God. Good and evil. The struggle is real.
All the ancient religions are the same in this regard, the Vedic tradition (and Persian, Zarathustra) has suras, beings of light, and asuras, beings of darkness. This struggle is what drove Nietzsche mad. He could not reconcile them, and he broke into confusion. It broke Pirsig too, and has no doubt broken many over the millennia…
But this is the churning, the alchemical process embedded in life. The yīn-yáng (tàijítú), the ouroboros that feeds upon itself to subsist, to exist. These forces interplay inside of us – our battles with our own shadows, dark desires. And the hero take is the story we tell ourselves to inspire ourselves, and we need inspiration mind you. To lead us forth into battle, as Arjuna did with Krishna by his side. This is the way my friend. They left it for us, if we only have the wisdom to see it…
It is only through the loss of self, its sacrifice on the altar of truth, of knowledge, that true wisdom – truth and knowledge and love and bliss itself – is gained. This is the truth taught by all the masters that have come to us through the ages – Christ Buddha Ramakrishna… especially strong in the Buddhist tradition which ties liberation, freedom from the wheel of suffering, of life, with the liberation of all beings. This is the perspective necessary for salvation, this is the ‘saved’ perspective.
To find this elusive enlightenment, to chase our bliss they say, we are supposed to ‘go within’, find that which is unchanging within ourselves, search for the space between thoughts…. To what end? To chase some ‘blissful’ experience – or is that just the carrot that these gurus put in front of you to follow them? Hmmm… there’s a question. Regardless that path is fairly well defined – jīva mukti my friends. Jai! What is almost entirely left out of the intellectual landscape, and there’s a reason for this, is the relationship of the individual with his God – through what means? What dimensions? What is sacred and what is profane?
We propose that man is an inherently social being, co-existing within a complex set of social structures from which mankind has emerged. There is no man without mankind, we are creatures which thrive, and now exist almost exclusively in, advanced societal structures. While psychology from an individual framework perspective is helpful, and from a medical standpoint of course given advancements in this area arguably vital, it leaves out the more broad structural frameworks that are associated with society at large, humanity, the earth and ultimately the cosmos within which the psyche must operate. These outer spheres we may call them – the cosmos, the earth and humanity – were considered at least in in say the philosophy of the Dàodé Jīng, but somehow were lost along the way. Time for a reformulation of sorts so people can see, given modern intellectual context, how these seemingly disparate domains of existence interdepend and rest upon each other. This is our place within the world. This is where we can find meaning…. Let’s go there…
These Eastern philosophical systems are focused inward – based on revelation. But what is perhaps lost in these fantastic tales (Jesus in the desert, Moses and the burning bush, Buddha and the bodhi tree, etc.) is that what made these teachers great, was their teachings. How they rooted the knowledge that they gained, that was revealed to them (in a Platonic sense), into a more firm, practical reality. Buddha rejected God, or dismissed him as a practical matter. Moses and Jesus, and Muhammad, did not of course. We reject him here, following Nietzsche.
No matter though, we have a plan! First, we must change the focus somewhat – self liberation is fine as a goal but we must re-evaluate this notion of Self. We must take it inward, through the chakras, but also look at these different dimensions of being within us and fully appreciate how they manifest, are co-causally linked to, the outer world which we ‘operate’ or ‘exist’ in. This is self in relation to ‘other’, res cogitans in relation to res extensa, self in relation to the cosmos… the seven spheres…
We propose the following different mystical dimensions that all come together to define our psychological and social reality, the proper functioning of which yields the best possible outcomes (as measured by quality of life, happiness, success/excellence criteria) for not just the individual but for the social structure within which the individual operates:
- Self (Erotic).
- Driven for survival, procreation, basic needs.
- Partner (Romantic).
- The yáng to our yīn. The coupling.
- may be absent in say monastic societies, this is not necessarily just a male-female (biological) thing and
- in every relationship there is yīn and yáng.
- Family & Friends
- Parents, to which we owe a debt. This is our link to our forefathers, to which we also owe a debt.
- Siblings, cousins, in laws, extended family, etc
- There are family traditions, family legacies that we have some obligation to carry forward
- Work (direct associates)
- Professional dealings
- Providing for family and community
- Community (indirect associates, common interests…)
- Schools, clubs (YMCA)
- Sports, politics
- How your work contributes back to the community, either directly or indirectly
- Mankind (less direct, ideological)
- What are your contributions here?
- Crossing socio-economic, national and racial boundaries
- Cosmos (Naturalism, Earth)
- How are we (all) connected?
- Responsibility to maintain for future generations
Understanding, and appreciating the complexity of, the self (i) is part of the picture yes, but certainly not the whole picture. And it would certainly appear that this hyper focus on the self, and in particular as agents of consumption which is one of the cornerstone ideas that underpin modern western society (capitalism, consumerism…), has some repercussions that at the very least are worth understanding.
Self does not gain at the expense of the partner, nor at the expense of the family, nor at the expense of one’s professional or work life, he gains with and contributes towards the success of the entire community. There is a collective, symbiotic relationship between all of these seemingly disparate dimensions of life, of being, that may be subtle and hard to discern at times but it is absolutely fundamental to the well-being of the individual – their ‘spiritual success’ you might call it, their ability to be happy and content in life (eudaemonia which stems from arete, excellence). You can practice mediation all you like but until you are able to integrate into the world at all these levels successfully, peace will elude you.
Desire, akin to Nietzsche’s will to power, does keep us rooted to this physical world no doubt. While some of this is addressed in the Eastern philosophical traditions, and is most certainly the core to the teachings of Ramakrishna (lust and gold, kama kanchana), it nonetheless is too often overlooked, or underemphasized. This was Buddha’s Great Awakening, his Four Noble Truths are based upon it, and it is no doubt a profound realization.
I don’t want to recreate the wheel here (no pun intended) but again I’m an engineer and if someone has already tackled a problem I see now reason why not to leverage their work. I’m not in this to create a name for myself (quite the opposite actually) but I am in this because I think the world needs some fixing. And good engineers don’t like to see things all busted up and not functioning properly. We like things in good working order.
So our planet is dying, and we’re killing it. The system is broken and needs to be fixed. Please pay attention pls.