“Re-think the way you think …”

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.

“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]

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]

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CULTURE
The context for all thought.
After reading “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” I quickly envisaged thi diagram of the heirarchy of Reality.

“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.”[The Discarded Image p160]

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]

No problem can be resolved from the same level of consciousness that created it.“[Albert Eienstein]

“Aquinas describes:

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?
Gorgias: Yes.
Socrates: And consequently he will be able to get his way before a popular audience not by instructing but by convincing?
Gorgias: Certainly.
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.
Gorgias: True.
Socrates: Now, if he is more convincing than the doctor he is more convincing than the expert?
Gorgias: Naturally.
Socrates: Not being a doctor, of course?
Gorgias: Of course not.
Socrates: And the non-doctor, presumably, is ignorant of what the doctor knows?
Gorgias: Obviously.
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.” [58]

Socrates challenged the Sophists by challenging Gorgias on the fact that, “Sophistic rhetoric emphasises the role of the communicator.” [59] 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” [58]

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”.

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“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.

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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]

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“A tremendous amount of mental illness is grounded in “nihilism”. The depressed patient of the psychologist says, “I can’t see any point in life”. But that isn’t what they mean. What they mean is they see the meaning of life as suffering, which is a meaning, and that is not bearable. Then, given this meaning, why bother with it? And that’s the fundamental question of suicide, and this is a philosophical question.” [Jordan Peterson]

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