The Race That Chooses Confusion

Categorized under Logic

Western society is often said to be overly-rational, a claim usually made by women, New Age folk and little children.  Western society, they claim, is too logical, too sterile, too left-brained, too methodical, too organized, too bureaucratic, and too joyless.  It lacks the dionysian spirit of spontaneous celebration, fluidity, intuitive insight and unbridled emotional expression, as well as the mystical vision of universal interconnectedness.  Surprisingly, some even claim that it is too masculine, lacking the feminine energy of the East, or of indigenous cultures.

And yet when I was growing up in Australia I was never encouraged by any of my peers, teachers or elders to lead a fully rational existence.  No one ever advised me that I should apply logic to all aspects of my life in an effort to be perfectly truthful.  I was never given any insight into how powerful logic can be in overturning my personal illusions, nor was I made aware of its unlimited potential to uncover the deepest truths of life.  The subject of logic, if indeed it was raised at all, was nearly always relegated to the academic backwaters of science and mathematics (where it was safely confined).  Other than that, no one ever talked about it.

To be sure, Western society is well-organized, methodical, sterile and joyless, which is both its strength and its weakness. It is an efficient system, but leaves little room for spontaneity. Everything seemingly has to be planned to the nth degree.  To conclude, however, that this is the result of being too rational is incredibly misguided.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The real culprit is our egotistical desire to be comfortable and in control.  Instead of striving to become truly rational and freeing ourselves from all delusion and fear, we Westerners are brainwashed into developing a bureaucratic mindset, which reduces life to a never-ending chore of working, planning, and saving.  Indeed, we are so encouraged to spend our time organizing our lives and planning for the future that we forget how to live.  And so whatever rationality we do possess is employed in a very limited way.

Is it any wonder why alcohol is so popular?  And why there is so little desire from the authorities to have it banned, despite it being a dangerous drug that causes all sorts of misery and carnage?  Getting drunk is one of the few opportunities Westerners have of cutting loose and experiencing a bit of mayhem.  It makes their joyless, sterile lives more bearable.  It helps prop up Western civilization.  If alcohol (and other similar escape valves) did not exist, then surely no one could possibly accept things the way they are.  There would be a revolution in no time.

Because this egotistical desire for comfort and control is so pervasive in society, and because logical reasoning is almost exclusively employed towards this end, people’s conceptions of rationality have become falsely associated with the desire for order.  When people think of a “rational person”, they think of an anally-retentive creature who obsessively builds systems of thought, who minutely categorizes everything, who has emotional problems, who avoids chaos and unpredictability at all costs.  In thinking this, they are extrapolating from their own limited conceptions of rationality.  Due to their habit of automatically associating rationality with order, they automatically imagine that the desire to become more rational is simply the desire for even more order.

Yet reason is just a tool and can be used in many different ways.  Just as a spanner can take apart scaffolding as easily as it can put it together again, so too reason can take apart illusions and systems of thought as easily as it can build them.  In the hands of someone who really wants to rid his mind of delusion and tune into his infinite nature, reason can become a very powerful tool indeed.  It can clear away all conceptual prisons, letting the cool, fresh winds of Truth to sweep into the mind.

But sadly, human beings tend to lack this kind of desire and courage.  They are only willing to use logic to the degree that they feel in control of the process and can put a halt to its workings at any time.  They like to seal their rational activities into watertight compartments within the mind, thereby ensuring that their personal lives are never placed under the logical spotlight. Science and academia are institutionalized examples of this.

We can think of each person’s life as an enclosed bubble.  Inside the bubble, the person lives out his daily life and applies his reasoning powers to the degree that it will maximize his enjoyment of things.  But surrounding this bubble are layers of unquestioned assumptions, articles of faith, mental blocks, contradictions, ambiguity, confusion, emotionalism, and vagueness.  These layers form a kind of protective shield against reality, which allows the person inside the bubble to live as he pleases without being burdened with a spiritual conscience.

Life becomes a juggling act in which the need to experience pleasure and security (and remain safely embedded within the bubble) is balanced against the need for rationality and knowledge.  On the one hand, most people know that a certain degree of logical reasoning is necessary for the practical aspects of life.  They know that there could be no buildings or traffic lights or computers without it.  They are aware of its benefits in areas such as science, mathematics, business and law.  Even the process of buying a loaf of bread or putting out the garbage requires a certain amount of logic.  Without logic life would be impossible.

And yet most people distrust it immensely.  They can sense its impersonal nature, its absence of bias, its lack of favouritism, its lack of interest in human values.  Let loose, logic is like a devouring alien creature that does not care what people believe or think.  Let loose, it can destroy entire world-views in the blink of a syllogistic eye, and deep down most people know it.  And so the human race tethers logic, keeps it on a leash, confines it, imprisons it, weakens it, cheats on it, ridicules it.  We can observe this dynamic in the way science – which is itself a limited form of rationality, albeit an effective one – is both embraced and feared by the general public.

Genius is the courage to reason fearlessly in all directions, both inwardly and outwardly.  The genius fully integrates what he knows to be true with his personal life.  He doesn’t compartmentalise.  He doesn’t seal his reasoning off into tight mental containers.  He treats knowledge and truth seriously.  He factors the whole of his life into the equation of truth, and in so doing he makes truth come alive and enjoys insights and understandings that no one else knows about.  His life becomes a constant stream of surprise and joy.

It is fascinating to observe how anti-intellectual everyone suddenly becomes whenever their deep personal attachments are in the spotlight.  If a person wants to buy a used car, he does not simply go to the nearest dealer and hand over his money for the first car he sees.  On the contrary, he takes his time, he shops around, he investigates, he applies his reasoning.  He understandably wants to get the best deal he can and does not want to be ripped off.  But when it comes to the question of ultimate truth and the future of his soul, everything changes.  The careful methodology miraculously vanishes.  Reason and investigation are tossed out the window.  He is happy to accept the first belief-system that pleases him.  In short, he is just another human being.  He puts far more thought and consideration into buying a used car than he does for the welfare of his own soul.

Scientists are no different.  Although they are generally regarded to be the torchbearers of reason in this day and age, even they habitually short-circuit their lines of reasoning in order to safeguard their personal attachments.  A neuroscientist, for example, might be fully aware during office hours that the self is an abstract fiction, that it is a momentary construction generated by neurons firing in the brain, essentially having no more substance than, say, the concept of “Wednesday”, yet as soon as he steps outside his office door, it all changes.  Everything becomes focused on the enhancement of his own “self” (or just for fun, let’s call it “Wednesday”).  He goes home to his wife and children in the hope of finding an emotional boost for “Wednesday”, he sits after dinner reflecting on how “Wednesday” can best make its mark in the world, perhaps dreaming that “Wednesday” could one day win the Nobel Prize, perhaps resenting that his colleagues, “Tuesday” and “March”, are becoming too successful – in short, the moment a scientist steps outside his office door, he leaves his rational knowledge behind and proceeds to go insane.

The neo-Darwinist and self-proclaimed atheist, Richard Dawkins, is another example.  Having worked extensively in evolutionary theory, Dawkins must surely be aware of the causal nature of all organic beings, and by extension the causal nature of all things.  He is surely aware that we are mere machines composed of components and processes, yet how far does he extend this knowledge into his personal life?  Does he allow himself to become fully aware of the ramifications of our machine-like nature – which, when taken all the way, results in the priceless understanding of the Infinite?  Or is he like everyone else, keeping himself inside his own bubble, never really straying from convention, always remaining a family man, always confining his rationality to professional biology and the philosophy of scientific materialism, never allowing it to seek something greater?  Given the exceedingly poor job he does of promoting atheism in the community, I already know the answer to that one.

As far as spiritual reasoning is concerned – i.e. treating logic seriously, eliminating all mental delusion and reasoning one’s way into reality – there is a global silence.  No one ever talks about it.  No one ever thinks about it.  It is the ultimate taboo subject.  If people were a little more conscious, one could almost think there was a world-wide conspiracy going on.  But alas, no, it is all played out unconsciously.  Just as when a person is caught performing an illegal or depraved act and his first instinct is to bluff his way out of the situation (for his social standing is at stake), so too the average human brain instinctively cuts short lines of reasoning and whips up its favourite fantasies long before any of it ever reaches consciousness.

We can blame academics for this pitiful state of affairs.  They have managed, throughout the centuries, to thoroughly mangle the art of reasoning and in the process destroy the status and reputation of reason in the community.  What is academia nowadays but a refuge for people with high IQs, minimal courage and overactive imaginations?  It is a government-funded safe haven, a kind of child-minding facility, designed to keep their brains occupied while ensuring nothing of importance is ever discovered.  A glorified realm of crossword puzzles, if you will. And it is precisely because academia avoids everything personal that its reasonings and systems of thought have become so convoluted as to be unintelligible.

The history of Western philosophy, in particular, is littered with ugly, misshapen thought-structures which stand as beacons to the human avoidance of reality.  It was once the most kingly of intellectual activities; nowadays it is a laughing stock all over the world.  The professors have systematically butchered it.  Even ordinary people can see it.

While academics continue to devour the corpse, popular culture is content to pick apart the remnants.  Reason and logic are constantly belittled in the mainstream media.  Rational characters in films are invariably depicted as psychopathic individuals who have serious character deficiencies, who are bereft of something “human”.  Even poor old Spock from Star Trek is painted as a fraud whose rationality is a facade propped up by the violent suppression of his emotions.  “Could it be that rational thought destroys the soul?”, muses Russell Crowe in The Next Three Days.  I think Oprah and the Dalai Lama might agree.

But human cunning knows no bounds and there are thousands of other ways to fight off the disease of rationality.  The use of “paradox” is a popular favourite these days, particularly of college kids and intellectuals.  The blithe assertion that life is ultimately a paradox conveniently nips all reasoning in the bud before it can build up a head of steam.  Who would bother reasoning in earnest when the end result (i.e. confusion) is already known?  But such a stance is not all doom and gloom, I guess.  At least it brings people together and unites the atheists and the religious under a common cause.  For in the end they both have the same goal in mind.  The religious might call upon “mystery” instead of “paradox”, but the intent is still the same.  Indeed, calling upon paradox allows the atheist to remain religious without having to be blatantly irrational and subscribe to a belief in God.

Atheists often sneer at Christians for being irrational, which is a bit like watching politicians sneer at the opposition for being dishonest and manipulative.  They are obviously not aware of the extent of their own irrationality.  The only real difference between atheists and Christians is that they each cut off their reasoning at different points.  They both still live inside their respective bubbles.  They both still block out reality.  They are both equally insane in their own ways.

Paradox is nothing more than a myth perpetuated by irrational people.  Whenever a person uncovers a “paradox”, what he is really uncovering is his own contradictory thinking, conflicting values and limited vision.  Instead of taking responsibility for the confusion in his own mind, he passes the buck onto Nature itself.  It is Nature which is at fault, not he.  And with that filed away, the mind can now rest in peace.

In the end, people just want to be happy at all times and it doesn’t really matter to them who or what provides it.  Given a choice between remaining in a state of confusion (wherein the dynamics and contrasts can continue to feed their emotions) or ascending into the crystal-clear consciousness of enlightenment which is too pure for emotion to find any foothold, almost everyone will choose the former.  Indeed, they subconsciously make this choice in every moment of their lives.  It is precisely why the human race is still so deluded.


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24 Responses to “The Race That Chooses Confusion”

  1. Bob Michael Says:

    You still don’t see the big picture, David. Nor will you of any value whatsoever in solving the human dilemma. Your ‘genius’ is most definitely limited. It is sorely lacking in sensitivity of soul and ‘experiential’ wisdom.

  2. Bob Michael Says:

    Sorry for the typo error in my second sentence above, David. It should read: Nor will you ‘BE’ of any value whatsoever in solving the human dilemma.

    Cursing the darkness will not help bring the Light of love, truth, and understanding into the world.

  3. David Quinn Says:

    There is a little edit link just next to the date and time at the top of the comment box.

  4. Liberty Sea Says:

    Be aware and be logical at all time and all place. This cannot be compromised.
    Man cannot think logically without thinking psychologically, as he is a bio-electro-chemical being. Sensitivity, awareness, experiential understanding,… are the psychological aspect of enlightenment. Logic is the transcendental aspect of it.

  5. jupiviv Says:

    This is the best post yet. One comment I have about it is that I don’t really believe there can be a compartmentalisation of consciousness, because the process would probably involve some degree of conscious thought, which in turn would nullify the whole point of it. Rather, someone who is largely irrational in their activities will not be rational even where they are supposed to be.

    That’s why most scientists aren’t very good at doing science, and most/all of the breakthroughs(at least the theoretical ones) in science come from one or two scientists in each era who are always much more logically-oriented than the rest(which admittedly isn’t saying a lot.)

  6. David Quinn Says:

    The compartmentalizing is largely instinctive and unconscious. We are all brought up to compartmentalize our lives in various ways – e.g. we are expected to behave in a constrained manner at school or with our parents, as opposed to when we are larking about with our friends. And males are expected to seal off their emotions when performing dangerous tasks, such as when flying an aeroplane or fighting in a war. So compartmentalizing the mind is normal human behaviour. This doesn’t mean we have to mindlessly put up with it, however, and remain a slave to it forever.

  7. jupiviv Says:

    @David, calmness and equanimity isn’t necessarily the same as rationality/consciousness, although most irrational people think so. In fact, those mental states are just other forms of emotions. Just because a person isn’t bubbling over with emotion when fighting in the trenches doesn’t mean he is being rational. I think what you are calling compartmentalisation is just the natural way things are with the human race – there is mostly unconsciousness, with sparks of consciousness occurring here and there.

  8. David Quinn Says:

    No, I am referring to something far more specific. The ability to compartmentalize is what allows people who are normally irrational in their everyday lives to engage in purely rational activity in confined areas. It is what allows Godel, for example, who was a nutter in his personal life, to employ formal logic to arrive at important academic theorems. The very existence of mathematics, which is a purely logical realm, is a testament to humanity’s ability to compartmentalize.

    This also relates to an essential difference between men and women, in that women have far more difficulty separating their emotions and irrational fears from their ability to think objectively. That is to say, they have less capacity to compartmentalize their minds.

  9. Matt Gregory Says:

    Compartmentalization had to have been the key to our evolving into rational beings. This way, the whole brain didn’t have to become rational all at once, but could be broken down into smaller parts so each part could be focused on individually for development. This can be observed in learning, since the easiest way to learn something is to break it up into small parts and focus on one of them at a time.

  10. jupiviv Says:

    @David Quinn, I don’t think it’s possible to be 100% rational even for a specific duration of time if you’re irrational for the rest of the time. That kind of rationality is like a person with his limbs and sense organs removed, but who is still alive.

    Also, a person can do mathematics or play the piano without being rational, if he has the necessary training and/or talent for it, in the same way a computer performs complex calculations within a second or a plant conducts photosynthesis. Some degree of rationality is certainly required for the creation and the major breakthroughs in mathematics, but not much when it comes to imitating and repeating them.

    I’m not saying compartmentalisation doesn’t occur at all, but where it occurs a lot there can’t be a lot of rationality to begin with. Rationality has a tendency of seeping into every nook and cranny of our lives.

  11. Kelly Jones Says:

    Mental compartmentalisation is not actually about having absolutely all lines of thought (that have been perfectly reasoned) cross-influencing each other, such that there is no thought that isn’t linked to all the others; such a process would never be completed, and so it is impossible to achieve an uncompartmentalised mind — if you define it that way. I think what David means by being free of mental compartmentalisation is recognising the nature of Reality, and understanding that thought itself is an ongoing flux and concepts have infinite variations in meaning. It’s really an attitude, a psychological approach to things, that is so dominant, that the mind sustains a high level of consciousness and rationality ongoingly. It doesn’t suddenly baulk, or drop out of gear. So the idea of mental non-compartmentalsation is not really that all one’s thoughts are either perfectly rational, but about a deeper attitude, where one *fully intends* that every line of thought be completed in a perfectly logical way. I.e., bodhicitta.

  12. Liberty Sea Says:

    Jupiviv confused the compartmentalization of ability with compartmentalization of time. A devoted mathematician thinks about math in his meal, walk, sleep and dream, and not just in the office table. A passionate pianist pays intense attention to piano-playing even when he is nowhere near a piano. They are nerds, unskilled in normal activities, because they does not pay enough attention to everyday activities. They dedicated their whole mind to their fields of interest most of the time, nearly 24/7.

  13. Kelly Jones Says:

    Liberty, it’s not really a logical statement to say one dedicates one’s *whole* mind, only *most* of the time. Part of the mind will be saying, what’s for dinner? Anyway, specialisation itself creates mental compartmentalisation. For instance, research scientists cannot really explore even their own highly specialised field of Nature, without blocking off a huge amount of their mind, for the simple reason that they only look for results that bring them sponsorship. Being wholly-focussed all the time on one area of interest doesn’t create the freedom of mind that only comes with wisdom (no belief in the inherent existence of things, and able to go past all boundaries every moment).

  14. Kelly Jones Says:

    (In my first post, the second word should have been “non-compartmentalisation”.)

  15. David Quinn Says:

    Kelly, you don’t see an edit link?

  16. Liberty Sea Says:

    There are genuinely passionate scientist and there are scientists who only look for fame.
    Suppose even a genuinely passionate scientist doesn’t dedicate his *whole* mind, the level of attention/concentration would still be very high. That is what I mean.
    I pretty much agree with Kelly on this one.

    I can see an edit link, but only in my recent comment. It seems that the comments stop being editable after a certain amount of time, which is a little inconvenient.

  17. David Quinn Says:

    Ok, thanks. I’ll ask Matt about whether we can fix that.

  18. Kelly Jones Says:

    David, I don’t see an edit link on any of my comments.

  19. Kelly Jones Says:

    Okay, now I do. I think the Edit function should be enabled always. It also needs to be underlined and bolded, to make it stand out. And add “Delete” next to it.

  20. Kelly Jones Says:

    Liberty, if “a genuinely passionate scientist [who] doesn’t dedicate his *whole* mind, [and whose] level of attention/concentration would still be very high” is not aware of the actual nature of how their subject *exists*, i.e. enlightened, then their attention is superficial. It is like seeing ripples on the surface of a bay coming into the shore, but not seeing the whole interplay creating those ripples: the seabed, rocks and plants and fish moving underwater, the wind and currents, temperature and pressure changes in the atmosphere, and so on. They can see the immediate unfolding of events, but because of their one-dimensional perception, they cannot see causality in all directions. That kind of concentration is very narrow, and tends consistently to make massive errors in hypothesising, designing tests, interpreting results, and suggesting new lines for research.

  21. Liberty Sea Says:

    I did not disagree with that.

  22. Liberty Sea Says:

    The edit link shows when I stay on the page after posting. Once I leave the page and then return to it, the edit link disappears.

  23. Ass of God Says:

    David writes: “The real culprit is our egotistical desire to be comfortable and in control. Instead of striving to become truly rational and freeing ourselves from all delusion and fear, we Westerners are brainwashed into developing a bureaucratic mindset, which reduces life to a never-ending chore of working, planning, and saving. Indeed, we are so encouraged to spend our time organizing our lives and planning for the future that we forget how to live. And so whatever rationality we do possess is employed in a very limited way.”

    I read the above and, as usual, discovered so many of the same essential differences and disagreements. The goal is not, I don’t think, to become ‘truly rational’ [and to] ‘free ourselves from all delusion’, but to actually know where we really and truly are and to actually be there, which few seem ever to do. I would say that the sort of rationalistic modality that you define, David, is actually a symptom of desire to be both comfortable and in control. It may indeed be true that there is in our society a ‘bureaucratic mindset’ which ‘reduces’ life, but I might also say that the ‘mindset’ of your brand of Buddhism (or how do you define it?) is also a kind of dreary imposition. It may indeed be true that in our present, mercantile and mechanized societies that we do not ‘know how to live’, but I have never been at all convinced that you are any better off!

    We look for a ‘religio’ that reflects and describes an accurate representation of reality, one in which we occur simultaneously along with all the forces of the totality (the ‘gods’ if you will), which are not only all the chthonic forces and potencies but which are also higher levels of conceptualization, mental refinement, ways and means of organizing perception and cognition, but also a holistic way and means of existing substantially within reality. To accept it as it is, not to hate it or to desire it to transmute into something else nor to see it disappear in the blink of an eye and become—transcendentally—a ‘more real real’.

    There are a group of techniques—I call them pathologies because they seem often to be mistaken reactions against ‘the way things are’—whereby we distance ourselves from reality (and the truth of it) by interpreting reality in a sideways and dishonest manner. The ‘Buddhist’ obsession with descriptive systems that radically undermine the self and being…is one such pathological strategy. Those attracted to it seem to hold the ‘sickness’ in their body which then translates to their mind, and in the mind they construct an impenetrable rhetorical and doctrinal system which looks at times like a parasite feeding on their life-energy; an ‘installation’ in their conceptual system that maintains them in an abstracted state and within a certain form of critical state.

    Ineffective, impotent, resignedly critical. Incapacitated. Their stunning boldness however is in calling this pathological state ‘health’ and ‘enlightenment’ and to encourage and prop up each other in the perpetration of this mind-fuck on themselves and others and call it ‘spiritual life’. What is curious—fascinating to a degree—is the hardness and resiliency of this mental construct. You can beat on it with a sledge hammer (bring up good, reasoned arguments in opposition to it) but any damage done to the System is quickly patched over, often through forms of emotional denials, angry rejections, ridicule, etc. A circling of the wagons against the rogue threat, which is equated with ‘the ways of the world’ and the mindless masses chasing their confused desires, but not as is indeed possible of it: as a higher and more functional sort of conceptualization of life, self, being and ‘reality’.

    The ‘game of Buddhism’ is played at times with high-handed arrogance shot through with attitudes of superiority. Rather curious and interesting.

    Walter Otto wrote: “There is no worse mistake than to think that an awakening criticism implies growth in seriousness and a deepening religious consciousness”.

    I see your ‘system’ as arising in a hypercritical stance, but one that is reactive in the extreme—reactionary. Oddly enough, a critical attitude is often a symptom of the lack of a cohesive system of belief, and ‘criticism’ comes forth like white corpuscles to combat an anxiety of doubt, a terror of uncertainty. We MUST take into consideration the issue of angst and insecurity in all our dealings with religious, philosophical, existential and psychological questions: this angst and insecurity and its reactive pathologies that might be said to be the ‘motors’ driving modernity, and certainly all those average multitudes who do not know ‘how to live’ and whose actions and ideas seem only symptoms of such confusion and separation from self. In that confusion lie restlessness and simmering anger, the desperation for which some solution must be sought. But they seem to have no tools to work out that solution. And you too are in the same boat, but in your hypercriticism you force the issue, and force your way to ‘solutions’ that can be described more as symptoms and not as bona fide solutions to existential issues. Naturally, I have been speaking along these lines for quite some time now and am no less convinced.

    Walter Otto (vis-a-vis Western culture) describes a ‘receding of divine presence’ out of the world. I note that you seek, in your way, to re-imbue the world with some level of divine presence (as you define it). If divinity has receded from the world the world is ‘disenchanted’. We look for ways and means to reintegrate self-in-world with our understanding of the world itself, which understanding has gone through radical revisions and revolutions. We seek such ways and means conceptually but also in terms of our very means of being in this world: living, existing, participating, and too dying. It is the nature and quality of our own AGENCY that is a central question.

    If my TOUCH is not ‘divine’ in some sense (holy, valuable, relevant, sacred, potent, meaningful), then I am not really and truly present and alive. I am merely a phantom, a partial entity, a wisp.

    If my SONG is not ‘divine’ in some sense—that is, my utterance, my artful, holistic connection with my self, with the expression of my self, my potency in my body and my frame, and in this plane of existence, and by this I mean my ‘artful’ being (an allusion to Art’s relevance and power but this by the way)—then I am sort of a dead being: a semi-living entity, a never-quite-alive.

    If my LOVE—which also includes I am afraid to say the most basic and juicy, fleshy, biological and sexual relatedness, as well as all possible forms of relatedness and attractiveness and possibility of union including conceptual, spiritual and intellectual of the highest order, which basic Venusian or Aphroditic energy is part-and-parcel of this created world—if my LOVE is not ‘divine’ and capable of apotheosis, then essentially I am a pale ghost in this world, a never-quite-alive, an impotent wisp. (Along these lines perhaps it is true that to be ‘pleasure-driven’ as is modern society generally is also a symptom of modern desperation with little to do with ‘real pleasure’ in being alive, being incarnate, when integrated in one’s body pleasure becomes entire…)

    If my ACTIVITY is not ‘divine’ and my creative efforts not also divine or capable of divinization (mirroring and expressing ‘god’), then it is all likely that I remain an ineffective never-been-born who forcibly interprets severance from life as ‘higher life’!

    I have asked myself time and again if you (plural) imagine you can FUCK yourselves out of life and living but that your own being will not rise up in rebellion and thwart your artificial plans? I think the crux lies here. I do not think it possible. Yet so much of modernity (in the sense of confusion and unhappiness) arises out of these self-negating mind-fucks! But so much so that we have lost track of them and cannot recover ourselves. To locate and disassemble these mind-fucks, and to rediscover vital connection to the current of real life is essentially the ‘religious opus’. In our case, the first order of activity is on the conceptual level. From the conceptual level it proceeds to the physical-emotional level.

    From mind to hand, as it were…

    The ‘critical mind’ (in this sense a disease of thinking), when confronted with true, embodied vitality, simply does not know what to do! The presence of such vitality is deeply disconcerting and threatening. Our ‘critical system’ (our shall we say rhetorically and dogmatically-driven ‘Buddhism’) becomes a foreign gauge, an imposition on our being-in-the-world. ‘Buddhism’ is perhaps such an imposition because it cannot accept the Self, nor our life, nor this reality as real and valid in itself. It must devalue it…empty it…critically undermine it…and in this sense is analogous to those ‘otherworldly’ religious systems with their ‘worlds beyond’, their ‘more real real’.

    One cannot ‘get well’ employing this system (I maintain), one can only ‘get dead’ which is quite different. So, instead of David’s ’empty boxes’ (meaninglessness and disappointment), we must find life and meaning within and through our participation: our touch, our song, our love and our activity. Instead of the poor fool who is driven by ideation to define-away substance and being by insisting it is ’empty’, we will likely need to choose another route. The one leads to death (negation) and the other to life (affirmation).

    Walter Otto again: “Its divine [the Greek theology] is neither a justifying explanation of the natural course of the world nor an interruption and abolition of it: it is itself the natural course of the world”.

    I am reminded of your God of the ‘absolutely all’…

    There is something inalterable in the nature of the world and of existence. What is, is, and will be tomorrow and a million years from now. What can change, though, is our RELATIONSHIP to the world and to existence. If we retreat from reality with any sort of dogmatic system away from life into interiority, it is as if we absent ourself from the world and the possibility of ‘productive’ life and we become increasingly unreal. The opposite movement is an alternative: into the world, through exteriority. We don’t make the world something else through whatever sort of gymnastic—even tenth century Zen—but we allow it to be what it is and we function and live within it, not as empty but as full beings.

    If we do not ‘believe’ in existence (and this is a possibility and possibly a fact of modern existence!), how could we even live and act WITHIN this reality? If what we do is not seen as important, valuable and real, how could we ever be effective persons in this plane of existence: and agents of divinity? Through ‘absurd Buddhism’ (please excuse the jab) the entire world…is mistaken!…all mankind is mistaken! Only the Seer of Buddhism—this deeply critical and driven person—sees correctly. He stands above the throng and observes it with acid vision. And yet he lives, oddly enough, in a parasitical relationship to ‘them’. He gains his sustainance from them. How peculiar!

    He who achieves success (as I define it) does so because he is CAPABLE of activity in the world. True, there is such a thing as distorted activity and distorted life. But there is also the prospect of integral, meaningful activity, though the order of the world will never, ever change. But if we cannot even DEFINE the possibility of meaningful activity, we are fucked before we have even left the gate. If one then values and privileges the negation of the possibility of valuable activity and sees all ‘boxes’ as empty (worthless, insubstantial), one is left with no other possibility but to wither away and die…or to live as a sort of leech. A ghost-leech who yet finds ways to make himself relevant and meaningful! Indeed the most relevant and meaningful! 🙂

  24. Kroeger Says:

    There is no higher purpose, we are biological machines created by crude forces; in 5 billion years, our sun will go supernova and destroy everything humans ever created.
    Extinction is part of evolution, there is no way around it. However, why even create need that does not need to exist, i. e. make people? As inmendham ( | put it (“Crude Forces in Control of Precious Commodities”). One of his best: Nature is shit:
    Another compilation: Unintelligent Design:


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