KEW Episode 64: The Forest for the Trees

I’m using the Forest for the Trees metaphor to suggest that humans have become exceptionally myopic. The only reason I know what myopic means is because after defending my Master’s Thesis a professor proclaimed that I was very myopic – meaning I had a terribly narrow view of the question I had asked and answered. I thought I was being pretty broad and was a bit hurt by his statement, but I also understood his point. I could have taken a ‘bigger picture’ approach, but by the time I realized that I was too far along to expand my view.

Anyway, I realized recently that myopia was again affecting my life.

During the decade I spent in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy I didn’t really change. And I knew I wasn’t changing, but couldn’t understand why. Sure, I learned a lot, but my problems stayed the same. At some point I realized that I understood what I was doing, and how to fix it, but only in an analytical way. My mind understood the logic, but my behaviors, attitudes, and habits weren’t changing.

I was still anxious although I understood how irrational many of my fears were.

I still believed I wasn’t good enough despite understanding where those beliefs came from.

I was still angry about many things, though I knew that energy didn’t solve any problems.

I understood why I was the way I was, but I’ll be damned if I learned anything about changing.

Until I realized I was looking at the trees.

In my metaphor, and maybe in yours, my logical, analytical brain was a tree. And it’s all I saw.

Recently, I came to understand I was not only a physical body and an analytical mind, but also an emotional and feeling body with equivalent mental and spiritual elements.

And my anxiety, depression, feeling not good enough, and angry parts were spread across all of these different trees – and together formed my forest.

In order to heal, I had to form a real forest, and not just a bunch of trees.

Paul Gadola calls this Integrity – and I needed some.

A stand of trees does not a forest make. They must integrate. Together. With all parts having meaning. And seeing and feeling each other.

In the context of the Are vs. Should Problem, the analytical mind and the physical body are where a lot of the Shoulds are aimed. The Shoulds bully us into forgetting about the Ares, which lie within our other parts. Our Ares are whole. We used to be whole. We are becoming quite splintered. Myopia is stealing our wholeness.

But we can get it back. We can resist.

Download podcast audio here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/9221504-kew-episode-64-the-forest-for-the-trees.mp3?download=true

or subscribe to Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom on Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, etc.

Youtube video here: https://youtu.be/a08lb5Wol_M

Preview KEW Episode 64: The Forest for the Trees

I love the ‘forest for the trees’ metaphor because it describes a fundamental facet of human nature.

Most of the time we tend to be myopic, only seeing what is right in front of us. For whatever reasons, our species is great at believing what our eyes see. Our ‘field of view’ seems to be ‘all there is’.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to think of ‘myself’, my ‘self’, the ‘real me’, whatever, as being a combination of my eyes and brain.

Like when I meditate, I close my eyes but still think of ‘me’ as being my brain and my eyes. And I guess the rest of me is just the rest of me.

Despite having four other completely developed and incredible senses, we default to our eyesight as telling us what the world is.

And, even further, we tend to believe the world is only what is within our field of view. Or right in front of us.

So, yeah, a lot of the time I’m not really aware of the forest because I believe the handful of trees in front of me is all there is.

To see the world more completely I try to be aware of my other senses and the other parts of the world that exist whether I see them or not:)

More this Friday. Thanks for following, subscribing, and commenting! Help me keep this a discourse by sharing your thoughts however you feel comfortable doing so.

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 47: Changing Behavior Changes Beliefs

For years I was stuck trying to THINK my way into changing my behaviors, beliefs, habits, actions.

Not that I was all that bad or needed massive changes, but there were things I wanted to be different.

I would get anxious a lot.

I would get defensive sometimes.

I would say no to social invitations.

I would be afraid to try some new things.

You know, just some things I wanted to change. So, I would say things like, ‘next time I’m going to remind myself to do that differently’.

But I wouldn’t. Or, I would remember to remind myself, but be so overwhelmed I would end up doing the same things.

I would end up doing the same things. Out of habit.

And to change habits, we have to change our brains. It’s funny, but we can’t think our way into changing our brains.

We can’t change our brains WITH our brains.

We change the way we think by changing what we do.

Original post with full audio and video links: https://chrisburcher.com/2021/05/07/kew-episode-47-changing-behavior-changes-beliefs/

KEW Episode 63: The Two Types of Shoulds

I recorded this episode after replying to a YouTube comment about good and bad types of change (Episode 61: Change is Hard, but Resisting Change is Wrong). The commenter made a good point that sometimes we change in a bad direction instead of making a positive change.

I agreed but in doing so realized I had a bigger point buried under that. Perhaps another assumption I had failed to realize or express. Which is that I believe the Are motivation is essentially driving GOOD change, and that many SHOULD motivators drive a bad kind of change. But an even BIGGER point was buried even deeper about good vs. evil.

I believe that humans are essentially good. We start out good, and any evil we develop is learned through Should type processes. This might have to do with a book I just finished about whether or not humans are essentially good or evil called Humankind: A Hopeful History, by Rutger Bregman. Rutger argues that we are essentially good, and I’m on that side – at least for now.

So another assumption I have made, perhaps subconsciously, with respect to the Are vs Should Problem is that living from our Are is on the good side whereas living from the Should is leaning toward evil.

HOWEVER, the commenter ALSO made me realize that some shoulds are better than others. Sometimes we tell ourselves we Should eat better, be nicer, be more responsible, get a better job, or whatever. Sometimes these shoulds HELP us move forward.

So I had to break this down a bit:

Ares are intrinsic motivations that come from within us and generally encourage us to be better and come from a good place.

Shoulds can be intrinsic, or appear to be, OR extrinsic.

Intrinsic shoulds are mostly Are, but have some external motivations sprinkled in. Kind of like when I internalized my dads job motivation by conceding that I should change my major so that I could get a job. I internalized an external should, made it my own, and was fooled into thinking it was an Are. And, arguably, it was as it did achieve the goal. Of course, in HINDSIGHT I choose to see that as an extrinsic should that became internalized.

So most Shoulds come from external sources and can be misleading, bad, and downright evil. Shoulds serve to destroy the Are, but the degree to which this is intentional can vary from close to none to entirely.

So three basic choices: Are, Should, Internalized Should that is confusing.

While discussing the multiple types of Shoulds in this Episode, as you will see (or hear), I started formulating what I think will become the next phase of development in the Are vs Should Problem. I hit on the good vs evil elements already, but also posited whether or not we need to look OUTSIDE ourselves to better understand the Ares. I even suggest we learn to love people FAR outside our realm of attention. People that oppose our views or make us angry. I am wondering if we apply what we’ve discussed so far to people at opposite ends of the field if we might learn some new things.

In this episode I break way out of the box to introduce several new concepts that I think are related to future exploration. I started to incorporate the non-analytical parts, or somatic parts, of humans as mechanisms to fully understand our ares. I’m looking forward to seeing where this is leading us. I hope you will listen and share your thoughts.

Podcast audio download: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/9178041-kew-episode-63-the-two-types-of-shoulds.mp3?download=true

Or subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever.

YouTube video: https://youtu.be/bhuVQ7wPfOE

KEW Preview Episode 63: The Two Types of Shoulds

This Episode started out examining the different kinds of shoulds. Some shoulds come from extrinsic sources like my dad telling me I needed to get a job and not study philosophy in college, or your church telling you not to be gay. Extrinsic shoulds can be pretty easy to identify because they are often things we rebel against, are mean, or are even evil.

Intrinsic shoulds can be complicated. Some are good. We tell ourselves we *should* eat better and not have two pieces of cake. We *should* call our mother more often. Sometimes these shoulds come 100% from within us, but often they are actually extrinsic shoulds disguised as our own. The world has told us not to eat so much cake and that good sons and daughters call their moms more often. So it’s hard.

But I think, inherently, the more we come to know the are and to live in that space, the easier it is to identify whether your shoulds are intrinsic or extrinsic. In other words, I believe humans fundamentally KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL. It’s just that the more time we spend in the shoulds, we forget.

Like I often do, I wander a bit in this episode toward some emerging elements. I began a shift, in real time, toward a more somatic and external assessment of our personal growth path with respect to the Are vs Should Problem. I even go so far as to suggest we take the focus off ourselves for awhile, and focus on the people around us!

I hope you enjoy the tangents and trust that I will continue to develop these ideas in upcoming Episodes.

Full Episode in audio and video formats this Friday, right here at KEW http://www.chrisburcher.com.

FLASHBACK! KEW Curiosity Interview Series 8: Bernhard Kutzler

I was so happy to meet Bernhard Kutzler. I told him we were kindred spirits because we were asking such similar questions. He agreed. He also agreed to interview with me to discuss Curiosity.

My first thoughts about Bernhard were why no one else has heard of him. I still think about why some people become household names and others’ work is lost out in the world of cyberspace. The simple answer is marketing. But that’s not the point of this post. The point I’m trying to make is Bernhard has made several important contributions to the worlds of philosophy, science, psychology, and personal growth. He has published a handful of books. He is an author on Medium and has his own blog.

You can find all of that work at www.bernhardkutzler.com.

To entice you to watch this rather long video in it’s entirety I’ll tell you one thing about Bernhard.

He took a THREE AND A HALF YEAR hiatus to live alone and unencumbered by technology. During this time he asked the basic questions like, ‘why am I here’, ‘what is the purpose of life’, and ‘what does it all mean’. Then he wrote two books about it. One is a comprehensive documentation about everything he did during that time. It (Consciousness. It’s Nature, Purpose, and How to Use it) ‘s a heady read, for sure. And maybe a little ‘out there’ in places. The other is a how-to apply what he learned to live your best life (Being Free: Get out of the Box) and is more approachable for most people.

Though this is a long interview, there is a lot of information, knowledge, wisdom, and experience here that will benefit listeners and viewers. I hope you choose to participate.

Bernhard is currently ‘out of the office’ again, surely exploring some amazing questions. I can’t wait to hear about it when he returns.

Original post here: https://chrisburcher.com/2021/05/14/kew-curiosity-interview-series-8-bernhard-kutzler/

KEW Episode 62: Change (cont)

Apparently I didn’t say quite enough about change in last weeks’ Episode 62: Change is Hard, but Resisting Change is WRONG! because when I say down to record this weeks’ Episode I just kept talking about CHANGE.

Change. It’s the one thing we can count on.

Since the Big Bang, the universe has been changing. Changing forms. Changing states. Changing composition.

All around us, change is driving the universe. The Earth. Our behavior. The seasons. . . .

Yet, many of us resist change. We don’t like it. It messes up our scheduling. We OBSESS about predicting the future. The popularity of the Weather Channel is a great example. We believe we can predict the future and CONTROL change. Or even omit it altogether from reality.

Seriously, sometimes I wonder if that’s the state of nature we are shooting for. To have every day be as predictable as the last. The literal Groundhog Day of life. And on the one hand, it’s easy to see how comforting that predictability would be, but also how COMPLETELY BORING life would become.

And I get it. We resist change because it ISN’T predictable. And that makes us feel unsafe. And feeling unsafe is scary and sad. So we are afraid. So we want the fear to go away. So we attempt to CONTROL, and remove change from the world.

But that is literally insane. It is as asinine as removing oxygen from the atmosphere. Not only is it impossible, it would kill us. And I’m afraid the path toward minimal change will similarly cause our demise.

In fact, I believe our resistance to change is somehow related to (or the cause of!) many of our human problems.

In this Episode I continue exploring why change is bad, and further develop my hypothesis about how change is related to the Are vs Should Problem.

Full podcast audio here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/9139084-kew-episode-62-change-cont.mp3?download=true

Or please subscribe and get every new episode automatically every Friday via your favorite podcast app (I use Spotify).

Episode also on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/e1DMgsrlfLs

Where you can subscribe to my channel and similarly be reminded each week.

Thank you for your support, comments, likes, and follows.

Preview KEW Episode 62: Change (cont.)

I’ve been talking a lot about how change is a FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENT OF LIFE. Biological entities have DNA which builds our bodies and defines our unique abilities and deficiencies. But more than that, DNA is the mechanism that perpetuates and propels species through TIME by allowing adaptation to changing environmental conditions. The universe is always changing and anything wishing to persist needs a way of dealing with those changes. Biological things, like humans, have DNA to do that very job.

So a main assumption of the Are vs. Should Problem is that change is fundamental.

Another key assumption is that DNA is how we navigate that change – as individuals and as a species.

And my point in Episodes 61 and 62 is to point out a HUGE problem currently plaguing the human race:

We are currently RESISTING change, rather than embracing it.

And, I’ll argue, THIS is a major contributor to MOST of human problems.

From world hunger, to climate change, to our obsession with war. . . . it’s all about NOT understanding the need to change. To react. To modify. It’s literally in our nature. And when you fight your nature, you’re going to lose.

Full Episode coming Friday right here at KEW. Please subscribe to the KEW podcast and/or to my YouTube channel, and follow this blog for updates. You can also check out KEW on Medium.com.

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 46: Values

Values, man.

If ever there were an oversimplification in the whole personal growth or self-help category, this is it.

What do you value? What are your values? It sounds sooo simple. But that’s deceptive.

For me, defining my values took WEEKS. And, worse than that, I THOUGHT I knew what they were. I think we all do.

I value family. Safety. Comfort. A good hot dog.

Whatever. We don’t really know what the options are, so how do we know we covered it.

To REALLY nail your values – and you REALLY need to to make quick progress – you have to put in some hard work. And by hard work, I mean repetition. And by repetition, I mean you have to be PERSISTENT.

It’s more simple, really.

Sit down quietly and ask yourself, ‘What do I value and love’, and, ‘What gets me out of bed in the morning’. Make a list. Read the list.

Now.

Take each thing you wrote down and GO DEEPER. Why do you value love? What is love anyway? Is this about a person? Write all that down. Write some more. Instead of a word you’ll have pages. Now ask yourself again. GO DEEPER. AGAIN.

Repeat that for every word on your original list and go through 6-10 iterations of each, going deeper until you can’t go any deeper. Take a few days. Take a few weeks. Take a few months.

Yeah, it sounds crazy. And maybe your final list will look just like your original list, but mine didn’t. It was close, but in the end I fell like the work taught me a lot more than writing that original list. I have now internalized and automated my values. I can now use them as guideposts in my decision-making and growth.

I hope you enjoy the video or audio.

Original post is here,

KEW Episode 46: Values

with links to full audio and video downloads. Please subscribe to my podcast wherever you listen to podcasts, and YouTube if you prefer that format.

KEW News and Updates September, 2021

Hey guys – just wanted to make a note here about a few projects I have coming up that you may be interested in.

First, I’m currently conducting interviews about the “Are vs. Should Problem“. I’ve completed the first two with people I had never met and I’ll say it’s going to be very interesting. I plan to do around ten total interviews and to start releasing them either every other week or as a separate series beginning in October sometime. I’m excited to hear others’ perspectives on this issue and to have candid conversations about what it means to be yourself.

Second, KEW now has a writer’s page on Medium. For those of you who don’t know, Medium is a website for writers. It’s subscription based, and non-members can only read a handful of articles for free. For me, it’s better than reading the news every day – I have made it a habit to spend more time on Medium reading interesting stories and articles instead of reading news. I have only written one article so far, but I have made it a goal to start writing one a week in the near future. Mostly these will mirror what is happening on KEW but we’ll see where that goes. You can find my first article here: https://medium.com/@kpluseiswise/what-we-forgot-6e4b7090d540

This first article, ‘What We Forgot‘, gets at the idea that somewhere along the line we flipped nearly 180 degrees from being people who lived mostly in our ‘ares’ to people who listened more to the voices of the ‘shoulds’. I’m still not sure how and why this happened, but it is becoming clearer every week. In fact, I am starting to develop an even larger project about HOW to address this issue which I will get to in the upcoming weeks.

If you know anyone I should interview for this AvS series please comment or email me at kpluseiswise@cburcher

Thanks, everyone,

Chris