Dear Robin

You probably remember when I asked you if you knew ‘why I was doing what I am doing with my life.’ Your response was ‘you have lost confidence.’ You did say this may be mistaken. However, it seems to me that you held this view in a more than hypothetical way. I may be mistaken – of course. However, I think this in part because of the rapidity with which you asserted that the fact that I do not have American Citizenship as an example of the same thing. Another reason for thinking that it is more than a hypothesis is what appears to me to be an emergence in your spoken attitudes in such matters of a consistently negative slant

Even though you said you were not sure of what you said, I feel it necessary to respond for a variety of reasons. One is self-respect. Another is that I do not want to let you think that I am agreeing with your views. I have no objection in principle to your holding such views but I do not want you to think that I agree (unless I say so.) I intend to not get into any debate regarding the issues. However, it is unpleasant for me to think that you might think that I have any agreement with such interpretations (or special ability to make such interpretations) of my life and choices. It is not unacceptable for me for you to have your views or express them. However, it is unacceptable for me to let you think that I might agree that you may have some privileged insight into the issues in question. I think that these assertions may be a good thing for a healthy relationship between you and me. I also do not want you to think that a precedent has been set where what I say may be regarded at any time as an occasion for criticism. Naturally, I cannot prevent you from thinking that such a precedent has been set but that is my intent. Even though I disagree with your interpretations they are probably not inconsistent with at least some of the facts as you know them. That is, ‘loss of confidence’ etc. is a possible but not a necessary inference from those facts

I do not think of my self as a supremely confident person. There is a mix of confidence and a lack of it and, when do I act with confidence I am occasionally surprised because I think of my self as a mix. However, I do not think there is a loss of confidence in my ability to find or perform in other positions (or to do good work.) What I do doubt is that I would sustain interest in work of the kind in question. One of the reasons that I think that my interest would be less than it used to be is that I lack the motives to do such work in engineering. That field has never been a passion for me even though I did derive enjoyment from some aspects of it. However, I suspect my enjoyment would be less because I passionately enjoyed my thought and writing over the last twenty or so years in which the approach may be labeled ‘philosophical’

What you said has, for me, a positive and a negative outcome. The positive is that I confronted some issues and re-worked other ones. I addressed the issue of confidence. Such issues are obviously not altogether simple but the simple version of my response is the one just stated – I have doubts that I would sustain interest in technical work (I should have learnt this many years ago at IIT.) My reasons for wanting to get such work lie in the extrinsic aspects such as money and prestige but not in the work itself. I am not immune from such considerations or to being affected by the opinions of others but I am, I think, driven by internal and intrinsic factors to an extent that is more than typical. There is a balance between the extrinsic appeal of that kind of work and the intrinsic appeal of what I currently do which is not the work at mental health but the fact that it allows me to pursue my interests, my real passion, in a way that was not possible when I was teaching (I work eight hours a day, I do not take work home.) The situation is not altogether simple, however, and my perception of the balance is not static. The balance has been quite delicate and I have often been tempted to capitulate. However, when I picture myself in what might have been regarded as the normal career path and imagine how I might feel in having given up my ‘highest ideal and passion’ (see later) I see myself then, in that career mode, as the intrinsic ‘big loser’ as having had the opportunity to encounter TRUTH but having turned my back on it. (This does not mean that I think of others, even those with great talent, who follow established careers, or those who have not had or sought insight into what truth may be as being in any way less than those who have…) The reworked issue is thinking through the choices of my life (you may think otherwise but I hold them to be choices)

The most recent major effect on the balance of ‘imperatives’ was the discovery I made in 2002 and have probably mentioned. It is, in effect, a system of discoveries with the following characteristics (1) It provides a foundation for metaphysics (the study of all being) that contains the seeds of a proof or demonstration that no deeper foundation is possible; (2) It permits resolution of many fundamental questions or problems such as the problems of substance and related ontologies including the mind-matter problem, the status of ‘process’ and ‘relational’ metaphysics, the problem that has been called the ‘fundamental problem of metaphysics,’ i.e. the question of why there is being at all instead of an absence of being; (2) It allows demonstration that any other coherent system of metaphysics is equivalent to it is a sub-theory; (3) It sets in place a revision of any system of knowledge that is founded in any lesser metaphysics or is ad hoc; and there is a ‘ripple effect’ into the major disciplines of philosophy such as logic (the implications include revaluation of the nature of logic and the identities among logic and metaphysics,) ethics and cosmology (including consequences for the nature of the universe of all being as a whole, the nature of space and time,) and into a number of ‘specialized’ disciplines such as physics, biology, psychology and social theory; and, particularly, it has suggested and required rethinking of my own system of thought. The form of the original discovery has undergone a number of transformations and has become clearer in its nature and its implications since 2002. I was extremely pleased at the original discovery because it immediately resolved some fundamental questions that I had been pondering and immediately provided a foundation for some positions that were necessary to my thought but whose previous foundation had been through intuition and analogy. I doubt that I would have had the original insight without pondering being vs. absence of being for a number of years and I am certain that I would not have realized the breadth of the implications without many years of study in the variety of disciplines. Anyway, these developments acquired their own life and force and even now, while I see the ideas as more or less complete in their broad implications, the problem of how to best express them remains

The negative outcome is that I feel a sense of loss. I had assumed that you understood what I have been trying to do and why and that, in spirit, you supported those efforts and my choices. I now feel, perhaps mistakenly, that this is not the case. If you were not my brother, if I did not love you and have regard for you, this would not be important and I would not feel loss. Among my friends and acquaintances some admire what I am doing and others think that I’m a ‘big loser.’ I enjoy the appreciation but the negative reactions do not bother me much. Even your negative interpretation does not bother me much – in itself. (Perhaps that you make the judgment assumes, consciously or not, that your life is somehow better than mine. I do not know whether you have in fact made this judgment but, if so, it is not something that I accept. I hope you do not think that I am suggesting that my life is in any way better than yours or that such comparisons interest me.) Instead what I feel, mostly, is loss – first of support in spirit and second in a feeling of comfort and sharing regarding that support. Instead, I am beginning to experience the negative as unpleasant. (I should add that this experience is not a general one but pertains only to the issues under consideration – issues of life choice and so on. At the same time it is clear that the issues are not minor.) If the fact that your interpretations are possible inferences were revelations I might learn from them but self-analysis is a habit with me and it I have long been aware of such possible interpretations of my actions dating back to Hazaribagh (at least.) Perhaps what I perceive as negative has origin in (what I perceive to be) your greater need, desire, or dependence regarding what I call the extrinsic factors of work – prestige, salary and so on and consequently in the implicit or not fully conscious assumption that I am the same and the then perhaps natural inference that I have ‘given up.’ I do not know whether this is the case but it would not be unusual. I also wonder whether there may be some element of competition – conscious or not fully so. I used to wonder whether such elements entered into dad’s thinking although in his case I think he was also concerned about what others thought or might think and the fact that he would like to be proud of and show off about his sons

But, now that you have said what you have said I would, upon reflection, if you feel that you have not had a full opportunity to say what you might have wanted, to invite full comment, so that I can clearly know what you may have been thinking and where you stand and that, in turn, you can know where I stand

I think that your response has been doubly pessimistic. In the first place instead of the question in quotes above your response was to ‘why am I not doing certain things with / in my life.’ Second, a number of hypotheses concerning this question are consistent with what you know of me. Your choice is toward the negative end of the spectrum

Here is my response to the issues raised

My present situation is and continues to be the best actual solution to my highest ideal in life and to my sense of adventure

I believe that my thought has potential for a huge contribution to human thought. I believe that, in some significant ways, my thought has gone beyond anything that I have read and that includes some of the great thinkers – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Hume, Kant, Russell and Wittgenstein. Additionally, the contribution is not limited to topics that have some relation to ‘philosophy’ and touch also upon physics, psychology and social theory (at one time almost all intellectual endeavor was part of philosophy.) Something that you may not recognize is how far I (my thought) has come, how much the ideas have evolved (especially in the sense of the outcome not being contained in the beginning,) how much effort it has taken, what I have sacrificed, how much passion it has involved, and how greatly I have felt rewarded and exhilarated and how much there have been trials mixed in with the feelings of reward… My interest does not end with ‘thought’ but extends to ‘action’ and it remains to be seen what I may do in that regard (as described in the booklet I sent you there are some beginnings regarding ‘action,’ ‘experiment,’ and ‘transformation’)

The understanding phase of ‘Journey in Being’ is drawing to a close. What remains is working out details – applications of the central scheme to particular domains such as society, religion and faith; writing out the scheme. The next phase, the ‘experiment,’ ‘transformation’ and so on, after having flown at a low level for many years is, I hope, beginning to take off. What does all this mean? I am not particularly happy with the booklet that I sent you but it does contain an explanation. We are quite different in who we are and in our choices. However, I am with you in spirit in your life. I am glad for your success and participate in it vicariously. I hope that you participate similarly in my adventure

You mentioned happiness as one of my possible motives. There is a difference between wanting to be happy as an explicit, primary or direct motive and appreciating happiness. And there are differences among happiness, joy, adventure, passion… To the extent that emotion has driven my choices I think that adventure and passion have been important. The issue of happiness arose when mum and dad decided on a number of occasions in my life and without asking me one question that I must be unhappy. Nothing I said persuaded them otherwise. But, except for their continuing insistence the issue of happiness would not have arisen. I do not think that happiness is more or less important to me than is typical. What might be different is what it takes for me to be happy and so on. It is important for me to be inner directed, to work on those issues with which I have passionate concern and (usually) that I think are ‘important.’ In any case, without going into details of my motivational system, I do not think that happiness is the primary and direct motive. This point is somewhat tangential to my reasons for writing this letter but it may answer questions that you have had. While on the topic I may say that I think that I am reasonably happy. Working on my projects (ideas…) makes me happy. Recently, I had worked on the document automation system that I had mentioned. It was enjoyable but not productive of real happiness. I suppose that having a girl friend and enjoying the relationship, would add to my happiness. I enjoy friends but have been ‘sacrificing’ friendship for my ‘passions.’ I like being in ‘nature’ the woods, under the stars… I think if I were employed in a position where I worked only on my projects and according to a schedule of my choosing, I would be in bliss. This is a relatively complete account of my ‘happiness’ system except for one thing. I have had a share of unhappiness (this is not a lament;) and there are stupid things that make me brood at times (one does not have total choice in one’s original propensities;) yet, I think I have a talent (and have cultivated this talent) for enjoying situations small and large and for enjoying life itself

What I said in my recent response to Susan’s email remains true. I have always loved you and continue to do so. I also want to say, and should have said so long ago, that I am and will always be grateful to you and Susan for all that you did for mum and dad