Master the Mystery of Human Nature: Resolving the Conflict of Opposing Values

Master the Mystery of Human Nature: Resolving the Conflict of Opposing Values

by D. Scott Trettenero


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Master the Mystery of Human Nature: Resolving the Conflict of Opposing Values by D. Scott Trettenero

Life is a mystery, on planet Earth, where the billions of people live their lives day to day, most not knowing what their purpose is. We can't figure out life's answers because some of us don't even know the questions to ask. It can be so confusing-sometimes even a bit maddening. In Master the Mystery of Human Nature, author D. Scott Trettenero tackles the vast and mysterious subject of human nature and unravels its secrets to give you clarity and a depth of understanding to some of the previously unanswered questions of life.

He has translated the important, yet complex work of philosophers, psychologists, scientists, and other pioneers in this field into an easy-to-understand format with ideas that can be applied to everyday life. Trettenero has taken the essential aspects of their work, simplified it, and has created a new matrix that connects the dots to better explain how and why people do what they do.

Master the Mystery of Human Nature helps you learn about yourself, others, and how the world works because of our differences. Conflicts will take on an entirely new meaning; things that used to be a mystery, will make sense. It will help you experience a sense of calm and freedom once you see the beauty and wonder of how our human nature reflects the balance of power in Nature and the ways that duality shapes our every experience on this earth.

This is a deeply thoughtful and carefully written book. It provides an unusually practical set of tools for understanding self and evaluating others. Thank you Scott Trettenero for writing a book everyone needs to read.

- Robert E Quinn, PhD

Margaret Elliot Tracy Collegiate Professor in Business,

Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

Author of Deep Change

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781491766231
Publisher: True Directions
Publication date: 09/17/2015
Pages: 202
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Master the Mystery of Human Nature

Resolving the Conflict of Opposing Values

By D. Scott Trettenero


Copyright © 2015 D. Scott Trettenero
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4917-6623-1


Lesson 1

A World of Conflict

If we can stay with the tension of opposites long enough — sustain it, be true to it — we can sometimes become vessels within which the divine opposites come together and give birth to a new reality.

— Marie-Louise von Franz, The Art of Original Thinking

We are going to begin our exploration of the mysteries of human nature with a concept that is so profound and pervasive in our lives that it permeates everything we think, feel, and do. In order to illustrate this important concept, we will start by contrasting a few common sayings that have been handed down for generations. Even though these groups of sayings are opposing and conflicting in nature, each portrays a snippet of life that we have all experienced to be true in certain situations.

How can each of these groups of opposite statements be true when they represent opposing views? The fact of the matter is they are. You might ask yourself, "So what?" Well, to begin with, much of our misunderstandings and conflict in the world stem from our lack of knowledge illustrated by these four simple, conflicting groups of sayings.

When you look at the sets of opposing sayings, you can see that they are completely invalidating of each other. But I am sure you will agree that each of these statements is true in certain situations. So both are true, yet they are opposing in nature. Can you see that there is some potential for conflict here?

A common human problem we face is that conflict can easily and readily appear when someone's beliefs are the exact opposite of someone else's, especially when the beliefs have an emotional attachment. There is conflict everywhere you turn: conflict between nations, factions within nations, spouses, family members, employees and employers, and just everyday people in general. It is no stretch to say that the results can be catastrophic — in wars, riots, suicides, divorce, and untold heartache.

So what is the solution to our universal problem of conflict and turmoil? I believe that it begins with the knowledge and understanding of the concept that basic human nature is built on opposing and competing differences within each and every one of us. This is the source of most of the trouble in this world.

Can it be that basic — and that serious? There is absolutely no question that it is. This book will help show you that instead of all this confusion, we can ultimately find glory in our differences. Our conflicts play an integral part in reaching our lofty goals. We will be exploring this in detail. It would appear that our present-day solution to disagreements based upon conflicting beliefs is to stand up and fight for our sides. Sometimes even to the death. Is there a better way? Of course there is! Read on to find out just how to do it.

Many books have already been written on pieces and parts of this subject, but this critically important information has not become a component of common culture. Maybe it is because these books have been written by scientists or intellectuals in such a manner that only other scientists or intellectuals can fully appreciate them.

How sad and unfortunate for us all.

Humankind has achieved so much in so many areas of life that it's unnecessary to even mention the high points. Yet for all our spectacular accomplishments, basic human nature, which is at the core of our existence and the source of our experiences in this world, seems to remain a mystery for most of us.

What is going on here? How can this be? It seems that all we really know about human nature is that we are all very different for some strange unknown reason. If we are all human beings who share a common nature, why are we so dissimilar in so many ways? How is it that some people feel, think, and act so completely opposite from the way you do? That is exactly what we are about to explore.

I Didn't Have a Clue.

I used to be unable to understand or relate to most people. (This is the main reason why I became interested in this subject.) I just couldn't figure them out, and at that point in time I really didn't want to. I came to the only conclusion that made sense to me. I truly believed that most people in the world were weird, crazy, or stupid. From my way of thinking, it was the only rational decision to come to.

Only a small circle of friends, family members, and other people who thought like I did accounted for what I considered to be somewhat normal, functioning human beings. And these were the people I felt comfortable being with. As for the others, my dealings with them usually ended up with poor results because I just couldn't see things their way — and they definitely couldn't see things my way. Do you feel — or have you ever felt — like this?

As I grew older and somewhat more experienced associating with people, I began observing them and myself more closely. Being in the business world, I had to deal with all kinds of people in a variety of ways. Because of my inabilities to be effective with people in my personal life, I found that I was also ineffective in my business life.

When you own your own business, you learn that you are responsible for the business's results. And I wasn't too happy with the results I was getting. I decided to try to modify some of my behaviors as I finally understood that most of my business problems were me. I began to investigate areas that led me to some revelations and transformations. Before that, I didn't have a clue what a screw-up I was when it came to my understanding of self and my relationship to others. I was just doing what felt right to me.

Life is so full of turmoil and heartache because we don't understand each other. And we can usually find it close to home. What about your own family? Do sparks fly when some of your in-laws get together? Do you have family members who haven't talked to each other in years? Or is there at least one black sheep in the family who no one can figure out or help? Could much of our confusion, pain, and resulting turmoil be avoided with some basic knowledge of human nature? Yes! But it seems that this kind of knowledge isn't available to most of us.

How about one of the biggest travesties in our culture: divorce? Every family seems to have been affected by this one. What is going on here? What are we doing about it? Men and women are obviously different from each other in the way they think, feel, and act. But does that mean there is no way to solve this problem when more than 50 percent of marriages end badly? I am certain there is a way. Again, it begins with knowledge about human nature that presently isn't made known to the general public.

These are just a few examples of the seemingly endless array of situations we experience as human beings because we don't understand each other. We all have our own stories to tell of our inability to get along with another. And we are all victims of indiscretions on a fairly regular basis. None of us are immune. You would think that the universal nature of human conflict would warrant some attention. For some strange reason, this hasn't happened.

Our inability to understand and appreciate the differences between us can lead to problems, which affect us deeply in many ways. A lack of knowledge about human nature influences self-esteem, self-confidence, direction, and finding a purpose in life.

What's Wrong With Men? What's Wrong With Women?

One of the most common problems we face is the inability to understand our counterparts of the opposite sex. So much of human conflict is based upon our mutual lack of understanding of each other. Why does it have to be that way? Why are we so inherently different?

Many a TV sitcom has its storyline based on this kind of conflict. You've laughed at those funny observations of this never-ending comedy/tragedy, but it is not so funny when you are in a heated argument with your significant other.

There was a time in my life when my inability to relate to women caused me much tribulation. I didn't have the slightest inkling how or why they were like they were. And I had absolutely no skills in dealing with them. Needless to say, I didn't have much success in this department. I considered them very complicated and frustrating. My relationships were at best superficial and at worst a disaster. I ended up being single much longer than was acceptable to most mothers, including my own.

Then I met a beautiful and intoxicating woman who totally knocked me off my feet! I believe Thumper in the Bambi movie called it "twitterpated." I didn't know what had hit me, and I sure wasn't prepared for what was in store for me.

When I came out from under the ether, my life was completely turned upside down. I had to deal with an incredibly headstrong woman who had a completely different viewpoint on life, and she was very comfortable telling me how she saw it. Man, was I in for it!

She turned out to be the opposite of me in every way imaginable. It was amazing how opposite two people could be. I was in the boot camp of conflict-resolution training without a manual. It was anything but easy for me to deal with this woman, mainly because of my inabilities. I learned in the hardest ways possible. But I did eventually learn — and I am still learning.

In reality, conflict is built into every aspect of this world — not just with people. Think about it. There are opposing forces working at all times in our external physical environments.

Which Is Best — Day or Night?

Aren't day and night opposites and conflicting in nature? How about wet and dry or hot and cold? They aren't just opposites and conflicting; they are complementary in their ways. Which one is more important: day or night? Neither is, of course.

If it were daylight all the time, the earth would become a baked, barren, parched desert. There would be no water for lakes, streams, or oceans. With constant night and no sunlight, the Earth would become a frozen wasteland with no plants, flowers, or trees. With only constant day or night, the planet would not support life. Put the two in balance — and look at the results. It is the same with other opposing forces.

Take the seasons, for example. Which is the best one: spring, summer, winter, or fall? You probably have your favorite, but each has its own particular importance in the grand scheme of life. Each is different but complementary to the others.

I think you get the point that I'm illustrating here. People are like this also. If everyone thought and felt the same way, the world wouldn't work like it does now. I have to believe that there is a reason for our differences, and I think that one day, we will all see that we are complementary, not just conflicting. I hope this book will help some of us move in that direction.

Our World of Duality

It has been said that there are two ends to every stick and that we can't truly know what something is without its opposite to compare it to. This is what is known as duality. So you wouldn't know what is good without something bad to contrast it with. There would be no comprehension of hard without soft, up without down, in without out, sweet without sour, or black without white. And so it goes for male and female. How about liberal and conservative? Play this game with everything you see in your world, and it will open your eyes to this duality thing we have going on here.

Without contraries is no progression. Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate, are necessary to human existence.

— William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Most of us probably haven't really thought about the idea of duality. It is a simple concept that is also quite profound. It has been around for thousands of years as an ancient and revered Oriental philosophy called the Tao, which helped explain duality and how it permeates everything in our lives. Taoism is also a religion based upon the philosophy that began in China more than 2,500 years ago. The Tao developed the yin-yang principle to characterize and illustrate the conflicting, yet complementary polarity that can be observed in everything. Lao Tzu expressed the Taoist principles in the Tao Te Ching, which is one of the world's oldest and most translated works. Here is a translated verse from the Tao Te Ching by J. H. McDonald (1996).

When people see things as beautiful, ugliness is created.

When people see things as good, evil is created.

Being and non-being produce each other.

Difficult and easy complement each other.

Long and short define each other.

High and low oppose each other.

Fore and aft follow each other.

The cosmos is built on this duality.

Duality exists at all levels in our day-to-day life experiences — down to the very atomic particles that create our world. This particular duality has had scientists searching to understand its importance since the 1920s when the wave-particle duality theory was presented. This was integral to the development of quantum mechanics. Physicists found that all photons, electrons, neutrons, protons, subatomic particles, atoms, and molecules are constantly flip-flopping between a solid particle state and an invisible wave state.

This means that all solid matter as we know it, feel it, see it, and sense it is constantly appearing, disappearing, materializing, and dematerializing, but we are unable to see it happen because it does it so fast or in a way that our senses can't acknowledge. I'm not making this up!

Margaret Wertheim, a well-known physicist, sums up this duality in quantum physics:

In the quantum world, subatomic particles lurch about, suddenly disappearing from their starting points and reappearing as if by magic somewhere else. ... In many cases you cannot watch a subatomic particle move from A to B; you can only observe it at point A, and, sometime later, observe it again at point B. Just how it got there is a mystery. In this realm particles sometimes act entirely like waves, and vice versa. This equivalence of particles and waves is related to the equivalence of matter and energy that Einstein discovered. ... How could nature be both things at once? How could both pictures be right? Yet how could either be wrong? — Margaret Wertheim, Pythagoras' Trousers

Our solid physical world is what we know to be our reality. Research questions this perception and invalidates it. Quantum physics is showing us glimpses of a nonphysical world that we are unable to see with our five senses. But just because we can't see something doesn't mean it isn't there.

Richard Conn Henry, professor of physics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins has a few words of wisdom for us in his article, "The Mental Universe." He said, "Get over it and accept the inarguable conclusion. The universe is immaterial, mental and spiritual!" He is saying that our physical world isn't really physical at all.

Duality states that we can't fully understand something without comparing and contrasting it to its opposite. I take that to mean that we can't really comprehend this physical world fully because we presently don't have the capability to recognize the nonphysical world that physicists have discovered coexisting right alongside of us.

There are many dualities in this world that most of us don't recognize for many reasons. This wave-particle duality is one we can all agree that we don't understand. How many other dualities are we unaware of? Throughout this book, we will be using the principle of duality for clarification of human nature.

Thoughts on the Brain

Perhaps the most significant duality for any of us lies within our brains. You may be already aware that your physical brain is divided into two distinct parts. According to some, the left side of the brain is primarily concerned with thinking and reasoning, and the right side of the brain is the emotional and feeling side.

The human brain is so complicated and complex that it is really an oversimplification to claim that it works in such a cut-and-dried fashion. This right brain-left brain theory does have merit as it describes for us the dual nature of human perception. It will be used here as a way to compare our disparities.

This split brain situation offers the possibilities of opposing perspectives, depending which side is in control, mostly in the realm of thinking and feeling. One main point that needs to be made here is that neither side is superior to the other. They just have different functions. Both are necessary to function fully as a human being. In fact, studies of head injuries have shown that serious, specific impairments occur with damage to one side or the other.


Excerpted from Master the Mystery of Human Nature by D. Scott Trettenero. Copyright © 2015 D. Scott Trettenero. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Preface, vii,
Acknowledgments, ix,
Introduction, xi,
Part 1 Understanding Humanity,
Lesson 1: A World of Conflict,
Lesson 2: I Hate People Like That, 11,
Lesson 3: Four Seasons of Humanity (Our First Two Dualities), 21,
Lesson 4: Uniting the Divided, 33,
Lesson 5: Shopping for Values, 45,
Lesson 6: Quality and Temperaments, 55,
Lesson 7: Simplifying the Complicated, 65,
Lesson 8: To Thine Own Self Be True, 79,
Part 2 A Path toward Mastery,
Lesson 9: Points of View, 89,
Lesson 10: Breaking out of the Box, 97,
Lesson 11: The Mystery of Our Minds (Recognizing the Ego), 107,
Lesson 12: The Mystery Continues (Discovering the Higher Self), 117,
Lesson 13: The Tao, the Ego, and the Higher Self, 125,
Lesson 14: Choices, 137,
Lesson 15: Accessing the Higher Self, 145,
Lesson 16: Where Do We Go Now?, 155,
Postscript, 167,
Random Quotes On Human Nature, 169,
Appendix: More about You, Us, and Them, 173,
References, 181,

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