[Written in June, 2011.]
Over the years I have received emails from people (and had face-to-face conversations with many) who feel I present no evidence for the radical sides of my point of view.
These words provide a good challenge for me, and have inspired this essay. What evidence do I have? How have I arrived at my conclusions? Why am I so confident, for instance, when I say that all parents, to varying degrees, are traumatizers?
I would like briefly to share my methodology, because this is how I arrive at my conclusions. I have spent decades observing human dynamics, all the while testing my hypotheses against the realities of life. Yet I know that my ability to be aware of objective reality is limited by my remaining areas of unresolved trauma. Where I am traumatized I am blind; where I have resolved my traumas I can see.
Naturally, given this awareness, I have engaged in a massive devotion to heal myself, which kills two birds with one stone: not only does it make me a less subjective observer, but it affords me an unparalleled opportunity to become intimately acquainted with myself.
But why, someone might ask, should anyone accept anything I have to say, if I, by my own account, am partially traumatized and thus a partially untrue observer?
My answers are twofold, and, at face value, might seem contradictory: 1) I agree! No one should take any of my conclusions as gospel truth, and should test them for himself or herself. I don’t want blind followers, and don’t ever again want to become one myself. Blindly following my parents as a kid was enough for me. My hope is that if someone wants to gain from my ideas, let him or her do so with eyes wide open. Let them experiment for themselves. But: 2) Part of my exploratory process has given me deep, conscious clues about my areas of remaining trauma, and these allow me to correct for my observational weaknesses and arrive at more accurate conclusions. For that reason I stand by what I write.
Meanwhile, when I have found my hypotheses disproven I’ve scrapped them, modified them, or formed new ones outright, and return to testing. For instance, when I first started this website, in 2004, I wanted to believe that I was fully enlightened, and I wrote as if I were. I learned quickly that that was false, and I rewrote my website accordingly. On the other hand, when I’ve had some of my hypotheses confirmed, I share them as publicly as I can, all the while continuing to test them in new ways and from new angles, just in case my data pool, or my own perspective, was too small. Although there is an inherent limit in testing the ideas of this website in a quantitatively scientific fashion, I continue to run and rerun everything I write — even the humorous or speculative material — through the logical mill of the scientific method.
Of course, certain types of people will not accept this logic as evidence, because my logical leaps contradict the illogic that arises from their denial. Thus they either reject my broader conclusions as irrational, messianic or simply offensive, or they continue to demand harder proof. To me the hardest proof for my point of view is the incredibly disturbed post-traumatic state of our modern world. But still they want more evidence. I fear this is impossible to provide successfully, because I have come to realize there is no evidence you can provide someone who is absolutely closed to considering the potential validity of your conclusions.
But still I would ask (and have asked) them this, and not without curiosity: what kinds of evidence might I provide them that would hypothetically satisfy them? I have never received a good answer to this.
Meanwhile, ultimately I adhere to one basic litmus test for posting things on this website: “Is it true?”
I attempt to ignore the conventional litmus tests of “is it politic?”, “will it offend people’s sensibilities?”, “will some people hate it?”, “will it hurt my career?”, “will my family of origin feel threatened by it?”, “will it cause me anxiety?”, “will it put a dent in my bank account?”, and “will I lose allies over this?”, because I know that the truth tends to fail these tests.