The older I get the more I realize hoe little I actually know. Whether this is old age setting in or an actual epiphany I also don't know fore sure. What I do know fore sure is that the smoke and mirrors game our political upbringing subjects us to makes it almost impossible to discern truth from fiction. Branding anything you don't want to believe is nothing more than self denial. That is not to say that so called conspiracy theorists are right or wrong. It's just that we all have an obligation to respect each other's opinions and try to listen to them without prejudice. Maybe in this way we will one day arrive at some semblance of truth.

Expand full comment

Wow Thanks for this Tom Lots to ponder upon. Maybe we truly are the fallen angels has written about us in ancient times.

Expand full comment
Aug 18·edited Aug 19

Thanks Tom, your article has brought for us, the question of what we really do know, around to its integral wholeness.

There's some concepts that stuck out for me that i would like to comment on. Today, in the mainstream medical and psychological model, the concept of "experience" has been systematically eradicated. Under a wholistic approach, It is well known that it is valuable to take a person's experience of an event, or reality overall, and then give that "experience", in effect -- a voice -- and see what comes out. In the 1960s and 70s Scottish Psychiatrist, R. D. Laing approached the "experience" of mentally ill people as if it was intelligible and meaningful, and what came out was an understanding of how certain types of experience had been systematically discredited in their family. Further research showed that some people encountering this on-going discreditation of experience in their family life -- accommodated these discreditations w/in societal norms, while others dealt with them by means outside of acceptable norms, but that some other people could not effectively accommodate them at all and were deemed mentally ill. Also Laing and others found that this particular pattern of discreditation of experience in the family, would often be passed from one generation to the next, and the pattern could even be traced back many generations.

Along these same lines of approaching everyone's experience as meaningful, British anthropologist, Gregory Bateson, came up with the double-bind theory of schizophrenia by which it was understood that many schizophrenic persons had faced reconciling two conflicting and habitual attributions by an authority figure about an important person or event in their family's history, and that the underlying nature of their experience of reality, began to reflect the impossibility of logically reconciling this situation, to the extent that this unresolvable double-bind situation then became the very core of their experience of reality.

Later in his career, Laing wrote, Politics of Experience, about how "experience"-- as a valid understanding about a person -- was itself open to political forces (the dynamics of 'power over'). And in fact over the intervening decades, Laing was himself personally vilified and his important contributions forgotten, while Gregory Bateson was made into one of the architects of transhumanism, which is completely untrue.

Today psychiatry is part of the drug empire of the medical system, with its 'bible', the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders categorizing different thoughts and feelings, relative to politically determined norms of expected functioning in society. Any notion of each person's own meaningful "experience", has now been replaced by a standardized "yes or no" test involving clues, "criteria", about unusual thoughts, feelings and behaviours that fit a pattern, and the yeses are then added up to determine if they officially denote a listed mental disorder. Interestingly each disorder also has a remedy at the ready, for its course of treatment, consisting of a recommended combination of pharmaceuticals. No doubt an AI could quite readily, be programmed to administer this test, and when complete a script automatically sent off to a pharmacy of the patient's choice (seems even mentally ill people still get to make a free will choice over some things, in a free market system).

Therapy-based approaches no longer see the person as the living individual they are, but are behaviouristicly oriented, where personal experience is treated as an irrelevant "black box" and only their 'output' (their behaviour) matters, or where the mind and experience -- are replaced by the client's physical brain, which is directed by them, under the therapist's guidance -- to think and process from certain parts of itself, rather than from other parts, according to conclusions made using the latest brain imaging technology !

For me the most important objective in my own personal quest in life, is represented by Jung's holy grail of his psychology -- "individuation." i have grasped what this truly means a few times and the following are some observations i have made about myself and my experience, at those times: all these things have changed -- about ego and to do with psychological complexes unconsciously driving my thoughts and feelings, or my body continually holding reactions to people and events long gone, but which are still there, somewhere -- all these no longer have the power they held before in my life and drop away -- and i look towards a new life before me knowing this is the one i have been meant for. Yet one might still say that in that state of being "individuated" i may still seem to not be completely free -- because the times i have experienced this -- have been when i have completely embraced the Earth as a real being, and dedicated myself, without questioning, to being part of her, attuning to her needs the same as to my own -- knowing specific things i must do like holding space and doing ceremony at certain sacred sites, as though i had somehow been "created for" doing just that. Maybe centuries ago, millennia even, this life would have been supported by the social structure of the times, yet it seems the purpose i know while in my experience of individuation, is still as important today, as it would have been back then.

Expand full comment

"What DO we know? Everything we believe – without exception – is not what we think it is. Everything we think we know is merely a bubble poised to burst at any moment – and then what we thought we knew reveals itself as something very different – if not altogether unfounded – or shrinks to become but a small piece of a new, larger bubble – poised to burst at any moment: “Earth is the center of the Universe”; “all reality is material”; “till death do us part”; “butter is bad for you”; “the science is settled”; “it just can’t be done”; “Yes Virginia, there is no Santa Claus”.

As such, nothing is ever completely ‘true’ – which renders life as simply an ethereal adventure of endlessly unpeeling the Infinite Onion – or so it seems at this Moment…..

Mount up!"


Expand full comment

This is so true! I've been contemplating this related to world events. We think we know what's happening in the world because of how it shown to us through media reporting, personal accounts, etc. But this is just a version of events, one small perspective.

Expand full comment

Right on, Tom. One thing for sure... we don't know, even what we think we know.

I resonate with 'being comfortable with knowing I don't know'. I try to factor that into my 'doing'.

Expand full comment

I always love these Pulse articles. I find that often move me to a space beyond the thinking mind. As I sit here I notice my eyes are attracted to objects but there is actually more empty space in the room than objects. There is always more space and space is what I move through. And I have no idea how other creatures or even other people experience the world. We call the sky blue but is someone else seeing it the same color as I see it?. I am brought back into my body, feel my butt on the chair, my fingers on the keys, my glasses resting on my nose and see their rim. Life is richer when i am in a more experiencial state.

Expand full comment