The anti-establishment sentiment


Very few things in the cultural dynamics of our civilization these days are clear. But one of them is this: the anti-establishment sentiment that manifests itself in many different ways, but most notably in politics, is not a passing fad; it's not a blip or a temporary aberration; it reflects, instead, a more fundamental movement in the collective human psyche that is here to stay.

As a nominal member of the intellectual establishment who, nonetheless, has been fighting—for over a decade—against what is perhaps the most entrenched position of that establishment, I am not surprised by this movement. To speak only of metaphysics, which is my main area of expertise, it is patently obvious to me that militant, self-appointed intellectual elites often display an appalling combination of prejudice and hubris, ignorance and condescension. Although their understanding of the relevant issues is often shockingly limited, they behave as though they were the authorities everybody else is supposed to blindingly follow. How long could this last before people saw through the charade?

We've come to a point where a significant portion of the intellectual establishment sincerely regards what is effectively a prejudiced manipulation of the masses as education; a point where otherwise legitimate and important social values—such as intellectual authority and political correctness—have been hijacked and weaponized for the sake of preserving an outdated status quo. For these reasons, the attitude of "trust me, I am an authority and I know better than you" has taken on overtones of deceit and conceit. How could anyone be surprised by this?

There are broadly legitimate grounds for anti-establishment sentiment. Decades—if not centuries—of hubris, condescension, prejudice and manipulation don't go unnoticed. However, as is the case in any major movement of the collective psyche, this sentiment carries with it both an opportunity for betterment and a potential for disaster. I've written about this before:

Neo-skepticism and post-truth: a call to reason

Dismantling idols: the current cultural inflection point

I do feel, however, the need to repeat what I believe to be some of the most critical points. If you share in the anti-establishment sentiment I described above, please keep in mind, as you read what follows, that I am coming from the same place you are coming from.

Like you, I look with disdain upon noisy pseudo-authorities, the self-appointed police of pseudo-reason, the pseudo-philosophers who see themselves as guardians of science and truth, the pompous mouth-pieces of scientism, etc. But I do not disregard science itself. That some science is visibly bad, that scientific conclusions can be—and often are—reversed, that some scientists are plain idiots: none of this entails or implies that science itself isn't valid or critically important. Let us not throw the baby out with the bath water. Science is extremely valuable and indispensable to our survival. Without it, we won't be able to live on this planet once our population plateaus at around 11 billion people mid-century. Indeed, science is perhaps the most important human development of the past five centuries. We owe much to it, and depend on it for our very lives. My own work is largely based on science, often the science done by my opponents.

It goes without saying that some scientific results are unreliable (science is done by humans and, as such, just as imperfect as we all are), but there are scientific conclusions so robust that they command broad consensus: human activity is changing our climate in ways that threaten our survival; vaccines work and have saved countless millions of lives; COVID19 is vastly more dangerous than the flu; face masks and social distancing help contain the spread of respiratory diseases; etc.

Human-induced climate change poses perhaps the single greatest existential threat our civilization has ever faced. We—or worse, our children—will pay an unimaginably steep price for inaction in this regard. We must get our act together at a global scale to adapt some of our way of life, limit emissions, preserve what is left of our planet's natural ecosystems and biodiversity, and ultimately save ourselves. It is flat-out criminal to ignore this, or use it for short-term political gain.

We must also be mindful of what I call multi-level deceptions: those in which the deceiver points with dissimulated indignation to an actual deception carried out by someone else—thereby deliberately riding the wave of our outrage—merely to pass his own deception for the alternative. Astute bigots and con artists the world over have realized that this is a fantastically effective way to disarm and manipulate people so to push their self-centered agendas: it preys precisely on the justifiable anti-establishment sentiment emerging in the collective psyche. What a tragedy it would be to see through old lies and manipulation just to fall—uncritically—for another, more up-to-date form of manipulation.

Let us not allow bigots and con artists to use our hard-earned skepticism to deceive us. Let us not allow the naked paranoia of beyond-implausible conspiracy theories to turn our anti-establishment sentiment into a bad joke that delegitimizes it and disenfranchises us. Let us honor the realization that our idols are hollow, their message deceitful, manipulative and condescending, but not lose our bearings by swinging to the opposite extreme of unreason. No previous generation has faced threats of the magnitude we are now facing. If we are to have a chance to survive as a civilization, we must exercise our discernment very carefully: the truth is always more nuanced and multifaceted than what any tweet or Facebook post can capture.

Above all, let us never forget that those who are the targets of our most severe value judgments are also human beings, struggling, suffering and afraid like we all are, despite possible appearances to the contrary. After all, we have, by necessity, become experts at putting up a brave face—towards others and towards the mirror—even when our soul is dissolving into tears that flow inwards. May the common humanity of these invisible tears somehow unite us and see us through the storm ahead.

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90 comments:

  1. Whenever someone warns against conspiracy theories, I always want to know what they think of 911, as I take that, maybe wrongly, as a litmus test as to whether I am on the same page with them or not. So Bernardo, I’d love to know what your thoughts are on 911 in this context of science and conspiracy.

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  2. This coming the morning after, yet again, much of the American voting populace find mirrored in their leader an insular level of wilful ignorance and insolence, a mindset with which far too many are presumably very comfortable, and clearly identify with as being worth maintaining and defending ~ with weaponry if need be ~ lest they should face any nuanced challenge to their comfort zone that might suggest that reality is not what they have come to believe. Alas, the road ahead seems long, tortuous and stormy indeed, with the horizon lost in the smog of imminent doom. Short of some enlightened aliens arriving and shocking the zeitgeist out of its mass confusion, it surely is hard to remain optimistic.

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    1. Don't worry be happy, or something like that. It's not if you win or lose, it's how you play the game. If one accepts Bernardo's (which he readily admits he is not the first or only) perception of reality then none of this actually exists anyway. I know it is difficult to incorporate that into your thinking when there isn't enough money in your bank account to pay your cable television bill but that is the reality (or not) of the situation.

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    2. Quite right. It's how you play the game.

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    3. It’s not real as a stand-alone reality outside of consciousness, but it is real as a persisting experience within consciousness, and should be respected as such.

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  3. Bernardo, this is one of your best short texts I read recently. We need to stop the increasing polarisation in all domains. And sometimes I think the two party system (such as in the UK and USA) is not helping. Where are all the other ideas, who's representing the middle ground and a third way in all this? Why is green deal associated with extreme left and evangelicals with extreme right? I have green views but I think liberalism is a way forward in economics - why should I need to choose which of my views I entrust people to take forward in decision-making? Luckily, I live in Switzerland, where this challenge is not major, as there are enough parties to fit the various views, but I can imagine this being a serious problem for anyone who has a more complex mind than that of an extremist. I fully agree with you on conmen using anti-establishment feelings to push some outlandish theories. These are times when we need to remember that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof!
    Thank you for your books - I enjoyed them very much but sometimes I admit indulging in the 21st Century small-bits "intellectual consumerism", such as blog posts, podcasts and YouTube. And to be honest this is how I discovered you and some other contemporary thinkers I admire (though not necessarily agree 100%) so, please, keep writing!

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    1. When I read a comment like this I always want to know what their environment is like. What kind of house or city they live in to give their comment context. If Switzerland were a city it would be about the 40th (fortieth) largest city in the world, not country, city. Yet it has the 20th largest GDP. It's easy to have grand and noble ideals when one lives in that neighborhood. I don't know if you chose to be born in or live in Switzerland but count yourself as very lucky. People that weren't so lucky like people born in Africa or North Korea probably don't have such lofty perceptions of themselves or their country. I was born in Texas in a family where my dad was extremely successful. I never wanted for anything and until I started traveling I would be really smug about my place in life. I see people like us as the spectators in this game. I wonder how smug we'll be if and when our fortunes change and we are thrown from the stands into the arena.

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  4. Although unrelated to this specific article, I was hoping someone could answer this question. I've read articles from Bernardo related to NDEs. Does Bernardo have any thoughts on people who have clinically died, but experienced nothing?

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    1. I expect he'd relate it to dreams we don't recall upon waking. There's no reason to suppose all near-death experiences are as mind-blowing as some can be.

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    2. Human bodies can clinically die. Can human consciousness ever die?

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    3. That's a good question. Also does consciousness have identity or is it only in the obfuscated form does it have identity. Does an insect have a smaller less sophisticated "piece" of consciousness.

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    4. I would rather not speculate on insect consciousness. Let's focus on my consciousness which I consider the impersonal human consciousness. I am questioning the personal identity (namely, mine) that this consciousness has assumed.

      Consider how this conversation is going on between "me" and "you". Doesn't this prove that there is an exchange between two distinct identities, each motivated by a personal human consciousness? This is the perception that I am questioning.

      How do "you" exist separate from "me"? The only way to perceive this is physical separation: space, as in 6 feet apart. Is this informational realism at work in creating an illusion "with no physical substrate to ground it" (Bernardo)?

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    5. I would agree that communication between humans suggests a separation. And even when "communicating" the communication is problematic. Many times when my wife says green I hear blue and visa versa. All of this implies to me that there is a goal or a plan in this fundamentally conscious reality. If one assumes consciousness can make reality any way it chooses why did consciousness make reality this way. My intuition tells me there is something we are supposed to do, something we are supposed to accomplish or maybe the goal is accomplished by just going through the process of living.

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    6. Your intuition is right because I feel the same way too. There is something we are supposed to do and we have to do it before "our bodies" kick their buckets. When the body dies, Sree fizzles out. You fizzles out, and Bernardo fizzles out. We have got to work together to, collaboratively, make a breakthrough in human learning.

      Saving mankind, in itself, is worthwhile but we could sure use the Nobel Prize of 10 million Swedish Kroners split three ways. What do you say?

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  6. There are so many layers to this cake it is hard to know where to start. One philosophy I follow basically states that, "We must fight vigorously for the truth as we perceive it while knowing nothing that we do or think actually matters." I find this to be the central most important paradox of how to approach life. I feel I can effectively defend the existence of that paradox especially when I look at Bernardo's philosophy as I understand it and accept it and also from my life experience which has been diverse to the level of absurdity. After looking back on my life after 67 years and seeing life more from the rear view mirror and not out the windshield I have come to some really fuzzy conclusions. One is that life is not supposed to be easy. You learn nothing from an easy life and it cultivates a feeling of "self importance". So as I see us heading into the challenges we are facing my response is "Bring it on". I have come to the conclusion that "consciousness" has a plan and life is some form of obstacle course. This is an intuitive perception and if you have to ask me why I feel this way you probably wouldn't understand the answer. Any time "we" perfect beating the present challenge consciousness is going to move the goal posts because there is nothing left to be learned. So in light of our present situation I am 100% clear in what I see as the challenges and the goals are. Another way of saying it is I'm clear on what I perceive as truth. My only question from a personal level is "Do I have what it takes to pursue those truths in a manner that is not self indulgent?". I agree 100% with Bernardo on his perceptions of the poor character of the establishment and also agree 100% in the built in pitfalls in fighting the establishment. I think to fight the establishment it will require grave sacrifices and they are able to stay "established" because of their assumption we are afraid to make those sacrifices.

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    1. Why wouldn't we be afraid when the grave sacrifices others pay, to fight the "established", are real and painful to see?

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    2. I like your comments. Again I follow philosophies I don't produce them. Unless one produces a philosophy from scratch most of us shop around, look for the philosophy we see as reflecting life as we understand it and then incorporate it in to our daily living. I probably misstated or responded in a confusing manner. There is nothing wrong with having fear. Fear keeps us alive in this "reality". The problem is surrendering to fear. Although I love Bernardo's work and agree whole heartedly with what I understand him to say there is insufficient guidance about how to apply his theories to daily life. Many years ago I came across the "Warriors Path" which in my mind has an unbelievable amount of overlap in many ways with the science, all be it in a much less sophisticated way. After all this is a philosophy of the ancients. I started studying different ancient philosophies and found many that fit although for me this was the best fit. Bernardo, bless his heart, was the first for me that bridged the observations and philosophy's of the ancients with modern science. So am I afraid of death, pain, suffering, getting run over my a bus, sure. The difference is I no longer take that fear seriously. I laugh at my fear. This is after a lifetime of fighting my fear. If you surrender to fear it's not a sin, "God" doesn't care. You as an individual are the only one that loses. Once you surrender to fear fear becomes your jailer. Once you surrender to fear you start down a slippery slope with very little hope of climbing back up. Originally I followed this because it was part of the philosophy not really knowing the validity of it. Sort of like in Christianity thinking you will go to hell if you murder someone. You don't know that until your murder someone and then die in order to find out. After following this philosophy for a lifetime and witnessing the people that surrender to fear and people that don't I'm convinced it is the most true and the most important rule of this philosophy.

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    3. Are you saying that you no longer take the fear of death, pain, suffering and getting killed seriously? Neurosis is one thing but instinctive response to mortal danger is natural.

      Most of us live lives fraught with conflicts that call on us to do the "right thing" and face them down without succumbing to fear. I answered that anti-establishment call as a kid against the class bully and ended up with a bloody nose.

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    4. I laugh at my own fear. I haven't perfected not taking others seriously yet but I'm working on it. One reason I chose this path is because it is so much less convoluted to me than as an example Christianity. With human emotion thrown into the mix philosophies can become as complicated, convoluted and paradoxical as one wants them to be. As to your bloody nose it is nothing. What matters is how you reacted to your bloody nose. The warriors path says that if you surrendered to fear then you will always continue to surrender to fear. How do you know if you surrendered to fear? A person that no longer fights fear has surrendered to fear.

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    5. I understand what you are saying about not surrendering to fear. I agree with your stance, in principle. However, I have learned to pick my battles and never to engage the bully even if I can destroy him. My life is too precious and must be committed to only one mission: face down the fear of the breaking free from the known.

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  7. A post from Bernardo that moves beyond the idealism of the head toward the idealism of the heart--where truth, beauty, and goodness are not only conceptualized but lived. His last paragraph was hard for me (and I trust for some others) to read with entirely dry eyes. Yes, indeed, the value of science is indisputable, and we must draw deeply upon its resources to avoid looming ecocide and begin to build a better world. While Bernardo and others have effectively been using metaphysics, the hard problem of consciousness, etc. to file through the barred windows of scientism (not the friend but the frenemy of science) I recently stumbled upon another useful tool in this regard, one which files from a different angle and goes by the name of Patience Worth. Please don't use Wikipedia, steeped to the gills in scientism, if you want to check her out.

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    1. What is there to check out? Pearl Curran claimed Patience was from the "other side".

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    2. Has there ever been more stunningly convincing evidence, if not of the "other side," than of something else utterly transcending/refuting scientism, than the quality and quantity of the literature Patience (or Pearl, if you will) authored for some 25 years? Even more than Leonora Piper, assiduously studied and eventually authenticated by the Society for Psychical Research, this body of literature, widely read and loved, highly praised by scholars and critics, is another "hard problem" that scientism cannot even begin to explain.

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    3. Explain what? That there are authors on the "other side". Don't we have enough excellent ones on this side?

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    4. What more than an "other side," a realm as real as this one, perhaps more real, where departed human beings or their higher selves consciously exist and communicate among themselves (and, apparently, with great difficulty, also with us)--what more than solid proof of such a realm would constitute a definitive refutation of the reductionism/scientism/materialism/physicalism, against which Bernardo has been so long and so effectively waging war? Are you new to his work or this blog, or are you just playing around?

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    5. Whoa, I am dead serious in critical inquiry and want to contribute to the conversation here. If you have reasonable proof that there is an "other side", I would like to examine it.

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  8. If we are talking about idealism of the heart, I believe that may be the seat of experience, the soul, the spirit. And therefore for politicians that have little to no human virtues, maybe this is why they have so much trouble with reality, and we see right through them. Yes, Bernardo, this is a good trend. And for the scientists who are not philosophers and dismiss God as a delusion, which cannot be differentiated from the ground of being, NOT the supernatural (uber) but unter-natural (underneath, fundamental) to existence, I would say yes the heart the soul, even in their cases, let them INFER their observations and record them, creating science. But who can say where the first cell came from, and I am with Bernardo, in that consciousness is fundamental. And that in fact is a religious frame of reference summed up in writings of the Bahai Faith, with like all other religions has the same inner truths: PRAISE and thanksgiving be unto Providence that out of all the realities in existence He has chosen the reality of man and has honored it with intellect and wisdom, the two most luminous lights in either world. Through the agency of this great endowment, He has in every epoch cast on the mirror of creation new and wonderful configurations. If we look objectively upon the world of being, it will become apparent that from age to age, the temple of existence has continually been embellished with a fresh grace, and distinguished with an ever-varying splendor, deriving from wisdom and the power of thought. This supreme emblem of God stands first in the order of creation and first in rank, taking precedence over all created things. Witness to it is the Holy Tradition, “Before all else, God created the mind.” From the dawn of creation, it was made to be revealed in the temple of man.

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    1. Consciousness is fundamental to what? Does what you know about an object/person exists independently of your mind?

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  10. Conspiracy theorist mentality and establishmentism both suffer from the same poison - lack of astute personal critical thinking and criticism. It is the lack of critical thinking that leads us to blindly follow ANY form of "big think/ group mind" etc.

    Even if Bernardo Kastrups' theories were to become the main theories of society (how interesting would our world be?!), I would shudder to think that people would blindly argue about any metaphysical assumption without shrewd criticism and weighing up of all arguments, based on their individual merits.

    Long live our critical mind, the only voice of true reason and progression, without which we would all fall to the voice of the day.

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    1. I find doing large quantities of hallucinogenic drugs helps to resist that tendency or maybe I'm just imagining that.

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  11. Consciousness is fundamental in the sense that humans live through meaning and meaning is invisible. Our challenge is learning to transcend whatever our culture leads us to feel/think is reality. What we learn is relative in the idea that language reveals and conceals what we may think as the truth.

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    1. What about the sense that we live through our senses: that we touch and taste and hear and smell and see? It is our senses that give us the feel of "what is most immediately present to us:solidity and concreteness are qualities of our experience" (Bernardo).

      Meaning is in the realm of the mind where informational realism conjures so-called objective reality. If consciousness is fundamental, then nothing is outside it's domain.

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    2. Sree what do you perceive? Do you perceive consciousness is fundamental? This was the piece of the puzzle that was missing for me. While this statement is easy to make the realization and the acceptance of it was earth shattering. I had been groping for decades attempting to marry science and metaphysics. I assumed at some point science would discover, or not that there was something deeper than the physical universe. My intuition told me with absolute certainty that that was the case but then I would wonder if I was just deluding myself. Then reading and listening to Bernardo it was like an explosion. It was the answer I had always known all along.

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    3. Yes, consciousness is fundamental. You've got to trust your instinct. Science will not discover anything fundamental. There is something deeper than the physical universe which is a perceived reality informed by science.

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  12. I agree with this "what is most immediately present to us:solidity and concreteness are qualities of our experience" (Bernardo).

    Each of us interprets the phenomenal world in a particular world, so there is no objective world.

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    1. Are you saying that there is no trans-personal reality? How do you explain the phenomenon of our conversation? Does it transpire in your particular world as well as mine?

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    2. I am suggesting that there is a I, We and That. I am imbedded in a we and the context is That. Consciousness pervades all those realms.

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    3. Consciousness is fundamental and omnipresent, it seems; and we are tentatively exploring how it conjures the I, We and That.

      How does consciousness conjures physicality: the structure, size, or shape of something that can be touched and seen. ...the physical characteristics of the terrain. ...the physical properties (weight, volume, hardness, etc.) of a substance?

      Physical means connected with physics or the laws of physics. In conjuring the physical, consciousness has relegated and transformed itself from the all-encompassing into a product of the human brain.

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    4. Probably incorrectly but I see the physical world as similar to a boat sitting on the ocean and in this case the ocean being mind at large. No one needs to tell me that is a poor analogy but after all I am attempting to describe the indescribable. So for some reason mind at large has designed the boat, produced the boat, mans the boat and is the boat and its crew. Man is consciousness busy! So this boat is going somewhere and all of the obfuscated consciousness is going with it until through death jumps overboard to become one with the ocean again. I accept every bit of this to be true. So I think mind at large knows why the boat is here and we aren't able to see below the surface of the water and so haven't a clue what is going on below it's surface. In my mind that has to be part of the design. I get the feeling mind at large doesn't know where the boat is going and consequently can't inform the passengers. It is up to the passengers to deal with the storms, reefs, strife among the crew, damage to the boat, etc etc. I have come to believe that we are not allowed to know where the boat is supposed to go because there is no "supposed" or correct destination. The trip is all that matters and what is learned on the journey is what is significant. However all that being said I plan to continue to hoard toilet paper.

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    5. Haha. It's reassuring to know that you keep one foot firmly planted on this shore while you row your boat to scout out the other. For a while, I was concerned about Jim Carrey twisting out there in that ocean.

      Using your analogy, consciousness (ocean or mind-at-large) has created the physical world (objective reality) along with its contents (me, you, etc.). If the handiwork of consciousness does not compel us to deal with storms and reefs and internecine strife and hoard toilet paper out of fear, would we care to find out what we are about and what the hell is going on?

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    6. I have spent a life time pursuing challenges and facing fears. It's like my favorite hobby and I have learned much about myself and the world. However I have seen many people that avoid those undertakings at all cost, almost like they are covid. Many acquaintances thought my wife and I were crazy. Always taking the path of security, always having a 5 year plan, always planning a career. Now we are the end of the race. They have more money than I do but now they look at us with envy. Many have discovered that they climbed to the top of the ladder only to learn they had it leaning against the wrong wall.

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    7. Taking the path of security is sane even if the future doesn't always turn out as planned. Why would your acquaintances envy you if they have more money than you do? Doesn't money provide the very security you seek?

      Are you at peace now that you know that mind-at-large is there to merge into once this fearsome boat trip is done with?

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    8. I think maybe I wrote that very poorly. No my wife and I have never pursued security. We always did what we wanted not what was secure. Of course we don't have children so the only ones we would have hurt would have been ourselves. So now we have our little farm high up in the Andes of Ecuador and can sit back and watch beautiful sunsets and reflect on all of the life we lived.

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    9. This topic is about anti-establishment sentiment. The establishment is society, the herd, and the security it provides. Security is a fundamental need consistent with the instinct of survival. Perhaps, it is the herd mentality that you resent and you would rather seek your our way. I am glad you made it. Sailing your own boat is a whole lot more secure than being a passenger in a Covid-prone cruise ship.

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  13. As the saying goes, "There is no reality, only perception"

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    1. Perception IS reality even if comes from doing large quantities of hallucinogenic drugs. The human consciousness is smashed from doing large quantities of (scientific) knowledge. Consequently, our perception of reality is cockeyed. How else can we explain our fractious nature?

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  14. There are mysteries about the origins of existence. Our stories and narratives about the past are acts of the imagination. Science and religion are both in transition to an empathic relationship. If there is a unity to the universe then love is the foundational value.

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    1. Ruminations of the mind is like dumpster-diving to look through the trash for things of value. Science and religion have brought us to where we are: an unholy mess.

      The human mind is a thinking machine, a computer that - since time began - has been executing instructions programmed by mind-at-large (i.e. foundational consciousness or ocean - to use Unknown's analogy). It has created the technology of war and the superstition of religion. What is it that we don't want? The mess we have created or mankind itself?

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    2. What do you see as the alternatives? I agree both science and religion have their shortcomings and the ability to send one down paths that are counterproductive to say the least. From the viewpoint of the citizens of Hiroshima on the afternoon of August 6, 1945 science probably appeared to have some real shortcomings. In my American Indian philosophy the very nature of man is the quest for knowledge. Maybe we should have taken the guidance of "God" and left that damned apple be. I can't come up with many alternatives to "dumpster diving" as messy as it is or see much hope in denying our nature which appears to be dumpster diving.

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    3. Alternatives? For whom? For the individual human being (as in you or me) or for mankind? In your analogy, I am just a member of the crew in the boat, and death - for me - is the only possible outcome. Figuring out an alternative for mankind is above a crew member's pay grade. Besides, what would the ocean say? After all, we did eat that apple and the die is cast. What does your American Indian philosophy has to say about karma?

      You did say you are from Texas. What are you? Comanche?

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    4. From East Texas and I'm a member of the Sabre Toothed Crotch Cricket tribe. The philosophy I relate too has nothing to do with my background. Like Bernardo I was raised Catholic. I think "karma" implies a mystical component to what is basically just cause and effect. The teaching I follow says no power on earth can predict if you will be alive 5 minutes from now. That death is your adviser and always sits on your left shoulder instructing us on how to live life. When I used to ride around in the Hill Country on my Harley I listened to death's advice very closely. All joking aside regardless of what it had to do with an apple, we have a nature and we can't deny it. Back to the original subject on anti establishment sentiment I see that as cause and effect. Humanity is looking around and saying, "People have you noticed what we are doing isn't working". Human nature is such that the people in charge end up with a great deal invested in the "establishment" regardless if it is government, science,education or religion. They do not think in terms beyond what is good for them. Nothing new in that and I'm sure I'm the same way. So the people that see the present system isn't working and have nothing to lose and a lot to gain changing that system are seriously threatening to the establishment.

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    5. Human nature is selfish. Is that what you are saying? Selfishness is the cause of the effect of anti-establishment sentiment. And this is our karma: the cycle of human conflict

      Does internalizing the “belief” that you are a dissociated part of mind-at-large have any effect on your being a serious threat to the establishment? If not, and you would stop at nothing to rid society of those selfish scums, then you are going to be sucked into another social revolution. Mao said that there is no revolution without blood.

      Living in the mountains away from it all is one way out.

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    6. Wow we have chased one thread for so long we can no longer see the blanket. My path teaches you must pursue truth as you see it knowing nothing you do or say actually matters. My moving to the mountains had nothing to do with escaping and everything to do with embracing and learning. I am surrounded by people that if the world were to end someone would have to go to each one of their houses and tell them. I have one couple lives very near me that have never had electricity in their lives yet I am constantly blown away with how sophisticated they are. I remember the first time Carlos told me I thought he was joking. I have built two earthbag houses that the process aged me 10 years. So in my twilight years we have somehow landed here without really having a clue how. There was never a plan, just putting one foot in front of the other. I'm a fighter by nature and it appears I have beaten my way out of the proverbial "wet paper bag" into peace, quite and natural beauty. Who would have thunk.

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    7. The reason why this thread is so long is because you have an open mind that allows itself to be explored without fear. By the way, although I perceive consciousness as fundamental, I don't accept mind-at-large.

      If moving to the mountains is for embracing and learning, why do it in the mountains of Ecuador? Some years back, I met Bob, a dentist from Colorado, when he sailed into Port Dickson, a small town on the Malacca Straits. Bob was with Hella, his German partner, and both had been sailing around the world in his 40-foot boat. Yachties, that was what they were, couples usually in their sixties, who, like you and your wife, prefer to vacate from the frenetic energy of normal life and - in their case - take to the sea. Going off-grid comes with a price that only the die-hard hermit is willing to pay. The danger they face is not the wrath of mother nature but pirates. Bob was accosted by them in the Bahamas. Hella's yachting club in Cologne reported that Bob was beaten up.

      Do you feel "protected" by mind-at-large?

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    8. The protection mind-at-large affords me is the certainty I feel about my place in the universe. Again when I read(I've read them all) the books and watched numerous Youtube videos of Bernardo a lever tripped in my brain. It was a lever that the trigger had already been greatly loosened from years of previous studies. This study was primarily on physics. They were books like "Particle Physics for the Mentally Retarded" "Quantum Mechanics for Imbéciles" "A Brief History of Time for People That Can't Spell Time". This was a version written my Hawkins gardner. As I read and read and watched and watched I kept thinking all of this is screaming that there was more than the physical universe yet so many of these arrogant a## h#### just dismissed it out of hand. I mean some where just down right insulting if you even questioned for a second whatever it was that they were dictating. Then along came Bernardo and bam! There it was. It wasn't the answer I was looking for, it was far better. He might be wrong, I don't know but my mind just screamed "That's it". It was like all of the puzzle pieces just fell effortlessly into place.

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    9. I hear you. Certainty is a powerful feeling of security. Mind-at-large can be likened to a cosmic womb within which you - as a fetus - reside. There is connectedness between the living person and an organic universe.

      Physics posit a lifeless material cosmos, a dead space-time dimension that has no relationship with living, breathing, conscious beings that can feel pain and affection.

      All those years of study and search were time you spent in a desolate state. And now, it all makes sense.

      I wish you would tell me more about "that's it", the puzzle you have solved.

      I like knowing that you rode a Harley. I am a biker too (I ride a BMW and a Yamaha.)

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    10. I've never been a dogmatic person so religion as such never appealed to me. All of them at some point for me have at least one fatal flaw. I was much more intrigued by teachings that taught a way of life "A way of life is the behaviour and habits that are typical of a particular person or group, or that are chosen by them." So the American(similar in both S and N America) Indian version I stumbled on to in an expat library while working for the Saudi government believe it or not grabbed me. There was a great deal of philosophy "the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline." but from a primitives perspective. None of the modern science and religion and the associated dogma. There are three types of knowledge, the known, the unknown and the unknowable. The unknowable you were to stay away from not because it was wrong to pursue it but terribly wasteful of mental energy. I always felt the unknowable and still do not try and pursue it. What I did want to grasp was that obviously the unknowable was the most important part. It was the foundation and even if you couldn't "know" it science should reach a point where it couldn't help but acknowledge it and characterize why they know it is there but can't access it. Bernardo's work provided that bridge. It gave me the insight I needed to personally understand what the ancients, the shamans already knew and knew it with absolute certainty. Remember I followed the way of life I was not an ancient. In many ways I was like an early American reading about the discoveries of Lewis and Clark. I had no reason to believe they hadn't been there but I had never been there myself. This stuff is really hard to put into words. And like I say I've read I don't know how many authors in physics, biology, cosmology that take you right to the point where they reach the unknowable and then with absolute arrogance say since I don't know it it absolutely can't exist.

      My wife and I pulling a small trailer drove a Honda Valkyrie from Timpson, TX to Fairbanks, AK for a total 5330 miles in 15 days camping out every night accept for 2 nights. Problem with a trip like that is once there you must drive back.

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    11. All the way to Fairbanks, Alaska and back? With your wife? And a two-wheel trailer? You ought to write a book about this for all the bikers in the world. The Valkyrie is the mother of all bikes. Sounds like a Ferrari in full cry. Why don't you start your own blog? There are lots of down-to-earth folks out there like me looking for a messiah like you.

      You never explained how Bernardo's work provided that bridge. Perhaps, you did try to and I never got it. Bernardo's worldview that consciousness is fundamental throws no light on the unknowable. It doesn't even de-mystify the knowable fundamental nature of things in the physical world and revise scientific knowledge in terms of a conscious reality.

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  15. A cliché, or cliche, is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work that has become overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, even to the point of being trite or irritating, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel. Wikipedia The world "love" has become cliche to me. What do you mean when you say love? Google shows that there are at least 8 different kinds of love, some healthy, some not. The only time I can use that word or hear that word with confidence of understanding that meaning is between my wife and myself. Beyond that all bets are off.

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    1. I don't think "love" has any real meaning especially when used in an abstract context for bringing about unity to the universe.

      Between you and your wife, love defines a symbiotic relationship as real as that between your heart and your lungs. You know you can't live without her off-grid up in them there mountains. It would still be tough without her even on a luxury ranch in the Texas Hill Country.

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  16. Good responses that can agree in ways. Language is a map, not the territory, so it reveals and conceals. When I suggest love is a foundational value I am suggesting it means a connection between all the various phenomena in the universe.

    Love is a cliché in todays world like many overused and abused words. I am suggesting a value that connects and breaks down boundaries between humans and their various ideologies.

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    1. Hey Charles, you wrote your post at 9.35 pm. What did you have for dinner? You write in a reflective voice as if you are in a trance. I need to shake you out of your stupor so we can talk mano o mano.

      There are no phenomena in the universe because the universe is an idea (i.e. mind-at-large).

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  17. It takes courage to be different. I agree about love being abstract. Language reveals and conceals so words are ambiguous and paradoxical.
    If reality is one (whatever that means) what words would represent that idea?

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    1. I've always liked the saying, "One should have the courage to be eccentric". I see reality as a crucible. We are thrown into that crucible with very little to go on on this side of the veil. We can take cues from those that have gone before but ultimately we largely on our own. In my youth I went on a gold mining expedition to Alaska. At one point I felt compelled to take a canoe down this creek that due to non stop rain had turned into a raging river. All of my partners who were thousands of times more experienced tried to talk me out of it and said that I would surely get killed. The morning came when it was time for me to go and we all made our tearful good buys and everyone watched as I got in the canoe. I turned and waved good bye one last time and pulled into the stream. It was like I was shot out of a canon. I hadn't gone 30 feet when the front of the canoe dug into a gravel bar and flipped the canoe around backwards and I was again face to face with my friends one last time. I'll never forget the horrified looks on their faces as I raced backwards down the river. Long story short I did the complete 15 miles to the Yukon river backwards out of control and should have died a 100 times. For many years I have looked at this as my lesson as being an accurate description of life.

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    2. "If". You see what I mean? You are positing a supposition. A hamburger is not an if. It is real and you can bite into it, chew it and swallow it. Philosophy is poison if it has no connection to real life that you can wrap your senses around and smell it, touch it, look at it and taste it.

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    3. "One should have the courage to be eccentric" a saying quoted by eakj. I wonder if explorers like Ernest Shackleton or Edmund Hillary were driven by eccentricity. Most of us fall withing the standard deviation of the bell-curve depicting the normal distribution of human behavior which is conditioned by fear.

      The establishment does not take kindly to folks who dare to be different. What is it that motivates a person to step off the beaten path of that which is tried and true? Society provides for those who conform. Doesn't it behooves us to stay withing the fold so as not to make life harder for the group?

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    4. Back to Warriors Path. The Shaman says a sane man would never follow this path. One must be "tricked onto it" either by design or accident (or I guess be insane and in my case that may explain a lot). However once on the path and once experiencing the exhilaration of the mental freedom no other path is an option. From that point forward any path you follow is only a path but it must be a path with heart. It has no beginning and no end. You must follow it looking, looking breathlessly. If the path has no heart or you follow it long enough that it has no meaning then you must search for a new path.

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    5. This mental freedom is a psychological high, it seems. Spiritual ecstasy is another. I guess I am the sane man. Straight Kentucky Bourbon does it for me.

      Warrior or coward. Idealism or materialism, either one is the same song sung two different ways. And the song is about our damnation in existential reality. There is no escape. So, I sit with it, and sip my whiskey.

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  18. Philosophy can help a person discern what may be the truth. Each of us is born in a cultural context and one takes for granted that what one is identifying with is, is the way it is. Learning is the process of letting go of mistaken beliefs.

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  19. Truth about what? Cite one thing philosophy has helped you discern as true.

    I was born and raised in an American Christian culture. I identify with honesty, hard work, and the sanctity of the nuclear family; and that is the way it is for a viable, stable society. I am willing to examine any philosophy that challenges this belief.

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  20. Sounds pretty radical to me. I buy off on the outcome based philosophy where we acknowledge that climate change is an existencial threat to humanity. And in order to fight climate change we must reach financial parity across all of humanity so that poorer nations can have more industry, have more babies,have longer life spans, consume much and are expected to contribute nothing. Also we must say that 150% of scientist say this is settled science and don't ask questions. Look out nirvana here we come.

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  21. I count 21 comments here from “Unknown”. Are they all from the same person, or from 21 different people? Maybe try putting in a name - it doesn’t need to be your real name.

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  22. There is one other unknown but I'm the bulk of them. I have many profound things to share! I have a name showing I'll be commenting under but it never shows that name. I'll try some different ones and see if that works.

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  23. Every once in a while, I visit the website of Dr. Richard Conn Henry, an eminent astrophysicist whom Bernardo has referenced with regard to his article in "Nature," entitled "The Mental Universe." Like Bernardo, I urge those who haven't done so to pull up this article via web search and give it a serious read. But the purpose of this comment is to indicate that Dr. Henry's site now includes (near the beginning) a short video interview with him, a delightful little piece which also lends scientific support to the kind of idealistic philosophical position Bernardo puts forward. Readers of this blog might want to check out the video, if they haven't already done so.

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    1. Dr. Richard Conn Henry said that there are no things out there; and that what we observe are not the observation of things but just observations. This means that reality is an insubstantial dream state. It's one heck of a dream replete with all the sensory bells and whistles. I can still recall vividly getting hit broadside in my BMW X5 at an intersection by a guy running the lights in his Cadillac. The impact was strong enough to destroy the engine mountings of my car. All that was not a single thing but observations. Fortunately,the judge adjudicating the case didn't buy that.

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    2. Any chance you can link to the short Dr. Richard Conn Henry interview? His website is a bit of a mess (assuming I'm looking at the correct one).

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    3. Trust me, Sree, Dr. Henry has no doubt been in a car accident or two, along with encountering other vehicular problems of an outer space nature while working with NASA and other federal agencies to solve astrophysical mysteries via measurements (observations) made from beyond our atmosphere. saa1977, the little video produced by the STEM World Physics Panel (Physics Is Simple) is right near the top of Dr. Henry's rather eccentric but utterly fascinating website at: https://henry.pha.jhu.edu/rch.html.

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    4. There are two kinds of science: one that is bankable and the other that is a waste of time. Which kind do you think Dr. Henry has wasted his whole life on?

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    5. This kind: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/thinking-outside-the-quantum-box/

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    6. Buddhist philosophy has been around since the axial age. And we have been laughing at monks affirming their insight into the nature of mind and the nature of things.

      We are still laughing at them; otherwise, we wouldn't be forging ahead with the internet-of-things, returning to the moon and heading to Mars. In the face of this, Dr Henry wants to prove that Buddhism is right based on his heft as a high priest of physics. Good luck.

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    7. Intellectualism produces some pretty convoluted high priests. I haven't acquainted myself with Dr. Henry's theories but may do so later but your response does trigger something in my mind. You have people that live for the joy of the purely intellectual effort. In that world to stay relevant you must be producing new profound ideas much like a farmer to stay relevant must produce new crops. And much like a farmer many of these intellectuals use cow manure to fertilize their ideas. One difference though is many no matter how much of their crops you consume you are still left very unfulfilled.

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    8. Living for the joy of intellectual effort is akin to feasting on fake food. Farmers are straight shooters. They live close to the earth and have both feet planted on the ground. They stuff their bellies with root vegetables like potatoes and turnips. We stuff our minds with ideas.

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    9. Having been around the block a few times it never ceases to amaze me how affluent western societies place ultimate significance on the most insignificant things. I've seen people that thought decorating womens finger nails was right up there with finding a cure to cancer. Saw a woman once literally break down and cry in a church because "Jesus" gave her a new color television set. Half the world is starving and the hottest item on "The Creators" agenda is seeing that this obese woman got a new color television set. Countless times popular entertainers identified as being a genius because they could string 4 chords together and write innovative songs about the problems facing the world such as "You belong with me". Wow that has never been done before. I think modern western societies affluence has left it largely rudderless when it comes to true moral and substantive values. It's great being surrounded by neighbors who's concerns are milking their cows (by hand), getting the corn planted, cutting and hauling grass for miles to feed their cuy (guinea pigs which is a delicacy here and quite tasty). I'm a lucky man. Think I'll go write a song about that.

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    10. You can place the blame on the consciousness for the lack of true morality and substantive values in affluent western societies. The affluence is a sham because it is actually the heavily made-up, decorated face of debt.

      Consciousness has a way to eat corn before it is planted and drink milk even before the cow is born. Exchange-traded derivatives of the futures market can even be bought on a 100 to 1 margin. As Dr Henry said,there is nothing there but just observations. Quite right, observations of the computer screen displaying your assets of tomorrow's cows and corn on the trading platform.

      To lose faith in western society is to lose faith in the establishment, the mother ship. We can't junk it. We have to turn it around.

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    11. I'm basically playing the role of the unqualified calling out the bad landing. If I was made king of the world tomorrow I wouldn't have a clue where to even start "to turn it around". I still keep coming to the conclusion humanity has reached it's level of incompetence

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    12. I don't think you can do anything about humanity, which is what you are. Humanity seems like United Flight 93 that slammed into the Pennsylvania countryside on September 11, 2001. The establishment is in control and heading for a bad landing. Qualified or not, all of us are helpless passengers on Flight 93. Charging the cockpit door is all we can do.

      If you are calling out a bad landing, then it's best to buckle up and stay in your seat.

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    13. Which sort of brings us full circle. There are many people that desperately want to believe we can solve the worlds problems with no sacrifices or pain to ourselves. Most people can get comfortable with the other guy paying a price but when it comes to numero uno then it's not no but hell no. They want to believe because technology created the Iphone that technology alone is going to fix this. That technology is going to ride in like the calvary in an old western movie to save us from the savages(in this case ourselves). Right now most people haven't a clue how dependent we are on technology. If the computers break modern society is done for. My dream is to live long enough to see it happen and witness the consequences. The paradox is that I can entertain a scenario where the loss of digital technology might ultimately be the only that saves us. Of course this would come with huge loss of life and tremendous suffering.

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  24. I agree with the idea, the "map is not the territory" the word is not the thing (idea) is represents. So from this, one can be weary of the literal meaning of words.

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