"Feed me a paradox and I will explode!"

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by greenberg, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

    I guess. I seem to be trained to sense or feel them, but I do not have immediate access to the logical ins and outs and refutations.

    I wish more people had your definition. In fact this is precisely the confusion I often notice in 'rationalists': what they say makes sense, but they miss the fact that it does not rule out what the other person said, or that in context what 'made sense' acted in a cruel, abusive, misleading, confusing....and so on way. Or that it is an apples and oranges kind of thing. Or that they are not quite responding to what was said. Or that their use of language is culturally specific - say to science or to American English or to people over 30 - and they think it is universal. Or that it is one case amongst many possible. Or that other interpretations are possible. And so on.

    Yes, if you want to broaden out rationality to include these kinds of things then I am rational in many more situations. But I cannot always verbalize this rationality. It sounded like when you were confronted with logical fallacies or paradoxes you felt a pressure to resolve this in a way that could, for example, be put down on paper. I can't do that, often and certainly not immediately in all cases or even most. And that's OK with me.
    Well said. And then you fall in love with the map instead of yourself.
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  3. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

    As far as "psychological warfare" is concerned, logically fallacies are difficult to analyze - because manipulative speech often contains a mixture of logical fallacies, too much for anyone in their right mind to figure out each one of them. (This is probably one of the reasons manipulation is so tedious.)

    However, I think there is an important difference between "acute" and "chronic" states of "psychological warfare".
    If "psychological warfare" occurs only here and there, it seems best to go by intuition, without much analysis.
    But if "psychological warfare" is chronic, one's intuition will probably be useless by the time, and a different, more "rationalist" might be necessary to extract oneself from the situation. - Which is what I am seeking to explore in this thread.
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  5. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

    This is just an impression I had while I was out shopping, thinking back on this response and the thread:
    It seems as if a rational response as a core strategy comes from a neutral position. It tries to see, work out, the truth. But we are not in neutral positions. The things that stun us and that we feel we must analyze and refute are connecting with something inside us. And it is that thing inside us, I believe, we are trying to resolve with a rational - or other - dialogue with what is challenging us.
    I just don't worry about the Christian God damning me to hell for all eternity. I think at one point I did, to some degree. But not anymore. I can't rationally prove Christians - or Muslims, or Buddhists or Jehovah's Witnesses or Scientologists - are wrong. But the conundrum Christians present to me has no hook anymore. I don't buy it.
    It is often very hard to prove what is obvious.
    It is often very hard to prove a negative.
    So these things make the rational response a big energy consumer - and I find they also, often, have some compulsive hope of being received by what cannot receive it.
    There are so many conundrums and paradoxes and uncertainties - at least on rational levels - that I could spend all my time trying to refute them. Another drawback.
    I also think that approaching the issue internally, via exploration, has cut to the source, for me anyway.
    Why do I feel that a God will, unless I jump through these hoops, torture me for all time?
    Why do I feel I deserve this?
    What are the roots?
    And rather than trying to talk myself out of the reasons, I explore the emotional and thought form roots and keep going deeper. Often a lot of feeling arises. Often memories arise. Often formally releasing the thought forms releases more energy - I often begin to breath more fully directly and without discipline. "I no longer believe that I must....."
    "I no longer believe I am..." said out loud, even in the mirror, often brings up the feelings that are locked together with the thought forms.
    I am no purist. I certainly have fits and starts of rational argument tossed in. But I have found that the real demolition comes via exploring what is locked around these thought forms and any memories - of discrete events or ongoing dynamics.

    It's not so different from breaking 'physical' habits, to see what I am really seeking or avoiding with the habit. I do tend to follow my desires. But I can feel when these are in ruts that feel damaging. So I occasionally undo the habit for a short time - and see what is lying around underneath - emotions and more thought forms often and even memories again.

    Instead of rationality and discipline, short fasts - to be metaphorical and almost literal both - and exploration. And by short fasts, perhaps only for five minutes when a certain craving comes up and I have the gut feeling it is a habit to control my feelings or to avoid something or to get a quick substitute for what I think I cannot have or get. So instead of going and, say, eating that chocolate, I lie down and explore this craving that has become habit in some way that does not feel good. What is there? What is going on? What do I really want? What feelings have I not until now been ready to face around this? What judgements do I have about myself or 'reality' that say the only way to get this is via this habit?
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  7. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

    That's the sort of formulation I've been waiting for!

    You will have noticed how, especially Christians, but many "scientists" and "rationalists" to, harp on "the truth" - with complete disregard of the individual's welfare and happiness. "The only thing that matters is the truth, and if this means living in misery, if it means being unhappy from the day you were born till the day you die - so be it."

    Also, it appears that the context of this truth-is-all-that-matters outlook is the conviction that (1) objective reality makes sense, has purpose, (2) acting in accord with objective reality will render one's life purposeful.
    Which, per se, isn't unacceptable, it seems like a proper formulation - except that it is realistically impossible for an individual to know what "objective reality" is. And with the lack of such knowledge, the whole endeavor of "acting in accord with objective reality" is doomed to fail.

    How come you stopped? What turned you around? Could you retrace the steps you took then and verbalize them in the form of an argument?

    Absolutely. But the thing with specifically Christianity is that by virtue of the content of its claims (esp. concerning one being God's creation; one being potentially delusional or evil; one being subject to God's judgment; uncertainty until death), anyone attempting to refute those claims forever finds themselves in a double bind, an unresolvable situation.
    Which is my suspicion why many people become/stay Christians or otherwise remain involved with Christianity: because it is impossible to refute it.

    I know this, I do these things too. But I found that in order for such approaches to be successful, it is necessary that one apriori have a independent and positive sense of self-worth. Without such a sense of self-worth, one will dismiss all those approaches and their findings as "psychological/philosophical shams".
  8. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

    Good. Not that I'm sure I understand what happened.
    The truth is outside you. It is a thing. You take it in. It rests harmoniously or not inside you. You try to align your feelings with it. Or you consider feelings unimportant or sinful or distractions. You are what you think. Since what you think is right, you are better than those you have a different thought in their heads. Try to change the thought in their heads. Notice only the hypocrisy of others.
    Is not inner reality real? Inner seems like half of everything? (not asking you, but responding to the problematic philosophy you are describing)
    Wow. What a question. Let me try a double approach to answering, given that it was not what normally passes for a rational process.

    I got tired.
    I got tired of assuming I was bad and not capable of judging. (not that I quite thought this)
    If I am bad and cannot be trusted and should trust this or that book and what it says God is, how can I trust myself to choose the right book. (not that I thought this)
    But that tired is the huge thing. I simply could not go on denying my vantage and reactions. I have tried this for so long you would not believe how long. I cannot evade my vantage and desires and values. For me to decide that I should not value my values and vantage is well strange since this would be my new value to hate my values and desires and vantage. I can feel and see no hope in that.
    I also had as an intermediary stage, when a beloved animal died, a feeling that if it is OK with God that innocent creatures are simply obliterated, then I have a problem with God. He will have to explain this and this explanation will have to satisfy me. A communication an all-powerful God should be able to handle. If he cannot then I am opposed to him. I mean, I simply am. I can put on a false face. I could bow down, but the truth is I would be opposed. If he cried and said he was doing his best and there was nothing else he could do, well that could be a loving God for me. But some God tossing sinners in hell for all time...no, I am opposed. I could be brainwashed. I could pretend. But I am opposed.
    This happened when I was still a kid and still vulnerable, but I felt a sense of peace on one level when I realized or chose this.
    (and if I look back on this and think of our differences about essentialism it could seem like I am putting forward an essential nature of myself heref. I do not think this has to be the case. If later I somehow feel like torturing creatures for all time is OK, well, that will be another situation. But I cannot now and do not want to change what seems to be my current nature. Once the notion of false Gods and false profits (or prophets, which is what I meant to write, but I like the irony of the other) is out there then one must acknowledge that the Bible could be part of that. I think this is where Christians fail in logic. They deny the individual's intuition. You must submit your will to the book. But how can you know which book or that one must submit one's will? Well, only through trusting one's own intuition and will. They slide this decision under the carpet. They take a humble stance. But the truth is they made an enormous act of faith in their own ability to choose the right book and in thinking that choosing that book and a certain personage - as presented in that book - were the right choices.
    Now that I think of it I think this may be a part of your dilemma on some level. Greenberg is not making the right choice. Greenberg is not capable of making such important choice, give you will to God. I think somewhere in there is one of the core logical fallacies of Christianity, especially the fundamentalist end.
    For me it comes down to I MUST TRUST MYSELF in a fundamental way. If I cannot, then I cannot know whether any step forward is correct. A step denying my own abilities and or goodness is as likely to be in error or evil as ones that come from trusting myself.
    (perhaps the little voice in the mind jumps in with 'what about serial killers' what if they justified themselves this way. Hell, they wouldn't even bother. But that voice is actually making a lot of assumtions. Why doesn't that voice doubt itself in the ways it is assuming that I must doubt myself?)
    The more I trusted my core, the more I noticed that I did not become a serial killer, rapist, glutton, dominator. In some ways I became more giving. I could be more abrasive, yes. But I found that what I did was easier to let go of since I was not looking at my acts as indications of my bad nature so much. I did not have to see them as good, but the process of trusting myself and doing my best as good. If my assumption is that I cannot trust myself and the Bible is good and I act in accordance with my bible or church then I must cling to actions based on this - they cannot be wrong. IOW I was more flexible.

    Anyway. I have no idea if that is what you were asking about. I tried to forumulate it more as an argument than I experienced it. And the above is just a tiny piece.

    I want to emphasize here that in Bateson's forumation of the double bind one of the messages is meta in relation to the other. Like in a joke, you have the words, but the tone of voice sets the context. I am not really hating my boss, for example, the story is ironic. I really making fun of myself. I think what I got and tried to describe above was that the meta message of Christianity is that you cannot trust yourself. But the text message is decide to follow this book and give yourself over to its authority. Well, how in God's name can you trust yourself to make such an enormous decision, especially given a world where you are being told many other books to give yourself over to, let along non-book options: The Koran, the OT, psychoanalysis, Buddhism, hedonism, accumulation of wealth, nihilism, and so on. The little list there is partial and probably leaves out other categories of things - not just options in those categories - that one could give oneself over to, given the fact that you cannot trust yourself. Gurus and leaders are all over the place ready to use you for the good.

    So actually Christians do offer you the opportunity to be free. You cannot trust yourself. You must trust yourself to make this enormous and incredibly specific decision to follow a very specific and complicated book.
    Trust yourself. Don't trust yourself.
    Trust yourself in deciding it is right to not to trust yourself again.
    I think allowing oneself freedom to trust yourself is an almost compelled reaction to such a thing, unless you lie to yourself about that first step and pretend that it is God's. Once you allow yourself freedom and self-trust then you can choose not with this self-trust denied but present and acknowledged. And if it is present and acknowledged what do you really want to choose? To follow the Bible in all its details and this or that church and to, from that moment forward not trust yourself again, except in so far as you will try to follow orders?
    It's like being told your hands are incapable of intricate work and then being asked to surgically remove all the nerves in your left hand with your right hand so that you never perform poorly again. Well, goddamn it, how the hell can you perform that surgery?

    You should be impossible to refute. And you are. And yet they have refuted you.

    Oh, well now that is a good short way of saying it.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2008
  9. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

    But to put it another, shorter way, myself.
    If there is a leech sucking my blood after I get out of the lake, I put salt on it or just tear it off.
    I could try to prove somehow that I am more entitled to my blood than it is, after all it is just trying to eat. But I don't. Why do some things get to feed on me and not others?
    Why don't I let someone push me to the ground?
    Why does the battered women decide to leave the man that hits her? Must she prove rationally that she has the right? Or does she just get tired of it and later realize that he had not shown adequately that he had the right?
    Who bears the onus of proof, the Christians or you for you to override you gut feelings?
  10. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

    You don't have to.

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    Like I said in the OP, I am looking for ways to handle situations where logical fallacies and related cause psychological distress. Once the distress is there, it seems adivsable to have an emergency procedure ready, something that can be verbalized in a few steps that are easy to remember and actionable. - And I am after such an emergency procedure.

    I can relate to this. Boredom (and tiredness) is a natural response of the mind-body to repeated same stimulus. The existence of boredom (and tiredness) is a good example that a human is not mechanical, fixed, static, unchanging.

    I, on the other hand, actually did think that, and it caused me a lot of stress.
    My Christian friends and advisor would answer to this by saying "You trust the world enough to believe what it says".
    What they've done is that they (1) evaded the issue, (2) blamed it all on me, (3) took for granted something that was not true - I did not actually "trust the world enough to believe what it says". It appears they were unable to understand what genuine doubt is.

    But as it is often with Christians, they do not actually have a prepared position; they build it simultaneously, on the spot, depending on what the other person says. Their principle of argument is usually to simply oppose everything the other person says. Of course, this way, they run into many contradictions with themselves. But this way, it is also virtually impossible to discuss anything with them, because they re-shape their argument as they go, individually for each sequence.

    Yes. Although for me, currently, this tiredness manifests mostly as a fierce opposition with all forces available, imagine a sack of beans and hitting it with a stick full force and kicking it. And also like having been caught by someone bigger and stronger than me, and fighting back and trying to get loose. That's how my tiredness of Christianity currently feels.

    That I am entitled to my values and desires is currently only vaguely present in my mind, mostly only intellectually, not yet viscerally.

    Not only that. They diminish the importance of personal happiness and wellbeing even to zero. "God is not in the business of making people feel good" I've been told recently.

    I sometimes ask people who have become Christians as adults, to retrace their steps to conversion - how the whole process of conversion occured, how is it that they decided.
    And the way they describe it -if at all- speaks of them rationalizing the whole thing retrospectively; they justify their past decision from the perspective they are capable of only now, long after the decision. Obviously, this does not explain what was actually happening for them at the time of the decision. It's another one of those retrospective narratives that people create in order to feel good about their past, and to justify their present.

    Exactly. What is the decision or worship from a person worth, if the person does not trust themselves?
    Would God be happy with the piety of a bunch of self-doubting losers? I don't think so; and the God who would be - well, that God can't be worth much.

    Mhm. There are ways to drive that little sucker in the corner!

    Thank you! I am glad that you discuss this with me.

    That's a double bind.

    I've been mulling this over for years. I could chime in with lots of more examples and considerations like yours above. But I actually don't feel all that compelled to do this anymore, and am more eager to be efficient. Mention the shitty things only inasmuch as they seem relevant to finding a solution.

    This brings up a more formal issue - What qualifies for a refutation? Under what conditions can something be considered refuted?

    It's short, but it is also abstract. Your, longer, version is necessary as an illustration of what "having an independent and positive sense of self-worth" entails.

    To formalize one of the main principles of my upbringing: If you wish to not do something, you first need to have a good reason for not doing it. Otherwise, you are obligated to do it. or You are obligated to do as you are told, unless you can provide a good reason for not doing it.
    While this principle is sometimes alright, even necessary -like when one has a goal set for oneself that one wishes to accomplish-, many other times, it is not.

    This principle explains a lot of why things are in my mind the way they are.
  11. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

    Probably individualized. Makes me think of when alcoholics bottom out. You know they wake up and find themselves in a car wrapped around a tree. Or their husband leaves them. Or... and itheir reaction to what happened is stronger than their addiction. And from there they can move away from it.
    And tired of watching my words bounce off the unfeeling wall.
    They will never budge.

    They must not have the power. I guess that's why you have to find your inner Christian and work it out in there.
    I guess at worst it was for me a feeling of pure panic. So much terror I would stand up and just walk out of a room, I had to be alone with it.

    At least you have the awareness to be able to describe it.

    How similar all the truth tellers are at root. And how much they hate self-acceptance when it comes down to it.

    Tentative and provisional seems like the best one can hope for in such explanations.

    Yeah, that sort of thing, only it came with more anger.
    Fear has often clung to that voice because it offered an answer and potential control and I did not have to be responsible. My angry side could not beleive sometimes when it saw how my fear clung to that voice even as it lashed me.
    You're welcome. I feel like I am trying to leave something too. I am trying to leave science. I don't know why the death in it has been so attractive or resurged here so late in the game, but it has. I find it there again under so many layers. I just watched Inland Empire. Very hard film to watch. Lynch shows somehow how mysterious life is if you just step out of the normal steps of modern life for a moment. Someone does not answer a question immediately and stares at you and a whole world opens up. I am not sure how much of our experience we are creating and what seem like rules are really local and temporary and I am scared to let go of what seems like control, however deadening and empty and naive that control seems. So for me it is Science.
    When it has no hooks I think. Have I refuted Christianity? I doubt it. I stopped it from refuting me, to a great degree. Two things I want to repeat: 1) I think it is the nature of these 'things' to never acknowledge refutation, so one must not link refutation with its acknowledgement by 'them' or by imagining a time when they have no comeback. They are not as thorough as you. There will always be a comeback. It cannot be worked out 'out there' as horrifying as this seems, to me anyway. At least, not out there first. 2) I think the refutation is felt/noticed by us, when the hidden assumptions and expectations of their judgements of us and reality do not occur when we step away. We do not become evil or crazy or irrational.
    One thing I have noticed in recent years is that I developed a habitual 'no'. Might have saved me. It certainly led me to explore a lot of alternatives to the mainstream that have been wonderful. But I definitely threw out the baby with the bathwater. Going back and recovering that damaged baby, that has been hard and humbling. I think of my father. Certianly he bears responsibility for how hard it was to reach him, but I rejected qualities in him that I really wish I could have learned from. (he was not a Christian, by the way)

    I've been thinking about the many worlds hypothesis. That many different worlds with different rules and slight to major differences all coexist in parallel. Not interested in any formal proofs or investigations, but just feeling that there is something true about this. And that what is so hard about leaving behind paradigms and thought forms that are sysematized and deeply embedded in the unconscious is that it is like stepping into an unknown world. The devil you know and all that...And taking responsibility, instead of simply being a rebel angel. Kind of leaving teenagerhood. I can secretly cling to a paradigm and hate it, but in that role, however bad or rebellious or alternative I am, I am not responsible: victim or evil one, whatever.

    But to leave it and not engage with it, to step out and make choices not as a rebel or a follower.

    That scares me.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2008
  12. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

    It's ultimately their life vs. mine.
    I think nowadays, in this "modern" society, it's easy to foget that the struggle for survival still goes on as it always did, and that just because we don't threaten eachother with guns and knives doesn't mean we do not have the intention to harm or destroy others. Seen this way, the fights with the religious are similar as tribal fights, only that the selection of weapons is different, whereas the intentions are not.
    - Looking at interactions with Christians this way, I actually get some peace of mind.

    True. But given the difficulty and importance of such decisions (it is after all about deciding between eternal hellfire and eternal heaven!), I think one rightfully expects more precision.

    And secondly, the way many people describe how they have made that decision, smacks of choice-supportive bias, memory distortion for past choices, some other memory biases and cognitive biases. With this in mind, one has to wonder what really happened, whether the decision-making situation for them really was as clear and straightforward as they present it for us when they say things like "Believing in God is a matter of your choice", "It is up to you to choose between heaven and hell" or "You have been warned".

    I think that as we progress from one time and place in life to another, we take along coping skills from the previous time and place. But the coping skills that work in one time and place, need not necessarily work in another time and place.

    So for example a behavior or attitude that per se, seems counterproductive to self-preservation, might have been successful in a particular time and place.
    For example, not being responsible for oneself can be a survival mechanism, ensuring self-preservation in a violent and volatile environment where one is outpowered and at the mercy of others. Such as the case of children in dysfunctional families, or when being held captive for a long time.
    But once such a child leaves the family or the victim is released, the old behaviors or attitudes that were helpful for survival in a dysfunctional family or in captivity, are not necessarily helpful anymore.

    I think it is important to admit though, for the sake of one's wellbeing, that certain old behaviors or attitudes -however irrational, violent, horrid, etc.they might have been- were in fact necessary and helpful in that specific time and place, and that acting otherwise -more nobly, perhaps- would have lead to more harm for oneself.

    Would you say that you are looking for something absolute, something absolutely reliable? And are dismayed because science only offers theories, at best?

    Good point. When it has no hooks: when you have found a reference frame in relation to which you can refute something, and you hold this reference frame to be more important than anything else.

    I grew up in a rather volatile environment. Most people around me were unpredictable, unreliable, love one moment and hate another, this now and something completely different later. I think this is why things like constructivism or the notion of parallel universes don't scare me, or at least they don't surprise me - I've been there, in a way.

    Would you say you find yourself more or less unable to distance yourself from that which you dislike or consider hamrful to oneself?
  13. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

    I can understand that completely. And of course it is not restricted to Christians. The workplace, high school. and so on. I think it brings peace because it explains/justifies my own 'extreme' reactions. It also allows me to not be intimate and open. They are not inside me. I am not so aware of their needs and viewpoint. I fall back into my own body and perspective.
    It is a scary thing to confront ways in which you have not been an agent. Or that it feels like you were just buffeted into the place you are now. Or that your don't know. Etc. I think people deny emotions. But I feel that confusion - which seems like a mixed state involving both mental and emotional aspects - of course, but perhaps more clearly than other states - is something people like to deny. And if you have not spent time feeling confused, or really noticing your confusion, you will end up lying to yourself and others. That state then must be kept at bay by false certainties. I have had my mind attacked very badly by people who presented as certain.


    Yes. I have found that I needed to release the idea that I was betraying the child or even younger adult I was by shifting these things.

    Au contraire. For me science is a sociological phenonmenon, I cannot separate it out from the scientists and their followers. However much they speak in terms of theories and building theories that are always somehow tentative, I find they are not only sure of their theories but of what is not possible. The dismissals and rigidity (and the inherent deadness of a lot of the theories) is what gets to me. To be honest, I think there is a hatred of hope and a denial of yearning at root in the personalities.

    I guess. I am not sure I can really refute these things. It is almost like picking the shreds of clothing out of a bullet wound. One day they are gone and the skin can heal over without infection. I mean the rational aspects are there, if I look back, in fits and starts. I sometimes wonder if these are more like the outward outline of a deeper process. I thought these thoughts as I extricated myself, rather than the thoughts extricated me when I found/made them.
    I had a similar childhood. I have always thought that it could happen again, at any moment. I have reacted to this by both being flexible and also having trouble building up a 'traditional' life. This latter changed about 7 years ago.

    More able to. I feel like I am more consciously testing the things I am moving away from. Rather than being simply buffets by them or penetrated by them.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2008
  14. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

    Not only that. It also addresses and does away with many hyperidealistic or romantic notions I might have about "how things should be" and "how others should treat me".


    I haven't thought about this this way yet - yes, change does feel like betraying oneself.

    And there's another aspect - people whom you know from one time and place holding you to the idea of who you used to be, expecting you to be the same still, and accusing you of hypocrisy if you're not.

    Get sober and stay sober for a couple of years, and sure enough an old drinking buddy will accuse you of being a prudish hypocrite and denying your true self.

    I think a lot of our sense of who we are can hang on how the people around us are treating us, on whom they think that we are.

    I wonder why Western science developed the way it has.
    To an extent, scientists were people who more or less directly, more or less desperately sought proof against the existence of God, who sought proof that this life is all there is (as opposed to what many religions claimed about the afterlife and rebirth) ... and it shows in the topics they focus on - "It can't be God created the Universe, there surely must be anther explanation for the exitence of the Universe and everything in it." - "Is this life all there is? What makes a person a person?"
  15. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

    Yes, moving away from everyone I knew helped me make changes. And even if they support the change, they notice it. The spotlight goes on. Hey, look at what _______ is doing. And even if the next phrase is 'isn't that great' you don't get to feel the change for yourself as purely first. In a new place no one even notices the 'new you'. And it is harder for me to project my expectations of their reactions on them.

    Since we went very personal, I thought I would zoom out and think about the original problem. You are faced with a paradox or fallacy and freeze. I think it has helped me to try to get to the small steps. Things often happen very quickly in life. You are hit with many messages at once on different levels and even what is not said, but normally would be, can have a big impact. So if I can slow down an encounter - even in reviewing it later - I can often catch what froze me or knocked me off course. This is probably obvious to you and you are doing it here by interacting in forums like this. In that situation you get a slide show of the interaction instead of a film. You can spend an hour reacting to one sentence then come back to the next. I think this is very important: to slow it down.

    If there is one message in there that shames you - perhaps on a peripheral issue - it can open the door for the BS to hook on.

    Some hooks
    shame about having hurt people
    shame about judging people
    shame about saying no
    shame about being inadequate
    shame about being selfish

    also guilt, which I see as more act related - so for example the guilt about having hurt people would be around a specific incident, say in childhood, but shame would be that you are the kind of guy who.......

    Yesterday, as part of my job, I had to confront some people, who were doing something they should not have been doing. I do not like the cop role in any job. I did it very politely, gently and met a lot of resistance. I was shaking. In the end it went well, and the resistance I met was not mean spirited. I don't quite know how this interaction related to a childhood issue, but I could feel how clearly it did. For the first time I was not ashamed of my reaction, to what in this instance was my saying 'no' and setting a boundary. I felt sympathy for myself, rather than being caught up in my weakness or whatever self-judgement there was in there.

    The weight of other's perspective and sense of entitlement has been too great in my soul. I have not been centered in myself. Which is off, since no one else is better placed to do this - whatever one's beliefs about selves and essences.

    I think in this scenario I felt the other person's perspective and sense of entitlement more as pressure FROM THE OUTSIDE rather than as something that was mingled with my own perspective.

    I was not possessed.

    Some factors that probably helped me experience something new and perhaps take some baby steps toward a better set of options:

    sympathy for myself
    a desire to change the pattern - rather than hating the pattern, but also wanting to justify the pattern since it seems inevitable to me, so my participation 'must' be unavoidable.
    curiosity - it is a kind of adventure
    having noticed that not having an option was hurting me
    time spent in between such incidences feeling my reactions
    some rational work preparing the ground - explaining to myself why the new option is OK.

    (Ah, well. I zoomed out and I zoomed back in pretty fast to the personal)

    note: it happened again at work. This time anger got aimed at me. This pattern is really getting tested. If the universe is somehow benevolent, I suppose it thinks it's time for me to change here. If it is random, well, random is acting interestingly, to say the least. If I am calling, somehow, for this experience or only now noticing it, I have gotten better at calling for or noticing such things.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2008
  16. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

    I've read this, but I need to think about my reply some more.
  17. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

    I get the feeling that if we continue it would be useful to go through a concrete example of a paradox and what happens and what else might happen when encountering it.
  18. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

    Thank you for the reply. I don't really have anything to add.
    Other than that a part of this topic has already been covered in
    Avoiding the pits of extreme skepticism and in Philosophical/psychological dealing with uncertainty, with solution suggestions similar to yours above.
  19. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

    Good idea! Let's practice what we have pondered.

    I suggest this cunundrum, one that we have mentioned earlier:

    A person who does not yet believe in God, but is interested to, is given this advice by the Christians:
    Don't trust yourself, trust God.
    Don't trust yourself, trust the Bible.

    To someone who does not yet believe in God, either of the above is an impossibility. If that person still wants to believe in God, they are caught in a trap that could only be resolved either by God's intervention, or by denial.

    After what we've discussed earlier in this thread, it is my guess that the part that needs to be addressed by such a person is not the veracity of the Bible, or who or what God is, but their desire to know God.

    What do you think?
  20. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

    I think, actually, it would be an impossibility for you, but not for some. Perhaps it 'should' be an impossibility. But I think some people actually take that silly advice and follow it. They read the bible and try to replace their own ideas and reactions with ones that fit the bible. To be judgemental I could say that at some point the lack of their own will - since they have replaced it with an external authority - brings them some peace and they begin to see this as God or a result of them now believing in God, etc. And it gets positively reinforced from there.

    I guess I want to point out that you, Greenberg, cannot react in accordance with those commands/suggestions, but some can. And I am, I hope it is obvious, not saying this is a weakness on your part.

    A Christian might have the awareness to say something like Trust only that part of you that trusts the Bible and yearns to submit to God. Allowing that there might be something in you that can be trusted, but it is small, now, and one must be very humble and avoid trusting anything else in ourselves.

    Your last point is close to where I would go. What is the person's desire? What do they want to move toward? I haven't gotten the impression that you want to move toward the Christian God. You don't believe AND it sounds like you don't see this as problematic except in so far as it might be a mistake. Which is a little different from many people's context when they encounter such Christian platitudes. They are at their wits ends or are suffering and might lunge out with their hand to grasp at the line tossed by a Christian. They are willing to give it a chance and it sounds like there might be something in there for them. I don't think any part of you is drawn in that direction, but you are drawn to not end up in eternal hell. Which is not the same thing.

    I think the above might be kinda tangential but it seemed necessary before I could go into the conundrum in a more universal way.
  21. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

    Just to quibble: Many Christians would of course say that that in fact is a weakness on my part. It even seems to be a tenet of the Christian doctrine that people who don't act in accord with the instruction "Don't trust yourself, trust God/the Bible" are willfully rebelling, and thus only prove that the Christian doctrine is true (because it is another tenet that people will rebel against it).

    This is true - my motivations for exploring Christianity are lead by the assessment "What's in this for me?" while I am not interested in truth per se.

    What would be a more universal way to deal with that cunundrum?
  22. sowhatifit'sdark Valued Senior Member

    I know. I just wanted to be clear that wasn't where I was coming from.

    And Christianity is sold this way:
    a way to avoid hell.
    a way to come to heaven.
    a way to reach an all powerful being who can answer requests and solve problems
    contact with a loving father
    and so on.
    So even in the presence of Christians I don't think you should be on the defensive on this point.

    Some questions, I suppose, would be my first approach:

    1) why did God make me such that I should not trust myself?
    2) if I cannot trust myself, how can I trust that I should join you rather than, for example, the Muslims?
    3) the bible is a complicated document or set of documents. How do I know whose interpretation I should accept? Your church or another's? Which preacher or priest's? If I am to trust my own interpretations, how can I? To 'trust' the bible I must trust thousands, no millions, of interpretive moment? Mine or others, but definitely not God's?
    4) a version of number 1 but with more anger behind it: what loving father would make a child that cannot trust itself? that should distrust its own body? whose own desires are suspect? whose mind is suspect?
    Why make this world and us simply as things we should deny and consider with disdain?
    5) Who are you to tell me what the truth is? I assume you do not trust yourself, why should I trust your interpretations and choice of book? Perhaps you are listening to the devil.
    That's a little start.
  23. greenberg until the end of the world Registered Senior Member

    Two things:

    One, I am defensive because the path to happiness as suggested by Christians does not seem to lead anywhere near happiness at all. Who wouldn't be defensive against the notion that the true nature of the universe and God is that they are evil?!

    Two, I have often noticed that when a non-Christian takes the pragmatic outlook what-is-in-this-for-me, many Christians react negatively to this pragmatism. Going so far as claiming that a person who believes in God solely to avoid hell will not avoid hell.

    To which the Christian apologist would say something like:

    1) why did God make me such that I should not trust myself?

    - We are made in God's image. Our free choice to sin is what blemishes us.

    2) if I cannot trust myself, how can I trust that I should join you rather than, for example, the Muslims?

    - The Bible is the one and only true Word of God.

    3) the bible is a complicated document or set of documents. How do I know whose interpretation I should accept? Your church or another's? Which preacher or priest's? If I am to trust my own interpretations, how can I? To 'trust' the bible I must trust thousands, no millions, of interpretive moment? Mine or others, but definitely not God's?

    - Don't unnecessarily complicate the matter. Trust your heart. It is lead by God.

    4) a version of number 1 but with more anger behind it: what loving father would make a child that cannot trust itself? that should distrust its own body? whose own desires are suspect? whose mind is suspect?
    Why make this world and us simply as things we should deny and consider with disdain?

    - This existence here is a test. Those who pass it, shall receive their reward in Heaven.

    5) Who are you to tell me what the truth is? I assume you do not trust yourself, why should I trust your interpretations and choice of book? Perhaps you are listening to the devil.

    - I have warned you. Ignore my warning at your own peril.

    And so on. I can roleplay several forms of Christian apologetics. We could argue for years without getting anywhere, except that the actual existential agony that started the whole thing would become even more severe.

    My point is that discussion with Christians doesn't seem to work - and this same goes for the discussion with the "inner Christian". Once the discussion starts, there seems to be no end to it other than sheer psycho-physical exhaustion. Unless of course one has a mighty ego to begin with, in which case the discussion would be cut off soon anway.

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