The Circle of Existence: Chapter 4 – A Poser

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by DCH Park

poser“Only enemies speak the truth; friends and lovers lie endlessly, caught in the web of duty.”
– Stephen King

“One of Satan’s most deceptive and powerful ways of defeating us is to get us to believe a lie.”
– Charles Stanley

A man woke up one morning to find his spouse already awake next to him. That was unusual. Usually, he was up first. It was turning cold again so the days were shorter and the sun was coming up later but after the long, hot summer, he was used to the earlier waking period. It had become a habit to move about the house, going to the bathroom, getting dressed, and making breakfast, all in the dark. He relished the cool morning hours during the summer.

This morning though, a heavy silence greeted him. Lying in bed, he could picture the look of distracted pain on his partner’s face. The tension hung over them both like a palpable thing in the dark. He could feel it in the air.

“I had a bad dream.”

He mulled this over. Two possibilities were chasing each other in his awareness. “Do you want to talk about it?”

“No.”

Silence.

“I just want to be held.”

He could remember times when he had simply held space. He’d been asked to make soothing, nonsensical sounds while being there and holding. He had said “Dere, dere,” and made comforting, noises. He did none of that now.

Instead, he reached out for a hand as they both laid there. He touched it in the dark. “The reason I hesitate is that I’m not sure how I will be taken.

“I’m happy,” he went on, “in fact, I’m eager to be there with you as you evolve and discover more of yourself. I’m ready to lend you my strength to do that, though you don’t need it. You may want it but you don’t need it.” Pause. “I’m grateful for that. For both things.

“You’ve been there for me and raised questions that have led to insights, healing, and growth for me. I’m happy to do that for you, too. But this feels like something that’s been with you for a long time. It feels like something that has come back again and again, not always with the same face.”

“Yeah,” came the reply. “It feels like it’s connected with something very old. Something that’s been in my life for a long time. It scares me.”

“That’s not a bad thing,” the man said. “In its role of protecting the wound, Ego uses anything it can. Fear indicates that you are going in the right direction. Any strong emotion means that you are going in the right direction. I remember an old lady character talking about the ‘protective ice’ that would form over ice cream. You had to break through the protective ice to get to the sweet prize inside. Emotions are like that protective ice…

“I’m happy to celebrate your discovery and healing and growth. I’m happy to be there for you and support you in getting through to the other side. But I don’t care to be a party to enabling you, if that’s what you’re asking for. I’ve become aware that we can enable our loved ones to ignore a festering wound by continuing to act normally even though…” He let it trail off into silence.

“It’s an old wheeze in some circles,” he picked up again, “but ‘As above, so below.’ If it is true in treating physical wounds and raising children then might it not be true generally? Might it not be better to suffer the pain of an operation now than greater pain and possible disablement or death later?

“Would I be enabling you or helping you by holding you? Would I be lending you my strength and being there as you discover more of yourself and heal or would I be enabling you with my strength to continue to ignore the pain of your dream?

“Remember – ‘Everyone in your dream is you.’ You dreamed it for a reason. You said it yourself. There’s something that you are carrying or some way you injured yourself a long time ago that’s coming back up now. What is it?”

Silence.

“If I have enabled you, haven’t I been part of the problem although my intention has been to be part of the solution? If I have enabled you, how has that worked? What have I helped to cover over? What is the problem?

“It can go either way.”

Silence.

“No, it can’t. I want to be held.”

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More of the book, The Circle of Existence can be found at www.smashwords.com.

© 2015, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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”The Circle of Existence: Chapter 4 – A Poser” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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The Circle of Existence: Chapter 3 – Truth, Near Truth, Untruth

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by DCH Park

Truth Near Truth Untruth

“The glory which is built upon a lie soon becomes a most unpleasant incumbrance. How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and how hard it is to undo that work again!”
– Mark Twain

“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.”
– John F. Kennedy

“If you have to lie, cheat, steal, obstruct and bully to get your point across, it must not be a point capable of surviving on its own merits.”
– Steven Weber

Consider a many faceted jewel. The truth is like a jewel. You cannot take the whole thing in at once. You can only see a part of the whole at a time, even in your mind’s eye. Indeed, in a single lifetime, you are currently lucky to be able to recognize and accurately convey just one facet of the jewel.

However, even though we each have a different facet to work with, there is only one jewel. Each facet fits with the others. You can go from any one facet to any other, because both are in the same jewel. In other words, the truth is the truth. Everything true is connected to everything else that is true. Every truth is connected.

This connection is one of the foundation principles in science and mathematics. In mathematics, a major way to prove something is true is to connect from something which is demonstrably true to the proposition and back again, from the proposition to that thing you know to be true. By building these chains of equivalencies, you are saying that the proposition is equivalent to the known truth. If one thing is true, they both must be true. Science works the same way. (There may be other ways. I am not a mathematician.)

This connection includes major facets or arcs as well as minor ones. “Size doesn’t matter.” “Small” truths are connected just as “big” truths are connected. What is true is true. This means that you can start with a “minor” truth and follow its connections to other truths. If something is found to be inconsistent, something is going on. Most likely, something is misunderstood or its appearance is misleading or one or more observations are in error or incomplete.

Untruths also exist. Leaving aside why they exist (which is a separate question and a worthy one), untruths all share the property that they are unconnected from truth. Usually, they are also unconnected from each other. Nevertheless, certain untruths are widely accepted and form the cores of fundamental beliefs in society. This is not as crazy as it sounds. Network theory provides a good way to think about it. Imagine two separate networks. Each network is internally consistent, as demonstrated by its interconnections. However, only one network is consistent with observed reality in every part of reality.

In other words, an untrue network may be consistent with reality in one or several nodes but it will be inconsistent with reality somewhere. Only the truth is consistent with reality everywhere. To the extent that reality is true, it must be consistent with and connected to the network that is true and disconnected with the network(s) that isn’t(aren’t) true. However, each network is internally consistent. You may not know that a given network is untrue until you find a disconnection. The standard that all of the sciences use is that of observed reality. Using this same standard, you may not know that a network is untrue until you try to connect with observed reality. Notice that this is consistent with the mathematical technique of proving the truth of something.

(Some people may assert that if there is a conflict between a belief and observed phenomena, the observation(s) must be wrong. In other words, they assert that belief or faith is never wrong. The process I am describing, of testing the connections between things and defining truth in terms of those connections and of physical reality, is the process by which science and mathematics have advanced throughout history. It is the process by which the entire race has been advanced countless times.

Besides, it seems to me that if there were a Creator (for argument’s sake), physical reality would be part of Creation. It would have to be consistent with the non-physical parts of Creation. Anything which is inconsistent with Creation would be untrue. It would ultimately not be useful in further advancing the race, which is, I think, the same thing.)

“Problems” arise due to the manner in which the network is untrue. The network is predicting consequences to actions that are not born out. Different consequences result from the actions taken. Problems arise.

There is no judgment or determination of one thing being better. In fact, there are many such networks possible. The only thing that distinguishes one from the rest is that it is consistent with observed reality. We call this the truth. Everything else is an untruth, a partial truth, or a deliberate lie. Examples are found in the parable of the Cave and the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes (In the original version of the story, after the little boy points out that the Emperor is parading down the street with no clothes on, he’s beaten and thrown in jail and the Emperor’s parade goes on.) but they also exist in society. (Finding those institutions is left as an exercise for the reader.)

You can’t get to an untruth from the truth and you can’t get to the truth from an untruth unless you accept a lie. This means that we have a way to “easily” distinguish truth from untruth – we just have to notice the disconnection. It’s a giveaway. That’s why those untruths and the institutions that are built upon them try very hard to distract you or cover over their state of disconnection. Nevertheless, that disconnection is there.

This applies to the implications of a truth (which give rise to expectations) as much as it does to the truth itself. It is also how scientists and mathematicians work. That us why Ernest Rutherford was so surprised to find alpha particles scattered at large angles by passing through a thin layer of metal foil. He was expecting them to have only minor deviations based on the prevailing theory. Since the observed scattering of alpha particles was verifiable and repeatable, it was presumed to be correct. The theory that led to the erroneous expectations had tobe wrong.

Rutherford is one example (“as if you fired a 15-inch shell at a piece of tissue paper and it came back and hit you.”) but the history of science is full of individuals exploring the implications of theories to either continue to accept them or to modify or replace them. The fact that the theory’s expectations were not met meant that the implications that gave rise to those expectations were not true. This meant that the theory, as it was understood, was not true. If the theory could not be adapted to fit the new observations, a different theory would be called for. This is exactly what happened. (The new theory has its own implications and expectations in turn. These expectations give rise to predictions which can then be measured against observations. To the extent that observed experimental results agree with predicted expectations, the theory is considered useful and is retained. As soon as observations differ from expectations (assuming the difference is verified) the theory is either altered or a new theory is proposed.) This process is common to all human endeavors (Ghiselin, Brewster (Editor), The Creative Process: Reflections on the Invention in the Arts and Sciences, University of California Press, 1985). In addition to being found in the sciences and mathematics, it is found in various arts. Any endeavor that relies upon creative insight to further the field relies on this process.

This is the way that we have been able to discern truth from untruth. It is commonly seen to take courage to honor the truth you see and to be open to hearing truth from others. But the “courage” that is seen in those instances is brought in to overcome problems thrown up by Ego.

Ego gives rise to secrets and hiding the truth. Sometimes, fear comes into play. These things can often come from personal pride. Economic considerations also come up. People have constructed some economies in such a way as to confound these Ego-based considerations with real world considerations. Others have worked to make these distinctions clear. (See, for example, alternative views on economic systems and the nature of value as it is recognized in various countries, most notably in Europe, and the declaration of the King of Bhutan to maximize “Gross National Happiness” instead of GNP. See also the economic consequences of the King’s announcement.)

Such artifacts of Ego, indeed, the Egos themselves, come from the wounds that you carry. If you heal a wound, you are free to eliminate the Ego that comes from it, and you are free to embrace the truth a little bit more. No courage is needed. In fact, once the wound from which Ego springs is at least recognized, if not healed, it becomes clear that it is easier to honor the truth than to continue to hold with an untruth.

Nevertheless, many of the things we find in life are not true. The disconnections between what we do (and what society teaches us to do) and the truth show up in our lives as problems. At first, they are small and easily overlooked or ignored. As time goes on, these problems or disconnections have consequences that are bigger and bigger. Eventually, what started out as a gentle tap on the shoulder becomes a 2×4 to the back of the head. We are at the 2×4 stage as a race, now.

This is perhaps the greatest, most important step to take in this life. It is important to realize that some things are true and others are not. Even more remarkably, some of the things that our society and/or our economy want us to accept are not true.

Discerning and honoring what is true from what is untrue is important. If we are to survive, we need to be able to do these things. However, to make matters muddier, a common practice is to confound the truth with untruth. The hope is that you will accept the untruth along with the truth. This can happen if you fail to notice the untruth or if you accept that you must take the untruth in order to have the truth.

However, experience shows that truth is like a fish. In cleaning a fish, you cut away the guts and other unwanted organs, the scales, tail and fins, and perhaps even the bones. In making a fillet, you cut away anything you don’t want to eat. Even if you leave the bones in, you don’t eat the bones.

In the same way, you can separate the truth from untruth and “clean” it. You don’t have to “swallow it whole.” Each part must be separated from the others and its truth or untruth determined separate from any other part. When the untruth is discarded, the truth that remains will be whole as parts of the many faceted jewel. The parts you don’t have yet will be revealed through their connections with the rest of the jewel.

###

More of the book, The Circle of Existence can be found at www.smashwords.com.

© 2015, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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”The Circle of Existence: Chapter 3 – Truth, Near Truth, Untruth” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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Expectations

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by DCH Park

As I write this, I am over 50 years old. I imagine that there are more than a few individuals who are reading this (at least I hope there are) who are much younger than 50 who expect themselves to be well off by then. They see themselves living in certain conditions when they are 50. They imagine a certain lifestyle. They imagine that if they haven’t already, by 50 they will have “figured it out.”

When I was younger, that’s what I thought. I believed that I was gritty and honest enough to be truthful about what was going on even if no one else was. I believed that my gritty honesty would inevitably lead me to the truth and that truth would empower me. I considered gritty honesty to be the quickest way forward.

I had no guides, no teachers in this. Although the creative greats, whose artistic, scientific, and other achievements I studied, had many interesting insights to offer, practically all of the teachers and peers I encountered in life were focused on financial security within the social milieu into which they were born.

No doubt, most of them were motivated by genuine concern. In the name of clear-eyed honesty, they probably looked around and saw what was available in society and defined themselves and what was possible in terms of what they saw. They took it for granted and tried to make the best with what they saw. At least that’s what I understood of what I saw of their behavior.

Nevertheless, I was surprised and disheartened by the number of people whose attitudes were shaped by what they saw. They seemed to be aware of or concerned with only what was presented currently – not by what was possible or right, regardless of how they saw themselves.

These attitudes potentially shape whole lives. That’s why it is so important to be aware of the attitudes you have. One place attitudes can be clearly seen is in college. I was shocked by the number of people whose attitude toward college was vocational. They were looking at college as a way to secure a better job. They weren’t concerned with the truth or understanding better (or at all) what was going on. They just wanted a high-paying job. In fact, when I was in college, folks objected whenever a professor looked more deeply into something. They literally hissed whenever anything was brought up about why something worked. They were only concerned with how it has been shown to work so they could apply it better and make more money.

I suspect that the emphasis on making money has only grown more intense since that time. However I understand that there is a growing segment of younger people who are dissatisfied with mainstream attitudes and are searching for a better way. I submit that better ways are possible but to understand them, it is necessary to grasp why things work the way they do.

For better or for worse, right now, the emphasis on making money seems to be commonly accepted. We stop noticing things that commonly happen. There is evidence that even on a cellular level, things that happen very often lose their poignancy. Who hasn’t noticed that the best chip in the bag is always the first one?

However there is nothing in principle stopping you from getting another bag some time in the future and enjoying that first chip all over again. The observed behavior is consistent with there being a latency effect involved. As the period between sensing a chip in your mouth and the next time you have a chip in your mouth grows shorter, the response to the next chip becomes muted.

It’s as if the sensors in your mouth have to be primed or activated to fire and once they have fired, it takes a certain amount of time for them to become primed again. This is exactly the way we understand what happens.

What’s more, the mere expectation of the taste and feel of the chip can be enough to mute even the first chip. Notice how if you eat chips every day or with every meal and every snack, you will come to know the flavor and crunch of the first chip and come to want it less. You will become familiar with it.

Even though the period between one first chip and the next first chip has not changed, you come to want that first chip less. Notice that your experience of the first chip is different but the action of eating the first chip hasn’t changed. The only thing that has changed is your expectation.

This implies that at least part of your experience is determined by what you expect. I have found that managing my expectations can be a very potent way to free myself.

Before we leave this, however, it is interesting that we are socialized to assume that something has greater veracity as it becomes more common. We assume that the more commonly we hear, see, or understand something, the more true it must be.

Combining these two different treatments of common things is instructive. The more common something is, the more true we take it to be. Also, the more common something is, the less we tend to notice it.

This implies the taking of something for granted. We are not trapped in this behavior, but it does seem to be the default for now. What common experiences do you take for granted?

When I was very young, I accepted certain “explanations” and then proceeded to integrate them into my view of the world and how it worked. After that, I continued to integrate them onto every level I created because I took them as fundamental aspects of reality. They were just the way things worked.

I have become very practiced at overlooking these assumptions so realizing them again so they could be understood and healed took a while. Over the course of those 50 years of life, I have taken some right turns and some wrong turns. The right turns are ones that led to greater understanding of my inner voice. The result was always at least as good as I had imagined, usually better, and always surprising.

Take a chance. Be delighted.

© 2015, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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Letting Resistance Crumble

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by DCH Park

What’s true is true. What’s more, what’s true on one level is true on others. This is reflected in and reflects the fractal nature of the universe. It accounts for the creative insights that engineers, scientists, and artists have. It means that it is meaningful to draw from one part of existence to understand another. This includes personal experience of the universe. Since you are part of the universe (since everyone is), this also includes experience of yourself.

I was recently reminded of a personal experience that I once had that has echoes in other areas of my life. I remember that I once massaged someone with a hand that was in the final stages of healing. Before the massage, the hand felt stiff and my thumb felt relatively inflexible.

This made for good deep tissue massage, since I worked with my stiff hand and pushed muscle against muscle. I remember the sensation of tissues in my hand opening. It felt like a piece of hard candy dissolving in my mouth. It got smaller and smaller and then finally broke up into tiny pieces before it disappeared.

This sensation came back to me recently. It has become clear that a significant majority of US citizens now indicate their support of gays, lesbians, etc. and their morality. In fact, as I write this, a couple of cases before the Supreme Court of the United States finished their arguments a week ago and made it clear that there is no compelling legal argument against gay marriage.

What was interesting to me was that on the night of the conclusion of oral arguments before the Supreme Court, FX, which is a branch of Fox Television, a remarkably conservative organization, broadcast a version of the movie, Forgetting Sarah Marshall that was very different than what they had broadcast in the past.

Previously, they had broadcast a version that was heavily censored and changed. Words were substituted in some cases. For example, “asshole” was replaced with “rascal.” Key scenes were cut and the characters were “cleaned up.” However the version that FX broadcast that night restored all of the original stuff.

The end result was that the movie was much more adult. It was a truer representation of the ways that adults can behave with each other. It was also arguably much funnier.

What is interesting to me is that the gay marriage debate in this country shows the exact same characteristics as the stiff hand and the hard candy. The time scales for each are different but the ways in which they change are the same.

In each case, the thing seems impossible at first. The change seems too large or too radical. Nevertheless, dissolving things little by little makes a difference. At some unpredictable point, a remarkable thing happens. The shrinking obstacle suddenly breaks up and disappears. The way is clear.

Perhaps it is always this way. What has changed in your life and body? How has that change occurred?

© 2014, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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