- Jul 15, 2001These last few weeks I've had some great conversations with Cass McNutt,
Shuhong Zhu, John Harland and Shannon Clark about the difference between
"caring about God" and "caring about our relationship with God". I will
start corresponding on these themes through two of our working groups,
lovingGod@yahoogroups.com and embracingGod@yahoogroups.com I expect
that over time we'll establish two very different havens of thinking,
thereby fostering what Shannon calls "creative disagreement". Andrius,
As a business, the purpose of the Minciu Sodas laboratory is to serve
independent thinkers. Independent thinkers are people whose thinking is
self-driven, and in particular, they are able to work independently for
years on projects without any feedback. In most ways, they are
self-sufficient. However, they often do need other people for their
thinking. They may need a social framework where they can make their
ideas tangible, and thereby free their minds for ideas that follow. We
serve independent thinkers by helping them work with other people.
However, they tend to have very different interests. In order to bring
them together, and keep them together, we focus on our shared value,
which is "caring about thinking".
What is the point of all of this thinking? We can get ourselves to
re-think more powerfully, simply, sensitively, concretely, motivatedly,
relevantly. However, none of this is useful for its own sake. What is
useful for its own sake? Caring!
If we truly aim to serve the independent thinker, including ourselves,
then we must be more than just a business. A business is ultimately
concerned about money. Money has no value of its own. Whereas
independent thinkers are self-driven, they are driven by that which has
its own value. They start with what they care for, and then try to
extend it. We should always appreciate that "caring" has direct value,
whereas the value of "thinking" is indirect. What might we care about?
Four very different directions come to mind (and we're always looking
for more that you might bring). We can care about others, but also our
relationship with others. We can care about God, but also our
relationship with God. I will share my conclusion about the difference
between the latter two outlooks.
I have the great pleasure to know Cass McNutt as a person who loves
God. I don't think of myself as loving God, but I do wish that I did.
I have some hesitation, but I do want to find and develop this capacity
to love God. I want to take steps by which I might grow, stretch
myself. For example, I want to learn to pray in twos or threes. I also
want to explore the relationship between God and humor, and in general,
explore God's own point of view. Cass agreed to be my coach for loving
God, and I'll pursue this through our working group
However, I also have a passion for a non-theistic point of view. I seek
to know everything about life, and apply that usefully. What I think,
and what I believe, are very different. I believe in God (and, in fact,
believe in Christ) and I do think it make sense to "work backwards from
expected answers". However, I do want to think freely. I do want to
recognize every presumption that I might make, and to make as few as
possible, hopefully none at all. I've worked in this non-theistic spirit
all my life, it's a cold-hearted way to approach God, very chilling for
somebody who actually cares about God, like Cass or Shuhong. What can
we know about life without actually believing in anything, for example,
about God? What can we learn from the limits of our minds?
I find this latter outlook acceptable to old friends like John Harland
who has a scientific, atheistic worldview. With his encouragement, I've
started writing up my findings, converting my notes at
http://www.ms.lt/ms/projects/reasonfeatures/index.html into a set of
diagrams which I will explain with essays. I'll pursue this with him
through embracingGod@yahoogroups.com This will be our haven for a
non-theistic belief-independent outlook, especially for seeking truth.
What does it mean for us to encourage two such very different outlooks
within our laboratory? We must make some presumptions, one of which is
Shannon's idea of "creative disagreement". I think this means that we
can benefit from the creative tension of different "caring outlooks"
existing in parallel. We value caring outlooks even when we are not
actively taking them up ourselves. In other words, we have a shared
value of "caring outlooks", of "caring about thinking".
Seeking truth is a "caring outlook" when it is purposeful, not
mindless. Why seek truth? I think we seek truth because there is one
truth, and through that truth we relate with everything. Given that we
care about our relationship with everything, then I feel strongly that
we should be explicit in our respect for that relationship. I feel that
God is the appropriate word for everything when we care about our
relationship with everything. The word God expresses that respect most
explicitly, but suffers from enormous abuse. I feel that we should
reclaim this word God, free it from beliefs and presumptions. It is in
this sense that I speak of embracingGod, although perhaps
embracingEverything would express this better.
There are two other havens that we'll establish, in time.
lovingOthers@yahoogroups.com is for caring about others, fostering life,
growth. We might call this lovingLife. embracingOthers@yahoogroups.com
is for caring about our relationship with others, fostering outreach,
speaking heart-to-heart. We might call this embracingAnybody.
If you're a member of our laboratory, and would like to join any of
these havens (working groups) then send a blank message accordingly to
If you're not a member, then I invite you to try your hand at Natalie
d'Arbeloff's questionnaire "What do I really care about?" which I
include below. We award free 12-month membership for your thoughtful
answers in the public domain.
+1 (773) 651-3785
Questionnaire: What do I really care about?
by Natalie d'Arbeloff
1) What do I really want to do and to be in the short term and the long
2) What do I really care about?
3) What choices will I make? What things will I let go, and what things
will I take up?
4) What are the practical steps I must take to start moving in my chosen
direction? What's involved in terms of earning money, and in terms of
time, place, and people?
5) What is one aspect of what I really want to do that I can focus my
thinking on and put it into some kind of form?
6) What can I do so that all along the way I respond to whatever life
presents me with, in the best way I can?
7) Do I retain copyright to my answers, or do I place them in the public
domain? (Your placing them in the public domain makes it feasible for
us to share them with others.)
Send your answers to email@example.com or ms@...
Thank you for caring about thinking!