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A Note on Self Deception

A Note on Self Deception

A Note On Self-Deception

There are no guarantees that one won’t deceive oneself about how wise one is. Indeed, the necessarily imperfect relationship between ideas and feelings about what-is-actually-the-case and what is actually-the-case guarantees that everyone (whatever their worldview) will to some degree succumb to that error.

And yet deep inside we know when we are deceiving ourselves. Unless, perhaps, if we are completely crazy. There are no guarantees in life. We just have to do the best we can.

[Etched into a wooden beam in a pizza restaurant famous for wooden beams where customers can write whatever nonsense they want to write, and thus make their mark—however embarrassing.]

A Simpler Shared Something Deeperism

A Simpler Shared Something Deeperism

We human-things are not going to agree on everything. We’ll argue philosophy, worldview, religion, politics, style.

But we are all still human-things and can thus all agree that to the degree a worldview fails to help an adherent develop more and more aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, respectful, kind, joyful, loving thought and action; that worldview is useless to that adherent.

Because those are the ways we must think and act in order to understand, believe-in, care-about, and participate-in our own thoughts and actions. To the degree we are not aware … loving, our thoughts and actions clang meaninglessly about: we cannot travel with our own thinking and acting, and so rather than being steered by the clear light of conscious awareness, our bodies/minds are steered by the chaos of competing animal-flinches (“give me!” “get away!” “I know!” “I don’t know!” etc). This is the way downward.

Bone-trembling example: Suppose there’s a !True Religion! Suppose further that you know and believe all its dogmas, but not with awareness … love. What do you then possess? Muddled thoughts desperately trying to interpret ideas that they do not understand — or even really believe in or care about.

Flesh-shaking other example: Suppose there is a sense in which things like “Real” and “Not Real” don’t even exist. Suppose further you believe this dogma, but not with awareness … love. What do you then possess? Muddled thoughts desperately trying to interpret ideas that they do not understand — or even really believe in or care about.
And so while we will continue to debate worldviews, we should agree to never pretend that our worldviews justify or even tolerate any departure from awareness, clarity, … loving kindness. When one does that, one betrays that aspect of anyone’s worldview that is actually meaningful and useful to anyone; and so one sacrifices everything worthy for a moment’s bloated fantasy about “us” versus “them”.

Let us therefore work diligently together to fight for more awareness, clarity, accuracy, competence, kindness, shared joy and real togetherness.

Why do we fight to establish and maintain just principles, norms, procedures, and laws within ourselves, our families, our communities, our groups secular and parochial, our governments, our friendships? Not to be “right” while others are “wrong”, but to all join together around our shared starting point — the one whose betrayal amounts to betraying all our worthiest (ie: most meaningful/useful to whole-human-beings [creatures consisting of ideas, feelings, and thatolsoullight all working together]) principles.

We don’t agree on everything, but we nonetheless do have the ability and duty to work together on what we do agree on: awareness, clarity, accuracy, competence, kindness, shared joy, on how we are all in this together and beholden to one another.

Let’s permanently retire the crooked daydream that we disagree so fundamentally as to preclude any common ground, any shared identity and reality. That tired trope’s already responsible for too many fetid, diseased wounds deep-tunneling through century upon lonesome century. Let’s try more interesting, more enlightening, more productive, more beautiful angles.

Everything in its place: We don’t need to agree on worldviews to agree that none of our worldviews means anything to any of us in the absence of clarity, honesty, accuracy, competence, kindness and shared joy. And we don’t need to agree on worldviews to demand these goods of our organizations and governments.

Let’s not get side-tracked by details! Let’s keep our collective eye on the prerequisites for any meaningful worldview and any workable community, system, organization, or government!

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!”

[Selection from “Love at a Reasonable Price Volume One: First Loves” (Actually, this version appears in “First Essays” — See Buy Our Books!]




But what then?
We can probably get most everyone to give lip-service to awareness and the like. But what will that really change?
What we need is a shared starting-point.
Agreeing to the above values does suggest a collective agreement about some Absolute Standard: even if we don’t agree on all aspects of what beliefs and principles cannot under any circumstances be abandoned, we agree on some of them, on awareness and etc.
But where can we go from there?
It is an easy move to go from awareness … shared joy to anti-corruption in individuals and groups: we should fight for more awareness … shared joy; and we should work to make sure we (as individuals and as groups) are ruled more and more by states of mind that are rules by those values. OK, sure. But again: what can we really hope for here beyond lip service? Spiritual values cannot be perfectly captured in human ideas and words, but only pointed more or less meaninglessly towards. And since so many people are so unwise, there’s all kinds of room for self-serving manipulators to pretend to care about these values. Actually, many moral charlatans actually do care about these values, just not as much as they care about money, power, sex, prestige, food, drink, luxury.
What about the other half of Something Deeperism: the part that says we can relate to the Truth BUT NOT LITERALLY/DEFINITIVELY? Is that going to be more helpful? Here again, our human folly helps us to fool ourselves and others: how quickly we slide from a humble acceptance of our own intellectual, emotional, moral, and spiritual limitations to a flippant “so, I guess we may as well have a good time!” or a sly, crown-grabbing, “so, we’ll just have to guess as best we can–each to his own best guesses!”!!
Is there no hope?
I wanted a livable philosophy.
Something Deeperism’s always been there, and it is the only philosophy that can be lived:
Trying to live without the Truth makes no sense to our minds/hearts; trying to literally/definitively understand the Truth makes no sense to our minds/hearts; so let’s seek for more and more non-literal insight into the Truth: instead of trying to reason and/or feel to and from the Truth, let’s seek the Truth with our whole being and then let the Truth guide our ideas and feelings as best it can (the former strategy–which, however fancy the footwork, include existential creations of intellectual and emotional truths out of the thin air of truthlessness–goes nowhere because it tries to use ideas and feelings for a task [figuring out what is really going on and what should really be done] they are not up for; the latter strategy works because it lets the Light within do what only It can do [figure out what is really going on … done] and it allows that Light to connect meaningfully with ideas and feelings while still pushing against the tendency of ideas and feelings to overstate their wisdom/usefulness.
But of course, since it is the only livable philosophy, it is already everyone’s philosophy:
To the degree we turn our focus towards the spiritual realm within and do not over- or under-state our ability to understand, believe in, care about, and follow that spiritual realm; we can understand, believe in, care about, and follow our own thoughts and actions, travelling with them to our own conclusions.
So what then?
What can essays about Something Deeperism actually help with?
Everyone thinks they’re the ones who basically get the right balance between faith and skepticism, everyone thinks they’re the ones who do insight and humility right. Everyone is like: “Oh, yeah, I’m not quite there; but I’m muddling along as best I can”, but they secretly think, “and a damn sight better than you!”
What can essays on Something Deeperism do besides give the few interested readers (whatever their philosophical and theological inclinations) another angle on their own superiority?
I wanted to help
I wanted to have a philosophy that would help the nation and the world move away from corruption and towards more aware, honest, clear, accurate, competent, kind, joyful, fruitful discourse, decision-making, legislation and enforcement.
I can see we can’t find a common ground.
And I can see we actually have a common ground in the kind of values here sketched.
But I don’t know how to get us as individuals or as a group wise enough to actually gather around those values and live them.
On the other hand, I know very well that to some degree people always do that.
And so the failure I’m admitting is just this: I don’t know how to make things better.
At least not with essays.

Well, if you could set aside for a moment the question of whether or not you know how to sell Something Deeperism: what about just finding the principles within Something Deeperism: what does Something Deeperism say about how to get rid of corruption? of how to know how corrupt a system (be it an individual human being, a small group of individuals, or a giant nation state full of interwoven peoples, cultures, ideas, feelings, laws, organizations, economies, businesses, etc) is? of how to grow systems so that they naturally thrive (ie: grow away from corruption and into real Truth = Beauty = Goodness = Justice = Loving Kindness)?

Are the philosophical arguments for pursuing individual and collective Something Deeperism worth anything? Do they give our individual and collective thoughts any kind of a handle on how to best relate the experience of life (which cannot be caught in ideas and feelings, but only better or worse pointed to by them) to ideas and feelings, and to the interrelated systems (within and between individuals) that are largely built out of ideas and feelings?


Duties of a Republic’s Citizenry

Duties of a Republic’s Citizenry

[Something Deeperism Institute]

[NYC Journal – Politics Page]

[Editor’s Note: This essay is included in First Essays and A Readable Reader, available for sale on the Buy Our Books! tab of this blog.]

If you have the good fortune to live in a representative democracy, your should work with your fellow citizens to keep an eye on the rulers of your land. Sure: engage in the policy debates of your day. But don’t let those debates and the oft accompanying excitations and divisions separate you from your most fundamental duty: serving as a final check on madness and corruption. To the degree we let our leaders sacrifice good-government (open, honest, fair, without favoritism or bias following the laws, rules, and protocols) for political expediency, we let corruption and madness in.

What is corruption? Indifference to the basic rules of right thought and action: awareness, clarity, honesty, accuracy, competency, selflessness, kindness, generous fearless overflowing joyfulness. What is madness? Incompetency as regards those same basic rules. Corruption and madness encourage each other, are interrelated, and generally go hand and hand. To the degree madness and corruption rule, it is easier to succeed and/or gain and keep power while being bad (dishonest, underhanded, cruel, foolish, selfish, arrogant, incompetent, clueless) and harder to succeed and/or gain and keep power while being good (honest, transparent, kind, wise, selfless, humble, competent, aware). To the degree we let madness and corruption in, we let folly rule; to that degree, we harm ourselves and others.

Madness and corruption (in either an individual’s conscious space or within a group or organization) is when decisions come not from clear, honest, informed, accurate, competent, kind, thoughtful consideration; but rather from confused, dishonest, clueless, incompetent, cruel, mindless violence. It’s maybe sometimes kind of fun to watch movies about gangsters and rulers weaving their way through corrupt states; but it is neither fun nor helpful to live under such conditions; and it is beyond reckless to let politicians reduce the openness, honesty, accuracy, clarity, competence, and good-will in our government.
“They’re all the same!” There is no perfection, but there are better and worse directions; and if we are not consciously engaged and gently pushing towards the better, we are sliding towards the worse and/or risking chaos — which is itself a worse, and out of which generally arises a much worse.

“It’s all the other side’s fault!” OK, then, stop talking to them: that will help us to all better fulfill our shared responsibility to our shared nation. (No it won’t; that was sarcasm; not sure if one can use that in a serious essay; maybe it’s OK now that we’ve clarified that it is not meant seriously, but rather to point out the hopelessness of taking it seriously / at face value. Blame may not be divided equally in all conflicts, but when does shutting yourself off from a sizable portion of a shared democracy ever help the situation?)

“The history and/or structure of this nation is such that it cannot but destroy itself, and that’s what it deserves anyway!” Wait!: at least from this merely-human vantage, there’s no a priori knowable rule for the way history must unfold; and if this ship sinks, we all go down with it, drowning in the same old stupid boring vortex of cruel chaoses birthing cruel orders birthing cruel chaoses … ; so let’s work together to acknowledge where we’ve been, where we are, and where we want to get to; and to simultaneously seek a newer world together.

I mean:

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.*

There’s only one hope: let wisdom rule.

And we all know what wisdom looks like: aware, honest, clear, competent, accurate, kind, selfless, sharing joy, knowing how to help and putting that knowledge into action. Let’s think, speak, act, and vote accordingly.

This public service announcement paid for by:
The Community For A Better USA: Come, On, Let’s Succeed Together For Real: From The Inside Out!

And Again Our Refrain:
Everything in its place: We don’t need to agree on worldviews to agree that none of our worldviews means anything to any of us in the absence of clarity, honesty, accuracy, competence, kindness and shared joy.

[Editor’s Note:
*The Lights begin to twinkle …
See Alfred Tennyson’s “Ulysses” (written 1838, published 1842 in the second collection of Poems.]

[Editor’s Note: This essay is included in “First Essays”, 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]

[NYC Journal – Politics Page]

[NYC Journal]

The Wisdom Is Attainable Text Messages

The Wisdom Is Attainable Text Messages

The Wisdom Is Attainable Text Messages:

The “True Good” (not so much that concept; more the inner sense of things to which that concept imperfectly but not therefore necessarily meaninglessly points towards; most towards what that inner sense of things can itself imperfectly but not therefore meaninglessly interact with) exists and is within each person’s conscious experience at a place prior to (but shining through) ideas, feelings and notions. These other elements of conscious experience can relate poetically but not literally to the TG, which should never be confused with ideas and feelings about the TG (that’s the error of a literal understanding of the TG). (Poetic = Not perfectly clear, concise, or verifiable (like math is), but not therefore inadequately p, c, or v.)

Ideas, feelings, and thought-tools like language can relate imperfectly but still meaningfully to the TG—similar to how words can relate imperfectly but still meaningfully to feelings, making it possible for humans to meaningfully think and speak about feelings. Just as you can relate your ideas and feelings to one another better (ie: with more mutual understanding between these two aspects of thought) by thinking and feeling aware, clear, honest, kind, generous, joyful, open-hearted/minded; you can relate your ideas and feelings to the TG shining through each conscious moment by thinking and feeling aware … open-hearted/-minded. Not only that: but as you get better at listening, the TG will help you to think and feel more aware … open-hearted/-minded.

Result: wisdom is possible because an aspect of your conscious experience is both Reality and Knowledge and thus has the stamp of !Truth! within It, and the other aspects of our conscious moment can relate meaningfully, though not perfectly to It. Wisdom is self-critical, aware of its limits and cautious not to overstep itself; while also constantly seeking to better itself—all this wisdom pursues for the sake of everyone and the Light that is common to us all.

Wisdom will never fit perfectly into dogmas, but some dogmas point better towards the TG than other dogmas. The path of wisdom is to coordinate your various aspects of conscious experience better and better so your thought-as-a-whole (ideas [including dogmas], feelings and TG all working together) understands and follows the TG better and better (ie: ideas and feelings are led better and better by the TG).

The path to more progress is also the seed of any progress: Our inner sense of and preference for awareness, clarity, and honesty in thought, for “truer”, “better”, “kinder”, “more loved and loving”, for “what is really best for me and others”, for competent giving joy. To the degree you doubt the reality or preeminence of any of these goods, your thought doubts what it cannot do without and so makes no sense to itself. But blind faith in the Truth of your ideas and feelings is faith without insight and thus misplaced and misleading faith. Therefore the path to more progress is to work everyday to better and better understand that and in what way it is “True” and “Good” that one should think aware, clear, honest, kind, loving, selfless, everybody-wins. We must all keep pedaling.

[This textable philosophical serenade was taken from the “Theories of Purest Love” section of “Love at a Reasonable Price Volume One: First Loves”]

Not Wise Authors–Authors Seeking More Wisdom

Not Wise Authors–Authors Seeking More Wisdom

On Writing Books of Purest Love [from a portion of “Intro to the Project” that we sent to !!Outtakes!!]

Stories about Pure Love: the eternal spiritual Good that all earthly loves imperfectly-but-not-therefore-necessarily-inadequately partakes of; a Great God shining through our day-to-day, saturating—or, I guess, being—the background of each conscious moment; the kindflowing that’s ultimately all there really is—!—? Really?! Who do I think I am to speak openly of Pure Love?

Am I here, all swagger and cajole, telling you there’s a Pure Love and you gotta believe—‘cause an’ if ya don’t, you’re a fool and a traitor with two boots?

No!, c’mon! I’m just saying that we each need a path that is actually meaningful, worthwhile, and interesting to us. We all need a love that’s better and more powerful than anything else; and we all seem to feel such a superhumanly wise, effective kindness somewhere in and through: so why not admit to ourselves and our fellows that we need to value and reach for that love, to get better and better at understanding and following that ineffable yet to some degree meaningfully known inner Light? Only to the degree our thoughts and actions are grounded in that Light are they meaningful-to-us, allowing us to think and act coherently—so it’s worth the effort.

I’m not saying anything but what we all already know deep within: we humans are all in this together and can and should meet ourselves, one another, and the joyful Light within and between us all with awareness, clarity, honesty, kindness, and respect; and when individuals and groups let any other notion come between them and that more fundamental insight, they self-destruct. So let’s push back on those kind of mix ups. Let’s share clear-minded/-hearted kind joy no matter what! We all have notions, but don’t we all most deep down know that our only chance is kind joy?

I think good poetries sink in and prove themselves more and more true while explaining more and more in what way they are true. And I consider the phrase “Pure Love” such a poem. Beyond that I claim only that I’m a human being, or at least a fictional creation born of human experience, or at least a sometimes evoked daydream woven through other daydreams.

So that’s all: We’re talking about weighty spiritual matters, but we are not prophets or even theologians—just would-be-if-we-could-be artists and philosophers who reckon the topic of “Pure Love” interesting and important.

I guess an enlightened person can point towards the Truth safely and assuredly. As for the rest of us (and, wisdom being a thing of degrees, that means all of us to a greater or lesser degree), our talk of God, of Light, of Truth and Goodness: such talk from us is more a pleading than a testimony. Still, we should try. Right? Surely!

[This Impassioned Introductory Speech by BW can be found moved to the copious “Outtakes!!” section of “Love at a Reasonable Price Volume One: First Loves”]

Are You a Something Deeperist?

Are You a Something Deeperist?

Dear Reader,

Are you a Something Deeperist? Do you believe that we human beings can have insight into the Truth (aka: the Light, the Holy, Absolute Reality, etc: we’re pointing–imperfectly, but not therefore necessarily inadequately–with words and ideas towards what is ultimately beyond words and ideas); but an insight more poetic than literal (like how a good poem read well recreates the essentials, though not the exact details, of one human moment within another human moment)?

Do you believe that, for example, the various world religions can help practitioners relate their ideas and feelings adequately to the Truth/Light shining within and all through each moment; and that, further, said practitioners reach this laudable goal to the degree they focuses on that Truth/Light–which knows / is the Meaning of life–more than they focus on ideas and feelings about the Meaning of life?

How could you not?

We all know we need dogmas (assumptions about what’s going on, and how we should think and act) to help us steer through this human world (of which idea-based thinking and acting is a necessary part); and we need those dogmas to connect us to a guide that actually knows what’s what (otherwise we flail helplessly about, caught up in xyz not-understood enthusiasm about the meaning of our life and/or xzy not-understood pout about the meaninglessness of our life). But we all also know that ideas and feelings about meaningful/meaningless are not at all identical with what is really meaningful (we know it, but still we have to work constantly to keep that knowledge front and center: look at the way we allow swells of emotion to convince ourselves that this mate, career path, group identity, religious or philosophical answer, pleasant and/or secure arrangement is THE TRUTH; no, but you take a good long look at that!).

Due to this indelible knowledge both of our need for spiritual values (like “It is actually True that we should treat ourselves and others with kindness and respect”) and the danger of confusing ideas and feelings about the True for the Truth Itself (which is deeper and wider than ideas and feelings), we are all fundamentally Something Deeperists. The only work left is to admit where we find ourselves within our thought (in Something Deeperism). To the degree we admit where we are, we are at a starting-point within our own thinking and acting, and we can make progress. What is sadder than a conscious moment unable to perceive and/or admit where within thought and action it finds itself and thus more lost than it even knows, wandering wide but going nowhere?

And so we all pray as one: “Help us make progress in the only possible progress–the only one human minds/hearts can understand/follow/stand: aware, honest, clear, kind, compassionate, effective, selfless, and joyful thought and action centered around the Light/Truth within that alone understands what’s going on and what should be done, and what properly constitutes aware, honest … and what should be done. Help us grow in the one True Faith: the middle way between faith in ideas and feelings and skepticism towards ideas and feelings. Make our ideas and feelings constantly self-evaluating and -evolving ladders to and from the Light–forever mindful their duty to seek and follow that which alone Knows (ie: What Matters / the inner Light / etc), and ever wary of their weakness for imagining themselves identical with Knowledge.”

[Cataloger’s Notes:
Definition of Something Deeferism /Something Deeperism definition/
All religions point to same Light /fundamental agreement between religions/
Theory of the meaning of life: /meaning of life/
“let the spiritual guide your feelings, ideas, words and deeds” theory of the meaning of life: /spiritual should rule/
“translate the spiritual into life” theory of the meaning of life: /translate spiritual into life/
Necessity of dogmas: /necessity of dogmas/
Error of confusing Reality with ideas and feelings about Reality: /Reality vs ideas and feelings about Reality/
We are all Something Deeperists: /everyone a Something Deeperist/
Inborn Indelible Self-Knowledge makes us all Something Deeperists: /indelible self-knowledge = everyone a Something Deeperist/
Only question is how thorough a Something Deeperist to be: /only decision: how thorough a Something Deeperist/
A Something Deeperism Prayer: /something deeperist prayers/
No progress in thought and action unless our hearts and minds can understand, follow, believe-in, stand our thinking and acting: /must understand own thoughts and actions/
We can only understand thoughts and actions that are aware, honest, clear, kind, compassionate, effective, selfless, and joyful, and that are ultimately grounded in insight into the Truth/Light within: /prerequisites to understand own thoughts/ & /prerequisites to understand own thoughts = aware …/
Ideas and feelings as self-evaluating and -evolving ladders to and from the Truth: /ladder to and from Truth/

/no progress without internal honesty/

[Anthologists Notes:
Pretty readable, short.
Somewhat persuasive example of the standard arguments for a more committed and thorough Something Deeperism.
Why didn’t the author(s) give a more careful explanation for why we need dogmas? The fact that we need ideas to steer this human reality is not enough: to show we need dogmas we must show that we need fixed ideas that we accept as adequately-true. Something Deeperists usually give support for that latter claim by pointing to how our ideas slip and slide unmanageably about if we refuse to accept any premises as “adequately true for belief”. And/or they’ll note that as far as they can tell, we cannot help but put faith in some ideas, and either pretending we can suspend all faith or pretending we believe differently than we believe cause one to lie to oneself about where one is, and thus lose any kind of starting point for coherent thought and action.
This could go in sections like: “we’re all something deeperists”; “introductions to something deeperism”; etc]

All these Something Deeperism essays are BW & AMW collaborations. Occasionally other fictional authors (besides BW) participate. On those occasions, we generally mention them at the essay’s close.

The Structure of Human Thought & Purpose of Human Life

The Structure of Human Thought & Purpose of Human Life

A human conscious moment is structured something like this:

It starts out with soullight (aka: the Light; God; Buddha Nature; the Something Deeper, etc.)
Then (perhaps via some shading from a universal spirit into a more localized spiritual energy) feelings, vague notions and ideas.
Then the world outside and other people.
And of course the Light shines through all things; so it is not just at the beginning of each conscious moment, it is also all through everything, including every other aspect of consciousness.

Our task is to fill all aspects of our conscious moment with brightest awareness, creating and maintaining a coherent whole: to translate the spiritual into everyday life by letting soullight overwhelm and lead our bodies and minds.

The greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and soul, and your neighbor (ie: everyone) as yourself”. In this way you see things as they really are: the point is that kind joy glowing through you, and that raison d’être shines through through everyone’s conscious moment: we are all bound together in and through the Light.

An artist’s work should be a meditation on the whole space of human consciousness; from the spirit out, through ideas and feelings and into words and deeds. Everyone’s work should be getting better and better at understanding that and in what way it is true to say: “Love is all: we are all in this together: clear honest accurate joyful effective kindness is the way, and anything that prevents clear honest joyful effective kindness is an error.” In this way we can get better and better at letting the Light within (which alone knows what’s what) guide our feeling, thinking, and acting.

Authors: Oh the many, the throngs, tattered and worn

[Cataloger’s Notes:
Theory of human consciousness: /explanation of consciousness/
“Divine through feelings, notions, and ideas, out into words, deeds, world and others, back into Divine” theory of human consciousness: /divine through feels and ideas out into actions/
Theory of the meaning of life: /meaning of life/
“translate the spiritual into life” theory of the meaning of life: /translate spiritual into life/
“let the spiritual guide your feelings, ideas, words and deeds” theory of the meaning of life: /spiritual should rule/
Greatest Commandment explanation: /Greatest Commandment/
“see things as they really are” explanation of Greatest Commandment: /see things as they really are/ & /gc = see things as they really are/
Theory of artist’s job: /purpose of art/
“meditation on whole space of human consciousness” theory of artists job: /art = meditation on whole moment/
Theory of meaning of life: /meaning of life/
“find a way to understand that and in what way it is true to say ‘Love is all'” theory of meaning of life: /prove to self that and how/ & /prove to self that and how ‘Love is All’]

[Anthologists Notes:
Pretty readable, short, no real proofs or reasonings.
The piece attempts to sketch out the human conscious experience. It invites the reader to observe their own conscious experience and see if they can map the sketch onto their own experience. From there, the reader can also see if the conclusions about what one should do with that conscious experience follow. How can they see if they follow? Again, the essay lets them try the sketch on over their own conscious moment and see where all and how well it seems to them to fit.
This could go in sections like: “experiential proofs”; “/sketches of Reality to try on/ and contemplate”; “theories of consciousness”; etc]

The Gist of Something Deeperism

The Gist of Something Deeperism


There is a “True Good” (aka: Light, Pure Love, God, Buddha/True Nature, Way–we’re pointing with words towards what is prior to words, which means we will point towards it without mathematical precision, but not therefore necessarily inadequately/meaninglessly) that we can relate to meaningfully, but not literally/definitively.

The way forward is:

A spiritual path (spiritual = “No, but for real!! This isn’t just an opinion, a mood, or any other relative notion–this is how things actually are [without such a foundational insight, ideas and feelings–painfully aware of their relative nature–slide and lurch hopelessly about])

based not so much on acceptance of doctrine (although ideas are a necessary aspect of how we relate to human life and without solid beliefs, ideas and feelings slip slide confusedly about, so some minimum dogma [like the one we’re here sketching] is worth finding and adopting),

but on seeking more and more whole-being insight (whole being = ideas, feelings, and the Light within that alone Knows what is actually going on and how one should actually think/feel/live) into the Light within (ie: your ideas and feelings should organize themselves around and be led by the Light within).

So Basically:
We humans need some ideas about what is really going on and what should really be done, but those ideas are only valuable insofar as they help us connect to the Light within that is ultimately wiser than ideas and feelings; so both blowing off the spiritual path and interpreting spiritual matters too literally are counterproductive (ie: we need some dogmas orientating us meaningfully towards the Truth, but we misstep when we think our dogmas are literally/definitively True).

In Another Nutshell:
Keep first things first. If my ideas and feelings are not focused primarily on a whole-being engagement with the Light within (ideas and feelings relating meaningfully to themselves and the Light shining through each conscious moment), then I’m going in the wrong direction.
Refusing an adequate though imperfect intellectual sketch of the proper spiritual path causes us to misdirect our efforts (a sketch something like: “It matters what I say and do! I should treat myself and others with respect and kindness! I should think aware, honest, clear, accurate, compassionate, competent and joyful. I should seek to better and better understand and follow the Love within that alone knows what is best for me and everyone else. I’ll never get it perfect, so I need to stay humble and keep trying over and over again to improve: to live more and more in and through Love.”).
But confusing sketches of ideas and feelings about the Light with the Light Itself also puts our focus in the wrong place.
Therefore Something Deeperism advocates a middle way between the excesses of extreme skepticism and extreme dogmatism: Let’s not sacrifice possible real and worthwhile progress in our feeling/thought/action for the sake of daydreamed perfections (be they manias for definitive literal Knowledge or for complete freedom from unproven assumptions) that don’t even make sense to us humanthings anyway (what makes sense to us is finding a path that is actually worthwhile [like a meaningful whole-being relationship with the Truth could provide]; but also remembering that our feelings and ideas are fundamentally clueless and should therefore follow the Truth, not mistake themselves for the Truth).

Yeah, but is Something Deeperism and/or the minimal dogma you sketched above actually true??

Friends, you misunderstand us. We here at The WAP Institute for the Advancement of Something Deeperism are not writing essays to convince anyone of Something Deeperism’s “truth” or “Truth”. What we’re trying to do is point out that we are all already Something Deeperists, and our choice is not whether or not we adopt Something Deeperism as a general worldview; the choice we humans have is just this: “how thorough of a Something Deeperist will I be?”

We all already have ideas and feelings aware both of their necessity (for interacting with this world) and their limitations (as regards knowing what is really going on / what really matters / how one should really feel/think/act). And so we all already at least at some level understand both that we cannot avoid some dogmas (general principles for feeling/thinking/acting) and that dogmas are counterproductive when they (being only–at least as understood within a human mind–human ideas) mistake themselves for the “Truth”.

But do we humans all also know that we need to have some insight into the “Truth”? Yes. And we also know something of how the “Truth” must look when lived by a human being (if the “Truth” is to seem “True” to a human being / mean anything to a human being / be understandable, believable, followable, or interesting to a human being). Just calm down and hear us out!

Human thought knows that it cannot understand itself without spiritual insight. That is to say: without a nonrelative / Absolute insight, our ideas and feelings just keep debating and bickering and/or sliding into easy-believisms without ever really knowing what their talking about, or believing in it, or caring about it. Since, after all, they’re just dealing in opinions that are as far as they know ultimately meaningless.

And so in swoops Something Deeperism:
Yes! There is an ” Absolute Truth” and you can and should organize your ideas and feelings around it more and more meaningfully (so you can leave the infinite limbo of the relative).
But, of course, your ideas and feelings won’t ever have Absolute insight into this “Truth”, since ideas and feelings about the “Truth” are not the same as the “Truth”.
So putting it all together: it goes too far to say you have no sense of “Truth” and “Goodness”, but it also goes too far to say you have literal/definitive/insight into them. And so we must all keep searching for more and more wisdom.

How do we know how successful we’re being?
Guardrails of awareness, etc.


A Bit More On The Danger Of Confusing Ideas About The “Truth” with The “Truth”

Since the way forward involves relating ideas (aka: stories-about) and feelings (aka: reactions-to) to the Light within (aka: what is actually going on / what should actually be done), we’ll never get it perfect: there will always be some estimation/fudging in the translation process (from what is prior to ideas and feelings into ideas and feelings) and therefore always some errors and some obsoletions (obsoletions because a dogma that interacts well with one human moment will not necessarily interact as well with another human moment). For this reason, the way forward involves constant reassessment and recalibration. (We rewind back to shhhh!, drop everything, let go, and then in slowly steady honest love, we push out from within.)

Additionally, one can make real progress only to the degree one admits where one is, and letting ideas and feelings about Meaning (and/or meaninglessness) convince one that they are identical with Meaning (ie: that they themselves deserve the faith which alone the Light deserves)–as they are so so so wont to do!–amounts to deceiving oneself about where one is within one’s conscious moment, from which confused un-self-aware thinking seeps out more conscious engagement and slips in more confusion, causing less and less conscious engagement with one’s own conscious moment.

In consideration of the necessity of translation between ideas, feels, and Reality/Knowledge, and recognizing that ideas and feelings about “what is what” are not identical with “what is what” but love to pretend they are, we reason that the way forward involves humility, caution with oneself and others, constant reassessment, reevaluation, and reworking of one’s approach.

[OK, maybe enlightenment is possible and so people can remove all distance from their ideas and feelings and the Light within and thus flow perfectly off of Perfect Necessity into feeling/thinking/acting; but even supposing some fortunate few attain such heights, that shouldn’t keep the rest of us from remembering that the first step to any progress is being honest about where one finds oneself, and for almost all of us, translation is necessary, mistakes happen, the work of reworking one’s feeling/thinking/acting is never done, we must keep pedaling. Also: No matter how enlightened a person is, their explanation of the Light still faces both the limitations of language and, if they’re are speaking to or writing for another person, the shortcomings of other people’s ability to understand the Truth. So even if my chosen spiritual founder(s) knew and lived the Truth perfectly, my ability to understand their insights and relate them to my day-to-day, is not going to be perfect, and will indeed only be good to the degree I also relate meaningfully with the Light, and since that requires internal honesty, it behooves me to always keep in mind the limitations of both human language and my own wisdom.]


A plausible sketch of the Path:

Notice how feelings are wider, deeper, and vaguer than ideas; and ideas are likewise not perfectly commensurate with words; but we can still think and talk meaningfully (both with ourselves and with others) about feelings. Note further that the more aware, clear, honest, compassionate, respectful, accurate and competent our self-examination, the deeper our ideas and feelings can explore each other, and the more fully, meaningfully and accurately we are able to talk about our feelings (both with ourselves and others–of course, communication with another person is meaningful to the degree you also widen the scope of your awareness, respect and compassion, and they return the favor).

Analogously, ideas and feelings can relate meaningfully to the Light within to the degree they are aware … competent. However, whereas ideas and feelings are both ultimately clueless (ie: they don’t really know what is going on and what should be done), the Light is simultaneously Reality and Knowledge and is therefore incapable of any inaccuracy, error, or doubt. Accordingly, insofar as we understand and follow that Light, we also are free of delusions and all other foolishnesses.

Of course, we cannot understand and follow the Light perfectly, but imperfection is not always identical with inadequacy. Hence the counsel of Something Deeperism: Take the only path with any hope of real progress: Yes, there is a Light/Truth within and we can relate meaningfully to It (without a grounding in such an Absolute Standard, ideas and feelings–who know they don’t really know what’s going on and what’s best–will just keep flitting about, bickering with one another, pretending to be the Absolute Standard, and otherwise making a mess of things); So we should accept basic dogmas like a belief in the existence, preeminence, and universality of Truth and Goodness (because we need ideas to relate meaningfully to this human life, and without any principles our thought wiggles crazily about and/or marshmallow-melts); but we also need to be wary of understanding our own dogmas too literally/definitively/exclusively (since they are not the “Truth” and cannot perfectly capture the “Truth”, and if we clutch ideas about why our lives are meaningful too tightly, we shift our focus onto that desperate, mindless grab and away from the conscious engagement within our own moment and centered around the Light within that alone knows how we can really be our best selves; to the degree we lose conscious engagement with our full conscious moment, we are not truly present within our own feeling/thinking/acting, and to that degree capricious ideas and feelings will push our thought about here and there, allowing for the possibility of grave spiritual, moral, intellectual, and etc errors).


More details about the path: How can we know whether or not the path we’ve here sketched is any good. Also: assuming this rough sketch is worthwhile, how can we know how well we’re following it?


Political Something Deeperism?

What about groups? What kind of political systems follow from Something Deeperism? Also: Are there general principles we’ve discovered from our consideration of Something Deeperism that can provide a workable framework for political discourse and decision making? I’m looking here for a set of principles that would be broad enough to attract people from all metaphysical persuasions–even if they don’t have much interest in bringing more Something Deeperism into their daily life.

Keeping First Things First

Keeping First Things First

Something Deeperism–the worldview that there is a True Good and humans can relate meaningfully, but not literally/definitively/exclusively to It–is all about keeping the main thing the main thing.

What is the main thing? The skeptic believes she should avoid error. Why? The monotheist believes she should follow God’s will. Why? The atheist thinks she’s right not to believe in God. Why? The hedonist supposes her best bet’s to do whatever she likes. Why? What do all these people have in common? They all have an inner sense towards “accuracy” and “preferable” (not those words, but that to which they imperfectly but not therefore meaninglessly point) that they are invoke when deciding how to think and act.

Even the most dogmatically undogmatic skeptic is following a sense of “should” and “correct”. I myself can recall years spent supposing that I couldn’t really know anything for sure, hence I couldn’t really know I didn’t know anything for sure, which meant: what? And so then I’d get all nihilistic and sit around bars, cafes, and dorms tragic-heroically (having given up all hope for any meaning I could understand) drinking and smoking. Or then again I’d get all romantic and sit around bars, cafes, and dorms triumphant-heroically (having through some faith and/or by virtue of the absurd magically pulled grand meaning out of utter meaninglessness) drinking and smoking. Granted: a little liver and lung damage is well worth that much steady heroism; yet at the same time: what good did I accomplish?, and wasn’t I all the time, just like everyone else, clutching at “shoulds” and “trues” and “makes senses”? In the end, my personal philosophy’s refusal to ratify “I actually Truly Should” didn’t keep my desire for “actually preferable” from ruling my thought–it just made my instinctual push for accuracy and preferable lurch about confusedly, grabbing chaotically at momentary “shoulds”, “trues” and “meaningfuls”. People, I’m here to tell you: it can’t be done! You can’t suspend belief in metaphysics: no matter how you twist your thoughts and feelings, you cannot help but attach an inner sense of “No, but for real!” to ideas and feelings about how you should live and think. It is human nature. You can do it as an exercise, and no doubt as an exercise it is a salutary meditation; but what makes you decide to stop, start, and continue such exercises? Isn’t it your old friend “this is what I should actually do” (again, we mean to point with these words toward an inner sense of things that words can only imperfectly, though not therefore necessarily meaninglessly, point towards)? Since suspending all judgement is not so much an option as a pretend option, and we cannot help but seek out “truer” and “better”, which we cannot really make sense of unless we undergird them with a sense of and preference for “actually True” and “actually Good”, we have only one option: seek the “True Good” (what else can adequately answer all our various longings for accuracy and preferability?). Our choice is reduced then to this: Will we seek the True Good carefully, deliberately, coherently, and completely; or will we half-ass the job?

But what is the “True Good”? Who knows? I mean: we poetically (not literally/definitively/exclusively, but not therefore necessarily meaninglessly) point towards the goal of all our inner sense towards more and more accurate and preferable with phrases like the “True Good” and “God’s Will” and “The Way”, but we know that with such poetry, if we’re saying anything at all, we’re pointing past ideas (aka: stories-about) and feelings (aka: reactions-to) towards “what is really going on” (as opposed to ideas and feelings attempting to relate meaningfully to “what is really going on”), and we further understand that we cannot hope to explain the “True Good” in any kind of literal or definitive way.

So that’s our situation: our own thought is only meaningful to us to the degree it relates meaningfully to the “True Good” (ie: that within which knows what is “actually preferable”); but our thought deceives itself to the degree it imagines it possesses literal knowledge of the “True Good”. Skepticism about notions like the existence, preeminence, and meaningfulness of “Truth” and “Goodness” is self-defeating: if you doubt your inner pushes towards “Truth” and “Goodness”, then you are doubting your thought as you cannot help but understand it, and so you are turning your thought into a confused mush. However, blind faith in “Truth” and “Goodness” or anything else is self-defeating because the point was never to force feelings of certainty onto xyz concepts: the point is to relate meaningfully to what is prior to ideas and feelings, which means that ideas and feelings must not lose sight of the relative nature of their relationship to the Absolute. It goes too far to say we have no sense of “True” and “Good”; it also goes too far to say our ideas and feelings about the “True Good” are eternally valid. It is a mistake to give up on meaningful engagement with the “True Good” because we cannot relate with perfect clarity and accuracy to the “True Good”; it is also a mistake to put more focus in our ideas and feelings about the “True Good” than in our whole-being (ideas, feelings, and whatever else is within the conscious moment) engagement with the “True Good” (which I generally imagine as shining through everything, including each conscious moment).

Something Deeperism does not go so far as to tell skeptics or believers that they are mistaken. Indeed, since the Way is more a balance of ideas and feelings around the Light within than any given intellectual and/or emotional system, there will be plenty cohorts of self-declared skeptics and believers with parallel wisdom-levels (cohort 1: A few completely foolish skeptics and believer; cohort 2: A bunch of pretty foolish skeptics and believers; cohort 3: A bunch of fairly wise skeptics and believers; cohort 3: A very few wise skeptics and believers). What Something Deeperism says to everyone is simply: let’s agree to keep the main thing the main thing: There’s no point to any of this if our inner sense towards Truth, Goodness, and aware clear honest accurate competent kind appreciative joyful generous creativity is not really really onto something; so let’s not blow off that loving joy / But it is also self-defeating to focus more on ideas and feelings about why life is (or isn’t) Meaningful than on that Light within that alone understands that and how life is truly Meaningful; so let’s not also fight against excessive dogmatism.

What about to societies of human beings? What does Something Deeperism say to them? Same thing: let’s keep first things first. We won’t agree on all the details, but if we let that keep us from working together for an aware, thoughtful, clear, honest, open, accurate, competent, loving group-decision-making process, then we are undermining our own priorities: we’re sinning against what is sacred to us for the sake of ideas and feelings–things that, while necessary tools for interacting with the human reality, we ultimately don’t really understand, believe in, or care about: we’re putting tools that are only meaningful to the degree they help us understand, follow, live and become one with the Light ahead of the process of that fundamental task. Madness! Pure folly!

Left over deliberation

Human thought will always contain some faith and some doubting. You cannot doubt everything, and when you do doubt, you also always have at least a little doubt in the doubt, and so some faiths are inevitable. On the other hand, you cannot quite 100% believe in any idea or feeling (you don’t even intellectually or emotionally fully grasp anything, so to some degree you are just staring in confusion at xyz idea or feeling), and so no faith is completely free of doubt.

Anti-Corruption, Anti-Madness, Pro-CompetentKindJoy

Anti-Corruption, Anti-Madness, Pro-CompetentKindJoy

It has now become clear that we are both, like the systems betwixt us, completely miserable. Which vexation begs the questions: what are we doing wrong? how can we do things right?
I’m so lonely all the time. It’s like a sledgehammer pounding me through the chipping cement. I think it’s because I’m deep in the corrupt and broad with the mad.
What is corruption? What is madness? Where is it in me? In you? In the systems where we live and die?
Corruption and madness are both, like all human things, things of degrees. The more corrupt an individual or group is, the more that person or organization lets injustice rather than wisdom rule. The more insane an individual or group is, the more that person or organization is overrun by chaos rather than wisdom. The problems are interrelated: more corruption degrades the internal system for choosing one thought-/action-path over another, which permits more madness as well as more corruption into that process; more insanity likewise degrades the decision-making process and so allows more corruption and madness into the system. Rot encourages more rot. It is often impossible to locate exactly where one ends and the other begins: “How much am I really crazy versus how much am I courting confusion in order to open up a path for my lusts/fears to take control??”
What does corruption look like? It looks like what it is: evil preferred over good. And madness? It too looks like itself: random notions chosen over wise/clear/bright feeling, thinking and acting.
The more corrupt a human conscious moment, human group, or government is, the easier evil impulses (dishonesty, folly, cruelty, vanity, confusion, meanness, greed, pettyiness, egotism: you know the direction I’m pointing towards!) wins out in the constant inner leadership struggle (within an individual, group, and/or government/political-entity). With each evil victory, evil pushes the whole (individual, … government/political-entity) more towards its foolish, self-defeating ends (self-defeating because corruption = wisdom is not steering = the Light within that is our most essential self and that alone knows what is actually worthwhile is not in charge = that within which deserves to rule our thoughts and actions is losing control) . Conversely, the less corrupt xyz human-entity is, the easier it is for good impulses (honesty, wisdom, clarity, kindness, selflessness, win-win, shared joy, Love: you know the direction I’m pointing towards!) to take control within xyz human moment. And each goodness victory allows goodness to push the whole more towards good, decent, coherent — towards more internally-meaningful and spiritually / emotionally / intellectually / actionably acceptable.
Insanity has the same basic effect as corruption: making evil win and goodness lose; but whereas corruption seeks confusion in order to mask its evil intentions and ruthlessly selfish and pathetically boring/limited/unimaginative worldview; madness (whether wholly organic or to some appreciable degree caused by corruption’s self-undermining of a human-entity) starts primarily with chaos and flails about less purposely, perhaps even being on occasion nudged in a better direction by a better impulse, though ultimately — lacking adequate levels of clear self-aware conscious engagement and thus invariably courting corruption — tends like corruption to the worse and worse and worse worse worse (actually, you know, corruption can also accidentally occasionally lurch toward better and away from worse; though on the whole it’s direction, like madness, is decisively worse, worse, …).
But what are we asking of ourselves and others? What does preferring wisdom/goodness over folly/evil amount to? I’m afraid that we’re trying to agree to not cheat. But how’s that gonna work?
Is there anything so hard as actually believing in the existence and preeminence of goodness and wisdom? Fashion may dictate that we applaud one or the other or throw one or both triumphantly under the bus in the name of God and/or Reason (or “Living Fully!”, etc); but we people generally find a way to keep them in the same place: Kindof Land.
No matter what we think we understand, believe, and care about; we always kind of understand, believe in, and care about goodness and wisdom — we always kind of understand, believe in, and care about “Truly Should” and “The Way Forward” (not so much these words or even the concepts they point towards, but rather that to which those words and concepts imperfectly but not therefore necessarily inadequately point). But what we are now suggesting we should do is work as individuals, groups, and political entities to move our faith in goodness and wisdom out of Kindof Land — where they are so suspiciously obliging to our hopes, fears, and group-thinks — and into “Yes! Let’s Do This! Let Us Overcome Selfishness In Order To Serve The Universal Good!!”
Can’t be done.
How could it be done?
Everybody just scratches their side while applauding their side.
Can’t we all agree that any worldview meaningful to human hearts and minds demands that we pursue wisdom and goodness, and that we do so with awareness, clarity, honesty, accuracy, competence, kindness, and shared joy? Can’t we all together agree on these universal spiritual values (“spiritual” = !For Real! — as opposed to ‘maybe, just a thought, well on the other hand, and then again, of course maybe nothing matters anyway and there’s no ultimate difference between hitlering and lovingkindnessing …’)?
Sure we can say we can.
But: Problem: Everyone nods good-naturedly and then with inflamed eyelids, foaming teeth, and jabbing pointers — and/or politely complimenting the truly exceptional cheesecake — accuses the other side of completely botching wisdom/goodness while their side is flawed but ultimately OK.
No, it’s scarier than that: Because some really are more lost to unhelpful momentums than others. And calling it all an even-confusion is one of the confusions unwisdom exploits.
mmm what to do what to do what to do ? ? ?
What a world we live in.
What a time crushes us — living off, seeding in, putrifying and expanding with the fraying lurchy leers inside and barfing through our private and shared visions.

I want so desperately to be able to make a case for anti-corruption that is adequately true, meaningful, and shareable.
But I keep coming up short.
I think I’m right that to the degree a worldview is meaningful to a human being that worldview supports awareness and other spiritual values that we can to some degree collectively agree on and whose fruits we can to some degree collectively recognize (fruits like calm, careful, gentle, decent, self-transcending competent kindness); and that we therefore have a collective duty to use those shareable standards responsibly.
But is anyone even arguing this?
My point is a Socratic one: We (even those of us who write desperate essay after heartsick essay affirming the general Something Deeperism worldview) must not really believe in these uncontested positions; because if we did, we would not be so inclined to see only the folly of others. And we’d be kinder and wiser, and ripple like light across the morning sea. [Editor’s Note: Socrates often suggested that people want to do what is best and so the fact that we often don’t do what is best must be due to our lack of insight into what is best. Likewise, the arguer here argues that if we were really so sure that awareness … shared joy were really The Way, we’d behave better. Therefore, we must not be very sincere: we must mostly just like saying we believe in and care about awareness … shared joy.]
What I’ve longed to do is find an essay that everyone could agree with and that would serve as a foundation for meaningful dialogues — conversations grounded in and guided by aware, clear, honest, competent, accurate, compassionate, kind, respectful, joyfully-sharing thought and action. But I guess I’ve not the requisite powers.
What should I, abject failure, Tumbling Icarus, then do?
I don’t know.
Sit back and let the nation right itself or devolve into a place where journalists, dissidents, and random people who inadvertently crossed the wrong politico disappear, never to reappear, and about whose whereabouts “sensible people” ask no questions?
Maybe getting everyone to agree about and together discuss the need for awareness … shared joy would be enough to gently shift the thought-process of our politics more towards clear kind calm helpful resolve? Maybe enough so that we could all grow together in active wisdom and shared joy??
Dr. I Dunnough, former Plantagenant
Sometime 2017 or 18
Soliloquizing all alone while running through the tall sharp stinging grasses thwacking bare legs and arms churning desperately forward.
The arms and legs thought they were churning forward.

Original Version was Aug 9, 2018
This updated version is from “First Loves”, a collection of essays published February 2, 2020

copyright: AMW