Jan 25, 2008

Correspondence. RE: Enlightenment

The Following is a comment received by the author. Response follows.


(DELETED) said...
lovely boy of this dark blogridden night. enlighten me.
January 25, 2008 2:45 AM


Dear (DELETED),

Well…enlightenment is a word that carries various and sundry unpleasant connotations and tends to smack of all that useless drivel that flows so easily out of the “East.” But far be it from me to cast aspersions on anyone’s belief in what the “mystics” laid down fully so long ago. In the never-ending search for Truth it’s always wiser to turn the rocks over. You will often find a snake but chances are that you won’t actually get bitten. And so, more out of habit than anything else, I’ll just mention the first Noble Truth of the Buddha: “Desire is the cause of all dukkha (suffering).”
The irony is that the “enlightened” mind is cursed by the fact that the very nature of this supposed enlightenment is that it gives one the nearly supernatural ability to gain “clarity.”
And so in seeking it only seems natural that you will expect to find. I’ve never been too certain at what level aromas may come into play when it comes to seeing clearly. But life has proven to be very compartmentalized and fragmentary.
The poetic strands lay out an aesthetic that is hard to ignore. As I recall it, glazed eyes speak to a symbolism that leaves little room for doubt. Seeing the outlines only recalls to my mind the Allegory of the Cave and I still find myself jumping at emotional shadows. The Dark is where the mystery lives and to shed light on a thing just to see what it is removes the wisdom from any transaction. Emotional Commerce; yes. It’s the exchange that counts; the price can always be negotiated. These are the words I was looking for.
What good is the night if you can’t see the stars? And if you’re in the middle of it…well, it’s equidistant from there either to the beginning or the end and it matters less and less as time goes by which path you seek. But it’s the seeking that concerns us here.
The night moves to its own strange rhythms and I strain always to hear them but it still strikes me odd that most of the people out there are deaf to them and march to the beat of a drum that I will never hear. So dance barefoot under the moonlight and kiss the warm winds of summer nights on the grass. So listen to the trees. And if you can’t find a tall stand of pines to interpret the wind for you…seek passage at once to place where they reach for the breeze and teeter and creak on the verge of breaking. That is the Edge we hear about so often. It is the line between love and hate; between sanity and madness; between Here and There; between lost and found, the Soul lives there and whispered words across bare skin in the dark will relate the direction you need to take to find it. Laughter is the password but it is hidden in shadow and buried in sighs. And the very act of searching it out only portends its eventual loss. It is the Realm of the Meaning of Things.

Right On.

14 comments:

Clay Perry said...

take a deep breath & know that you will understand, when you release the breath you will know that you were right...

C.S. Perry said...

Certainty is a scarce commodity these days. I wish I could find some comfort in the assertions of others' insistence on the exactitude of the Universe and whatever mysteries lie behind the veil. But even the deeper concepts of the Tao can't help here and we once again run into the old dichotomy of mistaking one's own prejudices for some Universal Truth. The world is the way it IS and nothing we can say about it will change that immutable fact. Believing in a thing doesn't make it SO.
But still, we all have to come to terms with this life in the best way we can and a crutch by any other name...
I choose the stars, the trees and quick stolen kisses in midnight hideouts. And, if left to my own bent guess, I think that I come as close as any anyone else to the Truth. But it's all subjective and all the evidence is anecdotal at this point, so who can say? Perhaps it is wrong to seek empirical evidence for what we "know" in some strange way.
I say, "Take a deep breath and know that you will understand, when you release it you will wonder how you ever arrived at those conclusions in the first place.”

And remember: “If your enemy has no scruples, your own scruples will become just another weapon in his hand.” Sam Harris.

c said...

you have the universal truth in your response, its the only truth that does exist - "The world is the way it IS and nothing we can say about it will change that immutable fact." - you could even change the word 'say' to feel or do. once you understand that then when you release that breath & watch the trees sway in the cold breeze of the night, or look at the stars behind them, or taste that stolen kiss understanding will wave its paw as if to say, im right here, as it stands in front of you, like the 400 lb gorilla you dont notice that you carry on your ass every day, understanding encompasses all of it at once, exactitude does exist, its simply hiding in plain sight, not lost in matters of others opinions... never read another person thoughts in the form of a religious tome or op ed & say 'thats it, thats the way it is' just know how it is....

Clay Perry said...

also - we dont seek empirical evidence for what we know, only what we want, its not what you know as much as what you understand, remember your own words - "The world is the way it IS and nothing we can say about it will change that immutable fact."
also - "If your enemy has no scruples, your own scruples will become just another weapon in his hand.” Sam Harris."
"to defeat your enemy you must act in all things as they do" - clay perry.

C.S. Perry said...

“Knowing” the Truth of things only makes sense inasmuch as the “knower” in question has the wisdom and intuition to realize that “knowing” anything at all is ephemeral at best and dangerous at worst. Too many disasters throughout history have arisen precisely because someone, somewhere stood up and claimed to “know” something. I see your point; at some level each of us realizes that there are elements of this existence that we understand in a primordial, instinctual way. But the trouble begins, as you suggest, when others then agree and take up that cry and go forward into battle over just what the “Truth” is. I’m quite sure that Pope Innocent III really believed he knew the Truth when he ordered the Albigensian Crusade, but it doesn’t take away the horrors that followed. And there are probably a lot of people today who would still be willing to side with him, in the long run. Are they “more” right than anyone else? Obviously not, but it doesn’t erase the thousands of deaths that occurred.
Be careful not to fall into the circular logic of your own argument: To suggest that the Truth is Absolute and then say that recognizing the Truth when you hear it is a dangerous ledge to travel and the drop from that precipice is daunting.
But perhaps that’s the only way to see the world and maybe, just maybe, the Truth is as individual as our fingerprints and applies equally wherever it is invoked.

C.S. Perry said...

"Terror will only ever be defeated by greater terror." A. Hitler

Clay Perry said...

hitler was right.... about that anyway.

its what you have in your own mind that shows you what is true to you. you have to build a foundation on what cant be argued before you move forward. the golden rule, karma, god, whatever man made label you desire to put on it, its the 'take nothing from anyone through force or fraud' mindset that allows you take the next step, which is to understand what life is which is where your quote -"The world is the way it IS and nothing we can say about it will change that immutable fact. Believing in a thing doesn't make it SO." comes in. you know what the laws of existence are & you cant change them. it doesnt have anything to do with what you believe, its what is. its the same mindset that tells mercurial wiccan pagan flakes that they need a coven to accomplish anything, you dont. all knowledge is enclosed within yourself. 'knowing' should be replaced with 'understanding' in the point i'm making. calmness & surety of your own understanding is what allows you to move forward, not what anyone else is doing, or has done or has said. absolute truth isnt different for each person, only our views of it are, youre confusing truth with opinion, tell the oppressor that whatever opinion he has is fine, just dont allow them to stand your way. if they do then you apply hitler's quote. respect is given until your rights are infringed.

C.S. Perry said...

Well, you seem to persist in making the rounds of circular logic. The very nature of all the conflict in the world is based on the fact that people’s opinions do not meet about what is True. My point is not to deny the relative veracity of your point…it is a seemingly valid one (as is evidenced by my use of the word opinions). However, when I pointed out that the world is the way it IS, I was also stating, however tacitly, that the Universe exists in a certain way and is predicated on basic and fundamental laws that no endeavor of mankind can ever change. In other words, there IS Final and Absolute Truth; the trick is in finding it. We all know why and how the Sun appears to move across the sky. There was a time when people believed it was Apollo riding in a chariot. But I can guess that you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who still believes that fallacy, outside of a few weirdoes and cranks out there. And the reason is we KNOW better. Eventually, all “facts” that are explained away by or based on some hopelessly out-dated dogmatic principles or steeped in mythology will inevitably go the way of the Dodo precisely because we LEARN how things actually work in the Universe.
To suggest that we can be secure in our “own” knowledge of the truth again begs the question “What about the people out there who say they ‘know’ that God exists?” They believe in their personal truth as much as you do and live their lives based on its tenets. Again, the evidence is based on personal revelation and is purely anecdotal and can not be tested against any kind of actual empirical data. But the Sun in the sky CAN be tested. Result? A heretofore accepted “fact” about the Universe dies an untimely death.
To merely say that “You go your way and I’ll go mine” and proceed from the idea that our own beliefs are valid as long as nobody “steps” on them is exactly the attitude that has made geopolitics the quagmire it is today; because nobody is willing to call a spade a spade for fear of “offending” someone else. Simply stating that your beliefs are valid is as vain as praying for the all-knowing Master of the Universe to intervene in your life personally and solely on your behalf and for your own ends. In other words, there is no belief that is worthy of respect; only Facts in Evidence. It is the very idea that we need to “respect” Islam that keeps us from doing what obviously needs, and will eventually have, to be done. And I suggest that the same unflinching attitude should be applied to all “faiths.” Most of the world’s problems would vanish if we did.
Ask yourself this question: “Do you Respect the Muslim point of view?” Answer honestly and don’t take the “My” Truth vs. “Their” Truth escape hatch. Somebody is either really right or really wrong and the answer will be known eventually, as long as we can exist long enough to find it waiting out there.
Hitler was indeed correct and I did not intend to deny the veracity of his statement. But, when that fight is fought, Truth will have nothing to with it.
The love of your wife and children and the joy you find in quiet moments with them is beautiful and fulfilling but it is YOUR wife and child and a suicide bomber doesn’t care what they may mean to you. HIS Truth is different but, by your logic, justifiable in that it satisfies his needs and desires and helps him limp through life. My point is that the Truth exists, right now, and is waiting for us to see it.
In the vernacular of this discussion, belief and opinion hold the same weight and I see your point about what “cannot be argued” but our understanding of anything at all will only be complete we can “Know” with certainty. The final word is that admitting that “knowing you don’t know” is as fallacious as any point of Faith. We have the ability to know and only time will tell us the meaning of anything.
But I digress…my view of it is simple: We are here now and the only hope of joy or sorrow or reward or punishment that we can realistically expect must come in this life and we must make it for ourselves. To people of “Faith” out there, I ask simply: If your certain knowledge of the Universe is so awe-inspiring and life-changing, why doesn’t it make you happy? And all the evidence seems to indicate that it definitely does not.
As I have told friends in the past who tried to convert me: If I die and your version of things turns out to be the Right one and I am forced to be judged by God, well…that’s His prerogative and there’s not much I can do about it anyway. (Other than worship him out of fear.) And, when I’m before the Seat of Judgment, where all sins are weighed to a nicety in the scales of Justice; He will have more to answer for than will I.

Geez. It’s taking me this long to see that we’re making the same point.

Right On.

ms. psuedonym a.k.a. false name said...
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C.S. Perry said...
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Clay Perry said...

its not circular logic when you simply dont give a shit about opinion. allow a group or individual a bit of respect, meaning i wont take anything from them using force or fraud, until they attempt the same to me, then i destroy them, simple. i dont care about religious ideology at all, let them exist under whatever dogma they wish. part of the understanding is to know that right now, we do not know the ultimate truth of existence, & any man made religion, or science for that matter may explain things to different people, but if you dont care, your truth remains simple. we may never know why we are here, science will tell us how, but not why, up til now anyway, i mean they know at area 51, but wont tell us. point is that we have no choice but to accept it, until we find it. thats the scope of understanding.

ms. pseudonym a.k.a. false name said...
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C.S. Perry said...
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ms. pseudonym a.k.a. false name said...
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