Don’t Believe Everything You Think

Don't add to the house of cards. Don't believe everything you think

Steps to Knowledge has gone to great lengths to discourage the practice of judgment, and encourage the practice of observation in its place. Judgment is a practice of not knowing. Judgment is a practice of not looking. Judgment is a practice of not listening. Judgment is a practice of not being still. Judgment is a practice with certain social rewards. Judgment is a practice I must slowly back away from if I want to attain to what Steps to Knowledge is offering. I must strengthen the practices of knowing, looking, listening and being still.

Don’t believe everything you think

In Step 90, “Today I will make no assumptions,” this conversation is taken a step further. If I make a judgment, I am declaring “This thing is good,” or “That person is bad,” regardless of what further observation might yield about the person or thing I am judging. If I make an assumption, I am declaring “This is true,” or “That isn’t true.” I therefore consider assumption to be a detrimental practice of mental sloth, just as I consider judgment to be a detrimental practice of moral sloth.

The word “assumption” appears 14 times in 8 different steps, before appearing in Step 90. The context in which the word “assumption” consistently appears is that assumptions are not founded upon experience, and are therefore weak. Assumptions are inadequate in the face of life’s opportunities and challenges. Assumption is the use of language and imagination to create a self and a world not founded on experience, and therefore apart from life.

It may take a while to unwind the multiple layers of assumptions, redactions of experience and denials of experience which pass for reality. But at the very least, I can stop adding layers to this house of cards. I can cultivate a certain degree of skepticism regarding my assumptions. I can take the page from the Buddhist playbook “Don’t believe everything you think.” I can keep observing, keep coming back to my experience. Will I? Let’s just say I’ll make a determined effort.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

What Do You Hope To Get From Your Beliefs?

It would be one thing if humanity’s biggest problem was assumptions unfounded in experience.  I might learn something when my assumptions were contradicted by experience.  But humanity has a much worse problem than that, in my opinion.  We don’t believe things because they are actually happening or because we are actually experiencing them.  We believe things to be true because they feed the appetites of the animal soul.

“Beliefs are primarily founded upon what is wished for, not on what is actually happening and not on what is genuine.They may in fact represent the greater ideals of humanity and in this they bear a true reflection, but on a day-to-day basis, and in most practical questions, people base their beliefs on things they hope for, not on things that actually exist.” (Steps to Knowledge, Step 5, “I believe what I want to believe.“)

And what are these appetites?  Survival, sex (species survival), pleasure (as observed by Sigmund Freud), power (as observed by psychologist Alfred Adler), and avoidance of responsibility (as observed by psychologist B. F. Skinner) As I pondered this step, I thought to myself, “I say, the human condition is insanity, isn’t it? Any connection between what is actually so, and what people believe is so, is purely coincidental, isn’t it?  And we’re in big trouble, up a stump, up a creek without a paddle, aren’t we?”

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Knowing And Its Hindrances

On the one hand, no one, if asked, would like to get to the end of their life and wonder “What was that all about?”

On the other hand, many people go dancing through life, anesthetizing themselves to their own experience, rejecting the idea that they have a greater purpose than individual and species survival, and have the above experience when they get to the end of their lives.

I think people, when they get to the ends of their lives, would like to say something like the good and faithful servant in the 25th chapter of the gospel of Matthew, who said to the master who entrusted him with five bags of gold, “See, I have gained five more.”

I think people, when they get to the ends of their lives, would like to say something like Simeon said in the gospel of Luke, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace.” (Luke 2:29, New International Version)

I think people, when they get to the ends of their lives, would like to say something like what the apostle Paul wrote to his protege Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

So what keeps this from happening for people?  While there are a number of different answers, the answer that Step 4 of Steps to Knowledge offers is “assumptions unfounded in experience.”

“You want what you think you know, and this is what constitutes the basis of your understanding of yourself and your world. In fact, this constitutes the basis of your whole identity.You will find, however, upon honest examination that your understanding is based upon assumptions primarily, and these assumptions have not been founded upon your experience to a very great degree, if at all.” (Steps to Knowledge, Step 4, “I want what I think I know.”)

A commenter on the previous post pointed out that experience was an important part of knowing.  And while I consider the signers of the Declaration of Independence as being an excellent instance of people knowing something, perhaps a less dramatic definition of knowing something might be “an experience of something being self-evident which inspires consistent action.”

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.