3 PERSONAL VALIDITY : THE CENTRAL CONCEPT
" What I
really need is to get clear about what I must do, not what I
a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for,
must know, except insofar as knowledge must precede every act.
The crucial thing is to find the truth that is true for me - to find the
idea for which I am to live and die.
This is what I need to live a completely human life and not merely
one of knowledge - so that I could base the development of my
thought not on something called objective - something which in
any case is not my own, but based upon something which is
bound up with the deepest roots of my existence - to which
I cling fast even though the whole world may collapse.
This is what I need and this is what I strive for."
he isn't fit to live."................Martin Luther King Jr.
“If you're not
ready to die for it, take the word 'freedom' out
of your vocabulary.” ― Malcolm X
With most of
the basic conceptual tools in hand, this section now
enters into the heart and mind of this work. The first article is
about the central concept and its relation to the very process
our management and handling of our beliefs : especially those
that one holds as sacred, and how these impose limitations upon
our thought and experiences, and finally how these can be
transcended by the examination of their validity or applicability
in a certain domain of interest or context.
What is Personal Validity
Personal Validity is a way of
describing the extent to which
a being's beliefs
or experiences correspond or translate
into results in
terms of fulfilling one's purpose . In simple
terms, Personal Validity can said
to be the knowledge of
oneself and thereby the dynamic
applicability (power) of
this knowledge for oneself as well
as for others .
nothing just because a so called wise person said it.
Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held.
Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books.
Believe nothing just because someone else believes it.
Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true."
Be a cause
of your own beliefs, and not be a effect of
someone else's beliefs........Updated Apr 2005
Validity of Beliefs & Experiences
according to the above definition, those beliefs
lead to positive results should be considered as personally
that do not, as personally not valid.
those beliefs or experiences which
do not get desired results or
can be potentially useful at another time or circumstance or
beliefs / experiences which are highly rewarding currently may
remain so for all times.
stressed the importance of the self' and the self's
relation to the world as being grounded in self-reflection and
introspection. He argued that "truth is subjectivity", which
does not imply that there are no objective truths, but rather
has to do with a distinction between what is objectively true
and an individual's subjective relation to that truth, such as
indifference or commitment to that truth. People who in some
sense believe the same thing may relate to those
beliefs quite differently.
......wikipedia.org & other sources
Opposing & Multiple Beliefs
"I am a fallabalist : that is someone who
believes that one should
passionately believe some things but also to have the wisdom to
believe that one could be dead wrong - that one is fallible in one's
beliefs. It's okay to have belief, but suspect your own beliefs."
Roderick ( TTC – Philosophy and Human Values)
"Now, I didn't bring them up here
to ridicule them. I brought them up
here to illustrate the point of conformity: the difficulty in maintaining
your own beliefs in the face of others.
Now, we all have a great need for acceptance. But you must trust
that your beliefs are unique, your own...even though others may
think them odd or unpopular.
Even though the herd may go, "That's bad." Robert Frost said, "Two
roads diverged in a wood...and l, I took the one less travelled by,
and that has made all the difference."...Dead Poets Society
is a general experience of most beings that a certain belief will fit into
account well for a particular situation ( appear to be true) and yet the
belief may yield no results for a different situation or for another
in a similar situation.
, most human beings will not accept this fundamental truth because this
creates a contradiction and confusion in the rationally managed
of the mind.
nature of the construct of our belief system tends to dictate that we believe
to be true, only if it is true under all circumstances and time.
"A believer is a
bird in a cage. A freethinker is an eagle parting the
clouds with tireless wings." .............Robert Ingersoll
"What is wanted is not the will to believe, but
the will to find out,
which is the exact opposite." - Bertrand Russell
belief-concept construct of the mind feels safe and stable in a fixed system
beliefs, and safety and stability are among the top priority goals inbuilt in
functional structure of the mind. Typically a belief that is made or acquired
in life remains (without questioning its usefulness or applicability) as an
operating belief till the very end of one's life. The opposite of that
is held as a falsehood that has to be opposed or avoided .
" The "sane"
man is not the one who has eliminated all contradictions
from himself so much as the one who uses these contradictions and
involves them in his work".....Maurice Merleau-Ponty
is a strong feature in highly " rational " people, who have a strong tendency
be highly consistent,that any kind of contradiction is not well tolerated
they quickly make an issue out of a situation which conflicts with
beliefs and will reject any idea that is not
consistent with what they hold.
There is no doubt that certain situations do demand a consistency of belief,
obvious example: in the domain of strict scientific investigation.
required where it is necessary to be consistent, and most conditions do
demand this. To know and develop which situation requires consistency, and
situation demands completeness and wholeness of perception, has to be
Belief is thus
not a burden at all, but a field of possibility wherein one can grasp
understanding and communication. And that knowledge then leads
to a higher
level/intensity of belief which opens up a wider field of possibility..
reaches the final limit of one's capacity....or run out of time.
since almost all adults in this age have been taught to think in a
in school, this imparts a rigid pattern of behavior in which the consistency of
is the highest priority, and a "stable", "sane" or "normal"
behavior is enforced ;
inhibiting the potential for art and imagination: the domain in which
consistency has no priority.
same story is repeated in a religious based education system, whereby no one is
to think or inquire on their own, and most beliefs are never, ever to be
only to be accepted rigidly as a matter of faith.
" Consistency is the
last refuge of the unimaginative." ....Oscar Wilde
Balancing of Contradictions
"Not only are there as many
conflicting truths as there are people to
claim them; there are equally multitudinous and conflicting truths
within the individual."...Virgilia Peterson
"The test of a first-rate
intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas
in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function."
............ F. Scott Fitzgerald
is almost never realized is that a belief is only a sort of "temporary
truth" or what can also be called as "operating generalization".
experience contradicts these beliefs, but this is usually
or suppressed, lest the construct of the beliefs -concepts
becomes unstable, leading to potentially difficult
society, where such a person is liable to be declared
treated as such, unless the person is able to carefully
internal condition to make it appear acceptable
to the social
To be able to
hold different or even opposing beliefs in
one's inventory and
instantaneously apply the one which is valid or
useful for the particular
or context is the way to maximize one's general purpose abilities,
well as one's Personal Validity.
every belief and concept has an opposing or contrasting belief and concept,
a being in a particular situation or context, a certain belief will fit the
situation well and its opposing or differing will not, and if the
or context changes, then the opposing belief can become valid
thus the earlier one becomes invalid.
"Every idea I
get I have to deny, that's my way of testing it."
" A famous
charge that is made in philosophy is that of relativism.
( that someone's philosophy or viewpoint or stand or idea is merely
relative - that is, has no universal value ). This charge is made to
imply that the person holds the absolutely ridiculous view that every
view is as good as any other view. That is a complete straw-person
argument because no one has ever held the view that any view is
as good as any other view. So whenever the specter of relativism
is raised, the first thing that should come to your mind is that there
aren't any. So the refutation in a certain sense is bound to miss at
least one point namely that you are not arguing against anyone.
Similarly perspectivism is also an unfortunate term to describe
Nietzsche's style of thinking, because perspectivism calls for the
idea ' I'm right from my perspective and you are right from your
perspective, and everybody is right from their perspective. I
also believe that that's a view that any one can hold.
Nietzsche was opposed to what may be called dogmatism of
not only the Western philosophical tradition, but the Western
theoretical position in general - that the belief central to
Western civilization was that their beliefs were not only good
for them but also all other societies - that they were binding
on all. The dogmatism that Nietzsche implied came in when
you search for views that should be binding on all. This is not
a criticism that you should have no beliefs, or that all your
beliefs are no better than anyone else's - its that the further
belief ( meta-belief ) about your beliefs - that everyone else
should believe the same damn way. I think that it is perfectly
consistent to believe in a wide number of things with a great
deal of passion and then believe about those beliefs that they
could be wrong.
So the dogmatism that Nietzsche's after, runs very deep in
our ( Western ) theoretical tradition."
Roderick ( TTC – Nietzsche and the Post-Modern Condition)
The Fluidity of Beliefs and their Valid Contexts
"The block of
granite which is an obstacle in the pathway of the weak,
becomes a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong"....Thomas Carlyle
the above analysis it is apparent that to maximize the operational usefulness of
these have not only to be fluid, dynamic and flexible, but also the context in
each becomes valid should also be fluid and open ended.
comes an artistic, intuitive or instinctive element in the applicability of the
and concepts in the structure of one's construct of reality, that can only be
or refined with experience, effort, Will, purpose and exposure.
. "The way to
get good ideas is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad
ones away." - Linus Pauling
one's ability to gain from one's experiences, and equally importantly,
experience of others, relies on the fact that those beliefs
in our inventory which
not currently useful can be so ,or at the
least is another point of view that
space in our inventory or construct.
On being asked whether he
would be prepared to die for his beliefs,
Bertrand Russel replied : Of course not. After all, I may be wrong.
belief or concept that is valid in a certain context or situation, may not
valid in another context, and its counter-belief can become valid
changed context. The ability to balance counter-beliefs has to be
by testing these for their domains or contexts of validity.
by this can one's Will gain effective control over one's reason without
reason instead of being a tool becomes the blind, oppressive master.
The art of reasoning is this ability to
balance context switching on the knife
one's Will. Intellectual art is not merely refusing to stay in just
one of the
apparently contradicting categories but to explore both extremes as
well as find the mean, the fulcrum, the balance between the extremes.
practical effect of a belief is the real test of its
Primary Emotional States Of The Mind -
Reward & Punishment Systems
reward-punishment dichotomy or spectrum is critically important
within the human computer's operations"...........John C Lilly
opposing a belief or out rightly rejecting an
experience that has
apparently negative results is as futile a path as
experience or belief
that has yielded highly rewarding results for some time.
In the former
case one may miss out in something and
in the latter case
overwhelming danger of getting sucked in a fixed system
of beliefs or
thereby putting an end to one's potential growth.
On the contrary , beliefs or experiences that produce negative or
painful or un-
are also strongly indicative or suggestive of our limits and
boundaries which can
be broken through , transcended or avoided only if we
are first aware of
The only way to know or reach towards one's limits is by
testing one's currently
held knowledge (beliefs and their value) by putting to test or exposure of these
beliefs in current
reality in accordance to one's purpose.
Even the failure of an
experiment is important to the extent that it is suggestive of
what could be lacking
and what needs to be corrected.
Stress , tension and
pain are themselves states that are so deeply rooted in the
self that these states
can be the trigger points for self analysis . A starting point
from where one can
identify the associated programs and beliefs operating deep
within the sub
conscious mind and which control the mind to a great extent.
Thus a state of pain
or pleasure and similarly any kind of provoking situation
or experience has the
inherent potential of providing an opportunity for a break-
through for oneself .
( It is generally understood by psychologists that creativity
irritability - that without an irritant there can be little creativity )
trouble -- a little frustration to sharpen the spirit on,
toughen it. Artists do; I don't mean you need to live in a rat hole or
gutter, but you have to learn fortitude, endurance.
Only vegetables are happy.".....William Faulkner
The only states of mind which have little or no potential for
that of boredom or
aimless indulgence in pleasure.
the root of all evil - the despairing refusal to be oneself.
Process of Personal Validity
"Learning is the
opening of ourselves to the experience of life."
.....Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen
Personal Validity is thus a process within a
being through which the
discovers, evaluates, examines one self's uniqueness, purpose
state of one's construct in terms of applicability of the beliefs and
that constitute the being. The next step in this process is the
of the limitations of these beliefs or
experiences and an
of whether those limitations are worth transgressing,
exploration or evaluation of these limits lead to further beliefs and thus a
is formed whereby the earlier beliefs may become redundant .
structure and the construct of that being changes as a result ,
More importantly , the control of the
structure and the construct passes
on from the
primitive or earlier structure / construct to the newer one.
In simpler terms, as a
being acquires knowledge of himself, control and power is
enhanced within the being.
The being realizes that he can now more effectively
deal with his own self as
well as the world around him. The being attains more
and more freedom of choice
of thought, experience and action.
"personality" . . . is like a robust organism that, with unconscious
sureness, seeks out and digests the nourishment appropriate to it and
vigorously rejects that which is unsuitable."........Gustav Mahler
Although the above process
is one of the weak subliminal operations of a being's
mind, it is at a conscious
level that real control can be exercised in order to realize
the potential of the being's
available structure and construct, assuming that self-
improvement is one of the
actively pursued goals of the being.
But self improvement or
betterment or development can only take place by
challenging and transcending basic limitations imposed
by physical survival
requirements and social requirements.
The limitations imposed by
the biological requirements of mere survival as well as
tendency to maximize pleasure and minimize pain are not only the
most formidable limitations,
but also the most challenging, as well as the root of
all limitations. What is the
need to go beyond or transcend these limits ? Isn't it
the goal of all life to seek
happiness, pleasure, make merry and enjoy ?
Obviously then, these limits
need to be transcended only by those who see
a human purpose beyond
merely a "pursuit of happiness and bliss".
a totally sane society, madness is the only freedom.".......J. G. Ballard
Apart from the
limitations imposed by the biological requirements of survival, the
other "not so
obvious" but still formidable limitations are those that have
society and culture through the education process. Since one's biological
needs for survival and
security are largely dependent upon and intertwined with
the social requirements,
the biological and social limitations are
although the two domains can
and should be separately treated to be
effectively dealt with to be
When I say " to be
transcended " I mean that in order to reach towards one's
limits, one has to go beyond
the limits acquired from and imposed by society.
Most people have no need to
do so, rather are quite comfortable within the
social and cultural limits.
What is not obviously realized is that if no
one ventures beyond
these boundaries, then
the vision, imagination and foresight of an
entire culture thus
remains limited, eventually leading
to its degeneration.
Due to the difficulties
involved, as well as lack of motivation or will, most people
prefer not to self-examine
consciously, and the basic nature of the human mind is
that it tends to rely mainly
on external sources ( sensory inputs from the world
around and society).
The average human mind, by default, tends to "freewheel" in
social acceptance and general agreement as a
feedback and control
Since most, if not all, of
one's knowledge has been acquired as a result of "growing
up" in a particular
society and culture, it is but natural that the beliefs and values
of that particular society
and culture permeate through all or most an
individual's thought and
So the natural sub-conscious
or supra-conscious Will or predilections that can lead
development of one's uniqueness, tend to get suppressed
by the stronger social
forces, unless it is developed well in time in order to
effectively handle the
"Every society to which you remain bound robs you of a part of
and replaces it with a speck of the gigantic personality which is its own."
Only by the strength of one's Will can one overcome the
imposed by all that has
been programmed as a result of
For those persons who more
or less identify themselves essentially with only
what is generally acceptable
and agreeable , the concept of Personal Validity
and uniqueness may be of
little or no use.
This above all : to thine own
self be true....William Shakespeare
Validity is the attainment of a state of total reliance upon one's own
resources - a
state of freedom attained after a successful purging out of the
collective stupidity of mankind, as well as a successful integration
of the best of mankind.
"Kierkegaard takes the
(Hegelian) notion of a dialectic but makes it
strictly personal. He calls it 'existential dialectic'. The idea is that
although there may well be an interplay of a dialectic in History there
is also and more importantly an interplay within each individual -
the dialectic tension between the contingent and the chosen,
between contingency and freedom.
In Kierkegaard the idea of a
dialectic had to do not with war and forces
in History, not with warring ideas as such, but rather has to do with what
goes on in a subjective individual who tries to make decisions that are
going to define that individual's life. The personal dialectic is
in precisely the sense that has to do with this notion of existence in
taking hold of one's life, making commitments, passionately throwing
oneself into one way of life or another." ...R. Solomon TTC
VALIDITY WITHIN LIMITS:
Personal Validity is a measure of how well
different and even conflicting
and beliefs have been integrated and effectively put to use by
faculties, even if these are for limited goals
"We must let go of the
life we have planned, so as to accept the one
that is waiting for us"......Joseph Campbell
"If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to
your own being, you will have betrayed yourself." - Rollo May
VALIDITY WITHOUT LIMITS :
"What Nietzsche saw as an
incredible project - which was to
invent oneself or self creation, has now become a marketable thing."
…..Rick Roderick ( TTC – Nietzsche and the Post-Modern Condition)
Personal Validity is a dynamic and never ending
process of restructuring
through the restructuring of one's goals, beliefs and paradigms .
"Don't listen to
anyone who says that you can't do this or that.
Make up your mind, you'll never use crutches or a stick. Then
have a go at everything.....never, never let them persuade you
that things are too difficult or impossible".......Douglas Bader
The next article
deals in depth with the concept of uniqueness, the second
concept in this work :
PAGE 12 : 3.2 Uniqueness of Self
metaphysics, religion, belief, system, social, cultural, paradigm,
ontology, power, moral, fundamental, force, Will, Spirit, Intent, knowing,
Heart, Mind, reason, intuition,
autonomous, unique, being, existence, space, time, meaning, purpose
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