Sunday, December 10, 2017

REGARDING JERUSALEM: Missing Star and Cradle



Missing Star and Cradle

Weird Christmas Eve 40 times past
With no holly, blinking red or green lights,

No 'holy' decorations, only the gaudy glare
Of cold Jerusalem's neon theater sign;

We watched Catch 22 with our kibbutz bunch
After being frisked for bombs at the entrance.

Years explode by while politicians yet pitch
Uncradled in the maze of their doctrinal hype;

The sacred cave's still dark and unstable,
For more unwise men, so starless, misrule.


--Daniel Wilcox

First pub. in Danse Macabre
and in poetry collection,
Psalms, Yawps, and Howls




UNDERSTANDING “I”


UNDERSTANDING “I”

Every human "I" experiences at least 3 experiential senses of self, sometimes called "ego states."

Our
TAUGHT/FELT/THOUGHT

For instance, notice how the 3 senses of self exist in a juvenile delinquent's statement:

"I knew we were harming the old woman; (THOUGHT)

we shouldn't have hurt her; (TAUGHT)

but I felt like it."* (FELT)


Or another way of describing our 3 ego states of TAUGHT/FELT/THOUGHT:

CONSCIENCE/EMOTION/REASON

Or

RECEIVE/EXPERIENCE/COMPUTE

Or in more abstract terms:

RELIGION/MYSTICISM/SKETICISM


This is adapted from Dr. Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis. His creative, life-changing theory of the human psyche
was transformational for millions of people in the last 60 years. Dr. Berne demonstrated keen insight into human nature
in his books such as Games People Play.

Sometimes his terms got misapplied or misunderstood however.

For instance, in his effort to get away from psychoanalytical abstract terms--and displaying a sense of playfullness--Berne defined
the inner realities of the
Human Psyche as

“PARENT” (implanted instructions from adults)

"CHILD" (creative, how we felt as a child, and feel experientially now)

"ADULT" (fact-checking now)


Berne wrote that these senses of "I" were real and experiential, not abstract descriptions such as earlier psychologists and psychiatrists had termed
3 divisions of the human psyche.



For examples, Sigmund Freud's abstract terms:
SUPER-EGO or CONSCIENCE
ID (BERNE’S “Little Fascist”)
EGO or CONSCIOUS ME

The most misunderstood aspect of Berne's theory was his statement of "I'M OKAY; YOU"RE OKAY." This view of positive psychology was popularized by other psychologists including Thomas Harris in his famous book, I'M OK, YOU'RE OK.

Too often, people in general, and scoffers thought that "okay" meant that TA leaders were stating, every human is fine just as he is.

NO!

Obviously, based on the wars of the 20th century which slaughtered multi-millions of humans, the millions of rapes and enslavements, constant abuse of children, and unending domestic violence,
this wasn't Berne's key point at all.


Rather Berne was giving the Enlightenment, humanistic ethical truth of "inherent human value/worth" a new-face-over uplift into popular user-friendly words.


The central key of Transactional Analysis was that every single human is of inherent worth, is "ok."


That ALL of human miscommunication, intolerance, abuse, and destruction come from distortions and denials of each human being inherently valuable.







In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

*Adapted from Games People Play by Berne, I'M OK, You're OK by Harris, Introduce Yourself to T.A. by Paul McCormick and Leonard Campos, etc.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

True Ethics in the Midst of Left and Right Hypocrisy


Seeking true ethics is one of the most difficult tasks any of us human primates can do.

And it becomes much more difficult when human leaders display hypocrisy and contradictions when speaking of ethics.

Consider that so many Christian leaders are now avidly supporting leaders (such as Roy Moore and Donald Trump) who have allegedly committed gross unethical actions...

And that so many secularists are claiming that all ethics are “subjective,” “relative,” only “personal” or cultural “preferences,” only a matter of “like or dislike,” that slavery, rape, slaughter, dishonesty aren’t objectively wrong. And that there are no human rights. According to these atheists, rights, equality, liberty, etc. are “myths.”

Is it any wonder that millions humans are confused when it comes to the questions of "ought"?

Or consider the strange anomaly of so many religious leaders in 2017 claiming that various immoral or unjust actions are only wrong because such actions contradict what God has commanded, Divine Command Theory. If God changes his commands (as the Deity often did in the past), then true ethics change.

Worst of all many Christian, Muslim, and Hindu leaders claim God--before the universe began--pre-planned every murder, every rape, every molestation, every natural evil disaster for God's-self! And if you question such a gargantuan horror, they ask who do you think God is?!

God can do whatever he wills because God is God!

Forget such horrific beliefs.

Eliminating those majority views at least narrows the multi-pronged choices staring at us at every moment when we need to choose.

Now for coming the New Year of 2018, Let's seek the Light, seek the Life, seek the Good, seek the Just.

But how does one do so? The difficulty, the Good, is in the details.

One online commentator challenged me to provide a better method.

First, it would appear to most people who study history that neither religion nor atheism hasn't provided a good code of ethics. On the contrary such ideolgoies have committed mass slaughter and supported everything from slavery and dishonesty to theft and torture, to discrimination and persecution. No, Christianity hasn't provided a reliable ethical guide. Check out books such as Jesus Wars and The Great and Holy War: How W.W. l became a Religious Crusade by Phillip Jenkins. And read the critical commentaries on Islam and its horrific history.

Second, the human conscience (except in sociopaths) declares we are to do right, to do the good, but doesn't usually clarify what or how. In fact in history, the most evil actions were committed not by immoral choosers, but by conscientious, dutiful humans!

Let's get an eagle's overview of the mountainous region of ethics:

#1 Probably, the spiritual side of the Enlightenment has achieved the most ethically.
Since then a majority of humans have come to give, at least give lip service, to the ideals of human rights, equality, justice and to condemn the slaughter of innocent humans, poverty, prejudice, torture, slavery, and so forth.


Reason has shown to be more true, more effective, more real than any religious dogma ever was.

However, even in reason and transcendent claims there are doubts and problems and dilemmas. Fortunately, most humans seldom have to deal with the extremes such as the trolley car dilemma and other difficult choices.

Indeed, I wonder why so many ethical skeptics immediately jump to the most extreme difficult examples when the subject of morality is brought up.
In general, for instance, it would seem that honesty and justice are reliable goals, even if in a few severe situations, one might choose an action of dishonesty or injustice in order to save human lives.

But if I moved back to the Middle East and soon was faced with a dire threat by HAMAS or Hezbollah, and chose to lie to protect innocent Jewish civilians,
my lie still wouldn't be true.

Later after human rights organizations got the innocent individuals safely out of the clutches of "Godly" religious organizations, I ought to then print an acknowledgment of my dishonest statement, explaining that I know all lying is wrong, and that I had only told the lie to protect innocent lives.

Too often humans quickly jump to the immoral choice--declaring it good--when encountering a difficult trial. For example Americans constantly condemn Muslims in the Middle East for using torture and terrorism, but quickly defend the U.S. government when it tortures and slaughters.

Let's take non-religious leaders' most extreme example: Ought a good human--if there are no other possible options--murder or rape to defend innocent people?

No.

When making ethical choices, the means is part of the end. When you pick up the immoral ethical stick on one end you get the other, too, even if your intentions are good.

Just for the sake of illustration, what if a U.S. Seal could only save a young Syrian or Afghan girl from being tortured and murdered by Muslim jihadists by pretending to attack and rape her?

Such an undercover individual might choose to rape the girl because he thinks raping her isn't as evil as letting the Islamic State thugs behead or stone her.

HOWEVER, his act of rape--even though done with good intentions--still will harm the girl and is very wrong.

One evil in response to another evil doesn't make a good.

Never.


In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Lean In Toward The Light - By Carrie Newcomer

The Nature of Doubt and Experience

Since there are so many fallacious, illusionary, and destructive views among humans, it seems that the OTF* is a great idea. However, I spent most of my life doubting so it's unlikely that John Loftus' book would be of much use for a natural skeptic such as I. On the other hand, I enjoy reading John's lucid prose, even though I strongly disagree with his central assertions.

Two important factors led to my own life-long skepticism and movement away from my religious background and upbringing.

1. My sister and I grew up in virtually the same environment, were close, talked all the time in depth, BUT our temperaments were entirely different. She, basically, accepted the religion she grew up in, and hasn't changed, other than increasing her knowledge within that religion.

In contrast, I was never satisfied. Never. It's like I was born with a WHY in my throat and mouth:-)
My parents regularly wondered why I constantly asked questions from age 3-4 on, never ceasing. Danny, why don't you just accept it (whatever the 'it' was that hour or day)?

2. Secondly, when I was 16, I encountered a new Christian leader at a teen Bible study who so shocked us
that I still get upset about what he said, and the horrific ethics and theology he espoused as the true
Christianity (which TOTALLY contradicted everything that we believed).

Two 'also ran's' were factors, too, in my own unofficial OTF experiences:

3. Unlike the current sort of Christians, such as the leaders who support Trump and Moore, my parents weren't harsh fundamentalists. On the contrary my dad, a Baptist minister also had a degree in history. And both of my parents were practical.

During my early teen years such as when I came home from church camp, on religious fire, they told me to tone it down:-) When I went around putting tracts on all of the cars' window shields in our small downtown village, they gave me a serious talking to, about how, I was over-doing it.


4. Unlike my sister, I attended 2 secular universities, first the University of Nebraska, then transferred to and graduated from Long Beach State. Most of our professors were outspoken agnostics or atheists, one a hard Marxist, etc. I majored in Creative Writing, and for a while in anthropology.

Nothing like being drop-kicked into an 'alien' environment to get a why-caught-in-the-throat Baptist teen to question everything:-)

Along the way, beginning when I was drafted and served as a conscientious objector, I got involved with the Quakers in 1966.
Photo: Live Oak Friends Meeting, Houston by Turrell

At Back Bench Friends Fellowship in downtown Philly. And have been a Friend to one degree or another ever since.

What if I had been born a regular guy;-), not an obsessive questioner?

How different my life would have been.




*The Outsider Test of Faith by John Loftus


In the LIGHT,

Daniel Wilcox

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Queries: Growing Old into Questions


“Friends, these…we do not lay upon you as a rule or form…but that with the measure of light…may be guided: and so in the light walking and abiding…”
From Meeting of Balby, England, 1656

Personal Living
1. Do we center our lives in awareness of the Light—
ultimate/inherent reality--so that all our thoughts
and actions flow from the Center?*


2. Do we advance in our receding, hope despite our loss of many long-held dreams and aspirations?

3. Do we live above, beyond our ill health, trials and tribulations (deeper than our fading physical selves), remembering to live in the true, the good, the beautiful, even when we fade and all that is wrong stridently shouts?

4. Do we focus on the positive, negate the negative, sparking as small lights in this darkness?

5. Do we work creatively, using our talents to encourage others, bringing our best to each moment, here and now?

6. Do we remember that the preparation of war begins in each heart and one's negative voice, not only with physical weapons?

7. In the midst of the denial of the inherent value of all humans by so many secular and religious leaders at present, do we speak up and emphasize that every single human has inherent worth?

8. Do we speak to and answer that of the Light in all individuals? In all of our relations with others, do we treat them as equals?*


9. Do we let heartache, disappointment, and discouragement constrict our daily life because 2 more Friends Yearly Meetings have split down?

10. Do we take time each day to quiet the rat-race in our busy minds, and be open to the Transcendent?

11. Are we avidly writing and speaking for human rights, equality, and justice in the midst of the crowding instances of wrong, harm, and slaughter?

12.Do we not lose communion though we are no longer part of a local meeting? Where might we find community since we so miss the open meditation, sharing and caring?

13.In older age, how can we still make a difference in others' lives and the world at large, given our own loss of energy, and weakened abilities?


"For age is opportunity no less than youth itself...as evening twilight fades away, the sky is filled with stars, invisible by day."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."
Martin Luther King, Jr.


*Adapted from Faith and Practice, Pacific Yearly Meeting, 1973, 2001



In the LIGHT,

Daniel Wilcox