Paul Mawdsley

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  1. Hey Michael. Ha, still a causality freak but learning other languages. Interesting and pertinent that you bring up Peterson so quickly. I've been studying his perspective for about a year now. I came across him while listening to Sam Harris' first podcast between the two of them, the one where they got stuck on the nature of truth. I found it fascinating precisely because each was stuck inside his own specific single story or paradigm or epistemic lens and unable to include the other's perspective. It so reminded me of the Einstein/Bohr debates about the nature of reality at the quantum level. As with Einstein and Bohr, Peterson and Harris embody two distinct epistemic lenses: Peterson seeing through the lens of metaphorical thinking, distilling, through a process of unconscious cultural selection over the ages, archetypal stories and meta-stories that are "true enough" to enable survival and Harris seeing through a lens of pragmatic empiricism, attempting to find the single story of truth by connecting the dots of accumulated scientific observation and measurement in a mechanistic causal framework. I find it interesting that people have tended to take sides between the two. Peterson was just saying how his recent conversations with Harris, in Vancouver, Dublin and London, had audiences with a definitive divide into team Harris and team Peterson. My response to hearing the two archetypal epistemic perspectives was to attempt to take them both inside and see through each lens. (This is an act of, what I would call, masculine empathy.) My desire was to take them inside me and allow them to play out in a dialectical process so that I might find a truth that is deeper than and integrates both. One thing I have noticed is that the world can be very much divided into those who are metaphorically and spiritually intuitive in their thinking and those who are empirically and objectively intuitive in their thinking. I see them occupying two distinct spaces in a Venn diagram. But there is a third circle that is being missed. There is metaphorical thinking that gives us art and spirituality by exploring the inner nature of consciousness, there is empirical thinking that gives us science and engineering by exploring the outer nature of the objective world and there is causal thinking that gives us metaphysics and ethics by exploring the deepest, most fundamental nature of what is and why it behaves as it does on the level of principles. It also explores the point of connection between the metaphorical and the empirical. Peterson is giving new credence to metaphorical thinking and people are so hungry for this that he is rocketing to stardom. The psychological tendency for people to cling to a single core story, defining themselves by the parts they own vs the parts they disown, makes them exclude not only other stories but other ways of thinking. The increasing dominance of empirical thinking, especially in the last 100 years, has caused an exclusion of metaphorical thinking in serious conversations. In Jungian terms, metaphorical thinking has been shifted into the shadow self within our culture and Peterson is reintroducing the shadow for integration. The answer is not now to adopt metaphorical thinking at the exclusion of empirical thinking. Pushing empirical thinking into the shadows is how we create the Dark Ages. The answer is to hold onto the seeming dichotomy and allow a dialectical process to evolve, as it currently is with the Intellectual Dark Web. I would suggest the power of synthesis resides within causal thinking. It also resides within the individual psyche and the principle of creating a single story through integration rather than through disintegration-- patterns of owning and disowning. Metaphorical thinking and empirical thinking have mutually exclusive operating systems and mutually exclusive languages. Causal thinking creates a language common to both. It is the only thinking that will build a bridge between mind and matter. Paul
  2. Hi Michael. Perhaps the bigger problem is living within a single core story or ideology. Perhaps this was the root of the dogmatism that has always been a part of the Objectivist movement and is the root of the general polemical dogmatism that seems to have become so prevalent everywhere today. Maybe baring witness to and weighing a multiplicity of perspectives in a combined internal and external dialectic is a more balanced and integrating stance. We’ve figured out that physical things can behave at once as particles and waves. What if people behave at once as particles and waves? What if people behave as separate AND connected beings, with individualism emerging from a focus on our separateness and collectivism emerging from a focus on our connectedness? Then no ideological perspective that has emerged from one or the other of these basic principles can ever be complete while being propounded at the exclusion of the other. The question then becomes how to integrate such paradoxical perspectives into a unified meta-perspective. This can’t be done at the level of political thinking. It can’t even be done at the level of philosophical thinking. It requires a deep existential dive into an exploration of the psyche. How can I exist as both a separate and a connected being in a way that is integrated and healthy? New answers here will fundamentally reshape the existence of the individual, of intimate relationships and of societal systems and interactions.
  3. Hey Michael, Thanks for the cheerleading. The process of breaking down existing frameworks inside me, many of which have been absorbed from the frameworks embedded in our culture over a lifetime (or have been built as a resistance to them), to open to the possibility of new ones is not easy. Cheers are welcome...especially with glass in hand. There were parts of my life that were not working the way I wanted so it was time to make some changes. Earning a living within the framework of trading time and energy for money is one of those things. Instead I'm going to try packaging my perspective and my tool kit in marketable products to see what the market is willing to pay. To answer your questions: - I am studying my market and studying a great deal about creating an online marketing platform. I have learned from some truly gifted people in marketing along the way. It doesn't hurt that I am entering this arena with the help of the woman I share my life with now. She is a marketing exec who has been interested in this area for some time and has been receiving constant training on Internet marketing from her employer. We met on a dating site. Both of us were having a ball studying the profiles and learning. We both could see huge biz potential. A dating site is like a a 24/7 banquet for anyone interested in studying the human psyche. -I like Koenig's idea of half and half that you mentioned. A little bit of sugar with the medicine. - I am studying copy writing. I find I can create a head space where I enjoy playing with marketing copy. A lot of it has to do with being able to take an empathic perspective and feeling what you want to convey as much from outside yourself as from inside yourself. I've learned a lot from the marketing women in my life. I also have connections, through my girlfriend, to a lot of contacts in copy writing, PR, graphic design, social media, video tech, etc. I need to earn a few dollars to be able to afford some of these though. I have been marketing and selling my other biz for 6 years, and spent 12 years in sales before that. Funny, I went into sales specifically because it felt uncomfortable to me and I knew it would open new avenues for me. I've always gone against what they taught me though. I don't believe in hype and pressure. I approach it from the learning I did when I wanted to be a therapist: job one is to earn trust through listening, validating and understanding your client's feelings, vision and thoughts. Job two is to help them see the realities they exist within. Job three is to help them frame what they see so they reach their best possible conclusions on their own... which, of course is to by your product. This only works if you believe in what you are selling. Job four is to create a space where they have to own it and make a move. At the end of the process people have made their own choice with their eyes wide open. They don't feel pushed or pulled or pressured into anything. They own it. Most importantly, a bond of trust is created which translates into further business from them and their enthusiastic referrals. This is the most powerful and least expensive marketing. Video testimonials from clients who feel this bond of trust, satisfaction and enthusiasm is what I am seeing all the top earners using. There are 3 major markets where my perspective and tool kit has a good fit and where I see a void in the existing content. These all happen to be relationship markets. The first is the self-help market, which is all about our relationship with ourself, or to use N. Branden's terms: it's the relationship between the "I" and the "me." The second is man/woman relationships, of which the dating market is one aspect. The third is parent/child relationships. Our parenting culture is messed up. A forth category of relationships keep banging at my door: business relationships. I've been amazed at how many problems other business owners I know have with their client relationships when I don't. I've come to realize that there are things that I do to establish the rules of engagement during the formation of the bond of trust with my clients that sets a framework where they treat me very well and are enthusiastic about paying me. By listening to, validating and understanding my clients, while being very sure of how I see things, they like to see themselves through my eyes. They are highly motivated to maintain my positive regard. This personal connection stops a lot of the negative shit that happens in business. I have spent a lot of time studying the nature and dynamics of the psyche and the causal dynamics of relationships. I have studied the nature and importance of our relationship to our empathic-self in shaping who we are and how we relate to others. I have studied the nature of what everyone calls "the unconscious" and believe I have come to understand how it works. Surprise, surprise! Understanding the flow of the unconscious requires a new causal framework. I have found that letting the flow of the unconscious-self (or id) free within healthy frameworks created by the ego-self, while dismantling the unhealthy, energy sucking and spirit destroying controls, manipulations and structures that come from the superego, is the path to whole and healthy. I also spent a lot of time witnessing, sometimes from within and sometimes from the outside, unhealthy relationships. While I have always had a sense of what healthy relationships look like, taken from the moments in my life where I stumbled into healthy, I have not really witnessed a lot of what I believe to be healthy. I have seen a fair bit of codependently balanced. But not healthy. I have also spent a lot of time witnessing how healthy and unhealthy play out inside me. Healthy is when we flow from a place that is connected and whole. We live in a culture that frames the development of our psyche as a conflict between competing parts. In Freud's terms: the unbridled energy of the id needs to be controlled by the superego and conflicts between the two are to be resolved by the ego. This framework is what Freud saw as existing in his day and it is even more deeply embedded in our culture today. We also experience conflict between our core-self and that of our empathic-self. Ultimately, our conflict resolution comes down to one thing: we need to decide which part of us is right and which is wrong. Over time we take sides and own one while disowning the other. You end up with a very large disowned self that has a life of its own. Dialectics takes us down a different path. Have you ever taken the True Colors test? Strong in gold means you strongly own your superego processes. Strong in orange means you strongly own your id processes. Strong in green means you strongly own your core-self (ego in separate space) processes. Strong in blue means you are strong in your empathic-self (ego in connected space) process. This test is designed in a framework that assumes we can be categorized by the parts we more or less own and disown. What if we don't accept this framework? I score equally high on green, blue and orange with an almost nonexistent gold. My parts are not in conflict, I'm not filled with the controlling "shoulds" that most people seem to have, nor am I out of control as our culture's framework would predict. (Gold, or superego, is not really part of the self. It is an implant. It is formed as a result of manipulation and control from our caregivers whereby we must choose to accept their programming if we do not want them to hurt us. Withdrawal, intimidation, shame, guilt and stories that twist the truth are the weapons of choice.) Framing the psyche as a space of conflict between forces, where the unconscious-self is something to be feared and controlled, is a mechanism for breaking us open and filling us with controlling shoulds. It is an amazing tool for anyone seeking dominance in a power game. Our whole society is built on this, our characters are shaped by this and our relationships are defined within this space. And it is wrong. (This shows up on the judging/perceiving scale on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.) It is equally wrong to frame the psyche as a space of conflict between our core-self and our empathic-self. This splits us in two. It forces us to either own our connection with self or our connection with others. Either way, it's devastating to our relationships: both the relationships between the parts of the self and the relationships of which we are apart. (One of the ways this shows itself is in our tendency to introversion or extroversion in Jung's terms.) Healthy begins with breaking down the existing frameworks and opening to new possibilities for frameworks that nurture connection and flow. This is the framework I am taking into my new biz venture. Paul
  4. Trust you to press the right button, Michael. My forward momentum has stalled the last couple of days. The need to define my niche is precisely the block in the flow. Here's where I'm at. I'm focusing on the self-help niche, specifically the romantic-relationship-in-crisis niche. This can be broken into three broad market categories: those in crisis because they are not in a relationship and doubt their worthiness; those in crisis because they are in an unhealthy relationship and lack confidence in finding the path to healthy; and those in crisis because they are breaking out of an unhealthy relationship and need to heal their damaged soul. All three categories are highly motivated for change and growth. I tend to be drawn to the first of these, 30 to 65 year olds in the dating market, because this market is the easiest to target and is most open to personal growth. Haven't decided yet whether or not to narrow target to a specific gender. While this is the niche I'm looking at targeting my products for, my focus is set in a larger context. I know this comes as a surprise but I have a pretty unique spin on life and existence. I have written here on OL about how we can have different orientations of consciousness which create different ways of being in existence and we can have different lenses which create different ways of seeing the universe. To this I would add the concept of "frameworks," which give us different ways of flowing through time, through space, through life. In fact, I am not only changing my business model, I am changing my life model by changing the frameworks through which I flow in my life. Understanding these meta-perspective concepts brings our lives and our very identities within our control more than ever. They allow us to see our unconscious-selves and our conscious-selves as working together in dialectic balance rather than being contradictory and in conflict. This vision of a life in radical dialectic balance, a life that balances our separate-self and our connected-self, a life that balances our objective-self and our existential-self, is the foundation of the context in which I exist. It is the foundation of the context from which I write. It is the foundation of the context from which I am setting out to build this new business. In the larger context I have come to realize I have a way of being and seeing that I want to explore, develop and share with people. I see my online businesses as particular expressions of my inner self. They are avatars in The Matrix, there for me to experiment and play with, and hopefully make money with. At the centre of it all will be a site for me to write, and video blog, from all the different sides and voices in me. I just hope I can find a market that is interested in my spin of the universe. No guarantees but I trust my sense of my fit with the market.
  5. Carol and Tony, Thanks for your enthusiastic responses. A little explanation is in order. I have a passion for writing, for putting my way of being and seeing and thinking and doing into the world through words. OL has been my venue for exploring and developing this. (Thanks to Michael and Kat for this.) Unfortunately, I have built a life that consumes my time and my energy to the point where I have found little left for expressing this passion of mine. I came back to OL after a number of years, having gone through some self-transforming life experiences, because I have such a hunger to write, to intellectually connect and to be part of a community that shares similar passions. Because of the drain other parts of my life have on my time and energy, I found myself being taxed so much as I would sit down to write that I was left exchanging my need to sleep with my need to write. My health was suffering so I had to let go of participating here for awhile. I have decided to try an experiment. I am looking to completely change my business and my business model to create more time for pursuing my passion for writing, intellectually connecting and exchanging ideas. I also am looking to use the insights I have developed from my passion for understanding people and the skills and knowledge I accumulated, at one time, while pursuing my interests in psychotherapy. I am looking to start a blog and to create an information based business. My thinking is this: if I make psychology and writing an integral part of my biz, pursuing my passions will no longer be competing with pursuing my business objectives and I will no longer be tempted to give up my sleep for writing. That's my theory anyway. There are certain advantages with an information based biz over my current physical product and services biz. My current market is half a million people. This expands to hundreds of millions with an information based biz. Information products are created once, they can be processed and shipped automatically and can be digitally duplicated and mass produced. The sales and purchasing process can be automated. Geography is not relevant to creating and distributing information products so I can work from any place I like to play. Producing valuable content and marketing are the key skills to producing wealth. These are the places I'm looking to play with my next biz. Bottom line: I hope to be more active on OL as things start moving forward and intend to invite everyone to my site when ready for launch. Looking forward to creating and exploring the possibilities as this new adventure unfolds. Cheers to all, PaulM
  6. Thanks Michael. As with your previous post on stories, I am very interested. Today is Thanksgiving up here in The Great White North and I'll be shot if I go AWOL with a party for 16. I'll have to find time as the story of my day and my week unfolds. One thought: Our story of causality shapes how all our stories unfold. Our sense of causality shapes how we unconsciously process our experiences, shapes the options for action we project and shapes our available choices. This is why it is so important to explore and creatively shape our story of causality. Paul
  7. Michael, We are talking about the same thinking looked at from different directions. Looked at from the perspective of working from the whole to the parts you would conclude it is "story thinking." Looked at from the perspective of the parts to the whole you would conclude it is "causal thinking." Either way it is fluid, reciprocally causal, whole-to-part/part-to-whole thinking. It is why we both are drawn to discuss interconnected holistic systems. Paul
  8. Michael, I've always known we are on the same page using different language. Paul
  9. Is 'causal reasoning' the same thing (in your mind) as 'causal thinking'? William, It's funny, by asking me to put forward a definition you are asking me to translate causal thinking into logical thinking terms. Causal thinking is what we are born with. We see causal thinking processes as intuition or insights from our unconscious. It works along side metaphorical thinking beneath the layers of what we would consider conscious thought: logical thinking and mathematical thinking. In fact, it is metaphorical thinking restricted to realistic models of our experience, built from flowing images rapped around a causal framework. Picture clearly in your mind what would happen if you were driving along the highway and you swerved into oncoming traffic. Your ability to visualize this is causal thinking. Picture clearly inside you how you would react if, through you choices and actions, the person you care about most in the world was injured in some way and blamed you for it. Your ability to experience this is again causal thinking. Kant thought about causality but did not employ causal thinking. Hume got it all wrong and Kant was responding to Hume. Rand and N. Branden got it right. Causal thinking is the ability to imagine entities, observed or created, with specific identities that act in specific ways and in specific contexts, and setting them in motion in the mind's eye to see how they act and interact. Rand came to see this because she was a fiction writer. She created characters (imagined entities) with specific identities that acted in specific ways according to the nature she gave them, in specific contexts, and she set them in motion to see how they would act and interact while flowing within an idealized framework towards a climax that allowed her to illustrate her vision of existence and her values. She watched as the story unfolded inside and put words to the unfolding images. This is causal thinking. Paul
  10. Paul, It makes for a poor-ass story. I'm serious. Story is how we think. It's fundamental to our awareness. To show how fundamental it is, think of all the wars throughout history. Most have been over differences in totally implausible stories that have no way of being proven. We humans literally kill each other in mass for not believing in each other's story. If you want a cause for why people don't accept the claim that the underlying cause of everything does not, itself, have a cause, there it is. We need a story. No good guys or bad guys in the causeless universe formulation. It ain't sexy. That's not the only reason, but I think it's a major one, if not the main one. Michael That's it! God is sexy. Big bang is sexy. They make for exciting metaphors and dynamic plots. Earth as the centre of the universe is sexy. Mankind in general and men in particular, at the centre of the plan of the universe, is sexy (at least to men who envision themselves as special relative to other species and to women). Damn! Even tortoises all the way down is sexy. There is also a history of devaluing causal thinking and elevating metaphorical, logical and mathematical thinking. Causal thinking is what your old time mechanic uses (when the computer diagnostic doesn't work) to diagnose the problems with you car by having a vision and modeling that penetrates the car's inner workings and seeks the cause of problems by unconsciously reverse engineering the cause of the symptoms. Causal thinking is how the renovator sees inside the walls to know the underlying structure of the house and to realize the water you are finding in your basement is due to a leak around a window on the second floor when the wind blows a certain direction. Causal thinking is what the intuitive wood worker uses to build a structurally sound and functional cabinet that resists woods natural tendencies to twist and warp while allowing for its tendency to expand and contract with changes in humidity. The same cabinet maker uses more metaphorical, aesthetic thinking for designing the cabinets form around the functionality. He uses mathematical thinking to increase precision and consistency. He uses logic to stop making the designs that don't sell. Our universities are built on arts and sciences: metaphorical, logical and mathematical thinking. Causal thinkers are redirected to the trades. I work with a group of very intelligent renovators, electricians, landscapers, carpenters, etc, who have pursued careers through the university route only to find themselves drawn back to the trades in midlife because of a need to use their brains in ways that were discounted throughout their education and in their professional careers. Causal thinking has a very low status in our society. It is all but washed out in our education system. I had to fight my way upstream through school every step of the way because I refused to let go of my causal thinking. I was fortunate to find adjusting my thinking to the requirements of school work easy but, motivationally, it was hard. It required that I turn off my causal learning for higher education and I fought this every step. No surprise that I was attracted to AR and NB's causally innovative metaphysics, ethics and politics. As it turns out, also no surprise that I find myself in a world where the people who have attained a higher level of education tend not to get causal thinking or the value of AR and NB's contribution in this area. For the most part, I think causal thinking has been weaned out of the higher educated and advanced causal stories may have less metaphorical sex appeal to those who have simpler causal models. Our stories are based on our underlying sense of causality and on our metaphorical feel of what fits our experience. This operates on the level of vision and feeling: at the core of our unconscious processes. I see this as a combined cause of people not appreciating any vision of a universe without a first cause, whether without God or without big bang.
  11. Not what I'm saying. There is more than just mathematical thinking and modeling to take us beyond direct observation. There is causal thinking and modeling which can also take us beyond direct observation. At one time this type of thinking and modeling stood at the heart of physics. It's the baby that got thrown out with the bath water. Lowly tradesmen are the only ones who use causal thinking and modeling to any advanced level anymore. And we know they are lowly because they don't think in deep logic, abstract concepts and mathematical language. The irony is that Einstein was at once the defender of causality and the one who put some of the last nails in the coffin of causal thinking in modern physics, after the Michelson/Morley experiment, with his switching to metaphor and mathematics as his guide to modeling and producing relativity theory. The final nail was the Copenhagen interpretation of QM. All this washing our hands of causal thinking and modeling based on an inadequate concept of causation. And this has shaped our understanding, education, thinking and policies ever since. We made a mistake. Lets reevaluate.
  12. This is the essence of AR and NB's concept of causality. When understood it replaces the view of causality at the base of the current discussion and causes a paradigm shift that makes this discussion as interesting as a discussion on how many epicycles are needed to account for the apparent motion of Mars. I am trying to understand why people don't get this. Thanks Matt.
  13. Davy, As familiar as this article reads to me, I don't think I've actually read it before. Thank you. This article is clearly early in Branden's writing because it is written within Rand's language and worldview. However, there is no doubt that he has his own authentic vision and his clarity and insight are quite profound. Personally, I've always had a sense of resonance with NB's objective metaphysical foundations and the worldview that has emerged through his writing. My point of departure with him is on the level of his connectedness with the social element of his psyche and how this comes through in his work. There is a worldview that grows from our capacity for empathy and consideration for other people's perspectives. This worldview is left largely untapped in AR and NB's work. What I appreciate about your approach in what you have written above, Davy, is your openness, as an atheist, to seeing the world through other points of view without a sense of conflict or competition or defensiveness against other worldviews. It gives me a sense of you seeking truth without the need for exclusion of alternate perspectives to your own. Both AR and NB have tended to exclude other worldviews, with arguments to justify the exclusion. This stops the development of a worldview that grows from our capacity for empathy and consideration for other people's perspectives. The ultimate negative judgement from an Objectivist is the judgement of "social metaphysics." I see this as the explosive lock guarding the door to developing a worldview from the empathic, connected, social part of our psyche. I find this quote very interesting. I tend to see people's stories about the world as metaphors first and then assess the metaphysical value only after stepping inside and seeing the world from within the stories. This approach allows me to be more inclusive of perspectives that could be considered in conflict with my own. I tend to see "God stories" as metaphors attempting to capture some element of truth in reality. Very often this truth comes from the sense of connectedness and wholeness we can see in the universe. The striking thing about this quote is it is describing God as occupying the role of cause in a whole-to-part causal system. If we consider the idea that God created all things as an understandable error in logic, as discussed in NB's article, the rest is an interesting metaphor for a quantum system. For a king "to be in the whole kingdom by his power" suggests an image of subjects acting by their own motives and choices within the limits set by the king. This is the concept of freedom within limits. The limits, in a quantum system, are set by the system as a whole. The probability of a particle being measured in a particular place at a particular time can be seen as determined by how the whole system shapes the space in which the particle acts. Similarly, the action of a particular subject in the kingdom is determined by the identity of the subject-- his motives, inner stories, thoughts and choices-- AND the limits to the social space, in which the subject acts, created by the king (amongst other social relationships). As the previous quote was viewing the holistic system from the perspective of the king, this quote is seeing the same holistic system from the position of the subjects. The limits to the social space that influence their choices exist inside the subjects who are making those choices. In this way the power of the king exists inside the subjects. Applying this as a metaphor to the quantum case: the probabilities that exist in superposition for a particle can be seen as defining the space in a whole system and existing in the particle, limiting its actual position when measured. Here, Aquinas is presenting a worldview that opposes that of the Copenhagen interpretation (CI) of QM. The CI suggests that we cannot know anything about reality beyond the limits described by Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, so our stories of reality must be confined to what can be observed, measured and mathematically modeled. This puts the physical substance of things as existentially secondary to our perception of them. Aquinas is saying that essence or substance or reality is in the thing that exists, rather than in our perception of it. I tend to agree with Aquinas, just without the God metaphors. If we look at AR and NB's concept of causality-- what a thing is determines what it does-- in light of Aquinas' perspective, quantum realities and whole-to-part causation, we find it needs to be expanded to be more inclusive: What a thing is determines what it does in the context of the whole systems of which it is a part. Written this way we have a foundational causal statement from which to build a more detailed causal framework which can include reciprocal whole-to-part causal systems. Such causal frameworks can lead to a causal interpretation of QM (once the CI is understood as a philosophical doctrine used to exclude philosophical insightfulness from explorations of the nature of reality) and can lead to a causal explanation of the universe without the need for a god to fill in the spaces of the causes we do not understand. Interesting... both the Copenhagen interpretation of QM and the god interpretation of causal events are built to neutralize our capacity to develop a causal foundation and creatively develop a causal story of the universe that fits all the evidence. I guess causality makes strange bedfellows. AR and NB took an important step towards a causal story of the universe. This is what attracted me to their work. I say, let's keep working on it. Paul
  14. Hi Davy, I think you will find that NB writes more to the point on causality than AR. I'm sorry I don't have my references handy but you will find a page or two on causality in Branden's The Psychology of Self-Esteem. NB also briefly discusses the idea of metaphysical dualism in one of his later books (might be The Art of Living Conciously...I think MSK referenced it recently) and mentions that AR was in agreement with his thoughts in this area. Here he suggests that consciousness and matter may both emerge from a common underlying substance. While still vague, this is a step pointing the direction of their metaphysical thinking. I have spent a lot of time thinking on the issues of causality myself from the starting point provided by AR and NB. From my view, if "what a thing is determines what it does" then there is no need to look for an outside cause. There is no need to look for a first cause or a Prime Mover. AR and NB were suggesting a fundamental shift in how we understand the nature of causation. When we move from seeing causation as a relationship between the action of one thing and the action of another thing to a relationship between what a thing is and what it does, everything changes. It is a fundamental paradigm shift. The need for a Prime Mover comes from a different view of causality from AR and NB's. The question doesn't even come up in the story line of their worldview. Paul
  15. You made me laugh. A more appropriate analogy might be: what if the stick protruding from the water isn't really bent? Maybe there is something in the nature of light to account for the appearance of a bent stick rather than just associating it with other bent sticks. All we have to do is pull the stick out of the water...oh, we can't do that on the scale of light years. Guess we just have to assume the stick is bent...and the red shift is due to a Doppler Effect. What exactly is the evidence connecting the red shift to the Doppler Effect across cosmic distances?
  16. Actually, right now "observations" tell us that more distant galaxies are measured to have more of a red shift in their colour spectrum. This is the single point Big Bang is based on. Everything else is interpretation, theory and prediction. Apparently, only one interpretation and theory is deemed fit for consideration. Other perspectives are not worthy of serious consideration or exploration other than to look for weakness and fault. It is interesting to see the skew in approach to different stories. Big Bang theory is right til proven wrong. All others are wrong til proven right. What if we are wrong about the red shift being the result of a Doppler effect? What if there is something in the nature of light that systematically loses energy over vast distances? At the very least, objectivity suggests it's a reason to keep an open mind about other perspectives and treat them all with the openness of innocent til proven guilty from a fit-with-the-evidence point of view. The core of the plasma approach has not been challenged, except from within the Big Bang story. With all the astronomers and physicists working on supporting the Big Bang story, it has still gotten a lot of things wrong along the way. Why do we judge other attempts at alternative theories from a more rigid requirement. Lerner's book didn't get everything right, so lets disregard the whole approach. That's one guy with one book and a handful of supporting physicists who won't ignore the weaknesses of the Big Bang against a whole establishment built to patch all the weaknesses and fight for the story they have identified with.
  17. Tony, I'd like to second your recommendation: Read Branden. NB's work was central to my own self exploration and growth through my 20s. The person I became while following NB's guiding vision is central to who I am today. In many ways I consider his work in identifying the structure and dynamics of the psyche to be the jumping off point in how I see things today. You will find the roots of what I say about connecting conscious awareness to our unconscious flow in his discussions on the sage-self. The negative side of stepping inside the empathic lens and the mutually connected empathic universe I see as being the underpinnings of what NB identified as "social metaphysics." I've explored these concepts in ways that NB didn't write about. Radical empathy and social connectedness is an exploration of the half of the universe not covered well by Objectivism or NB, the healthy self esteem, positive side of the social metaphysical coin. It grew in me from what I sensed was missing in AR and NB's work. I think you have me captured in your nut-shell...from an Objectivist/NB lens. I would describe it in different ways, both broader and deeper, that requires language that goes deeper into the causal dynamics of the psyche than AR and NB went but I feel comfortable with your classification. My only real comment from within the NB lens I already know you know based on your past comments: The actions that are an expression of healthy self-esteem are the same actions that produce and sustain it. Practicing visible and vulnerable is the path to healthy self-esteem as well as the expression of it. This is why we need safe people in our lives that care and understand and guide before judging us. We need a safe space to practice visible and vulnerable. This is also why I think our cultures parenting practices are so fucked up. Instead of a safe, well defined space based on a respect for facts, for our kids to grow into their independence and autonomy, we give them shame and blame and guilt and intimidation and skewed stories used to control and manipulate (and often, indoctrinate) them. A well defined safe space produces independent and autonomous kids (and adults) with radical empathy and healthy social connectedness. The ill defined space of guilt, intimidation and skewed stories produces either broken codependent kids or radically rebellious kids, each with broken empathy and broken social connectedness. Taken causally to an extreme of this is what NB described as social metaphysics. (It gives us power games filled with narcissistic traits and people pleasing traits on two sides of a broken soul.) This is what keeps therapists in business. Note: The first job of a therapist is to make the client feel safe and seen. It is to create the safe space where being truly visible and vulnerable can be practiced. It is to start to undo the damage done by our poor parenting culture. Paul
  18. Calvin, you are speaking as though your insides are absolute and apply to all cases. They are not. The way I see it: we all have a relative perspective of an absolute reality. My experience of my vulnerability comes when I break from the power game perspective that you mention. The only power over my view of reality is my vision and creative volition. Others provide information that helps to expand my vision, not a replacement for my vision. I can include other people's relative perspectives alongside my own to increase my vision of the underlying realities through a process of dialectics. It is like a hologram where a lot of little pictures, each focused on some detail from a particular unique perspective, come together to create a view of a three dimensional whole reality. We get closer to the truths of reality by including more perspectives in our inner hologram. I approach what people say about reality with the belief that there is some element of truth (even if the truth is that they are sometimes The challenge is to find where the truth lies inside their vision, feelings, stories and defenses against seeing the truth or between different visions of reality. Causality is my guide, the standard and measure, the rock that gives me sure footing, through both my own creative perspective processes and my dialectical treatment of other perspectives. This is why causality is so important for me. Vulnerability is about opening to all the information, all the perspectives, all the feelings that flow through me without censoring, without defenses and without stories to make myself feel more valued or more efficacious. It is simply allowing the dots of experience to line up for themselves and being open to what I see and feel. It is the experience of allowing conscious awareness to open to the information contained in my unconscious flow without blocks. It is key to integrating conscious with unconscious processes and being more whole and integrated. Paul
  19. Xray, Just want you to know I did catch this question. I have a very complex answer but this is not the space for such an answer. I am creating a more simplified thought bubble and just need some time to write it out. Thanks for your patience. Paul
  20. I'm short on time so I'll have to be short on detail. Vulnerability may be a state of weakness but it takes great strength and courage to go there. It is not a sign of weakness, but of strength to go to vulnerability. This is where we need to put understanding and caring before judgement for ourselves. It is interesting that there is a large segment of the Objectivist culture that fights to not see the vulnerabilities and limits of Objectivism. It is possible, that in identifying with Objectivism, some people defend it using the same tools they use to defend their own sense of weakness and vulnerability.
  21. I second that. Paul PS: I call it radical empathy. :-)
  22. Bingo! This, I believe, nails one of the most important obstacles to self-actualization. The fear of vulnerability that comes from a sense of being "not enough" in other people's eyes, experienced at a core level in our unconscious flow, is a key force shaping our inner patterns of owning and disowning, our personalities, our behaviours and our lives. We are built around our fear of "not enough." Since other people are psychological mirrors, able to give us a lens into our nature as beings in a state of flow (I'm not overly comfortable with the standard spiritual language in this area because of its supernatural spin), when our sense of not enough in other people's eyes triggers the anxiety (fight or flight) associated with empathic vulnerability, we shut down to empathic information about who we are. I witness this in people every day, even people who are highly oriented to empathy. They can't handle hearing what they experience as "tough truths" about themselves without shutting down their empathic flow. Instead, they live inside a story they have created about who and what they are, which protects them by filling the space left by blocking real information from others. And don't challenge that story! It, and all their defense mechanisms, are built to avoid the anxiety of feeling not enough. Challenge their story about themselves and you bring out their monsters, their protectors and their warriors. Every one of us grows up with some degree of feeling not enough. We live in a culture that uses shame and blame and guilt and intimidation as standard parenting practices to get inside and twist kids to the will of the parents. (Where would religion and parenting and taxation be without guilt and intimidation?) This creates much of the state of not enough when we are growing up. It is this anxiety of not enough that stops the integrating of the conscious and unconscious parts of the self. It is this anxiety that causes us to dump the unwanted parts of the self into unconsciousness. It is this anxiety that drives addictions. Anyone who has been through a twelve step program will recognize the importance of facing the anxiety of not enough. This is the source of the dark side of the human spirit. The path to personal growth, to wholeness and to self-actualization requires that we go through fully experiencing and embracing the anxiety of not enough, with all its monsters, protectors and warriors. It requires that we cut through all the structures and defenses that had survival value at an earlier time but, now, cut us off from ourselves. It requires that we go through all the layers of defenses to get to ground zero at our core where we discover our deepest aloneness and vulnerability. I've lived it and I've helped others through it (people close to me who were struggling with shit and striving to grow). It feels and looks very much like an exorcism, or rather a series of exorcisms. All the body's systems go into defense mode in the face of our deepest fears as our defenses fall, right down to producing a fever and sweats to to get rid of an unwanted invader. On the other side of this process, of fully experiencing and embracing the anxiety we have carried with us since childhood, there is calm and peace inside. There is no place inside us we are scared to go, no part of us we don't have access to. We can reclaim the parts of us we have disowned. We can discover who we are through the eyes of others without the fear of being overwhelmed or consumed. We can let go of our self-deluding stories that push uncomfortable facts to the unconscious dumping ground and, instead, just be open to experiencing the flow of information and how the facts line up. We can connect our conscious and unconscious processes to be more whole, more present, more in a state of flow. Then we get to do all the shit we did before...but in a new, healthier way. Paul
  23. Calvin, are you thinking of faith as conscious trust in our unconscious processes and capacities?
  24. Calvin, I think I do get you on this. Tony, think Pink Floyd- The Wall.
  25. By "cyclical", are you referring to the model of a universe oscillating ad infinitum between a Big Bang and a Big Crunch? But aren't these only 'pockets of order' which don't have enough force to prevent entropy in the cosmos? Not referring to the Big Bang. It is a theory based on the belief that the observed increasing red shift of more distant galaxies is the result of a Dopplar effect in light. This was somewhat supported by the prediction of the microwave background radiation, from the theory, that was discovered in 1965 (I believe). It is based on a view that the nature of light is dualistic and the view that gravitation is the primary force shaping the larger structures of the universe. Dualism doesn't fit my view of causation so I have sought a model of the nature of light that is not dualistic and found the possibility that light loses energy over large distances, thus accounting for the red shift. Also, I have considered the possibility that plasmas play a more fundamental role in forming the large structures in the universe so electromagnetic forces need to play a more prominent role in our theories. No Big Bang. No Big Crunch. Just an ever evolving cycling universe. I'm open to evidence both ways. It seems most people are only looking for facts that fit the story of the Big Bang. The tendency towards integration is fundamental to plasma physics. If plasmas play a fundamental role in forming the universe, and electromagnetism is the primary force integrating the universe, then the integrating role of plasmas creates more than just pockets of order. It is the other side of the cycle of birth and death. Paul