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The personal testament of
S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

I try to keep these many pages up to date by adding and removing new and rev icons on a timely basis;
please bear with me if I miss a few here and there. - SB,III

[However, I shall not accept responsibility for any inconvenience due to my faulty use
of such icons nor reader's misinterpretation of same.]

I should point out that I only change the date(s) on the affected page(s),
not also on this home page (except when a change is made to this page).

This is the primary home (index) page to my own private domain, monismus.com, and I have others, as well, on which I host non-profit organizations and commercial sites.

[Other sites will be added to my primary private domain sbiii.com as they come on line.]

S. Berliner, III's Other Pages on this Domain:

    The Book of Third Samuel.
    Personal Political Manifesto.
    {others to follow}

S. Berliner, III's Other Pages on Related Domains:

    Home Page of the Monist Church.

The basic layout of these Monismus pages is that this Index/Home Page is the introduction to Monismus, the Manifesto is the nuts and bolts of the Monist system, the Book of Third Samuel is the philosophy (theology), and the Home Page of monismus.org is the foundation document of the Monist Church.

This is a work in progress - it may never even be finished (nor, probably, should it ever be).




What is essential is never to allow
The limitations of time and the
Erosion of memories to deaden
The longing of the heart in
Its morning demand for love.

- from Rev. Paul N. Carnes' Longing of the Heart, the Unitarian Universalist Association's 1980 Meditation Manual

Others over the ages have put forth their own personal statements of faith; some have become revered as prophets or sages, some have been ridiculed and relegated to the dust bin of history or oblivion.  I care not what people make of my own testament; it is a profound faith and a belief system that works for me and, if it brings comfort to others, well and good, and, if it is not acceptable to others, they can simply shrug it off.

To that end, I have the temerity, after over fifty years of thinking about it, to proclaim MONISMUS, the faith named, and the MONIST CHURCH, the belief system defined.

If nine other people feel that they wish to formalize the Monist Church, it can be incorporated under the Religious Corporation Act of the State of New York (or its Massachusetts equivalent); I have little personal interest in the machinations of the law and the business world.  I do, however, incur expenses in this venture and any contributions to further the work of this effort would be greatly appreciated (see "Contributions").  The arrangements for the formal Monist Church are on a separate domain, monismus.org, starting on the Home Page of that domain.

[A word of explanation about names - the prefix "Uni---", which I favor, has been coopted and overused.  There already is a philosophy called "Monism" and a publication, "The Monist" (An International Quarterly Journal of General Philosophical Inquiry), which have pre-empted those terms and so I adapted the words, coining "Monismus" from Monism, Unitarian Universalism, and the Mysterium Tremendum.]

("Monism", as a philosophy, states that all of reality is of one kind, that mind and matter are essentially the same, but then goes on to split theological hairs ad infinitum; I could not agree more with the basic premise, but for more pragmatic reasons, as you will see, if you continue.)

Further, this being a personal testament, rather than a dogma or directive, I decided to write it in the first person.  No supreme being is dictating this to, or through, me (to the best of my knowledge and belief).]

So, if you wish to pursue this course through the cosmos with me, we shall start with the a brief overview, Monismus, below and then The Book of Third Samuel, wherein I propound my "world view".

Some abbreviations used herein:  UU = Unitarian Universalist; Jan (thru) Dec = January (thru) December.

Let us fit a short, linked index here:


  Monismus Home Page {this page - monismus.com/index.html}
    Monismus - A Faith or Belief System for a Modern World.
    Din-i Ilahi - The Religion of God?
    Reverence and Thanksgiving.
    The Platinum Rule.
    Heaven and Hell.
    Speed of Light.
    Free Will vs. Determination.
    Joy/Joie de Vivre.
    Awe and Wonder.
    Life and Death.
    Loss, Grief, and Grieving.   new (14 Nov 2013)

  Personal Political Manifesto {monismus.com/manifest.html}.
    Death Penalty.

  The Book of Third Samuel {monismus.com/thirdsam.html}.
    What's in a Name?
    Tolerance and Respect
    Giving Thanks
    Creation Spirituality
    Original Blessing
    Atheism vs. Agnosticism
    Ramblings on Reality vs. Mystery.

  Monist Church Home Page {monismus.org/home.html}.

The basic layout is that this page is the introduction to Monismus, the Manifesto page is the nuts and bolts of the system, Third Samuel is the philosophy (theology), and the Monist Church Home Page is just that, concerned mostly with the creation and maintenance of a formal faith structure (should such ever occur).  Being slightly dyslectic, I have trouble keeping my ducks in a row, so there may well be duplication, gaps, and disorder; please bear with me.


APOLOGIA - A word of aoplogy here; much of what I believe may well be offensive to fundamentalists and zealots of other faith disciplines, and even to orthodox adherents of main-line faiths; to them I say please do NOT read on.  I have no wish to offend anyone, only to help those who are open to new ideas and who agree with me (and many others) that revelation is not sealed.

Anent this last, that revelation is not sealed, the Rev. Dr. Galen Guengerich, Senior Minister of the All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City (speaking in Salt Lake City in late June 2009), said that we should keep our theology in a loose-leaf binder.  I LIKE that!  As an enlightened Congregationalist minister told my grand-daughter on her confirmation, "Always keep an open mind".  I like that, too.


[Quoted from one Indrani Sen]

In these times of religious violence in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, imagine a Muslim emperor 400 years ago who invited Hindus and scholars from other religions into his court and treated all religions as equal under his rule.

Akbar, a Mughal emperor who ruled India from 1556 until he died in 1605, built his state on the principle of universal tolerance.  He changed laws that taxed non-Muslims and decreed that no one "should be interfered with on account of religion" and that "anyone is to be allowed to go over to a religion that pleases him."

He believed that all faiths had a common belief that God is unified and one thing, so he started a new religion, Din-i-Ilahi, meaning the religion of God (Persian: "Divine Faith").  He set up debates between Christians, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Jains, and Muslims, and used input from all those religions to form his own.  Din-i Ilahi is no longer practiced. [end of quotation]

More's the pity.  How enlightened can one get?

Reverence and Thanksgiving

If I were omnipotent (which, of course, I am not and do not claim to be), I would require that all humans (or all sentient beings) maintain an attitude and practice of both reverence and thanksgiving, all day, every day.  Since the sun rises (or, more accurately, the earth turns under the sun) and it shines on us all every day, no matter what faith one professes, I have no interest whatsoever in reverence towards, or giving thanks to, any deity or divine spirit; I merely want everyone to stand in awe of the incredible and infinite series of occurrences that have transpired throughout the history of the cosmos, and especially in our own universe and solar system and on our planet (Earth), that enabled us to exist and to be aware of that existence.  I would prefer that everyone maintain a reverential attitude toward the interdependent web of which we are all a part and to be thankful for the richness of our environment.  Should you wish to attribute the whole chain of events leading to our present "blessèd" situation, which we seem to be determined to destroy, to some over-arching power, please don't plague me with your devotion (and see the Laws of Conservation of Energy and Mass on the first page of The Book of Third Samuel.

On the topic of thanks, see also my diatribe on the subject of Giving Thanks for deliverance; I am really bugged by this.


As noted above and elsewhere, I believe that every day should be Thanksgiving; we have so much for which to be grateful.  Being grateful does NOT entail being grateful to a creator god or any other entity; it is more than adequate, to my mind, simply to be aware of all the benefits which accrue to us merely by living on a fruitful Earth in a hospitable climate and protective atmosphere (while they last!).


  added (07 Nov 2011)

"Prayer does not change things; prayer changes people, and people change things." - the late Rev. Lon Ray Call, UU MInister

Prayer as so often practiced as a request for something from some entity is base and egotistical.  However, a prayer for somone's health or other similar good intention can't hurt and it might even change the fabric of the universe enough to matter.  Hey, you never know - -- .


I define "Grace" as that state of being in which a person is at one with existence, not fighting against anything but, rather, "going with the flow".  I don't mean this in the "flower power", "hippy" sense, but in the deepest possible way, whereby you acknowledge that your own individual well-being depends on the well-being of the whole interdependent web of all existence.  In a true state of grace, one can not squander resources or trample on the worth and dignity of anyone else.  Remember Yeshua ben Yosef's words, "Even as ye do unto the least of these, so ye do unto me"?

The Platinum Rule

  added (07 Nov 2011)

Rev. Lilia Cuervo, a deeply-spiritual Unitarian Universalist minister, preaches the PLATINUM RULE.  This takes the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", a rather selfish, inward-oriented view, to a higher level.  The Platinum Rule is more selfless and service-oriented:


Heaven and Hell

Far from being places "up" and "down" there, I believe that we live in "heaven" and we make it "hell"; far from what the doomsayers claim, we have everything we could ask for right here on earth and all we have to do is share it equitably; instead, we seem hell-bent on our own destruction, treating each other horribly and heating the place to the point that the ice caps are melting and will flood us out (among the many other apocalyptic horrors we are engendering).

[That joke about beachfront property high in the Rockies
is beginning to lose its humor.]


What is reality?  I don't have the temerity to define reality.  Crudely, though, reality is what we experience through our senses, tempered by what we have experienced before.  What we hear and read, through the senses of hearing and sight, probably tempers us the most as adults.  For me, the reality of existence is that, since there can have been no beginning and can be no ending, the Big Bang (or Big Bangs) can only be the "other side" of a Black Hole.  If I understand a Black Hole correctly, at the most basic level, it sucks up all matter (and thus energy) in its vicinity, compacting it into an almost-infinitesimal volume; once a certain threshold is exceeded, all that matter and energy is released.  To my simplistic mind, that release must be a Big Bang, a super-nova.  Thus, all Black Holes and Big Bangs are "merely" transformations in the continuity that is all existence, the Cosmos.

My ramblings on Black Holes and Big Bangs were brought up sharply on 11 May 2012 by an old friend who reappeared on my scene after some 40 years; he gently reminded me of a massive difference in time scales for the two types of events.  Big Bangs are almost instantaneous whereas Black Holes are slo-o-o-w.  "Don't bother me with facts; my mind is made up.", I responded glibly; "Slow on whose scale?  Where's the law that posits Black Holes and Big Bangs have to co-exist in the same scale?  It may be a relativity thing; our observations are from the inside - we see through a glass - darkly."

My facetiousness notwithstanding, I really do believe I'm on to something very real here; the physics I studied ca. 1951-52 isn't good enough to explain this one away but, intuitively, I KNOW I'm right.   new (14 May 2012)

  [I have decided to ramble on a bit on this subject, reality, and knowledge vs. mystery; should you wish to join me, the matter is carried forward in the The Book of Third Samuel.]   added (02 Jan 2012)


I have trouble with concepts of time as a dimension or as non-linear.  Time, to me, is "merely" a measure of the sequence of events that we consider reality or existence.  If we take a dimensionless point and move it in time (let us assume in a straight line, for simplicity), we define a line of a length determined by the speed at which we move the point and the duration of the movement.  We say that a line has one dimension.  Then, if we move (translate) the line perpendicular to its axis, we define a plane, again of a size determined by the speed and duration of movement, and we say that a plane exists in two dimensions.  If it is "regular", it forms a rectangle.  Next, we sweep the plane at right angles to its surface, forming a solid in three dimensions; if regular, it is a rectangular parallepiped.  Each of these actions occurs in time; if the duration of each movement is the same, how then is time a dimension, since it exists in each of them?  Taking the analogy one step further, if we expand the solid (say a cube) in time and space regularly, we get a tesseract (or some similar object), still in "real time".  The idea of time as a dimension thus is unacceptable to me, as is the idea of traveling forward or backward in time.  What's done is done and can't be undone; as the noted Persian poet, Omar Khayyám (1048-1123 AD) so famously and eloquently put it (Fitzgerald translation):

The Moving Finger writes: and, having writ,
Moves on, nor all thy Piety nor Wit,
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

Similarly, so saith Sam!


I am a visual person and have a graphic concept of existence that ties in time and space thusly; there is an imaginary sheet or diaphragm that stretches infinitely across all space, moving along to define time.  The diaphragm represents the present.  Everything that ever existed is behind the diaphragm and everything that ever will exist is ahead of it.  In the egocentric middle of the diaphragm is an infinitesimal hole with all that ever existed streaming out behind from it and all that ever will be rushing in towards it from the future.  Like rays of sunlight converging into a convex lens and beaming outward from it, every being's existence is one of the infinite number of lines passing through the hole.  Other "universes" (or existences or cosmoses), parallel or no, have their own "holes", and the present (the diaphragm) exists simultaneously for all; there is/can be no interaction between them.

Simple as all get-out, eh?

While I'm over-simplifying physics and the cosmos, let me sound off on the Speed of Light.  I have never accepted the speed of light as an absolute.  It's not that I knew better than Eistein; it's a religio-philosophical matter.  I simply can't accept any ABSOLUTE limits.  Recent (as of Nov 2011) developments at CERN and other facilities seem to indicate that neutrinos have been induced to travel ever-so-slighty faster than 299,792,458 m/s; this has been heralded as possibly throwing everything we know about the universe into a cocked hat.  Unlikely, sez I.  Just as Einsteinian physics didn't abolish Newtonian physics, it only enlarged upon it, so I feel that this developnent will enlarge upon what we know, not refute it.  We shall see - and I eagerly await explanations (that I can follow).

Free Will vs. Determination

One of the most difficult questions that must be asked (and can not be answered, like "why?") is that of FREE WILL vs. DETERMINATION.  On the one hand, we "know" (or believe) that all matter is inter-related and that all events proceed from the preceding states.  On the other hand, we like to think that we have free will to some extent and can determine or strongly affect our own destiny.  How we handle these two opposing ideas is a whole separate ball game; falling back on the mystery which envelops us and which we can not explain without falling into the God trap.


If you have read this far and have not pulled away in horror or disgust, it stands to reason (awful pun) that there is no meaning to existence; we just "ARE".  The Unitarian Universalist religious education curriculum had a rather neat course entitled "Man - the Meaning Maker" and that phrase (other than its sexism) has always suited me just fine.  We create our own meaning, and the more that we focus on doing positive things, "good", for our fellow creatures, the more meaning we give our lives.  Since there are endless people with endless problems, we can never be bored or without something worthwhile to accomplish beside merely surviving.


All this can be labeled with all sorts of "isms"; pantheism, panentheism, existentialism, humanism (perhaps), nihilism, and on and on, ad infinitum,  I couldn't care less what terms are applied (applicable or no); in Martin Luther's famous words, "Here is my rock, and here I stand"; all this works for me.

Joy/Joie de Vivre

Whatever theology and philosopy of life we espouse, it is absolutely critical that we maintain a great joy in life, that joie de vivre that makes it all worthwhile for us.  Even better yet is that joie de vivre is contagious; the more we enjoy life, the more those around are likely to do so, as well.


"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" or so this 3rd century BC Greek saying goes.  Do I buy into that?  No, not really.  To me, prosaic as all get out though it sounds, beauty is in the brain and in the very marrow of our bodies.  My long-held theory is that we resonate to various natural frequencies of light and sound and thus those frequencies feel good to us.  just think of how your rib cage resonates to a grand organ work (or to a jazz bass fiddle),  Similarly, our senses of touch and odor developed around those things that feel and smell good to us, not the other way around.  This, then, leads into the suitability of our envirmonment for us as humans.  Of course, the sands of the Sahara and of Colorado, the Grand Tetons and the Alps and the Andes, the Grand Canyon and the Great Rift Valley, Niagara and Victoria and Iguazu Falls, the waving fields of the Steppes, the Pusta, and the Great Plains, and so many other glorious sights, please us almost beyond description; they are the familiar features of our mother!


We are always in awe of how well Mother Earth suits us; we give thanks to God "for the beauty of the Earth".  Nonsense!  We evolved on the Earth and we, as apparently the most highly evolved of all of Earth's creatures, developed to take maximum advantage of our environment.  As a highly-sensitive species, what seems beautiful to us is probably critical to our advancement as a species.  No God put Mozart (or the Beatles, Pete Seeger, or Elvis) on this Earth for our benefit; they could sense that "music of the spheres" to which we resonate and created works of art that suit us.  The same holds true for Rodin and David Stone, for Rembrandt van Rijn and Jackson Pollack, for Nijinsky and Bojangles Robinson; these artists were attuned to that same music.  We find that the Earth suits us because we suit the Earth.

Awe and Wonder

No matter how one explains the mysteries of this Earth, let alone of the Cosmos, be they God-given or just plain existence, we should cultivate a sense of awe and wonder,  As a corrolary to "the more you know, the more you know you don't know", we must be in awe of what we do know and wonder at all we don't know.  Life and existence itself, divinely given or no, are simply too amazing to be taken for granted.


Talking about what we don't know (so many people are rather good at talking about what they don't know, eh?), and picking up on fear as discussed in The Book of Third Samuel, a well-developed sense of mystery is a good thing, even for the most dedicated existentialist or humanist.  It is a wonderful trait to appreciate and celebrate our lack of knowledge about utimate concerns.  Mystics are unafraid of the unknown; we relish it.


I originally forgot to touch on love - HORRORS(!); happily, I remembered.  Love can be characterized in so very many ways - familial (parental, filial/sororal, offspring's), platonic, romantic, etc.  At risk of being stoned by one and all, I define it as "merely" sympathetic vibrations, as in beauty, above, but in no way do I downplay the rôles of joy, beauty, awe, wonder, or mystery in considering love.

Life and Death

Similarly, life can be reduced to scientific definitions, not that they work all that well, but no scientific definition can rob life of those same qualities that apply to, and enrich, love, i.e. - joy, beauty, awe, wonder, and mystery.  One of the classic definitions of life is an organism or system that can replicate itself.  There are some problems with that, though; once robots become sufficiently complex to replicate themselves (not too far off, now), will they qualify as a life form?  And then there's the faithful mule, unquestionably a living being and yet sadly quite unable to replicate itself.  This may well be one of those cases where we know it when we see it and yet can't quite put a handle on it.  But that's one of the wonderful and joyful aspects of life - we never run out of sources of wonder.

One of the rôles of religion, in my view, is to facilitate the expression of awe and wonder, to supplement the rational mind with an avowed love of mystery.  Further, religion should help strip away the fear of the unknown and help one to develop a deep and vast appreciation for mystery.

Fear of death and dying is one of the most powerful bug-a-boos afflicting us.  Any honest religion should supply the tools to face death as a natural and essential part of living.  Life is, after all, a terminal disease; everyone succumbs to it, sooner or later.  No one has come back with any credible evidence of life after death, so live each day as if it was your last; it may well be.  Live in the present; the past is gone and there may be no tomorrow.

Loss, Grief, and Grieving

Loss, grief, and grieving are an inescapable part of "Life and Death".  However, must they be so massively-negative?  Not at all, sez I.   new (14 Nov 2013)

"Loss", simply put, means no longer having something, an absence.  You can not lose what you never had in the first place.  Further, in the context of life and death, loss implies the absence of something of value.  In the traditions of the People of the Book, a loss of a dear one is an occasion for great grief, for gnashing of teeth and wailing and rending of garments.  Christians hold a wake, Jews sit Shiva for a week, and Muslim women practice an extended iddah.  In most religions, even those that claim that death is a release to a better place, the celebration of that release, which should be an occasion of great rejoicing, is, instead, an outpouring of misery, dismay, and dejection.

How much better, then, to celebrate all the good things about a person's life, to focus on the positive aspects of that life?

Classical psychology says that a period of mourning is better - "get it out of your system and move on".  I wonder.  I've lost dear grandparents, my own father and mother, and even first cousins and younger "once-removeds" and never felt a need to grieve.  I don't think that makes me hard-hearted.  Rather, I think often and fondly of them.  Sure, once in a while, I wish I could share something with my folks, but that is nostalgia, not deep grief.

Don't waste your precious time and energy bemoaning your loss; celebrate with all your might the joy the departed has brought you!

(see also Atheism vs. Agnosticism, below)

As a religious fanatic, I should be happy to have the truth and to be able to spread the word, but, no, that's too dogmatic.  Even I, in my surety, have just enough humility to acknowledge that I "might" be wrong.  "Might", mind you.  I am more than the proverbial 99 and 44/100th percent certain of my ground but one can err.  The only problem with that is that if Jahweh or Allah or whoever or whatever shows up and tells me in awesome, thundering tones that "You're all wet, buddy boy!", I am more likely to think I've lost it than to take it as a divine rebuke.  Typical of all religious arguements, this is a "no win" situation.

[As an aside, I like to joke that, especially with a Hungarian mother, humility runs in our family - long and hard!]


Arrogance, the opposite side of humility, is an unfortunate natural result of being (or at least feeling that you are) on top of a situation.  There is probably little ill in so feeling; the damage comes when you let it show.

Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox, exponent for "Creation Spirituality,", was expelled from the Dominican order by no less than then-Cardinal Ratzinger for teaching that we are born in "original blessing"*, not in original sin.  He founded the University of Creation Spirituality, now Wisdom University and, as a prolific author and (now) an Episcopalian priest, propounds an astounding number of theses, many of which are far too creator-oriented for me.  Nevertheless, Fox believes that life is good, that the cosmos is good, and he denies the concept that we have to live in fear of an all-male, angry, malevolent, vengeful God.  While I can not subscribe to Fox's full system, those who are borderline Christian or theist should make a specific point of reading up on Fox's books; any intelligent person with an interest in life should, as well.

* - Original Blessing - Matthew Fox's concept of Original Blessing can be summed up rather neatly by reading (in the King James text) Genesis 1:27 and 28 (in the beginning - the sixth day):  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  And God blessed them - - - .  The text then goes on through Verses 29 through 31 of Chapter 1 and thence on to Chapter 2, Verses 1 through 7, before God even created the garden of Eden and thence on to Chapter 3, Verse 7 before the Fall!  Thus, even those who believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of the Judaeo-Christian God or Allah are faced with the dilemma that God created humans and blessed them BEFORE there was an Eden and even BEFORE there was sin!


Rudyard Kipling postulated that there are SIX big questions in his famous poem, "I Keep Six Honest Serving Men ...":

I KEEP six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.

I let them rest from nine till five,
For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,
For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views;
I know a person small--
She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!

She sends'em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes--
One million Hows, two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!

from The Elephant's Child, first published in the Ladies’ Home Journal, April 1900; collected in Just So Stories (1902).

To my mind, "Why?" is the eternal, and ultimate, question.  To be human is always to ask, "Why?", knowing full well that it can not be answered; in fact, it SHOULD not be answered.  The answer to "why?" is tantamount to death, since there would be nothing left for which to search.  Science can answer all the other questions - how, where, when, what, who - but not why.  Religions have always presumed to answer why but their answers are not much more sophisticated than "Because" - "Because I (Mama or Papa) say so!"  Not much for a rational being to hang a hat on.

However, again to my mind, there should be EIGHT serving men or big questions!  To Kipling's six, I would add Whence? and Whither?.  For me, these two are almost as significant as Why?  As sentient beings, we must always wonder "Whence?", from where did we come? and "Whither?", where are we headed?  Scientists, especially anthropologists and paleontologists, are busily expanding our knowledge of our origins and EVERY discipline of science and philosophy and theology tries to answer "Whither?".  At the very least, we do have some modicum of control over whither; how we exercise that control will determine if we wither (deliberate pun - no apology) or prosper as a species.   added (07 Nov 2011)

(see also Humility, above)

Atheism is, as are all fanatical beliefs, an absolute system; an Atheist believes/knows there is no God!  An Agnostic acknowledges that one can't know anything absolutely.

Thus atheism takes quite a bit of gall; I, on the other hand, in spite of having quite a well-developed ego, can not possibly summon up that much certainty.  I have just enough humility to know that I might be wrong; I don't think I'm wrong, but I do think I'm probably right.  That makes me an Agnostic.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (writing as Mark Twain) said, "I am an atheist and I thank God for that!" (or words to that effect); no doubt that offended endless scores of people, but I love it.

   [This saying has also been attributed to George Bernard Shaw.]

Ramblings on Reality vs. Mystery   added (02 Jan 2012)

I awoke on 02 Jan 2012 with this subject on my mind and decided to venture a bit further on the subject.  I brought my children up with the dictum that one is an expert if no one can say, "NO!" to you.  Further, I taught them (however facetiously) that, "if you don't know what you're talking about, say it with authority!"  Harking back to my musings on reality and knowledge and mystery on this Primary Home (Index) Page, what we "know" is our reality; all else we take on faith (in other's knowledge) or as mystery.  Let me use five personal examples here, not merely self-serving and self-aggrandising, but primarily illustrative.  These examples have to do with:

   1.  Ultrasonic Processing (changing materials with high-frequency sound),
   2.  1924-35 First Oil-Electric (Diesel-Electric) Locomotives,
   3.  1931-33 Chrysler Imperial cars,
   4.  Pre- and Post-War Jaguar cars, and
   5.  1927-31 Mercedes S and SS cars

In my life's work in ultrasonics, I became perhaps the leading exponent of how to apply high-frequency sound at high intensity to actually change materials (not "merely" examine them).  Others are far more learned than I in theory and in mechanical and electronic design, but I'll take second seat to no one (yet) on how to "make it work".  This is not a matter of "hooray for me" but the result of many years of practice and innovation (and failure).  The mantle will be passed but for the nonce, it's mine and I share my knowledge as best as I know how on my website to facilitate that transfer.

The late John Campbell accumulated just about anything and everything there is to know about the first oil-electric (diesel-electric) locomotives, the so-called "boxcabs".  At the same time, I was busily doing the same thing.  When we learned of each other's passion for this bit of history, we began pooling our information.  Unfortunately, John passed away prematurely, leaving me with our joint expertise (I recreated 99-44/100% of John's site).  Again, the knowledge is passed along.

I once owned a fabulous 1931 Chrysler Imperial 8 close-coupled sedan which has since passed on to others and has now been meticulously restored.  It came from the factory with wooden artillery wheels but one was missing when I got it and it is now running with six wire wheels.  Most people wouldn't even know the difference, but I (and the present owner) do!  Similarly, there are minute differences between the 1931 and 1932 Imperials, and rather more betwen the 1932 and 1933 cars which I detail on my site.

I once drove around as a young man in a big 1948 Jaguar drop-head coupé.  Before WWII, the Jaguar was built by SS Cars, Ltd.; for some funny reason, they renamed the company but the block in my car's engine was old enough that it still bore the <SS> logo.  Not many people know of this finesse, or of many other minor differences between the prewar and postwar cars.  Being a detail hound and a car nut and such, I do.  No fair; you guessed!  Yes, it's all spelled out on my SS and Jaguar pages.

I had the great good fortune as a teen to drive one of the most famous old cars in existence, one that had been on display at New York City's Museum of Modern Art; it was the former D. Cameron Peck 1927 Mercedes-Benz Modell SS Typ 27/170/225 tourer.  In my typical fashion, I ended up learning more about this car and its immediate predecessors and successors than most people would ever care to know and it's all out there on my site for all to see.

I also know more than most people about gigantic rail and road transport vehicles, and the Dudgeon steam wagon of 1861, and so on.

O.K.; what's all this got to do with reality?  Well, What I "know" I know is my reality.  For those with faith in my veracity and research, it becomes their reality.  Why Preston Tucker stuck a third headlight in the middle of his ill-fated Tucker auto is a mystery to me; someone, somehwere, may know, but I don't (not that I particularly care).  I don't doubt that there are those who know (or profess to know) why and how the Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction really happened; should I want to know in great detail, I have Google and Wikipedia to start with, with gravely limited certitude,  For more authoritative background, I could apply to the various museums and universities and learned societies that specialize in such (I shan't).

Everything else outside my realm of reality is to a lesser or greater degree a mystery.  It takes guts to pretend to be an expert.  To some extent, it even takes guts to be one.  But it also takes guts to admit one's lack of knowledge, one's inability to answer all the questions about existence.  "Oh, that's God's provenance" is such an easy way out.  I may have said this elsewhere but I truly believe that there is NOTHING we humans can not know; it is just that we do NOT know (or do not YET know, or forgot) the rest.  How's THAT for positivism (and brass)?

I acknowledge being a mystic; I'm proud to be so labelled, although my mysticism avoids any reliance on a deity for final answers (not that I believe there are any final answers, other than death).  For those so inclined, I commend to your attention the Unitarian Universalist Mystics in Community, who believe that direct experience of transcending mystery and wonder is a wellspring for a life of faith.  Right on!

note-rt - [For a while, I flirted with the spelling "Monismuus", playing on the "UU" initials of Unitarian Universalism, even going so far as to open "Monismuus" domains, but dropped that idea as just too "cutesy".  The only advantage there was an element of "uniqueness" and a differentiation from Heglian Monism (a personal disadvantage was that it also violated my antediluvian eight-digit filename rule!).]   added (11 Feb 2019)

This is a work in progress - it may never even be finished (nor, probably, should it ever be).


Contributions - as noted above, I do incur expenses in this venture and any contributions to further the work of this effort would be greatly appreciated.  However, until such time as the Monist Church is (if ever) established, incorporated, and granted 501(c)3 status by the United States' Internal Revenue Service, it must be made abundantly clear that any such contribution is made to me, S. Berliner, III, personally, and is NOT in any way claimed to be deductible for U.S. or state tax purposes.  Further, no representation whatsoever is made as to taxability in any other jurisdiction, domestic or foreign.  If anyone is feeling generous and willing to help, contributions may be made to:

S. Berliner, III
P. O. Box 560087
West Medford, Massachusetts  01256

No dispensations nor blessings, nor any other benefits, miraculous or otherwise, are promised, but great gratitude will be expressed and the concept that every day should be one of thanksgiving will be well reinforced.  Donations may be made privately or acknowledged publicly, at the donor's discretion.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


All material on this site is the intellectual property of S. Berliner, III, unless otherwise noted, and all rights thereto are reserved to S. Berliner, III.

No material from any page or file on this site or any other site belonging to S. Berliner, III, may be reproduced or published in any form, exactly or modified, in any language, in any book, journal, magazine, or electronic format, without the explicit, prior written consent of S. Berliner, III.

Should permission to reproduce or publish any material as restricted herein be given, appropriate copyright notice must be made in a manner to be agreed upon.

No material has been knowingly reproduced herein without permission or without due credit (where required) except for a few images which might be so noted; any unintended infringement of copyright of any third party will be remedied immediately upon receipt of claim with proof of infringement.

Any material reproduced herein that is, or may be, subject to the copyright of third parties must be given the same protection, or greater, if reproduced further, as must be given to that material originated by S. Berliner, III.  Permission to reproduce or publish any material reproduced herein and restricted by third parties must be obtained directly from such third parties.

This notice last updated 16 July 2008.

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