written Tues 9/22/2020
we’ve not yet read it
we imagine it is good, but we’re always wrong about essays like this. They seem good to us as we write them, and then we read them and realize a lot of edits are needed.
We’re going to have to analyze complex systems using Something Deeperism.
We’re going to have to do that now.
Something Deeperism is the general worldview that people can have insight into the Absolute Truth, just not literal/definitive/1:1 insight. We can Know that kindness matters, and that we should feel/think/act more and more aware, clear, honest, kind, open-hearted/-minded, and joyfully together/sharing. We can Know that that is the right direction. But we cannot literally explain that direction, let alone anything more detailed.
The philosophy of Something Deeperism holds that we cannot intellectually prove or disprove that general worldview, but we can do what we need to do. We can only understand, follow, believe in, or care about our own feeling/thinking/acting to the degree we understand that in and what way it is True to say something along the lines of “We should feel/think/act more and more aware, clear, honest, kind, open-hearted/-minded, and joyfully together/sharing. That’s the right direction. We are all in this together.”
Insight into that general understanding of Reality and reality is never going to be literal/definitive/1:1. We need to Know it in order to understand, follow, believe in, or car about our own feeling/thinking/acting, but that implies an Absolute Knowledge of an Absolute Truth (relative truths / opinions / “my perspectives” don’t really deep inside mean anything to us), and we are clearly too limited for an Absolute Knowledge of an Absolute Truth.
But all is not lost! Because it would be enough if one element within our conscious thought had an Absolute Knowledge of an Absolute Truth — just so long as that aspect of our conscious thought was able to communicate this insight adequately to our more limited aspects (ideas, feelings, etc).
And is that not the general formula for non-fundamentalist spirituality? There is a Light/Truth/TrueGood/BuddhaNature/Godliness shining in and through all things — including every conscious moment. And through practices like prayer, meditation, fellowship in a spiritual community, reflection, compassion training, and selfless works we can get better and better at organizing our feeling/thinking/acting around the Light: so they translate It better and better into more and more spiritually competent feeling/thinking/acting.
The goal, then, is not to Know, but to organize your feelings, ideas, and actions better and better around that within all things — including each conscious moment — that Knows. The goal of wisdom practice is to reach a tipping point where it is more honest to say “I know that we should feel/think/act … in this together” than it is to say “well, I don’t know anything for sure!”
Of course the Truth is not the same as our ideas and feelings and actions about and in response to our conception of the Truth. So success in wisdom is not an endpoint, but rather a starting point that calls for constant self-evaluation and -change.
How does a Something Deeperist know whether or not s/he’s fooling themselves about the Nature of Reality? They actually know that they are fooling themselves about the Nature of Reality. The goal is to work to fool oneself less and less, to let the Light shine through better and better. But the Light is unlimited and we are woefully limited. We have to keep trying and trying and trying again.
Something Deeperism is the only coherent worldview and the only coherent philosophy and the only coherent religion. This is because it is most fundamentally just an accurate understanding of the human situation, and no progress is possible without honestly confronting one’s situation. We cannot understand, follow, believe in, or care about our own feeling/thinking/acting, except to the degree we relate meaningfully to a non-relative Knowledge about the Reality of True Goodness (we need to Know that Love is True and Real; otherwise we just don’t even care, can’t even understand, wander around clucking our tongue and moaning). But we are limited, and the Reality that is simultaneously Goodness, Truth, Knowledge, and Love is unlimited. Therefore, all we can hope for is that there is a Light within that Knows and that it is possible to organize our feeling/thinking/acting around that Light well enough that we can have adequate whole-being insight (ideas, feelings and the Light all communicating imperfectly but still meaningfully) into that and in what sense it is True to say “Accuracy and Competent Kindness is the Way”. The only hope is to push for spiritual wisdom.
Of course, spiritual wisdom is wider and deeper than ideas and feelings. There are people who disagree with the philosophy of Something Deeperism who are better Something Deeperists than people who agree with the philosophy of Something Deeperism. Still, why not lay out the best philosophy in as clear a manner as possible?
There is no philosophy without poetry. At some point, all philosophy, and all human worldviews, and all human life slides away from objective, mathematically verifiable certainty and shades into pointing with imperfect literal precision/clarity/verifiability towards wider, deeper vistas. “I should.” “This is preferable to that.” “I care.” Even appreciation of mathematical beauty! Anything that is actually meaningful to human beings has within it a poetic pointing-towards. You can write a poem about a lonely walk in beautiful nature missing someone and your reader has a sense of your experience because you are pointing to vistas that we all share and that therefore — though wider and deeper than language — our language can be used to point adequately though imperfectly towards. The basic Truths of Something Deeperism are our most fundamental vistas. We all know that we need to discover that and in what sense it is True to say “We are all in this together” — that to the degree we can gain this insight, we have meaningful traction in our own feeling, thinking, and acting; and the degree we can’t gain this insight, we don’t have meaningful traction in our own feeling, thinking, and acting. You can argue that maybe everyone but you is a zombie, or at least not essentially like yourself; but such an argument assumes already a Reality that you cannot stand: for if others are not essentially like yourself, how can you say we are all in this together?, and if you can’t say that, how can you care what you say or do?
Something Deeperism is what everyone already believes. “Forced belief is meaningless. I need real insight into Love.” We’ll get worked up about this or that philosophy or religion. We’ll confuse the ideas and feelings about What Matters with What Matters. That’s humans. But deep inside, we know that only What Matters is actually What Matters.
“The deepest Truth is that Nothing Matters!” I don’t know what that means, or why you’d bother mentioning it. In any case, such statements don’t apply to spiritual beginners — like you, me, and everyone we ever actually meet in life, scripture, and art.
So much for an individual’s Something Deeperism.
Something Deeperism in groups starts with the collective recognition that an individual’s life is only meaningful to that individual to the degree that individual understands that and in what sense it is True to say “We should feel/think/act more and more aware, clear, honest, kind, open-hearted/-minded, and joyfully together/sharing. That’s the right direction. We are all in this together.” From this collective recognition follows the collective decision to not let any other values or goals come before those fundamental values and goals without which none of our feeling/thinking/acting can mean anything to any of us. From that collective decision follows a commitment to honest, clear, accurate, competent, fair-minded conversation and decision-making; and to systems for self-rule that are transparent and contain safeguards against concentration of power and other corruptions. Good government is the fundamental collective good because to the degree dishonesty, unclarity, incompetence, cheating and the like are permitted within an organisation, the actions of that organisation — be it a government or a family –are not meaningful to the individuals within it: they cannot understand, believe in, or care about its actions and thus they cannot participate meaningfully in the decisions or meaningfully adhere to any rules it creates. There’s no perfection. We are not here agitating for violent revolution, but for a gentle, consistent effort to safeguard our systems against corruption and madness: by demanding honesty, openness, fair play, and kindness — not angrily, but gently, kindly, persistently pushing towards wiser, more joyfully together collective enterprises.
So much for a group’s Something Deeperism.
Did we already solve the riddle of complex systems? They need good government, so they can be meaningful to everyone within them! QED!
What about economies? What about the human body? What about nuclear weapons systems? What about a bunch of countries with nuclear weapons? What about the world’s ecosystem? What about human populations, animal populations, and diseases?
Aren’t we going to destroy ourselves pretty soon? The nukes. Climate changes. Disease. GMO and other technologies that will launch before they are understood. AI. It is getting really complicated and many of the pieces are extremely dangerous. And people in their little chambers of powers whirling around, making noises, making comments, pushing buttons. It seems hopeless.
And everyone only ever wanted to have a nice little world with their family and friends. All the rest of it was not even ever something anyone wanted. That’s the irony. And that’ll be what we’ll all shake our heads over once we vaporize the planet and leave our bodies. But what can we do? As individuals we know it would be better to cool it, get rid of the weapons, go easier on the earth, etc. But here in our little fortress-tombs we make world-historic decisions. And those are always painful, cruel, and ugly. And now the dangers have become so volatile, so powerful.
No one wins a nuclear war. But how to get people to give up nukes? And how to keep nukes from proliferating if people don’t give up nukes (or even if some do)? And how to keep the nukes from eventually beginning the end? We could try. We should try. We have to try. How to proceed?