Did you understand every sentence in the book, "In It Together"? If not, what part did you first not understand?

Discuss the November 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes.

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Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
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Re: Did you understand every sentence in the book, "In It Together"? If not, what part did you first not understand?

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Surabhi Rani wrote: May 23rd, 2023, 5:15 am First of all, let me bring this fact to your knowledge that I could at least sense the meanings of almost every word in the book. I had no confusion about the ideas that the book conveyed. However, could you please expand on the following sentence on page no.134 'Neither the lion nor the antelope is evil as one chases the other, whether the lion eats a bloody meal or starves as he is denied by a fast antelope?' I find the above sentence relatable and want to be sure about it's meaning.
Hi, Surabhi Rani,

Thank you for asking about this! :)

A great elaboration on the general idea of that sentence is in the following topic:

What the word "evil" means to me, and why I believe evil (as I use the term) does not exist.

Also, here are a few tweets in which I have elaborated on the idea that even our worst enemies are--at a more fundamental and spiritual level--simply our own beloved selves in playful disguise:

I love all people unconditionally...

At a deep level, we are all brothers and sisters...

If you love the game, a true friend will pretend to be your enemy so that you may play.

I love the hungry starving lion that chases the selfish antelope...

Maybe you are the hungry lion chasing the selfish antelope, or the antelope running from the lion...


If we agree that there is no such thing as true evil, and if we agree that at the deepest most spiritual level we are all one, meaning that really there is only self and no true 'other', then I think the meaning of the sentence as a mere illustrative of the beauty idea becomes evident:

Neither the lion nor the antelope is evil as one chases the other, whether the lion eats a bloody meal or starves as he is denied by a fast antelope.

To give a parallel example, I often box in my backyard with my friends until we are both bloody. It's very competitive and challenging. I do my best to hit my friend and to not get hit myself. I rely on my friend to do the same: To do his best to hit me, and to do his best to not get hit by me. At a superficial level we are enemies, but at a deeper level the goal is lively competition--and the joy of life itself--and thus we are cooperating at that goal.

You can't play chess with only white pieces or only black pieces, and, metaphorically speaking, you can't have life with only lions or only antelopes, or only yin and only yang. To wish away yin is to wish away yang. To wish away white is to wish away black, and vice versa.

Does that help clarify what I mean by that sentence?


With love,
Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
a.k.a. Scott
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
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Re: Did you understand every sentence in the book, "In It Together"? If not, what part did you first not understand?

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Hi, Maliha Naveed,

Thank you for your questions! :)

Maliha Naveed wrote: April 8th, 2023, 8:09 am1- "What is the relation between our dreams and our choice to dream? Do we have a choice here?"
I'm not sure that we have a choice to dream or not to dream, especially in the sense that waking life is but a waking dream. For an individual human, there is technically the option of suicide. The philosopher Albert Camus described the question of suicide as the only truly serious question in philosophy.

Maliha Naveed wrote: April 8th, 2023, 8:09 am2- How can we choose if the dream be pleasant or a nightmare?"
For a sleeping dream while literally asleep in your bed at night, becoming lucid and thus turning the dream into a lucid dream is probably the best way to have more power over the events and amount pleasantries versus horrors in it.

For the waking dream that is waking life, there's what's called 'spiritual awakening' which I would usually prefer call 'spiritual lucidity'. In other words, simply realizing that waking life is a dream is incredibly empowering in terms of being able to control that dream. A lot of seeming superstitions become common sense once we become spiritually lucid, such as ideas related to so-called karma, or the law of attraction, or the power of positive thinking, the power to manifest what one chooses into reality, the self-fulfilling nature of fears, the way jealousy can ruin a romantic relationship and drives ones lover into the arms of another, the metaphor of the fact a race car tends to go where its driver is looking even if that's straight in a wall or curb.

On those subjects, here are some topics in the forum I have written related to that:

- Perception is almost entirely a matter of projection.

- Commentary on self-transcendence, ego death, and dying before you die; with a finger snap more brutal than Thanos

- We see what we want to see, meaning what we choose to see.

Also, here is a link to related tweet I made.

Also relevant is my latest poem, Fantastic Costumes in a World of Only Beautiful Gray. Most relevant is the last sentence from that poem: For in the most heavenly of heavens, even the hell-wishers are granted their wish.

Maliha Naveed wrote: April 8th, 2023, 8:09 am Also, Freud says, 'there is an intimate bond, with laws of its own, between the unintelligible and complicated nature of the dream and the difficulties attending communication of the thoughts connected with the dream."
When so many of our dreams are unintelligible and complicated arising from our thoughts while we are awake, how can we simplify them?
I disagree with Freud about that.

I think more modern and, more importantly, more scientifically rigorous research on dreams has revealed that they tend to be mundane.

Freud's false claim otherwise, which mirrors a common misconception, is presumably just the result of recollection bias: Wild, fantastic, thought-provoking, curious, and complicated dreams are more memorable. Memorability creates the illusion of frequency, hence why people overestimate the frequency of airplane crashes and how often they have to wait in line at the grocery store. It's also why when a married couple is individually polled about what percentage they do certain chores (e.g. dishes) versus their partner the total amount is way over 100% which is impossible. We don't remember things that happen when we aren't around, at least not as much, and thus underestimate their frequency. We likewise don't remember as well when it's someone else besides us who is suffering in a situation, such as casually noticing someone is mowing the lawn versus being the one actually sweating in the miserable heat; one will remember that better because of the more extreme emotional content and will this overestimate its frequency while the other will underestimate its frequency to its mundane to them. We drastically underestimate the frequency of things that feel and/or are mundane to us. Freud was presumably relying on anecdotal accounts, rather than cold hard statistic gained from controlled scientific studies involving waking people up, asking them what they dreamed about, and rating that on a scale of complexity and such, especially with double-blind in which the raters of complexity are given some stories that are dreams and some that are just regular memories without being told which is which. My rough understanding is that actual studies like that have since been done and the results are that dreams are typically fairly mundane and not that extraordinary or any more complex than people's recounting of waking life. (Though, if you ask someone how their day was at work or such, they will often tell you a complicated story with lots of drama, so it's all relative.)

With that said, nonetheless, my advice for reaching the goal you've stated (how to simplify your dreams) would be to focus on simplifying your thoughts while awake during the day (i.e. while experiencing this waking dream that is waking life).

I find that feelings tend to persist from the transition between sleeping dream and this waking dream we call waking life. For example, if I am itchy before I go to sleep, I'll likely also be itchy in my dream while asleep, and vice versa. If I am feeling hunger, anger, or fear before I go to sleep, I tend to have that same feeling still during my sleeping dream. The vice versa is also true: If I am feeling that way in my dream just before waking up I tend to still have that feeling after waking up. The transition in and out of sleep has little effect on my bodily feelings such as hunger, fear, anger, or itchiness.

Thus, if you want to have more inner peace, self-discipline, and lucidity while dreaming during sleep at night, my advice is to develop more inner peace and lucidity while awake during the day.

The same can go both ways: If you want to do something more frequently or better during waking life, it can help to practice it while dreaming at night too. That can go for more spiritual practices such as exercising self-discipline, mindful meditation, and maintaining your inner peace, but it can also go for more practical exercises such as practicing public speaking or basketball. You can practice those in your sleeping dream too.

I hope that advice is helpful! Let me know if you have any other questions.


With love,
Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
a.k.a. Scott
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Surabhi Rani
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Re: Did you understand every sentence in the book, "In It Together"? If not, what part did you first not understand?

Post by Surabhi Rani »

I wanted to be assured about the concept 'even our worst enemies are - at a more fundamental and spiritual level - simply our own beloved selves in playful disguise.' It was like reviving my lost glory. I appreciate the words 'I am also the lion, the antelope, and you.' Also, I wonder that the practical experience of such a phenomenon might be yet another topic for contemplation. I assume there is much to learn about this concept in the traditional philosophical and spiritual texts. I did come across the terms such as 'transcending the sense of duality' while studying. The concept of the game of a hungry lion chasing an antelope is now clear to me. Thank you!
Nisha DSouza
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Re: Did you understand every sentence in the book, "In It Together"? If not, what part did you first not understand?

Post by Nisha DSouza »

Hi Scott,

I will be honest and say that the initial pages were too philosophical for me and sometimes confused me. That is probably because I haven't read many books such as yours. However, after I re-read the sentences, I understood what you meant. As I read more I quite enjoyed your thought process and was totally impressed by the book's end.

The part that really touched me was on page 111, "... feel free to literally walk over to the mirror right now and tell that human, ... "I accept you. I unconditionally accept each and every part of you. In fact, I love you. I unconditionally love each and every part of you, in part and in whole.""

That was so beautiful, I had tears in my eyes when I said it to myself. Thank you. I am looking forward to implementing your suggestions for inner peace.
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Re: Did you understand every sentence in the book, "In It Together"? If not, what part did you first not understand?

Post by PanwarP »

Page 136 had a line that, I believe, confused me a little more: "the wave is your form, not your essence." Your forms could be numerous, varied, and minuscule. Your essence is unique and incredibly magnificent."
Nenye Charles
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Re: Did you understand every sentence in the book, "In It Together"? If not, what part did you first not understand?

Post by Nenye Charles »

Reading this book changed my perspectives towards life. I now see it in a different limelight. And yes, at first, some sentences weren’t easy for me to grasp. However, I read through again, and boom, everything started coming into place.
Nenye Charles
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Re: Did you understand every sentence in the book, "In It Together"? If not, what part did you first not understand?

Post by Nenye Charles »

I also like the part in the book that had affirmations. It helped boost my self-esteem, as I believe that I’m loved, valued, treasures, and I matter. I am glad I read this book.
Buikem Kasia
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Re: Did you understand every sentence in the book, "In It Together"? If not, what part did you first not understand?

Post by Buikem Kasia »

When I first read the book, I found no challenges. I read it again and I can say that I understood everything in the book. The author's writing was flawless and made comprehension easy.
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Re: Did you understand every sentence in the book, "In It Together"? If not, what part did you first not understand?

Post by Angie Fernandez »

I am having a problem understanding that "to see evil is to hate reality itself, but that hate never truly comes from the spirit, not from the truth." Are you saying that you do not believe in evil? Then how do you explain sex trafficking, domestic abuse, child abuse, murder, etc. Are these not evil? Should we not hate these realities, and do everything in our power to eradicate them? I really appreciated your book, but there are some things that are right and wrong (ought and should not, if you will). Thank you for clarifying.
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Re: Did you understand every sentence in the book, "In It Together"? If not, what part did you first not understand?

Post by Sanju Lali »

Not all but understood most of the concepts. However, repeated reading is clearing up the understanding.
Kutloano Makhuvhela
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Re: Did you understand every sentence in the book, "In It Together"? If not, what part did you first not understand?

Post by Kutloano Makhuvhela »

I am not an expert to the subject matter of the book. I just read it for pleasure and to enlighten myself, so I will take this moment to thank you for writing so eloquently and make it accessible to anyone who interested in such thought-provoking discussions. Your sentences were transporting. They were short, and complemented with complicated ones that enabled your thoughts to pass with ease.
Sanju Lali
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Re: Did you understand every sentence in the book, "In It Together"? If not, what part did you first not understand?

Post by Sanju Lali »

Human brain senses fellow human's pain and empathy is felt. Same is with respect to mouth watering to delicious food shows all of us are bound, but what makes some humans to behave like inhuman?
Moisés Alcántara Ayre
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Re: Did you understand every sentence in the book, "In It Together"? If not, what part did you first not understand?

Post by Moisés Alcántara Ayre »

Hi Scott,
The first sentence I did not understand is the following:

Pg 7--"I believe there is a force of unbelievable love and goodness deep within you, and that force is you more than anything is you."

I you wouldn't mind explaining it to me. The first clause is clear but the second one is not.

Moises Alcantara
Rob Carr
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Re: Did you understand every sentence in the book, "In It Together"? If not, what part did you first not understand?

Post by Rob Carr »

There is a phrase you use a few times through the book "godliest parts."

I wasn't sure exactly what this was meant to refer to exactly. It is obviously part of a persons spiritual self/their real self but is it referring to the part of them which is most "good", their moral core, their most spiritual side?
Oleabhiele Joseph
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Re: Did you understand every sentence in the book, "In It Together"? If not, what part did you first not understand?

Post by Oleabhiele Joseph »

When I read it, sincerely speaking, every word, tone, and emotion was clear to me, at that time. But as I grow, and see other things in life’s I find myself wondering how the book interpreted it, making me want to go back and clarify some things.
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