Tag Archives: philosophy

Weirdness Is Relative

“Who arbitrates what is weird and what is “normal”?

Does a cuttlefish think to itself, “Geeee… I’m so weird”?

Remember this lesson next time you think reality can’t possibly be some way because “that would just be too weird”. Too weird? For who? For you? And why should reality be limited to some hairless chimp’s notions of weirdness? Maybe reality’s just so damn vast you haven’t encountered even 0.0000000001% of it yet.

Notice that “normal” simply means: those experiences which you’ve had so many of that now you’re bored of them.

Everything about reality is weird. It’s just a question of how much you take it for granted.”

Source: https://www.actualized.org/insights?p=43

How Do You Know You’re You?

“Do the following quick exercise:

Go look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, “Who told me that that’s me?”

Seriously! Go do it right now.

If you’re a very rational, scientifically-minded person, or an atheist, this is the perfect exercise for you.

What evidence do you have that you are that thing in the mirror?

Seriously! I’m not kidding. This is not an armchair philosophy exercise. This is a hardcore science experiment.

How do you know what you’re supposed to look like?

Could it be that you’ve simply assumed that that thing in the mirror was you without actually investigating the matter?

Is there any scientific evidence whatsoever of how you are supposed to look like? How would you even make such a determination?

Can you recall how in your early childhood it wasn’t at all obvious that you had a body, knew it’s parts, or knew how it looked? Can you recalling having to acquire all those notions?

Now, notice that your mind will come up with all sorts of objections and rationalizations for why you really are that thing in the mirror.

But I hope you’re wise enough not to blindly trust that mind of yours. After all, isn’t that your biggest gripe with religious fanatics? That they blindly believe in unwarranted things… that they beg the question?

Well, watch out! Maybe you’ve been committing that very same sin your whole life. Which, by the way way, would explain that grudge you hold towards religion.

Who’s begging the question now? Oh, how the tables have turned! Oh, the delicious the irony! Oh, the hypocrisy of rationalism!

If what I say is true, can you begin to fathom the significance of it? Not philosophically, but ACTUALLY!”

Source: https://www.actualized.org/insights?p=45

Honest Dishonesty

“There are 4 types of honesty: unconscious honesty, unconscious dishonesty, conscious honesty, and conscious dishonesty.

Conscious dishonesty is harder to pull off than unconscious honesty.

But if you’re gonna be dishonest, make it the conscious kind, that way at least you are honest with yourself, and leave a crack open for redemption.

How?

You sure you wanna open this Pandora’s box?

Really sure?

Okay, here’s the magic question:

“Where am I being dishonest with myself?””

Source: https://www.actualized.org/insights?p=46

Hidden In Plain Sight

“The best way to hide a thing, is in plain sight.

chameleon1

I love examples of how something can be hidden in plain sight. A sleight of hand so obvious, you smile when you see it. Nowhere does this apply more than with spirituality.

When people first start to learn about spirituality they tend to fall into one of two traps:

  • Spirituality is just a bunch of fairy tale wishful thinking
  • Spirituality is some exotic set of otherworldly experiences

In both cases, nothing could be further from the case. Spirituality is about becoming conscious of reality exactly as it is, but at a deeper dimension. In Zen, they like to say: Nothing is hidden.

What rationalists and “skeptics” who poo-poo spirituality don’t understand is just how significant a simple shift in perspective can be. Nothing has to change about the facts on the ground, so to speak. All that needs to change is your perspective and your entire world flips upside down. But this is the pity of materialistic thinking. It’s mesmerized by the gross, superficial dimension of reality. People who are used to thinking in materialistic ways expect spirituality to be a gross, materialistic sort of thing. As though if the facts on the ground don’t change, it doesn’t matter. That’s the huge oversight! Spirituality is SUBTLE! It’s seamlessly interleaved into the gross. Like a beautiful chameleon in the rainforest, lost on the tourist.

To illustrate this point, take a look at these stereograms. Cross your eyes as you stare at them to spot the hidden object inside.

Stereogram1
Stereogram2
Stereogram3

Did you see it?

Notice that none of the facts changed, but the shift in perspective you experienced was very significant and real. It’s like you discovered a new dimension to reality. And it was right there the whole time! Hidden, but not really hidden.

What if — right now — there was something equally obvious about your perception of reality that’s been hidden in plain sight your whole life? What if people have been pointing to it for 2,000 years, but you’ve kept saying, “You must be crazy! There’s nothing there to see.”

Enlightenment is like that. It’s a shift in perspective, not a change in personality or behavior, as people often confuse. The lesson here is never to underestimate just how significant a “mere” shift in perspective can be. Perspective is everything.”

Source: https://www.actualized.org/insights?p=48

Why Religion Persists

“One reason that religion persists is because it provides genuine psychological benefits to the practitioner. It is the original self-help. To those skeptics who dismiss religion so quickly by saying, “But it’s just a bunch of fairy tales” — the only way you can say that is because you lack experience with it, and so you misunderstand it. You misunderstand it, but not in the way you think. The reality is, there’s no way in hell a collection of purely fabricated stories could survive for such a long time. Religion survives because it WORKS!

It’s because it works that it becomes a problem. It’s because it works that people aren’t so eager to abandon it as your models would predict. People feel the positive effects and get seduced into thinking that everything in the religion is true because of the psychological or spiritual benefits they feel. And then that is take as evidence of the religion’s exclusivity: “My religion must be true because look! Look at all these great benefits to my life!”

The problem is not that the benefits are not real — they are REAL! The problem is that the benefits are not exclusive — but people hold them as exclusive. This cannot be seen without a more experienced, more cosmopolitan meta-perspective. It’s not possible to see the universal psychological and spiritual principles at work in a religious tradition without practice and study of other traditions and non-religious self-help techniques. If you do undertake such a study, you will see the common threads unpinning all traditions, from Mormonism to Islam to Judaism to psychoanalysis to Yoga to Scientology.

But the false exclusivity that many religious adherents subscribe to becomes a huge burden. Religion becomes dangerous when it feeds tribalism. ANY ideology becomes dangerous when it feeds tribalism. And virtually all ideologies do!

How many ideologies or religious traditions say: “We don’t care which other traditions you study or practice. In fact, let us help you study the vast diversity of ideas available in the psycho-spiritual marketplace.”?

Ha! Good luck finding an ideology like that!

How can we tell if an ideology is dangerous? Very simple. Just ask, “Is it feeding tribalism? It is putting itself on a pedestal?” Is it encouraging tolerance and unity with self and other, or separation of self from other?”

Source: https://www.actualized.org/insights?p=49