Category Archives: Conscious Universe

How Can One Say That There Is Good in Everyone?

Created March 4, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey blog.

Each of us is, at the core, a consciousness. My hypothesis is that at point of origin, consciousness is interested in the flow of its own experiences. It has no interest in destruction. It would be logical to say that at this point in its career, it is good.

Everyday we meet people – including ourselves – in whom it is easy to see that some aspects are not so good. We hope that we are all working our way back, with effort, to our original goodness, to the purity of our unique nature experiment.

Evil, in my worldview, is error.

This is not a new thought. The word “sin” in Hebrew derives from the idea of “missing the mark”.

We all make mistakes, and learn even more from them, than from the experiences where we did not make mistakes.

This cosmic process constantly brings us back toward our original goodness, to the pure selfness within each of us.

The Bibles, all three of them including the Quran, explain the sins of the world as being the consequence of the Noble Experiment, the giving of free will to inexperienced creatures.

The argument between the existence of real free will vs. the mechanistic determinism of the universe gets hung up when God’s omniscience runs up against true free will. “Well, if God already knows what I’m going to do, how can you say I have free will?” 

I have never heard an answer to that which I liked, until this one came to me. The First Self of which everything else in existence is an avatar, knows in advance all of the different paths that you can take in every instant, and delights in being surprised at seeing which one you did choose, whether it pinned the needle or missed the mark, and if so, by how far.

It would be awfully boring for any God to never be able to enjoy surprise. And by definition, the Absolute has no limitations, and so God must be capable of being surprised, by choosing to set up the game the way SheHe did.

You can say anything you like about this world, but the least plausible thing you could say is that it’s boring.

So, each of us accumulates certain dings in our consciousness and that leads us down this path instead of that one. As we gain experience if we are lucky, we start to see how it all works, process out the dings, and become menschen.

Even Putin is in this process right now. No question that he is one of the most dinged-up we know. But still with a more than zero possibility for fixing himself.

If he feels the hot breath of axe-wielding murderers around him – how could he not, KGB was famous for use of that weapon – he probably right now has a higher chance of going straight than he has had since he was a teenager holding hands with his first girlfriend Elena.

Not saying it’s the outcome to bet on in Earth Roulette. Lower probability but not zero. And higher than it was before he stubbed his toe on the Ukraine. Because now there is real risk that his cronies may see this as their chance to become supreme leaders themselves, even more privileged and rewarded than they have been as henchmen. That is the first circle of danger around Vlad.

So, what scenarios could his mind be thinking?

My friend from junior high school through college and to this day, John Chico, and I used to play board games. Sometimes when I was winning, he would flip up the board and the pieces would go flying.

Putin might have decided that having mutual assured destruction might not be satisfying. It might feel good in terms of getting even with all of us, but then slowly dying of radiation poisoning would leave a lot to be desired.

Being (when his mind is clear) a realist and a pragmatist, he might have already realized that there are innumerable scenarios in which he could reset the game back to where it was a week ago. Or even further back to before détente started to erode.

He’s extremely unlikely to do the following, but it would be the best way out: he could man up to it and admit it was a mistake.

The most sophisticated analysts are writing now about “finding Putin an offramp”.

I say, Vlad, show your best stuff, admit you are capable of making a mistake, and man enough to fess up to it.

I don’t presume to write a script for you, but you could say that you have for a long time been thinking about it all wrong. All you wanted to do – all you still want to do – is to make Russia great again. 

Because of many factors, including years of your life spent in intelligence organizations within a dictatorship, you could only see things one way. 

But now the strength of your own parent culture’s countrymen – the ones you sent into battle and the ones you were attacking – have shown you something you could never see before. They didn’t want to hurt each other. Even though all of them knew that defying you was a really dangerous thing to do, their concern for each other was greater than their own concern for themselves.

You can say – hopefully it is true – that this opened your heart and opened your mind to new ways of looking at things.

You can still make Russia great – first of all, it already is great, what could be more inspiring and noble and great than the stand the Ukrainians are taking – and by uniting peacefully with each other, Russia can take its place in the world with all the other nations and be appreciated for its contributions.

I can imagine Vlad reading this and saying “But what do we have? Oil and H-bombs. The human race is trying to cut down on those things. If I don’t leverage that, what else do I have?”

I would remind him of the things that made Russia great before. Amazingly resilient passionate people. Dostoevsky, Rachmaninoff, vast natural resources, a thousand other things. The ability to envision big and to build big. Russia can do everything the USA and China can do. I’ve engaged Ukrainian software developers, they rival India’s and America’s. We’ve all witnessed the mischief your cyber scientists are capable of, what if that were turned toward the good? 

Picture Russia with its cousins in the Ukraine and the other states that had been in the USSR re-unified as partners not vassals – their own NATO, their own EU, with each state able to create the system they want, Democracy or Autocracy.

Where do I feel that voluntary organization of peoples that have always been closely tied to one another could make the greatest contribution to the world’s future?

Sputnik is a clue. Russia can be a big part of the leadership in taking us into space, in which every country can participate together. They have been building some of the biggest rockets. Let’s channel those talents into obtaining Earth peoples’ fair share of the resources of the universe, and face the challenges that will bring out our most accelerated scientific and perhaps human development. Let’s all do it together, in unity.

You can’t force people to work together effectively. You can create a context that enables people to work together effectively. We all have to do it together. 

Putin could start to think and talk and be this way and remain the leader in Russia (the reparations would be costly but if he does it in time the final compromise could leave him in power if his buddies and his people still want that) and make Russia great again. Even greater than he was imagining, having a share in the priceless resources of the universe, along with others of all human and inhuman races.

That’s the offramp I would use if I were him.

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In last week’s post, I wrote:

What’s the best positive outcome of the situation?

The hopeful possibility that this will bring all Americans together.”

Watching President Biden’s State of the Union Message, I felt and still feel that this positive outcome is unfolding, in reality. The USA is moving into unity to face a common foe, with the inspiration of watching another nation whose courage reminds us of the roots of our nation, of what each of us holds inside ourself. It’s now time to let that good stuff inside, out.

I also sense more new unity than within the USA, all of the people in the world who yearn to be free – to have as much of that free will stuff as possible – are united with each other through their stand with the Ukraine.

I feel that this week redolent of WWII has been a stark reminder of how thin is the veneer of civilization indeed, how quickly we could snap back into deep darkness, and how much each one of us, in the nugget of central goodness, yearns for peace and freedom and cessation of hatreds and vendettas.

And how willing to die each one of us is, in that center of goodness within us, “so that honor and justice may live.”

I had never thought about it before, but events brought this mirror up to my face: my mother’s parents came from Kyiv (her father) and Odessa (her mother). My father’s parents came from Poland. I’m half Ukrainian in descent, a proud citizen of the USA and of the human race. It feels good.

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The first words of one of the earliest manuscripts on the planet, the Rig Veda, say:

“Assemble, speak together: let your minds be all of one accord.

As ancient Gods unanimous sit down to their appointed share.

The place is common, common the assembly, common the mind, so be their thought united.

One and the same be your resolve and be your minds of one accord.

United be the thoughts of all that may happily agree.”

Rodovoi! (“United” in Russian)

Tongyi! (“United” in Chinese)

My great friend, songwriter Stan Satlin offers us a song.

Love to all,

Bill

 

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Putin’s Test

February 25, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Putin feels very deeply that his Mission is to resurrect the Soviet Union. What he has decided to do is a test. Are the Western democracies as weak as they seem, and will they pull a Chamberlain? The latter gentleman is always remembered for his backing away from a bully.

Cuba all over again. However, figuring the odds as Putin has, he is not in the US backyard, I’m in my own damn backyard, and economic obstructionism is his only risk.

From the West’s point of view, there is a strong inertia for the policy that came out from the end of WWII: contain communism.

These three species of subcultures have always been around, and always will be: Utter Freedom, Considerate Freedom, and Fake Freedom. After all, we are part of God’s experiment with free will.

Under Utter Freedom, as with most of the native American tribes in North America before Columbus, there was a Chief yet if you stayed far enough away from him, you were in effect under no rule at all.

Under Considerate Freedom, there is a very active government that is well-intentioned.

Under Outright Totalitarianism, everyone knows who has the power, and how to stay invisible.

Let’s assume that most Americans would agree that the one of the three choices we all want is Considerate Freedom.

A small minority of Americans might prefer Utter Freedom i.e. anarchy but it’s hard to realistically imagine how a country the size of the USA could cooperate enough to remain militarily strong as an anarchy.

If we want to achieve Considerate Freedom everywhere in the world so that we can all get on with life without the war games of yesteryear, how would we deal with Putin’s Test?

Consider:

Some Ukrainians want to move closer to the West (this is using the normative taxonomy – reflecting a bias to consider Russia NOT part of Europe which goes back millennia). Some Ukrainians feel closer to Rus (the original name of the enormous landmass between what we call Europe and India/China).

In Rus, the leader feels so strongly about Russia regaining a former greatness, and the people feel so strongly about the threat of falling out of step, that they will follow the leader into a path which could literally mean the end of the world.

They are all figuring the odds and until the first nuke is tossed they hope it can all be walked back with blarney no one will question anymore since anything goes now in the way of public statements.

Realistically, the West will wage economic war but will not want to be the first to put the torch to the kindling. Not until an inch of NATO soil is touched, at which point, head for the hills.

The comparison with Chamberlain will be answered with “This has always been part of Russia, what business is it of ours.”

It’s all a balancing act.

People will say, “If people want out of the Ukraine, they should move West and we should welcome them in.” Why not? More people will move to Considerate Freedom from Total Totalitarianism the longer we can keep the game going without flameout.

What’s the best positive outcome of the situation?

The hopeful possibility that this will bring all Americans together.

The need to be externally strong does not permit of internal squabbling and separation. We should naturally unite and forget trivial differences when faced with a common threat several orders of magnitude larger. That would be the sane response.

If we do not unite internally we will morally forfeit the leadership of the world we’ve had for three quarters of a Century.

The outcome is still up in the air. Economic sanctions will follow first. We will see what they accomplish. Completely excluding countries that practice aggression from the benefits of world trade and cooperation may take a long time to fully work. Such methods may never have worked before but that’s where creativity can come in.

We will hear about the awful treatment of Ukrainians at the hands of Russian soldiers and our blood will boil.

But we cannot put out violence with violence. We cannot end hatred with hate. Escalation reached its natural limit in 1945 when atomic weapons were first used and their implications immediately understood.

Creativity and consideration are the only tools which will get us to the promised land here on Earth. We had a chance to go that way when Joe Biden took office. But instead our leaders fought each other and fell back into the predictable old ways of warnings and threats to other world leaders.

How long will it take for the human race to outgrow violence and childish thinking?

Mr. Putin has just turned the clock back a hundred years.

Obviously we cannot think of ending the arms race at the present moment. We must continue to carry the big stick. But we can at least speak in the soft voice. It will be a start to walking back this test of our skills.

The alternative ways of being have all been proven bankrupt. What is left to us is creative diplomacy and military readiness.

Best to all,

Bill

 

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The Mental Health Pandemic Is Worse Than Covid

Created February 18, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Data from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that as of 2007, half the world’s population suffers from mental illness at least once in their lifetime. And in any given year, one in five people suffer from mental illness.

I would argue that the problem is even more severe than that. The definition of mental disease is constrained to various known syndromes including depression, schizophrenia, and so on. These statistics do not include the percent of the population who would score as not having a mental illness by standard medical tests, but who are enslaved by automatic scripts playing out in their brains. Including such people in the stats would bring the percentage up to possibly 80-90% of us who are not functioning mentally to our innate capacity to do so.

The strict medical illness definition types and the “normally neurotic” types have probably not been increasing as percentages of the total population. They probably peaked long ago, judging from human history. In fact, the meditation movement may have inched down the percentage slightly in the last half century or so.

The Institute for Health Metrics estimates that 57% of the world population has had Covid so far. The Worldmeter  tracks known cases of which there have been over 400 million globally so far, which is only 5% of the world population. The truth is probably somewhere between 5% and 57% so far. So Covid appears to be less rampant than mental illness and normal neuroses combined.

The two (mental incapacity and Covid) work together, which explains why the world appears to have flown off the handle. It is not just appearance. The world is technically off its rocker.

I visualize the mental strength of the human population to be a grey scale, a continuum, and each individual is not always at the same place on the scale. We can go up and down from minute to minute depending upon what is going on around and inside us.

When reality is too terrible to be faced, the average person will move toward the insanity end of the scale. Mass hysteria has happened many times before, but typically occurs in confined populations such as passengers on an airplane, students and faculty of a school, people living in one town. It could be related to the Mirror Neuron System (MNS) in that it starts with a few people and then others around them start to mirror the behavior of the initial cell. Dr. Richard Silberstein has taught me that the Orbito Frontal Cortex (OFC) has a function of regulating the MNS and thus acts as a check on excessive imitative behavior. Mass hysteria could arise in situations when something has interfered with the proper functioning of the OFC.

In all of the documented cases since the Middle Ages, none has become a pandemic. Until now. Why now?

Certainly, Covid is one important triggering event, causing us to lose most of the weekly experiences we considered the most fun, which make life worth living. But I think it started before Covid. Two other dystopian trends began before Covid-19. One was social media, and the other was a drift toward fascism which some have traced to the anti-terrorism stance the US took as a result of 9/11.

I never considered interactive media dystopian, I always thought it would be the stuff that brought us to utopia. I was forgetting about the large proportions of mentally ill people.

Brexit and Cambridge Analytica showed the world how social media could be used manipulatively, weaponized as a new level of propaganda warfare. The communications industry identified Cambridge Analytica and put a stop to its activities, but no one can stop rogue nations/superpowers/militias from mis-using social and all other media.

When George Washington warned us of the dangers of the party system (it was not part of the US Constitution nor did it exist for the first 20 years of the USA’s existence) he could not have foreseen how the inherent divisive effects of partisanship might interact with social media, fascist tendencies, and widespread mental illness/neurosis.

This is the Abstract from a scientific paper published about a year ago entitled “COVID-19 and the Political Economy of Mass Hysteria : In this article, we aim to develop a political economy of mass hysteria. Using the background of COVID-19, we study past mass hysteria. Negative information which is spread through mass media repetitively can affect public health negatively in the form of nocebo effects and mass hysteria. We argue that mass and digital media in connection with the state may have had adverse consequences during the COVID-19 crisis. The resulting collective hysteria may have contributed to policy errors by governments not in line with health recommendations. While mass hysteria can occur in societies with a minimal state, we show that there exist certain self-corrective mechanisms and limits to the harm inflicted, such as sacrosanct private property rights. However, mass hysteria can be exacerbated and self-reinforcing when the negative information comes from an authoritative source, when the media are politicized, and social networks make the negative information omnipresent. We conclude that the negative long-term effects of mass hysteria are exacerbated by the size of the state.

So, it seems that we have the explanation of why the world has suddenly literally gone mad.

That in itself does not constitute a cure or solution. But it points in certain directions where we can look for a cure.

One direction is inside. When a mature adult who has learned enough about life to act like a mensch most of the time (that description might fit all of us in our best moments, but perhaps only one in ten of us in terms of steadiness over time, and during today’s mass hysteria maybe even fewer of us) discovers that he or she is their own worst enemy, it causes one to pause and rethink everything. The automatic ego-emotional impulses which turn us into robots, once exposed to a sane person, begin to come under scrutiny and control, and after a long process, the individual becomes mentally and emotionally resilient. This is manifest in more authentic consideration given to others, courage, fortitude, better decision making, greater creativity, more time spent in the Flow state.

In other words, the way out of this mess is for each of us to take ourselves in hand.

The challenge has never been greater than it is today. The media pressure (social and otherwise) is not going to stop, the vast majority of one’s countrymen and women being largely (hopefully temporarily) “crazy”, the political banditos taking fullest advantage of the situation, none of those driving variables is going to stop just because an isolated few of us start to take back our selves and stop being puppets manipulated by stimuli and by parts of our nervous systems designed to be helpful but prone to becoming perverted. No, it isn’t going to be easy.

But what else is there to do? The only open path is to maximize our own sanity first (put on your airbag then help others).

The Sanity Movement is going to arise, it is a historical necessity. It will be in a sense at war with the negative idea polluters of social media and all media, but it cannot descend to warlike behavior without simply becoming another nutty group vying for attention. It has to spread good healing ideas that really work to calm oneself down and begin acting intelligently again.

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”

–John Lennon

Best to all,

Bill

 

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Choose Resilience Over Resentment

Created February 11, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey blog.

One reader of last week’s post thanked me and made a special request: write something about resentment and how to deal with it in oneself.

Last week’s post was about the things we do automatically all the time that do us absolutely no good. Things like hating. Resentment is another one of those things that we do that doesn’t help us and in fact hurts us.

The dictionary definition of resentment that I like the most is “Bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly”. Such as having been passed over for promotion, not having been appropriately recognized for one’s accomplishments, standing by red-faced while a sibling receives inordinate parental praise which would have been more applicable to oneself.

Some philosophers of psychology have asserted that resentment is a type. People who fall into this type tend to start early, and become wounded by their perception that they are not getting the love they deserve from one or both parents. Because this came about by a comparison between the ideal conditions and actual ones, the resentful type tends to become idealistic and perfectionistic, as if subconsciously assuming that this will “right the wrong”.

The actual effect of having an invisible script that we carry with us in life, without even realizing that we have such a script, is that it will tend to cause us to experience the negative outcomes which we expect. If we expect to be treated unfairly, we will tend to bring about that undesired outcome. This happens through micro-momentary unconscious signaling.

In other words, by giving in to the automatic ego-emotional reaction of showing resentment, and/or anticipatory resentment, which is automatic, one does not lead to being treated more fairly.

Which is more important – getting treated more fairly more often – or blowing off steam by expressing resentment – or causing oneself psychological harm by repressing resentment so that it operates under the radar. It would seem far better to repair real world situations. This is why we urge people to not operate on autopilot, but to exert conscious observation of what we are doing to ourselves, automatic or otherwise, and take control of our behaviors, moving the matter out of the subconscious and into the conscious. This involves metacognition and self-metaprogramming.

Here are some actions recommended when one senses resentment within oneself.

First, don’t let others see that you feel resentful. Subconsciously we all tend to see resentment as a characteristic of weakness, someone who is “a loser” at least in the situation. Far better to show confidence, awareness of one’s own value, no concern as to what others think of you – whether you are really that strong today or not. By acting like the you that you are aiming at being, you build that muscle until it becomes fully authentic.

Take care to continue to treat kindly the person who marginalized you, even if you have evidence that they are out to get you. That demonstrates your invulnerability, and you actually can cause behavior changes in others by this turning of the other cheek.

Second, take some time to contemplate how you might have set yourself up for being underestimated. Were there any signals you sent, overt or subtle, that could have contributed to becoming under-appreciated?

These strategies are aimed at shifting the basis for your inner life experience away from automatic defensive reactions, to enlightened self-management. This shift is a profound one which very few people ever even attempt. It is a shift very conducive to greater effectiveness and happiness, which is resilient to offending experiences, and leads to creativity and Flow state.

The neurological structures and functions within a human being are pro-survival and are there as default systems when we are not in a state of enlightened self-interest performing rationally and empirically. Unfortunately, during the information acceleration pandemic which has been going on throughout recorded history, we settle into living our entire lives in these robotical fight-flight states. Only a relative handful of us conquer our own autonomic ego reaction instincts. Those that do stand out for their accomplishments and their sagacity.

We can all be that way. There is a simple method to it. It is to stop assuming anything, reset to scratch, and observe carefully everything that goes on in and around you, suspending judgment. Use my book Mind Magic as it makes it even easier. But all you really need is you, observing everything without judging it, and ignoring your own kneejerk reactions. With practice, you will find that you don’t feel the sting as much as you used to when someone intentionally or unintentionally does something that you resent. It becomes irrelevant. So long as you can keep doing your work, achieving your goals, maintaining the desired lifestyle, you can let such events roll off your confident back.

Until you really feel that confidence, by all means project it externally, but most importantly, figure out why you have that lack of confidence in yourself. Have you been Peter-Principled into a job that is not your expertise? Do you want to learn how to do that role with greater confidence? There will be ways you can get the learning you need. Or would you rather be doing some other kind of work?

It’s possible that someone is gunning for you, actively wanting to get you to leave. It comes down to how much you love everything else about the job, and what you really want.

If the moment comes when you are formally invited to leave, focus on what you want to do next, the departure although involuntary might be a really good thing for you in the long run.

Always remember the good things you have done in that job, and keep doing things you’re proud of. Whether or not they are proud of you, you can still be proud of yourself. They are not the measure of you. You yourself are the most qualified to know how good or imperfect you are. Don’t be thrown off by people who are working off of guesswork.

Best to all,

Bill