being natural, human being, Intelligence, less is better, natural, Taoist, Uncategorized

A New Central Purpose

There was a time when I wrote a lot about the importance of having a clear, heartfelt central purpose.  The central purpose of anything – a nation, a business, a colony of ants, a human being – largely determines the nature of that thing, its parts, its processes, as well as its ethics and its qualities. I woke up this morning remembering that I need to apply this to myself!

Recently, I seem to be drifting. Perhaps it is the aftereffect of last year’s double trauma – Ana’s broken leg and mine. Perhaps it is because I am a kind of polymath, with wide-ranging knowledge and too many interests. In any event, it is time I focused. It is time for a clear, heartfelt central purpose. But how will I find it?

I know that I could focus on intelligent simplicity. After all, I have written much about it, and it is a natural sequel to my book Full Spectrum Intelligence. Not only that, it is pregnant with ideas and practises that will be new for many people…such as “being fully human”, the Law of Reverse Effort, “being natural”, and being a 21st Century Taoist. Yes, it would clearly be interesting, and no doubt useful, to produce a book, as well as podcasts and videos. But the question remains: is this my central purpose? Perhaps a better question would be: is this my central purpose for the moment? It could well be. However, this still leaves me wondering whether there is something deeper going on, something even more heartfelt.

Writing these words brings to mind the Galileo Commission, which I initiated in 2016, and in which I was actively involved for a while. Too actively, I think, because it led to a nervous breakdown at the end of 2017, and my leaving the Commission. What I originally intended the project to be was to find practical ways to bridge the immense gap between science and esoteric knowledge. I had felt, even since the early 60s, that this was my life’s mission. That was when I discovered that esoteric knowledge could be accessed directly through one’s “inner senses”. These are organs of perception, dormant in most of us, that enable us to have direct experience of the non-physical aspects of the world/Cosmos and the human being. Some would call these aspects “spiritual”, but this word can be misleading.

I am giving you the highly condensed version when I say that science, as it is currently understood and practised, gives us only parts of the picture, the physical parts. Esoteric knowledge complements this, by giving us the other (non-physical) parts. As it happens, the project (the Commission) quickly morphed in “expanding the range of science”, to include paranormal phenomena and experiences, as well as some aspects of mind and consciousness that science currently struggles with. I was very disappointed that esoteric knowledge was not more explicitly included. I believe that this remains a crucially important bridge to be built, but I wonder whether I have the energy and will to reinitiate it. That said, it does feel like my heartfelt central purpose.

 

christhomson1000@gmail.com

being natural, Intelligence, less is better, simplicity

THE LITTLE THINGS

Take care of the pennies, and the pounds take care of themselves. And it’s true. When you pay attention to the “little things”, the big things usually work out well. Goethe no doubt had this in mind when he said “Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.”

Of course, it is understandable that we think about the big things, be these personal, societal or global. We worry about the state of the world or about a particular problem, so we get involved in some movement to “change the world.” This could be politics or an NGO or some voluntary activity. Yet whoever it was who said “Be the change” knew what he or she was talking about! If you want to address climate change or indeed any other big problem, just make sure that you are not part of the problem. How you do this is up to you. Be the world in miniature that you wish to create.

None of this is to suggest that you should not get involved in politics or an NGO or some other “helping activity”. But it is to suggest that you first put your own house in order before you even think about trying to put society’s house in order. If you don’t, you are likely to end up like those people who preach “Do as I say, not as I do!”

The Japanese have taken all this to an art form. Paying attention to the little things and putting one’s own house in order are central components of their culture. To take one example – the tea ceremony (cha-no-yu). To an outsider this may seem painfully stylised. To a Japanese the intricate moves are confirmation that if you hope to do the big things well, you first have to learn top do the little things well. This is why, in a Zen or Taoist training, the pupil first has to learn to basic things well – things such as walking elegantly or sitting quietly, doing nothing. Believe it or not, it takes a lot of time to learn to basic things well. Only when the pupil has really mastered the basics is he or she ready to move on to the bigger things.

Now here’s a thought. Just set aside a day every so often when you pay attention only to the “little things.” Put the big things right out of your mind. See what a difference it makes!

CT
30 July 2018

being natural, Intelligence, less is better, natural, simplicity

FULLER AND FASTER

The world is fuller and faster. In fact, it’s more than that. The world is also noisier, busier and, by all accounts, more anxious.

The world is fuller, in the sense that there are more things in it, more things to do, and more of us. Just think of the word “shopping” and you will know what I mean. Never have we had so much choice, and never have we had so many pressures to acquire things.

The world is getting faster by the day. We can travel at speed, and we can communicate instantaneously with virtually anyone, anywhere. We have never experienced such speed and “instantness” before. We are not sure what to do with it.

The world is noisier. We say much more – on phones, email, texts, chat shows, and so many other ways. Much of this counts as noise, defined as “unwanted sound”. This is not all. Muzak is everywhere – in shops and shopping centres, and in trains and planes. To call this irritating is to be kind! And then there is the sound of traffic…and so on. We have made a very noisy world. Is this what we really want?

The world is busier – indeed people these days think being busy is a virtue! Many of us are constantly active, often doing more than one thing at a time…such as driving and texting and drinking coffee. If we are not actually doing something, we are probably planning the next activity. Sitting quietly, doing nothing has become so rare that people run courses in it under various banners, such as Zen and “mindfulness”.

And the world is more anxious, with good reason. The climate is changing dangerously. Sociopaths are in power. Inequality has reached Victorian levels. And there is no sign that we human beings have renounced war. Good cause indeed to be worried, and the anxiety is evident in many ways – retail therapy; “space-filling” activities, such as eating, drinking, sex and drugs; and the fact that we have become ludicrously risk-averse.

Need it be this way? Clearly not! One can easily envisage a world that is emptier, with more space, literally and metaphorically. It is slower, more leisurely. People are not rushing towards the end of their lives! They have time to stop and stare. It is a quieter, more peaceful world. People still talk, of course, and there is good music. But there is much less unwanted sound. It is a less busy world. People still do things, but they do fewer of them. They value the quality of what they do, rather than the quantity. And, yes, people are still anxious. That’s just part of being human. But I suspect that in an emptier, slower, quieter, less busy world, we would not have sociopaths in power, the climate would be in its natural state, gross inequality would be a thing of the past, and that we would use peaceful means to settle disputes. In short, we would be less anxious!

being natural, Intelligence, less is better, simplicity

JUST A PIECE OF STRING

In the Sixties, when Boeing produced the first Jumbo jets, the Federal Aviation Authority refused to grant a licence to carry passengers. Why? Because they required to know the weight of the plane. Boeing had spent a lot of time, money and energy trying to work out a way to weigh this unusually large aircraft, but without success.

As it happened, a visiting salesman heard about the problem, and said that he thought he could help. At first, he was not taken seriously. However, he insisted, so the engineers and executives thought they could lose nothing by letting him try. So, they asked him if he needed anything. He said: “Just a piece of strong, a measuring tape, and a tyre pressure gauge.” Needless, to say, there were a lot of raised eyebrows.

The salesman walked up to one of the planes sitting on the tarmac and did a few very simple things. First, he wound the string tightly around the base of a tyre, where it touched the ground. He then measured that length. He did this with several tyres, just to get an average. He then took the pressure of each of those tyres, again just to get an average. Next, he counted the total number of tyres. Finally, he did a quick calculation on a piece of paper and turned to Boeing’s and announced the weight of the plane. There were more than a few red faces, but Boeing got its licence, and the salesman got his contract!

This story is just one of countless examples of intelligent simplicity – where you do something that looks too simple, yet is very intelligent. In complete contrast to the very expensive, complicated, time-consuming methods that Boeing had tried, the salesman’s method cost nothing, took almost no time, and was the opposite of complicated. Yet it was far more intelligent, because it worked!