Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Game Board

Rules Activity governed by a specific set of rules is a game. This is no to imply that all of our activities are just trivial and frivolous; rather, the word is used with its widest possible connotation: our social activities are games in the sense that they depend upon rules which in turn always rest upon certain distinctions. Draw a distinction between the all-saving God and the all-sin-full man, and this will lead to a rule that man can be saved only by getting in touch with God; this is the Religion Game. Draw a distinction between valuable success and humiliating failure, and this will lead to a rule that to be valuable one must avoid failure; this is the Competition Game. In a word distinctions lead to rules which in turn form games.

The point of all of this will be glaringly obvious if we now ask a simple question: what happens if we draw inappropriate distinctions? Straightforwardly, an inappropriate distinction can lead to contradictory or paradoxical rules which in turn can lead to self-defeating and frustrating games. And a society built on such self-defeating games is an ideal breeding ground for neuroses and psychoses. That is, the distinction, rules, and games of a society can themselves be concealed contradictions and paradoxes, so that trying to act upon them places the double-bind on us all, for this type of game has rules that insure that we will never win the game!


Ken Wilbur in his 1977 book, Spectrum of Consciousness is explaining that our beliefs create the game board of life. The distinctions we form within our beliefs create the rules we live by. If our distinctions are inappropriate, the rules can be distorted, but we still believe them to be true. Our distinctions and the perceptions that form from our beliefs dominate our reality. We would not follow a certain religion if we perceived it to be fake, but the distinction of it being a religion might convince us it is not fake. We get caught in the paradox of conflicting associations that fill our belief structure.

In the game of life, we expand from each distinction and learn from each perception. We tune into our core beliefs and understand the paradox of not understanding. Our beliefs are compounded by objective influences as well as subjective suggestions. We move through the game board and pass through each moment to feel the value of physical distinctions, and the rules that create a game we always win even when we don’t realize we are winning.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Creases Of The Soul

He must attain and maintain that lofty sight where facts yield their secret sense, and poetry and annals are alike. The instinct of the mind, the purpose of nature, betrays itself in the use we make of the signal narrations of history. Time dissipates to shining ether the solid angularity of facts. No anchor, no cable, no fences avail to keep a fact a fact. Babylon, Troy, Tyre, Palestine and even early Rome are passing already into fiction.

The Garden of Eden, the sun standing still in Gibeon, is poetry thence forward to all nations. Who cares what the fact was, when we have made a constellation of it to hang in heaven an immortal sign? London, Paris and New York must go the same way. “What is History,” said Napoleon, “but a fable agreed upon.” This life of ours is stuck round with Egypt, Greece, Gaul, England, War, Colonization, Church, Court and Commerce, as with so many flowers and wild ornaments grave and gay.

I will not make more account of them. I believe in Eternity. I can find Greece, Asia, Italy, Spain and the Islands; the genius and creative principle of each and of all eras in my own mind.


Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote those thoughts in his 1842 essay History. Facts turn into fiction as time moves through our minds. It’s hard to distinguish between fact and fiction because we like to turn fiction into facts. Writers write facts, but those facts are covered in the unique flavor of fiction. Fiction is an assortment of facts turned inside out to express possibilities. Experiences are composed of endless facts. Some of those facts become beliefs; some become lies. We judge facts and label them.

Our beliefs create a snapshot of the reality we call factual, but within our beliefs there are kernels of fictitious growth. Our reality is a mindful experience as well as a physical one. The mindful experience is registered in the creases of the soul. In those creases, fact and fiction are the same. In our physical experience facts rule until they fade into the fiction we call history.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Slavery To An Unknown Mind

The Chinese world-view depended upon a totally different line of thought than the Western view of a mechanical universe externally ruled by a political Monarch and Creator. The harmonious cooperation of all beings arose, not from the orders of a superior authority external to themselves, but from the fact that they were all parts in a hierarchy of wholes forming a cosmic pattern and what they obeyed were the internal dictates of their own natures. Modern science and the philosophy of organism, with its integrative levels, have come back to this wisdom, fortified by new understanding of cosmic, biological and social evolution.

Joseph Needham, the British academic, was known for his research on Chinese culture. “Needham Grand Question” was why China was overtaken by the West in technology and science despite its early successes. He believed that Taoism and Confucianism played a role in slowing the pace of Chinese scientific discoveries. Chinese philosophical concepts focused on self-responsibility and unity within the self. The Western world immersed itself in inventive separatism. Western cultures are united in the diversity that exists in fragmented beliefs of others, not in the internal dictates of their own nature.

From our fragmented beliefs, our Western culture developed a system of knowing that was controlled by a force outside of us. This force evolved into a political and judgmental monarch that ruled with a firm external voice of a church. The slightest misstep can cause eternal damnation, but complete compliance means future rewards. These rewards are not specific in nature. They are promises filled with esoteric thought. The rewards and the punishment are self-inflicted, but we believe they are the work of this multi-purpose being that supports approval and vindictiveness.

The Chinese never adopted this philosophy. Hence, their political system is different. Their family structure is different, and the way they perceive their reality and the universe is different. The Chinese system is not better or worse than the Western system. It is a system that allows restricted freedom of mindful self-expression. In Western culture our system promotes slavery to an unknown mind. In China, they recognize the mind.