For our individual and collective well being, individuals must participate in the broadest possible spectrum of social issues. Few would disagree that we need to make our voices heard, but if we think of participation in social life as merely choosing a leader from among who “show’s up” as a friend puts it, we’ll always be stuck with what we got. We need to be informed and active always!
The subjects I undertake her are broad, cross-cutting and challenge normative thinking. Browse for a sense of how I approach them.
Money and Exchange
I argue for a society that gifts rather than buys and sells. I choose gifting over money, barter or any other form of exchange which (by its very nature) requires the giver directly benefit from the receiver. I’ve come to understand from my studies of love that it doesn’t necessitate reciprocity (as does exchange). If we’re to live in love and indeed I think we should, these ways of satisfying needs are destructive.
The drawbacks of money can be seen in a more practical, though seldom spoken of sense as well. Money doesn’t add anything to our lives except limits. All things “made possible” through wealth or funding was possible before it. People’s will, interest, focus, etc. is all money can buy. Money cannot buy them capacity. What it can buy are opportunities to develop capacity and this is only can because it is what limits said possibilities. Nevertheless, neither money itself nor the love of it (greed) alone is the problem. The issue is the conditions that must first be satisfied for money to function.
To accept the benefits of money (as we conceive it), is to accept that invaluable things be given arbitrary relative worth. This is the first order of business. Next, in no particular order, we must accept that:
- Who is served will not be determined by intrinsic need but who has money to pay for it.
- Supply and demand as the basis for valuing things leaves (among other fallouts) the least perceived value on bare necessities e.g. sanitation, education, food and nutrition.
- Focus will be on “economic development” versus social progress. And these two are not the same despite the insistence they’re more closely involved than they are.
In fact, they often compete.
- It will (unnecessarily) cost the individual his uniqueness and creativity to secure “stability” and maintain the economy.
Assuming these aren’t acceptable, the very best thing we can do is examine things as they are and conceptualize a better way of being.
Deviance, Crime and Violence
What separates the person who prints personal items (e.g. NGO meeting agendas, church bulletins, school work and private business or personal leaflets) in his place of employment, from the person who takes cash out of the cash register/box or the one who doctors accounting books to pocket company funds? All incur a cost to the company. All likely have similar thoughts about how acceptable it is to have the company incur this cost. The most significant difference among these activities is punishability by law of the latter tho examples.
Deviance is said to be the violation of social norms. I argue that deviance is not the violation of norms in principle; rather it’s the straying from the way these norms are acted out.
It’s not “taking what’s not yours” or “having little regard for others” that is unacceptable. It is what we take up and how we disregard others that matters. So why does one person stick with convention and another become deviant? I argue that completely Different Personality Traits Impact Action Than Inform Perspective.
I explore this and other key concepts about why deviant behaviour is acted out and how to have it be less prevalent by addressing the social dysfunction that informs it.
I’ve written a book called “Decoding Deviance” exploring the little considered factors that inform deviance and the misconceptions where there factors are known. I have not yet published this work but have published an excerpt called “Understanding Us and Them” which explores the concepts at the core of my philosophy on deviance (and human behaviour in general). You can download “Understanding Us & Them” here.
Self Education, Self Empowerment, Formal Education
The brain is a problem-solving machine so it must, by nature, be a learning machine as well. We don’t need to be “educated” — certainly not in the “jug and mug” fashion schools have been doing for far too long. Our education, instead, needs to be facilitated and fostered through those institutions.
In my view, schools are central to the realization of social progress. I explore here, the problems with our relationship with formal education and the education system on a whole.
In self-education, the individual teaches himself as the brain is naturally calibrated to do. It’s both what I advocate and dedicate myself to facilitating. I explore ways we can more intentionally learn and pathways through which we can pursue an understanding of some of the subjects most vital for intentional living.
This type of education is marked by knowledge-had and understanding with it, not degrees and certifications which tend to measure it. It’s the source of authority that enables us to create the reality we desire and to change our relationship with the undesirable aspects of that reality — even minimizing them. Our health, our joy, our fulfillment, our security and that of all others, rests on education of this sort. While the importance of the power that is knowledge has been emphasized time and time again, understanding is the authority to wield this power. It is the core that runs throughout all subjects — it is education.
Some call it “Self-Empowerment” I rather call it Authority.
Distill my work to one word and it would be understanding. But while understanding is the means, authority is the reason I emphasize it. It’s the power to be who you want to be. The power to create what you want to see. Not just power as describes one’s condition — we all have power. It’s the understanding that empowers us to wield said power rather than be asleep at the wheel — as describes the life the majority of people lead.
We’ve romanticized powerlessness and not knowing. We’ve been taught that there is nothing impossible to those who have (blind) faith. I’ve come to a very different conclusion — and from some of the same traditions no less. It has been said that for lack of knowledge/understanding we perish. That says to me that these are among the highest values.
We’re made to be powerful. We’re made to choose the life we live, be it the proverbial heaven or hell. We have within us the capacity to do all things. I explore practical ways this actually is.
- How do we choose life?
- How do we choose health?
- How do we build good relationships?
- How do we help steer persons in a healthy direction?
- How do we create the kind of community we dream of?
Inbuilt in us is the capacity to consciously create this reality. This, I argue, is a much more awe-inspiring and coherent understanding of that which we experience and call God. Here I endeavour to unpack it all.
What would you do if you could do anything? The simple answer is your best work. The surgeon at the top of their field seeks out the most complex cases. Thinkers apply themselves to the most complex problems. Persons in any area of life strive toward expert level from cashiers and packers to people opening coconuts for sale. It’s phenomenal to see people in their element. It’s what we’re meant to do — who we’re meant to be.
We live purpose in every moment. Every action has consequences flowing out of it. It’s inescapable that we contribute to life as we know it by way of who we choose to be. We can be silent and fear-filled, letting life tow us (all) in whatever direction it’s going. Or we can be active and intentional, making of life what we would have of it.
There is no one purpose, no one destiny. There are infinite opportunities to create reality and a fulfilling life is one lived purposively. Living a life in which we pursue excellence in our individuality is the key to “happiness” — and that is only if I can cheapen it with such a word. Pursuing the best lived life individually, and consequentially collectively, is the substance from which paradise materializes.
Some of the world’s most beautiful (even universal) concepts, are the most harmful. What is “family”? What is “friendship”? What is a “significant other”?
What we call family are just a tiny portion of the people to whom we’re related. Look at it from a scientific perspective or a spiritual one and the consensus is we’re all related. What then is “family” as we define it? What then is the benefit? If we loved all like we love “family” how different a world would we have?
“Friends” are just another subset of this selective group we acknowledge as “loved ones”. Do we need it? Do we get along well with all our family members? Do we have subsets for these? “Close relatives” perhaps? Why then “friends”? And then there are “close friends” and “acquaintances” and of course there are those who don’t even get a label. How do we call what we have for these people love, when what we have is so conditional and fickle? What is love anyway?
With family (in practice) love is obligatory. With others it’s conditional. I’m not sold on the idea that any of this is love. I don’t believe love is a thing to be achieved either. Love is basic! A choice of someone as a partner isn’t ideal because the relationship is built on love. Love is the ideal foundation of all things. There’s nothing “significant” about that. Partnerships have both a different composition and purpose than what the majority of popular (old and new) love songs espouse and what we’re taught in word (today) and by example.
Love thy neighbour as thy self. Not more; not less. Love has no depth, just varying degrees of perfection. Love is central to my entire philosophy. I believe it’s a source of our strength and the substance from which we’re to create the lives we choose — that is, unless we choose its opposite (which is not hate but) indifference.
I reference the nature of love a lot. A forthcoming work of mine on the topic is titled “The Ecology of Love”. Until publication, I explore its nature and importance across themes. An exploration of the subject has led me to my stance on money, my views on power, my understanding of relationships and my understanding of God’s nature and the nature of our relationship with God as we misunderstand it (e.g. worship, tithe, reward and punishment).
All understanding begins with understanding self.
- Who are we?
- What are we made of?
- What are we made for?
- Why are we the way we are?
- What are we capable of doing (of being)?
- What motivates us?
- Why do we think as we do?
- What separates us from other?
- Where do our values come from?
- What informs our decisions?
- Why do we have certain preferences?
- Why do we have certain weaknesses?
- When did our strengths become our strengths?
- What made you grasp the things you did while others struggled?
- What made others grasp the things you never seemed able to?
- Why is change so difficult?
- Why do you fear the things you do?
- Where did others find the courage? Where can you?
I haven’t even scratched the surface with these questions but to truly understand self is to understand everything else. Our entire experience is based on who we are. From the temperature as we perceive it — where two persons share a room and one person feels cold while another hot, to the ability of one person to relate to others and the seeming insurmountable difficulty of another to connect — it all depends on you. Know thy self!
I challenge what we associate with self and explore our perception since such is ultimately what orders who we choose to be.
Not Gross Domestic Product (GDP); not any measure of material wealth; Social Progress is the standard for measuring all things. It’s the purpose for which we live. Success in every field is a unit of measure against social progress. The eradication of disease, the education of a population, the prevalence of justice are intrinsic measures that all convey social progress. It is not the size of an institution or them being equipped with industry standard equipment, it’s not even the rapidity with which an issue can be diagnosed and treated, that marks social progress. These can be markers of “development” but where, for instance, the diseases being cured are created by the way we live (e.g. because of our unhealthy agricultural practices) this is not social progress.
Creating the best possible reality from the knowledge and understanding had at a given point in time is social progress. There are no ifs or buts about that. There are no concessions to be made for “necessarily” less than ideal decisions because of “the way it is” — the way it doesn’t have to be.
Note: Nothing ever has to be! We choose! No simple choice but we choose. “Things will never” change is not realism, it’s a resolution — a decision not to be the change necessary. All things are to work together for social progress, both individual pursuits and organization’s activities.
Notes About Social Progress
- For more about social progress as an institutional (and individual) pursuit, see Welsh, Ervin. (2017, September 09). Telos the Truth. Retrieved on February 13, 2018 from https://beyondtimeless.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/telos-the-truth/
My Relationship With Religion
My spiritual orientation has long been free thinking. I’ve always thought my inquiring mind more of a pleasure to God (as we conceive it), than blind acceptance of inherited religion.
I was raised in the Christian faith and grew up committed to the practice. My faith was at the core of my value system created in early childhood and held through to today. My pursuit of understanding, however, has led me to a very different understanding of scripture than what is typically taught. And while I no longer identify myself with specific a belief system, I do see much value in the Bible (read a different — more coherent way).
I’ve done a bit of reading on religions outside the one I once subscribed to. I’ve concluded there is likely value in all religions, it is the traditions that differ and it would appear that teachers of the religions often stray largely from the spirit in which original texts were written. I hold the view that (as with all else) the value that can be taken from various religions ought to be taken and so I’m open to such value wherever I find it.
The Subject of Spirit As I Explore It
I see as spirit, all we consider mystical and all we consider natural phenomenon (i.e. the interconnectedness of events, the interconnection of consequences). All that is, is because of all that was. All that will be, will be because of all that is. The spirit (i.e. the way/nature) of our thoughts and actions (inaction included) determines the reality we’ll experience in both near and distant future.
Love and Indifference are ways of being (spirits) in which we operate. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that God is said to be love and his home is said to be heaven. What would earth be like if we lived in love? Wouldn’t heaven be a suitable way to describe it?
I explore these ideas and more in my work on spirit. I spend a lot of time examining age old ideas through a natural lens — convinced as I am that understanding is ours to have and is smiled upon by God — after all, it is for lack of it that we’re said to perish and death is not God’s wish for us; rather it is eternal life and life more abundantly.
A future project includes an expository work examining biblical text and similar examinations of other scared texts so as to demystify spirit. I am not convinced it was meant to be mystical in the first place.