Monthly Archives: January 2015
How many times during the course of your life have you created a social or personal reality or embraced one created by others? By this I am not referring to an imaginary playmate or fantasy job or such but, rather, to a reality or fact based on mutual agreement or assent.
Sound crazy? It isn’t. The imminent philosopher John Searle actually devoted part of a whole book to the thesis that there are 2 kinds of facts: Those that are facts no matter who observes them, and then there are those that only need people’s agreement or assent to them. A fossil ammonite, for instance, is a physical object that remains a fossil ammonite no matter who looks at it or holds it. A church group’s claim that an archangel hovered over their last meeting is a mental reality to those who perceived it but cannot be demonstrated to those who do not share this perception/belief-based perspective (The same can be said of some treatments and diagnostic techniques in the world of complementary-alternative medicine).
Ideally, such perception/belief based “facts” should enrich, uplift, solve a problem/resolve a dilemma or otherwise improve your life as well as that of others or at least not cause or inflict irredeemable (irreversible) loss or harm to those who do not embrace these.
One example I routinely employ to illustrate this is drawn from my own life: Throughout my younger days and well into my middle years I fancied having a daughter but did not (Busyness & distractions and not biological constraints laid waste to realizing this). As I inched into my 40s family and friends would sometimes ask if I had a “plan B” such as adopting a daughter or being a foster parent to a little girl. Given the fact I traveled to projects and assignments a great deal I did not consider this a prudent course of action. However, being a somewhat creative soul I would tell those who asked that, “The best remedy to a closed conventional door may be something novel. I’ll watch and see what presents itself” (I had no idea how prophetic these words would prove-to-be).
In 1999 my peripatetic path took me to Japan where I began teaching ESL courses to university students at, Teikyo kagaku daigaku (photo below – building housing my classroom) which in English is Teikyo University of Science & Technology (Later on I taught at a variety of private schools, corporations and even did some one-on-one tutoring). During the course of my tenure at TKU I was loaned to Asia University (North Tokyo) for a few weeks to teach intensive, advanced TOEIC exam prep classes.
Among the things most ESL instructors get around to asking their students is, “What is your dearest dream in life?” While hanging out with my students after class on one particular September day, I had the tables turned on me insofar as they insisted I tell them what “my dearest dream in life is”. I thought for a moment and then said “Well, to have a daughter”. All the young women gathered about me let out a collective “Oooo” and then something very unexpected happened: One of the seniors, Kazumi Shimodate, pushed her way through the crowd and loudly proclaimed, “I want to be your daughter!”. My first thought was “I wonder if Japanese jails have libraries with English language books?!” I then came up with what I thought was a foolproof method of “defusing” what initially struck me as a rather delicate situation: I told Kazumi that I would be honored to have her as my daughter — but in order to “make this so” she needed to get her parent’s permission. I figured this would be the end of the matter though what happened next would prove just how clever and resourceful this young lady was! To whit: Kazumi took a videotape of one of my 2 hour teaching sessions home to her folks. Now, mind you, neither her father — who owns 2 businesses in Saitama –nor her homemaker Mum — understood or spoke a word of English (And I was teaching in English — speaking slowly, yes — peppered with Japanese words and phrases for effect or to clarify a point). Long story short: Kazumi’s folks sat and watch the entire 2 hour tape! Then, her father turned to her and said, “Yes, absolutely — you can make Anthony-sensei (Dr. Anthony) your American father”. The next day Kazumi shared what her father had “decreed” and, with this, my “daughter dilemma” had been resolved. Long story short, Kazumi and I have been father and daughter in our hearts and conduct towards each other ever since.
And no, what Kazumi and I did was far removed from anything remotely Japanese. Alien to it actually. However, virtually every single Japanese soul who heard our story and watched us interact was smitten; that is, they found something incredibly charming in our having created or forged something as factual and real to us as any family relationship could be.
This father-daughter relationship by mutual assent and declaration has been a most fruitful one. Among the many blessings it has accorded me, my Nihonjin musume (Japanese daughter) got married and in 2011 presented me with a magomusume (My granddaughter, Wakana) and, in 2014, a magomusuko (My grandson, Yoshito). I’ve posted many photos of Kazumi and my grandchildren at http://www.pinterest.com/choctawdoc/watachi-wa-nihonjin-musume-magomusume-etc/.
Now, having shared how a “manufactured fact” blessed me and many others, I would ask: If you are not busy explorimenting (my term) with such life affirming & enriching reality-spinning, why not?
© 2015 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
RESOURCES & OTHER HELPS
There may be a lot more to you than you think ► extended being: http://extendbeing.weebly.com/
A list of Choctaw Doc’s “recommended books” ► https://biotheorist.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/mind-expansion-books-well-worth-adding-to-your-summer-reading-list/ (Critical thinking, psychology, spirituality included!)
Got 2 minutes to spare? Then sit back and enjoy a mix of fact, fantasy & tongue-n-cheek from “yours truly” (Dr. Anthony G. Payne)
If you stayed awake though your high school or college history of western (or world) civilization courses, you may recall lessons concerning the many instances in which ambitious, sometimes wantonly evil leaders probed for weakness in those they opposed and acted decisively when they found it. In light of these dark chapters in the human experiment, what do you think of our administration’s penchant for striking deals with regimes and groups whose expressed political and territorial ambitions are nothing short of one day obliterating those they consider their nemeses?
I am a political liberal, a democratic socialist since 1985, and am perplexed and distressed to see many of this country’s leaders working frantically to appease evil at almost every turn. No, I am no fan of war but I’d be pretty stupid not to realize that evil men tend to sit tight or retreat when confronted by armed opponents who will not back down. Don’t think this is so? Let’s jump in the Wayback Machine for a moment and set the dial to early 1936:
Nazi Germany’s leader (Fuehrer) Adolf Hitler ordered his army to remilitarize the Rhineland but later remarked that “The forty-eight hours after the march into the Rhineland were the most nerve-racking in my life. If the French had then marched into the Rhineland we would have had to withdraw with our tails between our legs, for the military resources at our disposal would have been wholly inadequate for even a moderate resistance”. No one stood up to Hitler. Afterwards he made territorial demands on one country after another, always threatening war but confident that his enemies would do little or nothing to stop him beyond saber-rattling talk while frantically appeasing him in order to avoid war.
My reservations about “governing by appeasement” are shared by more than a few folks who personally experienced the bitter fruits of this. One is my great aunt-by-marriage, now 88, who grew up in Nazi Germany and was a member of the Bund Deutscher Mädel (The League of German Girls) (She married my maternal great uncle who served as an MP in WWII and was stationed in Germany from 1945 into the early 1950s). She experienced firsthand the exhilaration Germans felt as Hitler’s successive territorial demands were met with “diplomacy (appeasement) meant to preserve peace and prevent a second world war”, and then lived through the horrific war this actually helped facilitate. She is naturally not especially happy with the acts of appeasement many major western powers are using to contain modern day evil regimes and prevent new wars.
She is in very good company. American WWII veteran Bill Langfan, who fought Hitler’s forces in Europe and helped liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp, sounded off about the pitfalls of appeasing evil rulers in an interview aired on CBN on December 23 2014: WWII Veteran Warns About Dangers of Appeasement
Watch the Bill Langfan interview (link above), read the Wikipedia entry on appeasement at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeasement, and then speak out and vote accordingly.
Additional/supplemental reading penned by “yours truly”
CBN video “God & Hitler”: http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/churchhistory/godandhitler/index.aspx
Why does God allow evil (Theodicy)? See Are you an atheist, religionist, deist, fideist or ???