TEACHING OTHERS–WHY? part two

I must apologize. I wrote part one of this post quite a while ago, and had part two almost complete in my mind–but life interfered, and I never wrote it down. And then I forgot about it! In my mind it was written and published, and it was only today when I needed it that I discovered it was not there. How much of it I will remember I do not know, but this is only worrisome to me, because I know my failure. To you, the reader, who know nothing of this, you won’t even notice.

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Just to be clear, this post and its predecessor are not aimed at schoolteachers or college or university professors. Those people are paid to teach our youth things they will need to help them get by in life. Mind you, I do not always agree with what they teach or how they teach, but that is a wholly different matter. This post is aimed at people like philosophers, which I consider myself one, preachers, gurus, and anyone who thinks they have something to offer this world that can help the world become a better place. Needless to say, I am writing this to myself, because I am hoping to offer my experience at the uselessness of trying to teach anything to anyone.

First of all, we really do not want anyone to teach us anything. We know it all already. And if we don’t know it all, do we really need to learn something we are getting along fine without. After all, our parents brought us up to live in this world, and, yeah, they made mistakes, but there is no parenting manual that works for every situation. It’s just life, and we make it up as we go along. So get out of my face!

But we wannabe teachers ignore such proclamations. We know something that will make life easier for others, or better for others, and despite what others think or believe, we know we can help them. Right! Right? Wrong…

How arrogant of us! Over 37 BILLION people in this world, and we are the ones who know best what is good for everyone! You know what I’m saying. You’ve felt it. If you haven’t felt it why are you trying to teach anyone anything? You believe in yourself, right? You know what you have to offer. You are going to save the world.

You are not going to save the world. No one is. No one person can. Farbeit for me to disillusion you, disappoint you, and dishearten you, but as much as you would like it to be able to, your idea cannot work for everyone. There are too many cultures, societies, nations, types of government, philosophies, religions, political parties, too much of anything, for my, or your, idea to work for everyone. To emphasize this, there are too many individuals to get everyone to believe any one thing. And if you cannot help everyone, what is the use of trying to teach anyone.

For some it is teaching what someone taught you, and you are but another teacher in a long line of teachers teaching the same thing, generation after generation. You are convinced that what you are teaching is helping others even as what others taught you helped you. Or, you are someone who was not helped by what others taught you, and you discovered all on your own something that helped you, so now you want to teach others what you know helped you, because it can help them too. Forget it!

FOOLS!  WE ARE ARROGANT FOOLS! You know nothing. I know nothing. All we are doing is hoping someone will believe us, about how we see the world, about how we can save the world. Because if someone believes us, then we know we are making a mark in this world. We know we are not crazy egomaniacs with visions of megomolania. I used to be a crazy maniac, with visions of megalomania. But now I know I am just a fool, a person utterly honest with myself, wanting you to be utterly honest with yourself too. I know nothing. You know nothing. And that is the way life is.

I am not trying to say I have nothing to offer, or you have nothing to offer, but offer it, and forget it. As I said in part one of this post, you cannot control what you say once you’ve said it, nor can you control what someone hears in what you said. No language is perfect. Whatever language you speak, whatever language your reader reads, you cannot guarantee the reader is reading what you are saying. I’m sorry, but that is the truth. You may think they are agreeing with you, they might tell you they are agreeing with you, but really they are agreeing with themselves. They are agreeing with WHAT THEY THINK YOU ARE SAYING, and you have no way to control that. Yes, you may have used the best words you can think of, in the best language you know to say them, but  only you know what you are truly trying to say. No one else!

Take a look at some of our most famous human teachers from the past. Moses, Abraham, Buddha, Christ, Mohammed, Paul of Tarsus, Martin Luther, and all the ones we are missing. Notice who this list is missing: Africans, Australians, Pre-Columbus Americans (South and North), all kinds of Asians… What is the one thing everyone on or not on this list have in common–every one of them failed! All! Not just some… If any one of them had not failed this world would be a much better place to be. What is it you have that not one of these teachers had? Not a damn thing.

Now, if you have gotten this far in my little rant, and you think I have insulted you all I can, please let me disabuse you of that idea. Let me ask you a very important question, one I had to answer for myself a number of years ago: What makes you think your words are so important that no one before you has never thought of them before? I know I thought that about what I wanted to teach the world. I believed it to my very bones. Yet when I tried to tell people, no one understood me. Did anyone even try? I don’t know how to answer that! They told me they tried. Some told me they succeeded. But when I heard them repeat it to others, I finally understood my failure. What was so obvious to me was not at all obvious to others. Like a game of Telephone, or Rumour (same game, different name), the meaning changed. And each step it got farther away from me, the more it changed. It did not take long for the meaning to be entirely lost, though the names stayed the same. It was an exercise in futility. And had anyone been there to tell me this, I would not have believed them. I knew I was different, that what I had was special. I still feel that way, all these many years later. But I am enough of a realist to admit that I failed in my intention. I didn’t change the world one whit.

The worst part came for me when I listened to myself speak. Telling others what to do, or how to believe, deprived them of their own humanity, their own belief in themselves. It was easy to think most of them didn’t know how to think, that my thoughts went so much deeper than theirs. But even if that was true, their thoughts were still as important to them as mine are to me.  They wanted to be heard just as much as I wanted to be heard. For themselves they were right, even as I was right for myself. Truth is relative. Belief is relative. Thoughts are relative. Ideas are relative. PEOPLE ARE RELATIVE!

 

People believe what they want to believe, as long as they want to believe it. Encouraging them to believe what they do not want to believe, what they are not ready to believe, does not change them deep inside. ONLY THEY CAN CHANGE THEMSELVES, WHEN THEY WANT TO CHANGE THEMSELVES, WHEN THEY ARE READY TO CHANGE THEMSELVES, and anyone who wants to deprive them of their own journey is a fool, and a bully. How did you get to where you are? Only you can answer that. How did anyone get to where they are at? Only they can answer that. The best we can do is talk to others. The worst we can do is try to teach them. They deserve the right to be who they think they are. If they are right, for them, congratulations to them. If they are wrong, they will change themselves. I believe they have all eternity to find themselves. How long are you willing to allow them?

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A REQUEST TO ALL (A)THEISTS. PLEASE…

STOP WRITING WITHOUT RESPECT!

Most atheists know what it is to be theists, we had no choice but to be brought up in religious societies. This was the world around us. As we grew older, and were able to make our own choices, we chose to leave those religions. But that does not mean we forgot what lIfe as a believer was like.

On the other hand, few believers were brought up as non-believers. There are some, of course, but generally that was a family decision, not a societal one. There are very few truely atheist societies in our world. Choosing to leave behind family beliefs and take on societal beliefs is much easier than the other way around. One is joining the larger group, the other is choosing to be a group of one. There is no such thing as a group atheistic belief system. People develop their own beliefs prior to finding others who believe similarly to them. Not the same as them, just similarly. No two atheists believe exactly the same, because no one tells us how to become an atheist. It is a personal journey.

So what I am requesting is for theists to stop writing about who you think atheists are, write about yourselves. Whatever religion you profess, and there are many to choose from, write what you know. That way you seem wise. Write about what you do not know, and you open yourself up to looking like a fool.

As for atheists, please let us keep the peace. If a religious writer is writing about their own religion, please give them the freedom to do so. This is a matter of respect. Give them respect, and maybe they will return it. In time, the maybe will disappear. However, if a religious writer does persist in writing about atheists, and openly showing they do not understand who atheists are, then it is your choice to challenge the fallacies they try to promote. They are saying they do not respect us enough to find out if what they are writing is true, or just a continuation of what they want to believe is true. Correcting their errors, if they persist in spreading them, gives us the right to challenge them.

This is all a matter of respect. Offer them respect, and if they accept it, and return it, please leave them be. If however they choose disrespect, and keep on writing their falshoods, it is your choice to correct them if you so desire. Please, though, do it with respect. As for theists, please challenge those atheist writers who offer no respect to you.

These are my thoughts, take them for what they are worth to you.

Thank you for reading my request.

 

Death is not Optional –But What If

An Afterlife Was?

Hi friends. I’ve been trying to write this post for some time now, but I just can’t seem to write what I want. It all seems to come out crap. So, after much trial and tribulation, I decided, maybe you folks could write it for me. If you are willing, or even merely motivated to add your own thoughts.

What I would like to know is, if you could choose your own afterlife, would you? Or would you choose immortal death (a death you could never come back from, unlike gods or superheroes)? You have full reign to design any afterlife you would like to go to, or live in. One life to live, possibly forever, or reincarnation if you so desire, a ready-made afterlife such as any world religion might offer, or something that no one but you could ever imagine. Explanations are totally up to you. In fact, anything you want to write is okay with me, as long as it is relatively inoffensive in word if not in deed. So, in other words, if you could be your own god,  what would you design for yourself?

For myself, I would go along with my own philosophy, and incorporate a form of reincarnation. Why, because I do not believe it is possible to learn all about life in one lifetime. Nor do I think one could learn everything one might need to know by living in only one state of reality. I would create for myself a series of incarnations that would build upon each other spiritually, and do it on different levels of life in order to cover all possibilities that could eventuate. It would not be my ego-being that reincarnated, but rather a spirit-being that retains life-learning, and continually adds to it. Being “human” would only be one level of reality, preceded by living as other species of life, and being followed by changing into other forms of life. And even though I am the one creating my own afterlife, I would never write a scenario for a next incarnation until the last incarnation was complete.

This would give me an eternity of living and learning, always filled with new experiences and life-lessons. This is the kind of afterlife I could easily die for. What about you?

What’s Going On–An Open ? from Nan

If anyone was to ask me, how would I describe the position of living beings in our universe, I would have to guess we are slowly learning how to come to terms with ego, and how to open spirit. This is not just a human task, but a life task. Every living being (Is there any other kind?) has spirit, and spirits are the parts of us that progress, or, using other words, are raising their consciousnesses. The thing is, there seem to be three levels of consciousness in my experience: physical, mental, and spiritual. Spirituality informs all levels, but the spirit cannot do much until the physical (ego) is tamed, and the mental (mind) is opened. From the mind all connections can become visible, at which time the spiritual (spirit) is able to awaken, and take over the consciousness it centers. This is about the simplest way I can speak to my own experience, but there is great complexity behind this simplicity.

This relationship, ego to mind to spirit, can be comprehended on the spiritual level of life, but it cannot be easily described in English (the only language I have mastered enough to even try. I would probably need to write a book to try, and I would likely forget to include things that would need to be included to give a full and proper description. (Someday, I may try to construct such a book, but at this point I am still learning. I need more information than I have.) My mind can grasp a lot, but not as much as my spirit feels the need to tell.

As for what is spiritual progress, again I can see more than my spirit can explain. The biggest thing, for me, is understanding why I cannot explain. How does one describe understanding that life has no known goal because knowing the goal would invalidate the journeys we are all on, whether we realize it or not.

Imagine you are Christoffa Colombo. You set off on a journey from Spain convinced you are going to reach India. When you find land, as you expected, you call the inhabitants Indians. Yet even when your error is discovered, you still insist on calling these new people Indians. You want so badly to have reached your goal you are willing to tell one of the biggest lies of all time to hide your mistake. You call the land the Americas after your good buddy, Amerigo Vespucci, but you insist the occupants are Indians. 600 years later this same lie is still being repeated. Indians are from the Americas, not from India. How absurd! Indians are from India, true Americans are from the Americas!

But this is only half the lie. Whatever else you did do, when you discovered America, you failed in your goal. You thought you knew where you were going, but you went somewhere else instead. The Colombo example starts to fall apart now. The Americas interrupted his known goal, India. But what if Colombo did not know where he was going, but he still went anyway, and succeeded in discovering what no European knew was there. How would that have changed the history of the last 600 years? Of course, we can never know, what happened is what happened. The is no changing that!

Therefore I will suppose a new example. Here we all are, on our personal journeys not only to discover our spirituality, but also looking for the goal, or purpose, of life. First of all, how do we know life has purpose? In all the time life has existed on this earth, we have never seen an actual purpose. At best purpose is like time or borders, we can only see them by the influence of human ingenuity. They are thought constructs, without physical reality. Purpose has no physical reality! Or does it? Through first the story of evolution as discovered in the fossils from the distant past, we can read snapshotss of the story of life.

All life started as one-celled beings, or things that became one-celled beings. All life consisted of one-celled beings for millions or possibly billions of years. Then came the first advancement, two one-celled beings joined together and gave forth a new kind of life. Two-celled beings were stronger, more likely to live longer, and procreate better in order to prolong individual lives, and species life. So for a long long time, the most advanced beings on earth were two-celled beings.

Until three-celled beings appeared. Then four-celled beings. At some point life started to become multi-celled beings, with every cell contributing to the life of the whole organism. Do you see what was going on? Life was advancing, all on its own. Given enough time, and enough chance joinings (chaos), life was becoming stronger, and more efficient. Somewhere along the line, life discovered bisexuality. Instead of just splitting into endless copies of of the same original cell-beings, using two genders to reproduce produced many more combinations of possible lifeforms. Progress happened.

DNA was another part of the story of life. I myself do not know much more than the basics about DNA. But I do know we can use human DNA to tell part of our human history. DNA can help us follow the spread of humanity all over the earth. I believe, if we had the know-how, and the equipment, we could probably follow our DNA right back to the DNA of the earliest one-celled beings. Can you imagine the stories that search would tell us? I can! They are amazing! And that story would be the history of life’s progression from the start of life on this planet, right up to the present.

That history is the history of progress. And progress illustrates a drive to purpose. What do I mean by this, a drive to purpose? Purpose might be the raison d’etre, of life–the reason to live. Do we, living beings, have purpose? Most of us think we do, or at least hope we do. We want our lives to mean something. I think that reason, or purpose, is to progress. But progress cannot be purpose, it can only be a way of moving towards purpose. And while we might not know that there is a true purpose of life (although we can have our suspicions), we can fairly reasonably assume life is heading towards something–and we hope that something is purpose. This is what I call the drive to purpose. It is that which fuels us to find purpose.

But here I need to say that which many will disagree with: we on earth, or anywhere in our universe, cannot know the purpose of life! Why not? Because life itself does not know yet what it’s purpose is. All our lives so far are shaped by chaos, by things happening haphazardly. Nowhere in our history has life shown any propensity to progress in a straight line. Don’t you think, if life had a purpose, and knew that purpose, it would move in a straight line towards that purpose. Evolution, or progress, has never moved in a straight line. No, progress is chaotic! As long as chaos exists, and chaos still exists, no one can know true purpose of life–because it does not exist yet. We can reason only as far as the seeming fact life is searching for something by every means possible. And whether we look at physical life, mental life, or spiritual life, there is a drive to find purpose. But until we living beings find it, it cannot exist.

As crazy as this might sound, and I’m sure you will agree with me this does sound crazy, there is no purpose of life. So, in a direct way, you can say I have not really said anything at all in this post. But I have given you what my experience has given me of what is really going on. We, the beings of this cosmos, are looking for the purpose of life, even though we know it does not exist. Yet that purpose, whenever we find it, is the most important thing that life will ever discover. Search on.

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW

Are SEX SCHOOLS!

I’ve been batting this idea around in my head for awhile now, knowing I want to write about it, but also knowing I had to think of something better than teaching sex in school, although that would not hurt either. Starting teaching children about sex cannot start too young, and done in an honest way, grade by grade, would give the next generation something we do not have now, healthy knowledge about sex.

My motivation for writing about this presently “taboo” subject is in the answer to the question “How many people’s lives are ruined EVERY DAY by an unhealthy introduction to the realities of sex?” When young children are sexually abused, they have no idea it is wrong, and they should tell someone about it. They believe the abuser when he or she tells them not to say anything to anybody or bad things will happen. These children need to know what is happening is wrong, and that they need to tell someone about it, especially if the abuser is a family member. Silence, despite the threats, is by far the worst reaction.

Older children and young teenagers need to know there are right ways to have sex, and a whole number of wrong ways. Boys and girls both need this knowledge. But what they do not need is to be told sex is dirty, or wrong before marriage, or any of the other puritan teachings that pervade our societies today. Sex is a beautiful thing, whether you are married or not. To deny it when your feelings are strongly in favour of it is affecting your whole being, physically, mentally, and spiritually. But knowing about sex is just one part of the equation–these young people also need to know how to have sex so they don’t get hurt, or pregnant! Not knowing how to have sex can hurt a person just as much as denying it.

Older teenagers and even adults can also be affected in myriad ways if they don’t know what they are dealing with, or doing. They need to know how to have sex as much as anyone else. Bad sexual experiences can damage the psyche, and lead to rape, sexual assaults, and even murder. Sex is something everyone wants, and mostly needs. But if you don’t know what you are doing, you are risking your future.

Why should we have sex schools? Sexual crimes are not like other crimes. They are intimately connected to who a person is, and who a person wants to be. And, sexual crimes are so prevalent in our society it is very apparent we as a society are doing something wrong. Like parenting does not come with a manual, neither does sex. Especially when the latter can lead to the former and wreck many people’s lives, we need to protect ourselves against that. Sex schools are but one answer. Until something better comes along, I will advocate for sex schools.

There is a lot more to be said on this subject, but I would like to hear people’s thoughts on this opening of the topic. Yea, nay, or otherwise, all comments are welcome.

TEACHING OTHERS–WHY? part one

In my early life, as I was developing my life philosophy, I wanted to tell others all about it. I was excited. I wanted to spread that excitement. Why? Because I thought I had something the world should know. Mighty arrogant of me, no? In the end I decided to talk about it in little-traveĺed spaces, websites like livereal.com, websites like the one I built at one particular time in my life, and now my website here on WordPress.com. But this website is not aimed at teaching anyone anything, it is aimed at leaving a record of my thoughts, of my philosophy, and of who I have become over the course of my life.

I am going to be honest with you. There was a time I wanted to start something new, something not exactly a religion, but a way of living, a way of understanding the world and helping people manage to find their way through it. In other words, I thought I had knowledge others were seeking. Everywhere around me I saw people* seeking for something that they didn’t seem to know exactly what it was, but they were sure they wanted it. And they were sure it could only come from somewhere not inside of them, but outside of them. And I thought I had “it.” But when I tried to give it away, I found nobody wanted my “it.” And I am now glad they didn’t.

Because, in the meantime, I learned the errors of trying to teach anyone anything. To explain, I would like to use as an example the religion of christianity, not because I want to make fun of it, or destroy it, or even try to explain it. I choose this religion simply because it is the one I know best, the one I was brought up to believe in.

I was taught Christ was a man who supposedly called himself the Son of God. I say supposedly because it is quite possible when the books of the New Testament were written (many years after the death of the man) his actual words were forgotten, or mistranslated, or maybe even intentionally changed. There was no video in those days, no tape recorders, nothing that could be used today to confirm the actuality of a person or event. (And in this day of fake news, or alternate news, even recordings and videos cannot be trusted, because they can be changed without the consent of the doer or speaker!) Imagine what could be done to things that happened decades or centuries ago. History is not reliable, it can always be changed. But I digress.

Let us say that Christ was an algebra teacher, and he proved that everytime he multiplied x by y, he came out to the product xy. And so he began to teach x multiplied by y equals xy. He goes to his grave believing and teaching this equation. However, two hundred years down the line, some other teacher suffers from dyslexia, and one day he accidentally teaches that x multiplied by y equals yx. There is no real difference, because xy = yx, yet it looks different to his students, and they believe yx is actually different from xy, so they start teaching x times y equals yx. Then, in the next 1000 years, someone who was taught the product was yx discovers that the original teaching was xy, so he tries to change it back. X times y = xy. This starts a war between the xy crowd and the yx crowd. Christ, when teaching xy, could never have imagined there would come a time when his teaching could cause a war, yet it did. Could he have done anything to prevent this war from taking place? What do you think?

I know he could have prevented it, by never teaching xy in the first place. But once he taught it, then it was out of his hands. Because someone had dyslexia, a fairly common problem, what Christ taught was changed. And later, when someone discovered the error, and tried to change it back, not everyone was willing to let him do that. That is how simple it is to make something wonderful and beautiful into something ugly and destructive. And that is what can happen when a teacher loses control of whatever it is he is teaching.

What happened between the time Christ was alive, and what religions today teach about him, is obviously not as simple as my example above. Yet look at the difference between 2000 or so years ago, and today. Christ’s words, to the best of our knowledge, were never written down in the language which he spoke, or any language, for that matter. They were words handed down by mouth from generation to generation before anyone ever realized how important they could become. Then, when they were written down, probably in Latin, the concepts behind the words may not have been presented factually because there may have been no words for the concepts in the first place. Then, by the time anyone decided to translate the words from Latin into German, or French, or English, and then further translate them into modern versions of those languages, who can know the concepts of today have any similarity to the concepts Christ tried to teach 2000 years ago. I am not saying this was ever intentional, though it could have been, but it is more probable than getting every concept exactly right. Much much more probable.

The thing is, once anyone writes something, or even just says something, that person loses control of what he or she was trying to say, or mean. Christ said things in his own words, in his own language. Today, those words have been retold uncountable times, translated numerous times, retranslated many times, interpreted a million times, and reinterpreted billions of times to the point they may look like something he would never recognize if he were alive today. All this, and not even knowing if a person known to modern times as Christ even existed…

In my algebra example above, I postulated only two groups, the xy group, and the yx group. In reality, I cannot even count the number of different religions or sects that believe they are teaching the words of Christ. One estimate I found was for 43,000 differents denominations, with still more sub-sects and sub-sub-sects under them. And each one of these believes they are the best representatives of what Christ said, and meant. One man, and only one man, and now he has been split into so many parts it is amazing if any one of them even come close to teaching what Christ, in his short time as a teacher, tried to teach.

So how does any of this apply to me, or to anyone else. We, if we want to be teachers, or philosophers, or some kind of leader, all have to remember, once we say them, OUR WORDS NO LONGER BELONG TO US. That is significant, because anyone can take our words, and change them… And we have absolutely no control over what those words are used for…

OLD HIPPIES NEVER DIE–THEY JUST GIVE PEACE A CHANCE

Dear Readers,

This post is not a usual one for my blog, it is only about spiritual atheism in a very theoretical way. Rather, it is more of a reminiscence, probably btought on by a surgical procedure I went through last week. Waking up from the anaesthetic was not an easy process, I am told. No matter what the doctors did to wake me up, the typical response from me was about 10 seconds of speech, then falling right back to sleep mid-sentence. I was in the recovery room the same length of time as I was under the anaesthetic. And when I did finally wake up, in my head were thousands of little memories I had all but forgotten. They were a sort of history from my first year of school to my years as a hippie. The saddest thing about this memory, except for my own family, I now know no one from that entire era but myself. Friends, acquaintances, school chums, bullies, sports teammates, even the authoritarian voices in my early life, all gone, almost completely forgotten… Until now. The ones I miss most were my hippie friends, first those from Winnipeg, and then those I met in Toronto, but mainly in Vancouver. These were the people among whom I came to best know myself, to discover myself, which set me on the path I have been on for fifty plus years. This is NOT their story.

Nor is it anyone’s story, really, just a quick trip back in memory to a time when every song had a particular memory, and there were thousands of songs, and thousands of memories, until the memory bank got so full the earliest memories had to be archived to make room for the new memories flowing in to take their places.

You can’t remember anything from previous lives, or at least nothing meaningful? Don’t worry, the memories don’t need to be remembered in order for you to know their effects on you. You are the sum of your experiences, even if you cannot remember the experiences themselves. You have done much learning. Don’t stop now.

Look! There’s a new memory on the horizon. Go to meet it. It will soon be yours.

“All we are saying is give peace a chance…”