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!)
►Which dominates your life: Competition or sharing & harmonization?
►Is what you’ve been doing with your life consistent with your core nature, or not? That is, are you faithful to your true or authentic self or not?
►Do you tend to think your own thoughts or those of Madison Avenue, Wall Street, etc.?
►Are you nurturing what is genuine & true in life or something else entirely?
►Which is better: To be whole or something else?
►Do you resist learning what closed doors have to teach you?
►Have you consciously embraced your limitations?
►Are the “ought’s” & “should have’s” that bedevil you reflect who you really are?
►Do you run from failure and “experiments gone bad” or learn the lessons they offer and revise your life course accordingly?
►Have the roles you play in life, its pleasures, indulgences, escapes, or obligations, or something else eclipsed or undermined the “you beneath & within”?
►Do the conflicts and paradoxes in your life demand resolution, or embrace & integration into all that you are?
►Is your trip through the valley preparing you to fulfill your unique purpose in life?
GIVE ME THAT OLD TIME…THEORY
A SPOONFUL OF NATURAL MEDICINE
THOSE WHO DO NOT LEARN FROM LIFE & HISTORY ARE…..(YOU KNOW)
SEX GONE WRONG
BOOKS WORTH BORROWING, BUYING OR (AHEM) PILFERING
Do we live in a messed up culture or what? Congress is gridlocked (aka constipated) and Wall Street seems to have terminal IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome – alternating constipation & diarrhea). It looks like virtually everything is illegal or soon will be which surely is linked to the phenomenal growth of the prison industry. And single folks, they flock to on-line dating services where they find legions of married people looking for “afternoon delight” or its equivalent. People in general are now so jaded and fearful that just about anything from a sour look to a bag of skittles and a bottle of iced tea qualifies as a deadly threat. And the boxers in the ring – that’s you and me folks – are so punch-drunk we longer hear the bell, see the canvas… or even care. To hear the most vocal among us we are either one step from becoming the Fourth Reich or else on the slippery slope to some form of communalism or communism or some ism no one seems to favor or else believes signals the advent the “End Times”. I’m pretty sure if an extraterrestrial intelligence actually visited this veil of tears it would not conclude we are “Mostly Harmless” and would stick a quarantine beacon in high orbit to warn off other space travelers.
So how did we wind up so utterly messed up? I’m sure you have your own pet theories and suspicions. Me? I think it all started with the Founding Fathers and then Disney. Yep, the Founding Fathers and Disney. You see, those venerable Übermensch who founded our empire..uh…republic, elected to write some nonsense about our being entitled to pursue happiness. The problem is, they didn’t posses a roadmap to happiness or anything like it, nor did they seem to have the remotest idea what exactly it is or would even look like (Albeit some folks tried heartily to achieve it by abusing every vice known to humankind). But then came Walt Disney and his cadre of mythmakers and propagandists who spoon fed us Baby Boomers (as well as those who had the misfortune of following in our wake) versions of reality in which all wrongs are righted; the Princess, puppet turned human, talking cricket and exceedingly cute fawn and most of her family beat the odds and lived; and the wicked witch and all those like her ultimately get theirs, and everyone somehow lives happily ever after. Now what do you think happens when you fill impressionable kids with notions of being entitled to pursue happiness and then feed them a steady diet of Disney films as though it were some kind of magical roadmap? Why, hell yeah, you get a bunch of disappointed, anxious, spoiled, conceited neurotics who spin their wheels and fritter their lives away trying to dull the pain of not having a Disney-esque life, family, job, or future. Most wind up chucking their St. Whatever statue out their car, van, truck or armored personnel carrier window, and placing one of St. Al (Al Bundy) or St. Sam (Kinison) in its place. This pathetic existential state naturally gives rise to a host of evils such as drunkenness, cheating, sexless relationships, career burnout, road rage, shoplifting, hoarding, running over the neighbor’s dog, tossing litter out of vehicle windows, overeating and fudging on income tax returns. In the end, many find themselves wondering if happiness is something only those in the local cemetery found and this by making a permanent stage left.
Is there hope for this messed up state-of-affairs? There is. Forget the pursuit of happiness and instead pursue loyalty, faithfulness, virtue, and honesty. And toss all those Disney DVDs in the rubbish bin and make a point of exposing your children and/or grandchildren to stories that do not necessarily end with everyone living “happily ever after” but do teach them something about sacrifice, hard work, persistence, set-backs, tolerance, righting wrongs and doing what is good and right, as well as championing justice and equality for all while steadfastly resisting injustice and inequality in whatever guise. At least this way they will not be looking for a Disney world or Disney ending that will never come, though if they hang on and keeping doing what’s right and virtuous they might just get pretty darn close.
Choctaw Doc (Philosophizing from his porch swing)
Copyright 2013 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
CHOCTAW DOC ON ABOUT.ME: http://about.me/ChoctawDoc
ALTERNATIVES & OPTIONS (SHORT VIDEO BY CHOCTAW DOC): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tR6iAHCcrc
“THE CHOCTAW DOC SHOW” (7M:15S YOUTUBE VIDEO): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VVBKk-venc&feature=youtu.be
CHOCTAW DOC’S CEREBRATORIUM: https://biotheorist.wordpress.com/