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Chapter Eighteen // These Are the Assumptions Upon Which I Base My Facts // yd22 yd22 // gr gr 29 Apr 2013
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The Dream Catcher's Dream
These Are the Assumptions
Upon Which I Base My Facts
Three Fundamental Assumptions:
Herbert continues, “In order to understand my answer, you’ll need to know a little bit about the three of the most fundamental, assumptions of human life. They can be summarized as three basic belief systems: Atheism, Reincarnation, and One-life-ism. 16-1 Unless the reason for life on Earth is totally unknowable, there are only these three possible answers to the Why-life-on-Earth? question.
These three assumptions are, at this time, are not provable with 99% certainty. Because the fundamental beliefs of each religious belief system, conflict with fundamental beliefs of the other two, only one of them can possibly accurately describe reality.”
I ask, “What fundamental beliefs are you referring to?"
Herbert replies, “The biggest discrepancy is in response to the question What happens after death? The three belief systems give very different answers -- answers that are mutually exclusive. Regardless of which one is correct, the other two obviously contain major fantasy creations. Well, get into the differences in detail in a moment, but first let me answer you question about billions of people living in illusion.
Each of these assumptions has billions of devotees. Because they are mutually exclusive and because at least two of the assumptions hold major false components, that means that more than three billion people on this earth currently base their lives on a fantasy religious illusions. As a result, they live in the land of make-believe. All of which says that, on a global scale, as a species, we’re in pretty bad shape.”
“I never thought of it that way before.”
“And neither have most people. Now that I’ve explained the concept, is my statement really that far out?”
“So, in order to follow any one of these three assumptions, the believer must take what, in religious circles, is called the leap of faith. In every religion, including atheism, there are fundamental, unprovable assumptions that must be accepted on faith.”
I ask, “Can you give me an example?"
“Certainly. Because the major believers in one-life-ism are Christians, I’ll use them as my example. The basic fundamental assumption of Christian one-life-ism is that the Christian Bible is correct, is complete, is accurate, and is the only sacred text that God ever wrote. All the sacred texts of the other religions, such as the Koran, the Bahagavad Gita, the Book of Mormon, etc, are discounted as merely mythology or fairy tales, and are not considered the word of God.” Believers assume they did not exist before they were created as their bodies at the beginning of this earth life — that they live only once on Earth and then go to heaven or hell forever.
The atheists assume that they are only their body — a body that somehow, acquired consciousness. Atheists believe they cease to exist when their body dies.
Followers of the reincarnation religions think of themselves as non-physical beings whose existence began long before being born into their present physical body. They believe that they survive the death of their physical bodies. They also believe that they repeatedly return to Earth and live in a series of human bodies.
As I said before, none of these assumptions is provable to a level of 99% certainty by present day scientific evidence and yet, each of the three basic assumptions gives a different answer to the question, ‘Why am I here on Earth?’ Each of these three assumptions dictates its own response to the question: ‘How do I live my life on planet earth?’ Every human being bases his or her life and his/her day-to-day actions on one or another of these three, root assumptions. Many of us simply do so unconsciously.
Also, many people profess one belief, but practice another. This is quite typical of politicians who practice atheism and the worship of ‘The Great God Money’ in their political dealings, and at the same time, profess a personal religious belief. You’ll frequently hear reports of how this or that politician attended such and such house of worship. If you follow what they actually do, it is in direct conflict with the principles of their professed religious belief.
I have created a diagram distinguishing the variations among the three fundamental assumptions. I’ll share a copy of that with you also. The chart will also make a distinction between self-important, self-centered ego-atheists and the caring and loving humanitarian atheists.”
I find myself quite impressed with Herbert’s explanation and respond, “Yes, please do.”
Herbert goes to the opposite side of the room and returns with two copies of the chart. He hands a copy to each of us. We examine it briefly.
That chart is available to the reader at:
All Human Life Is Based Upon Assumptions
After sitting quietly for about a minute, giving Jazbell and me time to glance through the chart, Herbert continues his explanation.
“And now, regarding the issue of reality versus belief about reality, I’ll give you an example. Before Copernicus, Galileo, and Columbus, most people in Europe believed that the Earth was flat. Was the Earth actually flat, or was that only their belief about reality?”
I respond, “It was obviously a belief about reality, and not reality itself.”
Herbert continues, “It’s obvious today, but it wasn’t obvious 500 years ago. Reality was then whatever reality was, and still today, reality is whatever reality is. Universal laws cannot be repealed. Nor do they change over time. The laws of the universe continue to operate regardless of whether or not we believe in them, or are even aware of them.”
I say, “The principles you teach are still based on assumptions. Is that any way to live?”
Herbert responds with, “We have no choice. It is the nature of life on planet Earth. All of human life is based on assumptions. We simply do not know with absolute certainty which assumptions express reality and which express illusions. We can only guess or go on circumstantial evidence and hope we are right.”
“So each society has its own set of religious/philosophical assumptions.”
“Yes,” he replies, “that’s correct. Every human being is born into a society that has it’s own culturally conditioned belief system — a system of ready-made values and beliefs about reality. Most people adopt and unquestioningly accept the beliefs of the social structure within which they were born, and if left unexamined, those beliefs dictate their behavior for the rest of their lives. 16-2
Do you recall the true but somewhat satirical definition of a superstition?”
“No,” I say, “but I suspect I’m about to hear it.”
“Superstition is simply a religion that you don’t believe in.”
Again, I am amazed at Herbert’s unique style. I respond with, “Do you always look at life from these left field perspectives?”
“No, only in those few moments each day when I am conscious of what I am doing.”
“Now you’re sounding just like Jazbell, again. Are you sure you two aren’t related?”
“Of course, we are related. She and I are both part of a grand unity sometimes referred to as God.” In case you’re not yet remembering, you and everyone else on the planet are also part of that unity. The only difference is that, relative to most other people, Jazbell and I are slightly more aware of who and what we are.”
Which Assumption is correct?
I ask, “So which of the three basic assumptions is correct?”
“No living human being can answer that question with tangible, provable certainty. If you are asking, ‘What do we know about God?' and 'What do we know with absolute certainty?’ The answer is absolutely nothing. We know that whatever-it-is that we call God has a profound effect upon us. Beyond that, everything is speculation.
Using scientific analysis, we’ve figured a few things about our physical environment, but what presently passes for knowledge about God is purely conjecture, speculation, guesswork, or outright fantasy. Joseph Campbell who was probably the greatest scholar of myth and comparative religions in the twentieth century expressed it this way:”
God' is an ambiguous word in our language because it appears to refer to something that is known. But the transcendent is unknown and unknowable. . . We want to think about God. God is a thought. God is a name. God is an idea but its reference is to something that transcends thinking. The ultimate mystery of being is beyond all thought. As Kant said, “the thing in itself is no thing." It transcends thingness, it goes past anything that could be thought.
The best things can't be told because they transcend thought. The second best are misunderstood because those are the thoughts that are supposed to refer to that which can't be thought about. The third best are what we talk about. And myth [religion] is that field of reference to what is absolutely transcendent. 16-3
“So which of the three assumptions I should I use?”
“There are no ‘shoulds’ in life, only choices. And, as for which assumption to follow, you’ll have to answer that question for yourself. The best suggestion I can offer is to hold each of the three assumptions as an untested hypothesis. Test each assumption against the circumstantial evidence of life and let the evidence speak for itself.
Notice to which assumption the evidence most frequently points. Look with an open mind and with the intention of finding an answer. You will soon come to your own conclusions. Remember, the choice is still yours to believe whatever you choose to believe.”
I ask Herbert, “But what if I’m wrong?”
“When deciding what action to take, it’s always advisable to consider how you will correct your mistake later if your action turns out to be wrong. You’d be wise to look at the three assumptions in detail and then live your life in a manner where, as much as possible, your errors are correctable. For example, if you live an exemplary life and atheism turns out to be the correct assumption, your error is all but meaningless. You’ve lost little or nothing; however, if you’re a perpetual badass and Christian one-life-ism turns out to be the truth, you spend eternity burning in hell. That’s a heavy-duty, non-correctable error.
And, personally, as far as my being wrong is concerned, I say ‘so what!’ This whole human life thing is probably just a big illusion anyway.”
I ask, “If you believe life is an illusion, how do you manage to live?”
Herbert laughs and says, “I play life as a game. The game is: I am here now. I want to be there then. I play the game in the ways that bring me the most joy and in ways that are also beneficial or neutral in their effect on others. I seek the truth above all else, and I regularly ask myself one very important question.”
“I’d like to hear more about playing life as a game, but based on your invitation to a baseball game, I’ll bet that’s another story for another time.”
“Yes, it is. When you come to a baseball game, we can get into that, if you like.”
“OK.” I ask. “What’s the question you ask yourself.”
Herbert replies with, “Does this belief, this thought, this emotion, and/or this action appear to be taking me toward what I say I intend to be, do or have, or is it taking me somewhere else?”
"Just a moment ago, you said you couldn't tell what activities would lead me to my goal and which lead elsewhere. Now I'm hearing something else."
Herbert replies, "Then you'd best become aware of the distinction between actions you take and the external experiences that seem to come to you from somewhere out there in the world. Yes, it's true that when an event occurs, you don't know what will also come as a result of it; however, when it comes to deciding what actions are appropriate for you to take, the results are usually much easier to perceive.
It's still true that you don't know all the ramifications of your actions; however, since action is essential in accomplishing anything, take actions that seem to lead to your goal. For example, if you're going to a job interview and want to be hired as a bank teller, would you dress the way I'm dressed or would you wear a suit?"
I answer, "Obviously, I'd wear a suit. This brings up another question. How do you relate to the world with your long hair and you casual clothing. Don’t you get ridiculed and put down a lot?”
“Not so much any more. My position here at the center, my financial success, my reputation as a highly skilled therapist, my good health, my years of a joy-filled home life, all put a damper on my detractors.”
“Why don’t you talk like this to most people?”
“Because most people don’t want to hear anything that might upset the status quo or threaten their personal beliefs. That’s why the most popular talk show hosts on radio and TV are far right conservatives who support the status quo and want to take everyone back to the way things used to be.
I ask, “How do you feel and how to you react to someone who puts you down?"
“First, I’m no longer concerned about what anybody else thinks about me, and, second, I no longer react. I simply respond by saying ‘thank you.’ Remember the law of allowing that I just explained to you. When I do get put down, that simply gives me another chance to walk my talk.
It also gives me another opportunity to follow the teachings of Jesus. You may recall his words: When someone slaps you on the right cheek turn to him the left’.”16-4 I often take that teaching a step further. I turn to him two more cheeks and simply walk away.
I realize that I am not responsible for anyone else’s feelings, beliefs, behavior, or their attitude toward me. Neither am I responsible for fixing or changing them in any way. I have a full time job, being responsible for and managing my own life. If I can be a role model, or if I can bring someone joy when he laughs at me, that’s fine with me.”
“So why do these assumptions create so much trouble?”
“The assumptions themselves don’t create the problems. The problems stem from the misuse of the assumptions, from rigidly believing an assumption as if it were an irrefutable fact. You can be very logical, very reasonable and even find what appears to be factual evidence in support of your belief; however, if one or more of your basic assumptions is false, then everything based on that false assumption becomes open to question.”
At this point, I turn to Jazbell. “You’ve been unusually quiet since we got here. Do you have anything to say about all of this?”
“It’s wonderful to sit here and hear the life principles expressed from a different perspective. Intendr taught me most of these concepts when I was still a teenybopper and yet each time I hear them, I see them from a broader perspective. There is one perspective, though, that I would like to hear more about.”
“And what is that?” Herbert asks.
Jazbell answers, “Earlier you made reference to atheism and the worship of ‘The Great God Money.’ It sounded as though you look at money and atheism as though they were both a religion.”
“Ego-atheism 17-5 has many of the attributes of a religion. Money is God and Ego, Fame, and Power are the archangels. And no one can dispute that there is a great deal of worshiping going on regarding money; however, money itself is not a religion. Money is simply a convenient form of goods and services designed to be a measure of value, a storage of wealth, and a medium of exchange. It is the addiction to making more money that has taken on the attributes of a religion.”
Jazbell say, “Please explain what you mean.”
Worshipping the Great God, Money
Herbert responds, “Worship of "The Great God Money" is the most common earthly expression of the ego-atheism assumption. I like to call this doctrine The Church of Cheezus Dollars."
I say, “That sounds sacrilegious.”
“It is. Unless, of course, it isn’t. Please look at the bottom of the last page of the chart I just handed you.“ I turn the page and read the title: The Sacred Doctrine of The Church of Cheezus Dollars.
“This outlines the basic attributes of money worshipers. Now remember, these are generalities and do not apply to any single individual.” I look at the sheet as Herbert reads the content out loud to us.”
(A)--- Self-interest as Prima Donna.
(B)--- The only criterion for judging actions is "THE-BOTTOM-LINE." What is the physical result? Did I get what I want?
C)--- Acts of war'ship to the deity, The-Great-God-Money are reward, not in some pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by kind of way, but in the prove-it-to-me, show-it-to-me tradition of: "Lie another lie, and kiss my thigh, all the way to the bank.
(D)--- All the invisible hocus-pocus that the old, "religious fools" call “spirit" has been neatly thrown away.
(E)--- There is absolutely no responsibility for any actions unless the doer gets caught in the act.
(F)--- The long-term effects of our actions upon our Earthly environment are completely irrelevant.
(G)--- The war’shippers of The Great God Money even have their own golden rule, “He who holds the gold, rules.” 17-6
Herbert sets the paper aside and says, “The dominator--manipulators love this theory. They can do or buy anything or anyone with impunity. The only problem with this theory is that, of the three possibilities, atheism is the least likely to be the correct one. There is already significant, tangible, scientific evidence that human consciousness can function independently of the physical body.”
I say, “I don’t mean to be cynical, and all that’s nice to know, but so what? How does this relate to daily life?”
“I can best demonstrate this with an example. Would you like a personal example or a social example?”
I respond with, “Since I don’t have enough information to make a rational choice, I’ll leave that for you to decide.”
End of Chapter Eighteen --
These Are the Assumptions Upon Which I Base My Facts
Take me to Book One -- Chapter Nineteen
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Footnotes and References
16-1 Although there are common elements with the Jewish and Moslem faiths, the phrase "The Western Religions" refers primarily to the 360+ variations of Christianity.
make assumptions about all kinds of things.
We believe hundreds of things that have no basis in
provable reality. For some examples, see this
web site page
16-3 From The Power of Myth, by Joseph Campbell, Pages 48-49, New York, N.Y., Doubleday, 1988.
16-4 From the Christian Bible : Matthew 5:39 & Luke 6:29.
16-5 Ego-atheism is distinct from humanitarian atheism. See the chart at: http://www.ReligiousAssumptions.com/major-distinctions-chart.html#75 for the distinctions between the two.
16-6 To compare atheism with the other two basic religious beliefs, (reincarnation and one-life-ism) see the chart at: http://www.ReligiousAssumptions.com/major-distinctions-chart.html#75 titled: The Major attributes of the Three Fundamental Assumptions About Life.