Download PDF of work in progress
- The Poverty of the Solitary — The Affiliations of the Animal Human
- Social Guilt — Real Guilt
- The Suffering of Spiritual Trial — The Suffering of the Animal Human
- The Active Effort of Thinking — The Passivity of Sensorial Life
- The illusion of what is "more real"
- The Solitary Self — The Resentful Outcast
- The Stress of Trial — The Cheerfulness of Passivity
- Public — Private
- Repaying the debt to Dharma fathers — The animal repayment of gratitude
- The Ascetic — The Hedonist
- Action — Inaction
- Confessions relative to the Absolute — Confessions relative to "the others"
- Individual stillness — Group anxiety
- Stillness — Anxiety
- Reason — Speculation
- The Use of Dichotomy
- Πεισιθανατος — Persuader to life
- Simple Solitary (Diogenes) — Pastors and Preachers and Monks
- Vipassana as Primitive Action — Vipassana by Dhamma Pabha
- Understanding Causality — Abusing Causality
- Emptying of Self — Self-Regathering
- The Solitary Nature of Emptiness — Relating to the Others
- Sobriety, Seriousness, Earnestness — Fun, No Worries, Amorality
- Immersion — Escapism
- Act — Laziness
- Life Failure — Life Success
- One virtue — Antagonism
- Dead to the world — Samsara
- Wise Psychology
- Freedom — Routines
- The Solitary's Activity — Zarathustra's Method in the Vorrede
- On the relationship between the use of pain in physical austerities and samadhi
- The Wise Man's Imagination — Eckhardt Tolle's Imagination
- Vipassana is not about "Meditation Techniques"
- On the redoubling of wisdom
- Immoral Vocations
- The Individual's Duty to Resist Social Mores
- Simplicity — Hankering
- Purpose — Distractability
- Timeless — Time Management
- Infinite Freedom — Society's Gaol of Routines
- Social Guilt — Freedom of the Spirit
- Activity — Adrenalin
- Empty Teaching — Self-oriented Teaching
- The Patience beyond Life and Death
- Thinking — Reading
- Wild — Tamed
- Individualisation — Revolutions
- The Solitary and the Construction
- The Consistency of Individual Reason — Totality of All Human Knowledge
- Plato's Conception of the Philosopher Ruler
- Philosophical Vs. Empirical Explanations for the Ego
- Creating a new psychology, stepwise
- Thinking, not Thought
- Candid speech — Professional speech
- The dilemma of candour with the deaf
- Speaking to the deaf for the right reasons
- Mortal, with an immortal attitude
- The biochemical fluctuation of consciousness
- The conversation of everyday thought
- Solitude — Coupling
- Understanding — Anger
- Scientific Analysis
- Eckhardt and the Dhammapada
- Ageing wisely — Giving up
- Reason the gateway to enlightenment
- Doubled Solitude
- Lover of Nature
- Human — Animal
- Be patient with thought and persist
- You are that
- The Parent Figure
- Music, Dance, Wine & Women
- Experiencing Judgment — Recklessness
- Raw Ordinary Innocence — Professionalism & Guile
- Intellectualising — Mental masturbation
- Wise psychology's objectivity — Scientific materialism's objectivity
- Individuality — Clone
- Who is qualified to teach Vipassana?
- The skill of communicating
- Vows of Poverty
- Insecurity of wise decisions — Security of worldly decision
- Emptiness — Systems
- Solitary — Wolf-Mystics
- First God!
- The wise man's compassion — The womanly man's compassion
- Solitude as thought on emptiness — Solitude as resentment of others
- Silence — Scolding
- Skill in means
- Solitary Service — Solitary Selfishness
- A Psychological Note about Hazing the Wise
- Making Decisions
- Step by Step
- Patience — Impatience
- I — The Others
- Understanding — Academia
- Individuality — Fear
The Poverty of the Solitary — The Affiliations of the Animal Human
The solitary has a closer relationship to Reality, than an affiliate, because the lonely one has less to distract him from thoughts of how fragile his existence is. He is more likely to feel guilty about exerting his existence, because his own will is all that sustains himself and his values. Efforts to concretise the illusion of self-existence, and everything he builds around that core idea of self, more sharply pain his conscience, for the simple reason that only he is responsible. The burden of existential guilt, for a false worldview, is his alone. He has no associates to "reassure" him, or to bind him via consensus contracts.
But wait, here enters the all-important question, and one that must be asked before continuing: How has he managed to have no associates? Exactly how did he manage not to be an affiliate? The answer is simple: he rejected friendship itself, and every actual instance of it. He didn't join any groups. He didn't even thank another person for their ideas, or use them in his own thinking. He spurned every artifact or offering, whether mental or psychological or physical, that was made in the spirit of joining up with the others. Oh, but wait, you say: he has been hurt or traumatised by some interaction with people, so he is simply nursing wounds; he is afraid of being rejected again, and that is why he is a loner. I agree that this is possible, indeed, most likely, in the case of a human who runs away and withdraws into himself, hiding in a cocoon of unnatural quiet. Such people are the typical loner: the one who exerts much effort in maintaining great bundles of emotional padding, with sweet dreams, sweet music, sweet harmless birdsong, and a secluded little fortress in some remote forest. However, I don't see this person as a solitary, because that type of human never stopped wanting to join up with the others. The solitary is different.
The solitary does not build up a multitude of distractions, or create ties to things (objects, fantasies, people, sports, activities, ideas, etc.) to avoid feeling the uncertainty of self-existence. He is unlike the animal, since he he doubts his assertion of objects of security, and he doubts the reliability of the need to escape the glaring face of an uncaring and infinite Void.
The animal human hides in his distractions, in his social network, in his huge edifice of created possessions and self-reflections, in order precisely to avoid looking at his own non-entity in the face. The more stuff he piles up, the more he believes it reasserts something ——— but he refuses to work in the reverse direction, from multitudinous crap to nothing. In this way, he places all blame firmly on the impersonal non-existing entity of the stuff which he has produced, and on all the people who he has followed. Thus, the blind all fall together into a pit — and they say it is not their doing, since they were only following someone else...
But loneliness is, if I can change the popular saying, close to Godliness. That one exists from moment-to-moment as negligibly as an idle afterthought, as a mere happenstance of causality, as an imaginary boundedness projected onto a free-flowing and boundless ocean of interactivity, is a reality more perceivable if one is, in fact, perceiving — in that intense, introspective, lonely way. And emptiness is Godliness.
The practice of solitude is a minute-by-minute task of ridding oneself of all psychological need for the support of human beings. It is pursued with the intention that it should persist for one's lifetime; if there is doubt that one can live alone for the rest of one's life, in the deepest metaphysical sense, then one is not a solitary.
Social Guilt — Real Guilt
The solitary is vulnerable to the formlessness of Reality (to the truth that there is nothing at all to lay hold of in the entirety of all that is) because they are not hidden in the herd. The herdliness in the solitary is precisely their lack of social protection: they have the fear of the wilderness-dweller. On guard every moment, fragile, uncertain, reliant only on luck and their exertions proper, the solitary has, by way of animal anxiety, the outcast's social guilt. This guilt gives them doubt and fear over every action, every plan, every thought. This, therefore, creates the opportunity for reassessing the soundness of every action, every plan, every thought — and if a resolution is found, the guilt is absolved. But because the solitary remains alone, and a social outcast, his habit of guilt will strike again: and he will either be pushed into losing his great strength of individuality, by succumbing to the need for affiliation, and to the need to avoid the strenuous task of choosing for himself; or he will access a deeper conception of guilt, that being: moral culpabilities of a metaphysical nature.
These conditions can give rise to the opportunity of enlightenment, but only chance is there. In reality, very few people ever come to a point where social guilt for being alone is transformed into existential guilt. Where do I place myself? I believe that I undergo that transformation regularly, and am afforded the chance to sift out the animal from the spiritual.
The Suffering of Spiritual Trial — The Suffering of the Animal Human
Being open to having the illusion of self-existence challenged, and challenging one's own psychological illusions and self-pamperings, is about being willing to undertake spiritual trial. Having a vulnerable, sensitive mind that is open to suffering is normal for spiritual development. However, to be like this is not to suffer as the human being suffers, who complains about having to bear the mistakes of other people, who groans under the burden of unfair rulings from government officials, or who resents the inconsiderateness of noisome neighbours. The purely human form of suffering is simply the pain of ordinary life: of aches and pains in the body, of the effort of living, of getting along with the other animals, of bearing ordinary trials like deaths of friends and collapses of one's financial investments, and so forth. None of that is the stuff of spiritual trial, and it is extremely arrogant to regard as such the ups and downs of human fortune — however patient one's endurance is.
No, spiritual trial is entirely the opposite. Since human trials are viewed as impacting on one's wellbeing and livelihood, and made up of things which threaten one's prosperity, health, and happiness, in short, everything that diminishes, belittles, and weakens the importance of one's self-concept, the opposite is everything that strengthens, empowers, and magnifies the concept that the self-concept is a mere nothing. That is, the one who undertakes spiritual trial deliberately chooses to see everything that empowers the self, and makes life more comfortable and easy, as weakening the spirit. Therefore, the solitary deliberately and consciously creates suffering for himself, in order to strengthen the spirit and weaken a sense of concrete existence. He chooses, for instance, poverty, friendlessness, childlessness, to be unfashionable, and the like. He chooses those things which others despise: to care not for fashions or trends, to appear old and ugly, to decide on actions that leave him worse off humanly speaking, to work gratis without a thought of reimbursement, to leave himself open to ridicule, and to fall into the evil eyes of people who will be quick to judge him erroneously and ill. Just as Diogenes did, rolling in hot sand or cold snow, the solitary teaches himself to see the deeper reality and teach himself to sing according to its notes.
The Active Effort of Thinking — The Passivity of Sensorial Life
When one develops an inner life, and has awareness of Spirit — the formlessness of things, which is not a something but is everything — then everything needed for that life is an abstract construction existing nowhere but in one's mind. It vanishes if you don't think. It isn't there at all, unless you consciously construct, and reconstruct it. The stairway to Heaven is invisible: it cannot be sensed, only thought.
This process is the reverse of the materialistic life, where one can daydream, then open one's eyes to the environment, and be reminded outwardly where one is up to. The sensorial life makes the memory unimportant. It gives everything to you, ready-made. Everything is visible, and pressed onto you: you just accept it passively.
But the spiritual life hides everything, and you must fight to construct every aspect, every understanding, every event. You must remember, and make everything from nothing. To live spiritually is therefore an ongoing effort, because without these constructions and conceptual understandings, there is no spirit apparent. Understanding requires thought.
Without thought, there is only the passive sensorial beast, that would believe everything pressed upon it — and which is always inclined to listen to the false — even then not aware what it is doing, since it lives in a credulous haze.
Of course, the solitary thinks, by definition. Only the solitary can experience thought, because they push the world away with all its noise and dash and sensuality.
The illusion of what is "more real"
People often say, when referring to something illusory, or delusional, that it is "all in the mind". They believe that what the mind constructs, thoughts, ideas, and so forth, are less real than sensory experiences. They believe in feelings and sensations, because these do not present the shifting doubts of the self: but are constant. Therefore, they conclude, the sensory realm is more real than thoughts.
But this is proven wrong as soon as one sees that all the artifacts of the sensory realm on which people most love to depend are merely branches of their self-love. That is, their own self-concept is the source and origin of the sensory construction that people call real. They depend on a specific interpretation and array of sensory constructions, but do not wish to recollect that there is a self, with preferences and selections and decisions, that is responsible for that precise selection.
To illustrate this point more clearly, consider what happens when the self-concept, or self-image is altered. Or if something of great and substantial meaning to them, such as a belief system, is abandoned. This alters their entire worldview. Their beliefs dramatically change, and so does their construction of reality. Also, when some enter a new phase of their life, they change their own name. Does this not indicate that the entire world changes when the person changes?
The Solitary Self — The Resentful Outcast
The definition of the individualised self is the solitary, namely, the one who sees the infinite, invisible self in every finite, visible self, and is therefore alone in the deepest sense. This is a very different conception of solitude to that of the person who is forced into solitude by disgust, fear, or resentment over "the others". The resentful outcast has no inkling of the solitary self.
It is inevitable that socialised persons always believe the solitary is a resentful outcast. These persons have no inkling either.
The Stress of Trial — The Cheerfulness of Passivity
The wellbeing and happiness of the animal can confuse matters as to where spiritual strength lies. The wise man manifests a freedom from suffering that can seem very similar to the wellbeing and happiness of the animal. Yet if one laid the same burdens on both, one could tell them apart very quickly. The animal resists absolutely the value of undertaking spiritual trial; if you even posit the concept of solitude, the animal regards it as a punishment for doing wrong, rather than an essential state of being and a fundamental support for growth.
The wise man only became so because he went through the stress of spiritual trial. He did not undertake solitary exercises in order to thereafter enjoy the pleasures of success back in the world. Rather, he never returned. He climbed higher than the horizon of any animal, and was lost completely from their sight. But while struggling up the lethal, slippery terrain, he was often viewed by the animals, and they did their best to drag him back down, citing the impossibility of success, the craziness of trying, the needlessness and futility of such painful efforts, and the ridiculousness of his posture. Their joyful strains, and comfortable bog-wallowing burps and sighs of bliss, echo in his ears — but their cheerfulness is the same obliviousness of a cheerful drunkard, enjoying his wretched, pathetic state, and robbed of the perspective that judges accurately.
Public — Private
The animal being interprets the public vs. private division in this way: what I keep private is what I really prefer; what I display publicly is what I'd have others believe I prefer.
The spiritual being interprets it this way: what I keep private is what I must bear alone, namely, the relationship to truth and all the sufferings of spiritual trial; what I display publicly are aids for transcending the delusion of form.
Repaying the debt to Dharma fathers — The animal repayment of gratitude
Kierkegaard's words on the religiousness of human sympathy are a resounding bell. He says that the religious person should not lower the price out of sympathy for the weak, even though his heart is breaking for them, and though he is in agony over the loss of the friendship that could be had if he were sympathetic.
The religious sympathy is the deep awareness of the pain and agony, the aggravation and turmoil, the stress and hatred, that boils in people when confronted with something that is too terrible, too high, too demanding, and utterly out-of-synch with their capabilities — the religious demand to accept the truth. This sympathy is the natural feeling of the religious person: his whole being yearns to console, to speak more mildly, to comfort, and to lessen the demands of truth. He longs to establish a good feeling, of comradeship and support, and to respect the poor and weakly beings that cannot reach higher — whatever level they are at — rather than present the demands of spiritual life to them. He longs to be known as what he really is: a friend. A solicitor (in the original sense) of wisdom.
But Kierkegaard says: No, for that sympathy misrepresents the truth. One has to set the thing straight. To do the other is the sin of religious sympathy. He actually does call it a sin, and it is. It is taking away the real measure, and substituting compassion.
Nevertheless, he also mentions another "No": that of the one who presents the truth, and all its demands, setting the thing straight — but then presenting it in such a way that he is the authority, and that he is superior to the others by his own powers. Instead of giving glory to the truth, he takes it for himself. That, Kierkegaard says, is truly a sin, and genuinely cruel.
But now, there is a real test, a really cruel challenge, for the religious person. It is not the terrible feeling of religious cruelty when he may not lower the standard of truth out of compassion on the weak. That is, compassion for those who are beginners, babies, little children in the world of spirit. It is, rather, the terrible feeling of betrayal and sin, when he may not lower the standard of truth out of compassion for those who have known what truth is but have compromised: when he must confront his Dharma fathers, brothers, uncles, and colleagues, regressing as they age, not actively rooting out the sins in themselves, lying and deceiving themselves about their karma. Oh, terrible, terrible, terrible!
So here is the question: Should he not set the thing straight? Yes, of course. Is this not part of repaying his debt to them, since they have genuinely given him something of great worth in the past? Of course. But, oh! Who would dare?
It is tremendously grieving, and too much for the sense of what is humane. But... the truth demands it. How it tears one to take this path, and chastise his beloved teachers. It is his loyalty to the truth, his deep love for what they have given him, that tears at his mind. And, let us not forget, that challenging these teachers, who have authority, can well appear to the rest of the world as a personal rejection of their views!
But when degenerate teachers expect gratitude and respect, instead of chastisement; when they expect obedience and tolerance, instead of independence and individual agency; when they try to smother and obscure criticisms; when they start throwing mud and filth at him for pointing out their regressions and flaws, instead of thanking him for the tip-off; then he must keep his sympathy and pain to himself, and set the thing straight in humility and determination. He must put aside his agony and grief, his loneliness and sorrow, his regret and indignation. He must stay cool and remember that to be a true friend is to present the stumbling block of truth, rather than to put happiness, and purely human sympathy and feeling for our common ordeal first.
It must be so — but, oh! Let him guard himself from the danger of arrogance and cruelty. It is all too easy to think himself superior, by his own powers. No, though he works at it night and day, giving all his efforts and heart to the cause, he must remember that he is nothing: everything is a spin of the wheel of the Tao, and he only obeys its force.
The Ascetic — The Hedonist
What is an ascetic? He is one who curtails animal desires, to avoid switching-off the deeper awareness of Reality. The hedonist is one who indulges, because he is in the deluded state of believing that increasing sensation enlivens him by causing him to experience more vigorously. The hedonist is a fool with no head for reality.
Every wise individual is an ascetic. Asceticism ranges from the very simplest practices like sleeping on a narrow hard mattress to avoid succumbing to animality in sleep and so on awakening after sleep to climb up faster through the bardo states of dreams; or, wearing rough, plain, unfashionable clothing to help one spurn the animals' instinctive desire for comfort and social status; or, walking barefoot on rough or thermally uncomfortable surfaces to remind oneself of one's inseparability from Nature; or, staying awake at night to deepen one's love of God; eating sparely, and so forth; …. to the purest forms of asceticism — which is the intellectual, and have to do with abandoning every last mental fragment conveying attachment.
The danger to the ascete is not purifying the mind. Practising austerities as a way to feel more alive (reverse sensation, or masochism) is clearly hedonistic. This is falseness: saying one is doing something for a particular purpose, yet not acting on that purpose. The purpose comes first: the purifying of attachment. Therefore, the highest, purest forms of asceticism are clearly the only real forms of asceticism, and the physical activities only have meaning insofar as there is a clear, conscious, personal correlation between one's own animalities and delusions — and what one is aware that God is.
The hedonist, obviously, has no interest in reality, but only a vague unconscious despair that he lacks and must constantly chase more and more.
Action — Inaction
Nothing distinguishes spirit from spiritlessness as strikingly as this dichotomy. Action is not busyiness, or haste, or a mass of diversions — all that is inaction.
To a certain extent, thinking is talking to oneself but silently. Talking is generally inaction. So talking to oneself silently is generally inaction. But let there be resolve with understanding, rather than merely "keeping oneself company", and then it becomes action. That is, if one would will the will to truth, will the reascertainment of what is true, will to apply this knowledge, will to work-out how one's promises will be kept, and will to act — then all this silent "talk" is action.
Resolve with understanding is the same as meditation with application, or vipassana with bhakti, or will to truth, or bodhicitta.
Action is faith in truth, putting one's life fully in what one knows to be true, and venturing to leave behind the safety of living according to the crowd's "commonsense" (lies). Action is exposure to personal danger: the conflict with the herd expresses very strongly action.
Faith in truth means completing a rational process regarding the essential emptiness of existence of things, perfectly and honestly. The only way to complete the rational process is through application. There is no understanding if the rational process (a line of thought reaching a conclusion) is not completed; the same goes with reaching the conclusion of all lines of thought bent towards ultimate knowledge: the conclusion is that all thought reveals God, but no particular thought encompasses Him. Application of the rational process is the realisation that Emptiness (Reality, God, Nature, the Tao, etc.) has no nature to grab hold of. Thus one stops building one's own stairway to Heaven and rationally leaps off the final rung. This is faith, this is the beginning point of all action.
Is spirit manifest in some particular outward sign? No, not really. The oft-quoted line from the Zen Buddhist tradition, that supposedly indicates the life of spirit is "chop wood, carry water". But all routines and behaviours are meaningless, since everything is empty and all things display the truth. Everything depends only on the inward, the spirited understanding.
To clarify a point, many believe that since all things display the truth, since all things are empty of intrinsic existence, then there is no valid argument to seeking the path of enlightenment, nor any valid argument against sinking into ignorance or worldliness. But this behaviour is like accepting a tradesman's quote, promising to pay, paying, and then renegging on the bargain and asking for the money back while wanting to keep the high-quality outcome of the tradesman's services. Someone like this has neither completed the rational process, or enjoys its fruits.
Confessions relative to the Absolute — Confessions relative to "the others"
Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed his Confessions were a work of great honesty, since he vowed to give a full and complete account of his life including all his meanness, stupidity, and petty folly, as well as any virtues. But his aim was not really to tell the truth, but to speak about his own stupidity relative to the others. This is the kind of honesty that completely hides the truth, because it forgets the relationship to truth itself — to Reality — to the Ultimate. For instance, the entire book is about himself, yet he has absolutely no consciousness of the absolute context: the Infinite. So it becomes a completely dishonest book, by relating himself and his sins or virtues to the standard of "the others" — yet who or what are the others? The standard the others are judged by — what is that relative to? And so on...
This type of mean and distorted honesty is revealed in two ways:
- He frequently uses his little anecdotes and important remembrances to criticise other people. He is incapable of marking his own sins, without wanting to take revenge on the others. That is, he runs down the standard he uses, in order to evaluate himself more highly. Tellingly, he has a little story about the deep anxiety of whether he is destined for heaven or hell, and tries to answer the question of his entire salvation by chance: throwing a rock at a large, broad-trunked tree, so that if his aim is true, then he is saved, but if he misses the tree then he is destined for hell. He has absolutely no understanding of what salvation means.
- Whoever has sinned in his remembrances is typically those who have treated him nastily and without love. Yet his own sins become as nothing, since he paints himself as a simple, stupid man who merely wants love. So he decides he is ultimately blameless. But his peers, whom he regards as bad men, clearly have the same stupid self-interest. How does he resolve it? By saying all men are sinners, and God alone is good. Oh, how stupid! This merely reasserts the tremendous anxiety of the herd, since the sinner cannot possibly know whether God is good or not, owing to how stupidity and sinfulness are here equated. That God alone is good does not mean man has no way of knowing up from down; it means that absence of God-consciousness is also incapacity for judging good.
Inevitably, the system of judging virtue or sin relative to the others is wrapped up in women's affections. If a woman judges him or another man worthy, then that man is admirable; whoever is not judged worthy, is a fool and a scoundrel — — — and yet how much faith do men have in women, whom they chase? So little faith, as evinced by the petty jealousies.
Rousseau is like a forgetful child who believes himself in his rights to twaddle, making a grand statement then contradicting himself a few seconds later. In brief, any man who is a fool like Rousseau is nothing but a child without memory, soul, or self.
Individual stillness — Group anxiety
A social system of providing public references for the members of a group, where no one is willing to be an individual but each is crushed with the dependency of being accepted, will inevitably be full of omissions and lies. How many of these members lie, steal, secretly hate, and begrudge their neighbours? Most. Yet if any one of those members is caught out, they believe it is adequate to remedy the wrong privately — then keep their public reputation. There is no honesty in a person who wants to be accepted by the others, because all their values are up in the air.
Q: What do you value?
A: I don't know until you tell me what you value.
Q: But I was waiting for you to decide.
A: Then we are in agreement! That is enough.
Thus, consensus of such mindless co-dependent fools is what they value: to be like the others, always changeable to avoid being left out.
Why does the sheep-man have such a terror of being alone? Because he doesn't have any thing that is only his. He belongs so completely to the herd, that to be alone is to be nothing. His entire existence is based on what the others are sniffing and chewing, what the others are rubbing themselves up against. Since this changes from moment to moment, he has no idea what he is, ever. Is this not the perfect way to abandon thought?
Stillness — Anxiety
Anxiety comes from the self that is a relationship to "the others"; stillness from the self that relates to the absolute finality that is the changelessness of the predicateless Infinite.
The relativity of the herd-mindedness is its instability. It knows its insecurity and worry, so it tries to find means to be stable. For example, some of these herd-beasts practise "meditation", "equanimity", "tranquillising the mind", "relaxation techniques". Others take sedatives, drink alcohol, sniff and gorge. Still others wear themselves out in exhausting sports, so as to be too tired to think — and able to sleep and forget everything. There are other ways too, for the thoughtless worried beast to try to escape his hell: "extreme activities" to try to diminish his ordinary fears by frightening himself stupid; or "getting close to nature" to make contact with simpler fears, such as starvation or physical pain, and thus try to control the root emotions. More stupid still are the attempts to merely distract the mind from its worries, by watching movies or television or the internet, reading fantasy novels, engaging in small-subject socialising, in which a company of shared miseries takes away the fear of making great mistakes because each has the deep animal belief that in the herd he is safe — not in the precarious position of being out in the lonely wilds to be picked off by a wandering predator.
The anxiety and depression that is so endemic to the human species is proportionate to its lack of solitary individuals. Only in the centralised self, is there the capacity for stillness, for that self does not relate itself to anything other than the changeless Absolute — which never moves the tiniest fraction.
Reason — Speculation
Why have I met virtually no people who are not prone to the most foolish errors? Because virtually none have faith in reason. The most people trust in reason is the stillbirth of reason: speculation, which is a very limited use of the brain. Speculation is essentially day-dreaming, because it is letting the mind roam only insofar as the field of exploration is comforting emotionally.
It is such a foolish error to be brainless like this, when the slightest thought could reveal that reason is entirely reliable. Yet people have the strongest egos, and the strongest emotional repulsion from exploring the field of thought.
The Use of Dichotomy
The solitary individual that relates himself to the Absolute necessarily contrasts this with relating himself to "the others", since he is logical. But the latter is not the same kind as simply relating himself to "the others", as the herd-minded creature is compelled to do.
The solitary individual makes a logical contrast. But the consensus-anonymous beast never gets as far as being logical, since his entire mind is bent on an emotional outcome. He never thinks about the dichotomy, since he has no alternatives. He relates himself to the others because that is all he is capable of doing; if he were able to think of an alternative, he would necessarily be straight on the path of reason.
Of course, the animal who is merely speculating about an alternative to a herd-minded self-concept has never left the fold. He dreams about what all the sheep dream of, kidding himself that he is thinking.
The dichotomy is an essential part of the solitary individual's life. Everything is thought clearly and by contrast. Every concept has its sharpness and fullness in being defined, and definitions are based on logic (x and not-x).
Πεισιθανατος — Persuader to life
In Lives of the Eminent Philosophers (Book 2) by Diogenes Laërtius, is mentioned the Hegesians. Hegesias the Cyrene was so persuasive that some committed suicide on accepting his arguments, which led him to be forbidden from teaching. Diogenes writes of this Πεισιθανατος (persuader to death):
93. They also held that nothing is just or honourable or base by nature, but only by convention and custom. Nevertheless the good man will be deterred from wrong-doing by the penalties imposed and the prejudices that it would arouse. Further that the wise man really exists. They allow progress to be attainable in philosophy as well as in other matters. They maintain that the pain of one man exceeds that of another, and that the senses are not always true and trustworthy.
The school of Hegesias, as it is called, adopted the same ends, namely pleasure and pain. In their view there is no such thing as gratitude or friendship or beneficence, because it is not for themselves that we choose to do these things but simply from motives of interest, apart from which such conduct is nowhere found.
94. They denied the possibility of happiness, for the body is infected with much suffering, while the soul shares in the sufferings of the body and is a prey to disturbance, and fortune often disappoints. From all this it follows that happiness cannot be realized. Moreover, life and death are each desirable in turn. But that there is anything naturally pleasant or unpleasant they deny; when some men are pleased and others pained by the same objects, this is owing to the lack or rarity or surfeit of such objects. Poverty and riches have no relevance to pleasure; for neither the rich nor the poor as such have any special share in pleasure.
95. Slavery and freedom, nobility and low birth, honour and dishonour, are alike indifferent in a calculation of pleasure. To the fool life is advantageous, while to the wise it is a matter of indifference. The wise man will be guided in all he does by his own interests, for there is none other whom he regards as equally deserving. For supposing him to reap the greatest advantages from another, they would not be equal to what he contributes himself. They also disallow the claims of the senses, because they do not lead to accurate knowledge. Whatever appears rational should be done. They affirmed that allowance should be made for errors, for no man errs voluntarily, but under constraint of some suffering; that we should not hate men, but rather teach them better. The wise man will not have so much advantage over others in the choice of goods as in the avoidance of evils, making it his end to live without pain of body or mind.
96. This then, they say, is the advantage accruing to those who make no distinction between any of the objects which produce pleasure.
Clearly, the Hegesians are somewhat naive in thinking that no man errs voluntarily, but this was typical of the ancient Greeks, who did not distinguish the will to truth from the will to well-being and comfort. They believed that physical and mental well-being were only one thing. They literally believed in a superstitious way that an orderly mind would always effect in well-being, an arrangement divinely inspired and bestowed. One could only say they were naive, but it is to their credit that they had a natural optimism and self-love.
The word "sane", comes from "sanus", meaning healthy, and is still used in Latin countries to indicate physical health, as indeed the phrase 'sanitary conditions' indicates. They did not recognise that sanity, based on truthfulness, could be divorced from physical well-being, or that they were two completely different, and not necessarily related, things. This attitude unfortunately distorts the entire teaching of Hegesias, which would otherwise be wonderfully sound in reason and truth.
There is more to be learnt about Hegesias from Cicero. In Tusculanae Disputationes, Cicero also mentions Hegesias' teaching as follows (in which italics are mine):
I perceive you have sublime thoughts, and are eager to mount up to heaven.
I am not without hopes myself that such may be our fate. But admit what they assert — that the soul does not continue to exist after death.
Should it be so, I see that we are then deprived of the hopes of a happier life.
But what is there of evil in that opinion? For let the soul perish as the body: is there any pain, or indeed any feeling at all, in the body after death? No one, indeed asserts that; though Epicurus charges Democritus with saying so; but the disciples of Democritus deny it. No sense, therefore, remains in the soul; for the soul is nowhere. Where, then, is the evil? for there is nothing but these two things. Is it because the mere separation of the soul and body cannot be effected without pain? But even should that be granted, how small a pain must that be! Yet I think that it is false, and that it is very often unaccompanied by any sensation at all, and sometimes even attended with pleasure; but certainly the whole must be very trifling, whatever it is, for it is instantaneous. What makes us uneasy, or rather gives us pain, is the leaving all the good things of life.
But just consider if I might not more properly say, leaving the evils of life; only there is no reason for my now occupying myself in bewailing the life of man, and yet I might, with very good reason. But what occasion is there, when what I am laboring to prove is that no one is miserable after death, to make life more miserable by lamenting over it? I have done that in the book which I wrote, in order to comfort myself as well as I could. If, then, our inquiry is after truth, death withdraws us from evil, not from good.
This subject is indeed so copiously handled by Hegesias, the Cyrenaic philosopher, that he is said to have been forbidden by Ptolemy from delivering his lectures in the schools, because some who heard him made away with themselves. There is, too, an epigram of Callimachus on Cleombrotus of Ambracia, who, without any misfortune having befallen him, as he says, threw himself from a wall into the sea, after he had read a book of Plato's. The book I mentioned of that Hegesias is called Αποκαρτερτεραν, or "A Man who starves himself," in which a man is represented as killing himself by starvation, till he is prevented by his friends, in reply to whom he reckons up all the miseries of human life. I might do the same, though not so fully as he, who thinks it not worth any man's while to live. I pass over others. Was it even worth my while to live, for, had I died before I was deprived of the comforts of my own family, and of the honors which I received for my public services, would not death have taken me from the evils of life rather than from its blessings?
Interestingly, Hegesias' ruler in Cyrene was Magas, who apparently accepted visits from Buddhist missionaries sent by King Ashoka. This may explain Hegesias' attitude towards life being suffering, and that the end of life was also the end of suffering. However, I believe that either the missionaries, or Hegesias, misinterpreted the sense of all life being suffering.
The true Πεισιθανατος recognises that life means attachment to life, which is based only on a misunderstanding of what life is. As Diogenes recognised, there is no actual difference between life and death because the nature of Reality does not change either during death or life or any other state. That is, life and death have the same ultimate nature.
Unfortunately, Hegesias or the missionaries seem to have mistakenly assumed that the end of life is not intellectual, as in the end of the mistaken conceptualisation of what life is, but literally the physical end of life.
How could he have made that mistake?
Clearly, he was really not a Πεισιθανατος but a life-persuader: one who believes that life really exists, that sought pleasure and found disappointment, and so concluded that the absence of life must necessarily be absence of such disappointment and suffering. If he had understood the Buddhist teaching (or the missionaries had), he would have realised that nirvana is not the literal end of life, but the end of the causes that create suffering, which are entirely made of intellectual errors.
Needless to say, a persuader to life is not interested in ending intellectual errors. That would be too easy! He would rather search for another life, where he can continue the mental confusion.
Simple Solitary (Diogenes) — Pastors and Preachers and Monks
Diogenes was more of a Πεισιθανατος than Hegesias. Diogenes threw off all the draperies and social pretensions that the ego so loves, but which deliberately conceal the truth of the emptiness of things. He lived nakedly, seeing the gauche, garish, plain and primitive actuality of life and death. This was exactly the way to throw off life, and end its sufferings. He threw off attachment to life, not as a miserable sufferer, but as one who hearkened to the law of all things, and delighted in its song.
By contrast, are those pretentious idiots — the preachers, pastors, and monks. They have a tiny thought: I would show the world I value the truth. But thereupon, they turn their back on that tiny thought, and go seeking a worldly position, a socially acceptable role, in which to "witness to the truth". Oh, how comical! They don't conscientiously apply their understanding, but run in the opposite direction, seeking their well-being, security, social status, and an income. It is absolutely, utterly, completely ridiculous.
But even worse: they become salesmen. They present the truth (what little they have accepted to be true), maybe, but have turned the whole affair into a business proposition to make profits from. Scoundrels!
The most evil man in the world is not a pedophile, murderer, rapist, fraudster of the poor, or genocidalist. All such evils contemn and destroy the body only, and are of negligible despicability compared to the one who ravages the minds of the innocent: a minister, religious teacher, monk, pastor, priest, or other name-bearer in a religious organisation - whether that organisation is ostensibly about absolutes, like Buddhism, or hides its absolutes, like scientific academies.
And the most stupid person in the world would have to be the pastor's wife. By stupid, I mean credulous and arrogant. The followers are merely idiots, timid doubters who seem to lack body, legs, arms, and brains, and thus have to go around on the backs of others. It is just as Diogenes said: dreamers and diviners of dreams (religious nut-cases) are the silliest of animals.
How foolish our modern human society is - oh, yes, foolish, more foolish than ever - so foolish that, instead of being locked up like the scoundrels and mind-rapists they are, the preachers and pastors and priests and religious teachers (including scientists) are praised! And people, sheeplike forever, follow them with respect and timidity.
Vipassana as Primitive Action — Vipassana by Dhamma Pabha
What is vipassana? It is understanding the emptiness of all things, and it is challenging and overcoming all mental habits that disaccord with that understanding.
Meditation is vipassana. It concentrates the mind intently on what any thought, or the merest fragment of an impulse, beckons one to accept. The coarsest, the subtlest, of thoughts, meditation examines.
Meditation done with earnestness challenges first the fear to discover. It is not as though one's ordinary consciousness is the compartment of the mind that is habitually conscious and wise, such that any investigation will be of the "other" compartments where deluded thoughts are retained to be inspected at will, like opening a door to a cabinet, such that one can leap into the fray like a disinterested newcomer. No, instead, one's ordinary consciousness is the mess of habitual deviancies and psychological hindrances, set up to keep the mind from venturing into enlightenment. This is why vipassana is essential as a primal solitary exercise, and must be consistently and regularly engaged in. One has to make one's "ordinary" consciousness the enlightened one.
Strenuous though this may sound, to be conscious like this, 100% aware and introspective, enlightening oneself moment-by-moment, digging up every slightest fragment and wisp of construction, is the vital essence of solitude.
So, there are bodies of habitual thoughts set up at every point to prevent any examination. There will be habits of distractability, and of seeking sensory diversions, that show themselves as discomfort and physical unease when the examination begins. One has to plough through those pains.
It is just like stretching the body when it is stiff and habituated to certain poses. The stretch is literally painful: the neural signals along the spine, back, neck and head are of pain. But with patience and relaxation, persisting with the stretch for a decent period, the pain lessens and the muscles stretch.
The activity of vipassana waits on the truth, holding it as the standard, and suffers the pains and tingles of resistance. It holds emptiness as the truth, observing all psychological workings with a higher perspective, and thus is able to be patient and to endure those scratchy feelings, the inclination to turn the glance away from the discovery, the compulsion to tear the examiner's plaque of authority from sight and to run back to comforting habits of thought or activity.
How is this activity pursued? With bodhicitta: the will to truth. Only with that determined vision, will one endure the stretching character of vipassana.
Anything other than this is not vipassana. The practice commonly called vipassana, as taught by the Dhamma Pabla organisation, has not this profound nature, but is a kind of sport of mental self-control, like learning how to balance on a tight-rope. Instead of learning to rid oneself of delusions, and immerse oneself in Reality, the Dhamma Pabha teach rules to stop stressing the body and mind, much like the Ancient Greeks did in their view that harmony of mind created a harmonious body. Adherents to this practise are not truly enlightened, in the slightest. They have only grabbed hold of a pile of behaviours to replace other behaviours with, the aim of which is the end of stress, unhappiness, and agitation (or rather, the attempt to avoid experiencing anything stressful) rather than the attainment of wisdom.
Understanding Causality — Abusing Causality
All things are caused. But to understand how causality is a universal law, one must understand exactly what is meant by causality.
If it means "cause-and-effect", a time-based process by which one thing leads to another, then if one abstractly invents a timeline representing the whole of all time and divides it into at least two chunks, then the latter chunk of time cannot exist as what it is, without that the former existed before it, owing to their relative positions on the timeline. Thus, if something is defined as existing only in relation to something prior, then certainly without the prior thing's existence, then the latter would also not exist. However, this definition of causality cannot be used in any realistic situation with certainty, because there are countless ways for things to be related and not one clear system of parallel causal lines. Reality is messy and chaotic, with influences, cross-relationships, accidents, explosions, and spills. Nevertheless, the general rule that something existing in a certain place and time before something else existing in the same place but at a later time, and which vanishes when the consequent thing appears, would prove that there is a temporal aspect to causation, even if the causal factor is the disappearance or apparent absence of evidence of the former thing's existence.
There is a simpler way to approach causality, which derives from a deeper principle. Namely: anything which is responsible in even the slightest way for a thing's existence, is therefore causal. This is actually more fundamental than the temporal description of causality, because it reveals what time is. For something to exist, there is a causal situation, or set of conditions, that generates that thing. Therein is the temporal aspect noted. The causal situation "breeds", like a ripeness where the cultivation process has reached a peak, and the caused thing explodes into existence. Without this process (rate of change, or indication of time passing) of cultivation, there is no gradual peaking, and no explosion. Those who would argue that causes for things occur afterwards, are looking at Reality in an unrealistic way, because they fail to see that things aren't discrete objects or iron blocks, but rather are combined in a single unity of messy fluctuations.
Instead of seeing Reality as the early atomic theorists described atomic structure to themselves, namely, as discrete subatomic particles running in rings, we should see the causal process, or the true nature of things, to use the analogy of quantum theorists, as more "fuzzy". This is not to say that one cannot know, or mentally locate anything with certainty, and that all knowledge is fuzzy. Rather, it just means things aren't discrete blocks, or describable as isolated entities in sealed-off containers of existence. Things are merged in a continuum of causality.
The difficulty for most people is recognising that it is possible to define a universal law in a way that doesn't depend on the empirical method. Such persons believe that causality refers to how sensory phenomena exist, and therefore assume that the law of causality is a scientific one that requires empirical proofs. But this is clearly impossible. How is one to determine that any set of conditions constitutes a cultivation process, a peaking, or an explosion into existence? No, again, one is faced with the same issue of countless ways for things to be related, cross-related, influenced, etc. It is impossible to know whether hidden factors are at play or not. It would be impossible to create an absolute scientific experiment to test the hypothesis that a set of conditions are necessary for the existence of a thing. Instead, this is a purely philosophical definition — a truth by definition.
So much for describing causality in a principled way. But now comes the dichotomy on the use of causality as a universal law.
Generally, the efficacy of the lesson of causality is philosophical in nature. It is purely about understanding one's own self in relation to causality: how one exists. This is the point at which the person stands to gain the greatest vipassana.
However, clearly most people who come across the notion of causality don't take it "to heart". They don't explore its ramifications in relation to self-existence profoundly. They actually abuse the law, because they consider that their self is caused but that it remains an "iron block" and an isolated entity in a sealed-off container of existence. For instance, they conceive causes like: their conception and birth, parents and ancestors; environmental causes consisting of the thermal comfort from the sun, shelter from the elements, breathable air and drinkable water; self-care including food, hygiene, clothing, and good health; educational causes including parents, teachers, mentors, peers, and life experiences; and so forth. But they then hold all these causes to be iron blocks, grouped around their self like so many bricks. They do not consider that the self brought into existence by the combined generational force of these conditions is constantly subject to those conditions, and therefore constantly changing. In fact, the ability for the self to be altered at every moment, in every point in space, means that it is completely immersed in the environment of conditions like a drop of water in the ocean, or a shifting body of gases in the air. Instead of conceiving of the self like the brick at the top of a pyramid, it is more like the evanescent plumes of smoke from a fire, that are ever-new and rapidly altering in relation to the varying chemical processes of the fire.
So the abuse of causality expresses itself in the herdly attitude that "all is one" and that all things are related to each other. This allows the iron block ego to remain strong and firm, as a partaker in that unity. This belief is the same as that of a member of an animal tribe, who operates by the law of "safety in numbers". The abuse consists of perceiving that the infinite numbers of things is a big tribe within which they anonymously hide, and thus preserving their own ego in the face of the truth, they fail to learn even the first thing about existence.
The true use of causality as a universal law is the attitude of the solitary, who does not have the driving psychological need to hide in the crowd, or to find safety in the beliefs of others. The individual, standing alone on their own two feet, recognises that since all things are caused, then all things are causes, and, therefore, that Reality is made of infinite causal processes. This leads them to ask, generally in this order:
- What am I then?
- Where did I begin and where do I end?
A: I don't see any such clear demarcations.
- Where are the boundaries of my existence?
A: All of them are fluctuating.
- Do I have any actual boundaries?
A: Not really.
- If I have no actual boundaries, then do I actually exist?
A: Not as a relative object.
- If not, what am I really?
A: What is absolute?
- If all things don't have any actual boundaries, then what really exists?
A: Whatever is absolute.
- Since all these divisible and separate entities, including myself, are not really there, is then the nature of what really exists incapable of being expressed as a relative object?
A: Logically, no.
- What is the nature of this totality that has no relative objectivity, and which is clearly my own nature and the nature of all things?
A: What can be said of something that has no relative properties or nature? Perhaps nothing.
- What is it?
A: I can't come up with any idea that isn't relative in meaning.
- Is this question, or desire, to define the nature of the totality, a deluded one?
- So, what does this mean for me? What does this leave me with?
A: That all things, like me, are actually the absolute natureless predicateless thing of which anything I say is only a pointer away from what it isn't.
- Does this mean I must stop thinking or talking altogether?
A: Obviously not. My existence and nature has always been this 'nameless' nature-empty reality, so nothing changes by my thinking, coming up with concepts, or talking. But I should remember that everything I say and do is actually this ungraspable somethingness..
Emptying of Self — Self-Regathering
The solitary recognises that self is an illusion, and that there is only one. The solitary individual recognises that there is no actual separation between their own self and other things and people. Such an understanding is right. But when they consider that they and others are one in nature, there exists the danger of falling back into the herd, from a desire to be safe within the group.
It may seem a delusion to reassert the existence of the solitary, but there are good psychological and metaphysical bases for doing so. The herd-instinct (and the ego as a function of the herd-member) is extremely strong, and should be distrusted and guarded against constantly, because it is something virtually hardwired into the brain. Nevertheless, though it is "natural", it is false. So, psychologically, the remembrance of being a solitary is important.
Metaphysically, the solitary realises his true nature through reason, which is an inward movement. The one who is alone, thinking for themselves, reliant on their own intellectualising, is the one who is most capable of recognising truth and emptying himself. But not only this aloneness in reason, but also the single and alone identity of the empty Totality, provides good justification for reasserting the importance of being a solitary. "Solitary" is literally a true metaphysical identity.
The Solitary Nature of Emptiness — Relating to the Others
The solitary is the identity of the self that relates to emptiness as itself. Solitude comes from the word for alone, or single. Just as the sun is one, and alone, so is the solitary the only one.
Solitude is not being alone in relation to being in the company of other humans, because that is just a negative version of being one, namely, one minus others. Solitude means to be truly alone: the only one. Clearly then, the solitary is the one who is of the one. The solitary is alone through consciousness of emptiness. The solitary is the one who knows there is no ultimate distinction between anything: no really existent things.
Sobriety, Seriousness, Earnestness — Fun, No Worries, Amorality
The current decadent fashion of taking nothing seriously comes from a deep demoralisation. Everywhere, advertising promotes youth having fun, children laughing and smiling, and people doing whatever they like to make themselves feel good. It is a primarily consumeristic trend: people will give a lot more money if they feel that greedy self-gratification is what they ought to focus their lives on. So they are happy to make money off each other's demoralisation. Of what does this demoralisation derive from? Nothing more or less than a deep lack of faith in truth.
If one ever speaks of seriousness, rationality, judgment, and absolutes, the typical social member behaves just like a clown would. They pull a sad face, laugh, and regard you as a fool for not realising that no one knows anything for certain - which they will believe with absolute conviction. Their pitying look is simply more self-gratification, and an attempt to appeal to the herd instinct.
To be a judge, one must be alone.
Immersion — Escapism
The stress and tedium of ordinary animal life is necessarily cojoined with escapist fantasies. This is where love becomes such a drug: love is a world-escaping desire. The harangued, dissatisfied person seeks something to salve their emotional gripe. Whatever the object is of their fantasy, it is fuelled by love. Love is the clearest symptom of this dualistic state, and hatred also.
The escapist dreamer has enchanted dreams. They dream of clear, otherworldly, bright eyes — a magical, elusive beloved — a pure and wonderful mutual desirer of their body and soul. They dream of a heavenly escape from the boredom and irritation of a miserable, inconspicuous, meaningless life.
But all such need, desire, hope, desperation, and daily toil to exact some achievement, some vindication, some existential mark of accomplishment, is all utterly founded on delusion.
For one is already immersed in what is perfect and complete! Only a deluded mind could not recognise this, or be incapable of accepting this. It is only the deluded mind that becomes tired and needy. The wise mind sees beneath the dynamic of change, and loses the animal heart thereby.
Why dream of love and satiation? The nature of Reality, the basis of all existence, the very essence of the ebb and flow of existence, will never ultimately change, since there is no escaping that the Totality is already the Totality, here and now. Everything one does is a part of the Totality. What can one do to change this? Nothing. So the wise man ceases all vain pursuits, and rests in emptiness.
Action — Laziness
All it takes is the will to act. Then all the habits of laziness are conquered: wanting to distract oneself, wanting to escape tedium, fear of other people's ape-reactions, fear of the demands of enlightenment. Don't be afraid of wisdom, or make the prayers for strength so desperate that enlightenment becomes a burden. Just act in faith: know what emptiness means, and throw your will into experiencing it fully.
Life Failure — Life Success
For good reason did Nietzsche emphasise the Super-Man's will to Downfall (Untergang). The man who is willing to fail at everything animalistic, and to reject everything the animal man desires: ambition, happiness, worldly success, approval by peers, family and friends, material security and comfort, house and car and garden and toys, love, sex, and so forth — this is the Super-Man's descent into the animal's hell. To be a failure at life is to gain everything. To lose everything that the animal life sees as the greatest good, is to enter the narrow gate of the spirit. This is death to the animal, the hell he warns all others of. Yet the solitary wills to enter this "immoral realm" of failure and loss. Why does he have this goal? Only because he doesn't want to be suffocated in a thousand finite concerns, but find the one single basis, the one core truth, for all life. And so he easily sees through the smokescreen of socially approved advertisements, and he actually wills to fail at life.
One virtue — Antagonism
The idealistic mindset of the Super-Man (the solitary who seeks to transcend everything animal and irrational) may lead to an excess in virtues, and therefore he accumulates vices of the spirit. He has infinite ideals and values, because he rejects so much. Everything he greatly despises of the animal world has an opposite, but if he forgets his uppermost goal, then he becomes suffocated in all these ideals. He becomes overloaded with antagonism.
An example of the antagonism is this: where a higher man (someone of the human realms who respects reason and has many lofty ideals) comes into conflict with the animal world, with society in fact, and his lifestyle is impinged by its mediocre and foolish demands and rules. He becomes enraged, because he desires only to live by his ideals. His stress and irritation, his frustration and anxiety, stem from having too many values, and not enough value. He has forgotten to sink down, to fall down, to get beneath all these values and to fail supremely. He has lost sight of the ability to value — of the freedom of the Infinite.
The only way for this higher man to continue is either in antagonism (which is merely his desire to be accepted by society, and thus he will become (i) one of those fools he despises, or (ii) go mad) — or to fail supremely by giving up all those values in order to plummet to the very bottom: the single value of emptiness. In the latter, he loses all the constructions and idealisms he has built of himself, because he values something even higher than his many virtues. Then his stress fades, because he has gone to the lowest point — or climbed to the highest point — which is equal to the death of his ego.
Only the animalistically dead man can enter the market place of animal life (or any society of men that has not reached to the Super-Man) and speak openly without distress. Only the man of one virtue, the complete failure, can persist with his values without losing or gaining anything when his life (which is now wisdom) is resisted.
Dead to the world — Samsara
How can you become so dead that the spirits and ghosts of the underworld are like living creatures, moaning and complaining of their vital wounds, flitting about you who remain unmoved and changeless? Leave every hope behind. To enter hell, one must operate by Dante's vision: Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch'entrate.
Love and escapism and hope for success are what binds thoughts to the ego-pathway. This is not hard-wired into the brain. Resistance is useful!
Samsaric pathways are basically the futile, endless chase for more. Samsara means "birth and death", or spinning the wheel of existence. Samsara is generated by the chase for a new life, a more interesting activity, an escape from some present difficulty. And it is clearly so easy for samsara to end any moment. For, really, samsaric existence is brainless. Humans are supposed to have the capacity to predict the future, and see patterns. Evidently few humans use their brains.
To cheat the animal's rationalisations is a wise psychology. Psychology is about one's motives and desires, one's values and instinctive "virtues". So it is possible to create a non-animalistic psychology.
The animal wakes with fear and excitement: another day for battling and achieving has just begun. It turns in at night with the joy of exhaustion, like a sick child reprieved from school: exhaustion tastes like the sweet nothingness of sleep, reprieving it from any demands for facing any new challenge. The life of animalism is a to-and-fro of energy restoration and exhaustion, always battling a new foe.
To cheat this attitude of achievement, one can face the day with the knowledge that all is complete. Nothing can be done or resolved, nothing is needed, nothing prevents one from being immersed immediately in heaven.
Freedom — Routines
Freedom consists in not being stuck in rituals and traditions, manners and safe boundaries.
Most of us would, if we wished to make a visit to someone, rely on the protocol of announcing our visit in advance. "It's only courteous," we say. But this is designed to prepare mental defences and behaviours so no one involved is "surprised" — meaning, caught out with their pants down. The toilet has shit on it and hasn't been cleaned for weeks? So what.
Socialised behaviour has no essential worth. With Nature all things are possible: this isn't a monotheistic legacy but an actuality. Possibility is the freedom of change, and in Nature things change. Socialised behaviour is conditioned to rules about an acceptable and limited amount of change: it doesn't want Nature as it is: wild, purposeless, maker of life and death, free of any human concerns, whimsical constructor and deconstructor, and the ultimate and absolute force behind any eventuality.
Routines are the cage of the Nature-phobic. This person behaves like the neurotic hyper-allergenic female (or effeminate male) who feels psychologically disturbed by having bad skin or bad digestion. They are bogged down in an infinite chase for the holy grail of a perfectly pure biochemical state, which they exert themselves agitatedly to sustain. It is definitely a madness, and loves not Nature. Harden yourself to discomfort! Pray not that Nature will love and sustain you, but that you will love Nature. Look God's freedom in the face!
Heaven is already here. Can't you see? So stop binding yourself to rules and schedules and lifestyle concerns and time and best outcome management.
The Solitary's Activity — Zarathustra's Method in the Vorrede
The actuality of the solitary's true self is the boundless Infinite, and his virtue will demand of him to express himself true to himself. So instead of remaining in some summit of personal enlightenment, the Awakened One must leave this notion of personal and live with the mindfulness of his branchedness.
So it makes complete sense for Zarathustra to say that he is satiated by wisdom and must, like the great luminary, shine for others. In doing this, he perceives clearly the flooding-out of light behaving as it naturally must — without artificial walls. So he must express himself as who he really is, and do this existentially genuinely, by speaking at large.
The Awakened One is therefore the realisation of the solitary.
But here comes the question of the most logical way for the expression to reflect its own truth back: why does Zarathustra go down to the people of Pied Cow and speak to them, knowing already, since (as the old holy man of the forest says) he has previously come from there with disgust lingering at his mouth? He must already know — he cannot have forgotten — that although the plain and foolish people of the market place are, yes, really the nooks and crannies of that vast canyon into which the turbulent rushing water floods, nevertheless they cannot reflect that essential nature back. They hate it. Therefore, my objection is that Zarathustra's mistake in the Vorrede, or rather Nietzsche's, is that he first goes to the people who cannot give back the existentially genuine expression of the luminary, when he knows or ought to know that they cannot hear.
Since his logical impulse remains strong, he knows he must still flood and branch and live as the impersonal boundlessness — and express himself openly thus. So he seeks those who already are as he was: the hermit, solitary, recluse, or hidden refugee from the stupidity and cruelty of the mediocre and resentful hypocrites of the market place — and these he carries like living shells in order to help them break themselves open. So the essence of the problem was: why would he have bothered to make that first mistake? Was it helping him to break himself further by knowing the people's hatred with the sense of Awakening? If so, then fine. Perhaps he just wanted to be reminded, and test himself. This would make sense of his Will zu untergehen.
But otherwise it is an avoidable mistake. It would only be a choice for the one who still loves and needs the herd, and who hasn't made himself a failure at life. In that sense, Zarathustra's method would be suspect. Is his reasoning for going down into the herd to speak to them of what they hate, a way of reforming himself as distinct from them — which, though an "advanced" kind of mistake, is a sign of fear of his true self? Or is he throwing himself into that experience to help cut away that fear, by practising emptiness in the midst of a temptation? Certainly, if he is already strong-minded in his Awakening, he definitely would not have chosen a needless method for going-down. Perhaps he would have found other means, such as in practising awakening in the midst of the solitaries whose reflective understanding he seeks? The latter makes far more sense to me because it is a movement from apparent solitude to actual solitude, by showing himself in his true unity in the midst of those who can reflect.
Zarathustra's Vorrede therefore reads as a beginner's attempt, rather than a devotional work for a true going-down.
On the relationship between the use of pain in physical austerities and samadhi
There is a psychological benefit in using austerities of a physical nature rather than the higher kind of purely intellectual austerities regarding the metaphysical. That benefit is for the mind with a strong understanding of the Infinite which yet lacks psychological grounding in that understanding. That mind has an overpowering sense of complexity, creativity, growth, change and wildness, but is overcome psychologically by a vertiginous and vast imagery. Basically, that individual's understanding is not 100% perfect. So they remain psychologically distanced, frightened by the chaos and conceptual uncontainability of the Infinite. To strengthen them psychologically and pit them against their fears, so that their reasoning can be shored up and perfected, such a person often uses some degree of a physical austerity. It is really so simple and obvious that it is often overlooked.
This practical habit of using physical austerity is about using the sensory stimulus of physical pain or discomfort to focus the mind like a man holding a gimlet against his thigh, or pressing something solid and hard against his bodily organism. This physical pain simply "holds his mind" in a unified force, so to speak, against that something which is his psychological unease, his ego-based fear and dismay, in order to condense it into conceptual substance and thus deal with it more coherently.
It is precisely this, which explains why there are customs like sitting on a bed of nails, or walking barefoot over rough ground, or binding a cooling bandage tightly around one's forehead. But, more subtly, it explains the milder forms of ascetism that just about every male engages in: wearing jeans rather than light trousers when there is no biological need of a heavier cloth for warmth or protection, tightening a belt for the feeling of the encirclement of the waist, imbibing an intenser or more bitter concentration of a beverage or food, the nervous habit of rubbing the thumb over the sharp edge of the index fingernail, or touching a part of the face when searching the mind to cohede an idea or memory. It is all a matter of degree.
It's a mild kind of flagellation to push against letting one's bodily / animal desires take hold of one's line of thought. Austerities of this nature are not emotional, but anti-emotional.
It is not so much about sharpening the mind as creating a single point of mental cohesion against chaos and is a wholly psychological phenomenon. It gives the imperfect wanderer some relief because he personally becomes real in his conception of the storm of infinitude. He throws his value-weight behind a higher psychology: determined, forceful, resolved, decisive. He becomes his mental fortitude capable of fixing and enduring a sensory shock, the shock of Reality's emptiness.
That is, his centralised sense of self mentally pushes against the physical pain of whatever particular austerity is used, and thereby reasserts a sense of solidity and control. It is about constraining the feeling of losing one's mind in the wilderness of the Infinite, constraining the enormously terrifying, and very powerful psychological shock to the ego (and which must not be underestimated!) of the Infinite. By asserting a centralised existence in a psycho-physical manner, the terrifying feeling of dissolution can be constrained like the homicidal madman is constrained by a straightjacket. It causes the power of the Infinite shock against the animal's neurology to recede from view a little.
It is not necessarily that the animal is reasserting his ego, and solidifying that, when he is pushing a solid, centralised self against the shock of physical pain (of whatever degree of intensity). Not at all. He is not reforming the ego out of fear of its dissolution vis-a-vis the Infinite. Instead, this method of physical austerity is the psychological approach to samadhi. It is how the human mind becomes rational, and how it always turns to reason from the fog of unreason — though it will behave in less overtly physical ways as it becomes stronger. It is self-existence that centralises the mind: the I as a psychological will to reason.
In some people who have chronic insomnia, they cannot distinguish between things that move. Visually and aurally, the moving things have become one mass. This is basically the same thing as the ego-aroused mind perceiving the Infinite. It is overwhelmed by the boundless complexity and interactivity, and mashes everything into a frightening foggy haze. They have lost their "I", which is their ability to perceive distinctly. The tired mind and the frightened mind have much in common.
The I is a psychological will to reason against the shock of the nameless — hence a will to know what the mind intuits is hateful to know.
The Wise Man's Imagination — Eckhardt Tolle's Imagination
The fool is stunned and terrified by his own imagination. All the overwhelming, depressing, desponding, monstrous and dreadful things are created by one's own thoughts. A weak, submissive, anxious mind is created by believing in the existence of a power that is utterly overwhelming, and so relates itself to that overwhelming power, as the lesser thing: puny, helpless, abject plaything. Yet no thing is intrinsically powerful or weak. It is all in one's mind.
But here an egotist like Eckhardt Tolle — who is very popular — will advise one that the solution to this ego-based suffering is to "Believe you are strong," or "Believe you have the world at your feet," or "Believe you are the one who makes all the choices." Such as he refuse to recognise that the suffering is caused by the dualism of strong / weak which automatically generates imaginary foes or prey. Instead of catching the ego at its tricks, he celebrates its lies. Why? He's a wolf. He gets plenty of cash and plenty of prey to feed on: the lipsticked sheep who pour money into his bank account for his evil books. It is easier for egotists (whether sheep or wolf) to believe in self-existence, because they have very little faith in reason and far more faith in the senses and in pain and hormones. They have no love of thinking about how that self really exists.
And so, there are plenty like Eckhardt Tolle. Oh, Where is the wise man, who has always given his wise words for free, even though he is almost always rewarded with contempt, slander, laughter?
Vipassana is not about "Meditation Techniques"
The point of meditation is not to use techniques to "drop into a fundamental, primeval state of existence" or "attain a state of bliss" or "achieve good, harmonious feelings where mind and body are one". In fact, the whole body of rules about what one can do to control the mind is utterly foolhardy. The mind is by nature free.
Meditation is not about trying to train the mind to escape affliction or agitation or weakness, like a car driver using tools to execute the fastest, smoothest lap around the race course. Meditation is not about achieving some particular ideal mental state. It is about gaining insight into what one truly is — the nature of Ultimate Reality.
If one seeks happiness and bliss, then when truth rears its ugly head, you will ignore it. The one who respects reason is willing to sacrifice themselves and choose to stick it out on the painful path of loving reason more than joy.
Ultimate Reality is not a particular reality to be gained or lost. It simply is the nature of what already is, and always will be. So meditation is just thinking and understanding — and is something one does at any moment, anywhere, anyhow. Just think.
Vipassana just means insight.
Philosophy is the love of wisdom. It is not love of intellectualising, or expertise in weighing ethical considerations, or skill in thinking about various rules of logic or logical interrelationships, or delight in solving problems like intricate math dilemmas. All this is nonsense passed off by charlatans.
Philosophy is wholly and simply about loving what is true, and living it. Love of truth is application.
This means, philosophy isn't merely abstract philosophising. It's impossible to philosophise abstractly anyway. One can never escape the fact that one is alive right now, and holding to some notion of what is true existentially. How crazy is the belief that almost all academics have, that one can analyse the notion of truth without ever endorsing any position about truth, without actually having any stance on what truth is. It's absurd, yet almost all of them do it. They say, "What about x? Can we assert x as true?" without even considering that this questioning process itself relies on a particular ideological stance, asserting something as true, namely, "The process of asking questions is a sure way to glean certain knowledge." Ah, it's impossible for an academic of this order to be called a thinker, since a few seconds of thought would reveal the thoughtlessness in that method.
But I have not yet dealt with the matter that I wish to articulate in this exercise in solitude. Namely, that of the budding philosopher, the genuine lover of wisdom, who often loves the psychological relief that intellectual resolution brings — without yet really going all the way with what that insight teaches. They get too hung up on thinking for its own sake, believing they're achieving something. This leads to pride in an identity, "thinker / philosopher". They are still chasing more constructions, instead of using the tools to deconstruct all tools and constructions.
Reason points to an idea, but one cannot stand outside as an observer of that idea and applaud. One has to take it to heart, and be sacrificed to its truth.
Love of wisdom is application.
Pride has no place in wisdom. The great love that draws one powerfully towards God, must end up in truth. It cannot be waylaid in a delight in knowledge, or joy in a powerful clear mind. All these are detours, and are dangerous to the seeker of wisdom. Do not love anything higher than God, do not let yourself be drawn towards rewards and satisfactions.
You must be prepared to sacrifice everything in your bid for wisdom. And you must follow through, for great harm results from letting the seed of wisdom fall to earth. Push on, you wretched child of the desert, and pay no mind to the pain or the sacrifice. Unless your efforts meet their goal, they are not good enough. Be on guard! Be on guard!
Immoral Vocations: Journalist, Priest / Pastor, Academic Teacher
A journalist is qualified in nothing, so is the last person who should express a message to others. A priest's or a pastor's qualification is to tell the world by personal example that to value the the truth is to put personal security first. An academic teacher is qualified to talk and not apply, and is the worst kind of person to teach.
Too many waste their lives trying to improve little bits and pieces of the infrastructure. Dan Rowden put it aptly as: papering over cracks in the structure. For instance, software developers are constantly tweaking and updating, unable to calm their sick, feverish "solve it with a program" obsession, their software diarrhoea. Or, telecommunications manufacturers overload people with meaningless piles of new gadgets, idiotic in their chase for another brain-numbing function that only an idiot would need. Or new articles in the media — of the most stupid and stupifying content — seek to satisfy the common fool's need for entertainment (read: distraction from the boredom of his or her life). And preachers paper over the cracks with consolations, rather than radical surgery, while academics pompously record everything to find out trends to satisfy the lusts of their commercial employers, and therefore have no genuine interest in getting to the heart of the sickness.
Society is nothing but a lulling cradle of nonsense, a thick suffocating cocoon of nonsense, embedded with soporific chemicals to keep people unconscious their entire lives, so that they die without the least sensation or thought. Society is full of these routines to escape thought, and moreover, it is full of routes — the safehold of stupidity.
Scrap the calendar, the manual, the news feed, the weekly activities and social meets: look at Reality.
Oh, stupid bumpkin! This isn't another news feed. I aim to wring your heart out of its chest cavity with my bare hands — by the time this is over, you will be a dead man or I will have failed in my goal!
The Individual's Duty to Resist Friendship and Social Mores
A solitary has no friends, no social ties, no obligations or courtesies to kowtow to. He has created new values — by reasoning for himself what is needed.
How could Nature be a traditionalist?
Simplicity — Hankering
The solitariness of the Infinite: its single nature, is immediately present, and absolutely complete. Therefore, the thing is simple. So you should stop chasing for infinite complexities, and remain simple.
Purpose — Distractability
The presence of emotions shows ignorance of what is truly the case: the nature of Reality, one's own nature. If you experience agitation, and turbulence of mind, then the answer is not to seek tranquillity, but to dive immediately to the core. Get off the surface waves, get out of the dualistic winds.It is easy to be distracted by a million complexities, by this problem and that problem, as soon as you start hankering for Reality to take a particular form. You must watch for the ugly head of the ego: that belief in forms. All desire comes from that belief, that "I vs. the Other". Your purpose is the Infinitude, the boundary-less, the namelessness, the very present emptiness of all things. That is your self. You are already that. Every thing, every finitude, is really there: but it is ultimately the boundless totality. See the edges, and then look past them. Look at the fractalisation of reality. But don't look at fractals by searching for more and more fractals; rather, look only once.
Timeless — Time Management
Time is an illusion. All time is present in every moment. Take your time. Don't be in time.
Infinite Freedom — Society's Gaol of Routines
Go at your own pace. That is, find the pace that awakens you to the wildness of Nature. This self-paced wilderness-seeking is exactly what society finds repulsive: they call it "idle", "wasteful", "grasshopper stupidity", "selfish" and "mentally ill". They believe that a Diogenes-like poverty is akin to lack of intelligence. But you seek emptiness first, and have deliberately chosen to enter the dirty waters of the spirit and suffer "cold frogs and hot toads" if such waters have been pointed out as the way of Nature to you, by reason.
Social Guilt — Freedom of the Spirit
When you have had friends, even spiritual friends, then your ego has been pampered. When you take the road of genuine solitude, choosing to discard these affiliations like weeping dust from your eyes, then your ego will roar.
Agitation will rise, like blaming others for the psychological pain of being alone. Because of wanting the happiness of friendship and its safety in numbers, the the ego-thought will flip over to attacking others, being emotionally riled by their 'disgusting mediocrity' etc. etc. etc. Thus, disgust is not the answer.
Social guilt is just another ego-trick. Climb higher than all these turbulences and steaming rains. Find the truth about yourself — and don't be deceived by pride when you find it.
Activity — Adrenalin
The activity of the spirit is not a chasing, accumulating activity. It is a deconstructing activity, that, should it feel excitement and accomplishment, realises it is not active, but inactive (doing the reverse of what it intends).
Spiritual activity is an anti-sport. It doesn't enter the roller-coaster of 'Wow, man, what a high!' It looks on the adrenalin-pumped, ego-boosted rushes of sports as a sign of madness. The whole point of the spiritual action is to undeceive oneself about the nature of things, and to stop the ego-belief in gaining and winning (or losing).
Empty Teaching — Self-oriented Teaching
Be careful that you express your true self. But even silence speaks.
The Patience beyond Life and Death
On finding what is true for all time, it should not be difficult to commit to living according to the truth for your entire lifetime.
A young man who has an enlightened insight may then lose it, because he sees his entire life stretching in front of him, made suddenly devoid of the thrills of animal achievement. His mind was still enchanted by the siren songs of animality: great actions, self-sacrificing reputation, a noble death.
Crazedly he asks: 'What do you do after you understand emptiness?'
Thinking — Reading
One should think most of the time, and read little. Never read another person's writings to find an answer to a metaphysical question: you already have the seeds of the answer if you hold the question.
Solitude of heart is not about suppressing emotion. Be careful to be genuine in understanding, and not just to leap to the artifice of detachment or suppression (like "observe your emotions like an outsider"). Instead, understand the basic principle of emotion: the false thought about me.
Wild — Tamed
Freedom of thought is not frenzied thought. In fact, true wildness is infinitude of mind, and is expressed very simply, and as profound stillness. It's so profound it doesn't need to take on the artifice of stillness, as many gurus fancifully think. The truly free mind is so plain and simple, it has no artifices and no elegance or "still appearance". It is "tamed", so to speak. The tamed mind does not need to race: it has finished with all pursuits and is down to earth, one with itself.
Individualisation — Revolutions
Christ said he came to set "the world" on fire, but he didn't mean a social revolution gathering followers and starting a new cultural movement to wipe out old traditions. He wasn't talking about leading a pack of bodies. He meant burning up the whole world as perceived by the single individual. The secret gospels of Thomas are a far clearer expression of Christ's nature than anything found in that watered-down blather, the "Christian Bible".
The Solitary and the Construction
When a daring scientist admits that the scientific (empirical) method is not able to provide certainties because it relies on the provisional qualities of the senses and the observer's biases, he is not yet telling the whole truth. Even more daringly, he may admit that consciousness is a construction of the brain and made up of sensory inputs, yet still he is not telling the whole truth. He won't say that one can't even know if the senses are real or not, or that one doesn't actually know that the construction is by the brain, since it is the construction which presents that evidence. What actually creates the construction? No one will ever know. But meditating on the certain existence of the construction itself is the solitary's gateway to understanding the nature of Ultimate Reality. Having discarded all scientific guesswork, the solitary is finally thrown fully into the purely logical realm, and there faces the question: what is this that is called my experience? I can never relate it to anything else in order to define it, so what is it?
The Consistency of Individual Reason — Totality of All Human Knowledge
It is easy to prove that the totality of all human knowledge cannot have greater worth than one single highly rational individual's small and limited knowledge. How? Because the validity of any knowledge does not exist in an ethereal library "out there". It is only valid when it is proven to be by one single highly rational individual. It is the single individual who judges whether an idea is internally coherent. One cannot go on rumour or a stamp of approval. This makes a mockery of the entire dragon of a university or culture's intellectual prestige. There is no such thing as an intellectually advanced organisation. Every idea comes down to one single individual's idea.
Plato's Conception of the Philosopher Ruler
What Plato had naively believed, in defining the wise man's role as one of political guidance, as one of the expert in knowledge of Nature and spirit thus the guiding hand in society (or, in a democracy, rather than the mob's lackeys, the demagogues ought to be philosophers), was in placing wisdom at the servitude of human society. Is that its rightful place? No. The wise man's place is as a guiding hand to the individual, not to society. It's a subtle distinction, but important. The wise man is not concerned with numbers, groups, organisations, and popular appeal. He is only concerned with the understanding of a single individual.
Sometimes, the thinker might wonder about the way things would be if all his peers, their behaviour, and the civilisations and habitats created by them, stemmed from enlightenment. Or, in the reverse direction, he might wonder how much influence a change in lifestyles, customs, and economics would have in helping to ripen conditions to help people step out more easily into the path of enlightenment. For the first instance, if everyone were wise, what would the human civilisation look like, knowing how much effort is required for thinking and overcoming the ego-delusion, and would it be necessarily a very difficult and precarious existence? For the second instance, should the thinker be instrumental in creating such changes, or merely to support and voice a need for them and focus primarily on the most important role of metaphysical midwifery?
My approach is to remember that it is not for society, or the survival or betterment of the human species, that wisdom is promoted. If human society can become as efficient and rational as possible, then well and good but only so long as such conditions produce wise beings. But wise beings are not produced for that end. A society full of fools, vandals, robbers, killers, and greed-mongerers is clearly a sign that wisdom is lacking in its members, but such unconsciousness in itself is not a reason for people to become wise. People have, over the millenia, sought wisdom firstly to avoid suffering. Rationality is clearly connected to Reality, and it discards the inefficiencies and avoidable loops of suffering. But to avoid suffering, or to avoid inefficiencies, is not the end point / aim of wisdom.
Since the path of enlightenment is a 24/7/365 task, requiring life-long commitment, and daily consistent application to reconstrue one's entire worldview, opinions, beliefs, values, impulses and conceptions, and it is wholly based on thinking and applying which necessarily take time and effort, it doesn't seem realistic to expect absolutely every person to undertake this strenuous lifelong venture. The seeker of wisdom is always going to be unable to hold down a full-time job, even a permanent part-time job owing to his foremost need to test himself for attachments and be willing to sacrifice every psychological impedance, keeping only the most basic of biological processes to keep his body and mind functioning well. He would have no scope for luxuries, and in a capitalist system, luxury is the sign of financial security or "human work-capacity" on which major technological or scientific projects depend. In other words, a 100% wisdom-focussed civilisation would indeed be a far harder one to survive. The individual in such a civilisation would necessarily have Stoic qualities, and a shorter life-span than even now (say 45-60 years). And yet, such hardship would not necessarily create overwhelming odds against survival; also, quality of life has very little to do with technological and scientific advance, since wisdom does not correlate with wealth or biological well-being.
Is it therefore cruel to expect anyone except a completely self-sufficient, rich beneficiary without dependents or debts, or else a highly resourceful homeless tramp, to enter the path? I don't think this is an accurate conclusion. For starters, only in an ideal society with a high proportion of mostly rational beings (though not sages), would such self-sufficiency be ethical, since there would be no necessary relationship between the two parties, i.e. beneficiaries and teachers. Moreover, experience in the world is very helpful, nay, essential, for anyone seeking wisdom because their meditations require matter to work, and correlations with their own observations of Reality, or portions thereof, provide the fodder for the mental machinery to be built. And, on top of this, it is possible to be able to work a little, in casual positions, to provide a small income for oneself if that helps keep body together. But the most convincing argument regarding the livelihood of the thinker in a mostly evil society, is that such a society and he are in a relationshp of beneficiaries and teacher: he is taking their support in order to help them. Not society — them. If they didn't need his help, or if it wasn't because of their bad example to him that he was in such dire need of spiritual reconstruction, he couldn't take their support.
Such a thought-experiment can be helpful to show oneself how much of one's lifestyle and behaviour is directly counter-productive to assisting in creating conditions for the promotion of wisdom. However, to work in social fabric reconstruction (politics) isn't the first, best position for the wise individual. Politics is only an analogy, or symptoms.
Philosophical Vs. Empirical Explanations for the Ego
It helps to understand the ego by placing it in an empirical context. Namely, how did the ego evolve, how was it "naturally selected", for what purpose did it continue to function, and so on. This kind of understanding can help one to detect or predict egotism in one's mind and behaviour.
But before the ego can be explained empirically, it has to be defined philosophically. That is, to define the ego as the self-concept lacking consciousness of Ultimate Reality: a self-concept without awareness of the context of its existence in relation to the Infinite, that presumes its boundaries to be really there in some absolute manner, that believes it really exists, rather than being a relative arbitration of bounded abstractions projected onto reality, is the ego. Simply put: the ego is, by definition, the false self.
But when the enlightened being knows what is real, and understands the ego, then they can perceive egotism without being egotistical. They can look within and without for traces of the beliefs, ideations, urges and emotions, derived from that false construct. It is only by having this philosophical definition as their guiding source, that they can actually detect false thoughts. They're not looking for thoughts that may be "unhelpful" or "not useful", but rather thoughts that are illogical, thoughts that are untrue by definition.
But once they have this basic guide, then in their everyday life, they would start to see patterns, empirical patterns. They would see a pattern correlating with a widespread phenomenon among biological organisms — and hence, they would seek an empirical explanation in terms of the evolution of a biological organism.
A simple, and general explanation, for the ego, by weighing up empirical evidence, is that it evolved to assist creatures to survive by having an instinctive self-protective, self-unifying feeling or urge. Such a self-concept would instinctively keep biological threats like flesh-eating bacteria away, and would be pretty much hard-wired into the system. But because living organisms reproduce, the ego would also have a strong relationship to others of its species, either to relate to them as itself (offspring, mate, group) to relate to them as other (rival, enemy, diseased, non-offspring). This would explain the self's array of emotions, particularly love and hate, anger and fear.
But although the empirical explanation can be extremely useful, it shouldn't be the primary means to detect egotism in oneself, because the desire to look outwards for evidence of ignorance of Reality in oneself is immediately proof that one is still ignorant of Reality. The gateway to consciousness is always a philosophical one, looking inwards, to one's thought.
Creating a new psychology, stepwise
Find first the Absolute, then make your way there stepwise. Don't expect great changes overnight, but create new habits in small steps. This will be easier for you to remember.
For instance, start with the new identity of being solitary: the One. Then, from that point, find those unhelpful psychological habits, like not doing what you wish you would do, chasing distractions, becoming impatient, angry, afraid, or demoralised. These habits can be changed, stepwise.
An example of a new habit, oriented first to the Absolute, is to find the habitual thought that occurs when an unhelpful psychological habit happens. When anxious, is it "I need to..." or "I must...."? When angry, is it something like, "My life is made harder by other people" ? When demoralised, is it similar to, "Maybe I will ruin things again...." or "No one is interested, why should I be interested..." ?
Unhelpful psychological habits stem from the ego: an obsessive belief in the finite I.
So a stepwise alteration towards the Absolute would be to change this habit of focussing on a finite self, and replace it with a transfinite self. Try something more eternal, and Nature-minded.Instead of "I need to..." try a big-perspective awareness of the pros and cons, in an objective frame of mind. Move that "I" into a big, more cosmic kind of self. Refine your style.
Thinking, not Thought
The new psychology breaks with the ego-habit by being free to create. This freedom is expressed with infinitising thought.
So a distinct thought occurs to you. Its nuances, its unique character, its utterly distinct meaning from all other thoughts, is clearly evident. Also, the eternal truth, the absolute character, of this distinct meaning is clearly evident as is generated through the content and not through its actuality.
But the ego — its core generating habit — is a thoughtless mash of that eternal meaning, and the notion of eternal existence in time. That's where finitised thought happens: one clings to an idea psychologically, because the ego-habit wants to mash the eternity of meaning — the changelessness and endless veracity of an idea, that it is necessarily exactly what it is — and confuse that eternity with the impossible: permanent and eternal finite existence.
To trip the ego-habit of making existence permanent by confusing the idea of a thing with the actuality, mock the habit by shifting quickly through ideas. Demonstrate to yourself that there is no eternity in an idea's existence. Demonstrate that your demonstrating is different every instant. Strip your mind of its pomposity.
Candid speech — Professional speech
The academic is affronted by down-to-earth, everyday candour. That is, by individuality. They compartmentalise their mind, so that there is a "private" zone of communication, and a "public" zone of communication, the latter being the sphere of herdliness where they spend their entire lives.
What one truly thinks may not be admitted into the public zone, in an academic world. Thus, they will shamelessly assert something like "read a scientific text or manual on the scientific method, and you will see that a scientist always gives absolutely everything in instructions". This is a little hymn of praise sung at the altar of Religion: a public sign of prayer (as all religious people pray publicly).
But do they actually think this is true privately? A sign that they don't, is how offended they are if you answer them in everyday, private language: "Rubbish!"
The dilemma of candour with the deaf
There is a Zen story about a laywoman who owns a small hut, which she allots to a Zen monk. He resides there for twenty years. She decides to test his attainment, and gets an attractive young prostitute to embrace the monk with desire, then report back. The girl reports that the monk spurned her and said he had no desire. Now the laywoman is furious, calls him a wastrel for lacking compassion. She believes he ought to have taught the girl about the Way. So she burns down the hut and sends him packing. But what if he kept silence about the Way deliberately, sensing a deafness in the listener/s?
Speaking to the deaf for the right reasons
Ungerechtigkeit und Schmutz werfen sie nach dem Einsamen: aber, mein Bruder, wenn du ein Stern sein willst, so musst du ihnen desshalb nicht weniger leuchten!
Nietzsche was being poetic in considering a star changeless; we know the sun is affected by other planets, and changes its behaviour. Okay, forget his poetry and consider this: one must shine regardless of the others' response, and yet one must shine for them. If they are stupid — shine. If they are angry — shine. If they mock you — shine. If they praise you — shine regardless. You can still be silent, but shine in that silence.
But the important thing is: shine into their apertures, don't shine past them. Be careful among the deaf that both silence and speech are rays of light, and not contemptuous flingings of mud.
Mortal, with an immortal attitude
Who are you, but the Infinite? So, you can't die. So, each little parcel of Infinite-produce, like your mortal life-span, is merely a breath in the wind, a mere half-step in the wind's dance across the millenia. Just do what your task is, and see its unfolding in its right context. Who are you?
The biochemical fluctuation of consciousness
Well, yes, you are changing from moment to moment, and your mind and body requires ongoing care and a balancing-type maintenance of homeostasis. You exercise, eat, drink, sleep, and make an effort to keep yourself in working order. Every part of you is flux. Hence, you are ultimately nothing at all.
The conversation of everyday thought
To test whether you have faith in reason, and faith in wisdom, assess the meaning of your thoughts. How intimately, how clearly, how unhesitatingly do they sound of Reality?
All things are simply God to thee who seest only God in all things. Like one who looks long at the sun, he encounters the sun in whatever he afterwards looks at. If this is lacking, this looking for and seeing God in all and sundry, then thou lackest this birth. — Meister Eckhardt
Solitude — Coupling
No wise individual is coupled, or involved in an emotional, romantic and/or sexual relationship. Celibacy of mind and body is the expression of non-attachment and insight into Reality.
To desire even to hold a person's hand, or to feature in their desire or affection, is to shun the truth about oneself — and obviously also to impose your ignorance on others. It is the sign of greatest disrespect to another person to seek an emotional bond with them.
And what if an ignorant but apparently well-meaning person wants you to befriend them? Would you destroy any capacity for individuality and thought that they might possess, by encouraging them? One needn't be rude and abrasive, but firmly discourage that by not smiling or encouraging dependency. If they become angry and offensive, do not change your behaviour: keep your stillness and gentility, and they will suddenly have the opportunity to recognise in themselves the flip-side of love (hatred).
Understanding — Anger
Never be angry when the deaf become offended, and fling mud and stones at you. Instead, understand quietly: they are afraid of you, of what you represent, of a desireable but dreadful venture. They slander you because they are not ready for you (for what you represent). You can persist, and perhaps in time they will hear. But never be angry, for what doctor becomes angry with a sick person?
Someone complained to Meister Eckhart that no one could understand his sermons. He said. To understand my sermons a man requires three things. He must have conquered strife and be in contemplation of his highest good and be satisfied to do God's bidding and be a beginner with beginners and naught himself and be so master of himself as to be incapable of anger.
Judging the quality of another person's thought needs to be done carefully. Don't leap to conclusions. And of course, if your psychology is not pure, then forget it. Clear your own mind of delusion before you try to assess someone else.
A scientific analysis is one that is aware of the provisional nature of sense-data assessments. There is no absolute certainty in science, only in philosophy, owing to the different nature of the subject. In science, the content is constantly changing (sense data) but in philosophy the content is never-changing (logical definitions).
Eckhardt and the Dhammapada
Discipline is not about trying to clear the mind of thought, or such self-control. Discipline is stopping the slide back into mediocrity after realising that Nature itself has no love of truth. To be one with Nature is not about pretending you should be unconscious like Nature. It means, use your brain to know and see and understand what Nature cannot, except through you.
God cannot know himself without me. — Meister Eckhardt
Ageing Wisely — Giving Up
Discipline is needed as you age, because the biochemistry of youth — passionate, world-building, strict, energetic — changes into a more constrained repetitive pattern of conserving vitality. This legacy means one's life-energy ought to be even more carefully channelled, to avoid complacency.
Many spiritual adventurers become lazy and complacent as they age, seeing their many youthful flaws and psychological blockages reproduce and grow in complexity. This offends their pride, and they choose to defend their blockages and build palaces out of them, convincing themselves that by befriending their enemies, they might learn their secrets and gain an upper hand. No — just be honest. Admit unhesitatingly the flaw. Examine it with the sharpness and energy of the youthful reason-lover. Just because you have learnt that Nature doesn't have your intention, doesn't mean you should suddenly pretend you have no intentions.
As you age, the brain also slows. So you will need to work twice as hard, thrice as hard, to detect self-deceit, laziness, complacency and other ego-habits. Don't give in. Don't become like the others!
If you know you still fear speaking the truth, because of the consequent ruptures and eruptions in others, focus on bringing that fear to the surface where you can deal with it. Keep dealing with it, and find ways to prevent yourself submitting to it. Talk! Don't become one of the aged fools who think youth are crazy for being idealistic. Hold your purpose uppermost, and don't compromise.If you find yourself gaining worldly habits, chasing materialistic concerns, being distracted by thoughts of increasing your comfort, then attack it at the core. Take a new vow to yourself of hardship. Go on!
Reason the gateway to enlightenmentWe must learn to act without attachment. But it is rare for anyone untrained to reach the stage at which he is proof against disturbance by any act or anybody. This needs prodigiously hard work: and for God to be as present and to show as plainly to him at all times and in all company, that is for the expert and demands especially two things. One is that the man be closeted within himself where his mind is safe from images of outside things which remain external to him and, alien as they are, cannot traffic or forgather with him or find any room in him at all. Secondly, inventions of the mind itself, ideas, spontaneous notions or images of things outside or whatever comes into his head, he must give no quarter to on pain of scattering himself and being sold into multiplicity. His powers must all be trained to turn and face his inner self. Thou dost object. "But one must turn outwards to do outward works : no work is wrought except in its own mode." — True. But to the expert soul outward modes are not merely outward things: to the interior soul all things are modes of the Deity within.
— Meister Eckhardt
Being closeted within oneself is to have a strong mind, where the self is inwardly concentrated and doesn't go chasing after things 'out there' in the world of the senses. Such a mind is the same as reason.
But then another demon arises: the inwardly-focussed mind that lacks the core understanding of what things are, will only sublimate materialistic desires by using reason to chase ideas. To have a reasoning mind means to apply. To 'think' materialistically is not really reasoning. The right use of reason is to see what all things (all things being of the mind) amount to: their unity. Thus enlightenment begins.
On the death-bed, the dying man is supposed to contemplate the worth of his life, to see if it amounts to the price of his entrance into Heaven. But this is the same ideology as that of the Sleep Expert (from Zarathustra's Discourse on Academic Chairs of Virtue). The Sleep Expert believed that the purpose of consciousness was to work hard at achieving unconsciousness.
Burning consciousness's candle at both ends in order to obliterate it completely — yes, you'd deserve an RIP for doing that, but only in an ironic sense.
is not to expect or have or need assistance, but in fact, to expect that you must, in solitude, help others, without letting them know or having their appreciation of anything of what you do. In fact, the reverse — that they believe you are directly ruining them, and must repel and obstruct you. Yet, in silence, your way continues to help. This is the deepest solitude: that you may not be alone by yourself, but offer your sour teats to be ripped to shreds by those you nurse.
The Lover of Nature
In past ages, the great mysterious forces of Nature were worshipped as overruling powers: the Creator! Heavenly Majesty! the Supreme Mind! There were no lovers of Nature, but only awed children.
Then, as these awed children realised their awe was of their own imaginations, and were repulsed by a few wolfish kids taking advantage of the culture of awed submissiveness, humanity became teenager-like and rebellious. Daring intellectuals tried to ennoble the muck and machinery of their primitive observations. They puffed out their chests and beat them with the cry of the Majesty and Supremacy of one's own senses. Yet still, these were not lovers of Nature, so much as street kids who wanted everyone to play together nicely in an earthly paradise.
The Lover of Nature is something else entirely: neither a submissive child, nor an epicurean consumer. The Lover lives so intimately with Nature as to understand its blind forces, whilst knowing itself fully immersed in that blindness. Yet the Lover has something of generative power in him, as a seer in blindness, as a captain, a kind of self-propelling ocean force, an eye of a hurricane. The Lover is not only in a boat of perception navigating in the wild oceans, but is the ocean itself aware of its power, and using it silently and unseen.
Human — Animal
If, in interaction, you are not immediately aware whether you are dealing with a human (a solitary, a wise being) or an animal, then you are an animal. No animal can recognise a human, and a human will be treated as an animal by animals. Yet if you are a human, you must never treat an animal with contempt, but help them to break free, too.
Be patient with thought and persist
Advanced biological organisms are more complicated, and yet it takes roughly the same time to develop. The process of thought must happen, step by step, conscious construction idea by idea. It is virtually a vegetable-slow process. And, just like the exploding and sudden force of spring flowers, with their heady scents, so is the sudden explosion of a passionate insight that rips one's world apart forever.
So be patient, and give Nature time to build and grow intellectually.
You are that
It's not poetry, it's literally true. You are God. You are that which you experience, anything you experience. There is no you vs. I, I vs. other, he vs. she. Ultimately it is all one. Think through this lens of the nature of God.
And yet, God is made of distinctions. Therefore, there is you vs. I, I vs. other, he vs. she. And yet, never forget it is all God — tat tvam asi means you share the same nature, even if you are not identical with another being.
The Parent Figure
Nature is not a parent, that is certain. But one can deliberately attribute a parental character to Nature as a psychological exercise, to strengthen one's own morality.
To scoff at parenting is to mistakenly associate biological reproduction with actual parenting. Most people have children to reinforce the ego, and have not first learnt to overcome egotism. But parenting is precisely the ability to generate wisdom in another. So scoffing at parenting per se is foolish, since it is not parenting that one is scoffing at, but merely arrogance.
On the contrary, there is great morality in parenting. But one must do it consciously. When one has learnt patiently to sustain reason and application, during a strenuous and painful period, then one is learning what it is to be a mother. To sustain and endure patiently and silently, in expectation, is the heart of motherhood, and there is no other quality that can be called motherhood. Simply enduring a biological process like pregnancy is not motherhood — otherwise cows are experts in motherhood.
Motherhood is inconspicuous activity: it is silent and conscious, intelligent perseverence that acts carefully and in a truly selfless way despite the pain of the burden to continue to carry it forward to its culmination. Obviously there are hardly any biological females who are mothers.
Similarly, a father has oversight and authority, through understanding, and applies his knowledge in appropriate, careful ways to suit a tender, innocent, trusting mind. His knowledge is experiential and wide-reaching, profound and focussed. He is the creator parent, the Lion of Zarathustra, while the mother is the bearing parent, the Camel.
To be a parent is to see these figures in Nature, just as one's sight of God is God's.
Music, Dance, Wine & Women
Debauchery, mind-fogging drunkenness, and frenzied night-clubbing don't taste the sweetness of the Dionysian catharsis. Nothing enlightening can be gained through oblivion, or subtraction. God's creative process is additive: it replaces. So there is a kind of sensuousness that is rich, sweet and deep...
Why is the rhythm and patterns of Women's sensuous celebrations sweet? Because of the component that expresses flow. Women don't like hard, sharp, fast, fixed lines because it goes against their self-minimising, ego-hiding psychology. Women like everything that glosses over clarity and definition, separation and individuality, because they find safety in numbers and in being accepted. This is why they love flow. And, it so happens that this flow can remind the thinker — who celebrates masculine psychology, and sees Women's subterfuges for what they are without being deceived — sees a metaphysical reminder in it. That is the Dionysian catharsis.
The thinker who delights in music for a few moments is connecting with God; he is not connecting with the sensuousness of Women, but a poetic interpretation. Of course, a spray of blossoms or flower-like jewellery sprouting from earlobes, glittering and lacey flouncing skirts, wafting golden tresses of hair falling gently around a woman's shoulders, and so forth, are clearly signs that women don't perceive this deeper interpretation of their flow. If they perceived the truth about flow, they would have far more profound expressions of it: sitting meditatively and still by the shore-lapping waves, for instance.
Experiencing Judgment — Recklessness
All that matters, after all, is whether one is capable of judging truthfully — living steeped in truth.
Raw Ordinary Innocence — Professionalism and Guile
The more affectations and pretensions and worldly accoutrements of manner one accumulates, the more incapable one is of truthfulness. Never submit to a code of conduct: always examine every request for how you ought to behave, even though you are put under pressure of "excommunication" from society if you examine thus openly to the point of refusing to comply. Your behaviour has a higher law — that of loving Nature.
It isn't actually true that nothing happens, or nothing is achieved, in enlightenment. Nature's way is responsiveness, blind and obedient responsiveness, to any impulse. Nature's way, of endless causation, sees change, difference, movement, burgeonings and implosions. There is not absolute nothingness. On looking with this bigger perspective, one can see that every driving ambition creates ripples. It doesn't actually matter, particularly, from this bigger perspective, what that ambition is. But it creates effects. This kind of causal mechanical overview can help one to see wasted energy, if one is driving to achieve a pure and perfect enlightenment without recognising that Nature just submits or accepts or generates and perpetuates such forces without any bias. In other words, the point of one's drive to truth ought to be to see how Nature works. That is essentially what it means to work without achieving: driving forward a vow of enlightenment, while recognising the bigger picture of the same law of indiscriminate effectation. Nothing particularly different is achieved in an ultimate sense; one can't say nothing is achieved in an ultimate sense because from that perspective there is neither nothing nor something; but in a finite sense something is achieved, just as things evolve in a finite sense, from what they were.
Intellectualising — Mental masturbation
If you feel a sensuous mental pleasure in solving problems, then you're not actually intellectualising. For instance, solving puzzles or manipulating symbols or abstract concepts. That kind of thing is completely different in spiritual merit (beneficial karma, actions and effects flowing from a decreasing degree of deluded thinking) from psychological relief where one has a profound metaphysical breakthrough after pushing determinedly to understand Reality more deeply.
Intellectualising resolves. It doesn't keep trying to answer the same question over and over for its own pleasure. It solves it once — then it is done.
Wise psychology's objectivity — Scientific materialism's objectivity
Many scientific papers show the false notion that the more human samples there are, the more objective the research; the more researchers and references, the more "truthful" it is. Fortunately, there are a few maverick scientists who greatly undermine that view. It is shown to be illogical in a moment. If objectivity means suppressing one's own personal existence and selfhood, to the point of always writing in the passive tense (for instance, never using "I" in a report on research), it means the researcher/observer's understanding developed without any personal input. It assumes their ideas formed and took on so-called universal meaning in a personless vacuum, like files downloaded to a mindless hard-drive without an interpreting mind that has given them substance. Ridiculous, isn't it?
To be objective is not about suppressing one's own psychology or subjectivity, but recognising how to purify one's mind of the psychological need for things to remain how they have always been. Once the mind is purified of this egotistical need for permanence, then one is open to change and perceiving what is actually happening — with a flexible, childlike mind that does not cling to past experiences.
Also, the scientific materialist believes that only a mass of consensus forms the foundation of valid knowledge, because they believe the only truths or dependable knowledge is scientific (i.e. properties of phenomena, predictions, etc.) Their stance is not of reason, but of emotional need, since they refuse to accept — or have never reflected on — the nature of purely logical definitions.
Individuality — Clone
Be always down-to-earth, always following reason first. Never try to grind yourself into the "good books" of another person by adapting to suit their preferences. To submit to another person's will, particularly when that other has submitted to the will of the masses, is to be a clone and is the first step of cult brainwashing. Even if that other is a lauded professor, doesn't make submission right. They may be a secret Hitler.
If they're so obviously moronic as to have no idea of the moral and intellectual worth of individuality, then it is no use at all arguing with them or explaining why their remonstrances are pointless.
Who is qualified to teach Vipassana?
Vipassana is a fundamental key to wisdom of the Infinite. The teacher of wisdom is skilled at engineering it; that's all they do. Hence, to teach Vipassana is the highest call of all. So if someone calls themselves a Vipassana teacher, and has no signs of wisdom, then they're an outright fraud. You can tell a fraud if they need 10 words for what 1 word suffices. Another example of a vipassana teacher fraud is someone who relies on another person instinctively, and parrots what they say without thinking. There are unfortunately plenty of other examples of spiritual charlatanry:
- sticking to rules, gurus, and dogmas rigidly;
- trying to enforce their authority (or their tradition's authority) by way of saying you must trust them / the tradition implicitly and not question them because you are "unauthorised";
- trying to interpret foolish words as if the words are wise;
- acting without thinking first, such as making a telephone call without preparing information in advance, then babbling to try to remind themselves what they have forgotten to prepare;
- adamant prohibition of any reasoning, intellectualising, thinking, conceptualising, etc.
- fostering emotional bonding with another person who has given no sign of emotional fragility;
- lack of awareness of the provisional nature of any finitised interpretations of phenomena;
- inability to adapt to the circumstances and the student (reliance on scriptures and rote).
If you come across a 'spiritual teacher', and they show their folly, then they can be regarded as a witness to their teaching. They are an existential proof of its lack of worth.
The Skill in Communicating
There is always a huge difference between the clearest and wisest expression of a wise idea, and what one can communicate to others who are not wise. The whole skill in communicating is to be able to find the clearest, wisest expression that an unwise person can just comprehend.
When one drinks the poisons of wisdom directly, one knows them as the sweetest nectar. This is why the solitary is often silent around others: to speak to them (not at them) is drinking poison for oneself. It can seem very much to oneself that one is lying. It is a bitter-tasting experience to communicate, and be so far from the truth; but one does so for the sake of the beginner. God permits this.
But what about throwing others in the poisonous lake wholesale? What about dragging others to a higher standard? Indeed, these methods can work. In fact, it is far better to get a good student and run at the beast precipitately — not to linger and dilly-dally.
But completely forget that earnestness and passion, completely forget about having hard-nosed, logical, candid, frank, honest, open, and principled discussions, if you're dealing with fragile egos who desire "communicating with respect [for the egotistical sensitivities of the feminine]". Such methods won't work with soft, fragile creatures.
One needs a student who can tough it on the oceans, not the pallid and soft-skinned hole-dweller.
Vows of Poverty
To accept the burden of suffering that wisdom places squarely on the solitary's life is difficult. Humanly speaking, one's life is ruined. One is a failure in human terms by choice. But others will judge one as a failure from lacking in skill, merit, intelligence, psychological stability, application, and so forth. One has to accept their false assumption and opprobrium also, and say nothing to correct them.
Then, also, one loses things which may have been useful in the spiritual life, but which only flow from a socially-endorsed occupation, namely, wealth, reputation, life stability, possibly health also. All these consequences are part of the vow of the "rank of dog" that the solitary accepts on entering the spiritual life.
Humanly speaking, one is dying and mourning; but spiritually, one can only mourn the situation for a few instants. Then one sees how it is a discipline in which the form-grasping ego is being destroyed, and such is a thing to rejoice over.
Do not be angry with the situation, or lose your head, if the burden becomes too difficult to bear. Remember your purpose, learn to hold the reins more skillfully, and eventually your spirit will be tamed and formlessness will be nearer. Also, when your actuality is so far beneath what God expects, it is better to live closer to your actuality — but in penitence — than to be a demon of pretence and hypocrisy.
Insecurity of wise decisions — Security of worldly decision
The mind of the wise is far-seeing, deep-seeing, because it looks at causes rather than "iron blocks" or linear billiard-ball events. It sees the world as interactions, as infinitudinous flux. So the decision and weighing of pros and cons has an utter groundlessness and lack of stability. There is never a point to fix the decision to; one can go back at any moment and reassess, revoke, and seem to be inefficient. But this is Nature's way.
By comparison, the unwise have a false security in their deluded structure of materiality, which they believe is sturdy and dependable. So their decisions are shallow and easy, repetitive, and quick. Their world is about making money, ripping off your neighbour, pretending to be compassionate, and doing as much effort as would reasonably avoid thought. It is all pretty simple in the world of delusion. Yet it has its anxieties: the more so if one is the male human, who must do most of the work, yet pretend he is the stupid one who ought be an abject and apologetic slave to the female. That adds a sense of insecurity to the worldly wise's decisions, since he hasn't a sense of ease when he must lie about his worth.
Insecurity doubles spiritually when one must take a path that seems to counteract one's great efforts. For instance, studying the sciences in order to communicate more effectively with those who are still partially in the thrall of scientific materialism. This can lead to all kinds of spiritual conflicts, particularly since few scientists or professors of science actually think consciously and purely logically when conceiving a hypothesis, experiment, test, or analysis — there are many conflicts with teachers who will accuse one of "false conduct" if one brings back the scientific method in its pure, logical form. So, is one to suppress one's mind? Indeed, no. But how is one to abide in this oxymoron situation of using the scientific method with unscientific minds who will blacklist one's efforts? To meet one's overall goal, and gain a fuller understanding of the problems in the human dominion of scientism (false concepts about science, largely intuitive and sense-based functioning), the solution seems to be: be silent and humour them, so that they will feel more self-assured and express what they normally express. Hence the tug-of-war of the spiritual man, whose higher virtue asks for truth.
Emptiness — Systems
Reality has no answers. Reality has no foundations. There are no laws of Nature — not as science would have it. Ultimate Reality, that is, the totality, does not operate on any system. But scientists in their hubris presume that what we humans are capable of experiencing and conjecturing (the laws of thermodynamics, the structure of the atomic, etc.) must be the All. Thus, they make a system and call it comprehensive.
Solitary — Wolf-Mystic
Those who dabble in philosophy and thinking without bodhicitta are always led to horrific ends. They have learnt enough from false teachers to recognise a livelihood in the gullibility of fragile believers. Posing as sages and mystics, monks and gurus, they do nothing but sell artifacts at extortionate prices. Then, aware of their subterfuge and hypocrisy, they try to destroy all criticism or revelation, by banning independent thought.
Buddhism, just to pick one instance from the endless mountain of human wolf-mystics, has plenty of wolfish behaviour. The Aum Shinrikyo, for instance, is a variant of Buddhism, and the devotees felt so justified in slaughtering dissenters that they left nerve gas bombs like sarin in public areas. The Dalai Lama's indirect endorsement of the slaughter of Dorje Shugden worshippers is another example of suppressing criticism or dissent; the Dalai Lama himself refused to admit such slaughters exist.
The world is full of the gullible. Why? The gullible attack those who try to get them to think. But one must get them to think! There is no other ethical response, and there is no one else to bring to life.
The very fact that Nature has no foundations or ultimate laws is the vital character of God. God and Nature are the same "thing". God is not some majestic life-force or mechanical well-spring of creation. There is no basis for any belief about God — there is nothing to hold to. That is God. A basis is a finitude, but God is everything which is not-finite. First God!
The wise man's compassion — The womanly man's compassion
It is neither offensive nor even marginally offensive to say that a womanly man is a fool for his brand of compassion, because he believes that judgment of another's error is a hurtful action. A womanly man is basically afraid, like a woman, of being an independent thinker (which is the only kind). He believes all views are valid; then, if someone attacking his views, he will attack back, saying "All views are valid (but not yours if you ever disagree!)"
It is wrong to avoid judging error; wrongness is all about error. It hurts reason and truth and therefore understanding to avoid judging error.
A woman will call judging error "lacking in compassion" because she cannot value reason first. She cannot value independent thinking, since her whole life relies on others helping her to think. So she refuses to acknowledge the way that judging of error instructs on the basis of thinking for oneself.
Solitude as thought on emptiness — Solitude as resenting others
Be careful never to retreat to a hermitage purely on the basis of disgust. Zarathustra sought his cave out of disgust, but quickly made his disgust an arrow of yearning for the other shore. He spent ten years in meditating on emptiness, thinking deeply immersing his whole being in experiential intellectualising. If he had not fled disgust, if he had not climbed up to where, with cloudless laughter, shining eyes and a far-seeing glance, he could look down on such aggravation as degradation of mind, then he would have been like the old holy man in the forest, who had never learnt that God does not exist.
Silence — Scolding
Don't waste time speaking with fools. Observe if you must, but pass them by if you wish to speak. Never scold or remonstrate with those who show no scope for thinking. Those you wish to speak with may be watching, and may believe you aren't their equal for showing such poor perception. There simply are not many people around who genuinely have room for God. It is such a small step they need to take — yet they cannot take it. Such is life.
Skill in means
What does the saying "The end justifies the means" mean? It means any method may be used to reach a goal that is more valuable than any other (since nothing is as valuable as that goal).
Most people believe that the most valuable goal is a statistical measurement of well-being in which the overwhelming majority consider themselves more satisfied than dissatisfied. So they would use any method to reach this goal; that means, they have a very limited set of methods, since most methods would disturb others and thus prevent the fulfilment of the goal. This is why society is so mediocre.
But the question, "Is absolutely any method forbidden in the path of enlightenment?" ought to be answered, "No." Clearly, if the goal is enlightenment, then the method is obviously focussed on reason, truth, and wisdom. But this means, these methods are prioritised. Bodhicitta, the will to truth, is uncompromising. So long as the goal of enlightenment is foremost, and enlightenment rests on wisdom, truth, and reason, then everything else is overridden and is less valuable.
Wisdom is not finitised; it operates as formlessness by holding to no tradition or method (its own nature cannot help but be truthful in the long run, even if it appears not truthful superficially). But this also involves the uncertainty of science by observing the way of Nature in finite things, and not being precipitate. It may seem a difficult thing to judge. Nature has mind-blowing forces and appears to act precipitately and harmfully, and yet all things operate determined by causes, so nothing is "forced" or "out of perspective". In other words, skill in means can include force and harm, so long as that force is not one of impatience or other emotional need. One needs to "take the pulse" carefully and as wisely as possible, purifying oneself of pride, resentment, offense, disgust, and all traces of egotism before action.
Wait and test yourself, waiting on God actively. Then act with the lightning and force that is only justified by a pure mind. Don't presume you are better than you are! Be patient.
Solitary Service — Solitary Selfishness
When one values wisdom of the Infinite highest and most, then one is in service. To the degree to which one is wise, to that same degree one has opted to let one's will be to will wisdom of the Infinite. How much of one's thoughts are still clammerings and clanging bells for self-satisfaction? Watch carefully for the feeling of comfort and assurance. These emotions will tell what work you've still left to do.
A psychological note about hazing the wise
Ironically, someone who arrogantly and rudely attacks a person who claims to be wise, may have some kind of deep respect for wisdom. Their attack may be a desperate, intuitive gesture against charlatanry, needing to test for wisdom by using horrendous immorality. Such a desperate measure can come from long years in hell, and close acquaintance with horrific psychology; eventually they come to think it is virtually impossible to transcend that demoralised viciousness, but may have some hope if they see someone deal with hellish behaviour — lying, hypocrisy, slander, deliberate offensiveness, and other displays of weak character — in a transcendant manner.
A parent generally ignores a tantrum, unless the child has really lost their ability to control themselves. Then, they can sometimes calmly take the child firmly into their arms like a human straight-jacket, letting the child feel their psychological stability and rest on the parent's sense of safety to help themselves back into a relaxed state again.
Weighing pros and cons won't themselves resolve a complex scenario into a simple decision. First of all, one needs to prioritise one's values. Then a matter will set itself out more easily. You see, if you ask God to help you decide, God (meaning your valuing of wisdom) will lay the matter out very clearly. Decisions actually are not difficult. The only difficult part is having the courage to accept the wise decision — because it is morally the hardest to live up to, and to endure patiently.
Step by Step
Once enlightenment comes, it can be easy to assume the task is complete. But enlightenment is only the beginning of letting that initial magnificent insight touch every part of one's life. Sinking back into the world (when a teacup is a teacup once again, and mountains and rivers are mountains and rivers) does not mean returning to one's previous habits as if nothing more is needed. The difficult part is just now beginning! ... to awaken every part of one's being, every thought, every intuition, every decision, every mental fragment, every moment.
Just take it step-by-step, life-instant by life-instant. One is a human organism with a biochemical neural system, and every change of ideas and habits requires an effort of conscious reworking. Give yourself the time, mental space, and intellectual energy for that process. A big mistake is to take on projects without prioritising as number 1 the process of spiritual transformation.
The way of the world is to pressure animals into quick decisions, leaping from event to event, exam to exam, project to project, without a moment's thought or reflection. This is the way of spiritual death. To learn God's ways, one must have all the time in the world, and not be time-pressured. God can call at any moment, and require all of your mind instantly. But if you have other commitments pressing, how can you obey, even if you have a will? So be careful not to make promises to the world.
Patience — Impatience
When something seems very important and urgent, be careful to drop back from any urgent emotions. Emotional drives will certainly cause you to act wrongly, creating an avalanche of effects, forcing you and others to expend extra energy and time mopping up afterwards. First find God, find the sense of infinitude, drop the burning coal of desire (or offence, or self-importance) and think in advance. Never hurry but wait until you can slice cleanly and cleanly with the sword of discrimination. Is the sword of your mind sharp, crystal-clear, and strong? No? Then hone it in private and in patience. Don't be a reckless fool.
I — The Others
To be an I is to be alone before Reality. To be a shadow of "the others" is not to be an I. Be careful to judge your worth before the Infinite, not before "the others".
Understanding — Academia
To have a certificate from a university doesn't necessarily mean the possessor understands what has been taught them. Not only because the majority of certificate-possessors are not those with perfect or near-perfect grades, but because the time-pressured study program pushes the students to learn by rote as quickly as possible, not necessarily to know an idea and why it is relevant. Genuine understanding requires freedom of thought; it also requires a lot of time. Neither of these are allowed for by universities and academic institutions, even in online or correspondence courses. So one person has genuine understanding and no degree, while many others have fragmented and virtually useless understanding and degrees. Which would you prefer? I know what I'd prefer — even though I may be alone in that preference.
Experienced professors are teachers, not learners, and will be unwilling to change their positions or methods to suit new ideas. But so what? Let them to their inflexibility and blindness.
Individuality — Fear
To bow to the world is to lose that precious spirit of connection with truth, and submit to what others want you to know and to be. It may seem like gaining power, reputation, friendship, a comfortable life, a secure job, well-being, and to be free of stress — but actually, one gains great fear and inflexibility of mind. More importantly, by submitting to the pressure of the herd, one secures ignorance — and thereby loses the most precious thing in the Universe.
• • • • • • • • • •