Reading the posts in a chronological order is recommended.

viernes, 27 de abril de 2018

NEW MESSAGES AND BOOKLETS

NEW MESSAGES ON THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO


This year, pilgrims find philosophical messages at both Castañeda (km 44) and Tabernavella (km 33). 






At the entrance of the municipality of Arzúa, a message on a tree alerts: 
"WELCOME TO ARZÚA: LAND OF CHEESE, HONEY AND PHILOSOPHY"



At ‘Antoxos’, a shop next to the Arzúa tourist office (km 39), pilgrims can purchase a booklet, for only 1 euro, that holds all of these messages and also offers a collection of interesting quotations about differents subjects (God, wisdom, religion, war, empathy, vegetarianism, etc.) by different authors (Pope Francis, Albert Einstein, Bukovski, Kierkegaard, Karl Marx, etc.). The sale of these booklets and of cards with 12 interesting ‘Travel broadens the Mind’ quotations (also 1 euro), help to sponsor these philosophical messages.


The ‘Pilgrims & Philosophy’ booklets and the ‘Travel Broadens the Mind’ cards can also be purchased at bar Praza (next to the Church of Arzúa), Tabernavella (km 33), Bar La Calzada (km 32), Bar Tia Dolores (km 30) and in Santiago at O Xardín dos Soños (Casas Reais 38), which is an eco shop with a tea house at the back.



'O Xardín dos Soños' is a quiet place, on the Camino de Santiago, right after entering the old town, run by Isabel, from Galicia, and Kenny, from Bélgica, who have travelled around the world for years and met each other in Nepal.

https://goo.gl/maps/x9FscJukBXG2

miércoles, 15 de noviembre de 2017

THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON

What do you think is the most important lesson mankind has to learn?

When we reflect upon mankind’s evolution, we can come to the conclusion that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself: technology not only continually makes everything become more sophisticated – and today we have weapons of mass-destruction -, but also continually enables a smaller percentage of the world population to appropriate a larger percentage of all resources, thus increasing the tension between different groups of people and between people and the environment.
Since our survival depends on how we react to this threat, this conclusion is, without any doubt, the most important lesson mankind has to learn. Nuclear weapons and the climate’s change make that we cannot afford to ignore this reality much longer.
Is mankind indeed close to its self-destruction?
Assuming that to avoid self-destruction, we only have to pollute less, and not let it come to a nuclear war, is unrealistic. We should neither ignore that living in harmony with the environment and living in harmony with the others are interrelated, nor that our struggle for the resources continually creates more tension between different groups of people, and between people and their environment. We can compare our situation with a pressure cooker that doesn’t have an escape valve. How can we expect it never to explode when we continually increase the heat?
Can mankind’s self-destruction be avoided?
Of course it can be avoided. To do so we only have to establish harmony. This means that we have to discover why we have conflicts with the other people and with the environment and then do something about it. Those who believe harmony on earth is impossible, assume that some people are good and others are evil, and that nothing can be done about it. However, there may be a reason why people are evil or behave evilly, as nobody has managed to demonstrate the opposite.
Why do philosophers and scientists ignore this reality?          
Many philosophers and scientists have warned against the consequences of either a nuclear war or the climate’ change. They have not come to the conclusion that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself because they have not reflected enough on harmony: they are either unaware of the fact that living in harmony with the other people and living in harmony with the environment are interrelated, or consider this impossible, because they assume that there will always be good and bad people. However, this assumption ignores the principle of cause and effect: the idea that each cause has its effects and each effect its causes.
When one assumes that harmony is impossible, the idea that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself entails that mankind’s self-destruction is inevitable. And since a problem that seems to have no solution causes a lot stress, as a defense mechanism, we tend to ignore it.
Does Genesis, the first book of the Bible, recognize this reality?
The most important important idea of the Bible is that our ancestors once lived in harmony (paradise) because it offers people an ideal for the future. Genesis also says that ten generations after putting an end to harmony, a great catastrophe occurred – the great flood –and only a few people survived. Therefore, it recognizes the fact that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is eventually bound to destroy itself.
Why do theologians ignore the essence of the Bible?
Since theologians ignore that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself, they also ignore that the Bible recognizes this reality, and this is in fact its main message. Theologians who have warned against the end of the world have seen this as a punishment for mankind’s behavior instead of seeing mankind’s self-destruction as the ultimate consequence for not living in harmony.
Can the Bible help us avoid mankind’s self-destruction?
The Bible can definitely help to avoid mankind’s self-destruction: with Genesis saying that mankind put an en to harmony by eating a forbidden fruit, asking why we have the conflict with the others and with the environment is the same as asking what the forbidden fruit refers to. To discover the nature of the forbidden fruit, it makes a lot of sense to recognize that Genesis associates harmony with a vegetarian diet, since God prescribed a diet to Adam and Eve that did not include animal produce.
What can we learn from this important lesson?
The idea that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself invites us to reflect upon many different subjects from a completely new perspective and thus encourages us to formulate many questions. Wisdom not only comes from processing information right – seeing how new information affects all previous information –, but also from asking the right questions, since that eventually leads to a better comprehension of ourselves and the world we live in.
Some of those questions are:

WARNING: READ ONLY FURTHER WHEN YOU HAVE TIME FOR SERIOUS REFLECTIONS!


A SOCIETY THAT DOESN’T LIVE IN HARMONY IS BOUND TO DESTROY ITSELF.

-How does this new conclusion affect our view on mankind’s evolution?
-Has mankind ever lived in harmony?
-Has mankind ever known an advanced civilization that almost completely destroyed itself?
-Can an advanced civilization survive when only a few people survive a huge catastrophe?
-Did the author of Genesis perhaps find proof of a civilization that once lived in harmony and, after putting an end to it, almost completely destroyed itself?
-Is asking what caused the BigBang not similar as asking who created God?
-Is wondering about the origin of the universe not similar as asking what came first: the chicken or the egg?
-Why do we assume there was a beginning?
-Can everything that exists today not have existed already in the past, since everything that will ever exist already exists in the universe of ideas?

-How does this new conclusion affect our view on extraterrestrial life?
-Is the most important question regarding extraterrestrial life not whether such communities live in harmony?
-When the inhabitants of another planet live in harmony, will they not see us as a menace?
-When the inhabitants of another planet do not live in harmony, should we not see them as a menace?
-Will we not eat extraterrestrials when they look like the other creatures we feed on?
-Will extraterrestrials not eat us when we look like the other creatures they feed on?
-Will we not enslave extraterrestrials – use them as cheap labour – when they are less intelligent?
-Will extraterrestrials not enslave us – use us as cheap labour – when we are less intelligent?
-Does respecting all creatures not make a lot more sense now?
-Was planet earth perhaps started as a correction camp for people who were unable to live in harmony?

-How does this new conclusion affect our view on science?
-Does this not demonstrate that, instead of bringing us salvation, science is taking us closer to self-destruction?
-Does this not demonstrate that we must stop idolizing science?
-How can scientists ignore a reality while an old work of religion recognizes it?
-How can scientists consider that a book, that recognizes the most important lesson that mankind has to learn, is full of myths?
-Does the fact that scientists ignore what awaits a society that doesn’t live in harmony not demonstrate how little they understand about the nature of the universe (how everything in the universe interacts)?
-Can we understand the nature of the universe when we ignore the principle of cause and effect (that every cause has its effects and every effect has its causes)?
-Is it not worrying that people, who ignore what awaits a society that doesn’t live in harmony, mark our material evolution?
-Since scientists ignore what awaits a society that doesn’t live in harmony, must we not take responsibility for the future?

-How does this new conclusion affect our view on philosophy?
-Does this new conclusion not show us that we are all in the same boat, and that when that boat sinks, we all perish?
-Does this new conclusion not show us that rich and poor, believers and non-believers, good peole and bad people, all share the same fate?
-Does this new conclusion not show us that we can no longer afford to care only about our own fate, but must also care about that of all the others?
-Is it not amazing that philosophers ignore a reality that an old work of religion recognizes?
-How can philosophers consider that a book, that recognizes the most important lesson that mankind has to learn, is full of myths?
-Does the fact that philosophers ignore what awaits a society that doesn’t live in harmony not demonstrate how little they understand about the nature of the universe?
-Does the fact that our brightest minds ignore what awaits a society that doesn’t live in harmony not demonstrate that there is something wrong with how we process information?
-If our survival depends on mankind’s survival, must we not do everything possible to avoid mankind’s self-destruction.

-How does this new conclusion affect our view on the Bible?
-Does this not demonstrate that both believers and non-believers ignore something very important about the Bible?
-How did the author of Genesis come to the conclusion that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself?
-Did the author of Genesis perhaps discover that his ancestors once lived in harmony and, after putting an end to it, almost completely destroyed themselves?
-Was the Bible perhaps created to avoid mankind’s future self-destruction?
-Can we perhaps find in the Bible how to avoid mankind’s self-destruction?
-How do we explain that the Bible holds a secret that our brightests minds have ignored?
-Is it possible that what both believers and non-believers think the Bible says, is not what it really says, so that science only contradicts a particular interpretation of that book?
-Is it not so that when we assume that Adam and Eve refer only to the first people that put an end to harmony, instead of being the first people on earth, science no longer contradicts Genesis?
-Does this reality that Genesis acknowledges not confirm that calling a book ‘sacred’ originally meant to recognize it holds secrets and that ‘religion’ originally referred to reading a book many times in order to discover its secrets?
-Does also the fact that the first five books of the Bible were written in old Hebrew, which just as the first alphabet only recognized consonants, not demonstrate that it indeed hold secrets?
-Does the fact that the Greek words ‘genesis’ and ‘gnosis’ hold the same combination of consonants not mean that we can associate the first book of the Bible (about the origin of mankind and the universe) with sacred wisdom?
-Is assuming that a sacred book holds secrets not very different than assuming that everything it says is true?
-Is it not because a sacred book is assumed to say the truth, that people either accept or reject it?
-Does it not make sense to question all information, including that in a sacred book?
-Does it not make sense to see how a sacred book can help us reflect upon reality?
-Was the Bible perhaps created to reveal its secrets now that we find ourselves close to self-destruction?
-Is it possible to create a mystery that will reveal its secrets at a particular time in mankind’s evolution?
-Is the idea that mankind must try to restory harmony not at the origin of all monotheist religions?
-How can religious authorities ignore the most important lesson mankind has to learn, when the Bible, a book they have studied so thoroughly, recognizes this reality?
-Does the fact, that religious authorities ignore the most important lesson mankind has to learn, not demonstrate how little they understand about the Bible?
-How can people, who ignore the essence of the Bible, claim to know how to interpret this book?
-How can people, who ignore that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself, claim to understand God (how everything in the universe interacts)?
-Can we understand God when we ignore the principle of cause and effect?
-Can we understand God when we associate God with a capricious ruler or father who says one day one thing and another something very different?
-Do agnostists and atheists perhaps only reject how believers interprete God?
-How can people who ignore that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself, and therefore we are all in the same boat, tell others how to behave?
-Is the golden rule – do not do to others what is hateful to yourself – not all we need to know about how to behave?
-Do the Ten Commandments not refer to the golden rule by summing up what we find hateful?
-Does karma not refer to the consequences of doing to others what is hateful to oneself?
-Does the golden rule not also entail that it how one obtains what one longs for is important, and the objective therefore never justifies the means?
-Have religious authorities not often caused a lot of harm to society by preaching against the golden rule?
-¿Did Moses, by demanding the death of people who disobeyed the Ten Commandments, not disobey the Ten Commandments himself?
-Was Moses not a descendant of Levi (both through his father and his mother) and did Jacob (Levi’s father and grandson of Abraham) not warn against this particular tribe?
-Does the fact that religious authorities ignore that we are all in the same boat – rich and poor, good and evil, believers and non-believers – not demonstrate how wrong they are about our society?
-Should we not demand of all religions and philosophies that they recognize the golden rule?

-How does this new conclusion affect our view on the Messiah?
Can we understand the nature of the Messiah (the person who will restore harmony on earth) when we ignore that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself?
-Is it not now, that we find ourselves close to self-destruction, that we need the Messiah?
-Will the Messiah restore harmony by revealing why we have conflicts with others and the environment?
-How can Christians assume that Jesus was the Messiah when he did not restore harmony?
-Since Jews believe harmony on earth is possible, and Jesus was a Jew, must we not investigate what made Christians assume this is impossible?
-Will perhaps Jesus’s second arrival restore harmony on earth?
-Do we not associate Jesus’ second arrival with the end of days and with a revelation?
-Was it because the first Christians believed in reincarnation, and assumed that Jesus’ second arrival would restore harmony, that they considered him the Messiah?
-If Jesus was a descendant of Abraham following a strict male lineage, can we not expect of Jesus’ second coming to be that as well?
-If Jesus had children, may we today not all be descendants of him?

-How does this new conclusion affect our view on the forbidden fruit?
-If Genesis says that eating the forbidden fruit made God expell us from paradise, does it not suggest that doing so put an end to harmony?
-Is asking why we have conflicts with the other people and with the environment not the same as asking what the forbidden fruit refers to?
-Is it perhaps because we assume that God can forbid something for no reason, that today we still don’t know what the forbidden fruit exactly refers to?
-Does it make sense to forbid something without explaining why it is forbidden?
-Does it make sense to blame mankind because of the forbidden fruit, like religious authorities do, without explaining what it exactly refers to?
-Do we perhaps still suffer the consequences of what our ancestors did, because we continue eating the forbidden fruit?
-Is it not amazing that people assume the Bible says the forbidden fruit refers to an apple when that book doesn’t say so at all?
-Is associating the forbidden fruit with an apple (there is nothing wrong with eating apples) perhaps a reason for ignoring that God may have had a reason to forbid a particular fruit?
-Was it perhaps after artists represented the forbidden fruit as an apple, that people began associating the forbidden fruit with that particular fruit?
-Does living in harmony not require learning everything there is to learn from our experiences, in order to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again?
-Does living in harmony not require recognizing all the consecuences of our behaviour?
-Did eating the forbidden fruit perhaps damage our perception of reality?
-To discover what the forbidden fruit refers to, must we not investigate what substances alter our perception of reality?
-Does the description of the forbidden fruit not seem to refer to the Arbutus Unedo (strawberry tree) which has fruits that contain alcohol?
-Do drugs not alter our perception of reality, by making us focus more on certain aspects, while we ignore others?
-Do drugs not make us focus on short time consequences while we ignore long time consequences?
-Do drugs not make us focus so much on what we long for that we no longer care how we obtain what we long for?
-Is it perhaps because of drugs that people began ignoring the golden rule?
-Did eating the forbidden fruit perhaps start a chainreaction of events which led society always further and further away from harmony?
-Do victims of abuse not suffer traumas which alter their perception of reality?
-Can we expect to recover a good perception of reality by staying away from drugs when traumas still alter our perception of reality?
-Are drugs not medicine and does it not make sense to ask what makes us sick instead of taking them?
-Did Mohamed discover what the forbidden fruit referred to and was that why he forbade alcohol?
-When we investigate what the forbidden fruit refers to, must we not recognize that Genesis associates paradise (harmony) with a vegetarian diet?
-Was it perhaps because of staying away from the forbidden fruit that people managed to stay away from eating other creatures?
-Is it not relevant that Genesis associates the end of harmony with a change in people’s diet?
-Were the first Christians not vegetarians who stayed away from alcohol (Acts14:21)?
                                                             

jueves, 27 de abril de 2017

HARMONY




TO BE OR NOT TO BE: IS A SOCIETY THAT DOESN’T LIVE IN HARMONY – LIKE OURS – BOUND TO DESTROY ITSELF, OR IS IT NOT? THAT IS THE QUESTION. IF IT IS, TO AVOID SELF-DESTRUCTION, WE HAVE TO ESTABLISH HARMONY. WE BETTER DO SO AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, AS NUCLEAR WEAPONS MAY PUT AN END TO MANKIND ANY MOMENT.
When we reflect on mankind’s history, we can come to the conclusion that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself. We only have to acknowledge:
a) that an always smaller part of the world population appropriates an always bigger part of all the available resources, which increases the tension between the different groups of people and between people and the environment; and
b) that everything – including weapons – continually becomes more sophisticated, and now that we have nuclear bombs, capable of causing mankind’s self-destruction, it is only a matter of time before these will be used.
Since a lot of people misunderstand this hypothesis, we must immediately clarify that it doesn’t say that our society is bound to destroy ourself. It only says that to avoid our imminent self-destruction – due to the fact that we don’t live in harmony and dispose of weapons that can cause a catastrophe –, we have to establish harmony.
To be able to solve a problem, we first have to recognize that we have a problem. Only when we acknowledge that a society that doesn’t live in harmony – like ours – is bound to destroy itself, will we investigate why we have conflicts with the other people and with our environment.
THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON MANKIND HAS TO LEARN
Life continually teaches us lessons. When we don’t do things right – when we don’t respect our nature, the nature of others, or the nature of the environment –, sooner or later we suffer the consequences.
The most important lesson we have to learn is that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself. Our survival depends on how we react to this hypothesis. It depends on whether we discover what keeps us from living in harmony or why we have conflicts.
The invention of nuclear weapons is a milestone in mankind’s history because it enables us to become aware of the true nature of our society. The fact that we now dispose of weapons that can put an end to mankind, enables us to realize that we are all in the same boat, and that if that boat sinks, we all perish: rich and poor, conservative and progressive, good and evil, believers and non-believers.
Before there were nuclear weapons, we could benefit from other people’s conflicts. Today this is no longer true. We cannot afford a nuclear war, because we would not survive it. Since a small conflict can escalate in a world war, we can actually no longer afford any conflict at all. To avoid conflicts, and thus guarantee mankind’s survival, instead of only worrying about our own well-being, we must care about everybody’s well-being.
It is easy to blame others for what goes wrong in the world, but to avoid a nuclear war we have to recognize our co-responsibility. It is true that when people encounter problems, it is in the first place their responsbility to find a solution. If they want to avoid similar problems in the future, they have to discover what circumstances causes such a problem. However, since everything in this world is somehow related to everything else, all other people hold some responsibility as well. And all people can of course learn from that experience. Therefore, instead of only helping our family become acquainted with the important lessons that life teaches us, we must help other families to do so as well.
A lot of people ‘believe’ that some people are good and other people are bad and it will always be like that. However, life teaches us that everything in this world follows the principle of cause and effect. Therefore, to avoid that people behave evil, we only have to discover what circumstances make them do so. Even when we can’t change the people who already behave evilly, we can prevent others from imitating that behaviour, and what matters when we try to establish harmony are of course the future generations.
What do you think is the meaning of life?
The meaning of life is to have a good time. This may seem frivolous, but to avoid having unpleasant experiences, we must learn everything there is to learn about ourselves, the other people and the environment, because when we don’t respect ourselves, the others and the environment, sooner or later we are confronted with the consequences. The most important lesson we have to learn in regard with the interaction between us and the world around us (the others and the environment), is that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself. That idea enables us to comprehend the meaning of life so much better.




By using the word ‘harmony’ instead of the word ‘peace’, the hypothesis which says, “a society that doesn’t live in harmony – like ours – is bound to destroy itself”, encourages people to reflect upon the difference between these two concepts.
People who idolize peace ignore that it inevitably leads to war, since it doesn’t put an end to the struggle for resources. Whereas during peace people keep themselves to certain rules when they struggle for resources, during war they don’t. Because of this struggle for resources some people continually gather more wealth, while others continually find more difficulties to survive. When the former get frustrated because gathering more wealth becomes difficult, or the latter get frustrated because surviving becomes difficult, they may no longer see the advantage of keeping themselves to rules while struggling for resources. Peace and war thus form a vicious circle. To avoid war, we have to question peace, and must therefore also question the struggle for resources.
People who idolize peace find it difficult to acknowledge that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself. They assume that to avoid self-destruction, we only have to make sure that people continue to live in peace or don’t use nuclear weapons during a conflict. But peace cannot be imposed forever, as the struggle for the resources increases the tension between the different groups of people and between people and the environment. Therefore, to guarantee mankind’s survival, we have to discover why we struggle for the resources and why we have conflicts with the other people and with the environment.
The hypothesis which says, “A society that doesn’t live in harmony – like ours – is bound to destroy itself” is new. Others have warned about mankind’s self-destruction, but either saw this as the result of a nuclear war or as the result of the damage caused to the environment. They however ignore that we have weapons of mass-destruction and damage the environment because we don’t live in harmony.
Living in harmony means to have good relations with other people and with the environment. Since we get our resources from our environment, living in harmony with other people and living in harmony with the environment are interrelated. Trying to improve relations with the environment makes therefore little sense when at the same time we don’t try to improve relations with others.
When we realize that living in harmony with other people and living in harmony with the environment are interrelated, it is difficult not to become aware of the importance of following an adequate birth policy. When in one region families have lots of children there comes a time that their environment no longer provides enough resources for everybody and they either all die; start struggling for resources; emigrate to regions that still have enough resources; or start following an adequate birth policy. If they emigrate and continue having lots of children, there comes a time that also their new habitat no longer manages to provide enough resources.
When we reflect upon the struggle for resources, we see that since the earth is limited, also its resources are limited. Therefore, dividing the resources is the same as dividing a pizza. The larger the portion one person appropriates, the smaller the portion all the others get.
Most people ignore that the larger portion of the resources they appropriate, the smaller the portion of the resources all other people get. Some people do so because they either haven’t reflected much upon the struggle for resources or do not process information right. Others deliberately ignore the pizza theory because they realize that with a fair division they would get a smaller portion.
People are so used to the struggle for resources that they no longer question its consequences. A lot of people actually consider the struggle for resources as a game. Since people admire winners, the rich not only obtain a lot of wealth, but also a lot of respect.
‘The survival of the fittest’, an economic theory based on Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory, offers the rich an additional reason for being proud of themselves and for ignoring the pizza theory: they belong to the fittest. Today, the ‘harmony’ hypothesis however tells us that we are all in the same boat and if that boat sinks, both rich and poor die. The big difference with other species is that we not only struggle for survival, but also for luxuries and that eventually this leads to self-destruction.
Is not struggling for resources the same as communism?
The big difference between communism and living in harmony is that while communism obliges people not to struggle for resources, people who live in harmony do not struggle for resources because of a better comprehension of themselves, the others and the world they live in. Whereas communism may oblige people to follow an adequate birth policy, people who live in harmony follow an adequeate birth policy because they comprehend that, since living in harmony with other people is interrelated with living in harmony with the environment, there should not be more children than the invironment is able to feed.
Not struggling for resources doesn’t mean that all people have the same ‘luxuries’. Some people can of course work more and enjoy more luxuries, while others work less and enjoy more free time. Not struggling for resources simply means that we no longer overevaluate our work and underevaluate that of others.





When we reflect upon extraterrestrial life and the hypothesis which says, “a society that doesn’t live in harmony – like ours – is bound to destroy itself”, the most relevant question to ask is whether the inhabitants of another planet live in harmony. In case they do, the fact that we don’t, is a good reason for avoiding contact with us.
The hypothesis that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy enables us to reflect upon extraterrestrial life from a new perspective. In case the inhabitants of another planet live in harmony, we represent a threat to their society, as we have not yet learned to do so.
In case they don’t live in harmony and our civilization is more advanced, it won’t take long before we appropriate the resources of that planet and make its inhabitants work for us. We may even eat them if they don’t look like us. In case they don’t live in harmony and their civilization is more advanced, it won’t take long before they appropriate our resources and make us work for them. They may even eat us if we don’t look like them.
Since harmonious societies may consider inharmonious societies a threat, we might wonder whether perhaps our planet originally started as a ‘correctional camp’. The best way to treat people who don’t behave properly is to isolate them – on an island or a planet – and let them do whatever they want. Although such a society would at first be hell, as nobody cares how their behaviour affects others, by suffering the consequences of such behaviour, people might gradually learn to respect other people and their environment.
The inhabitants of a planet who live in harmony cannot teach the inhabitants of a planet who don’t, since people have to be ready for new ideas. People often think they are ready, but ignore that they are so used to certain habits – struggling for resources, having lots of children, eating other creatures, consuming certain drugs – that they no longer question them.
When we reflect upon harmony, we however see that to live in harmony with our environment, and therefore also with other people, we have to have some kind of birth control, since there shouldn’t be more people than our environment can feed. And when we reflect upon extraterrestrials that might want to appropriate our resources, enslave us or even eat us, we see it would be hypocritical of us to tell them not to treat us in such a cruel way, when that is how we treat the other creatures on our planet. When we reflect upon vegetarianism, we see that it may be easier for vegetarians to live in harmony, since empathy with other creatures tends to go together with empathy for other people.
In regards to extraterrestrial life, we must realize that our vision of the universe is based on the axiom which says that two straight lines running parallel with each other never cross each other. Since an axiom is an idea which is supposed to be correct but that nobody has managed to demonstrate it is correct, our vision of the universe is not necessarily correct.
If we think of two rows of bricks it is difficult to imagine that however long we make a wall they will never converge. But if we think about how two straight lines running parallel with each other behave, it is useful to know a bit more about the nature of one straight line and about the space in which we project it. Wondering about how two straight parallel lines behave is really the same as inquiring about the nature of the universe. Therefore, perhaps we are not only isolated physically, but also mentally.



When we reflect upon the hypothesis which says, “a society that doesn’t live in harmony – like ours – is bound to destroy itself”, we eventually wonder whether mankind ever lived in harmony; whether mankind ever destroyed itself, and what would happen to our society in case tomorrow a huge catastrophe occurs and there are only a few survivors.
Certain legends claim that our ancestors once lived in harmony, but neither has it been demonstrated that they ever lived in harmony nor that they never lived in harmony. In case they did, this means that we should be able to live in harmony, and therefore to avoid self-destruction, since what was possible in the past should be possible in the future. In case they didn’t, this doesn’t mean that harmony on earth is impossible, since it is not because something has not yet been achieved that it can’t be achieved.
Other legends refer to a great civilization of the past that disappeared because of a catastrophe. Since a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself, we can wonder whether these legends refer to a society that destroyed itself. There is no proof that mankind ever destroyed itself, but there is also no proof that mankind never destroyed itself. However, whatever exists today may have already existed in the past. Everything we have learned about nature, our ancestors may have discovered many generations ago. If there ever existed a civilization with a high level of technology, it should not surprise us that it destroyed itself, since that is what happens to an advanced society when people don’t live in harmony.
What happens to a civilization after a catastrophe leaves only a few survivors?
An advanced civilization is the result of the cooperation of lots of different people that dedicate themselves to lots of different tasks that require materials that come from lots of different places. When a catastrophe occurs, and only a few people survive, that civilization is bound to come to an end. The new circumstances the survivors get confronted with will set the clock back of evolution.
Recreating all the different advanced devices they had before that catastrophe is not only very difficult and time consuming, but there is also no longer any real use for them. People again need simple tools. Instead of dedicating themselves to highly specialized tasks, they now have to worry about gathering enough food, protecting themselves against unfavourable weather conditions, against wild creatures, etc.
The survivors of such a catastrophe have to work hard because everything got destroyed. Since there are fewer people, there are however more resources for everybody. Only later, when their numbers increase, and there are no longer enough resources for everybody, people again have to compete with each other to get their share of the resources.
The law of the fittest decides who survives and who becomes wealthy. Those who gather more food than they need to survive soon long for luxury goods and luxury services that require specialization and stimulate the trade between different regions. This makes that those who are creative and inventive, or who trade with other regions offer their services to those who are wealthy.
Wealth always attracts the attention of those who have not enough resources and of those who simply want more resources. Therefore, those who are wealthy have to dedicate a lot of effort in protecting their wealth. This encourages people to become even more creative and inventive. Since the weapons that serve to protect oneself often also serve to attract another, this creativity eventually leads to the invention of arms that can cause the self-destruction of that society.
There are not only reasons for assuming that after only a few people survive a big catastrophe, an advanced civilization would come to an end, but also for assuming that a few generations later people would even ignore it ever existed. One is that such a catastrophe is a very traumatic experience and the survivors may prefer not to talk about it to the next generations. Another is that people like to be proud of themselves and having formed part of an advanced civilization that destroyed itself is something to be ashamed of. And yet another reason is that once people again lived in a primitive way, each new generation of course finds it more difficult to imagine weapons capable of causing so much destruction.



We only have to reflect upon mankind’s evolution – to acknowledge that weapons continually grow more sophisticated and that we now have weapons of mass-destruction; that the gap between rich and poor gets bigger and bigger, and therefore the tension between different groups of people and between people and their environment increases - to come to the conclusion that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself. Then why do even intellectuals ignore this reality?
Some people ignore this because they simply have not processed all the available information. Others do so deliberately – although they are often unaware of it –, because they assume that harmony on Earth is impossible and therefore self-destruction is inevitable. Problems that seem to have no solution are indeed so stressful that people prefer to ignore them. And nothing is of course more stressful than assuming that in the near future mankind will destroy itself and life will be over.
People assume that harmony is impossible because they ‘believe’ that some people are good and other people are bad and it will always be like that. Since nobody has demonstrated that people are evil for no apparent reason, we can assume that, just like with everything in this world, there must be a reason why people behave evilly, so that to restore harmony we only have to discover why they do so.
The fact that philosophers search for the truth, scientists study the nature of mankind and of the universe, politicians care about our future, and theologians study the mysteries of life, and have nevertheless not come the conclusion that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself, demonstrates that they process information as badly as all other people.
Processing information right means to reach all the conclusions it enables us to reach, by investigating how each new idea affects all previous ideas. The problem is that we get so much information that we seldom do so. This is why, when nuclear weapons were invented, few people realized that this not only meant that mankind was now able to destroy itself, but also that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself.
That also the ‘authorities’ have not become aware of this hypothesis – we know they haven’t because they are not telling us to establish harmony – demonstrates that, instead of expecting them to avoid mankind’s self-destruction, we have to do so ourselves. It is our future and therefore our responsibility to achieve this.
Ignorance and arrogance often go together
Although we don’t process information right, we have nevertheless a good opinion of ourselves. That we are on the verge of destroying creation doesn’t keep us from regarding ourselves at the head of creation. Ignorance and arrogance indeed often go together. Wisdom, on the other hand, requires humility, and that is certainly not a characteristic of most authorities.
When people learn about this hypothesis they often react irresponsibly                   
When people are told that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself and that mankind’s self-destruction may be imminent, since we don’t live in harmony and now dispose of weapons of mass destruction, some exclaim, “Perhaps this is what is supposed to happen!”; others comment, “We may perish, but the universe will go on!”; and still others say, “Something will happen that avoids mankind’s self-destruction, since mankind has always managed to survive.”

These reactions are irresponsible. Imagine that one day you discover that the road everybody is taking leads to an abyss. Instead of exclaiming, “Perhaps we have to die that way!”, “My life and that of my family means nothing. The universe will continue!” or “Something will make that abyss disappear, since people have always followed that road and have never encountered an abyss!”, it makes more sense to slow down, warn the others, and look for another road.



The main reason why we don’t live in harmony with other people and with the environment is that we do not learn everything there is to learn from our experiences, and therefore, that we, and the society we form part of, make the same mistakes over and over again.
Living in harmony means to respect oneself, the others and the environment. If we don’t do so, sooner or later we suffer the consequences. When we reflect upon those consequences, we see that to live in harmony with the others and with the environment, we only have to learn everything there is to learn from our experiences. The fact that we, and the society we form part of, make the same mistakes over and over again, demonstrates that we do not learn everything there is to learn from those mistakes. For instance, if we learned everything there is to learn from war, we would no longer have wars.
History repeats itself only when people do not learn everything there is to learn from their experiences. What matters about the past is that it teaches us valuable lessons, and that we can have a better future, when in the present we adjust our behaviour, thanks to what we have learned from the past.
Sadly enough, a lot of people misunderstand history. They study certain parts of history because they want to feel proud of themselves, and they ignore other parts of history because they do not want to feel ashamed of themselves. However, what matters is not how our ancestors behaved, but how we behave. And what matters is not how someone behaved in the past, but how he behaves in the present.
Does living in harmony require a good understanding of reality?
When we investigate the ultimate cause of our conflicts, we must investigate why we do not process information right. Living in harmony requires a good understanding of reality: of ourselves, the world we live in, and of interaction between them. The problem is that although there is only one reality, people see it differently because they focus on different aspects. Whereas a bad understanding of reality divides people, a good understanding of reality brings people together. A good understanding of reality takes into account all different aspects (the different sides of a story); a bad understanding only takes into account some of them (only one side of a story).
Is a good understanding of reality only possible when we have a good perception of reality?
A good understanding of reality is only possible when we have a good perception of reality and acknowledge all the information we can gather from our experiences. To be able to reach all the conclusions that our experiences enable us to reach, we should of course not ignore certain information. Whereas with a good perception of reality we acknowledge all the causes and consequences of our behaviour, with a bad perception of reality we don’t. Therefore, the ultimate cause of our conflicts is a bad perception of reality.
To discover what keeps us from living in harmony we have to ask what alters our perception of reality. Drugs do so. Certain drugs make us pay so much attention to certain aspects that we ignore others. They make us give so much importance to what we long for that ‘how’ we obtain it no longer matters. They make us focus so much on the immediate benefits of our actions, that we ignore that when we do not do things right, sooner or later we suffer the consequences.




Very soon after people loose their good perception of reality, because of drugs that make them focus their attention on certain aspects of reality and ignore others, they no longer treat each other right. What they long for becomes now more important than how they obtain what they long for. The victims of sexual and other abuse suffer traumas, which damages their perception of reality. Since they are unable to learn everything there is to learn from those experiences, these abuses and traumas get passed on from one generation to the following.
Imagine a society that lives in harmony. Since people have a good perception of reality, they learn everything there is to learn from their experiences, and thus acquire a good understanding of themselves, of the world they live in, and of the interaction between them. Now imagine that one day they start fooling around with drugs that alter their perception of reality. How do you think that affects that society? What do you think will happen now that these people pay more attention to what they want than to how they achieve it, and they now focus so much on the short term consequences of their behaviour, that they no longer see the long term consequences of their behaviour?
We can assume that when people now long for something, those who are stronger may take it by force, instead of exchanging it for something the other person longs for. We can assume that victims later look for revenge and thus create a vicious circle of violence leading to more violence.
When the abuser is much stronger, his victims are defenceless. When they don’t see how to avoid future abuse they will suffer traumas. It is of course very unpleasant for them to realize that someone may steal from them something that they have worked very hard for. This is even more traumatic when such a loss endangers their survival.
Remembering an unpleasant experience can be so traumatic that it endangers our survival and we therefore decide to block it from our consciousness. This however affects our ‘thoughts stream’ which is based on associations. Blocking that memory from our consciousness means that each time a particular characteristic would remind us of that unpleasant experience, we simply divert our attention. Whereas before we would be reminded of that unpleasant experience each time we were confronted with a characteristic of the abuser (his race, age, sex, height, weight, etc.), with a characteristic of the day we were abused (a particular moment of the day, a particular day of the week, a particular day of the month, a particular kind of weather conditions, etc.), or with a characteristic of the place where we were abused (a particular kind of terrain, etc.), now we immediately direct our attention to something else.
The problem of traumas – of blocking unpleasant experiences from our consciousness – is that they alter our perception of reality, so that we can no longer obtain a good understanding of reality. The problem is that to recover a good perception of reality we now not only have to stay away from drugs, but also have to deal with our traumas.
A lot of traumatic experiences have to do with sexual relations. We can assume that when people pay more attention to what they long for, than to how they achieve it, and focus so much on the short time consequences of their behaviour that they no longer see the long term consequences of their behaviour, a lot of women are sexually abused because men are stronger.
Sexual abuse is very traumatic because victims realize that what happened to them may one day happen again. Not knowing how to avoid future abuse can cause so much stress that life no longer seems worth living.
Sexual abuse is even more traumatic for children. But whereas it is more difficult for them to defend themselves, it is easier for them to erase that unpleasant experience from their consciousness. The problem is that when they do so, they can no longer learn from it and this experience lives on in their subconscious. The problem is that children observe how adults behave in certain circumstances to imitate them in case they are ever confronted with similar circumstances. The problem is that when people loose control and can therefore no longer react rationally, their subconscious takes over, which is where they have ‘guarded’ the adult behaviours they have witnessed and which they may imitate in case they are ever confronted with similar circumstances. The problem is that when they are confronted with too many characteristics of that unpleasant experience, they no longer manage to divert attention so that they are suddenly reminded of that unpleasant experience, and this can be so traumatic that they loose control. The problem is that drugs can open the gate of our subconscious, which is where we have ‘banned’ these unpleasant experiences. The problem is that by blocking this unpleasant experience from our consciousness abused children may later in life become abusers.
An abuser who abuses a child, because he suddenly lost control after being reminded of how he was abused when he was a child, will not necessarily continue to abuse, and he will not necessarily remember that he ever abused. In case he was thought to condemn such behaviour, he will find that experience as traumatic as the child that he abused. The idea that he just did something that his society condemns is so unbearable that he immediately erases this experience from his consciousness. In case he is never again confronted with circumstances that make him loose control, he may never again abuse children.
It is because of the defence mechanism that makes victims block sexual abuse from their consciousness, in order to make life bearable, that certain sexual abuse gets passed on from one generation to another. It is also because of this defence mechanism that a lot of families are unaware of having an abuser or an abused child at home.

Whereas sexual abuse is already terrible for a little girl, it is even worse for a little boy, since he also has to deal with the fact that he was used as if he was a female. By blocking this experience from his consciousness he will not only find it later more difficult to learn the nature of sexual relations – whatever information related to sexual relations will make him remember his unpleasant experience – but he will also find it more difficult to figure out his own sexuality. We thus see that not all homosexuals were born as homosexuals. Some of them became homosexuals because of what happened during their childhood. When we ignore this reality, we ignore that child abuse is more common than most people are aware of.



Drugs are like medicine. Instead of taking them, we should ask what makes us sick. Instead of taking drugs to keep up with our society, we should question our society. Instead of taking drugs to relax and enjoy life, we should ask why we cannot always relax and always enjoy life.
To avoid our self-destruction, we have to discover why we have conflicts. Since the ultimate cause of our conflicts is a bad perception of reality which was originally caused by drugs, we have a good reason for questioning drugs.
The problem with drugs is that since they alter our perception of reality – for instance, they enable us to regard ourselves at the head of creation, although we are on the verge of destroying creation – we find it very difficult to recognize the damage they cause to our society.
Whereas from Monday to Friday we take drugs that help us follow the working rhythm of our jobs, from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon we take drugs that help us relax. This demonstrates there is something terribly wrong with our society. Instead of taking drugs we should investigate why we long for them. Questions we should ask are, “Why do we work so hard?”, “Why do we feel so insecure that we need drugs to socialize and have a good time?”, “Do drugs not open the ‘doors’ of our subconscious where we guard traumatic experiences?”, “Are drugs not often at the origin of sexual abuse and do victims of sexual abuse not often later have problems with drugs?” ,“Is it perhaps because of drugs that we ignore that we should not do to others what is hateful to ourselves?”, “Is it perhaps because of drugs that we ignore that we are all one family and should care not only for our own but for everybody’s wellbeing?” and “Is it perhaps because of drugs that we ignore that everything in this world is somehow related to everything else in this world and therefore we are co-responsible for all the evil that happens in this world?”