Saturday, October 25, 2008

Searching for Universals

Most of us who have been on a spiritual path have to admit to a fatal flaw, and that flaw is the inability to give up the search.

The search causes a lot of misery. Some of us even claim to be cursed with the search, as for us it is comparable to an addiction.

It is a well known fact that fundamentalists tend to be happier because they don't question their beliefs. As long as they can function with them, they tend to be a happy, (although perhaps self righteous).

It is only when reality roars it's ugly head that the whole personal facade of beliefs collapses. Then depression sets in. If it is serious enough, we call it a nervous breakdown.

When an idea held by a state or country collapses, we have a recession or depression. Notice the correlation?

The social structures of the world are not immune from belief. Just as personal selves rise and fall on beliefs, so do states.

A manic depressive person does not have a true center, so thoughts can grab them easily. A good thought causes manic, and a bad thought depression.

Since universals are part of the search, it is rather a small step to look from personal beliefs and their consequences, to cultural and market beliefs, and their consequences.

What do teachers of enlightenment have with some of the great financial gurus? What universals do they share?

On the personal level, J. Krishnamurti gave talks for sixty years. His pointing was that if you want the ultimate truth, you have to submit all thoughts, beliefs, positions to criticism. One of his greatest works was titled "Freedom From the Known."

Now, to step from everything one knows and believes into the unknown, is not something the average person aspires to. And the person who attempts this will be tested indeed.

To subject oneself to this level of self examination is painful, shattering, and dangerous. If one manages to do it well, perhaps enlightenment will result.

Dr. David Hawkins, perhaps the wisest living person currently on the planet, says to keep all beliefs, tenets, positions as tentative. This is the only way to stay open to change, to raise one's consciousness. His term for the misperception of reality due to beliefs is "positionality."

Positionality holds that one cannot see the truth while holding on to a position. And hold on we do. There is an unconscious fear that if we let go of our beliefs, we will no longer be able to function.

George Soros, the great financial guru, who himself would prefer to be a great philosopher, has also come to the same conclusion as J. Krishnamurti and Dr. David R. Hawkins.

George Soros, however, writes more on the level of culture and society, rather than from a strictly personal perspective. Rather than write about being open as a person, he writes about the "Open Society."

George Soros, just like the mystics and enlightened gurus, elevates the unknown to the highest consideration. Like the mystics who experienced the mystery, the scientific Soros, embraces the mystery as ultimate.

Like the physicists who became mystics due to Heisenberg's "Uncertainty Principle," Soros takes this into account in his philosophy of "Reflexivity."

Soros' theory of Reflexivity is based on the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle. As applied to humans, he calls it "The Human Uncertainty principle."

I doubt that George Soros is familiar with J. Krshnamurti or David Hawkins, but he has come to the same conclusion regarding respect for the unknown. Below is an excerpt from his book, "The Bubble of American Supremacy."


"As participants in any given social situation, we must have some beliefs on which we base our actions. But on what basis can we act if we accept that our beliefs are likely to be false or incomplete renderings of reality?

The answer is the same as the one Popper gave for the scientific method: We must treat our beliefs as provisionally true while keeping them open to constant reexamination. This is the foundation principle of an open society."

~ George Soros

It appears from these great thinkers, that any of us who want to know the truth need to be aware of our own fallibility. We need to make effort to see how our positionalities distort the truth and fall short of reality.

From personal experience, it is clear here, that one can experience the truth, but one can't express it in words. It is beyond any idea. It can be pointed to, but it is so subjective that it cannot be repeated, captured, or explained.

As for the world as it is, we can only work to be more open ourselves, to keep our views tentative, and yet to act. Perhaps the best we can do is to "Be what you want to see in the world." ~ Mahatma Gandhi