PART 3 PERSONAL VALIDITY : THE CENTRAL CONCEPT

" What I really need is to get clear about what I must do, not what I
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."
.........Sřren Kierkegaard

"If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die 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 all
about the central concept and its relation to the very process of
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.

 

3.1 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 .

"Believe 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."
.......Buddha

Be a cause of your own beliefs, and not be a effect of
someone else's beliefs........Updated Apr 2005

3.1.1 Validity of Beliefs & Experiences

Therefore, according to the  above  definition, those beliefs or experiences

which  lead  to positive  results should be considered as  personally valid,  and

those that  do not, as  personally not valid.

However, those beliefs  or experiences which  do not get desired results or

goals, can be potentially useful at another time or circumstance or condition.

Alternately  beliefs / experiences  which are highly rewarding  currently may

not remain so for all  times.

Kierkegaard 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

 

3.1.2 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."

……..Rick 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

It is a general experience of most beings that a certain belief will fit into

or account well for a particular situation ( appear to be true) and yet the

same belief may yield no results for a different situation or for another

being in a similar situation.

Yet , most human beings will not accept this fundamental truth because this

apparently creates a contradiction and confusion in the rationally managed

construct of the mind.

The nature of the construct  of our belief system tends to dictate that we believe

something 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

The   belief-concept  construct of the mind feels safe and stable in a fixed system

of beliefs, and safety and stability are among the top  priority goals inbuilt in

the functional structure of the mind. Typically a belief that is made or acquired

early in life remains (without questioning its usefulness or applicability)  as an

integral operating belief till the very end of one's life. The opposite of that

belief 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

There is a strong feature in highly " rational " people, who have a strong tendency

to be highly consistent,that any kind of contradiction is not well tolerated by them.

Rather they quickly make an issue out of a situation which conflicts with their

cherished 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, an

obvious example: in the domain of strict scientific investigation.  But consistency

 is only required  where it is necessary to be consistent, and most conditions do

not demand this. To know and develop which situation requires consistency, and

which  situation  demands completeness and wholeness of perception, has to be

a self-developed art.

Belief is thus not a burden at all, but a field of possibility wherein one can grasp

knowledge, understanding and communication. And that knowledge then leads

to a higher level/intensity of belief which opens up a wider field of possibility..

..until one reaches the final limit of one's capacity....or run out of time.

However,  since almost all adults in this age have been taught to think in a scientific

manner in school, this imparts a rigid pattern of behavior in which the consistency of

beliefs is the highest priority, and a "stable", "sane" or "normal" behavior is enforced ;

thereby inhibiting the potential for art and imagination: the domain in which

consistency has no priority.

The same story is repeated in a religious based education system, whereby no one is

encouraged to think or inquire on their own, and most beliefs are never, ever to be

questioned, only to be accepted rigidly as a matter of faith.

" Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative." ....Oscar Wilde
 

 The 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

What is almost never realized is that a belief is only a sort of "temporary

working truth" or what can also be called as "operating generalization".

Sometimes experience contradicts these beliefs, but this is usually

ignored or suppressed, lest the construct of the beliefs -concepts

structure (mind) becomes unstable, leading to potentially difficult

situation in society, where such a person is liable to be declared

insane, and treated as such, unless the person is able to carefully

camouflage the internal condition to make it appear acceptable

to the social circumstances.

  To  be able to hold  different or even opposing beliefs in one's inventory and 
then instantaneously apply the one which is valid or useful for the particular 
situation or context is the way to maximize one's general purpose abilities,
as well as one's Personal Validity

Since every belief and concept has an opposing or contrasting belief and concept,

given a being in a particular situation or context, a certain belief will fit the

perceived   situation well and its opposing or differing will not, and if the

situation or context changes, then the opposing belief can become valid

and thus the earlier one becomes invalid.

"Every idea I get I have to deny, that's my way of testing it."
...Emile Chartier

" 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."

……..Rick 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

From the above analysis it is apparent that to maximize the operational usefulness of

beliefs, these have not only to be fluid, dynamic and flexible, but also the context in

which each becomes valid should also be fluid and open ended.

There comes an artistic, intuitive or instinctive element in the applicability of the

beliefs and concepts in the structure of one's construct of reality, that can only be

developed 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

Thus  one's ability to gain from one's experiences, and equally importantly, from

the experience of others, relies on the fact that those beliefs in our inventory which 

are not currently useful can be so ,or at the least is another point of view that 

needs 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.

A belief or concept  that is valid in a certain context or situation,  may not

remain valid in another context, and its counter-belief can become valid

in a changed context. The ability to balance counter-beliefs has to be

developed by testing these for their domains or contexts of validity.

Only by this can one's Will gain effective control over one's reason without

which 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

edge of one's Will.  Intellectual art is not merely refusing to stay in just one of the

 two apparently contradicting categories but to explore both extremes as

well as find the mean, the fulcrum, the balance between the extremes.

"The practical effect of a belief is the real test of its
soundness"....James Froude

 The Primary Emotional States Of The Mind -

The Reward & Punishment Systems

" The reward-punishment dichotomy or spectrum is critically important
within the human computer's operations"...........John C Lilly

Merely  opposing  a  belief  or  out rightly  rejecting   an experience that  has 

produced  apparently  negative results  is  as futile  a path  as  overvaluing an

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 

the  overwhelming  danger of getting sucked in  a fixed  system of  beliefs or

procedures - thereby putting an  end  to one's potential growth.

On the contrary , beliefs or experiences that produce negative or painful or un-

satisfactory results 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 these limits.

  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

comes from irritability - that without an irritant there can be little creativity )

"People need 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 enhancement are

that of boredom or aimless indulgence in pleasure.

Boredom is the root of all evil - the despairing refusal to be oneself.
Soren Kierkegaard
 

 The 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

being discovers, evaluates, examines one self's uniqueness, purpose

& the state of one's construct in terms of applicability of the beliefs and

experiences that constitute the being. The next step in this process is the

realization  of  the  limitations  of  these  beliefs  or  experiences and an

evaluation of whether those limitations are worth transgressing,   

challenging or transcending.

The exploration or evaluation of these limits lead to further beliefs and thus a

hierarchy is formed whereby the earlier beliefs may become redundant .

The structure and the construct of that being changes as a result ,

sometimes drastically.

  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.

"A true "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

reaching towards, challenging and transcending basic limitations imposed

by  physical survival requirements and social requirements.

 

 BIOLOGICAL LIMITATIONS

 

The limitations imposed by the biological requirements of mere survival as well as

the  default   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". 

 SOCIAL/CULTURAL LIMITATIONS

"In 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 been

"planted" by 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 inter-related,

although the two domains can and should be separately treated to be

effectively dealt with to be transcended.

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 its

environment, seeking social acceptance and general agreement as a

feedback and control mechanism.

 

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 behavior.

So the natural sub-conscious or supra-conscious Will or predilections that can lead

to the realization and 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 external forces.

"Every society to which you remain bound robs you of a part of your essence,
and replaces it with a speck of the gigantic personality which is its own."

.........................José Rodó

Only by the strength of one's Will can one overcome the limits

imposed by all that has been programmed as a result of

the socialization process.

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.

 

 SUMMATION

This above all : to thine own self be true....William Shakespeare

Personal 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

imposed collective stupidity of mankind, as well as a successful  integration

within oneself 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 existential
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

 

PERSONAL VALIDITY WITHIN LIMITS:

Personal Validity is a measure of how well different and even conflicting

experiences and beliefs have been integrated and effectively put to use by

one's 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

PERSONAL 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

oneself 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

most important concept in this work :

 

NEXT PAGE 12 : 3.2 Uniqueness of Self

 

 HOME PAGE

epistemology, philosophy, metaphysics, religion, belief, system, social, cultural, paradigm, knowledge,
ontology, power, moral, fundamental, force, Will, Spirit, Intent, knowing, Heart, Mind, reason, intuition,
autonomous, unique, being, existence, space, time, meaning, purpose

GrossRyder Gross Ryder grossryder G RYDER GROSS RYDER