In 2009 I wrote a list of eleven aphorisms that I, as Phil Walter, jokingly called The “Phil-Osophy.” Later, the kind folks at The Military Leader published said aphorisms along with a small paragraph explaining each. The original eleven aphorisms were what I needed at the time. They were very tactical and extremely pragmatic. Since then, as I have gotten married, started a family, had multiple job changes, and read a lot more, my needs have changed. These days, instead of trying to figure myself out, and write a list of things that I need to live by, I struggle to figure humanity out instead. My reading thus far has led me down several rabbit holes and, as I am apt to do, I boiled the long content of many smarter than myself down to a minimum effective dose that works for me. My thoughts in this area, thus far, are below.
– Humans are unconsciously driven by the need to survive, to make more humans, to find meaning in overcoming a resisting or competing condition, and to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
– All human made systems — time, space, methods of governance, religious texts, societally-influenced behavioral norms etcetera — are attempts to bring order to chaos to satisfy the above listed needs.
– Inner peace can be achieved, albeit temporarily as these needs are never satisfied, by acknowledging these needs, managing how they motivate one to act, and pursuing them when necessary in ways that fit within most of the human made systems.
– Repeated temporary peace can last a lifetime, but one must focus on making every choice a good one.
– Reactively, repeated temporary peace comes from being extremely careful in the emotional value you assign to events.
– Proactively, repeated temporary peace also comes from managing the establishment of expectations, impossibilities, hope, hopelessness, and the emotional value you assign to each.
– Reactively or proactively, as part of pursuing repeated temporary peace, one must endlessly ask, “What emotional value am I assigning to this stimulus and why?”
– Human needs drive humans to join, to believe, yet if humans truly explore the depth of their organization or belief system they discover much unpleasantness. As such, ignorance can be bliss, and, before one goes to explore the depths, one must determine whether or not they are ready to have their world, or portions thereof, upended.