A Clear Picture of the World

From what we have already said, it's clear that our first concern will be to make a sufficiently clear picture of the world, to build foundations on which we can make our everyday decision-making. First we have to clarify what this word means, as it can have many meanings.We can create order in our own life philosophy only if it is really our life philosophy, and if it corresponds with our life experience. Only then can we have clarity in what we actually have in our picture of the world. First we have to look at everything we want to include in our picture of the world, to touch it, to taste it from all sides, to know what it is and what to do with it.

Does it seem demanding? Are you afraid that you will have to verify all the experience of mankind on your own skin? If you think so, then you forget that we are human beings and that looking at, touching and tasting doesn't have to take place just on the physical level, that it can take place in our mind.If we want to add something of someone else’s into our picture of the world, we first have to think whether it corresponds with all we know so far. Of course this process is valid also for everything we will be talking about at the workshops of Principles of Life.

What matters most are the right connections, and therefore we have to give the right place to everything we want to add to our already existing picture. The putting together of the picture of the world is basically the same as the work of a mathematician, who is trying to describe the functioning of natural laws through mathematical equations. To orientate ourselves to our equations we have to realize that they contain constants, variables and unknowns.

Constants (in mathematics 1, 2, 3…) in our mathematics originate from concrete experience with concrete things such as a chair, table, or rain. There are things that everyone can experience in the same way. If someone tells us he fell off a chair we won't have to verify what he meant by that.

Variables (in mathematics a, b, c…) originate from experience that can be experienced differently from different places. It can for instance depend upon the set of values of the person, his/her plans, past experience etc. For us to be able to understand the meaning of a message we have to realize from which point of view is the speaker coming. The content of the message will change according to what will be put in place of the variable. We spoke about a “clear picture of the world”. This expression is a variable. “Clear” can mean: “without any doubts”, or “not containing any dark facts”, or “perfectly understandable”. If we try to reach a “clear picture of the world” based on the installed meaning, we will come to three different conclusions in each of these examples.

Another example can be a “great holiday”. A great holiday can be spent in a luxurious hotel on a tropical island or in the middle of the woods in an Indian tee-pee. What some would call great, others could call horrible. It depends on their set of values.

Unknowns (in mathematics x, y…) describe something unknown. We understand it from experience. We know the manifestation of its influence, but we cannot look at it as it transcends our current abilities with its scope. Such an unknown can be “love”. We know its manifestations and various forms but we cannot grasp it. Other even less graspable concepts such as god, soul, etc. belong in the same category. The unknowns are hard to grasp but we cannot leave them out of our life philosophy. On the other hand we mustn't forget that it is a phenomena that we out-picture in our ideas in some way, which is necessary for being able to work with them, but this picture is not real. If we forget that those parts of the picture have been projected, we cease to live in the physical reality and we enter the world of comics. We'll have difficulties reaching our goals no matter how pink we imagine our future.

1st Disquisition – About Constants, Variables and Unknowns
The workshops of Principles of Life are training in practical self-experiential philosophy. Let us have a look at what it means. If we talk about training we mean that we won't just talk about the individual issues but that we will also practice and train them. If we use the connection “practical philosophy” we want to emphasize that we won't analyse whether there was the hen before the egg, but that we will be busy with practical things of everyday life. By adding the expression, self-experiential, we want to emphasize the fact that we won't be busy with what others do or why they do it, but that we will be busy with what we do and why.

The training will take a form of “disquisitions”, that is a goal-directed discussion in couples. In this disquisition one will always do a revision of his/her own life philosophy, which means finding out whether s/he uses the principles we talked about in the lecture to his/her own satisfaction or whether it is useful to change them. Do not be startled by the fact that you will often find out that you use the principle in a way that contradicts your common sense. We need to realize that we have been putting our picture of the world together since we were born, and our intellectual abilities at that time certainly did not enable us to put it together thoroughly. We have our own understanding of the things happening around us, and still we chose from it only what fits our picture without seeing wider connections. This way we get the basis for our picture of the world that often looks as if a dog and a cat were cooking a cake. (Do you know the fairy tale – a famous Czech fairy tale (translator’s comment) – A dog and cat cooked a cake and since they wanted it to be nice each of them brought what they considered the best. The dog brought bones, the cat brought mice etc. The fact that the cake wasn't edible is unnecessary to add.)

If you want to change your ways, it is necessary to make the change in two steps. In the first step you have to make a decision for some better solution, which usually won't be difficult, as some solution will probably offer itself. The second step will be more demanding. You have to start acting differently, and that often needs to be practice for some time. This means you will have to give attention to it outside the workshop and in your everyday life.

While one of you will revise his/her life philosophy, the other one will be helping. S/he will be coaching his/her search. We will be gradually improving our coaching, but each of us has experience enough to start wit what we already know. The key to success is focused listening to what the other one is saying. However, it's not enough to hear, we also have to sort out what we hear. We already know that our partner will be using not only constants, but also the variables and unknowns in his conversation. If we want to really understand what s/he is telling us, we have to verify, with the help of questions, what values s/he puts into the variables and how s/he uses the unknowns. It is these questions that stimulate our partner in his/her search, and help him/her to come out of familiar procedures of his/her own mind.

An important rule is: do not evaluate what the other person says and does and how they do it. We will focus all our effort on understanding his/her attitude.

And now it is time to start the disquisition about how you use the constants, variables and unknowns in your life.