My Post Postmodernism View of Psychology and My Bible Based Christianity
Daniel R. Boliek
This is a personal statement about my faith and practice; “My Post Postmodernism View of Psychology and My Bible Based Christianity”. As I study and mature, my view may change. It will always be a “work in progress”. It is not intended to be a comprehensive or specialized treatise. It is simply a game I play with myself. It is a thought stimulator, every time I read it, I think of something else to add.
I am attempting to write concise statements which most people in my tribes (associations) would understand and would consider valid. It is from my thoughts and interpretation about what I have read in psychology, sociology, philosophy and theology over many years.
I have a very concise style of writing. That is a euphemism for, I write for content and concept rather than good grammer.You may need to read a paragraph a few times to understand the relationship and order of all of the thoughts. There are also some intentional threads of thought which are contrasting “mind” and “spirit”.
There are so many variables and associations in the mind-body mental process and interaction with other people that it is difficult to write about it and be concise, comprehensive and orderly. What I have written are topical paragraphs (statements) which are in topical relationship with other topical paragraphs in a loosely defined category of subject. Come to think of it, that is the nature of most of us in Human life. We’re Like topical paragraphs trying to find other topical paragraphs to be in a loosely defined topical relationship.
It is not about Psychology per se, but how psychological terms relate to what, how and why I think. I think it is descriptive of many psychological functions and dysfunctions in real human life (folk psychology). It also includes a spiritual dimension to our possibilities which psychology usually avoids.
In his book, The True Believer, Eric Hoffer quotes Montaigne, “All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.”. That would also apply to what I have written here. It is my conceptual model messing with your cerebellum. If you do not want your cerebellum messed with, do not read any further.
Psychology is not just about helping people with mental or thinking problems. (therapy) It is about understanding what may help anyone.
It is also about my New Covenant view of Christianity. (1, 2, 7) see Endnotes for explanation of colors.
So, who am I? (body, soul (mind, emotion, will) and “spirit”) (9)(bipartite vs. tripartite)
Why am I here? (Meaning of life)
My reality is my body (physical, human nature) what I think (thinking ability, mind), the environments and nurture (personal experience, sensory and social inputs) where I was born, raised, and live. (Ontology) “Nature” (physical phenomena) is everything which I experience with my senses. Metaphysical are thoughts which are mental models. “Spirit” is “supernatural” thoughts which attribute causation to the idea of a spiritual realm, which can be good or evil. And, of course, the finality of physical death. All of this is part of who I am.
My mind is the “software” of my brain. (functionalism) Different areas (domains, limbic system) of the brain process information (input) using prior processed (cognitive bias) and encoded information from any other part of the brain to produce or confirm and store new outputs. Sounds like programming artificial intelligence to me. (Locus of control, neuroscience) Like AI, my intentional thinking and searching can change the way I am thinking to the way I should think. (debiasing) My thought patterns are like AI algorithms! A little bit of this and a little bit of that and voila a solution, belief or direction! (mental model)
My innate “personality traits” and “temperament” (fundamental nature, drives and disposition) affect my brain process (mind, cognition, nurtured nature) and therefore my view of the world and how I respond to my reality. My brain is the part of the body which is the processor for all of my thinking activity (mind), which is not only “how do I feel?” (body) but “how do I feel about something else?” (emotion) And decision-making for action. (thinking, feeling, acting)
The study of this process is called Psychology. To make the study even more complex, each of these traits/types and temperaments have a high/low range of affect based on a situation and the variable state of other traits/types and temperaments and the variableness of the mind-body state. Every Person has a unique personality profile which is revealed in a personality matrix of strong and weak attributes. A good conceptual model of this process is a large sound system keyboard which controls the volume of many frequency ranges by sliding a lever along a scale. (equalizer) The higher the lever the more the effect of that range. To complete the analogy, some levers need to be harder to change than others. In addition to this analogy, time and circumstances try to change everything. To some extent, with insight and intentionality, I can be “running” the sound system. At other times, it is subconscious, spontaneity, time and circumstances (emotional reaction) which try to take control.
The Bible calls this the “soul”, which in Greek is “psuche” and in Hebrew “nephesh”. The Bible has a lot to say about keeping our soul in control by the Spirit. The soul has a natural inclination to take care of the body and an innate inclination to wonder about a supernatural or spiritual relationship. The initial strength of these inclinations may be from my ancestral DNA which makes up my DNA. Many of these inclinations can be controlled and ought to be controlled. The soul would say it is all about me. The Bible says “do unto others as you would have them do to you.”. Kant calls this the “moral law”, a “categorical imperative”. Theologians call it the “golden rule”.
The ‘Golden Rule‘ (in its positive form) says: “Treat others how you wish to be treated”. Kant’s first formulation of his Categorical Imperative says: “Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.”
My nurtured nature is more important than my fundamental innate nature. My nurture is “what I learn from every experience”. What I learn depends on my nature. To some extent, nurture, especially love or spiritual, can change my nature. My nurtured nature determines my mindset which makes me who I am through life. (a bruiser or a cruiser, being in tune or out of tune, liking country music or not liking country music, wayward, self-absorbed rebel, curmudgeon or agreeable and pleasant) Nurture starts at a very early age and continues until most of our brain circuits have been connected, which is when I figure out for myself “cause and effect”. An early positive start of feeling loved is important. It sets the tone of how I respond to nurturing. That is why it is fortunate to be born into a functioning family. (A village can provide sustenance but, not this type of family love.) The most important trait to nurture is an attitude of concern for others (love) rather than for myself. This is not natural and sometimes it takes a religious experience rather than nurture to get it. My spiritual understanding, if it is functioning, is a deeper part of my mindset than my intelligence.
My disposition is a unique mind-body synthesis, (predisposition, tendency, instinct) is written into the DNA of my mind. (Psychological nativism, innatism, epigenetics) This is most likely a basic determining factor in who I will become. (my means it is unique to me.) Disposition can be positive or negative, good or evil and can be changed based on learning the attitude and alternatives to change it. Disposition is the beginning of conscience, which is based on my connection with my family and my society. When I act or think against my conscience it produces negative emotions. Negative emotions cause moods. Moods make me think about what is wrong and change or eliminate my thinking. Doing “bad” things may not produce an emotion if it is consistent with my disposition. But doing “good” things for others should always produce positive emotions. Positive moods tend to make me more tolerant, creative, generous and fun to be with. Religion can make the transition from bad feelings to good feelings by highlighting the bad in all of us and creating a desire for change.
My brain process (mind, mentality, thoughts, decision-making, cognition) is being conditioned, consciously and unconsciously, by my interpretation (enculturation), classification, (encoding for future reference) retention, (memory) and recall of key events in my reality which then influence my interpretation of future events. Creativity is free flowing while problem solving (reasoning) is highly structured. The structure of the thought process is: 1) wired biases, 2) prior and contemporary inputs, 3) the processor, 4) the outcomes.(10)
Sustained mental process (thinking) is hard work, the human tendency is to minimize it, (8) but directed purposeful attitude can correct that. Think about it. It is best to not be a cognitive miser. Playing games is not hard work. Rest and play are needed to be fully productive at other times. (energy)
My mental attitude about using my brain is important, because all experience and information may be important as I mature and my circumstances change. (life skills, mind, perspicacity, total recall) Mental attitude is an important characteristic of the mind (metacognition, positive, negative) which produces my person. (soul, mindset) My mental attitude should be neuroticism proof. I should not think on the basis of how I feel. Some people do avoid using their brain to make decisions. I wonder, if this is why women tend to outlive men?
My perception of aspects of reality may be true or false or it may just be my opinion. My perception (interpretation) is biased by “who I think I am” and “who I want to be” whether that is intentional thought or not. (The idea of a God is in everyone’s nature. Is this my spirit? Monotheism and the idea of a personal God who watches over His creation come much later. The idea of a personal “loving” God comes even later) The idea of who I think I am is very fluid and based on my interaction with my environment, my thoughts and my emotions. Perception is driven or filtered by my personality types and by outcomes of my experiences.
My identity, “who I think I am”, is based on my personality traits, temperament, beliefs, opinions, desires, commitment, abilities and attitude. (self-concept) This concept is subconscious. As I mature, it becomes more important and prominent. Who others think I am (social perception), within a particular social group (crowd), will be based on my education, my vocation, my behavior, my participation (associations), my skills, my talents and of course, the music I like. What people like to talk about reveals much about their identity. People talk about where they have been, what they have done, what they have or what they think, know and believe. This is their “story”. How they talk about, or do not talk about, their story reveals a lot about their personality types and temperaments. Some talk about their story much more than others. I am the quiet one. Ghandi said “it is ok to walk across the street to avoid small talk.
My honesty starts with “knowing myself” and representing myself being true self. This is the best possible self for myself and for other people. (trustworthy) Without honesty, no one knows anything for sure. Virtue is “an habitual and firm disposition to do the good.”, Wiki. So, honesty is virtue not just a virtue. (opposing guile) Some people are habitual “fault finders” and don’t even know it. (self-evaluation)
My attitude is a condition of my mental activity and my behavior. In everything I do, I have an attitude. Attitude has been developed (learned) on present and past experiences, it will be positive, (optimism) negative (pessimism) or neutral. It is usually apparent to other people and it is very important in my motivation for many things. It affects productivity and perspicacity. (experiential avoidance) My reaction to events in my life, especially adversity, is an indication of my mental attitude. Expected consequences (belief), whether threat or pleasure, are reflected in my attitude. My self-identity, based on my intentional thinking or a religious experience, can have a strong effect on changes in my attitudes and reactions. It is important to cultivate a positive attitude. A good attitude
My mundane attitude will not take me very far. I need ambition. I need to get engaged in learning something. Everything in life is an opportunity to learn something.
My motivation is what causes me to believe, and do the things which I believe, think and do. Why? It determines my mindset. It is the essence of who I am and, based on their observation, part of who others think I am. (self-improvement, ambition, conation, directed effort, drive), Essential causes of my motivation are need caused desire, want caused desire, apathy and aboulia. I concentrate my mental efforts on what is most important to me hierarchically, in basic to complex order, as physiological, safety, social, achievement and full potential. (food, water, shelter, a club (literal), a cave, a mate, a friend, make a family, a good job, a club (social), play golf, friends, security, pleasure and comfort) (11) Sometimes my motivation is an external force, and sometimes a carrot.
My energy to do something is a mind – body synthesis. Mind (motivation) is what I want to do. Body is how I feel, at the moment, about using the physical energy to do it. As I grow older, I become more of an energy mizer. My battery (energy) is charged by certain leisure or stimulating activities which I enjoy, largely depending on my personality type. I am an ISTP on the Myers-Briggs type indicator chart. Desire, commitment and motivation are the mental stimulants which energize our action to do what we want or need to do. Everyone is different and different at different times depending on personality traits, the problem being solved or the information being processed. What I want to do is largely based on who I think I am. What I actually do is based on the strength of my desire to be who I think I am. How do I strengthen who I think I am? I plan, set and complete a goal or make a decision, based on thoughtful understanding, to establish or strengthen my belief in something. How should I think on these things?
- Relevance to me (desire, value)
- Related knowledge & testimony of others
- Moral obligation
My intellect is how I think with that which is me. (Informed rational thinking, intellectual capability, cognitive process, critical thinking, heuristic, decision-making, satisficing) Do I want to learn to figure things out for myself or am I satisfied to have other people tell me what to do? It is really simple, I think, I get more information, I draw conclusions. Life is a series of decisions about my responsibilities, what will make me happy or avoiding unpleasant circumstances and, of course, what will make someone else happy. My ability to think for myself (reason) and establish my own beliefs is what sets me free. (It is important to be right most of the time. People who are not right most of the time are usually thinking with the other side of their brain.)(get it?)
My intellectual responsibility (moral obligation) is to develop my intellect by being open to all forms of education and taking responsibility for being interested in self-fulfillment and personal-development. Intellect helps solve life problems and is a moral and social obligation to others, “Be all you can be”. No one should want to go through life just playing games. Creativity is that part of the intellect which entails divergent thinking. I use mental distractions to “put-off” responsibility.
My memory is the mind’s storehouse of everything which I have, seen, tasted, heard, touched, smelled and my durable thoughts. (long-term memory, episodic and semantic, short-term memory) My mind (brain) processes information in memory for encoding, storing, and retrieving. (wiki model).
My imagination is uncontrollable thought synthesis of what is in my memory. Imagination (mental representation) combines and projects anything in my memory into new thoughts, which trend toward my idea of who I think I can be (desire) in reality, fantasy or wishful thinking about myself. Imagination is also the primary source of evil which is from selfish desire. I know good from evil but there needs to be some type of “indwelled strong inclination” to always want to choose the good, which is based on love rather than selfish desire. Then there needs to be some “selfless desire”, that works within me which will give me a strong and consistent “will” to do the good, in order to be consistent with who I want to be. My idea of God may be that “guiding power”. But, that does not happen unless we want to “believe” it will happen. It is said, by many people, that God can do that. If it does, it changes their identity and, over time will change their mindset.
My thoughts (subjective consciousness, abstract ideas-quora, wiki) are in language and images, concerning statements, opinions, beliefs, speculation, questions, creativity. Thoughts can be independant of experience. They can process and project ideas, (good and bad) decide importance for remembering, and rationalize, making sense to me of my experiences or daydreams. My thought is based on an amalgamation of emotion, self-interest, informed reasoning (logic), and memory of prior outcomes. Thoughts can be like vapor, they disappear right as I am using them. Thought may produce bad conclusions based on false or insufficient information (ignorance) and irrational or illogical thinking. Emotion can be part of rationality, but should not control thoughts and actions. That would be irrational. I want to look at life as fun and exciting challenges rather than, as a series of pitfalls and problems. I can change my feelings and attitude by intentional study and thinking about the situations which provoked my feelings.
My conclusions are results of my true thinking (non emotional, logical) about reliable information e.g. trustworthy eyewitnesses. Conclusions (consequence) are based on valid propositions, not on this or that may be true (inference). Conclusions may also be made from personal experience rather than formal logic. There is very little certainty about much information. Most science is based on probability. Faith (belief) is also based on reason. We must ponder the validity of conclusions to make them beliefs. Beliefs have “strength” based on our perception of “degree of certainty”, assurance that it is true. Beliefs are strong when I am willing to face terrible consequences rather than deny my belief. Beliefs can be strengthened with emotional attachment. Most people do not have strong faith.
My rationality is truthful thinking about true facts using critical thinking (reason) about that which is not me, i.e. my environment, and that which is me. If you are not thoughtful, reason is easily deceived by imagination, emotions and propaganda. (rationalizing, irrationality, dysrationalia, groupthink). Rationality is based on my relevant premises which are based on what I believe are true. (logic, cause and effect) My rationality is relative to what I believe to be true. (caveat lector)
My environments, (relational, generational, etc.) education and physicality influence my thoughts and how I think. (cognitive bias) “Postmodern” people tend to reject the idea of a “personal” God because it appears to be inconsistent with “who they want to be”, living in a postmodern world free of personal conflict and strife (safe-space). But, they will believe in a creator God, a Force, a Crystal, Fate, Destiny, spiritual or psychic phenomenon, Evolution, superstitions, etc. Superstition is attributing causation to a supernatural or spiritual force.
My path is how I got from birth to where I am now. (developmentally and culturally) My path (journey) is all of the choices which I have made during my life. Some paths were chosen by me and some were not. There is very little commonality of paths with anyone else. So, it is not good to compare myself with anyone else. (social comparison) Choices are a matrix of my life path. Paths affect my intellect and my self-concept, beliefs about myself, who I think I am and who I want to be. The effect of a choice can be negative or positive consequences in my thinking and in my life. Some will produce pride, (self-efficacy, self-enhancement) some guilt, some will be uplifting and some depressing (emotional) Some will be harder to “get over” or change than others.But, that is life. Life is hard, we don’t always realize when it becomes dysfunctional. We need relationships to help with difficult circumstances and to offer reliable insights for our consideration. We need anchors (reliable advice, insight, wisdom) The ultimate altruistic anchor is a loving God.
My groupthink polarizes my attitudes and takes away my freedom to think otherwise. Individuals are generally known by their dominant personality traits. Groupthink stereotypes people and other ideologies based on social interaction or avoidance. I may be known by the set of cliches (talking points) which I espouse.
My ignorance is easily deceived. Study is a good treatment for ignorance.
My naivety is thinking I know facts when I don’t really know, because I have believed the wrong source, a “noble lie” or a surreptitious agenda or both. (credulity) Other people probably know about me, when I don’t know.
My first reaction to information coming my way is to not believe it. I try to do my own research before I really believe it. I like to be skeptical and thoughtful about any information before I believe it. But, many times I believe in something which seems reasonable rather than try to figure it all out for myself. (satisficing) Conforming to fads, may demonstrate a strong need for acceptance by my peers. [Much information is intended to deceive (marketing strategies, advertising content, fake news, ridiculous conspiracy theories, lies, settled science, religion, health supplements, social engineering, hoaxes, etc.)] Many people are easily adapted by social engineering. Humans tend to be like sheep, once they have their mindset, they like consistency and trustworthiness rather than dissonance within the tribes to which they belong. People like their environments to be predictable, sustainable and safe. All you need to do is look at all of the suffering, dysfunction and deceit in the world to realize that this is very difficult to obtain.
My mindset is similar to my Worldview. It is a set of established beliefs (presuppositions, nurtured nature, self-schema) which create a powerful incentive for a particular decision, action or belief. It describes the tribes with which I agree and want to associate. [A tribe’s primary identity (purpose) is concerned with a set of related presuppositions. (Which may be valid or invalid.) Members of a tribe may have weak or strong association with a tribe based on their individual mindset and a need to belong to some group (crowd). (Relatedness, openness to experience, significance)] Mindsets may have fallacious elements created by cultural or political propaganda; or family tradition, or family dysfunction over several generations. People are the way they are, because of experiences where they have been. Mindset tends to change depending on unexpected outcomes of what I say and what I do or by new testimony which I believe relevant and true. Mindset does not mean closed-minded. Mindset should not set mind limits or impose limits on positive growth and change.
My presuppositions are a result of my environments, associations and study which I have allowed to convince me. (autonomy, skepticism, nonconformity) Presuppositions should be based on valid reasoning, complete factual data or strong probability, but not just on what someone else puts into my mind. Many, especially in academia, espouse ideology with false or deceptive presuppositions. In some cases, it has taken thousands of years to overcome some bad theology of early “church fathers”. (Hell) A well conceived presupposition can debate and defeat a false narrative. That does not mean it will change weak-minded people from believing what they want to believe. They may need to maintain their relationships, even though they are ignorant. (dysrationalia)
My beliefs are durable thoughts which I believe to be true. They are largely based on introspection, personal experience and true knowledge. (self-schema) They have “strength” based on a degree of certainty, commitment or faith, and reliability of source. I am told; some people will die for their beliefs, some might risk dying, some would fight rather than switch, some might argue and some would just switch, some don’t even know what they believe and some don’t want to know what they believe. Many beliefs are predicated on a prediction of a future “state”, condition or outcome of the thing believed. I believe, beliefs determine mindset and mindset, determines our attitude towards all facets of life.
My generational mindsets will tend to affect my life-plans, how I cope with adversity and how I treat other people. (Some become bullies and others peacemakers. Some know who they are, and have a good sense of personal-determination, others never do.) Generational biases (opinions, preferences, conformity, political socialization) come from interaction with family and peers from early childhood thru adolescence and young adult. (social nurturing) Many generational biases change as we mature. Some preferences never change in some people, that is why you see 30 something males wearing oversized pants hanging way below their hips. They have never gotten out of their 5th grade mentality.
My ideology is a subset of my mindset. Ideology drives my perception of and position on social exclusion, mental exclusion, libertarianism, conservatism, progressivism, ecology, elitism, egalitarianism, deep ecology, judicial activism and many other “ologies” and “isms”. But what drives my ideology? All of the above. “Brainwashed” ideology and elitism makes people exclusive and intolerant of any other views. That is dysrationalia.
My social attitude is mostly based on my experience with different types of people and groups, psychologically speaking. (mannerisms, actions, agenda, what they say and what they do) An attitude of giving and caring (altruism) rather than exploiting is good. (desireable)
My political opinion may be contrary to my family, government and political parties. Maybe not so much with friends.
My double standard view (bias, hypocrisy, locus-of-control) of others is a character trait and is self-serving. Perception of fault being me (internal) or others (external). Whether I typically accept responsibility for failures or blame others. (psychological projection) This correlates with a particular political ideology.
My ethics, respect for the law and respect of others are moral obligations and are a product of my mindset. (moral agency) Lack of accountability for bad behavior begets bad behavior. To be known as an ethical person, is doing more than just what is expected. It is always doing the “right” thing, a kind and loving thing. Ethicality needs to be a primary filter or habit for all interaction.
My actions (behavior, conation, decision-making, lifestyle) are based on the strongest desires and beliefs in the heart of my mind, (will, moral conviction, self-control, motivation) which may be based on reason, emotion, self-interest (psychological egoism) or what we call “conscience“, or it may be from God. The memory of the mind stores all experiences and outcomes of previous thoughts and actions. Except for involuntary reaction, I do not do or say anything unless I think first. I may regret what I did and say, but I did have a mental process (decision) before. Moral conviction is a nurtured attitude, based on hearing something which we believe is true. That is also how some people receive Spiritual faith. (Are altruistic thoughts different from “God inspired” thoughts?)
My story My story(persona, mask) is how I present myself to others based on who I want them to think I am. In other words, the essence of who I appear to be is what I do and what I say. (actions) “I do and say, therefore I am.” Some people are “bossy” because they need to project that image. Leaders do not need to do that.
My character is based on how consistent and authentic I am with living out my life being consistent with my story. (Not pretending, integrity, illusory superiority, psychological projection, moral conviction)
My will is a cognitive process and mental state which results in actionable decisions and beliefs. (intention, intentionality) My will needs an anchor, it will either respond to selfish desire or it will control desire with the right anchor. The anchor cannot be an internal decision, it will fail. The anchor needs to be an inspiration in my heart (can I call that belief?) which changes the attitude of my heart. I call this my “spiritual nature”. But now, my spirit needs an anchor. What to do?
My grit is determination (strength of will) to see something through to completion. (purpose, perseverance, passion)
My strength of will is a more important trait than extravert or introvert. Strong willed people are more self-sufficient (humanistic) until they meet circumstances which they can’t control. Then they may have a more difficult time controlling their emotions.
My relationships and friendships are affected by my personality traits (extrovert, introvert), my motivation to be relational and caring, need for belongingness and my openness toward others. My phobias, self-perception and psychological projections will influence my desire for social participation. Friendships usually develop by contact through a common interest or activity. Then “friend chemistry” produces and develops a friend bond. Being active is the first step in finding friendships. We are usually speculating on the intent of another person. “Why did they do that?”
My self-image (identity) should be based on my rational thoughts about me (self-determination), not on my emotion or the expectations of others, nor by comparing myself to others. (autonomy, nonconformity, pride, competence, confident)
My circumstances tend to affect my mood, changing my circumstances will help change my mood. Circumstances may be the result of bad decisions which may result in unpleasant consequences which are physical, financial or emotional, i.e. guilt, shame. Use patience and preparation to get ready for change.
My emotions (feelings, moods) are adversarial to and sometimes dominate rational thinking. They are a product of thoughts based on previous outcomes of experience (e.g. guilt and shame or pleasure and pride) and physical well being as compared to perceived or imagined possible outcomes (projections). Emotions may be positive or negative. Thinking based on emotions, will tend to ignore facts. Emotions scaled in response time (duration) are called 1) short-term, 2) “affect” and 3) disorders. Short-term moods can change quickly based on new thoughts and circumstances. Changing my mental focus will change my feelings and mood, e.g. a hobby, read the Good Book. Feeling guilty and remorse for being guilty are not the same.
My positive feelings come from a desire in my heart, which may be spiritual, to build a positive character and a positive attitude from nurturing which produces a positive mindset. My mindset needs to be the cause of my positive feelings otherwise they are ephemeral and empty. If I, because of my mindset, perform a good act or accomplish a goal in life it is fulfilling. I may be experiencing “life” as it was meant to be. Joy out of giving of myself. Attitude in life seems to have a great deal to do with physical longevity. Performance based on personal joy as opposed to duty or obligation is a meaningful attitude.
My integrity is a personal choice and a pre-decided character trait. (Goal-pursuit based on who I want to be.)
My criticism, rather than praise and encouragement, of others is derived from an habitual negative attitude. (positive psychology) Or it may be from a need to promote myself. (Boasting, reputation management, personal branding)
My positive intention of seeing good in others is the opposite of cynicism. What I see in others may be largely based on how I feel about myself.
My potential is more realized by informed rational thinking and self-motivation (ambition) about goals and strategies rather than opportunity. It will take learning and a learned positive mental attitude to understand potential and set realistic goals. Many desires and goals need preparation or have prerequisites which are necessary to realize. (categorical imperative)
My personal development helps me to know and to plan “my good life”. (eudaimonia, full potential) Anyone can try to better themselves in terms of learning and actualizing their desires to be all they can be. There is a difference between what I want to be and what I can be. What I need to consider is how to optimize my mindset (heart) based on what makes me “happy” and morally good. (virtue ethics, moral character) This kind of happiness is life satisfaction, not momentary pleasures. I should always intentionally evaluate myself in terms of my beliefs and my actions. (self-monitoring, self-mentoring, introspection) As to:
- Faults (poor judgment, lack of willpower)
- Potential (ambition, ignorance, energy)
- Social interaction
What I look for is lack of positive and too much negative.
Then it is simple.
I “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and don’t mess with Mister Inbetween.”
Things to consider are:
- Spontaneous reactions (emotional control, mindset)
- Enduring pleasure, (happiness) satisfaction or pride
- Keep an outline of the negative and the positive
Determine ways to think and actions to take to change my mindset and my attitude. (cognitive therapy)
Many people are indifferent about “personal development”. They are too busy talking about other people to think about how they might change themselves. For some, it has already been nurtured into their mindset; for others, it still needs to be a learned process.
My productivity (purpose) is a basic human need or drive. Wishful thinking can be counter productive except when it helps establish realistic goals and purpose. Grit (purpose and passion) is needed to achieve difficult goals. (achievement orientation)
My purpose is defined by planning and forethought to carry out my intentions (progress toward goals) by allocating my time and energy. My intentions come from my beliefs, desires and ambition. Why do I do the things I do?
- Enjoyment (recreation, hobby)
- Self advancement
- Knowledge (internal and external)
- Social advancement
- Intentional actions
My “meaning and purpose” (MAP) in life is summed up by “be all that you can be” within my possibilities. But, if I want more than that, then I need to check out God’s possibilities. (“Within my possibilities” is a euphemism for hope, optimism, personal strengths and imagination.) MAP should not become a single purpose, as in my only identity. Self-satisfaction with progress of many interests and efforts will give my life a stronger meaning.
Meaning is attributing value (happiness, pride, life satisfaction) to what I can be. (significance)
Value to me will be based on my concept of my nature, my ability and personal strengths, which causes me to have a desire for particular paths. Once the desired path(s) are put into play, (purposeful) then feedback from my activities will continue to guide me on particular paths. When I experience personal satisfaction and gratification or praise (recognition), then I am on the path to significance.
Purpose is acting on my experience of gratification. (deep enjoyment) Gratification is not a pleasant emotion. A selfless noble purpose and participation will provide more gratification than mindless activity or experiencing bodily pleasures. Slackers and crashers tend to go for the easy pleasure rather than the hard work of gratification. Gratifications are personal strengths in which I have invested time and energy to attain expertise and promote as a lifelong interest, endeavor or hobby.
So a MAP is what motivates me (desire) to devote most of my available attention and energy to certain activities. It is not a goal, it is a way of life. I pursue activity which produces positive and lasting feelings and increases my quality of life or the quality of life of others and do them in such a way as to produce more positive feelings. (success).
Although it takes thinking to sort out the path I want to take, just thinking about it will not add a MAP to my life.
The wrong subject for essential meaning and purpose (i.e. job) will usually fail, and may cause serious negative emotions. Some MAP in life will have short duration. Some need a certain level of achievement to retain satisfaction. (Some of these thoughts are after reading some of Martin Seligman’s, Authentic Happiness.)
My hope is an esoteric and realistic subjective desire for a certain future state or achievement. Hope drives some willpower and ambition. Hope can be similar to wishful desire or it can be a motivational approach to life in a goal-oriented way. (long-term aspiration) “Who I want to be.” Hope controlled by unrealistic desire can produce an emotional state which turns into superstitious belief. Superstition is attributing unexplained cause or possible cause or even natural events to the supernatural as a form of being blessed by God or protected by God i.e. in good with Him.
My despair is hopelessness. What we know in our soul, is that this world is useless, (vain) unless there is a Godly purpose. If we believe God is not personal and revealing Himself to us, then we must search for meaning of a Godless Creation and there is none. It is in human nature to think on these things. All thought about the transcendent is a form of mysticism. Mysticism is a form of prayer, meditation or deep contemplation about the spiritual and endless ways of expressing a desire to be close to God. (Much of science is also about the transcendent and esoteric, because it is not provable or observable.) Some people need more mysticism than others. So we meditate, contemplate, pray and glorify the “transcendent” with hope that there is more than despair. Everyone is certainly aware of their mortality, which may also prompt mystical hope that there is more. Many who experience a mental depression may turn to mysticism which may ameliorate the emotional feeling. Mysticism is also a mental exercise which restores or enhances hope through magical thinking about the supernatural, imagining a blissful place at the eschaton. There are many forms of mysticism from simple prayer to thought provoking ecstaticism. Many religions advocate a form of mystical prayer which produces a feeling of closeness or “oneness” with “God”. The Judaeo Christian Bible, which covers millennium of oral and written tradition, calls it meditation rather than mysticism. Some Roman Catholic branches call it monastic disciplines. Biblical prophecy portrays God speaking to a prophet rather than the prophet using mystical experience to get close to God. Visions and spiritual insights of truth, when you believe God, are not the same as trying to experience God in mystical thought. Meditation is trying to understand God’s written truths, not imagining my own concepts of God. The Bible stipulates that one must “die” to natural selfish inclinations in order to understand unselfish spiritual truths. Meditation, as a form of confession and prayer can renew our hope, but first we must in our soul believe God. Hopelessness needs unrequited love.
The Biblical Christ, who claimed to be God, is a visible representation of God to humanity. (incarnation) He established the New Covenant concept that God would no longer be transcendent, but, would be in us “spiritually”, if we believe. Christianity took the Judaic monotheistic idea of a transcendent God and put Him “in us” when we express our desire to believe. This is to restore the purpose for which we were created and, over time, renew our natural thinking and restore the joy and fruit of this relationship in our soul.
My goals should be reasonable. Depending on my “drive” for “success”, goals should be set to maximize my potential or my expected satisfaction when I achieve them. Some people are satisfied to live on hope, some prefer more leisure and less responsibility. (drives and stress) Goals are set by my perception of my full potential, while considering; possible options, preferences, personal desire, personal ideology, altruistic desire, capability, attitude and drive or commitment needed. (Rubicon model, self,efficacy, personal development, self-improvement)
My competition, as an event (e) and as opposition (o), is in most endeavors. It is part of life, all through life. Sometimes, we can choose our competition (e) by what we think we can excel at or an opponent we can beat. Sometimes competition (e,o) is unavoidable. Sometimes we don’t even know we are competing until it is too late. (naivety) Competition in life is pervasive. A competitive nature is a good thing to nurture. (positive self-identity, self-efficacy, self-esteem, competitiveness, ambition) Knowing and promoting your strengths and abilities, is not pride. Proper pride, with goodness of character, (humility) is good. False pride is a bad character trait. (exaggerated self-esteem, vanity)
My reliability or dependability is my commitment to keeping a promise, a rule, a stated intention and consistent behavior. (trustworthy, predictable behavior)
My competence (self-efficacy, ability to excel) is a learning process (study and practice) related to my interests in a subject. Some people learn easier than others (natural ability, aptitude), but hard learners, because of the need to persevere to be competitive, may become more successful.
My learning something is figuring it out for myself. (Fully comprehending the essence and use of something as opposed to remembering a few facts for a test.) Stupidity is not caring that I am ignorant. Without common sense, I can be convinced of almost anything. Seeking advice is part of figuring it out and not being stupid.
My focus (attention, concentration, vigilance) is directly related to my perception of my need, my interest and my drive toward meeting my goals.
My understanding the “meaning and purpose of knowledge” or an “object” is a powerful benefit to my ability to achieve my goals. (research, study, focus, evaluate)
My wisdom (deep understanding) keeps me from making stupid decisions with bad consequences. John Wayne said, “Life is hard and it is even harder if you are stupid”.
My constant awareness of my relationships, especially the needs of others, keeps me from becoming self-absorbed. If your wife does strange things, she is probably sending you a message.
My peace of mind (clear conscience) is to be *consistent* in thought and actions with who I think I am, which is based on what I believe about me, my environment and God. And it is making satisfactory progress toward meeting my goals.
My conscience is an unreliable source for my thinking, it is weak and needs training and renewal. Conscience informs mindset and mindset informs conscience. Conscience is related to “who I think I am”. Conscience informs decision making and my emotions when I do something inconsistent with Who I think I am. Continuous improper behavior makes the conscience impotent. Conscience is supposed to be what makes us good! But that doesn’t work very good in most people.
My striving, self-imposed drive, (self-efficacy) comes from a nurtured need to succeed, excel or win (Fear of failure.). Or it might come from a poor self-image, by being driven to meet/please unrealistic expectations of significant others or an authority. (Fear of rejection or discipline.) Self-efficacy can be either an up or down emotion depending on a feeling of competence to engage in a goal. Poor self-concept, slacking, gets one into all kinds of emotion driven thinking which may develop into false solutions to escape bad feelings.
My stress comes from striving, strong emotions, thought and behavior inconsistent with affirmed beliefs, (cognitive dissonance) unrealistic expectations, and unsatisfied wants and desires. That’s a lot of stress.
My contentment (happiness) comes from satisfaction with my “state “ (i.e. satisfaction with progress), stature (significance) and security. Mental “state” of not feeling compelled to strive for anything. On the other hand, if you are contented with being irresponsible and naive, you may appear to be happy. (Life-satisfaction, subjective well-being, quality of life, no coveting or envy) Gandhi said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony”. Happiness is not just about having fun. Everyone has a “happiness hour”. It is what we do when we have “free” time. Happy life is much more than that.
My appearance of sadness may be my natural temperament or it may be worry about circumstances in my life.
My desires are stronger than my commitments (will). Altruistic desires are good. Desires are enjoyment, expected improvement, or desirable outcome. Selfish desires need to be moderated otherwise they turn into envy, addiction and even worse. Unchecked selfish desire overrules common sense and may become habitual. Willpower is only as strong as the desire to accomplish a goal or achieve a good result. My desire will motivate me in my efforts to self-improvement and self-satisfaction. Desire comes from observation of consequences in various actions, and social relationships of various personalities, which would help me to evaluate or even avoid my circumstances.
My cravings are a mind-body-mind stimulation enhanced by boredom or laziness of the mind or confused thinking. Game playing, eating and some TV are examples of habitual responses to boredom, which can become addictive.
My non-spiritual beliefs are based on my accumulated critical perspective (volition) of reliable pertinent information which I have obtained, which is consistent with who I want to be. (healthy, wealthy, wise, happy)
My natural secular faith is a reasonable response to rational thought about that which I have seen (e.g. flying). I also have faith in the testimony of others (hearing) whom I consider reliable. I don’t have rational faith without searching for facts (reliable information) and thinking about it. There are as many different theories and therapy in Psychology as there are people who write about them.
My belief concerning God forms my Worldview with regard to moral absolutes and the end of everything as we know it. (eschaton) Any thoughtful person who studies the Universe and Biology and biological reproduction cannot truthfully deny a creator God. The next question is why? That is where it gets personal. It begs the question, “does God take care of (i.e. have a purpose for) His creation?” (Telos)
So, who are you? No one knows, not even you! God says He knows. I believe that.
My free will is to believe (choose) or to not believe testimony which I have received. Free will is being able to think, believe and act without unacceptable external influence and prohibition. Choice is sometimes easy. Would you rather believe a personal God who has created His space in you or textbooks which have often been wrong? Would you rather believe the testimony of “creation” or activists with a self-serving agenda. Who wrote the “software” program?
My salvation comes from accepting (believing) the Gospel of Christ (Logos) which causes a desire in my heart to believe in God. (3)
My Spiritual faith is a desire to know God and experience Spiritual life which comes from God through understanding the purpose and meaning of the Bible in New Covenant context. (4)
My trust is based or abandoned on experience with the object of trust. (predictive behavior) It is a process. (Is this statement true? “You should not trust something which you don’t understand”.) Can you trust faith which leads you to right answers in your life?
My Spiritual well being (Faithlife) is the best of all lives within my possibilities. Spiritual well being (Life) comes from God when we respond to the desire in our heart and believe. (It is not a “New Age” thing based on my imagination or a cult. It is the New Covenant way, a new way of living with God with a proper understanding of The Book.) Living faith is responding to what God puts into my believing heart as I study His ways and walk with Him. (5)
My being “born again” means God has put a spiritual desire to know Him in the heart of my mind responding to this desire, by believing God, changes my reality, “who I think I am” and “who I want to be“, (Worldview) and that gives me a new Spiritual life. This new Spiritual life is a new identity as “a child of God” born into His Life. Responding to this desire, is repenting of the sin of unbelief. Over time, this changes the way I think and changes the attitude and desire of my heart toward loving and caring for others. My faith grows by understanding how God does this in my life and living (loving) that way. Not by how I do it.
Holy Spirit, my “new life”, reveals Spiritual Truth to me. “The Holy Spirit isn’t needed to understand the ‘law’, It is needed to understand God’s grace and love.” (Bob George)
My lifestyle and persona will be based on my new Worldview. Over time, the “attitude of my heart” will consistently guide me to my new Spiritual life, rather than my old self or the World for decision making and how I interact with others. When I am inconsistent with who I think I am, I am full of id.
Legalism, obedience and sacrifice are still alive. They always speak to self motivation which is to appease false expectations (flesh). God understands this. (6)
Christ died so God could come as the Holy Spirit and restore our Spiritual life with Him in the New Covenant and teach us His Truth for our life.
Endnotes: A1. MyReality Google Drive return to top
Italicized terms in the body and the hyperlinks are in my glossary. I think of the style of this paper as like the Amplified Bible with other relevant terms in parentheses.
I am using text color to track changes. Each set of additions and changes will appear in a different color.
Blue underlined text is a hyperlink.
Black is from when it started, the last week in March.
Red = since 4/14/17
Green = since 4/21/17
Pink = since 4/28/17
Gold =since 5/5/17
Rust = since 5/14/17
Light Purple = since 7/23/17
Unpublished work (c) 2017 Daniel R. Boliek