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See: Figuring things out

I wish to know everything and apply that knowledge usefully. How do I do that?

  • I try to know everything by imagining God's mind, which I do in these pages on Theory.
  • I apply that usefully by fostering a culture of learning forever, which I do in my pages on Practice.

In 2009, I made a 10 minute video summary of all of my thinking, I Wish to Know. In 2012, I expressed it as an art show, God's Mind.

The main idea is this: God doesn't have to be good. Life doesn't have to be fair. We can all relate to the good kid and the bad kid who deal with this idea in different ways.

My personal philosophy

As suggested by Bob Lichtenbert to his Seekers, I thought through my personal philosophy and presented it at his 20th Philosophical Cookout. At the start of the cookout, I passed out index cards, asking people to share 1) their deepest value in life, which includes all of their other values, and 2) a question which they don't know the answer to, but wish to answer.

I have come to some but not all of the Seekers meetings because I often wonder whether talking with others will be meaningful or pointless. I came to this cookout because I think it is indeed useful for me to state and examine my own personal philosophy. I likewise benefit from others who do so, for we can then hold each other accountable, and seek convergence, a universal understanding of absolute truth. Others care not to have a personal philosophy, or say that it changes from day to day. I wish they would choose to be silent, and listen to others. In our society, we have a taboo that all adults are equally mature, and yet in these matters it is evidently not so. We might all grow if we minded those who do grow.

As a child, I appreciated that I did not arise of my own powers, but that there was something greater than me. And so I should live purposefully, recognize my purpose and realize it, manifest it. I think of a lost child who is smart enough to realize they should not look for their parents, but go to where their parents would find them, even if I am smarter than my parents, for I am the child, and they are the parent. And so communication and collaboration is possible even with one whom we have never met, but imagine simply through our circumstances.

I likewise appreciated that I had many talents and opportunities, but yet I could have been born anybody, in Cambodia or Ethiopia, or at a time in history where my nearsightedness might have doomed me. My good circumstances are thus not for myself, but for me to apply on behalf of all.

Wishing to apply myself, and my great ambition, as a child I dedicated myself to know everything and apply that knowledge usefully.

My deepest value is "living by truth". I wish to live by absolute truth, which I don't know directly, and yet I seek pragmatically, as best I can.

I wish as if to find God's lap where I might sit and view a sketch of "the big picture", nearsighted that I am, and be able to wander out methodically enough to uncover any knowledge I might wish, and then return again with it to where I was. This is what I mean by knowing everything.

I collect as facts the conceptual limits of my mind, frameworks such as "free will" and "fate" that our mind presents us. I develop a theory by imagining God's point of view, a God who is all alone, unconditional, prior to conditions, concepts, including time, space, existence, goodness...

I've realized that such a God might be propelled by the question, "Am I necessary?", which is to say, "Would I as God exist even if I wasn't?" That is a godly challenge, familiar as proof by contradiction, and fits with our physical world, where it's quite tenable that there is no sign of God, and yet God might appear through us.

I imagine us humans as the humblest vessel in which such a God might manifest himself fully. And so we are all of crucial importance. Will we come together, will we recognize our unity in the original God, a parent of lost children?

My central insight is that "God doesn't have to be good", "Life doesn't have to be fair". The good kid in us accepts this truth, but the bad kid in us resists it. Life is the fact that God is good, but eternal life is the recognition that God and good are distinct, that there is endless work for us to do, that we can learn, grow and live forever, here and now.

We hardly make the most of our lives, tuning it out, shutting ourselves down. Yet we can imagine a perspective which loves us more than we love ourselves, wants us to be alive, sensitive, responsive, and thus live forever. Morality makes us sensitive to this eternal life which we may choose to live here and now. Shall we manipulate others, focusing on what makes us different, or shall we live as one, on behalf of all? The Ten Commandments are redundant, with positive laws, telling us what to do - to love God, love our enemy, love unconditionally - and negative laws, telling us what not to do, having us love our neighbor as ourselves.

Learning forever means growing in knowledge. What matters comes from existential questions which define our human condition. Our answers are phenomenological, they arise from our personal testimony, our personal experience, as we're sharing at this cook out. We make them practical as a metaphysics by structuring our perspectives, for example, free will and fate. We can work towards agreement on "absolute truth", not with a capital "A", but with a lower case "a", which is to say, pragmatically absolute, recognized by the few people who truly seek answers.

In this world, we can focus on each other, those who truly seek answers, and foster a supportive culture, which stands on its own, in contrast to the dysfunctional society around us.

Art is a way for us to reach out to others in the wider society. Art lets people focus on the truth we have to say. Art changes the rules of our society.

As an example, I share a canvas which I painted that organizes the "questions that we don't have an answer to, but wish to answer". I've collected hundreds of such questions. It's quite amazing that I can organize them all in two dimensions. Some questions have us ask about our own selves, for example, "What should I do?" Others involve two people, "How can you and I talk?" or ask how can a person in general grow? how can we love them, nurture them? how can institutions foster that? and what is our ideal society? thus expanding outwards from ourselves. There are also heavenly questions, which imagine one spirit in many bodies, and hellish questions, which imagine a lack of spirit. Heavenly questions, such as many of us are asking, include "What is life?", "What is God?", "How are we one?" Hellish questions include "Why sin?", "Why evil?" and "What is our fate?" I'm greatly encouraged that we can appreciate the wonderful variety of what we find personally meaningful and work towards a universal framework that makes sense of it all.


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