TMI and the benefits of privacy

Many years back, while practising law, I got a a very unfortunate phonecall from another lawyer.  “Your client came in to consult with me today. She was looking for a second opinion. I thought you’d want to know.”

He assumed he was doing me a big favour. But he was not. The next time that particular client came in to see me, I couldn’t help but notice a change in my attitude. I struggled with it. I had no reason to feel differently. Talking to another lawyer is, of course, her right to do. She didn’t pull her case from me and the other consultation was never mentioned. But I just didn’t like her quite as much as I did before. I felt betrayed. It was unnecessary, and unfair to her, for me to feel that way. But I just couldn’t help it.

My new, unwanted feelings made me wish that the other lawyer had just kept it to himself. TMI! Not only did he violate her privacy, he poisoned my own relationship with her in the process. If I could have cut him off before he said it, I definitely would have. If only I’d known what he was about to tell me, I would have hung up the phone before he had the chance .

How many times have you found out some fact about a person, which should have been private, and then wish that you just didn’t know? You can’t “un-know” it. It can negatively change how you feel, without giving you any benefit at all.

We each have, or should have, a public veneer. That’s the image that we present once we step outside our front door, and go out there into the world. This is everybody’s basic right. Other than what we choose to share publicly, the rest of our information is, and should remain, private. There’s supposed to be a wall of privacy around our homes. But when this is invaded, all kinds of unfortunate and unnecessary things can and do happen.

We must honour the sanctity of the home and allow people to keep private their private information. We must keep our “data input” about other people strictly to what is in front of us, through ordinary means. And we have to fight the impulse to find out more.

But one thing that people rarely consider, is that to honour the privacy of other people protects YOU. This point is directed at those who might say, “I know that’s an invasion of their privacy. But I need to protect myself! So I have to find out everything I can.” Well, if this is you, then you’re absolutely wrong. The best way to protect yourself is NOT TO KNOW what you have no right to know.

Personally, I never try to find out any private information about others. I prefer to know only what’s being offered to me via regular channels – that is, whatever I see, hear, read, and experience directly. If somebody told me that they had a private file on another person who is involved with my life, such as their medical file or their financial profile, I would quickly tell them to take a hike. I don’t want to know! I don’t need to know. And this attitude of honouring the privacy of others, protects me.

It protects me against unwanted and unfortunate facts, which I never should have found out about about. It protects me from having my existing relationship poisoned for no good reason at all. It allows me to have natural, honest relationships, where I can quickly decide how I’d like to interact, without having to go and check something first.

Most importantly, always honouring the privacy of others allows me to keep giving people the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say that someone has said something bad about me. If I never find out about it, then the next time I see them, that information won’t colour our interaction. This way, they can get a second chance to be a decent human being. And I’ll be none the wiser. So I won’t need to waste my energy by disliking them. I’d rather not.

Now, how about this for something irrational and bizarre: a person finds out a private fact about somebody. They shouldn’t know about that at all – but somehow, they do. And then, they take some action based on what they’ve found out.  Then, when it all goes sour on them, they blame the victim of the privacy invasion, for their own decision to act! Yes – it does happen. Blaming somebody else for what YOU did, when that person doesn’t even have a clue, is worse than stupid. It’s insane.

Things have gotten very toxic out there, and I believe that the growing erosion of privacy is the basic reason. The best thing that you can do for yourself, in order to have peace of mind and be a trusting human being, is to quit helping yourself to information which is not rightly yours to have. You’ll sleep better. If everybody did that, I’m sure that we’d all be much better off.


Action and authenticity

An action is a bridge, between your inner self and your outer world. When a person acts, if they are being authentic they will show who they are and what they’re thinking. But when action is only an imitation of what somebody else does, it’s no longer a bridge between your real self and others. It no longer speaks to who you are. When you are just imitating, your action becomes a different sort of bridge. Your action is really only a link between how you feel about the person you want to imitate, and the image that you want to portray to others. But note that your real self doesn’t feature anywhere in the process. Therefore, when you imitate, you’re only creating bridges between other people. YOU aren’t even in the equation. Only your action is.

That’s why authentic action is always best. Imitation is the opposite of authenticity.

I’ll give an example of what I mean, using a common experience: a girl wants to impress a boy and make him dependent on her. Leaving aside that this is a questionable goal to begin with, let’s say that her motives are good. She just wants to find a partner, and this is the only way that she’s been taught how to do it. She believes that she needs to make somebody dependent on her, so that he feels like he can’t get along without her. Now, how should she do this?

Unfortunately, the goal here (to make another person dependent on you) is not ethical. And ultimately, it won’t work, unless a lot of underhanded tricks are being used. Because to further her goal, a goal which is inherently disrespectful of the guy whom she’s trying to hook, she can only perform inauthentic actions.

Why do I say that this goal is inherently disrespectful? Because if she sets about trying to make another person dependent on her, it means that she doesn’t care about what THEY might need. The only important thing is what SHE needs, from them. This essentially erases the other person from importance. In that scenario, she is the only person who is important to her. And that’s the formula for a dysfunctional relationship.

She will probably assess his life and say to herself, who is he dependent on? His mother? Well they have a good relationship. So, he must depend on her then. Right. I will therefore carefully imitate whatever his mother does. And then he will shift his dependency from her, over to me.

This type of thing doesn’t work though, for so many reasons. The filter that she’s using to analyze the boy and his mother is faulty, because she views life from an inauthentic place. She doesn’t know herself. She’s probably spent her whole life just finding people to imitate, as if she’s learning how to be a human being mainly by emulating other human beings. That doesn’t work. You end up coming across as inconsistent. People will find that there’s no real person there to connect to. There’s only a series of actions, but not a real, genuine heart under them.

If a girl tries to “hook” a boy by imitating what his mother does, she is not being authentic. She is not being herself. She’s trying to wear the personality of another human. All of that time and energy that she spends on careful imitation, she could be spending instead on learning who she is and what SHE wants to do.

What’s the point here? It is that instead of imitating other people, you should be closely examining your own inner self to determine exactly who you are. Your actions need to show who you are, not who you are imitating. The more that you practice authentic action, the more comfortable you’ll be with yourself. The best part of that is, other people will react in a more positive way to you, if your actions are coming from an authentic space within you, rather than from your cold assessment and repetition of the actions of others.

Are there risks? Oh yes. If you are being your authentic self, rather than imitating the outer actions of “successful” people, somebody might not like you. You might not be able to make another person dependent on you. Well, that would actually be a good thing. You shouldn’t be trying to do that anyway – it’s disrespectful of others, remember?

How can you tell if you are being an authentic human being, where you actually know yourself and your actions are a true bridge between your inner self and the outer world? Because some people don’t like you. That’s how. Well, that’s life. Accept it. It’s not the end of the world if someone doesn’t like you. At least you’ll know that you’re alive.

It’s only when your actions become TRUE bridges between yourself and the outside world, that you will become a real, authentic person. And people will be able to use those bridges to reach the real you, rather than just an empty space where your heart should be.

What religion brings

Well, it’s that time of year again – when atheists sternly tell you what not to believe, while you shrug and ignore them, planning your holiday get-togethers as usual.  What’s up with that anyway?

It’s atheism’s traditional, annual irrational false association ritual – one that I personally find quite annoying.

It goes like this.

Religion is terrible.  It’s the source of all evil.  Because if you look at it, the religious leaders are sometimes bad – and people often do horrible things too, “in the name of” religion.  Therefore, it’s an all-round terrible thing.  And if you believe in it, then you are either stupid, or terrible – or both.  So, please don’t.  Be smart.

Let’s pull that apart, shall we?  This is MY annual ritual.  Applying rational thought to irrational, non-causative assertions is my hobby.  I have to do something with my time.

First, let’s examine the phrase “in the name of”.  This is the reason for people pointing the finger at all Muslims:  some people, calling themselves Muslim, do awful things and while doing these things, they say that they are doing it “in the name of Allah”.  Therefore, they are doing these despicable acts “in the name of Islam” and this means that Islam must be bad.

Are you following me here?  Can you see the error in logic there?  The anti-Muslim goofball tries to make a false association between a) the individual acts of certain soul-broken, damaged-beyond-repair people, and b) billions of other people who don’t even know them.  This false association is created by the bad actor, whose words appear to link him to all the other Muslims, according to him.  And so, the idiotic among us try to tag billions of hardworking, spiritual Muslims with what the sorry human has done to other humans – just because he said so.

Hey, if the criminal actor said it, it must be true!  Right?  So you can see how this false association forms the basis of hatred against a good portion of the human life on this planet.  Clever?  No.  But still, people do it.

This same sort of false association and error in causation is done by atheists, every day.  They wear the mantle of “thinking human” and they “mean well” when they say “religion has caused so much misery and hatred”.  They repeat their mantra especially at holiday time, sincerely believing that if you’re a believer, they are just trying to do you a favour.

Let’s look at the sentence “religion has caused so much misery and hatred”.  This is not true.  What’s true, is that some people cause so much misery and hatred through their actions, while claiming religion to be the reason they do it.  Again, just because they said it, doesn’t make it true.  And their heinous acts simply do not tag those who celebrate religious holidays.  That’s just trying to jam together two things that do not relate, due to bad actors claiming inspiration from something other than their sorry selves.  That does not wash.

So now let’s move to the millions of people who celebrate religious holidays with their friends and/or families, on an annual basis, enjoying eachother’s company.  Shall we tag them with what strangers have done, in the past, “in the name of religion”?  No.  That would be a false association.  Those acts have nothing at all to do with these good people, who are using religious holidays as a convenient excuse to get together every year.

Yes -it is convenient.  Whether you believe spiritually in a certain mythology or not is really irrelevant.  Not everyone believes the same thing.  Some just enjoy the season, without any spiritual belief attached to it.  Some enjoy the season, AND attend church or synagogue, or Mosque if it’s Ramadan.  Some do all of that and have their own private observance of the spiritual aspects of the particular holiday they celebrate.  It doesn’t matter.

Religion is not actually a “thing”.  It’s a huge category, encompassing cultural and social rituals, as well as spiritual belief, and yes – bad actors try to use it too.  But it’s not a “thing”.  It’s a massive set of ideas, practises, symbols, and beliefs.

This set of ideas, practises, symbols, and beliefs forms the basis for annual reinforcement of social and family bonding.  When people get together under the auspices of a religious holiday, they are enjoying one another’s company – not the holiday itself.  The holiday isn’t a “thing”, it’s an occasion.  Let’s use a completely secular holiday for a moment, to make this point.  When you get together on Thanksgiving, for example, during dinner you aren’t all going “Hail to Thanksgiving!  Thanksgiving is great!  Let’s think about Thanksgiving, the holiday.  Everybody ponder Thanksgiving.”  No, I don’t think that anybody does that.  Rather, they are enjoying the fact that they are together (or, if they are in a dysfunctional, non-attached group, it could be something worse – true).  The holiday itself is a symbol of “gratitude” as a concept.  So, they might ponder gratitude while enjoying dinner, giving homage to the symbolism of the occasion – or they might not.  But the important aspect of the holiday is the bonding of the group.

Same goes for Christmas, or Hannukah, or Ramadan, or any other annual ritual provided by a religion.  It’s the togetherness that counts.  And yes, there is a certain conscriptive or authoritative aspect to it – if you don’t come home for it, that’s frowned upon.  Or worse, you could break your mother’s heart if you don’t show up.  The religious holiday does have a certain responsibility attached to it and again, this is valuable for bonding purposes, because people are very busy.  The religious holiday provides an excuse for you ducking out of something else – gotta go.  It’s Christmas.  Can’t help you today, it’s Hannukah.  It provides a source of glue for heart-attached groups of people, to reinforce their bonds and enjoy the energy thus created.

So why would atheists try to pull apart this sort of social/familial bonding?  I guess they would have many reasons for that – some sinister, some simply unaware of what they’re doing.  But I think that the efforts of atheists to “disrupt” religious holidays are completely futile anyway.  So why did I give that any energy today?  Simply because I wanted to throw in a rational argument for why religious holidays are good, and for why you can’t assert that “religion is bad” because of what SOME people do while naming it as their source.  With any act of aggression or hatred, the bad actor firmly sets himself apart from everybody else and this will never change.  In conclusion, atheists are sending an irrational message, based on false associations, for reasons which currently escape me.

(bonus thought:  If you are thinking to yourself “She’d better just shut up!” right about now, then I have to wonder … why you are reading this?  Isn’t it optional?)

What is poor?

I wrote a couple of blog posts ago about how we can change our understanding of being “rich”, and how it would be useful to impart to our offspring some coping skills and resiliency, which would be just as valuable (and maybe even more so) than passing them some real estate.

And now I’d like to talk about how I see poverty.  I don’t think that “being poor” has anything to do with financial resources, or assets.  I think that “being poor” means that you are in the habit of doing any one of the following things:

  1. Being happy or glad at the misfortune of others;
  2. By the same token, being sad when others succeed;
  3. Wishing ill fortune or failure on other people, for your own petty reasons;
  4. Taking action that you are hoping will result in another person, or other people, failing;
  5. Taking things that belong to somebody else;
  6. Repeating negative gossip or rumours, whether or not it’s true;
  7. Taking pleasure in the pain of others;
  8. Subscribing to ideas such as “all people are essentially bad or selfish”, as a way to justify your own appalling behaviour (a la Aristotle or Plato);
  9. Expecting a lot from others, while giving very little yourself.

If you do all, some, or any of these things, then you are poor.  I don’t care how wealthy you are.  I don’t care about your status.  You’re a poor person.  And you are in the minority.

It’s true that people who do # 1 through 9 above are louder than the rest.  They tend to make themselves larger than others, so that sometimes it seems like there are more of them, than there really are.  Not so.  Being a loud-mouth doesn’t mean that there are more of you.  It’s also true that such people tend to gather in clusters, to support one another in their unfortunate behaviour, and egg eachother on.  This might make it seem that a lot of people are like this – but again, not so.  If you don’t do these things, but you have the misfortune of being in close proximity to those who do, take heart.

Because there are many more of you, than there are of them.  It’s just that the nicer, more pleasant people tend to be quieter as they go about their daily life.  This isn’t to say that speaking up means that you aren’t nice.  But speaking up in order to be of assistance, to yourself or somebody else, is a far cry from spouting hatred.  The difference is quite clear.

So for this upcoming holiday season, keep your chin up, expect things to unfold differently than they have been up until now, and expect life to become more balanced and fair.  Because it’s true that often, what you expect, is what you’ll get.

I’m not sure when the “law of attraction” got so twisted.  A good, sound idea somehow got co-opted and used for teaching people that their own thoughts can become reality, if they just think hard and often enough about what they “want”.  That isn’t it.  The real “law of attraction” goes like this:

If you expect to be treated poorly, you could be creating the conditions for this to occur, without even realizing it.  That’s because people are instinctive, and they tend to avoid the negative.  If you expect that you are going to be useful, then you likely will be – because your energy and behaviour will be aimed towards usefulness.  If you try to see the good in people, you might occasionally be disappointed – but mostly, people do live up to the expectations of others.  It’s called “self-fulfilling prophecy” in psychology.  This means that your language, your movements, your actions, and your plans can result in people reflecting this right back at you.  Because people are very perceptive and they will get your meaning.

But none of that means that you should concentrate mentally on “abundance coming your way”, wasting your time stuck up in your own head, trying to secretly manipulate situations.  The difference between “self-fulfilling prophecy” and the “law of attraction” as it’s currently being sold, is very stark – but at the same time, the nuances might be hard to understand.  It’s a good mental exercise to try and sort that out, but don’t let this get in the way of interacting with other people, collaborating, and creating useful things.

I mentioned yesterday that I’m in a bad mood – the above is a rant accordingly.  Read it at your own risk.  Oh, sorry – you already did.


The violence formula

Violence = Anger/rage + bitterness + arousal

That’s how it’s done.  Let’s examine the elements of the formula.  Everybody gets angry some time, this is normal.  Failure to experience or express anger, resulting in suppression, can have detrimental effects on health long term.  Healthy outlets for releasing anger are key.  Maybe this is what sports is for – a healthy, contained outlet for frustration.  Even the armchair athlete can enjoy its benefits.

But when anger festers long term without an outlet, or with constant input of irritation and stress and no hope of relief, bitterness results.  Bitterness is a special emotion.  It seems that bitterness is sometimes deliberately cultivated in certain populations.  People are chronically deprived of a pleasant life, while being constantly exposed to the nice lives that others enjoy.  They are shown this on purpose, while their own lives continue to be miserable.  Over time, this can cause bitterness to fester.  Bitterness is likely the most key element of violence – it arises from hopelessness, long term stress, jealousy, and being on the receiving end of hatred.

Many people sneer at religion, and claim that “religion” (as if it’s one single thing) is the cause of the world’s worst problems.  Not true at all.  There is no such thing as “religion”.  There are thousands, if not millions, of different belief systems – spiritual and otherwise.  Some of these belief systems provide hope, joy, cheer, and emotional sustenance.  Others do quite the opposite.  You can’t paint it all with a single brush and call it “religion”.  That’s an imaginary thing, a category which is much too broad to be a valid concept.

But the point here about religion is that it is a remedy for bitterness, when it’s a healthy belief system.  When religion promotes unhealthy beliefs (e.g. such as, women are naturally inferior to men … girls shouldn’t be educated … one third of the world is evil … etc.) then in those situations, religion actually fosters bitterness, rather than providing a remedy for it.  That’s very dangerous.  But don’t think that throwing all “religion” out is the answer either.  You take away the one aspect of peoples’ lives which gives them hope and strength, that would be a recipe for trouble indeed.  Then you would cause much more widespread bitterness to occur.

Religion is a stop-gap, necessary because our world got set up economically in such an unbalanced fashion, leaving so many people in the dust.  Because of that situation, religion is a necessary component of a peaceful world.  Maybe once we have re-balanced the situation so that it makes more sense, fewer and fewer people might turn to religion for comfort in times of stress and misery.  But we aren’t there yet.

Back to bitterness.  Bitterness is like fuel.  Unlike what one famous American said, the only thing we have to fear is NOT fear itself.  Fear is good.  Fear helps us to survive.  Fear is healthy.  He was wrong.  No, the only thing we have to fear, is anger and bitterness, with arousal.  That’s the formula that makes people rip things up and damage other people.  Anger and rage provide the material to create bitterness.  And arousal is like the match which lights the fuel.

A man might not really have the type of character to assault a woman.  But if he learns to dislike her enough and this develops into rage, and then she arouses him somehow, he will become capable of violence against her.  And now we might be able to understand why women in societies with chronic poverty and deprivation and misery, go around with their bodies covered up.  Very wise of them.  This prevents the arousal that might set men off.  Because this particular formula for violence seems to be aimed at males in particular.  Women apparently do not have the same types of brains, i.e. based on visual stimulation.  It’s well known that women need mental stimulation, ideas, promises, security, status, to become aroused – even without anything visually pleasing.  Men, however, are famously set off by their eyesight, according to countless neurological studies.  So the formula for violence, which is lit up by arousal, is much more easily accomplished via appealing to males.  And this is why men are the ones doing most of the violence, with few exceptions.

Now that we have decoded how violence happens, even to formerly peaceful men, we have to eliminate its components in order to solve this problem.

I’m not sure how to eliminate bitterness.  But personally, I don’t allow myself to feel it.  If somebody has chronically stressed me out, to the point where things have gotten ridiculous, I don’t feel bitter.  I just intensely dislike them.  This doesn’t really change.  Once I dislike somebody that much, that’s it.  Nothing will change it.  Dislike is not particularly volatile in nature.  It just means that you avoid a person’s company.  You can be quite civil in the presence of somebody whom you dislike, that’s pretty easy.  For me, once I dislike somebody, I don’t really ever change that, because I choose not to.  This is my way of protecting myself against further stress from that person.  I learn not to care about them.  And that’s how I protect myself – however I don’t become bitter.  I just kind of eliminate them from my mental circle.  It’s just a natural process, which I don’t interfere with.  I can still have relations with them, i.e. if we do business, I can still do that.  But I don’t have to like them.  That’s how I get around the problem of bitterness – I just don’t do it.  When it comes to jealousy, this is something that I can talk myself out of.  If I see somebody doing much better than I am, for no sound reason, I just tell myself that I’m still doing pretty well, all things considered, in the grand scheme of things, when it comes to the basic necessities.  It’s just a mental process whereby you talk yourself out of being jealous, and it’s not hard to do.

As far as arousal, at my age this isn’t a problem either.  I’m not in my 20s anymore.  So it isn’t an issue.  It’s very rare, and it doesn’t control me.  It definitely cannot occur with somebody whom I dislike.  If I dislike a person, they will never arouse me.  This is quite unlike the experience of many men.  I just watched a Hollywood movie where they were training somebody to be a member of a “secret society” which does killings.  Leaving aside how repugnant this idea is, what was interesting was that this attractive woman was overseeing the torment of this new recruit.  She would stand by while he was beaten.  This was supposed to create anger and rage in him, which they could then use.  He learned to dislike her intensely of course.  And then, he saw her without clothes on – and his dislike evaporated instantly.

Of course, as usual, Hollywood got it all wrong.  In reality, with real people, in this type of situation a person’s dislike for the overseer of their abuse would never evaporate.  They would continue to dislike them, and they would likely become bitter after a long time of abuse.  And seeing the overseer without clothes on would simply cause arousal, and this might cause him to be violent against her.  His feelings wouldn’t just evaporate in an instant upon seeing her – but they might change to violence.  So they definitely got that wrong in this movie, but are we surprised?  Hollywood follows its own formulas, and they almost never resemble how people actually behave in real life.  But at least it was food for thought.

The world is currently experiencing a campaign of 11 days to end violence against women and girls.  I hope that putting forward this formula, might help to solve this problem once and for all.  We could never eliminate violence I guess, but we can begin to pinpoint WHO is creating the formula.  We can start to understand its sources, and call people who are doing this to task – call them out.  Let everybody see who they are.  The perpetrators in this case, the ones creating the formula for violence, are probably right out in the open for all to see, because what they are doing isn’t strictly illegal.  But it’s very damaging.  Since there are no laws against hoarding and displaying wealth, right in front of impoverished struggling people, and also there are no laws against exposing them to arousing stimulation once they’ve become good and bitter, the only way to stop this formula is to educate people as to what’s being done to them.  If you say to somebody, “You are being slowly transformed into a violent person.  Because you have plenty of rage, you have become bitter, and you are drawn to arousing stimulation – this is a terrible formula … you could fall prey to it.  You are being used.  You are in danger of ruining your own life, by committing criminal acts,” then maybe we’d have a hope of getting to them, waking them up and allowing them to clearly see the situation, thereby preventing them from being lit up.  That would be my hope.

Dialogue on limitations of physics

This seems to be a popular format – Q & A. Once again, Socratella has something to say.  This time, she is talking to Thomas, a physicist.

S:  When you say that “nothing is ever created or destroyed, just transformed” you are wrong.

T:  Many great scientists have proven this to be correct. So it’s you who are wrong.

S:  Sometimes your theory is correct, but often, it is wrong.  So what does that mean then?  For a theory to be correct, doesn’t it have to always be correct?  I can think of many examples where the statement that “nothing is ever created or destroyed” is simply invalid.  Since I can think of so many situations where that is not true, doesn’t that invalidate your precious theory?

T:  All right – give me the supposed example. (He smiles and jams his hands deeply into his pockets, anticipating good times.)

S:  First I’ll provide an example where you are correct.  Let’s say that somebody’s home is destroyed – rendered into rubble.  What is a “home”?  It’s a building, but it’s also a place where you rest your head, somewhere you can feel safe – it’s your castle.  So your home becomes a pile of rubble – and from that rubble, you build another home.  This means that your original home, when it was wrecked, wasn’t really destroyed.  It was transformed into a new home.  Is this the type of thing that you’re talking about?

T:  Well … not precisely.  You brought into the formula some things which can’t be measured or seen – a sense of safety, for example.  We don’t look at things like that.  We would simply consider the physical materials out of which the home was built, and we would say that even if these were pulverized and turned into gravel, or blown to small bits, those bits or pieces of gravel are the new physical form of the physical materials used to build the original home.  In that sense, the materials of that building can never be truly destroyed – only transformed.

S:  So let me get this straight – you are only dealing with the tangible, in molecular form, when you put forward your theory that nothing is ever truly destroyed?

T:  Yes, that’s right.  So you see, that statement must be true.  It is never incorrect, therefore the theory is valid.

S:  Well then, I think that this discussion is rather boring then.  We are in agreement.  There’s nothing more boring than agreement, wouldn’t you say?  I guess my criticism of your theory is broader than its physical implications.  I quibble with its application.  I think that given your theory is limited to physical molecules, it has extremely limited application.  But unfortunately, it is applied to contexts in which it does not belong.

T:  How so?

S:  People use your physical theory to reassure citizens when something precious is destroyed.  “Don’t worry, it’s not really lost – it’s just been transformed.  The universe wastes nothing.”  I quoted a popular Hollywood movie there – “The Day The Earth Stood Still”.  In that movie, humankind and everything that humankind has built is being destroyed by alien technology – and the alien wielding this technology reassures the movie’s heroine by telling her, “Don’t worry – the universe wastes nothing.  Nothing is ever truly destroyed.”  He took your theory of physics and he applied it to her grief, attempting to soothe her.  This did not work at all, obviously.  She did not feel better.  I’m sure that you can see how his statement to her was not valid.

T:  (smile having disappeared)  Well, no – he was correct in what he said to her.  Even though those buildings were disappearing, nothing was really being destroyed – on the basis that I’ve already explained.

S:  AHA!  There, that’s where you are wrong.  Also, Hollywood is wrong, as it often is.  Sometimes people actually believe that if a movie character says it, then it must be true.  Leaving aside the folly of that, here is something very dangerous – dangerous because of how false it is.  Let’s keep using that movie for a moment – the woman is very upset at the loss of all that humankind has created.  And he tells her not to worry because “the universe wastes nothing”.  He thereby ignores all of the intangibles, things like the “sense of safety” from my earlier example of a destroyed home.  Let’s look  more closely at this, because it’s a very important point.  He ignored all the intangibles – and he used the resulting purely physical theory, to reassure her about those very intangibles.  See that?

T:  Not sure I follow you (frowning).  Socratella observes that he follows her very well, or seems to, however he seems unhappy about where it’s heading

S:  Let’s find another example.  An ancient place of worship, that some call a “church”, made of local stone, with a stone altar and wall carvings, has existed for over 2,000 years.  Millions of people have sat in its pews over the centuries – gazing at the same walls, the same altar.  When you go in there you feel a very unusual sense of history, because of sharing the same experience with people back to ancient times.  Your feelings when you sit in this church are “intangible” – they can’t be seen or measured by your standards.  They are, however, very real feelings.  They have existence, these feelings.  The sense of awe, the experience of the profound, those are very real.  But when some misguided, violent people destroy this church and render it into rubble, all of these intangibles are destroyed – forever.  They are transformed into grief and loss, which are hardly the same thing.  The sense of awe when sitting in that church is replaced by a sense of hopelessness gazing at the rubble – hardly anywhere near the same thing, is it.  In fact, these feelings are most unlike one another.  This is not “transformation” – it is pure loss, 100%.  Pure destruction. So – destruction does happen.  Don’t say that it never happens.  Untrue.

T:  What’s your point? (glancing at his watch)  I have somewhere to be.  (Pulls out his smartphone and starts scrolling through it)

S:  Yes, this is what you people always do.  As soon as you sense that somebody is making a valid point, you begin to use distraction, and you employ the body language of disrespect.  I’m surprised that you did not spit at my feet too.  (T starts swiveling his head around, looking anywhere other than at S.)  See what you’re doing now?  You are pretending that this discussion is over.  Gee, what else is in this room?  Who else can I pay attention to?  People like you always do this.  Guess why?  You’re obviously afraid.  Well – I’m not letting you off the hook.  Pay attention to me!  Listen!  You can’t leave a discussion right in the middle like that.  I won’t allow you to disrespect me.  And look me in the eye!  Grow up!

T:  (crossing his arms and raising his chin in defiance) Fine.  Go ahead.

S:  The point here is that something VERY real is destroyed, forever, when something which people value highly is destroyed.  And yet, you physicists are so eager to come in and reassure them that no, actually, this ancient church hasn’t really been destroyed.  It’s only been transformed – into different molecules!  And you kidding me?  You actually think that this can be reassuring to anybody?  I hope you see the error that you have been making.  It’s an error of thought.  Now let’s be careful here, because this is a common error, and it is leading to a bad outcome in many cases.  Are you with me?

T:  What do you want from me?  I told you that I’m listening, didn’t I? (pouting, looking down at the ground, scuffing his feet like a 10 year old)

S:  You formulated your theory that “nothing is ever really destroyed” using only physical molecules, ignoring all of the intangibles that go along with anything that people truly value.  Then, after excluding intangibles from your theory, you then turn around and apply this limited theory to intangibles.  You apply your theory to everything, in an attempt to placate and silence people who are mourning the permanent loss of valuable intangibles, which really did exist but which are now gone.  You are using apples to talk about oranges.  You can’t exclude something THIS important when formulating a theory, and then use that limited theory to assess the very thing that you had excluded.  This is simply not valid.  Generally, when you have excluded something, you can’t then apply your limited theory to it.

T:  Is there anything else?  Do you have a point here?

S:  Yes, I do.  Scientists like you refuse to acknowledge how severely limited your theories are.  You hate to think that you don’t have all the answers.  You do whatever you want, you manipulate your theories to suit yourselves, including or excluding whatever you want.  Everything that you do is, by definition, severely limited to the physical world – which is only a very small slice of our reality.  And then, you pronounce that you now understand all of reality, via these self-limited theories.  Well – you don’t understand much at all.  All I’m asking is that you acknowledge your own limitations.

T:  Fine.  Anything else?

S:  Yes – tell Hollywood how wrong they were, in that film where the alien tells the woman “Don’t worry, nothing is ever really destroyed.  The universe wastes nothing.”  Tell them how wrong that is, and tell them that whoever wrote that bit is completely out to lunch.  Actually – no – never mind.  I will tell them myself.  We need to beware of people using limited scientific theories to try and understand the realities that we can’t see – the realities of the human mind, thought, emotion, and inspiration.  Know your place.  And know your limits.  Don’t stray from your own territory.  Well, thanks for your attention, and sorry that I had to fight you so hard for it.  Maybe you should learn how to listen to people who don’t agree with you – that way, maybe you can grow a little some day.  Take care.