JLB Chats #11 ‘Contrarian Clues’ (17-Jun-2019)

Do some people argue about things purely for the attention? Even on topics as important as War and History? Is it possible that anybody has ever weighed the entire earth with heavy balls in a shed, and if not, why was JLB the first person in all of recorded history to point this out? Is the progress of technology something to worry about, or are TV shows like ‘Black Mirror’ sending people down the wrong path?

Late Sunday evening, 16-Jun-2019 (Malaysia time), I made another appearance in the Fakeologist audiochat Discord server, to share my thoughts on all of these questions and much, much more.

This podcast features that discussion, mirrored from the Fakeologist audiochat. Please forgive the choppy audio in the final third of the call. Not sure what caused it. The first two-thirds of the call are not quite as bad, though.

Original Fakeologist call: here.

Production notes: Recorded 16/17-Jun-2019 at SS2 Hub in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. ‘Chats’ podcast released 17-Jun-2019. Timestamped 17-Jun-2019. Choppy audio, especially in final third, due to streamerbot (?).


23 thoughts on “JLB Chats #11 ‘Contrarian Clues’ (17-Jun-2019)

  • 19-June-2019 at 8:02 am

    Wowzers, I always knew you were a shill JLB. Sent to discredit the fakeology movement. Psychopath!

    In all seriousness, I came across fakeology.com via your chats on the website. My favourite is the Dave J one. Figure of eights everywhere. I’ve found some of Dave J’s numerology and I can see there is something very interesting there. I kinda get where he is coming from but I don’t quite get it. The figure of eight is genius. I’m not sure if the rest is so far beyond me, or that it may be simpler than I realise, or if I just need to understand something about the way he is viewing things. That it might just click and then his whole number system will make sense.

    I can’t remember the exact details but there was a similar type of situation when you were talking to a guy who I think is called Phil Blanks. I can remember going to and fro between frustration and laughing at the nonsense. (If it wasn’t him then sorry Phil.)

    It’s a shame really because Ab seems like a sane, decent guy and he provides such a good platform. I listened to a few of his interviews and got stuff out of them. However, I couldn’t imagine wanting to engage with the website actively due to the levels of persecution complex, shill hunting, victim mentality, slave morality, blind defence of one’s opinions that some people (not all) seem to demonstrate. And of course figure of eight discussions.

    Good to see that the Rollo chap seems to have found his niche with the F.A.R.T. podcast. Reckon he’d be good to sink a few pints with, although after about 8 or so it might be time to make one’s excuses.

    I’m not sure if this will make sense, but a lot of the fakeology there seems to be based on credulity, not scepticism. Some people there seem to be just as credulous about their approach to baby hoaxes as normies are about hoaxes being real. I think that is why they may struggle with larger hoaxes. Not sure I’ve explained it that well but there you go.

    P.S. Ab if you are reading this I do appreciate your hard work and I hope this hasn’t come across as anything personal. Sorry that I have never gotten around to making a donation to the site. I’m always telling myself I should and then think, I’ll do it next time. I’ll endeavour to do it next time. One of the problems with voluntary funding I guess.

  • 19-June-2019 at 10:13 pm

    I’m not sure that this is the perfect place for the following comment, as it seems sort of generic, but I’ll put this here anyway as Dai’s comment above touches on some of the issues I’m thinking about…

    I very much enjoy this website, especially as a place where we openly exchange ideas and theses on what its all about, etc. I have found it incredibly useful to engage with others here, and on many occasions have found unexpected value and new ideas from the exchanges, and have even incorporated some ideas into my own life. I would draw special attention to the comments and member submissions recently, which I agree have been excellent.

    With that said, there is something in my mind that is uncomfortable with some lines of thought that I hear expressed. Without ado, my discomfort stems from the absence of ‘the moral dimension’ on some of what is said. Perhaps it would be clearer to say, that I don’t understand how the moral element plays out in some views I have heard. I’m seriously open to alternative explanations/apologies for what appears to my critique over a lack of scruples! Personally, I find that moral issues are some of the hardest to resolve – they can tick away for ages in the back of my head and I spend a lot of time on them – but just because they are hard I don’t want to avoid talking about them. I’m probably like the proverbial person who wants to talk about politics and religion in the pub, but my feeling is that if its hard, its probably worth the effort of investigation! And if I can’t raise these thoughts here, well where?

    So, I want to point out some moral positions on this site that are left hanging for me. When I say ‘left hanging’, I don’t mean that I do not know my position. I mean I don’t understand how others are able to resolve what seems like a moral question. I don’t want to hold others to account either – I’m not on a high horse wanting to pontificate or say such an act is immoral or not. As I see it, I’m on a personal journey through this life, and want to get as far as I can, and learn what I can. I presume the same of the people of this site. Moral questions do figure in my mind, and I am genuinely interested in how others resolve these.

    To illustrate what I’m on about, I want to give a very short summary of 2 positions that I have seen held by others on the site, that it seems to me assume a moral position. I struggle with what’s being said, as I do not understand how they resolve the very obvious (to) moral dimension to whatever the issue is. I’ll express my own position on morality after these – perhaps that will help move things along – at least for me! (How selfish!!)

    Some of you may have followed the raw meat/vegan debate I was involved in recently. I don’t want to bludgeon everyone with this again, but I want to do a sort of meta-take. My position here is that regardless of the benefits of meat, there is a moral element to eating meat as it involves taking the life of an emoting, conscious creature. The moral arguments for eating meat were unsatisfactory to me; it seemed that there was a lot of skirting around the main issue and attempts to (unfairly) sully my position. In my view, we had a false equivalency where killing plants was compared to killing an animal. Also, I was the only person to express a possible moral position that a meat eater might take, where if one holds that one’s life is about maximising health and fitness, then those values can be priotised over moral concerns. This is how I used to think – ie that animals were like automata for us to use.

    My issue here, with regards to food and morality, is that no meat eaters went on the record to a/ acknowledge my moral, common-sense argument and b/ express their own divergent moral position. It was like no-one was even able to acknowledge that there was a moral question here.

    The second position I do not understand, relates to the issues of NPC and money. Expressed succinctly, it is a well expressed view that NPCs might not be real people. The argument is something like: as some people are acting like automata, if you are able to make money from them you can do so without a moral consequence. JLB, Daipbdaipb, Hando seem to hold to this. In fact, they hold to that instead of their previous position which is closer to my own – ie that it is not right to make money in an immoral way from people (eg JLB quit his job on this conviction). So, there was a moral position – that I still hold – but this has shifted for them. Why? What has changed that I don’t get?! As far as I can see, if you really hold that most people really are NPCs (and that you can act on them without moral consequence), you can take it to an extreme – eg perhaps JLB would be even preparared to ultra-sound NPCs as they are only automata after all, though he might withhold his ultrasound treatment of members of this site. Is that right? I can’t see why anyone who holds the ‘NPCs really are automata’ position, wouldn’t do that.

    (JLB, I’m pretty sure you’re not going to open a ultrasound biz, and you have expressely quit a job that you thought was harmful (as have I). Where I’m at is that I do understand your quiting the immoral job, but I don’t understand your current moral position of what is acceptable re NPCs.)

    Personally, I don’t dispute the idea that many people do act in a sort of automated way. However, I don’t accept that NPC are literally automata. They may be, but this is not proven. In fact, I have evidence to the opposite – because, if I’m honest, I was what could be described as an NPC until recently in my life (and perhaps others might think I am still!) In any case, my working hypothesis on why most people appear to be NPCs relates to us having been programmed by our experiences (parenting, education, work, colleagues, etc). According to my hypothesis, NPCs can develop into non-automata, as I did. ‘Welcome to the human race’. So, I also hold there are unnatural, underdeveloped version of men and women out there that we can call NPCs, but they are like us (or might become so), and that therefore there is a moral dimension to what we do to them. I do not hold that making money from NPCs is a morality-free zone.

    For me morality is the upmost issue to any question, after any urgent, survival issues are addressed. I personally find the expression of natural law, as I understand it (and set out well by Mark Passio I think) – is that you can do what you like if you are not causing harm. My experience in trying to live it, is that I don’t find this a constraint at all, in fact I find it liberatingly simple. Maybe it does use an unproven, intangible concept such as karma – but then we (most of us, though perhaps not psycho/sociopaths) do feel bad if we do something ‘wrong’. I try not take actions that are knowingly harmful to others. There are 2 reasons – there is fear of the karmic consequence, and there is the joy of spiritual development for which lack of harm causing is a pre-requisite.

    The men and women as NPCs especially concerns me as it seems a dehumanising trick. In viewing men and women as automata it allows one to adopt the ‘master’ mentality, rather than one’s previous slave/NPC mentality. Which is, to me, a bit like taking on a psychopathic, morality-free position, in order to allow you to ‘do as you will’ and serve your desires, to the detriment of others. I don’t think either the slave or master mentality is the one I want to adopt.

    As I write this, I’m also mindful that there has also been discussion about taking contrarian positions as a sort of conversational trick – the feigning of a genuinely held position in order to get a rise out of someone, and ultimately waste everyone’s time. Aka, trolling. Which I agree Gaia is guilty of over on Fakeologist. Anyway, I understand contrarianism too – mea culpa – I think it is a technique I have used in the past myself! But I don’t think I’m doing this here. I honestly hold to the above argument, at least at the present time. My position may well change again in time. In fact, I hope it does – this is the reason I’m even putting this out after all!

    So, questions. I would be interested to understand where the moral perspective ranks in helping to determine acceptable actions to others on this site. Is it a religious artifact, best forgotten? Do you acknowledge that causing others harm (or not) is a factor to be considered? Where does that rank in the heirarchy of all the other issues (wants, health, etc)? Perhaps some skeptics on this site use their knowledge of the external, objective world only – that is all the guide they need for their inner life? Or is there a difference, where right feeling/intuition guides the inner world, and expresses itself in its external actions?

    • 19-June-2019 at 10:57 pm

      Hey Al,

      For me the moral perspective on the NPC / Soulless theme is one I have pushed around my mind for a long time although i did not refer to NPC’s until coming to this site. While it is certainly right to debate the dilemma in your own head it ends up being a point less argument, why is that? Because as a being with a soul I have an inbuilt compassion for all life. This compassion has been my undoing for many years. i know I am intelligent, I know I could take advantage of so many, for my own gain. But that conscience, that moral compass stops me. The soulless may not critically think, but they do FEEL. I feel too and because of this i only do unto others as I want to be treated myself. Albeit that many times I have been back stabbed and abused over and over, particularly in personal relationships with the opposite gender.
      As for the meat vs vegetarian vs vegan thing. I was a vegetarian for over three years when I joined johnlebon.com as a member, three main reasons I did this was:
      1. The poor treatment of animals and the negative energy generated during their slaughter.
      2. I felt I had health benefits from not eating meat as the meat for protein argument is a hoax.
      3. My research into human digestion showed me that maybe humans were never meant to eat animals.

      However last December (2018) I reverted back to being a meat eater, my position is that everything is a placebo /nocebo in this realm. My reality is what I create, the food I eat is as good for me as I believe it is, that goes for anything else I might put into my body. The thoughts we hold on any subject are all that matters all that possibly exists in actuality.

      • 19-June-2019 at 11:10 pm

        Thanks for your reply tng.

        Fair enough. I guess you’re saying that the idea of a subjective (internal) world and objective (external) world distinction, doesn’t really exist, is just an appearance playing through, perceived by you alone. And that really it’s all just subjective/internal, though that distinction itself is moot from that perspective. Is that it?

        I can’t argue with that, though it seems like solipsism. There is just you in this world, and some images that flicker on your tv screen, created by you perhaps, with all the meaning being that which you ascribe to the images. So, no greater meaning, or connection to be had. I can’t disagree with you, though it seems a fairly extreme position.

        • 20-June-2019 at 3:33 am

          Hello Al,

          First, I found your comment to be really, really excellent and interesting. It included lost of points that I have been thinking over for almost my entire life.

          The moral dimension to reality is, I suppose, unquantifiable. Often it is illuminated best in parables or works of literature where the reader ‘sees’ moral truth. I’ve always had a slight problem with the old, ‘there is a runaway train approaching a switch station with a baby on one side and ten thousand cows on the other’ moral conundrums. There is usually some logical way of answering them, but somehow the solutions never satisfy.

          For me, Mark Passio’s natural law argument is an attempt to create a transcendental-logical structure for morality, similar in a sense to Kant and his categorical imperative etc. The trouble here is at least twofold.

          Kant, at least to his own satisfaction and indeed to mine, has shown that one cannot use pure reason in regards to the supernatural. Hence his categorical imperative was to act according to a law that you would wish was binding on all’ (serious paraphrase sorry.) Mark Passio’s, even if he doesn’t intend it to be, reads like a categorical imperative that is in fact binding on all.
          Whether one agrees with the morality presented in the imperative, I find that this approach to morality ends up causing more problems then it solves.

          Along comes someone like Nietzsche perhaps and says something like:
          a. Where did you get that universal law from?
          b. You have stated it is binding on all but I state that it is not binding on me.
          c. He observes that in the world we see master/slave dialectics. The master’s morality is a practical one. He acts in a way that leads to a flourishing life. He does not distinguish between good and evil but good and bad. To live the life of a master is a good life and the life of the slave is a bad life but not evil. It is good if one is able to live a flourishing life, it is bad if one is not able to. But there is no evil. Even here I could make this into a categorical imperative morality. I could wish that all would live according to the law: ‘to life the best life they can.’. For the slave, it is just unfortunate that they are in the caste that they are in. It is not evil, just a bad life. Good and bad morality is according to the practical realities of this life.

          The slave comes along and to make his burden easier he conjures up good vs evil. Here the slave has a good, even holy morality, and the master has an evil one. The slave has introduced universality into his morality. The slave requires some hope. Hence he conjures up a transcendental dimension to morality, which cannot be one based on logic or reason. Man has come up with many solutions and entities to this problem e.g. revelation, blind faith, God, that we are all the same self, a universal and eternal natural law. This is fine and I have no problem with anyone picking one but the ramifications, the sources, the ‘where did I get that idea from,’ are some of the most interesting things for me. Perhaps we pick one with free will, perhaps we are guided by our conscience, perhaps we are moved by art or even we witness the suffering of another and it breaks our heart.

          In my heart, I am susceptible to believing that the ‘slave morality’ is true. It often seems like it is the true morality and is universal. I am afraid to develop a different morality. However, I’m seriously questioning this, where did I get these ideas from, is it a post hoc justification for the realities of my lot, where has this morality led me, is there a transcendental realm from which it comes? I don’t have any firm answers but because I have these questions, I am currently in a position where I am more likely to pick apart other people’s system than present my own. Which is probably a bit of an annoying thing to do. Later on, I hope to outline a tentative solution to the problem which is far from certain or finalised.

          Which brings me to my second problem
          2. If the moral law is transcendental, and thus supra-logical, then and all we all left with our intuition etc. How then can we posit that one morality is higher than another? A significant part of me feels like one is, but is it? This is where Nietzche’s death of God comes in. We have killed the traditional, transcendental, agreed upon source of morality. It may have been better if we hadn’t. But all that is left is for the individual to come up with their own one. To commit one’s life to it and see what happens. This is kinda scary for me. It seems like that is the situation and we have to deal with it. That’s why I struggle with MP’s natural law as I feel like it is a like sticking one’s thumb in the dyke. It is the type of thing that my heart wants to give its assent to and I have done this in my life. To live a thoroughgoing self-sacrifice morality is so hard and perhaps this is why I want to explore alternatives? Without the promise of heaven, it is nigh on impossible. Then we are all sinners in the eyes of the Natural Law and we are left in need of a Redeemer. And we are slaves again. Slaves to the LAW.

          Some of the lives of the saints have moved me to tears by their beauty. Christ’s prayer in Gethsemane has long held a very deep significance. But now, I’m not sure if it is just because of a kinship emotion. Is there not as much beauty in the life of an ubermensch for fellow ubermensch. At least they don’t judge the morality of others on the grounds of eternity. And if the other sins against eternity, he has offended the Natural Law eternally and requires an infinite sacrifice to justify him.

          When one is following a morality of self-sacrifice it is almost impossible, deep down, not to see oneself as better than others, that the other is going to get their just deserts in the end whilst I will be rewarded eternally. This is a poison for the soul. It just sits there. Like an anti-ubermensch.

          Another problem with the transcendental moral law is that it is stripped away from reality. How are all the applications decided, by religious judges, by each person’s conscience? Is there a supreme judge in the sky? How do we know the criteria we are being judged upon? If morality is transcendental/supernatural, can it have any similarity to our earthly moralities? Are the righteous just acting out of a slave-like fear and does it not just confirm the slave-master dialectic? Are our consciences programmed? And if morality is a different function of the soul than logic (although logic could be used to tease out the ramifications) how can we tell if we are programmed this way to be good little slaves or not? What is the source of this eternal, universal moral law?

          The questions multiply endlessly and one can be paralysed and not know how to act.

          Even then, the temptation arises to see oneself as morally superior to those with other moral systems.

          In the Gospel story of the rich man and Lazarus, the successful man is evil personified and destined for eternal suffering and the wretch is destined for eternal paradise and happiness. There are even church fathers who write that the reason for the eternal suffering of the damned is so the joy of the righteous can be even more by seeing what a fate they escaped. Perverse, but perhaps the logical outplaying of the whole dialectic.

          I suspect there is a solution to this moral dialectic. I’m not certain what is but I don’t think the natural law thing solves it. In fact, ( and I don’t believe that you or followers of it intend this in any way.) it so easily reduces down to, ‘I am good because I try my best not to cause harm to other sentient beings and you are evil.’ I doubt that is the intention of anyone who follows it but in my experience of myself and others who follow it, that idea sits somewhere in the murky depths of the soul. The temptation is almost impossible to resist. Christians claim that without the crucifixion and the power of the love of Christ’s sacrifice, it would be completely impossible to resist.

          As a personal aside, I think I that talk a better game than I play. As much as these type of things interest me, in reality, in my day to day life, I live in a way where I dread to cause harm to others. If I feel like I have it haunts me. A bit like TNG, this has led me to some deep suffering in my life. I tend to let myself be treated like crap whilst believing that by doing so it makes me a better moral person. In my monastic life, even if I was treated utterly wrongly by someone I would be the one to go and ask my forgiveness for my behaviour even now I end up doing this. I don’t want to lose this part of myself but I think that it must be possible to combine it with a good selfishness. I lie to myself that it because of morality but if I’m honest, I often suspect this is a post-hoc rationalisation to excuse myself. I am a coward and a wimp.

          King Solomon, the named author of “The Wisdom of Solomon” and “Proverbs” was known as the wisest man in the world and also the wealthiest man in the world (materially). Perhaps here is the solution to the master/slave morality dialectic. WISDOM!

          On the NPC thing, my plan for the afternoon was to write an essay on “am I a machine”. My own, tentative position is that we are not machines, but that we have machines. In essence, our body/mind acts as a machine/computer. Its actions are conditioned by its structure (hardware) and its beliefs, (its software.) The structure of this body/brain computer is not material but of mind. For example, in our inner world, we have thoughts, beliefs, emotions, feelings etc. This is our direct empirical experience. When viewing these things externally e.g. a brain scan these mental/spiritual things look like material things, neurons in the brain, chemical balances/imbalances, electrical signals etc.

          I see NPC vs PC as parts of our individual being. I also think we can categorise people according to this (I suspect that I am way down on the NPC side by the way that I live my life.) Someone who is a PC is not someone who has eliminated the NPC parts of their being, but one who has correctly programmed it.

          I don’t know how it works but the reason I believe that we ‘have a machine’ rather than ‘we are a machine’ is that I have observed how not only how others programmed me via thoughts, beliefs, emotions feelings, prayers, trauma, conditioning etc. but that I have willingly programmed myself negatively. Even plants can be programmed by these things such as talking to them cheerily. I try to be kind to the cows that I look after and chat with them as I give walk around the field. At the same time, I’m aware that one day they will get the bullet.

          My current aim in life is to strip away harmful beliefs and to programme my self for success. In this, I have a long way to go but I’ve started. For example, to believe that I have in my possession the most incredible machine possible and that if I alter my beliefs the machine will act like a goal-seeking mechanism programmed for success. To delete the failure software and install some new software. I actually want to work with my NPC qualities. Do you ever think about a subject intensely for a while and then forget about it. If I try to write it down later I find something in me has worked out a lot of the problems and as I write. My machine-like/NPC part of me has done the extra work and I only find out about it as I try to engage my ‘higher/free/non-NPC part of me’ to write it down. Bertrand Russell would do something similar. In the ‘Conquest of Happiness’ Bertrand Russell tells of how he writes and it illuminates how I think the NPC and PC parts of our being interact. This is what I want to develop to be successful in this life.

          I have found, for example, that if I have to write upon some rather
          difficult topic, the best plan is to think about it with very great
          intensity—the greatest intensity with which I am capable—for a few
          hours or days, and at the end of that time give orders, so to speak,
          that the work is to proceed underground. After some months, I return
          consciously to the topic and find the work has been done. Before I
          discovered this technique, I used to spend time worrying because I was
          making no progress; I arrived at the solution none the faster for this
          worry and the worrying time was wasted.”

          The two parts working together.

          For me “An NPC” would be someone who has not consciously studied this part of themselves and so is ruled by false programming, other peoples/societies beliefs, medical trauma etc. A “non-NPC or PC” would not be someone who has got rid of their NPC qualities but one has correctly programmed themselves. Their higher self can get on with what it wants to do and work with the machine-self. It can literally give instructions about what it wants to achieve and work with the gift of the mind/body computer. To be a Master in the sense of one who is a master craftsman, rather than an oppressive overlord. What could be wrong with that? It might seem wrong to someone who has not become a master. I have always thought that it was wrong and that this made me a better person.

          So, I would not see NPCs as soul-less but rather one with a malfunctioning body/mind machine. Because it malfunctions it leads them to failure. It overrides their PC part and they appear as NPCs. I think JLB might disagree with my next statement by asking what evidence I have for what I am about to say, but I BELIEVE that all humans have the potential to reprogramme their NPC software and indeed the hardware (better fitness, diet.); but almost all won’t. I suspect this is what differentiates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. The PC is one who has done this. In between there are gradations. In the PC, the NPC part of him leads him to successes, monetary or otherwise (writing a philosophical treatise perhaps). His PC part is the active part, setting goals and desires as inputs, doing the intense thinking and studying then trusting the depths to help him out.

          My suspicion is that “lying, cheating others, stealing are wrongs, deliberately harming others,” are not moral wrongs because of a MORAL LAW of good vs evil, but rather they are malware and in the end, are not conducive to inner success. Peace of soul etc. There is something in us which is programmed for success that we can access and use but we don’t because we believe that we are better people if we don’t. This is crippling slave morality. If we do programme ourselves correctly, then success follows as night follows day. For those that don’t, failure follows. There is no moral dimension here other than a reality-based one. Matthew 13:10-16 could be interpreted in this way and even in regards to PCs/NPCs.

          Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:

          “‘“You will indeed hear but never understand,
          and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
          15For this people’s heart has grown dull,
          and with their ears they can barely hear,
          and their eyes they have closed,
          lest they should see with their eyes
          and hear with their ears
          and understand with their heart
          and turn, and I would heal them.’

          16But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.

          The fact that from ‘the one who has not’, even that will be taken away, indicates that the NPC (one who has not) has the hardware and the potential to be one who has, otherwise what is there to be taken away? But he can’t or won’t see it. He has become dull. I think this leaps over the master/slave dialectic and is a practical, reality-based morality based on freedom rather than slavery/mastery. If we work with what we have been given, success in life will follow, and not by any means necessarily financial. One could be working a normie job (like me!) and have the desire not for riches but for wisdom, philosophical enquiry, or they like Solomon they could desire both. The could earn riches and then give them away. In secret and perhaps deliberately, meagre conditions one could fulfil this purely in their inner life. If others don’t do the work this is their business. If the result is that money flows from NPCs to PCs then there is no good vs evil, just the morality of reality and freedom.

          For me, I don’t want to start harming people, lying and stealing etc. However, I do want to have a fully-functioning NPC nature which is programmed for success in whatever field I desire, financial or otherwise. At the moment I am not like this. I’ve lived the life of a failure, but in the last few months, I have decided to make success in my aim. I am like an NPC who has just realised the reality of the situation and now desires to be a PC. If I can come up with ideas, products and services which others want to pay for then I’m no longer of the mindset that I must also suffer for it. If they are idiots who care not about developing themselves then more fool them, even what they don’t have will be taken away.

          In the Bible, the Greek word for sin is amartia, literally “to miss the mark” as in archery. There is really no moral dimension to the word. How could one be judged for being a sinner if we don’t have the ability to hit the mark?

          Not sure if that all made sense. There were so many good points in your comment that I’m sure I want to go over it again but it’s all I can remember for now and even for me I’ve gone on quite a bit. I’m not claiming I’m certain about it, but this is where I am at on this area.

          • 20-June-2019 at 3:38 am

            P.S. I’ve been accused of being a contrarian. Sometimes this is true and I am just disagreeing for the sake of annoying the other person. But other times people use it as a term which I suspect they define implicitly as “Why won’t you agree with me.”

            • 20-June-2019 at 3:49 am


              If a common sense moral approach indicates that it is wrong to kill animals for meat to eat. AND if it turns out that, hypothetically, a carnivore diet was more conducive to living a flourishing life; would that undermine a common-sense morality?

              If this world is the only true world then I say it does undermine it.

              If this world is a fallen and illusionary world, and there is another true world, heaven perhaps, then it doesn’t undermine it.

              • 20-June-2019 at 6:59 am


                In my view, we had a false equivalency where killing plants was compared to killing an animal.

                This seems to stem from MP’s statement on natural law in which two distinctions are made.

                Between beings who know the difference between harmful and non-harmful behaviour. Distinguishes Man (sorry ladies) and all other life.
                Between beings which are sentient and non-sentient. Distinguishes Man + animals from lower forms of life.

                That animals are considered sentient and plants non-sentient is not contained within the natural law statement but is an extra premise. For me, more proof is needed than stating that it is obvious.

                My intention was not to make a false equivalence but to observe that it is a more recent development to include animals with sentient man. Hence previously deeming animals to be sentient would have been seen as a false equivalence between Man and animals. I don’t know with any certainty if the equivalence is false or not. MP simply states it as a fact, that he knows that plants are not sentient, I see it as a possible equivalence.

                This leads us to observe what the ramifications are to eternal, universal applicable law if we later discover plants are in fact sentient. Would a follower of natural law then give up eating plants?

                My point is to bring out problems with universally applicable and transcendental laws. (Despite being called Natural law his definition of it, at least to me makes it supernatural.)

                If I became convinced that plants were not sentient it would make no difference to me as I simply don’t except the Natural Law argument. It may be a useful guide, but there is also the reality of our digestive systems, the reality of how nature works. I don’t think that MP can dismiss them by saying “The law of the jungle is not included in natural law”(paraphrase). What if I say that is is included in the natural law that I subscribe to?

                (Hate to keep harping on about the bible. I’m using it because my mind is full of it. I’m using it not as an authority but to illuminate my points. I guess I still influenced by it.)

                In the bible repentance (metanoia) means “to change one’s mind/spirit”. (you can kind of see this in the word repentance, “think again) Like sin meaning to miss the mark, repentance in the eastern fathers is not really linked to morality. Morality was the OT law and it only ended up with Phariseeism. The eastern fathers interpret repentance to mean a change of one’s mind/spirit. To become the New Man (not that different from Nietzsche) in where morality and law no longer apply. The redeemed man is not morally redeemed but spiritually transformed whereby he no longer needs the constraints of the Law. The Law only brings sin (mark missing). He acts in accordance with his true nature. This doesn’t mean that he goes around being a jerk, he’s just above all that.

                That kind of thing is where I think the answers lie. Arguments from moral law drag us down into dry and dull moralism etc. For me, the solution has to leap over it. Hence, all I really have is criticisms of universally applicable laws. Not that I am in favour of ‘immorality’ but that the answer is something deeper. I’ve tried to outline it in my longer answer and here but I can’t quite explain it.

                As I’ve said, I’ve no problem with someone who wants to eat veganly, but I don’t see how their own personal moral code for doing so is applicable to me.

          • 20-June-2019 at 7:08 am

            Thanks again Dai, for the long and thoughtful comment. Certainly glad to hear you thought it was excellent! As I think I’ve made clear, it really is excellent to have responses from others ‘out there’, on these thoughts that rattle around inside. Some of these things are hard (impossible?) to talk about for most people, but they feel deeply, even all-encompassIingly, important. So, any response I give is with that in mind, and where I may disagree it is within the context of my being grateful to have an opportunity to try to work this stuff out. Let me also say, that I would be happy to catch up in person were you ever to be in London 🙂 On that, I’d also be happy for a more general JLB UK catch up with any others too.

            Anyway, I’m not so bought into M. Passio ‘knowing’ side of Natural Law, as in whether (or how) he knows something to be true. As you (and Kant) say – I’m sure he would be unable to prove his knowing in a logical way. I do think he gives a fairly compelling explanantion though – perhaps it says more about me that I needed to hear it.

            You know though 😉 he may really ‘know’ (at least to his threshold of knowing) but in such a way that he would sound like a madman to express it. Perhaps he has had a such a profusion of personal syncs that he cannot but ‘know’. Any proof he might offer would not qualify as an adequate external proof for anyone else. I’m not saying that this is true btw, I have no idea. I’m just saying he might feel to use the word ‘know’ with conviction.

            Even if he is deluding himself and says ‘know’ rather than say ‘believe’ – what if that is what he holds to be true in his heart, but he doesn’t say it? A sort of heart knowledge that he then denies.. Well, then you can have a conclusive logical result I think – albeit a negative one.. he would definitely be a person that is in conflict with himself.

            Re Nietzsche and Natural Law + point b:
            b. You have stated it is binding on all but I state that it is not binding on me.
            Its only binding in that there are karmic consequences to one’s actions, not actually, physically binding in some way. (Also, I note that a cynic might observe that Nietsche was not free of karmic consequences in his personal life, which ended after 10 years of madness.) I hold that we do have free will to do what we want, good or bad.

            Re Nietzsche and Natural Law + point c:
            c. He observes that in the world we see master/slave dialectics. The master’s morality is a practical one.
            I would say it is a self-serving morality, and I’m not convinced it is even a pleasurable one, even if it may seem so from the outside! Anyway, you break this up into master OR slave morality. Fair enough, but I think I’m trying to go for option 3. The way I see it, is that yes, it is possible to see everything on competitive terms (with winners and losers). I think I did. As a sportsman though, I can see a clear analogy. I would get despondent losing, though obviously it is great to win. But, for myself nowadays, I try to make the competion an internal one – I win if I have tried to my satisfaction. I win everytime too! I don’t actually care about the external competition (that much) any more. I guess, I think Nietsche is wrong to frame the question as if one is a master/slave externally – I think for me it is about being master of oneself.

            In my heart, I am susceptible to believing that the ‘slave morality’ is true. It often seems like it is the true morality and is universal. I am afraid to develop a different morality. However, I’m seriously questioning this
            … for me, say no more. I think I’ve already said this, but while its interesting to ponder the multitude of ideas out there, and I like to try them on for size for a bit, how can one not follow one’s own heart? Again, you will get a conclusive logical result – that you don’t like.

            In fact, perhaps the reason you are not an NPC is because you are some combination of heart + ability to entertain various ideas/philosophies for yourself. That could be the magic formula to being a PC, right?

            As a personal aside, I think I that talk a better game than I play. As much as these type of things interest me, in reality, in my day to day life, I live in a way where I dread to cause harm to others.
            Interesting. I think I may have done the opposite. (Not the bit about playing a better game than I talk – far from it!) I think I may have fostered my psychopathic tendencies, to the point where I was prepared to do whatever it took to get material success. (Which still largely eluded me!) Actually, that followed my attempt to do the ‘right’ thing which pretty much broke me. I’m not sure why or how I decided to climb back on the ‘do the right thing’ horse, and I’m not sure I’m really on it yet. Perhaps, it is only that I would follow my heart/intuition, if I had such a thing.. but I think I do as I feel enlivened in a way I didn’t previously. I don’t regret any of the changes of life path I have taken.

            On your points re our makeup – you talk about body/mind being like a computer. Strangely I too have drafted some stuff along these sorts of distinctions. Some differences, I distinguish between body, mind and spirit, though I’m not entirely convinced by it. Like you too, I express the mind using a computer metaphor, the body is a metaphorical car for me. On the mind, I see us born with an Operating System and a bunch of simple, working default programs. In my draft, our spirit guides the installation process and is initially concerned about setting/re-setting/implementing/re-programming great default programs/scripts in the mind, so that it can free itself up. So, the spirit needs to achieve mastery over the body and brain and works to do that, and it is pretty much always successful. But it has freed itself up for what? I think for NPCs its so the body and brain get as pampered as possible – that is their goal. But really, is that it? I have more thoughts – such as that its a continuous process and doesn’t stop, or doesn’t have to – that the re-programming and body/mind mastery needs further tweaking and optimising by the spirit to really get up to speed; it doesn’t need to just function. But anyway, its fascinating to me that we are both drafting some fairly similar sounding pieces!

            Finally, I would dispute your characterisation of yourself where you say you have lived a life of failure. You might say that you have not lived a life of financial success. But, so? I would actually say that you are in danger of being a PC who wants to live the life of an NPC 🙂 This is cheesy, but what would be the value of material wealth but no heart? (Cue David Bowie – Man who sold the World.) But that is just my view, as someone who believes they were an NPC of sorts, but managed to escape.

            I was about to post, but then I saw your latest comment. You say:
            That kind of thing is where I think the answers lie. Arguments from moral law drag us down into dry and dull moralism etc. For me, the solution has to leap over it.
            Leaping over sounds like seeking to be the master again. For me it is to become it. The law doesn’t apply as it is self-evident to oneself – you couldn’t act otherwise. Isn’t this what some people call the philosopher’s stone, turning lead into gold? Only the lead is oneself – not the metal.

            • 21-June-2019 at 7:40 pm

              I want to share a personal sync(?)/event relating to the above. Its not actually a very pleasant experience either. But its very much related to this site.

              2 nights ago, I wrote the response above to daipbdaipb above. I felt satisfied that I had conveyed what I wanted to say. I don’t think I had expressed that line of thinking before, even if it was in my mind – so I was doing something new. I was also considering whether I had gone a little far in suggesting a meeting in meatspace so had a little trepidation. Anyway that was my mindset I was in after I fired off the comment.

              Not 10 minutes after it was posted, quite late in the evening here (dark outside), I had a phone call. Its a new-ish phone to me, and I have it set to vibrate (and not to ring). The vibration pattern for calls is pretty sharp and insistent. The call was from a withheld number, so I was wondering who would call me at that time. I answered it anyway, but I don’t speak – this is usual for me on unsolicited calls. After a few seconds someone spoke, saying just one word before hanging up. Actually the word ‘speak’ is incorrect – they growled out the word – ‘CUUUUNT’.


              I was actually in shock from the call. I was unable to speak for 2-3 minutes. I had goosepimples for 30 mins. My head was rattled. I even felt that my phone had betrayed me somehow, by being the vehicle for the ‘message’ – I didn’t want it around.

              As a good conspiracist, I wasn’t sure if TPWRTS, who may be monitoring the site, had called me. I noted too that phonetically that word can sound like ‘Kant’ – the philosopher Dai had mentioned. So, this did disturb my peace, and introduced a paranoid fear to me over my online interactions. I was rattled, and it had put me in a primitive, fear driven, reptilian brain state – at the time, there was no chance of thinking this one out. I was rethinking my interactions online, for sure.

              Now, on reflection, I think it was probably just pranksters, kids perhaps, ringing a random number and trying to get a response from the other end. Maybe not though. But, either way, I don’t believe in coincidences. At a time where I think I’m pushing a little further than before, acting from the heart (or trying to) and expressing that, something literally calls me up out of nowhere and passes a sort of judgement on me. What called? The Universe? A person? The system? Or all of them? Who knows?

              After eventually getting to sleep I did not feel that fear the following day, or today, and I have returned to my usual mental state. I am waiting to see if there are further calls, but I suspect it was a one-off. Even if there are further calls, what of it? I can say that now… But, anyway, I am still left thinking how one, well-timed event, like the proverbial flapping of butterfly’s wings, can unwind so much, even if only temporarily.

              • 21-June-2019 at 10:27 pm

                Hello Al,

                Firstly sorry. I’d meant to reply to suggestion of meeting up sooner. Unfortunately, my slight narcissistic tendencies means that I am far prompter in replying to comments when I get to warble on about my opinions then I am in promptly replying to social engagements. Usually takes me days to reply to my poor mother’s invites to dinner. I’m not on the mainland often but I’m hoping that towards the end of the year do a quick tour and catch up with some acquaintances and family down and I’d be keen to meet up. In the real world, I’m quite a jocular kind of chap and, without meaning to brag, I’m told that I’m quite a good person to have a beer/cup of tea and a meandering chat on everything and nothing. I’m also pretty good at the lighter side of things. My everyday conversations are generally much more light-hearted than my dreary, overly long and wordy comments (although I can be arguementative but now I see it as an ASSASSIN FOR THE TRUTH!

                Regarding the rest of the events that happened to you, I have some experience in these areas and I’d like to share them with you. I’m assuming that it’s okay otherwise you wouldn’t have posted the comment. Some of what I write will have religious terminology that I don’t currently subscribe to. If there is any benefit to be found then it still holds. One may substitute Cosmos for God, sync for Providence. Instead of angels and devils, one could see these at metaphors for parts of ourselves or trickster like nature of reality etc.

                Perhaps nothing that I write below will ring true or is appropriate for how you are feeling re the sync but I hope that it is helpful.

                either way, I don’t believe in coincidences.

                There are some obvious corollaries between sync and providence and the idea that there are no coincidences.

                I don’t believe in coincidences but I live my life AS IF most events that happen around me were coincidences. The events happening around us at all times are almost limitless in number. Our perspective is somewhat limited. Smaller syncs are interesting and I don’t dismiss them but I don’t give them too much significance on their own. (NB. I’m not suggesting that what happened to you was a smaller one, that’s something for you.)

                In everyday life, I try not to let my left hand know what my right hand is doing.

                That events may have an intricate, interwoven meaning does not mean that we can infallibly understand the meaning behind them. Depending on our state of mind we may seriously misinterpret them and cause ourselves harm. A recent orthodox saint, Elder Paisios would say that ‘the devil’ is a great movie director. He would explain that ‘the devil’ selectively presents certain events to us in a way that a particular story is told. A story that is not the true meaning behind events but one that will harm us. Our frame of mind can do this as well. It is not that there isn’t significance, but we can use sync to tell the story that we want to hear. All of us have ups and downs, during a day or through the seasons of life. The danger can be that the story that we are currently telling ourselves through sync may not be the one that we are supposed to hear.

                In Orthodox Christianity, there is an extremely elaborate and multifaceted calendar of feasts, fasts, historical events, dates associated with certain saints. Many people find benefit from seeing ‘syncs’ e.g. which saints are associated with their baptismal date etc. This is very beneficial because the person would take a particular interest in the life of that saint, how they overcame negative traits, what virtues were strong in them. I would also encounter people who would become obsessed with the tiniest meaning in the calendar and what the significance was to their lives. If they suspected that you didn’t see the same level of significance they would get agitated and accuse you of not having faith in providence etc.

                I knew one monk whose life, rather than words, demonstrated a mind-blowing faith in Providence (he hardly ever spoke and I never saw him the slightest bit ruffled by events). It was not that he was not interested in the syncs of the calendar and events in his life, but it was just a part of his overall engagement with Providence. The primary way he did this was by living his life as he felt he should.

                JLB’s recent work is a good example. My words above could be misinterpreted in that I am criticising his work. The opposite. In Total Recall and the Truman show, he has picked up on a lot of seemingly small syncs. But he has told his own story. These syncs he has filled with significance by his own life. It is not the syncs on their own that are significant, but the way that he has lived his life afterwards. It looks to me like the syncs are a HELP in creating his own story, a positive overarching narrative. Syncs and their interpretation can be a tool that we use in beneficial ways or we can enslave ourselves to small events which, because of our limited perspective, are in practice little different from coincidences.

                There could be a certain risk of elevating sync to the status of a God dictating our lives. I tend to see the relationship between ourselves and the Cosmos as that we are co-creators of our lives and destinies. We are free to see the world as good, bad, both or neither. The same is true for syncs.

                In monk talk, we would say that if an interpretation of events leaves you agitated ignore it completely. It is from the devil and he is a liar and a slanderer. He may present true significance in events, but that feeling of agitation is a danger sign. A secular interpretation could be that if a sync leaves you agitated, leave it alone because it is likely that your agitated state means that you will misinterpret it. A sync could indicate something bad but if you are seeing it in a peaceful state then it may be time to take it into consideration. If a feeling of peace returns then one may be able to see the sync with a better perspective, as it seems happened to you.

                Many monk-saints declared DISCERNMENT to be the highest virtue because without even virtue would lead to harm.

                Syncs/Providence got me into a monastery. Syncs/Providence got me out. A fellow monk approached me aghast that I could leave after all the providential events that had lead me into the monastery. Seemingly providential events were happening all around. Often I was extremely agitated and couldn’t understand what was going on. When I felt calm there was a beneficial uneasiness, but not agitation, about my thoughts of staying. This felt ‘uneasiness’ helped me realise I need to go. I was very upset for a long time after leaving. It is only now that I realise that I have gained invaluable insights from my time there. I’ve only been able to interpret the whole sequence of events since a sense of peace has returned.

                “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

                This truth can be applied to sync and the events that happen to us.

                The real significance of syncs lies in the future. We can see significance in events and interpret what we think they mean but it is only in the future that we will understand what the significance was/is. The event/sync is in the past. As soon as the event has happened it has passed. If we control our present, our attitude to life (positive or negative), we control the interpretation of the syncs/events in our past and we control the future significance of what this means for our future and our lives.

                Syncs only control our future is we let them control our present if we feel that we are bound by them. We control their significance if we control who we are right now, how we feel about life, about others, about who we can be in this life.

                If this event, whether it be the TPWRTS or silly kids, is to be a significant sync for your future, I believe that this is something that only you control and no one else, not TPWRTS, not God, not the’devil’ not the CIA.

                It seems to me like you’ve already done it

                Now, on reflection, I think it was probably just pranksters, kids perhaps, ringing a random number and trying to get a response from the other end.

                But, anyway, I am still left thinking how one, well-timed event, like the proverbial flapping of butterfly’s wings, can unwind so much, even if only temporarily.

                This one sync could be something that teaches you an awful lot about the relationships between our own inner state, sync, what are the benefits/dangers of sync, how to develop an intuitive filtering mechanism with interpreting syncs, how to be in control etc.

                I hope some of this made sense and does not come across as preachy.

                Wishing you all the best and good syncs.

                Assassin for the truth.

        • 20-June-2019 at 4:35 am

          I can’t argue with that, though it seems like solipsism. There is just you in this world and some images that flicker on your tv screen, created by you perhaps, with all the meaning being that which you ascribe to the images.

          I think if it would be solipsistic if TNG is saying that the phenomenal world is only his individual ‘dream’ or ‘idea’ or ‘perception’ or ‘representation then I would agree that it would be solipsistic.

          However, if he is saying the phenomenal world is a shared “dream” then it would not be solipsistic.

          I think that both are possibilities under an idealist view of the world which TNG’s position reminds me of.

          I’m not sure which one he is presenting but that which would indicate to me that the world is a non-solipsistic, shared “idea/dream/representation” is that the dynamics of the world unfold independently of personal volition. Well not completely independently – personal volition certainly seems to have effects but there are limits indicating that there is a shared nature to the dream.

          • 20-June-2019 at 8:15 am

            I am certainly implying we share the dream and yes I completely agree there are rules and limits to creating your reality.

            But only when awake……….

  • 19-June-2019 at 11:32 pm

    Maybe a little extreme, I hold to the position that this is a shared realm with bubbles of creation resonating out from a few souls who are projecting their own reality upon it. It is all one glorious game. But for me the programming we see in the media, in the schooling systems is not there for us, it is just the story for the soulless to follow in their unending labour to keep the system stoked. To keep the game board set for every move made by the players.

    • 23-June-2019 at 6:26 am

      Tng, have you seen Jim Henson’s The Cube? I just bumped into it.. It seems a pretty interesting portrayal of ‘reality’, from 1969!! and is along the lines of what we’ve been discussing (you more than me). Maybe this film is old hat for you and others in this site, but if not I’d recommend. It’s quite short too at ~50mins.

      • 23-June-2019 at 7:55 pm

        Hey Al,

        I had never heard of it, I have checked out the Wiki page and watched a very interesting 6 minute clip on YouTube where a lady shape changes in front of the main character trapped in the cube room. Even more interesting was the fact that the man trapped in the cube hurled a hammer which made a hole in the wall. The maintenance guy came to fix it, after measuring he remarked that it was a number “47” hole, what were the odds. He then returned with a cut shape in a 47 box that fit the hole. 47 is supposed to be the most common two digit number to occur in reality and is a prime number…………….interesting that a film made in 1969 should relate to prime numbers the creators code. 47 is also related to the myth that states before taking form in this life, your soul formed a Sacred Contract with God and the Ascended Masters setting out specific aspirations that you would seek to fulfill with this physical existence.

        I will certainly try and find a full version, thanks for the tip. 1969 that was the same year as the moon landing hoax Apollo 11 and the year of my birth………………47 reduces to “11”

        • 24-June-2019 at 7:52 am

          Cool, definitely worth a watch imo. I can’t think of anything I’ve seen that comes even close to it, when it comes to conveying our journey through ‘reality’. Maybe the matrix? Mind you, I don’t watch many films. Nevertheless it was the equivalent of a fair ground roller coaster ride for the mind, for me.

          Check the link I posted for a full version on archive.org.

  • 20-June-2019 at 8:11 am

    DaibPDaibP, in reference to your comment

    If I became convinced that plants were not sentient it would make no difference to me as I simply don’t except the Natural Law argument.

    How do you account for spagyrics?

    Alcoholic spirits – that means that the spirit of the plant has been removed, liberated from the prison of matter.

    From my article.

    • 23-June-2019 at 9:58 pm

      DaibPDaibP, in reference to your comment

      If I became convinced that plants were not sentient it would make no difference to me as I simply don’t except the Natural Law argument.

      How do you account for spagyrics?

      I’m far from an expert on spagyrics but I have done some limited research into it and it does seem very interesting.

      Regarding my comment: “If I became convinced that plants were not sentient it would make no difference to me as I simply don’t except the Natural Law argument.” My use of the term Natural Law in this comment specifically referred to Mark Passio’s definition which he defines in his veganism podcast as:

      “Natural Law: A set of universal, inherent, objective, non-man-made, eternal and immutable conditions which govern the consequences of behaviours of beings with the capacity for understanding the difference between harmful and non-harmful behaviour.”

      “The understanding of Natural Law is centred upon bringing our own Conscience into alignment with Objective Morality. This means definitively knowing which behaviours are rights because they do not cause harm to other sentient beings, and which behaviours are wrongs because they do cause harm to other sentient beings.”

      In short, I reject the above description of Natural Law. We may find in the phenomenological world evidence of karmic effects relating to actions/consequences. However, we have no empirical evidence for its “eternal”, “immutable” and “universal” nature. Aside from this, despite my limited knowledge, I think it is quite likely that there is something to spagyrics. One could even come up with a purely empirical-idealist explanation as a basis for a spagyric “Natural Law”. I could see myself easily assenting to such a “natural law” explanation of Spagyrics but it would only be a useful name.

      Something along the lines of:
      The only thing that we have empirical evidence for is experiences which occur in our consciousness/mind.
      We have empirical evidence for an inner mental/spiritual realm.
      We have empirical evidence for the outer realm, for which we use the model of matter etc. However, the empirical evidence for this outer realm is something that we only ever experience in consciousness/mind. Hence we have direct empirical for a spiritual/mental realm and thus it is primary. We only have inferential evidence for a material realm and it is the product of viewing the spiritual/mental realm externally.
      Matter is thus, no more than a navigational model when interacting with the external world. Our brain (neurons, lobes etc.) is the thoughts and ideas of our mind viewed externally.

      Plants exist in OUR external world. It is possible that they also have an external/internal world. hence their xylem/phloem and other structural makeup could be the external expression of their inner thoughts/ideas/SPIRIT.

      As this is based on our empirical experience of the phenomenological world this would be an explanation of Spagyrics which could be termed “Natural Law”. This I could accept. If Spagyrics works, then this could be evidence for plants having an inner mental/spiritual life.

      I hope that this answered the gist of your question. I’ve skipped over some steps of my argument for the sake of brevity. In that regard, it is a basic overview of a model which I thought you may find interesting rather than a detailed one.

  • 21-June-2019 at 11:33 pm

    In response to your latest comment further up.

    Thanks for sharing what you’ve experienced. It is pretty unprecedented to me to have had such a bizarre and unravelling experience – so obviously interesting that others have had similar.

    On syncs, perhaps like you, I want to be at a point where I can observe them but not assign any special significance to them. I take some of them as a little affirmation. For a time, I was unable NOT to assign special significance to that last one though! It absolutely did not seem coincidental, but very directed.

    “‘the devil’ is a great movie director.” Absolutely. No worries re using religious terms – I think they are fair, commonly understood ways to describe things, to a point. I also note that this event was based around tech, so it again some support for the idea I’ve supported previously – that the negative force is more in play in non-natural domains.

    “The primary way he did this was by living his life as he felt he should.” So, your monk, had a ‘sync/providence’ full life by trying to do what he should.

    “In monk talk, we would say that if an interpretation of events leaves you agitated ignore it completely.” I agree, but plainly I’m not ignoring it. In this case I think the fear I felt was towards what I was doing – ie commenting, expressing my understanding, etc – perhaps it was an attempt to direct me in a different direction. So, once I was at peace I expressed what happened, putting it in the light. Maybe I’ll be inflicting lots more comments on everyone soon!!

    “I hope some of this made sense and does not come across as preachy.”
    Great sense – thanks and not at all preachy. I greatly appreciate your perspective.

    Al-chemist 🙂

  • 22-June-2019 at 3:48 am

    Fruitful discussion. When I’m tempted to label NPCs “soulless” I remind myself that my present self has come to be from an NPC past. It’s obviously a process, an individuated process of becoming. Who among us was born with such colossal discernment that we were never NPCs? If our previous selves were NPCs without a soul then what was the process of our soul’s becoming? Probably in a year or two or five I’ll look back on the 2019 me with compassion and pity for how little I really “knew” about Reality as compared with whatever “present” I’m in at the time. Again, thanks to all for contributing to this discussion. May we all grow in our Player Character lives, and find joy and meaning at whatever level of discernment we possess 🙂

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