It’s difficult to discover anything beyond presuppositions. Presuppositions are assumptions assumed in advance. When it comes to presupposers, it is as Nobel Prize Winner (1915) Romain Rolland said, “Discussion is impossible with someone who claims not to seek the truth, but already to possess it.” (Above the Battle).
Ideas running contrary to assumptions are subject to argument and ridicule
f someone says, “Yesterday I saw angels sitting in a tree!” You’d think that person is on drugs, mentally imbalanced or a romantic poet named William Blake (who also saw angels in a tree).
The presupposition is, of course, that angels don’t sit in trees.
They prefer chairs.
A presupposition can be true, partially true or totally false. Most people – knowingly or not – have assumptions relating to their world view.
A world view is how truth and reality is understood. It asks: What is reality? What is a human being? What happens when you die? How do you know what’s right and wrong?
A world view can affect one’s goals, ability to enjoy life and attitudes towards society, progress and nature. Collectively, a world view can affect the world itself.
World views are fundamental assumptions. Fundamental assumptions always have an opposite. They can never be completely proven. There are two basic world views: one is religious (spiritual) and the other isn’t (secular).
Secular types say, “There are causes for all effects!” There are (1) atheists: there is no God or gods, the universe is material, theories like the big bang explain things scientifically, death is the end, what’s right and wrong is what we decide; and (2) postmodernists: we create a social reality, there are no truths only preferences, moral values are relative so do what feels good.
Spiritual types say, “Some effects are without causes!” Spirit is more important. There are (1) pantheists (Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, new agers): everything is God, we’re all of the same stuff, divinity is us, God is an impersonal Force, Energy, Vibration, there is no sin only ignorance, we die and are reborn; and (2) theists (Christianity, Islam, Judaism): there is one eternal personal God of infinite wisdom and power who created the universe, we pray and obey and exist beyond death.
When a believer of whatever orientation has a prepackaged model, it’s hard to experience something outside that model.
But if you can set aside assumptions and self-interests for a minute or two, you can come up from day-to-day thinking to enjoy a higher mental state that is not only blissful (perfect happiness), but peaceful (free from disturbance).
There’s something curiously unconscious about this good feeling that’s easy. First: Relax. No pressure. No worries. This is not a competition. Put yourself in a beautiful scene (real or imagined) and let yourself feel content and tranquil.
Instead of three bears, picture three brains inside your skull like neuroscientist Paul MacLean (1913-2007) said there was.
Imagine climbing from the lowest brain, the reptilian (think: road rage!), up past the next lowest, the paleo-mammalian – paleo means older – (think: threatened mama bear with cub) to the highest brain sitting on top like a cloud.
This is the neo-mammalian brain (neo means new).
The neo-mammalian (or neocortex) is the seat of perception and imagination. Whether religious or not, the three brains theory allegorically explains why people think and do what they think and do do.
The reptilian brain is responsible for “aggression, dominance, territoriality, and ritual displays;” the paleo-mammalian (limbic system) is responsible for “motivation and emotion involved in feeding, reproductive behaviour, and parental behavior,” and the neomammalian is responsible for “language, abstraction, planning, and perception” (Triune Brain).
Lower brains are said to be instinctive. Their concern is with reproduction and dominance, sometimes necessitating deception and violence.
When under the sway of lower brains, we’re principally concerned with our self and successes. We strike back when hit. We shift blame. We lack introspection. We rationalize behaviour in a so-called dog-eat-dog world while maintaining a flattering image of ourselves.
But in rare moments, when there are no demands put upon us, when one is quiet and comfortable, in such a peaceful interval, we are free to enter a higher mental state. When released from pride, ambition and self-justification, one looks at others not with criticism and judgement, but with a realization.
Human behaviour is driven by primitive mental pressures. People are nasty, emotional and self-interested, not out of evil, but out of hurt! In a higher mental state you see distress for what it is and not in terms of how it affects you.
Romain Rolland (1866-1944) described higher intelligence as a religious feeling independent of any dogma, credo, Holy Scripture, mission statement or self salvation. It is simple and direct. It is contact. It’s a feeling of the eternal in the sense of not having limits – like an ocean (Oceanic Feeling).
With self-interest gone, caring not for status, power or possession, boundaries are broken. We connect with things like trees, clouds, rocks, and birds. As William Blake said in Proverbs of Hell, “A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees” (1789). We see visions as children until worldliness blinds us.
The trick is to set aside self-concern and go into nature wherever that is. Step out of mechanical garments. Look up from technological gadgetry and have a poetic vision. Attend to sensations in the world without thought of advantage and know there’s no difference between any two world views. As a rational witness, let your higher mind drift above and beyond the weird edges like a cloud minding not minding at all.