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).
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.