Stephen's blog

sloppy science and tribalism

I recently had a number of highly interesting discussions with various people.

Briefly (more later) they were

  • with a good friend on the subject of self-development courses, and where most go wrong.
  • with a man who's a 'hard-nosed' engineer, and who spoke standard ideas of a mechanical, objective reality, not realising the 'hard-facts of science' are but a house-of-cards, reliant on some very very poor (and incorrect) assumptions about the detail and minutia of life.
  • with another good friend on the the Enneagram and on the subject of tribalism.

All were quite set and confident in their beliefs, until I asked some awkward questions.


The promise of greener spiritual grass

I had a long chat today with a good friend who had recently complete a 3-day self-development workshop.

As we chatted about what he experienced and gained (for  a not-insubstantial fee in excess of $500 for the weekend), I asked, "So what did you learn that you didn't already know?"

His answer was that nothing substantially new was encountered, except some tools for being 'more authentic'. Even so, he retained a warm regard for this course.


Which state are you choosing?

I've come to observe a number of people in my life who complain a great deal.

Their circumstances may change, and the specifics of the complaints, but overall, they complain to about the same degree on a regular basis.

It appears to me that they've been habituated to complain - even when all is well they'll use their creative abilities to find things to complain about.

They have what I've come to realise is a particular SOB or 'State of Being' that involves a degree of anxiety, powerlessness, blame and (what we Australians call) whinging.


Tribalism, as old as the stars


All matter, energy, people and populations are both feminine-wave and masculine-particle natured. Women, by being orientated towards the community-wave nature, are more naturally group-orientated (tribal). Hence their generally more refined interpersonal skills, communications abilities and relationship-orientations.1

This also leads to the higher prevalence of women using or believing in 'astrology' and other means (e.g. numerology) for assigning people to various groups (tribes, star-signs).


Right or wrong?

I've just had a vigorous discussion with some friends, and what was most interesting to observe is the extent to which people (including myself) engage either-or thinking.

My friend (let's call him 'George') quoted Anthony De Mello, along the lines of "what you have to realise is that you're asleep, and that you need to wake up". Which in effect meant that I? wasn't in the least "awake" -- aware, considerate, conscious, enlightened or good. No sir, not at all, not even a skerrick of enlightened awareness. None. Ziltch.

That's either-or thinking. None or all, right or wrong. One or the other, but certainly not ever BOTH at once.

I shared my view that people are variously "awake" and "asleep", aware and ignorant, considerate and selfish at the same time. I explained the inherent reality of the paradoxical nature of life and that all qualities and potentials are co-existent. It's just that some get accentuated more than others at various times and at various junctions in our evolution.

My friend countered, "but most people can't understand the complexity of paradoxes ..."


When is it NOT the ego?

Occasionally I get involved in deep discussion about life, the universe and whatever — especially the weird, nonsensical idea that we can "transcend the ego".

What I've come to recognise is that those who seek to control conversations and others can do so in very subtle ways.1

And one of the most devious ways is to assert that someone is stuck in their ego, as was levelled at me recently during a vigorous discussion with a friend.

What does being stuck in one's ego actually mean? When can we ever speak, live, and work without an ego?


The Adult Faith of Letting go

Adult Faith

Picked up an interesting book at a friend's place -- Diarmuid O'Murchu's "Adult Faith: Growing in Wisdom and Understanding"1

Diarmuid speaks of needing to engage paradox and the many related implications:

First comes paradox! ... A paradox does not make sense to our rational minds. A paradox captivates a surplus of meaning that cannot be contained with the structure of rational discourse. For an adult spirituality of our time this is a crucial issue. Adults today are rarely satisfied with compelling rational explanations; there is a "surplus of meaning" that transcends rationality, yet to mature adults it feels essential in our search for deeper meaning. The ability to embrace paradox is central to this sense of maturity.

But what most impressed me2 was his explanation of the art of 'letting go' -- as covered in a previous post I've found greater peace of mind by doing so in more substantial ways:


Entrepreneurs: spiritual people

Nic Frances' End of CharityDriving along with a friend recently I remarked I'm beginning to realise that genuinely spiritual people are those who use their intuitive abilities for the good of society: "social entrepreneurs" -- those who actually build or create something new and of value to all.

The rest can meditate and talk and 'bliss out' until the cows come home, but for me, those who actually do things, invent things or invent new ways of doing things, or who bring new awareness, ideas and insights to society are authentically spiritual.


Leading God: The wonderfully new!

In chatting with various people in recent times about matters philosophical, I've heard it said on a few occasions, "well you know, there's nothing new under the Sun".

That 'throw away line' telegraphs a deep misunderstanding about life, and about the immensely creative and regenerating nature of it.

Not only, I say in response to such comments, are there things that are entirely new, but when we create something genuinely new, the whole of creation in effect is looking on and amazed in wonderment: "wow, look at that, that's entirely, completely and uniquely NEW!"


The Belief Doctor’s approach

As explained on the About page, my focus as The Belief Doctor is to work with people and provide examples and information that reveals the power and productive benefits gained from combining "masculine" and "feminine" energies in one coherent approach to life, in all areas of life. This combination — of effectively combining both 'head' with 'heart' to enable intimate, powerful and rewarding personal, business and social relationships — is recognised by leading thinkers as being crucial to ease, wellbeing, intimacy, creativity, productivity, innovation, health, wealth, fulfillment and happiness.