Hidden Mysteries
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From the time I was a little boy, I have been fascinated, probably even obsessed, with the nature of reality, with the "Hidden Mysteries", and with the illogical, hypocritical, and nonsensical beliefs and instructions of adults.  As a result, I immersed myself mostly in science fiction, and avidly consumed every book I could find about philosophy, science, and religion.  My viewpoint  was aided inestimably by the total absence of religious, political or philosophical indoctrination by my parents, and the benefit that TV was not for sale until I was eleven, thus an avid reader since two.  Perhaps the most important guiding light was a phrase my favorite grade school English teacher wrote on the blackboard, and apparently engraved on my young mind, for I never, ever forgot it: "Read not to believe, but to weigh and consider."

My interest in this was first caused to blossom by an advertisement in the back of a science fiction pulp magazine I was reading at about age six. This fascinating ad was for a group called "AMORC - NOT a religious organization".  AMORC stood for "Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis" and purported to teach the Secrets of the Ages.  I had to know more!

The so-called "Hidden Mysteries" are the supposed secrets which are alleged to answer the Big  Questions.  Big Questions include the nature of reality, the existence and nature of God, the meaning and purpose of life, and the grounds for ethical behavior.  The most compelling Big Question is the meaning and purpose of life, why we exist at all.  People throughout history have been completely unable to provide a satisfying answer.  They glibly propose that the purpose is to be happy, or to glorify God, or there is no purpose, or to avoid reincarnation, or to win the ultimate vacation in heaven. These are all mere opinions from the viewpoint of man, and have nothing meaningful to say about God's possible motives.  No one has ever attempted to answer the most important question, Why?

The different fields of study which explore the Hidden Mysteries, such as science, philosophy, religion, theology, psychology, gnosticism, mysticism, shamanism, art and literature, and the many conflicting Schools of Thought within each of these fields, have been (often fanatically) defending their beliefs.  Historically, each of these schools of thought had to cautiously guard their beliefs, as those with alternate models of the universe were too often persecuted, hunted down, tortured and murdered, and their books were burned. Without open communications, these groups were isolated and secretive, their range of perceptions was limited, and they came to believe that their particular Model of the universe was factual and every other Model either wrong, or heretical. In modern times, those with alternate views are often merely ridiculed or relegated to the lunatic fringe, and their views are not considered worthy of serious consideration.

First, they are not secrets in the sense that they are carefully hidden from "the profane" by mysterious societies! They are only hidden from anyone who has not yet experienced them.  For example, the joys of sex are completely hidden and mysterious until "initiated", and then they are obvious. The supermarket tabloids and magazines reveal everything, and yet it is meaningless until the first experience, and then everything makes sense, sort of! 

Basically, it's all about viewpoint. All these Schools of Thought have their own viewpoints, but they usually think of them as facts.  A better starting point is the art and science of Systems of Systems Engineering, a way to model enormously complex systems scientifically, methodically, and much more importantly, without biases or preconceived notions.  Systems Engineering is not much about theories, but about practical applications to life.

Some of the subjects that influenced my viewpoint:  Science fiction.  Art.  Engineering.  Mathematics.  Shamanism.  Freemasonry.  Rosicrucianism.  Modern Physics.  Gnosticism.  History.