Monday 5 July 2021

How it it possible that we become what we think?

It is the special and unprecedented feature of these times that Men choose what to believe. It is evident that Modern Men believe whatever they want to believe - and having made that decision they simply rationalize it - effortlessly explaining-away whatever threatens that belief. This means that each person is wholly responsible for what he believes, and what he does not believe; in a way that was not the case in the past.

This is not relativism because there is God, and we live in God's creation: God's creation is truth. 

Relativism, by contrast, asserts no God-creator and discovers no truth. 

Neither is reality discovered (or dictated!) by "science"; because the nature and operations of "science" is itself a choice.

Therefore there is only a single 'truth' - which is God's creation - and the primary choice is whether to live in God's creation or someplace else. 

That is the main truth we create by our thinking. 

And apparently, as of 2021, most Man have thought themselves out of God's creation; by thinking themselves things that are not a part of God's creation - not coherent with God's purposes. 

In early childhood and in past eras; Man's thinking was largely passive and unchosen; but for modern Man from adolescence on there is choice: we choose what we think. 

Choice for modern Man is indeed unavoidable, hence the choice just-is moral, a value, a responsibility.

Each Man is now becoming his own creation - therefore, the big question is (or should be) whether this creation is harmonious with divine creation; and with the creation of those Men who have chosen to take the side of divine creation; or whether a Man's self-creation will be Something Else. Something that is Not divine creation. 

This might, in principle, be an unique, isolated, personal creation - each Man as God of his own universe, consisting only of him-self.  In practice; this almost never happens (and if/when it does ever happen, we would not know about it.)  

Or, Men might reject divine creation and instead join-with the sub-creations of Satan and the demons

These are sub-creations, because they are 'within' divine creation; and are using that which God has created - but turned against the purposes of God and disharmonious/ dissonant with divine creation. 

Hell-on-earth is therefore a concept to describe these anti-God sub-creations - which are now mainstream, official, and increasingly mandatory. 

An example of a hellish subcreation is the belief that a man might really become a woman (and in reverse, or back and forth as desired). Modern Man is such that the the thinking creates the reality - so that our culture is set-up to create, sustain and enforce the thinking that actual change of sex is real. Many people here-and-now live in this thought-reality - a reality in which sex change is a 'fact'. 

So, on the one hand, 'trans reality' (a world in which trans is a factual reality) is a 'real' reality; but on the other hand it is not divine reality - it is nether a part-of nor harmonious with God's aims or God's plans. 

This can be seen from the observation that insisting on 'the fact of trans' subverts and makes-incoherent many other 'factual' aspects of reality; it is subversive and indeed inversional of many values and beliefs that are part of Christian hopes and aims. 

Because facts are not isolatable - every-thing is connected, every 'fact' links with reality; so to think a fact inconsistent with divine creation is to reject creation, and to dwell in a sub-creation. And while God's creation is coherent, sub-creations are not. 

Sub-creations are incoherent for many reasons - but mainly because of their motivation; which is against God and the coherence of divine creation. The desire for a self-created reality - which, I repeat, is now not just a possibility but an inevitable fact of our modern existence - is therefore divisible into the choice of God's creation or the rejection or God's creation. 

Modern Man can therefore think, and make, a reality in which sex change is 'really-real'; but trans reality is not some isolated 'fact', but is indeed linked with an entire sub-created reality that is intrinsically hostile to God's creation. 

In other words, to make trans 'really'-real entails making our sub-created reality dissonant with God's creation and hostile to the aims of God. 

Man can make trans real by Man's thinking; but the reality in which trans is real is outwith God's created reality.

(This is ultimately why hellish realities are not creative, including not procreative. Since the only reality we all inhabit is God's creation; any Being that goes against God's creation cannot be truly creative because he cannot contribute to God's ongoing creation. Only one who shares the aims and methods of God's creation can coherently contribute to God's ongoing creation. This sharing of aims and methods is a consequence of what is termed Love. Thus only one who loves first God and creation, and then his fellow Men in context of that divine purpose, can be truly - that is primarily - creative.) 

On the other side, to take the side of God and to embrace the aims of divine creation, are also active personal choices. 

We must Now choose to think God's truth, just as we must choose to think Satan's untruth. Always there will be, will have-been, choice; and therefore responsibility.  

Traditional Christian ideas that put the initiative of belief on God's side, and see Man as naturally Christian and passively able to absorb God's truth; and which see obedience to externally-defined God's truth as the primary virtue - are not longer applicable. 

A passive and obedient attitude will nowadays absorb and follow the anti-Christian System that rules this world; and Men will then (as they mostly do, apparently) think one or another version of that anti-God sub-created reality which is currently mainstream and mandatory. 

And this choice of God's truth is active, it comes from each-of-us as an unique individual endowed with the divine capacity of agency, or free will.  We cannot escape the fact of this capacity! 

We can think, and believe, whatever we wish; even against the consensus of nearly the whole world. Indeed we will think and believe what we have-wished; and we will ourselves live the consequences of our thinking. 

The responsibility is unavoidable - potentially a great gift: the greatest imaginable, to participate actively in God's creation, for eternity; potentially a hellish curse. 

Most Men appear to have rejected the divine great gift and to have chosen Hell; by choosing to think/ to make-real/ to make a Reality in which the thought-thing is real - that which is incompatible with the motives of divine creation.    


Francis Berger said...

This post was a bit of a breakthrough for me. I had always assumed that the period of spiritual creativity would only occur when the majority of humanity actively chose to be on the side of God and Creation.

I mean, this still holds true in a strict sense, but I hadn't deeply considered the idea that the time of spiritual creativity is already upon us - that it doesn't rely on the bulk of humanity making choices for God.

According to what you have outlined here, the majority of humanity has chosen un-creativity (passively or actively adopting relativist, material, anti-Creation "realities"), while a small minority presses forward or will press forward into uncharted territory - uncharted because they will have to draw almost exclusively from internal rather than external sources (at least, that's the way it seems).

Bruce Charlton said...

@Frank. Yes. The idea (from prophecies by Steiner and Barfield) is that around 2000 there was a mass change in consciousness so that Men would create their reality (inevitably, unavoidably), but were free to choose God or the devil's side to attain (albeit partly and temporarily, in this mortal life) Heavenly or hellish reality in thinking (but not in behaviour/ action).

Doktor Jeep said...

Hence the modern phrase "reinvent yourself"

Bruce Charlton said...

@DJ - Yes, albeit that phrase has been around for some decades.

If only people would take it seriously enough to consider what they would most deeply want from life and eternity, then at least some people would consider whether of not they personally wanted just what Jesus offered (in the Fourth Gospel, notably).

But instead any genuinely Good and coherent aspirations a person might think and hence realize, seem instantly to be rejected on the basis of being 'just wishful thinking'; and they end-up thinking and wanting nothing more than incoherent and short-termist pleasures, at or below the level of vague adolescent day-dreams or fantasies.

captOBV said...

On the first paragraph, I believe it was ALWAYS the case that men believed whatevwr they wanted and were wholly responsible for it---but commoners didn't write, so when you look at the past you only see the pwrspective of rich people and clergy, and the hypocrasy of the same in pretending to believe things theh never did either. There was more takia (that muslim thing about lying about what you believe) in the past because govwrnments would punish you for not towing the line, and because commoners had no access to publish their true beliefs to the world. Of course I merely choose to believe this and am wholly responsible for it. Lol.

Bruce Charlton said...

@cO (BTW it should be 'toeing the line')

This is metaphysics, not history. It depends on whether one makes the *assumption* that Men at all times and places have thought the same (same minds, motivations, emotional responses, intelligence etc) - or not. And if not, then whether is has developed according to divine plan or in response to natural selection.

I regard Men as having changed through history (and in different places) and in accordance with God's plan.

Sean Fowler said...

I remember reading, in my teens and on one or two occasions later on in life, the scene from 1984 where O’Brien asks Winston how many fingers he is holding up. It struck me as unconvincing, impossible. As most readers are probably aware, it wasn’t enough for Winston to pretend that he saw five fingers. O’Brien was only satisfied when he actually saw five. I never could conceive of how Winston actually could see five fingers when there were only four. It seemed that Orwell had somehow got that part wrong.
The whole trans agenda has changed my view. Do people now when observing a trans male actually see a trans male and not just pretend to in order to avoid torture, vilification, persecution. I imagine that many probably do.

Bonald said...

If I understand correctly, the realities that men create are mental or social realities, so men "creating their own reality" just means them choosing what to believe. This enhanced choice seems to involve two aspects. First, men have a wider range of live options, beliefs that are plausible to them, than hitherto. For example, in the past, a person might have recognized atheism as logically possible but couldn't make himself take the possibility seriously (rather as I might recognize the possible existence of Norse gods but can't seriously entertain belief in their existence). Second, belief is no longer "passive", meaning modern men have lost faith in the ability of reason or tradition to choose between their live options. We've all become fideists.

Have I got it right?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Bonald. No, that's not what I mean. I'll have another try.

I am assuming (for example) that Owen Barfield's argument in Saving the Appearances (or Rudolf Steiner in Philosophy of Freedom) is true: that cognition cannot be separated from conceptually-understood reality. We cannot assume a reality independent of our conceptualization of it - it does not have an independent existence - there is no ding an sich.

All reality entails mind - an 'observer', a thinker.

(This is not idealism - but a third thing.)

Therefore as mind changes, reality changes; and we live in a different world from our ancestors. For example, for the Ancient Egyptians magic was an everyday reality, part of life, sustainer of the Empire - almost a technology. Later, as Men's minds changed, magic became less effective, less predictable, then at some point ceased to work.

In recent decades Men have come to choose reality, consciously - for better or worse, and it has been almost entirely for worse.

But the index reality is God's creation. e.g. Men now live in a subcreated reality where sex change is an 'objective fact' of society - but this worldwide official subreality is not God's created reality and cannot be integrated with it.

So all Men have chosen which reality they will have faith in (God's reality, or Man's reality); and this is real for them - they live inside it, continually construct it. By their thinking, they make reality.

Geart said...

The finest book I ever read on the topic of thinking making reality was "The Meaning of Mind" written by Thomas Szasz in in 1996 republished 2002. From 1987-1996 Szasz wrote his best books out of his thirty something odd books. The Meaning of Mind is just wonderful.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Geart - I don't know the book, but should clarify that Szasz will Not have meant what I mean by thinking making reality, because of differences in the underlying metaphysical assumptions.

Aside - I met Szasz in 1995 when we were both speaking at a memorial conference for a mutual friend Petr Skrabanek. He was a very interesting and witty conversationalist (and lecturer), and surprisingly friendly and likeable, given his fierce public reputation.

Bonald said...

Hi Brice,

Thank you for taking the time to explain again. I am very slow on matters of metaphysics, but if you will continue to indulge me, I'll try again.

I had been reading statements like "...where sex change is an 'objective fact' of society..." as an odd way of saying that sex change is an falsehood as a statement about its object (hence quotes), but an objective reality in the sense that a social structure enforcing it, and under no one in particular's control, is in place. That's not what you meant at all.

I think you're saying that whether a man has changed his sex is neither true nor false in itself. According to one observer, he has changed his sex, but not according to another. One way to explain this disagreement would be to say that the two observers just disagree in their definition of sex, i.e. the disagreement is merely apparent and nominal. I believe you propose a more radical explanation, that
an object's properties are always indexed to some subject. Thus, the operated man has properties (sex as determined by observer A) and (sex as determined by observer B), but no property (sex).

I would next wonder whether observers will disagree over empirical properties of the operated man, or just on their interpretation. If the latter, then one might say that the disagreement is a matter of definition after all, but that the definitions are not arbitrary. Observer A's worldview makes one definition of sex correspond to a natural kind, while observer B's worldview suggests another. What we have is not nominalism, but multi-valued realism.

(Do we not still need there to be a thing-in-itself, at least as a "bare object", to ground the fact that both A and B are discussing the same person?)

My inclination would be to say, if we are not nominalists and think a word like "sex" is not arbitrary, that either A or B is wrong. You seem to say that this is incorrect. A and B are each correct for their own representation of the world. However, one of them disagrees with the operated man's property (sex as determined by God).

I think I will check out Barfield's book.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Bonald - The first half of your comments sounded right in explaining what I am saying - in the second half I got lost and was not sure.

Everybody is slow on metaphysics - this took me several years, and pretty hard work, to grasp.

Worked example: There is divine creation in which sex is real, does not change by choice, and is associated with procreation.

But the global mainstream leftist-materialist sub-created reality has sex as a changeable choice and/but also sex is Not linked with procreation.

(That is a reason why 'sex' has been replaced with 'gender', even when 'gender' is an error - biologically. Consequently, in the past few years biology teaching/ textbooks have become incoherent.)

You will have noticed that procreation has no role, no reality, in leftism. Demographic change (which has been happened with unprecedented rapidity over the past 150 years, and accelerating - with truly vast consequences on human natural selection) - is simply not a part of mainstream ideology.

e.g. All developed nations are going extinct Severely sub-replacement native fertility still falling; and a tiny and shrinking population of potentially fertile women - median average age of native populations probably about fifty and rising in several of the wealthiest nations. But in some poor nations median age is in the middle teens. Neither of these extremes has ever been seen (nothing like) in history.

Yet nobody says anything about such matters ever - because reproduction is just not a part of leftism, and 'everybody' is leftist. Thus the fact that leftist sex identity is not linked to procreation does not feature, is not mentioned.

(e.g. I heave heard of a trans person - male to female - who expected to develop menstruation; it seems that nobody involved in 'counselling' had discussed the aspect that he was - in terms of God's creation - being sterilized).

For most of the world who live in the mainstream - procreation has no official reality - it exists only in private (and increasingly secret) conversation. This is the real world for far more human beings than the world of God's creation.

It is a choice of realities. And the two world views are incommensurable. The demonic consciousness of leftism has created a reality in which procreation is merely a labile personal notion.

The divine and the demonic realities are not, however, symmetrical - because divine creation is coherent but demonic subcreation is not. Divine creation is positive, generative of form and complexity, 'negentropic'; demonic subcreation is parasitic, dishonest, destructive, entropic...

This goes very deep - indeed, in sense, it goes all the way down to Heaven or Hell.

Lucinda said...

I'm wondering how the agency of others fits. Obviously part of the need to enforce Leftism is a matter of reducing challenging feedback from others. The way I think of it is that real reality has a way of allowing agency of others, even if the choice is delusion, and fake reality is not able to tolerate any one else's choices, even just differing delusions, and this is part of why two may be in a relationship, the one enjoying heaven,the other suffering hell?

Bonald said...

Hi Bruce,

Thank you again for your time. The common sense way to describe these sorts of situations is that different people have different beliefs about the world (which are not usually considered to be creations), and some people's beliefs are wrong, as in don't match reality. You resist characterizing the matter in these terms, and I think I must understand better your suspicion of the idea of observer-independent truth. Of course, I don't expect you to explain something as complicated as that in a comment thread, but luckily my copy of "Saving the Appearances" has just arrived in the mail, so hopefully I will understand better soon.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Bonald - I hope you manage to 'get it' quicker than I did. But I found that once I had grasped OB's argument (and ceased mistaking it for other things I already knew) it seemed 'irrefutable' - despite overturning decades of assumptions.