Does Stephan Molyneux contradict the New Testament on forgiveness?

February 13, 2018

Evil always wants forgiveness without confession because that’s the final nail in the coffin of the conscience of their victims. Evil people always want forgiveness without confession–without an admittance of wrong and a genuine seeking of restitution

Forgiveness is created by the restitution of the abuser, of the wrongdoer. It is not something to be squeezed out of the victim by further acts of conscience-corrupting abuse.”

–Stefan Molyneux

You can watch the entire 53-minute YouTube video here.

These are strong words–and powerful words for an abused person to take to heart and begin to heal. I realize that they seem to fly in the face of many Christians’ view of forgiveness, and since forgiveness is such a central topic to Christianity (the majority religion in my society, and the religion I grew up in), I wanted to examine Scripture to see what it really says about this subject.

This examination is a brief, but hopefully sufficient, look into the subject of “forgiveness” in the New Testament. At the end, I will compare its findings with Stephan Molyneux’s statements above.

John the Baptist in Mark and Luke

There is more than one context or meaning of “forgiveness” in the New Testament. One meaning indicates the individual’s forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD, and another refers to the individual’s forgiveness OF SOMEONE ELSE. In a few instances, a third-party individual seems to BROKER (or facilitate) the first type of forgiveness. The first section of our study will examine this latter context.

Chronologically speaking, our study in the Gospels begins with John the Baptist “preaching a baptism of repentance [METANOIAS] for the forgiveness[APHESIN, “REMISSION”] of sins [HAMARTION, “ERROR”]” (Mark 1:4 and Luke 3:3). We see here that forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD (at least as John the Baptist brokered it) involved two steps: first repentance and then baptism. Presumably, these two steps were enough “for the forgiveness of sins” (at least until Jesus came a bit later).

This is the first instance of forgiveness in the Gospels. In this case, John the Baptist was not forgiving SOMEONE ELSE of sins, errors, or offences committed against John himself; rather, John was apparently BROKERING forgiveness for others, GIVEN BY GOD.

Jesus in the Synoptics

Jesus acted in a similar fashion when speaking to a “paralzyed” man who was brought, lying on a mat, to Jesus:

When Jesus saw their faith [PISTIN], he said…“…your sins [HAMARTIAI, “ERRORS”] are forgiven [APHIENTAI]” (Matthew 9:2; Mark 2:5; Luke 5:20).

In contrast to John’s BROKERED “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” GIVEN BY GOD, Jesus simply declared forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD (to the paralyzed man) in response to “their faith”. Whose faith? In both Mark and Luke (but absent in Matthew), “their” refers to “some men” who had carried the paralyzed man’s mat onto a roof and lowered it down to get him near Jesus.

Whether “their” includes the paralyzed man himself is not clear. Interestingly, it’s also not clear who is the BROKER in this act of forgiveness; is it “some men” or Jesus? Also, it appears that, in the context of Jesus’ personal ministry, someone’s faith [PISTIN] led to their forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD.

Christ in John

Similarly, in the only use of the word “forgive” in the Gospel of John, the risen Christ says to the newly-minted Apostles:

“Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he BREATHED INTO [ENRPHUSESEN] them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive [APHETE, “YE MAY REMIT”] anyone’s sins [HAMARTIAS, “ERRORS”]…THEY HAVE BEEN REMITTED [APHEONTAI]; if YE MAY RETAIN[KRATETE] them, THEY HAVE BEEN RETAINED [KEKRATENTAI]” (John 20:21-23).

Thus, to conclude this first section of our study, John the Baptist seems to have foreshadowed and exemplified a sort of brokered forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD similar to that which Jesus practiced at least once in the Synoptic Gospels. Jesus is also said in the Gospel of John to have explained this brokered forgiveness to the Apostles (immediately after the risen Christ “breathed into” them “the Holy Spirit.”)

Although this information may be interesting and relevant to the individual Christian’s understanding of the roles of John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Apostles in “brokering” forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD, it doesn’t address Molyneux’s statement above. Indeed, it seems to model the later priesthood (“forgiveness-brokerage”?), rather than giving guidance about forgiveness OF SOMEONE ELSE in personal relationships.

The Lord’s Prayer

Next, in both Matthew and Luke (but with different wording), we have the Lord’s Prayer, which states either

forgive [APHES] us our debts [OPHEILEMATA], as we also have forgiven[APHEKAMEN] our debtors [OPHEILETAIS]” (Matthew 6:12).


Forgive [APHES] us our sins [HAMARTIAS, “ERRORS”], for we also forgive [APHIOMEN] everyone…INDEBTED TO US [OPHEILONTI HEMIN]” (Luke 11:4).

Here we see a relationship described between forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD and forgiveness OF SOMEONE ELSE–namely, that one’s own forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD depends on one’s own forgiveness OF SOMEONE ELSE–especially in Luke’s wording.

To support this idea, Jesus explains elsewhere that “when you stand praying, if you HAVE [ECHETE] anything against anyone, forgive [APHIETE]…so that your Father in heaven may forgive [APHE] you your OFFENCES [PARAPTOMATA]” (Mark 11:25). He repeats this basic idea in both Matthew 6:14 (if you forgive[APHETE] other people THEIR OFFENCES [TA.PARAPTOMATA.AUTON], your heavenly Father will also forgive [APHESEI] you) and Luke 6:37 (RELEASE[APOLUETE], and YE SHALL BE RELEASED [APOLUTHESESTHE]”).

It seems so far that, according to Jesus, one IS NOT forgiven BY GOD unless one HAS forgiven SOMEONE ELSE–but also that one IS forgiven BY GOD if one HAS forgiven SOMEONE ELSE. This seems pretty simple, and much more relevant to the Molyneux statement than the third-party “forgiveness-brokering” described in the first section above.

Seven Times or Seventy-Seven Times?

Now we come to the Gospel teaching that perhaps most directly addresses the present question. The following saying of Jesus is recorded in both Matthew and Luke, but with some variation between them.

In Luke 17:3-4, Jesus says, If your brother [ADELPHOS]…sins [HAMARTE, “SHOULD ERR”] against you, rebuke HIM [AUTO]; and if HE SHOULD REPENT [METANOESE], forgive HIM [APHES AUTO]. Even if HE SHOULD ERR [HAMARTESE] against you seven times in a day and seven times come[S] back to you saying ‘I repent [METANOO],’ YOU SHALL FORGIVE HIM [APHESEIS AUTO].”

In Matthew 18:21-22, Peter asks Jesus, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive [APHESO] my brother [ADELPHOS]…who SHALL ERR [HAMARTESEI] against me? Up to seven times?” and Jesus answers, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

Because of the discrepancy here–and following my personal Bible study guideline that passages present in both Matthew and Luke but NOT in Markmost likely came from a lost source called Sayings Gospel Q–we can surmise that at least one of these passages (if not both) has changed the original saying of Jesus. But which one? Let’s look at what these passages have in common:

“…your brother sins against you…forgive him seven times.”

In Luke, this might read, “If your brother sins against you, forgive him seven times.” In Matthew, it might read, “Forgive your brother who sins against you seven times.” The idea is basically the same in both accounts.

Interestingly, the author of Luke adds (twice) a condition to forgiving one’s “brother”:

“rebuke HIM [AUTO]; and if HE SHOULD REPENT [METANOESE]” and also “come[S] back to you saying ‘I repent [METANOO]…”

Perhaps we shall see below why the idea of repentance as a condition of forgiveness is present (twice) here in Luke (although its inclusion begs the question of its absence from the equivalent passage in Matthew).

The Lord and the Wicked Slave

On the other hand, only Matthew expounds upon this teaching. In the subsequent verses (23-35), Matthew has Jesus tell the story known as the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. This parable tells the story of “a king [BASILEI] who wanted to settle accounts with his SLAVES [DOULON, “BONDSMEN”].”

One DEBTOR [OPHEILETES] “owed him” about 200,000 years of wages(according to the NIV footnote) and “was not able to pay,” so THE LORD [HO KURIOS] “ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold AND PAYMENT TO BE MADE [KAI APODOTHENAI].”



Afterward, that servant [DOULUS] went out and found “a FELLOW BONDMAN [SUNDOULON]” who owed him a hundred days of wages(according to the NIV footnote).

Jesus continues recounting the parable:

“He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay [APODOS] back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

His fellow servant HAVING FALLEN DOWN [PESON] begged [PAREKALEI] him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay [APODOSO] it back.’

“But he refused. Instead, he went off and CAST HIM [EBALEN AUTON] into prison until he could pay [APODO] the debt [TO OPHEILOMENON]. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their LORD [KURIO] everything that had happened.

“Then HIS LORD [KURIOS.AUTOU] called the servant in. ‘You wicked [PONERE] servant [DOULE],’ he said, ‘I canceled [APHEKA] all that debt [OPHEILEN] of yours because you begged [PAREKALESAS] me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy[ELEESAI] on your fellow servant [SUNDOULON] just as I had MERCY ON[ELEISA] you?’ In anger his LORD [KURIOS] handed him over to the TORTMENTORS [BASANISTAIS]…until he should PAY [APODO] all he owed[OPHEILOMENON].

THUS ALSO [OUTOS KAI] my heavenly Father WILL DO TO YOU [POIESEI HUMIN] unless you forgive [APHETE] your brother [ADELPHIO]…from your HEARTS [KARDION].”

In this parable, it is the king or lord who demands from his slaves repayment of their debts to him. In a compassionate response to one extremely indebted slave’s penitence and promise to pay the lord his impossibly large debt, the lord releases the slave and forgives the loan. However, the slave’s unwillingness afterward to extend forgiveness LIKEWISE to another slave (who owes the first slave much less than he himself was forgiven–AND WHO LIKEWISE IS PENITENT) causes the lord to hand the unmerciful slave over to “tormentors” until he pays all he owes.

Jesus explicitly states here that this parable describes the attitude of “my heavenly Father” regarding forgiveness (as a metaphor for canceling debts). So far, this is the Gospels’ clearest teaching on the relationship between forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD and forgiveness OF SOMEONE ELSE.


To summarize so far, we see that

1) John the Baptist preached “a baptism of repentance for the remission of errors”;

2) there are two types of forgiveness–one GIVEN BY GOD, and one OF SOMEONE ELSE;

3) John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Apostles apparently “brokered”forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD for others;

4) Jesus said in two Synoptic Gospels that IF you forgive SOMEONE ELSE, THEN you will be forgiven BY GOD;

5) Matthew and Luke agree that Jesus said that if “your brother sins against you,” you should forgive him at least “seven times”;

6) Luke has Jesus saying FIRST to “rebuke them; and THEN if they repent, forgive them”; and

7) Matthew has Jesus recounting a parable that explains and models repentance-and-forgiveness.

Taking note of what we’ve seen so far, what do Paul and the other New Testament writers have to say on this subject? Not much…but still something relevant to our discussion.

Paul’s Letters: Ephesians and Colossians

There are two passages in Paul’s letters that directly address our question. Notably, the Greek verb translated as “forgive” in these verses is NOT the same verb used elsewhere in this study:

Be kind and compassionate [EUSPLAGCHNOI, “TENDER-HEARTED”] to one another, forgiving [CHARIZOMENOI] each other, just as in Christ God forgave[ECHARISATO] you. BE YE THEREFORE IMITATORS OF GOD [GINESTHE OUN MIMETAI TOU THEOU]… (Ephesians 4:32-5:1)

Therefore, as God’s chosen [EKLEKTOU, “ELECT”]…Bear with each other and forgive [CHARIZOMENOI] one another if any of you has a grievance[MOMPHEN, “COMPLAINT”] against someone…EVEN AS ALSO [KATHOS KAI] the Lord [KURIOS] forgave [ECHARISATO] you, SO ALSO YE [OUTOS KAI HUMEIS]. (Colossians 3:12-13)

There we have it. “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” How much plainer and more direct can you get, and what more “Christian” idea of forgiveness could there be? Along with John’s and Jesus’ teachings regarding forgiveness, this teaching of Paul seems to resolve, settle, and answer the question.

What was the question? It was, “What does the New Testament teach on the subject of forgiving other people, and does this confirm or contradict Stephan Molyneux’s statement?”

And now we’ve arrived at a new and unexpected question: “What does it mean to forgive ‘as the Lord forgave you’?”

John the Baptist in Matthew

Let’s return to John the Baptist. He shows up in Matthew as well as in the other Synoptics, but he doesn’t use the word “forgive” in Matthew. Instead, Matthew’s account says:

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent [METANOEITE], for the kingdom [BASILEIA] of heaven has come near…I baptize you with water for repentance [METANOIAN]” (Matthew 3:1-2,11).

Both Mark and Luke also have John proclaiming repentance:

And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (Mark 1:4)

He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (Luke 3:3)

Why repent?

The New Testament writers included repentance here for a reason: as a foreshadowing of Jesus of Nazareth, whose initial message was identical to that of John:

From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent [METANOEITE], for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 4:17)

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent [METANOEITE] and believe [PISTEUETE] the good news!” (Mark 1:15)

We see, then, that John the Baptist

1) preached “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”;

2) preached “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near”;

3) foreshadowed Jesus, who preached the same message of repentance.

Confession and Forgiveness

Recall that John’s baptism was “of repentance” and “for the forgiveness of sins.” But people didn’t merely repent when they came to John the Baptist:

Confessing [EXOMOLOGOUMENOI] their sins [HAMARTIAS], they were baptizedby him in the Jordan River. (Mark 1:5b; Matthew 3:6)

But why “confess” their sins?

John of Patmos, writing many years after the days of John the Baptist and Jesus, offers an insight into this teaching. This is the only reference to “forgiveness” (in all its forms) in the non-Pauline letters that directly addresses the present question:

If we claim to be without sin [HAMARTIAN], we deceive [PLANOMEN] ourselves and the truth [ALETHEIA] is not in us. If we confess [OMOLOGOMEN] our sins[HAMARTIAS], he is faithful [PISTUS] and just and will forgive [APHE] us our sins[HAMARTIAS] and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)

Confession of one’s errors, then, is part of repentance–throughout the New Testament. That is, “an admittance of wrong and a genuine seeking of restitution” (to quote Molyneux again) are prerequisites for forgiveness GIVEN BY GOD in the teachings of the New Testament.

Jesus taught his followers to have “mercy on your fellow servant just as [the Lord] had mercy on you”. Paul taught his followers to “be imitators of God” and “forgive one another …even as also the Lord forgave you.”

We see now that forgiving SOMEONE ELSE in compassionate response to their confession and repentance IS forgiving “as the Lord forgave you.” Therefore, Stefan Molyneux’s statement on forgiveness is in harmony with the teachings of Jesus, John the Baptist, Paul of Tarsus, and John of Patmos.

Stefan’s words here are modern-day reminders of the New Testament’s ancient teachings about forgiving people who have erred against us…after they repent of their errors and confess them to us.

Appendix: A Few Technical Notes…

According to the online concordance that I use, the word “forgive” (to include “forgave,” “forgiven,” “forgiveness,” and “forgives”) appears 66 timesin the New Testament (NIV), as follows:

Matthew (12 times)
Mark (10 times)
Luke (19 times)
John (1 time)
Acts (6 times)
Romans (1 time)
2 Corinthians (4 times)
Ephesians (2 times)
Colossians (4 times)
Hebrews (3 times)
James (1 time)
1 John (3 times)

In keeping with my personal Bible study guidelines, this discussion omits the Old Testament, the Book of Acts, certain Pauline pseudepigrepha (2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Hebrews–but NOT Colossians, Ephesians, or Titus), and passages that only appear once in the three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), except where noted.

I also have a custom of rendering the Koine Greek word “HAMARTIA” generally as “error” in English because 1) the literal meaning of its verb form “HAMARTANO” is “to miss the mark” (with the classic example of “missing” the bull’s-eye in archery being frequently given) and 2) I know through personal experience that “error” is the greatest cause of harm (perhaps the Greek word translated below as “offence”) among human beings.

(Interestingly, the English word “error” in all its forms (such as “to err”) occurs only EIGHT times in the New International Version (NIV) of the New Testament–and 17 times in the King James Version (KJV). It comes from a different Greek word that also means “deceit” as a noun and “to deceive” as a verb. See 1 John 1:8, referenced herein.)

Text quoted in this essay is from the NIV, as copied from the online concordance at I used this version here because its textual sources (being chosen from among many divergent Greek manuscripts) are superior to the Textus Receptus, the manuscript used to translate the King James Version (KJV) more than 400 years ago; however, the NIV‘s English translation (being less literal or word-for-word, as in the KJV) sometimes loses grasp of the original meaning, in my view. I believe that the value of my approach will become apparent to attentive readers.

Accordingly, in this study I provide, within the copied NIV text, an English transliteration [IN ALL CAPS] after certain key English words and phrases. Where I believe the NIV translation differs meaningfully from the corresponding manuscript’s literal translation (according to my Interlinear KJV: Parallel New Testament in Greek and English), I note both the Greek transliteration AND its literal English translation together [IN ALL CAPS, “IN BRACKETS WITH QUOTES”] following the NIV‘s translation.

In certain instances, the wording of the NIV was so divergent from the Greek that I simply removed the NIV‘s wording and replaced it with its literal English translation IN ALL CAPS, followed by the Greek transliteration [IN BRACKETS]. In other cases, as in general, I use “…” to indicate the removal of text from the quote when it isn’t present in the Greek at all, or where its inclusion (or word order) would reduce the reader’s ability to follow the text, or for the sake of brevity.

All bold type is my own addition, in order to emphasize certain points and/or focus on the subject of study.


Living Consciously Leads to Freedom

February 6, 2018

I’ve observed in my own experience that living consciously is good (leads to freedom), while living unconsciously is bad (leads to suffering). Anyone can test this statement against their own experience.

What do I mean when I say “consciously” and “unconsciously”?

What you think of as yourself is not who you really are. In a kind of funny way, you live from the perspective of this false you, thinking all the while that you’re the one living your life, determining your experiences, and suffering from the mistakes you make.

In reality, you are not the one living your life or determining your experiences—-but you are the one suffering from the mistakes this false you is making! It’s not even close to fair. It’s tragic, if you want to look at it that way (but you don’t have to). Every other person alive is in the same predicament as you—-unless they have become conscious of their ability to be conscious.

How in the world can it be that you are living and breathing in this body…and yet you are not?

When you came into the world, you had a Basic Personality: your True Self. This “BP” is like a blueprint. It contained (and still contains) your potentials, your abilities, the seeds of your preferences, and everything else that your life experience would help to mold into who you would become. Your BP is who you really are, as an individual, without the input of other people and your environment and life experiences.

At the present time, you are not functioning as your BP.

Since you were born, other people have been trying to make you into what they want you to be. And guess what? You were so little and so dependent on these people for everything you needed to live that you eventually stopped trying to be who you really are. In the face of overwhelming physical force and emotional withdrawal from the people you depended on for life itself, you sacrificed your BP on the altar of feeling accepted.

What replaced your BP was a collection of ideas, words, beliefs, and many other mental concepts that other people injected into your mind.

Your mind, when you were born, was a blank slate, completely open to be written on.

Your BP is not your mind.

Your BP is beyond your mind.
Your BP owns your mind.
Your mind owns your emotions.
Your emotions own your body.

Your mind is a creation of the people around you who didn’t accept who you really are and sought to create you in the image they wanted.

Your mind is not real. It is a creation of society.
Your BP is real. It is who you really are!

Your BP can control everything: your mind, emotions, and body. But guess what? The poor thing is shriveled up like a raisin! You locked it up when you were so little you don’t even remember and there it’s been, in solitary confinement, locked away within yourself, alone.

No wonder you feel so alone, so often.

But guess what? Your BP can come out and play again. In fact, this is the goal of your life. It’s the thing all the religions started out teaching.

You have to sacrifice yourself—-your false self—-to reclaim the real you!

You have to deny the world to gain what is truly real and important.

You have to set the captive-—you—-free!


You become more conscious.


If you haven’t until now, you just started. Congratulations. It’s quite a trip. Once you know what’s wrong, you won’t settle until you’ve solved the problem. Now you know what’s wrong, and how you solve the problem will be up to you.

“He who seeks shall find.”

This is absolutely true, no matter what your life seems to be telling you. If you have faith in anything (and you do), this statement is worthy of your faith…even if only to seek (and find) whether it is true.

“The truth will set you free.”

Meditation is a good first step toward becoming more conscious. When you meditate, you let all the crap in your mind (false self) settle. You empower your Basic Personality (the real you). Eventually, you will connect with that long-lost inner part of yourself and you will begin to live for real. Your decisions, no longer made by the many contradictory voices in your head, will be made by you and no one else. For the first time, you will be living your own life. The false you will be silenced.

Aside from meditation, there are many other ways of becoming more conscious. Self-observation is one. Breathing exercises are another. Entheogens, contemplation, movement, artistic expression, parenting, and simply appreciating beauty are others. These practices can help to establish and strengthen your connection with the True Self.

In time, you will live more and more consciously—-more and more from the vantage point of your True Self, your Basic Personality. You will discover who you really are and what you really like. You will no longer allow others to control your thoughts, emotions, or actions. You will be free.

That’s the difference between living consciously and unconsciously: freedom. Freedom to love and accept and sing and dance and create, to be free to share and enjoy and live in peace. Free to be who you really are.

(Written on November 6, 2008; freshly edited on February 6, 2018.)

Why We Contain the Universe

July 17, 2017

The deeper we go within, into the depths of our own Consciousness and Psyche, the more we withdraw our attention from the outside world.  The farther within that we dig, the less influence the outside world has on us.

This can be, and I think usually is, a sign of insight and depth of vision.

As insight deepens, consciousness “shrinks”: its focus is more toward the center of one’s being, and the outer “edges” of awareness tend to shrink (or expand) with the range of focus of one’s attention.

It’s not easy to find the center at first.  It’s underneath “stuff”: the burden of unresolved past painful experience and the fuzziness of things we “learned” that aren’t really true.

The burden is called “negativity.”

The fuzziness is called “wrong beliefs.”

Together, negativity and wrong beliefs are called the “ego” or the “false self.”

Negativity and wrong beliefs are also the substance of which attachments are made.

Ego and attachments cause consciousness to be focused on the “surface” of awareness, where Soul and Matter meet to form “flesh”–that is, the body and its needs, desires, and sensations.

Someone deeply asleep in the darkness of ego is deeply identified with the body.

The bodily identity is called the “(surface) personality.”  It consists of bodily characteristics, innate personal qualities, urges, and a name and mailing address.  It also has a social group, usually a family.

The personality is temporary and constantly changing in accordance with experience.

Experience happens on the outside, in the collective dream-reality of society and sensation.  Experience registers on the inside, at the center of one’s consciousness.

The center goes all the way “in” (or “up”), to a more collective or shared version of consciousness.  The collective or shared consciousness at the center of (one’s personal) consciousness is cause, and the outer world of experience is effect.

A “point of consciousness” is a self-aware, aware, or semi-aware being (or object).  A human or dolphin is self-aware.  A dog or amoeba is aware.  An enzyme or atom is semi-aware.

All points of consciousness are “connected to” this central-consciousness database through their own centers of consciousness.  All points of consciousness are points of exchange of information between the inner center of consciousness and the outer world of experience.

What is exchanged is–and must be–information from other points of consciousness, including thoughts and sensations.

This means that when I (consciousness) look out my eyes into another set of eyes, consciousness is seeing itself–from both sides of the interaction.

In every interaction, something is shared.  This “something” is recorded in the centers of consciousness that are present in the interaction.

All the information collected and stored in the ultimate center of every center of consciousness equals the sum total of everything that has ever been experienced in the history of existence.

As experience becomes more complex, there are more unique situations and opportunities for interaction to happen and be “recorded” in the central center of consciousness.  This is one purpose of Existence: to provide a vast array of different kinds of experience.

We can accurately say that the central center of consciousness “knows all.”  A lot of people call this central center of consciousness “God.”

Since it is causative to everything that happens, has ever happened, or ever will happen, it is.  Since it knows all, it is.  Since it is everywhere all at once, it is.  Since it “can do anything” (because it DOES everything), it is.

Right there in the center.  Small as a mustard seed, small as a grain of sand.  Like a tiny candle flame that ever (not “never”) changes but is static.

This tiny center within us and everything else is enormously huge.  After all, it caused and causes everything.

It is everywhere, in everything, unable to be scraped off or squeezed out of anything.

Unable to be sliced in half.

It is huger and grander than the universe we can see or know.  It contains the universe.  The universe exists within it, surrounded and penetrated by it.

It it, we live and move and have our being.  Literally!

And it’s all there, sitting quietly and patiently, being unaffected, always, free for the taking, hidden but accessible.  Inside you.

God. In you.

THIS is why there’s a Golden Rule.  Jesus understood.  Do unto others…because they ARE you.


(“The divinity in me bows to the divinity in you.”)

Written on July 17, 2010, and freshly edited on July 17, 2017

Exes and Razor Blades

April 10, 2017

Last night I had a dream that involved my first “real” ex-girlfriend. We were together in the dream, or at least living together. I told her things about our relationship “then” (at the “time” of the dream) that would apply to anyone who would be my mate now.

After I woke up, I wondered if she was a symbol of “The Female” in ALL of my past relationships…and if my words to her in the dream were meant to express (to my conscious self) my attitude now.

My real-life relationship with her began a very long process of extracting out of myself an inner brokenness that attracted me to females who personified something lost in me, a battle not won, a love not attained. It was like other romances (both before and since) that brought angst instead of love–dysfunction and demands, incessant emotional vitriol and high sexual energy.

I thought about contacting her today. “Hey, I had a dream about you last night. Is everything OK?” And I didn’t. There’s no reason to.


I wondered today if my dream applies somehow to a more recent ex, or if it even could. But I don’t believe it could. Being in a romantic relationship is like giving your partner a razor blade and letting him or her shave your throat. When you give someone a razor so she can shave you, and halfway through the shave she tries to cut your throat, you don’t want her to “shave” you again.

Short of cutting your throat, even ranting and raving at the sky and waving the razor wildly in the air while you rest your head in front of her is plenty of reason to end the shave (and be reluctant to repeat the experience). Similarly, holding the razor to your throat and “only threatening” to cut it is sort of a deal-breaking incident…even if the rest of the shave was just fine.

I’ve had all of these figurative experiences in romantic relationships.

One ex showed me repeatedly that she can’t be trusted near my neck even with a letter-opener. After a couple of botched shaving experiences with her, I figured we could start again with that and work our way up–first a letter-opener, then a small pocketknife, then maybe a bigger one, and eventually back up to a razor–but every time I was proven wrong.

If you can’t trust someone to shave you without cutting your throat (especially on purpose, but even by accident), that person can’t be your mate. Or am I missing something? Is there value in just giving someone a razor and letting them cut your throat?


Recently, in the absence of both relationship drama and the angst of the pursuit of romantic love, I’ve turned more towards broader ideas about “truth, justice, and the American way” (to quote Superman) or “the nooks and crannies of life and the human experience” (to quote myself).

And I spend time with my kids. And I work. And I write, when I can, about things that I’ve learned in these 42-plus years of living.

What matters most is what matters most, and I’ve learned that what matters most is learning and knowing myself. Romantic relationships, more than any other experience, have taught me this, and they also have brought me my life’s greatest joys: human connection, self-knowledge, the ability to express it in words…and my children.

For that, I am grateful for the romances in my past, whether or not I have one in the future–but I’ve also learned that I can shave my own throat just fine. Or I can keep my beard.

“To know why is to be free” and other thoughts

April 2, 2017

A square peg doesn’t fit into a round hole. Oil and water do not mix. Magnets don’t stick to wood. Light and darkness cannot exist at the same time.

Life is hard enough without adding unnecessary burdens to an already heavy load. Lightening someone’s load means someone else carrying more weight. Some things are meant to be easy; if they’re difficult, that’s a sign that something is amiss. Life teaches what those things are.

People are like billiard balls, bouncing off each other and changing each other’s direction. They cannot move in a straight line for long. To stop, or to fall into a pocket, removes one from the game–and yet the game continues. “There can be only one” is just a line from a movie, a misunderstanding if taken as reality.

Streamline. Keep it simple, stupid. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Simplify. Take it easy. Don’t let that which matters most drown in the puddle of that which matters not. Much matters not…or much matters. It’s your choice.

I want you to be a certain way. Thus, I begin the race a loser. You want me to be different. Thus, you admit that you don’t like who I am. I can take you, or I can leave you. It’s my choice: whether right or wrong, it’s my choice. Take away choice and what’s left? Right? Wrong.

People aren’t perfect, and yet they are. We all fall short, and yet we’re all on the way to where we’re going…and we’re all exactly where we’re at. We cannot be otherwise; to demand such is to inflict folly on ourselves. Too much folly and truth disappears, covered by dark clouds and causing darkness. And yet this is temporary.

Give up? Give in? Give back? Give out? Give off? No. Just give.

Craziness is feeling without reason. Coldness is reason without feeling. Death is neither reason nor feeling. Life is reason with feeling. Both are necessary; to own one without the other is to live only half a life, all the time. At best.

It’s better to laugh than to cry, sometimes. And sometimes it’s better to cry. It’s best to know why. Prisoners do not, nor do children. This is fine for prisoners and children, but not for adults who are free. To know why is to be free.

Friends make mistakes. They are people, too. To demand perfection from friends is to condemn them. To forgive them is to love them–to be a friend yourself. Some friends are worth it, and others are not. Do you know which is which?

Happiness is not rocket science. Do what you like to do. Think about what you want. Then, do that. If you find yourself doing what you don’t want, do something else. Make a plan if you have to. Being scared is okay.

Life is not easy, but it can be. Life is pain sometimes. Life is joy sometimes. The more we see, the more life is joy. The more blind we are, the more life is pain. Sometimes pain is necessary. Sometimes pain leads to joy. Sometimes pain leads to death.

Those who truly love you are few. Cherish them. Human beings are not cheap, but often bring deep rewards. Look into people as deeply as you can. People are full of meaning…and shit. More of one means less of the other. Know how to tell the difference. Then, use this gift.

Treading water gets you nowhere. Dive deep. There are treasures to be found beneath the surface. It gets easier with practice. Stay on the surface if you want to stay impoverished.

To be afraid to dive deep is to be afraid of yourself. Woe unto those who fear themselves, for they fear the greatest gift, the richest treasure, the most bountiful harvest. They will not find it “out there.” The kingdom is “in here.”

There is great power in words, in feelings, in decisions. Would you give a gun to a toddler? Learn to use your words, feelings, and decisions rightly. What goes out also comes back. Life is like a boomerang, a rubber band, a bungee cord. Be careful what you say. Know why you feel. Decide to be right.

What is right? I can’t answer that for you. But you can.

What does Life want you to do? You’re doing it NOW.

(Written on March 31, 2012)

The Power of Personal Responsibility

March 15, 2017

“With great power comes great responsibility.” –Unknown

“With great responsibility comes great power.” –Ven

What’s the difference between a victim of circumstances and an overcomer of them?

Responsibility. Personal responsibility. The victim avoids owning up to his or her contribution to an experience, but the overcomer does not. An overcomer not only “owns up to,” but also owns his or her experiences, rather than attempting to avoid responsibility for them.

It may well be that the person in question had little or nothing to do with the actions that led immediately to the painful event. It may be that the person was an “innocent bystander.”

No matter what the circumstances were–however little you think you had to do with the event–you will never be able to get over it and move on until you realize and accept your own responsibility to deal with the reality of it: its results, the broken pieces, the outcome.

A man standing on a curb who gets wiped out by a speeding car might not have caused the accident (although he was, after all, standing by the road), but he now has to deal with the results of the accident: the injury. No one’s body can heal but his own. No person can feel the agony but himself. He might try to avoid the pain and ignore the injury–maybe by overusing addictive drugs–but in the end, if he wants to heal as well and completely as possible, he will have to take responsibility for his own recovery.

Responsibility brings power. Avoiding responsibility brings victimhood (lack of power).

Why is “power” important, in the sense that I’m using it here?

Power is the difference between a victim of life and an overcomer of life. Power, in this sense, doesn’t mean the Naricssistic ability to harm or control others. It doesn’t mean the stoic ability to not let life affect you in negative ways. POWER means the ability to roll with the punches of life without getting stuck or bogged down in its frequent difficult situations.

Like Mark Twain said,

“Life is just one damn thing after another.”

What shall the “damn things” of life do to you? Shall they make you or shall they break you? Will you rise and accept and learn and grow from (even unwanted) experiences, or will you cower and succumb to their undying onslaught?

Aside from those situations when we seem to be innocent victims of circumstance, as adults we are perhaps far more often participants in the creation of situations that cause us to suffer. It’s very common among us (and even acceptable!) to shift blame (to deny or avoid responsibility).

“What, you’re 40 and you can’t read? Can’t swim? Can’t play music? Aw, fie on those foul fiends who have done you harm for no reason! You can never be better! You can never learn! You can never grow! You have to suffer NOW because of something somebody else did to you long ago. You are doomed to bear it for all your days; you must wait for someone else to free you from your pain; you cannot unburden yourself because you didn’t put the load there.”

Bullshit. We all have the power to unload pain from past experiences. We might not have placed the load there, but we certainly have the ability to remove it from our own shoulders. More often than not, we did help to create the circumstances that put the load there–but even when we didn’t, if we want to heal we have to act as though we DID.

We can pretend not to have responsibility for our own lives, but that doesn’t relieve us of having to live the consequences of our experiences anyway.

We are the ones living our lives. We are powerful, whether we know it or not. But our power is hidden, blunted, sabotaged. We are blind to what we are missing. We cannot see that we have to own our experiences if we wish to move on and live better. This gives us back our power–or, rather, it lets us see the power we already have but have been denying to ourselves.

We have to accept responsibility for our part in creating our experiences, and for the consequences of events that befall us–ALL of them. This is the only way not to be a victim of life, in life, for life.

On the Fake Lines Dividing Our Society Against Itself

February 6, 2017

We The People of the USA are infamously “divided”–in our minds. This division (though beginning in the mind) is expressed in our social relationships. Importantly, this mental division is largely implanted into our minds through our consumption of the mass media.

This American media-driven mental-social division is expressed in the following ways, among others:

  1. rich vs. poor
  2. African-American vs. European-American
  3. liberal vs. conservative
  4. pro-life vs. pro-choice
  5. gay vs. straight
  6. traditional vs. progressive
  7. men vs. women
  8. gun rights vs. gun control
  9. religious vs. secular
  10. urban vs. rural

Amazingly, this division is so defined at present that if someone’s position on only one issue is known, then that person’s position on virtually all other issues can be correctly assumed! This is not natural, normal, or healthy–but neither is the division itself.

The division is a consequence of many factors, including these:

  1. Mass-media promotion of endless ways to divide our society against itself
  2. The inability of people to distinguish their own experiences from propaganda
  3. The (natural and healthy) existence of multiple viewpoints on any matter
  4. The incorrect judgment that there are always only TWO viewpoints on an issue
  5. The incorrect judgment that one’s own viewpoint MUST be right
  6. The incorrect judgment that the (only) other viewpoint MUST be wrong
  7. The unwillingness of individuals to consider their own viewpoint fully and rationally
  8. The unwillingness of individuals to consider other viewpoints fully and rationally
  9. The tendency of “the masses” to abandon reason and “think” emotionally instead
  10. The extreme avoidance of admitting one’s own error
  11. Constant consumption of mass-media programming by people in our society
  12. The (often incorrect) perception of social and peer pressure for a certain view
  13. The belief (and insistence) that others must or should share one’s own viewpoint
  14. The validation and acceptance of the division itself
  15. The media-creation of certain viewpoints that are not real

The solutions to these problems lie in the mind of each person, but history shows that the great majority of people are simply unable and/or unwilling to correct these errors within themselves. I can’t fix them, but I can help to dispel these myths in and among people close to me (if they care to).

This is my purpose here. With that, let’s address the problem directly, as I see it.

The mass (corporate news and entertainment) media include (basically in order of importance/influence) TV programming, newspapers, Hollywood movies, magazines, books (both fiction and non-fiction), and radio programming. Despite theories about public “demand,” producers of these “information sources” decide for themselves what you and I will consume, within certain parameters.

Many of our viewpoints are the viewpoints that mass-media producers want us to have, not the ones we would have without their influence.

The mass media instigate division by reporting on it (as news), or by portraying it in a fictional setting (as entertainment). Then they fan the flames of division by defining a “line” between two (and only two) opposing viewpoints. We The People, not suspecting this sort of control, simply 1) accept the division, 2) choose one of the two opposing camps, and 3) join in the media-created division.

Folks, have we not figured out yet that the mass media are not our friends? Why do we as a society recognize the media as a problem and then continue to believe what they say?

To quote Terence McKenna,

“This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking.”

In my observation, neither side of a fake mental-social division is completely right–and neither is completely wrong, either. Both sides of each issue are partly right and partly wrong. Both sides are wrong for the black-and-white (lack of) thinking that solidifies the division.

Most importantly, neither side of the media-created division has the answer(s) on which it claims to have the monopoly.

This situation has brought great harm to the social fabric of our country, and it threatens to cause further confusion, chaos, and destruction between and among us if we don’t figure out what’s happening and how to stop it in our own lives.

I offer a very simple solution:

If people would stop consuming (and believing) the divisive propaganda that the mass media endlessly promote, and if they would instead rely on their own study and experience to guide them, then they could learn for themselves what’s “right” with regard to any “issue”–and to get along with people who disagree with their own viewpoints.

That one bold-faced paragraph, if understood and put into action, could by itself solve the majority of social problems in the United States.

Of course, nothing guarantees that another person will also be willing to “get along.” We simply can’t control other people…but trying to control other people is a symptom of what’s wrong in the first place. We can only control ourselves.

Unfortunately, the Powers That Be (of which the media are only a part) have anticipated this solution, and have injected our society with a powerful antidote to it:

We believe that truth is relative, everything is up for debate, and no real answers can ever be found anyway, so we might as well just not judge (that is, not use our brains), follow the media hype, be nice to everybody, and treat every person and idea as “equal” like they tell us to.

What the media don’t tell us is that this is a road to destruction, but they don’t seem to care about that anyway. In fact, they seem to promote it at every turn.

Written on February 17, 2014, and freshly edited on February 5, 2017.

%d bloggers like this: