New Civilization News: Sanity    
 Sanity19 comments
picture 7 May 2003 @ 14:32, by Flemming Funch

I used to imagine that it was possible to make people sane by working them through a certain regimen, a certain sequence of progressively more advanced steps. That there would be a methodology that could be applied to just about anybody, and the end result would be a sane and rational human being.

I'm not saying I no longer believe that it is possible, but I've sort of lost touch with that way of looking at things, and I have more reasons to be doubtful than I used to.

A.E. van Vogt wrote a series of science fiction books in the 50s about the world of "null-A". They would make the most sense to somebody who had studied general semantics, and they were essentially a fictional description of a world where general semantics principles were put to serious use. An elite corps of individuals were trained in infinite valued logic, the awareness of abstraction, and the ability to create a semantic pause, where you step back from all the inadequate perceptions, limiting concepts, reactions and emotions, and examine what is actually going on before you act. Somebody who could think clearly and rationally, on multiple levels, taking all factors into consideration, no matter the circumstances. And, well, despite that Korzybski had outlined such principles in considerable detail, no such corps of rational people has been assembled in our world. Maybe because he outlined the principles, but not necessarily the techniques for getting people to live them. Maybe because it is more complicated than that.

Many years ago I was a scientologist. More than 20 years since I was kicked out of Scientology. One of the key endeavors in Scientology is to develop individuals into a state called "clear". A clear would be a person who no longer has irrational reactions to what he experiences in life. I.e. no more blind push-button reactions, where one ends up doing something that one doesn't want and which doesn't work. Where one unconsciously does something destructive instead of what serves the circumstances best. Where one walks around in a hypnotic state, responding to distorted commands from one's subconscious mind, rather than being aware, awake and present in the moment. And, well, there are systematic methods for locating and transforming these various areas. And when one has reached a certain state where one is more powerful than one's subconscious, and actually able to make one's own conscious and rational decisions about things, that's when one is labeled "clear". I became a clear, and there certainly is something to it. You can systematically become more sane. However, since then I've more and more taken it with a grain of salt, and realized that it wasn't quite as absolute and permanent a state of being as it appeared. Nevertheless, it became part of who I am.

For many years after that I would predominantly hang out with people who were "doing their work" as it is often called in new age circles. In part because I was a professional counselor who would facilitate personal change. So, I was mostly paying attention to people who were on a path of personal development, who were working in their own way on being more sane, more present, more whole. Maybe they were meditating, maybe they were getting therapy, maybe they were rewiring their own minds with NLP. But they were doing something, and even though it would be many different disciplines, there would be a certain underlying agreement about the value of being more awake, empowered, enlightened, whole, or whatever it might be called.

At some point I stopped bothering seeking out that kind of people. In part because I'm interested in life as it really is, in whatever form it takes, and it was a little boring just hanging out with people who had the same kinds of views on things. Great gifts might appear in unexpected places. The truth might be spoken where you least expect it. Life is something to experience, not to just sit and be holy about.

But now, to get to my point. We live in a world where there's no generally agreed upon norm for what is sane and what isn't. We aren't being trained in identifying what is sane and what is less sane. We aren't being trained in thinking. We aren't being trained in recognizing truth or deception.

The people who are supposed to be the certified specialists in such things often have the least clue. Oh, there are some brilliant and prominent psychiatrists around, who somehow have managed to maintain an intuition for what people need. But aside from that, I don't think I've enountered such a concentration of lunatics in any other field. That's not what I wanted to rant about, however.

My point is more personal. I somehow have an implicit assumption that the people I deal with have gone through a path in life that somehow is equivalent to mine. Not doing the same things, but somehow having similar experiences, learning similar things, and ending up with some kind of mature sanity about life. And the thing is that I'm more and more noticing that that is not the case at all. Many people have made it this far in life without ever "working on themselves". Many people have adopted some kind of fixed solution to everything, making themselves right and others wrong. Religious dogma, fundamentalist materialism, self-centered cosmology, everybody else is an asshole kind of beliefs.

See, if I were a counselor and you came to see me to fix that kind of personal problems, I'm thoroughly trained and educated in helping you out of such limiting beliefs. But if you don't, I have neither the right nor the means to disabuse you of very much that you believe in. And what I realize I'm missing nowadays is a shared frame of reference. Many human relations remain dysfunctional, or end in a word-against-word impasse, because there is no shared methodology available for bringing back sanity. "You're an asshole! No, YOU are!!" Hard to sort out unless we agreed to a shared frame of reference and a shared ethic from the start.

If you're part of some group that has a shared standard and a shared frame of reference, life is so much easier, even if the frame of reference is itself flawed. If you're a religious fundamentalist, you'll have a book where you can look up what is wrong with other people. They're sinners, they eat meat on Thursdays, they use bad words. They just need to act the right way and say the right words, and they're back on track. If you're a scientologist you notice when people act irrationally, and you know that if they'll just do their next level of clearing, they'll be better. If you belong to an -ism, you probably have tests of whether somebody is in their right mind or not, and you're have solutions handy. Some better than others. But if you don't belong to any -ism, you can't go around correcting other people's lack of sanity. Much of the time you have to just put up with it, ignore it, argue about it, or refuse to work with them, calling them names if necessary.

What I'm afraid of is whether maybe we all on this planet are half-lunatics walking around in our own little private worlds, seeing what we want to see, re-confirming our old beliefs, grumbling about things that didn't even happen, never quite understanding anybody else, other than when they accidentally happen to validate our own beliefs. Uarrrgh!

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7 May 2003 @ 14:53 by quidnovi : An excellent follow up on your previous
entry, Ming. And on your last comment: "universally known techniques for better unfact detection would be even better."   The interesting thing is that you posted that just as I was searching the web to try and find a good link about Semantic General (which I did:

In so far as Scientology is concerned, I thought it showed some promises in the earlier days when it was still just called Dianetics, I cannot say that I care much for what it has become though. So I must say that I consider it rather a "plus" that you were kicked out (I feel more confortable around people who belong to no -ism)---as things stand, you most probably would have eventually left on your own anyway (just a guess ;-)  

7 May 2003 @ 14:55 by jazzolog : Animal Behavior
This morning just before dawn I was walking along listening to the wild symphony of birds who honor our meadow, and I heard some treefrogs---probably mating---that have a kind of sustained one-note chant they do...but very intense. For some reason I thought of Tibetan monks chanting, and that thought led me to think how we as-yet unsettled humans sometimes seem to choose balance behavior from other creatures who already have it "figured" out. We don't have the one song of the blue-winged warbler for ourselves to announce our "place" in the creation. Maybe we just never will.  

7 May 2003 @ 15:06 by quidnovi : Sentiency, Jazz
sentiency will do that to you---the opposite of no-mind, in a way :-)

A perpetual state of uncertainty is the curse of humanity, and its boon, too.  

7 May 2003 @ 16:30 by spiritseek : Ah, but we all love a mystery...
you could say that uncertainty is quit a mystery in which we all live, I believe this is the magic that makes it all worth while. What I have gained the most in life is this one point...there is no certainty,so change it, you have choices until your dead (physical death), without choices there is no life.  

7 May 2003 @ 18:27 by rmmiller @ : YIKES
I pray for you all. Find a bookstore, get a bible, find the answers, don't burn!

Love and peace in the name Jesus Christ the son of God!

7 May 2003 @ 19:33 by catana : Good one
"Somebody who could think clearly and rationally, on multiple levels, taking all factors into consideration, no matter the circumstances. And, well, despite that Korzybski had outlined such principles in considerable detail, no such corps of rational people has been assembled in our world. Maybe because he outlined the principles, but not necessarily the techniques for getting people to live them."

Taking General Semantics as one model, you can say the same of all models that leave you free to find your own way rather than mapping it out for you. There's a list of techniques in GS, but no instructions on how to put them to use. I'm inclined to say that any exact map you accept from someone else is going to be the wrong one for you, personally. Most people don't want to hear that you have to work things out for yourself, and that even then, there's no end to the path. "Clear" is as elusive as enlightenment, and maybe just as illusory, in the sense that it's so easy to believe you've gotten there and have no work left to do.

There's no such thing as a frame of reference that will give us perfect understanding of another person, no absolute measure for sanity or anything else that is human. The best we can do is accept uncertainty as challenge and opportunity.

I guess by most standards, I haven't really "worked" on myself, but I've learned a lot by reading between the lines of what others try to say. That's where I find our commonality, and my personal meanings.

Of course, there's always the bible. :-)  

7 May 2003 @ 20:00 by martha : thanks ming
I enjoyed your sanity post and appreciate your candor. My own experiences have taught me to take all of it lightly and not take oneself too seriously. Then the fun begins.  

8 May 2003 @ 01:47 by b : Sanity is Certainty
Your right again Ming. One thing that LRH developed for Scientolgy was a gradient scale of awareness. After using Dianetic auditing to take charge off a persons moments of loss and emotion and deeper moments of pain and unconciousness one is able to go earlier to relieve the basic on a chain of like events. Then a person would be ready for Scientology, going through various grades of release up that gradient scale to Clear. In those days, the days you mention Ming, as the Scientology early days and what the current Scientologists call the Golden Age of Scientology was a basis of wins up those grades to the Scientology clearing course. Auditing that course solo took dedication and effort. Sessions, session reports, examiner, a case supervisor, all of the services of an advanced org so that one could go clear. That was discribed as a person who was at cause over mental matter, space, energy and time. So, by lining up that auditing, those grades, Those cognitive sessions with very good indicators, one can recall it in mind and so have it again. Nothing lost.  

8 May 2003 @ 02:16 by waalstraat : The Best Insanity will Have to Do...
Since no set of thoughts or cognitions (no matter how large or extendeded they are)can depict reality and seeing without the lenses of culture or subcultures is darn near an impossibility, your last paragraph said it! If you take our society's operational definition of "sanity" which is the ability to reality test and stay within the borders of consensual reality (where, when, etc).
So we are left with the pragmatic test of perception, and cognition--how well did the behaviors which ensued from them produce truly constructive results that were life enhancing, as well as planet enhancing. That's the true test of how well we are approximating reality in each situation. Checking this out we may find a limited methodology, that is self broadening and extending.
In short there is healthy insanity and unhealthy is well to keep this in mind when cutting through what one "thinks" is the unhealthy sort seems to be well nigh impossible...perhaps this was a channeling, it sounds wiser than Wisser...warm regard and blessing to you and everyone else Ming...from me Waalstraat (Wisser) in Netherlands...  

8 May 2003 @ 10:30 by quidnovi : Follow up on Waalstraat' s comment:
In others' words:

"Men have called me mad, but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence--whether much that is glorious--whether all that is profound--does not spring from disease of thought--from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.
---Edgar Allen Poe, "Eleonora" (1841)

"When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness. And maddest of all, to see life as it is, and not as it should be."
---Miguel de Cervantes, "Don Quixote" (1604)  

8 May 2003 @ 11:58 by martha : and according to the asylum
your new name is Crusty Chickenface.

Sincerely, Loopy Bubblenose  

8 May 2003 @ 12:12 by quidnovi : Feed back on rmmiller's comment
30 Jesus replied "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead.
31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
33 But a [despised] Samaritan [YIKES??? Hmmm...] while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity.
34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, 'Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.'
36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?"
---Luke 10:23-37


8 May 2003 @ 12:20 by quidnovi : The Asylum?
Hmmm...I think I've heard about it, Martha. Isn't it what Ming was talking about?

You know:

"...half-lunatics walking around in [their] own little private worlds, seeing what [they] want to see, re-confirming [their] old beliefs, grumbling about things that didn't even happen, never quite understanding anybody else, other than when they accidentally happen to validate [their] own beliefs. "  

8 May 2003 @ 13:22 by spectragon : Sanity is Over rated
The word genius comes from a Greek root that originally described the state of a soul that is inherently torn and conflicted. Certainly the greatest contributors to human culture span the range from eccentric to downright tortured souls. To shine brilliantly is often a painful process. Passion tends to be more compelling than reason because it is experience rather than logic that validates existence. Science depicts existence from a rational (mechanistic) perspective but that does not address the wild magical (vitalistic) underpinning from which the manifested world springs.  

8 May 2003 @ 15:04 by spiritseek : Laymans terms...
Life is what you make it,you could see it as a mystery unfolding or a boring existence.Perhaps the insane would take the latter view.  

11 May 2003 @ 11:17 by jmarc : is that what the asylum is?
An insanity sink for NCN? If so, then i confess, i am sunk.  

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27 Nov 2014 @ 03:36 by hello @ : hello
gaotsodd cwrodn [url=]cwrodn[/url]  

28 Feb 2016 @ 03:30 by Vlora @ : gndnSdVIaigZEvww
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