A predator will never entirely eliminate the prey it depends
on. It will starve from its success and thus do its part to re-balance the two populations. Atheism can never reign as itself. As a cultural element, with any defeat of Theism,
Atheism loses its relevance as a necessary refutation.
It is easy to admire a hero for the strength of his moral
convictions, even when we know that his undivided strength depended upon a poor
vision on moral ambiguities. It is easy to admire him because we ourselves do
not like to squint.
Nothingness does not approach the horror of
somethingness.Nothingness is an escape
... room for something-like-God.With
somethingness there is no door or vent.One chokes on the air.But we
cannot hold one to the exclusion of the other.To have the one in the foreground is to force the other into the
background.Neither absolute is
possible.Reality is not beyond
comprehension; it precedes cognition.There is a “difference” between perception and that unity inferred by perception.It is the final difference
before the experience of this unity.
A supreme ambition must see through both fear and euphoria to achieve its object. Thus, ambition is allied with honesty: both transcend emotions and both require reality. The higher our goal the greater the demand for our private honesty.
And wouldn't the object of a severe honesty be ambitious?
Accuracy beyond the Sensation:
The odds have already been stacked against us.It is easier to have optimism from ignorance than to have a
pessimistic outlook oninaccuracy. So
both those in a presently comfortable
neglect and those in earnest labor for accuracy have their work cut out for
them, eventually or presently.
If we interviewed these two, we would see that each considers himself the optimist and the other
the pessimist.The distinction hinges on whether “Optimism”
is defined by the present sensation or an eventual point of conversion where
pleasant and unpleasant sensations will be exchanged for each other.
Contrary to popular belief, both forms of optimism come with frowns: one, at those facts forcing a correction, and the other at the “pessimist” who pointed them out.
What is it that we
really want? …. more of reality … or less? For what the mind actually
grasps and makes use of, the concepts of infinity and eternity are less than the finite reality out of
which these concepts were derived.
Why is it that the more essential facts underpinning our
lives are “boring”?Without a brave
orientation, those facts which do not relieve the mind of this reality trigger
reflexes which propel thought away and
into distractions of a “More” that is actually so
simplistic it is closer to being infinitely
less.Being sold on a singular claim
ticket for a box with all the items in the world is not the same – in number,
quality, and type -- as owning a real box of tools and prizes.
There is a difference between a word and what the word
designates, just as there is a difference between a stimulus-response circuit,
and what the conditioning attaches itself to. If you want to dodge the labor
required by your own reality, then let philosophy and religion sell you a grand
claim ticket for “Everything.” Be conscious
only of the cognitive response but not of the unexamined stimuli, thus surrendering your mind and life to unconscious reflexes.
Don’t worry, the unexamined machinery will take care of you, converting the
randomness in your life through concept juggling in the memory. In exchange for
an intelligent understanding of your own reality, you will have a guided tour
down the ancient corridors of surviving ignorance.
But if you love your life,
love it enough to examine its machinery. Own
your reality and labor over your own cultivation. To Socrates’ prodding, “The
unexamined life is not worth living” … we must add, “The unexamined life is not
really lived at all.”
I would understand this foreign reality but that I no longer
trust my interpreter.I have decided to
stop listening to the translation and to observe directly the gestures and
expressions as they manifest themselves.It is something like the expression of an exotic dance: I can take
pleasure in it, but I have no adequate explanation for that expression ... no
opportunity to sit back and meditate, for that damned interpreter keeps butting
in and babbling on and on with his nonsense of “that something more from this
something less” ... with his damned leaps: “Eternity!Infinity!”I am all too painfully aware of the explanation, that it never equals
the beauty of the dance itself.Experience cloys with the slightest explanation.There is always something too much, and I begin to suspect that
this something too much is nothing
other than the addition of Eternity.It has been a very slow process, but I am
finally getting my interpreter to acknowledge the disparity between what he says and what I see, and so now he is making statements like, “Man is
limited.Man wants more.This is beautiful.”But then I catch myself listening again.
I am sure and confident, until I open my mouth to
speak.This is the squeeze of our
condition.We must speak to express our
deepest feeling, but the act of this expression requires the compromise of
individual feelings into universally accepted symbols.We are too big for the box of grammar and
lose our tails when the box closes itself into a sentence.“But humans have no tails!”is the objection.We remain silent, for with the loss of our
tails we have also lost our proof, and every attempt to prove incites laughter.
We must speak, but speaking is incomplete.We feel our meaning, but speak in
absurdities.We are vessels that must
pour out this something within but
find no vessel without.
Perhaps what would satisfy us most would be a silent
communication, one which required less of the pouring out of “mind” or
“reflection” and more of the gratification of a total experience: for example,
the sudden realization of potential ... or the exhibition of strength and
beauty — an ecstatic pouring out and receiving, at the same time ... not really
understanding this ecstatic here and now ... yet having it!We identify
our basic need for exaltation, as opposed to what we merely want.Once in this exalted state, we do not satisfy
the “need” for communication, but have
eliminated that need altogether.The
superfluity is.It knows nothing of “need” or “want.”It is enough to spill over.If there are no vessels to receive and
contain ... what is that to the experience?
the outset of leaving a bad religion. I was right, I was wrong: I knew that all
would be different on the other side of the question mark, but I did not know just how much of my life had depended upon the
maintenance of uncertainties.
Out of futility, we trade our failed attempts at a unified
system for a monomaniacal fascination with nihilism – and we trade this one
sort of unity for the other precisely where accepting our multiplicity would
have allowed us to coordinate all faculties into a grand strategy – a new sort
of unity – around an ambitious goal.
There is sometimes an advantage
to insecurity -- and there can be an ironic vulnerability to security: One
who must prove his strength constantly
represses a suspicion of inadequacy, and thus believes that he has it … and that he can prove it. With repetitive exercise proportional to the suspicion of inadequacy and the constant need to
suppress that suspicion through attempts at proof,
he just might develop it in the end. One who has strength and knows it does not
need to prove it and so needs not exercise it, and so he just might no longer
have it in the end.
The brain is an organ capable of believing that there is no
limit to the suffering it must pay for a limited gain ... and incapable, at the
critical moment, of believing the opposite, that there is a limit to
happiness.We teeter between a misery
blind to the light that makes our shadows and a happiness more akin to
catastrophilia than we would be happy to acknowledge, but what would happen if
we inched our way down the lever and stood, motionless, at the fulcrum point?
It ought to be a vice to cultivate a virtue which
contributes less than one's highest potential to humanity.Additionally, to catch sight of one's highest
potential requires a severe self-inspection that is tantamount to egoism.Thus, to catch sight of the correct virtue, it is our duty to march
through the otherwise muddling vices of egoism and ambition.We rephrase the original assertion: it ought
to be a vice to cultivate a virtue which has not first passed through a moral
filter of vanity: “What is my highest
The social mind swings far and wide, like a pendulum,
reaching out toward one illusion and then falling back with fear or disgust ...
only to race out again toward another illusion.
But there is a shorter, faster swing available to the human
experience ... and it is not the “middle ground” of opposing “causes” or
“moralities” ... but the coexistence of two imaginary universes ... an
overcoming of both stark reality and heady achievement over and over again ...
training and practicing the reflexes ... perfecting one’s observation skills so
that the corrections become shorter and faster ... as one who tightens an iron
string and takes joy in the vibration as it increases in pitch.