Innocent by Reason of Insanity

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Innocent by Reason of Insanity

Postby KathleenBrugger » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:25 pm

Hi everyone,

I have been working on a book called "We Are ALL Innocent by Reason of Insanity" for many years. When I read Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now" I was struck by the similarities.

The blurb for my book reads, "We star in our own personal drama: a mind-generated reality-movie playing on an inner screen of awareness. Before they reach our consciousness, all of our perceptions are filtered through assumptions and beliefs, so what we see is a personalized version of reality that has been slanted towards our world-view. We confuse this subjective reality with objective reality; we are deluded about what is real. This is why we are all insane."

Eckhart Tolle had this to say about free will and insanity in The Power of Now: “Nobody chooses dysfunction, conflict, pain. Nobody chooses insanity …It always looks as if people had a choice, but that is an illusion. As long as your mind with its conditioned patterns runs your life, as long as you are your mind, what choice do you have? None. You are not even there. The mind-identified state is severely dysfunctional. It is a form of insanity. Almost everyone is suffering from this illness in varying degrees. The moment you realize this, there can be no more resentment. How can you resent someone’s illness? The only appropriate response is compassion.”

The subtitle of my book is "The Mechanics of Compassion," because, as Mr. Tolle says, once you realize that people's minds are dysfunctional, you can no longer be angry with them or hate them.

I thought I'd find some like-minded people here so I'd like to join the discussions!
We are ALL Innocent by Reason of Insanity
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Re: Innocent by Reason of Insanity

Postby BigIslandHI » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:58 am

Hello. I like your idea. How do you address those who are experiencing pain due to a violent felony type crime? not a whole lot of forgiveness typcially found there ;) I'm curious as to your approach. I could learn something I'm sure.
Aloha. I live on the Big Island of Hawaii. I don't know anyone who attempts to follow the teachings Eckhart shares. I would like to. If you live here or are just visiting, pm me :)
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Re: Innocent by Reason of Insanity

Postby KathleenBrugger » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:27 pm

BigIslandHI wrote:Hello. I like your idea. How do you address those who are experiencing pain due to a violent felony type crime? not a whole lot of forgiveness typcially found there ;) I'm curious as to your approach. I could learn something I'm sure.

Thanks, BigIslandHI. You've brought up a hard case, which is always the best test for a philosophy, imo. And I will say right up front that I have never been the victim of a violent, felony-type crime. My thinking in this area has been influenced by Dr. James Gilligan, a psychiatrist who directed the Center for the Study of Violence at Harvard Medical School and was in charge of psychiatric services for the Massachusetts state prison system for ten years. He wrote a book called "Violence" in which he claims that all violence is an attempt to seek justice, or to undo or prevent injustice.

In the mind of the person who commits a crime, somehow the action is rationalized as being correct. Their mind-generated reality is so distorted that they see hurting another person as a good or necessary thing. Jesus is said to have said, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do" as he was being nailed to the cross. I think this is what Jesus must have meant; the violent person's confused mind means he or she is out-of-touch with reality. They are not thinking or seeing clearly, even if they can do apparently rational things like wear a bullet-proof vest to a mass shooting.

A lot of people claim that evil exists, and that this explains violence; some people just willfully choose evil. One would be hard pressed to top the Nazi death camps for premeditated murder on a grand scale. Many people use them as an example of human evil. I think they are an example of society-wide insanity, and can be understood using Dr. Gilligan's thesis. Adolf Hitler believed he was acting in his country’s best interest. He believed he was restoring justice to Germany for the wrongs imposed after WWI, and that he was creating a better homeland. Clearly there were a lot of Germans who agreed with him. He was wrong, of course, but that doesn’t change the fact that in his deranged mind-generated reality he thought he was right. Adolf Hitler was not evil, he was insane.

Free will also comes into play here. When someone has done something that hurts us, if we feel they did it on purpose and could have done something else, it's hard to forgive them. But when we realize that they are the slave of subconscious mental programming, and they couldn't have done anything else, then we can see that there's really nothing to forgive. It's absurd to say, "I forgive the mosquito for biting me." We realize the mosquito has no free will. Neither do humans. The subtitle of my book is "The Mechanics of Compassion." Here's a quote from the book:

Compassion sees that no forgiveness is, or ever has been, necessary because there is no such thing as free will. One does not stroll the wards of a mental hospital forgiving the patients for their behavior; we understand that their actions come from their mental illness. In the same way, if we accept universal human insanity, we understand that people’s behavior, no matter how horrible, proceeds from their mental confusion. I define compassion as "the experience that arises from the perception of the limitations of another or one’s self without value judgment." Compassion understands the limitations imposed by insanity and physicality. Compassion sees that because delusional insanity is universal, and all our thoughts and actions proceed from delusional insanity, no one freely chooses to do wrong. Compassion sees that everyone suffers, because everyone is limited.
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Re: Innocent by Reason of Insanity

Postby kiki » Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:59 pm

Welcome to the board, Kathleen. I look forward to your contributions. Any idea when your book will be done?

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Re: Innocent by Reason of Insanity

Postby KathleenBrugger » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:06 pm

Thanks Kiki. Actually it is done, and you can find it at Amazon. If you go to my website, http://www.innocentbyreasonofinsanity.com and click on "book" you'll find a link where you can read the first 4 chapters for free. :D
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Re: Innocent by Reason of Insanity

Postby Webwanderer » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:08 pm

I guess I just don't get the 'no free will' thing. Sure most everyone has been entrained since birth to perceive and think in certain ways. So there is a long history of conditioning and habit. No doubt this affects our experience of whatever conditions and events unfold in our lives. But all of us also have an inner voice that whispers to us with a consistent inspiration to look deeper into experience. If we only get quiet enough, consistently enough, that guidance offers a choice: continue with conditioned reactions, or perceive in new, clearer, ways.

It's not that free will doesn't exist, it's that it is so distorted in unremembered entrainment and conditioning that we no longer recognize our true nature from where free will originates. We have succumbed to a thought identity that makes choices on habits of conditioning rather than clarity of being.

That said, there is nothing wrong with however we live our short human lives. There is only unique life experience that has value in ways we generally cannot see from this limited human perspective. Saying that this person or that, or all of us for that matter, is insane seems unnecessarily pejorative. It is an indictment of a condition within a system that is designed for isolated experience. It would seem more amenable to see those engaged in painful pursuits and conditions as ignorant, or innocently unaware, of the greater reality of our true nature.

A wise teacher said words don't teach. Lao Tzu suggested this as well just before he wrote a bunch of words in the Tao Te Ching. The point here is that we learn by direct experience, and we teach best by the influence of our example. Everything else is just pointing. We each must walk our own path, and choice plays a role in the steps we take. Not the so much the choices of a life of conditioned reaction, but the choices realized in silence and clarity.

WW
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Re: Innocent by Reason of Insanity

Postby rachMiel » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:55 pm

KathleenBrugger wrote:"We star in our own personal drama: a mind-generated reality-movie playing on an inner screen of awareness. Before they reach our consciousness, all of our perceptions are filtered through assumptions and beliefs, so what we see is a personalized version of reality that has been slanted towards our world-view. We confuse this subjective reality with objective reality; we are deluded about what is real. This is why we are all insane."

Sounds about right to me. :-)

Do you suggest a way to "go sane" in your book?
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Re: Innocent by Reason of Insanity

Postby smiileyjen101 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:20 pm

Welcome and congrats on birthing your book Kathleen, it's a great topic, and one that's interested me for years!

BigIslandHI said: How do you address those who are experiencing pain due to a violent felony type crime? not a whole lot of forgiveness typcially found there.

Pain is understandable where expectation and reality are at a distance BigI. So compassion for the one in pain would be applied in understanding their responses, as well as compassion for the 'felon'. If necessary helping them to compassionately make their own journey in awareness that will limit the suffering they experience by attaching judgments to the authentic pain etc

Has anyone here read a book called Secrets of a Bullet Proof Spirit, by Azim Khamisa and Jillian Quinn?
Azim's son, Tariq, was shot and killed, and yes, absolutely gutting pain ensued, but also a thought - that there were TWO victims in this, one on each end of the gun. In this way compassion, acknowledgement of the suffering being experienced and expressed, could flow. He joined with the boy who killed his son to teach others about the devastation of his choice in violence.

This book details '30 Key Strategies to bounce back from life's hardest hits'.

Employing compassion, especially in life's harder 'hits' brings awareness, exhibits awareness, and creates more of who we really are, in this world. The way in which it can spread is quite incredible, no less than the way the insanity can spread really. And I have applied it in life's harder hits. It can though freak people out, because if they expect anger and hostility etc in response to an action, and instead they get compassion and understanding, there is the same sort of 'adjustment' required to absorb and respond to the reality, rather than the prepared for 'expectation'. But all shifts >>> to reality require love and compassion for self and other.

Webby said: I guess I just don't get the 'no free will' thing. Sure most everyone has been entrained since birth to perceive and think in certain ways. So there is a long history of conditioning and habit. No doubt this affects our experience of whatever conditions and events unfold in our lives. But all of us also have an inner voice that whispers to us with a consistent inspiration to look deeper into experience.

If we only get quiet enough, consistently enough, that guidance offers a choice: continue with conditioned reactions, or perceive in new, clearer, ways.

It's not that free will doesn't exist, it's that it is so distorted in unremembered entrainment and conditioning that we no longer recognize our true nature from where free will originates. We have succumbed to a thought identity that makes choices on habits of conditioning rather than clarity of being.


The bolded part is the key Webby - IF we have awareness,IF we are willing and IF we are capable of accessing that inner guidance, and IF we trust it. If we have no capacity to access or to trust it then its just another 'voice', it doesn't come with a label - RIGHT WAY - and at times it absolutely gets drowned out in the rush of egoic chatter accompanying distorted emotions.

Life happens, moment by moment, and while 'events' meet at a crossroad, the choices by parties made prior to... all the way to... determine the place and time and unfolding of that moment.

But also yes, as ET said once a person is aware then they have escaped the 'delusion' that free will is in their mind and by their thoughts, it's beyond mind, beyond thought, beyond the construct of the separate identity. That's why compassion is easy in awareness. Because we are aware of capacity and willingness - or ignorance and blindness. But we can't impose our level of awareness on others, they have to grow into it, or really grow out of the ignorance and blindness.

ET said: As long as you still think you are your mind, you have no free will. Spiritually you are unconscious. You may think you know what you want, but you don’t. It is only the conditioning of your mind that says: “This is what you need to have”. That’s not a choice, it’s mechanical. Some people escape from this. Then it is suddenly as if there is more consciousness, which means that for the first time they truly experience free will. Only then can you take responsibility.”


It follows that a truly free person, conscious person would employ compassion - for self and others, and therefore make different choices in the lead up to, and in the unfolding of, situations. But there still is no 'judgement', there is acceptance that it is what it is, a willingness to respond to that which is real, rather than stay suffering because it is not what was 'expected'.

Kathleen, what has writing this book done for you in terms of widening / deepening awareness?
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Re: Innocent by Reason of Insanity

Postby KathleenBrugger » Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:46 pm

rachMiel wrote:
KathleenBrugger wrote:"We star in our own personal drama: a mind-generated reality-movie playing on an inner screen of awareness. Before they reach our consciousness, all of our perceptions are filtered through assumptions and beliefs, so what we see is a personalized version of reality that has been slanted towards our world-view. We confuse this subjective reality with objective reality; we are deluded about what is real. This is why we are all insane."

Sounds about right to me. :-)

Do you suggest a way to "go sane" in your book?

Actually I do. Since "insanity" is confusing my subjective opinion with objective reality, "sanity" is not confusing the two. Sanity is being in an open, questioning, humble posture. Sanity understands that I have a subjective point-of-view, but I don't confuse that with actual reality. I realize my perceptions are filtered through my beliefs and conditioning so I am never seeing reality as it really is. When I understand that, I don't hold on to my subjective reality as if it's the truth of the universe any longer.

Just to be clear: I don't consider myself sane! I confuse my subjective story with objective reality all of the time. What I am learning to do though, is to question my story. For example, if I get into an argument, I try to remember that what is going on is my reality is butting up against the other person's, and we're fighting it out to see whose reality is going to win the day. If I'm able to question my story I realize that my understanding in any situation is limited, so I never have the complete truth. Maybe in that argument neither of us has a lock on reality and the truth is something completely different.

What I like about this philosophy is there's really nothing to remember except: question the story.
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Re: Innocent by Reason of Insanity

Postby KathleenBrugger » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:19 pm

SmilleyJen101 wrote: Kathleen, what has writing this book done for you in terms of widening / deepening awareness?

Wow what a nice post you wrote. I really liked what you shared about compassion, particularly experiencing it for those who have done violence. I think understanding this is potentially the key to healing humanity: we're not split into good people and evil people, we are all suffering from confusion to differing degrees. Those who commit violence are extremely confused; they are sick and need healing not condemnation.

I love your question. What comes to mind are two things. The first is the awareness that people's actions are motivated by their mental programming and confusion/delusion about reality. People aren't inherently mean or cruel or evil. They've been twisted in their programming. My husband and I have a motto: Expect craziness. This means, when we're out in the world, don't be surprised if someone cuts us off in traffic. Don't be surprised if someone is rude in an email or on a forum. Everyone is innocent by reason of insanity, and what this means is no longer assigning blame and guilt when another (or myself!) acts out of conditioned patterns. As you say, this can be surprising to people, when you don't respond with anger or blame, but with understanding and compassion.

The second is how deep subjectivity goes. When I try to point to something that you and I objectively share, everything turns out to be coated with subjectivity. If I point to a tree, and say that's objectively a tree that we perceive the same, that's impossible. Maybe you have happy memories of climbing a tree just like that, or maybe you feel bad about cutting a tree down and this one reminds you of that painful experience, or maybe you just learned about the fungus that interconnects trees underground and you're seeing not just that one tree but an interconnected forest...Everything in our mind has subjective experience wrapped around it. This is what makes life interesting--we all have a unique individual subjective experience to share, but unless we learn the limits of our understanding, this subjectivity can be isolating.
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Re: Innocent by Reason of Insanity

Postby KathleenBrugger » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:33 pm

Webwanderer wrote:I guess I just don't get the 'no free will' thing. Sure most everyone has been entrained since birth to perceive and think in certain ways. So there is a long history of conditioning and habit. No doubt this affects our experience of whatever conditions and events unfold in our lives. But all of us also have an inner voice that whispers to us with a consistent inspiration to look deeper into experience. If we only get quiet enough, consistently enough, that guidance offers a choice: continue with conditioned reactions, or perceive in new, clearer, ways.

It's not that free will doesn't exist, it's that it is so distorted in unremembered entrainment and conditioning that we no longer recognize our true nature from where free will originates. We have succumbed to a thought identity that makes choices on habits of conditioning rather than clarity of being.

That said, there is nothing wrong with however we live our short human lives. There is only unique life experience that has value in ways we generally cannot see from this limited human perspective. Saying that this person or that, or all of us for that matter, is insane seems unnecessarily pejorative. It is an indictment of a condition within a system that is designed for isolated experience. It would seem more amenable to see those engaged in painful pursuits and conditions as ignorant, or innocently unaware, of the greater reality of our true nature.

A wise teacher said words don't teach. Lao Tzu suggested this as well just before he wrote a bunch of words in the Tao Te Ching. The point here is that we learn by direct experience, and we teach best by the influence of our example. Everything else is just pointing. We each must walk our own path, and choice plays a role in the steps we take. Not the so much the choices of a life of conditioned reaction, but the choices realized in silence and clarity.

WW

I think the question of free will hinges on the meaning of the word "free." A lot of people seem to think that you're free if someone isn't standing over you with a gun to make you do something you don't want to do. I think of free as meaning: unconstrained. If you look in the dictionary, this is the essence of all the other definitions. Who can claim to be unconstrained? We are limited creatures, constrained by all sorts of things, our biology and our culture most obviously, and we are incapable of totally unconstrained choices. We do have will, we can choose and change, but that will is not unconstrained.

It's interesting that you consider the term "insane" to be derogatory. For me the operative word in the book's title is "innocent." When I say we're insane, all I mean is we are deluded about reality. A delusion is a "fixed false belief resistant to confrontation with actual facts." That describes most people's mind-generated reality. People are deluded about reality. Delusional is just another way to say we're insane.

Most people struggle for a lifetime with guilt, shame, remorse, regret, and other negative, painful emotions, because they believe they are sane and freely chose all the bad things they did in their life. My message is that you are confused about reality, you knew not what you were doing, thus you are innocent of all those charges you have levied against yourself. To me this is a very positive message.
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Re: Innocent by Reason of Insanity

Postby rachMiel » Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:15 am

KathleenBrugger wrote:
rachMiel wrote:Do you suggest a way to "go sane" in your book?

Actually I do. Since "insanity" is confusing my subjective opinion with objective reality, "sanity" is not confusing the two. Sanity is being in an open, questioning, humble posture. Sanity understands that I have a subjective point-of-view, but I don't confuse that with actual reality. I realize my perceptions are filtered through my beliefs and conditioning so I am never seeing reality as it really is. When I understand that, I don't hold on to my subjective reality as if it's the truth of the universe any longer.

Just to be clear: I don't consider myself sane! I confuse my subjective story with objective reality all of the time. What I am learning to do though, is to question my story. For example, if I get into an argument, I try to remember that what is going on is my reality is butting up against the other person's, and we're fighting it out to see whose reality is going to win the day. If I'm able to question my story I realize that my understanding in any situation is limited, so I never have the complete truth. Maybe in that argument neither of us has a lock on reality and the truth is something completely different.

What I like about this philosophy is there's really nothing to remember except: question the story.

An eminently sane approach for going sane. You write well, very clearly, which is a blessing. And there's a humility about your "mission" ... you're not proclaiming Truth (thank Gawd!), you're just suggesting a way to become less in-sane.

In terms of "questioning the story" ... I think of it more as seeing the story and not grasping at it or pushing it away. Just seeing it, for what it is: (often VERY) compelling fiction. And, once you get fluent at recognizing the story, you can start to really have fun with it, play make-believe, indulge in high drama knowing it's no more than your very own personal mind-made movie. Or you can simply live story-free. Dealer's choice. ;-)
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Re: Innocent by Reason of Insanity

Postby karmarider » Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:56 am

I like your approach. Of knowing that no belief or view can be certain.

Of course, honesty demands that this view too is questionable.

There is one thing I am certain of. That is that I exist.

Everything else is a belief.

Some people claim to be free of stories and beliefs. I don't see how that's possible. Or desirable. That too is just another story.

All my beliefs and stories are viewpoints. Still, I know that's what they are. They shape my experience. I enjoy that.

When these stories no longer serve me, I will change them. Easily.
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Re: Innocent by Reason of Insanity

Postby smiileyjen101 » Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:08 am

I've checked out the website (and the link to the production company) and am about to check out the first four chapters of the book.

I just wanted to say this is simply perfect... maybe our graphic inspirationalist (like that word 'Mirth?) anewmirth can use it in one of his threads.
“I made a mistake” is an objective fact. “Because I made a mistake I’m a loser” is a subjective opinion. These opinions about reality exist only in our minds, but we think and act as if these opinions are objective truths.



Thanks for your answers to my question.
As a throwaway aside, was there ever a moment where you went - 'Oh, but this is just my perspective? Who then is it for?'
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Re: Innocent by Reason of Insanity

Postby KathleenBrugger » Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:15 pm

karmarider wrote:I like your approach. Of knowing that no belief or view can be certain.

Of course, honesty demands that this view too is questionable.

There is one thing I am certain of. That is that I exist.

Everything else is a belief.

Some people claim to be free of stories and beliefs. I don't see how that's possible. Or desirable. That too is just another story.

All my beliefs and stories are viewpoints. Still, I know that's what they are. They shape my experience. I enjoy that.

When these stories no longer serve me, I will change them. Easily.

Yes, even this view is questionable!

I also agree that the only thing we can be certain of is "I am." I am fascinated by the passage in the Bible when Moses asked God what name to call God, God responded "I AM Who I AM." (Exodus 3:14) Being exists; experience is happening, that is our one certainty. All else is belief.

When I first started understanding this I demonized beliefs and the individual point of view. But then I realized how deep subjectivity goes, and how wonderful it is to have the varied perspectives of 7 billion people on the planet. I have this image of actual reality (whatever that is) being a multi-faceted crystal, and each of us sees a facet. When we share with others and open ourselves to their point-of-view we can see more of the crystal. But the first step is letting go of the delusion that we can see the whole crystal ourselves!
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