any claim to honesty, aphorism 135, A Human Strategy, Matt Berry

The Nature of this Book and Some Problems


This is not a book which proceeds from point A to point B.  I am more concerned with the natural phenomenon of “spontaneity.”  I need to stress the words “natural phenomenon.”  The words “transcendence” and “spontaneity” are too frequently excuses for flights away from reality ... so I like to temper such words with the acknowledgment that spontaneity and transcendence are governed by natural laws and that they are limited to the private human experience; they are not “supernatural events” nor dependent upon external “authorities.”  I am not afraid to disinfect the misunderstanding by sponging the issue with the behaviorist’s word-set ... while preserving the exalted sensation as a goal.  I am also not afraid of my life, my direct experience with my small reality being of more importance and of greater validity than all of the greatest literature combined.  I need not appeal to another “thinker” before making the attempt to live.  I live.  That is enough.

I also make it a habit to record my spontaneous moments, however inconsistent and unrelated one discovery might be from another.  Through categorization, these particular experiences grow back towards a “whole.”  It is a method of discovering the conclusion, not one of inventing a “conclusion” first and then working toward that invention.  In short, I establish the means and let the ends appear when they will ... as they will.

Although I do not necessarily deal with the topic of spontaneity, it is still my attempt, outside of the writing experience, to create the set of circumstances which brings about the moment of spontaneity as often as possible ... and simultaneously to be in a position to record the event ... as it occurs.  Although this record is an end, it is also an attempt to look over my shoulder at those very means which brought about this end.  This has proven to be a much more difficult task than I at first imagined it would be.  It does feel a lot like magic ... or a divine influence.
However I maintain a deep faith in material reality.  I am confident that every cog and wheel of the “mind” can be uncovered.  Personal science ... a self-behaviorism, if you will, and that strong, unjustified respect for the sensation of dignity are our first steps toward “becoming” ... toward increased self-worth ... living.

Now perhaps I am ready to defend my unwillingness to write a book which proceeds from point A to point B.  Imagine the “intentional” act of running from point A to point B.  I am an athlete, let’s say; I have a line behind which I stand, and I can see another line in front of me exactly one hundred meters away.  The gun goes off.  I stay in my lane and race to the finish.  I win or I lose.  If I am the average person, then I am happy or sad as a consequence of whether I have won or lost.  This book is not of that nature.

The runner from point A to point B has also, simultaneously, arrived at point C — from the point of view of becoming.  His muscles have grown stronger; his coordination has improved; his reflexes have quickened.  Every race completed improves his ability to reach point B with greater and greater proficiency.  This improvement ... this point C is what this book is about, and it is dependent upon a single natural law to which we are so accustomed that we can no longer see: repetition.  Consider this book then, not as the race from point A to point B, but as a thousand races, run solely with the intent of tracing the tendency toward point C ... or, to use another word-set, toward a genuine spirituality.
I will admit to several other problems with this book, chiefly, that of categorization.  The book is in continual flux.  A thought arrives to contradict a previous thought.  Or, a previously categorized thought is suddenly re-categorized under a very different heading.  Reading the book this month and reading the updated version next month show two different books ... two different authors.  Yet, in my own defense, what is regarded as a failure in the book can be a consequence of the author’s becoming ... an advance ... and therefore, a personal success.

If I am to have any claim to honesty, I cannot easily discard behaviorism ... nor the testimony of my five senses, nor the store of experience in the memory.  I cannot use fear, social necessity, or ignorance as “proofs” of a God or of another world.

Within this sobering realism, my effort is to redeem my human experience, and, to say it again, not to try to escape from it by proposing a reality “beyond” this one.  I am fully aware that the word “redeem” implies that I begin from a sense of worthlessness.  In the past, I have been justly accused of not being “positive enough.”  I can only say in a feeble attempt at a defense that the positive ... cheerful outlook on this life is my goal.  However, if today’s attempt proves to be impossible, am I then to go back to sleep or to tell lies?  In a stronger defense of my outlook on life, I will say that I have perhaps found some hints of a genuine joy in this life: the aforesaid moments of growth ... the exhilaration of those moments ... and also the act of recording those moments as they occur.  There are times when I feel I have achieved a solid victory or two in this regard.  Let the reader be the judge.

Another problem is that I should perhaps have waited until the book was “finished” — when I have found a “more positive” outlook and when my observations have found their “final place” within the book’s organic development.  Yet if the reader fully understands the process from which I begin, then that reader will also understand that the book will never be finished until I have passed on ... or been incapacitated by misfortune.  I need to grow ... that remains of greater importance than stopping in an attempt to make a “final statement.”  And so, as premature as it is, with this need not to finish, that is to say, to continue growing ... and also to exhibit that process of growing, through that very process, I present the next stage of my “book.”

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