Letting Go

Fence Rats and Monkey Traps

What won’t you let go of?

Like others, I could make all sorts of lists of stuff. And it is a matter of judgement/choice as to what is trap, and what is “being prepared”. Where do we each set that balance point between preparedness for the low probability high impact event, and simply going for the much more commonplace. I tend to think quite long term, so have quite a bit of “stuff” – most of which is very low maintenance (just store and remember where it is stored).

At another level, it seems to me that most people are more trapped by the ideas that they hang onto than by any material objects.
I love the quote from Mark Twain “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know, it’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”
In this sense, it is the ideas that most of us hang onto that trap us within prisons of our own (mostly unconscious) making, far more surely than anything anyone else does to us.

Of these, it seems to me that the idea of “truth” is the worst of all. The very idea that we might be able to know anything with absolute certainty seems to me to be both a logical nonsense, and an act of hubris.
It is quite understandable that as children, we must all start making simple distinctions, and the idea that something is either true or false is about as simple as ideas get (and works really well inside the binary world of computer programming, but not so well outside of it).

It seems clear beyond any reasonable doubt that reality doesn’t very often deal in simple binaries, but mostly deals with very large collections of variations, and even sometimes with actual infinities.

It similarly seems clear to me that the most dangerous thing any of us can do is to hang onto the simple notions of True & False, Right and Wrong, beyond our early childhood years. We all need to start there, and it seems clear to me that we need to let go of those “sweets of the mind” as soon as we reasonably can – by about age 7 seems to be healthiest.

Where that leaves us seems to be in a world of profound diversity, that requires of us a profound tolerance and love. Those politicians and preachers and advertisers and propagandists that tempt us with their simple binary choices have us firmly trapped in their gourds the moment we accept them.

[followed by]

Hi Laurie,

Yeah – I seem to have taken that to the point that it seems that its not worth believing in belief.
It seems that while we need to make choices based upon best available information, it doesn’t pay to be too certain of anything – so in that sense, I don’t believe in anything, and I do have operant habits and heuristics that seem to work most of the time.

[followed by]

Hi Laurie,

As I see it, we are all complex organisms, in both the physical and spiritual senses (hardware and software for computer geeks).

I was told that medical science couldn’t do any more for me, and I could be dead in 6 weeks.

I understood that asymmetric probability functions have long tails – and I simply focused on getting as far out that tail as possible in one sense.

At another level, I acknowledge the impact of all of the efforts of others like yourself, in giving me the sense of self value that enabled me to override the very many urges to stay in my old ways (I still carry that crystal you sent me, more for the physical symbology that someone I have never physically met thinks enough of me to send something half way around the planet to me, than any belief in powers of the crystal itself – and it seems to me that that understanding makes a real difference to me – so once again – thank you 😉 ).

It seems that as a species, we are fundamentally communal and cooperative organisms, if we have enough security that we are not forced to take stuff from others for survival.

I understand that we have multiple pathways in our biochemistry to produce most outcomes, and in most cases there is a large (potentially infinite) class of possible ways for our neural systems to effect those metabolic pathways, and for our thoughts to influence those neural systems. So in this sense, it seems clear to me, beliefs (or more accurately neural patterns, which can be influenced by our intention, and our choice of context) can and do make a huge difference in all aspects of our body’s function.

Thus it seems that our explanatory frameworks are very different, and there is substantial phenotypic (practical) overlap. That is, we seem to be able to agree on the what, if not on the why.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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