Category Archives: Mindfulness

Don’t Work Against Yourself

Created July 16, 2021

The above title seems obvious. “Who would knowingly work against one’s own best interests? Masochists maybe, but no normal person.”

Unfortunately, that is not the case. Practically all of us work against ourselves on a daily basis. The reason we do it is because we don’t realize the power of our own thoughts and feelings to program our behavior in ways that can seriously limit our success.

For example, we may feel and have thoughts about being jealous of another person or persons. As the clock ticks on and we let ourselves stay in that mental/emotional state, we don’t realize the damage we are doing to our self, and so we let it go on, as if there is no cost or consequence involved in spending time that way. The more time goes on without our actively curtailing that state, the more damage it is doing.

Jealousy is defined as “The thoughts or feelings of insecurity, fear, concern, and envy over relative lack of possessions, status or something of great personal value, particularly in reference to a comparator, a rival, or a competitor.”

Every second we allow ourself to dwell in that state we are sending signals to ourself, not only our conscious mind but also our subconscious, not only our left and front brain but also our right brain, not only our cortex but also our limbic system and cerebellum, that we find ourselves to be inadequate (insecurity), fearful, and lesser individuals to those we envy.

Our entire being, our body as well as our mind, get the message. In ways we don’t notice, we project those signals out to the world in our posture, facial and bodily gestures, we are broadcasting our perceived inadequacy to others as well as to our own inner being. If we do this often enough it becomes a self-refueling cycle that mounts and can destroy the achievement of our highest visions for ourself.

We owe it to ourselves to have at least a vague notion of the gifts we have which should determine the kind of work we want to do in the world. And armed with this compass, vague as it may be, to not allow any vagaries of mental habits to delay or destroy our chances of reaching the actualization of those dreams.

Once we form a notion of the direction, that must be the means by which we discipline ourselves to actualize, every second of every day. To do otherwise is to potential casually throw our lives away, and any time we spend in such a mode, is sending signals to our entire being that we don’t believe in our own gifts, we’re just going through the motions but are pretty sure it’s never going to pan out. That becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and not just because we are sending giveaway “tells” of our own lack of self-belief.

Any negative thought or feeling means you are not in your clearest state. If you were in the Flow state you obviously wouldn’t be thinking at all, just acting in total internal external synchrony. If you were in the Observer state you would be able to see that your negative thoughts are the opposite of constructive and that you are wasting time, you should thank your negative feelings for causing you to detect and focus on the solution of some real world problem, and then immediately get on to analyzing and coming up with the best plan of action so that such negative feelings at some point in the future will not arise at all.

If for example jealousy is internally detected, the first question is “If I could trade lives with that person, would I?” That usually brings the jealousy into a clearer context in which you can think about what you might do differently in order to have the things the envied person has without having to become them in any way, since you are likely to like yourself better, and not want the full package of that person’s entire life, you just envy certain things they have, like more money. This turns a fruitless and self-defeating morbid period of thinking and feeling time into a constructive Observer state higher clarity use of time that leads to test actions. A far better way of running your life, more creative, not petty, which makes your mind, resolve, and self-confidence stronger, your ability to achieve stronger. It gets you what you want if you never give up. You are not using your energy against itself.

The optimal moods are gratitude and kindness. Negative moods automatically give more power to the things that hurt you. Cultivate only positive use of your time and nothing can stand in your way.

Love to all,

Bill

Belonging, Unity, and the Future of the USA

Created May 28, 2021

Belonging (a sense of social acceptance) is one of the 15 Motivations uncovered by the scientific* work I have been doing for the past 30 years or so.

Belonging is the most complex of the 15 Motivations in the sense that it contains more variations within it. It contains 25 Need States, such as Nationalism and Levity, and 220 of the 265 DriverTagsTM, each of which is a highly specific state of mind. It’s possible that Belonging is a hard-wired instinct, at the core of our nature as social animals, perhaps one of the survival characteristics that has caused homo sapiens (and other species) to be able to still be standing.

That’s why it hurts so much to be cast out of your belonging group. Like in the case of Liz Cheney, for example.

Although political parties were not mentioned in the US Constitution, 20 years later they sprung up and were bolted onto the constitutional system called the USA. Whether the political parties have done more good than harm is still a matter of debate. But one thing they have definitely supplied is the opportunity for belonging, something we all need. This would explain why 59% (Gallup) of Americans today belong to one of the two parties.

As the need for a sense of belonging is a constant, it’s possible that getting this mood-enhancing brain “drug” from political parties has become more important in recent decades as the power of the family might have declined, with children caring more about belonging to their peer group than their family, happening at earlier and earlier ages (hypothesis).

Religion for sure has lost a lot of its hold as a means for transmitting a sense of belonging.

Race has possibly become elevated as a means for generating the sense of belonging, as in the case of white supremacists.

Hypothesis: as the sense of belonging has deprecated from its traditional sources, that created an urgency of need which increased the emotional connection of party membership as a self-identifier.

Rhetoric is the art and potentially science of using words so as to cause people to believe them, whether they are true or not. Rhetoric existed before the media, but then the media became a means for applying extremely powerful rhetoric. Hitler used this in the case of cinema and other media. Today’s internet and social media are analogous to the atomic bomb version of rhetoric.

During the Greatest Generation’s watch, it would have been spectacularly unsuccessful to try to use rhetoric to pull the wool over people’s eyes to the extent that is happening today. I see it as having reached a point of mass hysteria.

Today it would probably entrain belief in the minds of at least ten million Americans if QAnon added another story that all fish can fly. Their fish minds have been taken over by devices used by the Democratic party obtained from pedophilic socialist aliens. They won’t let you see them fly, they only do it when you aren’t looking. But some day, there will be skies filled with dangerous fish swooping down on American patriots to wipe them out.

When you look at the strength of the need for a sense of belonging, how the traditional sources of this have been petering out, how political parties have always known that a populist charismatic leader is the thing to have, and then layer in the mind-bending power of the media (wait for artificial reality media to add to this brew), it’s possible to understand better what is going on today around the world not just in America.

It only took four years to push the USA back into its share of world power position (a measure of the perception of all people in the world) to pre-WWII levels.

Now as we attempt to restore ourselves to what we were there are also wild behaviors happening outside the US which we ourselves caused during those four years, not to mention a potentially genocidal mutating pandemic and an “edge city” environmental situation.

It certainly is a good time to pull together and figure things out by focusing objectively with high performing teamwork and enlisting more help from rich people to make the world the heavenly place it can be. We can actually do it.

Not the best time to have to reach 60% majority vote before we can go to the toilet. The filibuster has been rationalized as preventing “the tyranny of the majority” and “preventing action that has not been fully thought out”. The Founders did not lock in the need for a 60% majority in passing bills, so despite being some of the greatest pragmatic geniuses in history, these considerations somehow did not occur to them? More likely they did consider such things and left it to the voting outcome whether razor thin or unanimous to settle legislative issues.

To people whose careers are in government, it’s easy to see why filibuster might appeal to them. It gives power to stop legislation if one is in the minority. Think of how harmful this would be within a corporation. That’s how harmful it is in government, especially under the emergency conditions we are now faced with. Yet because a politician knows that it’s likely that half his or her career life will be spent as the minority, filibuster will be a floor under how bad one can feel. We non-politicians have no such swaddling cloths in our lives, we make our own successes and failures, we have no special entitlements that keep our control of others high when we have not earned that by majority vote of the people or by our individual performance in the eyes of our employers/clients/customers/users.

Unity is more than belonging, it is a highly desirable condition in which people work together toward common goals. That’s what we meant when we called ourselves the United States of America.

Unity has always been a strength of the Republican party, they are able to band together as a voting block (sic) whereas Democrats in the past have always been all over the lot in the diversity of their thinking. But today the Republican penchant for unity is allowing 4251 people who at best represent only about 14% of eligible voters in the US to impede the rest of us – polls showing that more than 60% of Americans like what the present administration is doing – from getting things done at the federal level, but even more dangerously are taking advantage of the powers which the Founders gave the State level.

Unless we the people speak up loudly enough, the future of America is that a number of States representing a minority of the population will drive out non-white people and many important businesses, who will migrate to the States where non-whites are offered equal opportunity and a sense of belonging.

Internally divided, we will still stand, but will not be the country we could be if we had unity restored.

Our degree of perceived vulnerability with a civil cold war will be exaggerated in the eyes of One Man Rulers abroad. They will come after us. It will not be heavenly at all.

That scenario must not be allowed. The only way to stop it is to use all your own social media efforts to put a stop to the self-destructive urges we have collectively been entertaining. Participate in polls, speak your mind, when the referendums come participate in them too.

Do not add to the problem by hating the 34 million of us who disagree, or the One Man Rulers of other countries, or any group or individual. Hate has no constructive outcomes. Hate erodes Reason. We need our ability to think clearly to rise to the top and to drive all of our behaviors. We need our emotions to be courageous enough to rise above fear and hate and to leave our minds open to win/win unity where dissenting voices are respected and included. Everyone must be included or we will never escape the downward spiraling cycle of divisiveness.

My best to all,

Bill

*When I say “scientific” what I mean is observing patterns in data, forming hypotheses from that, and then testing those hypotheses by means of controlled experiments, with the intention of discovering new and useful truths. The data I have used relates to the content that millions of anonymized individuals choose to consume on television and the Internet as measured by set top boxes and log files. This body of knowledge is meant to complement and inform the psychology systems (link to relevant example emanating from centuries of science using other data types.

 

A Trace of Hot Tub Diplomacy in The Air

Created April 23, 2021

*Thank you Mr. President for a balanced and meticulously thought out approach at a time when others are losing their heads. In addition to my donations I’ve attempted to send you helpful ideas. Here are the links to the articles that hopefully someone on the staff can review, assess, and do whatever is decided with.*

My wife Lalita emailed me “What happened to the hot tub?” when the latest U.S. sanctions were announced. That’s her way of referring to my recent columns envisioning a scene of détente among the leaders of the three superpowers.

I, too, felt disappointed when reading the headlines. I had hoped that the necessary wrist slaps would be presented differently than in the past, whether due to my ideas trickling up to the Oval Office or not. None of the headlines gave me any inkling that we were not still locked in the same mindsets as during the Cold War.

But things became more nuanced when I read the full reportage. President Biden’s televised remarks on April 15 sound a lot to me like the reasonable, moderate voice I gave my fictional Joe:

“We cannot allow a foreign power to interfere in our democratic process with impunity,” President Biden said in remarks announcing the sanctions on Thursday. He said he “was clear with President Putin that we could have gone further,” and that wanted a “stable, predictable relationship” with Russia.

“Now is the time to de-escalate,” Mr. Biden said. “Where there’s an interest for the United States to work with Russia, we should and we will.”

(The above as reported by CBS News)

The sanctions had been carefully measured to serve as a signal, to be more than merely symbolic, yet to limit the degree of pain caused to the Russian people. To make it clear that we will not be pushed around, nor will we over react, but we will be true to our word and not back off if transgressed against.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan summarized the President’s remarks to Mr. Putin in their April 13 telephone call this way:

“He said, ‘I told you that I was going to look into this, I made a determination that Russia has, in fact, conducted these actions. And I’m a man of my word, I am going to respond. But I’m not looking to escalate, I’m looking to provide proportionate responses. And I believe that it is in our interest to find a stable and predictable way forward in this relationship.'”

(The above as reported by The Guardian)

The measured nature of the sanctions is obvious to economists in that the move prevents U.S. financial institutions from participating in the primary market for ruble and non-ruble denominated debt after June 14, but does not affect the secondary market. Yet these U.S. actions also communicate that the line in the sand can be moved further depending upon how Russia responds.

Did my recent posts reach President Biden, or have he and his advisors followed a parallel path and reached similar conclusions to my own?

Perhaps God is talking to him, and I am somehow permitted to eavesdrop.

To me the most hopeful sign is that the President, while taking necessary action under the circumstances, simultaneously proposed a face to face meeting between himself and President Putin.

“President Biden reaffirmed his goal of building a stable and predictable relationship with Russia consistent with U.S. interests, and proposed a summit meeting in a third country in the coming months to discuss the full range of issues facing the United States and Russia,” the White House readout of the call said.

The readout went on to say that the two leaders “discussed a number of regional and global issues, including the intent of the United States and Russia to pursue a strategic stability dialogue on a range of arms control and emerging security issues, building on the extension of the New START Treaty.”

(The above as reported by CBS News)

Perhaps the fictional scenario I outlined is going to take place in stages.

They also have hot tubs in Cannes.

Keep a positive thought.

Best to all,

Bill

Sanctions at the Sanctuary

Created April 1, 2021

(This is Part Two of our story Part one)

At Esalen Sanctuary, the sky was turning purple although the sun was not quite to the ocean.

Joe had just lobbed his bombshell proposing an ongoing triangular conversation working together toward permanent relief of friction. All three were now using the jets on their backs and allowing their minds to roam. Strangely, all of them were picturing their own citizens living in a happy world. Vlad and Jinping were mentally commenting cynically to themselves but allowing the positive images to flow.

Joe broke the silence. He was the one who came with a playbook so he kept the conversation going. The two guests were in listening mode, not wanting to give aid and comfort to the enemy but to conduct a thorough reconnaissance.

“Please don’t think of me as an enemy,” Joe said. “Despite the harsh words I used, you know I highly respect you both, and especially your intelligence. We are in this together. In a lifeboat. And we three are responsible for the lives of billions of people – everybody on Earth. If we choose to see through the lens of ‘enemy’, the world is headed for terminal disaster, it would just be a matter of time. We have to see through the lens of ‘fellow human beings, trying our best to do what is right.’”

“Ah, but what is right?” Jinping interjected.

“We’re all trying to make life better for our people,” Joe said, “just going about it differently. Three people as smart as us better be able to figure it out or we all lose the game.” Joe realized he hadn’t answered the question. “What’s right for you might not be what’s right for me, so we figure out a workaround that all sides can live with without having to hold our noses.”

“I sometimes tire of broad generalities,” Vlad said somewhat apologetically and the other two weren’t sure he was being ironic, “Can you give a specific example of what you’re proposing?”

“Sure,” Joe said, his face telling the other two that Joe was going to be loaded for bear with examples. This would be interesting and perhaps advantageous to Vlad and Jinping.

“Sanctions are not the right mechanism,” he went on, receiving instant nods of agreement. “They are distasteful, add to the friction instead of relieving it, harm the world economy and create a death spiral for trade, and when used to try to coerce a nation to show more apparent concern for human rights, so far they have failed 100%.” The other two nodded more emphatically.

“They also give us an unfair advantage,” Joe added.

The two were baffled that an adversary would reveal a non-obvious advantage – giving away the element of surprise – and what was he talking about anyway?

“Not clear to me what you mean,” Vlad responded, and Jinping shook his head.

“Your people want our brands more than our people want your brands,” Joe said, looking at Jinping. “It’s been the marketing – now we are all equals in that – but we had a long lead time.”

“So please spell out how you see that working to your advantage,” Jinping requested.

“It spirals downward unless we switch to other methods. First the American people decide to boycott Chinese products, then China does the same to us. Our people are not much troubled, pay some higher prices, start to rebuild manufacturing on shore. China’s people do without, but many traffic black market American goods, causing internal strife and criminalizing large numbers of otherwise law-abiding people – especially the young.” Joe later realized he should have stopped there but the words which sprang into his mind were new to him so he spoke them aloud, as if musing to himself: “American media have shaped a world youth culture which is now evolving to be a true intermixed world culture – they are leading us to be one family…”

Vlad thought he’d gone off the rails, and Jinping interrupted with a bit of momentary anger: “Yes but you and your media are raising unrealistic expectations we’re never going to fulfil!”

“We are clearly more optimistic than you are,” Joe admitted. “We strive to be idealistic realists. Like both of your cultures, we come up with lots of new ideas all the time, and this fact encourages us to be optimistic. Challenges make us use our creativity at peak levels. Especially if we three achieve global cooperativeness in this creative process, there’s reason to put away the pessimism. Optimism – pessimism – the world is what we make it. Especially we three – we’ve wound up with the power to end the world or to remake it so that it does work, everywhere, to everyone’s benefit – together, we’re smart enough to accomplish that.””

“No,” Vlad disagreed, “there are billions of people out there who put the lie to any optimistic theory. The dregs of the Earth, billions of them, people that we three would never spend one minute with. In Russia and China, we keep these people in line and try our best to bring them up from their animal level of thinking. In democracies those people have the same vote that you have Joe. You have teams of the best people on the planet advising you, but a bowery bum has the same weight as you do in the voting.”

“Your idea of democracy is what we call ‘naïve democracy’,” Jinping jumped in. “To anyone with common sense, to anyone who has studied history as reported by all sides, it’s insane to try to do democracy the way the West has been trying to do it. We consider our type of democracy superior because it works efficiently. We call ours ‘realistic democracy’. When you try to lecture us about human rights and so on, we are insulted because we believe we have bypassed you in political science.”

Vlad quoted H. L. Mencken, “Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.”

“Whoa – hold up guys,” Joe held up his hand and smiled at them, “We have a different theory about the folks that Mencken called ‘plain people’. It’s a two-part theory. Part One is that we train them to be people we would be happy to spend a few minutes with, people who can support themselves and contribute to society. We’re calling this “individualized education” because Part Two of the idea is to find out what life’s work each person would love to do, and make it possible through training and information.”

The two guests looked at each other. Again, Joe had given them information he would have been smarter to withhold and use for American interest first before giving it away to competitors, who because of the efficiency of their governments, could put ideas to work faster.

Joe smiled at them as if reading their minds. He had been coached what to expect. “I look forward to seeing your experiments and learning from them. The more we test and learn everywhere – given the glass houses we all live in – the faster we all grow up.”

“One thing is not the other,” Vlad objected. “Yes, I like your plan to pull these people up, it will take generations but it’s worth doing. But that doesn’t prove anything about the workability of naïve unrealistic democracy. You can’t say that it’s working. Look at what your democracy did electing Trump! Or, look at this one: Aaron Burr right after killing Hamilton – one man indicted for murder of a Founding Father – convinces the Senate to remove the ‘previous question’ rule, and that creates the filibuster. Now the 31% of least adaptable people in your country, the ones most afraid of the future, have 60% of the power. You can’t get new legislation passed no matter how good your ideas may be. You’ve put a brake on your own efficiency for over two centuries! What do you call a system that does that if not naïve and unrealistic?”

“Fair enough,” Joe agreed, “Neither political parties nor filibusters are in the U.S. Constitution. Maybe one day we’ll get to test how efficiently we can govern the U.S. based on the Constitution. That’s one of my goals. I think you’ll see that it isn’t inefficient when the Senate gets its ability back to move on from futile conversation loops.”

The full moon rose over the Pacific across the sky from the dwindling sunset.

“Like let’s get out of this loop about democracy and go back to where we were going – alternative method to sanctions,” Joe said seriously but with a friendly smile. “We’ll have lots of time for philosophy if we keep up this meeting via Zoom every week.” They looked at him expectantly.

“There is no way of stopping people around the world from saying whatever they like,” Joe went on. “If there is expression of disgust over certain events that happen in any of our countries, in order to rechannel outrage away from sanctions and things that work against us all, the most wu wei solution is to remove the cause of the outrage.” Jinping’s expression darkened slightly.

Wu wei is the core tenet of Lao Tzu’s philosophy and of Taoism. It means going with the flow of the Universe’s action (Tao). It also means effortless action as in Flow state. May The Force Be With You. Jinping agrees with the wisdom of wu wei but was slightly miffed at a non-Chinese co-opting it. His face relaxed again.

“You are saying we should simply stop doing the things you criticize us for, although we’ve repeatedly warned you that we are offended by such meddlings,” Jinping said levelly. “Is this creativity, to simply repeat demands?”

“No, the creative part is next. First of all, let’s say the issue is something that you’ve been denying – fake news. One way you could choose to handle that is to invite the Red Cross, or a UN commission, to inspect the situation on the ground and verify that you’ve been telling the truth.”

“Not a bad idea,” Jinping said, “I’ll consider it.” He wondered if Biden knew that Chiang Kai-Shek had snookered the world for years by inviting the press into sanitized areas. However, Jinping was not thinking of doing that.

“I can’t see that this particular piece of creativity is going to make a big difference, Joe,” Vlad said honestly.

Joe nodded agreement. “Just one piece of the puzzle,” Joe said. “Here’s the big idea: Most Favored Nation treatment in all trade deals between the U.S. and your countries if you show the world that you sincerely are respectful of human rights. That you are taking steps to show compassion for all of your people and neighbors.”

The two other men were holding their bodies and expressions very still.

“How would that work?” Vlad asked neutrally.

“I’d prefer that it be based on something objective, so that it’s not a judgment call,” Joe said. “A Pew global poll every month or more frequently that tracks world perception of whether a given country is sincerely doing what it can to move at realistic and compassionate speed toward respecting human rights. As long as more than half the world believes in you, the MFN lasts, as soon as more than half the world condemns you, the MFN is abated until the poll results change for the better. or something like that.”

He saw the gradually dawning realization on their faces of just how serious he was.

“Yes. It’s time to change the game entirely,” he said with a grin, rubbing his palms together vigorously as if he had just spat in them. The meme of getting down to work with eagerness.

The sun had gone down and the colors were draining out of the sky, but their three faces shone with a new inner light.

To be continued.

Best to all,

Bill

 

Could World Safety Be One Conversation Away?

Created March 23, 2021

The press and late-night TV comics had a field day when the Esalen Summit was announced by the White House. Backstory: Joe, Kamala and Chuck had a running joke about the subject and then one day, started to take it seriously.

It turned out that Vlad and Jinping liked the idea. Just the three of them, Joe and his counterparts, without aides, in the hot tubs overlooking the Pacific. No press. No guards visible. Just three men having a good time and talking shop or whatever they felt like. Aimed at visioneering the future together, if it should turn out that way. Otherwise, just a fun thing.

Naturally when they got there each of them took the full most deluxe spa treatment. Vlad did that every night at home anyway. They steamed, saunaed, swam, meditated, yogaed, got massaged, and then met in the hot tubs on the deck just before sunset. Nature was making its contribution in the sky as the pelicans began their evening hunt. A dolphin breached. The three men happily watched it.

Joe asked Vlad, “He wasn’t one of yours, was he?” and the three men chuckled. All three countries had enlisted dolphins into their military and paramilitaries.

The other two men were very relaxed and had no agenda so Joe got to say something else.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if it could always be like this?”

Both men are urbane and smiled good-naturedly, while shaking their heads to indicate it can never work. Joe poured for them. An excellent Russian vodka bottle in ice. All three had agreed in advance to start with vodka. A few steps further away was a bottle of Moutai chilling, and Jack Daniels setups sat in a corner. Joe poured himself a water.

“You remember that Bogart movie where Sidney Greenstreet says he would never trust a man who doesn’t drink?” Jinping asked mischievously.

“Maltese Falcon,” Vlad supplied.

“That was right before they slip him a mickey and then kick him in the head,” Joe recalled. They all laughed. Their respective guard squads had tested all the foods, beverages, the air, and everything else. The amount of air traffic high above was constantly audible.

“See, that’s why it can’t be like this, nice, all the time,” Jinping philosophized. “We know for a fact we can’t trust each other, none of us can afford to be trustworthy, I can’t see the present situation ever ending.”

“How can we be nice all the time while calling each other soul-less killers?” Vlad asked levelly.

“And thugs?” Jinping added with a smile.

Joe had been told to expect those questions. “Look, you guys are pros, you know how the game is played. You had to expect some kind of hard talk from me after you wiped the floor with the Donald and slipped all kinds of unthinkable things past him. The last time anyone got away with daring the US so blatantly was the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

The two Eurasian friends looked at each other and tacitly gave Joe the point.

“So,” Joe went on, “I apologize and will do so publicly when we announce something positive together after this is over. But let’s get back to the future, one in which we talk things over just the three of us, and try to settle everything amicably in advance. Have you wargamed it?” Joe asked both of them. “I mean peacegamed it. Scenarios…” They both nodded ponderously. This promised to be a boring conversation for them. However, as professionals they both enjoyed looking for the advantages they could gain from something he might say.

“We have too,” Joe confided, “it comes down to four things: whether we each feel we have elbow room, how much our behavior at home offends one of us, what to do about everybody else besides our three countries, not making aggressive moves against each other, and a load of details our people can work out.”

“Like the trade deals,” Jinping complained mildly, “just one of the little details?”

“And like what we base world currency on,” Vlad added studiously.

“Say it comes down to a trillion things, still, those top four are the ones to solve, the rest is like a zipper,” Joe pitched them. Both men sat back and pretended to be getting their backs done by the jets. Meanwhile their minds went into overdrive envisioning how they could turn this to their own advantage. Soon all three men were smiling, concocting their own visions of what might be achievable from the springboard of this summit.

Interestingly, all three gave some time to thinking about their people as well as about themselves.

To Be Continued…

Best to all,

Bill

A Way to Decide How to Live Your Life

Created March 5, 2021

Painful periods in history have always made us stronger. Other than the venom of our disagreements, we now show great promise as a race. We are now advanced enough to come up in less than a year with vaccines that work against novel deadly viruses, and several nations are visiting Mars right now. Think of all the great new tech we are making and using together. If robots put us all out of jobs, governments and businesses will have to sponsor us so they still have someone to sell things to.

On the other hand, everyone is so roiled up by the last few years of callous misuse of media for political and financial gain, including several nations that had taken years to calm down, it could all blow up before we get to ultimate technotopia.

It would sure be a shame to let that happen.

Because if we can keep a steady hand on the tiller, it’s in everyone’s self-interest to not blow it all up, but for national leaders to create win/win trade deals keeping the whole machine going and making it work better year after year.

As nations and as individuals, we’ve all gotta feel for the other “guy” because either we’re one big happy family or we’re one big dysfunctional war hole.

The biggest disagreement that is driving us apart reflects two very different worldviews. One view assumes that the universe is benevolent or neutral, and that everyone is trying to do the right thing. The other view is that the universe is a dangerous place filled with both good and evil beings. Those of the latter view naturally are more likely to exhibit hate and be prone to violence.

Millions or billions of us need to really rethink about how to live the rest of our lives. It might be a whole different worldview than we have lived by until now.

The way I go about thinking about how to live my life starts from looking over what I think the world is.

I find it implausible that the universe is an accident.

The one thing that I am certain exists, is my consciousness. If my consciousness can exist, a God-sized consciousness could also exist. That consciousness might regard itself in some other way than as God per se. That consciousness could be as scientific as a far more advanced version of our science. It could have a sense of self the way we do. It could know itself better than we each know ourselves. It could realize that it is a vast biocomputer, that it processes information the way our minds do.

It could have such immense processing power that it can pay attention to an infinite number of different things at once. In that way, it could be playing a three-dimensional “videogame” through us, its avatars.

If that were the case, our consciousness could live forever, once our current body stops working.

None of this is unscientific. Great scientists differ in their hunches as to ideas like this; one of the greatest physicists of all time, John Wheeler, had an open mind about such subjects. He postulated that consciousness is an essential causal factor in making the reality we experience, exist. (The link brings you to a ten-minute video explaining this in more detail for those interested.)

All religions could be essentially true, including the miracles. Who among us has not experienced miracles such as suddenly knowing something is going to happen, what someone else is thinking, or receiving an incredibly good idea out of the blue? Some of us have experienced more inexplicable things than others. I’ve shared my own strange experiences in my book You Are The Universe.

Paranormal experiences have brought out the spiritual feelings I had as a small child. People who have not had those experiences are highly likely to be skeptical about God.

I was highly skeptical of the things I was told about religion. As life confirmed the predictions inherent in all truly religious ethical statements, I became somewhat more open-minded. I identified in myself a cultural bias which dichotomized my thinking into pro-science/anti-religion vs. pro-religion/anti-science.

I concluded that one must allow for the probability of some sort of God. That had not been ruled out by science. That was when I began to think about how they might both be true.

I see the universe as a single consciousness. The original Experiencer is living through each of us, not just humans but everything. That is my take on what is going on. I invite you to start again to consider what the universe may be, and how your bet in reality is going to guide you to right action, in your future reimagined free of lockdowns your mind may have firmly decided in the past.

Even though we have learned millions of amazing things since we began, we still know very little about the largest questions, who are we, why are we here, and therefore we must bet our lives on some basic assumptions that are relevant to decision making day to day.

My baseline is that everything that has not been ruled out by science is possible. And so, my actions should be optimized for both an accidental material-only world versus a God World in which each of us is God, temporarily self-hypnotized for the zest of the game.

But beyond actions, one also has feelings, and feelings inside of us should also be optimized. If we merely go through life deferring the question of what the whole universe is, we are avoiding one of the most important aspects of being alive, and merely closeting the wonder and awe we were born with.

Aesthetically, I am betting on the God Universe. Pragmatically that also allows me to experience hunches and inspirations and spiritual feelings for all things and beings, which I find to be all very positive feeling experiences.

Since we cannot know definitively, the game is set up that way, we can either bet one way or another or can optimize for all worldviews simultaneously. But we cannot walk around the question of what we feel the universe is. It’s a key part of the journey. From that will come the wellspring of inspiration that will show you your new high road in life.

All my best, Bill

PS – Chapter 12 of MIND MAGIC provides more specific recommendations on how to reopen your mind to the expanded worldview possibilities of consciousness itself, which John Wheeler and other eminent quantum physicists have validated as consistent with quantum theory.