Monday, April 1, 2019

On Pseudohumanism

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



“In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few.”
--Shunryu Suzuki

What Is It?

Pseudohumanism is the path of life walked by the pseudohuman.

The pseudohuman derives his name—well, I have derived his name—from his unshakeable need to label all inconvenient and non-“authority”-conforming areas of life as “pseudo-”, or fake. He is thus labeled as he labels.

To elaborate: A pseudohuman is an individual who maintains all the seen and unseen physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual characteristics of the rest of humanity (for, of course, he cannot do otherwise) yet is so willfully stubborn in his limited intellectual malaise that he imagines all non-“authority”-conforming ideas to be ignorant, if not completely asinine. He lives as though the factuality, or any potential factuality, of many of the experiences and much of the knowledge of his fellow man is utterly erroneous.

The pseudohuman clings ardently to the mainstream: sometimes to the experimental scientific method, sometimes to the mysteries of religious dogma, and sometimes, in utter cognitive dissonance, to both. Whatever the case, he praises “the acceptable view” and rejects, sometimes wantonly, any alternative fields and their proponents.

(Ironically, a phrase the pseudohuman likes to use toward those who offer open-minded suggestion is, “Think for yourself.”)

“Pseudosciences,” They’re Often Called

Shamanism is one such field the pseudohuman abhors.

The majority of Western man has imagined the shaman—“an uneducated, bush-dwelling, old man”—to be a crackpot for claiming he can talk to spirits. Mainstream science won’t acknowledge the validity of such things—indeed, they’ll touch nothing whatsoever related to consciousness or “life beyond”—and religions will only accept such notions, if at all, to the extent that these notions align with the their highly questionable, cherry-picked dogma.

Likewise, the numerologist, the psychic, and the astrologer are rejected.

Even should the pseudohuman dare to read one such a practitioner’s report and notice that aspects of it align with their life, the report may be seen as “strikingly similar” or “weirdly coincident” yet without any legitimacy. The religious pseudohuman’s ignorance is further revealed in his inability to perceive the metaphorical passages of scripture that relate to these very topics (of which there are countless).

Then there are those with whom one might reasonably think a pseudohuman would associate with more kindly, such as physicists, lovers of thinking and the scientific method.

But they’re not always kind. Indeed, sometimes they’re fantastically mean-spirited because some of these physicists speak of such things as the electric universe theory and quantum physics. Granted, the alternate theorists don’t have all the answers; yet when the conventional theorists choose to lash out at the former they seem not to notice that they themselves haven’t all the answers either.

A Lack of Essential Abilities

Certainly, some of the people who practice in any of these alternate fields are quacks. These areas are no less immune to skewing than any other field since the results are a matter of the practitioner’s inner state, and thus perception, and their willingness—or lack thereof—to pursue the truth at any cost.

The pseudohuman doesn’t seem to have the ability to decipher between the quack and the honest practitioner, however, because his skills are poor in balanced skepticism and discernment.

To be skeptical is lean toward disbelief but to consider something with equanimity while seeking further evidence before drawing a conclusion, if drawing one at all. To be discerning is to call on every resource available from intellectual knowledge to experience to intuition and then make a judgment, all the while acknowledging that any given judgment may be inaccurate.

Pseudohumans can’t use either of these tools because their deliberate ignorance blinds their perceptual capacities from seeing any potential plausibility in other ideas. Truth or no, alternative ideas are minimally entertained, if at all, and so the formulation of well-rounded hypotheses and conclusions is completely inhibited.

Spoon-Fed Minds

The information required to devise reasonable theories can often be obtained with relatively minimal effort. Meaning, evidence and facts are, not always but commonly enough, either experiential upon a little bit of experimentation or can be found in prior documentation.

Yet the pseudohuman won’t do the research or self-experimentation. Maybe some, maybe enough to justify, say, “I read about it,” but hardly enough to challenge their beliefs. They then drop on any fields they see as inconvenient the willy-nilly label of “pseudoscience” (and some other less kind words) in order to justify that further research would be a waste of time and energy.

But again, in many cases there is documentation available to explain phenomena being discussed. Or if the collected data does not provide cold, hard proof, at the very least it may well still be adequate enough that no counter-theory can adequately debunk the evidence given.

If you’re not a pseudohuman and you talk to one, they might argue something like, “You’re wrong. After all, what you’re saying is contrary to what that Harvard Ph.D. recently said regarding the subject.”

With all due respect to those who are well-educated and do good work, at the same time it’s sometimes like, “Why do you need a Harvard Ph.D. to tell you what is or is not true that countless other non-“authoritatively”-validated and -promoted individuals and groups have been providing data on for years or decades or centuries?”

And what ever happened to experience? How has human experience become a marginal scribble to the dictates of “authoritative” intellectualism?

Newton didn’t get hit on the head with an apple and say, “This is bullshit! No one has discovered gravity yet, so how can this apple fall on my head?” To the contrary, the apple fell on Newton’s head and it caused him to realize that there is a property of nature that expresses itself as gravity. The ultra-obvious fact of the matter has been smothering us since Day1.

Pseudohumans are so busy waiting for “authority” to spoon-feed them the intellectual answers to everything that, not only do they thrust away so many of the truths of life that are already right before them, they remain blind to all the inconsistencies and contradictions within the information they already accept as “true.”

Causation and Life Path Choices

The most significant cause of pseudohumanism is an individual’s desperation for love, approval, validation, etc. that he’d
  1. never had (e.g.: absent parents),
  2. had to struggle for (e.g.: parents giving far more attention to their work than their children), and/or
  3. had for a time during childhood but then lost (e.g.: upon the birth of younger siblings).
In any case, the child would imagine that he is unworthy unless he can prove himself to “authority,” or “they who know” and “they who have the power to give me what I most need.”

In this culture of “authority” worship, the child becomes drawn to prominent figures within science and/or religion (“father”), the two fields claiming to know everything. (Note that I’m focusing on information-based love, approval, and so on. There are many more areas where a child might look for the same, an example being a child who seeks to prove his manliness by becoming a fireman or a soldier.)

The ultimate aim is to receive “authority’s” approval, attention, etc., and this is done by following their lead. But of course all gains are transitory and so there must be a constant effort to remain worthy.

As this individual follows this path, ever is he forging his perceived identity, false though it is. Eventually he might well come to be in the position of “authority” himself, having both peers and followers who place their expectations upon him of “who he is.” Now he has become like an approval magnet—at least as long as he doesn’t change his mind!

Culture and various institutions further support the pseudohuman’s need of identity. Should he receive, for example, academic tenure at a university, although the claim of tenure is to promote free thinking, it seems the truth is quite contradictory: tenured staff are effectively beholden to the status quo and the desires of the biggest financial powers behind the institutions.

Passive Pseudohumanism

What I’ve not yet mentioned is a more passive kind of pseudohuman. This type of individual still desires love, approval, etc. and carries a perceived lack of self-worth, but he is not quite so ferocious in his beliefs or in defending them.

I’ve been no stranger to this, myself.

One way this manifested for me is that if something had come up in conversation about, say, a shaman talking with spirits, I would have laughed it off and said it was a silly thing.

However, I really had no idea. I’d never done research, I hadn’t any experience, nor had I talked to anyone who had themselves experienced or witnessed such things. I was basically nothing more than a parrot repeating whatever those around me were saying and what I thought they would like me to say in attempt to fit in.

The passive pseudohuman seems to be more expressive of the unworthiness trait than the active trait. What I mean is that although the aggressive types necessarily carry a lack of self-worth, their dominant behavior is “leveling up” in the world, unlike the passive types who lean more into the “I’m too much of a failure to achieve” victim mentality.

The passive pseudohuman is so overwhelmed by his perceived unworthiness that he simply can’t muster up the motivation to achieve, whereas the active pseudohuman is quite forward, if not at times belligerent, in attempt to hide from view any conscious awareness that his true fuel is, likewise, a belief of unworthiness.

Self-Made

This is the pseudohuman and the way of life that is pseudohumanism.

Unwilling to allow one’s self to be fully human in the context of the Complete Reality of Life, one labels small and large chunks of Reality (if potential) as “pseudo-” and thus removes them from his or her field of awareness. The pseudohuman willfully chooses ignorance and limitation.

As life is naught but a mirror, the one who labels becomes the labeled.

Why the Explanation?

As I wrote this I got wondering, Why am I writing this? Few pseudohumans will probably even read it. And as I wrote further I noticed I wasn’t offering anything solution-wise. I kept writing, nevertheless, because something seemingly needed to be said.

(Interestingly, although I’ve written much of this feeling uncertain, shortly after I’d begun two instances unexpectedly came up in my life related to Newton, the apple, and gravity. My above comments about the same were actually a primary trigger for this whole article, so I assumed those occurrences to be synchronicities telling me to “keep going.”)

What I’ve come to see is that maybe this isn’t written for pseudohumans. Maybe, rather, it’s for those who are open-minded and can accept alternate lines of thinking but haven’t been able to wrap their minds around pseudohuman behavior.

Dealing with these people can be very frustrating—especially with the active types—but awareness as to their game and why they behave as they do makes handling situations involving them easier. Seeing them as they are can help foreshadow likely trouble prior to interacting with them; for this reason, the feeling that conversation is necessary will subside and walking away if conversation begins becomes a much more reasonable option.

We must always pay heed, though, to the particulars of our own reactivity to these people. I’ve personally come a long way in being able to better deal with the more active/aggressive pseudohumans, but I find that from time to time an aspect of the “Listen to me because I know I’m right and you’re wrong (dammit!)” programming comes up. In these cases, there’s little if any desire for validation from “authority,” but there is a general desire for the validation of my self-worth by being “right.”

Whether you or I, we can learn this, that, and the other thing about how people operate, but if we ourselves are screwed up, we’re going to repeatedly find ourselves engaged in reactivity. Becoming aware of and purging out every internal trigger is the only path to true resolution.

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If you’re interested in reading a rant I wrote about this topic prior to coming up with the idea of pseudohumanism, you can read “Selective Ignorance: A Rant”. Enjoy!

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