Brain starting…

Robin and Sonja have been challenging me for years to think more objectively (or Objectivistly) and I have been fortunate to have shared many glasses of wine at their place in that time, especially for their regular philosophy sessions. This month, I received the following that I thought that I might invite thoughts, feedbacks and comments from:

Brain-Starter:
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So close to Australia Day, the topic has to be patriotism. Which of
the following quotes do you agree with, and why? Is patriotism an
unconditional virtue, a conditional virtue, or no virtue at all? What
makes it a virtue or a vice?

  • Patriotism … is a superstition artificially created and maintained through a network of lies and falsehoods; a superstition that robsman of his self-respect and dignity, and increases his arrogance and conceit. – EMMA GOLDMAN
  • “My country, right or wrong” is a thing no patriot would ever think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying “My mother, drunk or sober.” – G. K. CHESTERTON
  • Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it. – GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

Beyond this, with the decline in meaningful international barriers, the rise in globalism and technologically driven value creation that is geographically ambivalent and the increased need for us all to appreciate and respect differences, what does patriotism really mean? If patriotism is to nations, what is the term for loyalty to our ‘culture’ beyond our nation-state?

Branded?

To pander to their innane and delusional obsession with illusions is at best making oneself subject to their values and at worst a contemptuous joke… playing with their petty minds.

Orthodox Ideas

I spoke with Drew at some length regarding the core of Orthodox beliefs. Here were some that I felt were more profound for my understanding.

We are not begging for forgiveness from sins we never committed; Instead, we are seeking to align ourselves with God’s will, so that when we die and are in His presence, we may experience Heaven.
A To align ourselves with God’s will to to become Saints.
D So what was Christ’s role in all this?
A Christ came to Earth, being fully God and fully human; the Divine became human, and humanity came to Divinity.

Can you really teach mental skills?

I was explaining to a woman that I help people use their brains more effectively, when she told me that it couldn’t be done. For a moment I was floored: surely she could see how different people, with similar talents and starting points, can produce totally different results in their personal and professional lives?

Surely she knew that there were some people who won, and others who lost?

And she did: She just didn’t believe that the skills could be taught. At that point, I decided to probe deeper. I don’t konw why: I could have simply presented to her countless evidence showing that we can help people increase their level of thinking and subjective experience of life. Instead, I probed further. Then I realised what was driving her doubt: she was scared. The intelligent, successful professional woman, was scared! As we spoke further, it seemed that she was scared of challenging herself and her world, and scared that somebody might tell her that there could be a better way. Perhaps because that would mean that she no longer had an excuse to be angry ten times a day!

I had almost forgotten how most people think. Most people think that life is hard, that success comes only after sustained struggle and a pinch of good luck. Whereas, I know that the real world is created in our minds, then manifested in reality.

Anything that you desire, you can have. Indeed, anything that you demanded, you already have. Those things that you didn’t really need, you didn’t get; not because you didn’t have the capacity to get it, but because you didn’t pay the price that you needed to pay.

What is the price? It depends upon what you want. But when you identify what you want, you can also identify what you need to do to get it; you can create a plan for creating what you want.

No matter what it is, the most important step is to know your outcome. When you know your outcome, retain it clearly in your mind, and resolutely move towards its fulfillment, you will either achieve your objective, or decide not to pursue that outcome.

That being said, sometimes we don’t really know what we want. How many times have you thought that you wanted something, yet didn’t really want it in the end. A friend of mine ‘wanted” to have a job as a commercial lawyer, working long hours under high pressure and making a lot of money. Yet, the closer that she came, the more that she realised that to do so would rob her of what she really wanted. To get what she “wanted” would mean that she would lose her connection with her loved ones, have less time to spend with her partner, and be forced to adopt beliefs, values and behaviours contrary to the way that she saw herself.

Know thyself

Ask yourself: What do I really want? And when you get the first answer, challenge yourself to go one step further, towards the deeper issues and underlying desires that often drive our superficial wants.

The closer you come to knowing yourself, the closer you will be able to align your desires with your dreams, and the more effective you will be in pursuing whatever objectives that lay before you.

So who are you? What do you really want? Do your drams really align with your desires? Sometimes we don’t realse immediately that it’s time to change… and sometimes it can be very difficult to change. But, in time, you know that the more accurately you know your destination, the faster you will be able to get there.

Many people criticise the goal-directed life. Yet, everybody is goal directed in some way. The only difference is that not everybody knows their objectives! Certainly, you should strive to enjoy and experience all the wonders and pleasures that the beautiful world in which we live has to offer. Yet, don’t be confused – don’t be hypnotised – by the trappings of the physical world. You know what you really want: you want to be happy.

What that means is for you to discover.