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of evil to one who is striking at the root." -
Henry David Thoreau
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Paradigm Philosophy

"To become a popular religion, it is only necessary for
a superstition to enslave a philosophy." − Dean Inge

PHILOSOPHY: from the Greek, "friendly to wisdom", the systematic study and collection of wisdom and the pursuit of truth incorporating both material and spiritual reality.

Religion

This word comes from Re, meaning again, and from Greek and French roots meaning to collect or bind with reason, giving "bind together with logic". Even though the original meaning was "to bind together again with reason", it has now come to mean the personal formal belief system and practices pertaining to all spiritual and experiential realities, one's overall logical and reasonable conception of all reality.

Having a belief structure is like having a mind, we never see it and we hardly ever think about it but we use it all the time. Denying that you have a mind does not mean that you do not have one, only that you are not using it well. If you say, "I don't have a belief system", then that is your belief system! Rather than denying that we have one, why don't we take the responsibility to build the best possible belief structure that we are able to have and hold?

So, since everyone has a belief system, the issue is not whether we are going to have one, but rather the issue is what kind and quality of a system we are going to have. Are we going to have one that is handed to us by the mini-society we were born into, by tradition, our parents, the most charismatic guru, the majority, other people, or are we going to actively build our own? Can we help each other dismantle our old unproductive, inharmonious, unreasonable ones? Or is this too challenging for our delicate psyches, our tender,  fragile and demeaning self concepts, kind of like doing brain surgery?

Human Interaction

Life is experienced on the level of feeling and an individual is naturally primarily concerned with his feelings and secondarily concerned with his behavior. After all is said and done we all want to feel good. When we interact with another person we are primarily concerned with their behavior and secondarily concerned about their feelings because their behavior can directly affect how we feel. This dicey situation is why it is important to be concerned about what we believe, because that causes or determines our feelings and emotions which determines our behavior.

Head and Heart

Being satisfied with mysticism and nebulosity and not wanting to have precise definitions and clear understandings is being satisfied with spiritual blindness or blurred and impaired vision. Can we apprehend the reality that, in order to get one's heart straight and right, one must first get one's head straight and purified? Our communicable objective belief structure actually guides, limits and determines our emotions and how we feel. Until we bring our objective beliefs into congruence with our idealism our feelings will be confused and our behavior will be erratic and inconsistent from any perspective.

Belief System

The belief system that is being proposed or that we are striving for is a radical new one, one that is both scientific (that is, in accord with the facts and any experience) and reasonable (that is, purposeful, sensible and acceptable). It should have clarity, be consistent and intellectually defensible, and be entirely humane and palatable with no down side. It should not be based on any sacralized thing, such as the Bible or any other book, or tradition, or what we have been taught. It should eliminate fear and inspire worship, be positive not negative. It should produce values that are appropriate for any and every situation, values that transcend temporal concerns and cultural aspects. It should have real personal meaning, satisfactorily explain the purpose of life and produce passionate fervor, unity, love, commitment, responsibility and become a literal life source.

Science and Technology

Science and technology have made minimal gains, if any in the long run, toward contributing to the enhancement of life for the greater human population. What if the primary benefit in discovering new scientific truths and developing new technology is that these things can be used as a basis for spiritual paradigms and understanding spiritual truths?

Knowledge and Truth

Knowledge or the facts are not the truth, and the truth is neither the facts nor the sum or the extension of the facts. Facts merely support the truth or form a matrix for the truth. One analogy would be photography where the facts would be represented by the atoms of the film plastic and emulsion. The molecules of the film and emulsion would symbolize various logical conclusions based on the facts where the conclusions themselves support the truth. Truth would be symbolized by the picture pattern that we see and that has meaning to us. If you take a match, light and burn the photo, the picture is lost, most of the molecules are destroyed, but the atoms are only scattered. Conversely, the very same atoms can be used to support an entirely different picture, or a blurred one, or a blank one.
     In order to capture a meaningful picture of the subject it is necessary to have light and a camera loaded with film, pointed in the right direction, and properly focused. Light represents the words and deeds necessary to convey the message, the camera symbolizes the paradigm necessary to produce focus and to protect the film from incident light, focusing represents our desire to get a good picture with clarity. What if the universe is waiting to develop our "photograph" for when we have one that is worth developing.
     One other thing needs to be said. The truth is rational, logical and reasonable and is apprehended by the mind, NOT the heart. When it is so apprehended, it is AFFIRMED by the heart!

Freedom and Latitude

If you are in a small prison cell with a tight set of rules, you have a certain, small degree of physical and behavioral latitude but you do not have freedom. If you are given a bigger cell and the rules are relaxed a little, you have more latitude than before but still do not have freedom. If you are made a trustee and the cell door is kept open you may have the latitude of the whole prison but still no freedom. A man is not truly free until his latitude exceeds his desires.
     It is because of this principle that men in certain restricted situations have decided to shut down their natural, God-given desires in corresponding restricted arenas in order to experience a sense of freedom in other arenas ("four walls do not a prison make"). It may or may not be worth doing but this sense of freedom comes at the expense of part of the human soul, kind of like a coyote chewing off his leg caught in a trap, a trade of one restriction for another.

Death and Dying

Let us first make a distinction between the term "death" and the term "dying". Death is the final state or end of a process; dying is the process itself of losing life. As long as we have death in our future we are dying, NOT living. To the reasonable person it is not personal death that is objectionable, but dying. In some circumstances death can even be a welcome end to the process of dying.
    Anthropologist and Pulitzer Prize winner Ernest Becker, in his book The Denial of Death, lucidly and carefully explained that one of the two most fundamental motives for every human action is the fear of dying. Behind all our decisions is a desperate emotion and effort to resist suffering, dying, and the cessation of life. Our whole life is a constant battle to keep from losing our vim, vigor, vitality and virility for as long as we can. The process of dying is not acceptable to the human sense of the ideal, and trying to make it so is the fundamental violation of the human spirit and desire, the fundamental impediment to being on the road to restored sanity.

Aberrant Behavior

All aberrant behavior stems in part directly from the frustration of not having what we legitimately desire/need, by being in a world or situation where we are subject to disappointment, danger, trauma, pain, deterioration, and death with seemingly no purpose to which we can relate; in other words, being in a no-win situation that we didn't even choose to be in. It's no wonder there is so much lawlessness. What sense does it make to play by nebulous "rules" when you are forced to play in a game that you ultimately can't win, where the best players are born and raised to be the best competitors, and where most everybody else is "cheating?"

Competition versus Cooperation

The world we live in is primarily competitive with limited cooperation. We live in a state of paucity where we lack true fulfillment of our desire/needs and are therefore motivated and encouraged by the world's way to cross over the line and compete at the expense of others. Is it possible to live in a realm that is primarily cooperative, where competition is limited strictly to the enhancement of all lives and one never competes to gain while others lose?

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