Take Another Bite

If you were blessed by Christine’s post the other day, then you really should take the time to read the follow up post. Christine explains how she goes about using her heart’s leadership in her calling.

One of the main takeaways is that you learn to slow down, to give it time. It’s the same for any significant touch of the divine: Take your time. Savor the process and the power. There’s plenty of times you’ll have to make a flash decision, but for most things you should give yourself time to unlearn all the wrong stuff. You have to unlearn false emotional signals so that your mind can organize and implement what God wants from you and for you. In case you didn’t notice, this is how prayer is supposed to work.

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Psalm 150

This is the end of the Hallelujah Hymns and the end of the whole book. It serves honorably to hold that place as the capstone of worship.

Hallelujah! At the very least we should come to the Temple and praise Him. However, there is no place in His whole Creation where praise is out of place. Indeed, let all Creation praise Him together at once. Do you need a reason? Think of the powerful actions He has taken. Contemplate His greatness; you cannot fathom it.

Like a conductor, the psalmist calls first for the brass section to catch our attention with sharp notes. Then he brings up the stringed harps and lyres. He motions for dancers to begin their moves while the timbrels pop and jingle in their hands. Next, he signals to the woodwinds and other strings to raise their voices. Finally comes the crashing crescendo of various cymbals and grand gongs.

Were that not enough, let all breathing creatures raise their voice in earth-shattering praise. Yes, praise the Lord, indeed.

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On the Sunk Costs Fallacy

If you have the time and patience to read it, I highly recommend The Sunk Cost Fallacy by David McRaney. He uses the memorable obsession on Facebook called “Farmville” to demonstrate a serious flaw that arises from Western materialism. This flaw is rooted in the deep pessimism and dread inherent in Anglo-American culture.

I’ve excerpted some critical parts here:

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[O]rganisms that placed more urgency on avoiding threats than they did on maximizing opportunities were more likely to pass on their genes. So, over time, the prospect of losses has become a more powerful motivator on your behavior than the promise of gains. Whenever possible, you try to avoid losses of any kind, and when comparing losses to gains you don’t treat them equally. The results of his experiments and the results of many others who’ve replicated and expanded on them have teased out a inborn loss aversion ratio. When offered a chance to accept or reject a gamble, most people refuse to make [or] take a bet unless the possible payoff is around double the potential loss….

Sunk costs are a favorite subject of economists. Simply put, they are payments or investments which can never be recovered. An android with fully functioning logic circuits would never make a decision which took sunk costs into account, but you would. As an emotional human, your aversion to loss often leads you right into the sunk cost fallacy….

That’s the fallacy at work, because the money is gone no matter what. You can’t get it back. The fallacy prevents you from realizing the best choice is to do whatever promises the better experience in the future, not which negates the feeling of loss in the past….

You continue to play Farmville not to have fun, but to avoid negative emotions. It isn’t the crop you are harvesting, but your fallacies. You return and click to patch cracks in a dam holding back something icky in your mind — the sense you wasted something you can never get back….

Sunk costs drive wars, push up prices in auctions and keep failed political policies alive. The fallacy makes you finish the meal when you are already full. It fills your home with things you no longer want or use. Every garage sale is a funeral for someone’s sunk costs.

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The one way we can begin to moderate this effect is to realize that it’s a fallacy, that God doesn’t operate this way. When you manage to shed materialism in favor of seeing the richness of God’s provision, and you hold a preference for intangible values, then you find the world a far less fearful place to live. You will be able to recognize that what you hold today is just a tool for His glory. When the job changes, you leave behind the tools that belong to it because of His divine promise to provide new tools for a new job.

I run into the sunk costs fallacy all the time when I try to help people switch to a better software package that requires learning a few different habits. It’s the same kind of dread that keeps people from leaving behind the confining prison walls of bad intellectual assumptions on faith.

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The One in the Mirror

We have to ditch the mental habits of our world.

One of those habits is seeking some body of objective truth. So long as you cling to that, there will always be someone ready to crush you for having a different content in your “objective truth.” As previously noted, it’s a trick, a fundamental flaw of human nature to believe that logic and reason can bring us all to a common answer on everything. What’s really happening is that we use reason and logic to justify what’s really going on inside of us, and that’s the drive to find room for our true individual will.

If the world around us says we need objective reason and logic, then our minds will work through the inherently broken rules of logic and find room to justify what we really must have for entirely illogical reasons. And we will go so far as to play the game and hide from our conscious minds the content of that true will and where it comes from.

It’s not that your true will comes from God, but it reflects how God made us. It’s how we are wired. So it works a whole lot better to come up with a model of reality that accommodates that wiring as much as possible. This is why I state that reality is fungible: Your perception of reality, arising from your experiences and your true will, is as good as mine. We need to invest more energy in understanding how to work together within that variable reality than fussing at each other about what we find reality to be.

So this calls for developing protocols and habits that account for these very necessary differences between humans. Even when no one else involved understands or agrees with our radically different assumptions, we are accountable to God for doing it right. This is how we infiltrate a world that does not know our Creator and bring Him closer to human awareness.

This is how I deal with Western government bureaucracy. This is how I found a comfortable home in the US military. I could write a book about what’s wrong with the US military, but that would serve no purpose. It might be entertaining, and could provoke some discussion, but nothing significant would change. The nature of bureaucracy prevents even registering such input. Instead, I have to find a path of external conformance, treating the military itself as a living thing with very machine-like qualities. It evolves, but not quickly. It is what it is at the time you deal with it.

And even when individuals within the system have some discretion, it tends to run against your individual wishes by bureaucratic instinct. That’s just the way it is. You have to cultivate favor from each individual holding discretionary authority, and never be surprised at how corrupt it is. Stop thinking of corruption as evil; it’s just human relations with a bad name. Everything in Creation is personal and God plays favorites. We don’t seek corruption for hedonistic pursuits; we use favoritism to indicate that God says something different about reality than what most people believe. “Rule of law” has always been a myth.

So if you can see the difference between “kissing ass” versus serving your superior’s personal best interests as God sees it, then you’ll understand. I can assure you that military leaders can tell the difference. As long as you follow orders at all, you’ll always find someone’s going to call you names. To the degree it matters, you can remind folks that you are simply using different tactics to assert your individuality. Meanwhile, you should be looking for reasons to cultivate personal loyalty, not seeking excuses to withhold it.

Some things I’ve said to others during arguments: How does my friendly disposition harm you? I didn’t join a union; I don’t belong to your clusterf**k of malcontents. There’s no justification for an adversarial relationship with management. I didn’t come here to get my dick wet and my pockets full; my aspirations are a little higher than that.

The only things in this world you can fix are your expectations.

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Bits and Pieces 26

1. Think about it: We who live heart-led have the nerve to tell the world that a billion Western minds are wrong.

That’s my estimate, a mere approximation; if you want to fuss over details, you already fail to understand the point. What is at stake here is the realization that the majority will always be wrong about almost any subject you mention. That’s the nature of the Fall. The hardest thing to swallow is probably the recognition that it can’t be fixed.

2. While migrating to Linux is hard, I tend to think sticking with Windows is even harder. Even more difficult is that the question is becoming more and more a niche issue in the first place as the ownership and use of PCs and laptops is declining rapidly. I believe we’ve passed the equilibrium point; the majority of people using the Internet do so from their cellphones and tablets.

However, those who produce content cannot do it without a full-blown computer of some sort. I have serious doubts that oral controls will never be more than a toy for mobile device users. And touchscreens doesn’t scale well with text and data. In the end, the question about Windows versus Linux will not affect most consumers, but will be an issue for workstations.

3. There’s more than one kind of red pill. One of the most prominent uses of the term “red pill” refers to socio-sexual matters. This what we refer to on this blog as “Game Theory of Socio-sexual Response.” It’s a body of theory about the nature of human sexual response in social situations, in particular as contrary to the typical social mythology, which mythology is reflected in feminism. It really doesn’t have all that much to say about feminine nature itself.

The people who promote that particular kind of red pill remain deeply wedded to, and defensive about, Western intellectual biases. What they refuse to understand is that it’s part of the very source of the blue pill feminism they hate. All the red pill guys are doing is rolling things back a few centuries to the days of Western feudalism. Thus, we don’t do a lot red pill stuff here at Kiln of the Soul because that body of theory, while generally accurate in its conclusions about women, applies only in terms of how to handle Westernized women. It still ignores the full recognition of how the Bible views things, in the sense that they don’t see the difference. Indeed, a great many red pill enthusiasts are also some kind of white heritage enthusiast.

4. We are grateful for your prayers about our car trouble. For now, it has reached a new state of equilibrium in that the actual alarm doesn’t work any more, in part because the wiring that controls the power locks is shorted somewhere. Without the power locks, there’s no alarm. It’s tolerable for now, but keep in mind that Volvos have only one exterior keyhole on the driver’s door. The rest of the locks have to be manually operated from inside.

5. Just in case anyone is wondering, I still have this driving mission commitment to military people. That’s my mission field; it has been since I first wore a uniform. Pray with me as I remain convinced I have at least one more adventure ahead of me that involves the military in some way.

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Creation is Calling

It’s worth your time: Christine explains the cultural conflict we are up against in promoting the heart-led way. And she’s quite right that things are turning around, so it’s all the more critical that we take full advantage of it. We have been blessed with this rich opportunity to bring this to life and accelerate the process for at least some people.

We see evidence in Scripture that, even when a culture is built on heart-led assumptions, not everyone lives that way. You cannot force it down anyone’s throat; it simply doesn’t work like that. Nor is is the kind of thing we might turn into a good epic saga of some multi-generational secret society searching out prospects, as if we could gin up some kind of test to identify them. What we should expect to see is neither a universal manifestation in all, nor something rare and selective.

But as Christine notes, there are already a great many people around us experiencing a sensory heart who need only the nurture to know it’s normal. If you want a place to start, look for the marginalized, those who know they don’t belong. We are called to reach out to those souls caught between the dying heart-less world and a heart-led world yet to be born. You heart will tell you who they are; learn to listen.

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A Sample of Music Nostalgia

Without droning on too long about it, my musical background includes southern gospel quartet music. I have since become quite a bit more discerning than during those younger years when I regularly sat down for a TV show called “Gospel Jubilee.” The Southern Gospel branch of the music business has always held as much scandal and corruption as the rest of it. Still, there were moments that touched me then as genuine worship and praise, and still do. This song gave me strength in some very difficult times. The lead singer on this one wrote the song.

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