I find myself confined in a strange darkness - the doctrines and lofty ideals of Philosophy pull me to one side; whereas my animal nature and baser instincts regularly throw me aside to the other – between the Poles of these extreme powers I feel hopelessly stranded.
The struggle in my mind is never the struggle between ‘right’ and wrong; clearly I find that idea to be invented and ridiculous. I have never faced a moral dilemma – I have never really felt stymied by any ethical riddle. It is the struggle between what I am and what I desire to be, what I can be and where I currently grope about in ignorance, inner conflict always arises between my current reality and my ideal vision.
A great tension exists upon my deep unconscious – unfulfilled desires and unsaid dreams roam around and vastly outnumber those that find expression in thought, word or actions. It is my incessant want not to be seen as desperate for anything which paradoxically becomes the biggest source of desperation. I consider enthusiasm and desperation to be exchangeable terms, one more euphemistic than the other. I covet the lack of desire and utmost balance I have witnessed in some people with the greatest hunger – I seek with great desperation freedom from all desperation; with great desire I seek to be free from all psychological needs; and in the company of better men I hurriedly seek the secrets of aloneness.
It is often that I give love in excess but express it not – love regards its object is awe and great tenderness. There is a certain distance which arises naturally; in intense love a certain distance is natural. Love approaches its object with cautiousness and care, care enough so that it may not stifle the tender wings of the angel that sits so lightly, who sleeps in satin darkness, who wears a garb of twilight; whose golden warmth I feel as the gentle sunlight which warms the winter sky. Love regards it with utmost care and almost a fear – as a careful child avoids touching a bubble of soap full of rainbow colors – and simply admires it from a distance. It fears that its rough hands and untrained fingers would crush into dust this fleeting dream of beauty that it has chanced upon by the greatest stroke of luck – that it is entirely undeserved, that such great treasure could be lost at the silliest pretense; and hence all care and cautiousness, nay a certain distance, even if at the cost of heart rending emotions, must be extended to it all times.
Real love is an intense desire to not be, to give, to give so intensely of one’s self that there is nothing left, a gradual emptying out – real love is an existential catharsis. But great love requires a great innocence, yes a great foolishness, for the ways of love are not clever but utterly foolish, for they do not seek ends but means.
It is this self-starving attitude, this dissolution of the self for the smallest glimpse of the perfection- that becomes a hindering block to my self-emancipation. On one hand I yearn for perfect devotion and perfect love – so perfect that it seeks nothing in return, not even an acknowledgement of love; on the other, my mind and its countless methods seek constant assurance, they make me cringe at myself for having given up so easily, in its effort for self-preservation, my mind mocks at all efforts in submitting to it.
Is silence to be achieved by effort? Is serenity to be arrived at by wishing for it? How is desireless-ness attained? How does one calm a mind of constant confusion, not by forgetting about the issues that plague it constantly, but by a method that provides a full and final settlement – real and unfazed?
The greatest tension, that between your reality and your constant desire is so great that it can stretch your mind, body and emotions to a one pointed goal that seeks the dissolution of all wants. Howsoever real this ‘full and final settlement’ may be, it eludes all efforts to arrive at it. Is anything worth achieving at all, is achievement a false dream that seeks to drive the bloodlust of a society whose success rests on the labors of its less fortunate lot; the power and treasuries of whose elite class are irrigated with the blood and sweat of countless millions, drawn into a life of confused effort with distant hopes of a ‘happier future’. Are dreams merely carrots that the priests and politicians dangle in front of a ready population that constantly seeks devices of forgetfulness and entertainment?
It is a great deal of effort to live and function under any semblance of normality when you become incredibly aware of this tension. This question haunts you endlessly, driving you sleepless at nights and leaving you daydreaming in the mornings. How does one achieve a state where any achievement becomes meaningless? In love, how does one come to perfect unselfishness, perfect dissolution, and perfect clarity?
Clarity is the ability to see clearly. To see clearly is to see things as they are, not as one is. This is true mastery, how does one dissolve all signs of personal judgment and notions, to sense reality as it is, without any conceptions? For love enters such a realm, in the dissolution of judgments lies the dissolution of the individual also. Thus if there is any hope to attain clarity and remove the associated errors and judgments that cloud the sensations of consciousness – it is imperative that the individual mind be like an untainted lump of crystal, so that one may see things as they are – and not draw endless personal conclusions from them.
One when stops taking the universe personally, one can live in complete silence – the peace that passeth understanding. It is not the ‘what’ but the how that remains a constant worry – like a thorn it sticks up in the barren wasteland of my mind and I return inevitably to that question, seeking some new resolution or an answer to it, but every time I go back empty handed and unsatisfied.
Is it self-importance that pushes us into taking everything so seriously, including and foremost our own selves? In this vast universe of intellectual, ethical and moral darkness we seem to ourselves the only true beacon and guiding light for the poor ignorant masses, our opinions seem to us as Gospel truths, verily we cannot but operate on the silent but ever-present notion “I am always right!” But can one rid one’s self off this notion, and if so how? It is not the ends that are confusing often, but the means. The ends are quite straightforward and simple, it is the journey that seems arduous and difficult – indeed without any map or guide it seems to be a thoroughly insurmountable task.
I have often been told that I am chasing the proverbial golden pot at the end of rainbow, that I must peer less into books and more into ‘life’, that there is no such thing as a ‘passionless’ life , and that desires are healthy for the human consciousness. I feel that passion, like many words in the English language is a euphemism for what I identify as more of an obsessive behavioral disorder of sorts, I find so called ‘passionate’ people obnoxiously obsessed over certain things in their lives, what they are held to be ‘passionate’ about. Is socially acceptable obsession healthy? What does it mean to have passion? Is it an insatiable lust for a thing which is so elusive and abstract in reality that individuals very much spend their lives in trying to achieve ends which really don’t matter or exist for that matter? Is passion a word invented to train and hypnotize people into believing that they are ‘passionate’ (read obsessed) about a particular thing which they devote their singular lives into the cultivation of?
Is this not a tool of social, economic and cultural exploitation of the individual – a design which makes sure that people continue to fit into the goals of the groups, organizations societies and cultures and fulfill the wishes of the mob-led mass-culture?
What is the source of perennial unhappiness in man? For me it is the unending tension between desire and reality, attachment and affection, insecurity and power. It is therefore the fundamental contradictions of what I want, say, do and become that is the source of my inner unhappiness. Inner conflict should lead to an unhappiness of a sort, the solution to which would be an inner alignment. The problem that I am seeking to solve is not a metaphysical one or a psychological one, I am merely speaking of inner conflict as the source of major conflict in the mind of an individual, and alignment then the solution to all of man’s problems.
What I want is desire, what I do is action, what I become is reality. There must be a fundamental traceability in these three states, any serious student of software engineering (who was fortunate enough to be taught by faculty that didn't bore him or her to sleep) will tell you that “requirements” must be clearly defined to and adhered to in all stages and stations of self-creation.
When one is under the spell of conflicting desires – to be free yet secure, to be one yet many, to exist but yet dissolve, to transcend mortality but to remain human, one cannot align one’s self any further. For the resolution of inner conflict, one must therefore analyze and consider what one wants to be, a major problem – a problem faced by philosophers and sages alike. What is worth being like?
Is it worth being merely peaceful, or is joy greater? Is serenity in thought action and word superior to love? Is becoming ‘complete’ better than becoming ‘empty’? Shall knowledge suffice or is wisdom essential? Such questions shall exist until we have a systematic way of encountering them, deciphering what they really mean beyond the velvet curtain of syntax and semantics and reduce them to existential terms, and then formulating a valid response to them – this is when one starts unraveling the overlapping nature of these problems as they present themselves to the human psyche; answers to them cannot arrive in isolation, the answer must be universal and holistic – it must be catholic, all embracing and all inundating. The resolution of inner conflict should remain the noble goal of all worthwhile philosophy.
It is lamentable that societies do not train children to ask questions. Our current education system constantly reminds the student that truth comes from authority; that it is acceptable to work in fear of punishment and greed for reward and it gives them a false sense of knowing. But perhaps the greatest damage it does to their delicate psyche is that it makes them intellectual zombies for now and forever, they resign to a state of mental lethargy, indeed such people need to be pushed now and then out of their comfort areas – where they are not sure and hence the process of life as learning new things can continue.
True education, just as true philosophy would be the art of asking the right questions. Half the brilliance of any answer lies in the depth and the originality of the question asked, we as a culture have forgotten the importance and the intellectual shock or wonder or amazement or ‘problem’ that a question essentially represents, but reduced it to a statement which has to be hurriedly answered, in so and so words, in this language and you can leave your brain at home, thank you.
Thus a global culture that fundamentally discourages thinking discourages questioning and constantly rates answers as more important than questions, will continue to suffer the results of hurried and ill-gotten answers. And as those answers will never satisfy the imagination of the curious, they will turn their minds and look for answers in books, caves, solitude, drugs and music.
The problem of philosophy also must be determining where it ends. It is not rare to over-analyze and subject to cruel hair-splitting what could have been the playful strokes of fate – tossing one from here to there without reason, real or apparent. Reason, especially human reason is something we expect the universe to conform to in all aspects, thus where lies the fundamental folly that life must have a purpose, this universe must have a designer and other such superstitious ideas that speak of nothing but the effective personification of the universe.
If life has no purpose, would we need to invent one? Is it possible to live a life with happiness, with joy, with serenity and most important clarity without having an iota of purpose or ‘passion’ in life? Or is it really the only way, the only path to joyful living? Do we in setting future goals of happiness and contentment wait for years, seasons and days to be happy, effectively postponing it? Purpose, like passion I believe to be a figment of human imagination, just like the idea the earth is at the center of the universe and Man is at the top of the evolutionary ‘process’. It is a statement of great arrogance to assign to life a purpose of human terms and human considerations – it is shaming the celestial dust and the interplanetary rain that fashioned eons ago the constituents of your own body matter into having come together for mundane reasons and ‘purposes’.
Does a flower smiling at the sun have a purpose ? What greater than the reproduction of its own kind! A flower exists to be a flower, nothing more and nothing less.
Have we as humans in an effort to transcend our humanity, to seek a sense of ‘greater’ purpose, in effect eroded whatever we even had and fallen into a state of disuse and disrepair ? Have we in the foolish reaching out for greatness fallen lower than our primordial selves? In reaching out for the stars have sunk to the nether regions, and in striving for heaven have we paved the road to hell ?
In wanting to become gods, have we become demons ?
In wanting to become gods, have we become demons ?