People should be interested in helping the Universe to Self-Actualize

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I have discussed the problems of helping the Universe to Self-Actualize and move into the next step of its natural progression with several people, but so far there hasn’t been a glimmer of interest. This is probably because it hasn’t been presented to them in a way that appeals to their natural self-interest in their personal well-being.

The general consensus so far is that the Universe is getting along just fine as an unthinking being and if it were brought into a conscious state of being it probably wouldn’t be interested in promoting human beings’ welfare. The reason is that humans might find a way to disturb the natural flow of the Universe’s progress.

Also, even thinking about such an abstruse subject distracts people from their primary purpose in life these days … watching TV, football, and Trump.

I must discover a way to make the Sentient Universe self-actualizing itself into an attractive undertaking. 

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It’s what I physically do that matters to you.

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My post’s conclusion yesterday was, “It’s what I physically do with what I’ve got that matters.” But no one knows or cares what I’ve got, so what it comes down to for others is it’s what I physically do that affects them that matters. It’s true for you, too.

For public figures, actors, poets, writers, politicians, lawyers and ministers what they say is counted for doing. But what is it that they are doing? They are spinning words that motivate people to action. Generally speaking, the part of their public that matters most to those word spinners is their paying public. That is, their personal value is measured by how much money they pull in with their words. It’s what they say when they are on view that counts, not what they do when others are not watching.

I’ve never valued money very much beyond what was needed to maintain a student level of shelter, food, clothing, access to books, and coffee; and nowadays a good computer/smartphone-camera and internet access. Fortunately for me, my couple of years as a US Air Force pilot is putting up substantial money to keep my geriatric years healthy, which these last few weeks have been a lot because of the series of forty-four radiation treatments. Of course, I never see that money, but I do feel its effects.

Yesterday I wrote a list of important character traits, including “The Reliability of physically doing what I say I am going to do.” I think of it as a measure of my character, and of yours too. But I wonder how true this is of me because I avoid making commitments as a way of not defaulting on them. Here in today’s Bend, Oregon, there is a much looser relationship between what a person says they are going to do and what they actually do, than back in Berkeley, California, where I lived most of my adult life. Appointment times and traffic speed limits are treated more as suggestions by people here than I am used to.

Life persists here on Earth but its a small thing in my Universe of 1tic23 stars and their planets.

 

What to seek and what to avoid

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Let’s start with the big five personality traits – OCEAN – first developed in the 1970s by Paul Costa, Robert R. McCrae and Lewis Goldberg.

Openness to experience = Eccentricity, Magical thinking (versus) Closed-minded and Inflexible

Conscientiousness = Work that gets done, Perfection done but not on time (versus) Irresponsible, Distractable, Rash

Extraversion = Attention-seeking, Excitement-seeking (versus) Detached socially cold, Anhedonia

Agreeableness = Gullible, Submissive, Selfless (versus) Manipulative, Suspicious

Neuroticism = Shameful, Flighty, Depressed, Helpless, Insecure (versus) Fearless, Shameless

Those labels have been used and are supposed to have some observed relationship to how people behave, but they don’t seem to track my needs or feelings at present. The following ideas are not being applied to anyone I know; they are being applied to me and my ongoing quest to identify and eliminate my false beliefs.

This is what I should watch for in the application of my own behavior:

The ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and my negative habits.
The PCE (Positive Childhood Experience) because this and ACE are the foundation of all of my habits.
The Stability of my emotional reactions to my self and my environment.
The Honesty of what I think, say, and do to what is actually going on inside of my conscious and unconscious mind.
The Reliability of physically doing what I say I am going to do.
The Health of my body, which is being subject to medical treatments and diseases that are locally present, like the flu. 

It’s what I physically do with what I’ve got that matters.

The end is near!

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I only have one more week to go of radiation treatment for my prostate cancer. Then I will be cured or not. The worst of it was having to hold my bladder as near full as possible without having enough feedback to learn how to do it effectively. The recommendation of showing up at the clinic with a full bladder isn’t enough instruction because they radiate the nerves that are in control of the bladder and when they are irritated nerves don’t work in the usual way.

Suddenly! They say you must pee NOW.

But then when on the toilet things don’t go smoothly and the only option is to sit there feeling an intense need to go but only intermittent dribbling. For me, that has been an opportunity to do experiments, which for me are fun, but they are annoying, slightly painful experiments. Perhaps I will write some posts on my findings.

It is claimed that a hundred billion humans have lived, and it would seem that an experience so fundamental as peeing would have plenty of wisdom associated with how to do it. But no, not much. It’s a taboo subject and everyone is expected to learn on their own. Perhaps that’s okay for normal experience, but radiation therapy is new. Everyone sits around the waiting room waiting their turn at the equipment and talking enthusiastically about their problems. My doctor tells me that my experience is typical for someone doing well. Hmm.

I have enjoyed meeting many people in the waiting room where we have a common experience to discuss our lives deeply.

How can I identify and eliminate my false beliefs? 27

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I have been trying to identify my false beliefs in the posts under this topic heading and have had some, at least to me, unpleasant discoveries. This evening I applied one of my changes of behavior that was derived from these previous analyses of my former habits of behavior.

My new behavior was departing at first opportunity from a large lecture, whereas in the past I would have waited through the question period before leaving. The lecture topic seemed like it would be interesting to me but as it developed it wasn’t; to me it was boring. It was boring because there were no ideas being presented that I thought could be useful to my needs. It was a public policy lecture, and I am a member of the local community, but when I realized there was nothing I could do or say where I could be making a useful input, or learn something that I might find personally useful, I decided to leave. I was courteous enough to wait until the applause began before going, but I went. In the past, I would have waited.

This new behavior is a development from my new idea of quietly walking away from people and situations that will cause me stress or are of no use to me or my future actions. That doesn’t seem like much of a discovery, but in the past I would have struggled longer to try to find a deeper meaning in the ongoing presentation.

It is the change of my physical actions that make the pursuit of my false beliefs a meaningful quest.

How can I identify and eliminate my false beliefs? 26

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One of my chief characteristics for the last seventy years is my willingness to listen to and interact with almost everyone. I am now suspecting that my ability to hear what everyone has to say and to filter out the nonsense is a false belief.

The problem arises from the fact that you must listen carefully to another person to understand what they have to say. To understand what they mean by what they say you must put yourself into their shoes and have a close empathy with what they are experiencing. Okay, I can do that and do that much of the time, especially when the overall environment is otherwise quiet enough that I can devote my full attention to the other person and their worldview.

The problem arises when the other person’s worldview has been corrupted by what is known as adverse childhood experiences. This becomes a problem because those experiences are the foundation for their later adaptations to life. Each moment of a person’s life is influenced by their former experiences and even more by their interpretation of those experiences and even more by their personal responses to them. One’s childhood habits carry through in our habitual responses to our surroundings for the rest of our lives. When we are children we haven’t any experience in choosing adaptations that will guide us through the rest of our adult lives. We are dependent upon our parents, caretakers, and peers, and the environments they put us into for influencing us in the habits that form our childhood character and our adult character, too.

Now at a geriatric age, my willingness to put myself into the environment of people with longstanding problems is counterproductive to my own psychological well-being. I am not going to be able to help those people, even if I knew how, and they don’t want to be helped because they have based their lives on what works for them. Even a positive suggestion, which might lead to better outcomes for them, is threatening to their worldview, so is better left unsaid.

But my even entering into their worldview, which I have been willing to do in the past, is counterproductive for my own well-being. I am probably just as resistant to change as they are, and for the very same reasons; I have based my life on what works for me. What they expect from me is threatening to my worldview so I will automatically try to reject it, just as they would reject my views.

So, assuming that this analysis makes sense what should I do? Probably, my best action is to follow Seneca’s suggestion and

Just quietly walk away from people and situations that will create problems and stress.

How can I identify and eliminate my false beliefs? 25

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One of my worldview false beliefs has been exposed by my prostate gland going cancerous. I’m eighty-three years old and it is reported that eighty percent of men age eighty have prostate cancer. Fortunately for me, it is not a short-term death sentence because mine was identified early enough to begin radiation treatment. I have now completed thirty-four of a scheduled forty-four treatments, and I have been told that everything is looking okay. That’s the good news.

One would expect that thinking philosophical thoughts, writing a thoughtful blog, and being scientifically informed would help one endure insults to one’s body. Viktor Frankl discusses at length in his book Man’s Search for Meaning how he endured years in a WW 2 German concentration camp. He had a life-saving attitude that pulled him through extremely difficult situations. I thought I could endure as he had done.

My situation is easy compared to Frankl’s and yet my former thoughts that I can endure difficulties without affecting my personal behavior isn’t working out as expected. I have been feeling physically tired, emotionally irritable, and more annoyed by other people’s antisocial behavior than ever before.

With all of my education, etc., I have all the frailties that are to be expected of someone in my situation.

How can I identify and eliminate my false beliefs? 24

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This blog has taken up an enormous amount of time over the last ten years. There have been many page views, approaching two million, but very few comments and only a few of those posts have created a thread of comments.

Is it a false belief, that people would be interested in the subjects of my posts? The stated goal at the top of the opening page has always been, “– Life Hacks ~ Many helpful hints on living your life more successfully.”

I must assume that the core of my false belief is that people are interested in living their lives more successfully. Of course, with now over 4,000 posts some of them drifted off of that topic, but your life success has always been the intent.

I can be more socially realistic and do what others do, and not respond with what they should do but to what they do do.

Only do for others what they will pay you to do for them. 

How can I identify and eliminate my false beliefs? 23

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I have thought that people are interested in new views of natural reality and so when talking to people I have a tendency to bring up newly discovered facts that modify our previously held beliefs.

When my personal belief is stated that way it becomes obvious why it is a false way to converse with others. Some people easily get bored with me and walk away at first opportunity. It seems strange but people are more interested in ideas that are congruent with their long-held ideas than in ones that might conflict with what they already believe. An idea that is an improvement to their relationship with reality would seem to be something they would value, and pursue, but I presently think that I am wrong about that presumption. In fact, they will find an idea that challenges their reality to be offensive and will reject every speck of evidence that they may be wrong.

With that potential realization in mind, I will make a habit to seek areas of agreement to talk about with every person I meet. That’s what most people do, and it works for them. If we have common interests we can feel better about being together, and we can feel more trust with one another. Conversation is for pleasure and not for changing one’s beliefs.

The subtitle of this blog is, “Many helpful hints on living your life more successfully.” That has been the underlying goal for all 4,000 posts, but those ideas are not what people want to hear. They want ideas that will prove that they are right, no matter what factual evidence is presented that is contradicting their belief.

I too have been a victim of my own counter-functional habit, that of trying to change people to be in better alignment with a more evidence-based worldview. Actually, I do pay close attention to what others say, and my proof of that absurd statement is that I so frequently put the right word into someone’s sentence that they make fun of me and my ability to do that. I will stop telling people what I think is right and start agreeing with them about what I think is right with what they are saying. People take new good ideas as a threat and thus a punishment.

That’s a great idea, and it works for me too.

 

How can I identify and eliminate my false beliefs? 22

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One of my “probable” false beliefs is that I am willing to expose myself to new experiences. That idea has morphed over the years from a willingness to take some adventurous risks, like climbing Mt. Hood on the difficult east side the week before I graduated from high school. Then to a willingness to take physical risks for a grand purpose, like being a US Air Force pilot and defending my country. That moved on to taking business risks for the sake of furthering the well-being of our whole country. Then teaching at a college level to improve young people’s chances of becoming successful in what they would attempt to do later in their lives.

From those applications of my time, energy and risk tolerance it becomes apparent that I moved from being willing to take a physical risk on to taking economic risks with little physical risk. From those things, I moved on to be at the center of some social activities at Berkeley, such as The Free Speech Movement, and the People’s Park confrontation with the State of California … both of which we legally won. There was a slight physical risk and substantial legal risk, but campuses throughout the US now have the right to have political literature tables in their plazas. We thought we had free speech but when it came to claiming that right it required a confrontation with the authorities. We won!

The issue at People’s Park was more complex because the University had, through right of eminent domain, taken several acres of city property and then abandoned it for several years. We, the citizens of Berkeley, had to confront the state to regain usage of their abandoned eyesore in the middle of a prime area. People’s Park is still a public park nearly sixty years later, so we won that one too.

I did a bunch of other things too, but I always felt my efforts were worthwhile because the public good was more important to me than my personal gain. My personal experiences made it possible for people in general to have more abundant lives.

When I look at the last several years, my Earth Ark Project, to save all of the plants of the world because without the plants the animals, even the cute ones, couldn’t exist, was based my willingness to expose myself, and you, to new experiences. Ten years of writing this blog every day was an effort to help people gain successful personal experience. When I look back on these efforts I wonder, am I willing to expose myself to new experiences, or am I kidding myself?  How do I eliminate my false beliefs about these past experiences? By realizing that my motivation wasn’t to expose myself to new experiences; these were things I thought needed to be done, so I did them.

Is my effort to Self-Actualize the whole Universe based on a false belief that it is possible?