REVIEW AT 72

            Here I am closing in on 72 and, as at 35,"don’t know who I will be when (if?) I grow up." I want, however, to summarize my perspectives of myself and some facts about my life so far. I am continuing this attempt to bring myself into conscious focus by trying to come clean about how I currently see myself, hopefully clarifying and expanding my consciousness of myself and how I find reality to be so far.

            I consider the human capacity for consciousness to be the latest and potentially an invaluable gift of evolution. I think it must have evolved in service of the complexities of social life in extended groups. However it came about, I believe it to be absolutely essential for individual well being in relationship with other persons. Unfortunately, it is, I think, one of the most abused of all our capacities; paradoxically, in service of social conformity we (I, at least) have somehow come to systematically suppress, even try to negate, this wonderful capability.

            Instead of openly using it in service of cooperative relationships–as I assume it to have evolved for, we somehow tend to pervert or turn it in on itself. Rather than enhancing ourselves in relationships via consciousness, we commonly take an opposite approach; we try to maintain and increase our benefits from others by denying the very capacity evolved to improve them.

            Instead of cooperating with evolution by developing increased awareness, we take the opposite approach of fitting in better by suppressing what we already have. Rather than"thinking more" we"think less"–that is, we cope via repression rather than by maximized, responsible, consciousness. We try to succeed by seeing less rather than more, by denying knowledge than by expanding it. Instead of becoming increasingly honest by activating consciousness, we become ever more dishonest with ourselves while we try to be truthful with others.

            Or so I find to be true with myself. For longer than I can remember!

            Now, nearing 72, I am trying to reverse this life long process of repressing awareness. Instead of trying not to see socially threatening aspects of myself in service of fitting in with others, and to imagine seeing traits which are actually non-existent, I am trying to become ever more conscious–that is, to be aware of as much as I can about myself, other people, and the world in general.

            In this effort I am here engaging in a summary review of my life and self as I presently find me to be. I am trying to look as honestly as possible at my past and present, to focus as clearly as I can on various aspect of my life so far. I am trying to be"brutally (what a curious description of higher degrees of a supposed virtue!) honest" with myself about myself. Instead of hiding in assorted habits of denial and shame which I must have acquired while more in quest of other-affirmation, I am now trying to use consciousness as I theorize it has evolved to be used, that is, for seeing myself and others as sharply as possible.

            Nearing a time of summary now, I can say that I have found the process to be challenging, yet freeing–and also fun. So how did repression ever get such a good name to begin with? And are its temporary benefits worth the long range costs?

            I now think not.

            Aspects of this personal review have included:

- Overview

- Family

- Education

- Physical Condition

- Hobbies

- Employment

- Religious Experience

- Psychological Experience

- Family Mementoes

- Adventures

- Services and Honors

- Writing

- Philosophical Quests

- Uncommon Notions

- Religious Heresies

- Unpublished Manuscripts

- Differences

- Failures

- Homework

 

OVERVIEW

            I see myself primarily as a philosopher, secondarily, as a theologian and psychologist. For as long as I can remember, my thought time has been mainly devoted to trying to understand existence–reality and how I find it to be. Religion and psychology have been my major mental windows for trying to grasp the world in my mind’s eye. I was reared in a religiously oriented family (Baptist), and from the earliest days of my life–I have"gone to church" regularly from the time I was 3 weeks old until I retired.

            My earliest philosophical questioning was consequently from a theological perspective, only later to be phased into psychological categories. Then, large portions of my thought time went to"trying to figure out life"–to see how things are and how they"work," from these two perspectives. Since they were so often in conflict, one being"religious" and the other"secular," much of my mental energy went toward trying to understand and rectify their apparent differences. What, for example, does God have to do with mental health? And how is psychological maturity related to religious salvation? When and for what personal problems should one go to a priest or minister, and when to a therapist or psychiatrist?

            In broadest summary, my philosophy is existential–about the nature of being itself. I view religion and psychology as but two windows--one old and one much newer, for looking at the same subject, namely, reality as apprehendable in human experience. Religious and psychological languages are, therefore, but two ways of thinking/talking about the same subject–how reality is and how we may find maximum living as a part of"it." Salvation, for example, the ultimate quest of religion, and mental health, the aim of psychological therapy, are but different approaches to the same goal. Or so I think.

            Although most of my studies, including formal education (degrees in engineering, religion and psychology), have been devoted to one or the other subject, my primary emphasis has remained philosophical in nature, that is, on human perceptions of reality (being), as reflected in these two more pragmatically oriented disciplines. I have always been more concerned with how it is than with either religion or psychology, which I have seen as but major ways of approaching the subject which interested me most. God-talk and ego-talk, for example, have been but functional ways of approaching more difficult being-talk.

FAMILY

            I was born in 1930, oldest child of John Owen and Constance Coker Evans. My father owned a general merchandise store and speculated on land and oil interests until his death in 1986. My mother taught school until I was born; then, between time given to rearing me and three later sisters, she worked in the family store. She died two years ago at age 93. My first sister was born when I was four, followed by twins born on my 10th birthday.

            I have been married for 49 years–30 to my first wife and 19 to my second wife. I have 5 children (4 daughters, then a son) born to my first wife, 2 step-daughters of my second, and now 16 grandchildren.

            I am, as best I can now tell, English 1/4 Irish, 1/8 Scotch, 1/8 Dutch and 1/16 Indian– 1/32 Cherokee and 1/32 Choctaw. I have traced my English blood through the Mallory family in the 1200's, Cloud family back to 1502, the Folsom family back to 1550, Coker family to 1598, and the Batte family to 1524–all from England. My Irish blood is via the Clark family, traced to Ireland in the early 1700's. My Indian blood is from my father’s side of the family. One of his great-grandfathers, John Cloud, married a Cherokee Indian named Elizabeth Lacy. Another of his great-grandfathers, Nathaniel Folsom, married a Choctaw Indian named Ai-Ne-Chi-Hoyo. Elizabeth Lacy was the mother of his grandfather, Noah Cloud, Sr., while Ai-Ne-Chi-Hoyo was the mother of his grandmother, Delitia Delilah Folsom, after whom his mother was named.

EDUCATION

            I began the first grade in 1936 (no kindergarten), graduated from high school at age 16 (only 11 years back then), college at 21, seminary at 25, and got my doctorate when I was 29.  

            After finishing high school as co-valedictorian of a small class (12), I entered college intending to become an engineer. I attended three universities (La. Tech, Oklahoma University and Louisiana State University, where I oscillated between mechanical and finally petroleum engineering, in which I graduated in 1952 with a minor in geology. After a brief stint with Gulf Oil Company and two years in the army as a petroleum analyst and instructor in New York during the Korean Conflict, I entered seminary in New Orleans. After two years I received a Master’s Degree in Religious Education; then 4 years later I earned my doctorate in Psychology and Counseling. Later I did post-graduate work in religion and psychology at Union Theological Seminary in New York (1966). I also did advanced study in abnormal psychology at East Louisiana State Hospital in 1969 and had supervised training in psychological testing from 1970 to 73. 

 

PHYSICAL CONDITION

            I am 5' 11" tall, weigh 171 pounds, and in good physical health. I feel fine most of the time and take no medications except daily vitamins. Currently, I do not hurt anywhere. I exercise regularly, working out at a health club 3 times a week, playing tennis 3 times a week, and doing energetic folk and ethnic dancing once a week. Most every day I work some of the time in my shop and yard, plus walking and/or jogging otherwise. I get a full body massage every two weeks. I have never smoked cigarettes regularly, but do smoke cigars occasionally. My blood pressure remains consistently around 120 over 60. I usually drink one or two glasses of red wine each evening.

            I started jogging regularly in my 30's and continued until I began working out in a health club in my late 50's. I first wore glasses around 35, went to bi-focals about 45 and tri-focals around 55. I am somewhat asymmetrical in these ways: my left hip is nearly 2 inches higher than my right, leaving my left leg a bit shorter than my right; my right ear is slightly higher than my left (or is it that my left eye is lower, making it necessary to raise my glasses on the right ear to get level vision?). I am slew-footed and have worked hard, lately, to try to correct this life long stance.

            I also have a degree of dyslexia making it difficult for me to reverse mirror images in my mind, e.g., to follow a dance teacher who is facing me rather than in front or beside me, plus to quickly distinguish or write a lower case b or d without"having to think about it." On an I.Q. test for the army I scored about 120 as I recall.

            I am left eyed, right handed, consciously left brained, and probably more right brained than I realize. In early life I had brief"spells" of asthma (I am told), but have been mostly healthy with only common ailments. I did have a collapsed lung in college, but it healed on its own, with no recurrences since. Head aches are rare (not in last year of so). I seldom feel nervous, am not on any medications at this time, and have no allergies (except possibly to bananas, to which I reacted negatively several years ago after cutting banana plants). My tonsils, adenoids, and foreskin were removed when I was four; since then I have had knee, nose, hemorrhoid, and prostate surgery.

HOBBIES

            My current hobbies are building furniture, fishing, genealogy, photography, tennis, polishing stones, collecting and repairing old leather books, writing, and, I must admit, doing yard"work."

            In the past I have collected many things: rocks, keys, match folders, stamps, postcards, arrowheads, coins, pennants, military patches, and ceramic dogs. In early years I also built model airplanes, enjoyed swimming, fishing, and reading. I have spent many happy hours hunting foxes, coons, squirrels, possums, ducks, geese, and doves. As a youth I raised chickens (bantams, roosters and hens), ducks, and rabbits. At one time I had over 150 rabbits which I also marketed for their meat. I have had several dogs as pets, one a Collie (“Lad"), which I ordered for $10 from Kansas City, and kept as constant companion for many years; also I had a horse (“Suzie") which I kept, rode, and enjoyed for several years. One summer I got paid (not much!) for"breaking" 2 horses to the saddle. I have also enjoyed jewelry making--especially from stones I collected and polished, plus golfing, hiking, traveling, and camping.

EMPLOYMENT

            I made my first money by pulling bitter weeds in my grandma’s cow pasture for a penny/hundred (which I then used for buying chocolate balls in grandpa’s store) (1938); later I raised chickens and rabbits and sold eggs and meat to Mr. Enloe’s market; I also picked up trash off the roads around Saline, using my horse and a slide to haul it (1944-45); next I was a life guard for a girl’s summer camp (1946); worked as a roustabout for Sklar Oil Company ($.90/hour) (1948); engineer, Gulf Oil Corporation (1952); U.S. Army, Quartermaster Corp, (1952-54); Sales Engineer, Gulf York Air Conditioning Co., New Orleans (1955); Baptist Student Director in New Orleans (1955); Youth Director, First Baptist Church, Baton Rouge ((1956-57); Director of Education, First Baptist Church, Baton Rouge (1958-59); Pastor, University Baptist Church (1959-63); Minister, Fellowship Church, Baton Rouge (1963-97); Director, Personnel Services, Baton Rouge (1968-85); Partner, Brown-Eagle Co. (1969); Director, The Growth Center, Baton Rouge (1985-89); Property development, Bienville Parish (1970-80); Consulting, training, and testing for numerous agencies and corporations including: Volt Informational Services, Inc., Washington, D.C.; Lear Siegler Service Corp., Oklahoma City, OK; Multi-Purpose Training Center, University of Oklahoma; Louisiana Department of Employment Security; Blue Cross of Louisiana; Community Action Agencies of Baton Rouge, Little Rock, Shreveport, and Austin, TX; Volt Technical Corp.; East Baton Rouge Parish School Board; Bebe Cosmetics; Triad Chemical Company; Louisiana Family Planning Inc., New Orleans; Grant Chemical Company, Baton Rouge; Supervised doctoral students for Union University; Self as Licensed Professional Counselor, State of Louisiana (1989-97).

            So, I have worn a lot of hats:"entrepreneur," farmer, life guard, roustabout, engineer, instructor, student director, salesman, youth director, education director, minister, preacher, counselor, teacher, property developer, psychological tester, and consultant.

RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE

            I have, as I said,"gone to church" regularly (2-3 times/week) since I was 3 weeks old. I

“accepted Christ and joined the church" when I was nine. Most of the social life of my youth centered around the church, including going to church camps during the summers. I memorized 250 bible verses a year for five years, with regular rewards of books and a church summer camp. In college I remained active in church, conducted prayer meetings in dormitories, was active in the Baptist Student Union (Chapel Director and President at LSU), and often gave"devotionals" and religious talks during this period. During army service I attended church in New York City, where I got my first taste of service in youth work (unpaid helper). After 2 years in the army I gave up engineering and returned to seminary in New Orleans, intending to become a youth and student director. Only later, after I discovered the limitations of being a staff member, did I decide to become a preacher/minister instead.

            I have a Master’s Degree in Religious Education and did advanced theological study at Union Seminary in New York, under Dr. Paul Tillich. I was Student Director for Medical Students of LSU and Tulane Medical Schools, and Charity Hospital Nursing School; Youth and Activities Director for 5000 member First Baptist Church, Baton Rouge; visited the Holy Land and scores of Biblical sites; Pastor of University Baptist Church, Baton Rouge (three years); taught seminary extension courses for NOBTS; Pastor’s Advisor for the Baptist Student Union, LSU; organized Fellowship Church and served as minister for 33 years; helped organize American Baptist Churches of the South (Fellowship was the first American Baptist Church in Louisiana); Served as Vice-president and President of American Baptist Churches of the South (4 years); Lectured and preached in colleges and churches in Rhode Island, New York, Iowa, North Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, and Texas; Wrote weekly commentary for Sunday School lessons in a state paper (2 years); Had sermons, articles, and poems published in: Pulpit Digest, Baptist Student Magazine, Church Administration, Baptist Program, Royal Service Magazine, and American Baptist: The Church; Delivered over 4,000 sermons and public speeches; Married 300 couples, buried 40 individuals, and baptized scores of others.

PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPERIENCE

            My professional psychological education and experience includes a doctorate in Psychology and Counseling; post-doctoral study in the psychology of adolescents; advanced training in abnormal psychology and psychological testing; design and administration of a personality inventory as research for my doctoral dissertation; 36 years in private practice--counseling individuals and couples (over 600 clients, from 1-1,000 individual sessions, some for up to 24 continuous years); over 20,000 hours with individual clients; 36 years (over 6,000 hours) conducting group counseling and therapy; industrial testing and evaluation of applicants and employees for business and industry (16 years, over 1,000 psychological evaluations); designed employment appraisal programs, conducted management seminars and employee training workshops for corporations in 6 states; designed the Camelot Grid, a model for understanding self and relationships, including self-scoring inventories for personal evaluations; lectured in 8 states on human relations; published numerous articles on psychology, including 2 in the Louisiana Journal For Counseling And Development.

            My personal psychological history includes about 7 years of analysis with a Freudian psychoanalyst--with one private hour and 2 1 hour group sessions each week. My first therapy was with a male Christian counselor and, after analysis, with a female Jungian therapist, mostly for weekly sessions off and on for probably 15 or more years. Briefly I also saw a sex therapist.

            Privately I have engaged in self analysis for longer than I can remember. I have always been curious about myself–my motives and what moves me, as well as what bothers me. The"who am I--really?" question has claimed major portions of my personal exploration since childhood. I think that all persons must sometimes wonder about themselves; but as best I can tell, my curiosity about my inner self has exceeded average interest.

            Although my paid-for therapy has certainly included much focus on my immediate"problems," its larger thrust has always been self-understanding and attention to becoming myself more fully, both in private and in relationships with others.

            In largest perspective, my greater psychological"problems"–my larger pathology or immaturity, has been in the arena of dis-embodiment, of learning early to effectively repress physical (instinctive) aspects of myself, in favor of an immaterial"self (ego)" shaped more in accord with social/religious ideals which surrounded me than with inclinations from within.

            In contexts where"good" was focused on an ethereal soul, plus behavior and beliefs, in contrast with the material body whose natural instincts were generally seen as"bad," I came early (before my times of recall) to think of myself in"good (socially acceptable)" ways and tried hard to deny"bad" bodily drives. Not that I always succeeded in behavioral ways, but I tried hard to"be good" rather than"bad"–which boiled down, in largest perspective, to be socially acceptable traits and not be instinctive urges. In practice, these quests for"goodness" predictably led to large scale dis-embodiment–that is, attempts to separate"me" from"them (evil urges)" so that"I" could be"good" rather than"bad."

            I tried hard to be (in accord with prevailing religious beliefs) a self (“soul") who was"above" or"better than" the"base" bodily instincts, religiously identified with the Devil (evil), who tried to"control me," constantly tempting me to"be bad."

            In hindsight (via analysis and therapy) I have come to see that I accomplished these goals (or tried to) through the psychic devices of repression and projection–that is, splitting myself off from my instincts (body), creating, in effect, a dis-embodied self (“soul" in religious language,"ego" in psychological terms) which is more akin to mind than body.

            “I," as I came to perceive myself via this path of consistent repression, was somehow distinguishable from the base bodily material and forces which so often"tempted me" to"be bad." I could never quite completely accept the popular religious concept of a separable soul temporarily stuck, as it were, in a material body (with corresponding concepts of heaven in an otherworldly afterlife)--which may well be the reason I was attracted to secular psychology and drifted toward the somewhat more reasonable concepts of self (ego, id, super-ego, etc.) or mind versus body. In psychological guises I could more logically accept what still boiled down to existential dis-embodiment, only now in terms of self or mind versus soul.

            The bottom line remained, however, that I was split (with good social reasons) within my larger self–identified with my"good" mind (or soul) and still fighting against my"bad" body with its various socially unacceptable inclinations. In practice, I lived largely in assorted struggles between"I" and"it," even though more easily couched (for me) in psychological rather than religious terms.

            My regular battles which consumed major portions of my life-energies might more clearly be seen as conflicts between my memes (only lately to be recognized by me in their awesome powers) and my genes–that is, my accepted and in-grained socio/religious values (“conscience") and my inherited genetic structures and drives.

            Spelled out more specifically, bodily (genetic) forces--my inherited physical self which I had long striven to deny (repress), have appeared to me in two major, interwoven-yet-sometimes-distinguishable arenas: selfing and sexuality–or, in colloquial terms,"selfishness" and"sexiness.""Body" or genes break down, as best I can tell, into urges to survive well and replicate much.

            Consequently, my major repressions have been in these two arenas: dis-avowed drives to"be selfish" and to"be sexy"–in favor of socio/religious virtues (memes) for"being unselfish (helping others, putting others first, improving the world, patriotism, etc.)" and essentially non-sexual (apart from monogamous marriage)–or else"bad," as I learned early to judge bodily urges, rather than"good (living for others)," chastely.

            In the course of analysis (both self and professional) I first became aware of the threatening scope of my sexual repressions. These urges seemed, for a long time, to be the most powerful, socially dangerous, and"bad." More lately (in the last few years), I am coming to see that whereas my sexual denials have indeed been long and pervasive, my selfing repressions have been even deeper and more blindly consistent.

            I have, as it were,"pushed down on" and tried to deny many of my natural (as I now see them) reproductive drives; but even more so, I have striven to be"unselfish." All of my carefully woven theological and psychological theories honoring"selfing" to the contrary, I have blindly continued to live as I must have begun before I can remember, with my primal creative instincts for enhanced self-survival largely curtailed.

            I have more consciously tried not to be as sexy as I am; but repressing these periodic eruptions of replication urges out of awareness has been far less consistent and effective than my habits of denying being as selfing, and hence creating, as I suspect I truly am.

            Withdrawing projections has been (still is) a major arena of my psychological homework (more later). Repression, I have long known intellectually, inevitably leads to projection; indeed the two are more like flip sides of the same coin rather than separable processes. To repress is to also project.

            But understanding this psychological phenomenon has done little (nothing?) to stop the process within myself. Blindly, like all others who do so, I have long projected the powers I repressed within myself"out there"–especially onto other persons. Other individuals seem to project more onto gods, devils, ghosts, fate, and images than have I who concentrated more of human than inhuman objects-for-projection.

            My recognition, for example, of the immense power of the What They Think meme has, I conclude, been accurate vision; but I have mostly been blind to the primary sources of these social forces for conformity. Although this meme is indeed very real and forcefully operative in all social circumstances, I now suspect that perhaps 90% of its power is fueled by personal projections–that is, the forces which I have perceived as being exercised on me, as though they are inherent in those who have wielded them, have in fact been largely given to them via my own blind projections.

            They, that is, have been unwittingly empowered, far beyond any real forces they inherently possessed, by my own blind projection of"umph" which was actually generated within myself. In other words, much of the power which I have either perceived or lived-as-though-it-existed"out there" in other people has only been there based on my illusions. They have had it only when or because I gave it.

            In hindsight, after years of self-analysis, I can now see that this pervasive habit of projecting power–seeing"out there" what is in fact"in here," began with my mother when her goddess-like forces were indeed real. I must have begun self-repression so early–in quest of her favors (“good graces"), along with its inevitable blind projections, that I never consciously knew what I was doing at the time.

            Then, rather than daring to look more clearly when I became able to do so, I continued to maintain these habituated projections which began with mother by simply extending them onto females in general (anyone who deeply"re-minded" me of motherly awareness), and those I care for in particular–that is, female relatives, girl friends, lovers, and wives.

            Outside female presence I could more safely risk being conscious of my instinctive forces; but as soon as any female–especially those I"love," became present, either in the room or in my mind’s eye, then I automatically regressed into my habitual modes of repression/projection. I blindly dis-empowered myself and empowered them beyond any forces they actually possessed. (I write this in past tense, as though the habit is history; but in fact I often continue in it–as though every woman were in fact my mother.)

FAMILY MEMENTOES

            Over the years I have collected a number of family artifacts as my way of expanding my connections–past memories alone, with my past. Among them are:

- A small chest brought from South Carolina by my great-grandmother, Florence Levicy Fickling Evans, on their move to Louisiana in 1871.

- A leather bound New Testament belonging to my great-grandfather, John Calhoun Evans, dated June 28, 1868, brought to Louisiana in 1871.

- A leather bound book on The Evidences Of Christianity owned by Noah Cloud, my great-grandfather on my grandmother’s side, dated by him on January 30, 1870.

- A minnie ball which"passed through John C Evans thigh during the Confederate War," kept by his younger sister, Nancy I. Evans, who wrote that"he came home in the spring of 65 limping from the wound and gave me this." I have it framed along with her note from 1924, on the wall of my study.

- A wooden, apple-shaped box with hinged top and lock, from the Noah Cloud family in the late 1800's, used by my grandmother for storing keys, etc.

- A jar of square nails taken from the old house of Captain Babers, where my great-grandfather and mother moved when they first came to Louisiana in 1871, and where my grandfather, Martin Bunyan Evans was born in 1872.

- A stoppered gourd from the Cloud family, used, I was told, to store powder for muzzle loading rifles during the Civil War.

- A shaving mug with rose flowers owned by my great-grandfather, John Calhoun Evans, along with his straight razor.

- A small, China, vase-like container with painting of a lady on front, owned by my grandmother, Delilah Cloud, which I remember being on the mantle in their bedroom when I was a child. I was later told it contained"a nip of whisky" kept"for medicinal purposes." My mother got it after grandmother died. After it was broken once my daddy glued it back together. Years later I asked for it but my mother refused, until it had been broken again; then, on one visit she showed me the pieces and said,"now you can have it." I spent hours re-glueing it again, remembering and wondering.

- A brick from the chimney of the house built by my grandfather, Martin B. Evans, in 1912, which my father remembered moving into when he was aged six.

- A shaving mug and straight razor owned by my grandfather, Martin B. Evans. I remember watching him strop this razor before he shaved, and threatening to"use it on" us cousins"if we didn’t behave and mind our grandmother."

- A light fixture belonging to Delilah Cloud Evans, probably for candle or oil as originally designed; rescued by my mother from Grandma’s smoke house, and later wired for electricity and restored by Helen Marie Coker.

- A gold pocket watch belonging to my grandfather, Martin B. Evans.

- A framed 15 X 20 photograph of my great-grandfather, John Frederick Gray, who came to Louisiana from South Carolina in 1845, and died in 1904.

-"Love letters" of Martin Bunyan Evans and Delilah Cloud, from other sweethearts and beaus, and to each other before their marriage in 1895; also of my parents, John Owen Evans and Constance Coker before their marriage in 1927.

- 1924 M.B. Evans Family Bible; brought to J.O. Evans’ home in 1962; family pages cut out by my mother and now in my genealogy files.

- 1908 Bible Dictionary of my grandmother, Nina Coker.

- An old cardboard box from my father, John Owen Evans, containing his father’s eye glasses, gold Masonic ring, cuff link (with diamond?); 4 sets of his own cuff links, an LMA pin (for longest tenure as mayor, 40 years), 3 tie clasps, a small screw driver, nail clippers, an old tooth, a lead arrowhead, and 2 old keys belonging to J.O. Evans.

- A"Blue Steel Special" straight razor owned by my father, John Owen Evans. I also watched him shave (enviously, at the time; but what did I know then?) with this razor before he owned a safety razor.

- A file of pencil drawings by Delilah Cloud while at Keachi College 1885-87.

- Clothing from trunk of Delilah Cloud Evans, including: a dress she made in 1869, 2 home made lace petticoats, another dress, and a child’s bonnet–all from late 18 or early 1900's.

- Dress made by Constance Coker for her graduation from State Normal College in 1924.

- A wire basket which was on the desk of J.O. Evans’ store, used to hold mail from before I can remember until he sold his store in 1980.

- 1920's Kodak Camera used by J.O. Evans throughout my childhood. Most all our family pictures were made with it.

- A 32 pistol belonging to my Uncle Brewer Ware, which he kept under his pillow until he died.

- A pistol belonging to J.O. Evans, kept in his wardrobe until he died in 1986.

- 3 large books of photographs and history: 2 of the Evans and Coker families, 1 of the Compton and DeBlieux families.

- An old gas light from the attic of the Deblieux town house in Natchitoches, given to Anita by Bobby Deblieux in 1985.

- An"Esnard bone" which I found on top of the only Esnard grave I could find in the old cemetery in the village of Blieux, France, in 1985. Alexander DeBlieux, born 1760, first to America, married Francoise Esnard in 1789.

- A stone from the ruins of the DeBlieux castle in the village of Blieux, France, circa 1100 A.D.

ADVENTURES

            Some of my memorable-to-me adventures in life–experiences which now come to mind, include these:

--“Running away from home" around age 3 to"go live with Anne" and Joe Lynn and Sus and Gaga who lived next door to us in the house where I was born in Saline.

--Sitting by my grandmother in church and looking at pictures in her bible where she would also hide (I now suspect) gum for me; also climbing under her house to collect eggs for her.

--Being"in love" with Anna Faye Hightower in the first grade; also being"caught" by Mrs. Smith chewing gum–which I swallowed before she could"get to me."

--Learning to swim by being tricked by Jack Smith into jumping off the railroad trestle for a dime, along with his promises to get me out–which he promptly reneged on.

--Building a rope swing over Mill Creek with Hartwell Burson, and"falling in" for fun.

--Robert Kennon, later to become governor of Louisiana, gave me a pocket knife when I was 8 years old, while having dinner with my family (campaigning for mayor of Minden at the time). Also, about this time, while daddy was mayor of Saline, I heard (and shook hands with) Earl K. Long who was campaigning in front of"our" store. Then, 50 years later, after my daddy had died and I was returning to Saline to visit my mother, I was surprised to find main street blocked off for the filming of a scene in the movie, Blaze, on Long’s life. I made my way through the crowd and–de ja vu, found them filming the scene just as I remembered it, only now with Paul Newman giving the political speech. Standing in front of the old store, then a Video Rental place, on the sidewalk where I had so often ridden my tricycle as a child, flooded with many memories, my arms covered with chill bumps, I shivered, and could not help but cry.

--Getting whipped by Mr. Rogers for fighting with Curtis Dison while lined up to go in school.

--Paying Imogene’s little sister a dime to go ahead of us on the way home from prayer meeting on Wednesday night so we might kiss in private. I had to stand on a log because Imogene was taller than I.

--I had my first big heart break at age 13 when I returned from a visit with my Aunt Hady in Texas, including a trip to Mexico where I spent all the money I had to buy a silver bracelet with bells for Imogene, my girl friend of several years, only to find that she had"gone out" with Allison Moore while I was away. I remember declaring to myself,"I’ll never be hurt like that again!" But what do you know at 13?

--At age 14 I visited for a week in the governor’s mansion in Baton Rouge with a friend of mine who was nephew of Mrs. Jimmy Davis, the governor’s wife. Highlights of the week included limousine service to Ponchatrain Beach Amusement Park in New Orleans with free passes to all rides, and then visits to model shops in Baton Rouge, plus Ted and I sliding down the second floor banister (at night, after the Davis’s were in bed!). Thirty five years later I happened to meet Jimmy Davis while getting on a plane in Baton Rouge–he to Nashville for a gold record award for You Are My Sunshine, me to speak at an American Baptist Church meeting. I recalled my visit and"confessed" our late night escapades. He laughed and said,"You know, before I left the mansion that was one of the last things I did too!"

--I enlisted as a private in the army during the Korean War just before being drafted, in hopes of getting a better assignment. I was trained at Ft. Riley, KS and Ft. Lee, VA, before being assigned to the Quartermaster Corp. and placed at Caven Point, NJ, where I promoted to Corporal, taught petroleum analysis, and worked in a lab evaluating captured fuels and other chemical products.

--I have traveled in 48 states and 25 foreign countries--alone in England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Cypress, Greek Isles, Venezuela, and Crete; with others in: Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, Holland, Switzerland, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Slovakia, and France.

--I have canoed the Buffalo River in Arkansas; climbed Mt. Sherman in Colorado; camped out at the end of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, on the beach in Santa Barbara, above the entrance to Carlsbad Caverns, in the upper regions of Zion National Park, and in a cemetery in Philadelphia; been put in jail in Pennsylvania; hiked down Grand Canyon 3 times; swam in Lake Tahoe, Salt Lake, the Dead Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Aegean Sea, and Sea of Galilee; crossed the Nile river in a sail boat; traveled by train to upper Egypt and explored Luxor and newly excavated tombs and temples of various Pharos; negotiated auto traffic on both sides of the road in such cities as London, Dublin, Paris, and Athens; dated a Miss Goat Queen of Texas and married a Miss Louisiana; kissed the Blarney Stone in Ireland; "watched the sun go down on Galway Bay" in Ireland; skied in Colorado and para-sailed in Florida; ridden a camel, seen the Sphinx, and climbed to the top of the Great Pyramid in Egypt; been caught in cross-fire between dissidents while exploring streets of Cairo at night; climbed down into an inactive volcano in Santorini; crawled through Hezekiah’s "tunnel," a water way under old city of Jerusalem, dug in 695 BC.; mo-peded around a Greek Isle; received holy communion from the Arch Bishop of Canterbury in Westminister Abby in London; plus much more.

 

--I was, as best I have been able to tell, the first counselor to practice group therapy in Baton Rouge; beginning in 1958, I continued to lead groups for some 36 years. I was also among the first to practice psychology in Baton Rouge, and had been doing so for six years before the state Board of Psychologists was established.

--Organized the first ecumenical church in Baton Rouge, which I pastored for 33 years until I retired.

--As a young minister"on the prayer circuit" I gave the invocation at scores of local events–from Pest Control Conventions to political meetings to LSU graduation. I also met and"delivered the invocation" at dinner with Senator John F. Kennedy before he became president; sat with actor Clint Eastwood for dinner; studied under, met and talked with eminent theologian, Paul Tillich; and spent many hours with Carlyle Marney, a true, practicing, ecumenical theologian and world citizen.

--Developed a 60 acre Christian Community and Retreat Center on a lake in North Louisiana, with lots for private ownership, shared facilities, and arrangements for cooperative sharing. (Unfortunately, this, like many other of my ventures, turned out unsuccessfully.)

--Bought 19 acres of land on Mill Creek Reservoir, designed and developed lake front lots for public sale.

--Bought 60 acres of rural property, designed and developed a subdivision in Saline, LA.

--Built a 20 boat, covered marina with boat ramp, gas service, and connected trailer park with water and electrical connections for 15 trailers or campers.

--Organized the first Wellness Center in Baton Rouge, aimed at integration of mental, spiritual, and physical health--offering coordinated services of medicine, meditation, counseling, massage, tutoring, and chiropractic services.

--Organized and operated a consulting firm offering human relations seminars and training for business and industries, including psychological testing and evaluations for employees, plus efficiency analyses.

 

--Before therapeutic massage became a licensed profession in Louisiana, I studied, took workshops and practiced the arts of body massage, both for fun and pay.

--Preached in Martin Luther King’s church in Atlanta; also in Jamaica, Texas, North Carolina, Iowa, Mississippi, and Rhode Island.


RACIAL VENTURES

--Preached one of the first published sermons on racial integration in Baton Rouge, which resulted in numerous threats, wire-tapping, cross burning, and my wife being fired as a math teacher at Baton Rouge High School.

--Helped write, signed (along with 28 other ministers), and publish a public statement urging peaceful integration of Baton Rouge schools, which led to numerous threats"to get you," harassments, and many signing members being forced to resign their churches or leave Baton Rouge. Some 30 years later I was the only remaining white minister actively serving a church in Baton Rouge.

--Helped organize and served as first Chairman of the Baton Rouge Council on Human Relations, focused mainly on peaceful integration of Baton Rouge schools, restaurants, and businesses.

--Organized the first openly and officially inclusive, ecumenical church in Baton Rouge.

--Was thoroughly investigated and threatened by the Louisiana State Sovereignty Commission (an anti-integration state agency) if I continued in promoting racial integration.

--With a black companion, we were the first bi-racial couple to integrate Mike and Tony’s Steak House in Baton Rouge.

--Organized in 1964 a Church In The World conference which brought together leading"integrationists" (so-called back then) from around the nation to deliver papers, serve on panels, and speak on challenges in striving for racial harmony–for being, that is, church in the real world rather than in church only. Conferees came from as far away as California, Wisconsin, and New York, to hear, meet, and share with controversial seminary and university professors in theology, history, biology, and philosophy, plus pastors of churches in then-current headlines of racial problems (Philadelphia, MS and Bogalusa, LA), as well as the eminent and outspoken Carlyle Marney of Charlotte, NC. Ku Klux Clan members were noted in the parking lot taking license numbers of cars of attendees.

--Helped organize American Baptist Churches of the South, the first officially integrated denomination in Louisiana; later served as president of this 14 state organization.

(Some 5 shelf feet of my letters and papers during the height of the civil rights movement have already been donated to the Hill Memorial Library at LSU.)



SERVICES AND HONORS

            I was co-valedictorian, Saline High School; Chapel Director and President, LSU Baptist Student Union; served in US Army 2 years (during Korean Conflict); Ordained Baptist Minister (1958-1997); Pastor’s Advisor for LSU BSU; Honorary member, Louisiana State Future Homemakers of America; Officer in Baptist Pastor’s Conference, Baton Rouge; Member (youngest for awhile), Downtown Kiwanis Club, Baton Rouge; Chairman (first one), Baton Rouge Council on Human Relations; Chairman, Baton Rouge Association of Religion and Psychiatry; President, Baton Rouge Area Psychiatric Foundation, Inc.; Member, Louisiana Family Relations Council; Board of Directors, East Baton Rouge Parish Family Counseling Agency (6 years); Chairman of Personnel, Finance, and Executive Committees, then Vice-president and President, American Baptist Churches, USA, Region of the South (4 years); Member, American Academy of Psychotherapists; Member, American Personnel and Guidance Association; Member, Louisiana Association for Counseling and Development; Member, Louisiana Mental Health Counselors Association; Member, American Mental Health Counselors Association; Licensed Professional Counselor, State of Louisiana; Received Distinguished Service Award from Mental Health Association, Baton Rouge; Received Committed Service Award from American Baptist Churches of the South; Nominated for Templeton Foundation Award.      

 

WRITING

            I have been writing since I was 8 or 9 years old, beginning with brief"private" diaries, and continuing with school papers, poems beginning around age 16, research papers in college and seminary, regular journaling starting around age 28; then sermons, newsletters, and theological/psychological ideas ever since–until today.

            To date, my library includes 285 volumes and notebooks, made up of: my 13 published books; 4 Fellowship Church books which include some of my poems; 131 published articles and poems; 36 volumes of my poetry (some 15,000 poems); 43 volumes of my poems and photographs; 15 collections of manuscripts and poems illustrated with copied pictures; 28 notebooks of sermons and lectures (appx. 1,000); 30 volumes of newsletters containing some 1500 introductions to sermons; 47 unpublished manuscripts on subjects ranging from sex to theology to genetics to psychology to gender (woman’s wiles and man’s ploys) and memes; 46 volumes of my diaries and journals from 1938-now; 4 volumes on family genealogy (plus 8 feet of files of family genealogical information); 11 notebooks of early writings and manuscripts; and 5 volumes of tape manuscripts and exercises for self-development courses.

            I have indexed all my writings so that I can access them more readily when I am re-thinking about any given topic--by subject, title, date, and location. (A printed copy is in Vol 209.)

            Much of my writing is, as I will amplify next, considerably out of main stream public thinking and therefore of little general interest at the present time. Consequently its commercial value is, so far as I know, essentially nil just now. However, I speculate that my perspectives will gradually come into more general public acceptance and that eventually more of my work will become publishable. I have been told by others that I am simply"ahead of my times" in the way I view religion and reality. Perhaps so; or maybe I am just"weird." I must leave these conclusions to the valuations of time.

            In the past I have attempted to get several of my works printed by commercial publishers--unsuccessfully, except for The Man Woman Book (my royalties from it were a whopping $3.90 for the first six months of this year). I no longer try to publish, preferring to devote my energies to writing more candidly about things which interest me. If, however, any of my heirs should choose to try market any of my writings, and be more successful than I have, I will be happy to split any profits (50/50) with that person.

            When I die (or before) I would like for my writings to be donated to Hill Memorial Library at LSU--if they will accept them, to be placed with previous donations of my letters and papers related to the civil rights movement, so that any person wishing to study my various ideas might have easy access to them. I would want these donations (to LSU, or any other library, should they not be accepted here) with these provisions: 1) That any proceeds which might come from future publication or other use of my writings be divided 60/40 between my heirs and the holding library–that is, that 60% of any income go to my family (according to the provisions of my will) with the remainder to the library; 2) That should any of my heirs take the initiative and secure publication of any of my writings, that person would receive of the 60%, with the remaining half divided among other heirs (again, with 40% to the holding library).

                                                PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTS

            I have thought and written in many arenas of religious and secular life, including: theology, psychology, philosophy, genetics, and gender. I consider the following to be my five major mental accomplishments, and view them as my primary contributions to novelty in accepted thinking:

 1) Now theology; developing a this-worldly theology, the ultimate in naturalism, sans any super-natural components. I have rewritten traditional Christian theology with these 180 degree shifts:

-From otherworldly to this-worldly.

-From a focus on afterlife to this life, from heaven later to heaven now.

-From unprovable magic to verifiable reality.

-From personages as inhuman figures to personifications of qualities of human experience; e.g., from God as Super Magician to ultimate in reality, from Jesus as a religious super man to a fully human being.

-From salvation as an irresponsible gift of a Super Power to totally responsible human work.

-From the virtue of self denial/negation, even martyrdom, to an affirmation of selfingness or self-becoming.

-From sin as certain mis-behaviors and bad-beliefs to destructive psychological events.

-From beliefs as sacred keys to salvation to signs of mental hang-ups and psychological problems.

2) Harmonizing religion and psychology; exploring the relationships and differences between religion and psychology, especially their underlying harmonies cloaked in distinctively different languages. I have merged many elements of ancient Christianity and modern psychology--religious and secular thinking about better living, theology about soul with psychology about self.

3) Amplifying gender differences; understanding the differences between men and women, so commonly seen as equals (or males as superior) with mainly anatomical distinctions. I have explored gender differences in considerable detail. My conclusions include a shift from accepted ideas about equal beings with minor differences, to a view of unequal beings with major differences–woman, basically, as the primary and superior creature.

4) Honoring and harmonizing memes and genes; recognizing commonly ignored social powers (“memes") and understanding their relationship with more familiarly known (though suppressed) instinctive forces called"genes." I have recognized the power of younger social memes and their inherent conflicts with older genes, and correlated the often opposing forces of each, including theories of moralities which honor both, with pragmatic merging in daily living.

5) Amplifying the Creative Process; developing a theory of creative human experience; exploring human creativity--identified with being our unique selves. I have analyzed the nature of primary experience and summarized it in what I call the Creative Process, a 4 stage process (perceiving, imaging, conceiving, and becoming) of all human experience, seen as the deep nature of all encountering in the world–that is, what we do, how we"go wrong," and how we be ourselves.

 

UNCOMMON IDEAS

            Although most of my thinking correlates well with conventional knowledge, many of the notions I now hold seem to be uncommon with the people I have known–at least as they let on to me. I could call them my unorthodox beliefs were it not for an additional uncommon notion I hold about the nature of beliefs themselves–namely, that they are more like shit than truth.

            Anyway, none of these ideas which I enumerate next are sacred to me, as beliefs commonly are to their holders. These are more like working-premises-in-process, temporary summaries of my experience so far, than like static or permanent beliefs. They represent the way-I-see-things just now, which may or may not be the way I see them when I have more experience, and certainly not necessarily the way-things-are. They are, after all, personal perspectives, more accurately seen as honest than right, true-for-me, but certainly not seen-by-me as The Truth, or as ideas which any other person"should believe."

            Rereading them, I am struck by the fact that so many are in sharp contradiction with accepted notions, especially as presented to me in childhood–which leads me to wonder how much rebellion may have colored my assumed-to-be personal experience. How much of what I see came in opposition to what"They" saw (or said they did)–that is, the meme, What They Think–I don’t know. Probably more than I yet realize.

            Still, these ideas are some of the ones I currently hold (“believe to be true") which are, best I can tell, fairly uncommon with many of my acquaintances and public beliefs in general.

            Others might see them as my beliefs–but for me that would imply a degree of sacredness or permanence which is inaccurate. Although I have at times in the past"been religious" about some of them–that is, omnisciently seen them as The Truth to be self-righteously preached and promulgated much like any other evangelist, religious or secular, now I more clearly recognize each as"just my thinking." Each is"the way I presently see things" based on my personal experience and reasoning. They are all honest-for-now, yet each is lightly held, subject to polish, change, or dropping completely in the light of new experience or information.

            I may, on occasion, for fun and/or clarity, express any one of them forcefully,"arguing" as it were, for its accuracy or acceptance; but behind this facade, I am actually tentative about each one. They all"seem right" to me in accord with my knowledge, but may in fact be all wrong for any other person with their own unique experience.

            Also I make no claims for originality, as though I am the first or only one to see as I do. Each notion has indeed seemed original to me when I first began to think it. I was fearful/excited, as I recall, at the genesis of each. When an uncommon notion first began to dawn on me, I was usually quite afraid of risks of personal rejection at the time. With some, I still am.

            The pilgrimage of each of these ideas has been roughly as follows:

1) Initial excitement when its sense-to-me first began to dawn.

2) Emerging fear when its uncommonness also appeared, along with risks of rejection by others who see things differently.

3) Search for understanding–affirmation if not agreement,"Do you see what I see?," as a way of easing the threat of social rejection for"being different"–that is, not agreeing with an accepted perspective. Ideally,"understanding" was sought from a person; most often, however, it came, if at all, from reading what others had written rather than talking with people.

4) Belief stage, blind self-righteousness (“Aha, I have found the truth"), cloaking uncertainty, threat of rejection, and lack of faith (con-fidence). This assumption of rightness was sometimes translated into preaching, especially with my religious notions–that is, trying to get others to see/follow my ideas, as though they were not only"right" but also would be helpful or"good for them."

5) Eventual recognition of the immensely personal nature of each idea–that is, that whereas a notion was indeed honest-for-me and reasonable in light of my own experience, it might–given the uniqueness of all human beings–not be true for any person besides myself.

6) Lightly held idea. Finally, each of my"true beliefs" has gradually (and delightfully) phased into the realm of notions rather than righteous truths–that is, as my faith has increased, I have become able to distinguish between thinking and believing, and thus to recognize the temporal and personal nature of all mental notions.

            When I eventually get here with an uncommon idea, I am no longer threatened by its difference, in need of its understanding by others, impelled to preach (or"share") it, self-righteous about its accuracy, or blind to its limitations; it becomes, that is, a playful mental toy, confidently enjoyed at the time, perhaps acted on when it works, yet continually subject to replacement by an even more fitting one.

            When I have completed this process with any idea, I have moved, I think, from dumb to God to human.

            In retrospect I realize that"there is nothing new under the sun," including ideas. Each of these notions probably originated long ago and has likely been held by countless others, mostly unknown to me. Still, they have seemed"original" to me at the time of their unfolding in my awareness. I conceived myself as evolving them as though for the first time–which they were for me in the social arenas where they were not presented by those I respected, nor, as best I could tell, held by them.

            Given the nature of learning as I now understand it, all personal knowledge is, paradoxically, both original with each learner, yet largely acquired from external sources (by hearing, reading, etc.). Consequently, these ideas, if the larger truth be known, are probably all unwittingly plagiarized from others, some with perhaps a bit of unique Evans flavor, but none truly original with me–even when I thought so at the time of their evolution into my awareness.

            With this understanding, these are among the most uncommon ideas I now hold–“ways I see things" which seem to me to be different from the thinking (“beliefs") of most people I know. They are my unorthodox"beliefs," or what some might call, my"weird notions."

--On meaning: Things are meaningless. Although we commonly look for meaning"out there," in"things"–other people, events in the world, perceivable objects, the universe, or an otherworldly god, meaning is a human creation. The challenge of living meaningfully is to create meaning in an essentially meaningless world.

--On perception: It is I. Whatever"it" may seem to be, in reality all"its" are but images resulting from my human perceptions–that is,"I.""Things" which seem to exist"out there" may or may not be objective entities; in either case, all that I can know is what I perceive. 

 

--On self; Our greatest gift is being a unique, creating self. We may be honored among others by sacrificing ourselves in their service, but in so doing we lose your own souls. Better to acknowledge our genetic heritage, become who we truly are, and learn to live artfully in the company of all others. I affirm selfingness rather than judgment and attempted denial/negation of self. I coined the word (participle) selfing to distinguish this idea from the familiar adjective selfish.

--On death: I think this is it. All human life and breathing are inextricably bound. When breath is gone, so, I think, I will cease. All notions of afterlife, reincarnation, or any form of perpetual existence are wishful thinking, figments of fertile human imagination. Death is real; all living being is on the way to dying.

--On pleasure: There is an apparently universal fear of pleasure (excitement, especially bliss or ecstasy), cloaked in conscious quests for fun. We all seem to be deeply afraid of present bliss, Eden on Earth, and cloak this denial in beliefs in and quest for happiness later and/or heaven in an afterlife.

--On instincts: There is a massive, uncommonly recognized degree of socio/religious suppression of the two major human instincts for self-enhancement and self-replication (being"selfish" and"sexy").

--On morality: There is a genetic morality distinguished from and often in contrast with social and religious morality. My theory of genetic/memetic harmony, with equal honoring of both, requires un-repression, fuller consciousness, and vastly increased degrees of self-responsibility and personal courage.

--On repression: Psychological repression of genetic instincts is the major structuring element of societies. I see the massive extent of generalized sexual repression--especially of the realities of childhood sexuality; female amoral, polymorphous, passions; and male sexual repression, plus the even more hidden extent of selfing repression–denials of instincts for creating and enhancing oneself.

--On reason: I recognize the immense utility of the human capacity for conscious reasoning, but its relative impotence in face of the older forces of instinctive desires. Also I see consciousness as the apex of human evolution so far, but at the same time the most abused, least embraced, of all our capacities.

--On nonsciousness: I recognize human non-sciousness, as distinguished from Freudian unconscious; a prevailing state of denied awareness with consciousness of capacities sacrificed in quest of social acceptance and escape from personal responsibility in the communal world.

--On unrepression: I affirm the unproven possibility of society based on consciousness and personal responsibility rather than repression and domination by external powers (authorities).

--On how it is: All human knowledge is limited to personal perceptions."How it is," literally, is but"How it is to me," which may or may not be how it is for any other also-unique human being. Ultimate truth is beyond human grasp–even second-hand, as in having/knowing a god who has it"even if I don’t."

--On bad and good: In reality, outside of LaLaLand, many things, such as misfortune, assorted woes, suffering, and ultimately death are"too bad"; but nothing is literally bad; likewise with joys–that is, many aspects of human experience are nice, pleasurable, fun, and satisfying, such as, helping others, fine food, and sex; but none are inherently good.

 

--On male superiority. Male superiority is an illusion cloaking the fact of female superiority. Women are naturally superior and the relationship between genders is inherently unequal--with physical, psychological, social, and power advantages on the female side. Females are inherentlly more capable–physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and socially–than males.

--On language roots: I have recognized the philosophical (objective) roots of the English language and its premises of reality as objects in space and time (nouns and verbs), with its utility for describing external perceptions (“things in the world"), yet extreme limitations for giving mental shapes for thinking and concepts, for voicing internal perceptions–that is, aspects/elements in personal experience which are spiritual/psychological in nature. We inherit a language which is effective for science and coping with the outside world, but severely limited for spirit and coping with the inside world.

            Hence the disciplines of theology and psychology (which I have identified as focusing on a single subject with different languages) are inherently limited in approaching their subject (inward experience) with a language geared for external reality only.

            Consequently I have attempted a language shift from nouns and verbs to participles as a compromise way of adapting an inherently inadequate language for arenas of thought which have interested me more–e.g., goding, faithing, selfing, etc.

--On helping others: "Helping others" and all forms of social service not directly or indirectly related to oneself are a social virtue only–that is,"unnatural" from a genetic standpoint except as directed to one’s own kin (“gene pool") and others on whom one depends.

--On What They Think: The most powerful, often near omnipotent, force outside of genetics is the meme called What They Think. 

 

--On order: Reality is random. The idea of an orderly universe, either created instantaneously by an omnipotent god or goddess or evolving according to a master plan, is a projection of human desires to either understand or have control over the world. In fact, all reality is random; we may, in hindsight, discern causes of some events or see patterns in what has happened, but proceeding to the next logical step of presuming some ultimate cause or overarching plan is to indulge in irresponsible fantasy. In fact, evolution is a process of trial and error, and even god goofs.

--On what should be: If it is it should be, unless or until you and I or others can find a way to change it. Not that whatever happens is intended or desirable, but to accept reality as it unfolds before and to us is to recognize the inherent appropriateness of whatever happens. Human values imposed onto reality allow us a vast number of social and religious"shoulds," but all these virtues are our own creations, not inherent in the world apart from ourselves.

--On deception: There is genetic virtue in deception. In society, deception or dishonesty with others is among the great evils, while self-deception is entirely acceptable. Yet in nature, no quality of life is more essential or universal than the virtue of deception–that is, fooling others in quest of getting or avoiding becoming food. To live well as a product of nature in the context of society is to recognize this difference and honor both values. In practice the two are best harmonized to the advantages of each by one’s becoming artful in deceiving others for pragmatic purposes without ever fooling oneself.

--On genetics: Genes are boss. Caught up in various degrees of ego states, we like to think that we are our own bosses, the"captain of our ship, the master of our fate," so to speak–or else that we have a god who is. The values of affirming will power and personal responsibility are both noble and socially advantageous; but after all is said and done, no matter how diligently we try to live up to chosen virtues, in the final analysis, genes are boss–that is, our genetic heritage always has the last word.

--On change: Reality is changing. Fearful of the challenges and responsibilities of remaining flexible and limited in the obviously evolving, ever-changing universe, we humans easily come to believe in wished-for states of permanence which ignore what we can easily observe to be otherwise. Even when we reluctantly admit what any child can see, namely, that"things change," we often conjure up beliefs in an unchanging god in charge of this changing world. I respect both our wishes and our theologies which back them up; but I think that, sans beliefs, all reality is in fact constantly evolving and therefore changing.

--On justice: It’s not fair. Justice is an often pragmatic human invention, but an unnatural goal of living. We may reasonably seek justice and strive to"be fair," especially to"play fair" in relationships, but it is a dangerous mistake to presume that equality is an attribute of nature’s script. Or even that it should be. In the real world, strength, power, and adaptability remain the primal virtues, with fairness only an occasionally useful attribute.

--On sex; Sex is clean. The prevailing social attitude, often cloaked by conscious ideas about the necessity, even virtue, of legal-types of sexual activity, is that sex is dirty. I think otherwise. Certainly I do not think that all expressions of sexuality are positive or acceptable; indeed many are perverse and destructive. But overall this evolved means of replication is far"cleaner" than"dirty."

--On communication; Honest communication is vastly overrated as a means of improving human relationships, such as, in marriage, on the job, etc. Trying to"talk it out," other than for the relief of"getting it off your chest," is usually of very limited value."Spilling your guts" is more likely to backfire than to help in the long run. The only truly useful places for"getting really honest" are with a therapist and with yourself. Better to take energies given to (and commonly wasted on)"getting honest with each other" and devote them instead to increased consciousness, difficult un-repression, learning artful deception, and using what you know, silently.

--On women: Men like to think we’re better than women and that they’re here to bear our children and serve us. Often, in quest of even greater power, they pretend it is so and leave us comforted with our illusions. In fact, they are superior creatures in all regards save physical strength and focused thinking, and we men have evolved to serve them and their offspring. Better to recognize these facts of life, serve joyfully, and strive for increased equalities, rather than settling for outward domination and inward submission, being chauvinists or wimps, instead of becoming real men capable of loving ourselves as well as those we serve.

            Otherwise massive energies must be expended (wasted, in the long run) in several ways: 1) repressing awareness of these facts of life; 2) striving for domination (which is ultimately futile except in outward, less relevant ways, e.g., never really winning, even an argument; 3) developing and maintaining what turns out to be a usually fragile ego for impressing females and fooling oneself–all this rather than consciously developing one’s real self and using the energies wasted in the above ways for learning to artfully cope with women’s numerous wiles and even perhaps learning to love them as they are rather than as we easily come to wish they were.

--On consciousness: Consciousness is the most abused of all human capacities, the greatest of our common sacrifices in service of social conformity; better to be consciously honest with yourself and deceptive with all others, than to fool yourself in order to be accepted by anyone. 

 

--On love; Real love is as rare as hen’s teeth and cold days in July–that is, practically non-existent in ordinary life. Ideal love–called agape in Christianity, is vastly different and hardly even in the ball park with other kinds of relating which go by the same name, such as,"romantic love,""motherly love,""platonic love," and even"Christian love."

            I see these and other kinds of so-called love as commonly accepted but slightly veiled excuses for various forms of socially acceptable pathology (like, seeking personal wholeness through possession of a"better half"), genetic drives (self-replication via healthy offspring), sexually repressed relationships, and vaunted martyrdom (self-sacrifice) in the name of"loving others." Better, I think, to see these familiar kinds of relating for what they are–that is, various forms of unconscious selfishness, and, when one’s faith is large, to strive instead to accept others as they currently are, to affirm their unique differences, and to free them for whoever they may become.

            Agape (real love) truly is"the greatest," but the other charades, so often accepted without close examination, can substitute for, even prevent, what truly matters most.

            Furthermore,"getting loved" won’t work–at least for long. This popular compulsion to"find someone who really loves me" is more often but a way of escaping the challenges and responsibility for self-love in society which only honors"loving others."

            Real love is also extremely dangerous because it inherently threatens the common repressions which structure current society. I cannot move toward a healthy love–which affirms others as they are and frees them to who they may become, without at the same time applying the same principles with myself–which threatens my structures of denial; and when I dare love others in this manner, I unwittingly invite them to face their own repressions–which, unfortunately, after initial delight, often turns out to be equally threatening to them also.

MY RELIGIOUS HERESIES

            In the course of adapting the Baptist theology I inherited in Saline to fit my own experience I have also come to see most religious subjects in differing, and often uncommon, ways. As noted before, I consider one of my major philosophical accomplishments to be this re-writing of Christian theology. Among my unorthodox religious ideas are the following heresies–at least as they may appear in the light of traditional Baptist beliefs.

 

--On gods; Any god outside your own skin, in the sky or world, is a projection of un-embraced powers for responsibly being yourself; better to look for the courage for self-becoming–for un-repressing denied elements within, than to pray for the gods out there to save you.

--On God;"God," in my theology, is a name, a language tool, for the ultimate in reality, rather than an omnipotent, non-human entity. All gods and extra-terrestrial beings, religious and otherwise--Creators, angels, demons, ghosts, etc., are figments of our imagination, existent in human minds but not in the air, ether, or another world beyond some human’s brain and skin.

            Many ideas about God are useful for self and society–for giving initial mental shapes to primal human experiences alone and in community (#2 Image Stage of all human experience); but any form of theism (or atheism), religious or secular, becomes dangerous and potentially devastating when taken literally. Likewise with sacred books (Bible, Koran, etc.) taken to be written words of invisible gods.

            All idolatries, especially of any god (or goddess), are a slap in the face of ultimate reality and inevitably assure our exodus from Eden here.

--On soul;"Soul" is literally a participle (souling or"having soul") rather than a noun. The name, for me, represents the apex of being oneself, rather than a title for an entity in the body. It is about being embodied rather than something one may have (like a ghost in a machine). I identify soul with fulfilled selfing rather than seeing"it" as an embodied entity."With soul" is a way we may (or may not) become, but something we inevitably have.

            

--On Eden; I see biblical Eden as a metaphor for good life here rather than a place of historical beginnings or a symbol for heaven in the sky; hence I look for salvation now rather than later. My affirmation is of self-in-society (being oneself with others) now rather than soul-in-heaven (or reincarnated here) later. I see salvation to be found in becoming fully human rather than godly or god-rescued.

--On religious language; Religious language (“theology") is a thought vehicle for our limited knowledge about the essence of human experience, rather than omniscience about heavenly beings, proper behavior, and right beliefs.

--On faith; I Identify religious faith with secular courage rather than irrational beliefs. Saving faith is literally a participle posing as a noun, existing in reality, sans language, only as faithing–a mode of being without inherent connection to any static idea (“belief"). Its earmark is open-minded thinking, not mental prejudice.

--On sin and salvation; I understand sin as assumed knowledge of good and evil, evidenced in unrecognized godhood and personal judgments of self and others, rather than with forms of behavior and errant ideas (unaccepted beliefs); ultimate sin is self-righteousness, especially damning when unconscious and hence unrecognized. I identify sin with judgment (either plus or minus) of deeds and ideas, rather than with specific behaviors and beliefs themselves. There are, in my thinking, no inherently good or evil deeds, right or wrong beliefs; nor can there be any real salvation via behavior and/or thinking alone. Salvation an issue of being (existential) rather than of thinking/doing.

            Insofar as personal salvation is concerned, the worse thing you can do is to judge your perceptions–that is, put up or down on anything, instead of remaining present, consciously thinking about whatever you experience. To judge is to play god rather than remaining human; whether you judge something as good or as bad (either a thing, a god, a person, or an event) you slip into idiolatry and out of being yourself.

--On Jesus; I see Jesus as an ideal person–a fully human son of man, rather than the superhuman only earthly Son of a Sky Father. I don’t think that Jesus can save you, either by any type of rigid thinking about him (called"believing in Jesus"), any mimicking of his behaviors, or any dedication to following his teachings. Personal salvation requires, as the Bible states,"working out" your own, even"with fear and trembling."

--On beliefs; Beliefs can only save you from the tyranny of other people; for yourself, beliefs are more damning than redemptive, more like mental excrement (remnants of digested food for thought) than the soul’s salvation. Better to remain thoughtful on all subjects, always keeping your mind open for new perceptions and information, than to camp down on any single notion–no matter how sacred others may declare it to be.

            I think that all beliefs are signs of a frozen mind and an escape from the challenges of fluid thinking as is required for salvation now, rather than sacred ideas varying from religion to religion to religion, denomination to denomination, but necessary for salvation. I affirm the virtue of believing with an open mind, rather than holding"right" beliefs in a closed mind. Sacred beliefs are more like mental shit than keys to salvation. To be fully human and hence saved includes"thinking"–that is, open-mindedly, believing, sans beliefs.

--On evil; In reality many things are"too bad," such as, misfortune, suffering, and death; but nothing, I think, is literally bad. All that is is a part or element of existence which is inherently morally neutral–that is, neither good nor evil within itself.

--On good works; I don’t think that good works are virtuous apart from social approval, nor can they save you as an individual. Good behavior is certainly critical for social acceptance, but there is no connection between any type of acting and being saved. Furthermore, idleness isn’t evil. Not doing anything is often as functional as"being busy." In either case,"idle hands" are not necessarily"the devil’s workshop," and salvation does not lie through the door of doing."Just being counts," insofar as personal salvation is concerned; I use this deceptively simple phrase to amplify the more common notion that only"good works" matter.

--On church; I view church as an ecumenical community made up of all those persons who are consciously in quest of ideal living, with a priesthood of all believing ones (versus"true believers" in a localized sect). Unfortunately, any correlation between church as I view it and various organized groups meeting in"church houses" is purely coincidental. Often, in fact, they are inversely proportional–that is, the most"churchly ones" are the least in church.

--On traditional religion; I see popular religion (major religions and denominations) as a socially acceptable insulation against excessive excitement and threatening reality–reduced present-tense living cloaked with beliefs in better life later. They serve many social, political, and personal needs of a temporal nature, but all work to shield us from difficult responsibilities thrust on us by Mother Nature.

--On predestination; I think that God is unscheduled–that is, being is unplanned. Evolution (“Mother Nature") occurs willy-nilly and is characterized by many more failures than successes. Apart from genetic necessities not subject to change by individual persons, we weave our own fates, even if unconsciously.

--On spirituality; Spirit, for me, is a synonym for soul–that is, a noun useful within our language structure for thinking and talking about what exists in reality only as a way-of-being, not as a entity within itself. In this understanding, spirituality is but a name for the state of being spirited or existing"with soul." As I have re-defined theological subjects in my Now Theology, spirituality, religiosity, and mental health are all about the same ultimate human goal.

UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPTS

(By Volume Number)

            These are my book-length writings on various subjects, unpublished and now on my library shelves:

84. A PERSONALITY INVENTORY (1960) My dissertation for a doctorate in psychology and counseling, focusing on the design and administration of a forced-choice test aimed at evaluating how personality factors may influence choices in religious vocations (174 pages).

11. TOWARD UNDERSTANDING SEX (1962); A general introduction to sexuality, including non-sexual experiences commonly projected on sex, gender differences, and relationships between sex and being, love, pleasure, death, and religion (297 pages). 

 

104. HERE AND NOW (1964); A brief overview of basic tenets in a theology focused on heaven now rather than later–that is, good life in the here and now (67 pages).

14. CREATIVE ENCOUNTERING (1965); An analysis of productive human relationships, with focus on attitudes, language, elements in meeting, rules for responding, and purposive communication (234 pages).

15. NOW THEOLOGY (1966); An introduction to theology focused on this world rather than another world, reality versus magic, and living well now rather than hoping for heaven later; focuses on understanding man, sin, salvation, God, the Bible, Jesus, beliefs, and death in this"now" perspective, plus the biblical basis for a natural theology and its practical values (229 pages).

21. TO A MAN (1968); A story about a boy who meets a wise man and asks our common questions about life, God, sin, salvation, evil, self, and death (116 pages).

25. THE KINGDOM NOW (1969); A theology for the new church focused on living well now rather than striving for heaven after death; includes chapters on the spiritual dimension, theological language, spiritual events, religious personages, the Bible, plus a glossary of theological words as defined in this perspective (303 pages).

31. THE NEW CHURCH (1970); A proposal for the organization, programs, and practice of an ecumenical, local church focused on improved human life in the here and now rather than salvation in an afterlife. (213 pages).

40. POPULAR RELIGION AND THE EMERGING CHURCH (1975); An evaluation of the emerging church focused on good life now as contrasted with traditional religion; includes chapters on the church, beliefs, behavior, the Bible, Jesus, other religious personages, salvation, plus an explanation of religious times and places in this natural perspective (254 pages). 

 

54. MAN WOMAN DIFFERENCES (1985); An analysis of major gender differences between men and women in the realms of biology, identity, thinking, emotions, understanding, sex, power, touch, and many other arenas (322 pages).

58. BEING YOURSELF (1989); What it means to be your"real self" versus various ego states commonly identified with self–in 38 different arenas, such as, minding, emoting, deciding, virtue, caring, roles, faithing, conversing, and honesty; plus chapters on language, illusions (not being yourself), death, and mental illness (189 pages).

64. MAN/WOMAN TALK BOOK (1991); a book about how to talk to a man or woman productively in their"native" languages; includes 8 rules for positive cross-gender communication, an analysis of talking, bridging the gender gap, and a section of poems on man/woman talk (228 pages).

77. ANGELS AND DEMONS (1991); A practical work book based on angels and demons understood as personifications of various aspects of human experience (vs. ghostly beings), including tests and profile sheets for understanding one’s own angels and demons, plus suggestions about what to do about each of them (377 pages).

78. SECOND MAN/WOMAN BOOK (1991); A continuation of noted gender differences as begun in the published first THE MAN/WOMAN BOOK (Vol 101); includes observations on 53 other gender differences in arenas such as, head and heart, nudity, killing and caring, freedom, intimacy, and betrayal (97 pages).

79. APPROACHING THE FACE (1991); 185 short articles on assorted subjects, originally written as"teasers" for sermons preached between 1986 and 1990 (185 pages).

85. BRUCISMS (1992); A selection of 69 poems and articles from various other manuscripts which seem particularly related to my personal perspectives (69 pages).

107. THE SPERM/OVUM BOOK (1993); An evaluation of gender differences in men and woman from the perspective of genetics, including chapters on biology, understanding genes, the drama of conception, gender powers, and sex in history (232 pages).

 

108. GOD'S BACKSIDE: GOOD AND EVIL (1993); An opinion on the nature of good and evil, that is, what is"really good" and"bad"; explores such subjects as the difference between social, psychological, and spiritual evil, how the 3 are related, and how evil is related to self, consciousness, and mental illness (180 pages).

109A. A LITTLE GOOD ADVICE (1993); A collection of some 50 pieces of advice on a host of subjects ranging from How to be human to how to be happy, how to listen, to live with a man, to be a step-parent, about sex, neurotics, marriage, and how to give advice–as edited for my Web Page in 1999 (55 pages).

115. WHY FELLOWSHIP FAILED (1994); An exploration of why Fellowship Church, which was so affirmed and apparently helpful to hundreds of individuals during its 31 year history, failed to survive as an institutional church in society; includes a summary history, list of members, a confession of my personal errors, various experiments, plus an overview of its theological basis, an analysis of the inherent threats of fellowship, and responses from many of its members (171 pages).

118. IDEAS IN PROGRESS (1995); A collection of 22 miscellaneous essays, journal entries, random thoughts and other"ideas in progress" written between 1988 and 1994 (185 pages).

160. COURTING GOD (1995); 65 short essays on assorted subjects, originally written as introductions to sermons I intended to preach (75 pages).

162. MAN/WOMAN DIFFERENCES (1996) Originally written in the 80's before I had a computer, this is an amplification and edited revision of Volume 54 summarizing my work on gender differences until that date (251 pages).

163. PEACE PARADOX (1996); Seventy-one brief essays on a variety of subjects ranging from peace to spilt milk and sin; originally written as introductions to sermons preached in 1985-86 (71 pages).

 

167. CONSCIOUSNESS (1997); A collection of pages from my journal written during the evolution of my ideas on this human capacity which I consider to be the apex of evolution so far (182 pages).

169. DECODING GAIA (1997); Pages and poems from my journals of 1996-97, many written during a trip to Greece, focused on my attempt to decode the powerful female images which often lie hidden at the heart of culture today–especially mine (194 pages).

 

181. XXX: SPECULATIONS & CONFESSIONS (1998); A chronological collection of unedited pages from my journals between 1962 and 1997, in which I pondered the place and power of sex in my daily living (313 pages).

182. SENSE OF SEX (1998); Confessions, essays, articles, journal pages, and miscellaneous ideas attempting to make sense of some of the mysteries arising in the arena of sex, to bring reason and light to dark forces of experience commonly headed by this deceptively simple, three-letter word (246 pages).

186. NOW THEOLOGY (1998); A brief (40 page) summary of my theology based on the premise that: Salvation is being human, written in 1965 and revised for my Web Page in 1998.

187. CREATIVE PROCESS (1998); An explanation of my analysis of the creative process of all primary human experience, broken down into 4 elemental events: perceiving, imaging, conceiving, and minding (or becoming); includes a section of pages from my journal related to each step of the process–as prepared for my Web Page (169 pages).

198. BEING SEXUAL (1998) 20 essays on various aspects of embracing this aspect of our common humanity (as prepared for my Web Page), including such subjects as: Sex and consciousness, Memes and gender, Ceasing sexual dependency, and Becoming my ass hole (53 pages).

199. MEMES & GENES (1999); A series of essays explaining the nature of social forces, called memes, and their relationship with genes or inherited instincts; mostly taken from pages of my journal and edited for my Web Page (105 pages).

202a. CAMELOT (1999); A collection of my writings on pussy, cunt, and womb. From the preface:"...perhaps the deepest and most difficult aspects of sexuality for me to face have been skirted when I thought about womb and used the obscene words pussy and cunt. In trying to tease these dark ghosts into the light of my conceptions, to bring them further into the arena of sense rather than leaving them as powerful images only, I have gathered these scattered references into one collection" (87 pages).

203. MEN AND MEMES (1999); Sub-titled, Males in Society or Me and My Mother, this is an exploration of how men in our society are commonly affected by prevailing social forces, called memes; includes chapters on an introduction to memes, the incest taboo, spiritual abuse of males, homophobia, and why husbands resent wives headaches (162 pages).

204. NATURE OF KNOWING (1999); A study of the nature of knowledge–what it means to"know something"; also explores the differing ways in which men and women"know things," and includes a group of my poems on knowing (125 pages).

208. DECODING MOTHER (2000); An exploration into analyzing the most powerful of our common images, focusing on my personal experiences in this perhaps universal necessity of any male reaching toward really mature manhood (270 pages).

210. GENETIC MORALITY (2000); In popular understanding the only type of morality is that espoused by religions and society; the premise of this book is that genes too have their own morals, which are often in sharp with those which come to be imbedded in our consciences; this is an explanation of genetic morality, natural thinking, and how to mix genes and memes (100 pages as prepared for my Web Page).

211. NATURAL THINKING (2000); Text of Web Page; commonly, all thinking is taken to be the same, but I have recently become aware of distinctions between what I call memetic and genetic or natural thinking. This is an exploration of the two and how to mix and use both (69 pages).

212. PAGES & POEMS ON POWER (2000); The subject of power has long intrigued me, probably reflecting un-faced fears that I have an inadequate supply; these are pages and poems from my journal reflecting some of the ways I have confronted issues of power (150 pages).

220. MANHOOD (2001); An exploration of what it means to be a man, including a study of masculinity in the Bible, observations about manhood in America, and my own perspectives on being a man (123 pages).

221. TABOOS (2001); The major taboos are against incest, murder, and cannibalism–in reverse order, I now think, of their primal appearances on the human scene. This is a compilation of some of my speculations, mostly on the incest taboo, between 1995 and 2001 (177 pages).

223 SENSE OF SEX: PART II (2001); A continuation of Volume 182, with some of my writings about sexuality between 1998 and 1999; subjects include: Clinton’s Mirror; Reflections on Lolita; Sex, Santa Claus & God; Cock Sucking and Cunt Kissing; and Marrying My Princess (189 pages).

224. BELIEFS (2001); Beliefs have played an extremely significant part in my life; this is a chronological collection of my writings on the subject as I moved from viewing beliefs as sacred to seeing them as dangerous escapes from creative thinking, itself crucial for good living, present tense (225 pages).

226. UNREPRESSION (2001); Unrepression is the process of undoing or reversing what is perhaps the most universal of all human ways of coping with the demands of living in social groups; this is an exploration of the psychic phenomenon of repression and how to go about undoing it, including withdrawing projected powers (241 pages).

231. WOMAN’S WILES (2002); Sub-title: Man’s Vulnerabilities; a study of how women influence male behavior, including an examination of some 77 wiles in the areas of looks, words, activities, and emotions, concluding with a chapter on male options with such wiles (106 pages).

232. MAN’S PLOYS (2002); A continuation of my study on how each gender most effectively influences the behavior of the other; here I focus on 21 male ploys which may be used in surviving well with women and countering female wiles (117 pages).

233. COURAGE TO BE (2002); 260 brief essays on a wide variety of subjects ranging from: Courage to Spiritual Surgery; originally written as introductions to sermons between 1977 and 1983 (184 pages).

DIFFERENCES


            Comparing ourselves is difficult because we have, as yet, no objective measures for inward experiences, such as, pain, thinking, hope, desires, interests, faith, love, etc. Nevertheless, we are obviously different in many regards, and it seems like we can know such distinctions–even without confirmation from gadgets to measure our knowledge.

            This noted, I see myself as an average Joe Blo (small pun!)–that is, mostly about the same as other typical male human beings, in strength, brains, looks, desires, abilities, creativity and gender differences. Genetically speaking, I’d say I am about 98% like most other people.

            My differences, as best I can tell, are probably related to my degrees of unrepression, resulting in escalated consciousness of our common human instincts for selfing and replication. I think my extended time and energies spent in attempted self-understanding and psycho-analysis, plus 40 years as a professional minister and counselor working with the inner lives of 100's of other persons (25,000 plus hours with clients) must have given me an unusual amount of information about how we all are behind our social fronts and ego covers.

            This amount of intimate data, I speculate, has probably allowed me to look more openly and acceptingly at ways we all are–including to become more of certain aspects of myself. In this light, I seem-to-be different from a mythical average person in these ways:

 

1. More philosophical.

            I seem to be more philosophical than most people–that is, interested in over-arching perspectives of reality,"the big picture," the forest rather than the trees, versus immediate appearances. I am more concerned with"how things are" versus how they seem-to-be; the heart of matters versus surface looks; the unity or connections of all knowledge versus separate branches. I am a generalist (universalist) rather than a"specificist." I am more interested in people than things, in motives than actions, in meanings than deeds. I am less attentive/sensitive to immediate experiences, it seems, than are many others.

2. More conscious.

            I think I am more conscious, less repressed, than most people. Consequently I seem to be more aware and accepting of instincts and generally suppressed aspects of self–specifically, of selfing and sexual impulses; also, more identified with animals and"lower" life forms, plus the physical universe in general.

3. More tolerant.

            I think I am more tolerant and accepting of reality-as-presented; less prejudiced and provincial; more spiritual than religious; more ecumenical than denominational; more American than Southern; more a"world citizen" than American only; more human than white, Evans, etc.

 

4. More analytical.

            I think I have more interest in analysis of everything, people included–the why of what happens, the cause of events, the motives of people. I have never been satisfied with surface appearances or reasons whenever I suspect deeper causes or motives. I have been, as it were, compulsive about"trying to understand everything"–from nature to people to myself in particular. The"Who am I–really?" question has intrigued me for longer than I can remember.

            Such"understanding" has always boiled down to, or been based on"being reasonable,"

“making sense" of what I perceive, weighing present data in conjunction with all other available information to the senses. In contrast, I have never"believed in magic," or in"miracles" as magic is called in religion, in the common way. Whenever data appears which doesn’t"add up," fit, or make sense in light of other information I have, I have striven to harmonize it, to find a larger/deeper reason which could explain any discordant-to-me facts.

            Consequently all mysteries have seemed to be intolerant to me. I have been driven, so to speak, to explain/understand every mystery I come to recognize as such. I have tried hard to eliminate all"not knowing." I have never had a sense of"knowing everything"–as though I am omniscient, but I have obviously tried hard to do so. I have held firmly to each present bit of knowledge while I continued to look for larger, better, more comprehensive explanations–that is, understanding which includes even the exceptions to every rule.

5. Coping by mind.

            My analysis of this apparent compulsion for analyzing everything leads me to another difference I see between me and many other persons, namely, the way we cope with reality in an overall way. I have mainly coped–beginning, I suppose, with my mother, then with family, home, school, church, and world, via mental grasping, that is, with mind, knowledge and understanding, rather than with body–strength and emotions, as seems to be more common with others.

            Females, for example, typically seem to be more moved by, directed, and hence to cope with reality by emotional rather than mental powers (right brain rather than left). Most males seem to rely more on physical strength and"might" than"right"–in the sense of accurate reasoning or"sense." Then, in time, their older answers become sacred, as it were, and hardened into beliefs taken to be ultimately"right," The Truth, whether in religious or secular dimensions.

            I, in contrast, have always striven for"right answers"–as do other males, but in the sense of accurate, reasonable conclusions, and have often, as with other men, fallen temporarily for taking my truth as ultimate"right." But unlike many other males, I have seldom been able to camp down with any belief for long; whenever new data comes to me, I feel compelled to consistently include all I see--to revise, change, or drop old beliefs which cease to make sense to me in light of new information.

6. Open-minded.

            In this sense of remaining flexible and open-minded, I seem to be different from most other aging males I know. I am tempted to feel virtuous about"not being prejudiced" or hung up on old answers, plus"keeping an open mind" about things; but I suspect that my deeper reasons are more related to my dependence on mind for coping with reality, than on actual courage–which would seem more virtuous to me. In other words, I"keep on thinking" more out of fear of"not knowing" than from shear nerve to be present with mystery (as females seem more able to do) or from lack of courage to"stand up for" what I think (no matter how dumb or unreasonable it may seem), as many other males appear to do.

            Occasionally I have been envious of those who seem to so easily"believe in miracles"–that is, to take appearances apparently without question, or to"stand up for their ideas" even when they don’t seem to me to make sense; but most often, I admit, I have"felt sorry for them," evidencing my own self-righteousness about my different mode of coping, and have delighted in attempting to satisfy my own perhaps excessive curiosity about"how things really are" and indulging in my"inquiring mind."

7. Thinking more.

            Best I can tell, I"think more" than the average person. I put this in quotes implying a colloquial rather than literal meaning. I mean that I seem to be more thought-oriented than many others who are more physically or emotionally oriented. I am more analytical, in continual quest for rational explanations of all I perceive.

            I cope with reality, as noted above, more by mind than body–that is, via intellectual understanding than by physical or emotional strength. I am certainly less tolerant of mystery and more focused on gaps in reason than others seem to be. It is as though I am eagle-eyed for illogical ideas, driven to rectify all my information into reasonable harmony, as though I"can’t stand" irrationality.

            I doubt that my"think more" description means actual brain activity (circuit connections). Females, for example, often seem to literally think circles around me, both perceiving and incorporating a wider range of facts in their conclusions than do I . My"moreness" is about my specialized type of thinking which requires me to strive for fitting–often forcing, all my data into one logical whole with no single bit of information excluded.

            It seems I am compulsive about"being reasonable," dictated by principles of logic. In hindsight I often see that I, in typical male fashion, ignore, even rule out, available data which is contradictory and interferes with my striven-for logic. Males in general seem to be more"thinking" than"feeling"–literally more left-brained than right; but I, among males, seem to be more driven to"make sense" or to"think reasonably" than most men I know.

            Among men who try to be reasonable rather than emotional, at least to see themselves as so, but finally cope more by physical (“brute") force, I direct most all my masculine efforts toward coping by mind rather than might.

8. Conscious of femininity.

            I am also, I think, more consciously"like a woman" than most men–that is, more aware of a wide variety of my emotions, sensitive to the feelings of others, freer to cry and feel fear, and able to openly nurture. I do not think these differences are genetic in nature--that I have, e.g., more female hormones and less testosterone, but are rather related to an expanded consciousness of wider aspects of our common gender differences.

            All us males have a single X chromosome in each of our cells, one-half as many as do females. These primal genes give us many"female-like" attributes which, unfortunately I think, are socially rejected. In trying to live up to social expectations (e.g.,"big boys don’t cry,""don’t be a sissy," etc.), we males typically (and understandably) learn to suppress these traits more often recognized in our double X counterparts. We try hard to"be brave (strong, unemotional, in control, etc.)" in order to remain accepted among our peers as well as girls we are genetically driven to"try to impress" with our manliness.

            This charade is best accomplished by self-repression, which I also think to be the most common way we learn to fit in with society; consequently, as a result of extended therapy and efforts at self-analysis (plus educating myself about genetics), I conclude that I must have simply become more aware of how all us males might be if we dared the rigors of unrepression. On the surface I may sometimes appear more"like a woman," but I think this results from consciousness rather than genetic differences.

            My major desires and interests (in competing, striving to be Number One, wanting to dominate, to win and come out on top, etc., plus my occasional shames about my female-like attributes) seem to me to be typically male.

 

8. More sexually conscious.

            My sexuality also seems to be typically average as I understand most other males to be. I do not see myself as being any different in this regard, either in strength or content of my sexual desires. I seem to me to be quite like other males in my"gene eyes" and passions.

            My differences come, as best I can tell, in two ways: my degrees of unrepression (conscious awareness), and my skills in discretion. I seem to be more consciously aware of what I take to be natural male desires, and at the same time more discrete–that is, attuned to social standards (sex memes) in exercising and/or revealing my sexual desires.  

 

 

FAILURES

            “Nothing ventured, nothing gained" is an aphorism I have long affirmed; but in many of my ventures about the only thing I gained has been education in the School Of Hard Knocks–and this in hindsight. Mostly I have tried to avoid facing my failures at the time, glossing them over with veneers of fake optimism,"keeping a stiff upper lip," and trying hard not to be disappointed–that is, by repressing my awareness. I now think that"being a perpetual optimist" at the expense of personal honesty is a long range mistake--understandable, even useful in moments of loss, but costly in time.

            Failure, is, of course, a relative term, since some good, both for myself and others, has come from many of my mistakes and losses; still, repressing disappointment after I have placed hope in and given an endeavor my best shot has also been, I now think, unwise. The stance I affirm, even when I yet fail to achieve it, is to acknowledge the full weight of disappointment, even despair, in any failure-of-dreams, rather than glossing it over with various sorts of smiley faces which hide the pains of a broken heart; then, when courage returns, to"pick myself up," as Frankie sang,"and get back in the race."

            In this light, I want to acknowledge some of my"failed ventures," even when there were eventual gains for me and/or others in the process. Most of them claimed my full attention, major energies, and dreams at the time:

Pleasing my mother in childhood; making"a lot of money" raising chickens and rabbits, selling eggs and meat; finding buried treasures at the roots of a pine tree that had been struck twice by lightening (as Uncle Hansford said we would), or a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (thought I must admit, my cousins and I could not be sure we had reached it!), or Santa Claus after his tracks seemed to end down the lane from grandpa’s house; building a tunnel through the rail road dump behind grandpa’s store, or completing an underground"gym" in the briar patch down the lane; my first major childhood romance; winning the favor of several girls whom I deeply admired during high school; getting a date with Catherine Ann Buatte when I was a freshman in college; making my first marriage permanent; guiding University Baptist Church through the racial crisis in Baton Rouge and into becoming a truly ecumenical community; getting a job teaching psychology courses at LSU; being understood by people I loved and tried to help; being accepted by the President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for a position in the Psychology Department; going into business with my father; winning a fight with the State Board Of Psychologists for licensure; a business partnership with Thomas Brown; a 19 acre lake side development, a 60 acre subdivision, and a trailer park and marina–all of which I was forced to sell when my notes exceeded income from them; a Christian community at Saline; marketing a Self Development Course which was accepted by a publisher but rejected when the press was bought by ABC; publishing many articles and several manuscripts, only to collect scores of"rejection slips" from various publishers; a Wellness Center in Baton Rouge; mixing female friendships and marriage; helping many persons who quit therapy and/or left Fellowship Church; losing friends and clients who killed themselves; establishing Fellowship Church as a stable, ecumenical community independent of my leadership; gaining my mother’s trust in business after my father died; settling ongoing disputes between family members in CMC; plus many more. 

 

HOMEWORK

 

            Although I have visualized heaven on earth and worked out a theology/psychology for giving mental shape to my ideals, I, obviously, am yet to"fully arrive" there (here!). I do know, based on the levels of happiness and fulfillment which I now experience, that I have"come a long way" in realizing the life I have written about; still, however, I also know I"have a long way to go." My early repressions, which I now understand to have been made in quest of social salvation, abide in many specific arenas of daily living.

            Although I think I live better and more fully than most people I know, I am still in quest of greater presence and creativity. Some of my known challenges in this quest include these:

--Being more fully present wherever I am, without aiming at some goal or trying to"get somewhere."

--Getting over blindly hurrying in all that I do; learning to pace myself in all things.

--Standing comfortably with any mystery, even if I choose to seek an answer.

--Eating more sensibly, with fuller attention to bodily information and reason, rather than going by the food on my plate and/or old habits only.

--Taking good care of myself without wishing someone else might do so for me, including learning to be careful rather than foolhardy (not to be confused with being courageous).

--Listening to my body for guidance in behavior, along with attention to my knowledge, rather than automatically trying to"be good (socially right)," or being blindly determined by old habits.

--Feeling natural passions without acquired shames, e.g., masturbating without fear of"being caught"; desiring without looking for external acceptance or shared passion, yet acting discretely with all others.

--Thinking honestly without wanting and/or seeking understanding from others.

--Learning to more often stay on my own Green Spot while outside the circle of woman’s good graces; also to move more artfully among woman’s numerous, and commonly unconscious, wiles, plus becoming more skillful with ploy’s of my own.

--Moving from dictation by on time (or rebellion by being late) to being timely in all I do.

--Learning to care for others without slipping into the easier-for-me patterns of either ignoring (“looking through") or trying to help them.

--Becoming as consciously respectful of What I Think as I have long been blindly determined by What They Think.

–Balancing the powers of should in my life with those of would; rescuing myself from the tyranny of ought only, and finding a more appropriate balance with will also.

--Escalated consciousness, that is, more unrepression, for knowing instincts and urges so I may escape blind determination by the addition of reason added to the power of want-ability.

--Becoming as able to put myself first as easily as I now do last.

--Taking directions from others without loss of personal integrity; learning by being taught as well as I can now learn by myself.

--Keeping my mouth shut when telling what I think is inappropriate or counter-productive to my goals at the time; getting over compulsive"honesty" and learning the arts of pragmatic deception, plus discerning the difference between proper times for each.

--Daring to choose to love as diligently as I have blindly tried to get love in the past.

--Facing the challenges of growing down as openly as I have those of growing up. 

 

CONCLUSION

            I’ve had a wonderful life so far. Although some of my experiences have been painful to me and, no doubt, problematic, even hurtful, for others, I’ve no regrets about either what I have chosen or what has happened to me. I feel immensely blessed with my varied experiences. Although happiness, like most other things that matter more, cannot be measured for comparison purposes, as best I can tell, I am just about the most satisfied person I know.

            I wonder what other new thoughts and adventures lie before me–and who I will be when and if I ever grow up before I finally grow down!

 

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