In past days I remember conversations I’ve held with friends about topics that held my attention. I once was instructed by a friend that there is no meaning when we ask the “why” questions about academic psychological inquiries. I understood the implications of this analysis, but the philosopher in me continues to ask the “why” questions even to this day. Mind you, this was back in the early nineteen-eighties when I was a psychology student and I seemed to question everything. I was thirsty for knowledge, and my studies directed me in paradigms that for me demanded further clarification. My friend whom had asserted his position was far more advanced in this field than I was, yet I seemed to be driven by a beat to a different drummer.
No matter what paradigmatic psychological school of thought you tend to follow, the basic questions I asked went beyond the psychological realm. Thus I entered into the realm of philosophy when I started to ask these types of questions. Even when I was a psychology student, the philosopher in me still thrived years before I decided to double my major in both disciplines.
I can’t really remember the exact topics at the time of this conversation, but I still remember the response of my friend to my questioning these matters that were of interest to me. Maybe this is the reason I decided to also major in Philosophy. Maybe this is also the beginning of the Skeptic in me.
Ironically I consider myself gravitating to the pragmatic philosophies of the world, yet I am still intrigued by many other differing types of philosophical thought. What stirs up a person to question their reality? Why do people become skeptical? Perhaps it is because they find conflicting information in what they see, read, and are told to believe as conditions they should except? Is it that there are fundamental issues with these assertions that contradict their notions of reliability?
However the rubber meets the road, we are still vaulted forward into discovery by our very nature of asking questions, and this is how many approach to learn about their world; by asking questions. I do not know all of the reasons that led me to become inquisitive. I only know that I am that way. I am not always inclined to act in this way, yet much of my being has an affinity with acting in this way.
There are many ancient skeptical schools of philosophy. Foundations of these schools come from India, Zen Buddhist, Chinese, and Greek schools, as well as the foundations from later Western schools of thought expressed by David Hume, René Descartes, and Immanuel Kant. I do not draw on these schools directly into their epistemological constructions as my form of skepticism is tied closer to matters associated with social pragmatic implications.
Doubt can be a useful tool. It is the basis for discovery into any assertion made. When we are told what to believe with little evidence, we can either accept it, challenge it, or dismiss it. I speak more of a way to diffuse opinion than to uncover the metaphysical and epistemological domains of human knowledge. You may think it is preposterous to live by such examinations, but sometimes it can help us achieve a better understanding of our place in this world.
I must say that before I knew anything about Skepticism, it was in my nature to ask these questions despite my intellectual foundations. Why did I ask them? Because I received information that somehow needed further explanation to understand it than to simply accept it as it was received. I was predisposed to question these types of questions. If we look further into my history, and we have demonstrated that it was not an intellectual awakening that summoned this spawn of thought, than where will we find the genesis of my disposition? Maybe the environment in which I was raised?
I was born into a family that did not quite understand the meaning of “intimacy.” The struggle to impart any kind of a healthy world view and skill of becoming a successful person in relationships, were not the best of what my parents could offer. My family had a difficult time just relating to one another my entire life, as with many families who face some of these intimacy issues. As I matured, I withdrew into my own perceptions and observations about the world as it unfolded. I was both the master and / or the slave upon which my beliefs conducted me into this brave new world. I sense that that my family’s interactive behavior had ultimately led me on a lifelong quest to find some answers to the questions that has perplexed so many of us from time to time. Due to the insatiable need that grew within me, questions began to emerge from a skepticism that was derived from the foundation of my family’s interactions and was conveyed through my own family experience. I have always loved my family and wanted closer connections, but my skills to achieve this were not yet formed.
I think this was the impetus of my approach to the world as I became the person known as me. The fundamental skeptical foundation that led me to question what I was told to see the world as it was by proxy of my family’s influence. Moreover, I did on my own accord because the information I was receiving was not satisfying my sense of the world. I had independent confirmation and differences of interpretation to how I encountered the world that was in direct conflict with what I was told. Thus the philosopher in me expressed itself into the world.
Today I am still questioning, I am still drawn to asking questions we are told about the world we live in, but not from my family’s input, rather it is from the world at large: the powers that be!
Clearly there has never been such a push for a dystopian era in past decades then our current situation worldwide. History has shown many such examples, yet we have not learned much from these as our push for a multicultural civilization is thrust upon us. Today I question multiculturalism which I argue is what globalist’s want to achieve as opposed to a multi-ethnic community that has indisputably existed around the world without massive inharmonious complications given one factor: that the multi-ethnic communities adopt the ethical foundations of the land such as the American experiment of governance among other Western Democracies.
In the historical context of the Genesis story there are 48 verses that deal with the consequences of the first temptation and the exodus from Eden which St. Augustine refers as “The Original Sin”. The questions I raise in a novel are the implications of such a story whereby my protagonist is “Human Reasoning”.
What is Satan’s Greatest Lie?
– You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of all lies.”
“Don’t lie to each other.” (Colossians 3:9)
Christians are in warfare against Satan. While it is true that Jesus defeated Satan on the cross, it is also true that Satan never ceases his attack on God’s People. In this warfare, let us look at five of Satan’s greatest lies he uses against people.
GREATEST LIE #1 – GOD WITHHOLDS GOOD THINGS FROM US
A. Genesis 3:4-5 –“‘You will not surely die, the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’”
B. Satan tempts us to believe God’s goodness obligates Him to gratify our desires immediately, and when that does not happen, it is a sign that God does not care about us.
C. God’s plans are always for out best over the long haul, and not just for the immediate short-term.
GREATEST LIE #2 – TRUST IN THE DEITY OF SELF
A. Psalm 20:7– “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”
B. Satan always provides a list of alternatives to choose from in place of choosing to trust in God.
Materialism . . . Things . . . Stuff
Denominational-ism . . . Religious beliefs and organizations that did not come from God.
Numbers . . . Satan tempts us to trust in numbers and not God’s provision.
1 Chronicles 21:1
– “Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.”
5. Self . . . Self-reliance.
a. Satan wants us to fall victim to the lie of self-reliance.
–“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
b. God-reliance . . . Not self-reliance.
GREATEST LIE #3 – GOD’S PEOPLE WILL NEVER SUFFER
A. Matthew 16:22-23– “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’”
B. Satan tempts us to believe nothing bad will ever happen to us as Christians. And, if something bad does happen, it is just a further sign that God is not all we believe Him to be.” Satan would have us believe that.
C. Satan’s lie sows self-pity that blooms into bitterness of heart.
1. How thankful we should be for the Book of Job.
2. Romans 8:28
– “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
GREATEST LIE #4 – MONEY BRINGS HAPPINESS
A. Matthew 4:8-9– “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.’”
B. Greed will take our eyes off God.
C. Listening to Satan will short-circuit God’s plan for us.
1. Malachi 3:10
– “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
2. God will provide things for us . . . But things will not provide God for us!
GREATEST LIE #5 – FORGIVENESS IS IMPOSSIBLE
A. Corinthians 2:7, 11– “Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.In order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
B. Refusal to forgive invites bitterness into our hearts.
C. Unable to forgive divides people and kills fellowship.
D. The road to forgiveness begins with remembering how much we’ve been forgiven.
E. In order to reach Heaven, not only must we be forgiven by God . . . But we must also forgive others.
– “I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
– “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
The significance of experiencing contrast in our lives gives us a perspective that will remain auspicious in our memories. The world is continually providing us with contrast as we are not omniscient beings, hence we cannot predict future events that we will eventually weather. For the average person much of this is “lost in translation” and If we are observant than we may find that these experiences will awaken us to a multitude of foresight in the maturation of our humanity. Many of us struggle and find that we neglect to learn from some of these enigmatic lessons that are poised within the span of our lives. We often can become inspired and transformed by events via our emotions that we entwine into our experience. Much of this effort should come from within ourselves. How we translate these lessons into our lives can be an amazing occurrence, or it can be just another non-eventful happening and at worst will taint us and leave us jaded. What we do to make our positive experience flourish within our lives is truly up to us.
How we connect with our world and allow it to transform us is unique to each one of us. We are bound fundamentally by the same mechanisms, yet we all also are so diversely directed by its influence. This is a huge revelation, because this shows that we do have control how this affects us, we are in charge of how we become motivated or discouraged by events that touch us. When I suggest how events touch us, I truly mean touch us, as they influence more than just our intellect. There is a deeper penetration of our nature that awakens a very primitive human connection to how we relate with the world.
It is more than intellectual, and includes part of our emotive factions, and what the ancients called our “spirited” factions of our being. We often believe that we merely receive the world as it produces the content of our experience. I think however that we create much of what we experience by how we conform to the content and context of our experience that the world provides. Keep in mind that I am mixing much of the established rationalistic claims and the empiricist claims of philosophy into my claim of epistemological knowledge. Again the significance in our ability to discern contrast in our experience is crucial on how we interpret and integrate the events that form our lives.
The Buddha twice uses the simile of blind men led astray. In the Canki Sutta he describes a row of blind men holding on to each other as an example of those who follow an old text that has passed down from generation to generation.In the Udana (68–69) he uses the elephant parable to describe sectarian quarrels. A king has the blind men of the capital brought to the palace, where an elephant is brought in and they are asked to describe it.
When the blind men had each felt a part of the elephant, the king went to each of them and said to each: ‘Well, blind man, have you seen the elephant? Tell me, what sort of thing is an elephant?’
The men assert the elephant is either like a pot (the blind man who felt the elephant’s head), a winnowing basket (ear), a plowshare (tusk), a plow (trunk), a granary (body), a pillar (foot), a mortar (back), a pestle (tail) or a brush (tip of the tail).
The men cannot agree with one another and come to blows over the question of what it is like and their dispute delights the king. The Buddha ends the story by comparing the blind men to preachers and scholars who are blind and ignorant and hold to their own views: “Just so are these preachers and scholars holding various views blind and unseeing…. In their ignorance they are by nature quarrelsome, wrangling, and disputatious, each maintaining reality is thus and thus.” The Buddha then speaks the following verse:
O how they cling and wrangle, some who claim
For preacher and monk the honored name!
For, quarreling, each to his view they cling.
Such folk see only one side of a thing.
This is the basis of our diversity and our abilities to synthesize the elemental experiences into our cognition’s. We are bound to how we internalize these events in a myriad of ways. Each one of us shapes much of our experience to very personal preferences that have an effect on the outcome of its meaning and its significance to us. We ultimately decide how we embrace it or if we reject it.
As I was walking down my very dark Pacific Beach neighborhood a few nights ago, I was suffering from a bad case of vertigo I happened to catch, this gave me difficulty walking in a straight line and coincidentally reminded me of an earlier time in my life. It was a beautiful night, warm and somewhat quiet for a robust beach community with a dense population of young people. It was bizarre, but a part of me enjoyed the effects of my vertigo during this walk. I was walking to the local market to pick up a few things and If you were to see me from a distance it would probably seem that I was intoxicated as my walking ability was not normal. On one occasion I stumbled onto the sidewalk corner onto my left arm and leg taking the most damage with a few scuff’s on my elbow and knee. If anything I wondered if anyone had seen me because if you were to view this event you would probably think how dumb I must have looked. Yes even the ego becomes aware of any intrusions upon our waking silly life events. Walking down those dark street corners in Pacific Beach reminding me of when I was much younger. In years past when I was only seventeen years old I remember walking the streets of a quiet neighborhood after a high school party, I was trying to clear my head walking around the neighborhood. In this case I was evidently drunk and probably had mixed other intoxicants during that night to make my experience even that more frustrating if you wanted to do basic functions of some sort.
In those early years I had never experienced this kind of behavior as my body was not accustomed to the intoxicating effects. It was however very new and an unlikely learning experience I would never forget. I do not encourage this type of behavior since I do not believe in altered states of consciousness produced by some drug induced state. But it is indeed a new kind of experience that does give one new ways of looking at things. It can possible give you an alternative way at problem solving since you have subdued your usual conscious mind approach to the world, and as much as it changes the way we look at things, it also likewise hinders our problem solving abilities as well. One can easily evoke the mid sixties era and how the Beatles changed the way we listened to music during that time. The influence of their experimentation with the music due to the influences upon them during this time is very similar to the point I am trying to make.
As a psychology student I learned in my Physiological Psyche class that if you learn under the influence of (lets say caffeine), you are likely to recall that information in a similar state of being, such that you would probably like to have caffeine in your system to recall what you had learned on earlier study sessions under the influence of caffeine. One can easily extrapolate from this hypothesis to other kinds of agents that influence our thinking and our behaviors. Think drinking intoxicants and trying to pick up dates at bars under these conditions, one may learn certain social skills that will inevitably help them in achieving their goal of capturing the attention of others.
Alcohol tends to diminish social fears, boosts ones awareness and limits inhibitions, and that may just be enough to capture the attention of others de facto under the influence of similar intoxicants.
Unfortunately many of my former school mates in high school were predetorial using drink to subdue others under the influence rather than be proper gentlemen. The maturity level is certainly crucial in the developing human being, as many rely upon devious means to make the sporting effect of adolescent charms and taking advantage of others under such conditions. I was never like that, and I always could tell who one could trust when push came to shove. I have never respected anyone who relied upon these techniques to gain upon their prey, and I protected several from any funny business which later spawned a nick name as a senior in high school, “the saint”. I think maybe this was a kind of name that really looked down upon me rather than one of good fortune. I inadvertently became the protector by disrupting the events to unfold when things got “out of hand”. I only lectured on the side of when you wake up tomorrow, you will find yourself in total guilt that you had to use alcohol to achieve your goal.this only occurred by chance on only a few occasions. To me you weren’t any good if you had to use alcohol, or other intoxicants, I was the advocate for being honest. No other way was superior to this way, because it was the real test of being genuine. I despised the pretentious. There can be a lot of ego in high school and early adulthood, and I found very early on that I was not going to play by the rules of the conspicuous arrogant fools that treated others as if they were trifle amusements.
Ironically years later I was far from being “the saint”, as I too had my demons to chase but my true nature did always show, and I did have these memories that I am proud of. It’s funny how on two completely different tangents of our lives can bring about fond memories on both sides of the spectrum of the life-cycle. One of a middle-aged man, and the other that of a teen-aged young adult.
“A lady that I know just came from Colombia. She laughed because I did not understand. She held out some marijuana uh-huh, said it was the finest in the land. I said, no-no-no-no, i dont smoke it no more. It only makes me fall on the floor.No thank you please, it only makes me sneeze, and then it makes it hard to find the door. A lady that i know just came from Morrocco, Spain. She laughed because i did not understand. She held out a ten-pound bag of cocaine, said it was the finest in the land. I said no-no-no-no, i don’t *sniff* no more, it only makes me fall on the floor. No thank you please, it only makes me sneeze, and then it makes it hard to find the door.
A lady that i know just came from Tennesee. She laughed because i did not understand. She held out a jug of moonshine, uh-huh, said it was the finest in the land. I said no-no-no-no, i don’t drink it no more, it only makes me fall on the floor. No thank you please, it only makes me sneeze, and then it makes it hard to find the door.Ringo Starr’s No-No Song”
― Ringo Starr
“Alcohol does not a change a person’s fundamental value system. People’s personalities when intoxicated, even though somewhat altered, still bear some relationship to who they are when sober. When you are drunk you may behave in ways that are silly or embarrassing; you might be overly familiar or tactlessly honest, or perhaps careless or forgetful. But do you knock over little old ladies for a laugh? Probably not. Do you sexually assault the clerk at the convenience store? Unlikely. People’s conduct while intoxicated continues to be governed by their core foundation of beliefs and attitudes, even though there is some loosening of the structure. Alcohol encourages people to let loose what they have simmering below the surface.
ABUSERS MAKE CONSCIOUS CHOICES EVEN WHILE INTOXICATED”
― Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men