:11 AM

Mises envisions a world with no boundaries to employment. People simply go where they are most efficiently engaged regardless of boundaries. This might sound unreasonable because of people's idealogy of nation states, but there is no natural attraction simply because they occupy the same geography. Nor is blood the determining thing. Geography and genetics cannot insert purpose; only spirit can do that. We may not know what our basic premises are, but we have them and they are not part of our biology. We act on what we believe  and feel, not where we live or what we eat.   

Monarchies used to be the dominant form of government. The king was thought to be chosen by God and treated as such–until he wasn’t. But monarchy is an idea, not a social requisite. It has largely been replaced by respresentative government or secular autocracy. Employment practices can change too. They will have to and we will have to adjust to it, or we will blow ourselves up. 

I get that no one will quite accept that premise, but then people do not naturally run out the logical consequences of their metaphysical beliefs either, and thus they consistently run off the road. Mises has thought it through. We must make choices in life, Carolina or California, not merely make wishes. If we want world peace we will have to accept open borders for trade and employment. Pick one: awkward conversations or nuclear winter. 

The picture to this post is not from a love of soccer. I will never appreciate the game. But I am beginning to lose appreciation for American football. Michael Vick executes dogs, Albert Hanesworth stomps on players heads, and these guys are making twenty million dollars a year. What do we celebrate here, transcending physical limits or mere physical violence? A whole team’s success can be one fifteen-yard penalty away from total collapse. This is not a game any more; it is getting closer to what games are designed to avoid–a fight to the finish. Every professional American football player knows his next play may be his last. Are we becoming more civilized or is this just gladiators with face masks?  

 International soccer is a much bigger sport than American football. Maybe it is better. Maybe America celebrates violence to reflect its military presence in the world. Maybe I will develop an appreciation for soccer. No, there are limits to the last possibility here; the best I might be able to do is rekindle an appreciation for the sacrifice fly. 

Interestingly, the book for which this site exists is about ten times more popular outside the United States than inside it. People visit the site from all over the world. China and Japan access it regularly, as does Western Europe. Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, India, Israel, and the Arab Emerites all have been there. The main point of this site is to offer a download of the book (Requiem). I assume that some of the people who visit actually do that. Some of them in the Netherlands appear to do it a lot. The site has been accessed over 3000 times from Huethuysen, Netherlands. I do not think they are just listening to the soundtrack. 

Can a person draw any inference from these observations? Perhaps not, but one has to wonder about the nature of metaphysical ideation in different cultures. We gain meaning from our belief systems, and meaning drives our behavior. Ideas may not provide the energy, but they direct it. Know thyself is about more than knowing one prefers football to soccer. It is about knowing the reasons for that preference. Could it be that the United States is a bit full of itself? Is that why we are in everyone's business? We attack preemtively now. Obama is celebrated for his drone attacks. This does not look good. American football reflects it. Perhaps we should cut the pretense. Our money says on the back of each note "In God We Trust". Maybe we should change that to "In the Federal Reserve We Trust". If we are going to play God, we should at least know that is what we are doing. 

Chapter Five, Part Two

Part Two 

This book is not a course in metaphysics. It is more like a dialogue in being. We are not learning things. We are learning about ourselves, and in the process hopefully becoming more effective people. I ran group therapy for more than thirty years. People never caught on to the major premise. We employed it, but they failed to grasp it intellectually. The concept itself is pretty simple, but it addresses our recent issues, which are not simple. The rule for group was that they talk about whatever was on their minds, but at some point we stop and reflect on what they had been talking about. This is the issue about not what we look at, but what we look with, a quantum-like concept.  We would do this, and apparently it worked, as well as character development programs can work, although it never became autonomous for the group members. They kept looking at content instead of process. 

  So while we are in a new section of this book, we are not in a new section of ourselves. We are the absolute of our own experience, part of it anyway. We are not just memorizing here, we are, hopefully, becoming more real. Pursuant to that I want to reflect a moment on society getting confidence backwards, as mentioned in the previous chapter. Perhaps in this situation we become like the group members and fail to make the metaphysical shift in our personal cameras, for I still wake up in the morning to issues about the nature of confidence and performance. In some ways that should not be surprising. Thirty years ago I wrote an article on the perils of positive thinking. This is not a new issue to me, but apparently, also, not a settled one. 

I recently heard a football coach on television saying that he thought his team could beat the opponent coming up the next Saturday. I do not recall the teams at this point, but this team was not favored in the game, and the reporter was addressing that issue. As soon as the coach said he “thought” they could win, he changed that comment to he “knew” they could win. Just what had flashed in his mind that so quickly changed his conviction? Had he suddenly learned that his starting quarterback had been cleared to play, or that the bus of the opposing team had crashed? There is no information in those few seconds between “I think” and “I know” that could have factored into that decision. 

So he just made it up. Confidence at this point is therefore no longer an accurate an assesment of the teams actual chances to win, but rather a paid political announcement designed to influence the actual game. The coach lies. This does not improve his chances of winning. He might win because of the way the ball bounces, or because he made a mistake in his initial assessment, but not because he pumped up his confidence. Confidence is a concept, not an agent.  

I ran marathons I did not improve my time by telling myself to run faster. I did it by training harder. Marathons are good petri dishes for studying effort. Telling yourself at mile fifteen that you are going to pick up the pace is good for about four hundred yards, and then you fall back to the best pace your training will allow you to run. Will power, on its own, can make some difference in pure effort situations, but not much. And trying harder on skill activities decreases performance. A player does not get out of a batting slump by swinging harder. He gets out of a batting slump by resolving the conflicts that are causing him to be distracted. 

The confident coach simply says he thinks they can win next week. That is honest. He does not know, the ball can bounce any way it wants. He only plays the confidence card when he is worried. That is when he is not facing the facts. It is closing the door and painting it pretty. We know when we do that, and it simply emphasizes the point that we are about to head into a situation for which we are not prepared. Anxiety and duplicity do not lead to victory. Hard work does. As Bobby Knight said, “The will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare to win”.  It is good to have Coach Knight on our side here. 

Confidence is not an ingredient in the cake; it is a result of having baked it.  Behavioral theory says that emotions are a product of actions. As we act, so shall we feel. So the objective view concludes that saying will become believing. But from the subjective perspective a person knows he is lying for effect. And he knows that he does not do this about things he is confident about, like driving a car to work. A person only whistles past graveyards when he is passing a graveyard. He only lies to himself when he is afraid. Who is he going to trust here, the psychologists or his common sense?  Berkeley had it right about raising a dust. F. H. Bradley had in right in saying that metaphysics is the art of finding bad reasons for what we believe on instinct. No one wants to be treated as a thing, which is what lying to them entails, and no one likes beng afraid, which is what might cause them to lie. And in this situation the same person is playing both sides. When you are digging yourself into a deeper hole, stop digging.  Materialists have to see that behavior causes emotion; they have nothing else other than matter and motion to explain it. Spiritualists (idealism) postulate consciousness as a valid force in the world. Here, emotion causes action. Both cannot be right. Your choice between these two positions determines the color of your life. Materialists view mind as made out of matter. Idealists view matter as made out of mind.   It is a Carolina/California situation. Know where you want to go. 

 The absolute is where questions end and mind can come to rest. The big bang theory does not satisfy questions about the origin of the universe. It discourages them. Asking what caused the big bang simply continues the infinite regress. We all tire out. But saying God created heaven and earth makes sense. A spirit can create things. A mind can rest there. 

Things cannot create themselves. Force fields and cosmic dust do not bring the questions to an end as a result of answering them satisfactorily. They come to an end because we look the other way. Absolute cannot arise from begging the question. It comes from making sense, not constructing a thesis. 

Confidence is not an agent in an action; it follows the result of the action. Confidence cannot be sought on its own accord. It lives only in connection with initiative. It is a product of the completion of a behavior, not a substance in the production of it. Confidence follows the enactment of purpose. Confidence and happiness are similar, in that pursuing them individually pushes them away. Both are reactions to the result of action, not the cause of it. And action is the result of purpose. But purpose without real is day dreaming. Viable purpose can only be experience in connection with the whole. Growing better gardenias is not sustaining unless it can be correlated with a broad view. Meaning finds its end only in connection with the Absolute. This means that stuff like happiness and confidence are not to be sought individually, but as part and parcel of a life lived through connection with something greater than us. And that something cannot be simply a force. In has to be a spirit; only a spirit has consciouness. I do not mind saying God here, because that is the only workable position, but with actions lately in the name of religion it is hard to hitch one’s wagon to any specific religion. Better to stick with a personal relationship to God.  We obtain confidence and happiness indirectly by following our purpose as experienced as individuals with the Absolute. That absolute is not a concept. It is a being. It is God, who has his own ends and his own purposes. God is not here to help us win the lottery. Pay a soothsayer for that. The universe is doing something, and we will not be satisfied without aligning ourselves with that purpose. There either is such a Being or there is not. But there can be no happiness or confidence without One. We all know that, intuitively.

                                                                           *  *  *  *  *

In Part Two we are out of the frying pan and into the fire here, with some metaphors thrown in. We leave looking at the reflexive position and move to studying the destiny of feeling. This does not get any easier. But then life is not a beach.

Chapter Five

Click picture for pdf file of Chapter Five, (unfinished):  
                 Updated August 31, 2014: September 27, 2014

Introduction for Book

I have chosen to follow wherever the wind takes me, rather than stick to a predetermined course. In the process, sociology changed into metaphysics. It seemed necessary to start at the beginning, rather than somewhere in the middle. 

We simply cannot live in a world that does not make sense. For example: 1) How can a causal system ever get started, when the beginning itself needs to be caused? 2) If space simply expands into more space, does it never end? 3) If all of our actions are caused, why do we think we act on purpose?  We simply look the other way on these issues, which is an untenable position for anyone seeking the truth. How do we explain our world without explanations?

 Also, I seek to claim a legitimate spot for subjectivity in a world gone overboard on objectivity. Half the story is not good enough. Personal experience becomes a part of the story, because objectivity is merely an abstraction of the whole. Leaving out emotion to focus on perception is not scientific advancement. It is flying the plane on autopilot with the pilot asleep. Our ability to destroy the world is exceeding our capacity to control ourselves. Counting to ten or idealizing communication is not going to work. We need instruments and pilots. It is a quantum world today; we need a quantum psychology.