All posts by davemacq

I'm a retired physician-psychotherapist (with six university degrees ranging from physics to psychology), specialized in anger mangement, and deeply interested in the emotional issues underlying global warming, i.e., why and how have we created a situation where we are on a fast track to a suicide mission of our species. It is our hubris, and our insanity. And if we do not do something about it soon, we will become extinct as a species.

12 Years, Much Less Actually

Uphill1We are running out of time. The 2018 IPCC report, for example, indicates we have until about 2030 (12 years, not 11) before we exhaust out climate budget for staying below 1..5°C, our best chance of avoiding major tipping points. Many believe that to be an optimistic assessment, such that we have perhaps much less time. Even then, the need of political action (not talk!) will take significant time,, such that we likely need to make major changes within the next 18 months (especially with the coming US elections being a major player here).

Even if we are able to do so, we still face the immense task of dismantling our entire capitalist based civilization to create processes of equity, together with all the other consequences of our over-population and how we have mismanaged our world. A lot of work, yet necessary.

Recent links that I recommend.

Greta Thunberg speech in Assemblée Nationale (20190723)

An excellent talk by Greta Thunberg! Complete honesty, brevity, and a very good command of the relevant facts from the IPCC report, 2018.

Climate change: 12 years to save the planet? Make that 18 months (20190724)

Another recognition that we only have a very limited time to establish the appropriate polity for safety of our species and many others.

Deniers deflated as climate reality hits home (20190807)

Progress is slow and the world is gradually coming to recover from the disinformation issues. In time? Who knows?

In order to understand the brutality of American capitalism, you have to start on the plantation. (20190814)

A detailed and disturbing account of how the brutality of modern (American) capitalism is a direct outcome of the processes that began with the accounting systems of slavery in the 17th and 18th centuries. Sad. Essential reading, very disturbing. What narrative will allow us to value ecology over economics; what narrative will allow us to value the intrinsic richness of what God (by any name) offers. I have no idea!

From dumpster to diesel: How a pilot project in Whitby is turning plastic waste into fuel (20190813)

On the lighter side, more positive. An interesting use of plastic waste by converting it to diesel fuel and gasoline. The article also names that the reduction of plastic usage and/or the complete conversion to recyclable plastics is essential to our future. Certainly something needs to be done with the incredible accumulation of plastics. I have two major reservations with the current process: first, how much energy (i.e., other fossil fuels) is used in the conversion, and second, usage of the newly converted fuel simply goes into the environment as any other fossil fuel usage. A more ecologically appropriate means of plastic usage is needed.

Our Uncertain Future

Anxiety2Resilience.org has recently presented an excellent forum entitled Uncertain Future Forum (20190715-20190726) highlighting “If collapse is imminent, how do we respond? Each is short, succinct, and pertinent to the issues.

Dancing with Grief, Dahr Jamail, 20190715

I have the greatest respect for Jamail as one of the most authentic writers of the issues of climate disruption. For me, this essay is one of his best.

Turning Toward Each Other, Meghan Kallman, 20190716

The need for community is our highest need, yet we are so poor at cooperation in this culture. We have a long way to go.

The Disabled Planet, Taylor Brorby, 20190717

An excellent comparison between individual health-disability and planetary health-disability, our need to recognize the huge inequalities inherent in modern capitalism.

The Seventh Fire, Winona LaDuke, 20190718

There is a huge need to access indigenous knowledge and skills, but for me, the risk is that they will simply become part of the capitalist system.

Responding to Collapse: Uncertain Future Forum’s First Week, Daniel Lerch, 20190719

The bottom line: collaborate with others, be in community, tend to yourself.

On Listening to the Earth, Dahr Jamail, 20190722

How do we list for truth, our own truth of how to respond to the coming crisis?

Three Practices for a Time of Crisis, Meghan Kallman, 20190723

We need new practices: the practice of grieving so as to make space within, the practice of holding painful paradox, the practice of effective hope (somewhere between idealism and pragmatism where what we do might matter).

Biting the Hand That’s Fed Me, Taylor Brorby, 20190724

It is time to stop the insanity that has been so beneficial to us.

Find Your Mettle, Winona LaDuke, 20190725

Courage is needed.

Responding to Collapse: Uncertain Future Forum Wrap-Up, Asher Miller, 20170926

We have an obligation!

We Are Failing As A Culture

What follows are a multitude of links to the many aspects of how we are failing as a culture. Each is well written from my perspective.

I am aware that more and more we are talking about the climate crisis, yet we are still mainly at the stage of talking; we still fail to come together in collaborative ways, and as has been said many times, the window of opportunity is closing.

The first notes we have only 14 months to respond! The 2018 UN IPCC Panel indicated (in its highly conservative mode) what we must respond within 12 years; however, if the US does not get on board within the next election period, that window is likely not achievable, thus we only have 14 months to respond.

Not a good picture.

We don’t have 12 years to save the climate. We have 14 months. (20170726)

Leadership from the United States is required if the crisis of climate disruption is to be challenged — and this depends on the political state of the next presidential election, with all its consequences of dissension. What a mess!

We’re Failing Our Kids – Climate Emergency, 20190521

Asher Miller, Post-Carbon Institute Executive Director, presents a deeply vulnerable presentation of his fears for his children, together with the need for collaboration.

Do Americans Know How Much Trouble They’re In? (20190604)

An excellent article on the survival of democracy: a leader above the law, the abrogation of political access, the development of a pariah state all point to a potential tipping point in the continuing existence of political freedom for all.

Austerity and inequality fueling mental illness, says top UN envoy (20190624)

An excellent article — if we are to heal as a species, we must begin to address the overwhelming discordances created by capitalism, especially neoliberalism. Amongst other issues, the inequity of poverty fuels the many problems related to mental health.

Shifts in tourists’ sentiments and climate risk perceptions following mass coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef (20190624)

The varied responses to the impact of climate disruption on the world’s largest barrier reef point to the complexity needed in our response to this crisis.

Seeing Isn’t Believing: The Fact Checker’s Guide To Manipulated Video (20190625)

An interesting attempt by the Washington Post to identify and categorize the sophistication of modern misinformation. Technically I find the article difficult to follow (I would need much more detail and time) but I applaud the intention to clarify the many ways of distortion.

Fighting climate change may be cheaper and more beneficial than we think (20190710)

CBC News in Canada is gradually identifying features of climate disruption, often with a positive spin. There is certainly some benefit to this. However I have been deeply influenced by what I call The Force Field of Change, wherein change takes into account both positive features that move us toward a vision and negative forces that stop us. Unfortunately, until we deal with the negatives (our profound fear of climate disruption and our unwillingness to identify it), the impact of the negatives generally blocks the effect of the positives. I also believe that it is truly disrespectful of the vast majority of human beings to “protect” them from the painful truth that is climate disruption, on the assumption that it will overwhelm them — we need to deal with our grief!

Finally, I am aware of a number of significant forums in the past few months, forums that are willing to name the hard truths of what we face. I will be summarizing these in the next few weeks. I have had my own struggles with the painful truths over the past month or so.

More to come!

Canada Fails

ClimateChange7

An email received (20190621) from The Climate Mobilization, an organization I support, has this description of the Canadian response to climate disruption: “Canada fails on Climate Emergency.“ This portrayal is consistent with my own experience of Canadian and international politics.

The grassroots Climate Emergency Movement in Canada has been a global leader, with 404 governments adopting climate emergency resolutions at the local level. However, shortly after its House of Commons took up and passed a weak national climate emergency declaration, they failed to make it count.

The non-binding resolution was tied to an old, gradualist timeline rather than moving at emergency speed. It recommitted Canada to their commitments under the Paris climate accord without even on additional goal or legally binding commitment. Then, two days later, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government approved the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline project, which is intended to vastly accelerate the extraction of Alberta tar sands oil, nearly tripling the capacity of the existing pipeline and locking in billions of dollars in investment in fossil fuel infrastructure and untold megatons of carbon emissions from the extracted oil.

The hypocrisy of these two parliamentary decisions demonstrates the gap between the will of the people and the power of the fossil fuel industry in the industrialized world. Declarations of Climate Emergency are a start — these declarations can unify the shared commitment of the movement, clarify the truth of the situation, and put lawmakers on record. But they are not enough — only a sustained global movement focused on winning power, launching a mobilization, and bringing the fossil fuel industry to heel, will give us a chance at survival.

The Trans Mountain Pipeline will negatively impact the entire globe, but it most seriously threatens the land rights of numerous Indigenous communities in its path. After the pipeline announcement, the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) reaffirmed the commitment of leaders from across British Columbia, stating that they “remain staunchly opposed” to pipeline expansion, and “have vowed that it will never get built.” You can support the UBCIC’s efforts here.

Also, the following links speak to these issues.

Climate Change: Why is it So Often “Sooner than Predicted”? (20190619)

A reasonable article listing the many factors within the predictions. My personal experience is consistent with this: every major report I have seen has indicated the previous report was such that global warming is worse than previously reported.

Temperatures leap 40 degrees above normal as the Arctic Ocean and Greenland ice sheet see record June melting (20190614)

Consistent with “Sooner Than . . .” I would never have expected this in my lifetime, in spite of the fact that I had briefly lived and practiced in the Arctic when I was a general practitioner. Given that the northern coast of Canada is the Arctic Ocean, high temperatures here likely have a major influence on the climate in North America (in more ways than geographic).

My Thoughts On The Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (20190617)

Although in a sense limited to British Columbia, this is a well-thought-out exposition of the complexity of organizing in response to climate disruption. Unfortunately, as the article delineates, the overall political discussion is one of dissention rather than cooperation; this is one of the main reasons I have joined the Suzuki Elders and put my effort into a Salon entitled “Climate Change Conversations: Unpacking The Problem Of Conflict.”

What Would 3 Degrees Mean? (20100901)

An old link but one that is still pertinent. We are easily on a path to 3°C warming, and the outcome will not be pretty. My guess is that we are almost certain to reach 2°C even with massive effort.

Is Humanity Dying? (20190617)

The question is at some level meaningless — we either will or will not survive the coming apocalypse. Yet the sooner we start to take effective action, the less catastrophic will be the consequences. In any event, the world of my grand-children will be very different from the current one.

A Strange Culture

Acedia3My news sources have recently been dominated by American politics related either to a) what to do about the Mueller report or  b) speculation about presidential promises of the hopeful. For the most part, I have lost interest in both of these as I have no way of discerning important information from speculation. Canada is also gearing up for election so Canadian news also has lots of promises. However a small number of articles have attracted my attention, so I offer a potpourri on this occasion — we live in a strange culture of fearfulness, laziness, and self-righteousness.

Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: Introducing the Emergency Climate Movement (201905)

A well-written statement of what needs to happen for our civilization to survive the coming apocalypse. As evidenced by the Extinction Rebellion success in the UK and the increasing number of cities throughout the world who are at least espousing a climate emergency, we are gradually moving in this direction.

Scared About City Chemicals? Don’t Be. She Did Every Test in the Book. (20190528)

An excellent article on the complexity of our exposure to toxic chemicals within our environment. The title unfortunately belies the seriousness of the issue; in particular, the article names our cultural ignorance of a) at what level do we consider chemicals to be toxic as well as b) our even greater ignorance of synergistic interaction between toxins.

The Wealth Detective Who Finds the Hidden Money of the Super Rich (20190523)

A fascinating description of how much money is hidden, and how it is hidden, by the world’s wealthy. As of 2016, the top 0.1% hold 20% of American wealth and the top 1% hold 39%, surging (more than doubling) after the economic decisions of the 1980s. For me, these are staggering figures, and an indictment of the ills of capitalism.

¿Truths? Part 15

Dave’s ¿Truths?

CogDiss01The final post of ¿Truths?

As noted with ¿Truths? Part 1, I am choosing to offer these thoughts simply to encourage growth. I submit them simply for self-study as an example of one person’s searching — such self-study is a very powerful way to come to know yourself. The list of these truths is long and I will submit it over a number of blogs, 25-30 brief statements per posting.

As previously noted, a comment on language: I am not an advocate of scientific materialism, the philosophic ontology that only science can address truth, and that energy-matter is the only domain of experience in the universe. I value scientific methodology highly, but the overall terminology of scientific materialism has many hidden presuppositions. As much as possible, I will identify them in these posts.

The following thoughts of Charlotte Kasl seem very appropriate stances.

The 16-Steps

(1) We affirm we have the power to take charge of our lives and stop being dependent on substances or other people for our self-esteem and security.

  • An alternative:  We admit/acknowledge we are out of control with/powerless over ________, yet we have the power to take charge of our lives and stop being dependent on substances or other people for our self-esteem and security.

(2) We come to believe that God/Goddess/Universe/Great Spirit/Higher Power awakens the healing wisdom within us when we open ourselves to the power.

(3) We make a decision to become our authentic selves, and trust in the healing power of the truth.

(4) We examine our beliefs, addictions and dependent behavior in the context of living in a hierarchical, patriarchal culture.

(5) We share with another person and the Universe all those things inside of us for which we feel shame and guilt.

(6) We affirm and enjoy our intelligence, strengths and creativity, remembering not to hide these qualities from ourselves and others.

(7) We become willing to let go of shame, guilt, and any behavior that keeps us from loving ourselves and others.

(8) We make a list of people we have harmed and people who have harmed us, and take steps to clear out negative energy by making amends and sharing our grievances in a respectful way.

(9) We express love and gratitude to others, and increasingly we appreciate the wonder of life and the blessings we do have.

(10) We learn to trust our reality, and daily affirm that we see what we see, we know what we know and we feel what we feel.

(11) We promptly admit to mistakes and make amends when appropriate, but we do not say we are sorry for things we have not done and we do not cover up, analyze, or take responsibility for the shortcomings of others.

(12) We seek out situations, jobs, and people who affirm our intelligence, perceptions and self-worth and avoid situations or people who are hurtful, harmful, or demeaning to us.

(13) We take steps to heal our physical bodies, organize our lives, reduce stress, and have fun.

(14) We seek to find our inward calling, and develop the will and wisdom to follow it.

(15) We accept the ups and downs of life as natural events that can be used as lessons for our growth.

(16) We grow in awareness that we are sacred beings, interrelated with all living things, and we contribute to restoring peace and balance on the planet.

That’s it for my ¿Truths?

Finally! A long list (hopefully you enjoyed it).

Almost certainly there is more to come (sometime in the future).

¿Truths? Part 14

Dave’s ¿Truths?

Truth3As noted with ¿Truths? Part 1, I am choosing to offer these thoughts simply to encourage growth. I submit them simply for self-study as an example of one person’s searching — such self-study is a very powerful way to come to know yourself. The list of these truths is long and I will submit it over a number of blogs, 25-30 brief statements per posting (now almost at the end).

As previously noted, a comment on language: I am not an advocate of scientific materialism, the philosophic ontology that only science can address truth, and that energy-matter is the only domain of experience in the universe. I value scientific methodology highly, but the overall terminology of scientific materialism has many hidden presuppositions. As much as possible, I will identify them in these posts.

(353 — Continuing from previous) So much of cultural/societal tradition encourages me to do good; I validate this.

(354) To be human is truly to encompass the human process—not the journey that I demand happen (being willful), but the journey to which I need surrender (being willing).

(355) Other people have done this journey before me—they can guide me. I can learn from them, and I have to do my own journey.

Guides come in many forms—most important for me is whether or not they have done their own journeying!! If they have, they offer me an example of integration; if they haven’t, they offer me beliefs (and shoulds)! I can read about shoulds in a book.

At some point(s), I need a guide—they can help me know what I do not know! They have been here before.

(356) Why do this journey? Why plan? Why work hard at living?

As a pattern generator, somehow I delight in a good map. And if I do not do this work, I suffer—a lot! I have choice about this!

(357) There are two major measures of the journey.

The first involves the development of humility, compassion and respect—for myself and others. Nobody is perfect and we all attempt to do the best we can. We all fall down.

The first measure is how quickly we get up, from an authentic fall to an authentic stance of getting up, not avoiding the pain!

The second measure is how we respond when others fall down.

(358) To be flexible with craziness (my own and yours’s) is also a true measure of maturity.

(359) There are two major measures of truths, including these truths!

  • how inclusive is the truth. Who is excluded?
  • how persuasive is the truth. How do I resonate with it?

(360) I seek the current edge of my truths; I chew on my own truths until I am complete with them. Two areas currently occupy my attention.

  • I am clear that much of the/my therapeutic process is beneficial; I am less clear as to its harmful elements.
    • This is still true in my “retirement.”
  • In giving voice to my energy, what is the appropriate balance of my private inner world and the part of me that needs to be heard in the public domain.
    • In my retirement, I am choosing to give more attention to the public. I want my grand-children to know that I did not accept the current insanity of our species, especially in the negatives associated with scientism and consumerism.

(361) Aspects of guiding/therapy are harmful. Some of my ways of harm are —

  • I attempt to be a mentor, assisting others on their unique journeys. I do not do it perfectly—I make mistakes. I do not intentionally abuse others yet the potential is there, especially with mistakes in judgment. As well, I know that therapist-client abuse is a major societal issue at present.
    • When is my therapy abusive?
  • For the most part, I teach the skills of the inward journey. This is valuable and, I believe, essential to being a presence in the world. Yet I am myself not fully satisfied with the balance of inner/outer; sometimes I get stuck in being too inward, in not being public appropriately.
    • Do I trap my clients in the same way?
  • Often I use metaphor, the “inner child” or “sailors on a ship” as an example. Metaphor provides a frame to understand and experience. I am clear with myself that this is simply a model to aid understanding, yet I often get stuck in understanding, as opposed to action.
    • Do I trap my clients in this way also? Understanding (actually overstanding, as used by society) is the booby prize!

(362) I believe that each guide/therapist has his/her own ways of causing harm.

(363) A growing edge for me is to be public in an appropriate fashion, to challenge the stance of others, the judgments of others, in a way that speaks my truth!

Fritz Perls said that “The only authentic statement is a demand!” For me, this is partly true; another authentic statement is “I stand here.”

(364) The more something bothers me, the more I have to learn about myself (this is an aspect of the pointing finger).

What is the troublesome aspect? How does it reflect my own issues?

(365) Human beings are creative! The above truths can be the basis of a very powerful life, with much choice and much joy.

(366) ACT!

I work/play so as to accept (A) what/who I cannot change (especially other human beings), change (C) what/who I can (especially myself), and treat (T) myself well in the process. I only have now (!) in which to do this.

(367) The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

(368) The bog! The pit! Yuk!! How did I get in, this time, again.

Being confused in some fashion, often lazy or fearful. Saying “Yes” when I mean “No.” Following “shoulds”, my own or others.

(369) The bog! The pit! Yuk!! How do I get out, this time, again.

Clarity/choice/voice, especially choosing! ACT! Saying/doing “No” when I mean “No.” Saying/doing “Yes” when I mean “Yes.” Self-care, treating myself well!

(370) I still have choice about that which I cannot change.

A major choice involves whether I will continue to suffer or not!

Acceptance does not mean no pain; it means diminished suffering. And it is an active process, not a passive surrender: valuing the benefits, modifying as possible the costs. Living the Serenity Prayer.

(371) Human beings are magical. The above truths are not, and do not need to be, consistent—living is paradoxical.

To live fully, I need on occasion to step outside the bounds of rationality.

(372) Some additional thoughts—

  • How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
  • I have many questions, and only a few answers.
  • The truth will set you free but first, it will make you miserable (and afterwards, it will bind you!)
  • Honesty without compassion is disguised hostility!
  • I will go as far as I can see; then I will be able to see further!
  • Don’t confuse activity with achievement!
  • 3Ds — desire, determination and discipline; 3Ps — patience, persistence and positive; 3Cs — courage, commitment and confidence
  • Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get!
  • Do I contradict myself; very well then, I contradict myself. I am large; I contain multitudes. (Walt Whitman)
  • The Chinese pictogram for ‘Crisis’ has been said to mean both danger and opportunity!

(373) You cannot clarify repeated miscommunication by communicating further about it.

Gregory Bateson (and later, Robert Dilts expanded upon) the Logical Levels of Experience (Environment, Behavior, Capabilities, Beliefs, Values, Identity, and Spiritual), a holarchy of processes such that significant change at one level requires modification at a higher level.

Repeated miscommunication is a Behavior, and requires change at the Capability or Belief or higher level rather than more communication.

(374) You have hit bottom when you stop digging!

To be continued — one more to go!

What Will It Take?

acedia1For the most part, I have given up reading about the political gyrations of politics — for the most part, they are simply a distraction that hides the larger picture that faces our species. This post looks a few of these larger issues, unfortunately with a degree of pessimism, of what will it take for us to mature as a species,.

My current mantras remain:

High intention; low attachment.

Be at peace; come back tomorrow.

Nature is in its worst shape in human history, UN report says (20190506)

We are in the middle of the sixth great extinction crisis, but we don’t call it this because we are not yet at the level of 75% species loss. What insanity!

We must reverse biodiversity loss to save ourselves (20190515)

The title speaks for itself — I totally agree with its conceptualization. Nature is an incredibly complex interrelated whole such that our attention to saving individual species is not likely to be effective. I am reminded of a book I read a few years ago questioning “of the many issues we need to address, which is most important, most urgent?” The fundamental answer: “All of them!”

What Will It Take? (20190509)

Dave Pollard’s blog post of 20190509 to how to save the world, this time on Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA) is one with which I strongly agree — it is not at all likely that the dominator powers of our world will stop until massive NVDA resistance occurs, such that “the economic viability of the destructive activity falls apart.” Yet it is also very likely that the final outcome will not change. And the falling apart of the economic models of capitalism and neoliberalism will not be pretty. Sad! I hope otherwise, and I act into the possibility of significant maturation of our species.

A Plague (20190525)

Another of Dave’s posts is intriguing as it draws parallels between the occurrence of plagues (“a destructively numerous influx or multiplication of a noxious animal; an epidemic disease causing a high rate of mortality”) and the activities of the human species. Although I do not subscribe to Dave’s pessimism, I find he writes thoughtfully and well.

 

¿Truths? Part 13

Dave’s ¿Truths?

Truth2As noted with ¿Truths? Part 1, I am choosing to offer these thoughts simply to encourage growth. I submit them simply for self-study as an example of one person’s searching — such self-study is a very powerful way to come to know yourself. The list of these truths is long and I will submit it over a number of blogs, 25-30 brief statements per posting.

As previously noted, a comment on language: I am not an advocate of scientific materialism, the philosophic ontology that only science can address truth, and that energy-matter is the only domain of experience in the universe. I value scientific methodology highly, but the overall terminology of scientific materialism has many hidden presuppositions. As much as possible, I will identify them in these posts.

(329 — continuing from previous) These imperatives also form a rich basis for ethical judgment. To ignore them is evil or, at the very least, borders on evil.

(330) Everything has an appropriate context somewhere/sometime. That which expands is that which contributes to growth.

(331) A moral/ethical stance does not suppress choice, but educates and allows liberty, encourages growth and fosters relationship. Life exists in relationship.

(332) Beyond all this, I believe that there exists a profound direct experience with mystery, being at one with the universe, called enlightenment or nirvana (as well as many other names).

I have experienced it—and I trust the validity of the experience.

Apparently a gift of mystery, unearned and perhaps not available as gift to everyone, this journey of life serves to allow the gift to be received and held without willfulness!

(333) The ultimate human journey is to live in joy and glory, free from alienation, in selfless service to life!

Paradoxically, I believe that I achieve this most effectively by ensuring my own growth, my own truths, my own pleasure and play.

(334) To be effective is to be loving and playful.

(335) I am not a human being on a spiritual journey; I am a spiritual being on a human journey!

My major work is to be grounded, so that I can then fly with the eagles.

(336) God doesn’t care if I work every day; God cares if I live every day.

(337) A life of sanctity is one in which I give thanks! To truly give thanks is to be in the presence of mystery and awe!

(338) My best working hypothesis of life is this—mystery (God) is all-present and all-knowing, yet lacks wisdom.

We are each a hologram of God—as humans, we are God’s teachers. Each of us is a set of possibilities that may become effective as a human being; in the struggle, God can learn wisdom.

(339) God don’t make no junk!

(340) I am capable of every experience, every act, no matter how heinous.

I don’t however have to act it! I have choice. The same is true of you, another individual!

The price tags may be different, though.

(341) The struggle to live fully is painful. From my perspective, I may not succeed; I may make poor choices. From God’s perspective, I am a contribution to God—and I am loved.

(342) What is the bottom line? For me, the bottom line is that I live in such a way that:

  • I act in a way that is consistent with what I say I want,
  • I live into my wanting what I get,
  • I have integrity in my core moralities, and
  • I have compassion, humility, and respect with others.

(343) For me, one of the better ways of thinking about God is contained in a puzzle called the 9-dot puzzle

Form 9 dots into a square, with one in the middle. Join the 9 dots with 4 straight lines without taking your pen off the paper.

Ask me about the answer if you get stuck. You need to step outside the box!

(344) God is useless!! God cannot be used.

I can be used by God though.

Especially God cannot be used as an excuse or an explanation of why I do not live my journey!

(345) From God’s perspective, it is likely that nothing will be used in evidence against me!

(346) The sign of God is that I will be led where I did not intend to go!

In quite unexpected ways, life presents me with opportunities and/or choices I did not expect, sometimes pleasurable, sometimes painful.

The occurrences seem more often than I would expect in a meaningless universe. When they occur, I am struck by how meaningful they are to me! This is called synchronicity.

(347) There are no quick fixes! Life is a journey and even the most rapid growth requires 5-10 years of effort!

(348) If I always do what I have always done, I will always get what I have always gotten.

(349) The journey has at least several stages.

One stage is the psychological journey (the willful journey), a stage of ego development in which I learn to say “I am! I can! I will!” This is the stage in which I struggle with my parents, with what I have been given in life, a stage where my emotions often rule (either consciously or unconsciously).

This is a necessary stage, being willful of myself. Difficulty occurs when I become willful of others as a substitute for my own growth.

(350) Another stage is the spiritual journey (the willing journey), a stage of ego transcendence in which I learn to initiate choice, a stage in which the moral imperative is chosen, a stage where the universe seems in charge.

Jesus said it as “If it is possible, let this cup be taken from me; if not, Thy will, Oh Lord!”. Many others have said it similarly.

(351) Essential to both of these stages is to learn what I think and feel, what my ongoing awareness actually is; it is often painful. The second component is then to learn what to do with my awareness, what actions are effective.

This is a life-time process!

(352) A third stage appears to be the possibility of experiencing the gift of Mystery.

The earlier growth perhaps allows the gift to be sustained.

(353) So much of cultural/societal tradition encourages me to do good; I validate this.

However, to feel good needs to be a major underlying basis of doing good; otherwise I am likely to be trapped in resentment or guilt.

I choose to feel good rather than do good as my approach to life.

To be continued — almost done!

¿Truths? Part 12

Dave’s ¿Truths?

Meaning2As noted with ¿Truths? Part 1, I am choosing to offer these thoughts simply to encourage growth. I submit them simply for self-study as an example of one person’s searching — such self-study is a very powerful way to come to know yourself. The list of these truths is long and I will submit it over a number of blogs, 25-30 brief statements per posting.

As previously noted, a comment on language: I am not an advocate of scientific materialism, the philosophic ontology that only science can address truth, and that energy-matter is the only domain of experience in the universe. I value scientific methodology highly, but the overall terminology of scientific materialism has many hidden presuppositions. As much as possible, I will identify them in these posts.

(304) Part of the program includes my learning of terror and trust.

(305) If I do not trust the universe, my action options are:

  • Being willful—of others (domination and self-righteousness).
  • Being willful—of self (domination and/or discipline).
  • Running away (scared — fearfulness).
  • Collapsing (scared — laziness).

Except for the option of discipline, these are all forms of acedia.

(306) Acedia is the ultimate response to being overwhelmed in my lack of trust.

It is any combination of profound fearfulness, laziness, or self-righteousness.

It is a stance in which I object to the effort required to achieve good outcomes of living, to achieve a stance of authentic love and charity.

(307) If I do trust the universe, my action options are: discipline.

(308) The way out seems to be trust and discipline.

(309) Yet this does not mean passivity, especially towards the violations of others.

One of my favorite definitions comes from the 19th century:

A gentleman does not hurt the feelings of another unintentionally.

(310) Much of my life, I have refused to say “Yes!” to life—and I am alienated. How do I learn to turn around, to repent, to live in surrender to the moral imperative!

To be civil is to live consciously motivated in this stance. A major part of this is to struggle with my own truths and priorities.

(311) I also do this by contributing to life in all its fullness, taking a moral stance to the universe.

My core moralities center on:

  • graceful aging,
  • striving for authenticity,
  • midwifery—contributing to the life and growth of others,
  • being in community with others,
  • being my word, and
  • celebrating life.

(312) Life is irreversible.

For effective living, I need to gather data and make choices.

Much of the gathering of data is biologically inherent—if I trust my experiences.

(313) Each choice I make excludes other options. There is a certain amount of pain in this!

I lose possibilities, dreams, satisfactions; in my choosing, I may not get everything I want! Especially if my choices are too small and lack integration with who I am.

(314) Yet, not making choices traps me in the pain of being in limbo, of drifting, of fear of consequences.

(315) When stuck between a rock and a hard place, I prefer to choose how I am crushed!

I have more power and freedom when I choose the consequences with which I wish to live.

(316) It is easier to get forgiveness than to get permission.

Some of my choices necessitate interaction with others. Others may not want change or forced choice—yet they can often live with the change if I simply act rather than seek agreement before action!

The cost may be loss of relationship!

(317) When I change, others will adapt, albeit slowly.

When I change, it requires approximately 13 weeks or 3 months for the change in the system (the family, work, et cetera) to settle.

(318) If I can consistently change for 3 months, the system will adapt. If I don’t like the new status, I can change again!

(319) Frequently I expect the system to adapt within days or at most a week!

This is a form of suffering!

(320) I do not know the meaning of this journey and I believe that there is meaning. The universe fundamentally is a mystery, one that mankind has called God. This mystery for me appears to be based in love and play.

I believe that there is personal mystery, a relationship with mystery. There are many paths.

I believe that I am a channel for mystery, that mystery uses me to contribute to the betterment of the universe (myself, others and nature), that I have purpose even though I do not know what that purpose is.

(321) God must have an riotous sense of humour!

What else could account for this vibrantly chaotic universe? this self-organizing mosaic of every conceivable possibility!

(322) Ultimately I will die. Not a possibility, nor a maybe—I will die! My life, my contribution, my way of being will cease to exist.

I will also share in the deaths of my friends and family—to be no more, other than in my memories.

How will I live? How will I die? I believe that it is possible to be at peace with these questions.

(323) To the best of my knowledge, there is a moral imperative to the universe, an imperative such that we as humans are in relationship with the universe, with each other, and with our environment.

When I ignore this imperative, I am alienated.

(324) I also believe that there is, for lack of a better term, something that is called evil, both a part of mystery and a part of me.

What expands me is mystery; what contracts me is evil. What alienates me from relationship is evil. Often it is a subtle process, not easily identified. For examples, raging (not my rage per se, but being trapped in my rage) may be a manifestation of evil. My laziness is often a movement towards evil. To be trapped by fear may a form of evil—to be cautious is not.

A major part of journey is learning authentic response to mystery and evil.

(325) When sustained, acedia is a major advance towards evil.

(326) Violation of self or others is ethically unacceptable, a form of evil.

(327) The universe appears to be based on the moral imperatives of:

  • subjectivity (interiority and choice),
  • differentiation (growth),
  • community (relationship), and
  • change

There are no obvious absolutes, everything is different, everything grows/matures, and everything is related to everything else. And everything is evolving or devolving.

(328) Violations however invariably breech one (if not all) of these precepts of the universe.

(329) These imperatives also form a rich basis for ethical judgment. To ignore them is evil or, at the very least, borders on evil.

To be continued.