Decomposition as hindering being “intuitively human”

Or: “Why logic is no valid maxim”. “Maxim”, for the context of this post, shall mean “the single, highest principle that guides all activity of a human being”.

When conducting research in any aspect of analytic anthropology, an anthropological model arises according to which man is composed of components. And the components, the finer we analyse, turn out to be nothing but dumb matter. Elements (in different degrees of granularity) are: neurophysiological correlates of thoughts and emotions, hormons, cells, atoms.

Now this does not mean that natural scientists see themselves as something mechanical, but some of them see themselves as something that should be mechanical. More concretely: in their jobs, they arrive at meaningful results by applying mechanical means and mechanical logic unemotionally and consequently, while in their private lifes, they see rampant emotionality (their own or others) damaging everything. This can make one think that “logic” is better, or higher, than emotion. And then, they might train to act logically instead of emotionally. Until now, not much of a problem. But for these people who think analytically, it can become difficult to accept their “typical human” attributes, those like emotion that are the combined achivevement of the “system human being”. Because: as for themselves, these attributes don’t have something to do with objective reality or truth.

There are, for example, emotions: why should one allow oneself to exert emotionality, if it is neither true nor objective? However, there’s an answer to this. One has to distinguish between the implementation levels and the (abstract) level of what is “meant” by the implementation. It’s like with computer programs: the program is a collection of bits, but it means something different than just to be a collection of bits. So the justification to accept oneself as a human being (with all the “typical human” attributes) and to live as a human being comes from the fact that we’re meant, by God, to be human beings. He wants us to have and exert all these human attributes. And regarding the emotion example: emotion has nothing to do with truth, and it does not have to: it’s meant as a tool for sharing and experiencing love.

Probably, intuitive / “typically human” behavior and logic behavior should be treated as aspects, not levels. Because logic behavior is in itself typically human: animals are not capable of grasping abstract meaning and building logical steps on it. It’s a human noetic attribute. The essence is then: don’t use just logic but also the other typically human attributes.

But then, if logic and intuition are both justified, it’s also correct to say: While it’s ok to use ones intuition to determine interesting hyptheses and good assumptions what might be true, logic (and good observation) must be employed to see if something is true. For religion this means: It’s ok to “feel God at work” in some religion or in people of a specific faith, but this should be nothing more than the motivation to check this hypothesis. It’s not ok to determine truth by way of religious feelings, as done in most religions.

Women as being intuitively humans

The problem that I tried to explain seems to be a male one only. Women generally accept themselves as humans “a priori” (i.e. just based on their intuitive impression and experiences, so even without the desire to justify this acceptance by objective observations). In their eyes, they are humans, so they live as humans, and don’t think about their own decomposition. This is why, for women, emotions and relationship stuff and all that is “more of a direct, objective reality” than for men. Because, men think of matter as being the ultimate, direct, objective reality, and emotions and stuff being just “added” to reality (as something that’s unnecessary in most cases). But: if we’re meant to be humans by the wll of God, the way men think about reality is false! And, by the way, I must admit that this blog post was inspired by women, resp. by observing how women are and behave.

Implications

Implications for the basis of believing resp. my “Second Acts” project: it might be that the Gospel wants to be understood as something that’s dealt with by the humanities (i.e. as something that has to be accepted by exerting “typically human attributes” like faith / believing). This would mean that the Gospel is something that deals with humans on the human level, not on the level that deals with things, atoms, laws, and objective truth. Now while this might be the case, the foundation of a true Gospel is nonetheless the existence of the lower levels … just as there cannot be a human being without atoms, there cannot be a Gospel without the historic events it relates about. And Second Acts is about looking at these basic levels, as giving the justification for accepting the Gospel, then, on the highest (i.e. human) level.

Putting all this another way round: it’s not correct to see logic behavior as the highest goal of human behavior (as I do currently). Because logic means dealing with everything according to objective truth, adequately when just taking into account the material / lower level attributes of things. For example, logic behavior would lead to believe in Christ because of historic facts. This is logically correct.

However, what is missing by behavior that’s guided by the maxime of logic, is human behavior. Because, logic is cold, dealing with everything just according to its material / objective attributes. Logic won’t lead you to love your neighbour, and not at all to love your neighbour emotionally and in a way that’s beautiful to experience.

Therefore, it should be seens as something positive that humans are generally not lead by the maxime of logic. Example: different world religions couldn’t have evolved if people would’ve been logic. However, logic should be the basis of human behavior (so that it becomes true) and upon that, love should be added (so that it is graceful). See what’s said about Jesus: he came ingrace and truth.

This was partially inspired by the yesterday evening discussion of the Jesus Freaks house group that’s praised in the previous blog post.

Jesus and sexuality

When believing that Jesus was both fully man and fully God, what do we believe about if he suffered temptations to sexual sin as we do? As Jesus was fully man, one could think that he did, as sexuality and its hormone-induced control mechanisms belong to the body and to being human. And as Jesus was fully God, one could think that he did not suffer sexual temptations, as he would have been filled with agapē for all so that there was no room for other feelings towards women.

The latter case is an image of Jesus that is seemingly hardened by a naive interpretation of the Gospel accounts, as we don’t read there that Jesus was involved in human everyday activities like sitting around and kidding with his disciples. And, it’s an image of Jesus that lets him help in spiritual problems alone, without being our example for coping with human stuff like partnership problems, sexuality and romantic love.

How about a third way. First, we need to see that sinful desire (like when a man looks at a woman with lust for her, Mt 5:28 ISV) does not arise from nothing. These habits are more like the result of life-long false programming and false thinking. It started with the first egoistic thought in our lifes, and grew from that. Just like all sin grew from Eve’s little doubt regarding God’s kindness. Then second, we need to see that Jesus did never give in even to one egoistic thought: such stuff simply found no room in him, as may be seen from his simple, doubtless answers when tempted by the devil in the desert.

Now we see that Jesus may have found women to be attractive, and may have had sexual feelings, but pure ones. Yes, sexuality was created by God and it’s inherently pure and holy. So I cannot see any problem why Jesus might not have thought once and again: “Wow, this woman has a mild and cheerful mind, she’s faithful and beautiful … quite attractive. Father, thanks for the great idea of creating humans as both man and woman. I’m now myself down here on earth, and can feel the grandeur of the marriage partnership idea. This image of eternal love really represents our character in humans. And even though this world has seen so much sin since its creation, the man/woman partnership idea is that great that it radiates through all the dirt.”

Well then, you may ask, if Jesus thought that positive about marriage, why didn’t he marry himself? We can speculate that this had several practical reasons:

  • Jesus knew that he was living in this world to die as a sacrifice, and then leave the world. If he had married, he would have left a woman and perhaps children behind. Therefore, it was just responsible for him not to marry. See the counsel not to marry in troubled times (I Cor 7:26 ISV), where troubled times might include leaving behind the dear ones.
  • God knows what people are up to, and even for us it’s easy to see that the worst heresy of church history would’ve arisen if there would’ve been people who could claim to be descendants of Jesus, that is, God.
  • It was not Jesus’ job, vision or purpose of life to marry and enjoy life. He entered the world with the specific purpose and desire to save the world.

Special aspects of female believers’ relationship to Jesus

Overall, it seems easier for women than for men to have a love relationship to Jesus. There are examples where men express difficulty to say they love Jesus, as it is uncommon for men to express love for other men. From a female believer to a male Jesus this is far more natural, even though no flirty or romantic feelings are implied in this love relationship.

Jesus and his bride

When it comes to Jesus and women, there’s always the question, what can we learn for partnership, marriage and for dealing with the opposite sex in general. This is somewhat difficult to answer, as Jesus was not married. But there’s beautiful imagery in the Bible, according to which Jesus is engaged currently and will soon marry his bride:

  • Here’s where the Bible compares Jesus mission to leave his father in heaven to found a church of saved people to a man who leaves his father and adheres to his future bride: ” “That is why a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a great secret, but I am talking about Christ and the church.” (Eph 5:31-32 ISV). (Remark: Paul uses this verse to give reason for why he said in the verse before that the church members are members of the body of Christ (Eph 5:30 ISV); so whenever the NT speaks about the church as the body of Christ, it implies the image of being the bride of Christ.)
  • Here’s where the Bible compares our current relationship to Jesus as that of an engaged woman to her future husband: “I am jealous of you with God’s own jealousy, because I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” (2 Cor 11:2 ISV).
  • Here’s where the Bible compares the start of our time in heaven, when we’ll meet Jesus face to face, to a marriage: ” Then I heard what sounded like the voice of a large crowd, like the sound of raging waters, and like the sound of powerful thunderclaps, saying, “Hallelujah! The Lord our God, the Almighty, is reigning. Let us rejoice, be glad, and give him glory, because the marriage of the lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready.” (Re 19:6-7 ISV). (Where “lamb” is a byname given to Jesus.)

This image helps a good way, in my experience, to recognize the intended relationship ideal that God had in mind when creating man and woman. Because, Jesus realizes this ideal in his relationship to his bride, and we may learn from it. The idea to use Jesus’ relationship to his church as an example to learn for partnerships was originally Paul’s (see Eph 5:21-33 ISV). I’m re-using his idea and add some more aspects. So let’s observe how he behaves towards his bride:

  • Jesus treats his bride as part of himself (Eph 5:31-32 ISV).
  • Jesus does everything to make his bride perfect (Eph 5:25-27 ISV). He has the courage to correct his bride. He has the courage to use words where necessary, but where a look is enough, it’s a look. He wants his bride to use and develop her gifts to their fullest extent. When she needs it, he’ll show his bride how to serve others, by serving her.
  • He has the patience to bear all the accusations, when is bride is mad and wants to struggle, saying, “Where have you been when I needed you.”, “Why didn’t you fulfill me that wish, don’t you think I’m worth of some presents.” etc..
  • Jesus death for his bride is the greatest proof of love. Hey, guys, Jesus died for you!
  • Jesus as bearing the church, in spite of all her problems and sins.
  • Yes, he is also the head in the relationship to his bride, he wants her respect and obedience (Eph 5:23-24 ISV). But he also deserves it, as he’s loving his bride the most unselfish way. Beloved bride of Jesus, do you feel suppressed by Jesus, your Lord and future husband? No? Then you’ve got the model to realize in your human partnerships.
  • He never claims his right to be respected and obeyed by his bride … instead, he serves her to deserve so. For example, he, as the master, washed the feet of his disciples, giving them an example what it means to serve, and to be a master. Here’s what he says about being the master of his bride, the church: “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called benefactors. But you are not to do so. On the contrary, the greatest among you should become like the youngest, and the one who leads should become like the one who serves. But you are not to do so. On the contrary, the greatest among you should become like the youngest, and the one who leads should become like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who sits at the table, or the one who serves? It is the one at the table, isn’t it? But I am among you as one who serves.” (Lk 22:24-27 ISV)
  • Jesus as being faithful, even when the church is unfaithful. (See e.g. Ez 16:1-63 ISV).

There are times where it’s sooo obvious that this world was originally created by a good God! I’m in such a time these very days, feeling very blessed and grateful … or, more concretely:

  1. There’s a really really cool Jesus Freaks congregation in my town, hey, and I’m becoming part of it 😉
  2. My vision of a mobile, compact and flexible life finally unfolds somewhat, as I got this cool 4WD truck to live in today.
  3. The job I’m currently doing is way cool (Java programming by teleworking as a freelancer). I complained about that job: boring, no social contacts, it’s difficult to motivate myself to start working. But today I compared it to jobs of people I know: warehousing for a temporary employment agency, for way-too-low wages and 10-11 hrs/d and 6d/week. And … man, what a blessing my job is.
  4. These people in the Jesus Freaks house group that I joined make me hungry to get more from Jesus and more like Jesus.

Now I’ll elaborate the last point, as I’m currently “flashed” by these people 🙂 (just before came from the house group, then started blogging …).

Those who know me or my writings know my critical in-depth analyses, and how they paralysed at times the drive to be faithful to God. Which is because I met few motivating paragons: analysing people critically challenges the truth of their beliefs, and analysing people in-depth challenges the purity of their zeal. Those who withstood the test didn’t make up a critical mass to ignite me with Jesus zeal (esp. not due to the dissipation of my former congregation, a Calvary Chapel church … because you know, critical mass needs compactness to uphold the chain reaction). It seems that I’ve found that critical mass in this Jesus Freaks house group that I’m visiting for some weeks now 🙂

When admiring people, it’s rewarding to observe why exactly you’re admiring. In this case it’s because they are, in character, to some degree like Jesus … or, more concretely:

  1. Spiritually intense. They can be funny and silly, but it’s amazing how intense and involved they are when discussing spiritual things. Today we had to discuss the topic “Jesus and women”, and in the serious, spiritual parts of the evening there was nearly no trace of childish foolery that’s so common among young adults when discussing cross-gender relationship stuff.
  2. Intelligent wording. It’s amazing how mature and intelligent they argue, also those who are quite young (doing their A-level exams or studying for 3 semesters, e.g.). I can comprehend their thoughts, but I could not generate them as I think in a different style. That’s really an enrichment! Especially, when people nit just think differently, but are also able to verbalize their thoughts … clean verbalization of their emotional thinking is somewhat rare among women, but commonplace in this house group. Wow!
  3. Open-mindedness. It’s so refreshing to have a homogenous group of open-minded people, without the tradition of Christian fundamentalist style of thinking. Where open-minded means: allowing oneself to think experimentally, touching new areas and latent solutions; and it means broad-mindedmess: being able to form one enjoyable group even though theologic opinions differ widely. Jesus is Savior and Lord … and everything else is fun to discuss. Of course open-mindedness is also dangerous (and I could give examples from the group), but narrow-minded fundamentalism is not less dangerous just because it is static and nothing will or is allowed to happen.
  4. Blushless talking. At first, their prosaic, brute honesty in the familiar atmosphere of this house group bewildered me. There’s seemingly no taboo, you can talk about everythink everytime. Just take care that you talk about averything as being “just as normal as everything else”. (I think that’s because high-levelled emotionality, secretiveness and shame are not results of taboos, they create taboos by people better avoiding these topics in the future.) On the few (~5) evenings I met the group, they talked about a range of topics which would be termed taboo by many Christians: sex before marriage, libidinous thinking, woman’s beauty mania, lesbian relationships, masturbation, having a boy-friend who’s no Christian, being hurt emotionally by an ex-boyfriend, the precious special attributes of the relationship between a female Christian and a male Jesus. And much more, and more to come.

Now of course also this group is far from being perfect. But Jesus teaches them, and they learn. And I hope not to be an inhibitor to the upcoming chain reaction … .

An interesting definition that came to me, based on personal experience whom I’d call an “adult” and whom not. Here it is:

“Somebody is an adult if he / she cares for the mental well-being people, by his / her own initiative, with responsibility and regularly / as a habit. Caring for material elements of the life of other people does not count. So basically, adults are those who exhibit parental behavior to other people. It does not matter whether these other people belong to family or not, or if they are children, teenagers, twens or whatever.”

How about an experimentaltrack of thought today; that is, I don’t claim it to be true, but thinking this line of thought might inspire some other insights. The thoughts are about “the Fall”, the biblical story when the snake convinced Eve to eat from the forbidden fruit, and she gave Adam, and he ate, too. (Gen 3).

There is reason to assume that the second “special tree” in Eden had a medical / bodily effect: it was named the “tree of life”, and only after man was prohibited to eat from it, he started to die bodily. So it could be that its fruit contained some (yet unknown and in nature no longer existing) vitamine, that the human body needs to survive eternally on earth.

Here come the experimental thoughts: this quality of the “tree of life” does not mean, however, that the “tre of the knowledge of good and evil” was likewise special, in a material sense. Perhaps it was just a normal tree that was just named specially. (Perhaps the Grapefruit tree, as this fruit was named Citrus paradisi for some time … just kidding). Now, if the effect of eating from the tree would have been only spiritual (in the sense of being implemented as brain activity), we’d have to explain how.

The most obvious effect (that made God “curious” as to what happend) was that Adam and Even were both ashamed of their nakedness after eating from the fruit. They had  hidden from each other and from God. Now, what is hiding away if not the effect of losing trust. It seems easy to imagine how Adam and Eve discussed, after eating from the fruit, if it was correct to do so, then debated, then got into a verbal fight with each other. No more trust, as they had done wrong to each other. Eve had given Adam to eat from the fruit thing, and Adam, while standing all the time there, had not protected Eve from eating this thing first.

Nearly everybody can remember a bad conscience experience in his or her childhood: it’s very intense, because conscience is not yet hardened by the knowledge that doing evil and doing wrong is commonplace, and by being personally accustomed in doing the same. In childhood, when doing consciously and deliberately wrong for the first few times, the effect is intense: the child feeld hot and cold, hides away, cannot look into the eyes of its mom and dad, and it’s very obvious that the good quality of relationship has gone away.

This experience (and even more intense, as experienced by understanding adults) might have happened to Adam and Eve. No need for any special substance in the fruit to generate all the problems with sin that started to enter the world at this point. Because sin is, basically, a spiritual entity: a kind of self-reproducing program in the brain of humans, that passes on to other humans by “copying” (learning from each other) and has destructive effects in everybody’s life. Just like a computer virus for the brain.

Some days ago, Google announced on their home page a new project, the Project 10100. They collect ideas and will honor the idea that will help the most people. Practically, this means that the five best ideas are sponsored with 2 million USD on average, to be executed. So to win this contest, I though about how to help basically all the people in the world, that way taking Google’s approach to the extreme. If you have only 2 million USD for that, it’s a big task to help ALL humans, and substantially, of course … but it might be done, if we don’t cure effects, but causes of human problems. Man, I’m an utopist beyond measure today … you might smile at the ideas, it’s granted to you 😉 Here goes the idea I sent to Google’s Project 10100 some minutes ago:

10. What one sentence best describes your idea? (maximum 150 characters)

As all human problems are due to misprogramming of the brain, their solution must start by managing the brain content.

11. Describe your idea in more depth. (maximum 300 words)

Comparing “successful” times and times of society deterioration (e.g. in Germany 1955 vs. today) makes it apparent that the deterioration of values, morals, goals and maxims of action (here called: brain programming) is resp. must be the cause.

Of course, the development of societies is complex (i.e. feedback-driven), but still, result and feedback are mainly determined by brain programming.

All other problems are secondary: the world is not scarce on resources, the people in it are wasteful in handling them. And they are wasteful because they want to be (it’s determined by their values). Also, wars and hatred come initially from wrong human behavior that was determined by the programming of the brain. This programming is (for the most part) acquired through life … .

The idea is now, that we need to find the kind of brain programming where societies can build upon and where the world can survive with. If this is found, we need a scientifically proven system how to implement this in people (new and old ones). This requires intense research, as the public school system is in no way sufficient for that job.

12. What problem or issue does your idea address? (maximum 150 words)

Psychologic dysfunctionality, defined as bain programming whereupon societies and the world can never flourish.

13. If your idea were to become a reality, who would benefit the most and how? (maximum 150 words)

The upcoming generation in the whole world, more precisely: people before their adolescence, the younger the better, because it’s easy for them to acquire correct brain programming, as new programs must not fight through a conflict with old ones to get in place. Additionally, all future generations, as the good brain programming replicates itself.

14. What are the initial steps required to get this idea off the ground? (maximum 150 words)

Scientific research into the issue:

  1. Agree on a ISO standard what brain programming (values etc.) societies must embrace in order for the world to survive and be a good place to live.
  2. Experiment with many forms of new learning mechanisms and self-stabilizing social mechanisms that can break the feedback-determined deterioration process of societies.
  3. Introduce these values etc. into international school system.

15. Describe the optimal outcome should your idea be selected and successfully implemented. How would you measure it? (maximum 150 words)

The world would be a better place to live, as all people would think in better ways and therefore also act in better ways. As the problem is here taken by its root, the positive effects will follow  automatically.

Measurement: conformance to the previously “values” ISO standard, when measuring the personality of people worldwide.

There is an ongoing discussion regarding the causes of personality disorders (according to the Wikipedia article on personality disorders). Depth psychology emphasizes childhood as the key area, psychotherapy emphasizes adolescence and the identity buildup phase, learning models and behaviorists emphasize that personality disorders are something learned. Globally, they are rather complimentary and support each other well, so that the overall impression (without any detailed knowledge) is that personality disorders develop from a complex interdependency of genetic loading and the environment.

I thought about what (simple) illustration to use for such a complex situation, and perhaps the following might serve well for some aspects: there is a solution of a substance that can crystallize. It does not crystallize however unless crystallization seed is there (e.g. some dust particles). Now I compare the crystallization seed with the genetic loading, and the solved substance with problematic aspects of the environment. The environment has, so to speak, the potential to create personality disorders in a limited number of people, by unloading its problematic aspects unto them. The people that get “struck” by the crystallizing substance are those with some genetic qualities (for example less stress resistance, which would, in a healthy world, be just a harmless side-effect of appreciable qualities like high-degree empathy). In terms of system-theory, the different
kinds of personality disorders seem to me the different self-supporting, self-stabililizing programs that are possible to run on the human brain (within a specific social environment).

The interesting thing is now: to a higher or lesser degree, every (or nearly every) person seems to have a personality disorder. If you don’t yet believe that, go through the
list in the Wikipedia article on personality disorders and find out what symptoms fit for you. At least I found myself in this list … (ICD-10 F60.6) and also friends of mine. Now this does not mean that I or any of my readers needs a therapy … the degree might be far lower than what would need a therapy (note that a society assigns therapy only to those that cannot contribute to the society in a meaningful degree any more … society does not want to help you, it wants you as a tool for its own survival). It does however mean that most people don’t reach their highest personal and social potential because they’re in the grip of their rigid, dysfunctional behavior patterns.

Now it is also clear that healthy social relationships and groups have a curative effect on the personality disorders of their members (at least on mild degrees of those). And I count the relationship to God among the healthy relationships, and a healthy church among the healthy groups (which just means that their curative effect is supposedly a social effect, nothing supernatural). There are persons in my mind who indeed got (nearly) healed by long-term (~25 yrs., in one example) involvement with God and a healthy church!! Which does not mean that every relationship to God or every church is such a place. Most churches seem to be infected themselves by some kind of “group disorder”. Which is not the fault of any single person, but a fixed behavioral pattern that develops in a likewise complex interdependency (in this case, of group attributes and environment) as the personality orders do … .