Posts Tagged ‘genius’

The Last Man

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Science has undoubtedly created numerous benefits for the world, but it has also been detrimental in many ways as well. By far its most detrimental effect has been the way it has steadily diminished the depth and scope of human consciousness over the past century. Despite the fact that we nowadays have access to vast amounts of information from all corners of the globe, the human race seems to be becoming dumber and shallower with every passing year.

With global communication tools such as satellite television and the internet, we are in constant contact with all kinds of different cultures, languages, perspectives, and theories, which has undeniably broadened our minds. But just as a piece of rubber becomes narrower when stretched, our consciousness has been thinning out as it has broadened. It is thinning out because people are unable to rationally cope with the torrents of information that are daily bombarding them. They have to resort to shutting down large swathes of their cerebral cortex in order to suppress their sense of confusion.

Since no one is ever encouraged to think powerfully in a logical manner, and since no one is able to take time out from their busy lives to engage in serious thought in the first place, people nowadays have no means of reconciling the conflicting views and beliefs that swirl around them. The only way they know how to deal with the confusion is either by seeking refuge in the simplified, pre-packaged answers of religion, or in the simplified, pre-packaged answers of postmodernism (i.e. truth can never be known; everything is uncertain; everything is subjective; everything is relative, etc). In both cases, the act of thinking is abandoned, the shutters come up, the confusion is pushed aside, and everyone can get on with the important business of mindlessly enjoying life.

The religious side of this shutting down process is already well-known, so I won’t bother addressing it in this blog. Religious people, as a whole, tend to be very generic and uninteresting. To spend one’s life suppressing reason and thrusting one’s mind into childish bed-time fantasies that are clearly designed to make the ego feel more secure would have to be one of the most boring activities imaginable. And when you look at their plastic smiles and forced jolliness, and their wooden conversation composed of religious clichés and scripts, it is obvious that their minds are almost completely dead. So instead I will be using this blog to focus on agnostics – that is to say, on those who seek refuge in the standard bundle of postmodernist clichés (i.e. truth can never be known; everything is uncertain; everything is subjective; everything is relative, etc). Not only are they a growing menace in today’s society, but their lives are filled with all sorts of interesting contradictions and amusing ironies that are worth highlighting.

But first we need to make a distinction between agnosticism and atheism. The primary difference between them is that the atheist openly makes claims of certainty, while the agnostic does not. For example, the atheist categorically rules out the possibility that God exists, while the agnostic believes it is impossible to be sure. From the agnostic’s point of view, the atheistic rejection of God is nothing more than an act of faith, and thus the agnostic believes that he is more rational than the atheist. What the agnostic does not see, however, is that his own position is supported by similar acts of faith.

Let us examine the typical agnostic more closely. You will recognize him instantly, for they are everywhere and they are all clones of one another. He is first and foremost a worshipper of science. He subscribes to the view that the scientific method is the only valid means of gaining meaningful knowledge about the world. He even goes so far as to equate rationality with science, such that the two terms become synonymous with one another, and thus he believes it is impossible for anyone to be rational in a meta-scientific manner. If he observes anyone moving beyond science in their search for understanding, he automatically dismisses them as religious fanatics who have entered the realm of blind faith, regardless of how rational and clear-sighted their search might be.

Just as a religious person has his mantras (“God moves in mysterious ways”, “Faith surpasses understanding”, “He who speaks does not know”, etc) and cunningly employs them to dismiss all opposing points of view, the agnostic too has his own mantra – namely, “Everything is uncertain”. Whenever he spies a thought beginning to emerge, whether in his own mind or in the words of others, he immediately wields his mantra like a sword and lops it off. Indeed, he comes to do this so regularly and so instinctively that over time the whole process slides imperceptibly into his subconscious and he is no longer aware that he is doing it. In effect, he has performed a philosophical lobotomy on himself and since forgotten that it ever happened.

I remember when I was younger and pushing myself ever more deeply into philosophy, I used to hate the fact that I was uncertain of everything. It is a truly terrible experience not knowing where to ground the mind. Being uncertain of everything is like having a bad acid trip, with everything flopping about topsy-turvy. It is not a realm in which you can rest and take it easy. Quite the reverse, in fact. It is very much a life or death situation, with the prospect of madness only a finger-snap away, compelling the mind to become intensely focused on finding the certainty of absolute truth. The very fact that agnostics do not have a problem with their supposed uncertainty – indeed, they even seem quite smug and comfortable about it – shows that something is seriously amiss.

To put no finer point on it, their proclaimed uncertainty is fake. It rests on all kinds of secret certainties that reside deep within their minds. Even the idea that “everything is uncertain” is subconsciously treated as a certainty.

It is one thing for a person to recognize that he is personally uncertain of everything and to say to the world, “I do not know anything” – for that would constitute an honest appraisal of his own situation. But for him to project this onto everyone else and state emphatically that no one can ever reach genuine certainty, or that it is impossible to know the absolute truth – well, that is something else altogether. That is his own dishonesty gone mad. In effect, he is claiming that he possesses mystical or supernatural powers and has peered into the minds of everyone who is alive today, as well as everyone who has ever lived in the past, to establish with absolute certainty that indeed no one has ever reached the certainty of absolute truth. Even the most fanatical of fundamentalists wouldn’t dare make such a wild religious claim, yet the agnostic is somehow able to perform this miracle without blinking an eye. And like all religious claims it is contradictory in nature, since it involves being certain (“I know for sure that no one knows anything for sure”) and uncertain (“I myself don’t know anything for sure”) at the same time.

Oh yes indeed, scratch the surface of a sober agnostic and there is always a religious nutter underneath!

Of course, in saying these things I have been a little disingenuous in my treatment of agnosticism. For I have been treating it as though it were a serious philosophic position, one that is worthy of being rationally analyzed, whereas in reality it is nothing more than a crude attempt to destroy philosophy altogether. The agnostic is happy enough to erect an intellectual facade for the sake of appearances, but in reality he is anti-philosophy and anti-truth to the core. Behind it all, what he really wants is peace of mind and the opportunity to live like a contented animal, enjoying the little things in life. That is the root of the matter. He wants to run along with the herd, make some money, have a social life, marry a woman, produce kids and grow comfortably to a ripe old age. His innermost desire is to merge into the crowd, to not create any waves, to remain invisible and mediocre. As such, the very last thing he wants to do is take logic seriously and form a relationship with truth.

We can think of agnosticism, then, not as an intellectual activity, but as a Borg-like process in which mediocrity consumes everything in its path and begets even more mediocrity.

Given this, you can see why the agnostic wholly commits himself to the scientific world-view and actively promotes the idea that the scientific method is the only valid means of gaining meaningful knowledge about the world. He is fully aware that the scientific method can only ever yield theories that are “provisionally true”, and therefore he knows that all scientific theories are fundamentally uncertain in nature. And so by praising the scientific method to the skies and dismissing everything else, it allows him to mount the argument that it is impossible for anyone, anywhere, to reach absolute certainty in their knowledge.

How does he know that the scientific method is the only valid means of gaining meaningful knowledge about the world? He doesn’t. He just makes it up. Having no interest in truth, he is free to make up what he likes. Again, all he wants to do is promote the uncertainty meme within the community. He wants the world to think that the very idea of absolute truth is a pipe-dream entertained by superstitious people who are anti-science. And why? Because in eliminating every other point of contrast, his own attachment to mediocrity can begin to gain a semblance of respectability.

It only takes a few moments to see through all this. It is very easy to become aware of the logical pathways that extend beyond science into the realm of absolute truth and thus see agnosticism for the nonsense that it is. For example, the view that “scientific theories are always provisional and uncertain” is itself a logical truth that is absolute in nature and can be known with certainty. Since a scientific theory ultimately relies on empirical evidence for its validity (i.e. on what is observed through the senses), and since what is observed through the senses always carries an element of uncertainty, it automatically becomes true by definition that all scientific theories are inherently uncertain. Poof! Straight away, with this piece of reasoning alone, the existence of absolute truth and the human mind’s capacity to apprehend it is proven without any shadow of a doubt. With a single stroke of logic, the irrationality of agnosticism is exposed. And yet this simple logical step, which only takes a moment to execute, is one that the agnostic will never take.

Since the agnostic spends his time blocking out deeper forms of logical thought, he is unable to see how foolish he is. For example, in his desire to present philosophy as a form of quackery, he often says things like: “Philosophy is to science what astrology is to astronomy”. What the fool does not realize is that if philosophy is a form of quackery, then science itself must also be a form of quackery, since the validity of science can only ever be established by philosophic thought. Turning to the scientific method does not help in this instance. It is meaningless to conduct a scientific experiment to test the validity of science, for that would involve pre-affirming what is being tested. It can only be tested and established by a higher methodology – that is to say, by a philosophic act of logic.

There are countless logical truths beyond science, with many of them able to provide meaningful knowledge about the world. For instance, there is the truth that nothing can exist of its own accord. A car, for example, is necessarily dependent on the parts that comprise it. If you take away its panels, windows, steering wheel, seats, tyres, etc, then you also take away the car. The very existence of the car depends on the existence of its parts being assembled together in the proper manner, and as such the car cannot exist of its own accord. The same principle can be equally applied to all things in the Universe without exception, including electrons, quarks and strings – and of course, ourselves.  Anything that exists can be divided into parts, either physically or mentally.  Again, this is not a piece of knowledge that can be uncovered by the scientific method. It is a philosophic truth, one that is purely logical in nature, and it is very meaningful to those who are awake to its implications.

Agnosticism is very much the flavour of the modern technological age. There is something about agnosticism and electronic devices which makes them so compatible. It is as though they are made for each other. They are like soulless-mates. A positive feedback loop has thus emerged in modern society, one that involves technological progress and agnosticism mutually reinforcing each other. As people become more and more overwhelmed by the pace of society and its endless technological distractions, they have less and less time to think and thus increasingly fall ever more deeply into the black hole of agnosticism; in turn, the mental vacuum created by agnosticism needs to be filled somehow and so the agnostic naturally gravitates towards information overload and endless distraction, if for no other reason than to ward off boredom. And so it goes on. A continuous cycle that is strengthening and gathering pace, consuming everything in its path. And all the while the intangible path of philosophic reasoning, together with all of its treasures and glories, slips further and further out of sight.

In the past, the masses used to be in awe of the religious temples and cathedrals that stood in their midst. These grand buildings, full of colour and religious imagery, created the impression that religion was a matter of great significance. To the ignorant peasants living in nearby hovels, these buildings seemed as though they belonged in another plane of existence far removed from their daily lives. How could they possibly begin to question the authority of those who build these temples and inhabit them? In a similar way, the technological marvels of modern science – computers, TVs, smart phones, cars, aeroplanes, space shuttles, etc – are seducing the masses like never before. With agnosticism effectively turning people into intellectual peasants, the authority of science in their eyes has become absolute.

The effect this is all having on children as they grow up is devastating. Without knowing what is happening, children absorb by osmosis the agnostic vacuity which is in the air, and so by the time they reach adulthood they are no longer capable of believing in anything. And as their own minds become increasingly more vacuous, they become hopelessly addicted to electronic devices. Indeed, their addiction is so ingrained that they can no longer bear the thought of being alone with themselves. They can barely sit still for a couple of moments before having to desperately reach for their mobile phones in order to send an inane text or watch a moronic video on youtube. They do not live, they flit. From one thing to the next, they flit, never stopping long enough to derive any real pleasure or satisfaction, always on the look out for the next quick hit, always on the look out for something to poke fun at. Laughing at anything and everything is the only thing they know how to do. However, it is not a laughter which comes out of intelligent understanding, but out of a desperate desire to gain a sense of control over their lives. For their lives have long ago fractured into thousands of disparate elements. They have become utterly disconnected from the deeper parts of their minds. They have reached adulthood and now they are spiritually dead. This has been agnosticism’s gift to the world.

Just as all closed systems invariably degenerate towards a state of maximum entropy, the world is gradually becoming more bland and homogenous. The signs of this are everywhere. How long will it be before the various nations and cultures of today are replaced by a vast mono-culture in which everyone speaks the same language, holds the same values and engages in the same kinds of shallow activities? It will be maximum entropy right across the board – physically, in the form of science, technology and market-based economics; psychologically, in the form of mindless hedonism and feminization; and intellectually, in the form of agnosticism.

Nietzsche, with his usual prescience, was able to discern this trend way back in the 19th century and wrote about it in the prologue of his seminal work, Thus Spake Zarathustra:

It is time for man to fix his goal. It is time for man to plant the germ of his highest hope.

Still is his soil rich enough for it. But that soil will one day be poor and exhausted, and no lofty tree will any longer be able to grow thereon.

Alas! there comes the time when man will no longer launch the arrow of his longing beyond man — and the string of his bow will have unlearned to whizz!

I tell you: one must still have chaos in one, to give birth to a dancing star. I tell you: ye have still chaos in you.

Alas! There comes the time when man will no longer give birth to any star. Alas! There comes the time of the most despicable man, who can no longer despise himself.

Lo! I show you THE LAST MAN.

““What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?”” — so asks the last man and blinks.

The earth has then become small, and on it there hops the last man who makes everything small. His species is ineradicable like that of the ground-flea; the last man lives longest.

““We have discovered happiness”” — say the last men, and blink thereby.

They have left the regions where it is hard to live; for they need warmth. One still loves one’s neighbour and rubs against him; for one needs warmth.

Turning ill and being distrustful, they consider sinful: they walk warily. He is a fool who still stumbles over stones or men!

A little poison now and then: that makes pleasant dreams. And much poison at last for a pleasant death.

One still works, for work is a pastime. But one is careful lest the pastime should hurt one.

One no longer becomes poor or rich; both are too burdensome. Who still wants to rule? Who still wants to obey? Both are too burdensome.

No shepherd, and one herd! Every one wants the same; every one is equal: he who has other sentiments goes voluntarily into the madhouse.

““Formerly all the world was insane”” — say the subtlest of them, and blink thereby.

They are clever and know all that has happened: so there is no end to their raillery. People still fall out, but are soon reconciled — otherwise it spoils their stomachs.

They have their little pleasures for the day, and their little pleasures for the night, but they have a regard for health.

““We have discovered happiness” — say the last men, and blink thereby.

It has long been one of my goals in life to eliminate religion from the face of the earth. I cannot begin to tell you how much I despise religion, with its insane theologies and banal rituals, its timid reliance on rules and scriptures, its closed-mindedness, its herdliness, its violence. To submit to a religion is truly cowardly behaviour. But even so, I would much rather have the company of a religious person than I would an agnostic. For no matter how insane or fanatical the religious person might be, at least he still has a bit of life in him. He might be a buffoon, but at least he can be an amusing buffoon.

But with agnostics you get nothing. It is like staring into a void. Aimlessly flitting from one petty thought to the next, passively accepting whatever happens to be fashionable on the day, passively going along with whatever the majority think, filling one’s life with emotional relationships and hedonistic pleasures, having no interest in the absolute truth or philosophic wisdom, living in the moment, waiting to die – can anything be lower than this? In letting himself go like this, the agnostic has committed a very grave crime, perhaps the biggest crime that a man could possibly commit. He has degenerated into a woman.


The Dangers of Compassion

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

The yearning to be happy is quite possibly the most destructive force in the world.  The amount of suffering it causes, the amount of psychotic behaviour it generates, the number of lives it wrecks, is incalculable. As a destructive force it far outweighs Nature’s meagre attempts to whip up storms, floods, earthquakes and the like.  Millions of lives are being hurt, maimed or destroyed every single day in the name of happiness, yet you will never see a story on this in the news.  It is simply taboo in the modern era to expose the truth this deeply.

The yearning for happiness is also the biggest source of human ignorance. It is easy enough for the mind to deceive itself at the best of times, but once the yearning for fulfillment, security and pleasure is thrown into the mix it virtually becomes a fait accompli.  When a person manages to secure what he thinks is a reliable source of happiness, you can more or less kiss him goodbye.  He ceases to be human and becomes a kind of cunning fox, his mind perpetually on the alert for anything that might threaten his prize possession.  Always on the defensive, his eyes constantly darting around, he intuitively fills his mind with emotions, justifications, rationalizations, platitudes, snippets of scripture, popular opinions, women’s views – anything that can muddy the waters and save him from having to look too closely into the truth of his own situation.

For example, I often encounter philosophically-inclined men who go to great lengths to justify their marriage and being in love with their wife.  They are compelled to go to these lengths because, being philosophical types, they respect logic and therefore agree that it is important to give up attachments.  But when it comes to their wives, they suddenly whistle a different tune.  A common justification put forward, usually in sheepish tones, is that the wife in question is a very intelligent woman who also happens to be deeply spiritual.  But many of them are simply content to argue that their love for their wife is “unconditional” and therefore spiritual in nature.

But is their love really unconditional?  One can say to these men, “If you were to come home from work one day to find that your wife had run away with another man, would your love for her be as blissful and affirmative as always?  Or if you found out that she was slowly poisoning you for the purpose of eventually killing you and inheriting your money, would you continue to adore her as much as ever?”  If the man is honest, he will answer that it would be highly doubtful.  For deep down he knows and I know that his love for his wife is very much conditional.  It is sustained on the strict condition that she continues to love him back – that is to say, that she continues to boost his ego and give him pleasure.

Unconditional love is an entirely different matter.  It is a love which goes beyond the emotions and embraces all things without reservation.  It is an adoration which wholeheartedly affirms everything that happens in Nature, regardless of what it is.  Loving every person that one meets, no matter how they behave.  Loving all circumstances as they occur, no matter how gruesome or unpleasant.  Loving every aspect of every moment that one experiences, right down to the smallest detail.  If you are foolish enough to have a wife, then it means loving everything else in the Universe in the same way that you love your wife.  And should she run away with another man, or die an agonizing death, then that too is loved with as much fervour as ever.  Anything less than this and it ceases to be unconditional love.  It instead becomes just another instance of ordinary, run-of-the-mill, selfish love.  For unconditional love is nothing other than a love for God, a love for the All.

The difference between unconditional love and selfish love is immeasurable.  When a person loves unconditionally he expects and receives no rewards at all.  He gets absolutely nothing back in return.  He loves all things because he clearly sees they are manifestations of his true nature.  All things are literally his self, and thus it becomes impossible for him to isolate one particular thing in the Universe (e.g. a beautiful woman) and cherish it more than other things.  To him, the woman is no more special that the trees, mountains and clouds.  They are all part of the nature of God.   Selfish love, by contrast, expects and demands certain benefits, and if the husband does not receive them he becomes angry and begins to fight with his wife.

The compassionate love for the welfare of all humanity falls into the same category.  It is fundamentally indistinguishable from ordinary, selfish love.  Unconditionally speaking, it makes no difference whether the human race lives or dies, or whether humans are miserable or happy, or whether they are ignorant or wise.  None of this matters to God in the slightest.  And so the mind of the man who is fully immersed in unconditional love remains tranquil in all circumstances.  He has tuned into the All and therefore gone beyond all forms.  He sees the joy of God in utterly everything.  He knows there is nothing he can do to increase this joy, nor does he have any power to diminish it.

Just as a husband expects certain rewards for loving his wife, so too the compassionate person is motivated by the selfish desire to gain rewards.  There is always an underlying egotism to the practice of compassion.  Religious people, for example, like to be compassionate because it makes them feel more holy.  It makes them look good in the eyes of their God (or so it seems to their eyes) and they believe it accrues them brownie points towards the goal of reaching heaven.  What pleases them most is basking in the certainty of a rewarding future.

In non-religious people, there are other forms of egotism at play.  There is the desire to prevent feelings of guilt from arising, for example.  Most people subconsciously know that if they refrain from behaving compassionately in a particular situation before them they will come to perceive themselves as being mean-spirited and self-centred.  There is also the egotism involved in trying to make the world a better place – that is to say, in laying down the groundwork for the production of future benefits for everyone, including oneself.  And then there are some people, usually women, who desperately spend their lives serving others as a way to ward off loneliness and boredom.  Without such an outlet available to them, they would have no life at all.

People often invoke the Golden Rule when it comes to compassion: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  Expressed in this way, compassion becomes an investment in the future.  Weak, vulnerable people, in particular, are quick to adopt this rule.  They instinctively feel that if they treat others in a caring, non-judgmental way, then others in turn will probably treat them in the same manner.  It is a cunning method aimed at disabling the strength and violence of others and wiping away all potential conflict from the world – that is to say, to recreate the womb on earth.   Nietzsche was pretty much on the mark when he described Christians as being haters of life.

Stronger, more successful people understandably tend to be not so enthusiastic about the Golden Rule.  Nonetheless, many of them donate to charities and become philanthropists, not because they expect charity in return, but to assuage their guilt.  Successful people usually gain their success by trampling over people in their eagerness to climb to the top, which can poison their conscience with the nagging thought that they really are despicable narcissists.  Indulging in philanthropy is their way of alleviating, not other people’s suffering, but their own.

Compassion, then, essentially boils down to being just another method to boost one’s ego.  This is not to say that we shouldn’t be helping others, and I am certainly not arguing for the preservation of the mean-spirited, petty-minded selfishness which consumes most people on this planet, but it is important to be completely honest about what motivates us in everything that we do.  All too often, compassion becomes little more than a drug that people take to make them feel better about themselves.  And when people are addicted to drugs they cannot think clearly and they end up causing far more harm than good.

While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary.

Chinua Achebe

If compassion is limited to simply picking up the pieces in the aftermath of human greed and brutality (e.g. feeding the hungry, healing the injured, comforting the distressed, etc), if it refrains from dealing with the root causes of human suffering, then it does nothing to prevent the same sort of suffering from occurring again and again in the future.  Compassion, in this sense, is like trying to douse flames with petrol.  It might quieten the flames for a moment or two, but watch how they roar back into life with even greater ferocity than before!

The greatest form of compassion is the compassion that seeks to prevent suffering from arising in the first place, as opposed to simply trying to contain it after the horse has bolted.  If human beings could be encouraged to tune their minds into the All, abandoning the desire to seek their happiness in particular circumstances or particular forms, learning to get high on life itself without the need for particular things to emotionally and psychologically prop them up, using reason to free themselves from their mental prisons and becoming fully open to the truth, then 99% of human suffering would vanish overnight.  In other words, the greatest form of compassion is the practice of reason and the perfecting of one’s understanding of reality, all the while encouraging others to do likewise.

Most people, however, are repulsed by the very thought of this, for it means having to make radical changes to what passes these days for ordinary, everyday life, and very few have the stomach or desire to do that.

For example, love is easily the biggest cause of human suffering worldwide.  Anyone can see this.  You don’t have to be a genius to see it.  It is obvious that the consequences of love are truly terrible, yet people everywhere are more than happy to turn a blind eye.  What is the love between a man and a woman but the fertile soil out of which springs heartbreak, jealousy, domestic violence, child abuse, bitterness, revenge, murder, loneliness, low self-esteem and alcoholism?  It is a dreadful condition which, although it might generate the occasional moment of bliss, produces endless amounts of misery all over the world.

Yet who among the compassionate are truly serious about abandoning love?   Not a single one of them, I wager.  This fact alone reveals that their proclaimed desire to eliminate suffering is insincere.

What would be your reaction if you observed a person deliberately setting fire to an occupied house and clapping his hands with joy at the sight of the flames growing larger and ever more fierce, only to start empathizing with the victims as they stagger out of the burning house and actively going over to help them?  You would probably consider him to be an utterly deranged nutter who should be locked away for a very long time for the good of public safety.  And yet that is exactly how the compassionate appear to me.

Compassion and misery are two sides of the same coin.  Just as the joys of harmonic resolution in music depend on the prior existence of dissonant tension, so too the enjoyment of compassion depends on the existence of ignorance, greed, pettiness and violence.  Without human insanity to constantly botch things up, there would be no need for compassion, and the delicious joy that people derive from compassionate acts would be denied them.

And yes, the pleasures of love and compassion can be very exquisite indeed.  It can bring a tear to the eye to watch people who were once apart coming together – the prodigal son coming home, a Muslim and a Christian embracing each other, a black man and a white man becoming friends, the public appreciation of a woman’s skills in a misogynistic society.  These dissolving of barriers speak to our own alienation and conflict with the world.  It brings to the surface our own yearning to be accepted by others, which is the true source of our tears.  The joy found in compassion ultimately derives from own ignorance of the nature of reality, from the deluded belief in our own self-existence.

One of the greatest dangers of compassion is the effect it can have of turning people’s minds against reality.  It is a truism that nothing brings two parties closer together more effectively than the presence of a shared enemy.  We can see that in the way a nation pulls together during a time of war, or when a community comes together in the aftermath of a natural disaster.  In a similar way, the easiest and most efficient way to bring all of humanity together is to make an enemy out of life itself.  Everyone can thus huddle together in the face of a threatening larger reality.  In this way compassion becomes a form of evil, causing people to turn their backs on God.

When the average person is asked to provide an example of a compassionate person, they invariably point the finger at Mother Teresa.  Just as Einstein has become the poster boy of genius, Mother Teresa has nowadays become the poster girl of compassion.  And I admit that in some respects the extreme nature of her lifestyle was admirable.  Most people put firm limits on their desire to help others.  They quickly put the brakes on their compassion as soon as it begins to interfere with their personal lives.  But Mother Teresa went out on a limb and turned her entire personal life into an exercise in helping others.

Yet, as with other compassionate people, her motivation for helping others was entirely egotistical in nature.  According to the official story, Mother Teresa started off on her life-long path while she was teaching at a convent school in Calcutta, where she became increasingly disturbed by the poverty surrounding her.  The sight of all that poverty was making her suffer inwardly, and so at bottom her desire to help others was really a desire to ease the pain inside herself.  It was her maternal impulses coming into play, akin to rushing over to comfort a crying child.  Although she devoted herself to easing the physical and emotional sufferings of the poverty-stricken in an immediate sense, she never tried to resolve her own suffering through wisdom, nor did she strive to eliminate the root causes of suffering in others.  Quite the reverse, in fact, she actively promoted suffering through her desire to get people addicted to religious fantasy, which is like getting people addicted to heroin.

Contrast this to someone like Soren Kierkegaard, who made it his life to suffer for the truth.  Although Kierkegaard rarely helped the poor his compassion was immense, completely dwarfing that of Mother Teresa in all respects.  The way in which he stared into the truth without flinching and the humility with which he took it upon himself to accept the role of being the conscience of humanity, even though it came at great personal cost, is awe-inspiring.  Kierkegaard’s work will continue to live on through the ages, terrorizing the dishonest and the deceitful, while inspiring others to form a genuine relationship with truth and open their minds to God.  Mother Teresa, on the other hand, will increasingly become a dim memory and her influence, such as it is, will vanish.

Here lies the difference between the genuine compassion of the wise and the ordinary compassion of the egotist.  The former seeks to increase suffering in the world (as a spur towards higher things), while the latter tries to eliminate it.  Ordinary compassion is entirely worldly in nature and its core aim is to bring people happiness and peace – or spiritually speaking, to put people back to sleep.  It is the opposite of true compassion in every respect.  “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword”, said the compassionate Jesus.

It is no coincidence that the modern worship of love and compassion has arisen at the same time that society has granted more social and political powers to women.  It is a reflection of the growing feminization of Western society over the past century.  In the past the highest virtues were considered to be things like honour, courage, rationality, knowledge, and idealism; nowadays, it is all confined to what is motherly.  Indeed, the archetypal compassionate person nowadays bears a close resemblance to the archetypal mother figure – that is, someone who is soft, comforting, nurturing, accepting and non-judgmental.

There is nothing about Mother Teresa that reflects the Infinite. She inspires no one to abandon their delusions and become perfectly wise.  While the extreme nature of her lifestyle did harbour some possibilities, it was undermined by her maternal manner and her conventional Christian outlook, and so her life failed to express the rarest and most glorious of all things – namely, the madness of the divine.  Unlike her mentor, Jesus, who himself rarely helped the poor and instead spent his life suffering for the truth, she eliminated the dangerous elements from her life and retreated to the safe confines of the mother figure.  In effect, she was little more than a super-mum, with all of the limitations that entails.

This is why I am utterly dismayed that Mother Teresa and her like are nowadays regarded by most people to embody the highest of human virtues. The whole thrust of such worship serves to place worldliness front and centre in people’s minds, while the spiritual wisdom of a Kierkegaard or a Jesus is being marginalized and pushed out of sight.  It distracts people’s attention away from what is truly important and thus becomes a powerful force for evil.


Believing in the World

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

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.


The Race That Chooses Confusion

Monday, July 9th, 2012

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.


Mastering Perspective

Monday, June 25th, 2012

If genius is the art of being fully conscious of reality in the midst of daily life, then an essential step towards perfecting this art is learning how to master perspective.

Most people are the opposite. They are slaves to perspective. They allow themselves to become trapped within a limited range of perspectives, which closes their minds to everything else. Setting up home in these perspectives, they feel compelled to defend them vigorously, even violently. What makes their situation so comical is that the perspectives they cherish are not even theirs to begin with. They did not arrive at them independently through a conscious process of logic that has been thoroughly grounded in ultimate reality. They simply accepted them second-hand from others – from their peers, from their culture, from their tradition.

A person might be born in the deep south of America and thus grow up to be a fervent, bible-bashing Christian, yet if he were born in Pakistan he would be directing the same fervour towards Islam. He did not choose to be born in a region of Christian fundamentalism, anymore than a Pakistani chooses to be born in an Islamic state. Yet they both vigorously promote their respective values and beliefs with a blind fervour, oblivious to the absurdity of their own situation. Each of them have passively allowed their lives to be shaped and determined by the mere roll of a dice. They are but empty clones of one another. The fact that they both hate each other only serves to make the whole thing even more comical.

This madness is everywhere you look. I watched a football match recently between Croatia and Spain and the thing that strikes you about international football is the naked patriotism on display, from both the players and the crowd. You look at the singing, chanting and flag-waving and it is obvious that each set of supporters thinks their nation (their culture, their people, their ego) is the greatest nation of all. They have all bought into this perspective and emotionally invested in it. And yet each of these supporters could have just as easily been cheering on the opposing nation had chance rolled the dice differently. The arbitrary nature of their birth and the absurdity of their passive acceptance of this either escapes them completely, or else they are too wrapped up in the emotional pleasure contained within their limited perspective to care.

It is not just a matter of where you are born, but when. A lot of college students nowadays naturally believe in the supremacy of science and have absorbed the popular nihilistic belief that truth can never be known, that everything is uncertain. They are quick to sneer at religious people for their belief in irrational superstition. Yet if these same college students were born 1000 years ago, they would have just as naturally believed in the supremacy of the Church and the doctrines of orthodox Christianity, and they would have been sneering at pagans instead. Their mindless acceptance of the dominant cultural myths of the 21st century makes them just as ignorant and irrational as the medieval Christians of old.

When I was in my teens and early twenties, I used to be astonished at how accepting and submissive my peers were. Just the fact that they were so obsessed with women, and therefore obsessed with the business of making money and appearing powerful and cool, was a puzzle to me. I would say to them, “Doesn’t the fact that you submit so easily to your genetic programming bother you? Surely there is more to life than living like a standard, pre-programmed robot!” Most of them would laugh and think I was crazy. But to me, they seemed unimaginative and meek.

It is hard to believe that here we are in the 21st century, with all of the technological sophistication around us, and people everywhere are still happy to play lottery with their lives and allow chance to completely dictate their beliefs, values, perception, knowledge and experiences.   It is even harder to believe that most of them are oblivious to this madness.  But I suppose I should cut a little slack. After all, the human race has barely emerged from the Middle Ages. Or more to the point, we have barely come down from the trees.

People tend to have very low standards concerning what it means to be intellectually independent. It is not enough to simply reject the beliefs and values of one’s culture and adopt another set of beliefs and values. That is merely trading one perspective for another, which means that your life is still being ruled by the roll of a dice. For example, if the person in the American deep south were to reject fundamentalist Christianity and embrace Islam, or if he were to embrace science and become an agnostic, either way he is still allowing chance to determine his understanding of things and the course of his life. These chance factors might include what his genetic make-up happens to be, what people he happens to meet, what books he happens to read, what experiences he happens to have, what kind of intellectual theories happen to exist in the world, what parts of his brain happen to fire up in any given moment, etc – all of these things play a role in determining what belief-system he happens to find pleasing. Despite making the movement from a traditional mindset to a more individual one, the core madness in his life remains.

If you want to give full expression to your genius and become truly sane, then you must go all the way and completely eliminate the role of chance from your life, and this can only be achieved by pushing the mind beyond all perspective. And to do this, you must learn to become emotionally free of all perspectives.

In some people’s eyes, Mother Teresa was a saintly woman who helped the poor. To others, she was a cunning fanatic trapped within a fantasy. From yet another perspective, she was just another Albanian. Or just another human making up the numbers in society. Or just another animal exploiting a niche in the natural world. Or just another biological machine, comprised of fluids, chemicals and electrical impulses. Or just another manifestation of reality, essentially no different from the mountains, trees and clouds. The wrinkling around her eyes, the warmth of her personality, the slight stoop in her posture, the little moles on her skin, the saliva forming in her mouth – these too are all manifestations of reality, essentially no different from the mountains, trees and clouds. The genius is able to entertain all these different perspectives with ease and can flit in and out of them at will. Ordinary people, on the other hand, tend to be emotionally bound to one or two of them and have extreme trouble seeing anything beyond.

The genius is free because he succeeds in leaving behind all finite, limited, relative, human-centered perspectives and uses his mind to embrace Nature as a whole – that is to say, the totality of all there is. The All. He is free because his mind is open to the boundlessness of the “absolute perspective”. Or to put it poetically, he is free because he sees everything through the eyes of God.

The “absolute perspective” is itself a poetic expression. Strictly speaking, it is a contradiction in terms and falls into the same category as the square circle, as a perspective is always relative by nature. In a less literal sense, however, the term refers to the vision and understanding which arises when every shred of relativism is mentally eliminated. Due to the flexible nature of our conceptualizing minds, we have the ability to abstract our attention away from all relative positions, from all perspectives, enabling us to understand the world in an absolute sense. This is a critical skill in being able to perceive the fundamental nature of reality.

To illustrate this, let us consider the size of an object. Mount Fuji, for example, seems enormous from our perspective as human beings, but to the earth as a whole it is a barely noticeable pimple. What size it has depends on your perspective. If you mentally take away all possible perspectives, then Mount Fuji cannot be said to have any size. From the absolute perspective, it is sizeless.

For the same reason, the Universe as a whole (i.e. the Totality, the All) is sizeless. Not in the sense that it is infinitely small, but rather that the quality of size cannot be applied to it. Without the introduction of a relative viewpoint of some kind, size has no meaning. And so ultimately, the Universe is neither infinitely big, nor infinitely small, nor any size in between.

This principle can be applied in countless other ways. For example, not only is the Universe timeless (for the same reasons as above), but it is purposeless as well. A purpose always involves the perception that there is a deficiency in the world which needs to be rectified, and perceptions of deficiency are always relative in nature. From a farmer’s point of view, a bacteria-infected tree is a problem that needs to be solved, but to the bacteria themselves it is an occasion to be celebrated. If we take away all the relativism associated with perspective, then we also take away all purpose.

The same reasoning applies to existence itself. The relative nature of perspective effectively reduces everything to the status of a mirage. A mirage is something that only appears to exist from certain perspectives and disappears when viewed from other perspectives. When a dying man in a desert spies a lake in the distance only to find nothing there when he crawls closer, he realizes through a change of perspective that he has been taken in by a mirage. In a similar way, if a person believes that Mount Fuji is really what it appears to him to be – namely, a large, solid, immoveable object – then he has also been taken in by a mirage. If he were to adopt another perspective, one that was sufficiently different, he would realize that the mountain was nothing more than a temporary appearance that occurred in the past.  From the perspective of a local atom, for example, the solid mountain gives way to a vast realm of empty space with only the occasional appearance of other atoms to interrupt the monotony.

In any case, the point of all these examples is to illustrate how the absolute perspective is not really a perspective as such, but an understanding that comes into being when all relativism is mentally eliminated. Its chief value is the equalization of everything that exists. When you truly see that reality is utterly everything, when you see that all things – i.e. all people, all events, all objects, all dimensions, all thoughts, all emotions, all states of mind, all mystical experiences, all gods, etcare direct manifestations of reality, all of them lacking inherent existence and thus all of them equal in status, then you have reached the absolute perspective. It is the absolute perspective because, having embraced everything and yet rejecting everything, there is nowhere further to go.

Genius is the art of never slipping into existence. It is the capacity to never be taken in by any experience or appearance or perception, not even for a split second.  This is where skill in mastering perspective comes into play. If you find yourself becoming emotional for any reason, or if you are burdened with fears and worries, then it means that you are no longer the master. You have been taken in and now you are fighting against mirages. You have become a slave to perspective.

There is an ethical side to this issue as well. The more you become a slave to perspective, the more you entrench yourself in a particular viewpoint and seek your emotional happiness and security within it, the more you create the conditions for violence and suffering to occur. We can see this in the way that supporting a football team can quickly lead to fan violence, patriotism can quickly lead to war, and love can quickly lead to jealousy and domestic violence.

People often like to say, “We are free to do what we want, as long as we don’t hurt anyone”, yet their lives are filled with emotional attachments which contain the seeds for future violence. They might not throw the fists or pull the trigger directly, but their lives nonetheless promote a grasping mentality which always has destructive consequences. This is yet another reason why people do not want to be too conscious of reality. Their freedom to live as they please relies on them remaining blind to the nature of their actions. In reality, their motto is, “We are free to do what we want as long as we can get away with it, and everyone else can go to hell!”

It might be argued that if people were not slaves to perspective, if they did not devote themselves wholeheartedly to a particular finite cause, then very little in the world would get done. For example, the progress of science would slow up considerably, and possibly grind to a halt, if there weren’t at least some people fully applying themselves to research. While this may be true, it should also be noted that there would be far less violence, insanity and misery in the world as well, for people would be far less defensive about their particular perspectives. As such, the question needs to be asked: Is having flashy mobile phones, sports cars and super-fast internet really worth the overload of violence and madness that comes with them?

I would much rather people begin their adult lives learning to free themselves from all perspectives and tuning into the Infinite before deciding how to behave in the world. “Seek first the Kingdom of God”, as Jesus urged. Make every effort to exit the world of conditioning and chance, find the tremendous freedom of nirvana which is your birthright, and then come back into the world on your own terms minus any baggage. Then you can decide how best to contribute to society. You might decide to pursue scientific research, or become involved in social reform, or perhaps even write a philosophic blog. But whatever you decide to do, at least you will be doing it in a conscious, rational manner, and you won’t simply be adding to the misery and ignorance that already exists in the world.



Believing in Death

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

It goes without saying that people generally do not want to die.  Most of us want to live for a long time, if not forever.  The thought that it all comes to an end can be a difficult thing to contemplate.

Consider what death means for you personally.  Utterly everything disappears.  Your memories, your hopes, your emotions, your thoughts, your education, your wisdom, your subjectivity, your consciousness, your very identity as a person – all of it vanishes.  Your position in society, your business concerns, your relationships with friends and family, your passions, your loves, your triumphs and attainments – poof!  All gone in the blink of an eye.  Everything that you love and enjoy in life, all the little things that bring you pleasure, all the delightful moments that you experience in music, art, sport and sex, all the social narratives and soap-opera plots that engage you in daily life – all of it is extinguished.  In effect, the whole world vanishes and you along with it.  Everything about you disappears forever and ever and ever.

The thought that Nature will continue to unfold for the rest of eternity and that you will never wake up again…..

The thought that countless civilizations will rise and fall, that countless technologies will come and go, that countless conscious beings, with no knowledge or awareness of the human race, will emerge, flourish and disappear within the swells of countless universes, galaxies and planets, all of it part of a never-ending series of dramatic events, unique situations and fascinating stories that will stretch on forever and you will never get to experience any of it…..

The thought that it could happen at any moment, without warning.  A sudden heart-attack.  A stroke.  A brain aneurysm.  A virus.  A car accident.  A random act of violence.  A meteor crashing down on you.  Death can strike from anywhere, at any time.  People often use the term “death row” when they talk about convicted prisoners who have been sentenced to death.  But in truth, we are all on death row and there is nothing we can do about it.  How we behave or what we believe or what society thinks of us is immaterial.   Nothing can save us.

It is no wonder that human beings do everything they can to paper over this reality with religious fantasy, or try to block it out by keeping busy, by cuddling with each other, by seeking out distractions, by taking drugs.  When a child learns for the first time that he will one day die he is truly horrified and he never really gets over it.  He might try to suppress it, he might become distracted by the challenges of growing up in this world, but it never leaves him.  It becomes a sort of gnawing background horror to his life – constantly pushed away, but ready to erupt at a moment’s notice.

The term “mid-life crisis” immediately springs to mind here, yet the human propensity to suppress death, and the grotesque consequences of this, manifests in many other ways as well.  One of the more interesting examples is grief.  When a person suddenly loses a family member or an intimate friend and falls down howling with grief, he openly displays his life-long suppression of the reality of death.  His howls reveal his shock, as though he has been caught completely by surprise; they reveal that he has been asleep, that he has been stagnating comfortably in a fantasy world which he believed would never end – such has been the strength of his suppression.  He might be 40 or 50 years old and highly experienced in business matters and the ways of society, but it is as though he has never lived.  He naively thought he could get away with living in a fantasy world indefinitely.  And now he howls like a new-born babe at the injustice of it all.

Grief, like love, is rooted in selfishness.  And so the howls of a grieving person are invariably steeped in anger and self-righteous indignation.  Anger at the loved one for suddenly leaving him, anger at the Universe for allowing it to happen, anger at those around him for still being alive.  Consumed with bitterness, the grieving person shamelessly throws around the blackness of his egotism in a very ugly display.  Just as bad fruit comes from bad trees, as the old saying goes, the blackness and ugliness of his grief comes from the blackness and ugliness of his love.  For love itself can only blossom when reality is suppressed and ignored.  The whole cycle of love and grief is a cycle of ignorance, one that depends not only on suppressing death, but suppressing consciousness of the nature of reality as a whole.

If one is forced to choose a single piece of evidence that reveals just how ignorant and out of tune with reality the human race is, then one only has to point the finger at the daily outbreaks of grief worldwide.  For it shows that, spiritually speaking, people everywhere are completely wasting their lives.  You can forgive children if they fall into grief over the loss of a parent or a sibling, for they are young and do not know any better.  But for anyone over the age of 25, it is truly shameful behaviour.

Concentrate your thoughts for a moment and avoid thinking in terms of good and evil. While you are not thinking of good, and not thinking of evil, just at this very moment, return to what you were before your father and mother were born.


An objection could be raised that it is impossible for me, or indeed for anyone else, to be absolutely certain that our consciousness ends with our death.  While this is true, it is all but irrelevant.  Nobody really believes in an afterlife, not when it comes down to it.  Not even the believers believe in it.  When a person howls with grief over the loss of a loved one, he is not thinking that the loved one has simply travelled to another place and they will probably meet up again soon.  No, his howls tell a completely different story.  They tell us that he knows, deep down, that the person has been extinguished forever.  The afterlife fantasy might be useful for suppressing the thought of death in normal everyday life, but it quickly evaporates the moment reality intrudes.

Looked at objectively, the odds that our consciousness will continue on after the death of the brain, that there is an afterlife, are exceedingly slim.  All the credible evidence points against it.  Everything suggests that we fully emerged out of Nature’s causal processes and that we will one day fully dissolve back into them.  Just as a wave crashes against the shore and wholly disappears, and a cloud dissipates in the sky and wholly disappears, there is no reason to think that our own fate will be any different.

And even if, in the remotest of remote possibilities, some kind of mechanism does exist which enables human consciousness to survive death, it is still going to represent a monumental change.  It still means that all of our connections to the world are going to be ripped away from us.  So either way, our death is going to constitute the most traumatic event of our lives.  The only comparable event, perhaps, is expulsion from the womb, but even here a fetus doesn’t spend decades consciously forming an identity within the womb and consciously attaching himself to its various pleasures and comforts within.  Those who cling to the hope that an afterlife will soften the reality and trauma of death are seriously deluding themselves.

In response to this, a few of you will probably point to the reality of near-death experiences which sometimes involve powerful altered states of consciousness imbued with great joy and an overwhelming sense of divine love, persuading many who undergo these experiences that there is indeed a loving God waiting for us beyond death.   This issue is far too large and complex to go into here, but I will be analyzing these experiences in detail, along with mystical states in general and other similar kinds of neurological phenomena, in a future blog.  For now, I will simply point out that the mere fact these people feel compelled to emphasize the sheer beauty and joy of the near-death experience underlines just how traumatic they consider death to be.

The human race is so mindlessly lost in delusion that it tends to automatically couple spirituality with a belief in an afterlife, without giving it another thought.  But if you believe that it is only possible to experience God and enter into heaven after you have physically died, then you will be far too late.  You will have missed the boat completely.  Heaven can only be experienced here on this earth, while you are still alive, or not at all.  Even near-death experiences are experiences that occur within this life.  In the end, the desire to believe in an afterlife is the desire to cling to this life.  And the desire to cling to this life is the desire to avoid becoming conscious of reality.  It is to turn your back on God.  As such, believing in an afterlife is really a form of evil.

The kingdom of God is for none but the thoroughly dead.

Meister Eckhart

Enough!  Away with the fantasies!  Away with the desperate search for loopholes!  It is far better, from a spiritual perspective, to accept the full horror of death at face value and prepare for the worst.  In this way, a sense of urgency can permeate your life.  A powerful, driving need to become enlightened about the nature of reality NOW, before it is too late, can fill the mind.  People tend to work far more productively when they know they have a deadline, for it can focus the mind like nothing else.  If there is no deadline, if you believe that you have endless amounts of time to complete a task, then it is unlikely you will ever begin it at all.  You will procrastinate and dither so much that you will end up forgetting what the task was to begin with.

Weak men ever lose themselves on the way. And at length their weariness asketh: “Wherefore did we set out? All is indifferent!

Friedrich Nietzsche

For those of us who strive to become fully conscious of reality, death is actually a blessing in disguise.  Not because we want to die and lose our consciousness, but because the ever-present prospect of death can steel the wavering mind and urge it forward.  Those on the spiritual path often vacillate between their love of life and their spiritual desire to abandon all attachments for the sake of becoming fully conscious.  Death teaches us that all of our attachments and loves are going to ripped away from us, regardless.  It is definitely going to happen, one way or the other.  You can either abandon your attachments voluntarily (thereby allowing you the opportunity to experience the greatest wisdom of all), or you can be like everyone else and mindlessly wait for the chopping block to fall.

Imagine you are flying in an aeroplane high above a mountainous region and the captain announces over the intercom, “Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen.  Do not panic, but the engines are failing and we will be crashing down to earth in a few moments.  Please follow the safety proceedures.”  How will you respond, knowing that you only have a few minutes to live?  Will you continue to sleep away your time with trivial matters like you normally do?  Or will each moment be intensely focused on the most vital of concerns with unbridled urgency?  It is amazing just how clear and focused the mind becomes when it is fully aware of life and death.  We should be striving for this kind of intensity and clarity all the time, in every moment of our daily lives, and being fully aware of the reality of death can serve as the perfect catalyst for this.

It is not enough to simply understand the truth on an intellectual level.  That is a very easy thing to do.  All it takes is a single glance at the world to see the impermanency of everything, to see that things are like fragile bubbles which are sustained by equally fragile causal conditions, that each fleeting moment is a whole universe unto itself.   Death is occuring all around us at every moment.  It is the reality of change.  But to truly understand what this means – to fully understand the illusory nature of our existence and to live in the tremendous freedom this understanding provides – we have to bring the whole of our selves, the whole of our minds, the whole of our lives, into the equation.

It is eternally true that if one knocks, the door will be opened. But suppose that the difficulty for us human beings is simply that we are afraid to go – and knock.

Soren Kierkegaard

In order to go beyond death, one needs to go through death and beyond.  One needs to become like a dead man, without attachment and desire, and only then can the boundless freedom that exists beyond death be fully realized.  Indeed, this boundless freedom already exists around us.  It is there in the way the wind blows without a care in the world, in the way a wave crashes into the shoreline without any thought of self-preservation, in the way a particle of dust settles indifferently onto a table.  And it is there inside us, in the way the neurons fire and our muscles contract, the way the heart beats and the blood courses through our veins, the way the eyes automatically transmit visual data to the brain, the way each thought spontaneously emerges into the mind.  All of it is effortless, fearless, and free.   This fearlessness is the very stuff of life and death and we are fully part of it.

The sages ramble in the vacancy of untroubled ease, find their food in the fields of indifference, and stand in the gardens which they had not borrowed.

Chuang Tzu

A dead man has nothing to lose.  Possessing nothing, being nothing, he is beyond all possibility of harm.  And so too, if a person empties himself of utterly everything while remaining alive, if he becomes the nothingness that he really is, abandoning all desire for personal happiness, discarding everything he has gained from the past and renouncing every hope for the future, no longer seeking anything, no longer storing anything, no longer paying any attention to forms, being wholly unmoved in all circumstances, unmoved even to his own reputation, even to his own consciousness, even to his own life, even to wisdom itself – then death loses all of its power and meaning.  It melts back into the charade that it has always been.   In the end, death is nothing more than a thief, and not even the greatest of thieves can steal from those who have no possessions to begin with.



Expanding the Limits of Genius

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Needless to say, people come in all shapes and sizes.  Everyone has their own particular traits and abilities.  But if there is one enduring trait that human beings share the world over, it is this: they have an overwhelming instinct to avoid becoming conscious of reality.

No matter what the culture, no matter what the era, no matter what the race, the same processes invariably take place.  Mental blocks are erected, horizons are lowered, childish fantasies are clung to, blatant irrationalities are praised, emotional fears are exaggerated, the comforts of the crowd are revelled in, mind-numbing distractions are seized upon – all of it designed to keep human consciousness to a bare minimum.

People only want to be a little bit conscious, that is the sad truth of it.   They want to be conscious enough to be able to acquire the things they need to enjoy life – and that is all.  Being too conscious simply gets in the way.

One only has to look at the world-wide prevalence of religion, in all of its various guises, to see this at play.  As soon as people lift their attention above the humdrum activities of their daily lives and take in the bigger picture, their minds suddenly seem to go insane.  No theology is too bizarre for them, no priest too ridiculously dressed, no minister too absurdly titled, no ritual too banal.   The more ludicrous the religion, the more bizarre the belief-system, the more readily it is accepted.  It is as though the human mind is utterly incapable of approaching reality in a rational manner.

But religion is not the only culprit here.  There are thousands of ways to avoid reality.  You can see it in the way academics harmlessly confine their reasoning powers to what is technical and abstract, thereby keeping their logical attention well away from what is personal and real.  Or in the way certain kinds of people wholly give themselves over to the scientific world-view, thereby keeping their minds locked within the one-dimensional surface of science.  Or in the way many people thrust their whole lives into the animal realms by focusing exclusively on the work ethic and the acquirement of money, status, property and sex.  Or in the way some people prefer to live like vegetables and constantly dull their minds with drugs, TV, porn, video games, and so on.  Really, the list of ways to avoid reality is endless.

I will be addressing these matters in greater detail in upcoming blogs, but since this site is called Genius Realms and this is my first blog here, it is only appropriate that I should open my account with a focus on the subject of genius – and in particular, the way in which people’s conceptions of genius limit their own consciousness.

The word “genius” has gone through many different meanings throughout the course of history and none of them, I have to say, are particularly inspiring.  It apparently originated in Roman times in reference to a “guardian spirit”.   A genius was a kind of spirit being, an intermediary betweeen this world and the next, who looked after your affairs, protected you from misfortune and provided you with wise advice.

On the surface, this sounds like just another comical religious belief and no doubt the Romans, who were as irrational and superstitious as the rest of the human race, did everything they could to make the whole endeavour as insane as possible – and indeed they happily incorporated into the charade the use of omens, ritual sacrifices, oracles, soothsayers and the like.   However, it seems there was at least a pretence of trying to associate the idea of genius with wisdom, which is not something we can say about our modern conceptions of genius.  In other words, it appears that behind all the superstitiousness the Roman conception of genius made reference, not to extraordinary talent, but to something much larger and more important – namely, to enlightenment, knowledge of human psychology and the art of living.  It had a connection to the absolute, at least in principle.

Maybe I am grasping at straws here.  After all, the Romans lived in brutal and uncertain times and they were probably desperate for advice and reassurance from wherever they could find it, even from imaginary sources.  But at least they were seeking wisdom from their geniuses.  They weren’t seeking dazzling music or complex theorizing.  They were looking for insight into life and death matters.   And one can imagine that they occasionally sought it from a genuine source of wisdom – that is to say, from a Socrates-type figure.  From an enlightened sage.

In any case, after the collapse of the Roman Empire, things began to change.  The connection to the absolute was broken and the meaning of genius went into decline.  It became synonymous with extraordinary talent in a particular field.   As Andrew Robinson writes in an article in Psychology Today:

The word genius has its roots in Roman antiquity; in Latin, genius described the tutelary (guardian) spirit of a person, place, institution, and so on, which linked these to the forces of fate and the rhythms of time. Among the Romans, the idea of genius had no necessary relationship with ability or exceptional creativity.

Not until the Enlightenment did genius acquire its distinctly different, chief modern meaning: an individual who demonstrates exceptional intellectual or creative powers, whether inborn or acquired (or both). Homer, despite two millennia of veneration as a divinely inspired poet, did not become a ‘genius’ until the 18th century. This later usage derives from the Latin ingenium (not from genius), meaning ‘natural disposition’, ‘innate ability’, or ‘talent’.

As we can see, what genius meant in Roman times is very different from how we conceive of it today.  Nowadays, the term is reserved for people with freakish skills, regardless of whether or not they possess any wisdom.  The most celebrated examples are men like Michelangelo, Rembrandt, da Vinci, Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Newton, Darwin, and Einstein.  These men are considered geniuses, not because they had any awareness or understanding of the absolute, but because their talents caused them to stand out from the mediocrity of the human race.

Once you uncouple genius from the absolute, all sorts of absurdities and anomalies arise.  For example, if we were to pluck Einstein from the confines of the 20th century human race and place him in a community of beings whose intelligence and scientific abilities were far greater than his own, then what would become of his “genius”?   It would miraculously disappear.  Instead of being feted as a great thinker, he would be dismissed as a dunce.   This alone shows that genius (in the sense we mean today, uncoupled from the absolute) is a relative quality, which effectively turns it into a mirage.

Another amusing anomaly involves the stark contrast between the exceptional skill displayed by the genius within his chosen field and his sheer ineptitude outside of it.  Einstein was undeniably talented within the realm of physics, but as soon as he stepped outside the lab or office, his skill and insight into life seemed to vanish.  His philosophical musings, for example, were nearly always uninspired and mediocre.  The following quote more or less sums up his philosophic outlook on life:

The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavour in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that there is.

– Albert Einstein, The World As I See It (1949)

In essence, what Einstein expresses with his philosophic views is a sense of awe at the size and structural complexity of the universe, an awe that is almost girl-like in its naivity.  There is no specific knowledge on display, no depth of insight, no awareness of the logical pathways that extend beyond science, no understanding of the fundamental nature of things, not even an inkling that such an understanding is possible.  Just a vague sense of astonishment that any happy-go-lucky teenager might experience when puffing on a joint.  To put it bluntly, Einstein was a philosophical simpleton.  If his expertise in physics went far beyond the greatest of PhD graduates, then his expertise in philosophy and spirituality went no further than the kindergarten.

This leads to another interesting point – namely, that the nature of genius, as exhibited by the likes of Einstein, Darwin, Mozart, Bach, etc, bears an uncanny resemblance to autism.  The image of the idiot savant is brought to mind, a mishappen creature who can perform complex mathematical operations inside his head, but can barely cope with saying hello and buying a loaf of bread.  In the late 19th century and early 20th century, there were traveling freak shows which featured bizarre people with long necks or no legs, or who were hairy all over, or who could pull trains along with their teeth. People used to flock to these shows and marvel at the strange amusements they housed.  In a similar way, the pantheon of celebrated geniuses – the Mozarts and Bachs, the Rembrandts and da Vincis, the Darwins and Einsteins – constitute a sort of freak show for people to oggle at and express their amazement.

And yes, people do express their amazement.  One of the more interesting aspects of the modern conception of genius is the way in which it is generally regarded to be a mysterious quality, one that is almost divine or supernatural in origin.  When someone exults in the talents of a musician they admire, or a writer, or a scientist, and exclaims, “He really is a genius!”, it is invariably done with a sort of religious zeal.  Even atheists are prone to this way of behaving.   An atheist might loudly boast that he is beyond all religious belief, but as soon as a celebrated genius like an Einstein or a Feynman walks into the room, watch how he swoons as though in the presence of a god.  The desire to bow down and worship is as strong as ever, it would seem, even in our so-called cynical age.  “God may be dead, but his shadow lives on”, as Nietzsche once observed.

Yet there is nothing essentially mysterious about genius.  It is basically the result of incremental steps deviating away from the norm at an early age.   An unhappy childhood, perhaps.  Unresolved family issues generating a life-long passion for something better.  A genetic predisposition towards logic and introspection.  A lack of emotional connection with childhood companions.  A thirst for clarity and understanding.  A desire to make a mark.  A perfectionist streak.  These are the building blocks of genius.

And so little by little, as he grows older, the budding genius deviates from the rest of his peers, so much so that by the time he reaches adulthood he is more or less in another world, making conceptual connections and leaps that no one else has made before.  Often these connections and leaps are of little consequence and the budding genius remains no more than a peripheral figure.  But when the circumstances are ripe, when the budding genius is in the right time and the right place, these connections and leaps can lead to major conceptual breakthroughs.

The mysterious nature of genius is thus an illusion.  It is not unlike the way a stage magician is able to dazzle us with his tricks.  From our perspective in the audience, the magician’s performances seem mysterious because we are not privy to the incremental steps involved.  But once the trick is explained the magic suddenly vanishes, making it seem humdrum, which of course it is.

We like to laugh at the religious fundamentalists who, in their crude misunderstanding of evolutionary theory, often make absurd comments such as, “How can something as complex as the wing of a bird or the human eye be thrown together by chance!”   Trapped within the fog of their own wishful thinking, they do not want to see that evolution is all about incremental steps occuring over prodigious amounts of time, and that when changes do occur they are built upon the legacy of past changes.  Fundamentalists deserve to be laughed at because they are willfully blind.   Yet the moment we regard genius to be a mysterious quality, we immediately fall into the same trap.

This applies to all areas of life, not just to genius.  In reality, there is nothing mysterious about anything at all in the Universe.  Everything comes into existence through incremental steps, through causes and conditions.  We might be ignorant of many of the specific steps and causes behind many of the things that happen in life, but that does not make them mysterious.

Given that the label of “genius” is nowadays applied to freakish, mishappen creatures with little or no wisdom, the question needs to be asked:  How much control does a genius actually have over his life?   Does a genius really desire to be an ignorant freak?  Or is he compelled by forces beyond his control to diminish and humiliate himself in this manner?

Or to put the question more succinctly, are we looking at evil or incompetence?

I always used to wonder at the choices people made in their lives. Given the sheer richness of existence, with its infinite complexities and the endless array of possibilities open to us all, and given that the primary question of why we are alive in the first place is constantly staring us in the face, how is it that an otherwise intelligent person can decide to devote his entire life to, say, studying the mating cycles of dung-beetles?  Or the behaviour of amino acids?  Or the Latvian underground art movement of the 1920‘s?  Isn’t this just the strangest thing?  How do people bring themselves to make such a decision?   Are they really that blind to the madness of it?

This is bizarre enough for ordinary people, but it is even more strange and puzzling when it comes to geniuses.  Mozart, for example, was obviously a very sensitive soul with a brilliant memory and an intuitive, well-structured mind.  He had the potential to do anything, at least in theory.  He could have opened his mind to the Infinite, grasped the fundamental nature of everything, solved all the great problems of philosophy, spiritually soared to every corner of existence, learned to live joyously and freely, helping everyone to become liberated with great skill and spontaneity – but no.   He instead chose to confine himself to stringing pleasing noises together to entertain shallow people with dull minds.   How is this possible?   Are these really the actions of a genius?

It is commonly said that there is a fine line between genius and madness.  And yes, to be sure, if we reduce the meaning of genius so that it applies to autistic-type people who are not really in control of their lives, then there is indeed a fine line between genius and madness.  In fact, we can go a step further and say that genius, in this sense, is inseparable from madness.  It just happens to be a more productive form of madness.  But true genius – and by this I mean genius conceived in the greatest possible manner – is a very different matter.  True genius is infinitely removed from madness.  If madness represents a deviation away from the normality of human consciousness, then true genius represents a deviation in the opposite direction.  For true genius is nothing other than the full expression of sanity.

Ideally, the Mozarts and Einsteins of this world should be measured, not against the mediocrity of the average human being, but against the highest possible conception of genius.  By doing this, it allows us the opportunity to dissolve our mental barriers and become more conscious of what the human mind is capable of.  With this in mind, it should be obvious that it is not my intention to belittle the achievements of Mozart and Einstein and their like.  That isn’t the purpose of this blog.   From the point of view of human mediocrity, there is no question their achievements are dazzling.  The truth, however, needs to be said.  Stacked up against the highest conception of genius, what Mozart and Einstein did with their lives barely registers on the lower end of the scale.

At root, genius is essentially a question of character, not intelligence or ability.  It is the determination and will to become truly sane.  Genius knows how to open up to the most tremendous thing in life – namely, the reality of the Infinite – and to blossom within it.  Genius knows how go to the very foundation of all experiences, of all perceptions, of all subjective realities, and use this foundation to understand everything that can ever be known.  Genius sees into the heart of Nature, it sees into the heart of other people, and, through the workings of cause and effect, it sees into the heart of the past and the heart of the future.  Genius is the deepest and clearest form of consciousness possible.