Mr. Cloudy's Shelter
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2009-04-16 8:20 PM
Everything is perfect just as it is??
Warning - lenghty rant ahead. If you do believe everything is perfect just as it is, there's no point reading on. ;^)
Ok. A friend suggested a book and I took a look at it tonight. Within one minute I had read that for the rest of the world - besides us humans - everything is perfect. And that nobody is bad, good, nothing is bad, good, etc.
And yet the author is willing to make the value judgment that everything is perfect, not bad, not good, but perfect. By which he apparently means just as it is meant to be.
Ok. The philosopher in me is very unhappy. First of all - if you have to tell me everything is perfect, something's wrong. Two, if you have to tell me the way to realizing it is perfect, something's wrong. If you tell me that if I would just be an animal, everything would be perfect, then I can only conclude it would simply be ignorance (and I hardly think even my dogs think the world is perfect).
Then, of course, the religious and philosophical traditions of the world have long sought to explain how everything was once perfect and now it isn't and why you have to change yourself in order for it to be perfect again.
Ugh. But I'll set aside all of this for a minute and try to roll with him. If we take nothing personally, as he advises, I can see that life might be easier. He suggests that even the actions of a person who kills us should not be taken personally. I guess if you could truly feel this in your heart, you might have peace.
But I have to ask if this peace is worth the price, for it implies nothing should change, and that I should change nothing. After all, isn't it perfect that I am depressed and anxious, skeptical of easy promises, fat, bald, etc. And isn't it perfect that people are starving, killing, committing violence, etc. The animals experience all of these things. I guess the gazelle does not take the lion's attack personally. And I don't suppose I would take a lion's attack personally either. But that's part of the point, istn't it? When you attack me, it is precisely because I believe the whole sum of who you are is not instinct that I take it personally, while for the most part I take it to be true for the lion, at least in regards to attacks. If you ask me to give up this belief about human beings, then you ask me to give up being human. And I'd rather be an unhappy human than a supposedly happy animal.
I'm willing to consider the author may have some very valuable insights. But it depresses me to read people who seem to think giving up precisely what seems to be the human enterprise - to wrestle with what sentient existence means - is the way to fulfillment.
So, I'm voting this train of thought as a counsel of despair: "The only thing wrong is that you think something is wrong."
I can see no way around this basic thought. One can only assert that there is no good and bad, precisely by making the value assertion that in fact implies there is at least one bad thing, namely to believe that there is good and bad. Hence the assertion is self-refuting. In other words, it automatically implies the good that one ought to make no such distinction between good and bad.
At least that's how it all seemed to me in the 10 minutes I sat at Borders trying to see whether there was wisdom in the book or not. There may be some proverbial benefit to some of the specific suggestions made. I'll even ponder them in the days to come. But I cannot say anything other than that the basis on which he believes these proverbs to rest seems entirely untenable.
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