Believing in the World

Categorized under Personal/Daily Life

A new dawn. Looking around with fresh eyes. Catching sight of a box wrapped in colorful paper. Rushing over to it, clapping with joy. Eagerly ripping the paper off and peering inside – and nothing is there.


Another box is spied with even more beautiful wrapping paper. Elbowing others out of the way in the stampede to reach it.  Tearing away the paper in anticipation and hungrily peering inside – and nothing is there.

Confusion. Boredom. Filling in the time with self-loathing.

Another box comes into view, a larger box, covered in glorious gold paper with crimson ribbons tied in a magnificent bow. Trampling over everyone else, punching them, knifing them, stepping over their corpses, eyes fully focused on the prize. Finally reaching the box and carefully unwrapping the gold paper, heart pumping, breathing faint, hands trembling. A moment’s pause and then peering inside with a gulp – and nothing is there.

Cynicism. Falling into drink. Wanting to die.

A flicker of hope as another box, a little box wrapped in plain paper, is glimpsed. Wearily stumbling over at a slow pace. No one around. Clawing at the paper half-heartedly. Peering inside with little expectation – and nothing is there.


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10 Responses to “Believing in the World”

  1. Adam Pfleghaar Says:

    Wonderfully put. Thank you.

    What if, when opening the beautiful wrapping paper, full of passion, enjoying the simple splendor and superficial aesthetics of it, and upon realizing that nothing is inside, are filled with profound peace and fullness, pervading the quintessence of your empty being?

  2. David Quinn Says:

    What would be the cause of that peace?

  3. Adam Pfleghaar Says:

    The realization that existence is inherently empty. Sunyata. Though I believe that only to be a half truth.

  4. David Quinn Says:

    Yes, it is the tip of an infinite iceberg. But how would you describe the nature of this peace in the terms used in my little blog above?

  5. cathypreston Says:

    Reminds me of Christmas when I was a child, when I found my present early and carefully unwrapped it and re-wrapped it for Christmas morning, talk about being disappointed twice.

  6. Adam Pfleghaar Says:

    It always comes down to semantics, or the highly subjective associations we use to define a word (hence the problem with the word “God”). This is why I personally have such a difficult time articulating the nature of subsistence/spirituality. With the word peace, I am referring to a state of consciousness devoid of: expectation, agitation, sensory attachment, pain, suffering, fear, excitement, passion, delusion, confusion, ignorance, emotion, labeling, analysis, preconceived associations, and so on. I personally like the I Ching because it goes beyond simple words, taking a cross section of the ever changing/evolving/deteriorating states of phenomena. In the I Ching “peace” is represented by hexagram 11, one would have to write volumes to define that one hexagram. In the context of your blog above, I am reminded of your blog about “Believing in Death”. When you open the box with all its sophisticated and ornate packaging, just to realize that it’s empty inside, similare to the realization that when you die “utterly everything disappears”. To me, this understanding brings a state of liberation, freedom, a profound peace in which nothing is lacking or incomplete, because nothing exists. But even the word “nothing” is inadequate or rather “the tip of an infinite iceberg”. Right now I’m reading the complete works of Pseudo-Dionysius and am on “The Divine Names”. I can’t say with absolute conviction yet, because I’m not finished, but so far it’s very accurate by my understanding, and reminds me of what Christianity has to offer in regards to truth.

  7. David Quinn Says:

    What about art? Where does art fit in with the prettily-wrapped boxes?

  8. Adam Pfleghaar Says:

    Well, in the context of the blog I would say that art is most definitely the pretty wrapping on the gift box.  At face value, art is just another form of detachment and escapism. Art takes something observational, personal, and subjective and turns it into an exterior object; it takes reality and turns it into an aesthetic. Without a doubt, it often attempts to seduce our emotions and intellect. But in a much more basic or fundamental sense, the various mediums of art are just another form of communication. For instance, with this blog you have chosen words to communicate with.  Another might attempt to pierce the veil of reality and truth through music, images, or various other intellectual or sensory methods.  Art doesn’t necessarily limit what tools we choose to communicate with, which is why it is such a major aspect of my life. But the key to art is rhetoric. Whoever attempts to decipher meaning in art does so subjectively through their unique experiences and associations. Consequently, they think that the conclusions they form originated from them. By the law of ego, it is much more effective and long lasting, if a person feels they came to a conclusion by their own understanding and were not simply told so.

  9. Nick Treklis Says:

    The irony of this little story is that while most would view it as one of hopelessness, I see it as a source of hope. It’s a hopeful story because it is only after one has lost all faith in this world does the chance arise where one begins to seek the truth in earnest.

  10. roundcircleandsphere314628 Says:

    This is actually a repost of my comment meant as a reply to the “Nirvana” thread, since an asian chatbot decided to flood it with 900 comments of ads and ruin the possibility of discussing the topic.

    This is not a reply to this thread, but a repost of my comment in the Nirvana thread, which is buried under 900 pages of adbot crap. Try to ignore the cognitive dissonance that this is not a reply to this thread, but to the Nirvana thread.
    “Don’t know if you will read this comment since its buried under all that oriental crap.

    David, I find myself returning to this piece again and again, and I cant decide what to think of it. It brings up some good points, but tat the same time, reeks of nihilism. Our worlds ARE our bodies, but at the same time, there is nothing saying our bodies are inherently good. For example, lighting your foot on fire. Lighting your foot on fire is not inherently good nirvana. It is objectively bad. Some aesthetics are better than others, like lighting your foot on fire for five days is not good aesthetics. That being said, there is no reason not to be content with anger, depression, or shabby conditions, since such things are no less entertaining than anything else. But, within reason.
    Our lives are fundamentally complete…in the sense of, we didn’t ask anyone to be born, so to what do we owe ourselves? it is not a matter of owe, but simply a geniune want to do so. Not many things on this life would make our lives complete. Would starting a business make someone’s life complete? No, their lives would continue down the road of laughable ego attachments and collectibles. However, people still do not know the path or outcome of death, so they are fundamentally incomplete. You can say that your opinion is that this world is nirvana, garden of eden, but how can you say with certainty that all other worlds, are also nirvana, garden of eden? You cannot, or else it is blind faith. If you say nothing happens after you die, that you cease to exist – blind faith. So is your life really complete, without knowing the map or charts to the sea? Is a boat adrift on the ocean, with no rudder to steer it from the potential of perdition, is that boat complete? You tell me.”

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