The Key to Compassion
The recognition of universal insanity is the key to compassion: we’re not right in our minds.
By understanding that all hurtful behavior—from gossip to mass murder—proceeds from insane thinking, we can experience compassion for ourselves and everyone else.
When we recognize that people who do stupid or cruel things are not right in their minds we can experience compassion for them. We don’t allow serial killers or con artists loose to harm others, but we realize their actions are symptomatic of insanity. We treat these people instead of punishing them.
If you’d like to learn more about our philosophy, please check out our blog
Our first book, The Game of God: Recovering Your True Identity
, is our metaphysics. In a nutshell: the universe is Supreme Consciousness in a state of amnesia. Oprah called it "a great book about God." Tim Allen, in the reading list in his best-seller I'm Not Really Here, recommended The Game of God "for those who really have their shit together." We released a revised version in 2014, available in ebook (Kindle
) and paperback
. Visit our website to read the introduction
"A Question of Meaning" is a TV show we did for local cable access television in Asheville, NC in 2009-2010: View excerpts from all 50 shows
"A somewhat sexy romp through the metaphysical realm."
With all of our technological progress, human beings still struggle with the same problems that have plagued us for millennia: unhappiness, loneliness, lack of love, war, poverty, bigotry, greed, exploitation, etc.
In the United States today, ten percent of the population takes anti-depressant medication. Fifty percent of American marriages end in divorce. Two-thirds of us are overweight or obese.
There is clearly something amiss.
We Are ALL Innocent by Reason of Insanity proposes that the basic problem facing humanity is our delusion about what is true. “Insanity” is defined as: confusing our mind-generated reality with actual reality. In practical terms, this translates as confusing subjective opinion with objective fact.
For example: “I made a mistake” is an objective fact. “I’m a loser because I made a mistake” is a subjective opinion. When I think and act as if the subjective opinion is an objective fact I’m confused about what is real. It is this confusion of fantasy with fact that makes me insane.
Albert Einstein called this confusion of subjective belief with objective fact “the optical delusion of everyday consciousness.”
What if it were true?
We Are ALL Innocent by Reason of Insanity
What, me insane?
We all star in our own personal reality-movie, playing constantly on an inner screen of awareness. We confuse this subjective melodrama with objective reality, which means we are deluded about what is real.
Most of us think we perceive reality directly and accurately. That is not true at all. Our senses take in information from our environment, and that information is filtered through our beliefs and assumptions before we become aware of it. Our reality is generated in our minds. Each of us creates our own individual reality.
Psychologists put it this way: we build models of reality in our minds, called “mental models,” which we use to navigate the world. We do not see actual reality, whatever that might be. We see only our mental models of reality.
No one knows what reality actually is, but we all think and behave as if we do. We erroneously conclude that our model of reality is reality.
What do we call someone who confuses their model of reality with reality itself? We call them delusional, or insane.
The idea that we live in a mind-generated reality seems strange because it feels like we experience the physical world directly and perceive it accurately. Optical illusions are amusing and shocking because they let us see that we do not perceive physical reality accurately.
For example, in the illustration below the center bar is the same shade of grey all the way across, yet our perception is that it’s lighter on the right.
Our mind-generated reality is more than just a model of physical reality; it includes abstract, subjective perceptions also. Psychology textbooks are filled with long lists of common errors in our subjective perception of reality. For example, there’s the famous “Lake Wobegon effect”: most people think they’re above average (a statistical impossibility). There’s wishful thinking: “I’ll start losing that weight next week.” Denial: “I’m not an alcoholic—I just like to drink every night.” Rationalization: “It’s okay that I steal paperclips from work because they’ll never miss them.”
These thinking errors can all be summed up in this line from the song “The Boxer,” by Paul Simon: “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”
Our mind-generated virtual reality is a construct built of preconceptions, beliefs, and assumptions that cause us to see our world and ourselves in a rigid and unchanging way. We are boxed in by our beliefs about reality.
Someone (the source is disputed) said, “We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.”
At first blush the idea that we’re insane sounds like a horrible thing. But realizing the truth that we are enslaved to unquestioned and erroneous assumptions about reality is actually the best news we could hope for. Realizing our insanity can empower us by freeing us from the delusion that we’re in control.
Free will is just one of our delusions. We are driven by subconscious psychological forces over which we have no control. This is good news! This means the end of blame, shame, and arrogance.
Because we’re insane we can’t be blamed and shamed for all those misdeeds and wrongs that haunt us—we’re innocent by reason of insanity.