Monthly Archives: October 2020

Unearned Peace of Mind is No Peace of Mind

In the Disney Pinocchio story, in his original morally immature state, Pinocchio began to take on the characteristics of a Jackass (donkey) as he interacted imperfectly with the world around him. The Pinocchio story perfectly (and on purpose) outlines the trajectory of human beings. Also, his nose grew longer each time he told a lie.

Human beings come into the world innocent, but also ignorant, immature, and with pre-existing mental and emotional characteristics that predispose us to make wrong moral choices. This handicap, combined with the moral imperfections of other people we encounter, causes us to veer away from the potential moral mature human being that we could be. We begin to embody the characteristics of the corrupt culture around us. In the Pinocchio story, Pinocchio grew ears, a long nose and a donkey tail; on his way to becoming a full-fledged donkey that could no longer speak but simply bray.

In a very real sense, as we live our lives, we start to take on the characteristics of the human moral equivalent of Jackasses. The more Jackass potential we embody, the less ability we have to speak up from a position of authority and maturity. The more Jackass potential we embody, the less ability we have to make a positive moral impact in the world. The more Jackass potential we embody, the more we suffer personally and potentially increase the suffering of the network of people around us. The more Jackass potential we embody, the words we utter have the limited moral impact of a braying animal.

Human beings don’t grow donkey ears or a tail, nor does our nose grow longer each time we lie, so how do we know if we are on the way to becoming a full-fledged Jackass of a human being? It’s measured by suffering.

Existence as a human being, by definition, is NOT an easy journey. It’s not a walk in the park. But does mean that suffering or existential angst is the default mode that we have to abide with without escape?

There are no pills, foods, etc. that guarantee a path out of suffering. Unearned peace of mind is no peace of mind.

The path out of suffering is counterintuitive; in other words, it seems to go against what you would normally think. The path out of suffering is narrow and somewhat painful. The path out of suffering requires one to carefully, painstakingly examine every emotionally charged episode that is older than about 18 months of age. If an emotionally charged memory of an episode or event continues to haunt you over time, it means that you failed to deal with it properly and completely. It is still negatively impacting your life. You must carefully go through your life decade by decade and make a written list of what sticks out. Once you start sincerely asking yourself for instances of moral failings or traumatizing events, your mind will gladly suffice by bringing these instances readily to mind. It’s helpful to write short stories about each one of these events so you can get your facts straight, and be as honest as you possibly can. Resist the temptation to whitewash these episodes as you carefully write down the details. It’s important to look at them in painstaking detail.

The writing process itself is useful in helping to bring to mind things you could do to avoid repeating each error in the future.

The continuing portion of the path out of suffering is to find some meaningful activity. Find concrete things that stick out to you that give your existence meaning. If you find yourself engaged in some sort of activity where the sense of passing time seems to disappear, that’s a good place to start. You need something that you find worthwhile to aim at.

This doesn’t mean to suggest that life is all sweetness and roses. Oftentimes the choices in front of us all seem bad. Make a choice anyway. Volunteering to do something difficult is not the same thing as having something forced on you. Carrying a heavy burden voluntarily can be quite satisfying, as long it was your choice and wasn’t forced on you.

These aren’t simply pretty sounding words – they are technically true. From a physiological standpoint, if you are involuntarily forced to take on a task, it has a measurable negative impact on your body and some instances can even cause measurable brain damage. On the other hand, if you take on the same task voluntarily, no damage occurs. Just let that hit you for a moment. You could have two bad choices before you, and thinking it through you choose one of those paths and voluntarily take it on with an aim, not only will it not damage you but you can actually find it meaningful. It must be combined with proper aim, which also requires that you take a good look at yourself and what you really want and can realistically achieve if you put serious effort into it.

Knowledge and Malevolence

I have often rather naively wondered why existence as a human being had to be so damn difficult compared to other creatures. A squirrel, for example, comes into the world with its squirrel life pretty much laid out before it. There are no squirrel schools, no squirrel social conventions to learn, no squirrel ethics to deal with. The squirrel has its squirrel awareness. It has its squirrel instincts. It goes through its squirrel reproductive process. Everything squirrel is pretty damn simple.

Existence as a human being is not so easy. We have to learn to be human. It’s really quite a tough slog. Even the human reproductive process is tough. Yeah, we’ve got our big human brains. We also have our unique human self-consciousness of our own existence. We can also wonder why we even exist. Existing successfully as a human being is not so straightforward.

On top of all of the trouble of learning to be a human being, human societies seem to always be on the verge of slipping back into chaos. No matter how successful our civilizations seem, it seems as if something is always on the verge of going seriously wrong. Entropy is always eating away at its structures. Ways of doing things that once worked successfully suddenly are no longer viable.

There are at least two factors always present within human societal structures that are always at work bringing about chaos. These include, but are not limited to (1) Knowledge is always improving, and (2) the presence of malevolence within every human psyche.

Knowledge is the one thing that is always improving. New and better ways of doing things are always emerging. Communications is always improving. New knowledge ends up being a destabilizing influence. This has the effect of always speeding things up. An example of this would be back in the 1980’s when we were all still writing and mailing letters to each other. Once email became firmly established, physical letters became impossibly slow and irrelevant. Outcomes now happen incredibly quickly – things that once might have taken months or even years now routinely happen seemingly with the blink of an eye.

Malevolence is also always present. Every human mind has snakes buried within it waiting to make potential strikes towards people, places and things. This malevolence seems to oscillate back and forth between less malevolence and more malevolence. If the overall level of malevolence within society could be plotted out, it would likely appear something akin to a sinewave oscillating up and down. Malevolence, like everything else, benefits from improved communication speeds and new forms of technology.

Here’s a rather insidious example of malevolence as a motivating factor behind the development of new knowledge and technology. In the old Soviet Union, it has been claimed that they once had a government-funded, scientific program to combine deadly Ebola with extremely contagious Smallpox. The idea was to make an absolutely devastating biological weapon that would utterly wipe out an enemy. Fortunately, the program turned out to be unsuccessful. This is a clear case of malevolence trying to drive technology for the worst imaginable purpose

These two elements – ever improving knowledge, and human malevolence – are the two main components that are always eating away at the foundations of our societal structures. Knowledge and improved communication are fairly easy to embrace and can be successfully dealt with. Malevolence is the one thing that we should really familiarize ourselves with – both within ourselves and within each other – always keeping an eye on it.

The potential of malevolence emerges as a result of awareness of self-vulnerability. As Dr. Jordan Peterson puts it, if I know what makes me vulnerable then I also know what makes other people vulnerable.

Malevolence dominates as a result of faulty value hierarchies. Faulty value hierarchies result or emerge from resentment. The continuing presence of resentment within the individual human soul makes the emergence of proper value hierarchies impossible.

Malevolence ignored is the one thing that reliably brings down civilizations.

The obvious question that emerges is, what is the proper way of dealing with malevolence?

The New Testament Biblical answer to this question revolves around individual repentance. “First, remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Mathew 7:5 World English Bible

Removing the beam requires that we realize that said beam is present. By necessity, this must be an individual by individual act.

We see the world and ourselves through hierarchical value structures. This is technically and psychologically factual. By default, because of our own resentments, our hierarchical value structures are faulty. Therefore, in order to see the world as well as ourselves as clearly as possible, we must first eliminate our own resentments.

Looking at ourselves is a painstaking and often painful process. We must see our own malevolence without trying to whitewash it or pretend that it’s not present. Furthermore, we must calmly and clinically look at our own malevolence without falling into the trap of resenting its presence.

The New Testament example of Christ represents the ideal example to strive for. Here is an ideal man that was able to die a horrific death on the Cross at the hands of the ideologically possessed, free of resentment – “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34 New International Version

“4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him?

5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor.

6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.” Psalm 8:4-6 KJV

This “put all things under his feet” implies that man’s purview goes all the way to the bottom of Hell. This is clearly the case. The malevolence each one of us is capable of knows no bounds.

Yet, there is also the upside. We are also each capable of bringing about great good into existence.

The repentance process is not simply mouthing pretty words. Repenting requires painstaking, honest, serious self-examination.

2059 Avoiding Ideological Possession

2059 Avoiding Ideological Possession

Ideological Possession

Ongoing modern brain research has demonstrated that there is a so-called “God” or “religious” area of the human brain. This research data result has been mostly dismissed as some sort of anachronistic curiosity. The prevailing hypothesis seems to be that this “religious” part of the human brain, which is not present in other animals, evolved to help us deal with our human finitude.

This hypothesis has been carefully crafted as a way to casually dismiss the findings. However, it fails to deal with the findings themselves, or the implications, both immediate and extended.

The fact that the human brain has a “religious” area as a fundamental part of its biological structure is important simply because it exists in every known copy. This “religious” biological structure can be reliably stimulated with a variety of methods, including the external application of strong magnetic fields to the appropriate area of the side of the head, as well as a variety of drug-induced stimulations. These stimulations produce feelings of religious ecstasy and/or religious visions.

There are likely other undiscovered functions of this “god” area of the brain that must necessarily be intrinsic to brain and mind function.

The human brain is by far the most complicated structure in the known Universe. Why would a “religious” part of the human brain even exist? The fact that this area does exist indicates it is indeed important, though it is not precisely clear why without delving into religious argumentation, which I’ll attend to later.

For now, I wish to concentrate on the implications of this “religious” biological brain structure.

What does the presence of this structure mean to human behavior? What psychological significance does its presence imply? What relationship does this “religious” structure have from a social standpoint? What relationship does it have with the human sense of right and wrong? How does it control our thinking? How does it affect our behavior?

Since it is part of the biological structure, present in every copy, it would be logical to assume that it is fundamental to the brain’s operation, and therefore fundamental to the human mind’s operation. If it is fundamental to the mind’s operation, the human mind cannot operate independently apart from this structure. It is therefore impossible to have a functioning human mind that isn’t utilizing this hard wired “religious” structure.

Belief in and worship of dogmas are therefore fundamental, regardless of whether a person believes or disbelieves in a deity.

This cycle of belief and worship is self-evident in every human being, regardless of culture, secular or religious background.

Friedrich Nietzsche famously noted the collapse of belief in traditional religions with his “death of God” statement. He predicted that as a result, societies would be easily infected by ideological possessions of various sorts, and that the results would be bloody and catastrophic. The 20th Century bore out his prediction, with the slaughter of men and women being in the hundreds of millions between the Communists and the Nazi’s, both variant forms of ideological possession.

Nietzsche’s solution to this problem was that humans would have to author their own axioms of right and wrong and of good and evil. In other words, man would have to become his own god. Unfortunately, this idea doesn’t seem to function in the actual world. Human beings are very social creatures, and in order to function sustainably over a long period of time, we must be able to agree on fundamental ideas of right and wrong, of good and evil. These ideals must be shared ideals, and based on actual emergent human behavior. These ideals emerge from our long-term behavior, and not from ideological utopian dreams; lofty visions that all to quickly morph into bloody nightmares.

Is it possible to bypass the “religious” area of the brain with thought? I believe the lived evidence demonstrates that this is impossible, regardless of how rational we believe our thoughts to be. We have value hierarchies that seem to be encoded into our social behavior. Whether we like it or not, we generally seem to know the difference between right and wrong. Barring sociopathy and psychopathy, even the worst criminals know these behavioral rules even if they don’t act them out.

While it is impossible to completely bypass the “god” or Conscience area of the brain, it IS possible to gain the illusion of splitting from it via the vehicle of resentment. When we come into the world and become aware of our own existence, we resent people, places and things. That is how human beings play god in their own minds, as if they could strike people dead with their thoughts. Resentment separates us from our potential identity. Once someone resents, they are left with two wrong choices – either go along to get along, or try to rebel and do the opposite. Either way, as long as the resentment is present, the potential genuine identity source is disconnected. It becomes the guilty Conscience, something to distance oneself from. Thus resentment causes people to absorb the often toxic environment around them.

If it is impossible to bypass this “god” brain/mind area, what happens if we push too far into rationality and intellect? Does this brain area cease to be of importance? I believe what happens is that we are able to ignore our innate knowing of right and wrong, and that we end up with faulty value hierarchies – right becomes wrong, and wrong becomes right. With dysfunctional values, we end up making backwards choices.

The “god” area of the brain has something to do with hierarchical value structures and the manner in which they function.

Resentment comes packaged with its own denial mechanisms. Resentment can be hidden, or not, or both. People can become proud of resentment and the false identities it causes them to take on. An example of this would be labor unions turned malignant. Get workers agitated, because they probably resent having to work for a living anyway, and ultimately they become proud of what their resentment has morphed them into. Next thing you know, they have labor pride parades.

Women’s pride, abortion pride, gay pride, etc. all emerge from malignant resentment. Interestingly, they all revolve around basic human behavioral elements outlined Biblically.

In this split state, separated from our natural potential identity by resentment, we are vulnerable to ideological possession. We still act out of hierarchical dogmas, whether we like it or not.

Ideological possession can be thought of as crippled religious structures. These crippled religious structures can also be considered cults or cult-like. These structures usually have some sort of salvation figure, a demon figure, as well as ritual gatherings/celebrations and sacrificial ritual elements. They offer the possessed a form of identity, as well as methods of demonstrating group loyalty and status, of being a group member in good standing.

While these ideological possession structures can be straightforward religious cults, there are far more ideological possession structures present everywhere within human interactions.

The solution to the problem is to get rid of resentment. This must be done willingly by the individual, strictly on an individual by individual basis. More on that later.

Children always hate their parents. They see parents, or the parental placeholder, as gods, and those human gods typically sorely disappoint and fall short. Hating one’s parents is tantamount to hating God. Hating God separates us from our built-in innate value system, thus rendering us vulnerable to faulty external value systems.

Typically, people are a messy bundle of a lifetime of accumulated resentments. Since resentment comes packaged with its own denial mechanisms, we often aren’t even aware of it. Frequently we do know we can be “triggered” by the presence of different environmental and psychological factors, but we have been lead to believe that this triggering is somehow “normal.”

I believe the “Godly” value system is built-in to our minds, though it is latent in the sense that we don’t have to follow it. That’s where the idea of free will comes in. One of the most important choices we have to make as free human agents is how we react to the world. React with resentment and automatically lose. We can either listen to our Conscience, or we can ignore it, usually to our peril. It’s typically there talking to us in the background. We know it as a guilty Conscience.

This split from the control mechanism of Conscience causes us to “sin” or literally “miss the mark.” We are no longer able to live up to our potential. We end up becoming enslaved to the people, places and things that we resent.

Resentment happens in our minds, but physical parts of our brains are affected. Brain chemistry is directly impacted. People attempt to overcome these resultant brain chemistry problems with various types of psychoactive pharmaceuticals, but such efforts frequently have terrible side effects that can be worse than the problems they are attempting to solve.

Resentment pathologizes individual human minds and resulting social interactions. Resentment causes us to be susceptible to ideological possession.

As previously noted, the path out of this conundrum is to willingly give up resentment. That’s a simple solution, but virtually impossible as long as we are tangled in resentment’s resulting web of denial.

We have a choice. Each individual human being matters to the world far more than we realize. We can either tilt our existence further towards a living hell, or we can tilt it towards heaven.

The path out of resentment I have found is via a simple meditation technique. I’m linking it below. You can listen to it and practice it on your device, or download it for your convenience by right-clicking and selecting download.

Meditation Technique

I can’t promise it will help everyone, but I do believe it will help most people. If you find it helpful, it is up to you to continue with it. Giving up resentment is not an instant process. It takes time. I can promise you that it is worth every moment you spend with it. Ideally once you master this simple meditation technique, practicing it will become second nature.

Once we have given up resentment, we make friends with our Conscience. Out of Conscience our original identity flows. Conscience guides us to our original potential, and we develop a natural immunity to ideological possession of all types. Existence still has its pressures, but in the absence of resentment the terrible burden is lifted.

Effects of Processed Foods

December 6, 2018 was the day I forever changed the foods that I eat. More specifically, I cut out pasta, potatoes, rice, bread and all general sweets. That action has had a profound impact on my general health and how good I feel on a day-to-day basis.

The motivation for me to cut out carbohydrates came along in late November 2018 in the form of a phone call with one of my younger brothers. He had just been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The story was that his vision suddenly seemed to get worse, so he set up an appointment with his eye doctor with the idea that his glasses prescription had suddenly changed. The eye doctor took one look in his eyes and told him he very likely had Type 2 diabetes. Eye care practitioners frequently are the ones who notice the first symptoms of a Type 2 diabetic problem.

I quickly realized that if Type 2 diabetes (T2D for short) could happen to my brother, who is five and a half years younger than I am, then it could just as easily happen to me. In order to effectively wrap my mind around it, I started watching all sorts of YouTube videos explaining T2D. It quickly became painfully obvious that T2D is a diet-related malady that can be avoided and the symptoms of which can even be reversed with a change in diet.

In the last roughly 70 years we have been attacking our bodies with chronic, excessive carbohydrate consumption. We mindlessly attack our bodies with cookies, cakes, candies, pasta, potatoes, rice, bread and GMO frankenfruit. The average human body has roughly a gallon and a half of blood. Normal blood glucose levels are about 5 grams, or one level teaspoon of sugar. The average American consumes the equivalent of between 32 and 55 teaspoons of sugar a day, depending on how much of what they are consuming is processed. I’m defining processed foods as things such as potato chips, sweet rolls, bread, pasta, processed snack “treats,” etc.

In the past one year and ten months, I have lost about forty pounds, which I consider to be sort of a big deal considering I’m sixty five years old. I also lost the acid reflux I’d been plagued with for many decades.

One of the not-so-obvious things that excessive carbohydrate consumption, particularly consumption of modern grains cause, is a dysregulated inflammation response. Inflammation is a normal part of a functioning immune system. Inflammation is necessary for the proper ongoing process of life. However, processed foods manufactured with modern cross-bred grains can cause inflammation function dysregulation.

Here’s my opinion of how this works. There are at least four proteins present in modern cross-bred grains that would not normally occur in nature. Some of these proteins very closely mimic naturally-occurring proteins, but aren’t exact duplicates. Many of the proteins we eat are not metabolized, but end up being directly utilized as protein building blocks for our bodies.

The body takes up these alien, unnaturally occurring proteins and uses them as building blocks anyway.

In the meantime, there are elements in our immune systems that are constantly circulating in the blood that are looking for foreign invaders. When they find these alien proteins, they create an inflammatory response. It doesn’t matter to the immune system’s emergency inflammatory response system if it is attacking part of the body, such as a joint structure or other tissues – it simply responds to the presence foreign, non-natural proteins.

Sure, it has been great to lose forty pounds and easily keep it off without having to ever worry about overeating. It has been great to live 100% acid reflux free.

But perhaps even more importantly for my long-term health, my body’s inflammation levels are vastly reduced. The eczema that was present on the heals of my feet for the last 27 years is now gone. It took a few months, but the eczema packed up and vacated the premises on both feet. I also had a long-standing problem with excess mucous in my respiratory and sinus systems. That’s also gone. I no longer experience unexplained joint aches.

Overall, it’s astonishing.

Who knows what potential maladies might have been averted simply by eliminating dysregulated inflammation?

With the virus situation currently making the rounds in 2020, a dysregulated inflammatory response is possibly the greatest risk factor for severely negative outcomes.