The Meta-narrative of Awakening

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richrf
 
Reply Sat 8 Aug, 2009 06:44 pm
@William,
Hi William,

It looks like the family never published it.

Where is the Chris McCandless journal? Is it available to read, apart from the "Into the wild book"? - Yahoo! Answers

Rich
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 8 Aug, 2009 06:50 pm
@jeeprs,
"Don't you try to understand it
Leave it as a mystery
Bigger than the both of us we're
Each other's history"
 
William
 
Reply Sat 8 Aug, 2009 07:10 pm
@richrf,
richrf;81969 wrote:
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Wed 12 Aug, 2009 07:18 pm
@jeeprs,
First, let me say that I appreciate your thoughtful comments jeeprs. Please don't take offence at anything I may say below, as it will be rather harsh I think.

jeeprs;78394 wrote:
Now of course not everyone will get this, or want to, and I am certainly not interested in evangalising it or pushing it to anyone. To each in his or her own time - my motivation is only to share it with those who are interested and from whom I can learn. But I am dissappointed by the attitude which says, in a triumphant kind of way, that everything is meaningless, life arose by accident, there is no purpose, and so on. I can't understand why this is a prize or a victory. Yet its exponents always seem to cling so determindely to it. Perhaps it is because they hate anything spiritual. Kind of a phyrric victory I would have thought.


I am one of those people whose attitude 'says, in a triumphant kind of way, that everything is meaningless, life arose by accident, there is no purpose, and so on.' What those people who would claim otherwise fail to understand, is that the realization that the world is essentially absurd is not the end. It is however the neccessary precondition that enables a thinking person, who hasn't the good luck to be blissfully ignorant, to live life for the sake of living life. As Nietzsche said, nihilism is a bridge to something higher. Only when we abolish the fallacious justifications for living can we live life for its own sake. It is a vital affirmation.

On the other hand, what the Buddhists or Brahmans call enlightenment seems to me to be a negation of life, a deliberate effort to not-exist as thoroughly as possible. The repetition of a fixed idea, medititation, is a kind of opiate. If what I prefer is the will to power, the buddhists advocate a will to death, a will to nothingness. Nirvana is to not exist. I see the Buddha in every cow I pass, standing there chewing it's cudd in perfect tranquility.
 
salima
 
Reply Wed 12 Aug, 2009 07:31 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;82884 wrote:
I am one of those people whose attitude 'says, in a triumphant kind of way, that everything is meaningless, life arose by accident, there is no purpose, and so on.' What those people who would claim otherwise fail to understand, is that the realization that the world is essentially absurd is not the end. It is however the neccessary precondition that enables a thinking person, who hasn't the good luck to be blissfully ignorant, to live life for the sake of living life. As Nietzsche said, nihilism is a bridge to something higher. Only when we abolish the fallacious justifications for living can we live life for its own sake. It is a vital affirmation.

On the other hand, what the Buddhists or Brahmans call enlightenment seems to me to be a negation of life, a deliberate effort to not-exist as thoroughly as possible. The repetition of a fixed idea, medititation, is a kind of opiate. If what I prefer is the will to power, the buddhists advocate a will to death, a will to nothingness. Nirvana is to not exist. I see the Buddha in every cow I pass, standing there chewing it's cudd in perfect tranquility.


i think i am both of those people...

one of the first things i think a person realizes with enough introspection and meditation is that there is no purpose per se- and i agree, it is the most liberating realization. it gives one a blank slate to create their own purpose or run through life helter skelter or anything in between or alternate between the two.

i dont agree with the concept of choosing a goal of attaining annihilation into the void or the all because we are all going there anyway. but i think the eastern philosophies can also have room enough to accomodate someone who has intense pleasure and pain in life by choice or not as suits the occasion. i dont agree that 'life is suffering' across the board-it is only that if one is attached to some particular outcome.

by detaching from an outcome i do not subscribe to acceptance of all that happens-i believe that because we can have preferences and make choices and distinctions we should do so. we are free to actively pursue any number of goals-but the real game is in the pursuit. there is a way of enjoying misery-there are ways of turning a disadvantage into an advantage-these are the challenges of life.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 12 Aug, 2009 07:33 pm
@jeeprs,
BrightNoon;82884 wrote:
..what the Buddhists or Brahmans call enlightenment seems to me to be a negation of life, a deliberate effort to not-exist as thoroughly as possible. The repetition of a fixed idea, medititation, is a kind of opiate. If what I prefer is the will to power, the buddhists advocate a will to death, a will to nothingness. Nirvana is to not exist. I see the Buddha in every cow I pass, standing there chewing it's cudd in perfect tranquility


Well that is because you have no idea what they are talking about. Do you really think the entire classical culture of Indian civilization was built on the mentality of a cow? I hope you are not offended, BrightNoon, when I say that this is an extremely ignorant and prejudiced attitude. You give every indication of having no idea what you are talking about.

But anyway, that shouldn't matter in the least. If things are as you say, none of it has any actual meaning, including this sentence, so I shall desist from writing further.

---------- Post added 08-13-2009 at 12:07 PM ----------

anyway, thank you both. This is very good training for me in Not Having To Be Right.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Wed 12 Aug, 2009 08:22 pm
@jeeprs,
That you equate my comments with a denigration of classical indian culture is your error. My comments are directed at the fundemental, philosphical basis of either Buddhism or Brahmanism. Neti, Neti.

Geti?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 12 Aug, 2009 10:59 pm
@jeeprs,
OK apologies for loosing my temper. It is wrong to describe another's views in a dismissive way. There are many people who think that the world exists without cause, meaning or purpose and that religion and spirituality are just a delusion. I will present a different view of the matter. I will engage in reasoned debate but will not respond to comments which I think indicate the speaker has no real interest in the matter. That is all.

---------- Post added 08-13-2009 at 03:17 PM ----------

'No reason to get excited'
The thief he kindly spoke
'For there are many here among us
Who feel that life is but a joke

'But you and I we've been through that
And this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now
The hour is getting late'

All Along the Watchtower | Bob Dylan
 
salima
 
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2009 12:43 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;82900 wrote:
OK apologies for loosing my temper. It is wrong to describe another's views in a dismissive way. There are many people who think that the world exists without cause, meaning or purpose and that religion and spirituality are just a delusion. I will present a different view of the matter. I will engage in reasoned debate but will not respond to comments which I think indicate the speaker has no real interest in the matter. That is all.


but jeeprs, you do see how a person can believe there is no purpose, cause or intention behind the universe and still believe that religion and spirituality are neither meaningless nor delusional, dont you? i assure you i almost never make jokes or bother to speak unless i am seriously involved in a conversation.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2009 03:16 am
@jeeprs,
Well not really. Not if you're logically consistent. I do believe there is a moral law, dharma. It is not invented by humans. Many believe that it is a cultural invention, that it is only a story humans tell each other to comfort themselves. I don't. If that makes me a believer, so be it, but it is not the same as believing in Deity, because you can test it in experience.

There is an historical reason why modern people reject the notion of order and purpose. I will do some writing on that soon. But if you really feel that things just happen to exist, I don't really understand how any philosophy is possible. OK mine is probably a minority view but I am not likely to change it.

I do get very annoyed when people denigrate the Buddha. I have to overcome that sense of annoyance, that is my own problem. I will challenge people's ideas of normality and many will object. I need to learn not to get emotional about it when they do. And I am sure, Salima, your motives are entirely sincere.

---------- Post added 08-13-2009 at 07:53 PM ----------

The following from an essay onNietzsche by Henry Bayman

Quote:
Why do both Hume and Nietzsche, in their overzeal to deny God, end up debauching science as well? Because their denial of God is dependent on the denial of any order whatsoever in the universe. Because they knew that science took its origin, and is still based on, a world in which order prevails. If the world is chaos, there can be no order, and hence no laws either of nature or of science. (In our day, however, even the word "chaos" is being redefined, as mathematicians and scientists discern hidden order in chaos.) For the existence of any kind of laws presupposes a Lawgiver, and indeed the originators of modern science-Newton, Descartes, Leibniz, etc.-quite openly expressed their faith in a Divine Lawmaker. In order to deny the latter, Hume, Nietzsche, and those who follow their path must deny the existence of any kind of order at all. But without such order, the whole enterprise of science falls down, for it is then senseless to seek for laws, order or pattern in a disordered world. Nietzsche borders on Orwellian Newspeak in his implied conclusion: "truth is a lie," and falls into the same rut that he so despises in those who confuse mortality and immortality... Yet paradoxically, Nietzsche was also genius enough to recognize that his nihilistic teaching (and Zarathustra's) is a "rebound from 'God is truth' to the fanatical faith 'All is false'."

But is all this true? "By their fruits you shall judge them." Science works-it is the most successful enterprise in the history of humanity. Even chance, even probability, has its laws and is not chaos. In that case, it makes sense to view the world as ordered, a place where laws-laws of science, laws of nature-hold. So it makes sense, in turn, to talk about a Lawgiver-which Newton, Copernicus, et al. had told us right from the very beginning, and which we would never have lost sight of had we not extended our debunking of the Christian conception of God to God Himself. The alternative is to assume that we ourselves project order onto the universe, which is a form of solipsism. In that case, though, the basis for an objective universe and materialism collapses. Even granting the point of solipsism, however, if man finds meaning within himself, where does he dredge up this meaning from? For according to Sufism, God is both Within and Without, so that we approach God even when we go within. God is both transcendent and immanent. Contrary to what Nietzsche thought, He is not just incarnate in Jesus, and not just beyond the universe
.
 
pagan
 
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2009 07:53 am
@jeeprs,
... well there is the famous buddhist teaching "If you meet the buddha on the road, kill him!"

Hi brightnoon i haven't met an absurdist(existentialist?) before. Smile

What i found very interesting about the exchange between yourself and jeeprs is that buddhism itself often speaks in a way that many could interpret as absurd or nihilistic.

Jeeprs quotes henry bayman on Nietzsche...

Quote:
....Nietzsche borders on Orwellian Newspeak in his implied conclusion: "truth is a lie," and falls into the same rut that he so despises in those who confuse mortality and immortality... Yet paradoxically, Nietzsche was also genius enough to recognize that his nihilistic teaching (and Zarathustra's) is a "rebound from 'God is truth' to the fanatical faith 'All is false'."...
well here is one from the daily buddhist.

Quote:
If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him


Question:
I have heard the phrase "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!" many times. Can you explain this?
Answer:
It actually comes from an old koan attributed to Zen Master Linji, (the founder of the Rinzai sect). It's a simple one:
"If you meet the Buddha, kill him." - Linji
I'm sure you already realize that it's not being literal. The road, the killing, and even the Buddha are symbolic.
The road is generally taken to mean the path to Enlightenment; that might be through meditation, study, prayer, or just some aspect of your way of life. Your life is your "road." That's fairly straightforward as far as metaphors go.
But how do you meet the Buddha on this "road?" Imagine meeting some symbolic Buddha. Would he be a great teacher that you might actually meet and follow in the real world? Could that Buddha be you yourself, having reached Enlightenment? Or maybe you have some idealized image of perfection that equates to your concept of the Buddha or Enlightenment.
Whatever your conception is of the Buddha, it's WRONG! Now kill that image and keep practicing. This all has to do with the idea that reality is an impermanent illusion. If you believe that you have a correct image of what it means to be Enlightened, then you need to throw out (kill) that image and keep meditating.
Most people have heard the first chapter of the Tao, "The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao." (So if you think you see the real Tao, kill it and move on).
you know there isn't a world of difference here in the language used. Compare with brightnoon
Quote:

As Nietzsche said, nihilism is a bridge to something higher. Only when we abolish the fallacious justifications for living can we live life for its own sake. It is a vital affirmation.

Nihilism as a bridge to something higher, standing in stark opposition to whatever your conception is of the Buddha, it's WRONG! Now kill that image and keep practicing.

For me that last word is the key. I prefer living to practicing. It sounds much more inviting and exciting.
 
salima
 
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2009 09:10 am
@jeeprs,
"There is an historical reason why modern people reject the notion of order and purpose. I will do some writing on that soon. But if you really feel that things just happen to exist, I don't really understand how any philosophy is possible. OK mine is probably a minority view but I am not likely to change it.".....jeeprs

i think we are not defining things the same way. i dont believe i ever said there was no order-yes, there is order. but i dont see a creator. i see awareness and intelligence becoming, and that it is following the best order possible because how could it do otherwise? i basically have a sufi outlook-all there is is as divine as anything could be-meaning would only be what we ascribe to it subjectively from our tiny vantage point. i dont believe there would be any higher meaning or intention above us because those are human things-we got those here. the vast field of potentiality that is aware does not think or act, it only becomes and evolves as it were. that is my take on it-and as you will most likely agree, mystical experience is open to interpretation and some of us are probably closer to the Truth than others-i dont even want to say i think i am right, i am only saying what i have so far come to believe is most likely.

i believe we all have a philosophy and sense of ethics etc because it goes along with the human form of mind/body. the field of awareness in its pristine formlessness has no need of ethics or philosophy or ego or emotion. it too has no need of purpose and meaning-it simply is. (that's just my guess). after all, if you insist that there has to be a meaning and purpose for human beings then there would also have to be one for the deity.

ah-i see the main difference now! it is that you see something as an authority higher than humans. we can work that out too...if dharma exists outside of us independently and you dont believe in deity, where did it come from? hmm...i will wait until you blog it.

and yes, dont be annoyed if you find people denigrating the buddha! he himself would be very annoyed with you for being annoyed at them! (at least i think he would...)
 
pagan
 
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2009 09:56 am
@salima,
Quote:
BrightNoon - one of the first things i think a person realizes with enough introspection and meditation is that there is no purpose per se- and i agree, it is the most liberating realization. it gives one a blank slate to create their own purpose or run through life helter skelter or anything in between or alternate between the two.
... so which do you now find yourself doing most often brightnoon? How much power do you desire and experience? Do you enjoy a good rump of cow? whereforarthouwillfully? Smile Does cosmic awareness / enlightenment tickle your fancy?
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2009 11:20 am
@salima,
salima;82909 wrote:
but jeeprs, you do see how a person can believe there is no purpose, cause or intention behind the universe and still believe that religion and spirituality are neither meaningless nor delusional, dont you?


Anyone familiar with Mr. Jack Kerouac? He became a very dogmatically religious man in his latter years. My point is that religion or other belief systems can be engaged in without believing that they are 'the truth.' They are activities. Maybe I'm a cathollic because I like the smell of incense..

jeeprs wrote:
Even granting the point of solipsism, however, if man finds meaning within himself, where does he dredge up this meaning from?
[/I]

The man who realizes that life has no inherent meaning, or order, or justification, may proceed to the most sublime realization; that he may make meaning and order, and justifiy life thusly. This is perhapod difficult to explain. It sounds contradictory. It can be expressed by the below conversation.

Naivete incarnate: What is the meaning of life?

Wiseman: There is no meaning.

Merry Prankster: So what? (and the merry prankster proceeds merrily pranking)

This is what Nietzsche was talking about in many of his parables and extended metaphors. In fact, Bright Noon is a phrase he uses to explain the state which follows nihilism- i.e. action in spite of nihilism, living life for the sake of living life. The will to power is the will to life, the will to value, measure, act, create, etc. for the sake of itself, as opposed to action which is suposed to have external justification, but really doesn't.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2009 03:38 pm
@jeeprs,
Oh boy this has gotten big. A couple of observations.

1. Jack Kerouac might have become very religious but he also moved home, lived with his mother, and drank himself to death. A lot of his circle got interested in Dharma, mainly through D.T. Suzuki, but few of them had any commitment to practise, with the exception of Gary Snyder. Alan Watts wrote and essay on it Beat Zen Square Zen (but then he his own battles with the bottle).

2. meet the buddha, kill him - a Zen teaching story. Truly said, but you need to remember the context in which these stories were told. Zen might sound anarchic and free-and-easy but it was a life of fulltime monastic discipline with a heavy emphasis on many hours a day of sitting meditation.

3. Buddhism is definitely not nihilistic. Nihilism is recognised as a fundamental 'false view' in Buddhism, the opposite of eternalism (which according to some intepretations forms the basis for Christianity). Both are said to be 'dogmatic views' not conducive to liberation. The Sunyata teaching is often taken to be nihilistic, but it is not; this arises from the thinking mind's futile attempts to 'imagine emptiness'.

4. Neitszche was a brilliant writer but an utterly tortured soul who lost his mind. The essay I quoted from is well worth reading.

There are different ways of 'being religious'. Mine is more on the spiritual end of the spectrum and doesn't involve a lot of ceremony or being involved in a religious community. I doubt my 'religion' would be recognised as such by my forbears. That said, I have come to recognise that there is a reality which is not of my own manufacture. It is all about learning to see beyond yourself. Like it says in Within you and Without you which started me off on the whole thing in 1967 or whenever it was.

Thanks for the input all, I have to go to work now.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2009 10:01 pm
@jeeprs,
1. The point about Kerouac was that he once could be called a nihilist, i.e. one who sees no essential meaning in life. Beatitude is definately a sort of ultra-weariness with the customs of civilization, due to the recognition that they're completely arbitrary and ultimately meaningless. Then, post-nihilism, he became dogmatically religious. Maybe he reverted, but I see this as a step foreward from nihilism: i.e. action in spite of recognition that that action is meaningless, conviction in spite of the recognition that that conviction is baseless, etc. The 'so what?' portion of the conversation mentioned above.

3. I don't think that Buddhism is nihilistic in the sense I've been using the word. Really, there are two pretty distinct meaning's for nihilism. On the one hand, it might refer to the the recognition that all is absurdl while on the other it might refer to that recogniton, and the acceptance of that idea such that a new goal emerges, to avoid life. The former is a stage, a bridge to something else (as N. would say), while the latter in an end. I see Buddhism as that latter form. To my eyes, the beliefs and practices of Buddhism and it's relatives appear to be an attempt at non-existance, escape.

4. Nothing wrong with a little madness. As with Kerouac and his drinking, this proves and demonstrates nothing. His was after all a consciously irrational philosophy.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2009 10:51 pm
@jeeprs,
I am afraid that this is a gross misrpresentation of buddhism (and its cognates). Buddhism 101 - 'desire for non-existence is the cause of suffering'. So if you want to read up on it a bit and come up with something with some actual substance I will be happy to debate it.

As for Kerouac, I must confess I never did read On The Road, (although my son is reading it right now as he is driving around the US). All I recall is Ernest Hemignway's reaction to its publication: "Hey that's not writing, that's typing". (I don't think he liked it.)

---------- Post added 08-14-2009 at 03:07 PM ----------

Incidentally, Salima, that essay I quoted from on the previous page by Henry Bayman - he actually is a Western author on Sufism - that essay is well worth reading.

Kerouac and Neitzche both have their place in literature and philosophy but my honest reaction when I look at both of them is that I only see suffering and confusion. There are virtually endless numbers of writers and philosophers but these two aren't on my list any more.

There is a relevant term in Buddhist philosophy called 'prapanca':
Quote:
refers to the deluded conceptualization of the world through the use of ever-expanding language and concepts, all rooted in the delusion of self; it is intended to elucidate reality although it has the unexpected result of distorting it and\or creating a false perceptual reality.
From Wikipedia

And no, the result of seeing through this is not 'becoming like a cow':bigsmile:
 
pagan
 
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2009 05:53 am
@jeeprs,
hmmm...

as far as i can see, nihilism (as a bridge to something higher) is very similar to zen ..... but with no comment upon the ego. Buddhism provides a communal comment, whereas nihilism has difficulty with embracing community altogether methinks. It appears to face the mystery, and turn back on the root of self. That new perspective of self being the 'something higher'. Whereas buddhism faces the void and attempts to reach out and leave the self.

But i recognise that there are many nihilists and buddhists who don't go to those extremes (not least because they are ordinary functioning human beings)..... as salima says

Quote:
salima - i believe we all have a philosophy and sense of ethics etc because it goes along with the human form of mind/body. the field of awareness in its pristine formlessness has no need of ethics or philosophy or ego or emotion. it too has no need of purpose and meaning-it simply is. (that's just my guess).
So we can't really criticise each other too much as to how we choose to react to the void (or whatever the term we use). In that sense i can see that absurdists might look at buddhists as munching cattle, not as an insult to buddhism (in particular) but as a general wake up call. Equally it is tempting as idealists to get upset when others describe them that way, because as idealists they are reaching out.

Quote:
salima - i see awareness and intelligence becoming, and that it is following the best order possible because how could it do otherwise? i basically have a sufi outlook-all there is is as divine as anything could be-meaning would only be what we ascribe to it subjectively from our tiny vantage point. i dont believe there would be any higher meaning or intention above us because those are human things-we got those here. the vast field of potentiality that is aware does not think or act, it only becomes and evolves as it were. that is my take on it-and as you will most likely agree, mystical experience is open to interpretation and some of us are probably closer to the Truth than others-i dont even want to say i think i am right, i am only saying what i have so far come to believe is most likely.
I think this is another interesting reaction to the awakening experience. I can relate to a great deal of this perspective. But personally i take from awakening the sheer magic of the experience. It is ultra spooky and other worldly to me. Our tiny vantage point is suddenly put into a shocking context, especially for someone like me whose education strongly emphasised rationality and science. As for meaning, well yes it is true that we as humans cannot understand anything higher than what we are capable of understanding! That is an important observation. But for me it makes me immediately curious .... what if there are narrative beings out there that can understand things we cannot? I am not talking about aliens and ufo's here, though that is interesting, i am talking about the spiritual realm. The super nature realm, hence my attraction to paganism. So i guess i am reaching out in a way.... maybe not in a universal truth sense. But a truth and living and practice sense nonetheless.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2009 06:18 am
@jeeprs,
[editorial note - admin wants us to capture quotes in such a way that whoever is reading the post later can click on the quote and go to the link it comes from. The 'quote' button does this. It inserts a tag number that links to the quote. Otherwise it is very difficult to see where the quote comes from.]

Grooving on the idea of the experience is OK as far as it goes, but we need to be called to order otherwise it is very easy to loose the thread. There are indeed beings who are more advanced than us, but we also serve to assist those who have not come so far. We're all a part of some eternal plan, to quote the song about 5 posts above. It's a beautiful thing but you have to realise it. To realise it is to make it real. As you say, in a practise sense - it needs to be realised-by-doing. And it can be, no mistake.
 
pagan
 
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2009 06:27 am
@jeeprs,
lolol well grooving on the idea is one way to put it! NOT MINE Smile

.... and as for Dylan. Oh dear. He isn't all that he appears to be. Never did believe in all that marching nonsense. I read those verses differently to you jeeprs. Dylan was and is coooool .... not warm.
 
 

 
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