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PHILOSOPHY

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YOUR VIEW   YOUR WORLD.

SO WHAT IS PERCEPTION?

 

"It is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information or environment. All perception involves signals that go through the nervous system, which in turn result from the physical or chemical stimulation of our senses". dictionary.com

 

The thing that human beings fear most is the unknown.

As we can't see into the future, we are often fearful of it.

Because tomorrow can bring both positive as well as negative outcomes, and as humans possess 9 negative emotions and 1 positive - most of our perceptions weigh heavily on the negative.

 

What is your world view?

 

To move from here I turned to philosophy as my first love and I never cease to be amazed and inspired by this love of wisdom I have and what immense power it possesses from the Ancients to the present day. 

 

Subjective experience and objective observation and the two meet in deep meditation.

 

Whilst most people have a big worldview it is mostly the small worldview that really matters on the manner in which you perceive of others and the way you believe they perceive of you.

 

This occupies rent-free space in your mind every day and is mostly the source of your seemingly never-ending self-speak - the narrative that can be judgemental, contemptuous, disgusted, angry, sad, fearful, jealous, shameful, surprised, regretful, and guilty to name a few or just simply contented.

 

It is here that you can spend long hours bogged down by this narrative until you learn to stop it and drop in a bit of reason.

 

It's not easy. But it is possible.

Try developing a daily a habit of just stopping whatever it is you are doing for about 10 private minutes on your own.

Concentrate on your breathing and slow it down by creating a rhythm.

Then simply go back to what you were doing.

 

Former Sorbonne based Professor of Philosophy, Andre Comte-Sponville, wrote A Short Treatise on the Great Virtues, to encourage readers to use philosophy in everyday life. 

He chose 18 virtues in the beautifully written 350 page book, which he begins by writing “If virtue can be taught, as I believe it can be, it is not through books so much as by example. 

In that case what would be the point of a treatise on virtues? 

Perhaps this: to try to understand what we should do, what we should be, and how we should live, and thereby gauge, at least intellectually, the distance that separates us from these ideals”.

He leaves the best to the last and that is the chapter on Love.

Eros - love or desire. 

Philea - love of friends.

Agape - love of forgiveness.

Get to read it if you can.

A wonderful reference resource.

R D Laing first published The Divided Self in 1960, to "make madness comprehensible".

He argued that "psychosis is not a medical condition, but an outcome of the 'divided self', or the tension between the two personas within us: one our authentic, private identity, and the other the false, 'sane' self that we present to the world". 

 

A prolific writer he also produced Politics of the Family - a must read and a little gem from his case studies called Knots.

 

You have to read it to see how easily all of us can become tied up in them, more than we would like to think, or rather, admit to thinking!

Plato, not Prozac was the stunning title of his first book.

And then in 2003 Lou Marinoff went on to write The Big Questions - how philosophy can change your life.

Full of real life descriptions of dealing with daily dilemmas bringing the reader to a test at the end of each chapter. iI is an easy read as an introduction to philosophy and the pleasant journey brings you to an Appendix brilliantly titled - Hit Parade of Ideas: Ninety nine useful thinkers in Philosophical Counselling. I recommend it to all my students whom I know have greatly benefitted from it which sparked off an interest in Philosophy which many of them still retain to this day.

 

And it remains the most referred to book in my little library next to Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics written by R H Blyth.

An absolute gem I found in a Kent atiques bookshop along with his History of Haiku Vol 1 & 2 and the books of Haiku covering all 4 Seasons of Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. All for £30. Best buy I ever made.

Finding Wordsworth, Keats, Shakespeare, Basso or Don Quixote in moments of Zen in this revelatory book is always a pleasure and especially the chapters on Non Attachment - a central tenet of Buddhist practice and philosophy.

This is my copy on my bookshelf printed in 1942.

 

Next to The Fighting Spirit of Japan on the one side and Bushido - another gem by Nitobe and Zen Training by Sekida.

The book has been out of print for some time but as you can see a reprint is now available on Amazon. If you wish to reach a deeper understanding of moments of Zen in the literature that notmany of us know, spend £20 on the hardback - you'll be glad you did.

 

In 2012 Burce Hood published The Self Illusion in which he challenges the idea that there is a "self" inside each of us which has evolved by the people around us and the environment we are in at any one time.

" You exist as a combination of all the othrrs that complete your sense of Self" he writes and goes on to use the mirror in a number of different and compelling ways to explain the illusion with an interesting experiment that shows we are "mind blind" every time we move our eyes for up to 2 hours a day. Well read by the author on Audible. Riveting.

 

The extremely well known and really likeable actor Matthew McConaughey kept a journal for as long as he can remember. 

One day his wife told him to go into the desert and not to come back until he had sorted them all into a book of his lifes' experiences and in 2020 Greenlights was born.

Its an hilarious tale of a boy turning into a man with all the Red lights and Amber lights you can think of holding him up, getting him down, but never dimming his perception of living life to the full in every experience, which took him to Africa and South America on the road across almost every State of the US and Europe - turning them all into his own Greenlights.

Great read - positive takeaway. Like the man even more for sharing it.

 

 

Francis Spufford is a member of the General Synod of the Church of England and not too keen on going to church every Sunday.

However he is definitely a believer in Christianity and its ability to make emotional sense to people and that is what interested me.

His brilliant writing is forthright and flows easily. 

He doesn't mince his words either, repeatedly prompting his readers with an unpronounceable acronym to describe "the human propensity to totally .... things up"! 

The reader is challenged to go into a Church and just sit there in silence for 10/15 minutes and feel what happens.

I happen to love going into churches wherever I am in the world and he is right - 'something' does indeed happen. In my experience - every time. 

Written beautifully - you just wonder what would happen if the ancient dogma of the Church was simply deleted and you just let this positive and moving emotional 'experience' evolve. 

 

Again, I bought the Audible version of Mark Manson's The Subtle Art of not giving a .....

Paroxysms of laughter prevented me from moving through the first chapter as I had to rewind so much!

Seriously funny.

It is a no nonsense polemic of how stupid we are seeking perfection and happiness both of which reek of wishful thinking and self illusions.

Human beings are flawed and limited—"not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault." Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and the forgiveness we seek.

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” Aldous Huxley

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” 

Henry David Thoreau

 

“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” William Blake

 

All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.” 

Leonardo da Vinci

 

“Perception precedes reality.”

Andy Warhol

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