Planet Ulrich

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Posts Tagged ‘eastern philosophy

A Note to the Enlightened

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All of this talk about “enlightenment” is ontological trash.


Responding most immediately to this interview:


You cannot erase the distinction between the self and the other without ceasing to be.  (A wheel is a wheel; it may also part of a car, if attached to the car; if the “wheel” only exists as part of the car [as in a wood carving of a “car” with “wheels”, then it’s no longer a wheel, or rather it never was a wheel, it was only a wheel like portion of a wood carving of a car. Analogously, a word only means something to the extent it means that and not everything else; red is red and not blue; if red were red and blue, it would no longer be red; it might be contained within the abstraction color, which would be color to the extent it was color and not also sound; etc.)


Being is being something.


Being (a sentient creature) is being someone, some place, in the world.  It is particular.  


Whether or not you believe in the reality of the self, it is you; without it, you are nothing.  Maybe some larger thing that you are, or believe yourself to be, a part of, is, but you yourself are nothing (if we were to truly erase the distinction between you and various others in your immediate vicinity, by say, dropping a hydrogen bomb on you, the matter and energy that had until that moment might still be, but you would be gone).


The illusion is not that there is a self and an other.  (Keep telling yourself there is no spoon or no brick or no chair; when somebody throws that brick through your windshield, the brick won’t care if you believe in it; nor will the coroner.) 


The illusion, or rather, the lie, is that the universe is some great cosmic oneness, some totality of being which everything is a “manifestation” of, into which the “enlightened” think themselves reabsorbed.


The universe is actually comprised of a finite but very large number of beings (conscious and unconscious) which exist only to the extent they are not other beings (they are discrete points of organization); to “eliminate” the “boundaries” between these beings and reabsorb them into the great totality, would be to destroy them (convert them into “pure” unstructured energy…  the enlightened ideal here would seem to be a supernova, followed by a black hole).  


Those things you think of as barriers to your absorption into the great cosmic totality of being are YOU.


The people who want you to do this are trying to kill you.


Further, the other great “eastern” idea:

1. That life is suffering caused by unfulfilled desire, and therefore

2. The only way to end suffering (or transcend it) is to negate desire (I suppose by accepting that it is futile/meaningless, in the larger context of the great oneness, and thus no longer experiencing it)



It is a pose.


People are always posing, it’s all part of the Great Game,  Status (who controls Afghanistan is a very, very small game compared to this).


1.  How much better they are (morally) and/or

2.  How much smarter they are


These days, being better usually involves a ritualized denunciation/demonization of somebody worse (some person or people held up as an example of inferiority or evil, to demonstrate, by contrast, the superiority or goodness of whoever is posing).


But is doesn’t have to, directly.  The poser can simply point to himself and revel in the seemingly inherent superiority of his moral/intellectual position (we see this with the Kantian/post-Kantian human rights crowd, a topic for another day).


In this case, we have a set of grand sounding statements designed to sound like the speaker has penetrated the Essence of All Things, and Understands; they are so abstruse and seem so complete, they have to reflect something wise, something better.




They are just wrong.


Wrong on every point


Let’s examine:

1. Life is suffering caused by unfulfilled desire, 


Life is not just suffering.  

(Nobody believes that it is, that’s part of the pose of “Enlightened” profundity; other poses come to mind [such as the existentialist pose (that we are totally “free” to choose to be anything, and what we are is strictly the product of choice) or the equality pose (that everyone is the equal or everyone else)].  etc. 

Nobody, nobody, believes any of them, not really.  )


Further, not all suffering is caused by unfulfilled desire, and not all unfulfilled desire causes suffering.  


(Yes, there is suffering in life and some of it is caused by unfulfilled desire, but these are pieces of a much larger whole; the statements as presented are not profound, they are mindless; they can only be defended by torturing the words unfulfilled, desire and suffering to the point they mean everything, and thus nothing).


The absence of desire also causes suffering (I suppose they would say it is the desire to experience desire, unfulfilled, that is causing the suffering, but this is clearly nonsense; further, if all suffering really were caused by unfulfilled desire, or even if all unfulfilled desire caused suffering, why would we desire desire?)


We want to want, not just what we want, but to want in the abstract.  (We are constantly provoking desire, seeking out things that will make us want, even if we know we can’t have them; 

women look at shoes, men look at women, 

both are happier being around women and shoes, 

even if they can’t posses them, 

then they would be if there were no shoes or women at all.  

It will not do to say men look at women, or women look at shoes, because they want to look (they enjoy looking), and so the desire is being fulfilled, etc.;  That’s not true, and misses the point; a man can enjoy looking at a woman, want to possess her, know that “this desire will never be fulfilled”, and still not “suffer;” he may even enjoy the idea of wanting someone he cannot possess.  Whether women enjoy the idea of wanting shoes they can’t possess is a different question (the same principles apply, but I can’t really say, and


 to fulfill the desire of looking at women, or women l

To say the desire to see the women or shoes is being fulfilled here is not e


2. The only way to end suffering (or transcend it) is to negate desire (I suppose by accepting that it is futile/meaningless, in the larger context of the great oneness, and thus no longer experiencing it)




Life is not all suffering.










Written by ulrichthered

August 16, 2012 at 5:38 pm