Thoughts of the idea of mortality – the “identity gap”, the “threshold self”, and the “identity gap/pre-self tendency”

While thinking about death and dying the other day I said something interesting:

“The problem with the idea of dying is that I do not have the idea of mortality in my identity.”

After I said this, I began to reflect on what it means.  I got onto some interesting things:

I should first point out that, by “mortality”, I not only mean the fact that I will stop breathing one day but the fact that we could lose our health, become maimed, diseased, etc.  In short, “mortality” means the fact that we are not invincible and that we are actually very fragile.  This fact, of course, can cause an apprehension or fear.  But I felt that this fear or apprehension of “mortality” is not really about the “idea” of mortality, death, or fragility at all but, rather, about the fact that I do not feel this fact as a part of me, of who and what I am . . . that is, I do not feel “mortality” as something “in” me, as a basic part of what I am.  In this way, it is not a part of my identity of how I view my self and who I am.  I may, though, be able to “understand” it, as a concept and idea, but this understanding is just understanding . . . its still not a part of me and my identity.  In some sense, this is the real fear, that I see the awareness of our fragility or “mortality” as removed from me and not a part of who I am even though I am aware or “understand” what it means.  Because of this, “mortality” is perceived as something “other than me”, as something alien and foreign.  This creates a number of senses pertaining to it such as:

  • It threatens me.
  • It is something that “stalks” me and hunts me down.
  • It is something that I must fight against.
  • It is something that I forget or deny.

These give the sense of “mortality” as something against me, an enemy, a threat.

In reality, though, our “mortality” is very much a part of who we are.  It is a reality of the human condition. In ones youth a person does not see themselves as “mortal”.  In fact, one has no real comprehension at all.  In youth, one is only beginning to seek comprehension.  Without the sense of “mortality” we tend to think we are “invincible” or “without problems” in our youth.  This is a defining trait of youth but, ironically, it is in error.  In other words, the basic “joy” of youth is based in a falsity, one so false that the pattern of life will slowly wear it down.  In this sense, one could say that “youth is a lie”.  I would venture to even say that a big part of adulthood, and becoming an adult, is the discovery of “youth’s lie”.  In this way, adulthood is trying to put a grasp on the fact of our “mortality” or, rather, realizing its reality.

Gaining a grasp on “mortality” is not as easy as it sounds.  There seems a natural tendency to resist it.  There are a number of reasons, I think, why this tends to happen:

  • It is based in something “indefinite”.  After all, what is “mortality” or “death” or “fragility” exactly, particularly if we have never seen it firsthand?  We can only “imagine” what it is.  How can I accept an identity of something I can’t define?
  • The awareness of “mortality” is often something “forced” upon us.  The awareness of our “mortality” usually does not just appear gradually.  It often comes with some event, such as old age or sickness or an accident.  We generally “find ourselves” confronted with it, usually unwillingly.  In this way, we are generally unprepared for it and do not know how to react to it.
  • The idea of “mortality” and “death” has a grim and frightening aspect to it.  Often, just the thought of our fragility, mortality, or death instills fear into us.
  • Any change in our identity, to allow something to become a part of us, requires a change in “me”, which is frightening.  This is because a change in identity entails a form of “death of the self”.  I must destroy my invincible view of my self and replaced it with a fragile view of my self.  This change is not an easy one.  Because of this, “mortality” is often viewed in a “distant” abstract sort of a way, such as intellectually.  Its treated as an idea, not a reality or as a part of who we are.

Because of things, such as these, there is a natural resistance to the idea of “death”, or ones “mortality”, as part of ones identity.  We may understand what “mortality” or “death” means but we must remember that understanding is not a part of identity . . . its an intellectual process.  As a result, understanding tends to fail in integrating this awareness into our identity.  Regardless of how well a person may intellectualize it or understand it, it still does not become a part of their identity.  It remains, only, an idea. This fact shows a basic failure of intellectualism, ideas, and other mental fabrications . . . they only go so far.  The person, the self, and identity, needs more than understanding.  Because of this, identity uses a different process, as well as different mechanisms, to achieve an integration of things into ones identity and self.  As a result, there is a need to go through a process to “incorporate” that awareness into ones identity and self.   This process seems to be forgotten or neglected in this society, no doubt because of its strong intellectual orientation.  In actuality, though, this process has been a part of human life, in one form or another, for centuries.  This process tends to follow this pattern:

  1. Understanding.  This is the intellectual process, the idea, or the mental image.  It means that you can intellectually understand, or imagine, what mortality and death is.  But it remains in the intellectual sphere.  Its an idea, a concept, a principle, an image only.
  2. Realization.  This is the process to achieve comprehension.  It generally takes a long time and experience.  Sometimes, even, it takes conflict and pain for this process to work.
  3. Comprehension.  This is when it is “incorporated” into ones identity and self . . . it becomes part of who one is.

In some respects this is nothing but a ‘process of growth’ (I have discussed this process in a previous article called “Thoughts on the process of comprehension“).  Basically, things become a “part of us” through comprehension.  It becomes not only a matter of who we are but influences our world view and how we interpret things.  In this way, it creates an all-around self/world perception.  One effect of this is that, through comprehension, the self and world become as if united thereby “implanting” a person in the world.  This makes the world and self very “real” and “meaningful”.   In addition, the process of comprehension also tends to create a “deep” sense.  This is because it hits ones identity and, therefore, hits ones self to the core.  Understanding, being more intellectually-oriented, does not achieve this, having a more superficial effect . . . things remain in the realm of “ideas”.  Perhaps, in some respects, comprehension creates what can be called “maturity”.  With comprehension a person becomes a part of something, it becomes who they are.  As a result, things become as if a part of them.

For those who discover the comprehension process its not uncommon that life becomes a never-ending seeking for comprehension.  In other words, comprehension becomes life-absorbing, ones life revolves around it.  This is no doubt why things like culture, belief, and religion become a “way of life”, as they are reflecting a continual seeking of comprehension.  This is not surprising.  The process of comprehension is a naturally appearing process used by culture, belief, and religion.  In many ways, the power of things such as culture, a way of life, belief, and religion is in the fact that they create a process of realization, which leads to comprehension, and which allows the integration of things into our self and identity.  Its no surprise, then, that an idea of mortality is often so prevalent in these things.

The struggle, then, is trying to “instill” the idea of “mortality”, as a comprehension, into ones identity, not as something ‘understood’.  The idea of “mortality” is something that one cannot really comprehend, in fact.  That is to say, a person is always in the process of realization “mortality”, death, as well as non-existence, . . .  its never really fully comprehended.  This means, of course, that it is never accepted as a part of who we are, of our identity.  This causes an ongoing wonderment about it and a continued sense of incompletion about it.  In other words, there is always a “comprehension incompletion” with “mortality”.  Its never fully answered.  This absence of comprehension creates what can be described as a “mortality schism”.  This schism primarily describes a condition where we are as if stuck between understanding and identity:  we cannot fully understand it, nor is it fully in our identity.  We are then hanging in the middle, caught between two worlds.  This makes “mortality” something mysterious, ungraspable, and unknowable.  As a result, there becomes “techniques” to try to deal with this schism, to as if answer this dilemma.  In fact, one could say that there is a spectrum of “techniques” to deal with this schism:

  • An emphasis on understanding – philosophy and logic
  • Symbolism – mythology
  • Belief and faith – religion
  • Mysticism – spirituality

If a person chooses none of these then we could describe them as ‘indecisive’, with no definite stance.

The accepting of which path one takes depends on you, in actuality.  A persons culture, also, makes a big impact as ones culture is a big part of what makes us up.  Oftentimes, ones culture predisposes, and even determines, what direction a person will take.

The question of the schism becomes, really, a question of what one accepts, not what is actually shown to be true.  In other words, once a “technique” is accepted it is usually accepted as true, often without any real proof,  and becomes a part of ones view of how the world works.  This is particularly true with some cultures who take the stance that the “technique” they accept is a fact of the world, without doubt, and that there is no other way.  In other cultures, though, it may not be so definite . . . there can persist a continual sense that it is not answered or that there is some doubt.

The fact that there are many “techniques” in the world shows that there is no ‘complete answer’ to the schism.  That is to say, there is no single answer, the schism persists as a reality in humanity and is never fully answered . . . its just a question of which “technique” works for you.  This means that the “mortality schism” is a part of the human condition . . . it exists and that is all with no solution or answer.   I don’t think that there is really any proof that one “technique” is better than another, nor can anyone really prove that their “technique” is the only answer.  The choice of which “technique” one takes does nothing but give a “light at the end of the tunnel” quality to it for a specific person (its like saying, “comprehension is around the corner”) but its never fully answered for all of humanity.

The “mortality schism” often creates a number of reactions:

  • A sense of uneasiness.
  • A fear or apprehension.
  • An avoidance of the problem.
  • A sense of mystery.
  • A need to explain.

This all describes a reaction to an “identity gap”.  That is to say, even though we are aware of it, and may even be able to describe and even give it an explanation, there is still a sense that “its beyond us” which is like saying “its there but still not a part of who I am”.  This “identity gap”, naturally, tends to create a desire to close this gap.  This need originates from the need to maintain a sense of self.  Identity is a part of our self.  Because of this, a gap in our identity creates something like an imbalance in the self which, of course, creates a desire to close the gap so that we can complete our self.  In other words, the “identity gap” creates a “drive to complete the self”. 

This drive naturally looks to the self for an answer (in other words, the self seeks the self).  It tends to first look into the superficial self first, which is the path of least resistance.  When that fails we tend to go deeper and deeper into the self.  In this way, it follows a pathway much like this:

  1. Seeking mental fabrications.  These tend to entail various fabrications of the self and mind such as philosophy, dogma, ideas, symbols, etc.  This tends to create a philosophical orientation.
  2. Seeking aspects of the self.  These tend to entail acts of the self, such as believing, states of mind, awareness, etc.  This tends to create a spiritual orientation.
  3. Seeking the pre-self.  This is the self before the self.  This tends to create a mystical orientation. 

So we see that, when the “identity gap” cannot be closed there is a tendency for one to seek further and further back into ones self, even to its very origins, even before the self has even appeared.  I call this the ‘pre-self’(see my article “Thoughts on the pre-self, primal self, world self, post-self, and the greater self“).   Our conception of the world, before the self has appeared, is that our self and the world are one and the same.  This is because there is no self to make the distinction “me and the world”.  As a result, we see our self as the world and the world as our self.  This tends to create a mystical attitude about things.  It also tends to create a sense of “god” for the self-as-the-world is perceived as “god” or a “presence”, which is really our self projected onto the world as the world.

One of the effects of the ‘pre-self’ is that it tends to make us view death, in particular, as a “becoming” of this “god” or “presence”.  That is to say, we feel that we somehow merge with it (such as feeling that we merge with “god” or go to heaven).  Remember that this sense of “god” or “presence” is our projected self onto the world as the world.  In this way, this “becoming” a part of “god” or “presence” is, in actuality, something like a regression to our earliest self:  our self seeks to unite with our earliest self where a self does not exist.  This, really, is the deepest our self can go and, as a result, it can be described as the “end of the self” as the self can go no deeper. 

But there is more.

The “world” consists of more than our projected self.  That is to say, the world is not this inanimate thing that we project our selves onto.  The “world” exists and has a “life” of its own, independent of our self.  This, of course, is not fully realized until after our self appears where we find that the world does, in fact, live separate from us.  This sense of the world as “alive” I call the ‘threshold self’.  In this way, there are actually two forms of “life” that are perceived in the pre-self:

  1. The world as  a projection of the “life” of the self:  the ‘projected self’
  2. The world as having a “life” of its own:  the ‘threshold self’

Each form creates a different view of “god”:

  • The ‘projection self’ creates a tendency to “personalize”, so to speak, the sense of “god”.  This is why each culture, and even individual person, has a different image of “god”.  This is because this image of “god” is, in actuality, a manifestation of our own self.  Its because of this that our image of “god” is so revealing about us as a person.  In fact, I’ve found that many peoples viewpoint on life, and themselves, can be seen in their image of “god”.  This makes the ‘projected self’ something like a Rorschach Test.  Because it reflects our self it tends to use the more superficial aspects of the self, especially the philosophical orientation.  As a result, this image of “god” has mythology, images, tales, names, principles, etc. that surround it.  Not only that, there can be a confusion between ones self and “god” to the point where we think that “our will” is “god’s will”.   We are all aware how people often claim that this or that is “God’s will” or “Allah’s will” and so forth.  In this way, there is a tendency to confuse “god” with ones own self as a result of the ‘projected self’.
  • The sense of “god”, in the ‘threshold self’, cannot be “personalized” because it is rooted in the world which has a “life” of its own.  This means that it does not use the self as much.  This makes it so that it relies more on the deeper aspect of the self, such as the pre-self.  As a result, “god” is experienced more as a “sense”, an awareness.   This makes “god” mystical and, because it is more rooted in the pre-self, it does not use the superficial aspects of elements of the self (thought, images, philosophy, etc.).  This “god”, as a result, tends to be wordless, unspeakable, unknowable, ungraspable, etc.  That is, it is something primarily “sensed”. In this way, the ‘threshold self’ becomes the deepest perception of “god” that one can attain.  “God” becomes “more than us”, “beyond us”, a complete mysterious entity.  This gives “god” a deep inner sense.

I should point out that both the ‘projected self’ and ‘threshold self’ are not known until after the self develops.  In other words, they are perceived as a “sense of the pre-self” from the stance of a developed self or, to be more precise, what I call the ‘post self’.  This is the self that develops after the conflict between the world and the self appear.  To put it another way, it is the “self as opposed to the world” with a a clear definition of the self and the world as separate entities.  This fact, naturally, puts pressure on ones self.  This pressure can sometimes give the ‘push’, or drive, to seek the pre-self and its manifestations.  Because of this, the self/world conflict, which creates the post self, often leads to a “god” sense and orientation which can appear as a religious sense, a deep quality, and such. 

So we can see that the inability to accept “mortality” as part of our identity (that is comprehension), though we may be able to understand it with words, tends to cause a gap in our identity.  This pushes us to find a way to close this gap.  Since our identity is an aspect of our self we tend to push further into our self, going to its very source, even before a self, the pre-self.  This tends to bring up a sense of “god” or “presence”.  As a result, the inability to comprehend becomes replaced by a tendency to “become” or “unite” with the sense of “god” originating from the pre-self.  In other words, the inability to comprehend, or accept something as part of who we are, tends to push us to our deeper self creating a tendency to emphasize a sense of “god” and to become a part of it or unite with it.  In so doing, we replace our self identity with the “pre-self sense”, which is a sense of “god”, “heaven”, or similar thing.  Because we have no self at this stage, the “pre-self sense” becomes the identity.  In fact, the “pre-self sense” becomes the identity that closes the “identity gap”.  Ironically, it is an identity without a self.  This gives it a very mystical, religious, and spiritual quality and is why death, “mortality”, and such are associated with religion and spirituality.

This describes the “identity gap/pre-self tendency”.  In other words, the “identity gap” tends to lead us to the pre-self and its various manifestations.  As a result of this tendency, death is often perceived as a “returning” to this “pre-self sense”, of “god”, of “heaven”, which is really our earliest self (before we developed a self).

This “return” varies with ones level of mind.  The more superficial aspect will see it as something  definite with images, a “place” with a name, and often with a mythology.  The deeper aspect will see it as more of a “something” without images.  In other words, the “return” involves levels of the mind ranging from superficial to deep, similar to what is described above:

  • Understanding – thought, philosophy, dogma, etc.
  • Aspects of the mind – believing, faith, states of mind, etc.
  • The pre-self:  ‘projected self’ – seeing ones self as the world
  • The pre-self:  ‘threshold self’ – seeing the world as “living”

In the “identity gap/pre-self tendency” the tendency is to go from superficial to deep.  One stops, though, where one is comfortable and according to ones inclinations (which may be greatly affected by ones culture).  Many people, particularly nowadays, will stop at the most superficial level:  understanding.  Everything will revolve around “what makes sense”.  Despite this, its not uncommon that a part of them will seem to “strive to go deeper” but their tendency to remain in the understanding level prevents this from happening.  This can cause great tension in some people (as it did for me for a while).  Its like a tug-of-war of the self:  one part of the self wanting to go deeper, the other part remaining in the superficial level.  This, to me, seems to be a common occurrence nowadays.

But, since the pre-self is not a part of our self it is felt as a “sense”.  In other words, one does not “possess” it like an identity.  One knows the pre-self by maintaining certain attitudes and ways that keep this “sense” alive.  In this way, continually keeping the “pre-self sense” alive fills the “identity gap”.  But, because one does not “possess” this sense one must continually work to keep the “pre-self sense” alive.  In this way, the “pre-self sense” tends to create a way of life and living, of maintaining a specific way of being.  This is seen in a lot of religions and cultural ways which continually seek to maintain that specific way of being.  As a result, since one cannot absorb the idea of “mortality” into ones identity, “mortality” is comprehended by a way of life, rooted in the “pre-self sense”, and a sense of uniting with and becoming a part of “god” or something similar, like “heaven”.  So we see the mortality” is really based in a “sense”, not in a knowing or even an identity.


Just because there is an “identity gap” does not necessarily mean the “identity gap/pre-self tendency” just happens.  There generally must be something that ‘pushes’ the tendency, to push us to the pre-self.  Often, it may take an experience, or some event, to instigate it.  For some people, who are closer to their pre-self, it may be a natural process and tendency.  But many people may never feel this ‘push’.  In some respects, an “identity gap”, without the ‘push’, becomes an “identity crisis”.  When this happens a person struggles with their identity alone.  In this way, it becomes a crisis of the self, dealing with aspects of the self:

  • The self-as-self.  The sense of ones self as an individual person:  confidence, certainty, etc.
  • The self-in-the-world.  The sense of ones self in relation to other things and in the context of other things.

Because of the emphasis on the self, the ‘pre-self’ generally does not make an appearance in “identity crisis”.  In fact, the “identity gap”, with the ‘push’ to the pre-self, actually moves one away from the self and there becomes a loss of self because, in the pre-self, there is no self.  In this way, an “identity crisis” and an “identity gap” with the ‘push’, are opposites, one leading toward the self, the other away from it.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

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Thoughts on how females are continuing the mistake of their mothers before them . . . continuing the ‘failed sex’ and promoting alienation

Here’s a thought I had:

In a previous article (“Thoughts on the ‘failed sex’ – how many female traits have failed – a hidden crisis of the American female“) I mentioned how the female has “failed”.  That is to say, the female identity has failed to work and is, as a result, causing a lot of problems for females.  I also discussed how much of this has a basis in the mothers who started something several centuries ago that basically got a ball rolling that slowly, over time, has greatly helped to undermine the female identity.  A time line can be shown revealing this process:

  • Mid-1800’s to the mid-1900’s.  In the mid-1800’s, the females began to abandon their original female “peasant” identity and began to imitate and ape the nobility creating what I call the “pseudo-nobility”.  This created a generalized attitude of the mothers, which was taught to their daughters, of “be what you’re not” (that is, “pretend you’re nobility even though you’re a peasant”).  I often speak of this attitude as the “failed sex attitude” as it is so influential in British/American female mentality and in the subsequent failure of their identity.  Its created an attitude that has permeated the female world, in Western society, for two centuries.  Because of this, it is very ingrained and influential, having great impact on how they think, behave, and view things.
  • 1960’s to 1980’s. During the 1960’s, and into the 1970’s, the “noble” image tended to fade though its general attitude remained.  That is to say, the image changed, no longer being based in the image of British nobility.  The image changed form primarily due to the effects of television and media which created new images.   In other words, the British “noble” context was replaced by media-derived images.  In this way, a “new nobility” appeared.  This “new nobility” turned into things like a desire to be famous, a movie star, a model, or some other person that generally had a “high” standing in American media-based society (the need for “high” standing showing its derivation from the image of British “nobility”).  One effect of this is that they had to appear “pleasing” socially.  This is, of course, because a “pleasing” image is so important in the media-based perspective.  This made it a new “requirement” for females to seek and a significant aspect of the “new nobility”.  As a result, there became a great emphasis on their appearance which continues to this day.
  • 1980’s to 2000.  In the 1980’s this “new nobility” image tended to have the addition, for some girls, of beginning to ape the male and male values, such as independence, achievement, strength, etc.  As time goes on this would become stronger and stronger to the point that some girls actually believe that they are men.  In actuality, this tendency to ape the male shows that, by the 1980’s, the female identity had already dramatically failed . . . it was beginning to offer very little.  The male identity became, for them, a ‘solution’ for the failed female identity.
  • 2000 to today.  The aping of the male continues to grow, particularly for some females, but the influence of the social media began to intensify the desire for a “high” standing in society.  In other words, it made it so that many females have developed a slavish and mindless attitude to “be whatever is accepted or believed in the social media”.  Because of this, the original aping or “play acting” of nobility has turned into a slavish desire to “have to” follow whatever is on the social media.  This slavish “need”, no doubt, is another sign of the failed identity . . . its now so diminished that they are “scrambling”, so to speak, for acceptance and some social standing.

The pattern, established by the ‘pseudo-noble’ attitude, created a number of tendencies that females still continue to do, such as:

  • A “trying to be” someone that is viewed as socially high up and esteemed.  This is one reason why females British/American females tend to seek to be socially “high up”, in some way, whereas females from other countries do not.  This quality often gives the female a “social climber” or “upstart” quality that continues to this day.  In many cases, this need dominates their life creating what can be called as a “social climber obsession”.
  • A sucking up to ideals and things that are esteemed socially.  I’ve seen many females kill themselves to achieve what is considered the “ideal”.
  • It also makes them very preoccupied with being socially oriented.  Society, and social relations, become the “everything” in their life.
  • A slavishness, particularly to social trend.  They need (or should I say, “have to”) do what everyone else is doing.  They need to follow trend, fads, etc.
  • A mindlessness.  The ‘pseudo-noble’ mentality is primarily one of following what is esteemed.  One of the effects of this is that it creates something like a mindless person, whose only intent is to follow what is esteemed.  Oftentimes, the person is so mindless that they act like a blind person in life making many females appear “dumb” and “stupid”.

Overall, we could say that these reflect three qualities:

  1. A “play acting” (such as with the pseudo-nobility and media-derived images)
  2. A “try-to-be” (such as imitating the male)
  3. A “slavishness” (such as following social media and trend)

These things, really, have slowly undermined the female identity.  Once the mothers of the past abandoned their original “peasant” female identity they basically taught their daughters an illusionary, false, and artificial identity (such as trying to be “noble”).  This made it so that females tended to always seek identities “other than themselves”.  Not only that, this point of view taught females to seek an illusionary, false, and artificial identity as a way of life . . . a life attitude.  In short, to never seek to be themselves.  The net result of this is the slow deterioration and failure of the female identity. 

In general, though, females are not aware of this deterioration.  At least, I’ve never seen it.  They generally tend to believe that any action they do is the correct path, particularly if they get social “approval.  In other words, they interpret social “approval” as a sign that they are doing what’s right.  This shows the influence and power of “social standing” and society in their life.  This is a remnant, no doubt, of the need for “high social standing” which is at the base of this whole mentality.  In addition, because of this over-valuation of social approval, it tends to make females alienated from any ‘inner sense’ . . . they don’t follow what they need deep down.  This makes it hard for females to see what’s going on behind their motives and what it hides, hence they do not see any deterioration.  Instead, they think its right because its socially approved.  I tend to believe that one of the reasons why the female identity has failed so much is because of their inability to see what’s going.  As a result, they actually pursue paths that are actually undermining to them (such as being men or slavishly following trend on social media) but think that its beneficial.

Overall, what we see that the American female is actually continuing, and maintaining, the same behavior and motives started by the mothers two centuries ago (the ‘pseudo-nobility’ attitude), though in a different and “updated” form.  Regardless of what they may think, its having the same effect and continuing to undermine them.  But, because its the “updated” form its following the new patterns of social approval, giving the illusion that it works.  But, like the mothers before them, they have been deceived by it.  In actuality, they are continuing the same act as their mothers which is going to continue the same effect:  the deterioration of the female identity.  Its all an illusion creating this effect:

  • It only appears to make them ‘someone” . . . social approval makes it appear otherwise.
  • It actually undermines them, creating a failed female identity.

An effect of this is that females are struggling with “issues” but have no idea why or where they come from.  As a result, many females become adept at accusation and blame . . . someone has to be blamed for it!  Accusation and blame only intensifies the problem, and the illusion.  Its the males fault, its societies fault, its because of the social expectation of women, etc., etc.  I’ve spent a big part of my life listening to all this accusation and blame.  In all that time, I’ve never seen it actually work or solve their problem!  Accusation and blame becomes part of the illusion.

Despite this, they continue glorify and seek the “new nobility”.  Examples of this “new nobility” (which are new ways of reflecting the traits of the British “nobility”) include:

  • Being someone famous, like a movie star (to be “socially esteemed”)
  • A sucking up to social ideals (to be “socially esteemed”)
  • An emphasis on looks and appearances (to be “socially esteemed”)
  • A desire to do what everyone else is doing (to be “socially accepted”)
  • Slavishly following the mob (to be “socially accepted”)
  • Having to be “educated” (the “educated” being a manifestation of “American nobility” . . . the upper class)
  • Being “Ms. career lady” (having a job often reflects trying to be a man or a version of the “American nobility”)
  • Having to have a position of power (a version of the “American nobility”).
  • Trying to me a man (an alternative of the failed female identity)

These are nothing but new updated modern American forms reflecting the traits begun with the ‘pseudo-nobility’ and the imitation of British “nobility”.

Behind many of these traits are seen a number of “needs” which are reflective of the dilemma caused by the failed female identity.  These include:

  • A need for social approval
  • A need to have a “standing” in society
  • A need for a particular identity in society

In actuality, these are needs that reflect a desire for a for a more firm and stable identity.  In other words, they are “attempting” to get a more firm and stable identity but its not working.  This may be due to the fact that there is something deeper about the failed identity.  There was, in actuality, a failing that predates the attempt at a stable “social identity”.  Because of this, the attempt at a “social identity” keeps failing . .  . its not the source.  Its this solution to the original failing that was sought by the mothers two centuries ago.  Its what made the image of “nobility” so appealing.  I am under the opinion (as I referred to in my ‘failed sex’ article referenced above) that one of the original motives to try to be “noble” is a result of what I call Post-Christianity (see my article “Thoughts on Blind Christianity – some effects of the post-Christian era“).  To make a long story short, Christianity taught that we are all sinners.  In other words, we are all inherently bad.  This was fine when there was an active Christian belief which counter reacted it and gave it meaning (we’re bad but belief in Christianity “saves” us from it).  When Christianity failed, though, the belief was gone but the “you’re bad” remained.  As a result, much of Western society has had this attitude that “we are all bad people”.  This permeates much of society (and still does).  For the females it created a sense that “females are bad” (males, also, had a similar sense though appearing in a different way).  The ability to be ape the “nobility”, for the females, became an avenue which seemed to counter react this “you’re bad” attitude.  In short, by being “noble” they ceased being “bad people”.   As a result, behind much of the ‘pseudo-noble’ attitude, and the ‘failed sex’ attitude that followed, is this deep-sense of being “bad people” which originates from Christianity.  It often appears, in females, in ways such as:

  • A very poor and negative view of the female in general.
  • A low self-esteem and poor view of themselves.
  • A feeling of being victimized or hurt in some way.
  • A desire to be someone else.

These are all traits of the ‘failed sex’ attitude and are dominant in many American females.

Interestingly, as I have watched females struggle with their failed identity over the years, I have never seen a female tackle the real issue:  their view of themselves, and females in general, as “bad”.  Instead, everything is based on these things:

  1. On how well they can ape things (such as the “nobility”, the “new nobility”, or the male . . . for example, if they can “do it as good as a man” then they assume nothing is wrong and will even use it as a “justification” that they are right).
  2. On accusation and blame (such as blaming people for the way females are . . . such as that they are “forced” to wear certain types of clothes or to do certain things like cooking or cleaning).

In other words, their solution is based in some form of ‘play acting’ and/or blaming people .  In actuality, this is only leading the females away from the problem without solving it.  In fact, it doesn’t even touch it.

The emphasis on play acting, especially, is why I always say that:

“The life of the American female is primarily play acting someone you’re not”. 

This “play acting” gives many American females a quality of being “shallow”, “superficial”, “brainless”, or “stupid”.  This is a quality sensed by many males and foreigners, especially.  Some females can sense it too, and have complained about it (naturally, its usually societies or someone else’s fault).  One attempt, that some females will try to do in order to deal with this problem, is to try to be sophisticated, intelligent, responsible, professional, or something similar.  This, interestingly enough, really amounts to acting like nobility (which it no doubt originates from).  In other words, their solution is to go right back to the origin of the problem!   In this way, the ‘failed sex attitude’ becomes like a viscous circle:  the cause creates a problem and the solution to the problem is to reenact the cause which causes the problem again, and so on.  This shows how ingrained this “play acting” has become in the American females life.  It also shows how the females are as if “stuck” in it, unable to get out.  In fact, I’d say that we could speak of a ‘failed sex pit’ which they cannot get out of.  In my opinion, the typical American female is hopelessly caught in this pit.

It seems, to me, that the only real solution to the ‘failed sex pit’ is the creation or, rather, recreation of what I sometimes call the “feminine home” or “protected world”.   I’ve spoken of this in several of the articles mentioned above.  It is basically a “world within a world” where females live.  In practically every society in the world, since the beginning of time, the female has had a specific world set apart for her in society.  This fact reveals some traits about the female such as:

  • They need to be protected from the greater world.  It wouldn’t be far off to say that the female needs to be “in their own world”.
  • They are not suited to relate with the world.  The female character is not “wired” to deal with the greater world.
  • They need somewhere where they can relate with themselves that is removed from the world.

In effect, these all describe that the female is “designed”, so to speak, to do something specific, which is NOT confronting the world.  It doesn’t take a genius to see that this is childbearing and things related with it.  Its as if nature geared the female for this function alone making the female character “specialized” for this specific function.  As a result, they are not “general purpose” like the male.  This tendency makes it so that the female needs to be put in an environment conducive to their “specialized” function, hence the ‘protected world’.  When their ‘protected world’ is undermined, or destroyed, they react in ways such as:

  • They feel threatened by the world.  They may get to the point that they feel vulnerable or “violated” in some way.  They see threats, victimizing, and damage everywhere and coming out of the woodwork.
  • They try to be a male or male-like.  Their imitation of the male is basically an admission that the female character is not suited to confronting the world and their awareness that the male character is.
  • They try to create new forms of “protection”.  In the US, for example, they wield the law or politics like a weapon.  After watching this for 30 plus years its quite obvious that this is an attempt at “protecting themselves from the world”.  Another common way is to engross themselves with social acceptance.  This has gotten particularly bad as a result of social media.
  • They feel insecure in femininity and female things.  Many can sense, deep down, the failings of “femininity in the world”.  This can help create an additional sense that the female is “bad”.
  • In the avoidance of the real problem, they try to create solutions that never work.  This, of course, creates the viscous circle.

Oddly enough, the creation of the ‘pseudo-nobility’ actually ended up undermining and subsequently destroying the ‘protected world’.  The mothers of the past no doubt thought the ‘pseudo-nobility’ was a new form of ‘protected world’ for the females, a better world.  Looking back on it now one can see that it failed because it was not genuine . . . it was nothing but ‘play acting’.  The result of this is that the ‘protected world’, based in a non-genuine reality, slowly eroded over time which, in a way, “forced” the females out into the world, exposing them to it.  Because of this, many problems of the female, nowadays, is dealing with this fact.  As a result, the reactions, described above, are now prevalent in the life of the female.  In many ways, they dominate it.  From what I have seen, I’m almost inclined to say that a large part of the female life, at least in the US, is females dealing with the loss of the ‘protected world’.

Because females are no longer catering to female things in the ‘protected world’, which is a result of ‘play acting’, it has basically turned the female life into a condition of alienation.  In effect, the ‘pseudo-nobility’, and the ‘failed sex attitude’ that followed, has become an attitude of alienation.  Because of this, the ‘failed sex attitude’ tends to do things such as:

  • A tendency to be alienated.
  • To cause alienation.
  • To promote alienation.

In other words, the ‘failed sex attitude’ is actually creating alienation.  It is an attitude of self-deception taken to the point of a way of life.  In fact, many American female problems are actually based in this alienation that they, themselves, promote (but often blame others for).  I was quite surprised, for example, how many females do not say anything with situations where people either are uncertain who their “are” or are being different than what is considered normal, such as homosexuality, transgender, transvestites, and such.  As I watched them “approve” of things like this I could see why they so willingly supported that stuff:  they’ve spent a life out of “being what they’re not” so they identify and sympathize with someone else who is not “being what they’re not”.  This is a hint of their own alienation.  They will basically “approve” everything.  If a person wants to “believe” that they are a dog they’ll support it, if a person wants to marry a fictional alien they’ll support it, etc.  I’ve written another article involving female alienation called “Thoughts on aspects of alienation and dehumanization in the female“.

To go even further, it appears, to me, that the ‘failed sex attitude’ is causing more alienation than machines and the modern world does.  This stunned me when I first realized this.  I always thought machines and the modern world were the “ultimate” in alienation.  Over the years, though, I found that machines and the modern world only alienate to a point.  I found that the greatest cause of alienation is from humanity itself, that humanity does the “real damage”.  I speak of this as “dehumanization” when humanity alienates themselves (see my article “Thoughts on the ‘era of alienation’ and the ‘era of dehumanization’“).

It appears, to me, that the ‘failed sex attitude’ is a hidden source of alienation or, rather, dehumanization . . . one that will probably never be acknowledged, except by me.  The alienation caused by the ‘failed sex attitude’ is not the same as that caused by the modern world:

  • The alienation of the modern world is something that is impinged upon us, or forced upon us.  As a result, there tends to be a resistance to it and many people can sense that something is not right.
  • With the ‘failed sex attitude’ the female has made a life out of this attitude over many generations.  They’ve made it practically a cause.  In this way, there is no real sense that something is not right.  As I mentioned above, most females aren’t even aware of its undermining effects.  In this way, the ‘failed sex attitude’ has a quality of hidden motives and intentions, giving it an illusionary quality.  This makes it hard to see the alienation.

Interestingly, more than once have I said that the best thing to do is stay away from the mainstream American female because of this alienating effect of the ‘failed sex’ lifestyle.  My observation is that if a person hangs around someone with the ‘failed sex attitude’ they will often start to manifest similar traits showing that the ‘failed sex attitude’ spreads to other people.  This is most certainly true with females but it can happen with males too.  Its this infectious quality that makes it so damaging and why the ‘failed sex attitude’ is contributing to alienation. 

In effect, the ‘pseudo-nobility’ ended up creating a process that has eventually made a false image of the female that persists to this day.  In this way, the female identity has, over the years, been hacked to death to the point that many American females, today, no longer know what a female, woman, wife, or mother is anymore.  Instead, its been replaced by various forms of “false identities” which have traits originating in the ‘pseudo-nobility’.  In other words, the common American female identity is not based in a “real human” image but, rather, on an imagined “less-than-human” image of what a female really is.  These images have basically led them away from a natural human female image and have, subsequently, undermined the female identity creating a ‘failed sex’.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Britain and British things, Dehumanization and alienation, Historical stuff, Modern life and society, Psychology and psychoanalysis, The male and female | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on how Old English riddles may of come from Norse Skaldic poetry

I’ve always felt that there was a similarity between Old English riddles and Norse Skaldic poetry.  Here’s are some thoughts on it:


It seems to me, that what we call “Skaldic poetry” appears to originate from a religious form of poetry that was practiced in Sweden and Denmark, though it no doubt has a basis in Norse society in general (I’ve written aspects of this in my article “Thoughts on Skaldic poetry and the Norse god Odin“).  As far as I know, we do not know what was said, what it sounded like, if it was associated with a ritual, and so forth.  In fact, it may not of originally been poetry at all, but a form of singing.  More than likely it was, and it slowly turned into a more formal type of poetry as the society became settled and established.  I mention this as more primitive societies tend to do song.  As the society becomes more organized it often seems to change to poetry.  I tend to feel this happened in Norse society.

It appears that the original religious Skaldic song/poetry was associated with the Norse god Odin.  In both Sweden and Denmark there was a “center” of Odin worship (Leire in Denmark and Uppsala in Sweden).  This seems to suggest that the original Skaldic poetry probably developed a particular form at those “centers” probably creating a uniqueness in qualities such as:

  • Style
  • Intent and purpose
  • Content

Now, I am of the opinion that Odin was greatly associated with sacrifice, one of which was war.  This is why Odin became so associated with war with the Vikings (see my article “Thoughts on how the Norse god Odin’s association with sacrifice, and historical circumstance, turned him into a ‘war god’ and a ‘god of the dead’“).  Because Odin is associated with sacrifice and the original Skaldic poetry is associated with Odin its probably likely that the original Skaldic poetry is associated with sacrifice.  Since it is through sacrifice that the Gods are “contacted” its probable that the original Skaldic poetry was also a means to “contact” the Divine, so to speak.  This, then, makes it more of a religious-based poetry, based in direct association with the Gods.  Some of these religious-based qualities of the original Skaldic poetry would carry on down to Skaldic poetry and riddles.


Two large areas that are not directly associated with the Swedish/Danish connection with Odin, but which are part of the Norse world, are Norway and England.  It almost seems as if each area took the original religious Skaldic poetry of Sweden/Denmark and modified it due to its different conditions and also because it was not a “center” for Odin worship.  This may of given it more leeway, perhaps, to change.  Because of this, the original Skaldic poetry of the Odin worship changed form in these two areas.  It changed in ways such as:

  • It became “watered down”.  Not being part of the religious “centers” for Odin they did not have as much authority or importance.
  • It became mixed with other things.  New and novel things tended to change it.
  • It became more ‘secular’.  That is, it became less religious in orientation and more directed toward people and situations.

Each area had differing conditions and realities which seemed to of changed the original religious Skaldic poetry to fit its environment.  As a result, each area altered the original religious Skaldic poetry and created a new a prevalent form in that area:

  1. Norway:  Skaldic poetry
  2. England:  Riddles

Norway – Skaldic poetry

The Norse Skaldic poetry, as we know it, is primarily Norwegian.  Norway, being removed from the Sweden/Denmark, did not have a religious “center” for Odin and appears to of been removed from much of this in addition to being more remote and secluded in the mountains and fjords.  As a result, the original religious Skaldic poetic tradition took a “turn” in Norway and developed differently, such as:

  • It became more removed from religion and religious ceremony.
  • It was not practiced by people who catered to the Gods.
  • It became more “secularized” and became more of a “public performance”.

In this way, the original religious Skaldic poetry changed to a new form, probably even turning into a poetry in Norway especially, where it became very refined and developed.

England – Riddles

England, with its different conditions, may of altered the original religious Skaldic poetry the most.  In general, it seems that there were a number of things that put a “damper” on Skaldic poetry in England making it change quite a bit:

  • It appears that England was more remote and removed from the Norse world.  It was influenced primarily from Denmark, being far removed from Norway and Sweden.  Even then, Denmark’s influence seems to be rather minor.  In this way, England seemed to “be on its own” in comparison to much of the Norse world.
  • England become Christian early.  This appears to be a big factor that had great impact on pagan-based things, such as the original religious Skaldic poetry.  In fact, Christianity seems to of caused a “suppression” of religious Skaldic poetry forcing it to go in new directions and paths, one of which was riddles.  Its almost as if the riddles are a Christianized reaction to the pagan-based Skaldic poetry.

Christianity, especially, seems to of made a great impact.  In fact, the association between Skaldic poetry and paganism is seen in the “Skáldskaparmál” by the Icelander Snorri Sturluson where he states that he was teaching the pagan stories and kennings (see below) of Skaldic poetry as a matter of tradition and not to endorse paganism, showing that even in Iceland, in the 1100-1200’s, there was a Christian “repulsion” to pagan Skaldic poetry.  Naturally, we could assume that this also took place in England as well.  Being that England started to become Christian centuries earlier we can surmise that this “suppression” had been going on for generations.

But, in order for the original religious Skaldic poetry to turn into riddles there must be a relationship between the two . . .


There are some common traits of Skaldic poetry that is also seen with English riddles which include:

  1. The use of kennings as a form of speech
  2. The use of rhyme
  3. The influence of mystery


A significant aspect of Skaldic poetry is kennings.  Kennings are basically saying something using different words.  It was commonly used by the Norse.  For example, in a poem you can say something like “the ship steeds plow through the fish fields”.  The “ship steeds” refer to Vikings.  The “fish fields” refer to the ocean.  “Plowing” refers to a ship travelling through the ocean.  The poem then basically says, “the Vikings travel through the ocean in their ship”.  In many cases, if a person does not know the kenning then its hard to determine what is being said.  If you didn’t know the meaning then some would be almost impossible to interpret.  In other words, this may reveal that the original religious Skaldic poetry may have entailed a “language” of its own.  In this way, the original religious Skaldic poetry, or song, was probably used as a prayer to the Gods using a “special language”.  In addition, the “special language” may also have been as a way to “divine” the will of the Gods.  If this were true then its possible that the kenning may of originated as a special “Divine language”, perhaps, that was associated with the Gods.  As a result, only the people associated with the Gods would know it.  Even in Norway and Iceland future Skalds had to learn the origins of the kennings and what they meant as part of their learning.   Supposedly, certain people were known for teaching it and Skalds from all over would travel to learn things from them.  Snorri Sturluson would later make a book about it commonly called the “Prose Edda”.

But if one looks closer at kennings one cannot help but see that it doesn’t take much to change a kenning into a riddle.  Kennings and riddles are basically variations of the same thing:  saying something using different words.  In Skaldic poetry, a person has been taught what they mean.  In the case of riddles, though, you must figure out what it means.  The example poem above (“the ship steeds plow through the fish fields”) no longer of becomes a Skaldic poem, but a riddle . . . what does it mean?

Perhaps it was the Christian “suppression” of pagan things (that is, Skaldic poetry) that “forced” the “forgetting” of the meaning of kennings, which slowly turned them into riddles over time?  Soon, in England, riddles became a popular thing to do, a form of entertainment.  There were even books of riddles, such as the “Exeter Book”.

If the above is true it would mean that the Old English riddles are a direct derivative of Skaldic poetry and their use of kennings.


Rhyme, of course, figures prominently in Skaldic poetry.  Snorri Sturluson even wrote a book on it (the “Hattatal”).  Many Old English riddles, oftentimes, are spoken in verse form, much like a poem.  In that way, one could say that it is a modified Skaldic poem.  In this way, one can see that there is a great similarity between Skaldic poetry and Old English riddles.  This may very well refer to the Skaldic poetry/riddle association.


Mystery is an aspect of the gods and religion as they are part of the “unknown”.  Naturally, this would figure prominently in the original religious Skaldic poetry.  This tendency to religious mystery would carry on down to Norwegian Skaldic poetry and even into English riddles as well.  The Norwegian Skaldic poetry would maintain a connection with the Gods, often referring to the Gods and mythology.  English riddles, though, would maintain this sense of mystery in other ways.  Because Christian England could not speak of pagan Gods this sense of mystery found in Skaldic poetry became reflected in what the riddle was saying.  That is to say, the religious reference to the “unknown” would change to “what does it mean?”  Naturally, it could not maintain the connection with the pagan Gods and mythology . . . the once religious institution of Skaldic poetry had to become “gutted” to be acceptable in Christian society.  Therefore the pagan associations had to be severed.  Despite this, the sense of mystery continued making a big influence in the formation of riddles.


It seems, to me, that English riddles may of continued even further in England creating other tendencies down through the years.   It created a need as if to solve various forms of mystery.  I speak of things such as:

  • A fascination in knowledge and discovering new things.  This would create things like science.
  • A fascination with exploration.  This would create England as a world empire.
  • A fascination with criminal mysteries.  This would create things like Sherlock Holmes and other stories of mystery that continue on down to today.

All these have had great impact on England.  In some sense, they have made a major contribution in its direction in the world.  These fascinations, interestingly, seem to accelerate after the Protestant Reformation and the split from Rome perhaps showing that riddles still had a “religious” quality at that time.  Once there was a break from the Pope this “religious” quality was broken unleashing much more qualities.


With all this it appears that a timeline can be developed showing a progression from the Norse world to England:

  1. The original religious Skaldic poetry as a form of “contacting” the Gods.  This primarily took place in Sweden/Denmark which appears to of had “centers” for this.  It was associated with Odin and sacrifice and may of entailed a “special language”.  Because of this only some people knew it.
  2. Its passed to England, when it became settled, but in a “watered down” form.
  3. Christianity comes and destroys the pagan associations.  Despite this many qualities of the Skaldic tradition continue, such as the use of kennings, rhyme, and mystery.
  4. This causes a transformation into riddles.
  5. After the Protestant Reformation, this turns into a fascination with solving various forms of mysteries creating things such as knowledge, exploration, a strong mystery tradition in literature, etc.


Is any of this true?

Well, its speculation.  In many ways, I don’t think there is any way to prove it.  It “seems” like it could be true but there is no way to really prove it.  This is primarily because the subject matter is of a nature that isn’t really “definable” and easily “palpable” (such as, say, the changes in government in a country over the years).  Because of this, its speculative nature must be kept in mind.  In actuality, though, much of history is made of such speculation, but it is seldom mentioned or stressed.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Britain and British things, Christian conversion, Historical stuff, Mythology, Vikings - Odin, Thor, the Norse, and such | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on ‘inherent truth’

In a previous article I wrote, “Some thoughts I had while walking through a University campus: the revulsion in becoming a “systemite” and the “war for humanness”” I spoke of what I called ‘inherent truth’.  Here’s some thoughts I had on it:

To begin with, I’d say that ‘inherent truth’ is a truth that is “innate”, so to speak.  It just “is”.  In this way, it reflects what I call ‘primal awareness’ (see my article “Thoughts on ‘primal awareness’: the “is”“).  This shows that ‘inherent truth’ is based in an awareness and one that is rooted deep within our self.  Its no surprise, then, that, in the end, it is actually a reflection of the self and, because of this, it reflects a ‘personal truth’. 

Not only that, ‘inherent truth’ exists independent of all other conceptions or mental fabrications (that is, thoughts, ideas, beliefs, etc.).  The self, we must remember, is not based in conceptions and fabrications and so, accordingly, neither is ‘inherent truth’.  As a result of its association with the self, one discovers ‘inherent truth’ not by learning it, or being told it, or hearing about it, or even reading it, but by discovery and experience.  One of my most favorite sayings that reflects this condition is:

“Knowledge is better earned than learned.”

In other words, ‘inherent truth’ is not based in any philosophy, dogma, or belief, though it can be expressed through them.  In fact, I feel that philosophy, dogma, belief, and other conceptions and mental fabrications are nothing but expressions of ‘inherent truth’.  Being an expression, though, they are always “lacking” in some way.   This is because an expression only represents something which means that it is not what it represents.  This fact is the basic failure of all conceptions and mental fabrications (which include beliefs, philosophy, opinions, etc.).  This reveals the tendency where once one focuses only on conception and mental fabrication (that is, expression) one loses “contact” with the original source.  This shows a basic dilemma with ‘inherent truth’ . . .


One of the problems of ‘inherent truth’ is the “dilemma of expressing ‘inherent truth'”.  To put it simply, once we express it we tend to lose it.

But, if one looks closer, one can see that this dilemma, really, describes a process, with a number of phases, each with unique dilemma’s.  These phases are:

  1. Becoming aware of ‘inherent truth’.  A person must be aware of ‘inherent truth’.  Otherwise, there is nothing.  Many people will never be aware of it.
  2. Once one is aware of it there is a need to “integrate” ‘inherent truth’ into ones self.   This is often difficult to do and one reason why ‘inherent truth’ tends to “slip away” so easily.  It also shows the close relationship between ‘inherent truth’ and the self.  
  3. But, in order to “integrate” ‘inherent truth’ into ones self, it requires a “voice” or “means of expression”.  In many ways, its this “voice” or “means of expression” that bonds or connects ‘inherent truth’ with the self.  Otherwise, ‘inherent truth’ remains removed and separate from us.  Without a “voice” or “means of expression” there is a tendency for ‘inherent truth’ to become ‘lost’, degraded, or “fall by the wayside”.  In fact, I feel that the absence of a “voice” and “means of expression” is why ‘inherent truth’ tends to be absent nowadays.  The need for a “voice” or “means of expression” spurns a need for symbols, images, stories, philosophy, knowledge, etc. as a means to give it a “voice” or “means of expression” .  Oftentimes, this consists of conceptions and mental fabrications.
  4. Unfortunately, once ‘inherent truth’ has a “voice” or “means of expression” it tends to cause one to lose “contact” with it.  In other words, we become alienated from the source.  Typically, the more it involves words, concepts, and mental fabrications, the more easily you lose “contact” with it.

One can see that this dilemma is based in the integration of something into our self.  In short, it is a reflection of transformation or growth.  But, as with all transformation and growth, there is conflict.  Because ‘inherent truth’ needs a “voice” or “expression”, and this ends up causing an alienation, it creates what can be described as the “tug-of-war of ‘inherent truth'” between expression and alienation.  It causes an endless battle or inability to fully “grasp” ‘inherent truth’.  No matter what you do there is always something lacking . . . “you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.  This makes it so that ‘inherent truth’ has a quality of an endless battle or struggle as part of its natural trait.  Though this tug-of-war seems to make it a losing battle, I’m inclined to say that, in actuality, it is the tug-of-war that makes ‘inherent truth’ so powerful.  This is because the tug-of-war causes a strain and pull on the self, causing a transformation and growth of the self. 


“Inherent truth” is a condition of what I call relevance (see my article “Thoughts on my saying: Truth is relevance“).  By relevance I mean that it is ‘something’ that has a worth to a person at the moment.  Notice how I note several things:

  1. Worth.
  2. The person.
  3. At the moment.

These are all significant . . .

“Worth”:  taking “note” of things

In life, at any moment, there are a multitude of “things” that affect us.  We must filter out most things and only “note” things that have worth to us.  Otherwise, we’d be overwhelmed and get lost in all the sensations of life.  Typically, what we “note” are things that “reflect us”, that is relevant to us.  In this way, we could say that “truth is us”.  This refers to things such as:

  • What we are “designed” to do.  A bird, for example, will find more worth in where each branch on a tree is located, and “note” it, whereas we wouldn’t even notice them at all . . . why would we?  The location of each branch has no meaning or worth to us.  This is because we were not “designed” to fly and land on tree branches.  As a result, we don’t “note” them.   This shows how what we are “designed” to do determines what we “note” in the world, making it relevant to us (for example, see my article “Thoughts on insect behaviour – some initial thoughts on insects conception of the world“).
  • Our situation in life.  Ones life situation makes a person “note” things related to it.  If we are in a war zone we “note” things about ones environment and situation that are influenced by the war, things we probably would not normally note.  This shows how what we “note” is based on ones situation.  In other words, there’s a ‘situation bias’ caused by ones situation.  As a result of this, a person will easily miss and not notice other things going on around them.  Not only that, it shows that what we “note”, and finds has worth, is actually limited creating what can be called a ‘worth tube’.  That is to say, worth creates a condition much like looking through a tube, where we only see some things and miss other things.  In this way, the tendency where we find what has worth actually makes us more “narrow”.  As a result of this, there can never be a”complete truth”.  In other words,truth”, by its nature, is limited. 
  • Our individual character.  Our character greatly determines what we “note” and, subsequently, what has worth.  The saying is true:  “one mans poison is another mans treasure”.  Because of this, “truth” varies from person to person.  To be more precise, what is “noted” varies from person to person.  Not only that, it can vary from moment to moment, creating an infinity of variations and forms.  Its for this reason that there cannot, nor ever will be, a “complete truth” that everyone accepts.

As a result of these, worth, what we “note” and, therefore, what “truth” is, has a lot to do with who we are as a whole.  In this way, one could say that “truth is a revelation of self“.  That is to say, it reveals the self more than anything else.

“The person”:  the need of self

For something to be relevant a person needs a sense of self.  In fact, one could speak of “relevance is only relevance in relation to the self”.  In other words, the self makes relevance what it is.  Because of this, the state and condition of the self is critical in ‘inherent truth’.

The self brings “truth” upon ones person, so that it rests with us and has meaning to us.  This makes it very personalized and individual.  In this way, ‘inherent truth’ is not a “social truth”, though it may reflect a socially accepted truth.  It is a truth that lies primarily in the person and is, therefore, reflective of that person.  Because of this, ‘inherent truth’ varies with each person.  Just like a fingerprint, each person has their unique form.  This is another example of how ‘inherent truth’ is not an “ultimate truth”.  You can’t just write a statement and say “this is truth for all which describes all”.  There may be a similarity of “truth”, between people or in a society, but one will find that each person has a different “truth” when one looks at it closer.

Because of this emphasis and need of the self the “questing” for ‘inherent truth’ often brings a great growth of the self.  In many ways, that is its main benefit.  In addition, the emphasis on the self makes it so that ‘inherent truth’ becomes a “truth of self”.  That is to say, a person cannot find ‘inherent truth’ unless they become true to themselves and who they are Because of this, ‘inherent truth’ can be very difficult to attain and discover.

“At the moment”:  the importance of time

To me, ‘inherent truth’ has strong associations with time.  It does this in two ways:

  • Awareness:  the current moment.   What we “note” is primarily reflective of the current moment and situation.  As a result, worth is based in the moment.  That is to say, it is primarily reflective of what is happening at the current moment.  Not only that, the emphasis on awareness – the “now” – shows that it is rooted in the ‘primal awareness’ (see article referred to above).  ‘Primal awareness’ is, in many ways, ones first awareness in life and, as a result, the most “pure” and “whole”.  All other awareness are actually breakdowns or derivations of ‘primal awareness’.  Because of this, ‘inherent truth’ is “based” in ‘primal awareness’.  One could very well say:  “truth is awareness”  (see my articles “Thoughts on my saying: “god is awareness” – the ‘dilemma of god-awareness’“, “Thoughts on ‘practicing unspoken awareness’“, “Thoughts on ‘Seeking The Awareness’“, “Thoughts on ‘Practicing Awareness’“).
  • The self:  a timelessness.   In ‘primal awareness’ the self, the world, time, and all things seems timeless . . . an “all”.  This is because, before the self develops, the world is the self, one senses no difference:  this is the “pre-self” (see my article “Thoughts on the pre-self, primal self, world self, post-self, and the greater self“).  This creates a sense of everything as one, an “all”, and part of this awareness is a timelessness which is really “time as all”, there seems no time, no past, no present, no future.  In fact, it even goes beyond this.  The “all” sense creates a sense of  everything being “one”.  This, in actuality, is the origin of the sense of god.  This shows that the sense of god originates from a deep awareness originating from our first awareness in life – the ‘primal awareness’ – before our self has even developed – the ‘pre-self’.  The “sense of religion”, or spirituality, is nothing but sensing that first awareness. 

Though these seem to be opposites (the “now” versus “timelessness”) they are actually more like flip-sides of a coin, the same but different.  They complement each other and make a whole.  The relation between these two is important.  I’d say that much of ‘inherent truth’ has the quality of being very much rooted in the “now”, of “the current moment”, but with the “timelessness” casting its shadow upon it.  There are times, though, when one senses the “timelessness” strongly and it predominates.  As a result, one as if alternates between the two or has a mixture of the two. 


Relevance is not a single condition.  That is to say, it is not just “a thing”.  In actuality, it consists of something like a spectrum reflecting a range of aspects and qualities that are associated with it.  This spectrum shows that there are different ways relevance appears.  The spectrum goes much like this:

awareness—–symbols—–conceptions——mental fabrications

Awareness refers to being aware of ones self, ones world, and ones relation with the world.   In short, awareness is being aware of ones situation.  This awareness, as I use it, is the “act” of being aware.  In other words, its without words or thought.

Symbols refers to the use of images, myths, and other representations.  Typically, they are wordless though they may use words, to some extent, to describe it, such as we see in mythology.

Conceptions refer to an idea of ones self, ones world, and ones relation with the world.  Conceptions can be with or without words or thought.

Mental fabrications is an elaboration of the image or “model” but using more complex mental processes, such as thought and logic.  It tends to use words and thought quite heavily.  This, of course, creates philosophy, science, and such.

Looking at this, we can see a pattern to the spectrum:


This more or less means that relevance ranges from wordless to containing words.  This fact is very influential with ‘inherent truth’.

Most people think of “truth” only in regard to mental fabrication.  In other words, “truth” is a result of thought and logic, a theory, a belief.  To me, that’s only a small part of the picture.  In my opinion, the power of “truth” is more to the left end of the spectrum above, beginning with awareness which is a wordless condition.  This is not surprising as the wordless condition reflects the ‘primal awareness’ and ‘pre-self’ state.  Because of this fact, the wordless condition is the foundation of “truth”.  As a result, “truth” is a manifestation, primarily, of a wordless condition.  Therefore, anyone “seeking” ‘inherent truth’ must “look beyond words”, so to speak.  If one confines themselves to mental fabrications, such as logic, then one is bound by its restricted and limited nature.

Since ‘inherent truth’ begins in the wordless condition, everything else sprouts from that.  Because of this, the farther you move to the right, on the spectrum above, the more it becomes a reaction to this wordless condition.  As a result, one could say that there is this pattern shown in the spectrum:

the “is”/awareness——reaction/interpretation

This means that mental fabrications (thought, logic, etc.), being on the far right of the spectrum, is the “most reactive” place on the spectrum.   Not only that, reaction is primarily like a language, interpreting the “sense” of the wordless condition.  In this way, reaction is only an elaboration of the wordless condition, as if to give it more power.  Because of this, wordless “truth” as if “spills over” into the word state of reaction.  Its as if there is a natural movement from wordless to word form.  This is the ‘wordless to word flow’.  This is a natural tendency.  Because of the conflict between wordless and words, the ‘tug-of-war of ‘inherent truth’ is created.

The tug-of-war becomes particularly strong with mental fabrications.  This is because there is a tendency that when one follows this flow one becomes “stuck” in the word condition.  That is to say, we mistake the words for the “truth”, when all they really are is a reaction to the wordless “truth”.  In so doing, we lose touch, and often completely forget, the wordless “truth”.  As a result, one quickly becomes “alienated” and lost in all the words, concepts, principles, and such.  I speak of this as the “alienation tendency of mental fabrication”.  Not only that, mental fabrication has this vacuum-like quality that as if pulls a person into it so that one focuses on mental fabrication exclusively, as if that is everything.  This is a common tendency in philosophy, science, and the modern world.  I speak of this as the “mental fabrication vacuum”.   Typically, people in this state have to have everything in ‘word form’.  In that way, their perception of “truth” becomes like a legal document that has to be “worded correctly” with every dot above each “i” and every “t” crossed.  In this way, what they call “truth” is nothing but trying to word everything correctly, to their “intellectual” satisfaction.  In this condition, “worth” tends to deteriorate because the importance of mental fabrication becomes the dominant motive.  In other words, the shift from “worth” to an emphasis on words, concepts, and mental fabrication tends to degrade worth and, subsequently, truth.  Because of this, the “mental fabrication vacuum” ends up undermining “truth”.  In fact, because of this, just about every belief, philosophy, point of view, etc. will reach a point where it fails and no longer supports “truth” anymore.  This is the “failed truth by mental fabrication principle”.  Basically, the overemphasis on mental fabrication ends up causing the “truth” to fail.  This has proven devastating, not only to individual people, but to societies, religions, and belief systems.  An effect of this is that it can throw people into despair, loss, and depression.  Societies, cultures, and religions, can be devastated by it, to the point that they fall and collapse (in fact, the U.S. seems to be following this pattern).

Its not uncommon that the “failed truth” becomes a dominant reality in life.  In fact, one could say that a “failed truth mentality” is often reached which can become a way of life and world view.  One could probably describe this as a “nihilistic attitude” or a “lack of belief” (that is, a lack of any acknowledged “truth”).  Much of the mentality of the modern world is of this nature.  In many cases, no one wants to “believe anything” and life becomes one of “drifting along” often ending up becoming hedonistic or self-pleasing in nature.  This does seem to show a pattern, that “failed truth” leads to hedonistic attitudes.   This, I think, is quite revealing.

As I said above, the self plays a dominant role in ‘inherent truth’.  Because of this, the ‘primal awareness’ and pre-self are critical, as they are the beginnings of awareness.  Unfortunately, as we progress to reaction, particularly to mental fabrication, we become alienated from the source (the “alienation tendency of mental fabrication”).  As a result, we loose sense of this unspoken quality of life, but the need for this ‘other self’ is still felt deep down . . . we are incomplete without it.  But a phenomena of the alienation tendency is that, because we have become alienated from the source, we seek other aspects of our self to as if fill the void:  petty whims and wants.  In other words, instead of seeking our deeper unspoken self we seek other things that move us deeply and mysteriously.  Petty whims and wants has this deep and mysterious quality as well as a “power” over us.  We then “mistake” these petty whims and wants with ‘primal awareness’ and the pre-self.  Pursuing these we then become hedonistic, seeking their pleasure.  This leads to a mistaken aspect of the self leading one, in fact, in the wrong direction.  This is the “mistaken self by failed truth principle”.

The use of mental fabrications is very prevalent nowadays.  In the past, though, the use of symbols was more prevalent.  Today, the use of symbols is almost forgotten or neglected.  Because of this, there is a tendency to go from awareness and jump right into conceptions and/or mental fabrication, completely bypassing symbols.  In other words, there is a gap, now, in the spectrum.  The “sense of symbols” is practically lost.  In my opinion, though, the “sense of symbols” hits deeper than does conceptions and mental fabrication.  In many ways, symbols are the “best of both worlds”, reflecting unspoken qualities but being partially spoken.


Because of the ‘wordless to word flow’, which leads to alienation and “failed truth”, a person must seek to reverse this flow in order to avoid the “alienation tendency of mental fabrication” and what it causes.  In other words, a person must try to reverse the direction of flow and create a “flow to the wordless” mentality as part of the seeking of “inherent truth”.   In fact, I would be inclined to say that the “flow to wordless” is a critical and a basic part of ‘inherent truth’.  In other words, the creation of great conceptions, mental fabrications, philosophies, etc. is not the path to ‘inherent truth’.  In some respects, that’s nothing but “making castles in the air” more than a seeking of ‘inherent truth’.

Because the “flow to the wordless” lacks the use of mental fabrication it entails a whole other orientation, such as:

  • It requires deliberate effort.  This is because it is going against the grain of the “wordless to word flow” tendency, which is a natural and automatic tendency that happens.  It makes it so that we have to struggle against this natural and automatic tendency which gives ‘inherent truth’ a quality of going uphill, oftentimes.
  • A patience.
  • A tendency to listen to ones depths.
  • A selflessness.
  • A willingness to accept another aspect of ones self.
  • A tendency to be inspired.  I would be inclined to say that ‘inherent truth’ is based in inspiration, of allowing things to “happen”.
  • A contemplative attitude.
  • A sense of spirituality.

In one sense, ‘inherent truth’ is a continual discovery and, therefore, requires a continual sense of openness to this discovery.  But it needs more than that.  One doesn’t just “discover” and that’s it.  To truly be effective ‘inherent truth’ requires a transformation, an altering of ones self.  In this way, we could say that the seeking of ‘inherent truth’ entails:

  1. Being open to ones self.
  2. Transformation of ones self.

In that way, ‘inherent truth’ is nothing but allowing this process to happen.  The real power of ‘inherent truth’ is in this transforming of self.  Without that, ‘inherent truth’ is no different than reading a book or watching a movie:  one is aware and that’s it.  This transformation of self is so important that one could say that ‘inherent truth’ is really a seeking of ones self.


There is a tendency to think “truth” is a reflection of the world, of a great truth, of an “ultimate truth”.  This perspective is seen in things such as religion, science, and philosophy.  The idea is that the “truth”, which is always a mental fabrication of some sort, is the “answer” to all, the “ultimate”.   Once one knows this “ultimate truth” (that is, the mental fabrication, the words, the idea, etc.) then one “knows”.  In some respects, its like saying that “because I know ‘X’ I know the ultimate” . . . but, now what?  So you know ‘X’ . . . what’s next to do?  In some respects, knowing the “ultimate” gets one nowhere.  Its like an illusion.

The only “world” the ‘inherent truth’ reflects is our own world.  In other words, ‘inherent truth’ is really ‘personal truth’.  It is the truth of the person and the person-in-the-world.  This, of course, is different for each person which means that there is nothing “ultimate” about it.  This fact, I think, is very important in ‘inherent truth’.  But, I feel that ‘inherent truth’ requires another “truth” to be “complete”.  This creates “two truths” with ‘inherent truth’:

  1. ‘Personal truth’.  This is basically ‘inherent truth’.
  2. The ‘other truth’.  This is the knowledge, awareness, and recognition that there is another world or ‘truth’ beyond us and our ‘personal truth’.  This is a truth we will never know and, therefore, remains in mystery.

In other words, part of ‘inherent truth’ is this idea that there is something more than us in the world and which is beyond us.  Because of this, ‘inherent truth’ implies the awareness that it is limited in scope and that we are incapable of knowing the “ultimate”.   This means that mystery, the ‘other truth’, plays a big part in ‘inherent truth’ (see my article “Thoughts on the importance of mystery in life“).   In fact, this ‘not knowing’ is necessary for ‘inherent truth’.  One could say that it “completes” ‘inherent truth’ and gives it its depth.  This fact, then, describes this pattern:


This means that anyone seeking ‘inherent truth’ must seek to know themselves, and their ‘personal truth’, but also that one “does not know”.  This creates a wonderful duality with ‘inherent truth’ and it as if makes a complete circle.  In this way, ‘inherent truth’ is like saying:

“The seeking of ones self in mystery.”


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Contemplation, monastacism, shamanism, spirituality, prayer, and such, Existence, Awareness, Beingness, Consciousness, Conceptionism, and such, Philosophy, Psychology and psychoanalysis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some thoughts I had while walking through a University campus: the revulsion in becoming a “systemite” and the “war for humanness”

Here’s a thought I had:

Recently, I walked through the campus of the University of Utah, where I went for several semesters (see a previous article on similar issues called “Some thoughts on my experience at the University“).  It brought back many experiences and one aspect in particular.

I really only went to the University for two semesters.  I withdrew at the beginning of the third semester.  It was during the second semester that I began to feel that I didn’t want to be there.  “Something” as if seemed to tell me to leave.  I did not really know why, exactly.  It felt like a revulsion . . . something seemed to disgust me about it all (and still does).  Something seemed “amiss” or “wrong” about the University.  Because of this, I started to see if I could find ways to leave the University that would be “acceptable” to everyone (such as my parents).  I racked my brain trying to figure a way to leave.  Basically, I was looking for an “excuse”.  Finally, I was told, in a class of mine, that the statistics for getting into a graduate school of Psychology wasn’t good (as I was studying Psychology at the time). It was so bad it would be an ample “excuse” to leave.  I almost jumped up with joy.  In fact, some months ago, while walking through the same campus, I passed by where that event took place and said, “that room is very special in my life . . . it was there I found a reason to leave the University” (I spoke of other reasons why I left psychology in my article “Thoughts on why I didn’t go into psychology“).  With this “excuse” I found an “acceptable” reason to leave the University.  Everyone thinks I left for this reason but the real reason is that I didn’t want to be there.

But the exact reason why I didn’t want to be there has always been vague, as if clouded in a fog.  I knew aspects of it but I never seemed to quite “grasp” the reason completely.  As I reflected on it, while walking around, a more complete image seemed to appear.  After a quarter of a century I seem to have a better “grasp” of the reason why.  To put it simply, I didn’t want to be what I call a “systemite”.  This is a term I use for a person that is nothing but an appendage to the system.  They conform and make themselves a part of the system and, thereby, become its servants and slaves. 

It became clear, to me, that the University was geared to creating “systemites”.  I could see that “education” is not really learning but, rather, learning what the system wants and in the way it wants, primarily to serve the system.  Because of this, “success” is measured, in actuality, by how well you do what the system wants.  To be “educated” means you have learned this fact “properly”.  In other words, things like ‘truth’ and learning tend to take a back seat (in many cases, they’ve been left out completely!).  As a result, “education” becomes more a lesson in systemism than of education, truth, and learning.   In that way, a “systemite” is a form of conformism.  “Education” then becomes nothing but learning to conform to what the system wants.  In fact, one could very well describe it as a conformism to excess, to the point that you believe, and do, whatever the system says (which is what students generally do . . . see my article “Thoughts on the ‘learning threats’ – a hidden tension in learning and education“).  In some respects, “learning” and “education” is nothing but learning to believe what the system says.  In so doing, you will have the support, and validation, of the system.   When you have the support, and validation, of the system it becomes “true” but, in actuality, its not necessarily true.  Its only true in relation to the system.  I often speak of this as ‘system truth’.

Generally, ‘system truth’ is considered true because of the authority and power of the system and the more authority and power in the system the more “true” the ‘system truth’ becomes.  In this way, the authority and power of the system is what determines what is true, not “inherent truth” (I mean the truth that “just is” with or without the systems support . . . see my article “Thoughts on ‘inherent truth’”). As a result, the determining factor of ‘system truth’ is its association with the authority and power of the system and, at this time, the system has great authority and power which makes ‘system truth’ very prevalent nowadays and something sought.  As a result, catering to ‘system truth’ has this great quality of “truth” in it which, really, is an illusion . . . it a “truth” that relies on and rests on the authority and power of the system.

But, because the ‘system truth’ is based in the system, it tends to be narrow in the systems perspectives.  Not only that, it is limited by the authority and power of the system.  This creates a narrow form of “truth” overall.  As a result of these facts, there are always people who always tend to go beyond the limits of ‘system truth’ and seek more ‘inherent truth’.  Oftentimes, this becomes at odds with ‘system truth’ but, more often than not, it becomes an alternate way of looking at things.  To me, ‘system truth’ seems narrow and confined, almost like looking at life through a tube.  This is what I felt at the University.  I could tell that, to succeed there, I’d have to “learn” to look at life through a tube, which I did not want to do.

In conforming to the system, and believing in ‘system truth, the “systemite” is really displaying a form of mindlessness as conforming to the system replaces your mind.  That is to say, you let the system “do your thinking” or you “match your thinking to the systems”.  This is part of the failure of ‘system truth’ and the “systemite”.  This is because mindlessness, by its nature, entails an absence of ones self and person.  That is to say, by giving up your mind you give up your self and person.  This is because the “measure of the self and person” is how one conforms to the system.  Therefore, a person is not a “self or a person” but, rather, an appendage of the system . . . the self and person is either reduced or absent.  As I reflect on it, this is what I saw at the University, a bunch of people with an absence of self and person.  This not only includes the students but the faculty as well.  No doubt, this absence of self and person is primarily what caused the revulsion and disgust I felt.   In fact, to this day, this fact still gives the University (and “educated”) a quality of “a place where people drape themselves with facts, knowledge, ability, and social status to hide their absence of a person”.  Its this absence of self and person that, in a way, creates the “systemite”.  As part of the “systemite” quality, the absence of self and person gives people a quality of a “robot” or “automaton”, oftentimes, sometimes to the point of being “unhuman”.  This is no surprise . . .

The absence of self and person makes it so that the “systemite” becomes diametrically opposed to human nature and human qualities, which I call “humanness”.  My experience, and observation, is that the system actually undermines “humanness” overall.  In short, the more a person follows the system (that is, becomes a “systemite”) the less “humanness” they have.  I’ve never seen it any other way.  The most “human” people are always the ones who do not follow the system and generally stand removed from it, at least from my experience.

I should point out that I am not saying that to be a “systemite” is completely bad.  For some people, that is the way to be.  In fact, I would say that a “systemite” is an aspect of the human character, which is why its so prevalent and why people “slip” into it so easily.  But its not a defining trait of the human character.  For some of us, it is destructive and undermining.  It is this fact that I discovered while at the University:  I discovered that I didn’t want to be a “systemite” nor be around it.  To me it causes a revulsion and disgust, which still continues to this day.

The modern world, though, has made the “systemite” necessary for survival.  It needs “human machines” to survive and exist.  In other words, the modern world has made the “systemite” an appealing and desirable trait.  In many ways, “to get in with the modern world is to become a systemite”.  This is because the modern world is so powerful and influential . . . it requires you to conform.  Because of this, to follow the system, and become a “systemite”, has benefits.  This primarily comes through monetary benefits and social esteem and status.  Many people are motived by these things alone.  As a result, many “systemites” are often people who value these things primarily.  This gives many “systemites” a quality of an opportunist, which seems quite prevalent at the University . . . they aren’t there for learning or education but for the opportunities it offers (another example of how the University isn’t about education and learning).

Because the system is so strong, nowadays, a person who maintains their “humanness” tends to suffer in many ways.  It can include things like:

  • They don’t make a lot.
  • They are not socially esteemed.
  • They may have low social status.
  • They may be ignored or trivialized.
  • They may even become outcasts.

This fact shows that the system has created two conditions:

  1. That you are a part of the system.
  2. That you are not a part of the system.

In other words, the system, by its nature, has created a narrow path.  Basically, it favors, values, and esteems the “systemite” only.  The result of this is that “humanness” is not esteemed or valued that much in the system.  In fact, as near as I can tell, I’m the only person emphasizing the “human”.  Its almost as if the system is squashing it out of existence and replacing it by the “systemite”.  But, by becoming a “systemite”, a person as if trades their “humanness” for the benefits of the system.  This gives them the benefits of the system but a loss in their humanity.  This fact describes a basic conflict of the modern world:  the “human” versus the “systemite”.  In fact, I’d be inclined to say that the conditions of the modern world have basically created a “war for humanness”.

Oddly, this “war for humanness” is a silent war that many of us are now quietly fighting.   In fact, as far as I know, I’m the only one who has acknowledged that this war is even happening.  It seems silent for a number of reasons, such as:

  • The systems emphasis on the ways of the “systemite”.
  • The authority and power of the system which devalues anything else.
  • There is no adequate “expression” of this war.  That is to say, because its not been acknowledged it has no “form” or “substance” . . . it hasn’t found a “voice”.
  • It involves deep-rooted qualities of our humanity.  In fact, its so deep-rooted that many of us aren’t aware we are fighting it.  Not even I was aware of the fight I was waging initially.  It sometimes appears as a reflex action that is so innate that one is unaware of it.  This makes our reactions somewhat “hidden” oftentimes.

For many of us, though, we find ourselves fighting this war . . . its a war that is forced upon us.  After all, who would think that a “war for humanness” would exist?  I’m sure there are people who would deny that it exists at all.  But, to me, it seems a real war.

One group of people, it seems, that are fighting this war, silently and unaware, are white males.  Interestingly, this often appears as an avoiding or abandoning of society by the male, which I call the ‘male exodus’  (see my article “Thoughts on “failing” boys and males “dropping out”: “the male exodus” . . . another account of the fight against dehumanization???“).  This is not surprising as, in general, the best way to fight the war, at this time, is to avoid the cause (namely, being a part of the conditions that cause it).  I did this by leaving the University and by avoiding modern society.  Many males do it by various forms of the ‘male exodus’.

This avoidance is a good start but a person needs to know why they are doing it and that they are moving in a healthy direction.  Most males do neither . . . they avoid and end it there.  As a result, the exodus is incomplete and ineffective.  The reason for this, no doubt, is that they are only reacting to the condition.  But they don’t know why they are reacting that way.  This is one reason why its important to admit that one is fighting the war and why and to pursue a healthy direction.  It took me many years to realize why I reacted the way I did.  The reason why it took so long is because I had to give this situation a “voice”, a “form”, and a “substance” . . . and there was no one to help me.  Much of this began when I began to feel these revulsions and feelings (such was caused by the University) and began to wonder why and what they meant.

In short, my basic conclusion is that my dropping out of the University was me saying:

“I don’t want to be a “systemite” . . . I’d rather be a human being!”


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Dehumanization and alienation, Education and learning, Modern life and society, Stuff involving me, The 'system' and 'systemism' | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts on “wonderful humility”

Recently, I have been speaking of what I call “wonderful humility”.   This is a feeling I often get when walking around or being in the woods.  Its really, I feel, a state of mind.  That is to say, its not “just a feeling”.  It was something I had to work for and took many years to develop.  I believe it originates from contemplation (I’ve written a number of articles about it in this blog).

As I reflected on this “wonderful humility” I wondered what it was.  I found I tended to mention a number of themes:

  • I feel as if I am “just a guy”.  I find I see myself as “no better” than a tree, a fly, or anything else.  If I see that I am about to step on an ant I move my foot away so that I do not step on it.  This is because I am no better than the ant.  It seems that there is “nothing special about me”.  I am no great person . . . I’m “just a guy”.
  • I feel “stupid and dumb in life”.   I don’t feel that I know anything.  All that I know seems inadequate.  There always seems to be “more” that is beyond me.  I seem unable to comprehend life.  More importantly, I accept this fact.  I don’t need to know and its OK to be “stupid and dumb in life”.
  • I feel as if “nature” or “life” is larger than I can possibly conceive.  It seems to tower over me and is much larger than me.  I seem very small and insignificant.
  • I feel a part of “nature” or “life”.  I seem to belong to it.  In a way, this belonging is what makes me someone.  In addition, this belonging makes me “alive” and “be”.
  • I feel dependent on “nature” or “life”.  I need it to survive and be someone.  I must look up to it and rely on it.  I cannot live without it.  “Nature” or “life” makes me who I am and allows me to be someone.
  • I feel as if “nature or “life” watches over me.  I feel protected and watched.  “Nature” and “life” seems like a parent to me.  It gives me what I need to live and survive and grow.
  • I feel as if I am a child.  In many ways, I feel as if everything I do in life is like a child playing under the eyes of their parent.

To me, all this seems to suggest that “wonderful humility” is really rooted in “being a child”.  In some respects, it is a “regression to childhood”.  I don’t mean this in the sense of reflecting a mental ailment.  Perhaps it would be better to say a “rediscovery of childhood”?  This, I think, is more accurate.  In “wonderful humility” a person must be like a child again.  In this way, “wonderful humility” is a condition that is as if “opposed” or “contrary” to adulthood.  That does not mean that it is against adulthood nor does it mean a person should cease being an adult.  I believe, in fact, that “wonderful humility” accentuates and “completes” adulthood.  But, because they are opposed and contraries, it often creates a dilemma, especially at first.  It even seems to me that there is an initial repulsion to “wonderful humility” when one first feels it.  This can be so strong, in fact, that it prevents “wonderful humility” from happening.  In fact, I feel that most people cannot overcome this hurdle.  This fact shows that there is an “child/adult dilemma“, with “wonderful humility”, and that it can be so strong that it actually stops its appearance.  This dilemma seems to be require two things to be overcome:

  1. A “letting go” of the adult attitude. 
  2. An acceptance of the child. 

The “letting go” of the adult attitude can be difficult.  This is because the adult attitude is rooted in the reality and conditions of life.  The fact is that the reality and conditions of life, being so serious in nature, tend to “suck us in” like a vacuum.  This pull is so strong that its often hard, even to the point of being impossible, to “let go”.  Because of this, “wonderful humility” tends to be undermined by the reality and conditions of life which make up the adult attitude.  For many people, its so powerful of an undermining that they will never know it.  In this way, the “child/adult dilemma” actually describes a condition a “wonderful humility versus life’s conditions dilemma”.  Basically, a tug-of-war between humility and the demands of life and living happens in which, usually, life’s conditions win over.  This is primarily because of the power and pull of demand and need of the reality and conditions of life.  This makes “letting go” of the adult attitude difficult.  Some things that help “letting go” include:

  • Learning to not make a big deal about things.  The fact is that most of what we make a big deal about really isn’t a big deal.  It seems that we have to train ourselves to NOT make a big deal about things.  This can be very hard and difficult to do at times.
  • Learning to calm down.  That is to say, don’t get stressed out over things and don’t get uptight.
  • Endurance, acceptance, and tolerationIn actuality, this seems to encompass a lot in life.  Much of life encompasses these qualities.  In many ways, these are some of the most important qualities a person could develop.
  • A faith.  With faith we don’t have to always be “in control” which creates less pressure and stress.  This makes it so that we are not sucked into the realities and conditions of life as much.
  • Living the correct lifestyle.  This primarily means to live in a way where the pull of the vacuum, caused by the reality and conditions of life, is minimal.  Usually, this means a non-stressful lifestyle.

This “letting go” of the adult attitude allows the child to come out in a person.  This is important in that it seems that the more adult attitude there is the less child there is.  As a result, to learn “wonderful humility” a person must “let go” of a lot of adult attitudes.  This doesn’t mean that the child will come out automatically.  A person must “promote” it with things such as:

  • Acknowledging the child and the humility.  This may be one of the most difficult aspects of “wonderful humility”.   Being so opposed to the adult attitude a person may find it hard to acknowledge the existence of the child and humility.
  • Accepting the child and humility.  This is often more difficult than it may, at first, seem.  It seems that a person learns to accept the child and humility by experience and discovering its good qualities.  This means it takes awhile.
  • Allowing the child and humility to happenThis can require great openness on ones part to achieve.  In other words, a person must discover “wonderful humility”.  In fact, I tend to feel that “wonderful humility” is something  a person must discover and that it is a continual discovery.

In actuality, these describe a need to deal with both the adult and the child.  Because of this, “wonderful humility” is a reflection of an overall maintenance of the self, both adult and child aspects.  This is why, I feel, “wonderful humility” is so wonderful:  it addresses the whole self.  The adult attitude, though seeming all-important, only addresses part of the self:  the adult.  In many ways, it tends to create an “adult fixation” where everything must be “adult”.  Its for this reason that “wonderful humility” may be perceived as a ‘fantasy land’ by people too engrossed in the conditions of life (that is, too adult or “adult fixated”).  They may even see it as “escapism”, laziness, or something similar.

In actuality, though, to truly experience “wonderful humility” a person must balance two things.

  1. Deal with life’s conditions (the adult).
  2. Practice “wonderful humility” (the child).

In other words, “wonderful humility” is not caused by being one or the other but, rather, by doing both.  But even that’s not enough.  They must be balanced.  This need for balance, in fact, is probably the most difficult aspects of it.  Some things that allow for balance include:

  • Leaning to one side or other when needed.  That is, when you need the seriousness of the adult attitude, take it.  When you feel the “wonderful humility” then experience it.  There is a time and a place for the adult or child.  You need to act accordingly.
  • Practice both.  You need to play the part of an adult and a child and have sufficient experience with both.
  • Have the attitudes of both.  This is a result, primarily, of experience and doing.  Having the attitudes shows that they are ingrained in ones self.  In order to have a balance you need to have both as part of who you are.

I often feel that “wonderful humility” is a reflection of a confidence in ones self, that one is secure in their self and who they are.  Because of this, “wonderful humility” requires great awareness, knowledge, acceptance, and being of ones self.  This requires one to be their self and manifest their own traits, good or bad.  This means that one must have experience with their self and how it behaves.  In other words, “experience of self” is needed for “wonderful humility”.  This can be painful and difficult at times.  Accordingly, since the self is rooted in life, “wonderful humility” requires great life experience.  A person must experience both good and bad in life, the joys and tribulation of life.  This means one must experience pain and suffering.  This shows that “wonderful humility” is not just a “learning to be happy” or a “learning to be calm”.  It is more than that.  It has roots in the self, life, good, bad, joy, happiness, pain, and suffering.  Without these things “wonderful humility” is lacking and incomplete.

Because “wonderful humility” is a “rediscovery of childhood”, as I mentioned above, it has origin there.  But, in the course of life, we forget the “wonderful humility” of childhood.  This, of course, is a result of the realities and conditions of life that appear in adulthood.  Because of this, we must, rediscover the child again in adulthood.  There are some people, I think, who have traits of it which as if “colors” their life but I still feel it must be rediscovered in adulthood to truly be “wonderful humility”.  In other words, rediscovery of the child, in adulthood, is a requirement for “wonderful humility”.  This is also true because, as I said above, a person must have self and life experience.  This can only be achieved in adulthood.  The “wonderful humility” of childhood is, in actuality, lacking because of this lack of self and life experience, even though childhood may seem the “model” and “ideal”.  Again, this shows how the “wonderful humility” is really a mixture of adult and child, of “being an adult with a child’s attitude”.

The experience of “wonderful humility” can create a number of qualities such as:

  • It can be very profound and mystical.
  • It can become very “deep” and seems to “hit to the core” of ones self.
  • It can be insightful.
  • It can have a calming effect and peaceful.
  • It can make one feel a part of life with a place and purpose.

“Wonderful humility” can be so deep that it can take on the qualities of a religious experience at times.  In fact, I think that its not uncommon that it often turns into one.  In other words, “wonderful humility” can turn into other things.  Because of this, “wonderful humility” can appear in several ways, such as:

  • An experience.  One just experiences it.  This can last from a matter of a few minutes to hours.
  • A “doorway” to something else.  Sometimes, I’ve found that it as if leads me in a new direction.  Usually, I experience the “wonderful humility”, often for a few minutes, before it leads me to something else.  This could be another state of mind, a new interest, a thought, etc.
  • A “revealing”.  In the midst of the “wonderful humility” things often come to me, an emotion, a thought, an insight.

There is a close relationship between “wonderful humility” and religious feeling.  In fact, I don’t feel a person can truly experience “wonderful humility” without a religious sense.  As a result, “wonderful humility” requires religious-like feelings in a person.  Without it then “wonderful humility” does not take place easily.  One of the interesting things that this fact shows is that there is a close relationship between religious feeling and the child.  In fact, more than once have I said that religion is nothing but a means to continue the parent/child relationship into adulthood, god being the “parent”.  I think there is great truth in this.  “Nature”, “life”, and the “parent”, that I mentioned above, are really references to what is generally called god.  One can see that the theme of god is prominent.  This is no mistake . . . it’s a requirement for “wonderful humility”.  Associated with this is a sense of being protected by the “parent” or god.  It seems, to me, that “wonderful humility” needs this sense of being protected.  If a person feels threatened by life then a person cannot really experience “wonderful humility”.  This shows that the need for a sense of god, as well as being protected, are critical for “wonderful humility”.

Much of “wonderful humility” is based in the unspoken quality of life.  In a way, the humility can be said to be based in “being beyond words”, that one cannot “speak”.   This is also, no doubt, why “wonderful humility” has such a sense that life is beyond a person, that it is beyond ones conception.  Because of this, a person must be able to accept these conditions, which is not easy.  The struggle with these show that putting things into words and feeling that life is under ones control is part of the adult attitude and a reflection of life’s realities and conditions.  Because of this, these are things that one should try to “let go”.  They suppress and inhibit the child.

Overall, though, it seems that “wonderful humility” is a more natural state of mind.  There is something about it that hits a person deep down.  This does not necessarily mean that it is “adaptable” and “responsive” to the conditions of life.  It really is not.  In a way, this is its failure.  This is why there is the “wonderful humility versus life’s conditions dilemma”.  This is also why it is so hard to achieve and maintain.  But, in discovering it, there seems as if a door is opened to a greater depth of life.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

Posted in Contemplation, monastacism, shamanism, spirituality, prayer, and such, Life in general, Psychology and psychoanalysis, Religion and religious stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More thoughts on contemplation: aspects of the ‘yearning’, with remarks about the self and other things

In contemplation, I often speak of the ‘yearning’ or ‘great yearning’ (such as in my articles, “Thoughts on the symbol I use for contemplation – describing the act and traits of contemplation” and “Thoughts on the ‘contemplation of passion’ – seeking the yearning“).  ‘Yearning’ is primarily a sense that contemplation seems to instill in a person.  In many ways, it defines contemplation to the point that one could very well describe contemplation as the embracing of yearning.  This makes yearning very critical and important.


The ‘great yearning’ is generally felt as a longing, desire, or something similar.  I often have described yearning (or, more properly, the ‘great yearning’) as the longing and desire for life and to live.  In life, though, we generally experience this longing and a desire as wanting some “thing”, usually an object or some sort of a condition.  But, in contemplation, one focuses on this feeling alone, without any other element.  Because of this, contemplation is really the experiencing of the ‘great yearning’ as a pure and single entity, alone and unclouded by other “things”.  In addition, it does not use or rely on other means (such as experiences) as part of how it manifests itself.  For example, you do not do specific acts or things to “experience life” (such as ‘bungy jumping, partying, climbing mountains, and such).  Interestingly, you do the opposite – nothing – or, to be more precise, you begin with nothing.  From this nothing contemplation tends to lead to many other things.  In this way, contemplation is like a farmers field, which sprouts many different things from a flat tract of land, a “nothing” piece of land.  Because of this, we can say that there are two forms of contemplation:

  1. Contemplation proper.  This is the practice of silence, doing nothing.
  2. The fruits of contemplation.  This is what contemplation proper creates.  This includes transformation of self, awareness, insight, etc.

In this way, contemplation is really the condition where you allow the ‘yearning’ to manifest itself and “cause things to happen”.  Because of this, what one is actually seeking, in contemplation, is not the act of contemplation but what contemplation creates, its fruits.  The normal tendency, though, is to focus on the ‘act’ of contemplation, of what one does, which is the contemplation proper.  In this way, we tend to “overlook” the fruits of ‘passion’ and ‘yearning’, which is what its really about.


In actuality, the yearning is the experiencing of what I call ‘passion’.  This is primarily a sense of something like a “force” or “energy” that “moves things”.  It gives the sense of “livingness” or “aliveness” in things.  In addition, it is often felt as a “presence” about ones self and in the world (which is how I first felt it).  This shows that, in order to embrace ‘passion’ and the ‘yearning’, a person must be able to sense ‘passion’ in some form.  Many people, it seems to me, cannot do this.  It seems particularly so with older people who, I think, end up getting wrapped up in the affairs of life and years of habit.  This makes it so that the sensing of ‘passion’ recedes into the background.  Younger people, on the other hand, are greatly influenced by it.  In a sense, they are controlled by it.  As a result, there is a lot of “aliveness” when young.  But, though they may be influenced by ‘passion’, they are not overtly aware of it.  They only know that “something” affects their lives.  Because of this, they are not able to distinguish it.  This makes it so that younger people have ‘passion’ before them but do not fully embrace it and may not even be aware of it.  To put it another way, the young tend to let ‘passion’ slip through their fingers.  As a result, when they get older they then wonder where “life” went.

These experiencing of ‘passion’ in contemplation – what can be described as ‘passion manifestation’ – describe three aspects of contemplation:

  1. Awareness – being aware of ‘passion’
  2. Embracing – feeling the ‘yearning’ and acceptance of it
  3. Allowing things to happen – letting the ‘passion’ and the ‘yearning’ influence you

Truly, in contemplation, a person must do all three.  To put it another way, a person must practice all three traits to truly contemplate.  A person may, for example, be aware of a “livingness” in life but never embrace it or allow things to happen.  Because of this the ‘passion’, and their ‘yearning’ is never really completed or experienced.


In actuality, ‘yearning’ is the slight imbalance that ‘passion’ creates in a person that makes us seek life.  This shows that the awareness of ‘passion’ automatically puts a person in an imbalance.  This is because ‘passion’ creates a “need” or “movement” or “longing” in us which is experienced as the ‘yearning’.  Because of this, a person cannot say that contemplation causes a “peace” or “calm”.  To be frank, contemplation causes great turmoil and conflict which is a manifestation of this imbalance.  This appears particularly strong as one begins to contemplate and it continues to make occasional reappearances.  It does create a form of “peace” and “calm”, though, that is quite unique.  Perhaps one could call it the ‘calm of passion’?  What this is, primarily, is a “harmony” with the imbalance of passion.  In other words, one finds a calm in the imbalance itself.  This is at odds with most peoples view of “peace” and “calm”, which is an absence of imbalance.

The ‘calm of passion’ though is a condition that requires a great ‘balance of self’.  In many ways, that’s why its so powerful.  A person must hold themselves in the right frame of mind, attitude, stance, and such.  This ‘balance of self’, though, cannot be maintained indefinitely and so we often fall back into conflict.  As a result of this, contemplation is really an alternation between “calm” and conflict.  This creates something like a cycle, much like the day/night and the seasons.  In actuality, this creates much harmony and a depth with contemplation.  One finds that following the cycle IS the great “joy” of contemplation.

Part of the power of conflict is that it instills in the ‘great yearning’ a tendency to seek the ‘balance of self’ and ‘calm of passion’.  This phenomena makes it so that there are phases in the manifestation of the ‘great yearning’:

  1. A lacking.  This is like a sense of a loss or lacking in some way.
  2. A longing.  A longing, desire, or want.
  3. A finding.   This is finding what the yearning seeks.  This appears in many ways, such as a passion, idea, or image.
  4. A utilizing.  Its not enough to find what the yearning seeks.  One must find a use for it.
  5. A fullfilling.  This refers to when the yearning is found and given a place and, in so doing, the yearning is as if “completed”.
  6. A satisfaction.  Because it is “completed” there is nothing more to do.  The ‘yearning’ ends and one may feel satisfied, calm, and at peace.
  7. An absence.  Eventually, with the ‘yearning’ gone, there becomes a sense of an absence.  This slowly leads to the first phase – “A lacking” – and the cycle begins again.

These phase, really, describe a cycle, the ‘cycle of the great yearning’.  That is to say, one goes from one phase to the next, to the next, to the last phase, and then starts over again.  Because of this we are really continually alternating between lacking (conflict) and fulfillment (calm).


If there is conflict at one stage the cycle as if comes to a halt.  Each one of these phases can bring specific problems and battles.  In fact, one can easily become caught in one of these phases and become as if lost in it.  It often has the quality of a ‘pit’ that one fell in and can’t get out of.  Because of this, we could speak of them as the ‘yearning pit’.  Various versions of this ‘pit’, corresponding to the different phases, are:

  1. The ‘pit of loss’.  Here one feels that one is empty or a void.
  2. The ‘pit of want’.  Here one feels an insatiable want or longing that can’t be fullfilled.
  3. The ‘pit to find an object’.  Here one feels that one cannot find what one is looking for.
  4. The ‘pit of finding a use’.  Here yearning, and often contemplation, seems to have no use and seems a waste of time.
  5. The ‘pit of finding fullfillment’.  Here one feels unfullfilled in what one does, bored, or disappointed.
  6. The ‘pit of satisfaction’.  Here one feels overly calm, satisfied, content, and overconfident.
  7. The ‘pit of absence’.  Here one begins to feel that something is missing.  This, and the ‘pit of loss’, are really variations of the same thing.

As I said, any one of these ‘pits’ can bring the cycle to a halt.  Because of this, dealing with the ‘pits’ is a big part of the ‘great yearning’.  In many ways, learning the ‘great yearning’ is learning how to overcome the ‘pits’ and to keep the cycle going for by only keeping the cycle going is the yearning (and contemplation) maintained.  This is far more difficult than it sounds.  Oftentimes, to me, these ‘pits’ seem like a big chasm that I cannot escape and there is often a great sense of hopelessness about it.

Often, one overcomes the ‘pits’, I’ve found, by a number of things, such as:

  1. Setting the ‘self’ straight (that is, putting ones self in the right perspective)
  2. A loss of self

Examples of setting the self straight include:

  • Determining what’s wrong.
  • Finding the correct attitude or stance one should take (in other words, finding the way to compose ones self . . . see my article  “Thoughts on composing yourself in contemplation“)
  • Finding an ‘inner resolve’ and strength

In general, the idea is to give the self what can be described as the ‘correct form’ so that it is receptive and capable for contemplation.

Examples of a loss of self include:

  • Finding a humility.  This may get to the point of even weeping.
  • Being patient.
  • Forgetting ones self.

The loss of self is critical in contemplation.  It is so important that it is a defining trait of contemplation (for example, see my article “Thoughts on ‘loosing ones self’ – the ‘experiential self’” and “Thoughts on saying “I do not know who I am”“).

Both of the ways to deal with the ‘pits’ entail the self in one way or another.  This fact shows the ‘pit’ is associated with a strong self presence.  In fact, it seems that the ‘pits’ are created by differing ways the self gets in the way of the yearning.  In other words, the ‘yearning’ and the self are at odds.  Because of this, there must be a harmony between the ‘yearning’ and the self.  This, in actuality, is what the ‘balance of self’ is . . . finding this harmony.  This makes it so that there requires a “maintenance of the self” in the yearning.  This, though, entails a deeper relationship . . .


The ‘yearning’ describes an association between the self and an “object”.  This “object” is what is yearned for.  The “object” can be, in actuality, many things, such as:

  • A physical object
  • An idea
  • An awareness
  • An emotion
  • A condition (such as being rich or being approved by society)

So we see that an “object” entails any “thing” that is “sought” or “needed”.  This shows how the ‘passion’ describes, then, a lacking or a need of some sort.  What we lack or need is the “object”.  This means that contemplation, really, is developing a healthy relationship with need, want, longing, and such (which is the yearning).  In many ways, a person must learn to “yearn in the correct way”.  Its quite clear that if a person does not learn to “yearn in the correct way” then they cannot contemplate.  For many people, I think, this is where they fail.  This makes the ‘yearning’, and how one maintains it, critical in contemplation.  In many respects, it is the most important thing.

The particular relationship of ‘yearning’ with the self and “object” can be drawn this way:


The ‘yearning’ is in the middle thereby establishing a direct relationship between the self and “object”.  In short, the ‘yearning’ is the means of association with the “object”.  In fact, the ‘yearning’ makes the “object” an object and gives it value and worth.  In this way, ‘yearning’ gives meaning and value to things.  In addition to this, ‘yearning’ makes the “object” become a part of our self, of who we are.  The yearning, then, is really the “incorporation” of the object into the self, so to speak.  In this way, the yearning unites the self and object into one.  In this way, the yearning is a unifying element.  As a result, ‘yearning’ places us in-the-world making us a “person”.  This shows one of the great benefits of contemplation:  the creation of a “personhood”.  It also shows how ‘yearning’ is instrumental to this.

Typically, we tend to focus on the self and “object” and forget the ‘yearning’.  When this happens, we become “self-centered” or “object-centered”, respectively.  The former tends to make us selfish and vain.  The later tends to make us worldly and materialistic.  As a result of this, contemplation requires the need of “forgetting” of two things:

  1. The self.
  2. The “object”. 

In the “forgetting” of these, the ‘yearning’ is emphasized and becomes prominent making contemplation possible.  Perhaps we could speak of these as the ‘contemplative forgetting’?  In general, the less self and “object” the more deeper and meaningful the ‘yearning’.  The self and “object” easily cloud and distort the ‘yearning’.  In fact, the more self and “object” the more ‘yearning’ tends to fade into the background where it will often disappear.

Often a person must periodically “relearn” to forget the self or “object”.  Its not uncommon that this is a painful procedure and can hurt.  In many ways, this act is what gives contemplation some of its greatest challenges.  This “forgetting” can be experienced as a great and horrible pain.  In fact, it is often experienced as a “death”.  Because of this, a person must “die” in contemplation, meaning they must forget the self and “object”, emphasizing only the ‘yearning’.  One could speak of this as the ‘contemplative death’.  Many people cannot overcome this death.


A person must manage or balance ones ‘yearning’ or it can get out of control in contemplation.  In fact, it can utterly destroy it.  This, it seems, is also true with life in general.  In some respects, one of the big secrets of contemplation and life is the balance of ‘yearning’, to keep it under manageable control.  A big element of this is related with the intensity of the ‘yearning’.  There seems to be three conditions of intensity of yearning:

  1. The ‘over yearning’.  Too much yearning is felt.  A person wants too much, desires a lot, wants to possess, etc.
  2. The ‘managed yearning’.  This is when its best and productive.
  3. The ‘under yearning’.  Too little yearning is felt.  We feel ‘dead’, depressed, exhausted, uninspired, no enthusiasm, etc.

A lot of misery, it seems to me, is actually caused by the mismanagement of yearning primarily because of over or under yearning.  In a way, we either “over-want” or are “depressed-like” in some way.  This shows, of course, a lack of harmony with ‘yearning’.  One could describe this as a “misalignment”.  Because the ‘yearning’ is so associated with the self and ‘object’ (see above) there can be two forms of “misalignments”:

  1. The ‘self misalignment’.  The “misalignment” between the self and ‘yearning’ ends up causing great strain on the self causing misery.  In some respects, its like a tug-of-war and the self cannot hold itself against the ‘yearning’.  In ‘over yearning’ the self as if looses control against the ‘yearning’.  In ‘under yearning’ the self as if gets lost in the hole created by the absence of the ‘yearning’.
  2. The ‘object misalignment’.  This is primarily ‘yearning’ for the wrong ‘object’.  In other words, the ‘object’ does not satisfy the ‘yearning’ but we think it does.  Because of this, we are always striving for something we really don’t need.  Perhaps we call this the ‘wrong object misalignment’?  Sometimes, the ‘yearning’ is either so strong or so weak that we loose hold of the “correct object”.  Perhaps we could call this the ‘lost object misalignment’?

Keeping the self and ‘yearning’ “aligned” is not as easy as it sounds and is part of the great struggle of contemplation.  It is, in actuality, a battle that never ends.


Because of the continual problems and misalignments of the yearning its often good to develop what I often call the “general stance of contemplation”.  This is a particular stance or attitude one takes in contemplation.  Much of it is based in dealing with the problems of yearning.  In general, its based in  some general things one can do in regard to the intensity of yearning, such as:

  • In over yearning –  “tone oneself down”.  One could describe this as calming down, relaxing, and becoming patient.  This can be so hard that its painful.  In fact, I’ve often described it as a “death” at times.
  • In under yearning – “increasing zeal”.  This can be quite difficult as one has to discover a zeal.  Many people can’t find this zeal and, sometimes, it can be hard to find.  In many ways, a person cannot become a contemplative until this zeal is found.

In general, we see a pattern of learning patience, of a casual awareness, and where one is calm.  One must also be patient enough to wait and watch for the ‘mood’ or ‘passion’ of zeal to appear.  When it come then one must “take it” while its there.  So a good stance of contemplation may entail qualities such as:

  • Being calm and relaxed.
  • Patience.
  • Endurance.
  • Watchfulness.
  • A desire and willingness to take zeal when it comes.

In that sense, it has the quality of a hunter sitting and waiting for an animal to appear.  When the animal appears then one must take action.  In this way, a contemplative is, in many ways, a hunter.  In fact, I have always felt that contemplation entails the ‘hunter instinct’ to some extent (see my articles “Thoughts on the ‘hunter stance’ – its interior form“, “Thoughts on some ponderings I did at a high school“, and “Thoughts on how shamanism seems to be related to a hunter society“).  Because of this, I tend to feel that a person should try to ‘tap’ that ‘hunter instinct’ within them.

The ‘contemplative hunt’, though, is very unique.  What one hunts is not ‘concrete’ in any way nor is it abstract.  Its also often hard to put into words.  This means its often hard to grasp.  Sometimes, I compare it to trying to grasp smoke.  Because of this, one often loses sight of what one is seeking.  As a result, the ‘contemplative hunt’ requires a resolve and a continual sense of what one is looking for even though it appears to be missing.

There seems to be two stages in the ‘contemplative hunt’:

  1. The hunt for an awareness. 
  2. The hunt for a ‘state of mind’. 

In short, one begins by seeking an awareness of ‘something’ (such as a ‘presence’ or a sense of sanctity or a sense of “livingness”).  Over time this turns into a seeking of a ‘state of mind’.  In some respects, the awareness is getting the “scent” which a person must track down and find.  The ‘state of mind’ is catching what you’re seeking.  The ‘state of mind’, though, doesn’t just happen.  It seems that it comes after one has:

  • Discovered and sought the awareness.
  • Has become proficient in contemplation.

When one seeks a ‘particular state of mind’ I speak of this as ‘Poesy” (see my article “Thoughts on how I am not an intellectual – the coming of ‘Poesy’ and the seeking of a state of mind“).  In many ways, ‘poesy’ is the height of contemplation.  Once it reaches this point contemplation has taken on the quality of a way of life.  In addition to that, it has a quality of transformation of self.  In this way, it greatly affects a person.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

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