Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saving ecstasy for tomorrow - survival and submission for today

The interests of the individual may be very different from the interests of the community that he inhabits. Less obviously, the publicized interests of the community may not reveal the true interests that lead to such publicization.

For instance, humans are very diverse, but societies demand a more uniform outlook on the part of the individual, so it is necessary to transform that diversity into something more uniform. In some places obedience is cultivated, order is the highest value, while in other places gentleness, fairness and freedom are praised. But in all cases the individual must accept the higher value of social order. As Richard Morgan bluntly put it:

"Society is, always has been and always will be a structure for the exploitation and oppression of the majority through systems of political force dictated by an élite, enforced by thugs, uniformed or not, and upheld by a willful ignorance and stupidity on the part of the very majority whom the system oppresses."

However if one such human being tries to find "the truth" he may, at some point, discover himself among the company of lunatics, running from nowhere to nowhere, guided only by shreds of impossible illusions, protected by their stupidity from the larger world around.

Such a person might even discover that the world is full of magic and pleasure, and it is, most of the time, easy and free... but because we can't really see the beauty and face our own limits, frailty and ephemeral nature, we are unable to appreciate or enjoy it fully. And so we condemn the very same things that could save us: sex, promiscuity, infidelity, uncertainty, mystery, the inspiring creative power of the animal, the beauty of living the unknown, the inability to be guided because there are no guides, recognizing that the lies are nothing but jokes, the lies which provide the fundament for religion, politics and even family... We condemn the cure (truth and ecstasy) and praise the poison (lies and submission to them)... why?

Because, in human society, filled with such diversity in personalities, the first requirement for survival is uniformity. Survival is more important than truth or pleasure. It is more important than having a good life.

So, the person who really searches for truth would perhaps sometimes rise to see all around her in such a different way. As if misery was necessary for survival. If only there were more like her. If only they could live in peace and ecstasy...

The best life

I think we would all like to live the best life possible. Given our present circumstances we strive to the best life possible in the present circumstances.

That's what I'd expect. But, in practice, I'm just an animal. I go around a few well-trodden routines, entrenched habits and familiar desires. It's just like a carrousel. Computer, cookies, kisses, tv, entertainment, sports, some reading and thinking and back to the same routines.

This is on "vacation time" when free time is abundant. When working my time is scheduled, organized to the last bit, it is always far from enough, so that even the time to rest from work is more frequently than not, occupied with work.

We don't want the best life, we don't even think about it. We just go about from one day to the next following the well-trodden paths of before. We are animals of habit, we go round and round, that's how we like it. We behave like machines or instinctive animals in this respect: we don't actually think on what's best for us. On the different alternatives, on their ups and downs. We just live the moment as if the rest did not exist.

I know that many people praise "living the moment". And perhaps they're right if it means that everything we are is put into "now", and so this "now" is the best it can be, because all my aspirations, inspirations, deviations, desires and so on, concur to make me dance this way, talk this way, smile this way or simply walk that way.

But I'm not speaking about that. I'm speaking about the fragmented way of living the moment, a way of living life in which we forget who we are, what we want, what is important to us, and we may be hours shopping, playing video games, watching movies, and, somewhere in the day, when we wake up from all that frantic emotion, we realize, once more, that we are just "wasting" life. That all our dreams are waiting to be fulfilled or, at least, fought for. That we are waiting in the background, to be heard, felt, fulfilled, realized.

All that time, when those hardcore emotions beat our mind and heart, we fell silently in the background. Yes! We are living the moment, but what kind of "living" is that? What is the price we pay for that? A fragmented life, where we are ensnared by pleasures and pains, desires and fears, going from side to side, aching to reach, but nothing being desired from "within".

The problem with the "best life" is that it does not seem easy to achieve (at least to me). Some people, like Rajneesh, emphasize the "trusting" aspect. Be like a fool, learn to trust even in the face of abyss, even falling into the abyss. Certainly there is an element of trust in the best life. But being blind to the outside and hearing only our inner wishes is, it seems to me, close to be closed to the world. We might be living great adventures in our own mind, but the beauty of what is happening outside will not reach us. It will be difficult to grow. Instead we will be more and more convinced of our own greatness, more and more out of contact with everything else. Growing into a tower of illusions, being the king of nothing.

That does not seem the best life.

But, if we follow the opposite direction and try to rationalize everything, dismissing our inner follies as "irrelevant" follies, and living only for "respectable" goals we'll gain respectability loosing authenticity. We'll sell out what we truly are to gain the acceptance of others, not acceptance of our "true self", which will remain hidden from view even from our own eyes, but acceptance of the self we created in accordance with what was expected. It is a life of fakery where all accomplishments and deeds are accomplishments and deeds that do not really interest us, as if we are unwilling participants of a theater, a play that bores us to death. In the end, we may get a big applause, but we'll feel, if anything, nauseous from the wasted time. As if all the grandeur we managed to gain, is nothing but a mask to hide the true failure that our life has became.

Of course, all of this is based on the assumption that there is a "true self" or, at least, a true vocation, desire or intuition. Perhaps this is just another illusion. But I am describing my life, how I see it and live it. I do need to follow my inner instincts. For me, whenever I get lost of them, I really get lost, and no amount of "external" fulfillment is able to make up for that frustration. If I have a dream, no external riches can compensate for its despise.

So, to have a good life I need at least three things: to be attentive to the outside and to let the inside flow and be listened to. The third thing is the active attempt to combine the two. Only in this combination does life starts to make any sense at all.

And this is just a small tip to have a good life. I am nowhere near knowing, even if it's just for me, how on earth one can strive to have a good life.

loose everything that is important in life. We will certainly do much but accomplish little or nothing at all. For our actions will be out of touch with the