In 1980 I was 25. Even then, the situation seemed quite extreme, and I was looking for new understandings that might point a way to some better answers. I had seen the country go through a war, a surge of drug use, the loss through violence of several popular leaders (including JFK, RFK, MLK), and the beginnings of a unsettling economic shift. Personal computers were just appearing and the internet was still ten years away. World news included the Cold War, terror incidents in Ireland, and violence in the Middle East.
I had done well in high school and had planned to go to college. But I was influenced otherwise by anti-school writings released at that time such as Ivan Illich’s Deschooling Society
. In my last year of high school I went to an “alternative” high school. Organized as an educational experiment, it was attended mostly by upper middle class rebellious types. I did independent study for most of that year, including a project on the history of India and another on stage lighting.
Intellectually, I was most concerned about the continued pattern of violence down through the centuries of human existence, constantly interfering with the orderly development of communities and unwisely elevating the technologies of weaponry. Crime – even if not outwardly violent – seemed like a constant problem for mankind. And these issues were not being effectively addressed by the intellectuals of my day, not discussed in schools in any meaningful way, nor being handled in the political arena. We seemed stuck in a pattern that we couldn’t escape from.
I came to the conclusion that the intellectual community as I found it in those years was not up to the task of understanding and handling these problems, and that I might as well skip going to college, get enough training to get a decent job, and use my spare time to look into the situation further. This decision was not welcomed by my father, who expected me to follow his lead and get a PhD in some field of interest to me. Because we had no real connections to the world of business, in his mind my chance for a good career and success in life hinged on my willingness to go to college. Instead, I had decided to go to a community college and learn about electronics.
The Engineering Approach
After that, I entered the world of electronics technology and engineering. In this world, new ideas are developed by building them and seeing if they work. In the worlds of philosophy, economics, and politics – even medicine, this approach becomes problematic. No one wants to be your guinea pig. It does happen, particularly in medicine. But if the thinker can’t find a way to test his or her idea in the real world, “logic” is often resorted to (as in the debate process) and this has proven to be a flawed way to test ideas, and not very productive. Thus, developments in the humanities have lagged behind those in the physical sciences, resulting in a society possessing very destructive weapons with no real protections against catastrophic outcomes.
It was with these awarenesses, and not much else to go on, that I ran across a book (written in 1950) in which the author asserted that he had made a breakthrough in this area by using an engineering approach. If all I had to judge this assertion by was the book itself, I might have doubted it. But there, in 1981, was an organization selling this book which had existed since 1954. There were numerous practitioners trained in the methods proposed by this book (as well as more recent materials). And there was what seemed like a very active worldwide movement.
And so, I took this work seriously. You can find out more about it through my blog. What I want to relate here is the paradigm shift I experienced as I studied this work.
The central subject of this work is the mind. For me, the first part of the shift had to do with the relative importance of that subject. We had been using our minds for centuries to deal with various situations. This had been working for us in technology and the sciences. Most of us took for granted that the same process would eventually lead to the breakthroughs in politics and economics that we all dreamed of. But what justified this belief? Lack of advances in the humanities were beginning to have serious consequences. It seemed the mind was booby trapped to prevent a sufficient level of understanding. Yet this writer asserted that he had found his way through those traps, and that his work had revealed new unsuspected material, such as human recall of past lives. That was the second part of my shift.
From that point the ramifications of the shift continued to multiply, like opening the proverbial Pandora’s Box. Each person who studies this material has to make the decision of whether to follow that path and see where it leads, as the original writer did, or stay on “safe ground” and remain ignorant of this area.
For me now, it is basically unacceptable to consider any human problem or situation without leaving that old safe ground I was raised to accept and taking a good look at what has been newly discovered, regardless of the level of internal or external upset this decision may generate.
Here I have only covered the key elements of the shift. If you are willing to make that shift, you will find a body of knowledge that has been reasonably well worked out and tested, and other bodies of knowledge that have not been so well explored. But I think you will find yourself with enough tools to move forward and make a lot of positive contributions to society that would not otherwise be possible. The choice is yours.
Like Lee’s ideas? Check out his blog as well: https://lecox.wordpress.com
/ and see what else he has to say!
This guest Blog represents the thoughts and ideas of the contributor. As a platform for different ideas, A wide range of opinion is welcome as long as it is civil, and isn’t libelous or pornographic. This opinion piece doesn’t violate those terms at all, and brings a new perspective worth hearing, whether you agree or disagree.
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