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"To become a popular religion, it is only necessary for
to enslave a philosophy."
— Dean Inge
PHILOSOPHY: from the Greek,
"friendly to wisdom" or "love of wisdom", the systematic study and collection of wisdom and
the pursuit of truth incorporating both material and spiritual reality.
This word comes from Re, meaning again, and from Greek and
meaning to collect or bind with logic or 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
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
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.
This is the primary and final desired result! 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.
In order to get
one's heart straight and right,
one must first get one's mind straight and clear.
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 or mind 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.
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 have made minimal
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 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!
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.
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
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
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?"
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