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Share the Wealth of Health Are you a follower of the grain? Have you been searching for health and happiness and found it? Still searching? Come share your experiences with other macro followers.

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Old 08-23-2017, 04:26 PM   #1
Ludlum'sDaughter14
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Default The Book of Macrobiotics by Michio Kushi

Okay, so I'm currently reading about four MB books at the same time, and none of them are easy to summarize or "review," so I'm going to content myself with quoting or paraphrasing stuff and discussing it for now. Plus I haven't read any of them in their entirety yet. Reading a book straight through from beginning to end is already against my nature (unless it's a story I've never read before), and these books are all factual and topically organized, so I'm absorbing their content by taking little bites here and there and chewing on them for a while. What's that quote about how different kinds of books require different levels of digestion? I feel like I can't completely digest these books without multiple readings as well as time for my subconscious to break down the ideas.

Anyway, here's a concept from The Book of Macrobiotics which I found intriguing. While describing the growth of the human being from embryo into adulthood, he references seven Levels of Judgment and Consciousness. They reminded me a little of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs except that the hierarchy is of the possible levels of understanding a person can reach in his or her lifetime.

I considered typing the text as it is in the book, but that would make a long entry, plus it would obscure the point. I'll simply share some of the information as he compiled it in a closing chart and then make a few observations. I'm going to go from first to last instead of last to first like the book and only include the main part of the chart for simplicity's sake. If the rest of the chart is needed for clarification or completeness, I can always add it later.

Levels of Judgment and Consciousness

1- Mechanical: Spontaneous, automatic response
2- Sensory: Distinction of comfort and discomfort, full and hungry, beauty and ugliness.
3- Sentimental: Distinction of love and hate, like and dislike, grace and awkwardness, joy and sadness.
4- Intellectual: Distinction of reason and unreason, proven and unproven.
5- Social: Distinction of good and bad, suitable and unsuitable, proper and improper, adaptability and inadaptability.
6- Ideological: Distinction of justice and injustice, righteousness and unrighteousness.
7- Supreme: Universal and eternal consciousness. All-embracing, unconditional acceptance. Endless gratefulness, complete freedom.


What I found interesting was something Kushi said in the preceding text: "...The majority of modern people limit themselves only to either the second, sensory or third, sentimental and emotional world, seeking ephemeral value in the changing world. Few among them enter in to the fourth intellectual level and further few grow to the fifth, social and sixth, ideological levels of consciousness. Very few, from time to time every several hundred years, appear among the people, who are able to attain and play with universal consciousness, Supreme Judgment. It is, however, not impossible for everyone when he knows the order of the universe and its endless mechanism of change, yin and yang, together with how to practice it, physically, mentally, socially and ideologically, anywhere, at any time, and when he knows his human life on this planet is merely a process of the eternal cycle of change from infinity to the infinitesimal world, from the infinitesimal to infinity."


This seemed to me to be a nice, comprehensive way to describe the philosophy of MB, especially in relation to the concept of infinity. Once again, just to be clear, I don't agree with the concept of Nirvana or Oneness as it is presented (heresy, I know ), but the concept of progression from more basic forms of judgment to more discerning forms accurately describes human development.

It is interesting, sad, and true that some people never progress beyond Sensory judgment and are controlled by their whims and physical impulses their entire lives. In that case they are little better than animals. What differentiates animals from plants is their ability to operate on the Sensory as well as Mechanical level. What differentiates humans from animals is their ability to rise beyond mere Sensory and Mechanical judgment. But not all humans do. We are all affected by our Sensory judgment and what is comfortable or uncomfortable, but very often we must become uncomfortable in order to make any progress or accomplish anything meaningful in life. This is where the higher forms of judgment (ideally) overrule.

I don't think most people exclusively exist on one level of judgment. Different types of judgment are necessary and appropriate in different situations. However, a person may reside in one level more often than the rest or never rise above another level.

It is much harder to rise above Sentimental judgment since it and the two levels below are all very visceral. Emotions and feelings take control more easily than reason and moral standards do. I know people who rarely exceed Sentimental judgment, and even when they think they do, the "logic" or "moral standard" is usually emotion in disguise. I know others who tend to confuse their Intellectual judgment with Social or Ideological judgment. They think that just because it is logical to them means it's the right thing to do. But again, they are still capable of switching levels at times, although it doesn't happen as often as they think.

Personally, I think I exist most often in the Intellectual and Social levels. I want to do what is right and to show consideration of others, but when that is hard I gravitate towards doing what is logical, especially because I know how easy it is to slip into using Sentimental judgment only. So at my best I use Ideological judgment, and at my worst I use Sentimental judgement, but at my high normal I'm trying to be considerate of the needs of others, and at my low normal I adhere to strict logic to avoid making sloppy emotional mistakes.

I think part of Supreme judgment is not only knowing what is right and true (Ideological judgment), but also not caring whether other people disagree with you or dislike you, because living right is more important than making other people happy (Social) or being approved of (Intellectual) or being liked (Sentimental).

Well, that was some thinking out loud. Now I have to go eat. But for the record, I'm not just treating MB like egghead philosophy - I'm working on plans for how I can have a consistent, healthful way of eating throughout this school year. It will be good.
__________________
"The tantalizing discomfort of perplexity is what inspires otherwise ordinary men and women to extraordinary feats of ingenuity and creativity; nothing quite focuses the mind like dissonant details awaiting harmonious resolution."
- Brian Greene
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Old 08-25-2017, 12:22 PM   #2
Flygirl
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Default Re: The Book of Macrobiotics by Michio Kushi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludlum'sDaughter14 View Post
Okay, so I'm currently reading about four MB books at the same time, and none of them are easy to summarize or "review," so I'm going to content myself with quoting or paraphrasing stuff and discussing it for now. Plus I haven't read any of them in their entirety yet. Reading a book straight through from beginning to end is already against my nature (unless it's a story I've never read before), and these books are all factual and topically organized, so I'm absorbing their content by taking little bites here and there and chewing on them for a while. What's that quote about how different kinds of books require different levels of digestion? I feel like I can't completely digest these books without multiple readings as well as time for my subconscious to break down the ideas.

Anyway, here's a concept from The Book of Macrobiotics which I found intriguing. While describing the growth of the human being from embryo into adulthood, he references seven Levels of Judgment and Consciousness. They reminded me a little of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs except that the hierarchy is of the possible levels of understanding a person can reach in his or her lifetime.

I considered typing the text as it is in the book, but that would make a long entry, plus it would obscure the point. I'll simply share some of the information as he compiled it in a closing chart and then make a few observations. I'm going to go from first to last instead of last to first like the book and only include the main part of the chart for simplicity's sake. If the rest of the chart is needed for clarification or completeness, I can always add it later.

Levels of Judgment and Consciousness

1- Mechanical: Spontaneous, automatic response
2- Sensory: Distinction of comfort and discomfort, full and hungry, beauty and ugliness.
3- Sentimental: Distinction of love and hate, like and dislike, grace and awkwardness, joy and sadness.
4- Intellectual: Distinction of reason and unreason, proven and unproven.
5- Social: Distinction of good and bad, suitable and unsuitable, proper and improper, adaptability and inadaptability.
6- Ideological: Distinction of justice and injustice, righteousness and unrighteousness.
7- Supreme: Universal and eternal consciousness. All-embracing, unconditional acceptance. Endless gratefulness, complete freedom.


What I found interesting was something Kushi said in the preceding text: "...The majority of modern people limit themselves only to either the second, sensory or third, sentimental and emotional world, seeking ephemeral value in the changing world. Few among them enter in to the fourth intellectual level and further few grow to the fifth, social and sixth, ideological levels of consciousness. Very few, from time to time every several hundred years, appear among the people, who are able to attain and play with universal consciousness, Supreme Judgment. It is, however, not impossible for everyone when he knows the order of the universe and its endless mechanism of change, yin and yang, together with how to practice it, physically, mentally, socially and ideologically, anywhere, at any time, and when he knows his human life on this planet is merely a process of the eternal cycle of change from infinity to the infinitesimal world, from the infinitesimal to infinity."


This seemed to me to be a nice, comprehensive way to describe the philosophy of MB, especially in relation to the concept of infinity. Once again, just to be clear, I don't agree with the concept of Nirvana or Oneness as it is presented (heresy, I know ), but the concept of progression from more basic forms of judgment to more discerning forms accurately describes human development.

It is interesting, sad, and true that some people never progress beyond Sensory judgment and are controlled by their whims and physical impulses their entire lives. In that case they are little better than animals. What differentiates animals from plants is their ability to operate on the Sensory as well as Mechanical level. What differentiates humans from animals is their ability to rise beyond mere Sensory and Mechanical judgment. But not all humans do. We are all affected by our Sensory judgment and what is comfortable or uncomfortable, but very often we must become uncomfortable in order to make any progress or accomplish anything meaningful in life. This is where the higher forms of judgment (ideally) overrule.

I don't think most people exclusively exist on one level of judgment. Different types of judgment are necessary and appropriate in different situations. However, a person may reside in one level more often than the rest or never rise above another level.

It is much harder to rise above Sentimental judgment since it and the two levels below are all very visceral. Emotions and feelings take control more easily than reason and moral standards do. I know people who rarely exceed Sentimental judgment, and even when they think they do, the "logic" or "moral standard" is usually emotion in disguise. I know others who tend to confuse their Intellectual judgment with Social or Ideological judgment. They think that just because it is logical to them means it's the right thing to do. But again, they are still capable of switching levels at times, although it doesn't happen as often as they think.

Personally, I think I exist most often in the Intellectual and Social levels. I want to do what is right and to show consideration of others, but when that is hard I gravitate towards doing what is logical, especially because I know how easy it is to slip into using Sentimental judgment only. So at my best I use Ideological judgment, and at my worst I use Sentimental judgement, but at my high normal I'm trying to be considerate of the needs of others, and at my low normal I adhere to strict logic to avoid making sloppy emotional mistakes.

I think part of Supreme judgment is not only knowing what is right and true (Ideological judgment), but also not caring whether other people disagree with you or dislike you, because living right is more important than making other people happy (Social) or being approved of (Intellectual) or being liked (Sentimental).

Well, that was some thinking out loud. Now I have to go eat. But for the record, I'm not just treating MB like egghead philosophy - I'm working on plans for how I can have a consistent, healthful way of eating throughout this school year. It will be good.
Well, now I want to read this one, too. If you could assign me a reading list, LD, like my kids' teachers do for summer vacation, I could catch up with you faster.

I like Michio Kushi, and I love psychology, so I think I'll enjoy these. (Also, I finished reading "Your Face Never Lies" and now I'm going to order the other diagnostic one.)

Although I haven't read the book yet, I take issue with lumping human emotional, psychological and sensory processes into one *hierarchical* construct. As a student of Myers-Briggs, you must have considered while reading this that there are personality types more focused on the intellectual than the sensory, and vice versa -- I don't believe this necessarily puts one or the other on a higher spiritual plane, do you? And some individuals are very socially adept with little empathy toward others, while others are extremely empathetic and emotionally mature, but have trouble distinguishing social cues and/or understanding appropriate conduct.

I'll have to read it to comment further, I guess... And look at the chart. I am a visual learner.
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Old 08-26-2017, 12:34 AM   #3
Ludlum'sDaughter14
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Default Re: The Book of Macrobiotics by Michio Kushi

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyngirl5 View Post
Well, now I want to read this one, too. If you could assign me a reading list, LD, like my kids' teachers do for summer vacation, I could catch up with you faster.

I like Michio Kushi, and I love psychology, so I think I'll enjoy these. (Also, I finished reading "Your Face Never Lies" and now I'm going to order the other diagnostic one.)

Although I haven't read the book yet, I take issue with lumping human emotional, psychological and sensory processes into one *hierarchical* construct. As a student of Myers-Briggs, you must have considered while reading this that there are personality types more focused on the intellectual than the sensory, and vice versa -- I don't believe this necessarily puts one or the other on a higher spiritual plane, do you? And some individuals are very socially adept with little empathy toward others, while others are extremely empathetic and emotionally mature, but have trouble distinguishing social cues and/or understanding appropriate conduct.

I'll have to read it to comment further, I guess... And look at the chart. I am a visual learner.
This is a very good thought. I didn't actually think about Myers-Briggs while reading this, so I'm glad you brought that up. I'm still working to wrap my mind around all the ideas presented in the books, so I'm not connecting them to all of my experiences yet.

Different people do have different preferences for a mental or physical focus, an emotional or logical way of reasoning, etc. And you're right about how there can be maturity in one area with deficiencies in others. I agree that you can't categorize people by what level of thinking they demonstrate since there is so much variation based on personality, and it doesn't always show maturity or lack thereof. But I think the Levels of Judgment sounded more "boxed-in" than Kushi intended because of the way I presented it. For one thing, the diagram (which I truncated) was also preceded by detailed descriptive paragraphs. In my attempt to simplify something I'm still understanding and put it in a post, I kind of mutilated the original idea.

I'd say Kushi views the categories less as a label to slap on a person and more as a description of your current state of existence. Being able to make sound moral decisions doesn't mean you no longer have to make emotional ones - you are capable of both, and everything in between. You don't stop squinting at bright light because you reach a certain level of maturity. The point I think he's making is that as you grow older and more mature, you gain a greater understanding of the spiritual realm and how to operate in accordance with it. In order to reach this understanding, you must have fundamental understanding of other facets of life - other levels of Judgment. You will understand love, and reason, and courtesy, and moral principles. Some people do not reach higher levels of understanding because they refuse to move beyond the fundamentals. But those who seek and achieve higher understanding still possess understanding of the basics, which is further governed by their higher motivations.

Here's an example. You know I'm a religious person, and you may have figured out I'm a strongly emotional person (my Spock act is to compensate ). I still exercise judgment using my emotions - what I love or hate, what scares me or makes me laugh - but that's not the only judgment I use. I also make decisions based on my moral compass, which comes from the Bible. Even though sometimes I want to tell people exactly what I'm thinking when they do something frustrating, my moral judgment may tell me my reaction is not justified and the words I'm thinking of will hurt the person. Therefore I don't act on my feelings alone, because other factors take precedence in that situation.

I feel like I overdid this explanation of the original explanation, which was also overdone but still required more explaining. Yikes. My apologies.

Speaking of MB, my working theory is that the more you read and think (input information), the more you're going to either write or talk (output information), because all that input's gotta go somewhere. Sound like one of those principles? I've been reading so much, this explosion of ideas is the result. Also, ever wondered why Dirk writes and sometimes talks quite a bit about lots of different topics? Consider the quantity of input.

Okay, it's way past bedtime. I'm done now. I promise.
__________________
"The tantalizing discomfort of perplexity is what inspires otherwise ordinary men and women to extraordinary feats of ingenuity and creativity; nothing quite focuses the mind like dissonant details awaiting harmonious resolution."
- Brian Greene
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Old 08-26-2017, 05:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: The Book of Macrobiotics by Michio Kushi

I don't think you're overdoing anything. I truly enjoyed reading this. It is a wonderful topic to talk or write about.

Also, ever wondered why Dirk writes and sometimes talks quite a bit about lots of different topics? Consider the quantity of input.

The thought also crossed my mind
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Old 08-26-2017, 07:54 AM   #5
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Default Re: The Book of Macrobiotics by Michio Kushi

I like the insights provided here. It gives me more input to reflect on. Output? Not sure that I have a lot of that lately.
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