“If you think wrong you go wrong” [G K Chesterton]
In reading this web-site it will be helpful to keep a few essential points in mind. Firstly and most importantly, perhaps, please recognize and hold onto the distinction between “Truth” itself and particular “truths“, in the plural. Truth itself is the distinctive property of truths as such. The basic nature of Truth itself remains unchanged, in glorious simplicity, however far we grow and however complicated the truths we are dealing with become.
We are supposed to take off one “thinking cap” – an egocentric perspective, and put on another “thinking cap” – a soulcentric perspective so that Christ and/or the Holy Spirit will help you to “think without thinking”, this is the mind that prays as it is integrated with God.
The egocentric perspective is our “calculating mind,” and the soulcentric perspective is “the contemplative mind”
Most thinking consists of a few elementary maxims:-
- All “proofs” begin with something that cannot be proved, something that can only be perceived or accepted – an “axiom” or a “first principle“. Even Euclid can not prove a “proposition” without getting us to agree to his “assumptons“. You can not prove an assumption, you can only assume it, but you can not reason without it.
- There can be no argument except between those who accept the same “first principle“.
- An action can only be judged by defining its object. [Dale Alquist]
“When we know something, what we know is the truth about it. When we try to think correctly and soundly, our effort is to get at the truth. The difficult question to answer is “how can we tell if a particular statement is “true” or “false”? It is not difficult to answer the question “What is truth?” when you understand what “truth” is. Everyone understands the difference between “telling the truth” and “telling a lie”. To say, “is”, when you think, “is not”, or to say “is not” when you think “is” – is to tell a lie. The truth is the opposite of this.” [Mortimer J Adler]
“A liar is a person who wilfully misplaces his ontological predicates.” [Mortimer J Adler]
“When earthly wisdom dims the light of knowing You or when my search for understanding clouds Your way … God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Vision, Intention and Means to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference between the two. Amen!”
“Logic, then is not necessarily an instrument for finding truth; on the contrary, truth is necessarily an instrument for using logic; for using it, that is, for the discovery of further truth and for the profit of humanity. Briefly, you can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it.” [G K Chesterton]
“I cannot really stand aside from the universe, even in thought. Only by a meaningless pretense can I place myself at some vague point outside it, and from there reproduce on a small scale the successive stages of its genesis. Nor can I place myself outside myself (a revealing parallel) and question myself upon my own genesis.” [Gabriel Marcel] – You would have to be 100% certain that the single entity you are observing is really completely, and in all dimensions, a single unit.So the only rational method of determining that you have a complete single entity called “the cosmos” in view is being certain you are able to see that “cosmos” in its entirety or completeness. How can anyone inside the “cosmos” be certain they have the entire entity “cosmos” in perspective?
“It is not so easy to grasp that there is no such thing as an unheard noise. Or rather it is easy to grasp, but difficult to keep hold of.” [Owen Barfield]
“The problem of the immortality of the soul is the pivot of metaphysics.” [Gabriel Marcel – Being and Having]
Rational belief and rational unbelief is critical to life. Our worldview is constructed from our belief system.
All beliefs can not be true. An example is the man who is about to cross the busy road. He has three possible beliefs:-
- He may believe that the oncoming bus will not kill him when he chooses to step on to the road, (He believes the driver will see him and stop or that he can avoid the bus somehow)
- He may have doubts about whether the oncoming bus will stop or not and choose to stay where he is and not step off the sidewalk onto the road.
- He may choose to step onto the road to be knocked over by the bus on purpose.
When he acts, and actually steps onto the road or remains on the sidewalk is the ultimate test of the reality of his beliefs. The truth is that all three beliefs can not be accommodated simultaneously by reality. Making no choice is a choice, it is choice number two, to remain on the sidewalk. Choosing one or three, he will either be hit by the bus or he will not, his choice determines which. The number of people who believe, or disbelieve, any of the three possibilities with the man making the choice, will have no effect on the reality of what happens.
C S Lewis sometimes distinguished between reason as intellectus and reason
“We are enjoying intellectus when we “just see” a self‐evident truth;
we are exercising ratio when we proceed step by step to prove a truth
which is not self‐evident … When ratio is used with this precision and
distinguished from intellectus, it is … very much what we mean by
“reason” today …” [C S Lewis]
Existentialism puts existence as it is first and everything else must follow.
Metaphysical existentialism promotes the human capacity to know and accept existence as it is. …
Existentialism focuses on human consciousness and experience and their meaning.
“It is not so easy to grasp that there is no such thing as an unheard noise. Or rather it is easy to grasp, but difficult to keep hold of.” [Owen Barfield]
A COMPARISON BETWEEN THE “ASSIDIOUS” MIND AND THE “ASSOCIATIVE” MIND [by The Polymorph]
There are 2 main ways people use their minds, both can broadly be considered types of cognition, but one is superior to the other.
The two main groupings are:-
- The “ASSIDIOUS” mind – showing great care and perseverance. Assiduity could be characterized as thoughtfulness. The assiduous thinker keeps carefully defined mental boundaries at the perimeter of his ideas because he intimately knows the contours of each thought. Where one idea ends, a different idea begins. The idea of boundary or border is particular to the assiduous mind because it understands that clear separation between concepts is the basis for defining and knowing anything at all. To soften boundaries means to make something less defined. Loss of definition means confusion of interpretation. The assiduous mind has no use for confusion. The assiduous mind has taken the time to consider the particularities and the conclusions of ideas as a rule, and then it applies the conclusions impartially as a matter of deliberation. Conclusions have been drawn by the assiduous mind when the facts they represent stand n a sound column, one built upon the other. Fuzzy or vague ideas are not concepts to be built upon but they are instead kept tacit until proper evidence can clear the obfuscation. At that point, the assiduous mind may use the particular idea as a building block with which to establish a conclusion on, or perhaps, may discard it as a falsehood. Assiduous thought is “ends” based, and it is done n order to manifest a conclusion whch the thinker himself wll integrate into his lfe or present for contemplation. Those that activate this type of cognition are seeking the truth so that they may achieve some particular works on earth. eg. the assiduous professional illustrator takes the time to learn, practise, then execute the terms of drawing in that order, because he wants the ends to be actualized in their most full expression ie. a professional, remunerative work of art. He does not want the excercise to result in a work consisting of inconclusive chance phenomena. The demands of professional productivty do not permit such a conclusion. Assiduous minds compliment the professional mindset. The opposite practise is:-
- The “ASSOCIATIVE” mind. This type of mind may be called a “clever mind” and is often characterized by the false descriptor of “being creative”, but it’s actually fundamentally a “lazy mind”. It relishes in the process of linking one idea to another and to freely associate along its own whim This is because such free-form meanderings re-inforce the lack of discipline within the thinker. Free association relies on “cleverness” which is a shallow type of cognition, and more importantly, a form of performance glamour and trickery. Reliance on trickery is a habit which keeps the thinker apart from learning the processes conducive to establishing an actual tangible work of the mind. The free-wheeling thought of the associatve mind is concerned with establishing the appearance of achievement rather than actualizing the achievement. This mnd craves accolades not truth. It is profoundly confused, and vain, while concurrently bound within the grip of unendning self-doubt. This is because such a thinker has never learned the satisfaction of proper achievement. In time these vanities bring the thinker under the power of an intrinsic locus of concern his personal works are not remarkable. But his vanty causes them to regarded as such. Relying continuously on associative free-form ideas deeply satisfies this type of thinker and his need to feel like he is being considered “smart”. The process of jumping from one shallow idea to another is temporal based, like a performance, intended, for the moment, as opposed to the rigorous concept which will be subject to research and scrutiny. Thus, such tricks of the associative mnd sometimes impresses a certain set of the population. Unfortunately these are pyric victories. If he were more wise the free associative thinker would recognize such efforts as being unimpressive and alienating to worthwhile people. Instead of a satisfying relationship this man’s method of thought cultivates a reliance of half-hearted fools into his audience. Smart and worthwhile people cease to contend with the associative mind because it is tedious and it never results in any meaningful insight, or, in truth. Furthermore, ad-hoc associations of this type often result in a blanket of confusion being spread over intelligent discourse. Such is the ultimate purpose of free association, the obfuscation of conceptual borders. This trick occasionally helps the associatve thinker in that creating a word-salad barrage of shallow ideas can sometimes baffle interloculors into silence. This makes the associative thinker again feel that he has presented himself as smart and dominant, and again, this only works relably with fools, but it is a result not satisfyingly established even in these cases. For the curious observation s that by using confusion as a method of discourse, the associative mind only partially wins even fools. For fools too eventually become irritated by a continuous stream of vageries and word-salad musings. This leads to, finally, the associative mind is a mind not aimed at truth but aimed at sensation. Consider then all the points of the associative mind together:-
- 1. it is a lazy mind, unwilling to subject itself to the borders of discipline
- 2. it is a process based mind, relishing the path of free-association rather than end achievement
- 3. it s an insecure and vain mind, envious of any accolades awarded to the products of actual achievement
- 4. it is a clever/creative mind, in that it uses alternative channels, such as performance and deviousness in place of knowledge, hoping for accolades through cheating proper procedure
- 5. it does not recognize its own efforts as the reason for its shortcomings, denying evidence when confronted with it
- 6. it values the “seeming of a thing” rather than the “being of a thing”
All the metrics which the associative mnd functions within are measured in terms of how the user feels, how he thinks his associates will regard him on his lazyness, and on the stroking of his vanities. On the other hand, the assiduous mind does not aim at sensory rewards or cheers of accolade. Assiduous minds seek the mastery of phenomena, the master itself is the reward, and in fact, to actualize and act of mastery is what garners regard in other men. The assiduous mind cares not for ths regard though, for it has a locus of control based on truth, as well as internal mastery, it values not “the seeming” but “the being” of a thing.
“seems” madam, nay it is; “I know” not “seems” [Hamlet]
A “renewed mind” is putting off the old and putting on the new; it is exchanging one thing for another
1. It is putting off the garbage of “our thinking” (The OLD self) (Ephesians 4:22-24; 2Corinthians 10:5; Romans 6:6-12; James 1:21; Colossians 2:11, 3:5,9)
2. As well a putting on the Mind of Christ (Ephesians 4:22-24; Isaiah 11:3), (the NEW self) – Christ in us, our hope of glory (Colossians3:8-10, 12-14; Galatians 3:27, 5:22-25; Romans 7:25, 13:12-14; Ephesians 6:11-20)
3. A renewed mind is a mind in which the Mind of Christ is operating fully, it is being single-minded (John 17:11) and serving the “law of God” (Romans 7:25)
“Whether the human mind can advance or not, is a question too little discussed, for nothing can be more dangerous than to found our social philosophy on any theory which is debatable but has not been debated. But if we assume, for the sake of argument, that there has been in the past, or will be in the future, such a thing as a growth or improvement of the human mind itself, there still remains a very sharp objection to be raised against the modern version of that improvement. The vice of the modern notion of mental progress is that it is always something concerned with the breaking of bonds, the effacing of boundaries, the casting away of dogmas. But if there be such a thing as mental growth, it must mean the growth into more and more definite convictions, into more and more dogmas. The human brain is a machine for coming to conclusions; if it cannot come to conclusions it is rusty.
When we hear of a man too clever to believe, we are hearing of something having almost the character of a contradiction in terms. It is like hearing of a nail that was too good to hold down a carpet; or a bolt that was too strong to keep a door shut.” [G K Chesterton]
THE “GOD” CIRCUITS IN YOUR BRAIN
From early childhood on, God exists in every persons brain as a combination of ideas,
images, feelings, sensations, and self/other relationships. Here is a thumbnail sketch of key neural structures and circuits that shape our perception of God:
Identifies God as an object that exists in the world. Young children see God as a
face because their brains cannot process abstract spiritual concepts.
Establishes a relationship between the two objects known as “you” and “God.” It
places God in space and allows you to experience God’s presence. If you decrease
activity in your parietal lobe through meditation or intense prayer, the boundaries
between you and God dissolve. You feel a sense of unity with the object of contemplation and your spiritual beliefs.
Creates and integrates all of your ideas about God—positive or negative—including
the logic you use to evaluate your religious and spiritual beliefs. It predicts your
future in relationship to God and attempts to intellectually answer all the “why,
what, and where” questions raised by spiritual issues.
Gives emotional meaning to your concepts of God. The thalamus gives you a holistic
sense of the world and appears to be the key organ that makes God feel objectively
When overly stimulated, the amygdala creates the emotional impression of a
frightening, authoritative, and punitive God, and it suppresses the frontal lobe’s
ability to logically think about God.
STRIATUM Inhibits activity in the amygdala, allowing you to feel safe in the presence of God, or of whatever object or concept you are contemplating.
Allows you to experience God as loving and compassionate. It decreases religious
anxiety, guilt, fear, and anger by suppressing activity in the amygdala.
[Andrew Newman MD and Mark Robert Waldman – How God Changes your Brain]
The difference in logic between the philosophy methods of Aristotle and Plato is still:-
1. Aristotle – A=A, A can not = nonA, A can not = both A and nonA simaltaneously
2. Plato – A=A and A = nonA simaltaneously
Plato’s philosophic method is “paradoxical logic”, it allows for paradox in thinking. The two philosophies themselves are also a paradox and mutually exclusive in Aristotle’s logic.
Logically on computing technology icons point to programmes(eg mathematical curvature calculation) working only on top of a programming language (eg fortran) which must run on top of an operating system(eg dos) that must be interpreted within machine code(eg assembler), which all need a machine to hold it all.
This initiated me asking myself whether any individual truly original thoughts are possible nowadays, when, if I need to think and express one, I still need – icon – verbal word derived from … programme – language a construct of … operating system – culture learned by experience from using a machine code – spiritual foundation as context to have and communicate the thought. How would anyone even recognize a truly individual “original thought”? “It is not so easy to grasp that there is no such thing as an unheard noise. Or rather it is easy to grasp, but difficult to keep hold of.” [Owen Barfield]
“The meaning of life relates to the issue of “relativism” versus “subjectivism”” [Dr Viktor E Frankl]
“SUBJECTIVISM” – of or resulting from the feelings of the subject, or person thinking; not objective; personal. Determined by and emphasising the ideas, feelings etc. of the artist or writer. Designating or of a symptom perceptible only to the patient.
“RELATIVISM” – the theory in ethics that objective or absolute moral truths and values are not absolute or objective
“RELATIVITY” – the state of being relative to something else.
“On the 29th May 1919 Einstein’s 1905 paper “The electrodynamics of moving bodies” which became knows as “The Special Theory of Relativity” was confirmed as a “new theory of the universe” by photographs of a solar eclipse and even though he insisted that the world could be divided into subjective and objective dimensions, and even though he tried to refute the confused misapprehension of his theory for the rest of his life, mistakenly but perhaps inevitably, his relativity was confused with philosophical relativism. [Paul Johnson]
“Religious and philosophical beliefs are, indeed, as dangerous as fire, and nothing can take from them that beauty of danger. But there is only one way of really guarding ourselves against the excessive danger of them, and that is to be steeped in philosophy and soaked in religion.” [G K Chesterton]
“No problem can be resolved from the same level of consciousness that created it.“[Albert Eienstein]
If the move from the “mental or intellectual” level up to the “spiritual” level is not made then the possibility of self-deception is even more certain, simply because – “No knowledge can come to know itself, to judge itself, without rising above itself.” [Viktor E Frankl] – not even self-knowledge.
“The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.” [ALEKSANDR SOLZHENITSYN, The Gulag Archipelago]
When REASON refuses to consider the existence of a good and an evil ( a morality), it replaces the reasonable with the RATIONAL, and with it the means (the ability to reason), to discriminate, and the reason for discriminating in the first place.
To keep the intellectual tool “philosophy” in its proper perspective – objective reflection asks – “What are the facts?” while subjective reflection asks – “Is this true for me?” – and when Jesus (an objective historical fact) asks every individual “Who do you say that I am?” He wants an individual, personal, and subjective answer.
“When [the philosophers] gave us God as an object of study, it was only to exercise our pride and arrogance; they reminded us that we were like Him and of a similar nature. But they did not remind us of the other side, of the unpleasant truths regarding our sinful nature, our failure to fully trust in God. And other intellectuals, ignoring God’s existence altogether, reminded us of our similarity to the beasts and sought our favor by giving us an excuse for our beastly behavior.
“The scientists from Fanklin to Morse were clear thinkers and did not produce erroneous theories. The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane. Todays scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation to equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.” [Nikola Tesla]
The cure for our misery and our misbehavior remains the same. It was God’s gracious will to redeem us and to open the way of salvation to those who seek it. Also, God has granted us the right to choose against our own salvation- by our continued disbelief in God’s grace and mercy. Humanity has shown itself so unworthy that, for the most part, it chooses against God- and therefore chooses against His one and only true Savior. It is right for God to allow some, for their hardness of heart, to fail to receive what He grants to others by a mercy they have not earned.
God has not appeared in a manner manifestly divine and absolutely capable of convincing everyone, but neither has His divinity been so hidden that He could not be recognized by those who sincerely sought Him. He wished to make Himself perfectly recognizable to these. His sheep will always hear his voice, and be attracted thereto.
Thus wishing to appear openly to all those who ‘seek Him with all their heart’ and remain hidden from those who shun Him, He has qualified our knowledge of Him by giving signs which can be seen by those who truly want to find and know Him and not by those who do not. There is enough light for those who desire to see, and enough darkness for those of a contrary disposition.” [Blaise Pascal]
“Freud saw only unconscious instinctuality, as represented in what he called the id; to him the unconscious was first and foremost a reservoir of repressed instinctuality. However, the spiritual may also be unconscious; moreover, existence is essentially unconscious, because the foundation of existence cannot be fully reflected upon and thus cannot be fully aware of itself.” [Viktor E Frankl] Without a move to a spiritual dimension and restricted to a reduced view of the mental and the physical – “Psychoanalysis views the whole of the human psyche atomistically as pieced together out of separate parts, i.e., out of various drives, which in tum are composed of so-called drive components. Thus the psyche is not only atomized but an-atomized, i.e., the analysis of the psyche becomes its anatomy. In this way, the wholeness of the human person is destroyed. …Possessed of such an atomistic, energistic, and mechanistic concept of man, psychoanalysis sees him in the final analysis as the automaton of a psychic apparatus. And that is precisely the point where existential analysis comes in. It pits a different concept of man against the psychoanalytic one. It is not focused on the automaton of a psychic apparatus but rather on the autonomy of spiritual existence. (“Spiritual” is used here without any religious connotation, of course, but rather just to indicate that we are dealing with a specifically human phenomenon, in contrast to the phenomena that we share with other animals.) In other words, the “spiritual” is what is human in man.” [Viktor E Frankl]
“It is the humble man who does the big things. It is the humble man who does the bold things. It is the humble man who has the sensational sights vouchsafed to him, and this for three obvious reasons:
first, that he strains his eyes more than any other men to see them;
second, that he is more overwhelmed and uplifted with them when they come;
third, that he records them more exactly and sincerely and with less adulteration from his more commonplace and more conceited everyday self.” [G K Chesterton]
” intellectual amputation” – G K Chesterton in “Orthodoxy” explains clearly the limit or error of the intellect that does not include the spiritual or supernatural – “For instance, when materialism leads men to complete fatalism (as it generally does), it is quite idle to pretend that it is in any sense a liberating force. It is absurd to say that you are especially advancing freedom when you only use free thought to destroy free will. The determinists come to bind, not to loose. They may well call their law the “chain” of causation. It is the worst chain that ever fettered a human being. You may use the language of liberty, if you like, about materialistic teaching, but it is obvious that this is just as inapplicable to it as a whole as the same language when applied to a man locked up in a mad-house. … But if we attempt to trace his error in exact terms, we shall not find it quite so easy as we had supposed. Perhaps the nearest we can get to expressing it is to say this: that his mind moves in a perfect but narrow circle. A small circle is quite as infinite as a large circle; but, though it is quite as infinite, it is not so large. In the same way the insane explanation is quite as complete as the sane one, but it is not so large. A bullet is quite as round as the world, but it is not the world. There is such a thing as a narrow universality; there is such a thing as a small and cramped eternity; you may see it in many modern religions. Now, speaking quite externally and empirically, we may say that the strongest and most unmistakable mark of madness is this combination between a logical completeness and a spiritual contraction. The lunatic’s theory explains a large number of things, but it does not explain them in a large way. … A man cannot think himself out of mental evil; for it is actually the organ of thought that has become diseased, ungovernable, and, as it were, independent. He can only be saved by will or faith. The moment his mere reason moves, it moves in the old circular rut; he will go round and round his logical circle, just as a man in a third-class carriage on the Inner Circle will go round and round the Inner Circle unless he performs the voluntary, vigorous, and mystical act of getting out at Gower Street. Decision is the whole business here; a door must be shut for ever. Every remedy is a desperate remedy. Every cure is a miraculous cure. Curing a madman is not arguing with a philosopher; it is casting out a devil. And however quietly doctors and psychologists may go to work in the matter, their attitude is profoundly intolerant — as intolerant as Bloody Mary. Their attitude is really this: that the man must stop thinking, if he is to go on living. Their counsel is one of intellectual amputation. If thy head offend thee, cut it off; for it is better, not merely to enter the Kingdom of Heaven as a child, but to enter it as an imbecile, rather than with your whole intellect to be cast into hell. … just as a threepenny bit is infinitely circular. But there is such a thing as a mean infinity, a base and slavish eternity. It is amusing to notice that many of the moderns, whether sceptics or mystics, have taken as their sign a certain eastern symbol, which is the very symbol of this ultimate nullity. When they wish to represent eternity, they represent it by a serpent with his tail in his mouth. There is a startling sarcasm in the image of that very unsatisfactory meal. The eternity of the material fatalists, the eternity of the eastern pessimists, the eternity of the supercilious theosophists and higher scientists of to-day is, indeed, very well presented by a serpent eating his tail, a degraded animal who destroys even himself. … Akin to these is the false theory of progress, which maintains that we alter the test instead of trying to pass the test. We often hear it said, for instance, “What is right in one age is wrong in another. … This is quite reasonable, if it means that there is a fixed aim, and that certain methods attain at certain times and not at other times. If women, say, desire to be elegant, it may be that they are improved at one time by growing fatter and at another time by growing thinner. But you cannot say that they are improved by ceasing to wish to be elegant and beginning to wish to be oblong. If the standard changes, how can there be improvement, which implies a standard? Nietzsche started a nonsensical idea that men had once sought as good what we now call evil; if it were so, we could not talk of surpassing or even falling short of them. How can you overtake Jones if you walk in the other direction? You cannot discuss whether one people has succeeded more in being miserable than another succeeded in being happy. It would be like discussing whether Milton was more puritanical than a pig is fat.It is true that a man (a silly man) might make change itself his object or ideal. But as an ideal, change itself becomes unchangeable. If the change-worshipper wishes to estimate his own progress, he must be sternly loyal to the ideal of change; he must not begin to flirt gaily with the ideal of monotony. Progress itself cannot progress.”
“The last Stoics, like Marcus Aurelius, were exactly the people who did believe in the Inner Light. Their dignity, their weariness, their sad external care for others, their incurable internal care for themselves, were all due to the Inner Light, and existed only by that dismal illumination. Notice that Marcus Aurelius insists, as such introspective moralists always do, upon small things done or undone; it is because he has not hate or love enough to make a moral revolution. He gets up early in the morning, just as our own aristocrats living the Simple Life get up early in the morning; because such altruism is much easier than stopping the games of the amphitheatre or giving the English people back their land. Marcus Aurelius is the most intolerable of human types. He is an unselfish egoist. An unselfish egoist is a man who has pride without the excuse of passion. Of all conceivable forms of enlightenment the worst is what these people call the Inner Light. Of all horrible religions the most horrible is the worship of the god within.” [G K Chesterton]
The danger of subjective abstract speculation is – “You cannot go on ‘seeing through’ things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. But a wholly transparent world is an invisible world. To ‘see though’ all things is the same as not to see.” [C S Lewis]
A “morality” is downstream and derived from a “religion”, and a “culture” is downstream and derived from a “morality”, and lastly, “politics” is downstream and derived from “culture”.
“Morality did not begin by one man saying to another, “I will not hit you if you do not hit me”; there is no trace of such a transaction. There is a trace of both men having said, “We must not hit each other in the holy place.” They gained their morality by guarding their religion. They did not cultivate courage. They fought for the shrine, and found they had become courageous. They did not cultivate cleanliness. They purified themselves for the altar, and found that they were clean. The history of the Jews is the only early document known to most Englishmen, and the facts can be judged sufficiently from that. The Ten Commandments which have been found substantially common to mankind were merely military commands; a code of regimental orders, issued to protect a certain ark across a certain desert. Anarchy was evil because it endangered the sanctity. And only when they made a holy day for God did they find they had made a holiday for men.” [G K Chesterton]
“The real difference between Paganism and Christianity is perfectly summed up in the difference between the pagan, or natural, virtues, and those three virtues of Christianity which the Church of Rome calls virtues of grace. The pagan, or rational, virtues are such things as justice and temperance, and Christianity has adopted them.
The three mystical virtues which Christianity has not adopted, but invented, are faith, hope, and charity. Now much easy and foolish Christian rhetoric could easily be poured out upon those three words, but I desire to confine myself to the two facts which are evident about them. The first evident fact (in marked contrast to the delusion of the dancing pagan)–the first evident fact, I say, is that the pagan virtues, such as justice and temperance, are the sad virtues, and that the mystical virtues of faith, hope, and charity are the gay and exuberant virtues.
And the second evident fact, which is even more evident, is the fact that the pagan virtues are the reasonable virtues, and that the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and charity are in their essence as unreasonable as they can be.
As the word “unreasonable” is open to misunderstanding, the matter may be more accurately put by saying that each one of these Christian or mystical virtues involves a paradox in its own nature, and that this is not true of any of the typically pagan or rationalist virtues. Justice consists in finding out a certain thing due to a certain man and giving it to him. Temperance consists in finding out the proper limit of a particular indulgence and adhering to that. But Charity means pardoning what is unpardonable, or it is no virtue at all. Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all. And Faith means believing the incredible, or it is no virtue at all.” [G K Chesterton]
If “Reality” is the forest of trees, if “Morality” is the trunks of the trees that make up that forest and “culture” just one of the many branches attached to that single tree trunk. If the twig derivatives attached to that branch (education, law, religion, art, philosophy and entertainment) have many leaves, then two bugs sitting on one of the many leaves attached to the many twigs on one branch are unable to invent a new tree (Morality), new branch (culture), or new tree (civilization). Even when drawing from the tree, the branch, the twigs and the leaves they are already sitting on, they will be limited to their subjective life and experiences and their resources will be limited to the leaves, twigs, and branch that have been supporting their environment throughout their existence. For any human, or group of humans, there is only one Reality we know of, only one Morality that supports life in that Realty and there can always and only be a “right”(positive) way to live in it or a “wrong”(negative) way to live and die in it, no matter how many cultures or civilizations we are capable of thinking up.
“But this sense of the past as “something different” is almost inseparable from another element in our own concern with history, namely, the habit of looking on the past as a sort of seed, of which the present is the transformation or fruit. This “developmental” view of the nature of time past seems to us so obvious as to make it almost nonsensical to put it into words ; for whether we think of history in general as a meaningful process or as a meaningless one, we just cannot help thinking of it as the old gradually giving way to the new. Yet that whole way of thinking is hardly more than two or three centuries old. It began only when another important change had just been taking place in the West in men’s ideas about the relation between past and present. This change, of which an admirably detailed account was given by J. B. Bury in “The Idea of Progress” was the abandonment of the medieval and classical conviction that the history of mankind as whole was a process of degeneration, and the substitution therefore of the conviction that the history of man is one of progress. Hitherto it had been thought of as a descent from a Golden Age in the past; now it began to be thought of as an ascent into a golden age in the future.” [Owen Barfeld]
“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” [1Co 2:16]
“Theology is loving God with all your mind” [James H Cone]
“Plato preserved the Socratic idea that morality was an affair of knowledge; bad men were bad because they did not know what was good; to recognize duty was to perceive a truth – not because you had a good heart but because you were an intellectual being.”[C S Lewis -The Discarded Image p160] Christ replaces the evil area of the heart with “Good” in order to make “evil” a personal choice that you can be held personally responsible for. The fact that Christ will judge us by our own personal choices from our own personal standards of good and evil should concern us.
Very relevant to thinking itself are the proofs of Kurt Gödel which convincingly demonstrate (to those with the logic and mathematical skills to appreciate such proofs) that any consistent system of logic that can be reduced to mathematical logic must rest on axioms that are not provable by that system of logic. In other words, there must pre-exist, outside that system of logic, other ways to identify truths upon which to base that system. Or as Albert Eienstein put it –
“Applying this principle to information theory, no layer of information encoding and decoding is completely self defining.”[Albert Eienstein]
“Propositions arrived at purely by logical means are completely empty as regards reality” [Albert Eienstein]
“intellect” (intelligere) is the simple (i.e. indivisible, uncompounded) grasp of an intelligible truth
“reasoning” (ratiocinari) is the progression towards an intelligible truth by going from one understood (intellecto) point to another.
The difference between them is thus like the differences between rest and motion or between possession and aquisition” [The Discarded Image p157]
In his book Rhetoric, which is said to be “the most important single work on persuasion ever written”, the Greek philosopher Aristotle divides the art of persuasion into two distinct forms, dialectic and rhetoric …“Before some audiences not even the possession of the exactest knowledge will make it easy for what we say to produce conviction. For argument based on knowledge implies instruction, and there are people whom one cannot instruct.” Rhetoric is much more forgiving of falsehood, and in fact, it’s not even strictly possible to say that a rhetorical statement is a lie. Rhetoric consists of the construction of what Aristotle describes as enthymemes— which are not proper logical syllogisms, but incomplete or invalid arguments that merely take the form of syllogisms—in which all that matters is that persuasion is achieved by means of the “proof” provided, or more accurately, the apparent proof. For the purposes of following this vital philosophical distinction, it might be easier to think in terms of “logically sound” and “not logically sound” rather than in simple terms of true and false. The point is that you can construct a logical syllogism that proves or a pseudo-logical enthymeme that apparently proves, but in either case, they can both be used to correctly point the person with whom you are speaking towards the relevant truth of the matter.(see SJW always lie p572)
Rhetoric – is the theory and the practice of the art of speaking fluently, persuasively and well, it was used primarily in the art of persuasion. In the democracy of Ancient Greece the most “Sophisticated” man with the greatest command of words and language, the one who could successfully persuade and influence the most people, was most respected and most powerful. The main purpose of Greek “Sophist” education therefore, was to teach clear, logical and fluent speech – “rhetoric”. Rhetorical communication was thus the key discipline through which, and at which young Greeks were educated and prepared for their role within the city state democracy.
The speaker or orator needed only a good memory and the ability to imitate and improvise on his predecessors. He had a general idea of what was expected of him, and used platitudes to hold his audience’s attention, all his speaking was “off the cuff”, not prepared but spontaneous at the moment for the moment. His emphasis was on the communication feature of the communication process, not the Truth in the message content. What he did not do was theorise deeply about or personally experience the content of what his art communicated. The innovation of rhetoric, as used by the Ancient Greek Sophists (and which similar traces may be found also in Ancient Indian and Ancient Chinese traditions (see Difficulties in the way of Persuasion by Han fei Tzu 300 BC) ) succeeded in not only shifting the focus of competence in thinking onto the competence of verbalizing thoughts, but also in smothering the dialectic of arriving at Truth. ] [WHAT IS COMMUNICATION by M van SCHOOR]
Greek thinkers moved the complete intellectual communication process, and hence the discipline of reasoning and philosophy, off the absolute foundations of objective Truth, cause and effect or the dialectic argument, onto the expedient, shifting sands of rhetoric or human relative ability and potential. Parmenides, a pre-Socratic philosopher was going around teaching that the only things that are real are the things that never change, and Heraclitus, also a pre-Socratic philosopher, was teaching that everything changes. The reality and truth that the great intellects of the day were teaching their disciples was in fact, if you superimpose their teachings – nothing is real. Obviously some things are real, so the enormous intellects which founded the art of reasoning and philosophy must have thrown logical rational thought processes out of the window somewhere along the line. Socrates perceived the irrationality in their thought processes, understood its causes and developed a system to ensure it would not be reintroduced – “dialectic” dialogue or “Cause and effect”
“DIALECTIC” in the modern Marxist sense is Hegelian in origin, it must be completely set aside when we speak of Medieval or ancient dialectic. Dialectic is concerned with “proving”. In the Middle Ages there are three kinds of proof;
from REASON – establishes geometrical truth
from AUTHORITY – establishes a historical truth
from EXPERIENCE – establishes that oysters do, or do not, agree with us.
Unfortunately the word “experience” is not always used for the third type of proof . To ‘feel’, or even more misleading to “know by experience” is used as proof. Neither the grammar nor the rhetoric had anything to say about the point of view or the individual sensibilty. The ancient teachers of rhetoric saw no distinction or anthithesis between RHETORIC and POETRY but by the Middle Ages it has become literary, its precepts addressed quite as much to poets as to advocates.
The Socratic method of arriving at truth and then communicating it is demonstrated by Socrates himself, in dialogue with the Sophist Georgias, he explains…
“Socrates: Let me explain the point which surprised me in what you said, Gorgias – it may be that you were right and I didn’t understand you properly. You say that you can make an orator of anyone who likes to learn from you?
Socrates: And consequently he will be able to get his way before a popular audience not by instructing but by convincing?
Socrates: You said just now that even on matters of health the orator will be more convincing than the doctor?
Gorgias: Before a popular audience – yes, I did.
Socrates: A popular audience means an ignorant audience, doesn’t it? He won’t be more convincing than the doctor before experts I presume.
Socrates: Now, if he is more convincing than the doctor he is more convincing than the expert?
Socrates: Not being a doctor, of course?
Gorgias: Of course not.
Socrates: And the non-doctor, presumably, is ignorant of what the doctor knows?
Socrates: So when the orator is more convincing than the doctor, what happens is that an ignorant person is more convincing than the expert before an equally ignorant audience. Am I right?
Gorgias: That is what happens in that case, no doubt.
Socrates: And the same will be true of the orator in relation to all the other arts. The orator need have no knowledge of the truth about things – it is enough for him to have discovered a knack of convincing the ignorant that he knows more than the experts.” 
Socrates challenged the Sophists by challenging Gorgias on the fact that, “Sophistic rhetoric emphasises the role of the communicator.”  rather than, and to the detriment of, the Truth content of the message being communicated. Socrates had good reason to be concerned about what was happening to Truth. The Sophists were teachers in the art of succeeding in public office, they were known for their dramatisation of contrasts and their controversial moral judgements and overall were not particularly concerned about grounding their arguments in consideration of reason or Truth.
“Propositions arrived at purely by logical means are completely empty as regards reality” [Albert Eienstein]
“They preferred instead to exaggerate the credibility of their viewpoints with emotional appeals and self-aggrandisement. According to Plato the Sophists preferred to advocate the appearance of truth rather than the truth itself; they were men who saw that probability is to be rated higher than truth, and who could make trivial matters appear great and great matters trivial simply by the forcefulness of their speech” 
Aristotle divides the thirteen fallacies he identifies into two sections, those that primarily concern playing word games, and those that do not.
“Those ways of producing the false appearance of an argument which depend on language are six in number: they are ambiguity, amphiboly, combination, division of words, accent, form of expression. Of this we may assure ourselves both by induction, and by syllogistic proof based on this-and it may be on other assumptions as well-that this is the number of ways in which we might fall to mean the same thing by the same names or expressions… Refutations, then, that depend upon language are drawn from these common-place rules. Of fallacies, on the other hand, that are independent of language there are seven kinds.
Fallacies in the language
Form of expression
Fallacies not in the language
Begging the question
Affirming the consequent
Complex question”. [Aristotle]
Probability, when it is rated higher than Truth, is deception. Deception is the first phase of a pattern used since the beginning of time that leads people from reality to destruction. The pattern is plain and simple to understand. The phases or stages are:-
DECEPTION – IGNORANCE – DOMINATION – DESTRUCTION
“If you live only according to human wisdom, you will find it necessary constantly to do what is wrong. And in that case you will become an authority on what is right and wrong, because in the end you will have to manage right and wrong. You will have to have ready explanations of why, though you do wrong things, you are still a good person, and why those who do not do as you do are fools. You will become an expert scorner, able to put everyone in their place with appropriate doses of contempt. We have a choice, but we cannot choose the consequences of the choices we make. And one of the consequences of choosing what we want without regard to God’s will is enslavement to our own self-conflicted will. On the path of self-will we eventually reach a state where we cannot choose what God wants and cannot want God. We can only want ourselves.” [Dallas Willard]
In C S Lewis the Holy Spirit’s work of “renewing our mind and the very way we use it to think”(see Romans 12:2) is prioritised. Our entire manner of thinking, contemplation, reasoning, imagining and ideation (how our ideas are constructed into suggestions and thoughts) and reflection that Christian sanctification requires is pointing us at Christ’s Way, Truth and Life, in other words at Reality. This imbues the reader with spiritual confidence of – “in thinking right we live right, and if we live right we think right”. This novel notion, so old that it is embarrassing to think about its history, is still surprising to all of us. We are so used to thinking in other categories that we think we can have the Truth without being happy and that we can be happy without having the Truth. To be “inwardly renewed day by day even as outwardly we decay” (see 2Corinthians 4:16) we must “not conform to the pattern of the world” (see Romans 12:2) but focus our minds and our “thinking” – ” on what is unseen, not on what is seen, on the eternal, not on the temporary” (see 2Corinthians 4:18) on the substance of our faith (Jesus Christ), not on the form that the substance takes (religion).
“METANOIA“. “META” meaning “new” and “NOIA” meaning “mind” – a Greek word meaning “change of mind”. Yet the full meaning is somewhat more. In the New Testament, the word metanoia is often translated as “repentance”. But this kind of repentance is not about regret or guilt or shame; it implies making a decision to turn around, to face a new direction.
Not “new” in terms of a replacement replica of the old.
Not “new” in terms of a repaired or modification to the old.
But “new” as created, fresh, original, uniquely different.
The real reason why Jesus Christ saying, “Rethink your life in the light of the fact that the Kingdom of God is now open to all.” [Matthew 4:17]raises no ripple in philosophy today and Hegel(1770-1831) saying, “the presupposition of an ‘objective absolute truth’, or ’cause’ is unnecessary for truth” raises a storm, may well be that whereas the first offered a new supposition about how we should use our mind, the second insisted on treating his supposition, assumption or hypothesis as a fact. If so, the real revolution of the first supposition consisted not in a new theory to think about but a new way to think, or a new method for the nature of “thinking itself”.
“Faith and thought belong together, and believing is impossible without thinking.(see Matt 6:30) Faith according to our Lord’s teaching in this paragraph is primarily thinking; and the whole trouble with a man of little faith is that he does not think. He allows circumstances to bludgeon him. We must spend more time in studying our Lord’s lessons in observation and deduction. The Bible is full of logic, and we must never think of faith as something purely mystical. We do not just sit down in an armchair and expect marvellous things to happen to us. That is not Christian faith. Christian faith is essentially thinking. Look at the birds, think about them and draw your deductions. Look at the grass, look at the lilies of the fields, consider them. … Faith, if you like, can be defined like this: It is a man insisting upon thinking when everything seems determined to bludgeon and knock him down in an intellectual sense. The trouble with the person of little faith is that, instead of controlling his own thought, his thought is being controlled by something else [circumstances, the world, the flesh and the devil], and as we put it, he goes around in circles. That is the essence of worry. … That is not thought; that is the absence of thought, a failure to think.” [Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones quoted P42 The Allure of Gentleness by Dallas Willard]
Until Hegel(1770-1831) removed the straight line of previous thought and in it’s place substituted a triangle, people thought in terms of cause and effect. After Hegel, the revolution is that the presupposition of an ‘objective absolute truth’, or ’cause’ has been removed. In it’s place the presupposition was that all man needs to begin with is a ‘thesis’ (an unproved proposition or premise) and an ‘antithesis’, the answer to their relationship is not in the horizontal movement of cause and effect, but always ‘synthesis’. Hegel thought that in practise synthesis could be arrived at by reason but this did not prove possible.
THE DECEPTION – Exodus1:6; 1:8; 1:10 – led to
THE (NESCIENCE) IGNORANCE – The Israelites, through deception, forgot their status as citizens, this led to them being ignorant of their purpose (to be a blessing to all the earth) and ignorant of their God and His power to stop them from then being …
THE DOMINATION – Exodus 1:11; 1:13; 1:14
THE DESTRUCTION – Exodus 1:16; 1:22
THE LESSON – God’s people have to:-
1. Recognize Moses (Jesus) as the gift from God that he was “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” [1Timothy 2:5]
– a deliverer from evil
– an intercessor making God’s plan for them manifest
– empowered to give them a way into the freedom of God’s plan (His Kingdom)
2. Recognize the necessity of
– leaving their existing environment’s influence (repentance, re-think your thinking, turn around, head home)
– ensuring their status as God’s by the smearing the blood above the doorpost during the Passover
3. Actually acting, doing, using effort to obey by
– following Moses into the desert then the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day
– having faith in the provision and deliverance of God.
Divergent thinking – is the ability to take an idea and run with it, taking it in new directions.
Convergent thinking – is the opposite (or partner) skill, the ability to bring an idea down to its core, to weigh evidence, and to focus the problem.
Metacognition – is the ability to think about the way you think.
What impedes thinking…
Ignorance and stupidity which are intellectual faults. (ignorance is not nescience – from Latin “nesciere” to not know because knowledge is absent or unattainable)
Impatience – rush hastily to a conclusion without giving proper attention to the evidence
Timidity – or excessive caution makes us afraid that we have been impatient in drawing conclusions
Laziness – the dislike of the exertion of examining the evidence.
… all make for bad thinking.
“It is what we “can not think of“, what we have no inclinations whatsoever to do or see, that defines our level of spiritual transformation.” [Dallas Willard]
“I cannot really stand aside from the universe, even in thought. Only by a meaningless pretence can I place myself at some vague point outside it, and from there reproduce on a small scale the successive stages of its genesis. Nor can I place myself outside myself (a revealing parallel) and question myself upon my own genesis.” [Gabriel Marcel]
You would have to be 100% certain that the single entity you are observing is really completely, and in all dimensions, a single unit. So the only rational method of determining that you have a complete single entity called “the cosmos” in view is being certain you are able to see that “cosmos” in its entirety or completeness. How can anyone inside the “cosmos” be certain they have the entire entity “cosmos” in full perspective?
“If you stand at the end of a platform on York station, you can watch a constant succession of engine and train movements which, if you are a railway enthusiast, will greatly fascinate you. But you will only be able to form a very rough and general idea of the overall plan in terms of which all these movements are being determined (the operational pattern set out in the working time-table, modified if need be on a minute to minute basis according to the actual running of the trains). If, however, you are privileged enough to be taken by one of the high-ups into the magnificent electrical signal box that lies athwart platforms 7 and 8, you will see on the longest wall a diagram of the entire track layout for five miles on either side of the station, with little glow-worm lights moving or stationary on the different tracks to show the signalmen at a glance exactly where every engine and train is. At once you will be able to look at the whole situation through the eyes of the men who control York station. You will see from the diagram why it was that this train had to be signalled to a halt, and that one diverted from its normal running line, and that one parked temporarily in a siding. The why and wherefore of all the movements becomes plain, once you can see the overall position. Now, the mistake that is commonly made is to suppose that this is an illustration of what God does when He bestows wisdom.” [J I Packer ]
My personal opinion is that when Paul tells us to “re-think the way we think” in Romans 12:1-2 he is telling us to try and see things from the perspective of the Reality and the Universe (Itself and Himself) personally approaching every individual at the lowest level possible with a basin and a towel and individually asking them to include His purpose and will for their life.
“Perhaps the hardest thing for sincere Christians to come to terms with is the level of the real unbelief, the unformulated scepticism about Jesus that undermines their efforts at Christ-likeness. The idea that you can trust Christ and not intend to obey Him is an illusion generated by an essentially unbelieving Christian culture.
The Kingdom of God is the foundation of and threads throughout the fabric of Jesus’ teaching and ministry. At the very beginning, Jesus announced the arrival of the Kingdom. He frequently introduced parables as examples of the Kingdom. His sermons on the Mount and Plain describe kingdom life. The Lord’s Prayer welcomes the advent of the Kingdom. The vocabulary of the Kingdom frequents Jesus’ lips. Indeed the centrality of the Kingdom of God in Jesus’ teaching is one of the things on which Biblical scholars agree.
My biggest obstacle to me moving into the Kingdom of God is my kingdom. My kingdom has been dominated and ruled by the world, the flesh and the devil (Satan’s kingdom) since before my birth. Satan’s kingdom has dominated and dominated and managed civilizations and generations of people for centuries. Christ’s crucifixion was a visible demonstration of a confrontation between God’s Kingdom and Satan’s kingdom. Unless I have a vision of Christ and the Kingdom of God motivating my intentions to move out of Satan’s kingdom into the Kingdom of God I will not be motivated to act. This vision comes from Christ and His Kingdom being lifted up as a rational alternative.
Lifting Christ up is demonstrating the availability of the love, truth and power of the Kingdom of God and the possibility of us living out of it, which is only made possible by Christ’s demonstration (His life, death and resurrection) in our own life. He is the Kingdom of God, He is the power that sustains the Kingdom (Holy Spirit), His truth (the Bible) describes and explains it and His love (His life) demonstrates it. The veil being ripped apart in the holy of holies of the temple in Jerusalem during Christ’s crucifixion is symbolic of Christ becoming the narrow gate and opening the narrow way into the Kingdom.
We commonly depend upon the emotional pull of stories and images to move people. We fail to understand that, in the very nature of the human mind, emotion does not reliably generate belief or faith, if it generates it at all. Not even “seeing” does, unless you know what you are seeing. Insight leads to action. It is understanding insight, that generates “faith”, understanding insight into the Reality of Jesus Christ.. In vain do we try to change people’s hearts or character by moving them to do things in ways that bypass their understanding. The Holy Spirit , by revealing Truth about Reality, especially the Truth of Jesus, draws us through understanding, progressively, into moving our will under God’s will (god’s Kingdom). God’s will is for us to intend to move into His Kingdom through His means (our relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit). Our will should then manage our desires.
What I find, then, is that my body, the place of my direct power, the little “power pack” that God has assigned to me as the field of my freedom and development, depends upon the Holy Spirit’s direction and management of my kingdom. But the body can acquire a “life of its own”—tendencies to behave without regard to our conscious intentions. In our fallen world this life is prepossessed by evil, so that we do not have to think to do what is wrong, but must think and plan and practice—and receive grace—if we are to succeed in doing what is right.”
The spiritually important question is then – where does my vision originate? Is the vision or the thought about the vision from God or from the world. The answer to this affects who will move the ideas and feelings that my mind thinks about into my mind, God’s Spirit or the World?
“Human action has no value other than the intention which directs it.”
“And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, [and] strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD [is] His treasure“.[ Isaiah 33:6]
If God is providing the vision, I will definitely intend to reach it and let God provide the means. If I am not passionate and motivated by the vision I will not intend to reach it and act on my intentions. Professing or confessing with my mouth my intent to move from the world into the Kingdom is not action or effort and not movement.
Each individual’s soul (who he/she is) is made up of the following inseparable yet distinct parts:-
a. – heart – a.1. – will – a.2. – character – a.3. – imagination
b. – soul – b.1. – sensibilities – b.2. – affections – b.3. – emotions – b.4. – desires – b.5. – appetites – b.6. – passions
c. – mind – c.1. – understanding and ability to reason – c.2. – the faculty of intelligence – c.3. – thoughts – c.4. – memories
WILL must rule over DESIRE.
Addiction is the WILL signing its control over to DESIRE.
DESIRE is not self-fulfilling. It can never be satisfied. It is a good servant but a terrible master. DESIRE must be ruled by the WILL. Your WILL must be under God’s WILL.“
[my interpretation of Dallas Willard]