Multiple subtopics are summarized for each question of this report.
The subtopics are from various selections of Theistic Psychology by Dr. Leon James (Dec. 2004) and are used with permission.
Click here to open Selections.htm
Swedenborg, in one of his visits to the spiritual world, visits a married couple in unity. What he experienced was that the two were like one. When the couple spoke to him both partners spoke in unison. First the husband spoke to him and it was as if the wife was speaking through the husband. Then the wife spoke to him and it was as if the husband was speaking through her. Swedenborg was able to perceive that the two minds were in unison and he heard the sound of conjugial love. He describes the sound of conjugial love as coming from both partners but being the same sound, which came from the couple's delight of having such unity – a sound of peace and innocence.
Women can more easily and are more willing than men to enter into conjuial love with their husbands. If a wife's husband is unwilling to follow her into conjugial love she will be in heaven with another mind that is willing. This willing mind will be with her in her heaven or perfect happiness. Men who are unwilling to enter unity with any woman will be in a hell of his own creation. Hell is these men's rejection of rational consciousness. The Unity Model of Marriage is a natural world model that is designed from the unity of spiritual and celestial marriage – marriages of conjuial love in a woman's perfect heaven.
In today's natural world, verbal and behavioral data has been collected on couples in the dominance model (couples in conflict and turmoil). The data shows a trend that couples that report negative feelings about some aspect of their relationship are hypothesized to act upon those negativities by exploitation, abuse, or injury of their partner in some way. Abuse comes mainly from men against their wives in the forms of both physical and mental abuse. When one of the pair is in a state of unrest their cognitive reasoning becomes distorted by exploitative motivations. The hypothesis is that the distressed partner often misinterprets gestures and intents of the other partner as being threatening to them in some way.
Marriage is the scapegoat used today as a justification to many governances imposed on societies around the world. There is no other more influential societal structure than marriage and the family structure at this point in time. Men whom hold world power today do not know of conjugial love
Regarding marriage itself, the reality of marriage falls short of the ideal. Marriages of the people are riddled with problems leading to broken homes, abuse of women and children, and divorce just to name a few. Knowing what a marriage should/can be and how to go about creating unity in one's life can only benefit a person and the world.
Theistic psychology and the unity model of marriage has reinforced what understanding I have acquired so far in life about the love between men and women and how a man is to interact with a woman he loves. I feel the premise that a woman is always correct in a relationship and that it is up to the man to concede to her wishes has valuable merit. The unity model of marriage stresses this importance.
What also has been insightful and surprising is observing how women themselves have trouble with this idea for various reservations they may hold, likely due to living in a male dominated world.
I agree with theistic psychology's doctrine on marriage to an extent. While it is true that women are the sex more willing to enter into conjugial love with her partner it is not always the case that they will. Theistic psychology seems at times to take the assumption that women are willing to enter unity regardless of a man's dominance over them. Women have the option of leaving a dominant partner if they choose. The unity model seems to forget this at times and places all blame on the dominant male.
While women are always in the correct when it comes to unity they can be wrong when it comes to other aspects of life, which can be so complex that navigating from the mundane problems of the natural world to reach spiritual unity takes a degree of extreme wisdom and conviction on the part of the man. Theistic psychology often does not address this dynamic fully.
Although I feel conjugical love holds truth I am wary to accept it outright due to the way the revelations have come into our natural world. Swedenborg, although objective, was a man and because of that I cannot accept without reservation anything he says about women. When it comes to women I would rather concede to what an actual woman has to say about love and marriage. Until the time comes when a woman brings to us insights on conjugial love I feel theistic psychology to be one sided.
Another concern I have with the unity model of marriage is that it could be the dominance model in disguise. A male's resolve to dominate succeeds our awareness and is a man's ultimate evil. The resolve to dominate is so clever that no matter how hard a man my try the selfish ego will always find a way to come out on top. The methods prescribed by the unity model of marriage at times sound suspiciously similar to the methods the male ego employs to get what it is after. I have yet to fully explore this but given my understanding so far I sense this may be a threat hidden within the model.
Sometimes I also wonder if the unity model is nothing more than reverse dominance, which is not unity. It may be due to history's rein of male dominance that this is such. The unity model of marriage may be a kind of over-effort to bring about correctness but in doing such it over shoots true unity. I feel a woman's unbiased perspective is needed to bring about corrections to this overcompensation.
Happiness is a necessary component for one to be in heaven. Freedom is a necessary component for humans to feel happiness. To create freedom, God who is omnipotent, creates a system that allows humans to feel as if their actions are governed by power that is their own.
In order to change one's character from hellish to heavenly one has to give up hellish desires and adopt heavenly desires. Our desires, or loves, are what determine our character. Humans are born with ties to hellish desires, which we love by definition of desire. Due to this pre-determined situation no human wants to give up his or her hellish loves. Resistance to those things heavenly are made up of our inborn hellish loves, which translates into resistance to God's omnipotence in favor of our own power. When a human enters the process of regeneration (changing of the will after death) the process is often painful because one is required to give up those hellish loves they have lived with for so long. We perceive regeneration as less than freewill; we feel that we are being forced to give up our freewill (belief that we hold a power of our own) for acceptance of God's omnipotence. This leaves us feeling oppressed and restrained because we think we are forced into heaven and its involvements – something we never had experiences with in life.
God makes all things in the natural world appear to have a power of its own. This includes from animals that seem to have their own energy to move through the environment where they live to the smallest identified particles of sub-atomic matter that move in energy orbits at amazing speeds powered by energy we assume to be theirs. However it is God's power that keeps particles in motion, animals moving, and gives us even the power to sit down or stand up.
The only importance in one's life is to change their inherited ties and enjoyment of hellish loves to heavenly loves. Being prepared to enter into the eternity of the afterlife is paramount over all other things in life. Natural life is transient while the afterlife is eternal and this is the reason one's life should be a preparation for heaven.
I do not know if it makes a difference whether we accept all this or not and that is why I have chosen to address this question. However, within theistic psychology itself this topic is given extreme importance because to remain in the mind set that an individual holds his or her own power negates the omnipotence of God outright and to do this does not allow one to reach heaven.
I found the way theistic psychology addresses the concept of freedom to be extremely interesting. Within the realm of theistic psychology both hellish self-loving freedom, worldly freedom, and the freedom of conceding to God is explained perfectly. Theistic psychology is able to explain why people are so reluctant to give up their selfish and worldly freedoms.
I neither accept or deny the as-of self because as I understand things now it is impossible to reach a concrete decision either way. According to theistic psychology becoming decided on the existence of as-of self would cut off the possibility for growth of the rational mind. This is an extremely complex issue but it is probably not important to make a decision at all. The definition of as-of self is that God manipulates outside of our awareness. Once a decision is made wouldn't that bring the as-of self into one's awareness ( but this is not a possibility).
Why is freedom required for a human to be happy?
I do not think it is. One can learn to be perfectly happy without freedom. Some people even seek to lose freedom in their natural life, but being in a natural life and not a spiritual life it usually does not bring about any good. Regardless of the outcome at the very least this a reflection of something.
Why does God make it so that humans require freedom to be happy?
Wouldn't this negate God's omnipotence?
Even though God is omnipotent we are allowed to choose between good and evil and God will activate our minds within limits.
Doesn't this indicate that we are being built or grown for some purpose? To love God? Why? Why not?
Attempts to answer these questions regarding the existence of freedom somehow always lead to the destruction of God's omnipotence. This could be the result of the fact that God creates a system that gives us the ability to choose if we believe he is all-powerful or not. If one accepts God his freedom is heavenly, but it is still selfish in the natural world because it is his or her selfish love - or maybe it isn't there is no real way to know.
When someone tells me, “Freedom is real.” my response is, “Okay.”
When someone tells me, “There is no freedom there is God.” my response is, “Okay.”
In my understanding the two statements have the same meaning and I believe theistic psychology says the same thing. Having an as-of self means that we cannot escape that God has given us a sense of freedom - no matter if it is selfish freedom or the freedom that comes with acceptance of God's power. The difficulty in accepting the as-of self comes from the as-of self, it does its job well.
I believe the importance here is to have an open mind to any possibility. If once we become conscious in the spiritual world an open mind will be able to accept the truth that we now cannot see... although being open to any possibility also means being open to the possibility that we can see the answer in while in natural life.
The method of atheistic psychology prohibits the use of God as an explanatory concept for any area of inquisition. Theistic psychology is in direct contrast with this rule of methodology. The method of inquiry employed by theistic psychology is to use and accept scientific revelations written by Swedenborg as explanatory possibilities in science.
The universe is dual. On the outside is the physical material world that comprises the environment that we are all aware of including the known universe. Internally the universe is spiritual but cannot be perceived by anything in the material. In the spiritual dimension exists our thoughts and feelings. Thoughts and feelings are made of rational ether in the spiritual world that does not exist in the material world. Rational ether is the atmosphere of the spiritual world created by the Spiritual Sun and resides in a sphere around it. Within this sphere of rational ether exists human thoughts and emotions in the mental organ (the mind). It is impossible for thoughts and emotions to exist in the natural material world in any form of electro chemical particles.
It is not possible for God to eliminate all evils from the world and thrust every person into heaven. If God were to do such a thing our perception of freedom would be destroyed. In heaven it is impossible to think, do, or enjoy evil so to place a person into heaven would require removing their freedom to enjoy those things that they love. However, not being able to enjoy what one loves is hell so to do so would only recreate hell. Once Swedenborg was witness to such an event. God took an evil spirit out of hell and placed it in heaven. The evil spirit went into the stupor of being unable to perceive any heavenly sensations and was again in another, even worse, hell. As soon as the evil spirit's freedom was restored he was back in his former hell.
“Scientific revelations are Divine truths contained in Divine Speech.” To receive a scientific revelation is to understand scientific meaning contained within the Sacred Scripture. The as-of self comes into play whenever one intellectually understands a word of Sacred Scripture in this fashion; one feels that they have reached this scientific revelation through their own understanding and because of this the truth of scientific revelation becomes their own. This process is called “rational consciousness” and is different from “sensuous consciousness.” Sensuous consciousness is feeling what is popularly referred to as “oneness with God.” This is mystical spirituality and inhibits any rational spirituality.
Divine Speech refers to the act of reading Sacred Scripture in accordance with the method prescribed in the writings of Swedenborg (reading with correspondences).
Resistance keeps one from accepting what is being said. Exploring one's resistance to any topic is important because it brings understanding about the self.
From the class sessions I was shocked to learn how the students believe the teachings of the Bible and student's immediate acceptance to any new concepts from theistic psychology that relate in a direct fashion to the Bible. I was also shocked to see how the professor automatically assumes all students know and accept the Bible. I had always been told that this country is very religious in Christianity but this is the first time I've been experienced to exactly what that means, it goes far beyond what I previously thought.
Also surprising was to see how when it comes to topics such as God, heaven, hell, etc. how quickly the students went from complete rejection or negative bias of theistic psychology (beginning of the term) to a positive bias (end of the term) just from being in the class and forced to listen to the professor on a regular basis. I now understand how and why organized religion is such a force in the world. I also now understand how certain charismatic figures in history were able to do with they did; inspiring others is not all that difficult when the preachings are on religious topics or have a popular religious connection.
Substantive dualism and the spiritual world
Resistance I have to this topic is that anything we learn about the spiritual world is through the material senses. So talking about details such as the spirit sun, vortexes, anatomy of the mind above the natural level, cannot be truly understood in their spiritual sense. Swedenborg may have given unbiased observations but still anything I am told is through a physical medium to my physical senses. This does not mean I disagree with any of the teachings, it only means I am in constant awareness of this situation when talking about anything above the corporeal awareness and because of this some details of things in the spiritual world need not be addressed or perhaps shouldn't be addressed. Doing so could bring about a mystical understanding of theistic psychology.
Heaven and Hell
I do not like the concepts of heaven and hell. To me it brings false connotations. There is no finite division between heaven and hell. Each is a creation of the mind relative to a particular mind. To use the labels “heaven” and “hell” distract me from the reality of theistic psychology. I would prefer a single term that refers to “the environment of the afterlife.”
I agree with the concept that all scientific revelations come from Sacred Scripture. All forms of Sacred Scripture contain scientific revelations if read with the proper correspondence.
The spiritual sense hidden in Sacred Scripture
I enjoyed seeing the method of extraction of spiritual sense from beyond the literal being employed. I believe too many of us focus on the literal/immediate meanings of things in our lives. This technique of seeking the deeper meaning should always be employed in anything we do.
The mental level of a culture at any given time is reflected in our own level of understanding. The “Old Testament mentality of society” comprises those who function at a natural-corporeal correspondence with God including ways of thought on marriage, family, and human interactions. At this level we are influenced only by the materialistic even when it comes to God and heaven because we accept that our own natural world senses are the absolute truth. From this way of thinking comes many negativities including racism, blood loyalty, animal sacrifices, genocide, cruelty and discrimination against women, harsh physical punishments, and authoritarian and autocratic systems of power. These negativities are the result of a corporeal-rational correspondence.
The positive bias is leaving open the possibility that what is presented could be true. The positive bias is often automatically associated when we read the writings of a well known established author. Taking a negative bias with the writings of Swedenborg barricades any possibility to believe the writings.
The goal of atheistic psychology is to unify all observations and explanations into a rational and comprehensive account. However, when studying the mind, methodologies regarding feelings, thoughts, and sensations often run into dead ends in their ability to go into deeper explanation. Two approaches of psychology have come about: The monist approach takes the assumption that the mind is made of some physical component. This assumption has never been proven to be true. The dualist approach (theistic psychology) takes the assumption that the mind may not be made of physicals material or energy.
Atheistic psychology has made very little progress (some even say reverse progress) since the invention of the field. The assumption taken is that the mind exists inside the physical brain and any aliments can therefore be healed by manipulation of the brain, a person's behavior, or a person's thinking. In this way of doing psychology there is no soul or spirit of an individual, only a collection of neurons and learned behaviors. Procedures developed by atheistic psychology only involve correcting these aspects of a person. The patient is reduced to less than human in this way and treated more like a broken car than an actual person with an affective mind.
Purely spiritual based theories are often wrong too (mystical thinking) . What is needed is a merger of scientific practice and spiritual acknowledgment to change the field of psychology to be correct. The way psychology is done today is study of the mind through natural measures, without really studying the mind with its emotions and feeling.
One major hindrance of atheistic psychology is that it does not accept anything that cannot be measured in the natural world, leaving out many possibilities to help a patient at an affective level (since emotions cannot be directly measured). Merging the concept of spirit with study of the mind is a necessary and missing component in today's psychology. Without doing this psychology will never be complete. It is impossible to reduce a human mind to statistical measures that way atheistic psychology does. The human mind is much more complex that any natural based theories we have about it.
I am happy to see someone striving to bring about a theistic psychology field. I have always thought atheistic psychology to be incorrect. To me it makes no sense to only accept what can be seen at the natural level as all that the mind encompass. All of us at some level know this but psychology works hard to undo this commonality in all humans and reduce the mind to psychical properties alone.
Progression of atheistic psychology has been minimal since its creation. The breakthroughs in the field are really nothing any person already doesn't know just from the experience of living. Atheistic psychology however uses its complex scientific jargon that makes ordinary common sense behaviors look like mind blowing scientific breakthroughs that require years of scientific training to understand.
The only branches of psychology to make progress are those that focus on biology and chemistry. Medicines, for example, have made huge discoveries. Neuropsychology with the study of neuron and hormonal functions in the brain have too. Surgical procedures have also come a long way since the begining of atheistic psychology. The key point to note about these branches of psychology is that they do not deal with the mind at all. They stick only to the natural world and the measurable brain structures and do not attempt (much) to generalize what is seen at this level to the affective and cognitive mind.
If ever psychology is to improve in cognitive and affective treatments and understanding a spiritual recognition must be given to patients. Patients must be seen as humans with much more to their minds than can be seen in the natural world. No human mind can ever fit into one expert's natural world scale of measurement. Merely allowing spiritual acknowledgment would allow causal explanations to have real effects and potentially really help those who seek psychological treatment.
To me atheistic psychology is paradoxical. First objective measurements are taken. Then objective statistics are done on those data. Finally objective decisions are made on those statistics. Psychology strives to be objective and scientific above all else but it is impossible to ever make an objective decision based on objective data. Data is never 100% objective no matter how complex the mathematical techniques for acquiring and analyzing them are. Decisions are never purely objective, they are always subjective at some level. The objectiveness that psychologists strive for is an impossibility.
I have always believed theistic psychology is needed to do any study of the mind. Atheistic psychology today cannot go any further than the study of the physical brain. Theistic psychology proposes to use scientific revelations found in the writings to overcome these problems. However the problem is the current scientific community will never accept such a change.
One lesson I learned from college came from a professor who said, "Psychology never really changes until the old die off and the young are then free to bring in new ideas." This statement shows the level of zeal psychologists today deny the idea that the mind is not found in the natural world - this is the purpose of psychology itself: to be natural world scientific. To adopt the writings into psychology as it is today would destroy psychology and invalidate all the work up to this time. Top psychologists would never allow this to happen.
God has set limits that we may operate within during our lifetime and activates our mind in accordance with our choosing. God will also activate our bodies in accordance with our choice no matter if that choice is for good or evil (within limits). God will not activate us if he cannot create goodness for either the perpetrator(s) or the victim(s) of the situation.
(a) The mind-body issues is the oldest in psychology. Two trains of thought are available, epiphenomenalism and mystical dualism. Both schools are in contrast with theistic psychology.
(b) Epiphenomenalism takes the assumption that the mind is a by-product of the brain. Somehow physical brain operations are abstracted to what we commonly refer to as feelings, thoughts, and sensations. In other words the brain gives rise to the mind – the brain is objective while the mind is subjective. This approach relegates humans to nonexistence or merely more advanced animals. When the physical brain dies so does the mind, there is no immortality or God.
(c) Rational dualism takes the assumption that the mind has an existence in the spiritual world and survives the brain after death even though no one in modern psychology can give an accurate account of this. Ancient psychologists such as Aristotle and Plato argued that this must be the case because wisdom is eternal. The Egyptians, Greeks, and Hindus all have detailed accounts of what happens to the mind after death but modern atheistic psychology rejects these findings.
The basic premise of theistic psychology is that God has given all scientific revelations through the writings of Swedenborg. Without the revelations no information about theistic psychology could be obtainable. Any writings from other authors are just “best guesses” as it is impossible for living humans to see into the spiritual world of existence. Scientific revelations create a database of knowledge of God and the afterlife that is impossible to obtain in the natural world.
The history of human society gives us an account of the rational mental level of humans in a particular time period. Accounts given by Swedenborg and historical facts about Church progression through the ages give us this information. Churches represent society's level of morality and level of thinking.
For theistic psychology to grow the message of its existence must be spread. I do not think that before this class any of the students had ever heard of a theistic psychology. Many of us started the class thinking is would be a traditional atheistic look at theistic beliefs of various populations, not a whole new branch of psychology. I'm sure that most of us also never thought an acceptable merger of spirit and natural level psychology could be possible. The importance for theistic psychology now is to gain recognition just to let people know it exists.
It was easy to see the student's reluctant at the beginning to accept any of theistic psychology but that had changed dramatically at the end of the term where almost all of the students accepted theistic psychology at some level, even if it was nothing more than overcoming the negative bias.
Because the writings of Swedenborg are like an extension to Christian writings it made adoption of new ideas easy for many in class. This was easy for me to see because students would visibly frown during a discussion but then when the topic was related to something they already knew about Christian beliefs and spoken with the same terminology suddenly heads would begin to nod.
I was surprised to find that the messages and meaning of theistic psychology were inline with my own beliefs about spirituality before taking in the class. For me this helped in accepting what was being told, but I do not think some of what was covered in class to be important and maybe even hindering to rational development of the mind.
I agree that theistic psychology would be better than the current atheistic psychology system today but I would have liked to see examples of how theistic psychology would approach real-world psychological problems found today, such as depression. This was never discussed in class. Class discussions focused only on Swedenborg and his writings but never on how these ideas could really be applied to psychology in a way that gives results in the natural world.
Generation 21 (Fall 2004) is:
“I realized that applying one very important concept from Theistic Psychology to all aspects of life made things less trying on my patience. This was the idea of keeping an open mind, even when in doubt.”
“ As for my advice on theistic psychology, if you keep and open mind and positive bias, it is so much more enjoyable and interesting to learn about. In fact, life is much more interesting when keeping a positive bias.”
“I had never read any source before as clear as Theistic Psychology presents it. I am less puzzled now and I can say that my beliefs were strengthened by reading about Theistic Psychology.”
“ Most importantly, I really encourage all of you as individuals to take advantage of your opportunity to learn what Dr. James and Swedenborg have to say. Even if you don't fully indulge yourself in the ideas of Swedenborg, listen to his ideas because they will help you improve the basic relationships in you life.”
“ People need to be concerned about the afterlife because it is possible that there is such a thing as the afterlife and the immortal spiritual mind. And if there such things as these then we need to do what we can to make the best of our afterlife and understand what part our spiritual mind plays in it.”
“After this course is completed I will leave with excellent skills to improve my life through being more aware of my thoughts and feelings. I will continue to read Dr. James' Theistic Psychology Lecture Notes online.”
“ Our experience of meeting theistic psychology will be our lifelong (and also in our afterlife!) treasure. Our voyage to have better understanding of theistic psychology starts when we independently embark on exploring the Writing of Swedenborg through theistic psychology even after completing the course!”
“Run! Run while you still can! This stuff will grow on you and eat you alive like a fungus. God it's great (no pun on God intended).”
Everyone in Generation 21 came away from this class with a positive outlook on life and themselves regardless of whether or not they accepted theistic psychology. Even when a student did not necessarily agree with an idea they still applied or related to the teachings in a positive manner to reinforce their own personal thoughts about the spirit and afterlife.
To me this reflects the goodness within theistic psychology and I am glad to see that those exposed to it now think about life in a more positive light and with more enthusiasm than before.
Our life's purpose is to use the conscious appearance of freedom (as-of self) to regenerate our character from holding hellish traits to heavenly traits.
The mind is composed of three levels: natural, rational, and spiritual. By reading Sacred Scripture one can develop his or her mind to a higher level of consciousness.
As civilization progressed through history the rational mind evolved from ritual faith to mystical faith and finally to rational faith made possible by the writings of Swedenborg.
Cheon believes that the history of humankind since the age of the Old Testament has been preparing us for the spiritual world.
This presentation was the first outside influence to give direct evidence towards the purpose of human of society through evolution, which I address in question 10. What struck me in this presentation was the chart created by Cheon.
This chart shows that the natural level is associated with adolescence and young adulthood but these two life categories did not exist until recently in human existence. This gives evidence that human society is evolving and indicates a true purpose behind society.
Our mind is divided. Experiences from the natural world come into our natural mind while at the same time experiences from the spiritual world come into our spiritual mind.
There exists different heavens and acceptance of spiritual substances determine which heaven we will be in. Higher heavens are closer to God.
God cannot be energy or a force because these are natural concepts. God has created humans as a reflection of God.
Heaven is like a dream in that others within one's dream becomes a part of the dream as a whole and is seen as such i.e. separate from space.
People strive to reach the highest heaven.
Due to Tarayao's previous exposure to the Bible she readily accepted the concept that God is human.
The concepts of levels of heaven and the duality of the mind can be found throughout this report. Levels of heaven can also be thought of as the separation between heaven and hell as discussed in question 11.
Tarayao's immediate acceptance to the concept that God is human is also addressed in Question 11.
Materialism is only taking the physical world into account and encompasses Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Hylozoism, and cosmology.
Mysticalism is non-duality or the belief that everything is as one whole.
Theistic psychology stresses choice – either cooperate with God or not. Revelations come from the Divine and God's omnipotence.
While materialism does not explain the afterlife in anyway Rodriguez cannot believe in mysticism either because the many mystical religions of the world conflict with each other. However the idea the humans have a purpose to discover God's rational laws is intriguing to her.
The three levels of materialism, mystical religion, and theistic psychology are discussed in question 2 and mentioned briefly in questions 11 and 10.
These levels of religious and non-religious beliefs are used to compare theistic psychology to the popular world and show the growth of human civilization over the ages.
My report is not concerned so much with the detail of the afterlife but is more focused on the basic theories and principles of theistic psychology that can be applied in a reasonable fashion to one's immediate life for the purposes of expanding the rational mind to theistic psychology's teachings. Also with this report 2 I state my concerns with various topics and teaching methods. When reading this report please give grace that I am do not fully understand all the concepts I discuss in here. This report has been, for me, as more of a learning experience and continuation of the quest for answers than an actual “report” on what I have learned in class up to this point.
Dr. James always has your best interest in mind. Do not hesitate to ask for guidance when you are unclear on directions or faced with hurdles that may come up while writing your report.
Everyone hints at it but… DO NOT GET DEADLINES MIXED UP. I did and I am not happy about it. I'm sure the quality of my report will suffer because of this but remember this report can become more than just a grade and you can always continue your work independently at anytime. Remember what is more important, a grade or expanding your rational mind? Okay, both - don't be late with deadlines.
Follow formatting instructions because points can be lost for things such as paragraphs that are too long, broken links, missing links, etc..
The class does not go this far in the technological aspects of doing the report but I would advise not to use Microsoft Word as a web editor. Do not use the built in “Save as Web Page” function described in the official class instructions because it causes problems for many, in particular Report 1's mailbox task. Microsoft Word is a horrible web editor full of quirks and incompatibles. Take the time to find and learn a real web editor or even try to learn HTML. Microsoft Word is a text editor that just happens to contain a few basic functions that can aid in HTML creation but they are very limited, often confusing, and infuriatingly automized and not standardized.
All the information needed is online. Finding and organizing that information can be the tricky part. I find using Mozzila's Firefox (http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/) "Tab" capabilities helpful for opening many webpages at once within a single window.
When searching for webpages remember that manuel manipulation of the path in the web address bar can be useful.