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Concluding Comments

When I first started this book a little over two years ago, I thought I could write it in six months. However, by the time I got busy researching and checking my premises, the months just slipped by. Ultimately, I have accomplished what I set out to do--summarize my last twenty years of study in psychology, philosophy and economics (as a hobby). In addition, I am also enjoying some profound changes in my own attitude toward those subjects in particular and toward life in general.

What has interested me most is the attitude of detachment I have developed toward the ideas in this book. They are the best ideas I am aware of, but there is more to a successful book than merely having good ideas. The timing must be right if there is to be a receptive audience for those ideas. Therefore, given that the principles in this book have already helped one person--myself--that is sufficient. Should the book be rejected, I have lost nothing. Should it be accepted, I will welcome that acceptance as frosting on the cake. In any case, the quality of my life or my emotional well-being is not dependent on the outcome.

Today, when I watch the newscasts, I just nod my head and say, "everything is happening just as it is supposed to." The majority of stories in the news are about individuals or governments trying to use force to make two-plus-two equal five and winding up with three. As long as we live in a universe where two-plus-two equals four, we should not be surprised at the outcome. Life has become easier for me since I have shifted my focus of identification to life and nature itself. In the end, life and nature will be the final judges determining whether or not the ideas in this book are valid. A principle is proven two ways: by the rewards that come from harmonizing with it, and by the suffering that comes from violating it.

Writing is, in itself, an interesting venture. On one hand it can be therapeutic: "The need to express oneself in writing springs from an inner conflict, which the . . . man cannot resolve in action."1 It can also be an antisocial act: "Writing is an audacious and insolent act. When we write, we are calling the other members of our tribe to order."2 This assumes, of course, that one can capture the attention of the tribe in the first place.

Speculating on social issues carries its own hazards. According to Marvin Harris, it is hard to ". . . write anything of value in social science if you don't offend someone."3 My potentially offended audience is quite large. "[R]oughly 100 million Americans who benefit directly from government largesse could not get what they want from a small government."4 This is not good--forty-percent of America might not like this book. That forty-percent, applied to the world's population, gives me the potential of offending over two-billion people.

Luckily for me, my philosophy does not call for martyrs or true believers. It shines the light of consciousness on many of the euphemisms we hide behind, but it does not call for any fundamental changes in human nature. While its goal is to make us consciously aware of what we are doing, it also accepts the possibility that people might ultimately prefer the drama of conflict over a boring, albeit peaceful, coexistence. Finally, it allows me the luxury of throwing this book up into the air to see where it lands, and then decide how to spend the rest of my life accordingly. Regardless of the outcome, I am looking forward to making the most of my remaining years.

While I believe there are some good ideas in this book, I have no illusion that humanity's future hangs in the balance. For all of the grief and strife we have caused ourselves, over five-billion people are surviving on the planet, and the population is increasing. Were we doing as poorly as some people suggest, our species would have gone extinct long ago.

On the other hand, even if we succeeded in creating paradise on earth, we would at some point have to give up our bodies, and thereby have to leave the party. Therefore, there is no sense in getting so caught up in reform that we destroy the quality of life today for some mythical future paradise. (Even if our ideas are correct.) When people fight too hard for freedom, they make slaves of themselves before anyone else even gets a chance to enslave them.

This brings to mind my experience as a teenager worrying about dying under a hail of atomic bombs. While thinking about this dreadful problem, I recalled some teenage boys I knew who had already died. Then it occurred to me that I needed to be careful if I hoped to survive long enough to die in a nuclear inferno. The same is true for me today. If the world is to end, I want to survive long enough to see the last hurrah. In other words, I am not planning to antagonize a lot of people in order to change their minds.

Besides, our problem might be better handled by medical practitioners than by philosophers anyway. Gurdjieff suggested this approach to eradicating violence from our planet:

The sole means now for the saving of the beings of the planet Earth would be to implant again into their presences a new organ, an organ like Kundabuffer, but this time of such properties that every one of these unfortunates during the process of existence should consciously sense and be cognizant of the inevitability of his own death as well as the death of everyone upon whom his eyes or attention rests.
Only such a sensation and such a cognizance can now destroy the egoism completely crystallized in them that has swallowed up the whole of their Essence and also that tendency to hate others which flows from it--the tendency, namely, which engenders all those mutual relationships existing there, which serve as the chief cause of all their abnormalities unbecoming to three-brained beings and maleficent for themselves and for the whole of the Universe.5

Of course, if we think national health care is expensive, we can only imagine what a program like that would cost. And this, of course, puts us right back where we started. We must first evolve philosophically in order to create the wealth such a program would require. And if we succeeded in doing that, massive medical interventions would no longer be necessary.

In closing, I cannot resist saying one last time: "You're free to do anything you want. All you have to do is pay the consequences." Whatever you decide, I recognize your intrinsic value as a human being, and I say, "congratulations on the consequences you have chosen." May we all live long and enjoyable lives!

Footnotes for Conclusion:


Andre Maurois quoted in Rollo May, Love and Will (New York: Dell Publishing, 1969), p. 169.


Richard Mitchell, Less Than Words Can Say, (Boston MA: Little, Brown & Company, 1979), p. 43.


Ron Gross, The Independent Scholar's Handbook (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1982), p. 215.


Edmund A. Opitz, "Big business and big labor require big government.", Mark Spangler (ed.) Clichés of Politics (Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: The Foundation for Economic Education, 1994), p. 61.


G.I. Gurdjieff, Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, Vol. 3. (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1950), p. 373.

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