Credo

I believe that the Universe had a beginning. It does not matter where that beginning is, whether in a point, or in the mind of a god. Everything has a beginning.

I believe that after the one great beginning, there arose two balancing forces, seeking to preserve and tending toward the oneness which was the beginning. I believe that one of these forces, or aspects of oneness, is what the physicists talk about when they attempt to describe a "grand unified theory," or force, which contains all the lesser forces that drive the physical processes of the Universe--nuclear, electromagnetic and gravitational. The other, balancing force can be thought of as Entropy--the tendency toward equalization of all states of energy.

At one time, these forces were perfectly in balance; after the universe began--after the Big Bang, or after the prime mover moved, this balance has been sought after. Since there was one great beginning, even these two balancing and seemingly paradoxical forces have something in common. Thus the Universe is fueled by this paradox; that of seeking oneness in two opposite extremes. Consciousness arises from paradox; the Universe is pervaded by a consciousness which manifests as paradox.

I believe it is this seeking of oneness by paradox that gives rise to the awareness that the Universe has of itself. Thus there is an awareness, a "spirit," which moves through all things, even as it is driven to struggle, sometimes seemingly against itself, by the paradoxical twoness of itself.

I believe that the essence of sentience for humanity is the greatest possible perception of both these forces, and that the work of sentience is the keeping of a balance between them within a system--a family, a town or in one's life. Since one forces, Entropy, seeks the equalization of all difference in potential to a uniform state, I believe that the other force seeks the opposite extreme--that of the building of more and more complex and Entropy- free systems. I believe that we, in our struggle to become sentient, perceive these complex systems as beautiful, thus I call Entropy's opposite force Love, because this is the word used to describe the emotion roused in the human who perceives this beauty. This term defines a force at work rather than a human emotional state.

While if follows that Entropy must be perceived as ugliness or death, I believe that our perception of both Love and Entropy is, due to our limited physical nature, crude and incomplete. It is the work of becoming sentient to perceive both Love and Entropy in greater and greater detail. Thus, as sentience differentiates itself from mere intelligence, one perceives beauty in greater and greater detail, as well as the effects of Entropy; one comes to understand that they are both necessary to a paradoxical Universe seeking itself and aware of itself.

Perceiving the Universe as fundamentally connected and separate at the same time gives rise, with careful observation and increasing awareness, to empathy. While empathy is most often described as existing between two people, I believe the concept of empathy can be expanded to include the Universe and the various parts of various microcosms, which are governed by the presence of Love and entropy. Thus it is possible to empathize with--to non-judgmentally observe the state of--not only people but other animate and inanimate objects.

One cannot achieve empathy with one's surroundings unless the ego--the source of pride and neediness and greed--is carefully disciplined and contained. The ego is a loud, shouting voice, where empathy is often a whisper one must strain to hear. To quiet the self is the first and most necessary step toward empathy.

With the attainment of empathy comes the greatest ability to perceive the great beauty forged by the force of Love, and the great balancing process of entropy. Such purely human labels as "good," "evil," "LIght," "dark," etc. tend to become relative and not as useful. The realization of the great beauty in all things, because they are all connected, is what sets sentience, or wisdom, apart from mere intelligence.

With clearer and clearer empathy, I believe, must come a greater and greater sense of the Universe as a thing of awareness, of both beauty and emptiness, but all the time connected by the oneness of its beginning and desires to know itself. For me, this has resulted in a greater and greater joy in all things. I believe this joy best describes the human emotion love., Thus its connection to the forces of Love and entropy is through empathy, the perception of beauty, even the beauty found in emptiness, death and other drastic entropic events.

I believe that love, the great joy perceived by sentient beings at the awareness of Universe, is the strongest emotion, as it must embrace both Love and Entropy to be truly complete. Thus even death and destruction should be loved as much as birth and building, but only insofar as they further Universe' evolution toward awareness. I perceive all other human emotions as being twistings, or byproducts of this love. Perhaps one hates because one's empathy is either so flawed that one is blind to the beauty of Universe, and thus utterly alone; perhaps one hates because one perceives too much beauty and cannot control the resultant awareness, and is afraid. I believe the first yearning, first need and first desire of every sentient being is love. No healing can be said to be complete unless the one being healed is shown, through empathy, the way to love.

It is important to realize that, while Love and Entropy are aspects of the one spirit which moves through all things, they do not necessarily occur in equal parts in any system, even when that system is at its closest approach to oneness and thus to self- awareness. Whether that system exists in the atoms that make up a stone or the life of a person, the work of sentience is that of bringing that system to its optimal state, a state of Peace, the closest state possible to the awareness sought by Universe.

When, through empathy, one comes to love Universe and all things within it, I believe one begins to perceive what actions must be taken to further the increase of awareness of Universe. It is this perception of what must be done which I call Honor. This word is, I feel, very often misused, and most often confused with pride or ego. Thus people say, "I have great honor," or "you have no honor," as if honor were something one can collect and horde like money. I disagree with this definition of Honor, and instead see Honor as a tool marking the path which must be taken to bring Love and Entropy into the proper balance for greatest awareness.

The difference between intelligence and sentience is, I believe, in the degree of empathy used to become aware of the presence of Love and Entropy. One can be very intelligent and yet not aware of the balance of these forces around them, and often these types of people will unknowingly work to increase the effects of Entropy or of Love with damaging results, causing harm in their blindness. For this reason, I distinguish between humans and human beings; humans, while they may be very intelligent, learned and educated, act with little or no empathy, thus rarely act with Honor. Human beings, while they may be less intelligent or knowledgeable, perceive with empathy the presence of Love and Entropy, and use the tool of Honor to guide their actions. I by no means imply that humans cannot become human beings, nor is it to be taken for granted that all human beings, once achieving a greater sentience, will remain sentient. Sentience requires the constant application of empathy and the constant use of Honor as a tool and guide for their actions. It requires unceasing vigilance to maintain.

With greater sentience comes greater personal strength. The stronger one is, physically, mentally or emotionally, the more damage can be done in moments lacking in sentience. Thus, the application of Honor becomes more and more crucial, the stronger one becomes. I believe the application of Honor to guide strength manifests as gentleness.

I believe that if someone acts with Honor as their guide, they will earn the respect of those who come to know them. Conversely, social systems that do not allow one to achieve an understanding of Universe and a perception of what Honor indicates that they do are destructive. Examples of such social systems include charitable organizations and oppressive governments, caste systems and religiously based societies. These systems seek to glorify themselves or to worship an anthropomorphic god rather than celebrate the potential for sentience in every human. When you say, "I will give you this because you need it," or, "I will provide for you because I can," or, "God tells me I should do this to be more like him/her," you are saying, "We are not and never will be equal, and you can never walk a path shown by Honor and earn my respect. As long as I give to you merely because I can, I will never perceive you as my equal." This mindset impedes the growth to sentience of everyone concerned. It is the work of every being to achieve sentience through empathy, and thus to gain a perception of Honor, and of what the Universe needs to achieve awareness.

The twoness of the universe pervades everything. Thus, the easiest metaphor for Universe seems to be that of battle between opposites. I believe this explains the tendency for humans to be warriors by nature, whether they give voice to the twoness of Universe with a pen or a musical instrument or a blade. To be more and more aware of the twoness of Universe seeking oneness is to be more and more submerged in this battle. Humans, those who do not achieve much sentience, perceive the warrior as a fighter, a person ruled by ego rather than by empathy. This person is dangerous because he or she is strong, but rarely acts as Honor shows them. As greater and greater awareness is achieved, greater and greater strength is at hand, but our warrior nature remains the same. While our capacity for love, and the depth of our love increases, we find that being a warrior and following the path Honor shows us often requires, rather than the use of brute force, the application of great strength with extreme gentleness. The sign of a human being, a sentient warrior, is a place of peace that has been created by bringing their part of Universe as close to awareness as possible; by creating a place of Peace, and by vigilantly protecting it.

Thus, it is my belief that through empathy, I will be allowed to love the most. That through love, I will be the most sentient. That, due to the paradox at the core of Universe and everything within it, I perceive Universe through the metaphor of a battle between opposites. That, as I grow more and more sentient, I will be ever stronger. I believe that, with my greater strength comes an even greater need for the use of Honor as a tool to guide the application of my strength into joining the Universe' struggle toward sentience. It is my goal to create a place of Peace, and to protect it with the greatest vigilance. It is unacceptable to me to be placed in systems which impede my striving for sentience, or to be trapped in situations where I am kept from the path Honor shows me. It is my duty to avoid these situations and to never harm another being, nor impede their striving for sentience, for this in turn impedes my awareness. These are the rules which govern my actions. So mote it be.

Notes

This is what *I* think. I have tried to make that plain to the point of extremity; nor is it my desire to say that someone else's way is wrong because they don't do things my way. This works for me, and perhaps only for me. I've taken great pains to make this document NOT read like some ranting messiah jonesing from caffeine withdrawal. It is also, of course, to be considered a work in progress, and by no means in instruction manual. I hope by generating this document, I will force it to change as advice and opinions are given to me on it. If it makes sense to you or helps you see things from another perspective, than it has already done more and better than I had intended.

Oakland, CA, July 19, 2004.
Brookings, Oregon, July 11, 2011

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