Friday, November 11, 2005

Conversations with God, part 15

Family and relationships, part 1

God's egoism comes out most strongly in her statements about family and relationships. We've all been terribly wrong on our views of morality because we've been under the mistaken impression that we should concern ourselves with the well-being of other people. "For centuries you have been taught that love-sponsored action arises out of the choice to be, do, and have whatever produces the highest good for another. Yet I tell you this: the highest choice is that which produces the highest good for you" (p.130). God says, "Let each person in relationship worry not about the other, but only, only, only about Self," because "The most loving person is the person who is self-centered"(p.124). The same principle applies to raising children. "Even the physical comfort of members of your family will no longer be a concern for you—for once you rise to a level of God consciousness you will understand that you are not responsible for any other human soul, and that while it is commendable to wish every soul to live in comfort, each soul must choose—-is choosing-—its destiny this instant" (p.114). Walsch, just wanting to make sure, asked, "Then, pray God, tell me—what promises should I make in relationship; what agreements must I keep? What obligations do relationships carry? What guidelines should I seek?" God reassured him, saying, "The answer is the answer you cannot hear—for it leaves you without guidelines and renders null and void every agreement in the moment you make it. The answer is: you have no obligation. Neither in relationship, nor in all of life" (p.135). We are under no obligation to feed our children, although it's commendable for us to wish that they be fed, whatever "commendable" means. Pretty scary thought, huh?

But it's not as scary as it might seem. Remember that we are all part of God, and we're just trying to re-member Who We Really Are. And who we really are is God. We are all God. And there's only one of us. So in practice, there's really no difference between egoism and ordinary other-focused morality. In God's words, "What you do for your Self, you do for another. What you do for another, you do for the Self. This is because you and the other are one. And this is because...[ellipses in original] There is naught but You" (p.131). So you are the only person who exists. Consequently, "the highest good for you becomes the highest good for another" (p.131). These "others" that we perceive around us aren't really "other" at all since we are all one. So being self-interested means being interested in "others". That's why I say Walsch's egoism isn't as scary as it might seem. We might imagine parents who neglect their children on the basis that they have no obligations to them, but if "you have caught yourself in an unGodly act as a result of doing what is best for you, the confusion is not in having put yourself first, but rather in misunderstanding what is best for you" (p.132). It is best for you to feed your children because you are your children.

to be continued...

Part 16


At 11/12/2005 12:05 AM , Blogger Steve said...

it sounds like Walsch is saying Christianity is a monistic religion.

At 11/12/2005 1:00 PM , Blogger ephphatha said...

Steve, Walsch's worldview is monistic, but he doesn't say Christainity is monistic. He's not a Christian.

At 11/12/2005 4:36 PM , Blogger Steve said...

oh! I see, that makes more sense.

At 11/12/2005 9:30 PM , Blogger daleliop said...



You're pretty good at clarifying problems which most people have trouble with or get tripped up on. Have you heard of the Monty Hall problem? I know you mentioned once that 'riddles' aren't really your thing, but this one is quite simple; perhaps you can explain why our intuition falls short when we first try to solve the problem.

Suppose you are on a game show, and the host shows you 3 doors, where behind one door is a car but behind the other two are sheep. You choose a door, but before the host opens it, he is forced by the rules of the game to open one of the other doors, revealing a sheep. Note the host knows what is behind each door. Next, he gives you the choice to switch your original choice with the remaining door. Do your chances improve if you switch?

At 11/12/2005 10:00 PM , Blogger Steve said...

well I'd say your chances improve because if the door that opened revealed a car, then you could have completely blown the game. By showing you that it was a sheep, then you know of the remaining two doors, one has the car, making the likelihood you guess right 50%. In comparison, when you first chose, you had a 33% chance of getting it right.

At 11/12/2005 10:01 PM , Blogger Steve said...

oh wait, but do your chances improve if you switch?

no, I'd say no they dont.

At 11/12/2005 10:13 PM , Blogger daleliop said...

Wait, Steve, to clarify, the host will never open a door to reveal a car. He'll always reveal on purpose one of the sheep, since he knows what's behind each door.

At 11/12/2005 10:20 PM , Blogger Steve said...

well my thinking would be this.

When you first chose, you had a 66% chance of picking the wrong door. So lets say in theory the probability suggests I picked the door with a sheep.

If the host then shows me the other sheep. Then maybe I SHOULD pick the other door, since when I first chose there was a high probability I picked the wrong door.

I dunno... my head hurts!

At 11/12/2005 10:29 PM , Blogger daleliop said...

I like your explanation, Steve; that's all I'll say, lol, before Sam arrives. But, ya, that's quite good on a first reading.

At 11/13/2005 1:44 AM , Blogger ephphatha said...

No, I've never heard of this problem before. When I first read it, it seemed very simple. But the more I think about it, the more complicated it gets. I think I'll ask my friend Jeremy about this. He loves these things and always figures them out.


At 11/13/2005 2:11 AM , Blogger daleliop said...

What thoughts came to mind first?

At 11/13/2005 3:09 AM , Blogger ephphatha said...

First, I thought, "Well obviously if you only have to choose between two things, then you've got a better chance than if you have to choose between three things."

At 11/13/2005 3:24 AM , Blogger daleliop said...

hmm, ok. So, if you were on that game show right now, what do you think you would you do? (Besides hoping he goes to commercial)

At 11/13/2005 3:49 AM , Blogger ephphatha said...

I probably wouldn't change my answer.

At 11/13/2005 3:24 PM , Blogger Steve said...

its probably better not to switch, emotionally, cause nothing's worse than having the right answer, and then picking a new one.

At 11/13/2005 9:03 PM , Blogger daleliop said...

lol, well mathematically-speaking it is better to switch.

At 11/14/2005 9:21 AM , Blogger Jeff said...

Interesting. I've not heard this riddle before. Being trained in mathematics (so long ago I've only got a vestige of the knowledge left) I will try to appeal to statistics here.

Your odds originally were 1 in 3 of choosing the right door.

After having a sheep revealed, your odds become 1 in 2.

But both the door your originally chose and the other door you might consider changing to, have the same 1 in 2 probability of being the car.

So what changed the odds was the host's revealing of one of the sheep. After he revealed it, the door you have chosen is now known to have a 50% probability of being the right one, while the door you did NOT choose only has a 50% probability.

So even though the odds of success/failure are different, changing your choice doesn't affect the now 50% probability.

This assumes there's no pattern in the placing of the car/sheep behind doors. Nor in the way the sheep is revealed after the choice is made.

You know, I think I have seen this before. I think it was mentioned in an episode of 'Numbers' a while back. The genius mathematician guy said that the odds do get better by re-selecting. Shows that it's written by script-writers!
And last week I noticed this brilliant mathematician didn't know how to pronounce Fourier. (He pronounced it 'furrier'.

At 11/14/2005 5:12 PM , Blogger ephphatha said...

Jeff, I completely agree with you.

This is what my friend, Jeremy, said:

"I actually saw this on an episode of "Numbers," a TV show where they
have a mathematician helping the FBI solve cases.

When you make your original choice, you have a one in three chance of
getting it right. When one of the wrong choices is revealed, you have a
one in two chance of getting it right; so you actually improve your
chances by switching your choice at that point."

I think Jeff is right, though. This is how I look at it. When you're faced with keeping your choice or changing you're choice, you're essentially making a whole new decision involving only two options. So whether you choose the same thing you chose before or the other thing, your chances are still 50%.

At 11/14/2005 10:25 PM , Blogger Steve said...

hehehe, ironically, that was my first reply! (that your chances improve from 33% to 50%)

I shouldn't have switched!


At 11/14/2005 11:06 PM , Blogger ephphatha said...


At 11/18/2005 2:11 PM , Blogger daleliop said...

what, are you all saying that you wouldn't switch??

(sorry for the delay, I probably will not be able to visit as often these days)

At 11/20/2005 11:06 PM , Blogger daleliop said...

Alright, no responses. Well, I'll just lay out the proof that you are supposed to switch, then:

After you pick the initial door, there are 3 possibilities:

(i) The door you picked was the car.
(ii) The door you picked was sheep #1.
(iii) The door you picked was sheep #2.

Then, the host opens a door, revealing a sheep.

Case (i): You switch, you lose (you had a car, now you are switching to a sheep).
Case (ii): You switch, you win (you picked a sheep, the host reveals another sheep, now you switch to a car).
Case (iii): You switch, you win (same as above- you picked a sheep, the host reveals another sheep, now you switch to a car).

Therefore, by switching, you win 2 out of 3 times, which is 66.6%, while if you stay with your original choice, your odds are only 1 out of 3 (33.3%).

So, Steve was right in his second response, as I was hinting at initially.

At 11/21/2005 4:46 AM , Blogger ephphatha said...

I don't see the difference between case ii and case iii.

At 11/21/2005 9:29 AM , Blogger Jeff said...

Same here, what is case III about? After the revealing there are only 2 options, hence 2 choices.

Unless you are trying to say that we can 'switch' to the same one we originally chose.

At 11/21/2005 12:02 PM , Blogger daleliop said...

Okay, to clarify, I'll go through this step-by-step.

Case 1: I picked a door, it was really a CAR, then the host opens another door revealing a sheep (either sheep), meaning the last door untouched is the other sheep. Therefore switching to that last door loses.

Case 2: I picked a door, it was really SHEEP #1, then the host opens a door revealing the other sheep (SHEEP #2), meaning the last door untouhed is the CAR. Therefore switching to that last door wins.

Case 3: I picked a door, it was really SHEEP #2, then the host opens a door revealing the other sheep (SHEEP #1), meaning the last door is the CAR. Therefore switching to that door wins.

So, switching in two out of the three equally-likely scenarios wins you the car (2/3 = 66.6%).

At 11/21/2005 12:13 PM , Blogger daleliop said...

It might help to visualize the scenario omnisciently as if the doors were transparent.

At 11/23/2005 9:10 AM , Blogger Jeff said...

Well Dale, You make a strong case but I don't know why!!!!
I'm now going to have to work through this thoroughly before I'll be able to sleep!

I'll post back here after I've worked it out and let you know if I agree with you.

At 11/23/2005 9:48 AM , Blogger Jeff said...


This is known as Monty's Dilemma (as in Monty Hall). I ran some computer simulations to prove the outcome to myself. From that, it's clear that Dale's right on this. If we never switch, the odds of winning are 1 in 3 as we all understood. If you always switch, your odds of winning go to 2 in 3.
Where I had failed in my original analysis was that I considered the problem as if the door revealed was random. But since the door revealed is based on knowledge of what's behind the doors, and uses the contestant's original choice as an input, it's not at all random.

Intuitively it might become clear when you extend the scenario to 100 doors. If there are 100 doors with 99 having sheep, your odds of getting the car are 1 in 100. After you choose that door, Monty opens 98 remaining sheep doors leaving you with 2 doors. The one you chose and one more containing a sheep. At this point, the odds of picking a door if you randomly reselected (flipped a coin to decide between the 2 doors) would be 1 in 2. But if you simply switch, your odds of winning are 99 in 100.

At 11/23/2005 7:06 PM , Blogger daleliop said...

Ah, this problem can be notoriously hard to understand intuitively speaking. Mathematically it makes sense, but intuitively, that takes more time.

Here's an interesting solution (intuitively):

Suppose that in the Monty Hall game you choose a door. But instead of opening a door, Monty Hall offers you 2 doors for the 1 you just chose. Most people would take his offer, and they'd be right.

Isomorphically, this is the exact same Monty Hall game as before.


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