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.

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