MODERATOR: If this thread in not in the right place, feel free to move it, or tell me to do so.
Because I prefer to wear out rather than just rust out, when I retired from the pastoral ministry in 1994—the same year my wife, close in age to me, retired from teaching—I chose to think of myself as a self-directed and now a re-directed—not just a retired—servant of evidence-based truth and of the public good.
My career started when I was ordained a minister of the United Church of Canada, in 1953. My wife, Jean, and I became the first minister/teacher team at what was then a squatter’s town, with the nick name “Happy Valley”—115 families squatted, on Crown land, near the Goose Bay airbase—where many of them got employment—in Labrador, NL. The only school and Nursing Station there—staffed by two great nurses—were church-provided, and not just for church members. My wife had 52 children, grades one and two, in her class.
Readers, as I understand it, each of us is FREE to establish and live by what we truly value. We happen to love PHILOSOPHY—the mother of science and art. So far this has led us to build on a holistic foundation and to approach life seeking the good and positive integration of body, mind and spirit—what I like to call the soma, psyche and pneuma. None of this is laid on as dogma.
With a nod of respect to Rene Descartes, who coined the phrase:
“I think, therefore, I am.” may I put it this way:
I AM, THEREFORE, I THINK, WILL, LEARN AND DO—in short, I LIVE
I AM, therefore I think, will, learn and do. Creative, playful and constructive thinking, under the guidance of agape-love, will probably lead us to knowledge, understanding and the supreme value of wisdom—the good use of knowledge (science); the kind that gives us the power to choose to be, or not to be.
It leads me, with the help of others, to take action and do the things we need to do, within the space/time and to be at one with all that is.
Willpower, Wisdom and Action can lead to our being truly free beings. But the risk and danger is that I am free to choose good or evil.
G~0~D/G~O~D—not to be confused with a “god” or “God”
By choice, I choose to call this power G~0~D, where ~0~ symbolises the microcosm within us. If anyone prefers to call it Life, Awareness, Consciousness or any another term, go ahead.
At this point, I think of us and the natural, measurable cosmos, or the universe as that which is within G~O~D, where ~O~ symbolises the macrocosm. Again I say: You are free to use any term, or no term—whatever pleases you.
CHAT WITH AN ASTROPHYSICIST
Years ago, I did a wedding for an astrophysicist, who worked with NASA, and his bride to-be, from Toronto. When, in the pre-nuptial counselling I chatted with him about my interest in philosophy and pneumatology—the mother of psychology—and what is going on in our “inner space”. Then I asked him what physicists called outer space and the space between and within atoms. He answered: “The vacuum”.
To anyone who knows physics, I inquire: Is that term still a valid one?
Interestingly, he made no objection when I said and asked: Do mind if I call it “pneuma” (the Greek for Spirit—related to air, wind, breath of life)? Then I also said: Because I feel that the pneuma/psyche is the source of what we call “willpower”, I assume that exploring it will help us be more effective in our exploration of inner and outer space. Again, he had no objection. Encouraged by this, I continued my study of the integration pneuma/psyche/soma.
THE INNER AND OUTER SPACES OF SINGLE AND MARRIED LIFE
Of course, then we went on to have a very interesting, and helpful, back-and-forth dialogue about marriage and LOVE—more on this and the three kinds of love—eros (erotic), philia (friendship) and pneuma (good-will, agape-kind)—later.
We talked about the differences between living as singles (individual egos), as couples and as families, including communities. We also talked especially about how, living with the inner and outer spaces of life, singles can WILLingly take on the very risky business of becoming ONE in the relationship we call marriage—”... for better or for worse, ‘till death do us part.”
Over the years, I must have done nearly a 1000 weddings. I often wonder: How many actually actually went on to live “happily ever after”. I especially wonder about the ones that were .... well, different. To do one of the weddings I actually had to break into the church, and the office, of another minister, who had absent-mindedly forgot to show up. Amazingly, I actually found the license on his desk. Quite a story, which I will not detail, here. However, There was a happy ending, and all present, I trust, learned, from the brief message I gave, the art of agape-love. I was even successful in getting smiles and a laugh or two. Thus they all forgave the absent-minded minister. And, to my knowledge, the couple went on to have a happy marriage.
DETAILS ABOUT WILLPOWER—agape-power
Then last Christmas, 2011, from my grandchildren I received the wonderful gift of a book. I hinted that I had heard it reviewed, on our CBC, a few weeks before: WILLPOWER: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength By social psychologist, Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney—science writer with the New York Times…The book is about the ego control, ego depletion, and other things. It surveys the ways how people fail at self control, and the tricks to have better self control so as to have the power to choose that which is Good, Opportune and Desirable for us. For details, check out the following link:
BTW, I recently finished writing a rhyme about WP:
Lindsay G. King
I am, therefore, this very hour,
I love the gift that we can call WILLPOWER.
It is the mighty power to CHOOSE,
To always win/win, not just win/LOSE.
The power to WILL, to think, know and act,
A wonderful and love-filled fact.
Instead of choosing sadness and madness,
I’d rather opt for my share of gladness.
What e’er I choose to think and be,
I choose to live creatively.
Instead of full of guilt and shame,
All life can be a win/win game.
Now let’s all choose to learn the how
Of always living in the NOW.