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The Task of the Author & Thinker

The Task of the Author & Thinker

[Something Deeperism Institute]

[Editor’s Note: “First Essays” has a slightly altered version of this essay. “First Essays” is available for sale (or free — write us at and we’ll email you a copy) on the Buy Our Books! tab of this blog.]

At what, besides quitting this pointless drinking, should we would-be authors and public thinkers aim?

To answer that question, one needs to first explain what a human conscious moment is, and how we humans should think and act.

A human conscious moment consists of the Light shining through all things & feelings/perceptions/vague-notions/ideas/words/actions.
I guess everything slides together, so maybe it is best to say a human conscious moment is Light/feelings/perceptions/vague-notions/ideas/words/actions.
In any case, the only way forward for human beings is to organize themselves so that their whole conscious moment is guided by the Light, which alone knows what is really going on, what really matters, and how best to steer the other aspects of conscious thought.
And so the only way forward is to let the Light pull you to Itself through the goods it demands of you: as much (ever-growing) awareness, clarity, honesty, accuracy, competence, kindness, and shared generous joy as you can muster.
Though we need some intellectual/emotional principles/standards to ground our intellectual/emotional/spiritual searching, the way forward is more about organizing our ideas and feelings around the ultimately-ineffable Light than about the ideas and feelings we have about the Light and our relationship to It. Because, after all, an idea/feeling about the Light is not the Light, and when we pretend our ideas/feelings are the Light, we misdirect our focuses.
The way forward for a human conscious moment is to better and better follow the Light within, a path which includes the understanding that the Light can only be approximated by human ideas and feelings, meaning the way forward is a way of humility, caution, and constant self-reassessment (based on the inborn standards of awareness, …. shared joy) and -revision.

Given this state-of-affairs—which is True or else life has no meaning that any human can understand/care-about/bear, which is intellectually provable as any other notion about how one should think and act, and which we know at a level deeper and wider than our intellectual and emotional notions—what is the role of the public author and thinker?

Is it to get himself all riled up every weekend, drunk off of alcohol and his own genius?
It really isn’t.
It is to meditate upon the whole human moment—from the Light through feelings and vague notions out into ideas, actions, interactions, and feedback—and sketch such meditations in art and thought.

It is not for an artist or a thinker to say, “Listen to me: I know the Truth.” But it is for such attempters to say, “Read me: I’m worth reading.” And what is worth reading but relentless, whole-being honesty? Actually, you need that, but you also need a light touch, otherwise the honesty gets obsessed with nonessential details, you lose the sparkle of the essential moment and the frolicking fun of creation, and your art and thought fizzle.

And now, alone here with his task, the nightwatchman runs over a few lines he heard at least week from the raucous, smelly, smushed-together standing- & looking-up center floor of the Globe Theater. He recombines them in his own mind, strikes a version he finds pleasant, imagines life upon and/or behind the stage. But then a higher-up walks by tall and demanding, and so he hops to and those silly daydreams scatter. He is, after all, a grown married man with a real job to do, namely to pace all night every night over these smooth stones and beside these rougher ones, lantern held high, demanding “who goes there!” of anyone he doesn’t immediately recognize. That is what he must do with all his power until death slumbers him out.

[Editor’s Note: “First Essays” has a slightly altered version of this essay. “First Essays” is available for sale (or free — write us at and we’ll email you a copy) on the Buy Our Books! tab of this blog.]

[Something Deeperism Institute]

Next Steps: Now that we’ve agreed on the undoubtable values

Next Steps: Now that we’ve agreed on the undoubtable values

We agreed that any pattern of thought and action that refuses to ever sacrifice universal values like awareness, clarity, honesty, accuracy, competence, kindness, shared joy, and equality within the Love; we agreed that any such sacrifice would steer human thought/feeling/actions into places that were not meaningful, interesting, understandable, or standable to human beings.

We agreed that corruption is a mistake and that it is the state of affairs in which impulses not guided by the universal values rule the moment, and that corruption can overtake an individual human being or a group of human beings, and that corruption–like all human things–is a thing of degree.

After that I don’t know: did we agree on anything more?

I guess we didn’t, because you sided with what I think is cruel and stupid.

So what now?

I’m asking you, because I can’t figure this out all alone.

Give me a real philosophy

Give me a real philosophy

Give me a real philosophy
Give me a philosophy that actually fucking helps
Give me a philosophy that helps
I’m sick of these ideas that twist and turn like leaves in the sunny wind.
What the use are they?
Where’s the philosophy that helps me to live for real?
Where’s the philosophy that helps my country stop falling apart?
Where’s the philosophy that knows how to help us all?
Where’s the philosophy that tells the Truth until Goodness reins?
I don’t see it; I don’t find it; I don’t hear it.
I just don’t.

The Myth of Sisyphus & Something Deeperism – While Drinking

The Myth of Sisyphus & Something Deeperism – While Drinking

Hey party people!

This one goes out to everybody who obsessed over The Myth of Sisyphus in their early 20s, at least partially motivated by a rumor about Albert Camus’s Bodhisattva status, and who then evolved their own philosophical notions partially from this reading and rereading, and who now 20ish later is trying to put everything together into some kind of coherent path while alcohol and other give-ups continue to beat them!

The Myth of Sisyphus starts out with a little note from the author explaining that he’s not claiming that the intellectual parameters within which the essay takes place are the Final Truth; rather, he’s examining these parameters and following them to their own conclusions, while still remembering that they may very well be nothing more than the errors of one time and place within the human-flow.

Something Deeperism agrees with some of the points Camus made in his youthful essay, but Something Deeperism also says: “Yes, this essay is in part predicated upon the errors of specific time and place, and the Truth won’t be caged therein: ENTER SOMETHING DEEPERISM.”

[A note to scholars: Please footnote this for us; we’re operating from decades old memories; please footnote this for us and forgive us this further indulgence.)

What we agree with:

First Thing We Agree On
There is no progress without awareness of where one is within one’s own thought and feelings. If you lie to yourself about what you understand and believe, you are not present in your own thinking/feeling and cannot really travel with your own thoughts to your own conclusions. You pretend to understand, believe in and care about your own ideas, but what you are really doing is confusing yourself while desperately clutching ideas that make no sense to your mind/heart. You make no real progress, but wander instead within a desperate grab for a SENSE OF REAL MEANING you feelingly smush your dogmas (be they religious, secular, and/or skeptical) onto.
Therefore, one must first admit where within one’s thoughts and feelings one finds oneself (apparently Nietzsche disagreed, but this was part and parcel of his ultimate nihilism: the sacrifice of a coherent search after meaning for grand feelings about fearless revolutionarism).

Second Thing We Agree On
Humans long for a salvation that they can understand. They cannot stand to live without a Meaning to Life that they know is True and that they know is there’s.

What We Disagree On
The notion that humans cannot have that salvation that they can understand. What, 20th Century Continental Thought, we humans cannot have is a literal/definite/mathematical understanding of our salvation.

I am so lonely.
I am just so lonely.
And for so long now.
It is too much.
And tomorrow I have to get to work at 8AM so I can have an hour of quiet while I work on payroll.
I am just so tired and lonely.
And the worldhistoric midterms are coming as US detention centers are keeping applicants caged like criminals–worse than criminals, since at least criminals are allowed to go outside.
I know because my friend who is married with children and working 50 hours a week volunteers his time to try to help some poor guy from Nigeria whose family is in hiding because he’s a crazy Christian and some crazy Muslims have it in for him and who just lost his first go because the judge has gut feelings about which countries are dangerous and which aren’t so bad.
I know because I waste all my free time in Brooklyn while twenty miles away in New Jersey this guy hasn’t felt the sunlight in over a year while his family hides in Nigeria and I drink.

The Problem Camus Wasn’t Allowed To Go Beyond
Albert Camus, sainted smoker (I quit, thank you!) and hallowed ecrivian, was not allowed to make this true statement:
Human beings cannot have literal insight into their own salvation, but they can still have adequate insight into their own salvation.
We can’t capture all our experiences with words and ideas, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have whole-being (ideas, feelings, and the Light shining through each conscious moment–all working imperfectly but still adequately together) insight into the meaning of our lives.

When I knew Camus, when we wound together around a foggy undersea peninsula, holding our gin, lighting our fags, and admitting that we weren’t all we meant to be: at that time I said to him: we’ve no reason to suppose that the intellectual and emotional aspects of a human cannot relate adequately well to a TRUE GOOD that shines through each conscious moment and shouts that and in what way human life is MEANINGFUL: obviously, the True Good is wider and deeper and more certain and perfect than our ideas and feelings, so they’ll never be a literal/definitive/1:1 intellectual and/or emotional understanding of the True Good, but all that means is that human life is not math, which, I mean, come on: of course it isn’t.

And he said to me: True that, but the real question is how are you going to help that poor man stranded in your defunct justice system?

Author: DL Hopeless, famous theoretical problem-solver

Intro Essay: Something Deeperism Institute

Intro Essay: Something Deeperism Institute

Welcome to the Institute for Theoretical & Applied Something Deeperism!

We’re here to advance the theoretical and practical knowledge of, love for, and engagement with the general worldview that: “Yes!, there is something like an Absolute Truth, and we humans can and should relate meaningfully to that Absolute Standard For Thought & Action–just not literally.”

Something Deeperism is not some weird, esoteric, marginal worldview. On the contrary: We are all already Something Deeperists: None of us can escape either the insight that without an Absolute Standard For Truth & Action our thoughts and actions flounder hopelessly and dangerously about, or the insight that attempting to claim literal understanding of the Absolute Truth makes no sense to any of us. Both these realizations are burned indelibly into every human conscious moment.

Sometimes we look away from these fundamental, inescapable insights; but all that accomplishes is confusing our own thought and actions: we slip away from awareness of our own place within our own feelings, ideas, and actions; to the degree we do that, we make less sense to ourselves, believe in and care our own thoughts and actions less, and generally lose agency and control over own thoughts and actions. When one’s awareness thus abandon its post at the helm of one’s thoughts and action, all the silly impulses that think they should rule grab at the wheel, and madness, chaos, and evil invariably ensue.

The question, then, is not whether or not we are Something Deeperists. The task is not convincing people to become Something Deeperists. The work of the Something Deeperist Institute is, rather, simply this: to together discover how to be better individual Something Deeperists, and how our organizations, systems, cultures, entertainments, and so on can help both individuals and groups get better and better at finding the sweet spot between (common error 1:) doubting away the only possible firm foundation for thought and action (aka: the Absolute Truth) and (common error 2:) confusing ideas and/or feelings about the Absolute Truth for the Absolute Truth.

Human beings being things of degrees, our Institute does not indulge in daydreams of perfection, but merely looks to push ourselves and our world a little more towards the gentle, the wise, the Good.

So far, the ITASD is only a pile of essays written by Bartleby Willard and Andy Watson. So far, these essays are a mixed bag, and it is far from clear even to their authors/only-readers what use they could ever be. So far, the goal is far off and hazy, the riders slump parched and clammy-exhausted, their mounts gallop with the stumbling sorrow of dying beasts, and worry sits high in the night sky, twinkling like the only star such hopeless hopes deserve.

We’ll now round up and organize essays already extant. Pray for us. We know our insides shattered, our fingers slipped, our adventures splattered and ineffective like the cool-drying muds that pinch our skin and mascara our eyelashes. We know! But we want to grow stronger, to get better, to somehow help ourselves and others. So pray for us, for our efforts. And join us as we pray: “Help us, That within and shining through Which Alone Knows, Cares, & Can!: Help us to all together grow in wise kind compassionate effective joy, and have fun together.”

Hey! Let me just say one thing: I think we should divide this project into two main categories: Something Deeperism in the individual spiritual path & Something Deeperism as a common reality for groups of people. The first category’s way chill; the second a little more circumspect, worried, peevish. Individuals can debate among themselves the pros and cons of various metaphysical positions and there’s no harm and some fun in a little jocular cajolery between metaphysicians. However, there are certain core values that all humanly-meaningful/practicable worldviews doggedly refuse to abandon, and this fact needs to be solemnly, earnestly, painstakingly, and repetitively acknowledged by all of us. Because when we forget how much we are all in this together and how much we all deep within know and are that Truth, we treat our fellow shipmates as pirates; they return the unsavory sabery (we made an adjective out of “saber” here; is it confusing?; we’re worried it might be confusing; we’d remove it, but, well, we just can’t, just can’t remove it right now) favor; the ship drifts cross-hull across the reef.


Still it’s only wishing

Still it’s only wishing

A man sits alone a month before midterms that there’s good reason to worry will be stolen by Russia or some other entity that wants to spread panicked-sick dysfunction and squelch competent shared joy.

A man sits alone in his spacious one bedroom apartment of a Sunday morning, gazing down at the sidewalk below where another man uses an orange-bristled push-broom to move some kind of sandy dirt (?or is it sawdust?) all over the wide sidewalk, near the corrugated bent broke and bending wall painted a rusty red, defaced by bubbly graffiti and topped with petering-out barbwire-loops.

A man gets older dreading another Monday that he’ll have to go to work since he’s not managed to find his way into:

Sunlit freetime reading writing creating moving playing living
while somehow magically also being well-enough-to-do and being adequately helpful
as also somehow magically Democracy, decency, wisdom, and real kindness prevail
and move everything gently away from scary boring precipices and towards a sustainable platform
where we can all find our way into and with the Light–both as individuals and together.

A man sits there with a crink in his shoulder, and some sleepiness around his eyes, having drank too much Friday and Saturday.
He sits there, hoping to somehow magically pull it together on this late-riser Sunday. Hopes to somehow pull it together and find the win-win that springs him from the workaday and the country and world from corruption.
Yes, corruption is the problem–both for individuals and collectives.

A man desires a woman
A man wants the means to live well
and to take his woman on nice trips
where they can just the two of them
sink into foreign places and faces
and into each other, two souls that have agreed to be happy together

A man desires every hot young curvature that crosses his bored-stiff field of vision.
A man wants the means to fuck around all day long day after sunny easy, wander-wide, dine/sleep-high-end day.
And to take some impossible explosion of bosom hip and joyous femininity on trips where they get along and go alone and together a little deeper into life and love.

A man desires a political reality that is stable and just; and an economic one that gives everyone wealth, health, and time to explore and grow; and a cultural one that supports open-hearted/-minded spirituality, thought, and art–that believes most fundamentally in awareness, clarity, honesty, accuracy, competent effective kindness, mutual respect and consideration, and the shared joy of knowing we are all in this together and are equal in what is most important: our place in God’s heart.

A man can desire such collective goods while still longing for the privilege to sneak off with some compatible young lady, sneak off with her into the boundless youth of a quiet, healthy, ancient life along yon sparkling sea, with fresh vegetables, clean air, and varied hikes. The secret, private, out-of-the-way happiness of a lucky blue-zone villager or–and this is much more what we’re here confessing to–a rich self-indulger.

Wouldn’t it be nice
if we had a system
where everyone was held up high

Wouldn’t it be nice
if we could all chill
without letting it all fall down

Still it’s only wishing
for flowers without toil
Here I’m still wishing
as the cold vipers uncoil

for a life both pleasant and decent

Author: PD Leon, still sea-sick from the exuberances of my most embarrassing century

Glossary of “Love at a Reasonable Price, Volume One: First Loves”

Glossary of “Love at a Reasonable Price, Volume One: First Loves”

Never quite straightened out.

Not in Alphabetical order; but short—you could skim through it.

Advertising As Terrible Treachery: Advertising is a trick! Advertisers are tricksters! They manipulate our deep and legitimate senses-of and pushes-towards a real and abiding happiness in order to trick us into buying things, voting for candidates, nodding to opinions. Advertisers (and people using the media to sell ideas, candidates, and other purchaseless products) use knowledge of our psychological vulnerabilities in order to trick us into turning our thought towards their points of view. Of course, many hawked products and argued positions have some merit, but so many advertising organizations, branding firms, pr management teams, pundit/political-agendizers and their support staff, and other professional idea/feeling-pushers are—I am convinced!—so focused on winning/moneycomfort, that they’ve lost sight of what was supposed to be their cause (because it is the cause fundamentally animating us all human beings): moving in light and love as individuals and in community with others towards more awareness and honesty, and the concomitant unfolding of the inner Light shining within each of us and famously celebrated in that old timey gospel hit “This Little Light of Mine”.

Irreducibles: Most statements assume other statements: we cannot assent to them without simultaneously assenting to their more foundational assumptions. Are there any statements that are so fundamental, that they do not assume any other statements? If so, they would be “irreducibles”.

Some year back, I had the thought that “I know there is a True Good” and “I know there isn’t a True Good” and “I don’t know whether or not there is a True Good” were all equidistant from the same irreducibles. To understand and evaluate any one of them, we’d need to have a sense of what we mean with the “True Good”, with “exists/doesn’t exist”, and with “what sort of things I can know”.

But then I began to think that “I know there isn’t a True Good” and “I know there is a True Good” actually rely upon “I know there is a True Good” if they are to have any meaning and/or interest to human beings. My reasoning is this: I have within me a sense towards “truer” and “better”—not so much those ideas/concepts as the senses-of-things they imperfectly but still meaningfully point towards—; and concomitantly a sense that I can and should use my thought to move towards the directions that those senses-of-things point me towards. Without assenting to that underlying assumption, nothing I think or do makes any sense: all my thoughts seek to satisfy that longing for “truer” and “better”: even when I was claiming that I didn’t know anything about “Truth” and “Goodness”—still I was trying to satisfy those senses-of-things: I was making the case to myself that it was “truer” and “better” (the senses-of-things) to say I didn’t know anything about “Truth” and/or “Goodness”. So, then, since a concept never points perfectly towards the sense-of-things its pointing-towards but “imperfection” is not the same as “inadequacy”, it seemed logical to prioritize statements that pointed towards an affirmation of my impulses towards “truer” and “better” and their preferability ahead of all other statements: before my thought can assume anything else, it needs to assume those directions. But I, for one, could never see how “truer” and “better” had a meaning except in relationship to endpoints, which seem best described by the absolute concepts of “True” and “Good” (“truer” relative to what? Ask yourself for real: Can you understand, believe in, or care about your sense of “truer” without understanding, believing in, and caring about the existence of “True”?). And so that’s how it happened: “There is a True Good and my thought can and should move towards It” seemed to me to point towards an inner sense of things that was more fundamental than any statement pointing towards a sense-of-things that doubted “There is a True Good … towards It” (because those senses-of-things—in order to be bothered with—all assumed that my thought actually mattered, and the direction of my thought mattered, and that my thought could move coherently towards those senses of “True” and “Good” that I experience as being the fundamental impetuses and parameters of my thought). And so—without getting so far as to actually declare an absolute Irreducible, I was able to (to my satisfaction anyway) declare “There is a True Good and my thought can and should move towards It” as more fundamental (closer to irreducible) than any statement/attitude that would doubt that statement.

Pure Love: Human loves are rarely if ever completely pristine spiritual goods. They generally seem to some degree tainted by mythology, greed, egotrip, and other emotionalisms and intellectualisms. But it is often postulated—to varying degrees of clarity and with varying degrees of conviction and sincerity—that within all human “loves” that are actually loving there abides a completely pristine spiritual good: Pure Love—prior not just to bodies, but to ideas (stories-about), and feelings (reactions-to) as well (prior to all that is mutable, mudane, finite, specific). This Pure Love—it is supposed—shines through our bodies, ideas, and feelings, and gently—if we’d but harken!—points them towards the True Good, the True Path, God’s Light, the Bodhisattva Way—whatever poetry you want to use to point towards the Reality that we sense imperfectly, but not therefore necessarily so inadequately that our ideas and feelings can hope for no meaningful relationship with It.

The Three Main Aspects of Thought: That I can sense, anyway. Conceptual thought; emotional thought; and sense-of-things thought. Conceptual thought estimates/fudges-up most easily into basic facts of the sort comprising math, science, and simple historical and geographical ideas (like “William the Conqueror conquered England in 1066 AD” or “Paris is the capital of and most populous city in France.” Emotional thought has to be estimated into conceptual thought before being turned into words: “I am angry” relies upon dictionary definitions, although it ultimately points towards feelings which are much deeper and wider (vaguer) than those concepts. The sense-of-things thought: what is that? It has both elements of ideas and feelings in it. For example, the sense-of-things that “should” points towards: there’s a concept there, but also a feeling: the sense-of-things unfurls out into both concepts and feelings.

[I don’t know that these aspects of thought are actually totally distinct from each other. They might be different spots within a continuous thing. Sometimes I think thought is a continuum that goes from specific ideas and feelings down through vague notions / senses-of-things into the pure awareness that seems to be inside of and steering thinking. My experience is that there is an aspect of thought that the concepts point towards and the feelings report to, an aspect of thought that senses it all and can—if I am sufficiently aware, internally-honest, and composed—steer concepts and feelings. In fact, now I begin to wonder if concepts and feelings are just little entities that the deeper sense observes and moves around. Sure: the other aspects are able to and often do ignore its council—but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t ultimately in charge and responsible; nor does it rule out the possibility of a stand-back, chill-out, actually-decide (maybe never completely, but perhaps enough for awareness to basically steer our thinking and action). What if awareness is one with the Truth and so is a free-cause?]

Ideas as directions-towards the objects they’d describe rather than 1-1 correspondences to those objects: A model of conceptualization where ideas point-at rather than fully hit their target. In my experience of my own thought, even very precisely defined concept like you find in math and science end up—insofar as they are understood and used within my mental space—pointing to a sense-of-things that is prior-to the definition. However, I think that this model is most useful when describing our relationship to fundamental assumptions like what we can know, what is going, or what we should do: in such cases words and the concepts they conjure cannot directly hit their objects, because that which these ideas are trying to describe is prior to ideas and feelings: the ideas are pointing towards senses-of-things that don’t fit satisfactorily into concepts because these senses-of-things lose all their meaning when turned into mere symbols in a casual-connection game. That is: “Truth” loses all of its meaning when prefaced with relative statements like “I’m not saying this has anything to do with how things really are—just that I want to accept these propositions for the sake of argument and see what conclusions could then be drawn”. You can, by using such bracketing, make a game out of math and science without losing a large portion of their meaning—at least their meaning qua intellectual exercise: the question of how math and science relate to “Reality” is of course another metaphysical question. But if I say, for example, “now, I’m not saying this is true or false, but just an idea to work with: human beings matter”, then you lose the bulk of the meaning that you were aiming at. The difference between poetic and literal thought is that poetic thought loses all essential meaning when separated from the sense-of-things it is pointing at and confined to a “let’s just suppose” framework, whereas literal thought thrives in, but cannot extend beyond, the hypothetical intellectual exercise.

Poetic vs Literal Thought: Things of degrees: our thought is never 100% literal or 100% poetic. The more a thought is subject to precise intellectual definitions and evaluations, the more literal it is. The less it can be captured in purely intellectual terms
without losing its essential meaning and purpose, the more poetic it is. Math and science (at least when reduced to pure symbol play) are very literal; theories about whether or not math and science actually describe anything real or whether or not there is anything real or whether or not such questions are meaningful: those are all very poetic thoughts.

Because literal thoughts point towards precise intellectual concepts and procedures, and because within intellectual thought there is no way to prove or disprove the validity of intellectual thought in general or any set of assumptions in particular, literal thought has nothing to say about what is really going on, or if anything is really going on; or what really should be done, or if anything really should be done. Poetic thought, on the other hand, is not working in perfectly clear or precise intellectual concepts: it is trying to use intellectual concepts to point past the intellect.

Not possible, you say? Then no human has any chance of being adequately coherent: we all rely on ideas to relate to not just feelings, but also to vague senses-of-things like our pushes towards “truer” and “better”: without accepting and pursuing that inner sense that our thoughts and actions can and should self-awaredly move towards “truer” and “better” (not those ideas, but the senses-of-things they point towards) thought-paths, we have no way of preferring one thought over another.

Some people have pretended to worry that they can’t know whether or not other people have adequately similar relationships to language—they worry that for all they know communication is impossible! When such faux worriers really get going, they will sometimes reach such heroic heights that they fret about the supposed possibility that their own ideas don’t relate with adequate meaning to their innerworld—they worry that for all they know, they can’t even communicate meaningfully with themselves! All this stuff is nonsense: first, you can’t coherently think it because if you and others aren’t basically the same and/or if your ideas can’t meaningfully relate to your feelings and senses-of-things, then you can’t meaningfully think of the worry; second, such worries only make sense when we let cartwheeling concepts distract us from what we deep-down know.

Spiritual vs Mundane Ideas: Spiritual ideas are anything about what actually is the case, anything that would lose its essential meaning if turned into a hypothetical symbol play. “A triangle is a plane shape enclosed by three sides with three vertices between” can still be used meaningfully even with the caveat “we make no claims about this idea’s relationship to what, if anything, is actually the case”. “God is an Absolutely Infinite Substance” can also be used purely as a hypothetical construct, but anything you would prove about that God would also be purely hypothetical. Even a poem about the wonder of the Absolutely Infinite Substance can be poetically meaningful (moving, interesting, meditative) without making any claims one way or other about the AIS’s existence. However, once you maintain, “This Absolutely Infinite Substance actually exists”, you leave the realm of the purely hypothetical: the statement loses its essential meaning when divided from the question of whether it is actually True. So that statement is an Absolute one: a spiritual one. Likewise, “No, for real: I actually should get out of bed in the morning”: that statement’s core meaning is based on the assumption that some things are actually True; with that assumption bracketed off, the statement becomes incoherent.

Poetic Thought’s Fundamental Place in Human Thought: We cannot avoid “should”. “I should get out of bed today.” Why? It is only a poetic truth that communicates that sense, which, since it is not relative but really means what it is saying, is spiritual. In general, what matters most to human beings is what is really going on, what really matters, how one should really live: and all those topics are spiritual/metaphysical/Absolute ones.

Spiritual Senses-of-Things: Like, for example, what we estimate, “it actually does matter how we treat other people: that’s not just something I feel, but something that is True, something I Know”. Are such spiritual senses-of-things actually True? Or are they just feelings about Absolutes? Again, we need them to be actually True and to understand that and how they are True and how they relate to our intellectual and emotional estimates of them. To the degree all that is accomplished, we possess a direction for thought and action we can actually understand, believe in, and care about. [A: I don’t understand this point: why couldn’t we understand, believe in, and care about feelings about Absolutes? B: Because feelings know themselves to be limited and ultimately foundationless. Because as Kant pointed out if you are trapped in just feelings and ideas without any spiritual insight to guide them, they spin for ever in “maybe this, or maybe that”. A: So you are saying that at some level ideas and feelings know they cannot hack it alone, but with a spiritual sense guiding them, they can reach a point where they recognize an authority beyond themselves is guiding them? They can see they do not, as they’ve always known, possess a firm foundation for knowledge, but they are centered around one and so can from their limited/subjective vantage point have some workable inkling of an objectively True path and their relationship to it? B: Yeah, I guess that’s what I’m saying.]

Analogy: Feelings are to Ideas what Feelings and Ideas are to the Truth
We should find a good essay on this and put it here.

Necessity of Reasonable Estimates of Spiritual Senses-of-Things: Human beings need ideas and feelings, as well as spiritual senses-of-things to help them navigate human life. The first two are obvious, the third is needed to give spiritual ideas (like “I actually should get out of bed”: ideas without which we have no traction on life) firm foundations (otherwise spiritual ideas like “no, I actually don’t need to bother ever getting out of bed in the morning” have no decisive refutation and one never really knows what what should be doing). So even though “Love is True” is not a perfect

Learning Via Empathy / Assumption Others Are Like Yourself / How We Know What “Ouch!” Means: I remember once hearing something about how we don’t know what “ouch!” or “my toe hurts!” means because we don’t know first hand what phenomena other people experience while using that language, so maybe the phenomena we attach the language to is not the same as the subjective experience they attach it to. I consider this notion, like the “philosophical zombie” idea, to be actually unthinkable. To the degree you actually consider the notion that others are not fundamentally the same as you are and can communicate meaningfully with you are, you doubt any conceivable understanding of your own life, and so you doubt all your thinking, and so you doubt the attempted doubt (ie: this is an undoubtable). First of all, we cannot stand such a reality and so we only pretend to be able to consider it. Second of all, we cannot make any sense of our own thoughts if we assume we are not talking about the same basic experience as the people we are talking to (if, for example, when I say, “I’m tired” I depict an experience that others actually think the phrase “my ankle is sore” describes, whereas with “I’m tired” they would describe what I would describe with “I’m so happy!”).

The first point is self-explanatory, the second might benefit from a quick explanation. Basically: if everything you’ve learned by interacting with other people is built upon fundamental miscommunication, how are you to understand everything you know? And what knowledge have you gained completely independent of interacting with others? To actually doubt that you are communicating meaningfully with others requires you to doubt your current understanding of everything you know. You cannot coherently doubt it (it is an undoubtable). Better not to try an doubt it; much better to try and find enough whole-conscious-moment insight into the assumption so that you have a workable sense that and how it is True (so you can think/act coherently).

How do human beings learn what “my toe hurts” mean? They learn via empathy. They observe other people’s involuntary motions and expressions, map those motions and expressions onto their minds and recreate a rough and watered-down sketch of the other person’s experience, and then they pair that experience with culturally-specific things like language. That’s how it is done. We all know that. Supposing that process illusionary exiles one into hopeless confusion and hopeless loneliness: you can’t really do it. So don’t waste your time pretending this is a possible concern! It is parlor trick philosophy.

Undoubtables: Some assumptions are undoubtable to human thought. To the degree a human doubts them, they doubt their own thought’s methodology as they cannot help but understand it, and thus they doubt all their conclusions, and thus they doubt the attempted initial doubt. Example: “I can and should find truly better ways of thinking and acting”.
Those logoses are truly self-defeating!
[This topic is covered in Why Something Deeperism LINK]

A Path Forward but not Backward: You’ve heard it said that: “A human thought is incoherent without accepting its inner senses of “truer” and “better”; but those inner senses require a “True Good” to be firmly founded; so the only possible progress lies in search for a better and better connection to the “True Good” for your thought-as-a-whole.”

But of course: An assumption’s procedural undoubtability doesn’t prove it True. Furthermore, forcing yourself to believe something without adequately demonstrating its accuracy to yourself also breaks a fundamental rule of human thought and so leads to the abyss of self-confusion. Anyway, we are speaking here of fundamental notions experienced at a level deeper than ideas and feelings, which conceptual language therefore can never literally/definitively describe; so forcing yourself to believe the above phrases will only result in tightly clutching an idea you don’t understand.

All it does is demonstrate that you need to find a way to demonstrate that and how that assumption is True. To the degree you succeed with that, your thought can understand, believe in, care about, and follow itself: you are present within your own thought, you travel with your own thought to your own conclusions.

Something Deeperism: A philosophical attitude fairly common through most times and places that holds that the Absolute Truth exists and we humans can have a meaningful relationship to It, but the Absolute Truth is so much deeper and wider than any possible human dogma that no one can claim that their religion or philosophy is the one “true” belief: no dogma is literally or definitively “true”. Something Deeperism holds that, for example, the world’s religions all—at least as lived in the mind/heart/souls of their wisest practitioners—have an adequate relationship to the Absolute Truth.

Seed of Wisdom / The Goal is the Foundation is the Path: Our inner sense of and preference for awareness and honesty in thought, for “truer”, “better”, “kinder”, “more loved and loving”, for “what is really best for me and others”. That direction is the reason we know there’s a point to doing anything; it is the path towards finding better ways of thinking and acting; and it is the goal (to unfurl and fully develop it) of life. We’re lucky to have it!
If there’s nothing to it, or to the degree we can’t gain insight into how it is True, we’ve no hope for finding thought-/action-directions that are meaningful to us. But much within and without suggests there is something to it; so we may as well barrel down that path: down the only possible path of intellectual, emotional, and/or spiritual progress: towards crying out for mercy.

Stamp of Truth: The problem with the intellect and the emotions is that they do not contain, either alone or together, insight into their own relationship with what—if anything—is actually going on. They are stories-about and reactions-to, but what is actually going on is prior to mere stories-about or reactions-to. The gap between description and described object is particularly problematic when the describer knows itself to be clearly limited and fallible and the object is supposed to be infinite/eternal and infallible: a miss may very well be a million billion miles. That’s why there’s no real hope for meaningful thoughts and actions unless human consciousness includes an aspect of thought that is both Knowledge and Reality. That’s what the Truth is supposed to be. It can be sure of it’s insights because there’s no gap between describer and description of the Absolute: the Truth is both.

Just because the Truth is right about Itself and even supposing the Truth shines through our every conscious moment doesn’t necessarily imply our ideas and feelings adequately understand the Truth and Its Insights. However, such a possibility does create a possible path for human progress: we could conceivably relax down and let the Truth tell the rest of our conscious experience about Itself. Our ideas and feelings can never be 100% clear, precise, or certain about what is prior to ideas and feelings, but they could still be adequately guided by the Truth within and so have insight both into the Truth and their own imperfect but not therefore inadequate understanding of It. Certain Knowledge could shine through and provide the rest of one’s thought with not Certain Knowledge, but with a sure grounding in a whole-being organization around and flow-off-of Certain Knowledge, and the flow-off-of would include adequate emotional and intellectual sketches of the Truth: adequate for our purposes of thinking, acting and living (though of course not for supposing we are wise enough to stop working alone and with others to grow in wisdom and the kindloving that is its way).

Reaching a Tipping Point: If within our conscious experience, we humans all have something that is one with the Absolute Truth (both Reality and Knowledge), then conceivably one’s thought-as-a-whole could, via prayer and meditation and community and other proven spiritual efforts, reach a tipping point where the ideas and feelings were synched up well enough with the Absolute Truth that it would be more true to say “I know that it matters what I say and do; and that kindness is eternally important” than to say “I don’t know whether or not it matters what I say and do or if kindness really matters”. This, I hypothesize, would count as the beginning of wisdom. Would it be the end of wisdom? I don’t know; but I do think that if you find your ideas and feelings making that insight seem less important than other insights, you are probably losing wisdom. Because grasping that and how “kindness is eternally important” is probably concomitant with grasping the essence of what is really going on, what really matters, and how one should really live. I picked that poetic formulation and that aspect of wisdom because it guardrails against the egotrip of supposing “Truth” is about the grandeur of your insights rather than about your oneness and equality with all people here thriving or crashing all together for ever and ever. I make these guesses based on my own sense of things and what I’ve gathered from different religious thinkers and other people I’ve talked with. I feel like they are pretty common, pretty unexceptional guesses.

The Myth of Intellectual, Emotional, and/or Material Salvations: Capitalism is not salvation! Ideas about salvation are not salvation! Feelings about salvation are not salvation!

The Vague Longing: We have within us each a vague longing for more, more, more, better, better, better, certainer, certainer, certainer. Our various desires attach themselves to this longing. But that’s a trick since they are specific longings with specific goals whereas the vague longing is just longing, longing, longing.
Wisdom also has a vagueness (it is definitely True, but it also definitely cannot be definitively captured in ideas and/or feelings), so I guess it would in some sense complement and satisfy the vague longing.
But I don’t know the vague longing’s origin. Maybe there’s a spiritual push at its
core, or maybe it is just animal hubbub. I don’t know, so don’t ask me.

Bartleby Willard and Andy Watson wrote this glossary years ago.
They never really finished it.
What should they do now?
How can they best reach that goal?

Poetic vs Literal Truth

Poetic vs Literal Truth

[Editor’s Note: the below was taken from “The Pitch” in “Love at a Reasonable Price, Volume One: First Loves”.

Bartleby’s stories will be released as they come. He may also write stories about the goings-on at WAP. Don’t believe a word of it! Well, OK,: they may end up having some poetic truth, which has real value, but which shouldn’t be confused with literal truth.

Poetic truth has more Truth and less truth: it portrays the moment of existence as it essentially is more accurately than literal truth, but it’s not appropriate to use poetic truth in historical accounts, scientific findings, or anything else that comes with the clause: “we’ve here assumed xyz framework for gathering, organizing, analysing, and utilizing information; we’re not claiming any of this is actually true or actually matters or anything Absolute like that; but we do claim it is a good tool for modeling, predicting, and/or manipulating experience within clearly defined, but of course—as we’ve bracketed off all talk of what is actually going on—, ultimately foundationless assumptions”.

That’s not to say science cannot be poetically beautiful or poetically true; merely that when and to the degree a conscious experience’s understanding of a scientific idea turns poetic, that insight is poetic, not publicly-verifiable / literal / scientific. God’s Love is real outside of assumptions about how we should take in and organize information, whereas science is real only within such ultimately unprovable and incomprehensible assumptions. However, clear / precise / literal ideas are only possible within those clearly-definable (and thus ultimately unprovable and incomprehensible) assumptions.

Everything in its place! Poetic truth for pointing towards insights about what is actually going on and what actually matters and actually should be done. Literal truth for topics that remain meaningful and interesting even when their relationship to Reality is bracketed off and removed from the discussion. [“How should I really live my life?” loses all meaning and all punch when the question of its relationship to “what is really going on” and “what really matters” is taken off the table; but even if we suspend all consideration of what is really going on, we can still demonstrate that pi is irrational, E=mc2, and Helsinki the most populous city in Finland.]


Everything in its place! Poetic truth for pointing towards what cannot be precisely stated because it is prior to descriptions (aka: ideas) and reactions (aka: feelings); poetic truth for pointing towards insights about what is actually going on and what actually matters and actually should be done. Literal truth for building models to understand and manipulate pure mathematical concepts and the observed physical, intellectual, and emotional world; literal truth for building structures that don’t comment upon their own relationship to what is actually going on and what actually matters and actually should be done; literal truth for topics who remain meaningful and interesting even when their relationship to Reality is bracketed off and removed from the discussion. [“How should I really live my life?” loses all meaning and all punch when the question of its relationship to “what is really going on” and “what really matters” is taken off the table; but even if we suspend all consideration of what is really going on, we can still demonstrate that pi is irrational, E=mc2, and Helsinki the most populous city in Finland.]

How We Learn / Against all talk of “philosophical zombies”

How We Learn / Against all talk of “philosophical zombies”

How do we learn? We learn most everything by interacting with others. When my mom stubbed her finger and clutched it and yelled “ow!” and said “that hurts! … mmm … painful … ow …”, her face and body instinctively contorted in response to a sudden sharp pain. My young mind instinctively mapped those involuntary changes to her face and body onto the little map we all have within our brains of our own bodies. When my face and body contort like that, it is because I feel the same thing she is feeling, what I thus learned to call “pain”. We instinctively learn via empathy: by assuming others are essentially like we are and that share the same essential reality. That is how we learn from others and their works, and since our general sense of reality comes from these interactions, that is how we learn most everything.
Philosophical zombies are silly parlor tricks: if you honestly countenanced the possibility that others were not essentially the same as you, you’d have no idea what to think about your own thoughts (which are built atop a structure created by assuming others are essentially like you), and so philosophizing would cease to be meaningful. Also, you can’t stand such a Reality, and so philosophizing would cease to have a point.
When doing math, you can work on purely speculative topics. What’s the harm? And sometimes they turn out to have an application. But with philosophy, there’s no point unless the ideas are livable. Indeed, much harm has been caused by people pretending they could travel with ideas to conclusions that actually make no sense to human hearts, minds, and bodies.

A Standard Theory of Pure Love

A Standard Theory of Pure Love

A Standard Theory of Pure Love [From “Our Shared Something Deeperism”
The whole essay will be in First Essays: LAARP Companion Essays, assuming we finish it.]

“A Standard Theory of Pure Love”. A silly sci fi plot! And yet, how to make progress in our individual or collective thoughts without acknowledging that we all need “truth” and “goodness” and “meaning” (not those words or concepts so much as that inner direction to which they imperfectly but not therefore meaninglessly point)? Who can stand any of their own thoughts or actions without first understanding that we humans are all fundamentally the same and in the same boat? Who can understand, believe in, or care about anything said or done that does not adhere to our inborn drives towards productive thought: awareness, clarity, honesty, accuracy, kindness, shared overflowing selfless joy.

[We’ve moved an expatiating page to Outtakes (I can’t find that expatiating page right now)]

Let’s accept the necessary and possible nature of these basic spiritual values (“spiritual”: Absolute / more than a perspective, opinion, or anything relative / for sure — we are certain not of any given exposition of these values, but of their general existence and of our ability to—with open minds and hearts and good intentions—relate our feelings, ideas, words and acts adequately well to these Truths) as the background of public debate. Together accepting the need for awareness, clarity, honesty, accuracy, kindness, and shared joy is something of a shared vision about what matters, a shared reality where we can all meet together to work on shared concerns; it is something of “A Standard Theory of Pure Love”, something of a shared starting point for collective progress.

We have different philosophies, theologies and attitudes; but can’t we all agree that no philosophy, theology, or attitude means anything to human beings unless it helps one gain more and more whole-being (ideas, feelings, and the Light/Truth within [that alone is beyond prejudice, speculation, and ego-drives, and thus alone truly knows and cares about what’s really going on and what should really be done] all working meaningfully together) understanding both that aware clear honest competent kind shared joy is actually correct and how/in-what-way such wise joyfulness is to be understood and lived? And so why not all admit we agree on this much? On individually and collectively respecting and pursuing basic standards for thought and action. Why not agree to agree upon awareness, clarity, honesty, kindness, gentle and thoughtful speech and actions centered around a constant effort to understand what is really going on and what we should really do? Without satisfying those inner directions and boundaries our thoughts and/or feelings jumble meaninglessly within us and we can make no sense to our own minds/hearts, which prevents us from journeying with our own thinking and feeling to our own conclusions. To the degree we ignore and/or misconstrue—either alone or in groups—, these basic spiritual values we—as individuals and/or groups—have no meaningful connection to our own
thinking and acting. To the degree a human’s conscious attentions loses meaningful traction in her or his own thoughts and actions, s/he cedes control to mindless and ultimately-directionless animal urges (including the urge for perfect intellectual solutions to the human reality, which of course has a scope much wider than can be addressed in purely intellectual terms). Into the ensuing confusion steps desperate lunging power-, pride-, and etc-lusts that push our thinking, feeling, and acting chaotically and oft evilly about.

Agreeing to these universal values (“universal” here = any coherent thinker will agree that a religion or philosophy that does not prioritize them is meaningless/useless to human beings) is about all the Standards of Thought and Action we should have—so as to avoid the dangers inherent in demanding people agree on religious and other sacred-to-somebody dogmas. Such demands tempt both individuals and groups to insincerity in the most profound and serious matters. Plus, combining political and spiritual authority is a dangerous, and oft corrupting, consolidation of power. Anyway, surely we can all agree that faith without insight is worse than useless, and human experience is wider and deeper than any human dogmas; all of which means not that we should have no dogmas (for we need some principles about how to think and act—a big part of the human experience involves using ideas and without accepting some basic intellectual assumptions, one’s ideas slip and slide all over the place), but that we should always remember that dogmas are there to help us find our way meaningfully forward in life—they are not themselves the meaning of life.

Friends, let’s not get carried away! I’m not proposing Something Deeperism as a state religion! I seek merely to, in the space of this unobtrusive and smooth-flowing little essay, direct our shared attention to our need for a shared reality, while also encouraging the shared realization that we already basically have one: we just need to stand back, catch our breaths, accept that we all do have some sense of and preference for “clear” and “true” and “good” and “honest” and “meaningful” and “not corrupt” and “competent” and “kind” and “fair” and “fun” and “joyful” and “fellowship”—and have fun together thinking, feeling, creating, debating, building, choosing, growing.

Signed, Pudd N. Tane, President of the “We can do it!” Society of North America, A chapter in good standing of the the “We can do it!” International Body of Optimistic Realists.
“We’re optimistic, because we believe humans are capable of doing good!”

Currently this essay lies in the “A Few Essays” section of “Love at a Reasonable Price, Volume 1: First Loves”. Previously it dwelt higher up, within the “Theories of Purest Love” section. But then the editorial team, God bless them! God keep them!, decided it best, Oh they have their reasons!, to replace this essay with one they deemed “simpler”.