From a young age, I have had a sincere desire to help humanity in a substantial way. If I may, I would like to share with you something that I have dedicated much thought. As a Christian, I have spent many years studying various books on the Christian faith to include both the old and new testament. I have also studied extensively other major religions and philosophies of the world in order to gain a better understanding of humanity. As the son of a physicist, I have grown up with the idea that God is the ultimate scientist and by virtue of this fact I have become very familiar with the scientific method. In addition, Psychology is a field of study that greatly intrigues me and as such, I have dedicated a great deal of time trying to figure out what exactly makes people tick. These are my "credentials," and I present them with the hope that you will listen with your heart what I am about to share. I feel compelled to share this with you as I strongly sympathize with your cause and therefore desires.
The following is a model of how I believe the human soul operates:
Desire - Hope - Faith - Knowledge - Understanding - Wisdom - Joy
In this e-mail, I will explain my understanding of the first facet of this model: Desire.
The best way to present this is to ask the following: If you had to create artificial life how would you go about doing it? How would you program a computer to be aware of self, and so on? This is what I have come up with
We as humans are not so different from computers. We process things by "1s" and "0s.” What a computer cannot process is the "maybe," the "1" and the "0" at the same time. Without getting too technical, a photon can behave as a particle in one case, a wave in another, and in some cases as both at the sometime. In short, if we were to create a computer that was capable of this type of processing it would outperform every computer today combined by 1000 times. In essence, you would have the raw computing power of the human brain, a Quantum computer. The theory of quantum processing is nothing new and in fact may be possible in the next 20 years or so.
All this is to illustrate the way in we process information. That is, we seem to perceive a thing as good (one), evil (zero), or not sure (maybe, 1/0). I define "good" in this case as that which accomplishes the objective. I will use the cliché example of a bank robbery to illustrate this definition. Since the objective is to acquire the money with minimal effort, a gun proves to be effective in accomplishing this. In this case having a gun is good as it helps the robber accomplish the objective. However, we moral and upright citizens judge this thing as "not good" or evil, as it obviously impedes others from obtaining their objectives of financial stability and so on. As such, we achieve greatest good by obtaining the greatest objective, which is, joy for all. This is objective is what I call the divine objective. Of all the intelligences in the universe, the one most capable of achieving this objective in its perfection would be the supreme intelligence, which is God. God seeks after the divine objective and therefore is the source of the divine good.
This of course, is not an attempt to out-think all the great philosophers of the past rather an effort to explain what I think "good" is. However, many of the great philosophers have concluded that man bears within him some intrinsic knowledge that is not learned in the mortal realm. Plato used the term, "recollection" to describe this knowledge. Using the Socratic Method, Plato used the character of Socrates to ask a slave boy questions until the slave boy came to understand a square root without Socrates providing him with any information. I believe that each of us has the knowledge of the divine good within us. Therefore, when presented with a perception of the world around us we compare the perception to the "recollection" and determine whether the perception is good (one), evil (zero), or not sure (one/zero). Our entire day is filled with millions, if not billions, of decisions like these. To my understanding, this is the most basic processing that leads to the myriad of human emotions that we experience.
Humans experience only two types of desire: the charitable desire to share joy with others, and the selfish desire an attempt to protect the loss of joy. This of course is a natural instinct; we are programmed to avoid death. Death, of course, would be the ultimate loss of joy.
To better understand selfishness, we must examine the cardinal sins. It is interesting to note that the cardinal sins correlate with what I will call, the seven "selfs", and their opposing virtues:
Sin Self Virtue
1. Sloth Self-Conservation Prudence
2. Anger/Wrath Self-Defense Justice
3. Gluttony Self-Nourishment Temperance
4. Vanity/Pride Self-Esteem Humility
5. Greed Self-Sufficiency Faith
6. Lust Self-Indulgence Chastity
7. Envy Self-Improvement Gratitude
Your “It’s all about me” workshop addresses these, “selfs,” and helps us understand how to walk the path of avoiding the cardinal sin without overshooting the mark. The mark is a principle known in Buddhism as the middle path, or in Taoism, the harmonious balance of the Ying and Yang. Many times, we focus on only one particular virtue, because it is a weakness of ours, or because we felt inspired by a Sunday school sermon. This focus, of course, diverts attention from the other virtues and inevitably leads to unhappiness. However, when the attention is on being happy these virtues will naturally manifest themselves.
The advertising industry spends billions, if not trillions, of dollars a year convincing us that a particular product will bring us happiness. This industry employs various techniques to get us to visualize the product in our lives and the promised fruits of joy that accompany that product. One of the many tactics used is the drink-our-beer-and-you’ll-be-sexy technique. The desire to be sexy itself is not wrong, but exploited in this particular instance. If a man were to succumb to this ploy, he might find his beer belly less popular than his originally trim physique. Of course, there are women out there who find a beer belly sexy but this is beside the point.
Conclusively, desire is the ultimate source of power. To master one’s desires is to master one’s own destiny. Again, the advertising industry knows this and does whatever it can to influence this power to their favor. The “It’s all about me” workshop helps us recognize areas where our desires may be invested in the wrong things and redirect them to areas of our lives that are more fulfilling thereby increasing the overall joy of that individual. This increase in joy naturally permeates to others which why I find your work to be a great benefit to humanity. I wish you the very best in your work and personal life and thanks again for the compliment.