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Which WORLD do you live in?

Intro: We humans are incapable of perceiving objects (objects in and of themselves). Instead, we only perceive meaning, and meaning is understood only through story. The story that we perceive as “reality” is a story that places us as its character, and that story determines the meaning of both the objects and relationships we encounter. These objects and relationships do not create our story, instead the story creates objects and relationship, and our interactions with those perceptions are what create our idea of self: our identity within “our story.” (If we don’t locate any meaning in an object or in a relationship, we don’t see/notice the object at all. Who would you be if you were unable to perceive meaning in the colors, shapes, textures, and interactions you encounter?)

The worldviews listed below are lenses. If you show me a person’s lens, then I’ll show you the meanings and or the beliefs they hold (their politics, the propaganda they are duped by, their hopes, and their dreams). When a person tells you their opinion, most often they are not relating to facts whatsoever, but instead merely revealing the story they’ve been programmed by. Typically, it’s a story they do not recognize as a story. They just call it “reality,” and they believe that what they see, is objectively true. Most often, if you ask them to trace their thoughts back to an objective cornerstone of reality, they cannot do so; they cannot find any beauty or facts upon which their worldview is built. Typically, their story is built upon discomforts that long for comfort, they place themselves and their comfort as the most important fact, and they place this “fact” at the center of an imaginary story set in a dead, ugly, and meaningless world; it’s a story that becomes one of narcissism and misery, a life hardly worth living and expressed in a story built upon pure ignorance–––like lab mice born in a lab. (Set deep inside Plato’s cave)

Humans are story creatures and given the choice of which story to participate in, we’d certainly choose the story that gives us the feeling of awe. (Enslaving a person means preventing that person from receiving the choice). A story is worth entering, only if it establishes a world where what’s received from it (from Earth and Tribe) nurtures us both physically and emotionally, so much so that it evokes our desire to give reciprocity. To truly live well, means to devote our lives to paying back a debt-of-gratitude, paid to whom that gratitude is duly owed.

As our life story can only be called a story if it aims toward an end (death) that gives our journey meaning, what end could be more meaningful than a destiny fulfilled by our delivering the greatest of human meaning, hence delivering the greatest of human tools to the next generation? And what greater tool is there but that of the story that reveals the story of story itself, the meaning of meaning itself, hence the tool that peels back the layers of perception and reveals the awe at the center of our relationship with existence itself? This awe is experienced when the veil is lifted (by the story) and we are left face to face with Earth Herself. Once we see it, we instantly feel how the beautiful parts of Earth’s landscape fit seamlessly with the whole story of Her landscape; then we realize just how we fit into that story, we realize what we owe and to whom we owe it.

Ignorance means living within a story whose cornerstone evokes nothing of awe, love, gratitude, or reciprocity. Without this love, there can be no way to jumpstart reciprocity, thus a child will not become an activated adult participant. Without the proper initiation, the child remains a child, hence his life’s tasks will be performed at gunpoint–––as a result he will resent everyone and everything.

An adult is defined by his desire to carry and deliver the worthy story to future generations. Again, we are story creatures, so what could be more valuable than the worthy story? When what we receive from a story is something worthy of all our love, then the story that gave us this gift, is more valuable than we ourselves. Therefore, the only satisfying end to a human life is one where what we’ve generously received via the story, is carefully delivered with the story to the next port of DNA transfer. To deliver successfully means meeting one’s death having satisfied one’s debt-of-gratitude, paid to whom it is owed.

Which WORLD do you live in?

1. A cruel, threatening, chaotic, and ugly natural world, a world that we navigate alone in search of comfort, safety, recognition, and pleasure. In such a world, we disregard the past because the past contains nothing worth carrying forward. Also, when the future is deemed void of significant meaning, why bother carrying the weight of the past? In such a world, there is neither awe nor beauty to be found in the relationships between the objects, elements, or creatures of the world, and instead we are limited to the subjective parameters of fear and pleasure, experienced only in the present moment. (Like zoo animals or lab mice.)

Consider the irony: those who despise life are those who cling most tightly to notions of (faux) virtue. Why? They aim for “virtue,” not out of love, but by the fact that they despise those who are less virtuous than they imagine themselves to be. This mental glitch (and imaginary identity) gives them a way to feel special and “better than.” There is no love to be found in their virtue, only hatred and resentment. To them, virtue and obedience are one in the same, which is why they’re prone to authoritarianism. They are the easily brainwashed and weaponized, which originates when they are deprived of the initiation that reveals their relationship to the beautiful facts of natural reality.

2. A cruel, threatening, chaotic, and ugly natural world where we hope that finding another soul with whom to navigate these dark and meaningless waters, will help us feel that existence might be worth the effort and heartache: to find another person with whom to live out our horrible life-sentence.

3. A cruel, threatening, chaotic, and ugly natural world in which we live as part of a tight-knit group who, while needing one another to survive, each resent having to be part of the group whatsoever. Yet, while we resent the group, we somehow experience pleasant feelings of brotherhood between us. As we feed the bonds of brotherhood, each of the members are valued for their support of the group’s survival, but like the mafia, the extraneous people will get devoured. In such a worldview, power is the only truth because in that world, truth is divorced from beauty, from virtue, or from any fixed-objective point of measurement (cultural relativism and subjectivism). Though each member is part of the group, the members think only of themselves. Their love of others is just that of utility––– of using other people for one’s own narcissistic buoyancy; they use others to fill the gaps left empty by their being deprived of a worthy story.

4. A world built on a series of awful problems toward which we must devote our lives to the purpose of solving. Here, the world is seen as chaotic, thus we must use science/technology to transform the environment, so that it fit our imaginary notions of “good.” This offers us a path by which we earn a sense of dignity in our attempt to solve everyone’s problems. It’s a utopian pursuit. By applying these methods, we can: 1) believe that we are a good person. 2) believe that the world will become worthy of our specialness. (These are the people who fall prey to the lies of tyrants. This is how slaves are made.) (Reason is built upon a fixed and objective reference point. When one’s ability to reason is devoid of that point of objective reference, we call it subjectivism. The distance between 2 lies, can be measured, hence called “truth,” however, it is not truth. If deprived of the fixed point of reality, one can only live in the faux measurements between lies. It’s the only “truth” they know, like lab mice who have only ever been in a cage).

5. In the unjust world listed above, some will see it as a world of victims and oppressors. They will believe that a fight for justice will put the earth back on its axis. They see “problems” through a distorted lens of good versus evil, deeming themselves as the “good.” Of course, any person who sees through this lens has no endgame and no workable methodology prepared. Once they’ve subdued or killed the “oppressors,” and once they feel that “justice” has been obtained, they’ll have no idea how to sustain it. (Orwell’s Animal Farm). Those who view life though this lens will see themselves as social justice warriors. This worldview is the symptom of a disease. The virtue signaling ensues, thus a longing for specialness. They eat their own.

6. A world that is neither good nor bad, sacred nor profane, yet a world in which we aim to just survive. We thoughtlessly work, eat, play, and rest. We really have no story, no passion, no direction. We are simple-minded, obedient, and will do what we’re told…just to get along. Such a worldview could be called denial, yet denial implies having a moral compass. Instead, amoral or perhaps simple-minded are more accurate.

7. A world of inescapable suffering whereby nothing about the Earth, about humanity, about culture, or about the people around us, are considered redeemable, thus we can only believe, as Buddha suggested, that “life is suffering.” In such a world, we have 4 choices: 1) kill ourselves, 2) numb ourselves, 3) pursue both materialism and status in hopes that these will create life-meaning and relief, 4) meditate ourselves into a state of surrender that mentally reconstructs a new story–––one where all of existence is painted over with stroke of imaginary benevolence. As a renunciate/meditator we give up our worldliness, and by doing so the world’s harshness dissolves as we surrender our fear and our personal will to it. By surrendering, the world promises to no longer hurt us, and therefore all that remains of the world is “the good.” And once the world is imagined as benevolent, we imagine ourselves simply floating in cosmic embryonic fluid. Here, we’ve crawled back into the womb of nothingness, becoming comfortable, story-less, and useless.

8. A world of natural elegance, of awe-inspiring beauty, whereby all the Earth’s natural ecosystems are recognized as perfectly designed, as functional, as praiseworthy, and as deserving of our constant care. (This includes the human body’s perfection: organs, bones, electric nerve impulses, consciousness, digestion, etc.) In such a world, we may choose to become the solitary wizard who listens to the natural symphony of the winds as we observe the creatures who play their role in Earth’s musical theater. The idea here is: Do no harm, leave no trace, be an excellent steward, a model guest, and an audience participant in a show that began long before humanity arrived; a show that will continue long after humanity is gone. The wizard lives as part of Earth’s story. Earth does not belong to him, instead he belongs to Earth.

9. In the natural-elegance scenario listed previously––– it depicts a solitary experience of a world where the puzzle pieces of Creation, fit perfectly to the whole assembly of Creation. Let’s expand it outward to see ourselves surviving as part of a small group. No person is born outside of a group and no person can survive completely outside of a group. (A tribe is a group where relationships and life-meaning blossoms together through the group’s shared pursuit of survival. The shared pursuit is what builds the relationships of culture and meaning).

At the intersection between relationship and meaning is a sacred story. For millions of years this story has held the fabric of human reality together. I’ll explain: Children are born with negligible contextual perception: food, clothing, warmth, and love, are all inexplicably given to the child and the child sees no relationship between themselves and the world that has delivered these precious necessities. Therefore, the tribe must soon make sure the child receives an initiation that reveals the beautiful workings of the world. When context is carefully given, perception begins to deepen. Here, the child begins to experience beauty when the child learns the workings of the tribe, the workings of Earth Herself, and the relationship between tribe and Earth. Hence, the child discovers by deduction what the child owes for what he and his people receive of the Earth’s bounty. When the ah-ha moment clicks in, the child recognizes who the child must become that he may one day do his part to uphold this beautiful reality. The child realizes that he must grow trustworthy, reliable, and skilled, so that the fabric of reality may continue holding itself together. When reality is seen through the lens of awe, beauty, and wonder–– given him through this initiation–– then the child sees himself playing a crucial role in a magnificent story! When he’s begun to feel genuine care for his people and for the landscape––via the initiation-story–– then a relationship forms where his feelings of care inspire his participatory action. When care inspires action and responsibility, genuine human-meaning emerges.

Consider this: What creates romantic love between two people? Often, people fall in love at first sight. If awe (beauty) is what sparks the feeling of love between two people (people who’ll join in sexual bonds that inevitably carry their DNA into the future), then in the same way, awe is what sparks the necessary bonds between the individual and the group. When the proper story is delivered, it helps lift the veil of perception, and allows the listener’s eyes to see the complex layers of beauty hiding in every detail of Earth’s playground/theater. When the initiation-story effectively lifts the veil, the child immediately falls in love with the world. Once the child falls in love, the child will peel the next layer himself.

If the many relationships of Earth/Nature/Creation-itself are experienced by the child as beautiful, and if this beauty is perceived, felt, and understood deeply, then the child will inevitably celebrate the generosity and brilliance of the Creator who created it! (Creator: a great mystery: recognized the moment that we know there is an unknowable praiseworthy force that has created all of Creation. Where do we put all this gratitude, love, and respect, for this unknowable force that allows us to live and experience Creation?)

The final insight: By loving the Creation, loving the Creator, and loving those who kindly lifted the veil-of-perception, the child will recognize HIMSELF as an important character within that story. The child realizes his own importance and value––– he recognizes that the tribe needs him, the earth needs him, and the Creator needs and deserves his eloquent praises. (Gratitude is the measure of a life-worth-living and gratitude emerges where there is a beauty given us that’s worthy of our reciprocity)

Where there is awe, there is love. The group who generously delivered this story of awe, has sparked in the child the feelings that help him bond to the group. This bond is what creates the togetherness needed for a group to continue surviving through the millennia. The strength of the group’s DNA and the quality of the initiation-story’s ability to hold the group together, will determine how far into the future the group will thrive.

The individual who’s initiated by awe, feels himself to be a hero. He is thereby part of a tribe of heroes, a tribe who is altogether part of a world of beauty and order. These layers of context or perception are like an electrical wire that go from the Creator, through Creation, through the tribe, and into the child’s heart. And when that connection is plugged into an outlet via initiation, then the tribe, the Creator, and the Creation are recognized by the young initiate as deserving of constant praise and care.

Though our physical bodies perish, the DNA lives on through our children, but only because of the story that produces enough context and enough beauty to hold together those who will deliver the story to future generations. Imagine living a life with neither beauty nor awe. Why bother living if deprived of that gift? These cultural initiation stories are the rafts upon which the group continues down the river of time. Without these stories, and without the communities that carry these stories, a person ends up being little more than a cow in a feed lot.

“And a child’s idea of beauty is a ball.”

Marcus Aurelius

A child cannot see the beauty in a Picasso, a sunrise, the birth of a child, a brain surgery, a consciousness reflecting upon itself, the pollen transported by a bee, or the bloom of a rose, yet over time the child develops the depth of perception that can see where the beauty is hidden. The art of teaching a child how to see, is what makes the child learn to care, and this caring creates the relationships that give the child’s life meaning. When care fills his heart, he will join the group in all acts of living responsibly, which itself is meaning. Such an invite is quickly accepted by the child. Why? Because a life of love, of bravery, and of meaning is anything but boring. When the invite is accepted, the young initiate becomes the hero who enters a story that will carry his lineage forward through time. His life becomes a heroic adventure that serves something greater than himself and serves that which is as old as our human DNA.


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