Ok, so I'm running into a bit of a problem. I really want anyone who reads this to comment and tell me your opinions concerning what I should do. I'm genuinely confused.
Over the past, say, five months, a philosophy of life has been brewing deep in my intuition. I don't mean any kind of philosophy that postulates new entities or assumes a new theoretical view of the world, I just mean a practical philosophy of life and truth. It all started when I began studying shame in my Crises counseling class. After I realized that I could peer deep into my soul and change my beliefs in order to foster spiritual health and growth. I started an exercise of thinking through the psychological motifs of shame in my life and I came to realize that my shame had a lot to do with underlying beliefs (which could also be changed). My findings about my psychological interactions with other people lead me to postulate theories about relationships and friendships (the place where shame comes from-- when I say relationships I don't always mean healthy relationships). After that, I started getting more complex in my thought and analyzing philosophy of mind and phenomenology (the study of the conscious experience). Then I encountered Buddhist thought and realized that all of the assumptions and experiences in my life were contingent upon my beliefs and desires. As the INFJ personality type (or, at least mine anyway) is so apt to disbelieve, my experience of reality was not actual reality. I was learning to adjust myself to the truth.
After that, and in the midst of all of this, I realized that my belief in Christianity was, even though I had thought through it and questioned it already, was completely biased. (Even though I had thought I did, I had never actually sought truth. I was just looking to philosophically justify my faith contra atheism). But it hit me over the head that this is not the way to pursue truth. The way to pursue truth is to open oneself up to whatever is true, and seek it from that perspective. So because of that I created a type of philosophy which was oriented towards simply pursuing truth. It is compatible with atheism, agnosticism, and Christianity-- whichever one is convicted is true. I have been using this philosophy (it's "perfected" form was polished off about two weeks before I headed to college) in some general form for about four months.
To be completely honest, I have never experienced something so powerful in my life. This philosophy was simply an attempt of my own to conform my whole self to the truth, through whatever means possible. I created repeating cycles of three day groups of four day systems-- "root" is what I called the period of four days-- in which I practiced intentional consciousness of a certain truth. It has been incredibly effective. It's taken a whole lot of work, sweat, and tears; it's not like there wasn't sacrifice. It's hard to emphasize how adaptive to my life and my personality this philosophy is.
Here's my problem though. I was reading Acts of the Apostles last night and I was very convicted about my mindset. I was reading Stephen's speech before he was stoned to death, and he spoke of the Jews disobeying God, saying "And they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and were rejoicing in the works of their hands."
The part about "rejoicing in the works of their hands" knocked me over the head with conviction. I know that several times I have become prideful about how "smart I am, that I created such an effective philosophy". Of course, to refute such thoughts, I may be smart but surely I've been given it, and technically smartness has nothing to do with it; I've just had the privilege/horror of suffering through the intense realization that all of life is philosophy and one must struggle to have the correct one. Anyone can do that. In fact, many already have before me. But it suits my pride to believe falsehoods, and so my mind whores with them periodically.
But how can I ever rid myself of the philosophy now? What do I do, substitute it for a different method and then get prideful over that one? Given that this philosophy consists of a lot of established practices and beliefs that have become part of my life now, to get rid of it would be positively irrational. Also, given that I am so subject to following the whims of my emotions and superficial desires, if I did not have some sort of teleology/plan to keep me in check, I would never get anywhere in life. (I'm not driven unless an idea drives me) It's like a man who realizes that he is idolizing his wife. He can't get rid of her-- that would be immoral. But he also can't continue living the way he has been.
I also liken this dilemma to what the naturalists have done these days. Empirical science is a recent human phenomena which has vastly increased our knowledge of the world. In fact, through the centuries that it has existed, it has invoked much excitement, passion, and wonder in those who follow it. It has shaped the mind-set of at least the Western world and is essentially necessary for knowledge about the world. But some have idolized science, claiming that it is the source of all truth, or the domain of all truth, or that we cannot know anything unless science justifies it. This is the sign of a good philosophy gone bad. You can't get rid of science. Medicine, physics, biology, theoretical frameworks, etc. are all incredibly important aspects of our body of knowledge about the world. But you can take it too far. I think this is what I've done with my philosophy.
What I've done is this: Because of my judging function in my personality, my mind feels in utter chaos and discomfort when there is not some underlying instruction or plan which I should follow. I like things to be organized or else I am subject to following and believing my emotions, which are far from accurate. Because of this, I have used the effectiveness of this philosophy as a way to deal with life-- in that I get my comfort from the fact that I have an underlying plan in my life, rather than my comfort from God, and being thankful for what I have. It's like my emotional security lies in it. This shouldn't be the case.
So I have a couple options.
1) I could completely drop the philosophy and just live on conviction. The consequences of this would be to lose the checks I've made on myself for epistemic faithfulness. I would probably end up believing a lot of false things and be spiritually matured in an off-balance way, and I would be influenced by my soul's tendency to follow shame rather than conviction.
2) I could diminish the philosophy to exclude the system of days and "roots" so that I simply live on conviction but still hold onto the foundational beliefs and systems which I have created, which would have the benefit of keeping my beliefs in check, but the consequences of developing my personality in a way which would exclude some of the hard work that could be done during the day/root systems.
3) I could simply recognize that my mind, my brain, and even the philosophy are not my own. They were given to me. The only way the philosophy works is because it has methods that make use of truth, and the truth certainly does not belong to me; I just discovered some of it. This benefits of this would be full control and checks on my believing what is true and developing my personality in a way which is truth oriented, the consequences would be that I am prone to idolize the philosophy because it is so helpful, and I am prone to become prideful because, well, I'm me. But notice here-- the intention of the actual philosophy was not pride. So if I take the truth-seeking prescribed in the plan, I will not. Other consequences of this may be that I become unwilling to relinquish the philosophy when I must, because God has called me to do a certain thing or so. Again, however, this is not a mandate of the philosophy, just a result of my sinful soul.
Although I want everyone's and anyone's advice, now that I've thought through this, I think I'm going to stick with the third option. My pride and possessiveness of this philosophy are not the intentions of the philosophy, and so I will work to not use it as a source of comfort, but rather a directive for my actions.