New Civilization News - Category: Philosophy    
 Regurgitated: Being consistent8 comments
picture14 Apr 2007 @ 13:01, by jhs. Philosophy
The recent BLOG entry of Ming (and likewise the comments written in response to it), made me think, rethink, mentally regurgitate how we, as a species and as individuals, are cementing our own insanity, freezing it in time, defending ferociously any attack, reasonable or not, maintaining an artificial Ego without tangible core, insisting that our own dreams are reality and any others being mere hallucinations.

Perhaps, so I was dreaming, this urge to "be consistent" is even more at the root of the human condition than Gotamo Siddharto's (the "Buddha's") postulate that it might be the tendency in assuming a "single cause for a given effect". (See an entire series on articles about this here on this BLOG.)

Perhaps Gotamo's (very correct) observations depend on this very urge to "be consistent": the "cause/effect" determination serving merely as a justification of a deeper seated insanity of assuming a "stable datum" at the expense of excluding all other truth(s)?

How the Being, the presumed master of it all, manages the fusion of an arbitrary idea into the mind&body-sphere in order to create a fixed idea, is a very interesting observation, seemingly impossible to communicate, an intimate process everyone needs to detect, analyze, and duplicate for him-/herself.

A very basic process of Ego-creation of modern man is looking in the mirror. Ironically, what wo/man sees in the mirror is NOT its exact picture: left and right are swapped.

More recently even, for the tiny minority of hi-tech-endowed people on Earth, that's us, bros, the mirror is replaced by TV monitors. The theoretical blessing of the electronic monitor is that it doesn't have the above-mentioned shortcoming of the classical optical mirror. PLUS, it can show the past and is not limited to the closed-loop "resonance/feedback" effect of the always-live mirror.

Therefore, interestingly, seeing oneself on (past) videos is breaking part of the identification with one's own mirror picture. The effect is sobering the first time(s), but then a new sort of identification sets in. This latter effect can be observed only with the tiny fraction of the tiny fraction of hi-tech people known as "TV-celebs".

The other day, in Santos, Brazil, I was watching a super-interesting approach of painting: "quasi-realism" (not the official name I think): Deladier Almeida, an artist living since many years in Sacramento, California, painter to the superstars, whether politics, arts, or sports arena.

Modern surrealism produces an abstract notion of energies inherent in the model being depicted. This provides new, extra viewpoints, OK, but it generally doesn't invite a self-reflection about the identification of the person with the image of his body.

Likewise, the artform of "cartoons" which is overemphasizing defects of the model, doesn't generally invite self-reflection either. The truth in it is just too grossly exaggerated.

On the other hand, Deladier's artworks are QUASI photos, but just QUASI, inviting a reflection about WHO is really behind the mask of those facial muscles in front of us.

The superposition of two vibrations with frequencies sufficiently close to each other, but not identical, are producing the phenomenon of a new sound with a sweeping amplitude. (witness an audio demo here)

The fascination of this new vibration for me is part of Deladier's work, and, perhaps, revealing more about the "real" person that one would suspect at first.

In terms of a process: viewing a quasi-duplicate at the same time with the original "pseudo"-reality and witness the "sweeping" effect until the presumed reality breaks into pieces.

OK, OK, Before breaking up here, let me vanish....  More >

 'Archetype': Word and concept 18 comments
picture17 Aug 2006 @ 15:07, by jhs. Philosophy

(thinking of adding this article to the new edition of the 'Your Personal Archetype' book, in order to address some of the frequent questions)...

The word archetype stems from the greek concept of 'arkhetypon'. 'arkhe' denotes the concept of the first, initial spark that spawned life, much like the aramaic 'or', the primordial light given to the world by the Elohim in the Genesis of the Torah and the Old Testament. 'typon' stands for the 'stamp' that was used to create seals, coins and other things that were marked by humans. In this sense, the word archetype describes the typology of ancient gods as well as human beings, the copies or 'clones' of those gods.

In our times, the concept of archetype is used for all kinds of classifications, most of them useful in their specific concepts. Few, however, have maintained the meaning of the original sense of the word. In most of these classifications, basic attributes of persons, such as 'extroverted' or 'introverted', are made the basis of a typology of human behavior. As useful as these typologies may be, to call them 'archetypical' patterns would usurp a much more specific concept than these systems are able to provide.

One of the more appropriate approaches we can find in the archetypes of CG Jung who recognized the importance of them in the lives and destinies of all humans. Unfortunately, his time and context did not allow for a more precise specification and classification. Archetypal roles such as the hunter or the mother are useful but are missing the point that every human Being has an archetype that can be precisely defined, described, and classified whereas the basic roles in life, such as mother or hunter, are describing roles that can be used by a large number of persons who individually may be very different in their approach to life.

In this book, we follow the original definition of the word: the stamp that was imprinted during the creation of life itself, faintly visible in the stories of the gods and demi-gods of Sumeria, Egypt, and Ancient Greece, and which is present in every human Being still today, determining its behavior much more rigidly and stereotypically than we would like to admit to ourselves....  More >

 Economics of New civ.: Hegel, Karl Marx, dialectics and Communism3 comments
26 Jul 2006 @ 14:21, by shreepal. Philosophy
A well- known revolutionary philosopher of nineteenth century (Karl Marx) claimed to have found the underlying principles of revolutionary change having universal application. He, however, admitted that he borrowed these principles from an earlier philosopher (G.W.F. Hegel) who had propounded them under a term "dialectics". Dialectics of Hegel was a process that consisted of three parts: Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis. Thesis is the starting point and can be considered to take place at any point and every point in every thing or object under study in the whole process. By virtue of its very nature Thesis always contains a contradictory element, that is, its antithesis. The existence of Antithesis along with Thesis is the very condition of the existence of Thesis. The conflict and contradiction between Thesis and Antithesis bring changes and give birth to conditions and things that are incompatible with Thesis and can not be reconciled within its legitimate confines. Over a period of time these irreconcilable contradictions go on accumulating and at a certain point of time a drastic change takes place resulting into a new harmonious Synthesis that reconciles the contradiction of Thesis and Antithesis.
Hegel in his understanding of universality of Existence, to the extent it is possible to understand it by Mind, is very close to Divine Lord, Supreme Master Sachchiddananda. He puts his understanding of the matter in his Philosophy of Law and Right, # 21 in these words:

The truth, however, of this formal universality which is by itself indeterminate and receives its determination from each material to which it is applied consists in a universality which determines itself, which is the will, is freedom. Since this will has the universality, has it itself as the infinite form, as its content, its object and its end, it is not only the will which is free in itself, but also the will which is free for itself- the true Idea.
Idea- that we may refer to as Divine Lord, operating through history has been put beautifully by C.F. Friedrich thus:

History is seen as the march of freedom through the world. This march of freedom is interpreted as what the world spirit wants, as it seeks to realize itself. And in its effort to realize itself, it employs peoples, world-historical peoples to do its work.

According to Hegel the movement of universal Idea in its effort to realize itself through the history follows this pattern of Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis. Karl Marx borrowed these Dialectical principles from Hegel to explain change in human history and thus to prove the inevitability and justification of impending economic, political and social change.
However, he claimed that Dialectics of Hegel, where Idea is made supreme and universal, was standing on its head and he had turned it upside down where the matter- and not the idea-was supreme and universal out of which ideas, thoughts and mind originated.

Marxian concept of dialectics in its abstract form may be summed up thus:

• There is nothing in Nature that may be called an absolute truth; all human concepts about natural phenomena are relative in their contents.
• Whole Nature is in motion; no part of it is static.
• This motion is generated by a mechanism that is brought about by the inherent irreconcilable contradictions inherently present in every entity, or constituent, of Nature.
• These contradictions give birth to conflicts that distort the harmonious structure of that entity. These conflicts accumulate in the quantitative form in that entity up to a certain limit. This limit is the critical point up to which these conflicts can be accommodated by that entity without changing its nature or quality. The moment these conflicts cross this critical limit, the quality of that entity changes or an upheaval takes place and the old entity becomes qualitatively different thing.
• This process of change never stops in Nature, whether one likes it or not. This process is termed by Marx, and his friend F. Engles, 'Negation of Negation' . Here, a thing comes into being or takes its birth by negating a thing that was having a well-established place and this new thing, after enjoying a well- established place for certain time, is itself negated by a new thing. Over a period of time this pattern of change appears to human mind as spiral evolution.
• This dialectical process is an integral part of Nature's function. Though the general principles of dialectics operate with mathematical accuracy, in their detailed applications they operate in very flexible manner, depending on so many factors; nonetheless, in overall contours they always operate with mathematical accuracy. This faithful accuracy of its basic principles and their universality in operation make it possible for dialectics to forecast and predict. These two philosopher revolutionaries devoted their entire life in applying these dialectical principles to physics , anthropology , society , economics and, even, military science . They created a brilliant philosophical edifice called Scientific Socialism or, better known as, Communism.  More >

 Economics of New Civilization1 comment
25 Jul 2006 @ 13:41, by shreepal. Philosophy

Commodity is the sum product of five human elements and one element of Nature’s gift. The cost of commodity is determined by the interaction of these six quanta. These elements are: firstly, the knowledge of the technology that enables the manufacturing of the concerned commodity, secondly, the human labor that makes it possible to transform the raw material into commodity by the application of the enabling technology, thirdly, the management that puts these elements of labor and technology in the required productive order, fourthly, the motive on the part of the initiator to go ahead and start the process of manufacturing as result of which commodity is manufactured and comes into being, fifthly, the enabling environment provided by the established government of the time which guarantees that the elements of motive, labor and technology would be permitted to put themselves in the required productive mode and lastly and sixthly, the raw material provided by Nature on which these five human elements work and turn the raw material into the finished commodity.

Commodity may be considered a recipe of five ingredients – knowledge, labor, management, motive and enabling environment encased in the eggshell of nature’s gift. The recipe of these five elements sometimes even without the eggshell of nature’s raw material is capable of acquiring the properties of commodity and in that case these precious human elements are called service. The service is a commodity.

Each of these five human elements plays equally crucial role in the production of commodity. We may visualize, with regard to the first element, that every commodity bears within it an essential constituent element of knowledge. Production of a commodity requires an inherent element, without which that commodity can never be produced, that is contributed by Mind. This element adds to the cumulative cost of this commodity. For producing any commodity we need the required technology without which its production is not possible. For example, for producing an airplane we need the knowledge of a large number of concerned branches of science – aerodynamics, electronics, propulsion, metallurgy etc. – and of their associated sophisticated engineering. In the case of simple commodity, say potato, we need the knowledge of agriculture – putting seeds in the soil, irrigation, providing fertilizer, tending the crop etc. – without which it is not possible to grow potatoes.
Let us take another example from the life of primitive human beings, a stone dart. The primitive man needs to have the knowledge of the utility of a pointed stone in hunting an animal, he needs to know the technique of stone-chiseling, he needs to possess the knowledge of correct scrapping of the raw material – the unwieldy crude stone piece – that must be not too less and not too much scrapping of the raw material etc.

This knowledge of science is the product of Mind and in the process of production of commodity this element of Mind is deposited as an element of value in commodity. No commodity can be conceived of without this element being present in it. The contribution made by Mind in making the production of commodity possible is an inherent constituent element of commodity. This element of Mind or knowledge may be made possible by a single individual, by collective and common knowledge of society or by borrowing it from others. This element of Mind interacts with Nature through the human agency and gets embedded there in the product or commodity. In the finished goods or commodity the element contributed by Nature in the form of raw material on which other necessary elements related to human beings act turning this Natural – raw – element into finished commodity works like an eggshell wherein human elements get themselves deposited. Likewise, commodity also bears within it labor and remaining three essential elements.

It is possible to arrange these six elements in different interrelations. We may take the case of motive and put it in two different relations with the rest of the elements to find out the difference it brings in the resultant economic system. If we allow the human desires to fuel the motive, that put the remaining elements in the required order to produce commodity, then the resultant economy would be profit oriented capitalist one. On the other hand, if in the place of desires mind is allowed to fuel the whole productive process and put the remaining elements in the required order for producing commodity, the resultant economy would be planned socialist or communist one. It is the motive that determines the character of an economy. Also, seen from the point of view of the chosen motive, the ingredients of the concerned economy acquire different meaning and contents. There is universal misconception about capital. It is assumed that capital is one the ingredients that is always necessary for producing commodity. While capital is necessary ingredient in an economy whose motive element is desire fuelled, it is not necessary in an economy whose motive is dominated by planning by mind.  More >

 History of New Civ. and evolutionary agenda of Mankind1 comment
22 Jul 2006 @ 15:45, by shreepal. Philosophy
We intend to end the present series of articles on the history of new civilization, though for the time being and till the opportune time comes, with a few observations. What is the relevance of history with a civilization that is yet to take birth? It is this: The new civilization cannot be founded on something that is totally new in its essence. The realty - the essence of truth - has to be discovered again and again by the marching mankind. It is a discovery of something that has always been there, though we think we had not grasped its essence and meaning in our previous discoveries as we think we have grasped today with our larest discovery. But the truth is that it was discovered in the past also, albeit with a different content and meaning. We have to discover this essence once again with a content that is acceptable to us and with a meaning that is understood by us, that is, the essence of realty couched in the modern scientific language and seemingly new in substance.

This realty was discovered in the past also by many known leaders of mankind and by many more who are not known. We do not have the appetite for now to refer to them here. We want to skip to the subject that is more important in utility and relevant in guiding us onto the correct path that lays ahead for mankind. What do we understand by new civilization? How different would it be from our "current" old civilization? What would be the basic features of new civilization?

Evolutionary agenda of Mankind

Nature is on its ceaseless task of evolving an instrument better than Mind. We have pointed out elsewhere that Mind follows a thought-processing method wherein there is separation of a part from the whole and then integration of this ‘now understood’ part into the whole. It is a trial and error method. All hypotheses – that are based on reason and logic of Mind – follow this blind method of trial and error. This method is flawed on account of its inherent weakness. Therefore, all truths discovered by this method – that is, by Mind – never expound a truth fully and completely. All scientific discoveries and their underlying scientific laws – like the laws of gravity, law of conservation of energy, et al – regularly undergo periodic modification.

But what we human beings know, animals do not. And, what animals know, plants do not. Each life-species has evolved over a long period of time her instrument of knowledge, which is still under the process of evolutionary refinement. Man is no exception to this process. Man and his Mind are undergoing change. It is axiomatic to say that it has always been so since the debut of Homo-sapiens on our Earth. But, significantly, this change is rapid today. Science is playing a decisive role in this process of evolutionary change. Science does affect not only the human being’s day-today life by offering levers to him in his struggle against Nature but his Mind also. His Mind grows more complex. With the advance of science, man becomes more capable to understand nature, and that includes his own life, and more aware of the limitation and insufficiency of the instrument (of Mind) that he is equipped with. This awareness is reflected in his growing sense of hollowness somewhere within and inability of science, despite its dazzling achievements, to account for many open questions.

Man and his science have reached a place where all branches of knowledge are converging onto a single point and a single query is staring them for answer: what is the nature of universal existence?

A new instrument that is better than Mind in efficacy and higher in evolutionary stage is in the offing. With the new instrument in place, Mind would not be discarded but would be relegated to a subordinate position in one’s life. This instrument would know the truth by a method where human consciousness would identify itself with the object rather than the method wherein consciousness disintegrates and re-integrates thoughts of objects into a harmonious whole. It would be a method of heart, which would replace and dominate the method of Mind – reason and logic. Though the new method still would be a mere shadow of the eternal Presence but there would be less distortion of this light in the process of downward percolation in its case than in the case of Mind.

New civilization ought to be dedicated to this evolutionary phenomenon and must be founded on its requirements. New civilization is not the civilization of human beings who are equipped with this new instrument of truth-perception but it is a civilization of those people who are ready and preparing to welcome the new advent. New civilization is the transitional civilization: a meeting place of two civilizations.

New civilization and the efforts to make its debut as early as possible is a serious subject and the same do not merit to be played lightly at our hands. New civilization cannot be made to happen and establish itself in a short period of time. It is bound to take not decades but centuries, if not more. Also, its happening is not dependent on human efforts. Individuals’ efforts, if made, may shorten the gestation period and help in a smooth birth that may become long awaited.

Nature is full of paradoxes. Yet it is the inability of our Mind that makes things look paradoxical. One such paradox of Nature is that it is cyclic in its operation and yet the things are not repeated again in exactly the same manner. It looks like a spiral evolution where things and events appear again and again, which are basically the same but in new forms to meet the new situations. History is no exception to this cyclic process.

We find in history seeds of human culture that sprout again and again in new forms but with the same qualitative contents to meet new situations brought into existence by the passage of time. We foresee that these seeds are once again ready to sprout in the fertile soil of our times. Our times are fully ripe for the germination of the old seeds. Our times are fret with problems that are unparalleled and unheard of in human history. These problems are so grave in their consequences and so encompassing in their scale that they put the mankind’s existence in peril. These are ideally fertile times for germination of the old seeds – that had saved mankind many a times in the past – once again in new forms. Mankind embattled with these problems is once again ready to listen – as in the past – to the teachings that have been taught in ages past in different contexts and different forms.

A new civilization that offers this old seeds in new form to bail out mankind is the need of the hour.

There are three signs of new civilization. Firstly, it would be based on the new understanding by human beings of the prime realty that has always existed there. Secondly, this understanding of the prime realty would be uniform for human beings and would not be divisive in nature as it had been in the past. The evolution of Mind would not only remove the geographic distance among different sections of mankind but it would also remove the difference of perceptions of the prime realty among these sections. And, thirdly, this prime realty, though still mystic to Mind, would be supported by its reason. New Civilization has not yet dawned on our Earth, where people have already gone global. Whenever it makes its debut, it would be compulsive in its utility and global in its reach. But this utility would not be its chief strength. Its strength would rather lie in the realization by our race that it has re-discovered the realty in a manner – so called scientific manner – that is the only one acceptable to reason and that this realty though always existed there but remained mystic to Mind. This realization would profoundly change mankind’s priorities and its institutions of collective living would accordingly undergo a revolutionary change. All these institutions – economics, culture and politics – could then no longer be allowed by the enlightened collective societal life to further the egoistic agenda of individual or collective living.

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 Never repeated too often: Vigilance is the price of freedom!8 comments
picture9 Jul 2006 @ 14:44, by jhs. Philosophy
As we not only have the technology to undo the illusions of the matrix piece by piece, we also understand more of 'technological/scientific' foundations, beginning with its geometry and the classifications of its basic components every day.

One mantra should not miss in all what we are doing:

Vigilance is the price of freedom!

(I don't like using 'absolutes' and therefore skipped the proverbial 'eternal')

Every tool can be used or abused.

Maybe we should discard the notion of 'learning' and regard it is as 'implanting':

as Beings we already know everything that is true: we just need to remember more and more of it.

In contrast, 'learning' adds new (artificial!) data on top of all the (still) existing illusions.

Not only that...  More >

 Meme's Meme Or The General Theory of the Purpose of Games Or...6 comments
picture4 Jun 2006 @ 14:12, by jhs. Philosophy
An Intellectual Sunday Brunch for June 4th, 2006:

mx sez:
All is fine analyzing the game patterns of individual humans, major and minor Gods and Goddesses, of groups and their wars, nature, all the 42-stuff...

Objectives, purposes, rules, all cool... goals, subgoals, supergoals, stop!!! so what's the ultimate supergoal of playing all these games?

Here is a principle to shed light on the structure of the games, and all of them, ahem...

The Meme-Amplifier-Theorem (Sandor, 2006)
The top-level supergoal of any observable process in this Universe consists of obtaining a maximum resonance to one, and only one, super-energy.

- a local process ends exactly when a local resonance is found
- a local process will a this point compete with other local games to dominate the next higher level of processes
- if the resonance obtained is sufficiently close to the original super-energy, the process will auto-destruct (duplication theorem)
- auto-destruction occurs via the phenomenon of the 'resonance catastrophy'
- the auto-destruction can be an implosion or an explosion
- implosions do not leave ANY trace
- explosions, even though destroying the structure of the original meme-transporter, will infect parallel systems via its exploded fragments
- a process that ultimately will end in an implosion is called a 'destructive game'...  More >

4 Jun 2006 @ 13:55, by beto. Philosophy
In this beggining of a new millenium, the scientific community faces a deep and painful CLASH OF PARADIGMS - in the epistemological renewal of thought under process. To know what's happening is crucial to understand what's going on.  More >

 Transparency, Anonymity and Pseudonymity17 comments
picture20 Mar 2006 @ 01:56, by uncleremus. Philosophy

In an essay titled, Thinking Outside the Box: Considering Transparency, Anonymity, and Pseudonymity as Overall Solutions to the Problems of Information Privacy in the Internet Society [pdf file], Tal Z. Zarsky* analyzes various aspects of transparency, anonymity, and pseudonymity and envisions societies where our personal information is, respectively, out in the open, hidden in its entirety, or somewhat blurred due to the use of multiple identities.  More >

 Enlightenment24 comments
picture 5 Feb 2006 @ 19:59, by ming. Philosophy
Once in a while I wake up and notice something I haven't noticed for a long time. Some small thing. Like the contents of the stack of paper I have lying next to me on my desk. When I actually looked at it last month, I realized that it was mostly just some old papers I hadn't decided exactly where to file, some unopened letters that weren't important, and some notes on stuff I had to do on some particular day, last year. Nothing important, really. But, for several years, that stack has been lying there next to me, symbolizing that I had a lot of stuff to do, and that I was busy, and fairly disorganized.

And then, when one actually is present, things become very simple and obvious. That stack of paper disappeared in a half hour, and it becomes abundantly obvious that the right thing to do is deal with things when they happen, and not letting old unprocessed stuff lie around, cluttering things up. And, ok in this case, my desk has remained clear and organized since then. But that's usually not what happens. It is easy to stop noticing that which one noticed before. It is easy to forget being present.

I might suddenly remember something or someone or somewhere. Like, my home when I grew up, somebody I went to school with, or some particular thing I took great joy in earlier in my life. And I suddenly remember, and I also notice that I haven't thought of it for maybe 10 years. And I marvel at that. I rediscover something that has great meaning for me, and I really GET it, and I feel awake and alive. And at the same time I feel like a robot who's asleep most of the time. Because, it seems, there are certain things I will notice only once every 10 years. Things that are wonderful and important and meaningful to who I am. But I forget them again. Every 10 years, that would mean I'd think it another 3 or 4 times before I die. That's sort of depressing.

What I'm saying is that I'm doing most things on automatic. Some things I'm good at, some things I'm not, and I still keep doing them. And only once in a rare while do I actually pay attention. Meaning, I become present and conscious of what I'm doing. And I'm actually in a position to change it. You know, to change something, you have to at least be conscious of what is there. Once you see what is here, you might actually decide what else you'd like to be there, or where else you'd like to go.

It is something one is likely to do piecemeal. I.e. I might be quite present and aware of certain aspects of my life, and quite able to make good decisions about it, while other aspects are thoroughly forgotten. And at other times it changes, or various things pop up once in a while and suddenly, wow, I get it, why didn't I look at that before.

But the sum of that awareness, that presence, that consciousness, that clarity of mind, it doesn't really add up to a whole hell of a lot. Sort of like I might add it up over my life, and it is like I've only really been present for a few hours, or a few days. Seems like a waste, to go to all that trouble, and then not really pay attention.

Oh, it is not black and white. Of course I've been conscious enough to do many things, and of course I have to be partially present to write this here. But, truthfully, I can write inspiring philosophical essays while half asleep. I'm talking about something more.

What if you actually could be fully present here and now, fully conscious, keenly perceptive, and you could do that all the time?

OK, some people will wonder what the hell I'm talking about. Sounds like nonsense if you haven't particularly noticed any difference between being aware of BEING or not being aware of being. Sounds like just some new age mumbo jumbo if you haven't actually ever noticed that you exist. And, it is fascinating, but many people haven't really realized that they exist. Probably a majority of humanity is people who haven't ever been conscious of their own existence, of if they have, they've thoroughly forgotten.

The culprit is the mind. Both our strongest asset and our prison. We can think abstractly, which allows us to do amazing things. And it allows us to trap ourselves in stuff that isn't really there. It allows us to make abstract ideas as real or more real than what is really there.

The mind stores and processes incoming perceptions, and it stores and processes abstract representations of what things mean, and extrapolatons of what those abstract representations mean.

That allows you to learn about and influence circumstances way outside your local area of what you can directly perceive. For example, it allows you to be able to vote. That's a terribly abstract thing. You most likely haven't actually met any of the people involved, and you don't have any direct experience with any of the issues that are considered important. Your vote won't directly do anything either, but you can feel that you're part of something meaningful, and it does make a difference. Now, you could only do that because you have some fairly complex abstract models of cause and effect and connections and probabilities in your mind. Most likely they're ridiculously over-simplified, but you do have some structure there that tells you something.

But this abstract mental stuff easily gets to mean that you spend all your time doing stuff your mind tells you to do, and zero time actually looking for yourself.

Yes, I know, if you think that you ARE a mind, such a statement makes no sense. Even worse, if you think you're a brain, you've already locked yourself away and thrown away the key.

There's a certain circular reasoning thing which makes minds get out of hand. You prove abstract ideas only with other abstract ideas. That works some of the time. But if one has gotten so used to taking certain abstract ideas as The Truth, one forgets at some point that they're just ideas, and one no longer checks in with reality.

I'm saying we pretty much all do that, but you can see it most dramatically at the extremes, with people who're very religious or who're very scientifically, materialistically oriented. In the fundamentalist way. I.e. people who wouldn't recognize reality if it bit them in the nose, but who live inside a mental structure, and who deny the existence of anything that isn't situated and labeled within that structure.

But most people in the "civilized" world go around spending most of their energy on keeping up with abstract ideas. All your "shoulds". You should get up in the morning, get the kids to school, go to work, have meetings, file reports, do shopping, pay your bills, etc. Most of which you aren't doing because it is what is in front of you, but because of some mental structure you have in your mind. A structure that will predict the consequences of not doing some of those things, so you do the logical thing, and you do them.

But, back to my point. You're so busy being busy that you aren't even there most of the time. OK, maybe you are, so I'll speak for myself. I will frequently catch myself in not having been present for an extended period of time.

You know, how you find yourself in your driveway, having driven home, maybe from work, maybe something you do every day. And you notice that you weren't present the whole way, and you don't remember the trip at all. Maybe you were busy thinking about something, and that's where your awareness was. But you still drove the car perfectly fine, for a half hour, through rush hour traffic.

I'm talking about that in your life. Despite going through the motions somewhat successfully, you suddenly wake up and realize, where was I?

And, to get to the point, the ability of actually being fully present here and now is what we could call "enlightenment". Oh, I'm sure one could define it different ways, but I find that the most useful. You have somehow transcended your identification with the mind, plugged into a fundamental source of peace of mind, and you can comfortably be present here and now, without having to have anywhere else to go.

That's not necessarily any hocus pocus spiritual thing that you will attain after 33 years of chanting. Probably is a terribly simple and pragmatic thing. Just being present and not giving in to mental delusions. Noticing what is really going on, what is really there in front of you, and what is really there inside of you, and not obsessively overlaying a lot of opinions and filters and 'shoulds' on top of it.

Anyway, this is just a note to myself, to BE more of the time, and to not put up with being absent. To pursue enlightenment, although I strongly suspect it can't really be pursued. There's nowhere else to go to. It is right here, right now. No fancy technique or secret knowledge to learn. And that's a hard one. Would be so much easier if one could just go and take a class. No, one actually has to pay attention, really pay attention, be quiet and notice the obvious.  More >

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