I am for you

Archive for December, 2010

do we really want peace on Earth?

love ya mom!

Not completely, I bet!

We crave challenges.

We use conflict to help us grow, play, and learn.

We get up in the morning wondering “What can I accomplish today?”

So, what we need is to clarify the kind of conflict that we really want.

One way we might describe the sort of non-peace that we are most enthusiastic about is natural challenges where we have a reasonably comfortable fall back option.

In other words, we like challenges that originated from what we see as mostly random chance, or at least that we believe were not actively intended to be seriously bad. And we can feel positive about taking these natural challenges on when we are starting from a generally healthy position.

Another way to say it is that we like challenges that are on the more neutral middle of the scale of good-and-evil. We really don’t like it when we think real evil, totally beyond control, artificial, and unnatural, is involved. Stupid mistakes, and mild-mannered natural disasters, we can deal with, but the intentional and serious harm that we think of as “evil” is what we want to avoid.

This is why most average folks hate war, which is seen as evil incarnate, but love video and board games, which are seen as neutral fun. And it’s why people with extreme amounts of money and power (and who don’t have to actually get their hands dirty) do love war, and see it as neutral fun. It’s why people can enthusiastically go to school and work, if they know they will be ok even if they fail in their attempts. It’s why artists of all kinds try to turn their inner feelings into sensory experience for others, even though nothing can ever really capture what’s going on inside our hearts. And it’s why people who really love each other, and trust each other, can argue joyfully. :-)

We humans are born problem solvers and game players. And we always have to start working~playing from where we are right now. But we don’t like to feel forced to fight against the intentional cruelty that is evil. So the more we can help each other avoid truly dangerous challenges, and the more we can give everyone healthy fall back positions from which to start, the more we’ll all be able to be at peace with our conflict.

So maybe what we should wish in our cards, and in our minds, is something that clarifies what what sort of peace we want…

Try this one on for size this year:

I wish you all the resources you need to find peace and joy in all your challenges.

And, of course, just plain old love. :-)


the dimensions of consciousness

I see you seeing her, seeing him, seeing me

Being able to think about life from different perspectives is what we do. And as our brain grows, we gain the ability to see more perspectives.

Starting at conception, our human brain is only aware of our body’s own internal state, and we’re just using the brain’s most primitive functioning areas.

Then at about nine months, we begin to gain the ability to be aware of another individual’s state, as it relates to our own state. At this point, someone else’s feelings and experiences can become connected to our own feelings, using the brain’s limbic system.

Then a few months before we’re four years old, we begin to gain the ability to be aware of a third person’s state, as it relates to a second person’s state, as it relates to our own state.

And by the time we reach age 35 or so, and we’ve spent decades thoroughly exploring a full range of third-person perspectives, we finally start being able to think about things in the three dimensions (three spacial dimensions, or two space and one time dimension), with what I like to call systems theory thinking. It looks to be in the prefrontal cortex, though I’m not totally sure just yet.

Of course, the kinds of things that 35 year old humans (and all other ages as well) think about are almost infinitely diverse, from rap music, to robots, to romance, to the Riemann Hypotheses. So evolution really does have pretty much everything covered, in all of space, as long as us old folks are around to pay attention to what all the people (of all species) of the world have to say.

And, obviously, I’m definitely looking forward to reaching the age of 216 years old, when we get to start thinking in four dimensions. That’s really gonna be cool!


life is damned thorough

the flower of life as a wave

Every possible combination of theories of life (genetic or memetic) has to be tried if we are to get to perfection. Thus, even if a set of genes or memes ends up being like the dinosaurs, and going extinct, testing out this particular set is still a valuable part of the process of making sure no stone is unturned in our search for the instructions for a better life.

Because life can’t be sure of what is best until it tries out everything, including the worst. Of course, the worst will never last long in this ultimate laboratory that is the universe, so we can be comforted that anything we encounter that is especially anti-life will be gone soon enough, as the process of evolution finishes testing it out and rejecting it as being a seriously failed theory. :-)

One theory of a better life that has been proven by the test of time, and memetic evolution, is that patience is a virtue!


compassionate destruction

something new and brilliant breaks out of something old and well loved

Destruction is necessary for construction. For us to step forward, we have to leave some things behind. For us to build something new, we have to take apart something old. For us to create, we need to destroy, even if what we destroy is only the silence and the emptiness.

Destruction isn’t bad, it’s a valuable part of the process of growth.

The key to understanding this, and to appreciating the value of destruction, is to acknowledge your love of the past, and your need to try something different in the future as an important part of your growth.

This process of turning the negatives, that sometimes come with destruction, into positives works both within your own self, and with others in your life.

So whenever you come upon resistance to change, you can very likely turn the resistance into support by clarifying the reasons why you very much love and honor the many good things that have happened already because they allowed you to become more of the kind of person you wanted to become. Then, once that appreciation has fully set in and has neutralized the resistance, you can explain, as clearly as possible, what kind of person you want to now grow into, and say why you believe that your newly changing path will help you get there. And finally, you can open yourself up to modifying your path slightly so that the force that was previously your resistance has a chance to actually help push you towards your new direction, if that opportunity presents itself.

Because sometimes, on the rare occasion, when you trust others who have supported you in the past, even when you choose to head in a new direction, they can surprise you and want to come with you, or have, perhaps, even been there already and can give you many of the resources you need to get yourself wherever it is you want to go…

In a general sense, this reversal process is one of compassionately stepping from -1, to 0, to +1, or maybe even +2.

  • The resistance starts at -1
  • Adding love of the past brings it to a neutral 0
  • Adding your desire for future growth gets it to a positive 1
  • And opening yourself up to any support being offered can get you there with more than enough!

Just remember to be specific. I’ve given you the general formula for the numbers, now you can put in your own particular terms to make it work for your own unique situation. And remember, an “I’m sorry.” always works wonders for reversing resistance, as does phrasing things to clarify what you want, rather than trying to speak for others. Give others the freedom to follow you, or to go wherever they want to go, and they will respond in kind. :-)


the new ouroboros

perhaps not the direction you thought it was going!

Rather than eating it’s own tail, consider that the ouroboros is actually creating itself, by spitting out it’s own tail. (Or that the tail is pooping out it’s own head.)

Out of the nothingness that is the end comes the somethingness that is the beginning…


our system is fluid

both air and water flow, try going with it

Of course, our system is also fractal.

So when I say “our system” I might mean anything from an atom, to a cell, to a human, to a planet, to a universe.

On the human level, that means if one wants to go somewhere, the easiest way to do it is to go with the flow. Just as in the process of sailing and flying, one uses the action of pushing/fighting-against minimally, as a steering mechanism, while using the action of pulling/working-with as the primary force for your power.

When you are working with the environmental forces, you only need a little push to help you aim in the specific direction that you want to go.

Creativity comes about when you combine the mainstream with your own small, and unique, effort.

Someone interesting told me recently that because I’ve finally learned to go with the flow when it comes to my own internal process, all that’s left is to learn to go with the flow of the external process. In other words, I’ve essentially stopped fighting against myself, and now I will be focusing on learning how to stop fighting against the “it” that is the external world.

I know how to steer my own inner energy to get my own self to where I want it to go, within my body, and soon I will know how to steer with the energy of the whole world to get my whole self~body to where I want to go, outside.


And, of course, I wish everyone to be able to learn this navigating skill as well. Presumably the ability to help others learn this delightful skill will come once I’ve reached that next level of ability, and I’ll be able to help others know how to steer their own selves, internally and externally.


we do do unto others

are you looking for challenging ice or nurturing water?

Rather than being a suggestion for what we “should” do, it appears that the “Golden Rule” of

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

is really more of an explanation of our normal human behavior. Because when you really look at yourself, you will see that, when you want others to challenge you, you challenge them, and when you want others to support you, you support them. Though you might not see this upon first glance of yourself. It might be a desire that is buried deep down somewhere.

This doing unto others as we want to be done to us behavior isn’t perfect, of course. But as a general approach we behave as if others are mirrors, reflecting our own actions back onto us.

Consider this possibility the next time you do something for/to someone else, and ask yourself if this is something you also think you should have for yourself? Are you looking to be challenged or supported in this same way?

Similarly, consider that when someone else does something for/to you that they might very well be thinking that they also should have this too. Do you think they want to be challenged or supported in return?


understanding the MBTI in developmental terms

this has nothing to do with the text, I just really like it, it's from my Mom's back yard a couple of weeks ago and there is glistening frost on the grass

Having really looked at the MBTI set of personality measurements again (you know, the INTP, ENFJ, etc. labels), I’m going to try again to explain them using my own developmental health theory of the human brain. Here is my latest suggestion for what the different types are trying to describe:

Introverted/Extraverted is first person health: governed by the primitive/physical functions part of the “lizard” brain, which focuses on internal body health. When you’re really healthy, you’re extraverted, as you have the extra physical energy to explore the world. When you’re physically lacking, you’re introverted, and protective of yourself.

iNtuition/Sensing is second person health: governed by the emotional amygdala, which focuses on the health of one’s close family/friends. When your loved ones are healthy, you can relax and enjoy the experience of being with them (sensually/sensorily), but if they are lacking in something they need, to be healthy, you will need to distance yourself from them a bit, and spend your time inside yourself, problem solving for them and protecting yourself from the symptoms of their illness.

Thinking/Feeling is third person health: this is the more intellectual function that is governed by the primary part of the cortex, which focuses on the health of one’s community/society (all the individuals that one isn’t directly in contact with at the time, but is aware of in some way). Thinkers are aware that their society/community isn’t as healthy as it could be and spend much time trying working on solving larger community problems, while feelers are generally content with the way things are and are open to participating in their community/society.

Judging/Perceiving is fourth person health: governed probably by the prefrontal cortex (the most highly developed part of the cortex), and is focused on the health of life itself (evolution). This is where spirituality and the general morality/ethics of why we are here on Earth, and what we are “supposed to” be doing here, comes in. Those who see that life/evolution is lacking in something will be focused on making plans and sweeping revolutions for the planet in their Judging ways, while those who see the larger picture of life/evolution as being perfectly fine as it is will be open to anything that happens, as the Perceiving types are.

All of the extremes in each type are important and valuable and “right” depending on the situation that people happen to be in at the time. And types will change as the health of oneself and one’s environment change.

Of course, these elements are also related to the age of the individual, since each stage of brain growth involves a particular level of awareness. For example, young kids really aren’t going to be Judging types, as they just aren’t going to be aware of the health of the planet/life/evolution on a systems theory level, and so they aren’t going to be making plans to lead any major revolutions, or criticize the morals and ethics of society. Whereas middle age and older folks are more likely to have grown into a Perceiving type, having seen so much of the diversity of life that they are more confident in it to continue to move forward reasonably successfully regardless of what happens, and so they are spiritually more peaceful even when crazy things happen in life.

Another way to look at the MBTI is:

The first letter is physically how we interact with the world – are we physically novelty seeking (E) or conservative (I)?

The second letter is how we relate to those closest to us – are we emotionally open to others (S) or emotionally walled off (I)?

The third is how we intellectually interact with the world – are we open to new cultures/ideas (F), or are we attached to a limited set of ideas (T)?

The fourth is how we spiritually (secularly or non) interact with the world – are we open to the full spectrum of how life is evolving (P), or are we worried about what’s going to happen to humanity and life itself in the far off future and try to restrict/control it (J)?

All this is just food for thought. And again, I beginnging to see how each of the types in each area are valuable and good, given the state of the individual’s environment, and their perspective of it. Both contraction (the closed/limited approach) and expansion (open/outward approach) are a necessary part of the rhythm of the universe.


what’s mine is you and yours

photo by Betty's friend :-)

“Ownership” could be better described as “positive relationship”, and “stewardship”. The “own” element is more of a sense of both the self and the other being connected and part of a larger unit(y). The sense of oneness. It’s a sense of caring about and being connected to the “other” in a similar way to feeling that one’s own stomach, or hand, or hair, belongs to one’s self because the health and wellbeing of these “other” things are important to the health and wellbeing of the self.

The origin of the word “ownership” is “owe” which means to feel responsible for giving something back to someone, in return for having been taken care of by them in some way.

This extension of the self outside of the body appears with things that one has had some kind of positive exchange with – material and/or energy-wise. This “other” individual thing (living or not) has either given us something we could use, or has found a use for something we needed to get rid of. Or both. Once that positive connection has been made, the relationship becomes one of “ownership” or “owingship”: a relationship of wanting to take care of the other, at least as well as the other has taken care of us…

“This is my bicycle.” Because it has given me the freedom to go places I needed to go, and do things I needed to do.

“This is my job.” Because it gives me the ability to grow into a healthier person, and gives me a venue for expressing myself.

“This is my feeling.” Because it helps me know what it healthy for my body, and what is important to avoid.

“This is my idea.” Because it let me express myself, and it allowed me to more easily get something I needed.

“This is my family” Because they have given me what I’ve needed to become the woman I am so very proud to be today, and they’ve accepted so much of what I’ve had to offer, in so many ways.

“This is my world.” Because you’ve given me most of what I’ve needed in life, and taken most everything that I’ve needed to get rid of.

We might not always know how to take care of another (we have a hard enough time knowing how to even take care of our ourselves) but if we call the other our “own” then taking care of that other is indeed what we are speaking of.

For starters, of course, I suggest using whatever excess resources we have to help the things we own get their basic needs met, so that they can become as whole as possible. For humans that’s getting nutritious food, clean water, fresh air, warmth, sunlight, and the freedom to express the solids, liquids, gases, and energy that they have in excess. For other individuals, that might be some oil on the chain of our bike, helping our idea move out into new territory, and finding a way to use whatever the world has to offer us to make something new and meaningful.


Pascal’s perspectives

the larger perspective, but still only 2D

Pascal’s triangle is a mathematical diagram that is created when you start at the top with one element (zero elements are there too, next to it and above it, but the zeros aren’t always shown in the diagram), and then divide that one element into two elements, which you show below the first one, and then divide those two elements into three elements, which you show below the two elements, and so on. In the process of division, though, you also combine the divided elements (the ones on the edge of the diagram get combined with zero, so they never increase).

I think it’s definitely easier to do than to describe. So look at that link, if you don’t already understand the process of generating the numbers in the triangle.

This process gives you a reasonable understanding of how things can combine and divide – contraction and expansion.

Once you’ve understood the basics of Pascal’s triangle, imagine standing on a giant sports field or court that has Pascal’s triangle painted onto it, in place of the usual goal lines and boundaries and such. Then imagine picking a place to stand and a direction to look, and noticing the patterns of numbers you see laid out in front of you. You might need a telescope to see all the numbers that go way out in that direction, since the triangle gets really big (infinite, actually, in some directions).

Of course, if you know anything about the delightful surprises of Pascal’s triangle, you know that the pattern that you see in any given direction is not only very different from the other patterns that you see in the other directions/vantage points, but that the pattern seen is also always meaningful and true to life, in some situation. You might see the ordinal numbers (1,2,3…), or just ones, or the “normal distribution” of statistics, or the Fibonacci sequence.

And each different perspective is useful. Each view is valuable. Each approach is helpful in some way. Each individual path is a part of the truth that makes up the whole…

This is life, the universe, and everything.

So stand where you are, or move somewhere else if you like, focus on what you’ve observed, and then describe the patterns of information that your senses have been presented with. In this way we will all get a more wholistic picture of the ultimate reality. Telling stories about our lives is what we are meant to do. Because we too are a true and valuable part of the process of contraction and expansion, as we divide (the process of editing our sensory data into a story) and combine (the process of sharing data/stories)…


your genes are exactly as evolution needs them to be

evolution values uniqueness

I was listening to a radio show today that was talking about a possible new discovery of genes specifically associated with Autism. Whether this is useful information or not (obviously at least some genes are involved, since having a brain is genetic :-) is not what I was interested in. Instead I was interested in the fact that some things that are genetic and which happen to have some difficulties in life associated with them are seen as perfectly normal. For example having white skin that burns easily, or being gay, or being a tall woman, or a short man, are not considered “diseases” by most in the scientific community, while other genetic traits with similarly challenging complications are considered diseases, and people who have them are generally treated as being “wrong” in some way.

Which led me to asking, to no one in particular, “What is it going to take for society in general to stop looking at all the different kinds of genetic diversity as being bad, and start looking at diversity, and somewhat rare genes, as being important for the health of our species? What do people need to discover for them to appreciate individual’s uniqueness? When will people start looking for the benefits of the not-so-average traits, such as an extreme ability to focus on logical problems (Autism), or the ability to focus intently on the most exciting and challenging thing around (ADD), that humans arrive on the Earth with?”

And do you, yourself, have a rare trait that others might not have appreciated as much as evolution does?