Created September 9, 2022
Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.
The human race is driving itself insane. What is the root cause of this? I postulate that it is an overpowering desire for hard answers to questions for which we may not have scientifically objective hard answers for hundreds or thousands of years more of the current slogging forward and slipping backward.
So we manufacture black and white answers and defend our somewhat arbitrary/aesthetic positions by aligning with like-minded people, and demonizing all others, who are assumed to all be the polar opposite of what we stand for.
In Mind Magic, Chapter One “Avoid Hasty Closure” provides psychotechnology (mind tricks) to overcome this “mind takeover to relieve aggravated cognitive dissonance”. “If everyone read this one book” (as one reader wrote), it could have significant effect on bringing down the omnipresent Berlin Wall of psychoneurotic divisiveness.
Just telling people to be good does not do it. They need to know the mental and emotional corridors to explore to achieve a steady state of metacognition and self-metaprogramming (which I call the Observer state). Once established in this equilibrium, the mind takes it to the next level on its own (Flow state, the Zone). Flow state itself has levels, and at the higher levels the intuition (hunches) become very accurate (likely to be verified empirically).
Religions were started by people in these latter higher states of Flow. Some of those who became disciples of those religions developed themselves along similar lines. Other followers of specific religions have taken a different path. They are followers in name only, and have lost the essence of what their claimed religion stands for.
These latter people who are religious in name only, are doing that for the purpose of aligning with other like-minded people who have chosen one authority to believe, having the false comfort of mental closure, and also now having a scapegoat group of people on which to blame everything that is not right about the world. Although they may claim to believe everything their one authority said, their actions prove they are being hypocritical, and that they are repressing awareness of their own hypocrisy.
Not that Christianity is the only religion that suffers from false followership, a new article very carefully and authoritatively connects the dots to help Christians get themselves into alignment with Jesus rather than with any political faction. Written by Michael Gerson, Republican speechwriter and journalist, who was steeped in Evangelical Christianity from birth, and was named by TIME Magazine as one of the top 25 most influential Evangelicals in America, this article strikes me as potentially the most important article ever written. If all Christians read it and truly grok it, it will put their feet back on the path. I hope that writers with comparable levels of authority and learning regarding their own religion are able to emulate Michael’s article.
Blaming a religion itself for those who have perverted that religion is not a very intelligent thing to do. This is the same black and white oversimplistic reductionism to which we all flee in Hasty Closure state, because we find that something in us cannot bear not having at least provisional answers upon which to base one’s life and one’s actions. It’s not unreasonable to feel that way but a better response is open mindedness.
All true religions have taught the same moral lessons. Compassion, do unto others, kindness, respect, love. When in the name of religion, a person acts oppositely from these ethical compunctions, and hides that hypocrisy even from themselves, this to me goes beyond neurosis into true psychosis, i.e., a dangerous diseased condition, not just a tolerable level of neuroticism.
The fact that there were and are still religiously driven equivalents of Crusades, the Inquisition, and sexual molestation by clerics, that is not the fault of the religion, it is the fault of the followers in name only.
Religions are losing adherents faster than cable/satellite companies are losing cord-cutters. In the US for example Pew finds that the percent of people who are religiously unaffiliated has doubled to roughly 3 in 10 since 2007.
In another article, Pew explains why this is happening and relates it to a perceived dichotomy (more of the same black/white mindtrap) between religion and science. Science may have ruled out a white-bearded old man version of God, but it certainly has not ruled out the possibility that our own selves are offshoots of One Self (my Theory of the Conscious Universe).
Leading scientists including Einstein, Wheeler, Planck, Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Wigner and many others have put forth scientific possibilities aligned with my notion, which also aligns with all religious writings.
The human race is becoming more open to the idea of animal intelligence and therefore animal rights (as I predicted in a 1972 sci-fi novel Ouroboros). For example, the reading public has recently discovered how intelligent octopi are. Upon closer scientific study it has become now widely known that each octopus tentacle has its own brain. This suggests that each octopus tentacle may have an independent sense of self.
Perhaps the main groupmind of these brains is the controlling sense of self, who can live through the each of the multiple sub-minds. And perhaps the main self can focus in on the one arm that is presently sucking on the most delicious shrimp.
How is that different from my theory that there could be One Self above us all into which we all feed? Is it mere coincidence that the latter lens integrates and depolarizes science and religion?
By opening one’s mind to include this possibility, one can regain a new oneness with everyone, and a new genuine, authentic oneness with one’s own birth religion or chosen religion. And by embodying the scientific method as the way to run one’s life (Foment Empiricism, as Scott McDonald says), one gains a new respect for science by practicing it in each moment oneself.
This lens overrules the impatient Hasty Closure black/white ache in one’s mind. By making sure that one does not jump to conclusions just to have a fake sense of certainty. Having a fake sense of certainty is what allows us to desire civil war to punish all the bad people who disagree with us politically. That fake sense of certainty is the insanity I spoke of in the first sentence of this article.
Coming back to intuition… Kurt Vonnegut in his satirical wisdom said that humans tend to cluster into two types of groups: karass, which is the real group we are destined to be with, and to whom we are brought together by unseen forces (“meant to be”, “bashert”, “kismet”), and granfalloon, a false karass. Suppose he was right. Granfalloons then might in some cases be political parties. In his brilliant article, Michael Gerson contrasts Jesus with Trump, and shows how scripture makes it clear that Jesus warned his disciples to stay away from politics. How can we know when we are following a true intuition and not simply believing what is convenient to believe?
The highest true (empirically verifiable) intuitions tend to give one a sense of peace, a sense that all is oneness, naturally oneness loves it parts, the universe is doing all this benevolently, there will be a happy ending, and from the ending we shall look back and see how the way that reached that end was perfect as it was. How the learning could not have otherwise been achieved. That it all happens for a reason.
Freud called this “the oceanic feeling”. Jung called it the “collective unconscious”. Kashmir Shaivism calls it “The Supreme Self”. The earliest Greek philosophers when they looked inside, and acted so as to foment empiricism, found that mind has hidden powers (intuition), and used them to think about what reality really is. Thales, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus, and later many poets and natural philosophers including Berkeley, Newton, Leibniz, Spinoza, Descartes, and endless more sages throughout hisandherstory, all came to the same conclusion that consciousness is primary, at least as important as the apparent matter-energy-time-space display which we all apprehend.
How can an empiricist postulate that the only thing he/she as an empiricist can swear exists (consciousness), is merely a derivative of a physical brain which is not directly known to the empiricist who needs a surgeon to inspect his/her brain? Unscientific, yet scientists sometimes assume that their intuition is superior to that of other people who sense a Friendly Larger Presence. Let scientists be the first to have open minds!
Love to all,