Adventures In Self Discovery To Transform Your Life

Chapter 10
What Do You Know For Sure?

“It ain’t what a man don’t know as makes him a fool, but what he does know as ain’t so.”
Josh Billings 1818-1885

George and Maxine are respected citizens and leaders in Everton. George runs the local bank, Maxine runs everything else. George and Maxine believe they are good people. They are smarter and better than most people in their community. They enjoy sharing stories about the 'dumdums' they work with.(1) They tend to be set in their ideas about how the world works and what is right and wrong. “Marriage is a sacred obligation and must be honored. Look at the mess all those unmarried mothers have made of their lives.”(2)

George is proud to point out the many examples of successful businessmen and home owners he has financed. He condemns the weak character of some of the townspeople. This led to the decline of Main Street and the city's finances.(3) They both agree that many local people are poorly informed. They are mistaken about what was happening in the world. For themselves, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal were the truth.(4) They were shocked when 'those people' managed to get two seats on the City Council. The newcomers were demanding changes in planning and budgets.(5) This had never happened before. It was impossible to imagine. George and Maxine had controlled the Council for ten years.(6) The new people and businesses hardly mattered.(7) The town and their personal lives had moved along smoothly for years. As George said, “It ain't broke so don't try to fix it.(8)

If anything, the new people were trying to wreck things. Those cheap strip malls just outside town. There was talk of a Walmart. What is the place coming to?(9) Look at those young people who don't know what they're doing. Smart phones. Twittering. Blue jeans in the office. They're letting down the standards.(10) They think they are so 'cool' with their high fiving and jive talk. “I'm so like you know.”(11) George said,” I was having a bad day last week. That barely educated smart ass teller tried to talk me out of enforcing a mortgage obligation. The people couldn't afford it.(12) Well, they didn't have any trouble affording it when it was overpriced, did they?(13)

As you can see, George and Maxine have beliefs and a story about their world and how it works. There is no way or need for them to change their minds. They are right. The problem is 'the others', anyone who is different is suspect.

The only minds you and I can change are our own and, of course, we are right. Still, if we are going to change our lives, we'll have to change our minds as well. Why? Where do we start? Well, we way overestimate what we know for sure. Humans have hundreds of ways to make up questionable explanations or ignore good ones. They are called cognitive biases, misconceptions and fallacies. George and Maxine beliefs were chosen from examples of over 250 cognitive errors we all tend to make. A long “List of Cognitive Biases” with links to research articles appears in Wikipedia. It is well worth exploring. If you really want to humble yourself, check out the “List of common misconceptions”, “List of fallacies” and “List of memory biases.”

Our tendency to make these errors is deeply rooted. It is reinforced by our culture, and supported by our friends. You have to pay close attention to catch them on an everyday basis. You can make an adventure of spotting and working with a few common errors in thinking. Here's a list of the errors George and Maxine lived with. It is worth taking time to explore a few. They are noted by the numbers (1-12) in the text. For example,

1) Illusory Superiority: We believe ourselves to be better and far superior to others.

2) Semmelweis Reflex: We deny new information that challenges our established views.

3) Egocentric Effect: We avoid taking responsibility for failure and take credit for any successes.

4) Confirmation Bias: We look for and overvalue any information that confirms our guesses.

5) Ingroup Bias: We overestimate the abilities and value of our group and devalue outsiders.

6) Gambler's Fallacy: We believe previous events influence future results without any clear causal links.

7) Observational Selection Bias: We notice things we hadn't noticed before and believe they are actually increasing in frequency.

8) Status-Quo Bias: We fear and resist change.

9) Negativity Bias: We believe things are getting worse despite evidence to the contrary.

10) Bandwagon Effect: We go with the flow and tend to act and think in ways the others do.

11) Projection Bias: We assume other people think just like we do and agree with us.

12) Fundamental attribution error: Our successes are due to our wisdom and skills, our failures are due to outside forces.

13) Causation bias: We see causal relations where there aren’t any.

I stopped at 13 because that is a lucky number. Isn't it?

What we think we know is often false. What we don't know that we don't know is vast. We cannot spot or correct every error in our beliefs or ways of thinking. We can be alert and a little bit skeptical of of what we believe and what we hear or read in the media. They get paid to tell us what their owners and sponsors want us to believe.

“Nullius in Verba”
“Take Nobody's Word For It”
Motto of the Royal Society of London

Nature Makes Fools
Whenever we humans experience something new, we get an itch to understand and to explain it. An explanation, any explanation, relieves the itch. We produce superstition, myth, magic, religion, the arts, practical knowledge and science to explain life. If we don't find order, we imagine or invent one.

Humans are basically irrational beings. We are built to look for patterns that go beyond cause and effect. We search for meaning in the randomness of the universe. We discover or invent nature’s design, intention and morality in the world around us. Without some order our future would be left to chance. We look for moral order where our actions are judged from beyond our everyday world. Superstitions, religions, science are all witness to this need. They chain our understanding in their structure. Their stories and their words. All are limited. You can only go beyond their limits by staying close to your immediate experience.

Superstition, myth, religion, history, art, technology and science are not separate things. They interweave and overlap to produce knowledge and possibly wisdom. A structure of words and stories frame all of them. They limit your understanding. Understanding comes in a moment of direct experience without thought or self. The base of our wisdom is our everyday experience of the universe through our body and thoughts.

Words are the means we use to think about and pass along our explanations. Our point of view and values shape our beliefs so much that they get in the way of the facts. Our search is always within the limits of our senses our words and 'rational' thought. We must struggle to experience beyond the borders of our religions, sciences and imagination.

“If there is an obvious explanation, we accept it. When there is not an obvious explanation, we generate one.”
Michael Gazzaniga

When so much knowledge is available, how can we tell what is fact and what is foolishness? We’re all so sure that we know what is good for us. We know what we need and how to get it. Yet, look at our own lives and those of friends and family. We often see unhappiness, discontent and the same mistakes made again and again. The current state of humanity doesn't say we know what we are doing. We are living in a willed self delusion with the notion that we matter, that we can know the universe.

We remember or imagine patterns and use them as models of reality. We imagine a pattern, name it and make it a universal absolute, like The Laws Of Nature. These laws are the regularities observed, tested and recorded by mankind over time. That's all. Our brains can even impose patterns onto random noise. Yet, we think we know what is going on and what to expect. The world is more random than we can imagine. The patterns we imagine often don’t exist.

Each of us has assembled and acts on a collection of beliefs and practices that are our 'truth' to live by. Few of them would survive close scrutiny. We are slaves of our 'truths'. We defend and act on them even if they don't work or produce suffering. We can easily make ourselves miserable with the mind's endless drama and rehearsals.

“We can’t live in a state of perpetual doubt, so we make up the best story possible and we live as if the story were true.”

Daniel Kahneman

Our brains do an amazing job. They pull together sensory input, compare it to a vast library of former input. Then they evaluate it for safety. They attach meanings and feelings and, finally, present it as our experience. Sometimes our brains overdo it so much that they create an illusion. Here is a famous one discovered by L. A. Necker in 1832. Twelve straight black lines on paper.

Do you see a cube? Your brain has taken a flat image and constructed a three dimensional one for you. Which corner is closest to you? Keep looking. Did it flip? How come? The image on your retina remains constant. How the cube looks depends on how your brain interprets it.

Every act of perception involves an act of judgment by your brain. And it can change what it shows you, from one thing to another. Most people find they cannot make the cube remain in the same orientation for more than a few moments, especially if they blink.  I made the cover of this book out of shadows that I imagined a Necker cube might cast if a Necker cube could cast shadows.

What You Don't Know
Maybe we were taught a bunch of stuff that is just not so and doesn't work. Brainwashed from birth, it would be easy to see what you expect to see. We are always supporting ideas we cannot verify. Books are packed with them. An opinion with reasons becomes a belief. Belief creates the fact. Put into action, belief creates the reality. We’re always looking at life through our beliefs and expectations. What we think we know for sure often gets in the way of seeing what’s actually there. This is especially true of our inner experience. The best part of wisdom may be to know what you don’t know, especially what cannot be known.

Most of our problems are not out in the world, they are in our heads. The solution is not in fixing the world, it is in fixing the way our heads work. The challenge is to find out what’s reliable knowledge. What gets results and what does not. I use my own experience as a laboratory. My research tools are observation, trying out things and wondering about the results. The results are surprising, counter intuitive and, sometimes, strange. Here are a few things I’ve found so far. 

Experience Is What You Make Of It

Even babies understand that objects ought to obey the laws of physics. People can move as they choose. The body is for eating and moving. The 'mind' is a separate package. Adults have relationships with dead relatives. Many adults believe they have souls and that you can leave your body in a dream or by magic. Remember, as a child, how much time you spent creating imaginary friends and worlds to play in? This common sense dualism allows us to imagine there is some form of life outside the body. We may populate it with spirits, dead ancestors, gods and demons.

These ideas get revealed to us by our parents and family. They are supported by stories read from books. Language made the possibilities real to us. Children can play with imaginary friends while knowing the difference between play and reality.

Kids understand causes. From childhood, we make inner maps of our world, laying out where things are and how they relate. We use the maps to experiment with possible changes. Then we make plans and take actions to realize them. We make maps of our inner psychological world. We know that other people have thoughts and feelings like ours. We use this knowledge to make friends. We can form groups and get people to do what we want them to.

We have a powerful need to connect cause and effect. We see purpose and design everywhere, even when there is none. We invent new patterns that we can't verify in the universe. Children see mountains and clouds as having a purpose. They spontaneously invent the concept of a god on the basis of everyday experience. Why?

We have limits when predicting the behavior of the universe. The universe doesn't care. Each roll of the dice is fresh. Oddly, we can predict the outcome of a large number of random events using statistics. It takes a long time to learn what you can and cannot predict and control.

We are all born with a good bullshit detector called common sense. We built it by trying stuff and making mistakes. The universe corrected our understanding. Our common sense can get overwhelmed in the flood of information coming from a complex world. It can can get smothered by beliefs and preconceptions. Over time, I came to see that I was using a pretty consistent method to test ideas and explanations. As I used it much of what I believed turned out to be non-sensible, also nonsense.

Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.

John Lennon

Use Your Head
This universe we live in is vast beyond our comprehension or imagination. It is ever changing. It is beyond comparison with any gods or systems imagined by mankind. I am always curious about how the universe works. I’m on the lookout for new ideas and explanations that improve my understanding and seem to work. At the same time, I hate to get fooled. So, I’m always a little skeptical. Looking back, I can see a long trail of discarded beliefs. From Santa Claus to the latest notions of human psychology. They didn't fit my experience. They are propositions that failed to produce results.

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge”
Charles Darwin

We can never get past knowing that many of the realities of the world are beyond our comprehension. Looks to me like the universe evolves under its own capabilities. It needs no guidance beyond its own substance and organization. Matter obeys its own rules rather than heading for a final cause or serving hidden ones.

Language, logic and rational thinking give us tools to think and to communicate with. We move ahead by doubt and disagreement. We never reach the 'truth' because reality is too complex and changing. We can have an explanation and turn it into an unquestionable belief. This allows us the comfort of believing we understand while we remain ignorant.

We need explanations. On a day to day basis, we tell ourselves stories about what’s going on and how the world works. These stories are a form of fiction and are often false. Anecdotes are not evidence. Stories are not knowledge, more like commentary. To make sense of a bunch of information, we need to be able to think skeptically across a range of disciplines. We need explanations that fit the universe and that work reliably.

The experience of a single person makes an anecdote. Even many anecdotes don't verify an object or process in the world. Seti, alien invasions, mind reading are examples. Mathematics defines its own universe and states its own truths within it. Expression of faith in a religion is a belief in the absolute truth defined within it. We get embedded in a point of view with a set of words. That's the way we experience and understand the world. To be useful and usable, a claim needs to be describable, testable and reproducible. Science works by using this model of experience.

Many of the words we use are placeholders for our ignorance. This is not limited to the superstitious. Complex, sophisticated explanations underlie religions and science. Scientists talk with confidence about energy, gravity, space, time or is it spacetime? If challenged, some scientists will admit ignorance of what’s actually there.

The sciences, religions and the arts find partial answers to the questions we ask. Scientists learn from what they can describe and measure. They have a story that attempts to make sense of the world. Science uses observation, theory, induction, deduction, abduction, intuition, prediction, experiment, modeling, computer simulations. Scientific research is based on asking nature to show us when we are wrong. Scientists have expectations of reality that may screen what's actually there. They don't know what they don't know. New investigations uncover new mysteries.

Scientists confuse their story about reality with what's actually here. We talk about the “laws of nature.”  Nature is shorthand for the universe. The “laws” are our generalizations of what we find that repeats consistently. We only know what we can measure and that gets limited by our tools, imagination and language. There are no final answers. What we don't know is beyond even our imagination. 

Watch out for dogma, absolutes, abstractions and ideologies. Living, breathing human beings making our lives work right now is our aim. What we do is what we are. Although many claim otherwise, our thoughts do not make physical changes in the outer world. Thoughts don't make dinner. It takes actions to make hot dogs.

We go through life doing things that work in the world. Things we were taught or learned until they became automatic. We have an explanation for why we do them and why they work. We also live with many beliefs about how things work that actually don't work in every day life. We imagine results that are only coincidental or approximate. We get stuck in what we know for sure.

Confirmation Bias
Let’s make a special adventure (43) out of what we know for sure. Wikipedia defines confirmation bias as:

“The tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities.”

We get a rush of dopamine and experience pleasure when working with information that supports our beliefs. “It feels good to ‘stick to our guns’ even if we are wrong,” they observe.

All of us tend to accept information that supports our beliefs and reject information that contradicts them. We’re good at spotting the weaknesses in other’s beliefs. We’re blind to our own. Even after our beliefs have been totally refuted by evidence, we resist revising those beliefs. The most reasonable seeming people are often the most irrational.

We remember information selectively and interpret it in a biased way. Emotionally charged issues and deeply entrenched beliefs get strongly reinforced. We accept ambiguous evidence in support of our position. We dismiss evidence of new or under appreciated contradictions. We can become more fixed in our beliefs even knowing they are not true.

We depend on other minds to confirm and support our opinions. Now that three of us agree we feel confident and correct in our views. We can resist or dismiss any information that contradicts our position.

How can you recognize and protect yourself against confirmation bias? Ask yourself these questions.

• Do your friends and information sources challenge as well as confirm your beliefs and point of view?

• Do you spend time listening to or reading opposing points of view?

• When you make decisions, do you usually choose what you want or what the people closest to you are likely to support?

Try to take in a broad range of information from many points of view. Be open to alternatives you might not have considered before. Give the perspective of others some consideration, even people you disagree with. Look to finding common ground.

People usually want confirmation of their beliefs rather than facts. So we hang out with people and information that confirm your beliefs. Look at the conclusions you draw after listening to the evening news or reading articles in print or online. Watch out when you dismiss information that conflicts with your beliefs.

All of us are loaded with beliefs ‘as ain’t so.’ We let them run around in our heads and often let them run our lives. We can never know all the ways and beliefs we have that are not so. Fortunately, most if them are not happening at any moment. Most do not influence our present experience. Still, we need ways to sort them out and, ultimately, to let them go. It is fun to explore ways we get distracted or deluded.

Sorting It Out
We see and interact with a solid world. We can see things as small as a cell. Then our instruments take us down to molecules, atoms, electrons, protons and neutrons all of which are mostly empty space. We humans are mostly empty space. We're supposed to make sense out of that. Now that's magic.

Explanations and actions that seem to fit the world for now are as close to 'fact' or 'reality' as we get. Recognizing the complexities of the universe is part of knowledge. Everything we learn points to a deeper unknown. We don't know what we don't know.

“Everything is the way it is because it got that way.”
D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson

Science Says...

Science is about the world we actually experience around us now. Science is a story based on guesses about the world. The guesses get tested and affirmed or not by what actually happens. The story was written bit by bit over the past 300 years by thousands of men and women. They asked questions, made guesses and tested them. Our knowledge is based on the fact that it works.

Science is based on the belief that there is an objective reality, a universe, that we all share. The universe has a structure, functions and laws that we can discover. We can understand them by observing and experimenting. Based on our observations and experiments, we can build a theory, a model or description of how the universe works.

We invented science to sort out good explanations from bad explanations. Making up stories and testing them is what scientists do. The facts of science are good guesses that have met the test of observation. Now they are good explanations – for now. The laws of science are good guesses that always met the test.

Science is guess and test. You make up a story (hypothesis) explaining something about the world. Then you  predict what will happen. You test the prediction by experiments and observations. If I open my fingers the glass I hold will fall and smash on the floor. You end up with the facts. You produce a statement that describes your process and its results so others can replicate it.

Experiments try to simulate natural events under controlled conditions to establish causal relations. In sciences such as geology or astronomy, predicted observations take the place of experiment. Their results confirm the guess or not. What they find fits into a theory that is accepted to the extent it gets confirmed by more tests.

We like to see the world as solid 'things' banging into each other and causing them to move or happen. Cause is a plausible story that scientists use to explain the facts. They don't see causes, they infer them. Cause is not linear, cause to effect. When two things happen together it does not mean that one caused the other. When events are clustered it does not mean they are not random.

Today science is showing us 'fields' of energy interacting at subatomic levels to make changes. Our 'particles' become fields of energy interacting. Cause and effect disappear into probabilities. Unpredictable movement can give rise to distant effects. Plus, we don't lack for chaos to start new things. Experiments prove only what they are designed to test. Going beyond takes us back to guesses. Our knowledge is always uncertain and incomplete, a probability at best.

Science Knows
“Science doesn't know everything.” That's the whole point. Scientists are always working on the edge of the known. They guess. They test. They confirm. They add to or correct the known. They are always reaching out from the known with the concepts and tools they have. Nature returns the answers. Scientists work on the unknown. They can't reach the unknowable.

Science is common sense with a system. Science is not a path to truth. It is a path away from ignorance and error. It is a method for developing useful approximations of reality. Science is always on the verge of slipping off into metaphor or the misuse of words. Scientists look for answers to questions. The questions depend on the framework of their science and the structure of their language.

New discoveries and techniques open up new avenues of thought and approach. We advanced our understanding as Newton's 'gravity' changed into Einstein's 'space/time bending'. Quantum mechanics demands another shift in point of view and language. The framework changes. New theories pop up, youngsters flock to test them. New names appear. Space and time become spacetime. It often takes a generation for the geezers to let go so the new theories can take over.

Science is uncertain. Guesses about what is. It is open to new ideas and evidence. A new idea has to be definite and different than previous ideas. Yet it should fit in with all those findings. Most ideas and experiments are unsuccessful. That's how science works. Scientists don't know and that's half the fun. Finding out means making mistakes and testing them over and over. Nature confirms your guess or not.

“Nothing exists except atoms and the void, all else is opinion”

To move ahead in science we try to understand the bits and pieces of the universe and how they got arranged. Scientists often have to use analogies to describe a realm of reality beyond our senses. Particles and fields are not real. They get inferred from observation, measurement, math and theory. Their names are chosen by their discoverers often arbitrarily. Murray Gell-Mann was reminded of "Three quarks for Muster Mark!” from James Joyce's 'Finnegans Wake'. Now we have six quarks in quantum physics. Science demands precision and we are trapped in language that is ephemeral. Metaphor is nonsense yet we cannot communicate without it. If you see what I mean. Experience gets chained to words.

Natural events are also full of troublesome, random and coincidental events. We have the notion that if we understand the lowest level of reality, such as quarks, we can use that to assemble and understand everything else. Doesn't scale. Large, complex systems can produce novel behavior. Human behavior, for example, doesn't seem likely to be explained by quantum theory.

Look Out!

We think we see the world as a smooth flow of things and events. Our view is actually built of thousands of bits of sensory perceptions and memories. Our perceptions only give us access to a tiny bit of reality. Scientists are always confronted with gaps in their knowledge and experimental capabilities. They draw on old stories and metaphors to plug the gaps with notions they can work with. Dark matter and dark energy can be placeholders as they work along the edge of new understanding. Sometimes they get mistaken for theories even when there is no way to test them.

Scientists look for the best way to look at the world based on our present knowledge. Observations produce ideas. Ideas suggests a theory. A scientist tests the theory by getting data. The theory evolves or she throws it away and finds another theory that better fits the data. She changes theories because she finds a better way of understanding the world. Nature says yes or no or nothing.

There is no 'truth' in the assemblies of words into theories of reality. Scientists are always working with the latest, best fitting story. The claims need to be verified, the concepts made consistent between fields of science. Reality has the last say. Loop quantum gravity? String theory? Multiverses? Nature has not yet delivered a clear answer. Scientists will continue to change their minds, their theories and the way they put their ideas into words.

Scientists are human, subject to the same confusions and delusions as the rest of us. Researchers tried to reproduce the results of papers in three journals. Just 39% of the claims made could be reproduced without question. Scientists challenge and revise their theories frequently. Our basic understanding of the universe changes and science changes. There will always be areas of belief beyond the understanding and methods of science. Otherwise, where’s the fun?

Science is an unfinished business, a work in progress. There is always more to explore new ways to discover. What's left out is next. Our current theories will probably get overturned. Meanwhile, they run in the background of our thoughts. They shape and constraining our next guess. Uncertainty is a vital part of the process. The most interesting activity is at the edges of our understanding. What we don't know sets the limits of our understanding and is the source of new knowledge. 

We apply the word 'truth' to the fantasy of rational thought, to the semi-certainty of science and to the faith of religions. Where is the 'truth'? The 'laws of nature' are human inventions. They are not obeyed by nature. They are expression of regularities that humans observe, test and record. We notice the patterns. There is much more to human life than the language and methods of science can capture.

So What?
Each of us can gain from being more like a scientist. Life is an experiment. You can make your life more fulfilling by using some of the scientist's views and methods. Look at what's happening. Guess what's producing it. Go for the simplest guess. Test your guesses. Get somebody else to test them. Try producing some change and test that. What's possible given what's available? Keep questioning and letting go of previous assumptions.

Failure is an unavoidable part of the creative process. It's also a perk as it strengthens and makes survivors alert. Your mistakes are valuable opportunities to learn. Questioning your guesses improves your knowledge. Lack of certainty can be the source of knowing.

Look around you. This is the universe you inhabit. This is where you try stuff and get results...or not. Your efforts may or may not cause changes in this world but this is where you find out. Ask of every explanation, story and belief, “Does it fit my experience? Does it explain my experience? Does it work? What happens when you try it? Nothing? Now, how do you explain that?

On The Other Hand
Science is not complete. There are always new paths to explore, new ways to do so and more to discover. This search and discovery will continue as long as there is a curious human alive. Humanity discovers and invents more and more. Individuals lose the ability to understand or integrate the whole. When someone feels a lack of control, they may look to fanciful or wishful beliefs about what is going on. There are plenty around.

There are rich fields of human experience that elude scientific exploration. People are able to enter into unusual experiences where they feel heightened awareness. They can experience deep insights or transcendental feelings. Each of us is capable of these experiences. Experiment and practice can lead to specific brain changes. That can lead to experiencing more of whatever is already here and available to you. You can let go of the boundaries, limitations and distractions of some brain processes. You can open to others.

I spent several years in the 70’s earnestly following teachers and practicing their disciplines. Arica, EST, Ramana Maharshi, months in an Indian ashram with Swami Muktananda. Then I studied Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. I gave myself some extraordinary experiences. I say I “gave myself” these experiences. They were like earlier experiences I had with LSD, psilocybin and mescaline. It is clear to me that the drugs changed my brain chemistry. They allowed me to produce amazing hallucinations. By dancing or chanting nonstop for hours or meditating I could produce similar experiences. I gradually drifted away from practicing to just being with what's here now. It's much more interesting and you don't have to wait for it or recover from a spectacular hangover.

Seeking is not being. If you are still seeking an experience, you have located it outside our body and this moment. Think 'path' and 'guru'. Let go of both of them and what's left? Just being as you are now may contain the experience you seek. You are not allowing yourself to be aware of it. Too much other stuff going on. If there is an experience you believe is possible and would like to have, get as close to it as you can right now. Just be it. How do you imagine it will feel? How can you shape your thoughts, feelings and actions to bring the experience closer? Be it again and again until that's what you become.

In a world, filled with the beauty and power of nature, the extraordinary experience is always available. You can open to experiences that are beyond the daily run of events. You can create states of being that produce or allow extraordinary experiences. People produce rich inner lives of fantasy, memory and dream. They can produce experiences of extraordinary power and conviction. Yet, the individual experience proves nothing. Even group experiences do not confirm claims about truth, God or the structure of reality. We are easily fooled. Delusion or self deception is the norm of human experience.

Let It Go
That is why we have science as a corrective and balance. Saying “I don't know.” is a sign of strength and wisdom rather than weakness and ignorance. “I don't know” shows you are on the way to understanding.

“Who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors”
Thomas Jefferson

Clearing away nonsense and ignorance, leaves us with a head full of workable knowledge. There is one more step to take. Let go of it all. Most of what you know is not happening right now. Thinking about anything is a distraction. Set it aside. It will be there when you need it. Just be.

“I wake up each morning to find myself in a world full of mystery and beauty. And I am profoundly thankful for the wonder of it all.”
Christof Koch

 ©2012-2018 Keith Gilchrist - not for distribution or reproduction

5,882 words 18 pages 8.17.17 adv 43 Beta 1 rev

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